U.S. Clears Sale of F-16 Jets to Taiwan.

The Trump administration on Tuesday formally cleared the sale of 66 new F-16 jet fighters to Taiwan in a bid to bolster the island nation’s air power.

Randall Schriver, assistant defense secretary for Indo-Pacific security affairs, said the jet sale is partly a response to the growing threat posed by China.

“We’ve tracked the growing threat for a long time,” Schriver told the Washington Free Beacon, noting annual Pentagon reports.

“In addition, part of Taiwan’s air force is aging and in need of replacements,” he said. “This sale is needed in order for Taiwan to keep a viable air defense,”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday: “The president approved the notice that went up to Capitol Hill … last week so that we could move forward with these F-16 sales.”

“These are deeply consistent with the arrangements, the historical relationship between the United States and China, the three communiques that layer on top of that,” he told Fox News. “Our actions are consistent with past U.S. policy. We are simply following through on the commitments we’ve made to all of the parties.”

The State Department made the formal congressional notification on Wednesday and said the F-16 C/D Block 70 jets, also known as the F-16V, will promote peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the region.

In Taiwan, President Tsai Ing-wen said the new aircraft will bolster the country’s air power.

“The deal means the nation’s brand new air force is about to take off,” Tsai said on social media.

Anticipating opposition to the deal from Beijing, a State Department official said the jets do not represent a shift in U.S. policy of viewing a single China under current policy and is consistent with the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act.

*cough*  bull$#!+ *cough*

Along with new engines, machine guns, avionics, communications and electronic warfare gear, the estimated value of the sale is $8 billion.

The Real Reason Elites Behave Hypocritically On Climate Change Is Because They Want To.

British Royal couple Prince Harry and Princess Meghan Markle triggered widespread outrage recently after lecturing the world about climate change while flying around the world in private jets.

“With nearly 7.7 billion people inhabiting this Earth, every choice, every footprint, every action makes a difference,” the Duke of Sussex said on Instagram a few days before jetting off with the Duchess to Ibiza, Spain and then to Nice, France.

Some people chalk up such hypocrisy to ignorance. “They turn up with unnecessary entourages in helicopters or fast cars and then preach about saving the world,” complained an insider. “They just don’t seem to be aware that they’re the ones burning huge amounts of fossil fuels.”

But it’s inconceivable that the celebrities don’t know they are behaving hypocritically. It’s common knowledge that flying by jet results in significant carbon emissions. If it weren’t, then Harry and Meghan wouldn’t have triggered such an intense reaction.

Indeed, they implicitly acknowledged their hypocrisy. Elton John bought carbon offsets to supposedly cancel out Harry and Meghan’s emissions, while a spokesperson for Thunberg acknowledged, “It would have been less greenhouse gas emissions if we had not made this departure.”

A simpler explanation for the hypocrisy of celebrities who moralize about climate change is that it is a way of flaunting their special status.

Hypocrisy is the ultimate power move. It is a way of demonstrating that one plays by a different set of rules from the ones adhered to by common people. Hypocrisy demonstrates how unaccountable one is to conventional morality.

Such displays work because, unlike wealth, status is inherently subjective. The more of it you are perceived to have, the more of it you actually have.

To be sure, the Duke, the Duchess, and  Thunberg didn’t consciously decide to flaunt their status. But neither did Harry and Meghan pledge to never fly private again nor did Thunberg cancel her trip.

And it is a mistake to imagine that human behavior is mostly conscious. Much of human behavior is unconscious and driven by an innate urge for power, of which status is one (highly-social) form.

MAN KILLED IN ALLEGED ALLEYTON HOME INVASION IDENTIFIED

A man was shot and killed during an incident in Alleyton. Colorado County Sheriff’s Office reports that on Monday Aug. 12, at approximately 5:41 p.m., deputies responded to the 1100 Blk of Alleyton Road in reference to a disturbance in progress with shots fired.

ALLEYTON — The Colorado County Sheriff’s Department has released more details on a shooting in Alleyton Aug. 12 that killed one man who was allegedly undertaking a home-invasion robbery.

Lt. Troy Neisner of the Colorado County Sheriff’s Office said James William Pearson, 51, LaPorte, was the individual who was shot by a homeowner during the incident.


