Archive for December, 2013

Lessons From Another School Shooting

December 30, 2013

By Jim Irvine via The Buckeye Firearms Association, December 23, 2013

While we still don’t know all the details, it is possible to learn from early reports on a school shooting near Denver. We can look at what worked and what did not. Those who care to make schools safer will choose to copy aspects that worked. Unfortunately our recent survey shows that many school officials have chosen to ignore the life-saving lessons and leave untold thousands of children at risk.

On Friday, December 13, 2013, a lone attacker walked into Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado, intent on doing great harm. He reportedly carried a shotgun with about 125 rounds of ammunition, a machete and a backpack containing three Molotov cocktails. He clearly intended to kill many people, but failed in his mission. His lone casualty was Claire Davis, a 17-year-old senior who passed away Friday. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Claire’s family and friends.

Before we get into why he was unable to carry out his mission, let us look at all the things that didn’t help to stop him.

What Failed?

Colorado’s new gun control law failed to stop the killer from acquiring his gun, which police say he bought legally a week prior. The ban on standard capacity magazines had no effect on the shotgun or bandolier full of shells he was wearing. The laws failed to stop him from carrying a gun into a school building and firing multiple shots endangering many people. The laws failed to stop him from shooting Claire Davis in the head. The laws also failed to stop him from having many more rounds of ammunition, the machete and the Molotov cocktails. They failed at stopping him from setting fire to the library. The laws will be of no use prosecuting the dead coward nor in helping Miss Davis or her family heal from their injuries.

Any steps taken to identify a killer and intervene failed. Controlling the entry point to the school and keeping the killer outside failed. Partitioning off the school and isolating the killer from getting to other kids failed. Every preventive measure failed. That is not to say they are not important steps to take, but in this particular event, they all failed.

The Colorado legislature failed. After signing anti-gun bills this year, Governor Hickenlooper said, “What we have signed today are several bills that materially make our state safer…” He was dead wrong.

While Hickenlooper and others pushed their anti-gun agenda, Buckeye Firearms Foundation paid for FASTER (Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response) training to enable schools to stop a deadly threat inside a school.

What Worked?

With so many failures, what contained the damage? What stopped the killer?

It is reported that fire was set to at least three bookshelves, but the school didn’t burn and no one died from fire or smoke inhalation. The fire codes and all the redundant, overlapping layers of protection worked. No one calls the fireman paranoid. They recognize that all those layers of protection helped save not only the school, but lives as well. The same idea works against violence when appropriately applied.

The critical idea that worked was an armed response from inside the building – the exact same type of armed response that Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, John Benner, Ron Borsch, and other experts on the topic have suggested. We have seen this repeated enough times to know most in the media who mocked the idea will continue on their warpath instead of quietly eating crow.

Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said of the killer, “His intent was evil, and his evil intent was to harm multiple individuals.”

CNN reported:

The rampage might have resulted in many more casualties had it not been for the quick response of a deputy sheriff who was working as a school resource officer at the school, Robinson said.

    Once he learned of the threat, he ran — accompanied by an unarmed school security officer and two administrators — from the cafeteria to the library, Robinson said. “It’s a fairly long hallway, but the deputy sheriff got there very quickly.”

    The deputy was yelling for people to get down and identified himself as a county deputy sheriff, Robinson said. “We know for a fact that the shooter knew that the deputy was in the immediate area and, while the deputy was containing the shooter, the shooter took his own life.”

    He praised the deputy’s response as “a critical element to the shooter’s decision” to kill himself, and lauded his response to hearing gunshots. “He went to the thunder,” he said. “He heard the noise of gunshot and, when many would run away from it, he ran toward it to make other people safe.”

It is not just that there was a deputy sheriff in the building. He was armed – with a gun. He responded to the threat. He confronted the would-be mass killer, disrupting his plans. He took control away from the killer, who realized he could do no more harm, so he took his own life.

This attack was over less than two minutes after it started, thanks to the school’s decision to place armed school resource officer (SRO) James Englert inside the building.

Having a good person, armed with a gun, inside the school worked. Period. End of story. The SRO saved lives. The policy to have such a person in the school worked. SRO’s are expensive. I’m sure the parents of the children who did not die feel the expense was justified.

