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Archive for March, 2018

Gun Rights Actually Are a Civil Rights Issue


Modern protests demanding more gun control have been likened to the civil rights movement, but civil rights and gun rights often have gone together in American history. (Photo: David Tulis/UPI/Newscom)

“Young people said, ‘We will not tolerate what our ancestors have tolerated. We’ve had enough and we’re willing to fight for it and we’re willing to march in the streets for it and, if necessary, die for it,’” TV personality Oprah said in comparing the student marches to civil rights demonstrations.

One writer in The New Yorker wrote of the pro-gun control March for Our Lives protest: “The Parkland students seem to instinctively understand that their fight not only crosses racial and class lines but also exists on a historical continuum, as an extension of the civil-rights movement.”

Another recent article in The Washington Post, headlined “Gun rights are about keeping white men on top,” even tried to connect American gun culture and support for gun rights to racism.

However, the author’s historical argument, whether intentionally or not, actually reveals that it is gun control, not gun rights, that generally has been used for the purposes of white supremacy. Gun rights and civil rights, historically, have gone hand in hand.

In a recent interview on “The View,” former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice highlighted the importance of preserving the Second Amendment as an individual right, in some cases the last line of defense in protecting life and liberty.

“Let me tell you why I’m a defender of the Second Amendment,” Rice said on the show. “I was a little girl growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, in the late ‘50s, early ‘60s. There was no way that Bull Connor and the Birmingham police were going to protect you.”

“I’m sure if Bull Connor had known where those guns were, he would have rounded them up,” she said. “So I don’t favor some things like gun registration.”

‘The Work of the Abolitionists Is Not Finished’

In the aftermath of the Civil War, a ferocious battle emerged over how to preserve both federalism and the individual rights of citizens in the states. Gun rights, in some cases, were the only safeguard of liberty and personal safety.

Some of the first states to pass highly restrictive gun control legislation were, in fact, in the Reconstruction-era South. They implemented so-called “black codes” to restrict the rights of former slaves, including the right to bear arms.

One 1866 Alabama law baldly stated that “it shall not be lawful for any freedman, mulatto, or free person of color in this state, to own firearms, or carry about his person a pistol or other deadly weapon.”

The law also made it illegal “to sell, give, or lend firearms or ammunition of any description whatever, to any freedman, free negro, or mulatto.”

Famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass warned about these abuses and said “the work of the abolitionists is not finished” until the Second Amendment and others rights could be protected. This provoked a federal response, according to historian Stephen P. Halbrook. Congress passed the Freedmen’s Bureau Act of July 1866, which guaranteed to other men “any of the civil rights or immunities belonging to white persons, including the right to … inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real and personal property, and to have full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of person and estate, including the constitutional right of bearing arms.”

President Andrew Johnson vetoed this legislation, but he was overridden by Congress.

These battles over the protection of individual rights culminated in the passage of the 14th Amendment. The 14th Amendment was designed to prevent states from violating the Bill of Rights, which at the time applied only to the federal government. However, even after the passage of the 14th Amendment, racial conflict and battles over gun rights continued for generations.

As Rice explained, individual firearm ownership was often the only protection black Americans had under some legal authorities that did little to protect them.

As Ida B. Wells, one of the founders of the NAACP and an early civil rights leader, wrote in 1892, a year in which an extraordinary number of brutal lynchings took place: “The only times an Afro-American who was assaulted got away has been when he had a gun and used it in self-defense.”

“The lesson this teaches and which every Afro-American should ponder well,” Wells continued, “is that a Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give.”

An Inalienable Right

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas noted this history in his concurring opinion in the Chicago v. McDonald case in which the court ruled that Otis McDonald, a black Army veteran, had been deprived of his Second Amendment rights by the city of Chicago.

Thomas wrote about how the infamous Dred Scott decision before the Civil War was meant to strip black Americans of citizenship and “the constitutionally enumerated rights of ‘the full liberty of speech’ and the right ‘to keep and carry arms.’”

After the war, former Confederate states attempted to curtail firearm ownership for black citizens, and mob and militia violence against those citizens often went unchecked by local authorities.

“Without federal enforcement of the inalienable right to keep and bear arms, these militias and mobs were tragically successful in waging a campaign of terror against the very people the 14th Amendment had just made citizens,” Thomas wrote.

Thomas concluded that in the opinion of the Founders and authors of the 14th Amendment, “the right to keep and bear arms was essential to the preservation of liberty.”

As Thomas, Douglass, Rice, and others so clearly articulated, gun rights—not gun control—have been an essential buttress to civil rights.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Jarrett Stepman is an editor and commentary writer for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Send an email to Jarrett.

