Democrats in Free Fall

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This is from US News and World Report.



The result of a Pennsylvania special election doesn’t bode well for the president’s party in 2016.

The Democrats have yet to realize they are in free fall, dragged down by the anchor that is the unsuccessful reign of Barack Obama. Despite evidence to the contrary from all across the country, where the president’s party and its allies continue to suffer unexpected electoral defeats and are frequently on the losing end of battles to reverse policies in place since Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society and even Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, Democrats and progressives in the nation’s capital are digging in their heels.

The latest example comes from Pennsylvania where on Tuesday 26-year-old Republican financial advisor Martina White posted an upset victory in a special election for a seat in the state House of Representatives. GOP voters in that district are outnumbered by Democrats 2-to-1, and Obama carried it in 2012 with 57 percent of the vote.

White knocked on nearly 6,000 doors on her way to victory in this northeast Philadelphia district, proving once again that when it comes to boots-on-the-ground and grassroots campaigning there is no substitute, especially at the local level. Her decision to focus on taxes – she said repeatedly she’d fight to keep property taxes in check while a member of the state Legislature – and education funding were an important part of her formula for victory.

 She also benefited, it should be noted, from a serious split among the Democrats over which candidate the party would nominate, with ward heelers and elected officials playing favorites. In the end, the split was enough to earn White the backing of several local unions including the Fraternal Order of Police.

Now it is always a mistake to draw too many big conclusions from the outcome of a single special election, especially one for a seat in a state legislature. But Pennsylvania’s 170th House District is Democrat country, Obama country, Clinton country – and no Republican should ever be expected to win there. That one did is reason enough for people to sit up and take notice that the internal divisions among progressive Democrats – who back the current president – and more traditional party hacks – who tend to back folks like the last president who was a Democrat and his wife (who wants very badly to be the next Democrat in the White House) are not figments of the GOP imagination. They are real and they matter.

Before George Herbert Walker Bush lost the presidency in 1992, Pennsylvania voters sounded the alarm that he was in trouble when they sent an unknown Democrat, Harris Wofford, to the U.S. Senate in the place of Republican Sen. John Heinz, who had been killed in a plane crash. GOP leaders chose to ignore it, preferring to blame the defeat on the imperial campaign run by former governor and U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, whom most people assumed would simply walk into the seat without really having to work for it. It would be a curious accident of history if those now in charge of the Democratic Party fail to ignore another warning from voters in the Keystone State that may have serious implications for campaign 2016 and its ultimate outcome.


Judge Okays Use of Drones Against US Citizen Over…Stolen Cows

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This is from The Blaze.

This bothers me tremendously.

Will the government eventually an armed drone against us?

Will the government decide the Tea Party members are terrorist?

The concept of using unmanned military drones to shoot or otherwise harm American citizens has always been a controversial concept. Some aggressive national security hawks portray the program as a necessary evil in the age of terror, whereas other, more civil libertarian-minded people, argue that the usage of military technology against citizens is alarming at best, and possibly unconstitutional in places. “Where will it end?” This latter group often wonders. “Next thing you know they’ll be using drones to get back stolen cows!”

Oh, wait. They have.

In a court case that is sure to make you lose at least some percentage of your faith in humanity, a District Judge in North Dakota has okayed the usage of drones during a 16-hour standoff between police and one Rodney Bossart of Grand Forks, North Dakota. And yes, the standoff was over a group of cows. US News and World Report explains:

Court records state that last June, six cows wandered onto Brossart’s 3,000 acre farm, about 60 miles west of Grand Forks. Brossart allegedly refused to return the cows, which led to a long, armed standoff with the Grand Forks police department. At some point during the standoff, Homeland Security, through an agreement with local police, offered up the use of an unmanned predator drone, which “was used for surveillance,” according to the court documents.

Grand Forks SWAT team chief Bill Macki said in an interview that the drone was used to ensure Brossart and his family members, who were also charged, didn’t leave the farm and were unarmed during the arresting raid.

Brossart faces felony terrorizing and theft of property charges and a misdemeanor criminal mischief charge. Although his charges weren’t dismissed, Brossart won a motion to move the trial from Nelson County—which has a population of 3,100—to nearby Grand Forks County.