While SRO’s are a great resource, the reality is that many districts simply cannot afford to put one in every building. Authorizing qualified parents, teachers or administrators to carry guns offers great protection at little or no cost to the district. When chastised by opponents of our FASTER program, I challenged them to “show me a better way to stop an active killer, and we’ll spend $100,000 on your idea. “I was serious, but they had no alternative solution. So Buckeye Firearms Foundation has budgeted that money to conduct more FASTER classes in 2014. Interested people may sign up here.

Another aspect that worked was that the school did not simply go into “lockdown.” The supposed intended primary target, a librarian and others left the building when the shooting started. It seems likely that this policy saved lives. It would have been even more critical had the SRO not confronted the coward so quickly. But in concert with a quick armed response, it worked exceptionally well. There is general praise for the actions of many school personal and first responders. Their planning and preparation showed.

For those who rely on a “fast response time” from police, consider that this whole incident from beginning to end took only 80 seconds. Most people take several times that long to read this article. There is no possible way police can be called to the scene fast enough. Effective response must come from within.

Police did respond and enter the building, just as they did at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, after the event was over. The difference is that in Centennial there was an armed responder inside the school. In Newtown there were 6 dead educators and 20 dead children inside the school. Choose one.

Commenting on Colorado’s anti-gun laws, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg said the new laws would “keep communities safer.” He was wrong, but added that “As lawmakers in Congress continue the debate over how to reduce gun violence in America, they should look no further than Colorado as a model of progress.”

Ironically, that statement is now true. A Colorado school had an armed person quickly respond and stop a killer, in spite of Bloomberg’s desires. Education is about learning. Every school needs armed security to enable them to stop an active killer as quickly and effectively Arapahoe High School.

Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Foundation President, and recipient of the NRA-ILA’s 2011 “Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award” and the CCRKBA’s 2012 “Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award.”

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What This Burglar Found in a Home Was So Heinous He Had to Call the Police

December 30, 2013

From The Blaze by Oliver Darcy, December 25, 2013

A burglar in Spain reported a pedophile after he discovered to his horror that he had stolen a camera which contained video of the man sexually abusing children, police said.

According to CNN, the appalled burglar placed the incriminating tapes in a brown envelope, hid them under a parked car and then anonymously phoned police directing to them to the evidence.

Inside was a note containing the address of the house the burglar had stolen the tapes from.

“I’ve had the misfortune of having the tapes fall into my hands, and feel obligated to present them to you so you can do your job and put him … in jail for life,” the letter said, according to NBC News.

Police visited the location and arrested a 64-year-old football coach on suspicion of child abuse, according to NBC News. At the home, police found more content depicting sexual abuse of boys, CNN added.

Authorities say the man lured children to his home and watched pornographic films with them before then sexually assaulting them. At least four victims have been identified by investigators.

According to CNN, police are still searching for the burglar “with a conscience.”

 

Obama’s Dangerous Immigration Reform Agenda and Amnesty

December 30, 2013

U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Haven in South Texas wrote on Dec. 13 that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was “completing the criminal mission of individuals who are violating the border security of the United States.”

By Emily Miller – The Washington Times, December 25, 2013

Before leaving on his 17-day vacation in Hawaii, President Obama declared that one of his top priorities for 2014 will be immigration reform, with amnesty. He knows that congressional Republicans feel pressure to do something to woo Hispanic voters.

Mr. Obama will leverage those political forces for the midterm elections, even though he doesn’t even enforce the existing immigration laws.

Mr. Obama held a rare press conference Friday before hopping on Air Force One for the direct flight to Honolulu. It was in an attempt to buck up his plummeting poll numbers after a year of failures.

“Immigration reform, probably the biggest thing that I wanted to get done this year, we saw progress. It passed the Senate with a strong bipartisan vote,” he asserted.

The president said that House Speaker John A. Boehner made a commitment “to try to move forward legislation early next year,” and that there were merely “a few differences here and there” between the two political parties on the issue.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid piled on the pressure.

“I think that John Boehner will conference with the Senate. Why wouldn’t he? He’ll have a lot of pressure from his members now that the election is getting closer,” the Nevada Democrat told The Hill newspaper. “Some of his members are in very marginal districts, where they need to do something on immigration.”

Not so fast. The speaker has said the House will do its own immigration reform in piecemeal form, but not take up the 1,200-page Senate monstrosity. Even then, House conservatives fear that any legislation will result in granting amnesty, while the border with Mexico will never be secured.

