A former American Airlines mechanic admitted he tried to sabotage a plane at the Miami airport.

Yeah, suuuure it was so he could get some more overtime.

A former American Airlines mechanic accused of trying to sabotage a commercial airliner pleaded guilty to attempted destruction of an aircraft in federal court.

Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, 60, admitted that he intentionally tried to damage or disable an aircraft’s air data module (ADM) system, which reports aircraft speed, pitch and other critical data, on July 17.
He “inserted a foam substance into the ADM system and used super glue to hold the substance in place,” the US Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

Alani was indicted in September for willfully attempting to damage, destroy, disable and wreck a civil aircraft, according to a grand jury indictment. The charges carried up to 20 years in prison.

A House Divided: Impeachment As The New Normal.

Today Donald J. Trump became the third president in U.S. history to be impeached (No, Nixon was not impeached.) This is by all accounts a somber moment, except those of the salivating pundits on MSNBC fighting to mask their giddy smiles like a chocolate smeared child who just licked the mixing bowl clean. We are living in history, albeit a part of history that is becoming troublingly frequent.

For 223 years, the American congress only saw fit to impeach one president, Andrew Johnson from Greeneville, TN. Johnson, the Southern leader of a newly restored Union, was impeached for over-extending his executive powers in the eyes of an antagonistic congress. In layman’s terms, they impeached him because they were tired of his constitutionally questionable antics.

On December 18, 1998, twenty-one years ago today,  the republican controlled House of Representatives introduced articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton for lying under oath about a sexual relationship with a former White House intern. Republicans and special counsel Ken Starr had a big swing and a miss earlier in the year, as the Starr Report failed to find conclusive evidence implicating Clinton in any of the myriad scandals he was alleged to have been involved in. Republicans found a different way. After failing to definitively prove he was involved with Whitewater, Travelgate, or Filegate, they caught him lying under oath about dipping his pen in the company ink.

The Trump impeachment has commonalities with both of these. Democrats have been incensed by Trump from day one, much like the union loyalists were with southern sympathizer Johnson. Like Clinton, from virtually day one Trump has been the subject of investigations, probes and lawsuits pertaining to a vast array of alleged scandals. Unlike Clinton, Trump is not a media darling and has had to battle intense media scrutiny as well as a host of pesky bureaucrats and Washington insiders.

The constitution calls for impeachment in cases of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” This is one of the most vague parts of our constitution. Presidents are not tried by the courts or convicted by juries. They are impeached by the House and tried in front of a jury constituted of all one-hundred senators. No president has ever been convicted by the Senate. So, what constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors? Why do we have impeachment?

The only person who would almost certainly have been convicted and removed from office was President Richard Nixon. He resigned before that could happen. His sins were so severe they melted the partisan ice in Washington, his scandal so repugnant even his own party turned on him. This is not the case with Trump, nor was it with Clinton, or to a lesser extent Johnson.

Presidents Clinton and Trump have something in common, besides impeachment and their one time mutual support for a southern border wall. They came to Washington as outsiders, and had a modicum of success achieving their policy goals. One was a slick, smooth talking lawyer from Arkansas who back slapped and baby kissed his way into America’s heart. The other, a brash New York tycoon who charged the breach with hellfire and brimstone. Either way, they were both outsiders who galled their political foes at every turn. The elusive Clinton slipped punches and scandals with a wink and a sly grin, while the brash Trump charged into his accusers like Smokin’ Joe Frazier, giving as many licks as he took.

Clinton wasn’t impeached for lying about a blue dress and an intern. He was impeached because republicans hated him. Trump was not impeached for some mysterious phone call to Ukraine. He was impeached because democrats hate him. Impeachment is the figurative ejector seat in our democracy. It was designed as a measure of last resort to protect the nation from its president. Does anyone really believe this phone call passes muster? We have now chosen to employ impeachment twice in twenty-one years, after using it only once before in the history of our nation.

We have impeached two out of the last four presidents.

Let that sink in.

This is a dismal reflection on the state of our politics.

Georgia: federal judge allows state to proceed with mass voting rolls purge.

Standard practice before the demoncraps started fighting all the anti-fraud measures.

A federal judge is allowing Georgia to proceed with a mass purge of its voting rolls planned for Monday evening, but he also scheduled a hearing later in the week to hear more arguments about the matter.

A voting rights group founded by the Democrat Stacey Abrams had filed an emergency motion on Monday, asking a court to halt the plan.

The motion was filed by Fair Fight Action in US district court, hours before the secretary of state’s office planned to begin the purge of inactive voter registrations.

But the decision by the judge was to allow the action to go ahead after a lawyer for the state assured him that if the judge finds later that some people should not have been removed, they can be easily and quickly reinstated.

In October, the secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, released a list of more than 313,000 voters whose registrations were at risk of being canceled, about 4% of registered voters in Georgia. Those voters were mailed notices in November and had 30 days to respond in order to keep their registration intact.

