BOTTOM LINE: Teachers who wish to carry guns and pass all requirements should be able to

WASHINGTON (SBG) – The State of Florida recently joined eight other states in allowing some teachers, staff, and coaches to carry guns in schools.

This effort in Florida is called the Guardian program. School districts can opt-out and teachers are not required to carry guns.

Those who do want to carry a gun have to apply, pass a background check, a psychological evaluation, and complete more than 140 hours of training.

Critics of the program worry about both how effective it will be and about its safety. I believe that school safety is an unsolved problem that requires bold solutions.

We have tried making schools gun-free zones and that clearly has not worked. The Guardian program makes sense. We trust teachers to care for our children.

And if some teachers who feel comfortable and satisfy extensive requirements want to step up and protect our kids, we should thank and celebrate them.

According to the FBI, in the five years between 2014 and 2018, there were at least 19 instances of citizens stopping or repelling active shooters.

That shows that responsible, armed Americans are able to stand up to the evil in our society.

Here’s the Bottom Line: For me as a parent school safety is not just an issue, it is the issue. Enlisting the help of properly trained and credentialed teachers in keeping our kids safe in school is good, common sense.

Former CIA official on whistleblower: ‘How could this be an intelligence matter?’

Fred Fleitz, president of the Center for Security Policy, served in 2018 as deputy assistant to the president and to the chief of staff of the National Security Council. He previously held national-security jobs with the CIA, the DIA, the Department of State, and the House Intelligence Committee staff. He remarks on the whistleblower complaint.

I am troubled by the complaint and wonder how an intelligence officer could file it over something a president said to a foreign leader. How could this be an intelligence matter?

It appears likely to me that this so-called whistleblower was pursuing a political agenda.

I am very familiar with transcripts of presidential phone calls since I edited and processed dozens of them when I worked for the NSC. I also know a lot about intelligence whistleblowers from my time with the CIA.

My suspicions grew this morning when I saw the declassified whistleblowing complaint. It appears to be written by a law professor and includes legal references and detailed footnotes. It also has an unusual legalistic reference on how this complaint should be classified.

From my experience, such an extremely polished whistleblowing complaint is unheard of. This document looks as if this leaker had outside help, possibly from congressional members or staff.

Moreover, it looks like more than a coincidence that this complaint surfaced and was directed to the House Intelligence Committee just after Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), an outspoken opponent of President Trump, expressed numerous complaints in August 2019 accusing President Trump of abusing aid to Ukraine to hurt Joe Biden. This includes an August 28 tweet that closely resembled the whistleblowing complaint.

House Republicans need to ask the whistleblower under oath whether he spoke to the press or Congress about his complaint.

Also very concerning to me is how the complaint indicates intelligence officers and possibly other federal employees are violating the rules governing presidential phone calls with foreign leaders.

The content and transcripts of these calls are highly restricted. The whistleblower makes clear in his complaint that he did not listen to a call in question, nor did he read the transcript — he was told about the call by others. If true, intelligence officers have grossly violated the rules as well as the trust placed on them to protect this sensitive information.

I refuse to believe that the leaking, timing and presentation of this complaint is coincidence. I don’t think the American people will buy this either.

I’m more worried, however, that this latest instance of blatant politicization of intelligence by Trump haters will do long term damage to the relationship between the intelligence community and US presidents for many years to come.

The Second Amendment is under siege

The White House has announced new plans on gun control. House Democrats are pushing another universal background check bill, and high-profile Republicans in both chambers of Congress are campaigning for a new federal grant program that would incentivize states to pass “red flag” laws. It is not overstating the case to say that there has never been a greater threat to due process and the Second Amendment.

“What we can’t do is fail to pass something,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, when asked about last month’s shootings in El Paso, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; and Philadelphia.

Statements like this should infuriate the American people for multiple reasons. Never in American history have we seen our Second Amendment and due process rights under siege from so many different directions. In the midst of such a volatile and unprecedented situation, careless remarks like these from our nation’s leaders cannot be tolerated.

This is why, earlier this month, 40 of my colleagues in the South Carolina General Assembly joined me in a letter to President Trump and Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott urging them to address the numerous factors that are being ignored on this issue, including the erosion of our civil liberties the dangers of gun-free zones.

Academic studies roundly demonstrate that more laws simply will not prevent mass shootings. On the contrary, the key to curtailing gun violence lies not in destroying our Constitutional liberties but in recognizing the sacred right of every law-abiding American to self-defense, both from violent crime and the threat of a tyrannical government.

