Author Archives: Matt Vespa

About Matt Vespa

I'm a staunch Republican and a politics junkie who was recently the Executive Director for the Dauphin County Republican Committee in Harrisburg. Before that, I interned with the Republican Party of Pennsylvania in the summer of 2011 and Mary Pat Christie, First Lady of NJ, within the Office of the Governor of NJ in 2010. I was responsible for updating his personal contact list. My first political internship was with Tom Kean Jr's. U.S. Senate campaign in 2006.

Why Hello G.I. Jane

Screen Shot 2013-01-29 at 10.41.41 AMAs Bridget Johnson tattled this morning, polls show support for women in combat.  There has been a lot of discussion regarding Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta lifting the ban on women in combat positions.  As Fox News posted on January 24:

The change would open hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs to women. Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey both approved the change Thursday, and the White House separately said it endorsed the decision.  The groundbreaking move recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff overturns a 1994 rule banning women from being assigned to smaller ground combat units. Panetta’s decision gives the military services until January 2016 to seek special exceptions if they believe any positions must remain closed to women.

Slate had a piece from a veteran, Kayla Williams, which detailed that women have been on the frontlines for years.  In fact, 150 U.S. servicewomen in our armed forces have been killed in Iraq of Afghanistan.  It also could be to our advantage, as we try to maneuver ourselves out of Afghanistan since:

[T]hose who served in Iraq and Afghanistan came to understand that in complex counterinsurgency operations, especially in Muslim nations, the presence of women troops is a vital way to interact with the civilian population—so important, in fact, that military leaders have long been skirting the old regulations by placing women in combat units.

However, Williams is a realist about this policy shift, and noted that it’ll be phased in over the years.

Much work remains to be done to implement this landmark reform. It is likely that the military will follow a multiyear process for phasing in changes, similar to that planned by the Australian military….the U.S. military services (particularly the Army and Marines) may argue that some jobs, particularly in the Special Forces, should remain closed to women. But as women continue to prove their abilities in a growing number of positions, those exclusions will become harder to justify.

It is true that not all women can handle the physical demands of military service. However, neither can all men. In fact, only 25 percent of today’s young people qualify for military service at all—the rest are too obese, too poorly educated, or have criminal backgrounds that bar them. Today [Jan. 24] Panetta is acknowledging that to maintain the high standards of the military, assignments should be based on ability, not gender.

Key in critical aspects of counter-insurgency, helping ease the strain on our ground forces, and providing a buffer from the lack of qualified candidates to fill the ranks in the future –  it sounds rational to lift the ban, right?  Not really, in fact, some conservatives, like the editors at National Review, feel that the military isn’t the area for progressive social experimentation.  Furthermore, if we are going to do this, it needs to be comprehensive, and the standards for women in combat need to go all the way.
The Editors at National Review on January 25 had this to say about the ban lift.

The administration has promised that there will be no reduction of physical standards to accommodate women in combat roles, but that promise almost certainly is false — and Senator McCain, who has endorsed the move, should know better than to pretend otherwise. The political mandate to integrate women into the military had disastrous consequences for standards at West Point, as Walter Williams documented the last time we had this debate. The use of “gender-specific” physical standards meant that female candidates were given passing marks on tests when underperforming their male counterparts on such common benchmarks as push-ups, sit-ups, and running 1.5 miles.This repeats the experience of similar civilian agencies, such as police and fire departments, in which standards have been lowered under the guise of revising them for professional relevance. One particularly comical feature of these developments has been the authorities’ insistence that they are acting independently of political pressure while simultaneously acknowledging that they are motivated by the fear of litigation brought by feminist groups. The ideological absurdity at play here is hard to exaggerate: When members of the Los Angeles city council demanded hiring quotas for the LAPD and a consequent relaxation of standards, they argued that concerns about physical difference could be overcome by implementing a “feminist approach to policing.” We pray that we may be spared a feminist approach to national security.

Some female veterans are skeptical about the change.  Virginia Kruta, a ten-year army veteran, posted on her blog that:

The military is strong in part because it is the most discriminatory workplace in the nation. You can be kept out, fired, or barred from promotion simply for being too tall, too short, too thin, too fat, too sick, too injured,too stupid, and the list goes on. Every move it has made in the direction of political correctness has been a move away from strength.

Jazz Shaw at Hot Air quoted a female Marine, known as “Sentry,” who gave this testimony, and delved into the one area that’s on everyone’s mind: physical limitations.
 … deployed to Anbar Province, Iraq. When I was active duty, I was 5’6, 130 pounds, and scored nearly perfect on my PFTs. I naturally have a lot more upper body strength than the average woman: not only can I do pull-ups, I can meet the male standard. I would love to have been in the infantry. And I still think it will be an unmitigated disaster to incorporate women into combat roles. I am not interested in risking men’s lives so I can live my selfish dream.
[…]
Regarding physical limitations, not only will a tiny fraction of women be able to meet the male standard, the simple fact is that women tend to be shorter than men. I ran into situations when I was deployed where I simply could not reach something. I wasn’t tall enough. I had to ask a man to get it for me. I can’t train myself to be taller. Yes, there are small men…but not so nearly so many as small women. More, a military PFT doesn’t measure the ability to jump. Men, with more muscular legs and bones that carry more muscle mass than any woman can condition herself to carry, can jump higher and farther than women. That’s why we have a men’s standing jump and long jump event in the Olympics separate from women. When you’re going over a wall in Baghdad that’s ten feet high, you have to be able to be able to reach the top of it in full gear and haul yourself over. That’s not strength per se, that’s just height and the muscular explosive power to jump and reach the top. Having to get a boost from one of the men so you can get up and over could get that man killed.
 Heather MacDonald at National Review also mentioned this obstacle, and called this move is a “disastrous mistake.”
 The number of women who are the equal to reasonably well-developed men in upper-body strength and who have the same stamina and endurance is vanishingly small. Because the number of women who will meet the military’s already debased physical-fitness standard will not satisfy the feminists’ demand for representation, the fitness standard will inevitably be lowered across the board or for women alone, as we have seen in civilian uniformed forces.
[…]
If a woman is taken prisoner, will special efforts be made to rescue her to save her from the risk of rape? If so, the necessary equality among unit members will be destroyed. If, however, policy requires that she take her chances along with the male captives, we are requiring men to squelch any last remaining vestige of their impulse towards protection and appreciation of female difference.
MacDonald also noted that we should “expect a windfall to the gender-sensitivity-training industry, which will be called in both before and after the entry of women into combat units to eradicate endemic male sexism.”
Our military is the best in the world.  Our soldiers are, for the lack of a better word, killing machines – not office co-workers.  However, I still have no problem with women on the front lines for the reasons I mentioned above.  However, that’s dependent on if the Obama administration doesn’t reduce, or dumb down, the various physical standards.  Only the best of the best, men and women alike, should be out there arranging meetings with God for our enemies.  Furthermore, just because women did well in the Summer Olympics, which is still a phenomenal achievement, doesn’t mean they’re all ready for combat.  It’s a false equivalency.
Now that gender exclusivity on the frontlines has been virtually erased, will liberals, progressives, and feminists be as vociferous in their advocacy for women  joining the Selective Service at eighteen?
Originally posted on PJ Tatler.

Roe at 40: A Discussion with Live Action’s Lila Rose

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 4.25.03 PMOn January 22, the United States celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case, which legalized abortion in all fifty states.  In doing so, the Court usurped a developing consensus amongst the state legislatures on the issue, and violated the principle of federalism that should guide how we enact policy in this country.  Nevertheless, Roe, in estimates from The National Right to Life Committee, has been responsible for 54,559,615 abortions since 1973.  As Daniel Halper wrote for The Weekly Standard on January 22,”that…means there are more than 3,300 abortions daily and 137 abortions per hour every hour in the United States. Translated another way, an abortion is done about every 30 seconds in the United States.”

