Sunday, July 13, 2014

Is this the feds' next Cliven Bundy moment?

Word is the small town of Murrieta, Calif., is about to become the country’s next constitutional crisis.

That’s because armed federal agents are reportedly set to converge on the town, prepped – meaning locked and loaded, dressed in riot gear – to pressure local protesting citizens to go home, keep quiet and let the good illegal immigrants from Central America be bused in and deposited. If true, this could be the worst crisis of constitutional proportions since – well, since early April, when armed agents with the Bureau of Land Management took up spots outside Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s property to try and force him, at gunpoint, to pay his bill.

Upon second thought, April’s not that far back.

An American citizen could actually start to get a bit paranoid that the feds are finding it far too easy these days to take up arms against those who -- in strictest constitutional sense -- are the employers. As John Henry, a Murrieta resident for more than 20 years, described to Breitbart Texas: “We’re being told that federal marshals or ICE will be here in the next few days and that they are bringing riot gear. They’re apparently going to be blocking off the street with concrete blockades so that no vehicles can get through. The [nearby] River County Sheriff’s Department showed up … and brought a huge watch tower that shoots up into the air 35 feet.”

Another resident of the nearby town of Temecula said in the same media report that he was told by local police officers the situation was “going to get ugly” and that officers bearing shields and decked in riot gear are going to be used to quell the crowd.

Murrieta’s crime?

Daring to keep criminals in the form of illegal immigrants from overriding their community.

The town’s not exactly equipped to handle the inflow of illegals. As Mayor Alan Long described it on Fox News on Monday, Murrieta’s a sleepy “bedroom community of 106,000” and now, “all of a sudden, the world showed up at our door step.” And residents – rightly so – are concerned. Some of the bus riders are sick and diseased, lighting from bus steps to hospital emergency room care in seeming seamless motion. All are illegal. And tempers at the protest site are flaring.

Now add to the mix federal agents in riot gear.

Is this the government’s next Cliven Bundy moment?

President Obama, meanwhile, refuses to visit the site of the chaos, issuing only campaign-style pronouncements from the safe distance of Washington, D.C., of the “humanitarian crisis” nature of the situation – referring, of course, to the children. And the White House just insisted its goal at the border was to control the flow and apprehend those who are found to have entered illegally. Yet federal authorities are reportedly sending armed agents to ensure the buses of illegals are allowed access to Murrieta?

This has all the makings of a disastrous episode in American history and one lesson – as we all pray for a peaceful resolution in the community and with the entire border chaos – can nonetheless be found in this quote from Richard Henry Lee, a member of the first U.S. Senate of the United States, who said in 1788: “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms.”

The modern day meaning is clear. If the federal government is embarking on some sort of trend to take up arms against protesting American people, then perhaps the American people should respond with a quiet, yet bold, message of their own – and simply buy more guns.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hobby Lobby is not a slap-down of women's rights

Now that the Hobby Lobby court decision has supplanted Iraq as the news story of the week, it's probably worthwhile to ask: Has a woman's access to birth control become that much of a crisis?

To hear the mainstream media, Hillary Clinton and the White House tell it, this 5-4 Supreme Court ruling just turned back the clock on women's rights, sending them -- us -- back to the kitchen, shoeless, soon-to-be-pregnant, and dejected, recalling with teary-eyed timidity the time of equal rights with Man.

Because, of course, such logic goes, free birth control means equal rights.

Hillary Clinton called the ruling "deeply disturbing" and "very troubling," opining during a Live Facebook session about the poor plight of a "sales clerk at Hobby Lobby who [might] need contraception, which is pretty expensive … not going to get that service through her employer's health care plan because her employer doesn't think she should be using contraception."

President Obama, through his press secretary, Josh Earnest, insisted the decision "jeopardizes the health of women," and called on Congress to take actions to circumvent and moot the court ruling. And if Congress won't? There's always the president's famous pen and cell phone trick. Earnest said the ruling could lead the White House to "consider whether or not there's an opportunity for the president to take some other action that could mitigate" it, as various media reported.

Really? An executive order to provide free birth control to women?

If only Obama would take such unilateral action on the Veterans Affairs scandal, or to free U.S. Marine Andrew Tahmooressi from his Mexican captors, or on demanding answers to the IRS targeting of tea party types. 