 

Federal Court: State Cannot Bind Presidential Electors
Ruling could impact liberal efforts at Electoral College workaround

Applause.

A panel of federal judges with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals handed down a 2-1 ruling saying the state of Colorado was wrong in 2016 to force a presidential elector to cast his vote for Hillary Clinton in the Electoral College.

State law in Colorado mandates that presidential electors cast their Electoral College vote for the candidate receiving the most votes statewide, which in that instance was Hillary Clinton.

In 2016, however, elector Micheal Baca tried to cast his vote for Ohio’s then-governor, Republican John Kasich, as part of a short-lived movement to circumvent Trump’s election in a kind of compromise. Supporters of the idea hoped enough electors would defect to Kasich to deny Trump the presidency — arguing Trump was too unstable or dangerous — but would still have given Republicans control of the executive branch rather than handing that power to Democrats.

When Baca cast his vote for Kasich, then-secreatary of state Wayne Williams (R.) removed and replaced Baca with an elector who voted for Clinton.

“Secretary Williams impermissibly interfered with Mr. Baca’s exercise of his right to vote as a presidential elector,” part of the court ruling read. “Specifically, Secretary Williams acted unconstitutionally by removing Mr. Baca and nullifying his vote for failing to comply with the vote binding provision.”

“Article II and the Twelfth Amendment provide presidential electors the right to cast a vote for President and Vice President with discretion,” the majority ruling added.

The decision effectively gives legal permission in any state to so-called “faithless electors,” those who vote for someone other than the leading vote getter in the state or otherwise does not vote in coordination with the statewide election results.

Heightening the importance of the ruling is the fact that just this spring Colorado passed a law entering the state into the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, or NPV, which attempts to create a workaround to how the Electoral College has operated for two centuries, but would not require a Constitutional amendment…….

The National Popular Vote, however, is an agreement of the states that have adopted the compact to cast their Electoral College votes for the candidate who receives the most votes nationwide, even if citizens of that state voted for a different candidate.

The NPV does not have any legal effect until enough states have joined that their electoral votes surpass 270, the amount needed to elect the president. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have joined the compact for a total of 196 Electoral College votes.

Colorado secretary of state Jena Griswold told the Colorado Sun the ruling could hamstring the NPV, noting that the mandates of how the electors should vote under the NPV could be ignored.

In the months since the Colorado General Assembly passed NPV legislation that Governor Jared Polis (D.) then signed into law, a citizens’ group submitted more than 227,000 signatures in an effort to force a referendum vote on the NPV in November of next year.

Those signatures are still undergoing a certification process with the secretary of state’s office. If roughly 125,000 signatures pass muster, the question will be placed on the ballot, creating the first real citizen-led test of the NPV.

Until now, state legislative bodies have passed all NPV legislation without any challenge from citizens in their respective states.

QUESTION TO CUMMINGS: WHERE DID THE BILLIONS IN MISSING FEDERAL MONEY GO?
Why Trump was right to ask.

President Trump went after purported congressional watchdog Elijah Cummings recently, slamming the Democrat congressman for failing to improve his troubled Baltimore, Maryland, district despite the inflow of billions of dollars in federal aid during and in the years leading up to Trump’s administration.

Cummings came to the attention of conservatives as he zealously defended the IRS throughout the Lois Lerner saga. Lerner is the corrupt IRS tax-exempt division executive who engineered the tax agency’s targeting of conservative nonprofits during the Obama administration. Cummings also apparently conspired with Lerner to sabotage True the Vote, a leading grassroots electoral integrity group. In 2012, Cummings falsely claimed the group would “do almost anything to stop people from voting.”

“Baltimore’s numbers are the worst in the United States on Crime and the Economy. Billions of dollars have been pumped in over the years, but to no avail[,]” the president wrote on Twitter July 29. “The money was stolen or wasted. Ask Elijah Cummings where it went. He should investigate himself with his Oversight Committee!”

“Baltimore, under the leadership of Elijah Cummings, has the worst Crime Statistics in the Nation. 25 years of all talk, no action! So tired of listening to the same old Bull…Next, Reverend Al will show up to complain & protest. Nothing will get done for the people in need. Sad!” Trump tweeted.