I was fortunate to have a discussion with Live Action’s President, Lila Rose, on the future of the pro-life movement, and what activities they intend to aggressively pursue in this vicious front of America’s culture war.  Live Action has been at the forefront of documenting abuses made by Planned Parenthood in various undercover stings across the country.  What follows is an edited transcript of our conversation.

In the wake of the 2012 elections, pro-life Americans found themselves back in the minority.  What does Live Action plan to do to turn that tide, especially reaching out to the youth, and urban areas where most abortions are performed?

Sure.  Well, first of all – I mean a lot of the latest polling indicates that more Americans consider themselves pro-life than pro-choice. And there’s certainly in the last forty years, despite the Supreme Court case  [Roe v. Wade] that vandalized our constitution and made abortion somehow a right – Americans – more and more with the rise of the ultra sound imagery and with the rise of independent media have been seeing the truth about the child in the womb. And the number of pro-lifers is increasing.  Particularly, one of the strongest demographics is young people.

Live Action’s work reaches over a million people every week through social media. We have a news website that’s contributed by over 50 writers; most of them young people, investigating and doing original reporting on the abortion industry – and lobby.   And it’s really been amazing to see this growth from people all over the country – the grassroots – who want the truth about human dignity and who want to expose the violence of abortion  – the injustice of abortion.  And that is a movement that’s only growing.  And Live Action also has a magazine, a leading pro-life magazine, for students on hundreds of high school and colleges, and reaching them every day on campuses, as well as online – and that’s one of the programs we’re going to be aggressively building in the next year because we believe that when you put the truth in front of students – when you put the truth in front of young people. When you put the truth out there, then it changes hearts and minds, and we’ve seen that again and again.

A new NBC/WSJ poll showed that 70% of Americans don’t want Roe v. Wade to be overturned, and 24% want it to be overturned.  Thirty-nine percent approve of the decision, 18% disapprove – but 41% don’t have enough information to make an opinion.  In that regard, how successful have you been in educating Americans, who may not know much about Roe v. Wade – or its implications on our society?

Right, it’s a great question. I think that – that study directly reveals the amazing opportunity we have as a movement because there are a lot of people who are unreached in our country with the truth about abortion and human dignity.  And Live Action may be reaching a million people online every week.  But there are over 300+ million more people to reach.  So, this is really just the beginning of – you know, this is – we’re at an amazing point where we have the tools at our disposal, and the truth at our disposal – and now it’s a matter of how many people can we reach.

Is Live Action, as an organization, planning to lobby Congress to resurrect PRENDA (Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act), which punishes doctors for performing sex-selecive abortions?

Sure.  Well, the focus of Live Action Advocate, our 501 (c) (4) that I’m involved with, and the focus of Live Action Advocate, as it has been one of the rallying cry/calls of the pro-life movement is to make sure that the biggest abortion chain in the country, Planned Parenthood, is no longer receiving the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars that it get every year from the government – and under President Obama that number has skyrocketed to half a billion of taxpayers dollars goes to the biggest abortion chain.  So, that really is the priority.  We need a human life amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  We need to establish the personhood of the unborn child, and part of the path to make that happen we need to make sure that the abortion industry, in our country, is not being subsidized by the government.

Rose also debunked the claim that abortion represents only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services, which was also exposed as false in a op-ed in Life News by the Americans United for Life Legal Team last October.  However, it’s still a tough fight.  As Allahpundit wrote for Hot Air last November, only 38% described themselves as pro-life, compared to 54% who identified themselves as pro-choice.  However, this was fresh off the 2012 elections, and Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock’s unfortunate comments about rape and pregnancy surely didn’t help the cause. However, Life News’ Steve Ertelt has disputed recent polls showing a pro-choice majority.

Furthermore, Allahpundit wrote today that the NBC/WSJ poll could be skewed (NBC! no way!):

because Gallup didn’t specify ‘three months’ in its phrasing of the Roe question, more respondents focused on the entire term of pregnancy and that dropped the numbers. Or there could be some quirk in the methodology, specifically having to do with the number who answer ‘don’t know’ about Roe.

In the NBC poll, just six percent answered “not sure” when asked if the decision should be overturned; in Gallup, by contrast, “no opinion” draws 18 percent, which is more than 10 points higher than that figure used to be circa 2002-03. How come? Gallup has a theory:

Gallup trends indicate that the increase in public uncertainty about overturning Roe v. Wade is largely the result of a growing percentage of young adults aged 18 to 29 expressing no opinion. This suggests that the generation born entirely after Roe became law has had less exposure to information about the decision than those who lived through the original decision…

[…]

Good news and bad news there, obviously. Younger voters who express no opinion are potentially persuadable by pro-lifers, so in theory the anti-Roe numbers could expand in time. (Democratic overreach will help: Gallup notes that support for making abortion legal in all cases dropped after partial-birth abortion became a hot topic in the mid-90s.) Problem is, young adults are famously more liberal than other age groups on a variety of issues. That doesn’t mean they can’t make an exception for abortion.

Although, he did say that engaging Millenials on this issue is “going against the ideological tide.”

Nevertheless, Rose’s outreach initiatives through social media is where pro-lifers can turn the tide.  Case in point,  despite his poor economic record, Barack Obama vastly outspent Mitt Romney in social media last year, and won.  Go to where young people get their information.

This opportunity is accentuated with the resignation of NARAL Pro-Choice America’s President Nancy Keenan, who left since “most young, antiabortion voters see abortion as a crucial political issue,  [while] NARAL’s own internal research does not find similar passion among abortion-rights supporters.”

This whole fight is based on public opinion, which is shiftable sand.  However, with the dissemination of the facts, the malfeasance of Planned Parenthood, and the utilization of social media – pro-lifers, like Lila Rose, could easily gain the strategic edge over the long term.

The latest Live Action news, including their recent investigation into Planned Parenthood’s complicity in sex-selective abortion, can be found here.

 

Whoops! New NY Gun Law Forgot To Exempt Cops On High-Capacity Mags

Screen Shot 2013-01-17 at 9.40.24 PMThere’s a reason why moving slow on legislation is good.  If it’s too big, or you do it too fast, you often complicate the problem.  New York has just passed the most stringent anti-gun laws on the books.  Yes, government did something! However, as progressives crack open the champagne, they forgot to exempt law enforcement on the measure banning high-capacity magazines.  Then every single cop in New York has essentially broken the law. The new law limits firearm magazines to seven-rounds in New York.

According to Jim Hoffer of ABC Eyewitness News, “as the statute is currently written, it does not exempt law enforcement officers. Nearly every law enforcement agency in the state carries handguns that have a 15 round capacity. A spokesman for the governor’s office called Eyewitness News to say, ‘We are still working out some details of the law and the exemption will be included, currently no police officer is in violation.”

 Of course, it’s bad PR to say that cops are law breakers.  Perhaps, this little kerfuffle could’ve been settled if the NY legislature didn’t go through hyperspace to push through this new anti-gun bill.  Furthermore, in a time when we want to deal with mental health and firearms, you’re first instinct isn’t to scare people from treatment.  Allahpundit of Hot Air, citing a piece in USA Today, wrote that:

Mental health experts say a new tougher New York state gun control law might interfere with treatment of potentially dangerous people and even discourage them from seeking help.

The law would require therapists, doctors, nurses and social workers to tell government authorities if they believe a patient is likely to harm himself or others. That could lead to revoking the patient’s gun permit and seizing any guns…

“The people who arguably most need to be in treatment and most need to feel free to talk about these disturbing impulses, may be the ones we make least likely to do so,” said the director of law, ethics and psychiatry at Columbia. “They will either simply not come, or not report the thoughts that they have.”

“If people with suicidal or homicidal impulses avoid treatment for fear of being reported in this way, they may be more likely to act on those impulses,” he said

[…]

That’s a solid result for gun control. The police are momentarily in limbo legally and the threat to the public might actually increase as would-be spree killers decide it’s now too risky to seek therapy. Get Cuomo’s office a video camera and a group of kids reading letters about gun control, stat.

Originally posted on PJ Tatler.