But this is where the nation is -- torn over birth control and debating the need to provide all types of contraceptives for free for all women. The problem is the far left has turned birth control into a human right, and equated it to a civil rights issue of equality, when really it's not. It's an issue of personal choice. 

Much as the decision to have sex or not is a personal choice. Or, the decision to confine sex to marriage, as a means of procreating, is a personal choice.

Or, the decision to get a job and pay for birth control out of one's own pocket, rather than demanding the government, the taxpayer or the private market sector buy it. All three -- personal choices.

Moreover, not one of those personal choices on that list puts the First Amendment's religious freedom clause in jeopardy. Just think -- that sales clerk at  Hobby Lobby that fueled Hillary Clinton's great concern could make the personal decision to abstain from sex, until such time she could afford to purchase her own birth control. Or, if that option wasn't palatable, she could make the personal decision to find another job that paid more, or take on a second part-time position, in order to pay for her birth control. Either way, it's her choice.

That clerk has the power to decide.

The Supreme Court did not strip this likely fictitious woman -- or any other -- of access to contraception. She can still obtain it. 

There's no civil rights fight to wage. Sandra Fluke, you can go on home.

What the ruling rather brought was a simple reinforcement of the First Amendment, via a common sense finding that a closely held company run by real people with real religious beliefs can, in fact, run their businesses in line with those same religious beliefs. Why is that even controversial?

More controversial is the 2012 regulation from the Department of Health and Human Services that put the country in this mess in the first place with an Obamacare regulation that forced businesses to cover birth control costs. That was the bigger hit to America's political and constitutional system. Even more to truth: Obamacare itself is the root of the problem.

But women's access to birth control?

The Supreme Court's decision doesn't take away that ability. Though businesses now have the right to cite religious reasons as cause to scale back insurance offerings on some types of contraception, nothing in the ruling prevents a woman from obtaining any type of birth control she wants.

She may just have to find a way to pay for it herself.

And forgive the question -- but what's so unconstitutional about that? 

Gun makers flee Northeast for ‘true blood Second Amendment’ states

Gun manufacturers are leaving the Northeast in droves, seeking out new production homes in the comparatively low-tax, Second Amendment-friendly South — and at a time when firearms sales have skyrocketed, industry data showed.

“Everybody who is looking to expand in new factory space is looking outside the Northeast,” said Brian Ruttenbur, an analyst with CRT Capital Group, in Reuters “The reasons are taxes, labor and laws.”

One of the latest is PTR Industries Inc., a firearms maker that was based in Connecticut but left for South Carolina in the wake of hefty regulations that legislators enacted after the Newtown school shootings.

This week, company executives presented a commemorative rifle to the governor of South Carolina during a brief ceremony to mark their new partnership, which includes an $8 million initial PTR investment and the creation of 45 new jobs, Reuters reported.

The rifle that PTR presented was stamped with the state’s logo and the accompanying text: “We the people shall not be infringed,” Reuters reported.

PTR isn’t the only gun manufacturer to pick up shop and leave the Northeast.

Remington Outdoor Co Inc moved some of its production lines from New York — where it had maintained business since 1816 — to Alabama, Reuters reported. Sturm Ruger & Co Inc is constructing a 220,000-square-foot building in North Carolina. And Colt’s Manufacturing Co, which is also headquartered in Connecticut, moved shop to Texas at the tail end of 2013.

Meanwhile, Beretta USA decided to abandon its long-time base in Maryland and move operations to Tennessee — a decision that was made shortly after Maryland lawmakers banned assault weapons’ sales.

Beretta, in particular, was pursued by several states that wanted the business, but company officials ultimately made their decision based on Second Amendment considerations.

The company pared a list of “traditional true blood Second Amendment states” and chose from there, said Beretta general counsel and vice-general manager Jeff Reh, in an earlier interview with The Sportsman Channel.

That’s not an uncommon consideration for gun makers, said Ruttenbur, in the Reuters report.

“The demand for guns is not in the Northeast,” he said. “It’s not on the coasts. Gun ownership is dramatically going higher in the heartland.”

Meanwhile, PTR’s vice president John McNamara put it this way: Firearms makers are facing an “awakening,” he said, Reuters reported. “When folks in the Northeast are approached by states like South Carolina, Texas and Georgia and shown what they can be doing, there’s no competition. Connecticut banned the product we make.”

Gun manufacturers report that sales have been on a steady increase for the past three decades.