Trump was responding to taunts by RINO Michael Steele, who used to run the Republican National Committee and was Maryland’s lieutenant governor from 2003 to 2007, Baltimore Mayor Bernard Young (D), and racial arsonist Al Sharpton, who accused the president of not spending enough federal money on Baltimore.

Two days before his tweets, Trump took Cummings to task on Twitter after the congressmen lobbed harsh criticisms about the conditions at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Rep. Elijah Cummings has been a brutal bully, shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol about conditions at the Southern Border, when actually his Baltimore district is FAR WORSE and more dangerous. His district is considered the Worst in the USA……” Trump tweeted.

“….As proven last week during a Congressional tour, the Border is clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded[,]” Trump added. “Cumming[s’] District is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place[.]”

Naturally, Democrats in the media and the political establishment responded with indignation, defending the squalor of Baltimore, even though just a few years ago, they had admitted Charm City was in bad shape.

In 2015, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders blasted West Baltimore, likening it to a “Third World country.” The next year the socialist senator from Vermont lamented in a tweet: “Residents of Baltimore’s poorest boroughs have lifespans shorter than people living under dictatorship in North Korea. That is a disgrace.”

Lynne Patton, a regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, defended Trump, saying that $16 billion in grants was directed to Cummings’s congressional district in 2018 alone.

IS SNOPES A SATIRE SITE?

The Babylon Bee, which describes itself as “Christian news satire,” has been engaged in a running battle with Snopes.com, a liberal “fact check” site that serves mostly as a mouthpiece for the left. Snopes has repeatedly undertaken, with a straight face, to “fact check” Babylon Bee stories that are obviously humorous. This has given rise to considerable ridicule, but some suspect that Snopes has a more sinister purpose in mind: to give liberals at platforms like Facebook an excuse to downgrade or even ban the sharing of Bee posts. The humorless left has nothing like the Bee, and would like to get rid of it.

A few days ago, Snopes tried to justify its repeated “fact checking” of the Bee by reproducing an article about a poll that purported to find that a considerable number of people are fooled by satirical stories. Snopes headlined: “Study: Too Many People Think Satirical News Is Real.”

The poll was badly flawed. For example, the headline that the largest number of people said was true–28% of Republicans and 6% of Democrats–was “Most Americans believe that major media companies should apologize for pushing the now-debunked news story of collusion between President Trump and Russia.” I certainly agree that major media companies should apologies, and I hope that most Americans feel that way, although I am not sure that they do.

Today the Bee responded in its inimitable fashion with “Concerning Survey Finds Too Many People Believe Snopes Is A Legitimate Fact-Checking Website.” The findings of the Bee’s fictitious survey are summed up in this pie chart:

A troubling new survey released by The Babylon Bee confirmed Wednesday that too many people think Snopes is a real fact-checking website.

The survey found that over 60% of people believe Snopes is a real website, while only 25% understand that it’s satire. The remaining minority thinks that Snopes is the name of a gangsta rapper from California, “one of those guys who makes the hip-hop about the devil’s lettuce and shooting people.”

In the study, we went to a Walmart and grabbed random people by the arm and started shouting at them: “HEY, DO YOU THINK SNOPES IS REAL!?” The ones who didn’t run away screaming or call for security responded, and of those few dozen people, we got our results. Most said, “Sure, yeah, whatever, please just leave me alone and don’t hurt me!” while others said they thought it was satire site. A few people said, “Snopes Dogg? I loved his album, Straight Outta Compton.”

If that doesn’t sound scientific, consider this:

“This is clearly a threat to democracy,” said the head researcher we specifically paid to say “this is clearly a threat to democracy.” “Maybe people who read Snopes just aren’t as informed or educated as people who simply watch Jeopardy! to get their information or call their Aunt Carla and ask her what the latest gossip is.”

Well, whatever the case, one thing is clear: democracy can’t long survive if people keep believing Snopes is a real fact-checking site.

(Note: you do not need to criticize the methods for this survey, as we have a pie chart, which makes it 100% legitimate).

It is interesting that Snopes’s vendetta against the Babylon Bee has probably done more than anything else to alert people to the fact that Snopes is a liberal activist site, not a legitimate fact checker. Well done, Bee!

No, America Wasn’t Built On Slavery, But Faith That All Men Are Created Equal
By reframing America’s founding around slavery, the New York Times’ 1619 Project misreads history along with the role Americans played in realizing the ideals of the Declaration.