Never Put The Bill of Rights on a Graduated Scale

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I’ve seen Facebook statuses from some of my liberal friends that go like this: First Amendment ≠ Second Amendment.  No. There should be equal advocacy for honoring the entire Bill of Rights in American political discourse.

Only liberals seem to put things on graduated scale.  It makes things more palatable to their base to swallow, and allows them to trim the fat in order to win elections.  In other words, like solving a puzzle, liberals use as many pieces as it takes to ensure victory, and disregard the rest.

You can see this with the controversy surrounding Obama’s recent cabinet appointments.  They’re all white men.  Not to say that there’s anything wrong with that, but given that single women were instrumental in the president’s re-election; they must feel screwed.  Alas, so much for the so-called “war on women.”  It’s not like we didn’t tell you that this was a giant marketing ploy to scare uninformed millennials from Mitt Romney, who actually hired women (14 out of 33 senior -level appointments by the way) from his binders when he was Governor of Massachusetts. However, I digress.

With liberals, like Alex Wagner, putting the Bill of Rights on a graduated scale is the only intellectually honest way of abolishing the Second Amendment altogether. Wagner admitted to this on Bill Maher’s Real Time in 2011.

Bill Maher, HBO: “Let’s ask Alex. What would you change in the Constitution?”

Alex Wagner, Huffington Post: “Well, I’m going to be pilloried for this. I think get rid of the second Amendment, the right to bear arms. I just think in the grand scheme of the rights that we have; the right of assembly, free speech, I mean, owning a gun does not, it does not tally on the same level as those other Constitutional rights. And being more discreet about who gets to have a firearm and right to kill with a firearm, I think is something that would be in our national interest to revisit that.”

However, as Victor Davis Hanson of NRO, and PJ Media, wrote today:

To the Founders, the notion that individual citizens had recourse to weapons comparable to those of federal authorities was a strong deterrent to government infringing upon constitutionally protected freedoms — rights that cannot simply be hacked away by presidential executive orders.

That may be why the brief Second Amendment explicitly cites the desirability of a militia. By intent, it was followed by the Third Amendment, which restricts the rights of the government to quarter federal troops in citizens’ homes.

Granted, DC v. Heller refuted the “organized militia” argument liberals have used to argue for the disarmament of the American people, but it shows a continuity, relating to the theme of safety, concerning the interactions between the people and the state.  The Bill of Rights was meant to ensure the safety of the people against an authoritarian state, since the first ten amendments listed were usually the ones tyrants stripped from the outset.

Then again, a hyper-regulatory progressive state is something liberals have been yearning for, as they’re frustrated with the various legislative blocking mechanisms within our Constitution, and attacking the Bill of Rights will help them achieve that goal.

As an NRA member, and a proud one at that, I vociferously support the right to bear arms.  I’m against a new ban on so-called assault weapons ban and high-capacity magazines.  However, I would also be as animated and forceful in asserting a neo-Nazi’s right to a public rally.

I’m glad law enforcement agencies cannot search my residence without a warrant, and I’m afforded due process of the law, the right not to incriminate myself, and the right to a trial by jury.  I’m glad my government can’t draw and quarter me as punishment.  I may love the men and women in our armed forces, but glad that I’m not forced to house them in my home.  Finally, I’m glad that powers not delegated to the Constitution, or prohibited by the states, are left at the discretion of the people.  The defense of the entire Bill of Rights should be unequivocal, equal, and united.

Blood has been spilled to preserve it.  Liberals and progressives do a great disservice, and deserve perpetual shame, in every thinking that some rights are more important than others.

Originally posted on PJ Tatler.

What Did Ed Rendell Say?

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After the heinous shooting in Newtown, CT, it never ceases to amaze me how the political left continues to salivate over the tragedy, and keep the gun control dialogue alive.  They must be desperate.  After all, the number of gun control mentions in the news decreased dramatically after the holidays.  It’s not resonating.  However, some in the Democratic Party, like former PA Governor Ed Rendell, still wishes to see new gun regulations, before the shiftable sands of public opinion switches on them again.  It wasn’t delivered without a tinge of depravity.

On today’s broadcast of MSNBC’s Now with Alex Wagner, a former cultural correspondent for the progressive Center for American Process, the former governor saidThe good thing about Newtown is, it was so horrific that I think it galvanized Americans to a point where the intensity on our side is going to match the intensity on their side.”

Matthew Balan at NewsBusters reported that “host Alex Wagner, who called for a repeal of the Second Amendment on Bill Maher’s HBO program in 2011, set up Rendell to make his eyebrow-raising statement (moments after claiming that “no one, anywhere” wants to get rid of that part of the Bill of Rights):

ALEX WAGNER: …Newtown seemed like an inflection point, if you will – a change in the national dialogue about sensible gun laws. And yet, the response that we have seen in recent days from members of the gun-toting – gun-toting enthusiasts and the NRA has been, to say the least, something that has – has dismayed me and very much disappointed me. I wonder what you make of some of that rhetoric.

Well, given that 47% of Americans are gun owners, could this be the Democrats’ 47% moment?  While they chastise Republicans as labeling the 47% of Americans who don’t pay federal income taxes as dependents, Democrats seem to have no qualms slamming law-abiding gun owners as ‘gun-toting.’  It’s a sad reality for liberals, but they will have to come to the conclusion that they’ve lost this battle thirteen years ago in 2000.

Originally posted on PJ Tatler.

 

Stephens: ‘ [Hagel] Confirmation Process Should Be Illuminating’

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Chuck Hagel, former Senator of Nebraska, has been tapped to head the Department of Defense.  He’s a Republican, who vociferously criticized the Bush administration during the Iraq War – and equated ‘The Surge’ as the biggest foreign policy blunder since Vietnam.  I also think Iraq was more of a distraction, than brilliant strategic thinking – but that’s a different matter.  We have a nominee for Secretary of Defense, who holds positions that are to the left of Obama, and it’s up to the Republicans on the Hill to derail his nomination.

This isn’t revenge.  Many pundits say that GOP opposition of Hagel is payback, but there are serious questions that need to be asked of the former senator.  First, he needs to clarify his ‘Jewish problem.’  The Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens penned a great column in December of 2012 highlighting Mr. Hagel’s peculiar policy positions towards the Jewish state.”The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here,” says the then-Senator.  As Stephens noted,”I’m a United States Senator, not an Israeli Senator,” Mr. Hagel told retired U.S. diplomat Aaron David Miller in 2006. ‘I’m a United States Senator. I support Israel. But my first interest is I take an oath of office to the Constitution of the United States. Not to a president. Not a party. Not to Israel. If I go run for Senate in Israel, I’ll do that.”

Stephens aptly noted that such statements are indicative of Hagel’s feelings towards Jewish-Americans, as exuding’dual loyalty’ when it comes to questions about allegiance.  It’s prejudicial and wrong.  However, towards the end of his column, Stephens hit the main concern on the head.

In 2002, a year in which 457 Israelis were killed in terrorist attacks (a figure proportionately equivalent to more than 20,000 fatalities in the U.S., or seven 9/11s), Mr. Hagel weighed in with the advice that “Israel must take steps to show its commitment to peace.” This was two years after Yasser Arafat had been offered a state by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak at Camp David.

In 2006, Mr. Hagel described Israel’s war against Hezbollah as “the systematic destruction of an American friend, the country and people of Lebanon.” He later refused to sign a letter calling on the European Union to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. In 2007, he voted against designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organization, and also urged President Bush to open “direct, unconditional” talks with Iran to create “a historic new dynamic in U.S.-Iran relations.” In 2009, Mr. Hagel urged the Obama administration to open direct talks with Hamas.

In Stephens’ January 7 column, he noted how Hagel’s political courage is fraught with opportunism.

In 1998, when it was politically opportune for Mr. Hagel to do so, he bashed Clinton nominee James Hormel for being “openly, aggressively gay,” a fact he said was disqualifying for becoming ambassador to Luxembourg. Late last year, when it was again politically opportune, Mr. Hagel apologized for his gay-bashing. Mr. Hormel accepted the apology, while noting that “the timing appears to be self-serving.” Yes it did.

