RGV Republican Liberty Club

Promoting Liberty & Freedom in the Rio Grande Valley

Browsing Posts published by Kevin

From the Washington Examiner:

While the Obama administration is busy eviscerating private property rights at the federal level, Republican-controlled Fauquier County, Va., has decided to follow suit in its own way. Fauquier’s Board of Supervisors recently passed a winery ordinance that tramples private property rights and some fundamental civil liberties.

The county, which is located about an hour west of Washington, calls itself an agricultural community. Its scenic, sprawling farmlands have become home to a growing number of wineries. Vintners have discovered that Fauquier’s climate and rich soil are ideal for growing grapes.

Most of the wineries are mom and pop operations. Some, though, have been more creative in marketing, employing more people, and generating revenue. The county thinks such success must be punished.

At the center of all this is the county zoning administrator, a bureaucratic czar named Kimberley Johnson, whose bullying and heavy-handed enforcement tactics have resulted in calls for her dismissal by county farmers and residents. Johnson was recently the subject of a citizen-farmer “pitchfork protest” in a matter in which she fined one farmer for conducting a pumpkin carving and a birthday party for eight little girls without the proper permit.

The winery ordinance is Obama-esque, passed under the pretext that it protects the health, safety and welfare of the public. It forces wineries to close at 6 p.m. and prohibits sale of food — something that goes quite safely with a taste of wine — unless the wineries obtain special permits from the zoning administrator.

The ordinance lists prohibited winery activities such as hot air balloon rides, farmers’ markets, and mini-golf, which assuredly threaten the health, safety and welfare of the public, right?

Among the prohibited activities, the ordinance includes anything else determined by the zoning administrator “to be similar in nature or in impact to” the listed activities. That’s the equivalent allowing police officers to ticket drivers for nearly anything they wish.

The winery ordinance comes with potential criminal penalties, yet it has weak standards of evidence and due process to protect the innocent. It’s a civil liberties and property rights nightmare on its face. Chicago politics and even dictatorships mask their tyrannical abuses of law better than this.

Fauquier gave its zoning czar the same type of unlimited discretion to decide whether to issue special permits to stay open past 6 p.m., to host events, and to determine entry road surface conditions. This gives the zoning administrator unfettered control over the very existence of wineries, and creates conditions under which vintners must fear her every next move.

Perhaps the most offensive provision of the ordinance authorizes “private personal gatherings” at wineries. Someone obviously forgot to tell Fauquier officials that in America, we don’t need government permission for private personal gatherings on our own property.

Yet even in their contempt for the freedom of assembly and private property rights, Fauquier officials limited the definition of “private personal gathering” to owners who reside at or adjacent to their wineries, and who do not market their wine at such gatherings. This means no winery signs — no bottle labels, even, when owners hold private personal gatherings on their property, because that’s marketing.

The Fauquier ordinance clearly violates Virginia’s Right to Farm Act, which guarantees agriculture activities of growing and selling. No county may use ordinances to inhibit these rights.

Vintners are challenging the Fauquier ordinance in courts and are seeking legislative relief in Richmond. Perhaps, though, they and their patrons should form a Wine Party, and dispel the Fauquier government officials responsible for this lawbreaking and these trespasses on private rights.

RT reports:

Former senior intelligence officials have created a detailed surveillance system more accurate than modern facial recognition technology — and have installed it across the US under the radar of most Americans, according to emails hacked by Anonymous.

Every few seconds, data picked up at surveillance points in major cities and landmarks across the United States are recorded digitally on the spot, then encrypted and instantaneously delivered to a fortified central database center at an undisclosed location to be aggregated with other intelligence. It’s part of a program called TrapWire and it’s the brainchild of the Abraxas, a Northern Virginia company staffed with elite from America’s intelligence community. The employee roster at Arbaxas reads like a who’s who of agents once with the PentagonCIA and other government entities according to their public LinkedIn profiles, and the corporation’s ties are assumed to go deeper than even documented.

The details on Abraxas and, to an even greater extent TrapWire, are scarce, however, and not without reason. For a program touted as a tool to thwart terrorism and monitor activity meant to be under wraps, its understandable that Abraxas would want the program’s public presence to be relatively limited. But thanks to last year’s hack of the Strategic Forecasting intelligence agency, or Stratfor, all of that is quickly changing.

Hacktivists aligned with the loose-knit Anonymous collective took credit for hacking Stratfor on Christmas Eve, 2011, in turn collecting what they claimed to be more than five million emails from within the company. WikiLeaks beganreleasing those emails as the Global Intelligence Files (GIF) earlier this year and, of those, several discussing the implementing of TrapWire in public spaces across the country were circulated on the Web this week after security researcher Justin Ferguson brought attention to the matter. At the same time, however, WikiLeaks was relentlessly assaulted by a barrage of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, crippling the whistleblower site and its mirrors, significantly cutting short the number of people who would otherwise have unfettered access to the emails.

