Archive for July, 2011

Everyone’s a criminal in Uncle Sam’s eyes

The current Congress appears capable of handling only a single major issue at a time — this month it’s been the national debt ceiling. As a result, other important matters fester without resolution. Unfortunately, one of these topics — overcriminalization — may not be one either the Congress or the administration has any interest in tackling. They should; failure to address the overcriminalization of America is turning us into a society in which the average citizen is at the mercy of the federal government for fear of running afoul of some criminal law or regulation on any given day, despite having no intention whatsover of doing so.

The explosive growth in the number of federal crimes in recent decades has been nothing short of phenomenal. Three crimes — three — were considered of sufficient importance and of a unique federal nature, to be included specifically in the Constitution. Those three uniquely federal crimes are treason, piracy and counterfeiting. Over the …

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Chicago thumbs nose at courts with anti-gun ordinances

Chicago, long a city in the grip of anti-firearms politicians like former Mayor William Daley, has again had its hands slapped by a federal court. Still, the Windy City, now headed by former Clintonista, Rahm Emanuel, is unlikely to change its ways without further challenges by firearms-rights groups and citizens who desire only to be able to defend themselves with a firearm if they so choose.

The first legal blow dealt Chicago was just last year ago, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the city’s long-standing ban on private ownership of firearms. Since that decision (known as McDonald v. City of Chicago) was handed down, anti-firearms politicians have openly thwarted the decision and tried every trick in the book to avoid complying with the High Court; including a ban on gun ranges within city limits. Earlier this month, a three-judge panel of the federal Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling, and enjoined the city from …

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Debt-ceiling circus in Washington

Step right this way, folks! Under the Big Dome! See fire-breathing members of Congress and back-stabbing aides battle the most horrific and humongous monster since Godzilla hit the big screen – the Great National Debt! Watch in awe as Ringmaster Barack Obama uses his whip of fear to draw the masses to frenzy.

The deadline by which Congress must decide to increase the nation’s debt limit or find ways other than borrowing to pay the interest on the huge national debt, is only days away. The finger-pointing, demagoguery, and trickery are reaching a fever pitch unseen since South Carolina Rep. Preston Brooks took a cane to Sen. Charles Sumner on the Senate floor in 1856.

While no canings have yet occurred in the context of the current debt-limit debate (at least none have been reported), the sophistry and gimmickry has been just as excruciating to watch. And the nimbleness with which both Democrats and Republicans contort themselves to avoid touching the critical issue of …

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Anti-gun doctors sue in Florida

Doctors in Florida who are more concerned with pushing a radical anti-gun agenda than they are with practicing pediatric medicine, have filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to overturn that state’s recently-passed law prohibiting them from probing into a patient’s personal ownership of firearms. The legal action is – of course – being coordinated by the country’s most notorious anti-firearm organization, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

The Florida legislature passed the law this past April, after repeated stories surfaced of doctors dropping patients simply because they refused to be interrogated about whether they owned any firearms in their homes.

The law protects firearms owners in other ways. For example, it also prohibits health insurance companies from denying coverage for or dropping policies on policy holders who own firearms.

If a doctor violates the law, they would be subject to discipline by the Florida Board of Medicine, including possible loss …

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Police state comes to small-town Georgia

Big Brother’s Lemonade Squad strikes a blow for Big Government in small town Georgia. 

While most Americans are accustomed to police and government regulators employing heavy-handed tactics to limit and control virtually every facet of our business and personal lives in major cities (especially in California and the northeastern U.S.),  the police state is now reaching its tentacles into small towns and communities everywhere.  A police operation shutting down a young girl’s lemonade stand in the small Georgia coastal town of Midway, confirms there is no place in the country safe from overbearing police tactics lacking common sense.  

Just last week, Midway police shut down a lemonade stand operated by three girls because the youngsters did not have a business license, which would have cost $130 per year plus $50 a day. The girls simply had wanted to raise money so they could go to a local water park.  To accomplish this simple task, they turned to what was – in decades past – …

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US Policy Helping Iran Regime

Over the last several months, peoples in several Middle Eastern countries have taken to the streets in protest of oppressive governments — reflecting a profound desire for reform and an end to corruption. Many politicians in Washington have hailed these protests and openly encouraged government leaders in the countries affected to take meaningful steps to transition to democratic rule. Except for Iran.