Walter Jones, a spokesman for the secretary of state, said the purge was planned for overnight Monday into Tuesday. He said the exact number and names of voters removed would not be known until then and that more information would be made available later.

NY Muslim Patrol Bullies Get Bullied Back by the Bloods

Members of New York’s Muslim Patrol recently became embroiled in a near-explosive altercation outside the Masjid Taqwa in Brooklyn with members of the Bloods, a notoriously violent gang.

The Muslim Patrol gained international attention in the fall of 2018 after several of its patrol cars — which look like New York Police Department (NYPD) cars –were spotted in Brooklyn and Staten Island.

The Bloods are a violent African-American street gang known for trafficking drugs and guns. This criminal organization has made national headlines with targeted assassinations, drive-by shootings and deadly gun battles with law enforcement.

On December 10, a verbal altercation began in the evening when a teenage boy allegedly “disrespected” a Muslim woman outside the Brooklyn mosque on Fulton Street. The boy did not touch the woman, bystanders say, but did speak to her.

A Muslim Patrol member grabbed the teen by the collar and threw him against the gate of the Masjid Taqwa, a local mosque. While the boy was pressed firmly against the fence, the Muslim Patrol member held him by the neck and lectured him.

“That MCP [Muslim Community Patrol] officer snatched that boy up,” one witness said. “He grabbed him by the collar and threw him up against the gate and held onto him by the neck area.”

After the rebuke, the boy complained to his father, who happens to be a senior member of the local Bloods. The father rallied six other Blood members to join him and went to Masjid Taqwa, where at least one Blood member brandished a weapon.

“One of them was strapped,” a witness said of a Blood member who had a firearm. “He raised his jacket and flashed that gun. Those dudes came out there to shoot up that Masjid. The father, he wanted to mess that MCP officer up.”

According to the witness, the father said to the Muslim Patrol officer, “Dude, I’m going to bust in your f—— mouth if you ever put your hands on my child again.”

The situation escalated after the Muslim Patrol member called for backup. Soon, several Muslim Patrol cars arrived with sirens screaming and lights flashing.

Witnesses reported mutual shouting as the Bloods confronted the original Muslim Patrol member, who was quickly shoved into the mosque by his comrades to protect him.

 

Five More Texas Counties Pass ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary’ Resolutions

Something, something, rookie numbers, Texas

Update: The piece has been updated to reflect additional counties that were found to have adopted Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions since the time of publishing.

The commissioners’ courts in Navarro, Brown, Coleman, McCulloch, and Titus counties all unanimously voted in favor of a resolution to become Second Amendment “sanctuaries” on Monday.

“I’ve had a lot of citizens ask me about this,” said Eddie Moore, a Navarro county commissioner, “and there have been eleven counties prior to us to do this in the state of Texas. And this basically shows the commissioners’ court and the county’s support for the right to keep and bear arms, and that we will not allow county funds or county personnel to assist in the infringement of those rights.”

Moore told The Texan that he had been working on introducing and passing the resolution for about a month and a half, around the time when the movement in Texas started gaining traction.

According to Brownwood News, Brown County Judge Paul Lilly could not attend the meeting, but expressed his support for the resolution, saying, “The Second Amendment is, to a degree, the amendment that guarantees all the others. Firearms in the hands of responsible adults help assure our way of life. For this reason I am a staunch supporter of the second amendment and welcome Brown County becoming a Second Amendment sanctuary county. I couldn’t be more proud.”

While mostly in rural areas, over a tenth of all counties in Texas have passed the resolution that the local governments will not “authorize or appropriate government funds or resources” to enforce “unconstitutional” firearm restrictions.

Brookhaven homeowner shoots, kills burglary suspect

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. – Police confirmed a homeowner shot and killed a burglary suspect Wednesday afternoon in DeKalb County.

The shooting happened at a home off Wilmont Drive near Clairmont Road. Brookhaven Police told Channel 2 Action News they received a 911 call from the homeowner around noon.

Officers are talking to the homeowner to find out exactly what happened, but it appears the homeowner interrupted the burglary inside his home. The suspect died from his injuries.

Police told Channel 2′s Tom Jones the man has a right to defend himself.

“He’s not identified as a suspect. But as this investigation moves forward we’ll have to see where the facts lead us,” Deputy Chief Brandon Gurley said.

One neighbor told Jones the gunfire sounded like it came from two different guns, but police did not say if the burglar had a weapon.

The neighbor also said the shooting is unusual for the neighborhood. But she is a gun owner and understands why the neighbor did what he did.

“If someone is in your home I know the law on that. Yeah, you do have a right,” she said.

Police are working to identify the suspect. Officers said daytime burglaries increase during the holidays because criminals know people are buying valuable items.

This was the second time in 24 hours that a metro Atlanta homeowner shot an intruder. A Rockdale County resident exchanged gunfire with two suspects during a home invasion.