It’s there in plain sight. Spelled-out in its mission statement, the New York Times’ 1619 Project seeks to “reframe” American history to mark the year 1619 as the “true founding.” By doing so, the project will “[place] the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center” of the American story.

The year 1619 was chosen for the Times’ “re-founding” to mark when the first slaves arrived in the English settlement of Jamestown. For the Times, this moment irredeemably tainted the nation. Yet viewing the centuries-old actions of men through a 21st-century lens will not solve our present social tensions. Slavery was a heart-wrenching, obstacle during America’s birth, but by no objective analysis was it the central factor of the founding as the 1619 Project claims.

Slavery Is a Blight on All Humanity, Not Just America

During the 17th century, slavery was, sadly, an accepted part of life throughout the world. By A.D. 1619, slavery had existed for more than 5000 years, dating back at least to Mesopotamia. At the time the first African slaves arrived in Jamestown, the Spanish and Portuguese had been enslaving blacks and native peoples in the New World for more than 100 years. Native American tribes had been enslaving each other for who knows how long before that.

What’s notable about the United States is not that its citizens held slaves, but that the West’s crusade to end slavery began after Jefferson penned the aspirational words of America’s founding document.

America’s Founding Ideals Aren’t Lies

Written by Nikole Hannah-Jones, the 7,600-word flagship essay of the 1619 Project asserts that “our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written.” Forgiving the fact that America is not a democracy but a constitutional republic, what ideals does she mean? The central organizing principle of the American founding was the preservation of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Jefferson’s original final draft of the Declaration explicitly referred to black slaves not as property but as men and castigated King George III for suppressing parliamentary efforts to prohibit or restrain “this execrable commerce” (referring to slavery). Letters written to John Jay show Alexander Hamilton hoping the Revolutionary War could lead to the emancipation of blacks and appraising them equal to whites in their abilities. Additional examples are plentiful.

Without the Founders’ Compromise, America Wouldn’t Exist

The Founders were painfully aware of the cognitive dissonance of forming a nation under the proclamation that all were created equal while maintaining slavery. They also had to face the political reality that the 13 colonies could not be united in a new nation if they immediately abolished slavery.

To insist that southern colonies immediately free their slaves would have been tantamount to demanding they destroy the economic livelihood of the entire region—a political fantasy and a suicidal non-starter. As scholar Harry V. Jaffa once pointed out, “if they had attempted to secure all the rights of all men, they would have ended in no rights secured for any men.”

With no other way to obtain the necessary support for unity and ratification, the Founders spitefully tolerated slavery’s existence, while also placing it on a path to extinction. Once the nation secured independence, American statesman of the Founding Era slashed away at slavery as quickly as prudence and political reality would allow.

Today August 22nd, in 1776 The Battle Of Long Island of the American Revolution began with the landing by British General William Howe of 15,000 additional troops to raise his numbers to 20,000 before engaging approximately 10,000 Continental troop on August 27th.

The battle was serious loss for Washington as Long Island and New York city, with it’s northern port facilities and coastal access to major rivers into the New York state interior.

Trump Administration to Automatically Forgive Federal Student Loan Debt for Totally and Permanently Disabled Veterans

LOUISVILLE, KY— Today, President Donald J. Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum that will significantly streamline the process to erase federal student loan debt for totally and permanently disabled veterans. Through a process called Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge, veterans will now have their student loan debt discharged unless they decide to opt-out of the process. The Department anticipates notifying more than 25,000 eligible veterans and continuing the discharge process on a quarterly basis.

The memorandum issued today builds on improvements to the TPD discharge process implemented by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie. In April 2018, the Department established a data matching process with the VA to identify totally and permanently disabled veterans who are eligible for student loan relief. Since April 2018, this process has resulted in Secretary DeVos providing more than $650 million in student loan relief to more than 22,000 eligible veterans.

“Supporting and caring for those who have sacrificed much in service to our country is a priority for President Trump and the entire Administration,” said Secretary DeVos. “I appreciate the President’s strong leadership on this issue and his willingness to provide much-needed student loan relief. We will continue to prioritize the needs of our nation’s veterans and provide them the help and support they have earned and deserve.”