USA Today reports:

Ecuador said Thursday that it was granting asylum to WikiLeaks founderJulian Assange, a decision that thrilled supporters but will do little to defuse the standoff at the Latin American nation’s London embassy, where the Australian ex-hacker has been holed up for almost two months.

British police officers arrest a protester supporting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in front of Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Aug. 16.

Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said Ecuador believed Assange faced a real threat of political persecution — including the prospect of extradition to the United States, where Patino said the head of the secret-spilling website would not get a fair trial.

“It is not impossible that he would be treated in a cruel manner, condemned to life in prison, or even the death penalty,” Patino told journalists in Quito, the Ecuadorean capital. “Ecuador is convinced that his procedural rights have been violated.”

Britain’s Foreign Office said it was disappointed by the decision, but that it still plans to fulfill its legal obligation to extradite Assange to Sweden, where he faces sexual assault allegations.

Sweden has summoned Ecuador’s ambassador and calls the asylum decision “unacceptable.”

Assange shot to prominence after WikiLeaks repeatedly released huge troves of U.S.secret documents, moves which have outraged Americans and led to calls from American politicians to have him hunted down like a terrorist.

He is wanted in Sweden for questioning on allegations of sexual misconduct, but supporters fear the Scandinavian extradition effort is the opening gambit in a Washington-orchestrated bid to make him stand trial in the United States.

Swedish officials, and the two women who have accused Assange, have denied that the extradition bid is politically motivated. Director of Public Prosecution Marianne Ny declined to comment on the asylum decision, saying the issue was a matter for Britain.

Ecuador’s decision heartened supporters — there was a cheer outside the Ecuadorean Embassy when it was it announced — but is likely to have little practical effect on Assange’s current status.

He remains in the modest embassy building, where he has been staying since June 19, and British authorities have pledged to arrest him if he leaves. Swedish authorities say their investigation remains ongoing.

I used to watch O’Reilly every single day. He seemed to have the beat of the nation down. That was before I figured out he was a bloviating A-hole with an agenda of controlling the sheep that listened to him. After this, I now know his true colors. If you still listen to this Tool after watching his comments, based on his complete ignorance, then you will now know that Bill O’Reilly is a gun control Loon.

CheaperThanDirt reports:

The American Silencer Association (ASA) wants Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly to immediately make on-air corrections of factual inaccuracies he made about current firearm regulations during his July 24 interview with Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). The debate, which focused on the validity of additional gun control measures in response to the tragic events in Aurora, CO, found O’Reilly calling for stricter oversight of the firearms transfer process. ASA pointed out that O’Reilly consistently misstated current gun-law requirements.

ASA pointed out that O’Reilly used the nonsense term “heavy weapons,” which O’Reilly defined as “mortars, howitzers and machineguns.”

These three items are defined and strictly regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934, which falls under the jurisdiction of the BATFE. Under the NFA, mortars and howitzers are considered “destructive devices” because they fire projectiles through a barrel which is larger than one-half inch in diameter.

“Machineguns” are defined as “any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.”

In addition to machineguns and destructive devices, the NFA also regulates suppressors, short-barrel rifles, short-barrel shotguns, and “any-other weapons.”

In the Chaffetz interview, O’Reilly also stated that “you can buy a machine gun and the FBI doesn’t know,” reiterating his point by claiming that at gun shows “you can buy any weapon you want there and there’s no reporting anywhere.” In a release, ASA pointed out that these statements are entirely and unequivocally untrue.

For a civilian to purchase any item that is regulated by the NFA, the item must be legal in that person’s state of residence, and the buyer must submit Form 4s to the ATF. A Form 4, or Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of Firearm, includes a stringent background check that is conducted by the FBI.

In addition, applicants must submit a $200 non-refundable transfer tax, duplicate copies of passport photos and fingerprints, and receive a signoff from a chief law enforcement officer (CLEO) in their jurisdiction. From start to finish, this transfer process takes anywhere from 30 days to one year to complete.

Additionally, civilians are only eligible to purchase machineguns that were manufactured and registered with the ATF prior to May 19, 1986, the day that President Reagan signed the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act into law.

Also, ASA pointed out that throughout the Chaffetz debate, O’Reilly used the term AK-47 interchangeably with machinegun. The ASA release pointed out that while fully automatic AK-47s are machineguns, referring to semi-automatic variants as machineguns is inaccurate.

The fully automatic versions that O’Reilly refers to are subject to the strict transfer requirements of the NFA, the ASA release said. Thus, O’Reilly’s statement that “you can buy an AK-47 in this country, and no federal agency will know you buy it” is false, unless the AK-47 is semi-automatic.

From ANH-USA:

TSA Backscatter ImagesThe airport x-ray machines are not safe. And for over a year, TSA has been defying a court order.

A few months ago we told you about the dangers of airport full—body scanners—that they emit low levels of ionizing radiation and can cause cancer. The x-rays skim the entire surface of your skin instead of being directed to a localized area of your body, which means that radiation levels could be 10 to 20 times higher than the manufacturer’s calculations. The cancer threat has the European Union so concerned that it has put a moratorium on the machines.