Woman wounded after exchanging gunfire with home invaders Tuesday night

CONYERS – Rockdale County investigators are trying to determine the circumstances in what appears to be a violent home invasion Tuesday night. The incident left the female homeowner wounded. Deputies also believe a suspect was shot as well.

According to 11Alive News, Sheriff Eric Levett was at the scene on Tuesday night on Lost Valley Drive in Conyers. He said deputies received a call sometime after 6 p.m. about a person shot. When they arrived they found the injured woman.

“She indicated that two black males entered her residence by way of kicking in her front door,” Levett said. “She somehow made it to her bedroom to take cover and locked herself inside the bedroom.”

However, the suspects ran up the stairs and kicked in that door as well.

“Shots were fired,” Levett said. “We don’t know if she shot first or if the suspect or suspects shot first.”

The woman was shot twice, the sheriff said. They believe she struck one of the men. Authorities said the suspects left the scene after the exchange of gunfire.

The woman was airlifted to a hospital. Her condition is not known at this time. Investigators also contacted other area hospitals and law enforcement agencies to see if any other patients showed up with a gunshot wound.

“We received a call about an hour and a half later from DeKalb County stating that they had located a male subject in the roadway that appeared to have some gunshot wounds to his person,” the sheriff said.

However, the sheriff said it’s unclear at this time if the man that was found in the road is connected to this scene.

“Both parties, the victim and this male gentleman that was located are both in surgery,” he said. “We have investigators at both hospitals.”

Deputies are still trying to determine what led up to the incident.

“We don’t know if this house was targeted, we don’t know if she was followed or what the circumstance as to why, this what we believe, to be a home invasion occurred.”

It’s also unclear if anything was taken during the crime. Levett said they will know more information after they are able to talk to everyone.


Myrtletown Card Shop Owner Fires Gun at Would-be Robbers

Press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:

On Dec. 17, 2019, at about 4:30 p.m., Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a business on the 1600 block of Myrtle Avenue, in the county’s jurisdiction of Eureka, for the report of a robbery in progress with shots fired.

Upon arrival to the business, deputies made contact with the store owner. According to the store owner, just prior to deputies’ arrival a female suspect entered the business and inquired about selling baseball cards. As the store owner was completing the transaction, an unknown male suspect entered the business and attempted to steal the business’ money drawer.

A struggle ensued between the store owner and the male suspect. At some point during the altercation the store owner discharged a concealed firearm once. The suspects then reportedly fled the business, uninjured, on foot without the business’ money drawer.

Deputies searched the surrounding areas but were unable to locate the suspects.

The suspects are described as:

  • Male adult, possibly dark-complected, approximately 5 feet 8 inches tall to 6 feet tall, medium build, wearing dark pants, a dark thermal-type long sleeve shirt underneath a dark short sleeve shirt, a dark baseball cap and a white mask over his nose and mouth.
  • White female adult, approximately 5 feet 7 inches tall, heavy build, with black hair, wearing a purple jacket and blue jeans.

This incident is still under investigation.

Anyone with information about this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

Attorney General William P. Barr Announces Launch of Operation Relentless Pursuit

Who are the Mayors of these most-violent cities?
Albuquerque – Tim Keller D
Baltimore – Catherine Pugh D
Cleveland – Frank Jackson D
Detroit – Mike Dugan D
Kansas City – Quinten Lucas D
Memphis – Jim Strickland D
Milwaukee – Tom Barrett D
Anyone see a pattern?

 

The Operation Will Surge Federal Law Enforcement Resources into Seven of America’s Most Violent Cities

Today, Attorney General William P. Barr announced the launch of Operation Relentless Pursuit, an initiative aimed at combating violent crime in seven of America’s most violent cities through a surge in federal resources.

Joined at a press conference in Detroit, Michigan, by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Acting Director Regina Lombardo, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray, and U.S. Marshals Service Director Donald W. Washington, Attorney General Barr pledged to intensify federal law enforcement resources into Albuquerque, Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, Memphis, and Milwaukee – seven American cities with violent crime levels several times the national average.

“Americans deserve to live in safety,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “And while nationwide violent crime rates are down, many cities continue to see levels of extraordinary violence. Operation Relentless Pursuit seeks to ensure that no American city is excluded from the peace and security felt by the majority of Americans, while also supporting those who serve and protect in these communities with the resources, training, and equipment they need to stay safe.”

“The men and women of ATF are deeply committed to and focused on reducing crime gun violence in our communities,” said ATF Acting Director Regina Lombardo. “We are proud that our efforts have significantly contributed to the historic reductions in violence that our nation has realized in recent years. Operation Relentless Pursuit combines the resources of ATF, DEA, FBI, and U.S. Marshals to support our state and local law enforcement partners in those cities that – regrettably – continue to be plagued by rates of violent crime that are simply too high. Through Relentless Pursuit, we pledge to hold accountable the trigger-pullers, firearm traffickers, violent criminals and those who supply them the guns to terrorize our communities. ATF will aggressively utilize every available tool, including our crime gun enforcement teams, National Integrated Ballistic Information Network and firearms tracing to identify, investigate and support the prosecution of the most violent firearm offenders.”