Obama is using his second term to fulfill the promises made to his ultraliberal base to get re-elected. The American voters don’t care about changing the immigration laws as much as pocketbook issues.

A Quinnipiac University poll from Dec. 10 asked what respondents thought should be the most important priority for the president and Congress in 2014.

The top answers were the economy (41 percent), the deficit (22 percent) and health care (14 percent). Only 5 percent said that immigration ought to be the priority. The only issues that ranked lower were taxes (no more!) and gun policy (enough!).

The public has reason to be wary of any policy promises from this White House. The Obama administration has shown it is either unable or unwilling to enforce existing immigration laws. That means there is little deterrent for those crossing our borders.

Last week, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement revealed that it had removed 25 percent fewer immigrants from the interior of the country in 2013 compared with the previous year. Overall, just 1 percent of the estimated 12 million illegal aliens were deported last year.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said that the numbers are “more evidence that the Obama administration refuses to enforce our immigration laws.”

The Virginia Republican, whose committee will have jurisdiction of any reforms, added that the president “has sought to undermine and dismantle our immigration laws at every opportunity possible.”

The Obama administration isn’t even targeting the bad guys. The number of criminal aliens deported went down by 8,000 this year.

Even more disturbing, a federal judge accused the Obama administration of aiding child traffickers by skirting immigration laws.

U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Haven in South Texas wrote on Dec. 13 that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was “completing the criminal mission of individuals who are violating the border security of the United States.”

The case involved a smuggler who was caught at the border with a 10-year-old girl from El Salvador. An illegal alien had paid the child trafficker to bring her daughter to her in Virginia. While the smuggler was arrested, Homeland Security agents took the child to her mother, but they were neither arrested nor deported.

Judge Hanen wrote that this was the fourth case of its type he had heard recently in which “DHS completed the criminal conspiracy” and “simply chosen not to enforce the United States’ border-security laws.”

The judge also wrote that, “More troubling, the DHS is encouraging parents to seriously jeopardize the safety of their children.” Drug cartels control the abhorrent but profitable human-trafficking business on the border.

Judge Hanen pointed out that the court has seen those smuggled end up getting raped, kidnapped and killed in the process. He said that as a result of the government’s policies, U.S. citizens are “helping fund these evil ventures with their tax dollars.”

With Hispanic voters in the forefront of many political strategists’ minds leading up to the November elections, the debate over immigration reform will undoubtedly be a leading issue in Washington next year.

However, the House GOP should not pass any legislation until it can rein in the White House from unilaterally granting amnesty to illegal aliens and not enforcing current law.

Arizona Mother Arrested in Christmas Day Killing of Teen Daughter

December 30, 2013

Police have arrested the mother of a teen girl who was found murdered on Christmas Day.

According to the Casa Grande, Ariz., Police Department, Connie Villa, 35, allegedly attempted to kill all of four her children and her ex-husband Adam Villa on Dec. 25.

She has been charged with first-degree murder for the death of her daughter, 13-year-old Aniarael Macias, who was found dead in the family apartment bathroom.

Police said they believe that Villa called her ex-husband to come over on Christmas Day so that she could kill him. After he arrived, she allegedly stabbed him repeatedly in the torso, police said. Adam Villa was able to escape and call the police as he drove himself to the hospital.

When police arrived at Villa’s apartment, they forced open the door and found her holding a knife to her chest with apparent self-inflicted stab wounds on her torso.

Villa’s three younger children, ages 3, 5, and 8, were also found without any stab wounds. Macias’ body was found in the bathroom, but she had no visible injuries, Casa Grande Police Department spokesman Thomas Anderson said.

After the younger children were taken to the hospital, trace amounts of opiates were found in their system. Police say they suspect Villa was trying to poison her children.

An autopsy conducted on Anariel on Saturday was inconclusive.

“We are anxiously awaiting the results of the toxicology report to determine that [cause of death],” Anderson said. “Evidence found on scene and interviews of the children give us cause to believe Aniarael was also given some type of prescription narcotic drug.”

Connie Villa and Adam Villa were treated at two different hospitals and Adam Villa remained hospitalized today in stable condition. Although Adam Villa is the father of Connie Villa’s three younger children, he is not the biological father of Aniarael Macias.

According to police, Aniarael’s biological father has been working with investigators since the incident occurred.

