Archive for the ‘US Constitution’ Category

Appearance on the Steve Malzberg Show: How guns help stop terrorism and the New York Times makes embarrassing mistakes

by John Lott on Friday, February 20th, 2015

This is article 603 of 603 in the topic Gun Rights
I was on the Steve Malzberg TV show on NewsMaxTV today.  The video of the show is available here.

Founder and president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and author of “More Guns, Less Crime” joins Steve to discuss how guns are helping to stop terrorists and how The New York Times is making up anti-gun information as well as whether or not the ATF is trying to neuter certain ammunitions in the U.S.

 

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Talks that I will giving this week

by John Lott on Monday, February 9th, 2015

This is article 602 of 603 in the topic Gun Rights
1) St. Thomas University School of Law (Miami, Florida): Gun Control Laws in America: Do They Work? Speakers: John R. Lott Jr. and TBD Date: Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at Noon Location: Moot Court Room.
2) Kennesaw State University (Kennesaw, Georgia):
a) Wednesday, February 11, from 12:30 to 1:45 PM: “Why Criminals and Terrorists like Gun Bans,” Burruss Building, room 105
b) Wednesday, February 11, from 3:30 to 4:45 PM: “An Introduction to Law and Economics,” Burruss Building, room 151
3) Missouri State University (Springfield, Missouri): Thursday, February 12 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM, John Lott and Paul Helmke will be debating on whether or not America has the proper regulations over firearms. They will discuss how guns come into play with small violations to mass murders.
Lott was just in Albany, New York speaking this past Sunday.

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How Do We Get Back to Where We Were?

by Dr. Robert Owens on Sunday, February 1st, 2015

This is article 186 of 186 in the topic US Constitution

It’s hard to be a conservative when there’s little left to conserve. The increasing pace of America’s progression from free markets to a command economy has reached such a pace and become so obvious that way back in 2009 the Russian Prime Minister used his spotlight time at the World Economic Forum to warn America not to follow the socialist path. The Russian newspaper Pravda, once the leading communist voice on earth published an article entitled, “American capitalism gone with a whimper.” People around the world can see the individual decisions of producers and consumers are being replaced by the form letters of a faceless central-planning bureaucracy even if the Obama boosters still haven’t swallowed the red pill and watched the matrix dissolve.

Pushed by the breathtaking speed of America’s devolution into a command economy some conservatives have entered the ranks of the radicals. They’re beginning to think about how to cure the systemic political problems precipitating the November Revolution of 2008. One solution some are embracing is known as the Sovereignty Movement. This is a movement of citizens and state representatives attempting to right the listing ship-of-state by appealing to the 10th Amendment which says, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The 10th Amendment addressed one of the most hard-fought points in the establishment of a central government. The States even though they surrendered some of their sovereignty didn’t want to lose it all. Specifically they didn’t want to lose the power to make internal decisions. They did not want to be powerless before a distant national bureaucracy. So as the cap-stone of the Bill of Rights the 10th Amendment was meant to reassure the States they would remain sovereign within their borders. However, since the 1830s, court rulings have garbled the once universally accepted meaning of the 10th Amendment as the Federal Government extended its authority from roads to schools to GM to Health Care to whatever they want.

Now some are turning to a resurrection of the straightforward meaning of the 10th Amendment as a way to mitigate the ever expanding power of centralized-control and social engineering combined with perpetual re-election and runaway pork-barrel deficit spending. But, is this enough?

As a Historian I always believe even a little history might help push back the darkness swirling around us. In 1787, at the close of the Constitutional Convention, as Benjamin Franklin left Independence Hall a lady asked “Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy.” “A republic” replied Franklin “if you can keep it.”

Many have the mistaken idea that the United States is a democracy. It’s not. It’s a representative republic. The Framers distrusted unfettered democracy therefore they inserted several mechanisms into the Constitution which added some innovations between direct democracy and the power to rule.

One of the great innovations the Framers built into our system is the federal concept. Since this is an important component of our political legacy that has been overlooked in our contemporary education system let me define what is meant by federal. A federal system is a union of states with a central authority wherein the member states still retain certain defined powers of government.

