Saturday, January 31, 2009


« Former prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are reemerging as terrorists.
(Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images)

Guantanamo’s Catch-and-Releases Already Back to Terrorism

January 28, 2009 | From

Action: 520 detainees released. Result: 11 percent back fighting America. Bigger problem: What to do with the remaining 245 hardcore terrorists.

On Sunday, it was revealed that two men released from the U.S. terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay in 2007 had reemerged as top-level al Qaeda operatives. Three days later, other former Guantanamo prisoners were arrested. Is closing Guantanamo really such a good idea?

Appearing on a jihadist website, terrorist Abu Sufyan al-Azdi al-Shahri taunted the U.S. Identifying himself by his Guantanamo number, 372, he said: “By Allah, imprisonment only increased our persistence in our principles for which we went out, did jihad for, and were imprisoned for.”

Al-Shahri is now considered the number-two al Qaeda man in Yemen. Shown in a video seated next to al-Shahri is prisoner 333, also known as Abu al-Hareth Muhammad al-Oufi, who is now a ranking al Qaeda field commander.

Then on Tuesday, more bad news emerged. Saudi Arabia announced that it had rearrested nine Islamist terrorists, including at least two former Guantanamo inmates.

These latest Guantanamo catch-and-release resurfacings couldn’t have come at much worse of a time for President Barack Obama, who recently issued an executive order to close the Guantanamo facility and is looking for a home for the remaining 245 terrorists.

Although Europe—and much of the rest of the world—lobbied for Guantanamo’s closure, Europeans have now found themselves in the prickly position of having gotten what they wished for.

According to Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, none of the 27 member countries are “very hot” on taking inmates from Guantanamo. In fact, many European countries including Britain, Poland, Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden and Slovenia are rejecting detainees. Even the German government, which pushed especially hard to shutter Guantanamo, is split on the issue.

Javier Solana, the EU’s foreign policy chief, said that member states could not accept any Guantanamo residents unless Obama’s administration could prove that the prisoners posed no further security risks.

And that could be a bit difficult. According to the U.S. Defense Department, so far 11 percent of former Guantanamo detainees are known to have reintegrated themselves into terrorist networks or are actively fighting against the U.S. True numbers may be even higher.

However, at least one congresswoman, as quoted by Fox News, says the report should not slow down the Guantanamo closure.

Further complicating the issue is that human rights groups oppose returning many of the prisoners to their home countries because they may be put at risk.

The price America will end up paying for policies such as shutting this prison down is revealed in Stephen Flurry’s article “Obama’s CIA Pick Reveals Radical Shift in Fighting Terrorism.”

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Mexico: Bordering on Collapse

January 29, 2009 | From

The United States faces a number of serious crises. Here’s one many Americans haven’t yet considered.

Islamic terrorists are not the only ones with a liking for decapitation. In the Mexican town of Praxedis last week, police commander Martin Castro’s severed head appeared in front of the local police station, left in an ice cooler.

A calling card from the Sinoloa drug cartel accompanied the bloodied gift.

Beheading is a tool worn with use in the macabre profession of Mexican drug cartels. Last month, eight soldiers and a state police officer were found beheaded in the state of Guerero. Along with the corpses was the message, “For every one of us you kill, we’ll kill 10 of you.” And if you think that’s sadistic, consider the former occupation of Santiago Meza Lopez. Last week, Lopez admitted to helping a drug cartel dispose of more than 300 bodies by dissolving them in sodium hydroxide.

“According to Mexico’s attorney general, 6,616 people died in drug-trafficking violence last year,” the Wall Street Journal reported this week. That’s in one year. “A high percentage of those killed were themselves criminal, but many law enforcement agents battling organized crime were also murdered. The carnage continues. For the first 22 days of this year the body count is 354″ (emphasis mine throughout). The number of deaths in 2008 was double the figure for 2007.

This trend is indicative of a major crisis. Mexico is coming unhinged.

Drug cartels have stepped up their war against the Mexican government since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderón was elected and began a campaign to destroy organized crime. As soon as Calderón began confronting the cartels, observed the Journal, it became “apparent that the cartels would stop at nothing to preserve their operations, and that a state commitment to confrontation meant that violence would escalate.”

Escalate it did. Emboldened by billion-dollar bank accounts, vast recruitment pools of countless unemployed, desperate Mexicans, friendship with international crime organizations, support from major-league weapons suppliers, and, above all, an insatiable American demand for their supply, Mexico’s drug cartels in recent years have transformed into well-equipped, well-organized, technologically advanced, highly mobile, powerful armies!

That’s no exaggeration.

Retired U.S. Army general and former drug czar Barry McCaffrey, who recently visited Mexico, assessed the struggle between the government and the drug kingdoms thus:

The outgunned Mexican law enforcement authorities face armed criminal attacks from platoon-sized units employing night vision goggles, electronic intercept collection, encrypted communications, fairly sophisticated information operations, seagoing submersibles, helicopters and modern transport aviation, automatic weapons, rpgs, Anti-Tank 66mm rockets, mines and booby traps, heavy machine guns, 50-cal sniper rifles, massive use of military hand grenades, and the most modern models of 40mm grenade machine guns.

These illegal drug cartels are better-financed, better-equipped and better-organized than some national armies!

And that’s not half the story. In addition to their impressive firepower and taste for brutality, both of which they have proven willing to use, these organizations have infiltrated deep within the Mexican government. Corruption infects the government like cancer, giving the drug lords a decisive advantage over Calderón and his dreams of squelching Mexico’s drug trade.

Last October, for example, 35 employees of the Office of the Mexican Attorney General’s anti-organized-crime unit were arrested and charged with corruption. It’s widely recognized that corruption riddles lower levels of the Mexican government, especially in states, cities and towns along the U.S. border through which drugs flow incessantly, but this arrest proved that even the upper echelons of government are not out of the reach of cartels.

After the arrests, it emerged that the top officials were paid up to $450,000 per month to funnel information to the drug lords. In Mexico, local police officers make around $10,000 per year, senators around $48,000, and the president $220,000. Corruption is inevitable when government employees can potentially earn more in a month protecting and facilitating the work of the cartels than they do in an entire year working against them for the government. In some smaller towns, the loyalty of the entire police force has been purchased for a few hundred thousand dollars. In some cases, the support of entire towns has been purchased by cash-rich drug cartels promising to take care of loyal townsfolk.

Further evidence of the cartels’ reach emerged last November, when Noé Ramírez Mandujano, a lead figure in the Mexican government’s anti-drug campaign, was arrested on suspicion of accepting a $450,000 payoff from a drug cartel he was supposed to be hunting down. Manuel Mondragon, a senior police officer in Mexico City, admitted that a “spiderweb of corruption has penetrated many parts of our department.” Corruption plagues every nook and cranny of the Mexican government, from local police officers to police chiefs to mayors to judges to the attorney general’s office to members of the military!