In 1999, when the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy was broadly popular, Mr. Hagel scoffed at the idea of repealing it: “The U.S. Armed Forces aren’t some social experiment.” Since then, Mr. Hagel has offered his opinions on many subjects in scores of published articles. In not one of them did he recant or amend his views on gay issues. His public about-face only occurred when his name made Mr. Obama’s shortlist for secretary of defense.

In 2002, also when it was overwhelmingly popular, Mr. Hagel voted for the resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq. The lack of political courage is especially noteworthy here, because Mr. Hagel was, in fact, prescient in warning his Senate colleagues that “imposing democracy through force in Iraq is a roll of the dice.”

Yet as the inimitable David Corn notes, “Bottom line: Hagel feared the resolution would lead to a war that would go badly but didn’t have the guts to say no to the leader of his party.”  In 2006, when the war in Iraq had become overwhelmingly unpopular, Mr. Hagel was on the right side of conventional wisdom. “The United States must begin planning for a phased troop withdrawal from Iraq,” he wrote in the Washington Post that November. Still swimming with the tide the following year, he called the surge “the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam.”

Well, ‘ the surge’ (aka clear, hold, and build) was a success.  It brought about the Sunni Awakening, led to a dramatic decrease in sectarian violence, allowed the Iraqi government to breath, and ended with Iraqi security forces taking more responsibility in combat operations.  By the way, these operations were executed with success, with little to no American ground support. Ironically, it was ‘the surge’ that allowed the United States to withdrawal from Iraq.

Within media circles, it’s been a frenzy, but even The Washington Post knows Hagel isn’t right for the job.

Mr. Hagel’s stated positions on critical issues, ranging from defense spending to Iran, fall well to the left of those pursued by Mr. Obama during his first term — and place him near the fringe of the Senate that would be asked to confirm him.

The current secretary, Leon Panetta, has said the defense “sequester” cuts that Congress mandated to take effect Jan. 1 would have dire consequences for U.S. security. Mr. Hagel took a very different position when asked about Mr. Panetta’s comment during a September 2011 interview with the Financial Times. “The Defense Department, I think in many ways, has been bloated,” he responded. “So I think the Pentagon needs to be pared down.”

Yes, paring down the Pentagon during wartime is a smart move.

Republican National Committee has compiled some further research on the former senator, and it’s not much of an improvement.

ACCORDING TO HAGEL, THE ASSAD REGIME IN SYRIA ISN’T ALL THAT BAD

Hagel Promoted Increased Diplomacy With The Syrian Regime And Failed To Support Sanctions Against It As A State-Sponsor Of Terrorism

After A 1998 Meeting With Syrian Dictator Hafez Al-Assad, Hagel Said “Peace Comes Through Dealing With People.Peace Doesn’t Come At The End Of A Bayonet.” “Mr. Hagel met in Damascus in 1998 with the terror-sponsoring dictator, Hafez Al-Assad, and returned to tell a reporter about the meeting, ‘Peace comes through dealing with people. Peace doesn’t come at the end of a bayonet or the end of a gun.’” (Editorial: “Hagar The Horrible,”The New York Sun10/11/04)

In 2003, Hagel Failed To Vote On The Syria Accountability Act That Authorized Sanctions On Syria For Its Support For Terrorism And Development Of Weapons Of Mass Destruction.(H.R. 1828, CQ Vote #445: Passed 89-4: R 47-2; D 42-1; I 0-1, 11/11/03, Hagel Did Not Vote)

In A 2008 Op-Ed With Sen. John Kerry, Hagel Suggested The U.S. Should Offer “Tangible Benefits” To Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad After The Dictator Complained That His “Positive Steps Have Not Been Rewarded.” “While Syria must crack down on the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad claims positive steps have not been rewarded. We should test whether offering tangible benefits brings better results, starting with providing more humanitarian assistance for the nearly 1.5 million Iraqi refugees Syria has absorbed.” (Sens. John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, Op-Ed, “It’s Time To Talk To Syria,” The Wall Street Journal, 6/5/08)

  • Hagel And Kerry Said “Our Policy Of Nonengagement Has Isolated Us More Than The Syrians.” “The recent announcement of peace negotiations between Israel and Syria through Turkey, and the agreement between the Lebanese factions in Qatar – both apparently without meaningful U.S. involvement – should serve as a wake-up call that our policy of nonengagement has isolated us more than the Syrians. These developments also help create new opportunities and increased leverage that we can only exploit through substantive dialogue with Syria.” (Sens. John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, Op-Ed, “It’s Time To Talk To Syria,” The Wall Street Journal, 6/5/08)

[…]

ACCORDING TO HAGEL, IT WASN’T WORTH SENDING A MESSAGE TO RUSSIA’S LEADERSHIP TO CONDEMN ANTI-SEMITISM IN RUSSIA

In 1999, Hagel Was The Only Senator Not To Sign A Letter Condemning Anti-Semitism In Russia. “Jewish leaders are upset that Sen. Chuck Hagel was the only member of the Senate not to sign a letter urging Boris Yeltsin to speak out against growing anti-Semitism in Russia. An advertisement in Sunday’s New York Times displayed a Senate letter signed by 99 senators with only Hagel’s name missing. Hagel said Thursday he has taken even stronger and more effective action by writing President Clinton, asking him to appeal directly to Yeltsin to combat the anti-Semitic acts and rhetoric. But a trio of Jewish leaders in Lincoln said they wish Hagel had also joined his colleagues in signing the Senate letter.” (“Hagel Criticized Over Senate Letter To Yeltsin,” The Associated Press, 6/25/99)

Chuck Hagel is certainly on the fringe when it comes to America’s interests abroad.  He served his country in uniform, and that’s honorable, but these positions on Israel, Hezbollah, Iran, and Syria are incredibly troubling.  Furthermore, there will be times when he will have to give his opinion on matters that may might be at odds with the president.  From his record, he seems to flow with the political winds of what’s popular at the time.  In all, he’s more of a flip-flopper than Gov. Mitt Romney.

The other side of this equation is what was President Obama thinking when he nominated Mr. Hagel?  Why is he spending so much of his political capital (what’s left of it) on a nomination battle?  If the president is doing this to purposefully antagonize Republicans, he’s immature.  If he’s doing this to show that he’s removing the last remnants of the Bush years, his ideological entrenchment is more stubborn originally thought.

Either way, Chuck Hagel is the wrong man to lead the Defense Department, and gives realism a bad name.  Republicans should block him.

Originally posted on The Young Cons

Dems Gain the Voter ID Edge, Again

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The pendulum in the war between liberals and conservatives continues to swing with Democrats regaining the voter ID edge in the aftermath of the 2012 election.  According to Mike Flynn of Breitbart, he wrote today that this shouldn’t be a surprise.

new survey by Gallup shows Democrats regaining their edge in party identification over the GOP. In 2012, 47% of Americans identified as Democrat or lean-Democrat. 42% identified as GOP or lean-GOP. In 2011, the two parties were even, with each claiming 45% of Americans. In 2008, however, Democrats held a 12-point edge in voter identification.

The results shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, given the Democrat victories in November. The edge, however, came from Independents leaning more toward the Democrats than the GOP. In 2011, more Independents leaned toward the GOP. 18% of Americans identified as Independent, lean-GOP against 14% who were Independent, lean-Dem. In 2012, those numbers flipped, with 16% of Independents leaning Dem and 14% leaning GOP.

These numbers can change.  Public opinion is shiftable sand; therefore, there are no permanent victories in politics.  However, another interesting find relates to the Tea Party.  While some thought the movement was dead last summer, those rumors were dispelled with the primary – and general election – wins of  Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).  However, now only 8% of likely voters identify themselves as Tea Partiers.

Paul Bedard wrote in The Washington Examiner on January 7 that:

 Some 30 percent have a favorable view of the Tea Party, down from 51 perent in 2009.