Veterans will still have the right to weigh their options and to decline loan discharge within 60 days of notification of their eligibility. Veterans may elect to decline loan relief either because of potential tax liability in some states, or because receiving loan relief could make it more difficult to take future student loans. Eligible veterans who do not opt out of the program will have their remaining student loan balance discharged and will be reimbursed for payments made following the date of their disability discharge.

Michigan Court of Appeals Has Reversed the Felony Assault Convictions of a Gun Owner Who Acted in Self-Defense.

Your state’s definitions on use of force may differ. You are conversant with them, right?

One year after Siwatu-Salama Ra was convicted of assaulting a woman with a deadly weapon and committing a felony while in possession of a firearm, the Michigan Court of Appeals has reversed her conviction. Both charges stemmed from an incident in which Ra sought to protect herself, her 2-year-old daughter, and her mother from a woman who was threatening to run them down with her car.

As Reason previously reported, the incident in question occurred while Ra, then pregnant, was visiting her mother at her mother’s home in 2017. Ra’s 2-year-old daughter was with her, and her teenage niece was also present. When A’Kayla Smith, a teenage associate of Ra’s niece, arrived at the house, Ra told Smith she was not welcome to visit due to an altercation the two teenagers had at school. Ra demanded that Smith call her mother to pick her up.

When Channell Harvey, Smith’s mother, arrived at Ra’s mother’s house, she yelled at Smith and Ra from her car, which was parked in the street. Ra testified that after Smith got in her mother’s car, Ra demanded Harvey leave and that, in response, Harvey intentionally backed her car into Ra’s car, which contained Ra’s 2-year-old daughter, then attempted to run down Ra’s mother, Rhonda Anderson.

Anderson testified that Harvey knew before she backed into Ra’s car that Ra’s 2-year-old daughter was inside. Ra’s niece testified that after Harvey hit the car, Ra retrieved her daughter from the car, asked her niece to take the girl inside, and then retrieved an unloaded and legally owned handgun from her console and brandished it at Harvey while demanding she leave. Ra’s mother testified that Ra did not retrieve the gun until Harvey attempted to run Anderson down while she stood in her own front yard. Harvey, meanwhile, testified that she hit Ra’s car accidentally after Ra brandished the gun at her and that she never attempted to hit Anderson with her car.

No one testified that Ra fired the gun.

Harvey took pictures from her car of Ra holding the gun, and eventually drove to a police station where she reported the incident. Ra reported the incident three hours later. Because Harvey filed her report first, Detroit police treated her as the victim, per department policy. Harvey was never charged for driving her vehicle into Ra’s.

Ra was charged with felony assault of Harvey, felony assault of Harvey’s daughter, who was sitting in Harvey’s vehicle at the time, and with committing a felony while in possession of a firearm. A jury found Ra not guilty of assaulting Harvey’s daughter, but guilty of assaulting Harvey and of possessing a firearm in the commission of a felony. Ra received a mandatory minimum prison sentence of two years and was forced to give birth behind bars.

On Tuesday, the Michigan Court of Appeals unanimously reversed Ra’s convictions, arguing in its decision that her trial judge failed to appropriately instruct Ra’s jury on her self-defense claim, and that said failure likely affected the outcome of her case.

It gets a little weedy here, but it’s worth understanding exactly where Ra’s trial judge went wrong.

Ra’s defense asked that the jury be instructed to decide whether Ra was justified in using nondeadly force to defend herself. The trial judge determined that a firearm—even one that is unloaded and never actually fired in the course of a dispute—is actually deadly force, and instructed the jury to decide whether Ra was justified in using deadly force in self-defense.

However, several legal precedents highlighted by the Michigan Court of Appeals show that Ra’s judge, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Hathaway, was wrong to equate the threat of deadly force with the use of deadly force; and that, by definition, only threatening deadly force—in this case, brandishing, but not firing, a gun—is fundamentally nondeadly.

The distinction between deadly and nondeadly force matters quite a bit. Michigan’s Self-Defense Act says that a person may use deadly force if she “honestly and reasonably believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent the imminent death of or imminent great bodily harm to himself or herself or to another individual.” The law’s test for using nondeadly force, however, is much easier. It requires that the person believe “honestly and reasonably that the use of that force is necessary to defend himself, herself or another individual from the imminent unlawful use of force by another individual.”