Likewise, 94% of mass shootings actually occur in gun-free zones, according to research conducted by the Crime Prevention Center. Multiple studies elsewhere point to states and cities with the toughest anti-gun laws (such as Chicago and Washington, D.C.) as having the highest crime rates, rather than the other way around.

The Founding Fathers warned us to never trade liberty for security, but that is exactly what is happening before our very eyes. When law-abiding citizens are left defenseless against murderers, the last thing Congress should do is just “pass something”.

Our letter also points out the role the mainstream media holds in sensationalizing gun violence and setting a false narrative that violent crimes are on the rise. Just like the notion that gun-free zones make us safer, this couldn’t be any further from the truth. In fact, data gathered by the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicate that violent crime in the United States has steadily decreased since 1993.

I have taken an oath before God to defend the Constitution and am proud of my fellow legislators for joining me on this defining issue. Even with such a stirring display of unity, however, vigilance and courage will be demanded of us as the federal government’s crusade against our Constitutional rights continues.

To the elected officials across the U.S. who still believe in liberty: Now is not the time to stop fighting. President Calvin Coolidge warned that “it is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.” The inevitable slippery slope that follows when government neglects due process is one that we cannot afford to fall down. I hope that this attempt to further destroy our liberties fails.

Stewart Jones, a Republican, is a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, currently serving on the Medical, Municipal, and Public Affairs committee.

Why AR-15s Are The Plastic Straws Of The Gun World

How did AR-15s become the plastic straws of the gun world? It’s simple: Demagogues need scapegoats. Yet just as banning plastic straws won’t make a dent in the ocean-polluting plastics problem, banning “assault rifles” (which aren’t) won’t save even one life.

It’s tragic how, just like faddish teenagers playing a dangerous or stupid social-media-driven prank, so-called adults go on misguided, media-driven, lynch-mob kicks. Remember when SUVs were demonized as planet killers approximately 15 to 20 years ago? Some environmentalists claimed that SUV drivers were essentially “hate group” members, and other vandalism-crazy greenies would, ironically, set fire to the vehicles to combat global warming. Yet SUVs currently appear more popular than ever, and all is quiet on the gas-guzzler front. What happened? The demagogues and their dupes have moved on to a different neurotic fixation.

Now the suburban soccer mom can drive her Panzer-size SUV (by the by, back in the “day” they were called “trucks” — ah, marketing) content in the “feeling” that she’s saving the environment because she supports banning plastic straws. Never mind that doing so likely won’t save even one marine mammal, since the U.S. is responsible for only one percent of ocean-polluting plastics, and straws account for just 0.025 percent of that. Never mind that anti-”strawism” began with erroneous claims in a nine-year-old’s science project (ugh, beam me up, Scotty). The lynch mob must be fed, and plastic straw users, well, really suck….

Joining straws in the dock, and giving new meaning to demonizing the one percent, are Assault Rifles™. Not only are they used in, approximately, just one percent of homicides, they aren’t even “assault rifles,” a term that had always referred to weapons that could be fired fully automatic or in more than one way (fully auto, three-shot bursts, etc). Now the term is being applied to semi-automatic (one trigger pull, one shot) rifles with certain cosmetic features (a military “look”), which is a bit like putting a Porsche body on a Yugo chassis and claiming the car will win races.

But, hey, as anti-gun crusader Josh Sugarmann once put it, these “weapons’ menacing looks,” coupled with the public’s confusion — “anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun — can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.” Yeah, it’s a con.

That said, AR-15s are used in an inordinate percentage of high-profile mass shootings. But believing that outlawing them would reduce these incidents’ frequency makes as much sense as believing that banning the BMW 4 Series — which AutoBlog.com lists as the car most likely to be involved in a crash — would reduce the accident rate.

Quite apropos, AutoBlog’s subtitle boldly reminds readers, “Remember: People cause crashes, not cars.” The point is that outlawing a vehicle wouldn’t take the kind of people who drive it off the road; they’d just get into accidents in a different vehicle.

This point is even more relevant for AR-15-category rifles. The AR-15 is commonly used in mass shootings for two simple reasons: It’s the most popular rifle in America.

And it looks cool.

In reality, though, such a weapon isn’t the best choice for committing mass shootings, which generally involve attacking soft targets at close range. More effective would be a semi-automatic, 12-gauge shotgun or even a pump-action one (and a shotgun was used in the Aurora, Colorado, shooting in 2012).