56 percent said it has become less influential.

From Rasmussen:

Views of the Tea Party movement are at their lowest point ever, with voters for the first time evenly divided when asked to match the views of the average Tea Party member against those of the average member of Congress. Only eight percent (8%) now say they are members of the Tea Party, down from a high of 24% in April 2010 just after passage of the national health care law.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 30% of Likely U.S. Voters now have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party. Half (49%) of voters have an unfavorable view of the movement. Twenty-one percent (21%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

In April 2009 when the Tea Party protests against President Obama’s spending policies first erupted, 51% of Americans held a favorable opinion of the movement. However, just 35% felt that way by last July.

Only 34% of voters now believe the Tea Party movement is good for the country, down from 49% in April 2011. Slightly more (40%) think the Tea Party is bad for the country, while 17% say neither.

A majority (56%) of voters agrees that the Tea Party movement has become less influential over the past year. Just 21% feel it has become more influential, although even more (23%) are not sure.

So, will the next discussion, on a long list of subjects, amongst conservatives be concerned with the Tea Party, and their influence within the party? Are they responsible for the country’s shift back to left?  Stay tuned.

The Journal News Doxes (possible) NY Handgun Owners

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(Westchester County, NY)

Watch out for those spooky gun owners!  At least that’s what The Journal News wants you to think when they published the names and addresses of everyone with a handgun permit in Westchester and Rockland counties.

Journal News released the Google Map, which doxed these people, through an affiliate site called lohud.com on December 22.

 The map indicates the addresses of all pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties. Each dot represents an individual permit holder licensed to own a handgun — a pistol or revolver. The data does not include owners of long guns — rifles or shotguns — which can be purchased without a permit. Being included in this map does not mean the individual at a specific location owns a weapon, just that they are licensed to do so.

So, what’s the point?​  You don’t include people with rifles, and you admit that the list isn’t accurate.  It’s just people who have a permit because they’re all crazy and need to be followed.  Liberal logic can be amusing at times.  IF the people really wanted to know who had weapons in their neighborhoods, you would think lohud would put the time and effort in to have a more comprehensive list.  If that wasn’t possible, then why waste your time?  So, was this little stunt necessary?​

Ben Shapiro at Breitbart called this ‘intimidation,’ and wrote on December 24 that:

The newspaper didn’t even feel it necessary to publish a rationale for that violation of privacy – publishing the names and addresses of gun owners makes them more vulnerable to robbery when they aren’t at home, since criminals will know where the guns are.

They did, however, run a piece targeting gun owners as the root of all evil:

In the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and amid renewed nationwide calls for stronger gun control, some Lower Hudson Valley residents would like lawmakers to expand the amount of information the public can find out about gun owners. About 44,000 people in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam — one out of every 23 adults — is licensed to own a handgun.

Yes, because all gun owners are crazy people for wanting to protect their family and  property.  When did that become a mental defect?  This whole narrative framing gun owners as sex offenders who can’t control their impulses is liberalism at its most depraved state.  Yet, their representatives on the Hill have the temerity to ask conservatives to work with them on new gun regulations.

Originally posted on The Young Cons.

Rockland County, NY

Rockland County, NY

 

The Progressives Push For New “Assault” Weapons Ban Is Bad Policy

I stand firm with my fellow members at the National Rifle Association.  I couldn’t be more proud to be part of an organization that defends the Second Amendment, which is one of the most important rights within our Constitution.  Over the past forty-eight hours, the NRA has been slammed for being somehow complicit in the various incidents connected gun violence – with the most recent being that awful tragedy in Newtown, CT. As some in the media continue to inject hyper-emotionalism into this debate, liberals simply cannot control themselves. When it comes to gun violence, the left-wing’s end goal is the eradication of the Second Amendment from civil society.  However, as we obsess over carnage – and who to blame for it.  Let’s look at some facts.  Conservative Daily News colleague Kyle Becker posted on December 19 highlighting these interesting statistics:

  1. Mass shootings rose between the 1960s and the 1990s, and dropped in the 2000s. Mass killings actually reached their peak in 1929. (According to Grant Duwe, criminologist with the MinnesotaDepartment of Corrections.)

  2. “States that allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed handguns enjoy a 60 percent decrease in multiple-victim public shootings and a 78 percent decrease in victims per attack.” John Lott, Jr. and Bill Landes, “More Guns, Less Crime.”

  3. “With just one single exception, the attack on congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson in 2011, every public shooting since at least 1950 in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed has taken place where citizens are not allowed to carry guns.”– John Lott, Jr. Co-author with Bill Landes of “More Guns, Less Crime.”

  4. “Until the Newtown horror, the three worst K–12 school shootings ever had taken place in either Britain or Germany.” [John Fund, NRO. “The Facts About Mass Shootings.”]

Tobacco kills almost 500,000 Americans each year.  That’s including the 49,400 deaths from second handsmoke exposure.  Traffic accidents kill anywhere from 35,000-44,000 Americans each year – and Congress hasn’t been so emotional, or energized, to support legislation to curb Americans’ right to smoke or drive.  It’s abjectly stupid – and this is why the numbers game fails.  Liberals constantly cite the 12,996 deaths caused by guns because it’s juicy.  It grabs people’s attention, and frames a false narrative against anyone against gun control as an accomplice in mass murder.  However, as the data shows, Mr. Marlboro man has killed more Americans that guns could ever muster in a single year.

On December 19, President Obama, along with Vice President Joe Biden, announced a new anti-gun task force to discuss the amount of gun violence perpetrated by the mentally unstable in this country.  Joe Biden is heading this commission, but made a fast and furious move towards the exit when question time from the press arrived.

It is our imperative – as conservatives – to block any suggestions this anti-gun committee produces over the next few weeks.  This isn’t about gun control.  It’s about power.  It’s about government centralizing more control over the dynamics of our society. This is progressivism after 100 years of maturation.  A point aptly made by columnist George Will last winter.

As we’ve seen on the news, Connecticut has some of the most stringent gun control laws on the books – and they worked.  Adam Lanza was unable to buy a rifle due to his age, but even if that weren’t the case.  He was unwilling to subject himself to a background check.  He had to commit a homicide and steal the guns from his mother to unleash the depraved fury on Sandy Hook Elementary last week.

As progressives and the Democratic Party readies itself to reinstate an ‘assault weapons’ ban, which infringes on our Second Amendment rights, we should have some clarification on the language that will be used when the new Congress is convened in 2013.  It shows how little Democrats, or any anti-gun activist, knows about guns.

Hans Bader at the Competitive Enterprise Institute wrote a great piece on December 19 about the futility of a new ban on so-called ‘assault weapons.’ “Semi-automatic guns, including ‘assault weapons,’ are not machine guns. They do not fire more than one bullet each time the trigger is pulled, unlike a machine gun. The sale of machine guns and fully automatic weapons has long been banned.  By contrast, much of America’s guns are “semi-automatic.” Indeed, so many guns in this country are semi-automatic — the way most cars run on gasoline — that The Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney says that ‘semiauto is the norm,’ according to Bader.  He’s right.

Furthermore, he wrote that:

Congress and the president may pass an “assault weapons” ban to make themselves feel good, but I won’t expect much in the way of results for public safety if they do. As Professor Volokh notes:

So-called “assault weapons” are no deadlier than other weapons. To begin with, note that assault weapons are not fully automatic weapons (which is to say machine guns). Fully automatic weapons have long been heavily regulated, and lawfully owned fully automatics are very rare, very expensive, and almost never used in crimes. Rather, assault weapons are a subset of semiautomatic weapons, generally semiautomatic handguns and rifles. Semiautomatic handguns and rifles — of which there are probably at least about 100 million in the country, and likely more — are undoubtedly extremely deadly; but the subset that is labeled “assault weapons” is not materially deadlier than the others. One way of recognizing that is looking at the definition in the 1994-2004 federal assault weapons ban; the ban lists several types of guns by name, and then provides these generic definitions:

(B) a semiautomatic rifle that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least 2 of–
(i) a folding or telescoping stock;
(ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;
(iii) a bayonet mount . . . .[see additional examples at Volokh’s web site]

Guns that fit these categories may look more dangerous; but they aren’t more dangerous. . . .