Rejecting a cartel’s advances is virtually impossible—particularly when remaining loyal to Calderón could result in the loss of your head!

Even President Calderón is not safe. Reporting on the chaos in Mexico, the Telegraph in London reported earlier this month that “an officer in the elite presidential guard was recently accused of taking thousands of dollars from traffickers in exchange for reports on President Calderón’s movements.” Analysts at Stratfor have been tracking the deteriorating situation in Mexico for more than two years. Last December they explained the reason for, and the sobering extent of, the corruption within the Mexican government:

The problem of corruption boils down to the lure of money and the threat of death. Known by the phrase plata o plomo (which literally translates to “silver or lead,” with the implied meaning, “take a bribe or take a bullet”), the choice given to law enforcement and government officials puts them under the threat of death if they do not permit (or, as is often the case, facilitate) cartel operations. With the government historically unable to protect all of its personnel from these kinds of threats—and certainly unable to match the cartels’ deep pockets—Mexico’s law enforcement officials have become almost universally unreliable.

No wonder President Calderón is losing his war to the drug cartels: Mexico’s law enforcement system is being infiltrated, undermined and hijacked by the drug cartels!

There’s a term for a state that is incapable of enforcing law. It’s a failed state!

And that is what many are saying Mexico is on the road to becoming. In America, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the National Security Council have all, in one way or another, recently expressed alarm that Mexico could collapse under the strain of drug cartel violence.

In its “2009 National Drug Threat Assessment,” released on December 15, the U.S. Department of Justice stated that Mexican drug traffickers “represent the greatest organized crime threat to the United States.” With that statement, said Stratfor, “the Justice Department is acknowledging that Mexican drug cartels are the number-one criminal enemy of the U.S. government—a position held in the past by Irish, Italian, Russian and Colombian criminal enterprises”—a reality that has been extant for some time (Dec. 17, 2008).

The U.S. Joint Forces Command released a similar warning recently. “In terms of worst-case scenarios for the Joint Force and indeed the world,” warned the command’s “Joint Operating Environment (joe 2008)” report, “two large and important states bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse: Pakistan and Mexico. … In particular, the growing assault by the drug cartels and their thugs on the Mexican government over the past several years reminds one that an unstable Mexico could represent a homeland security problem of immense proportions to the United States.”

Pause for a moment and think about that: American military officials believe Mexico is at risk of a “rapid and sudden collapse” in the same way that Pakistan is!

That may sound preposterous to some. But it’s not so hard to believe if you consider that other major crises are converging on Mexico in addition to the chaos being caused by the rapidly deteriorating security situation.

First, Mexico’s economy, which is tied closely to the American economy, is being hit hard by the global economic crisis. Economic growth is slowing, the peso appears unstable and has devalued by about 20 percent since the beginning of 2008, less cash is flowing from America into Mexico, and, perhaps most dangerously, unemployment is rising, which ultimately leads to a disgruntled, restless society. In addition to those economic woes, oil revenues, which comprise 40 percent of the federal budget, will soon begin to plummet.

In short, the Mexican economy verges on collapse!

Second, Mexico’s political landscape is shifting and steadily growing more unstable. “Mexico has seen a massive spike in crime and drug-related violence coincide with the first eight years of rule by Calderón’s National Action Party (pan),” Stratfor reported. “To make things worse, the global financial crisis has begun to impact Mexico … and the impact on employment could be devastating. Given the confluence of events, it is almost guaranteed that Calderón and the pan will suffer political losses going forward, weakening the party’s ability to move forward with decisive action” (Dec. 9, 2008).

Stratfor concluded its analysis with a warning similar to the one issued by the American government:

Mexico’s most critical challenge is the convergence of events it now faces. The downturn in the economy, the political dynamics or the deteriorating security situation, each on its own, might not pose an insurmountable problem for Mexico. What could prove insurmountable is the confluence of all three, which now appears to be in the making.

Perhaps it’s difficult for Americans to replace the images of Mexico’s white, sandy beaches, deluxe hotels and bright, cheap tropical fruit with images of a failed state.

Try this.

Think about Pakistan. Nestled between the Middle East and Asia, it can be much easier to consider Pakistan in those terms. Its economy is tanking and unemployment is growing. Infrastructure is crumbling, and social unrest and dissatisfaction are seething. Handicapped by political gridlock, Pakistan’s central government is weak and ineffective. It has lost control over large swaths of territory, and is now unable to make major decisions, enact legislation and implement a united foreign policy. In short, the nation cannot set itself back on the path to success.

Worse still, Pakistan’s government has been deeply infiltrated by radical Islamists who wield significant influence over the nation’s military and intelligence departments. Entire regions of Pakistan are now controlled by radical Islamic groups, which, blinded by their religious aspirations, have little desire to ensure people are fed, create jobs, stimulate an economy or guarantee social stability, thereby exacerbating the nation’s spiral toward disaster.

Now take it one step further. Pakistan’s internal chaos makes it a national security threat to adjacent states, and even the world. The terrorist attacks last November in Mumbai, India, you might remember, were traced back to radical Islamists operating out of Pakistan.

In Pakistan, chaos reigns supreme.

Finally, imagine if Pakistan was situated on America’s southern border!


Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Congress Seeks To Authorize & Legalize FEMA Camp Facilities
Published on 01-26-2009


By: Lee Rogers

A new bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives called the National Emergency Centers Act or HR 645. This bill if passed into law will direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish national emergency centers otherwise known as FEMA camp facilities on military installations. This is an incredibly disturbing piece of legislation considering that the powers that be have already set in motion an agenda to setup a nationwide marital law apparatus through U.S. Northern Command and the Department of Homeland Security. Apparently, the fusion centers, militarized police, surveillance cameras and a domestic military command is not enough. Even though we already know that detention facilities are already in place, they now want to legalize the construction of FEMA camps on military installations using the ever popular excuse that the facilities are for the purposes of a national emergency. With the phony debt based economy getting worse and worse by the day, the possibility of civil unrest is becoming a greater threat to the establishment. One need only look at Iceland, Greece and other nations for what might happen in the United States next. With this in mind, it appears as if these so called national emergency centers will be used in a national emergency but only if the national emergency requires large groups of people to be rounded up and detained. If that isn’t the case, than why have these national emergency facilities built in military installations?

Let’s look through the various portions of the bill. Here is section 2 of the bill taken directly from the proposed legislation.


(a) In General- In accordance with the requirements of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall establish not fewer than 6 national emergency centers on military installations.

(b) Purpose of National Emergency Centers- The purpose of a national emergency center shall be to use existing infrastructure--

(1) to provide temporary housing, medical, and humanitarian assistance to individuals and families dislocated due to an emergency or major disaster;

(2) to provide centralized locations for the purposes of training and ensuring the coordination of Federal, State, and local first responders;

(3) to provide centralized locations to improve the coordination of preparedness, response, and recovery efforts of government, private, and not-for-profit entities and faith-based organizations; and

(4) to meet other appropriate needs, as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security.