Connie Villa was taken into custody by police this morning after she was released from the hospital.

In addition to the first degree murder charge, she faces four charges of attempted murder for allegedly trying to kill Adam Villa and her three younger children. The investigation is ongoing and Villa could face additional charges.

Her three younger children are under the care of Adam Villa’s family, while he remains in the hospital, police said.

N.Y. Judge: NSA Spying “Imperils Civil Liberties of Every Citizen” but “Legal”

December 29, 2013

From The New American by Thomas R. Eddlem, December 27, 2013

Southern District of New York Judge William Pauley III declared in a December 27 decision that the NSA surveillance program — which draws in every American’s telephone records without a warrant or probable cause — was “legal” even though it “imperils the civil liberties of every citizen.” The decision contrasts sharply with a decision two weeks ago by Washington, D.C. District Court Judge Richard Leon that termed the warrantless surveillance program unconstitutional and “almost Orwellian.”

N.Y. Judge: NSA Spying “Imperils Civil Liberties of Every Citizen” but “Legal”

Almost Orwellian was no problem for Pauley, who found that the Constitution should not get in the way of programs the government claims have worked: “The question for this Court is whether the Government’s bulk telephony metadata program is lawful. This Court finds it is.”

Pauley dismissed the lawsuit by the ACLU despite acknowledging that “This blunt tool works because it collects everything. Such a program, if unchecked, imperils the civil liberties of every citizen.”

Metadata is the record created by a telephone call, and includes the number calling and the number called, as well as the time and duration of the call. The NSA also has other programs to collect Internet traffic and other data on Americans, but these other programs were not the subject of the lawsuit dismissed by Pauley.

Pauley claimed, however, that “Bulk telephony metadata collection is subject to extensive oversight by all three branches of government. It is monitored by the Department of Justice, the Intelligence Community, the FISC [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court], and Congress.”

Pauley’s claim is not backed up by the facts, nor even by the text of his own 54-page decision. The public record is devoid of any serious restrictions on NSA created by the intelligence community or the Justice Department. And the FISC has turned out to be an NSA lapdog, not a watchdog. The Wall Street Journal reported back on June 9 that “From 1979 through 2012, the court overseeing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has rejected only 11 of the more than 33,900 surveillance applications by the government, according to annual Justice Department reports to Congress.”

Indeed, Pauley’s decision — despite touting “extensive oversight” from FISA courts — acknowledged “there is no way for the Government to know which particle of telephony metadata will lead to useful counterterrorism information. When that is the case, courts routinely authorize large-scale collections of information, even if most of it will not directly bear on the investigation.”

As for Congress’ surveillance of the NSA, most members didn’t even know about the program until Edward Snowden revealed it to the public. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) noted that NSA briefings of Congress amounted to “a totally ridiculous game of twenty questions.”

The court decision read more like an op-ed by NSA chief Keith Alexander than a neutral court ruling, as Pauley derided “judicial-Monday-morning-quarterbacking” by the Leon court. Throughout the wordy 54-page decision, Pauley never articulated any objective restriction on a search that would be a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Not, at least, an argument on the Fourth Amendment that would be even a “substantial” burden on the government. Pauley noted that “To obtain a section 215 order [under the Patriot Act], the Government must show (1) ‘reasonable grounds to believe the tangible things south are relevant to an authorized investigation.’” But the “reasonable” standard is one defined by the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment. Pauley argued that “Under section 215, the Government’s burden is not substantial.” But the Fourth Amendment explicitly defines a “reasonable” search as one with a warrant supported by an oath, probable cause and particularity in describing what will be found and where it will be found.

Pauley claimed in his decision that “The collection of breathtaking amounts of information unprotected by the Fourth Amendment does not transform that sweep into a Fourth Amendment search.” Of course, all searches are subject to the Fourth Amendment; the amendment makes no exceptions for non-Fourth Amendment searches. The text of the Fourth Amendment reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The New York court’s decision revealed how courts can “interpret” a constitutional amendment out of existence. Pauley openly acknowledged in his decision that the NSA program does not comport with the Fourth Amendment’s “probable cause” requirement, writing that “Any individual call record alone is unlikely to lead to matter that may pertain to a terrorism investigation.” He also acknowledged that the NSA-backed surveillance did not comport with the warrant requirement through National Security Letters issued by the FBI: “An NSL does not require judicial approval.”