COLLUSION DELUSION: New Documents Show OBAMA Officials, FBI COORDINATED in Anti-Trump Probe


  • The “WH is running this meeting” – referring to the first time the DOJ and the FBI met to discuss interagency coordination on the case
  • Harry Reid wrote Comey citing reports of meetings between a Trump advisor and “high ranking sanctioned individuals” in Moscow as a reason for investigation of Trump
  • Reid’s vague letter offered no citations or sources for its assertions and can be directly tied to the FISA warrant for Carter Page
  • This sequence of events strongly suggests FBI encouraged Reid to write letter to legitimize its surveillance of Page
  • Documents demonstrate Reid was in contact with Comey about the letter
  • Peter Strzok sent Page a link to the letter and said, “Here we go” – inferring they knew it would create public outcry for a Russian interference investigation

Documents obtained by congressional investigators suggest possible coordination by Obama White House officials, the CIA and the FBI into the investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign. Those senior Obama officials used unsubstantiated evidence to launch allegations in the media that the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia during the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, according to newly discovered documents and communications obtained by Congress.

The documents also reveal that former Senate majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, sent a letter on Aug. 29, 2016, asking former FBI Director James Comey to investigate the allegations, which were presented to him by then CIA Director John Brennan. Brennan had briefed Reid privately days earlier on the counterintelligence investigation and documents suggest Reid was also staying in close touch with Comey over the issues.

The documents, which include text messages from embattled FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and his paramour Lisa Page, also reveal that former Obama White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough was involved in the initial investigation into Trump’s campaign. Comey, Brennan, and McDonough were the “highest-ranking officials at the FBI, CIA and White House” and were working in concert to ensure an investigation was initiated, congressional members told this reporter.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, was deeply troubled by the findings.

“We’ve been asking for documents with little cooperation of the DOJ and FBI — we’re having to find these unredacted documents on our own,” said Meadows, who’s also chairman of the House Freedom Caucus. “It appears there was a coordination between the White House, CIA, and FBI at the onset of this investigation and it’s troubling.”

President Obama Names Denis McDonough To Be White House Chief Of Staff
President Obama Names Denis McDonough To Be White House Chief Of Staff

Meadows said John Moffa, who was part of the counterintelligence division at the FBI, met with Denis McDonough on August 10, (2016), Meadows added. “What we’re finding is the more we dig the more we realize that there appeared to be a willful coordination between multiple groups outside the Department of Justice and FBI. Moffa was also the FBI agent who helped draft Comey’s July 5, 2016 exoneration letter to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

Meadows said the documents suggest Reid’s briefing from Brennan “was used in Michael Isikoff’s Yahoo News story.”

Isikoff’s article was also used as evidence for the FBI’s FISA warrant being granted against Carter Page. Page was a short-term volunteer advisor on the Trump campaign, who was spied on by the FBI. Congress and the Department of Justice are investigating the FBI’s conduct in obtaining a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant in October 2016 to spy on Page. Page was a central figure in an unverified dossier put together by former British Spy Christopher Steele alleging the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.

In April 2017, The New York Times published the first story about Brennan’s counterintelligence briefing to Reid regarding Trump. The briefings to Gang of Eight congressional members suggested Russia might be helping Trump win the election. Brennan alluded to the unverified allegation that members of the Trump campaign may be colluding with the Russians. The information briefed to the lawmakers expanded the number of people who were aware of the unverified allegations, and played a significant role in the increase of leaks to the media, according to the information obtained by the committee.

“A chain of events suggest the FBI encouraged Reid to write this letter to legitimize its surveillance of Carter Page”

A congressional investigator told this reporter that they believe the FBI was involved in the briefing to Reid but are still waiting for confirmation.

In the letter from Reid to Comey, Reid cites information Brennan shared with him that Trump advisor, referencing Carter Page, and other “high ranking sanctioned individuals” in Moscow were meeting. Reid asks Comey to launch an investigation by the FBI into the Trump Campaign and the Kremlin.

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)

The letter, which was obtained by this reporter, refers to reports briefed by Brennan but gives “almost no evidence” regarding the Trump campaign and Russia, according to congressional investigators.

For example, the letter only states that “questions have been raised about whether a Trump advisor who has been highly critical of U.S. and European economic sanctions on Russia, and who has conflicts of interests due to his investments in Russian energy conglomerate Gazprom, met with high-ranking sanctioned individuals in Moscow in July of 2016.”