The legislation says that the Secretary of Homeland Security shall establish not fewer than 6 national emergency centers on military installations. This means that the Secretary of Homeland Security can setup as many FEMA camps within military installations as they want, it just has to be more than 6 of them. On top of that, it also states that the facilities will be used to meet other appropriate needs as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security. This could mean anything. If the Secretary of Homeland Security thinks it is appropriate to kill large groups of people like the Nazis did in World War II Germany, than it looks as if this bill would give them the authority to use these facilities for that purpose.

Below is section 3 taken from the bill.


(a) In General- Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, shall designate not fewer than 6 military installations as sites for the establishment of national emergency centers.

(b) Minimum Requirements- A site designated as a national emergency center shall be--

(1) capable of meeting for an extended period of time the housing, health, transportation, education, public works, humanitarian and other transition needs of a large number of individuals affected by an emergency or major disaster;

(2) environmentally safe and shall not pose a health risk to individuals who may use the center;

(3) capable of being scaled up or down to accommodate major disaster preparedness and response drills, operations, and procedures;

(4) capable of housing existing permanent structures necessary to meet training and first responders coordination requirements during nondisaster periods;

(5) capable of hosting the infrastructure necessary to rapidly adjust to temporary housing, medical, and humanitarian assistance needs;

(6) required to consist of a complete operations command center, including 2 state-of-the art command and control centers that will comprise a 24/7 operations watch center as follows:

(A) one of the command and control centers shall be in full ready mode; and

(B) the other shall be used daily for training; and

(7) easily accessible at all times and be able to facilitate handicapped and medical facilities, including during an emergency or major disaster.

(c) Location of National Emergency Centers- There shall be established not fewer than one national emergency center in each of the following areas:

(1) The area consisting of Federal Emergency Management Agency Regions I, II, and III.

(2) The area consisting of Federal Emergency Management Agency Region IV.

(3) The area consisting of Federal Emergency Management Agency Regions V and VII.

(4) The area consisting of Federal Emergency Management Agency Region VI.

(5) The area consisting of Federal Emergency Management Agency Regions VIII and X.

(6) The area consisting of Federal Emergency Management Agency Region IX.

(d) Preference for Designation of Closed Military Installations- Wherever possible, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, shall designate a closed military installation as a site for a national emergency center. If the Secretaries of Homeland Security and Defense jointly determine that there is not a sufficient number of closed military installations that meet the requirements of subsections (b) and (c), the Secretaries shall jointly designate portions of existing military installations other than closed military installations as national emergency centers.

(e) Transfer of Control of Closed Military Installations- If a closed military installation is designated as a national emergency center, not later than 180 days after the date of designation, the Secretary of Defense shall transfer to the Secretary of Homeland Security administrative jurisdiction over such closed military installation.

(f) Cooperative Agreement for Joint Use of Existing Military Installations- If an existing military installation other than a closed military installation is designated as a national emergency center, not later than 180 days after the date of designation, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Defense shall enter into a cooperative agreement to provide for the establishment of the national emergency center.

(g) Reports-

(1) PRELIMINARY REPORT- Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security, acting jointly with the Secretary of Defense, shall submit to Congress a report that contains for each designated site--

(A) an outline of the reasons why the site was selected;

(B) an outline of the need to construct, repair, or update any existing infrastructure at the site;

(C) an outline of the need to conduct any necessary environmental clean-up at the site;

(D) an outline of preliminary plans for the transfer of control of the site from the Secretary of Defense to the Secretary of Homeland Security, if necessary under subsection (e); and

(E) an outline of preliminary plans for entering into a cooperative agreement for the establishment of a national emergency center at the site, if necessary under subsection (f).

(2) UPDATE REPORT- Not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security, acting jointly with the Secretary of Defense, shall submit to Congress a report that contains for each designated site--

(A) an update on the information contained in the report as required by paragraph (1);

(B) an outline of the progress made toward the transfer of control of the site, if necessary under subsection (e);

(C) an outline of the progress made toward entering a cooperative agreement for the establishment of a national emergency center at the site, if necessary under subsection (f); and

(D) recommendations regarding any authorizations and appropriations that may be necessary to provide for the establishment of a national emergency center at the site.

(3) FINAL REPORT- Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security, acting jointly with the Secretary of Defense, shall submit to Congress a report that contains for each designated site--

(A) finalized information detailing the transfer of control of the site, if necessary under subsection (e);

(B) the finalized cooperative agreement for the establishment of a national emergency center at the site, if necessary under subsection (f); and

(C) any additional information pertinent to the establishment of a national emergency center at the site.

(4) ADDITIONAL REPORTS- The Secretary of Homeland Security, acting jointly with the Secretary of Defense, may submit to Congress additional reports as necessary to provide updates on steps being taken to meet the requirements of this Act.

This section authorizes the Homeland Security Secretary to setup these FEMA camps in closed or open military installations and in regions around the nation. This essentially legalizes any existing FEMA camp infrastructure that has been built in either closed or open military installations and opens the door for additional facilities to be created.

Fortunately, the bill only authorizes $180,000,000 per year for these facilities, but considering that the majority of the detention facilities are probably already built, they won't need much additional funding. There is no doubt judging from the language of this bill, that it is meant to legalize what they’ve already been doing. After all, FEMA has already been looking at ways to transport large quantities of people to camps, they held a FEMA camp drill which consisted of an illegal alien round up in Iowa and KBR/Halliburtion has already aided in the creation of detention facilities. The rationale behind this legislation is undoubtedly to serve as a mechanism of control if the authorities need facilities to hold large amounts of dissenting people. This is not to help people. One only needs to take a look at what happened during Hurricane Katrina and it is obvious that the government does not care about the people. They didn't care then, and they don't care now, and these facilities built or unbuilt will definitely not be utilized for the people's interest.

Additional information on the FEMA camp situation can be viewed in previous articles written on this subject. Check them out below.

Secretive FEMA Camp Drill Running In Iowa

Rule By Fear Or Rule By Law

FEMA: Trains To Take You To The Camps

Sunday, January 25, 2009


January 20, 2009
Peter Goodspeed
National Post, Canada

Seven years after they transformed George W. Bush's presidency, al-Qaeda terrorists are pushing to the top of his successor's priority list.

The very day Barack Obama was sworn in as President, warning Americans "our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred," there were reports an al-Qaeda affiliate recently abandoned a training camp in Algeria after 40 terrorists died from being exposed to the plague during a biological weapons test.

The report, which first surfaced in the British tabloid newspaper The Sun, claims members of al-Qaeda in the Land of the Maghreb (AQLIM) hurriedly abandoned their cave hideouts in Tizi Ouzou province, 150 kilometres east of the Algerian capital Algiers, after being exposed to plague bacteria.

The newspaper said they apparently became infected while experimenting with biological weapons.

Algerian security forces discovered the body of a dead terrorist alongside a road near the abandoned hideout.