“Drug traffickers – including cartels and street gangs – will stop at nothing to turn a profit, often using violence and intimidation to expand their reach,” said DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon. “This targeted surge of resources will further strengthen our ability to work with our federal, state, and local partners to pursue the worst offenders and make our communities safer.”

“The FBI remains committed to providing our specialized expertise and resources to assist our federal, state and local partners fighting violent crime,” said FBI Director Christopher A. Wray. “We are here today to reaffirm our dedication to reducing violent crime in the cities selected for Operation Relentless Pursuit to combat the threats that arise from gangs and criminal enterprises that drive violence in the communities we are sworn to protect.”

“The U.S. Marshals Service is proud of the integral role we play in supporting Attorney General Barr’s strong leadership and commitment to combating violent crime and enhancing public safety throughout our nation,” said U.S. Marshals Service Director Donald W. Washington. “We will continue to work with our local, state, and federal partners to make communities safer by addressing violent crime at its core and taking the worst of the worst fugitives and other felons off the streets.”

The operation will involve increasing the number of federal law enforcement officers to the selected cities, as well as bulking up federal task forces through collaborative efforts with state and local law enforcement partners. The surge in federal agents will be complemented by a financial commitment of up to $71 million in federal grant funding that can be used to hire new officers, pay overtime and benefits, finance federally deputized task force officers, and provide mission-critical equipment and technology.

A 2A Sanctuary State

Thanks to the work of the Virginia Citizens Defense League most everyone is now familiar with Second Amendment sanctuary cities and counties. As of yesterday, there are now 101 sanctuary cities and counties.

This is all good and well but what if you had an entire 2A sanctuary state.

It should be noted that cities and counties are creatures of the state. Under Dillon’s Rule, they only have the power to act when given an express grant by the state or if it could be implied from there. Thus, a state can take power away from local governments or even dissolve them but the converse isn’t true.

Rep. David Hardin (R-86), Assistant Majority Whip of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, has pre-filed a bill that would make Oklahoma a Second Amendment state. HB 2781 or Second Amendment Preservation Act would ban any Oklahoma state or local official from enforcing any Federal law, act, executive order, court order, etc. that would infringe on the right to keep and bear arms.

According to the Tenth Amendment Center, the bill has a very detailed definition of infringement that includes:

  • taxes and fees on firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition that would have a chilling effect on firearms ownership;
  • registration and tracking schemes applied to firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition that would have a chilling effect;
  • any act forbidding the possession, ownership, or use or transfer of a firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition by law-abiding citizens;
  • any act ordering the confiscation of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition from law-abiding citizens.

The bill allows civil suits against any one who violates the law and knowingly violated a person’s right to keep and bear arms. Very interestingly, the bill would remove sovereign immunity as an affirmative defense in such suits. (Section 7.C.)

The bill also includes provisions that would apply to federal agents who knowingly enforce or attempt to enforce any of the infringing acts identified in the law, or who give material aid and support to such enforcement efforts.

Under the proposed law, they would “be permanently ineligible to serve as a law enforcement officer or to supervise law enforcement officers for the state or any political subdivision of the state.” This would also apply to state or local law enforcement agents working with federal task forces or deputized by federal agencies.

In other words, Oklahoma law enforcement officers who cooperate with the feds in a violation of a person’s right to keep and bear arms would lose their jobs and never be able to work in Oklahoma law enforcement again, and federal agents could not work in Oklahoma law enforcement.

As the Supreme Court has ruled in Printz v. US, the Federal government cannot force state law enforcement officials to implement or enforce Federal laws. This is known as the doctrine of anti-commandeering.

While the Federal government cannot force state and local law enforcement to enforce Federal law, it can engage in partnerships with them to do so. A prime example of this would be requests from ICE to local law enforcement to hold illegal aliens who are arrested for other reasons until such time as they can be remanded to Federal custody. Likewise, for any Federal gun control law to be effective, it needs the help of state and local law enforcement.

I don’t know the likelihood of this bill passing the Oklahoma State Legislature. However, given the sponsor is part of the Republican leadership, this is more likely than if introduced by some freshman back bencher. I will keep you updated.

Impeach Him If You Like, but for the Love of God, Stop Pretending You Care about the Constitution

Perhaps Donald Trump deserves to be impeached for his Ukrainian adventure. Heck, maybe he deserves to be impeached for sending that insanely entertaining letter yesterday. But those are political considerations for Democrats. Impeaching the president isn’t a Constitutional imperative. Nor is it a patriotic obligation. Democrats, who today ludicrously wrap themselves in the patina of “rule of law,” know this well. Not very long ago, they were rationalizing and cheerleading unprecedented abuses of power under the Obama administration. And they’ll be cheerleading for more abuses of the Constitution the next time they win the White House.