Banning assault weapons thus has basically no effect on the lethality of gun crime, or of mass shootings more specifically.

Although Volokh says that assault weapons bans would be useless, he also says that they would likely be constitutional, since “such bans leave law-abiding citizens with ample access to other guns that are equally effective, and therefore don’t substantially burden the constitutional right” to keep and bear arms.

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However, as conservatives, we should be uneasy with government banning anything.  We banned alcohol with disastrous results.  We have continued to support a ban on illicit drugs that has also produced disastrous results.  We should re-think our drug policy, but that’s for another time.

The prevalence of so-called ‘assault weapons’ was “a modest fraction of all gun crimes.’  Furthermore, the study from the Urban Institute said they:

were unable to detect any reduction to date in two types of gun murders that are thought to be closely associated with assault weapons, those with multiple victims in a single incident and those producing multiple bullet wounds per victim. We did find a reduction in killings of police officers since mid-1995. However, the available data are partial and preliminary, and the trends may have been influenced by law enforcement agency policies regarding bullet-proof vests.”

A ban on assault weapons is constitutional, but data shows that it isn’t worth the political capital that could be spent addressing the faults in detecting and treating mental illness in America.  Frankly, I’m against any measure by the government that limits the options for Americans in which they can defend themselves.  As such, Republicans should just say no to the new push to ban ‘assault weapons.’  It’s time to put this issue away, so our snobby New England brethren can never bring it back again.

Gun control laws, or at least Connecticut’s regulations, worked in preventing Lanza from buying a firearm to create havoc.  Yet, the left is still guns, bodies, and carnage obsessed.  People seem to forget he had to commit a crime to get those guns.  That’s an unstoppable situation, unless we’re living in a universe more to the liking of Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report.

The first assault weapons ban had a negligible impact on reducing crime when it was enacted in 1994 – and had a negligible impact when it expired in 2004.  As such, we must ask ourselves why Democrats wish to pursue this matter – with a renewed optimism – if it weren’t to infringe on our liberty?  Do they just habitually sponsor and advocate bad policy?  It would also show how government spends an exorbitant amount of time debating bad policy that would yield infinitesimal results in reducing violent crime.  Well, that part is mostly tradition.  Just say no to new gun regulations.  Just say no to the assault weapons ban.

Originally posted on The Young Cons.

Have you bought your ‘abornament’ yet?

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Yes, abortion rights activists have reached a new level of depravity. Apparently, as everyone indulges in the holiday spirit, the pro-choice camp decided to create abortion ornaments – or ‘abornaments’ – to be part of the commemoration of the birth of Christ. The fact that pro-choice Americans threw this in the face of those who practice religion, or hold pro-life beliefs, is offensive in the extreme. Steven Ertelt of Life News wrote on December 19:

The pro-life group Life Dynamics has been highlighting so-called “Abornaments” that pro-abortion activists are promoting. They are sharing the images of the sacrilegious ornaments on the popular image sharing web site Pinterest.

Most of the so-called Christmas ornaments pictured involve the manipulation and desecration of plastic fetal models depicting unborn children at various stage of development before birth.

“It’s that time of year again for ABORNAMENTS! Every year, the pro-choice community celebrates abortion at Christmas by selling Abornaments Anyone disgusted? We are,” the pro-life group says. “What were they thinking?”

That’s a good question.

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I’m waiting for liberals to make their own 47 percent comment on guns

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In the wake of the Newtown shootings, the left is clamoring for more gun control.  They want to ban assault weapons – which is liberal speak for scary guns – and do something about high-capacity magazines because they incentivize us to be mean, vicious, and violent.  However, as John Fund noted in National Review, it’s time to talk about the mental illness aspect of this debate – and dismantle the frivolous concept of ‘gun-free zones.’  Zones that keep those within its perimeter perpetually unarmed and exposed to danger.

Fund noted that “the high point for mass killings in the U.S. was 1929, according to criminologist Grant Duwe of the Minnesota Department of Corrections. Incidents of mass murder in the U.S. declined from 42 in the 1990s to 26 in the first decade of this century. The chances of being killed in a mass shooting are about what they are for being struck by lightning. Until the Newtown horror, the three worst K–12 school shootings ever had taken place in either Britain or Germany.”

We’re going to have to make it more difficult for the mentally unstable to procure firearms.  That isn’t controversial.  However, the dissolution of ‘gun-free zones’ maybe more of a difficult battle.  Fund added that:

A lengthy study by Mother Jonesmagazine found that at least 38 of the 61 mass shooters in the past three decades “displayed signs of mental health problems prior to the killings.”New York Times columnist David Brooks and Cornell Law School professor William Jacobson have both suggested that the ACLU-inspired laws that make it so difficult to intervene and identify potentially dangerous people should be loosened. “Will we address mental-health and educational-privacy laws, which instill fear of legal liability for reporting potentially violent mentally ill people to law enforcement?” asks Professor Jacobson. “I doubt it.”

Gun-free zones have been the most popular response to previous mass killings. But many law-enforcement officials say they are actually counterproductive. “Guns are already banned in schools. That is why the shootings happen in schools. A school is a ‘helpless-victim zone,’” says Richard Mack, a former Arizona sheriff. “Preventing any adult at a school from having access to a firearm eliminates any chance the killer can be stopped in time to prevent a rampage,” Jim Kouri, the public-information officer of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, told me earlier this year at the time of the Aurora, Colo., Batman-movie shooting. Indeed, there have been many instances — from the high-school shooting by Luke Woodham in Mississippi, to the New Life Church shooting in Colorado Springs, Colo. — where a killer has been stopped after someone got a gun from a parked car or elsewhere and confronted the shooter.

Economists John Lott and William Landes conducted a groundbreaking study in 1999, and found that a common theme of mass shootings is that they occur in places where guns are banned and killers know everyone will be unarmed, such as shopping malls and schools.

Fund wrote that Lott noted how James Holmes could have picked a multitude of movie theaters, seven to be exact, to unleash his chaos, but chose the one that specifically barred concealed weapons on its premises.  All of the locations were within 20 minutes of his house.  Additionally, “Lott offers a final damning statistic: ‘With just one single exception, the attack on congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson in 2011, every public shooting since at least 1950 in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed has taken place where citizens are not allowed to carry guns.”

Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) aptly noted in his op-ed in USA Today on December 14 that “gun-free zones are premised on a lie: that murderers will follow rules, and that people like my student are a greater danger to those around them than crazed killers. That’s an insult to honest people. Sometimes, it’s a deadly one. The notion that more guns mean more crime is wrong. In fact, as gun ownership has expanded over the past decade, crime has gone down.”

Guns are an integral part of our nation and her history.  There are 200 million firearms in circulation, with 47% of Americans owning one.  I’m waiting for the left-wing to make their own 47% comment on this subject.  The vast majority of gun owners are decent, law abiding Americans who will be disarmed by new regulations – and leave them at the mercy of those who have no conscience when it comes to committing acts of evil.  If there is one place where gun control has failed, it’s Chicago.  With 436 homicides this year, the city is drowning in it’s own blood – and afflicting parentless young men at a disproportionate rate.

How will the left go about addressing this issue?  Will they marginalize and chastise the 47% who won guns in this country?  Will they be berated as lunatics and uneducated by liberals?  Although, it would expose them to a bit of hypocrisy.  They slammed Romney’s 47% comments to convey the narrative that he doesn’t care about half the country.  It looks like liberals are about to demonize gun owners, who represent almost half the country.  It just comes to show you how American liberalism is grounded in the politics of condescension – and they wonder why they haven’t won on the issue of guns since 2000.  It’s because people don’t like to be called names for owning a gun.  It’s because half the country doesn’t like to be slandered/libeled by the liberal elite as complicit in mass murder.