U.S. intelligence officials, speaking anonymously to the Washington Times newspaper on Tuesday, could only confirm the sudden base closure after an unconventional weapons test went wrong.

The officials said they intercepted an urgent communication in early January between the AQLIM leadership and al-Qaeda's top leaders in the tribal region of Pakistan. The Algerian terrorists said they were abandoning and sealing off a training area after a leak of a chemical or biological substance.

AQLIM, once known as the Salfist Group of Call & Combat, is one of the most radical and violent Islamist groups operating in North Africa. It has ties to Moroccan terrorists who carried out the 2004 Madrid train bombings and bombed the UN headquarters in Algiers in 2007, killing 41 people.

There are two types of plague. Bubonic plague, which is spread by bites from infected rat fleas, killed a third of Europe's population in the 14th century but can now be treated with antibiotics. Pneumonic plague is less common but more deadly. It is spread, like the flu, by airborne bacteria, and can be inhaled and transmitted between humans without the involvement of animals or fleas.

For years, U.S. Defence Department officials have warned al-Qaeda operatives have been actively pursuing sophisticated biological weapons research.

News of the latest al-Qaeda threat broke as two million people crowded into Washington's National Mall to witness the inauguration of Mr. Obama. It also came four days after Mike McConnell, U.S. director of national intelligence, said Osama bin Laden's third-eldest son and heir apparent, Saad, has been released from house arrest in Iran.

The 27-year-old, who was groomed by his father to assume a leadership role in al-Qaeda, had been detained since after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

U.S. intelligence forces say during his detention, Saad bin Laden was allowed to continue to operate. He played a prominent role in ordering a 2002 suicide bombing of a Jewish synagogue in Tunisia, commanded a series of bombings that killed 45 people in Casablanca, Morocco, in May, 2003, and sent suicide car bombers who killed 35 people in Riyadh, also in May, 2003.

During his final news briefing of the Bush administration, Mr. McConnell said Saad bin Laden is now "probably in Pakistan."

His departure could signal a new relationship between Iran and al-Qaeda, but it might also suggest al-Qaeda is moving to consolidate its leadership in territory under its control in Pakistan.

By expelling senior al-Qaeda members, Iran might also be trying to clear the decks for a new relationship with Mr. Obama's administration.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


The Strange Case Of Obama's
Inaugural Oath Of Office

A Cryptogram From The Cryptocracy?

By Michael Hoffman

Jan. 23, 2009 ·

"For a couple of smooth-talking constitutional experts, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and President-elect Barack Obama sure had a hard time getting through the constitutional oath of office...The chief justice seemed to say 'to' rather than 'of,' but that was not the main problem. The main problem was that the word 'faithfully' had floated upstream...Mr. Obama seemed to realize this, pausing quizzically after saying 'that I will execute ­'

"The chief justice gave it another go, getting closer but still not quite right: "faithfully the office of president of the United States." This time, he omitted the word 'execute.' Mr. Obama now repeated the chief justice's initial error of putting 'faithfully' at the end of the phrase. Starting where he had abruptly paused, he said: 'the office of the president of the United States faithfully." ("I Do Solemnly Swear(Line, Please?," NY Times, Jan. 20, 2009)

Yes, indeed these two "smooth-talking constitutional experts" couldn't manage to recite the brief oath as it was written. This was largely Chief Justice Roberts' fault. We can believe that this flub was due to human fallibility and that may very well be the case, or we can also wonder whether the very intelligent Chief Justice deliberately mishandled the oath so that it would be administered a second time, under very different circumstances.

Here's how the media reported the second rite: ...After a day's worth of chatter over whether the president had been properly sworn into office...(i)n 25 seconds, President Obama became president again. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. re-administered the oath to Mr. Obama on Wednesday evening, one day after the two men stumbled over each other's words during the inauguration ceremony at the Capitol. For their do-over, the two men convened in the White House Map Room at 7:35 p.m. for a brief proceeding that was not announced until it was completed successfully...Only hours after aides told reporters there was no reason to administer the oath again, they concluded it was easier to do it on the first day, rather than have someone challenge the legitimacy of his presidency...Mr. Obama raised his right hand and did not use a Bible....only nine people witnessed the do-over. There were four aides, four reporters and a White House photographer..." (NY Times, Jan. 22, 2009).

This second-time-around doppelganger oath was the real oath, since the flawed first one, done in the sight of millions and upon the Bible of assassinated President Abraham Lincoln was a "challenge (to) the legitimacy of his presidency..."

There was no Bible the second time and with Obama having been compared to John F. Kennedy during the campaign, and with all of the macabre parallels between Kennedy and Lincoln (Lincoln was killed in Ford's theatre, Kennedy was killed in a Ford automobile; Lincoln's secretary was named Kennedy, Kennedy's secretary was named Lincoln; Lincoln and Kennedy were both succeeded by vice-presidents named Johnson, etc.), I'm not sure that if I were Barack Obama I would have wanted to step into the middle of such a highly charged symbol palimpsest -- unless of course the first inaugural oath-taking was little more more than shadow-play.

What appears to be the authentic inauguration took place in a basement, and was an elite rather than a populist rite, with just nine witnesses. It occurred in former President Franklin Roosevelt's secretive, war-era "map room." Before FDR, under presidents from Chester Arthur through Wilson and Coolidge, it was reputedly used to play the game of billiards.

The omission of the Bible is not invalidating since the father of our country did not use one at his inauguration and Lyndon Johnson, on the plane to Washington after's Kennedy's killing, used a Roman Catholic mass book ("missal"), rather than a Bible. Hence, the absence of a Bible per se does not invalidate the oath, but the peek-a-boo nature of the inaugural Bible may be deliberate, in that its momentous presence at the botched inauguration is all the more glaring in its inexplicable absence at the real inauguration.

If symbolism is a language, what is being signaled by this apparently deliberate omission?

Another equally striking aspect of the second oath are the photographs of the ceremony, which feature the looming presence of a vintage portrait above the mantle on the wall behind the president and the chief justice.

The oath is a ritual and this ritual has an icon hovering over it, as if by way of spiritual benediction and patronage. As of this writing, in all the prominent photos of the second oath which this writer has seen, no caption has been provided by the establishment media that identifies the enigmatic man in the portrait. Yet, symbolically, he is the "genius loci," the presiding spirit of the authentic inaugural ceremony of Barack Obama as President. Like the omission of the Bible after so much was made of its presence at the first oath-taking, the omission of any identification of the figure in the painting at the second oath-taking would seem to be significant.

Let us recall that the second oath was performed in secret: "...the two men convened in the White House Map Room at 7:35 p.m. for a brief proceeding that was not announced until it was completed..."

In Freemasonry the god of the secret societies is covertly substituted for the One True God. This false god is identified in the masonic lodges as "the Great Architect."

The mysterious man in the portrait who silently presides over the authentic inauguration of Barack Obama as Commander and Chief, is Benjamin Latrobe, the great architect of the U.S. Capitol.