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Will New AG Support Civil Forfeiture Reform?

by Alan Caruba on Sunday, February 1st, 2015

This is article 118 of 118 in the topic Obama Appointments
By Alan Caruba
The  Wednesday hearings on the confirmation of a new Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, lasted hours because members of the Senate Judiciary Committee were often called away to vote. In the wake of the scandals surrounding the manner in which Eric Holder’s Department of Justice has functioned, the hearing, led now by Republicans, could have been harsh, but it was not. The Wall Street Journal characterized the mood in the hearing room as “cordial.”  Watching it on CSPAN, I can confirm that.
In early November the Wall Street Journal, in an opinion titled “The Next Attorney General: One area to question Loretta Lynch is civil asset forfeiture”, it noted that “As a prosecutor Ms. Lynch had also been aggressive in pursuing civil asset forfeiture, which has become a form of politicking for profit.”
“She recently announced that her office had collected more than $904 million in criminal and civil actions in fiscal 2013, according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Liberals and conservatives have begun to question forfeiture as an abuse of due process that can punish the innocent.”
That caught my eye because the last thing America needs is an Attorney General who wants to use this abuse of the right to be judged innocent until proven guilty. Civil forfeiture puts no limits on the seizure of anyone’s private property and financial holdings. It is a law that permits this to occur even if based on little more than conjecture. It struck me then and now as a bizarre and distinctly un-American law.
Writing in the Huffington Post in late 2014, Bob Barr, a former Congressman and the principal in Liberty Strategies, told of the passage of the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act (CAFRA) in 2000 “as a milestone in the difficult—almost impossible—task of protecting individual rights against constant incursions by law-and-order officials.” The problem is that civil forfeiture was and is being used to seize millions.
“The staggering dollar amounts reflected in these statistics, however,” wrote Barr, “does not pinpoint the real problem of how law enforcement agencies at all levels of government employ the power of asset forfeiture as a means of harming, and in many instances, destroying the livelihood of individuals and small businesses.”
“In pursuing civil assets, the government need never charge the individuals with violations of criminal laws; therefore never having to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they are guilty of having committed any crimes.”
As noted above, as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Ms. Lynch’s office had raked in millions from civil forfeiture. Forbes magazine reports that she has used it in more than 120 cases and, prior to the hearing to confirm her as the next Attorney General US News & World Report noted on January 26 that Ms. Lynch’s office had quietly dropped a $450,000 civil forfeiture case a week before the hearings. She clearly did not want to answer questions on this or any other comparable case.
Just one example tells you why there is legitimate concern regarding this issue and it appeared in a January 3rd edition of Townhall.com.

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Two burglars were thwarted by a University of Central Florida student with a gun

by John Lott on Sunday, February 1st, 2015

This is article 601 of 603 in the topic Gun Rights
Students also benefit from the option to protect themselves.  In the video available here, the male student describes how one of the burglars pointed a gun (what turned out to be a pellet gun) at point blank range right at the student’s head.  From WESH.com in Orlando, Florida:

. . . Deputies said the culprits barged into the student’s apartment after knocking on the door at the Village at Alafaya Club Tuesday night.

One of the residents answered the door and was forced to the ground at gunpoint as the men ransacked the apartment, investigators said.

“He grabbed me by the throat. He took me a little further into the living room and pushed me down and said, ‘Don’t move. Just stay down,'” UCF student Nour Skargee, 22, said. “They didn’t realize my girlfriend was in her room and thank God she was in her room. I yelled, ‘Hey, grab the gun.'”

The second victim, Sable Nehme, ran to her bedroom, retrieved her gun and pointed it at the culprits, deputies said. . . .

Two quotes that do a good job of describing how

Intended victim Sable Nehme: “when he saw the gun, he turned right back around, darted out and both of them fled the apartment”

Intended victim UCF student Nour Skargee, 22, said : “If we didn’t have a gun, it would have been game over. They were bigger than me, bigger than both of us. We had no way of stopping them. The gun was the one thing that made them run.”

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Obama Has Two More Years Left to Destroy the U.S.

by Alan Caruba on Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

This is article 270 of 270 in the topic energy

By Alan Caruba

As 2015 began the Journal Editorial Report on Fox News was devoted to having its reporters, some of the best there are, speculate on what 2015 holds in terms of who might run for president and what the economy might be. The key word here is “speculate” because even experts know that it is unanticipated events that determine the future and the future is often all about unanticipated events.
How different would the world have been if John F. Kennedy had not been assassinated? One can reasonably assume there would not have been the long war in Vietnam because he wanted no part of the conflict there. Few would have predicted that an unknown Governor from Arkansas would emerge to become President as Bill Clinton did. Who would believe we are talking about his wife running for President? That is so bizarre it is mind-boggling.
Most certainly, few would have predicted that an unknown first term Senator from Illinois, Barack Hussein Obama, would push aside Hillary Clinton to become the first black American to be nominated for President and to win in 2008. Despite the takeover of the nation’s healthcare system with a series of boldfaced lies, he still won a second term.
Obama now has two more years in which to try to destroy the U.S. economy; particularly its manufacturing and energy sectors. The extent to which he is putting in place the means to do that still remains largely unreported or under-reported in terms of the threat it represents.
The vehicle for the nation’s destruction is the greatest hoax of the modern era, the claim that global warming must be avoided by reducing “greenhouse gas” emissions.