Nancy Pelosi can dress in black, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and act as if this impeachment is her solemn obligation, but everyone saw the Democratic party’s hysterical reaction to the 2016 election. Everyone saw dozens of candidates running in 2018 — either implicitly, but most often explicitly — on getting rid of the president. Just last week we learned that people within our intelligence agencies subverted the law to help Democrats concoct a three-year national panic meant to undermine the veracity of a fair election.

“The Republic is why we are here today. We are custodians of the Constitution. A Republic by the people for the people,” writes one Eric Swalwall, a man who once pondered the possibility of nuking Americans who demanded to practice their Second Amendment rights. Trump-era liberals had argued for the abolition of the Electoral College long before they were pretending to care about Ukrainian autonomy. Democrats were talking about stacking the Supreme Court long before any whistleblower showed up.

If your contention is that the Constitution protects abortion on demand through the ninth month but are fine with undermining property rights, gun rights, religious freedom, and any meaningful separation of power, you’re not a custodian of the Constitution, you’re partisan with an agenda.

So do what you must. But it’s been insufferable watching you playact sentinel of the American Republic — whose presumptions, institutions, documents, and Founders you don’t really seem to like very much.

Trump: ‘If Comey and Top FBI People Were Dirty Wouldn’t All These Phony Cases Have to Be Overturned?’

Writing on Twitter, President Donald Trump wonders whether one of the results of the damning Inspector General’s report should be that all of the “phony” cases have to be overturned or dismissed. Is he talking about George Papadopoulos and, more importantly, General Mike Flynn?The Federalist reports that

Judge Emmet Sullivan had two choices: He could ignore the growing evidence of government misconduct and wind up the two-year saga that has been the sentencing phase of the Michael Flynn criminal case, or he could say “not on my watch.” Yesterday, in a methodical and seemingly tempered opinion, the long-time federal judge opted for the former tack when he denied in full the comprehensive motion to compel Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell filed several months ago. Judge Sullivan then set Flynn’s sentencing for January 28, 2020.

This was a remarkable decision because Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the FBI overstepped its authority several times during the Russia collusion investigation. General Flynn was, of course, targeted as part of this investigation. Talk about a “poisoned well…”

Although the judge in the case disagrees, there’s one person with significant power who seems to share my view: President Donald J. Trump. On Twitter, Trump wrote:

So, if Comey & the top people in the FBI were dirty cops and cheated on the FISA Court, wouldn’t all of these phony cases have to be overturned or dismissed? They went after me with the Fake Dossier, paid for by Crooked Hillary & the DNC, which they illegally presented to FISA…

“They want to Impeach me (I’m not worried!),” he went on to say in a follow-up tweet, “and yet they were all breaking the law in so many ways. How can they do that and yet impeach a very successful (Economy Plus) President of the United States, who has done nothing wrong? These people are Crazy!”

The case against Gen. Flynn has always been extremely flimsy. The FBI was so determined to bring him down that they were willing to settle for anything that accomplished that goal, undoubtedly with the end-goal in mind of getting to President Trump himself. That failed eventually, but hey, at least they successfully took out a powerful critic of the (military) intelligence community… who also had the audacity to support Trump. To these dirty FBI agents, that was enough of a win.

So, they set him up and all but forced him into pleading guilty after he was financially ruined — the man lost his house, is bankrupt and will — even if he serves little to no jail time — have a difficult time finding a new job when he returns to society.

Back in April of this year, PJ Media’s own David P. Goldman called on President Trump to pardon Gen. Flynn and…

…and summon him back to Washington. Mueller forced Flynn to plead guilty to an invented charge of lying to FBI agents, even though the FBI agents who interviewed him about Russian contacts said that they thought he was telling the truth. Now that the Mueller investigation has come up with nothing, the frame-up of Gen. Flynn appears all the more heinous. The Deep State feared Mike Flynn, with good reason. Trump should reappoint him to a top job, and really terrify his opponents.

We can now add to this that, with the IG’s report proving serious and serial FBI misconduct in the Russia collusion investigation, the well has been poisoned to such a degree that the case against Gen. Flynn has to be dismissed — if not by Judge Sullivan, then by President Trump. who has all the authority he needs to pardon Flynn and bring the general back into his administration.

Trump is right: “All of these phony cases have to be overturned or dismissed.” But since the judges in those cases aren’t willing to take responsibility for it, it’s time for him to step up to the plate and help the man who meant so much to him early in his presidential campaign.

Obamacare individual mandate ruled illegal

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate runs afoul of the Constitution now that it is no longer a tax.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, remanded the case back to the lower court to evaluate whether other parts of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, can still stand.