The Michigan Court of Appeals argued that if Ra’s jury had been instructed properly, it might have determined that she was justified in using nondeadly force to dissuade Anderson from further aggression. “The evidence presented in this case supports the conclusion that it was reasonable for defendant to believe that she had to use force to protect herself or others from Harvey’s imminent unlawful use of force, even if it was not reasonable to believe that she was in danger of being killed or seriously injured,” the Appeals Court decision reads.

And had the jury reached that conclusion, it could not have found Ra guilty of committing a felony while in possession of a firearm.

“This is a huge victory for justice,” Wade Fink, Ra’s lawyer, told Reason in a statement. “Siwatu acted in self-defense and we hope the case is completely dismissed. But if this case is brought again, we intend to prove it—this time in a fair trial where Siwatu is permitted to present a defense.”

Ra’s ordeal is not necessarily over yet. While Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Donald Knapp Jr. made the decision to release her from prison in November 2018, prosecutors will now decide whether or not they want to try Ra for a second time.

Should prosecutors decide to bring Ra to trial once again, the decision would set a poor precedent about the right to legal self-defense, especially for black gun owners. Vox reported in 2018 that Ra’s conviction drew concerns from a wide span of the political spectrum, from Black Lives Matter to the National Rifle Association.

Bob Barnes,  Florida Today:

Too many of us “know” what is in our Constitution but often what we know is wrong. The Founding Fathers were clear in their minds about what they said and what they meant, but some of us are still confused. Others add to the confusion with misleading information.

Of all the amendments — not just the first 10, known as the Bill of Rights — only the Second Amendment comes under pressure for obliteration or change. What you may not know is that fighting against the Second Amendment is only a 20th Century phenomenon.

At some point, even the most ardent of people opposed to guns are going to have to ask the most logical question: “Why are there such well organized and well-funded groups opposing the Second Amendment?”

The groups advocating abolition, be it little by little or all at once, want to ban all guns owned by law-abiding citizens in America and around the world.
It is that simple.

Gun control won’t help, more guns will

Gun control is not the answer to America’s gun violence. In the recent mass shootings, the shooters purchased their weapons legally. Likewise, the policies promoted by gun control activists would not impact mass shootings. Last year, the RAND Corp. conducted a survey of academic research and did not find any of the policies they looked at would reduce mass shootings: “We found no qualifying studies showing that any of the 13 policies we investigated decreased mass shootings.”

As usual with so many of these killers, there was nothing too outstanding about them (though as of late they do seem motivated by some horrendous white nationalist beliefs — sadly, protected by the First Amendment). After all, being young and alienated is not unusual in America.

Preventing the sale or ownership of so-called assault rifles, a term for which there is no technical definition, will not end these mass shootings. Semi-automatic rifles and pistols have long been a standard part of American gun ownership, shooting and hunting.

Guns in America: Trump plan to head off mass killings is wishful thinking

Why is it only recently that semi-automatic firearms have become an issue in American society even though they come in all shapes and sizes? It’s no coincidence that the semi-automatic firearms that seem to be favored by shooters, and descriptions of the killer’s video in Christchurch, New Zealand, look like it could be in a video game.

Even if the stereotypical-looking “assault rifles” are prohibited, other weapons and types of semi-automatic firearms can be used in shootings. Confiscation of these likewise is prohibitive as there are nearly 400 million civilian-owned guns in circulation in the United States — Australia’s forced gun buyback only targeted fewer than 1 million guns.

We cannot afford gun control

Cherokee Nation to assert treaty right to appoint nonvoting member of Congress

Ꮳ Ꮃ Ꭹ Ꭰ Ᏸ Ꮅ Ꭴ Ꮩ Ꮲ Ꮢ

The Cherokee Nation intends to exercise 200-year-old treaty provisions that allow it to appoint a delegate to Congress, tribal officials confirmed Monday.

“As native issues continue to rise to the forefront of the national dialogue, now is the time for the Cherokee Nation to execute a provision in our treaties,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “It’s a right negotiated by our ancestors, reaffirmed in two treaties with the federal government and reflected in our constitution.”

Hoskin has called a press conference for Thursday to outline his proposal to name Kim Teehee, the tribe’s vice president for government affairs, as the Cherokees’ congressional delegate.