Copyright 2009 · All Rights Reserved

Monday, January 19, 2009



Thursday, January 15, 2009


Zephaniah Chapter 1

א דְּבַר-יְהוָה אֲשֶׁר הָיָה, אֶל-צְפַנְיָה בֶּן-כּוּשִׁי בֶן-גְּדַלְיָה, בֶּן-אֲמַרְיָה, בֶּן-חִזְקִיָּה--בִּימֵי יֹאשִׁיָּהוּ בֶן-אָמוֹן, מֶלֶךְ יְהוּדָה. 1 The word of the LORD which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah.
ב אָסֹף אָסֵף כֹּל, מֵעַל פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה--נְאֻם-יְהוָה. 2 I will utterly consume all things from off the face of the earth, saith the LORD.
ג אָסֵף אָדָם וּבְהֵמָה, אָסֵף עוֹף-הַשָּׁמַיִם וּדְגֵי הַיָּם, וְהַמַּכְשֵׁלוֹת, אֶת-הָרְשָׁעִים; וְהִכְרַתִּי אֶת-הָאָדָם, מֵעַל פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה--נְאֻם-יְהוָה. 3 I will consume man and beast, I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the face of the earth, saith the LORD.
ד וְנָטִיתִי יָדִי עַל-יְהוּדָה, וְעַל כָּל-יוֹשְׁבֵי יְרוּשָׁלִָם; וְהִכְרַתִּי מִן-הַמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה, אֶת-שְׁאָר הַבַּעַל--אֶת-שֵׁם הַכְּמָרִים, עִם-הַכֹּהֲנִים. 4 And I will stretch out My hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the idolatrous priests with the priests;
ה וְאֶת-הַמִּשְׁתַּחֲוִים עַל-הַגַּגּוֹת, לִצְבָא הַשָּׁמָיִם; וְאֶת-הַמִּשְׁתַּחֲוִים הַנִּשְׁבָּעִים לַיהוָה, וְהַנִּשְׁבָּעִים בְּמַלְכָּם. 5 And them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship, that swear to the LORD and swear by Malcam;
ו וְאֶת-הַנְּסוֹגִים, מֵאַחֲרֵי יְהוָה; וַאֲשֶׁר לֹא-בִקְשׁוּ אֶת-יְהוָה, וְלֹא דְרָשֻׁהוּ. 6 Them also that are turned back from following the LORD; and those that have not sought the LORD, nor inquired after Him.
ז הַס, מִפְּנֵי אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה: כִּי קָרוֹב יוֹם יְהוָה, כִּי-הֵכִין יְהוָה זֶבַח הִקְדִּישׁ קְרֻאָיו. 7 Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD; for the day of the LORD is at hand, for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, He hath consecrated His guests.
ח וְהָיָה, בְּיוֹם זֶבַח יְהוָה, וּפָקַדְתִּי עַל-הַשָּׂרִים, וְעַל-בְּנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ--וְעַל כָּל-הַלֹּבְשִׁים, מַלְבּוּשׁ נָכְרִי. 8 And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD'S sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king's sons, and all such as are clothed with foreign apparel.
ט וּפָקַדְתִּי, עַל כָּל-הַדּוֹלֵג עַל-הַמִּפְתָּן--בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא: הַמְמַלְאִים בֵּית אֲדֹנֵיהֶם, חָמָס וּמִרְמָה. 9 In the same day also will I punish all those that leap over the threshold, that fill their master's house with violence and deceit.
י וְהָיָה בַיּוֹם הַהוּא נְאֻם-יְהוָה, קוֹל צְעָקָה מִשַּׁעַר הַדָּגִים, וִילָלָה, מִן-הַמִּשְׁנֶה; וְשֶׁבֶר גָּדוֹל, מֵהַגְּבָעוֹת. 10 And in that day, saith the LORD, Hark! a cry from the fish gate, and a wailing from the second quarter, and a great crashing from the hills.
יא הֵילִילוּ, יֹשְׁבֵי הַמַּכְתֵּשׁ: כִּי נִדְמָה כָּל-עַם כְּנַעַן, נִכְרְתוּ כָּל-נְטִילֵי כָסֶף. {ס} 11 Wail, ye inhabitants of Maktesh, for all the merchant people are undone; all they that were laden with silver are cut off. {S}
יב וְהָיָה בָּעֵת הַהִיא, אֲחַפֵּשׂ אֶת-יְרוּשָׁלִַם בַּנֵּרוֹת; וּפָקַדְתִּי עַל-הָאֲנָשִׁים, הַקֹּפְאִים עַל-שִׁמְרֵיהֶם, הָאֹמְרִים בִּלְבָבָם, לֹא-יֵיטִיב יְהוָה וְלֹא יָרֵעַ. 12 And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with lamps; and I will punish the men that are settled on their lees, that say in their heart: 'The LORD will not do good, neither will He do evil.'
יג וְהָיָה חֵילָם לִמְשִׁסָּה, וּבָתֵּיהֶם לִשְׁמָמָה; וּבָנוּ בָתִּים, וְלֹא יֵשֵׁבוּ, וְנָטְעוּ כְרָמִים, וְלֹא יִשְׁתּוּ אֶת-יֵינָם. 13 Therefore their wealth shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation; yea, they shall build houses, but shall not inhabit them, and they shall plant vineyards, but shall not drink the wine thereof.
יד קָרוֹב יוֹם-יְהוָה הַגָּדוֹל, קָרוֹב וּמַהֵר מְאֹד; קוֹל יוֹם יְהוָה, מַר צֹרֵחַ שָׁם גִּבּוֹר. 14 The great day of the LORD is near, it is near and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD, wherein the mighty man crieth bitterly.
טו יוֹם עֶבְרָה, הַיּוֹם הַהוּא: יוֹם צָרָה וּמְצוּקָה, יוֹם שֹׁאָה וּמְשׁוֹאָה, יוֹם חֹשֶׁךְ וַאֲפֵלָה, יוֹם עָנָן וַעֲרָפֶל. 15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness,
טז יוֹם שׁוֹפָר, וּתְרוּעָה, עַל הֶעָרִים הַבְּצֻרוֹת, וְעַל הַפִּנּוֹת הַגְּבֹהוֹת. 16 A day of the horn and alarm, against the fortified cities, and against the high towers.
יז וַהֲצֵרֹתִי לָאָדָם, וְהָלְכוּ כַּעִוְרִים--כִּי לַיהוָה, חָטָאוּ; וְשֻׁפַּךְ דָּמָם כֶּעָפָר, וּלְחֻמָם כַּגְּלָלִים. 17 And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like the blind, because they have sinned against the LORD; and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as dung.
יח גַּם-כַּסְפָּם גַּם-זְהָבָם לֹא-יוּכַל לְהַצִּילָם, בְּיוֹם עֶבְרַת יְהוָה, וּבְאֵשׁ קִנְאָתוֹ, תֵּאָכֵל כָּל-הָאָרֶץ: כִּי-כָלָה אַךְ-נִבְהָלָה יַעֲשֶׂה, אֵת כָּל-יֹשְׁבֵי הָאָרֶץ. {ס} 18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole earth shall be devoured by the fire of His jealousy; for He will make and end, yea, a terrible end, of all them that dwell in the earth. {S}