Congressional investigators also note that newly revealed text messages between Strzok and Page also show possible coordination between the FBI, CIA and the Democrats.

Shortly after Reid’s letter was revealed in a New York Times article on August 30, 2016, Strzok texts Page saying, “here we go.” He included a link to the story in the text message. Congressional investigators suggest that the pair were creating inferences “that they knew it would create public calls for an investigation into Russian interference.”

Sept. 23, 2016, Isikoff article, which cites Reid’s letter, is also another example of possible coordination, congressional investigators state. The FBI used the Yahoo news article as part of the evidence in their application to obtain a FISA warrant on Carter Page.

“This sequence of events strongly suggests the FBI encouraged Reid to write this letter to legitimize its surveillance of Carter Page,” congressional investigators stated.

Congressional Findings:

  • What began as an investigation into allegations of Russian cyber hacking of the DNC was eventually broadened into an investigation of the Trump campaign.
  • By sending high-ranking officials and led to brief members of Congress on the possibility of Russian interference in the 2016 election, the DNC hack, and the possibility Trump campaign associates were in contact with Russia, the FBI was given cover for the investigation they had recently opened on Trump with questionable legal justification.
  • The intelligence community has admitted Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election were only the most “recent expression” of their longstanding desire to undermine US elections.
  • It appears based on the information “insurance policy” in case Trump won, these briefings by the intelligence community to Congress, which led to several members calling for investigations into Russian interference and Trump, were perfectly timed to plant seeds of doubt in the outcome of the 2016 election.
  • By utilizing the FBI’s cyber division to look into the DNC hack, the agents exhibiting improper political biases from the FBI’s counterintelligence division, Lisa Page, and Peter Strzok, were offered cover.

DOJ Inspector General Opens Investigation Into Obama Administration’s FISA Abuse


Reported |

Department of Justice inspector general Michael Horowitz opened an investigation Wednesday into possible FISA abuses by the Justice Department and FBI officials and the nature of contacts between the FBI and a confidential source.

Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who operates independently from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration, announced Wednesday afternoon he will launch an investigation into alleged FISA abuse during the Obama administration.

“Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today that, in response to requests from the Attorney General and Members of Congress, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) will initiate a review that will examine the Justice Department’s and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) compliance with legal requirements, and with applicable DOJ and FBI policies and procedures, in applications filed with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC)  relating to a certain U.S. person,” the DOJ Office of the Inspector General released in a statement Wednesday. “As part of this examination, the OIG also will review information that was known to the DOJ and the FBI at the time the applications were filed from or about an alleged FBI confidential source.  Additionally, the OIG will review the DOJ’s and FBI’s relationship and communications with the alleged source as they relate to the FISC applications.”

DOJ spokesman John Lavinsky said in a statement accompanying the announcement.

Lavinsky explained that “as part of this examination, the OIG also will review information that was known to the DOJ and the FBI at the time the applications were filed from or about an alleged FBI confidential source.”

Lavinsky noted that the investigation was prompted by requests from several members of Congress and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. House Republicans recently released a memo claiming widespread abuse of the FISA process on the part of the DOJ and FBI in order to obtain a surveillance warrant on former Trump campaign associate Carter Page.

The timing of the investigation and the reference to members of Congress point to Page as the U.S. person. The statement’s reference to a confidential source similarly floats concerns found in the Republican memo which found that the FBI and the DOJ did not disclose the political origins of the Steele dossier in its FISA application and revealed previously undisclosed testimony from former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe that an investigation into Page would not have occurred without Steele’s dossier.

The nature of contacts between DOJ officials and Steele during the opening of an investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign has been the nature of some controversy. The Republican memo especially expressed concern over the nature of meetings between Steele and DOJ official Bruce Ohr, whose wife worked for Steele for some time.

“If circumstances warrant, the OIG will consider including other issues that may arise during the course of the review,” the statement continues.

Michael Isikoff@Isikoff

Breaking: In response to requests from AG and members of Congress, DOJ IG Horowitz says he will investigate the FBI’s request for FISA warrant on “a U.S. person”– a reference to Carter Page. Probe will include role of “confidential FBI source”-a reference to Christoper Steele.

Horowitz has also been investigating for months potential misconduct at the FBI during the criminal investigation into Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information. That report is due any day.

About a month ago, The Hill reported, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday that the Justice Department will investigate potential abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). “Yes, it will be investigated,” Sessions told reporters at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees FISA warrants, according to the Washington Examiner. He said looking into any abuses is the “appropriate thing” to do.

Trump has publicly pressed Sessions to open up an investigation into potential abuses of the program, which allows U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies to obtain secret surveillance orders on individuals in the U.S. suspected of being foreign terrorists or spies.