“There is no other constitutional provision that justifies this exercise of congressional power,” wrote Judge Jennifer Elrod, a Bush appointee. . . .

After facing a number of legal battles, the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate in 2012, saying it was a tax under the Constitution’s taxing powers.

But in 2017, as part of the Republican majority’s tax overhaul bill, the penalty for failing to purchase healthcare coverage was changed to zero — leading to the current legal battle over whether the individual mandate can still legally stand as a tax.

Government Funded ‘Gun Violence’ Research Is Really Political Propaganda

On Monday, House and Senate negotiators announced a deal where $25 million in taxpayer funds will be spent on gun violence research, $12.5 million is earmarked exclusively for public health researchers. If history is any guide, but of the rest will also end up going to public health researchers.

Headlines claimed: “Congress reaches deal to fund gun violence research for first time in decades.” The funding described as “a major win for Democrats.” While that may sound like a good idea at first glance, it wouldn’t do anything to reduce gun violence in our country.

It should go without saying that everyone opposes gun violence. But it’s important to take effective measures to deal with this problem and not simply take actions that sound appealing but won’t really save lives.

The idea behind the research funding is to have medical professionals apply tools they developed to study cancer, heart disease and other diseases and use them to study crime, accidental death and suicide. But to state the obvious, gun violence and diseases are two very different things.

The National Rifle Association – regularly demonized in the media and by many Democrats – has been blamed for preventing academics from doing research on firearms. So supporters of the spending to research gun violence as a public health issue say their bill is needed to stop the NRA from blocking vital research that will save lives.

But there’s a big problem with the argument: it’s not true.

Opponents of the Second Amendment who are eager to impose as many restrictions as possible on firearms falsely claim that a measure enacted in 1996 called the Dickey Amendment – named after former Rep. Jay Dickey, (R-AR) – barred research on gun violence to be funded by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But in reality, here is what the reviled Dickey Amendment states: “None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to “advocate or promote gun control.”

The point of that plain language is to say CDC-funded research is fine. CDC advocacy is not. So despite what gun-control zealots say, objective research based on facts is allowed under the Dickey Amendment.

The amendment came in response to top CDC officials advocating various gun control laws, such as prohibiting people from carrying concealed handguns.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns falsely claimed in a 2013 report that as a result of the Dickey Amendment “academic publishing on firearm violence fell by 60 percent between 1996 and 2010.”

But the mayors’ group measured something different: firearms research in medical journals as a percentage of all medical research.

There was no decrease in either the total number of papers or pages devoted to firearms research. But with whole new fields of medicine being developed, there was an explosion of published medical studies in other areas.

In fact, between 2011 and 2016, firearms research in medical journals has increased more than five-fold and even more since then, as former New York City Mayor and multi-billionaire Michael Bloomberg has poured untold tens of millions of dollars into the effort.

SIXTH CIRCUIT HEARS DEBATE OVER LEGALITY OF BUMP STOCKS

CINCINNATI (CN) – A gun rights lobbyist group argued before the Sixth Circuit on Wednesday that rapid-fire gun attachments known as bump stocks should not be included in the government’s definition of machine gun.

Gun Owners of America, called “the only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington” by former Texas Congressman Ron Paul, sued Attorney General William Barr last year shortly after the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives updated the statutory definition of machine gun to include bump stocks.

The device, which gained notoriety following the 2017 shooting of concertgoers in Las Vegas, replaces the standard stock of a rifle and uses a semiautomatic weapon’s recoil to create a back-and-forth sequence that increases the rate of fire to one similar to a fully automatic weapon.

The ATF’s rule allowed owners of bump stocks to dispose of them by March 26, 2019, after which possession of one would become a felony offense.

U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney denied Gun Owners of America’s motion for a preliminary injunction shortly before the disposal deadline. The George W. Bush appointee found the group was unlikely to succeed on the merits of its claims for violations of the Administrative Procedure Act, or APA.

The statutory definition of machine gun includes the phrase “shoots … automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger,” and the lower court ruling hinged on the word “automatically.”

The ATF’s interpretation of the word “automatically” included the action of a shooter putting forward pressure on a bump stock to increase the rate of fire, and Maloney found this a reasonable and permissible interpretation under the APA.

Gun Owners of America argued the ATF’s rule is arbitrary because rubber bands and belt loops can be used to accomplish the same increase in rate of fire, but Maloney was not convinced.

“ATF’s interpretations of the statute,” he wrote, “which extend to devices specifically designed and marketed for the purpose of increasing the rate of fire of a semiautomatic weapon will not pose a danger of prosecution to individuals who own a semiautomatic weapon and also happen to own pants or elastic office supplies.”

Attorney Rob Olson argued on behalf of Gun Owners of America at Wednesday’s hearing, and told the Sixth Circuit panel that bump stocks do not convert a semiautomatic weapon into a machine gun.