Abject union thuggery

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We’ve all seen the video of the Lansing, Michigan union protests.  They’re mad that Gov. Rick Snyder passed a right-to-work law, which would curtail the power unions have in the state.  It’s Wisconsin reloaded.  However, the level of thuggery and violence has reached a whole new level.  Union supporters thought that they could really make a difference in this debate by tearing down an Americans for Prosperity tent, which was located outside the state capitol building.  The tent had women and children inside – and one union supporter assaulted conservative commentator and Fox News contributor Steven Crowder multiple times during the chaos.  Crowder has been receiving death threats ever since he dared to cover the event.

American for Prosperity released this statement to the press on December 11:

LANSING, Mich. – Americans for Prosperity – Michigan State Director Scott Hagerstrom today released the following statement in response to the passage of Right-to-Work legislation in Michigan:“The passage of Right-to-Work is a win/win for Michigan. Not only is this legislation critical to Michigan’s economic recovery, it is a victory for workers who for too long, have been forced to join and financially support a labor union.

“This is also a win for union protestors, even though they might not know it yet, as they will have the freedom to choose to join a union, and will no longer be forced. I commend Michigan lawmakers who courageously stood up, despite union intimidation and violence, for worker rights. “This is about giving private-sector and public-sector union members in Michigan more rights, not less, by allowing workers to chose whether or not to join a union and how their hard-earned dollars are spent. At the end of the day, Right-to-Work legislation gives workers more freedom and more rights. Isn’t that what democracy looks like?

“Despite this victory, it took place amid union brutality and violence. I am saddened by union protestors’ complete disregard for safety and freedom of speech, tearing down an AFP tent and stomping on peaceful AFP demonstrators trapped under the tent.

“Angry, violent union protestors are yelling, screaming, and physically assaulting citizens they disagree with all while chanting “this is what democracy looks like.” That isn’t what democracy looks like, democracy is about free speech and peaceful assembly, not putting people’s well-being in danger just because you disagree with them.”

AFP-Michigan has taken the lead on rallying grassroots activists to contact their legislators in support of right-to-work legislation. Hundreds of activists have met with their lawmakers to stress the importance of this issue, and thousands have phoned in their support for workplace freedom.

Now, AFP released footage of attendees underneath the tent, as they tried to keep it came crashing down.

So, as unions throw a temper tantrum over their loss of political clout, they decide to take it out on decent Americans, who happen to disagree with them on the issue of labor.

O’Doyle Rules!

A second shooting was stopped on the same day as Newtown tragedy

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While a horrific tragedy occurred in Newtown, CT, a similar event was stopped in Oklahoma.  Sammie Eaglebear Chavez, who is only 18, plotted an attack on his high school in Bartlesville, according to Fox News.

An arrest affidavit says Chavez tried to convince other students to help him lure students into the auditorium, chain the doors shut and start shooting. The Tulsa World reports that authorities say Chavez threatened to kill students who didn’t help.

The Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise reports Chavez planned to detonate bombs at the doors as police arrived. The school district says students were never in danger. Chavez is being held on $1 million bond.

While Adam Lanza was tragically able to cary out his depraved act of evil, folks in this Oklahoma community saw the signs and acted.  This is not to pit blame on the Newtown community, but it shows how our society has flaws when it comes to reporting activities of people who are mentally unbalanced.  I use that phrase in the sense that there is nothing rational about shooting your schoolmates.  As Jazz Shaw of Hot Air noted:

This is a reminder of something else which I believe is important to keep in mind. Something unimaginably awful happened yesterday [Dec. 14] in Connecticut. But something every bit as awful didn’t happen in Oklahoma at the same time. And it didn’t happen because people spoke up and police did their jobs. That one statement contains two different elements, both of which are worth remembering as the media rushes to push for more gun control laws.

First of all, for any given incident where some madman runs amok with a gun, there is an entire nation of well over 300 million people – each with their own share of potential madmen – where nothing goes wrong. I could expand on that point for hundreds of words, but it seems obvious enough for any rational thinker to grasp.

Second, and perhaps more to the point, there are differences between the two states in question. Connecticut, as I pointed out earlier today, has some of the toughest gun control laws in the nation. Oklahoma has traditionally been fairly protective of 2nd amendment rights and just last month passed a new open carry law. Both of them were clearly under the threat of horrific assault by a madman. So it’s difficult to pose the argument that the deranged are more or less likely to be found in one state or another based solely on their gun laws.

It’s an issue of detection and subsequent treatment of the mentally unstable – who could commit violent acts against the general population.

Repeat after me: gun control isn’t the answer

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The tragedy in Newton, CT should shake us all to our very core. Of the 26 who were killed yesterday, 20 of them were children. It’s evil. It’s grotesque. And I’m sure many mothers and fathers were holding their children a little tighter last night. Sadly, for twenty families, that will no longer be possible. Our thoughts and prayers should go out to everyone, especially to the brave teachers who sacrificed their lives to save their students. One teacher, Vicki Soto, shielded her students from the gunfire – and made the ultimate sacrifice. Recently, the full list of the deceased were released by the police.

Charlotte Bacon, 6

Daniel Barden, 7

Rachel Davino, 29

Olivia Engel, 6

Josephine Gay, 7

Ana Marquez-Greene, 6

Dylan Hockley, 6

Dawn Hocksprung, 47

Madeline Hsu, 6

Catherine Hubbard, 6

Chase Kowalski, 7

Jesse Lewis, 6

James Mattioli, 6

Grace McDonnell, 7

Anne Marie Murphy, 52

Emilie Parker, 6

Jack Pinto, 6

Noah Pozner, 6

Caroline Previdi, 6

Jessica Rekos, 6

Avielle Richman, 6

Lauren Russeau, 30

Mary Sherlach, 56

Victoria Soto, 27

Benjamin Wheeler, 6

Allison Wyatt, 6

Details are still being released about the shooter, Adam Lanza, but you have to be one mentally disturbed individual to kill your own mother, take her guns, and proceed to murder twenty children. These kids were no older than ten. What would possess someone to commit such an egregious act of depravity? We shall find out soon enough. However, while decent Americans mourn the loss that has devastated an entire community, the liberals in this country have seized on another tragedy to further their agenda.

Yes, the Hollywood Left, to show that they aren’t a bunch of detached narcissists, called for more gun control over Twitter – with Cher eloquently telling the NRA to F**k Off. Mayor Bloomberg, Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Co), and Mark Kelly, husband of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, have all called for tighter gun regulations. After all, we know that tighter gun regulations are followed religiously by criminals and those who are mentally disturbed. Welcome to liberal logic 101. If you find it abjectly stupid, you’re not the only one.

I’m starting to see liberals as core-less and depraved beings. Sustained and guided solely by emotion – and not fact – they’re were right behind their Hollywood allies in the call for more gun control. Are liberals happy that this atrocious act occurred? I don’t know. But if the narrative changes in this country in favor of more gun control, then this could be a turning point. Hence, a good thing for American liberalism – and the media is making it all the more easier for progressives to make their point. Some are already seeing this event as a ‘tipping point.’ As Breitbart contributor Warner Todd Huston wrote on December 15, the media has been consistently flawed in their coverage.

…from the beginning, the murderer was reported as having strode through the school with a .223-caliber rifle, often referred to by the media here as an “assault weapon.” This also turned out to be untrue. In fact, he only had handguns with him in the school, not any “assault rifle.” He did have a rifle but it was reportedly left in his car and not carried into the school.

Many media outlets reported that the school principal, and a victim of the murderer, was the one that let the shooter into the building. But it turned out that the killer broke glassto gain access to the school. He wasn’t buzzed-in by the principal as was reported and there is no evidence he was recognized by anyone working at the school and allowed in as a result.