A President who lied to Americans about the Affordable Care Act, telling them they could keep their insurance plans, their doctors, and not have to pay more is surely not going to tell Americans that the planet is now into its 19th year of a cooling cycle with no warming in sight.

To raise the ante of the planetary threat hoax, he has added “climate change” when one would assume even the simple-minded would know humans have nothing to do with the Earth’s climate, nor the ability to initiate or stop any change.
In 2015, the White House is launching a vast propaganda campaign through the many elements of the federal government to reach into the nation’s schools with the climate lies and through other agencies to spread them.
In particular, Obama has been striving to utilize the Environmental Protection Agency to subvert existing environmental laws and, indeed, the Constitution unless Congress or the courts stop an attack that will greatly weaken the business, industrial and energy sectors. It will fundamentally put our lives at risk when there is not enough electricity to power homes and workplaces in various areas of the nation. At the very least, the cost of electricity will, in the President’s own words, “skyrocket.”
Why doesn’t anyone in Congress or the rest of the population wonder why White House policies are closing coal-fired plants that provided fifty percent of our electricity when Obama took office and now have been reduced to forty percent?

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Do You have Hope?

by Dr. Robert Owens on Saturday, January 17th, 2015

This is article 105 of 105 in the topic Preserving America

Marching out of Yorktown to surrender the British Army played the song “The World Turned Upside Down.” As I drive to Meg Lo Mart to make my latest deposit of monopoly money in a Chinese savings account all I can do is mumble the final tag-line of the Wicked Witch of the West, “What a world? What a world?”

There is a massive unspoken problem in America today, floating like the iceberg in front of the Titanic waiting to sink the unsinkable ship. Founded by revolutionaries crying “No taxation without representation!” the Republic these revolutionaries devised has devolved into a society where more than 40% of the people pay no Federal Income Tax and the number of people receiving government benefits is even higher. What incentive would these non-paying receivers have to reign in an overbearing and intrusive government? This unseen and unspoken problem is a cancer in the body politic.

Self-serving professional politicians buy votes by exempting non-productive people from personal financial responsibility while providing ever-expanding benefits at the expense of the productive. This is not the right versus left, conservative versus liberal, democrat versus republican he-said-she-said endless debate that devours the chatocracy of cable’s wall-to-wall talking-heads. This is not an academic exercise that pointy-headed political science and history majors with dueling pocket protectors debate for hours in their mother’s basement as they post their latest scoop on their samizdat blogs. If it is not any of these things what is it? It is a dagger pointing directly at the heart of our civilization.

Western Civilization awoke from the slumber of the Dark Ages enlightened and empowered by a belief, based in the Judeo-Christian tradition that humanity has an innate right to be free and a natural right to excel. Rights and freedoms are given by God not bestowed at the whim of some Legend-in-his-own-mind Leader. This civilization gathered steam in Europe exploding upon the world stage through an energetic period of exploration.

In America after a revolution fought by farmers and merchants against the greatest empire of the day the Founders, dared to declare “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” After centuries of government thugs standing on the windpipe of everyday people these self-sacrificing giants observed that in a civilized world government was not imposed by the strong upon the weak it was instead built upon a social contract between the governed and those entrusted with the privilege to govern when they said, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Today this bold and unique experiment in freedom is being devoured from within and challenged from without. Those who believe the collective should reign over the individual, those who believe in the suffocating sameness of socialism over the rough-and-tumble of capitalism have worked for generations building a culture of dependency which has tempered the steel will of the pioneers into the sloppy demands of the couch-potato slacker waiting for someone to find their remote as they guzzle some refreshments and wait for the game as bread and circuses take the place of innovation and accomplishment.

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What would the Founding Fathers say about #FreeCommunityCollege?

by Renee Nal on Friday, January 9th, 2015

This is article 37 of 37 in the topic Government Programs

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“When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic” – Benjamin Franklin

For those paying attention, President Obama’s plan to “invest” $60 billion taxpayer dollars into community colleges, along with an additional 25 percent funded by “participating states,” is a clear political ploy to gain the allegiance of the low info crowd.

Under the hashtag, #FreeCommunityCollege the White House tweeted:

BREAKING: Watch President Obama announce his #FreeCommunityCollege proposal → http://t.co/8YTKdPKa7U https://t.co/vtM3wGwEUd

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 8, 2015

According to the White House “Blog:”

Federal funding will cover three-quarters of the average cost of community college. Participating states will be expected to contribute the remaining funds necessary to eliminate the tuition for eligible students.

Even more troubling, perhaps, is the administration’s proposal to “expand access to mortgage credit” for low-income families under HUD chief Julian Castro, doubling down on failed polices that led to the 2008 economic crisis.