Olson laid out a hypothetical scenario in which a semiautomatic AR-15 with a bump stock and a fully automatic M-16 rifle were strapped to a table and had their triggers zip-tied. He said that while the M-16 would fire continuously, the AR-15 would fire just a single shot.

The attorney said the device creates a “human compression spring” that allows for an increased rate of fire, but that “the bump stock is simply along for the ride.”

U.S. Circuit Judge Eric Murphy, an appointee of President Donald Trump, asked Olson if his client is seeking a nationwide injunction to prevent enforcement of the rule.

The attorney answered that he is, and that such relief is allowed under the APA.

Attorney Brad Hinshelwood from the Department of Justice argued on behalf of the government, saying bump stocks fall under the definition of machine gun because the devices “set up a continuous cycle” of fire once the shooter pulls the trigger.

Murphy spoke at length throughout Hinshelwood’s argument and pressed the attorney about the government’s shifting position on the interpretation of the statutory language found in the National Firearms Act.

Murphy accused the ATF of making mistakes in its interpretation of the Act in the past 10 years, and asked why every AR-15 would not be illegal given that they could be modified to act as fully automatic weapons with bump stocks or other devices.

“The bump stock is the machine gun in terms of the statute,” Hinshelwood responded, pointing out that the government has never thought to include all semiautomatic weapons as machine guns just because they could be modified.

In his rebuttal, Olson urged the panel to issue a nationwide injunction, but said he realizes the relief his client wants won’t be the end of the debate.

“This is something that is going to continue to percolate in the American government,” he told the court.

Both attorneys declined to comment after the hearing.

Senior U.S. Circuit Judge Alice Batchelder, an appointee of George H.W. Bush, and U.S. Circuit Judge Helene White, an appointee of George W. Bush, also sat on the panel.

No timetable has been set for the court’s decision.

 

FedEx Driver Fatally Shoots Suspect During Armed Robbery In Northeast Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Police say a FedEx driver fatally shot a suspect during an attempted robbery in Northeast Philadelphia Tuesday night. The shooting happened shortly after 7 p.m. on the 600 block of Unruh Avenue in the city’s Lawndale neighborhood.

It should have been a routine delivery with the 32-year-old FedEx driver dropping off a package to a home in the area. But that’s when police say an armed gunman approached and robbed the driver, perhaps not anticipating that the FedEx driver was also armed.

“He was able to tell police that he was making a delivery on the 600 block of Unruh and right when he got done making that delivery he was approached by at least one male and he was robbed at point of gun,” Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said.

Police say the driver was shot once in the abdomen during the robbery. Police say as they were receiving calls about shots fired in the area, the FedEx driver was able to drive himself to a nearby parking lot away from the scene.

He was transported to Einstein Medical Center and is in stable condition.

He told police that after being shot in the stomach, he pulled out his own weapon and returned fire at the suspect.

“Initially, we did not know whether the perpetrator was struck by gunfire,” Small said.

But minutes later, police were called to the 1400 block of Creston Street where they found a 27-year-old man in a driveway suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to chest, back and torso. The suspect died at the hospital.

Also near that scene, investigators located a vehicle where some of the items stolen from the FedEx truck were found inside. Police also say blood and a shell casing was found inside the vehicle.

A second person of interest was also located with the vehicle. Police are looking into whether that person drove the robbery suspect from the shooting scene to where he was found.

Back on Unruh Avenue, at least seven spent shell casings were found near where the package was delivered.

This is now a homicide investigation so police will determine whether the FedEx driver was acting in self-defense.

When asked if drivers are allowed to carry firearms, FedEx told CBS they “are not at liberty to disclose details of our internal policies.”

Everybody’s Polite at the Shooting Range

There’s a lot of talk about how civility has declined in America since Donald Trump took office.

They are right, of course.

I was driving in Los Angeles the other day, and people behaved like animals. The homeless people downtown looked quite sane compared with the lunatics in BMWs piloting their murderous machines like go-carts, driving with their knees while they text with one hand and sipped their frappa-latte with the other.

Ijits of the highest order were driving on the shoulder and using turn lanes to go to the front, then cut people off at the last second, flipping them the bird as they did so. I thought I was in Mexico City or New Delhi … except for the flipping-off part. It would have been funny, had it not been so dangerous.

It was so bad that–when a fleeing robber crossed into oncoming traffic and nearly hit me head-on bypassing stopped cars at an intersection–I wrote it off as just another LA psychopath trying to save ten seconds. Then five police cars came around the bend after him, and the helicopter with the spotlight.

Americans are wound up and stressed out, sure; but civility was cratering long before Donald Trump took office. Many people took his election as a cue to turn the a**hole up to 11. Our loss of civility is a feature, not a bug.

Speaking of a**holes: the riots after the UK election inspired me to go get some pistol practice this morning in anticipation of our own 2020 extravaganza coming up soon.

