Saturday, August 23, 2014

Restaurant owner fends off atheist attack over meal discount for church-goers

Why are atheists so afraid of something they say doesn't exist?

A restaurant owner in Arkansas has come under fire from atheists for offering a 10 percent discount to church-goers — but bluntly says: I’m not stopping my policy.

Steven Rose, the owner of Bailey’s Pizza in Searcy, said to The Blaze that he only offers a 10 percent discount to those who bring in church bulletins as a “marketing tool,” similar to that given to Boy Scouts or military members.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation disagreed and said Rose is violating federal law.
Rose, however, said he’s not excluding anyone and that he has no plans to discontinue his discount.

“It was just like giving a discount to the Boy Scouts or the military, and they made it an ugly thing,” Rose said of the atheist group. The Blaze reported. “From their argument, if I’m giving a discount to the elderly, it’s ageism. If I give one to police officers, I’m prejudiced against people who aren’t police officers.”

Rose continued, The Blaze reported: “Short of a [judge’s ruling], there’s nothing that they’re going to say to me that makes me waiver on what I believe,” The Blaze reported.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Why are police dressed like military soldiers?

Armored vehicles on patrol, Kevlar-wearing, camo-dressed officials carting short-barreled rifles modeled after M-4 carbines, tear gas wafting through the air – sounds like something right off the streets of Iraq. But it’s not. It’s actually the scene that’s playing out in the suburban streets of Ferguson right now, with SWAT-type police taking to the residential St. Louis streets for what amounts to crowd-control duties.

Protests in the Ferguson neighborhood streets have been raging for days over a police officer’s fatal shooting of black teenager Michael Brown, 18, ostensibly after a physical altercation that left the law enforcer feeling as if his life were in danger. And while looting has no doubt become an issue – and residents have ratcheted their acts of violence, alleging trigger-happy police were blatantly racist with their shoot-first reaction, cuff-later response to Brown’s aggression – an underreported question arises: Why are police dressed like military soldiers?

One quick and curious note is that emerging Ferguson photographs show the responding officers outfitted in Army green camouflage uniforms – the type used by U.S. soldiers to blend with heavily forested battle zones. But on a city street? The camo green shows a sharp contrast with the dull grey of pavement and drab tan of nearby concrete block buildings. Perhaps they’re preparing to fade into the small patches of grass that dot the city street intersections?

Mocking aside, the deeper danger is this: The camouflage battle-dress uniforms are simply part and parcel of the intimidation factor that’s trending among local law enforcers. Police are with ever-increasing frequency dressing and behaving more like battlefield soldiers. What ever happened to the old “serve and protect” model and mantra of civilian policing?

As Ferguson shows, that mindset is pretty much a thing of the past.

Most Americans need only look to their own backyards to see how those tasked with fighting crime are snapping up military-grade gear, largely through the Pentagon’s 1033 program that lets local law enforcement obtain equipment cast-offs from the actual battlegrounds of Afghanistan and Iraq. And the result? Our police aren’t local cops on beats, eager to serve and protect the civilian sector from crimes. Now, they’re locked-and-loaded, prepped for action and ingrained with a shoot-first, ask-questions-later mentality that’s aimed first and foremost at keeping officers safe.

In recent years, civilian police have purchased a total of 435 armored vehicles, nearly 45,000 pairs of night-vision goggles, almost 94,000 machine guns and 180,000 or so ammunition magazines – as well as top-of-the-line weapons scopes and silencers. Welcome to crime-fighting, 2014 – and the many disasters that have resulted.

In 2008, a young mother named Tarika Wilson, 26, was killed by SWAT officers who broke down her Lima, Ohio, front door and began firing off shots, hoping to apprehend her drug-suspect boyfriend in the process. Wilson’s 14-month-old son, whom she was holding at the time, was also injured in the gunfire.

In 2011, SWAT officers seeking another drug suspect in Framingham, Massachusetts, forced their way into a home with a battering ram and flashbang grenade, mistakenly discharging a weapon in the process that killed a 68-year-old grandfather of 12 – an elderly gentleman who wasn’t even suspected of any drug crime.

In 2014, SWAT officers botched yet another search for drugs when they threw a flashbang grenade into a home outside Atlanta that mistakenly landed in a toddler’s crib – and blew half his face and chest off. The boy, dubbed “Baby Bou Bou,” spent weeks in a hospital in a medically induced coma – while Rambo officers issued a lame apology, after they learned their suspect wasn’t even in the house at the time of the raid.

And in July 2014, a mother and daughter from California announced they were suing the Orange County Sheriff’s Office for a violent SWAT storming that took place in 2010. Among their claims: SWAT riddled the then-17-year-old daughter’s legs with bullets and shot and killed their dog. The violence was needless. Once again, the suspect sought by SWAT didn’t even live in the home at the time of the raid.

This is just a drop in the bucket of the atrocities that have occurred at the hands of overzealous police with warrior mentalities – police who aren’t even seeking suspects accused of the types of crimes that reasonable minds would see as warranting such dramatic searches and seizures. Moreover, many of the suspects aren’t even where police intelligence places them. When does it end?

At what point do local county government officials – with the power of the purse strings – decide that enough innocents have died at the hands of those who are supposed to serve and protect, and vote to deny military-type equipment and weaponry to their local police departments? More than lives are being lost from this alarming police militarization trend.

Our Constitution, and its specific rights to be safe and secure in one’s home and possessions, and to be considered innocent until proven guilty – two ideals that a shoot-first policy doesn’t uphold – are being rapidly scratched from our legal process. The spotlight of SWAT-type tactics may now be on Ferguson. But it really belongs on the backyards and residential streets around our nation – on the thousands of communities that serve as home to these same type of police agencies that are currently commandeering St. Louis.

Read more here:

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?