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Ecclesiastes Chapter 3

א לַכֹּל, זְמָן; וְעֵת לְכָל-חֵפֶץ, תַּחַת הַשָּׁמָיִם. {פ} 1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: {P}
ב עֵת לָלֶדֶת, וְעֵת לָמוּת;
עֵת לָטַעַת, וְעֵת לַעֲקוֹר נָטוּעַ.
2 {S} A time to be born, {S} and a time to die; {N}
{S} a time to plant, {S} and a time to pluck up that which is planted; {N}
ג עֵת לַהֲרוֹג וְעֵת לִרְפּוֹא,
עֵת לִפְרוֹץ וְעֵת לִבְנוֹת.
3 {S} A time to kill, {S} and a time to heal; {N}
{S} a time to break down, {S} and a time to build up; {N}
ד עֵת לִבְכּוֹת וְעֵת לִשְׂחוֹק,
עֵת סְפוֹד וְעֵת רְקוֹד.
4 {S} A time to weep, {S} and a time to laugh; {N}
{S} a time to mourn, {S} and a time to dance; {N}
ה עֵת לְהַשְׁלִיךְ אֲבָנִים, וְעֵת כְּנוֹס אֲבָנִים;
עֵת לַחֲבוֹק, וְעֵת לִרְחֹק מֵחַבֵּק.
5 {S} A time to cast away stones, {S} and a time to gather stones together; {N}
{S} a time to embrace, {S} and a time to refrain from embracing; {N}
ו עֵת לְבַקֵּשׁ וְעֵת לְאַבֵּד,
עֵת לִשְׁמוֹר וְעֵת לְהַשְׁלִיךְ.
6 {S} A time to seek, {S} and a time to lose; {N}
{S} a time to keep, {S} and a time to cast away; {N}
ז עֵת לִקְרוֹעַ וְעֵת לִתְפּוֹר,
עֵת לַחֲשׁוֹת וְעֵת לְדַבֵּר.
7 {S} A time to rend, {S} and a time to sew; {N}
{S} a time to keep silence, {S} and a time to speak; {N}
ח עֵת לֶאֱהֹב וְעֵת לִשְׂנֹא,
עֵת מִלְחָמָה וְעֵת שָׁלוֹם. {פ}
8 {S} A time to love, {S} and a time to hate; {N}
{S} a time for war, {S} and a time for peace. {N}
ט מַה-יִּתְרוֹן, הָעוֹשֶׂה, בַּאֲשֶׁר, הוּא עָמֵל. 9 {S} What profit hath he that worketh in that he laboureth?
י רָאִיתִי אֶת-הָעִנְיָן, אֲשֶׁר נָתַן אֱלֹהִים לִבְנֵי הָאָדָם--לַעֲנוֹת בּוֹ. 10 I have seen the task which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised therewith.
יא אֶת-הַכֹּל עָשָׂה, יָפֶה בְעִתּוֹ; גַּם אֶת-הָעֹלָם, נָתַן בְּלִבָּם--מִבְּלִי אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יִמְצָא הָאָדָם אֶת-הַמַּעֲשֶׂה אֲשֶׁר-עָשָׂה הָאֱלֹהִים, מֵרֹאשׁ וְעַד-סוֹף. 11 He hath made every thing beautiful in its time; also He hath set the world in their heart, yet so that man cannot find out the work that God hath done from the beginning even to the end.
יב יָדַעְתִּי, כִּי אֵין טוֹב בָּם--כִּי אִם-לִשְׂמוֹחַ, וְלַעֲשׂוֹת טוֹב בְּחַיָּיו. 12 I know that there is nothing better for them, than to rejoice, and to get pleasure so long as they live.
יג וְגַם כָּל-הָאָדָם שֶׁיֹּאכַל וְשָׁתָה, וְרָאָה טוֹב בְּכָל-עֲמָלוֹ--מַתַּת אֱלֹהִים, הִיא. 13 But also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy pleasure for all his labour, is the gift of God.
יד יָדַעְתִּי, כִּי כָּל-אֲשֶׁר יַעֲשֶׂה הָאֱלֹהִים הוּא יִהְיֶה לְעוֹלָם--עָלָיו אֵין לְהוֹסִיף, וּמִמֶּנּוּ אֵין לִגְרֹעַ; וְהָאֱלֹהִים עָשָׂה, שֶׁיִּרְאוּ מִלְּפָנָיו. 14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever; nothing can be added to it, nor any thing taken from it; and God hath so made it, that men should fear before Him.
טו מַה-שֶּׁהָיָה כְּבָר הוּא, וַאֲשֶׁר לִהְיוֹת כְּבָר הָיָה; וְהָאֱלֹהִים, יְבַקֵּשׁ אֶת-נִרְדָּף. 15 That which is hath been long ago, and that which is to be hath already been; and God seeketh that which is pursued.
טז וְעוֹד רָאִיתִי, תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ: מְקוֹם הַמִּשְׁפָּט שָׁמָּה הָרֶשַׁע, וּמְקוֹם הַצֶּדֶק שָׁמָּה הָרָשַׁע. 16 And moreover I saw under the sun, in the place of justice, that wickedness was there; and in the place of righteousness, that wickedness was there.
יז אָמַרְתִּי אֲנִי, בְּלִבִּי--אֶת-הַצַּדִּיק וְאֶת-הָרָשָׁע, יִשְׁפֹּט הָאֱלֹהִים: כִּי-עֵת לְכָל-חֵפֶץ, וְעַל כָּל-הַמַּעֲשֶׂה שָׁם. 17 I said in my heart: 'The righteous and the wicked God will judge; for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.'
יח אָמַרְתִּי אֲנִי, בְּלִבִּי--עַל-דִּבְרַת בְּנֵי הָאָדָם, לְבָרָם הָאֱלֹהִים; וְלִרְאוֹת, שְׁהֶם-בְּהֵמָה הֵמָּה לָהֶם. 18 I said in my heart: 'It is because of the sons of men, that God may sift them, and that they may see that they themselves are but as beasts.'
יט כִּי מִקְרֶה בְנֵי-הָאָדָם וּמִקְרֶה הַבְּהֵמָה, וּמִקְרֶה אֶחָד לָהֶם--כְּמוֹת זֶה כֵּן מוֹת זֶה, וְרוּחַ אֶחָד לַכֹּל; וּמוֹתַר הָאָדָם מִן-הַבְּהֵמָה אָיִן, כִּי הַכֹּל הָבֶל. 19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them; as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that man hath no pre-eminence above a beast; for all is vanity.
כ הַכֹּל הוֹלֵךְ, אֶל-מָקוֹם אֶחָד; הַכֹּל הָיָה מִן-הֶעָפָר, וְהַכֹּל שָׁב אֶל-הֶעָפָר. 20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all return to dust.
כא מִי יוֹדֵעַ, רוּחַ בְּנֵי הָאָדָם--הָעֹלָה הִיא, לְמָעְלָה; וְרוּחַ, הַבְּהֵמָה--הַיֹּרֶדֶת הִיא, לְמַטָּה לָאָרֶץ. 21 Who knoweth the spirit of man whether it goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast whether it goeth downward to the earth?
כב וְרָאִיתִי, כִּי אֵין טוֹב מֵאֲשֶׁר יִשְׂמַח הָאָדָם בְּמַעֲשָׂיו--כִּי-הוּא, חֶלְקוֹ: כִּי מִי יְבִיאֶנּוּ לִרְאוֹת, בְּמֶה שֶׁיִּהְיֶה אַחֲרָיו. 22 Wherefore I perceived that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his works; for that is his portion; for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Gun bill passes house HR2640