I went to the San Diego GlockStore for a spring, then The Gun Range for 30 minutes of practice. In both establishments, I noticed something:

Everybody … was … polite. Everybody. Super polite.

Patrons were courteous and patient with one another in the parking lot. Customers waited their turns and said “please,” “thank you,” and “sir/ma’am.” Nobody yelled at the (armed) employees to hurry up with their order. I felt as though I’d stepped into a time warp.

It’s not like people were walking around in terror of one another, worried about dissing someone and getting capped. On the contrary, everyone seemed relaxed, comfortable, and friendly.

All present seemed to understand one another, to know within those two micro-communities

Around here, Words and Actions have Consequences

Pro-gun message supplants pro-transgender slogan on U. Virginia bridge.

The University of Virginia’s Beta Bridge has played host to student messages for some 50 years. Most recently, the bridge featured the mural “PROTECT BLACK TRANS WOMEN,” but this was painted over during the weekend with a pro-Second Amendment slogan.

According to The Cavalier Daily, the terms “2A” and “GUNS” were painted, while “WOMEN” was crossed out. The original message, put up by the SABLE Society, was repainted, but was again modified with the pro-gun terms.

The report notes the gun message appears to reference various Virginia towns threatening to become Second Amendment “sanctuaries” if the newly Democrat-controlled state legislature follows through with (allegedly) unconstitutional firearm restrictions.

It is not yet known who is responsible for the pro-gun message.

UVA spokesman Brian Coy said that although the bridge “is a long recognized public forum that may on occasion cause controversy or disagreement,” the university acknowledges “that people, particularly black trans women, feel demeaned or threatened by this message and the way it appeared.”

Pete Buttigieg kicks off his Latino outreach campaign with a slogan popularized by communists.

Little wonder where he picked this up:  Pete Buttigieg’s father was a Marxist professor who lauded the Communist Manifesto.

Struggling with low poll numbers among Latino voters, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s campaign launched a Hispanic outreach effort on Monday that included a series of policy plans, websites, and online videos in English and Spanish.

Buttigieg announced the initiative on his social media accounts by invoking a Spanish-language slogan that is raising eyebrows among Latino leaders. The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, tweeted “El pueblo unido, jamás será vencido” (“the people united, will never be defeated”), a protest chant that is famously associated with Latin-American communist movements. The saying was also featured in several campaign communications, including as a call-to-action on its Latino website.

For decades, Americans have rallied to declare el pueblo unido, jamás será vencido — the people united, will never be defeated. To join us and learn more, text TOGETHER to 25859.

It is unclear which Americans Buttigieg is referring to, but Latin American Marxists have rallied behind the catchphrase for decades.

The FISA Court Wants Answers About the Problems with FBI’s Carter Page Warrants
Judge demands to know what the agency will do prevent future “omissions” in the applications.

Last week, the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Justice found that the FBI omitted relevant information and made a number of mistakes on its warrants submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to wiretap a former aide to Donald Trump. Now the judges of the court are demanding some answers.

In an order filed today and signed by FISC Presiding Judge Rosemary M. Collyer, the court lays out a brief explanation about why it’s so bad that the FBI left important details out of its warrant request as it sought a wiretap to get more information about Page’s communications with Russian officials to determine whether Trump’s presidential campaign had been somehow been compromised. In short, there are many rules to get permission to use FISC warrants to secretly snoop on Americans on American soil, and each of the 17 problems Inspector General Michael Horowitz found with the warrants represents a breakdown in the system at several points.

“When it is the FBI that seeks to conduct … surveillance, the Federal officer who makes the application is an FBI agent, who swears to the facts in the application,” the report notes. “The FISC judge makes the required probably cause determination ‘on the basis of the facts submitted by the applicant.'”

In short, the FISC has to trust that the FBI is including all relevant information in its warrant request and is not leaving out any important details that might factor into the decision. That’s because FISC essentially serves as the only form of oversight over the FBI when it comes to secretly snooping on Americans. Its role is to make sure that the targeted Americans’ rights are protected and that wiretaps aren’t based solely on activities protected by the First Amendment (this is partly why the court was made) and to protect the Fourth Amendment rights of targets. The court depends on the “candor” (a term used several times in the order) of FBI officials in deciding whether to permit surveillance of Americans.

In Page’s case, the report says, “The FBI’s handling of the Carter Page applications, as portrayed in the OIG report, was antithetical to the heightened duty of candor described above.”

The court is therefore ordering the federal government, by January 10, to provide a sworn written submission of what it has done and what it plans to do to make sure FBI warrant applications to FISC “accurately and completely reflects information possessed by the FBI that is material to any issue presented by the application.”

The court is also ordering a declassification review of an order FISC put out on December 5 demanding more information about the FBI attorney who is accused of altering a document to conceal that Page had a previous relationship as a source with another federal agency regarding contacts with Russian officials. This would be very relevant to the court when considering a request to wiretap him over conversations with these very Russians.

Read the orders for yourself here.