Lanza is also being said to have been wearing “combat gear.” What does this even mean? Some reports say it was a black shirt, or maybe some sort of vest and “possibly a mask.” Is a black shirt somehow automatically “combat gear,” now? This “combat gear” claim, though universally picked up by the Old Media as a description of Lanza’s appearance, is meaningless without any actual listing of that “gear.” What does “combat gear” even mean, here? We have no idea. But it sure sounds menacing, eh? Quite emotional. Whatever he was actually wearing, this descriptive term was used before any hard facts were known.

The killer’s mother was also reported to have been a teacher at the school and found dead on the premises. That also turned out to be untrue. The killer’s mother was found dead in her home and it appears she was not connected to the school. Her name does not appear on the school’s list of teachers. She may have been a substitute teacher, but even that isn’t clear. But the Old Media definitively reported that she was a teacher and was killed inside the school.

Some reporters are calling the killer’s mother an “avid gun collector.” There is no basis for this label. It is an emotional phrase meant to make the deceased mother into some “gun nut.” In truth there is no public knowledge about how many guns she owned and whether or not she considered herself a “collector.” She may have been, of course, but we just don’t have any knowledge to say so.

On the blogosphere, it wasn’t much better.

As conservatives on Twitter and Facebook urged all of us to come together and pray for the victims, liberals were already launching salvos. The Huffington Post was dominated with pro-gun control posts. Jezebel was much more tasteful with their featured ‘F**k You, Guns‘ column.

Whether it’s done in a sarcastic tone or not – I tend to disregard 99% of the material on these abysmal sites anyway – Katie J.M. Baker, who wrote the ‘F**k you Guns post, closed by saying:

F**k you, NRA. You guys are f**king murderers.

Today, we don’t need prayers. We don’t need thoughts. We need action. We need to politicize this, and we need to politicize this now. Fuck everyone who isn’t ready to talk about gun control. You’re the reason 27 people (and counting) died today. Don’t forget it.

Well, liberals are the ones who booed ‘God’ during the Democratic National Convention last summer. So, no surprise to their aversion to prayer. The key sentence is ‘we need to politicize this.’ I don’t remember the twenty-six who were killed ever signing up to be part of the left’s campaign to curb liberty and stomp all over the Constitution. In addition, to slander/libel people who are proud members of the NRA, such as myself, and those who aren’t pro-gun control, as complicit in mass murder is the reason why your argument fails.

People don’t like to be yelled at, but that’s what liberals have been relegated to do since the facts aren’t on their side. More amusingly, the most recent comments on that post were from pro-Second Amendment individuals , or people who saw this tragedy as part of a larger problem. Lastly, since Jezebel is a women’s site, it doesn’t help them dispel the sexist attitudes towards female’s monthly cycles by writing ‘f**k you’ posts, but I digress. Still, some liberals are convinced that gun control works.

CNN host Piers Morgan, a British citizen, had the temerity to give his opinion about guns in America saying, “there are nearly 12,000 murders a year from guns in this country… when are you guys going to focus on that, and stop telling me the answer is more guns? It is not the answer! How many more kids have to die, before you guys say, ‘we want less guns, not more?”

However, the UK has strict gun control laws – and they’re drowning in their own blood. Back in 2009, The Daily Mail reported that:

the latest Government figures show [at the time] that the total number of firearm offenses in England and Wales has increased from 5,209 in 1998/99 to 9,865 last year – a rise of 89 per cent. In some parts of the country, the number of offenses has increased more than five-fold.

In eighteen police areas, gun crime at least doubled. The statistic will fuel fears that the police are struggling to contain gang-related violence, in which the carrying of a firearm has become increasingly common place. Last week, police in London revealed they had begun carrying out armed patrols on some streets. The move means officers armed with sub-machine guns are engaged in routine policing for the first time.

The UK has abjectly failed to curb gun violence. As in the U.S., crime is perpetrated by felons, who don’t live by the rule of law, and it’s the law-abiding citizens who are the ones impacted by silly legislation aimed at stopping violent crime.

Townhall’s Katie Pavlich also noted the UK’s abysmal gun control laws – but also pointed out that since the landmark D.C. v. Heller case, which struck down the District’s handgun ban, “the murder rate fell below triple digits for the first time since 1963.” On the other hand, Chicago, a bastion of corruption, liberalism, and anti-gun sentiment, had 436 homicides this year, which exceeded last year’s total of 435. Let’s open some champagne!

Dana Loesch, conservative activist and Breitbart editor, wrote on her blog – and gave a litany of reasons why gun control isn’t the issue.

Between 2008 and 2009, the FBI’s preliminary numbers indicate that murders fell nationally by 10 percent and by about 8 percent in cities that have between 500,000 and 999,999 people. Washington’s population is about 590,000. During that same period of time, murders in the District fell by an astounding 25 percent, dropping from 186 to 140. The city only started allowing its citizens to own handguns for defense again in late 2008.

A three-year prison term for violating a gun-free zone represents a real penalty for a law-abiding citizen. Adding three years to a criminal’s sentence when he is probably already going to face multiple death penalties or life sentences for a murderous rampage is probably not going to be the penalty that stops the criminal from committing his crime.

[…]

Examining all the multiple-victim public shootings in the United States from 1977 to 1999 shows that on average, states that adopt right-to-carry laws experience a 60% drop in the rates at which the attacks occur, and a 78% drop in the rates at which people are killed or injured from such attacks.

Many have argued that it is the increased availability of firearms that has led to increased gun homicides, that the use of guns in the commission of violent crimes increases the likelihood of injury and lethality, or that decreased availability reduces homicide.

Although many of these positions seem intuitively obvious and have shaped arguments for increased control and restrictions on firearm availability and access, theoverall prevalence of handgun use in the commission of all violent crimes is relatively low. A handgun was used in approximately 9 percent of all violent offenses.

Furthermore, concerning Adam Lanza, Loesch wrote that this wasn’t a case of not enough gun regulation. Conservative blogger for The Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin, put it aptly on ABC’s This Week in the wake of the tragic shooting in Aurora – that our nation suffers a deficit when it comes to detecting and treating people with mental illness in this country. It’s not about guns. It’s about those who are mentally unstable, and the people ignoring their signs of disturbed behavior. As Loesch noted:

what did recent shooters like Adam Lanza, Jared Lee Loughner, and James Holmes have in common? They were disturbed young men that no law could deter from their intended destruction. Why were the warning signs ignored? All of these men were clearly troubled, all three were on medication. Loughner’s warning signs went ignored. We don’t yet know if Lanza’s family knew he was experiencing problems or if they witnessedwarning signs. Holmes was severely medicated and apparently abused his regimen.

Lanza could not have legally obtained the firearms he used because it is illegal in Connecticut to purchase or possess a firearm under the age of twenty-one. Lanza was twenty. You must have a permit to purchase and carry a handgun in CT and pass a background check to merit a handgun eligibility certificate. He stole his mother’s firearms. That is not a failure of gun laws, it is a failure of personal responsibility. What will more, redundant laws do when the laws already in effect fail to stop a criminal — who, by the very definition of the word, has no intention of following the law anyway? More laws for criminals to not follow?

We’re a nation where guns are an integral part of our socioeconomic fabric. We’re suspicious of government, which has grown exponentially over the past four years – so don’t expect any significant moves towards more legislation aimed at curtailing law-abiding citizens ability to defend themselves curbing gun violence.

It doesn’t negate the fact that only 26% of Americans approve of a handgun ban, 47% of Americans own a firearm, and only 44% think guns laws should be more strict. Recently, the U.S. Court for Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that “Illinois’ total ban on carrying firearms for self-defense outside the home or business is unconstitutional.” So, if the liberals – and their allies in the media – want a war, I think we should give it to them. We’ll easily retake Congress. How’s that for politicizing the issue!?

Lastly, Gun Owners of America astutely pointed out that the “CDC admits there is no evidence that gun control reduces crime. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has long been criticized for propagating questionable studies which gun control organizations have used in defense of their cause. But after analyzing 51 studies in 2003, the CDC concluded that the ‘evidence was insufficient to determine the effectiveness of any of these [firearms] laws.'(9)”

So, repeat after me: gun control isn’t the answer!