The Cherokee Tribal Council is expected to act on Hoskin’s recommendation next week.

In theory, the nonvoting delegate would have the same status as delegates from the District of Columbia and U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico and Guam.

Although many people have represented the Cherokees in Washington since the late 1700s, the tribe says none has ever acted as a congressional delegate.

First on CNN: More NRA leaders step down amid spending controversy

………Country music singer and NRA board member Craig Morgan has resigned, sources with knowledge of the matter tell CNN, and NASCAR team owner Richard Childress stepped down on Monday
(as we previously linked to).
David Lehman, the deputy executive director and general counsel at the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, also is leaving the organization, the sources tell CNN.
Both Morgan and Childress were prominent public faces for the NRA. Morgan appeared frequently on the group’s now-defunct streaming video service NRATV and even hosted his own program on the network. Lehman was the deputy to then executive director Chris Cox, who resigned in June and was also the NRA’s top lobbyist. Lehman was filling the role of top lobbyist when he departed the organization.

Joe Biden’s brain surgeon is defending Joe Biden’s brain

Well, if you’re old enough to remember, Biden was just as dull-witted back then as he is today, so, the doc really isn’t lying.

Enough with the worrying, former Vice President Joe Biden’s brain surgeon says.

As some voters murmur that the gaffe-prone Democratic presidential candidate’s age is cause for extra concern this campaign cycle, Dr. Neal Kassell — the man who performed surgery on Biden three decades ago following two brain aneurysms — came out swinging for his former patient.

Kassell dismissed fears about the 76-year-old Biden’s mental faculties, noting that he’s “as sharp as he was 31 years ago” and assuring people that the hemorrhage and subsequent operations did not result in any brain damage.

The 2nd Amendment and well-regulated horses

The 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution is short and sweet… and confusing only to those who are willing to completely ignore traditional English sentence structure.

It reads:

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

From that, the pro-gun control folk get the concept that the government has total control over every manner of “arms” that exists. And that these arms only can function within the purview of a “well regulated militia.”

Let’s take a closer look at that logic with a comparison to another militia necessity.

The importance of a horse in the 1700-1800s to army personnel was extremely high. It was their transportation, it was their luggage carrier, and if necessary, they could even eat it during a siege. Therefore, it was paramount to know that all the militia could show up with their horse in hand when called upon. So… the Founding Fathers put a clause in the Constitution that read something such as this:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and ride horses shall not be infringed”

Now, based upon the interpretations of those who have difficulty understanding English, they would have us believe that only those who belong to the militia have the “right” to keep and ride a horse. No other people do. Not farmers. Not cowboys. Not horse racers. Not teamsters. Not stagecoach companies. Not little girls with their ponies. No one has the “right” to keep and ride a horse except someone who belongs to a “well regulated militia.”

And furthermore, those who have the “right” to keep and ride a horse must abide by the government regulations as to the particular, allowable breed of horse, the number of legs the horse must have, how old it must be, how tall it can be, the color of its hair, how long the mane can be, whether or not it is male or female, how often you can breed it, and if it is gelded. Not to mention the total number of horses one can buy, keep and ride, who you can buy it from, or the sum total poundage of the herd. Or how fast it can be ridden and how many miles in one trip.

If this seems exceptionally silly… that is because the basic argument of those who dismiss the 2nd Amendment as only applying to the militia is exceptionally silly. They really know that deep in their heart… which is why they generally just wave their hands and don’t try to actually defend their position.

The Government Wants a ‘Red Flag’ Social Media Tool. That’s a Terrible Idea.
The FBI is looking for companies to comb through social media posts and pinpoint possible threats ahead of time. Think of it like a meme-illiterate Facebook-stalking precog from Minority Report.

Did anyone truly believe that the government cares about our privacy on social media? At the same time that Congress and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) were taking Facebook to task for neglecting user data, the FBI was soliciting bids for technologies to hoover up and analyze your social media posts—just in case you are a threat.

It’s yet another example of state double talk on online surveillance. Politicians preen for the cameras when a private company fails their users. But that same championing of our privacy rarely extends to government programs. When it comes to their own surveillance programs, it’s just in the public interest.