For this, the state of North Dakota apparently felt a drone was needed. So they brought it in. And, unsurprisingly, Brossart cried foul in Court over the usage of the device, claiming it was used without a warrant.

…And surprisingly, the Judge threw it out:

District Judge Joel Medd wrote that “there was no improper use of an unmanned aerial vehicle” and that the drone “appears to have had no bearing on these charges being contested here,” according to the documents.

The Judge’s point may or may not be well-taken regarding the issue of the charges, but it doesn’t change the fact that no guidelines have been issued for the usage of drones by the Federal Aviation Authority. Thus, these military-grade weapons can be used for practically anything.

Is this what you thought drones would be used for? If not, does it concern you?


Obama Pushing Shooters Off Public Lands

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This is from US News and World Report.
One more attempt to erode gun owners rights.
Please help me spread the word on this matter.

Gun owners who have historically been able to use public lands for target practice would be barred from potentially millions of acres under new rules drafted by the Interior Department, the first major move by the Obama administration to impose limits on firearms.
Officials say the administration is concerned about the potential clash between gun owners and encroaching urban populations who like to use same land for hiking and dog walking.
“It’s not so much a safety issue. It’s a social conflict issue,” said Frank Jenks, a natural resource specialist with Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, which oversees 245 million acres. He adds that urbanites “freak out” when they hear shooting on public lands. [Read about the subpoena issued as a result of Operation Fast and Furious.]
If the draft policy is finally approved, some public access to Bureau lands to hunters would also be limited, potentially reducing areas deer, elk, and bear hunters can use in the West.
Conservationists and hunting groups, however, are mounting a fight. One elite group of conservationists that advises Interior and Agriculture is already pushing BLM to junk the regulations, claiming that shooters are being held to a much higher safety standard than other users of public lands, such as ATV riders.
“They are just trying to make it so difficult for recreational shooters,” said Gary Kania, vice president of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. His group is one of several, including the National Wildlife Foundation, Cabela’s and Ducks Unlimited, on the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council fighting the new rules. During a two-day meeting ending this afternoon, they are drafting their own changes to the BLM rules.
“What we probably are going to be looking forward to is a reversal,” said Kania. Asked about how to handle people who freak out when they hear shots on public lands, Kania said, “I don’t know how to quanitify ‘freaking out,'” and noted that he’s seen people panicing when fly fishing in float tubes but nobody wants to ban then from rivers.
BLM actually invited the fight, seeking the council’s comments. But officials suggested to Whispers that no changes are being planned to the draft regulations.
Over five pages, the draft BLM regulations raise concerns about how shooting can cause a “public disturbance.” They also raise worries about how shooting and shooters can hurt plants and litter public lands.
This is the key paragraph foes say could lead to shooters being kicked off public lands:
“When the authorized officer determines that a site or area on BLM-managed lands used on a regular basis for recreational shooting is creating public disturbance, or is creating risk to other persons on public lands; is contributing to the defacement, removal or destruction of natural features, native plants, cultural resources, historic structures or government and/or private property; is facilitating or creating a condition of littering, refuse accumulation and abandoned personal property is violating existing use restrictions, closure and restriction orders, or supplementary rules notices, and reasonable attempts to reduce or eliminate the violations by the BLM have been unsuccessful, the authorized officer will close the affected area to recreational shooting.” [Check out new  Debate Club about  whether Congress needs to overhaul gun trafficking laws.]
Squeezing out shooters, says the draft policy, is needed because, “As the West has become more populated, recreational shooters now often find themselves in conflict with other public lands users, and the BLM is frequently called on to mediate these conflicts.”
At yesterday’s meeting at Interior, the council balked at the BLM draft regulations, adding that the Obama administration was not being fair to shooters on the issue of safety.
In a draft retort to BLM, the council said other users of public land aren’t required to be as safe as shooters. They note that shooters have a much lower injury rate than others, like ATV users. “The policy fails to recognize that recreational shooting has one of the lowest incidences of death and injury compared to virtually any other outdoor recreational activity. The policy is prejudicial and discriminatory to target shooters as compared to other recreationists,” said the council’s draft response, expected to be finalized today.
What’s more, the group charged that the BLM is acting in a contradictory fashion, encouraging the shooting sports while limiting shooting areas.

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