Gun legislation passed the house today by voice vote. It was a compromise bill by John Dingell and Carolyn McCarthy - HR 2640.

The NRA and GOA were split on this bill. I'm going to say "We report, you decide." If it is good or not.

First - The NRA's side of the story

The new version of the NICS Improvement Act (H.R. 2640) would require federal agencies to provide records of prohibited individuals for use in NICS. It would also provide financial incentives to states to do the same, by rewarding states that provide records to NICS and penalizing those that refuse to do so over an extended period of time.

Some pro-gun groups have claimed that H.R. 2640 would “prohibit” thousands of people from owning guns. This is not true; these bills would only enforce current prohibitions. In fact, H.R. 2640 would allow some people now unfairly prohibited from owning guns to have their rights restored, and to have their names removed from the instant check system.

The following are the key provisions of H.R. 2640, introduced by Reps. John Dingell (D-Mich.), Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) and Rick Boucher (D-Va.), which passed the House of Representatives by a voice vote on June 13, 2007.

Key Provisions of H.R. 2640

H.R. 2640 would prevent use of federal “adjudications” that consist only of medical diagnoses without findings that the people involved are dangerous or mentally incompetent.
For example, NICS currently accepts Veterans' Administration decisions that a veteran or other beneficiary is an “adjudicated mental defective” where there was no “adjudication” at all--only a decision that the patient is unable to manage his own finances. Many patients may have accepted such a decision without expecting to lose their gun ownership rights.
H.R. 2640 would eliminate purely medical records from NICS. Gun ownership rights would only be lost as a result of a finding that the person is a danger to himself or others, or lacks the capacity to manage his own affairs.

H.R. 2640 would require all federal agencies that impose mental health adjudications or commitments (such as the VA) to provide a process for “relief from disabilities.” The bill allows de novo judicial review when an agency denies relief--that is, the court would look at the application on its merits, rather than deferring to the agency's earlier decision.
As a practical matter, the mental health disability is the only firearm disqualifier that can never be removed. Criminal records can be expunged or pardoned, but mental records cannot.
While BATFE used to have the ability to accept applications to remove individuals' prohibited status, appropriations riders every year since 1992 have barred it from doing so. Allowing this process through H.R. 2640 would be an improvement over the current law.
Under H.R. 2640, even if a person is inappropriately committed or declared incompetent by a federal agency, the person would have an opportunity to correct the error--either through the agency or in court.

H.R. 2640 would prevent reporting of mental adjudications or commitments by federal agencies when those adjudications or commitments have been removed.

H.R. 2640 would also make clear that if a federal adjudication or commitment has expired or been removed, it would no longer bar a person from possessing or receiving firearms under the Gun Control Act.
This actually restores the person's rights, as well as deleting the record from NICS--a significant improvement over current law.

States that receive funding would also need to have a relief from disabilities program for mental adjudications and commitments. State relief programs would have to provide for de novo judicial review, as in the federal programs.
Relief granted by a state program would remove the federal prohibition on the person possessing or receiving a firearm under the Gun Control Act--again, an improvement over current law.
Many states have processes for temporary emergency commitments that allow a short-term commitment based only on affidavits from police, doctors or family members, without opportunity for a hearing. Because federal law prohibits gun possession by a person who “has been” committed, a person committed under such a process can't possess a gun even after full release from the temporary order. By requiring participating states to have a relief program that actually removes the disability, H.R. 2640 would be a significant improvement over current law.

The legislation would improve the accuracy and completeness of NICS by requiring federal agencies and participating states to provide relevant records. For instance, it would give states an incentive to report people such as Virginia Tech murderer Seung-Hui Cho--that is, people who were found after a full court hearing to be a danger to themselves or others, but not reported to NICS due to lack of funding or contrary state laws.

The legislation requires removal of expired, incorrect or otherwise irrelevant records. Today, totally innocent people (e.g., individuals with arrest records, who were never convicted of the crime charged) are sometimes subject to delayed or denied firearm purchases because of incomplete records in the system.

The legislation prohibits federal fees for NICS checks. Under current law, only annual appropriations riders prohibit the FBI from trying to impose fees by regulation (as the Clinton Administration proposed in 1998). A permanent ban on such a “gun tax” has been an NRA priority for nearly a decade.

The legislation requires an audit by the Government Accountability Office of funds already spent for criminal history improvements. There has only been limited documentation of how hundreds of millions of dollars intended for NICS were spent on non-NICS programs such as automated fingerprint systems.
Voluntary Psychological Treatment

Neither current federal law, nor H.R. 2640, would prohibit gun possession by people who have voluntarily sought psychological counseling or checked themselves into a hospital:

Current law only prohibits gun possession by people who have been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or “committed to any mental institution.” Current BATFE regulations specifically exclude commitments for observation and voluntary commitments. Records of voluntary treatment also would not be available under federal and state health privacy laws.

Similarly, voluntary drug or alcohol treatment would not be reported to NICS. First, voluntary treatment is not a “commitment.” Second, current federal law on gun possession by drug users, as applied in BATFE regulations, only prohibits gun ownership by those whose “unlawful [drug] use has occurred recently enough to indicate that the individual is actively engaged in such conduct.”

In short, neither current law nor this legislation would affect those who voluntarily get psychological help. No person who needs help for a mental health or substance abuse problem should be deterred from seeking that help due to fear of losing Second Amendment rights.

And then - GOA

While the entire nation was focused on the immigration bill the past couple of weeks, the gremlins on Capitol Hill were finalizing a "compromise" on gun control legislation.

The good news is that your tremendous outpouring of opposition to Rep. Carolyn McCarthy's Brady enhancement (HR 297) has sent a strong signal to Capitol Hill that this bill is unacceptable as written. The bad news is that there are some seemingly pro-gun Congressmen who are driven to get anything passed, just so they can say they did something about Virginia Tech.