Pauley based his constitutionality ruling on the claim in his decision that “an individual has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information provided to third parties” and that “when a person voluntarily conveys information to a third party, he forfeits his right to privacy in that information.” Of course, while his court claimed that a person has no right to claim privacy in any third party records voluntarily created, the Federal Trade Commission was busy suing businesses such as Google for violating this same non-existent privacy violation. Google paid a $22.5 million fine in 2012 for putting “cookies” on browsers that used its websites after being taken to court by the Federal Trade Commission. So if there’s no legitimate right to privacy, why did the Obama administration — the same branch of the federal government that claimed there’s no reasonable expectation of privacy in the NSA lawsuit — sue Google?

Moreover, Pauley took pains to stress that the NSA keeps the data private, writing that “The NSA store the metadata in secure networks and access is limited to authorized personnel.” If there’s no reasonable expectation of privacy, why all the secrecy and restricted access?

Pauley’s claim that the information is “secure” is false on its face. Edward Snowden’s release of the information alone is proof that the information is not secure, and Pauley acknowledged that the lawsuit was possible only because of Snowden’s revelations. Snowden was a 27-year-old contractor for Booz-Allen-Hamilton — not even an NSA employee — who had access to this sensitive information. And the NSA has admitted a dozen other instances of abuse of that “metadata” information, in some instances where NSA employees were using the data to spy on their wives and girlfriends. 

This, of course, puts the lie to Pauley’s claim that “the Government does not know who any of the telephone numbers belong to.” [Emphasis in original.] Of course, if they don’t know to whom any of the numbers belong, how did NSA employees know enough to zoom in on their girlfriends and wives?

The revelation that NSA employees were using the surveillance program as a crutch for their failing romantic relationships also puts the lie to Pauley’s claim in his decision that “There is no evidence that the Government has used any of the bulk telephony metadata it collected for any purpose other than investigating and disrupting terrorist attacks.”

The December 27 decision did put the USA Patriot Act in its proper light, however. Pauley noted that one provision of the Patriot Act was “eliminating the restrictions on the types of businesses that can be served with such orders [broad demands for private information without a search warrant] and the requirement that the target be a foreign power or agent.” In other words, the Patriot Act was written to allow the government to target Americans — for the first time — for surveillance. “The ACLU argues that the category at issue — all telephony metadata — is too broad and contains too much irrelevant information. That argument has no traction here. Because without all the data points, the Government cannot be certain it connected the pertinent ones.” Indeed, Pauley stressed that “the Government invoked this authority to collect virtually all call detail records or ‘telephony metadata.’”

One can paraphrase Pauley’s decision as essentially one where “one nation under surveillance” is an acceptable way of life, and where the Fourth Amendment is a relic of a bygone era without any “substantial” impact on the federal government.

Off-Duty LAPD Officer Saves Driver From Burning Vehicle

December 27, 2013

From ABC News, December27, 2013

A ball of fire on one of California’s busiest freeways turned a quiet Christmas into an unforgettable one.

Los Angeles Police Department Bomb Squad officer Don Thompson was on his way to work Wednesday when at around 2 p.m. he saw a car crash on Los Angeles’ 405 freeway.

“I saw this car just veer into the retaining wall,” Thompson said. “It went across all lanes, and it was on fire at that time.”

Thompson ran to the car, now engulfed in flames, and found the driver of the car trapped inside and unconscious.

“I said to myself, ‘I have to get him out of here,'” Thompson said. “All the while there was of all this fire. It was just really intense.”

As other drivers captured the rescue on camera, Thompson, a 26-year veteran of the LAPD, dove into the car to try to unbuckle the driver and pull him from his seat.

After one failed attempt, Thompson went back into the burning car and pulled the 72-year-old driver from the car. Disoriented by the heat, Thompson was then helped by other Good Samaritans who had stopped their cars to help.

“I mean, this guy, he was incredible,” witness Dru Gash said of Thompson. “He’s like a superhero. He jumped in there. He opened the car door, reached in there and grabbed this guy out.”

The driver, who was not identified, suffered only minor injuries. He was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence.