When the Iranian people rose up in June 2009 and began a wide and continuing protest against the Ahmadinejad administration and its religious leaders, all we heard from Washington was a modest degree of lip-service. Meanwhile, scores of Iranian youths wearing green, the color of the opposition, were killed, tortured, or imprisoned.

Iran remains the elephant in the room in terms of U.S. foreign policy. While sanctions have been placed on the country and other punitive diplomatic initiatives imposed, there has been no serious focus on or support for the Achilles Heel of the regime …

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Mission Creep at TSA Accelerates

The latest scare tactic employed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is that al Qaeda operatives (and by implication, others) are considering implanting bombs surgically into the bodies of suicide bombers and sending them off on commercial air carriers. This scenario — similar to a scheme in the 2001 movie Stiletto Dance — while far-fetched, may indeed be under consideration by one or more terrorists somewhere in the world. Who knows what bizarre schemes and hypotheticals terrorists and wannabees talk about sitting around the dinner table?

The problem is, whenever some new terrorist plot falls into TSA’s in-basket – no matter how far-fetched or hare-brained – it quickly becomes the basis for new and more intrusive techniques to which the agency subjects the flying public. That this then leads to calls for enhanced budgets for TSA is axiomatic.

The timing of TSA’s release of this latest “plot” is suspect, considering the recent and substantial criticism to …

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US Lost “Space Race” Long Ago

Last week’s launch of the Atlantis Space Shuttle — the very last Space Shuttle mission — was described widely as the end of America’s leadership in manned space exploration. In fact, we lost the “space race” long ago — when as a nation we decided it was far more important to pay for cradle-to-grave social programs of all sorts, and to engage in multiple and costly military adventures around the world, than it was to focus seriously on manned space exploration.

The Shuttle Program itself, as the most visible aspect of America’s space program, was conceived in the 1970s based on that era’s technology, but which for years through its high visibilty and PR, masked the decline in America’s commitment to space exploration and the many medical, scientific, and technological benefits it produced. The tragic loss in 2003 of the Columbia Shuttle was a direct result of decisions to cobble together Shuttle missions based on outdated technology, rather than spend money to develop …

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Whitey Bulger Case Shows Law Enforcement Dark Side

Football coaching icon Vince Lombardi is credited with observing that in sports, “winning is the only thing.” In our legal system, on the other hand, winning is not everything – seeing that justice is done, is. Yet, as the still-unfolding “Whitey” Bulger case reveals, too often law enforcement and prosecutors adopt a winning-at-all-costs mentality; sometimes with tragic consequences for innocent people.

James “Whitey” Bulger is the Boston-raised gangster connected with the infamous “Winter Hill Gang,” and who had been on the lam for 16 years before being arrested recently in California. Bulger played both sides – serving also as an FBI informant, even as he bought off law enforcement to avoid prosecution for his myriad crimes, including 19 murders.

Ordinarily, the capture of a Top Ten suspect like Bulger would be cause for celebration. However, few if any current or former FBI agents connected with the investigation have been seen hoisting a celebratory glass of the …

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War Still Policy of Choice in Washington — Whatever the Cost

Congressional Republicans are engaged in a rare, internal debate over foreign policy. Prominent neoconservatives, including Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, are chiding some in the party for what they describe as “isolationist” views. Of course, this label is dishonest; no one (at least in the Congress) wants to completely cut the United States off from the world.

But it is just as clear there is a pronounced and growing sentiment among Republicans that playing policeman to the world may be an unsustainable burden, especially at a time when we are experiencing a massive debt and budget crisis at home. And, with new, nonpartisan calculations of the costs of such an interventionist foreign policy now available, the questions are more timely and serious than ever. Whether the politicians in our nation’s Capitol will actually act on such sentiment, however, remains a question.

According to a new study from the Watson Institute at Brown University, the so-called “wars on …

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