In other words, not only would mass shooters simply choose a different weapon if AR-15-type rifles were somehow unavailable, but it’s arguable that the rifle’s criminalization could push them toward more effective weaponry.

Speaking of which, presidential contender Irish Bob O’Rourke said in March, echoing many, “I just don’t think that we need to sell any more weapons of war into this public.” He’d have been more accurate if he’d stopped after his first four words. But the pitch is rhetorically effective, conjuring up images of flesh-eviscerating machine-gun fire.

Yet leaving aside the common argument that allowing Americans the same firearms the military uses was the Second Amendment’s actual intent, first note that the AR-15 was never a standard issue US military rifle. In fact, while the M-16 — which uses the same platform but isn’t limited to semi-auto fire — was, it was supplanted a while back by the M-4; this, in turn, is set to be replaced by an entirely different rifle that will likely even use different, more effective ammunition (critics have long bemoaned the M-16’s/M-4’s relative lack of stopping power).

Moreover, how many guns weren’t designed as “weapons of war”? Bolt-action rifles were once state-of-the-art weapons of war. So was the flintlock. Go back even further, and clubs were weapons of war, and many people are still killed with them today. Should we outlaw baseball bats?

In fact, far from devastating, the AR-15’s standard round is small caliber (the same diameter as a .22) and has the second least power of the 41 cartridges found on this Rifle Cartridge Killing Power List page (note: When loaded with 5.56mm ammo, the power is somewhat greater but still relatively lacking). In other words, you can acquire any number of hunting rifles far more devastating than an AR.

This, mind you, is why some states have prohibited the AR-15’s use in deer hunting; its relatively weak round may not kill the animal, but simply send it off wounded and suffering.

It’s also why the nine-year-old girl in the video below could fire the weapon with ease. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDdHj6iCP0k

In contrast, I’ve seen a 240-pound man (who wasn’t prepared for the extreme recoil) almost knocked over by a 12-gauge shotgun loaded with a magnum shell.

So we can outlaw AR-15-type rifles if it makes us feel better, but just as banning plastic straws won’t save marine life, it won’t save even one human life. For this reason, it would also be followed by another scapegoated gun targeted for criminalization. Note here that Britain’s deadliest ever mass shooting, the Dunblane massacre in 1996, inspired sweeping anti-firearms laws — after being committed with handguns.

Oh, and London just surpassed N.Y.C. in homicides last year.

This is unsurprising since, as Professor Thomas Sowell illustrated, there’s no correlation whatsoever between stricter gun laws and lower murder rates.

This is why, more to fear than guns are demagogues — shooting off their assault mouths.

Commentary: A gun-control call for conservatives who cherish the Second Amendment

As I emailed him:
#1
The 2nd amendment isn’t about hunting.
#2
NO. Your move.

Today we must begin with a rather unusual request: Will all law-and-order liberals kindly butt out, just this once? We don’t need your help on this one.

We are talking today only to the millions of Americans who strongly support conservative principles, cherish the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment and admire the iconic leadership of Ronald Reagan and Sen. Barry Goldwater………….

Reagan:
“I do not believe in taking away the right of the citizen for sporting, for hunting and so forth, or for home defense. But I do believe that an AK-47 is not a sporting weapon or needed for defense of a home.” ………..

Barry Goldwater, the 1964 Republican presidential standard-bearer who famously posed with his favorite rifle in ads that declared “I’m the NRA,” was an Air Force Reserve major general who opposed selling military-styled assault weapons to civilians………….

“I’ve never used an automatic or semi-automatic for hunting,” Goldwater said. “There’s no need to. They have no place in anybody’s arsenal. If any SOB can’t hit a deer with one shot, he should quit shooting.”………….

Close the background-check loopholes (like the one that mass killer in gun-proud West Texas just used). Ban bump-stock modifications and huge capacity magazines that transform civilian guns into battlefield-ready weapons. Ban the manufacture, sale and civilian ownership of military-styled assault weapons (and yes, let’s buy back assault weapons to keep us safe).

Finally, when gun lobbyists and their puppets push you to settle for only fixing background checks and nothing more, tell them this test about saving our family’s lives has only one correct answer: All of the above.

Martin Schram, an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service, is a veteran Washington journalist, author and TV documentary executive. Readers may send him email amartin.schram@gmail.com.

Farmers prosper in spite of Trump’s trade battle with China

in spite of‘?
But anyway, when you’ve lost The Hill, noted for being left of center…..

Anti-Trumpers agree: The president’s trade battle with China is hurting our economy and, in particular, America’s farmers. We are told that the tariff tiffs have caused a collapse in U.S. agricultural exports to China, and consequent heartbreak in our heartland.