The president claimed last year that the Obama administration improperly wiretapped members of his presidential campaign and transition team, though the White House has not provided any evidence to support that claim.

Allegations of FISA abuses surfaced again last month, when Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a controversial memo alleging that FBI and Justice Department officials misused their authority to obtain a surveillance order on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser.

It’s about time the Obama administration and those in it paid the price for all their shenanigans. Personally, I hope all those involved including Yates, Mueller, Comey, Rosenstein, Page and Strzok and others all rot in jail. It’s time to let the Americans know that just because you are employed and work in the “high levels” of government that does not excuse you from the law. No one is about the law.

Isn’t that right, Hillary?

Resources: Townhall, Daily Caller, The Hill

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I Hope You’ll Pray and Get Outraged


Heroin now kills more people than guns: Drugs overdoses claimed 50,000 lives in the US last year


Reported By Chris Summers For Mailonline and Associated Press |  |

URL of the original posting site:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4015536/A-grim-tally-soars-More-50-000-overdose-deaths-US.html#ixzz5BAZxMG8E

 

More than 50,000 Americans died from drug overdoses last year, the highest figure ever. The tally has been pushed to new heights by soaring abuse of heroin and prescription painkillers, especially fentanyl. Heroin deaths rose 23 per cent in a year, to 12,989, slightly higher than the number of gun homicides, according to government data released yesterday.

The total number of gun deaths – which included suicides and accidents – rose seven per cent to 36,252.

It comes only days after another report which showed fentanyl, a synthetic opiate which is 40 times stronger than heroin, has become the largest drug threat to the United States, and causes 44 deaths every day. Deaths from fentanyl rose 73 per cent to 9,580.

Overdoses – often accidental – of Oxycontin and Vicodin killed 17,536, an increase of four per cent.

‘I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything like this. Certainly not in modern times,’ said Robert Anderson, who oversees death statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The ‘war on drugs’ was a term coined by the press in 1971 after President Richard Nixon held a press conference to publicize the growing menace of narcotics flooding the country.  In July 1973 the Drugs Enforcement Administration (DEA) was set up in a bid to combat drug smugglers and pushers. In the 1980s crack – a highly addictive form of cocaine – created a new generation of drug addicts but deaths began to fall in the 1990s.

But they have been rising steadily since 2001 and heroin in particular has seen a massive spike in the last six years. In February 2014 heroin claimed the life of Hollywood actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who overdosed in the bathroom of his apartment in Manhattan.

But the vast majority of those being killed by heroin and fentanyl are ordinary people in smalltown America.

Statista.com compiled a table comparing drug deaths state by state and it showed that West Virginia was the drug death capital of America with 32.4 per 100,000 people, almost three times the national average. Another Appalachian state, Kentucky, was third on the list.

But opiates are ravaging the entire country and almost every day there are stories and photographs of horrific incidents.

  • Last Friday Amanda Riley, 30, allegedly overdosed on heroin in the bathroom of a gas station in Sarasota, Florida, while a four-year-old child watched. She survived and has since been charged with child neglect.
  • In September this year a photograph showing a couple unconscious in the front of their car, while their child sat in the back, went viral with people suggesting it looked like something from a zombie film. The ‘zombies’ were Rhonda Pasek – the boy’s grandmother – and her boyfriend James Acord, who were off their heads on heroin. The pair, from East Liverpool, Ohio, have since been sentenced to jail time.
  • And in October a 25-year-old woman, Erika Hurt, was pictured lying in the driver’s seat of her car with a syringe hanging out of her arm. Her 10-month-old son was crying in the backseat.
  • In the same month more than a million people watched a video posted on Facebook in Memphis, Tennessee, of a couple collapsed in the street after taking heroin.

The new numbers were part of the agency’s annual tally of deaths and death rates in 2015. Overall, overdose deaths rose 11 per cent last year, to 52,404. By comparison, the number of people who died in car crashes was 37,757, an increase of 12 per cent.  

This Weeks Ann Coulter Letter: “3-D Chess: It Only Looks Like Trump Is Throwing Away His Presidency!”


Commentary by Ann Coulter  | 

I can’t wait to see Trump’s next move in his game of “3-D chess”!

You see, it only looks like Trump is The Worst Negotiator God Ever Created. Instead of telling Democrats, “I won’t even talk about DACA until we have the border wall,” Trump has repeatedly given up the wall, aka The Central Promise of His Campaign, Without Which He Would Not Be in the White House. 