So what's going on?

On Saturday, The Washington Post reported [ see ] that both the Democrats and the NRA leadership had reached a "deal" on legislation similar to the McCarthy bill. This "deal" involves a new bill that has been introduced by Rep. McCarthy (HR 2640) -- a bill that has not yet been posted on the Thomas legislative service. While all the legislative particulars are not yet available, one thing is clear: it is, as reported by the Post, a deal with Democrats. And it involves legislation introduced by the most anti-gun member of the House, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY).

The Post says that, under the new language, the federal government would pay (that is, spend taxpayers' money) to help the states send more names of individual Americans to the FBI for inclusion in the background check system. If a state fails to do this, then the feds could cut various law enforcement grants to that state. In essence, this is a restatement of what the original McCarthy bill does. The states will be bribed (again, with your money) to send more names, many of them innocent gun owners, to the FBI in West Virginia -- and perhaps lots of other personal information on you as well.

Under the terms of this compromise, the Post says, "individuals with minor infractions in their pasts could petition their states to have their names removed from the federal database, and about 83,000 military veterans, put into the system by the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2000 for alleged mental health reasons, would have a chance to clean their records."

Oh really? The Brady law already contains a procedure for cleaning up records. But it hasn't worked for the 83,000 veterans that are currently prohibited from buying guns. Gun Owners of America is aware of many people who have tried to invoke this procedure in the Brady Law, only to get the run around -- and a form letter -- from the FBI. The simple truth is that the FBI and the BATFE think the 83,000 veterans, and many other law-abiding Americans, should be in the NICS system.

After all, that's what federal regulations decree. Unless these regs are changed, Congress can create as many redundant procedures for cleaning up these records as it wants, but the bottom line is, there is nothing that will force the FBI to scrub gun owners' name from the NICS system.

Not only that, there is a Schumer amendment in federal law which prevents the BATFE from restoring the rights of individuals who are barred from purchasing firearms. If that amendment is not repealed, then it doesn't matter if your state stops sending your name for inclusion in the FBI's NICS system... you are still going to be a disqualified purchaser when you try to buy a gun.

Moreover, will gun owners who are currently being denied the ability to purchase firearms -- such as the military veterans who have suffered from post-traumatic stress -- be recompensed in any way for their efforts to "clean their records"? They will, no doubt, have to spend thousands of dollars going to a shrink for a positive recommendation, for hiring lawyers to take their case to court, etc.

And this is not to mention the fact that this procedure turns our whole legal system on its head. Americans are presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty. But these brave souls, who risked their lives defending our country, were denied the right to bear arms because of a mental illness "loophole" in the law. Their names were added to the prohibited purchasers' list in West Virginia without any due process, without any trial by jury... no, their names were just added by executive fiat. They were unilaterally, and unconstitutionally, added into the NICS system by the Clinton administration. And now the burden of proof is ON THEM to prove their innocence. Isn't that backwards?

One wonders if these military veterans will be any more successful in getting back their gun rights than the gun owners in New Orleans who tried to get back their firearms which were confiscated in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. (Gun owners in the Big Easy have found it very difficult to prove their case and get their guns back, even though the courts have ruled that the police acted improperly in confiscating their firearms.) But isn't that the problem when honest people are thrust into the position of PROVING their innocence to the government, rather than vice-versa.

The fact is, current federal law -- combined with BATFE's interpretations of that law -- will make it very unlikely that any court will restore the Second Amendment rights of those 83,000 veterans.

Finally, the Post article also says the "federal government would be permanently barred from charging gun buyers or sellers a fee for their background checks." Well, that sounds good, but GOA already won this battle in 1998 when we drafted and pushed the Smith amendment into law.

GOA had to overcome opposition from certain pro-gun groups to help Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) introduce and push his language as an amendment to an appropriations bill. The Smith amendment barred the FBI from taxing gun buyers, something which the Clinton administration was considering doing.

GOA won the vote in the Senate with a veto-proof majority and the Smith amendment has been law ever since. But now we're being told that we need to swallow McCarthy's poison pill so that the Smith amendment -- which is currently law -- will stay on the books. Huh?!

ACTION: Gun Owners of America is the only national pro-gun organization opposing the McCarthy bill, so it is imperative that you contact your representative immediately. Please take action today and spread the word about HR 2640! We need all the help we can get.

Friday, January 09, 2009


Trans Texas Corridor
Not Dead - Just Renamed

TURF Supporters Demand ACTION, Not Rhetoric

From Terry Hall

TURF reaction to TxDOT announcement:

The announcement by TxDOT Executive Director Amadeo Saenz at the Texas Transportation Forum that the "Trans Texas Corridor, as it was originally envisioned, is no more," is just another in a series of comments to lead opponents into believing the Trans Texas Corridor is indeed dead. TURF believes this is a deliberate move to dupe opponents into complacency, and we expect iron-clad action before we begin celebrating victory.

It's clear from the TxDOT Director's speech, that it's only a name change and the Trans Texas Corridor is, in reality, going underground.

This fact is evident in just about every news source across the state:

"'Amadeo told folks at the forum that the Trans-Texas Corridor, as it was originally envisioned, is no more,' Amacker said. 'Instead, what we've got is a series of smaller projects.'

Those 'smaller projects' will apparently include the 300-plus miles of what has been called TTC-35 from San Antonio to the Oklahoma border and the I-69 project from the Rio Grande Valley to Texarkana. But they will not be called the Trans-Texas Corridor." -- Austin American Statesman


"Other than backpedaling from the Trans-Texas Corridor brand, and the goals and priorities set over the years, the Trans-Texas Corridor remains intact.

TxDOT still plans to partner with private corporations to build and lease projects. Toll roads, truck-only lanes and rail lanes are also still on the table.

Environmental studies for the I-35 and East Texas corridor segments still chug through the pipeline. And a development contract with Cintra of Spain and Zachry Construction Co. of San Antonio, for projects paralleling I-35, is still valid". -- San Antonio Express-News


"The renewed effort now will operate under the name 'Innovative Connectivity Plan.'" -- Houston Chronicle

No law has been changed, no minute order rescinded, no environmental document re-done (as is required by federal law), and there are still two contracts signed giving two Spanish companies the right of first refusal on segments of the corridor previously known as TTC-35 & TTC-69. So by every real measure, the Trans Texas Corridor goes on full steam ahead. What today's hype was about is a political ploy to make the public go back to sleep while it gets built under a different name. While we welcome genuine responsiveness from TxDOT and a true repeal of the Trans Texas Corridor, this hardly qualifies.

Lets just say, we agree with Senator Robert Nichols' statement in the Dallas Morning News:

"If it is just a name change, and nothing more, I don't think that is going to do much to appease lawmakers," said Nichols, R-Jacksonville.

Contact: Terri Hall, Founder / Director,
Texans Uniting for Reform & Freedom (TURF)
(210) 275-0640

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