In early July, the FBI posted a solicitation notice for a “Social Media Alerting Subscription,” which would “acquire the services of a company to proactively identify and reactively monitor threats to the United States and its interests through a means of online sources.” The request singles out Twitter, Facebook, Instagram “and other social media platforms” for snooping.

Essentially, the FBI is looking for companies to build a tool to comb through “lawfully access[ed]” social media posts and pinpoint possible threats ahead of time. Think of it like a meme-illiterate Facebook-stalking precog from Minority Report.

Although the notice was posted well before this month’s mass shootings, it is easy to see how this system could empower the Red Flag law ideas that have since gained prominence. This kind of “proactive identification” could allow law enforcement to target and even disenfranchise social media users whose posts may have been merely misinterpreted. So let’s call this the Red Flag tool for short.

The FBI’s Red Flag tool statement of objectives provides a glimpse into the agency’s sprawling “social media exploitation” efforts. There are “operations centers and watch floors,” which monitor news and events to create reports for the relevant FBI team. These spur the activation of “fusion centers,” tactical teams which use “early notification, accurate geo-locations, and the mobility” of social media data to issue their own reports. There are also FBI agents in the field, “legal attaches” whose jobs would be much easier with a translation-enabled Red Flag tool. And last are the “command posts,” teams of “power users” assigned to monitor specific large events or theaters of operations.

To be clear, the proposed tool does not seek to access private messages or other hidden data. Rather, it would scrape and rationalize publicly accessible posts. This could be fortuitously combined with other FBI data to build detailed, but possibly inaccurate, portraits of suspected ne’er-do-wells.

Unsurprisingly, social media companies are not pleased.

NBC Dismisses Blaming the Shooter as Just a Talking Point of ‘Gun Control Opponents’

NBC over the weekend pushed gun control repeatedly, casually dismissing calls for focusing culpability on the perpetrators of mass shooters as simply a talking point of “gun control opponents.” The Today show also touted using children to promote the gun control agenda.

On Sunday, reporter Mike Viqueira sounded annoyed that Donald Trump would blame the shooters: “At his New Hampshire rally, Thursday, no mention of checks on criminal records, only for mental health history. The President echoing a familiar argument of gun control opponents.”

He then played a clip of Trump noting, “It’s not the gun that pulls the trigger. It’s the person holding the gun.” The quote from Trump was the only one in the segment to express skepticism for gun control. Viqueira also featured the Democratic mayor of San Francisco, Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings and Democrat Cory Booker.

East Garfield Park homeowner shoots intruder in backyard

CHICAGO (WLS) — An intruder was shot in the backyard of a home in the East Garfield Park neighborhood by the homeowner Tuesday morning, Chicago police said.

Police said a 49-year-old man intruded into the backyard of the home at about 4:59 a.m. in the 2900-block of West Walnut Street. The intruder was then shot in the upper thigh by a 54-year-old man who owns the home, police said.

The intruder was transported to Mt. Sinai Medical Center in good condition, police said. The homeowner is a licensed conceal carry holder, police said.

Area Central detectives are investigating.


Shots fired during violent home invasion in New Jersey

MAPLEWOOD, New Jersey (WABC) — Police are investigating a possible home invasion in New Jersey in which shots were fired.

It happened just after 3 a.m. on Lombardy Place in Maplewood.

Authorities say a woman had called 911 to report that two men had broken into their home and assaulted her fiance.

A neighbor described the area as generally quiet and said he didn’t hear anything overnight.

“Everybody here just goes to school or whatever they do, and then they go home and just rest,” Charles Williams said. “You don’t even see people outside that much. They just get in their car and go.”

The woman said the two men were dressed all in black and wearing masks. She said that they demanded money, and in the struggle, her fiance grabbed one of the guns and shot off a round at the intruders.

She said that caused the men to run off.

“You just don’t think about a home invasion, a break-in to a car or something, yeah, because my car got broken into,” neighbor Benito Calcador said. “But a home invasion, no, that’s really unnerving if that’s what happened.”

Police confirmed that entry into the home was made through a bathroom window in the back of the home.

It is not yet known if the intruders were shot, and area hospitals are on alert.

A vehicle believed to be driven by the suspects with a fake license plate was found in a parking lot nearby.

It is not yet known if anything was taken from the home.