He has now signed a spending bill that, if it actually did what it claims to do, prohibits him from building the wall, hiring any new ICE agents capable of making arrests, and building any new detention facilities for illegal aliens.

The strange thing is, as commander in chief, he doesn’t need congressional authority to do any of these things. But he obviously doesn’t know that.

Why? BECAUSE HE’S PLAYING 3-D CHESS!

Instead of making even a fake effort and forcing Democrats to get up off the couch to vote against the wall, Trump cleverly leapt to the front of the anti-Trump parade and pretended it was all his idea.

I told Sen. Schumer: I WANT AMNESTY! I was very clear! Look at him, running around like a loser doing my bidding.

Trump’s main response to a bill that actively prohibits him from keeping his central campaign promise was to denounce Congress for not sending him a bill legalizing “Dreamers.” Which also breaks a campaign promise.

It’s all part of the act, you fools! Trump is making the Democrats think that, even though they don’t have the House, the Senate or the White House, he needs Chuck Schumer’s permission before moving a muscle.

Carefully observe the master. He gives up everything and — in exchange — gets NOTHING. See?

The easy thing to do would be to say, There’s no way any amnesty happens until the wall is complete. Anybody could do that. But we didn’t elect just anybody.

We elected the guy whose name is on the cover of “The Art of the Deal.” Sure, he didn’t write it — and probably didn’t read it — but Trump must have heard about some of the trite advice it contains.

This shows what a master strategist Trump is. He throws out the rulebook! You know what else, suckers? Now he can put out a paperback edition with a new chapter, How to Give Up Everything in Return for Nothing.

The wins are already rolling in. Guess who’s suddenly dying to negotiate with Trump? That’s right: Kim Jong Un. One look at how Trump negotiates and Kim couldn’t wait to sit down with him.

Trump took office with the most precious gift any president could ever ask for: winning the White House with ZERO support from Wall Street. But instead of calling in the big banks and saying, Welcome to hell! Trump checkmated them by spending his first 15 months in office cravenly begging for their approval.

The expression “dance with the one who brung you” is old paradigm thinking. This is Trump Thinking.

The Republican Brain Trust sneered at Trump throughout the 2016 campaign, certain that they were in no danger from this ridiculous creature.

And damned if he didn’t win.

After that, Trump could have summoned Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan to the Oval Office and demanded that they show him their testicles. Instead, he became their water boy.

Doing Sen. McConnell’s bidding, he endorsed Luther Strange in Alabama, instead of the Trumpian candidate, Mo Brooks. That resulted in a gigantically embarrassing loss, so, naturally, he continued to do whatever McConnell said.

You think Trump doesn’t know exactly what he’s doing? That’s another new chapter for “The Art of the Deal”! (Ignore People Whose Advice Has Been Good; Hire People Whose Advice Has Been Catastrophic.)

Following the McConnell/Ryan playbook, Trump cut taxes (which is vitally important to Americans who don’t have jobs and whose communities are overrun with heroin) and expanded the bloated, wasteful defense budget. (The permanent-war wing of the GOP LOVES him now!)

Thanks to Trump’s 3-D chess, he may well be in line for an endorsement not only from Boeing, but also from the powerhouse Bush family.

When a Republican House and Republican Senate deliver a spending bill to Trump that prevents him from putting so much as a rickety fence on more than 33 miles of the border, I think it’s safe to say that not only do congressional Republicans not fear Trump, they’re laughing at him.

3-D chess, baby! Trump has lured Republicans right into his trap.

Obviously, a blue wave this fall is much more likely now. That’s the plan, morons.

Just wait and see how they like it when the GOP gets wiped out in the midterms. Sure, we’ll get all the heinous PC policies we would have gotten under Hillary. But Trump is thinking three moves ahead. He could make history by being only the third president ever impeached.

Top that, Obama!

Only a chump would complain about Trump cheerfully doing a 180 on everything he campaigned for. If Trump voters are upset, it’s on them, not on him.

I was there! At every single rally during the campaign, Trump would whip the crowd into a frenzy over the wall, deporting illegals and no more “stupid wars” — but he was always VERY careful to end his speeches by saying:

Unless, of course, anyone who represents conventional Republican thinking disagrees, in which case, I will do none of this.

I can’t wait to see what comes next!

Just hang on to your hats, because while you’re all playing checkers, Trump is playing 3-D chess.

(NOTE: If I am wrong and President Trump ever builds the wall, I will apologize profusely, return to calling him “the Emperor God” and throw a fabulous party at the grand opening of the completed wall.)

More Politically INCOREECT Cartoons for Thursday March 29, 2018


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