It isn’t true.

As with most criticisms lodged against the Trump White House, this oft-repeated narrative is way overblown. Turns out, far from suffering what CNBC recently described as “a devastating year for farmers” the farmers of America overall are doing quite well.

The Department of Agriculture recently forecast that net farm income will rise nearly 5 percent this year, to $88 billion. That growth comes on top of increases in both 2017 and 2018 and is, just for the record, faster than the overall growth of the economy.

For sure, times could be better. The forecast for this year means that real net farm income would come in 36 percent below its peak of $136.5 billion in 2013 and slightly below its 2000-18 average ($90.1 billion). Farmers suffered a severe drop in total revenues during the Obama years, collapsing from $484 billion in 2013 to $412 billion in 2016. Weirdly, I don’t remember the media paying much attention.

Not all farmers are expected to enjoy rising income this year. Commodities receipts are forecast to decrease $2.4 billion, or less than 1 percent, to $371 billion, while sales of animals and animal products should climb modestly.

And that dreadful soybean collapse? The DOA is estimating that revenues for all crops will decline $3 billion, or under 2 percent, thanks to crimped soybean sales. But payments to farmers under the administration’s Market Facilitation Program, in addition to other subsidies, will rise almost $6 billion this year, more than offsetting the fall in crop receipts.

Perhaps most startling, the DOA forecasts that the average farm will see net cash income increase more than 11 percent this year, “the first annual increase after 4 consecutive years of declines.” Moreover, the median income of farm households will be up almost 4 percent this year.

At the same time, farmers are getting richer; the net worth of the farm sector is likely to rise slightly this year, to $2.7 trillion, mostly because of higher real estate values.

In short, it turns out that as a whole our farmers are doing ok, or maybe even better than ok. 

Call ugliness and violence what it is.

Large scale intimidation and thuggery was on display on the streets of Boston this weekend as antifa and other extreme leftists bullied and harassed anyone they deemed divergent from their groupthink. They spit and punched and yelled hateful things at law enforcement and by Saturday night there were 36 arrests and 4 injured officers, according to Boston police. Nine people face charges of assault and battery on police officers.

Our elected leaders need to call out antifa for what they are: a hate group.

They target anyone they’ve determined to be an existential threat — and that is most everyone except their fellow anarchists, socialists and communists. Any Trump supporter in their minds would most definitely be considered a fascist, and would necessarily need to be stopped one way or another from appearing in the public square.

“We’re covered in black so when we attack these guys we can’t be prosecuted,” said Jon Crowley, an antifa member who told the Herald that he felt violence was the only way to deal with the people marching in the parade, which went from Copley Square to City Hall Plaza. “They are fascists, 100%. How else are you going to get them to shut up?”

In an August 2017 rally on Boston Common, antifa and other radical leftists hunted down attendees of a controversial “free speech” rally. There were 33 arrests for disruptive behavior. The mob descended upon a man wearing an Israeli flag. Bottles of urine and rocks were thrown at police.

Last November, antifa converged on Tucker Carlson’s house, vandalizing the dwelling, chanting threats, banging on the door, and spray painting an anarchy symbol on the driveway according to Associated Press reports.

Ted Cruz and his wife got similar treatment when the same group converged upon them in a restaurant.

In June, journalist Andy Ngo who has covered antifa’s violence in Portland, Ore., critically for years was brutally attacked by the group, suffering a “traumatic brain injury,” according to his then-employer Quillette. Ngo is a gay, Asian-American journalist. It is easy to imagine what the coverage would be like if he was pummeled by a conservative mob.

In the months since, antifa and various far-right groups have continuously clashed on the streets of Portland, with escalating violence that the city and law enforcement seem powerless to stop. Boston must do everything possible to prevent similar repeated confrontations from erupting here and turning the city into a massive street fight every time someone wants to exercise the right to free speech.

These groups have a right to lawfully assemble, however, as do counter-protestors. It is unacceptable that peaceful speech from either side should be allowed to escalate into physical altercations by violent mobs. This must be widely condemned by elected leaders regardless of their political leanings.

Congressman Ayanna Pressley, for example, should reconsider her choice to call for donations on Twitter to help bail out the arrested counter-protestors, thanking them and calling them “allies” in a tweet Saturday. Violent and disruptive behavior cannot be normalized by our politicians.

Thuggery must be punished harshly by the justice system and those who attack police must pay a high price for their actions.