Some doctors opt out of the backscatter scan and instead go for a full-body pat-down, intrusive as it is (more on that later). Among them is Dr. Dong Kim, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ neurosurgeon and chair of the department of neurosurgery at the University of Texas Medical School. “There is really no absolutely safe dose of radiation,” he says. “Each exposure is additive, and there is no need to incur any extra radiation when there is an alternative.” Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, never goes through a scanner when he travels because he’s concerned about whether the machines are calibrated and inspected properly.

That’s a valid concern, since a report released this year from the Department of Homeland Security found inconsistencies in how the machines are calibrated to ensure radiation safety and image quality, and says that not all TSA screeners have completed required radiation safety training. Inspectors found that the TSA made more than 3,500 maintenance calls in the first year the scanners were deployed, meaning that, on average, each machine needed service more than once a month. Millions of people go through these machines—and ProPublica reports that up to 100 US passengers could get cancer from them every year.

There has been a public backlash against the backscatter machines—from citizens, from advocacy groups like ours, and from integrative health groups. ProPublica, Dr. Joseph A.Mercola, and Natural News have all run series of articles on the dangerous x-ray scanners.

Two years ago, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed a petition with the DC appeals court to suspend the TSA’s full-body scanner program, arguing that the Department of Homeland Security had violated the Administrative Procedures Act by implementing body scanners without inviting public comment, as well as the Privacy Act and the Fourth Amendment.

Last year the court ordered the agency to “promptly” undertake a formal rulemaking process and open up a public “notice and comment” period to discuss and justify the need for these scanners. A year later, Homeland Security has still not done so, thumbing its nose at the court order! So this month EPIC and other organizations filed another lawsuit to end the delay.

Moreover, two different congressional committees have now determined that not only are the machines extremely expensive, they’re also ineffective! In May, members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee sharply criticized the TSA (the Transportation Security Administration) for spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a technology that they said had not been properly tested and is ineffective. And John L. Mica, chair of the House Transportation Committee, found that the machines’ ability to detect actual threats was so disappointing that he asked that no more be commissioned.

Both TSA’s own procurement specifications and a subsequent report by the Government Accountability Office indicate that the machines were never designed to detect powdered explosives. This is particularly ironic since the machines’ use was initially justified after the underwear bomber incident—and he used powdered explosives!

In January, senators on the the Homeland Security Committee introduced a bill that would require the TSA to post signs about the radiation exposure at the security checkpoints, and to hire an independent laboratory for a health study of the machines. A companion bill in the House was filed in February.

We would say they have this backwards—the health studies should have to be conductedbefore the machines are installed! The government is pushing this technology without conducting adequate safety testing, without properly evaluating its effectiveness, and without an open and transparent public review process.

Dr. David J Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University Medical Center, notes the complete lack of independent and clinical data on the machines. The studies that are cited come largely from either the government or the scanner’s manufacturer, and as we noted last November, TSA has also reneged on earlier promises it made to conduct an independent study.

So why not just opt out of the backscatter screening, the way the doctors do? First, it routinely takes an extra two minutes per person, assuming nothing unusual is found during the pat-down. Let’s say the average plane has 200 passengers. If even half of them were to opt-out of screening, it would take over three hours and twenty minutes just to get through the screening line.

Opting out also means subjecting yourself to an invasive pat-down procedure that appears designed to embarrass the traveler. There have been many pat-down incidents that are, quite frankly, outrageous, such as the bladder cancer survivor whose pat-down left himhumiliated and urine-soaked when a TSA agent broke the seal on his urostomy bag. Or the breast cancer survivor who was forced to remove her prosthetic breast from her blouse and show it to a TSA agent. Or the three-year-old who was patted town, screaming hysterically, because she didn’t want her teddy bear to go through the scanner.

An ANH-USA staff member reports that it appeared TSA deliberately tried to detain her on a recent trip. First she was subjected to an invasive pat-down, and when they didn’t find anything of concern, they rubbed a cotton swab on their gloves and put it into a machine to see if it picked up any explosive device–related powders. It set off the alarm and three TSA agents came and took her into a back room for a more thorough screening, as if she were a terrorist.

Needless to say, no explosives were found!

Simply Beautiful

2 comments

I didn’t get these posted till now. Here they are.

PHOTOS

 

This sounds like a great economic investment as well as a good way to spread the joy of firearm ownership. Next step, some training for said firearm!

TownHall reports:

Rep. Allen West is less than pleased with the Supreme Court’s ruling that ObamaCare is a tax. During an event in Florida, West said the tax code is now being used as a weapon against the American people while he gave a brief history of the ever increasing income tax rate. West did however find a way to get standing applause from the audience after suggesting everyone be taxed into buying a Glock 9mm.

“I have a great idea. I believe that for personal security every American should have to go out and buy a Glock 9 mm and if you don’t do it, we’ll tax you.”

 

At the same event, West said President Obama wants Americans to be his slaves.

“He does not want you to have the self-esteem of getting up and earning, and having that title of American. He’d rather you be his slave.”