While it should be common knowledge that a president has absolutely no power to make such decisions, as Congress has the “power of the purse;” this unconstitutional breach is barely noticed by those who applaud the idea of free stuff.

In the federal government of the United States, the power of the purse is vested in the Congress as laid down in the Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 (the Appropriations Clause) and Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 (the Taxing and Spending Clause).

But as it turns out, Congress has allowed this breach by giving up it’s own power. Consider a quote from a little-seen video posted by Regulations.gov:

Most people think of laws as being created by Congress or maybe through interpretations of the Constitution by the U.S. Supreme Court; but actually by volume and significance, regulations adopted by administrative agencies dwarf the decisions passed by Congress.

While speaking of the size of government, James Madison wrote in Federalist 48,

It will not be denied that power is of an encroaching nature and that it ought to be effectually restrained from passing the limits assigned to it

President Obama does not need to worry about backlash from the mainstream media, academia or the GOP establishment, unfortunately. In fact, the watchdog institutions praise these taxpayer funded “investments.” That leaves those who care about the future of America to educate others.

“It is the responsibility of the patriot to protect his country from its government.” – Thomas Paine

“It does not take a majority to prevail…but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.” – Samuel Adams

What would the founding fathers say about such taxpayer-funded “investments?”

Consider these quotes (found here, and here):

“Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.” – Thomas Jefferson

“A wise and frugal government, shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.

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What Happens When Progressives Tax (and Spend)

by Dr. Robert Owens on Friday, January 9th, 2015

This is article 308 of 308 in the topic Taxation/IRS

As Rush Limbaugh so rightly pointed out, “No nation has ever taxed itself into prosperity.”

So many people have accepted the argument that progressive taxation is just, necessary, and fair, so I know this article will offend many.  Hopefully it will also make a few people reconsider their acceptance of policy.  Many who are vehemently opposed to socialism, collectivism, and all the other trappings of the centralized corporate state believe that any injustice that might result from a free society would and should be mitigated by a policy of progressive taxation.  The government through its education arm and the politicians through their media arm have used both hands and done a superb job.

It hasn’t only been dumbing down it has also been indoctrination convincing the patient that it makes sense to cut off both legs to keep them from running amuck.  However; as James Madison said, “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives. A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy or perhaps both.”

The easiest thing to do would be to ignore this 800 pound elephant.  As the cop on the block says when something has happened and there is most definitely something to see, “Move along there’s nothing to see here.”  However as the Historian of the Future that would be irresponsible.  For it is in the mass acceptance of this inherently unfair coercive action as fair that the base of democratic irresponsibility forms the basis for the towering structure which is the Progressive State.

For generations this once unconstitutional procedure for wealth distribution has been accepted without question.  This was not always the case.

James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, had some interesting things to say about unequal taxation.  Such as  in his Essay on Property, March 29, 1792, “That is not a just government, nor is property secure under it, where the property which a man has in his personal safety and personal liberty, is violated by arbitrary seizures of one class of citizens for the service of the rest.”  And “A just security to property is not afforded by that government, under which unequal taxes oppress one species of property and reward another species: where arbitrary taxes invade the domestic sanctuaries of the rich, and excessive taxes grind the faces of the poor.”

In Europe which is often the source and first scene of the crime when it comes to the Socialist/Utopian schemes foisted on the uninformed and unsuspecting American public, when progressive taxation was first proposed during the French Revolution the classical liberal Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot, said, “One ought to execute the author and not the project.”

During the socialist led revolutions of 1848 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels frankly proposed “a heavy progressive or graduated income tax” as one of the measures by which, after the first stage of the revolution, “the proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeois, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the state.” And these measures they described as “means of despotic inroads on the right of property, and on the condition of bourgeois production …

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Note that the places Al Queda has discussed attacking in the US are places where few permitted concealed handguns are allowed

by John Lott on Friday, January 9th, 2015

This is article 803 of 803 in the topic Terrorism
From Yahoo News:

Al Qaeda militants in Syria are plotting attacks to inflict mass casualties in the West, possibly against transport systems or “iconic targets”, the head of Britain’s MI5 Security Service said on Thursday.Speaking after gunmen killed 12 people in an assault on a French satirical newspaper, MI5 boss Andrew Parker warned a strike on the United Kingdom was highly likely. . . .

From the Daily Beast:

In the Spring 2014 issue, for example, Inspire proposed attacking cities and military facilities in northern Virginia, the site of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, and targets in Los Angeles and Chicago. . . .

In Los Angeles, there are only about 240 concealed handgun permits in an adult population of about 8 million people.  In Chicago, it costs about $500 to go through the process of getting a concealed handgun permit.

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