To see the video report of this incident use the link below:

http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/off-duty-cop-saves-driver-burning-vehicle-152931763–abc-news-topstories.html?vp=1

U.S. Senator Warns: 2014 NDAA Still Gives Obama ‘Indefinite Detention Without Due Process’ Powers

December 22, 2013

Says it “does not ensure our most basic rights as American citizens are protected”

Adan Salazar, Infowars.com, December 21, 2013

Texas Senator Ted Cruz was one of a handful of legislators who took a stand against the renewal of the National Defense Reauthorization Act this week by refusing to sign onto the legislation, which Cruz says still contains wording allowing President Obama to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens absent of due process.

“Just voted against NDAA because it does not ensure our most basic rights as American citizens are protected,” Cruz tweeted Thursday evening.

The legislation passed the Senate in an 84-15 vote late last Thursday night and “clears the Pentagon to spend $607 billion, including $527 billion in base funding and $80 billion for America’s global operations,” reports Defense News.

According to Cruz, the bill contains many provisions he supports and even introduced, including provisions requiring “an independent investigation into reports of religious discrimination against troops sharing their faith,” and one insisting on “Improved assistance for widows of troops killed in combat.”

However, the embattled senator, who earlier this year helped defeat an assault on gun rights and staged a 21-hour filibuster against the president’s namesake healthcare law, also stated in a press release that attempts to amend the bill for the betterment of due process rights were blocked.

Cruz said in a Facebook post Thursday:

Today I voted against the National Defense Authorization Act. I am deeply concerned that Congress still has not prohibited President Obama’s ability to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens arrested on American soil without trial or due process.

The Constitution does not allow President Obama, or any President, to apprehend an American citizen, arrested on U.S. soil, and detain these citizens indefinitely without a trial. When I ran for office, I promised the people of Texas I would oppose any National Defense Authorization Act that did not explicitly prohibit the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens. Although this legislation does contain several positive provisions that I support, it does not ensure our most basic rights as American citizens are protected.

I hope that next year the Senate and the House can come together in a bipartisan way to recognize the importance of our constitutional rights even in the face of ongoing terrorist threats and national security challenges. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Senate Armed Services Committee toward this common goal.

Last July, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned a September 2012 decision made by U.S. District Court Judge Katherine B. Forrest which ruled that Section 1021 of the 2012 NDAA bill, the section authorizing the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens, was unconstitutional. However, in less than 24 hours the Obama administration appealed the ruling.

Joe Wolverton, II, J.D., writing for The New American, says the 2014 version of the bill additionally contains “frightening” provisions strengthening government surveillance powers under the Patriot Act, and will also “establish a center to be known as the ‘Conflict Records Research Center,’” whose goal it would be to compile a “digital research database including translations and to facilitate research and analysis of records captured from countries, organizations, and individuals, now or once hostile to the United States.”

“…[T]here is in the NDAA for 2014 a frightening fusion of the federal government’s constant surveillance of innocent Americans and the assistance it will give to justifying the indefinite detention of anyone labeled an enemy of the regime,” Wolverton writes.

The website Activist Post published the roll call vote results,

roll call

Border Patrol to Test High-Tech Surveillance Balloons Along Mexican Border

December 22, 2013

Steve Neavling, ticklethewire.com, December 22, 2013

Forget drones.

The U.S. Border Patrol is testing the abilities of helium-filled balloons that were originally used by the Department of Defense for surveillance, the Associated Press reports.

Don’t be confused by the seemingly simple technology of balloons.

Aerostats, as they’re called, can identify the make, model and color of a car a few miles away while being tethered about 2,500 feet above the ground, the AP wrote.

Border Patrol is testing the devices in hopes of using them to combat human and drug trafficking.

US Sailors that Assisted With Fukushima Clean Up Crippled By Cancer

December 22, 2013

From Zero Hedge, December 22, 2013

Back in December 2012, we wrote that it was only a matter of time before Japan’s criminal lying about the radioactive exposure in the aftermath of the Fukushima catastrophe caught up with it, as well as with countless numbers of people who would soon succumb to radiation induced cancers and other diseases. What we found surprising back then, before the full scale of the Fukushima catastrophe become clear and before even Tepco admitted that the situation is completely out of control, is that those holding Japan accountable were not its own citizens but eight US sailors who have then filed a suit against semi-nationalized energy operator TEPCO – the company which repeatedly ignored internal warnings about the ability of the Fukushima NPP to withstand an earthquake/tsunami –  seeking $110 million in damages.

Kyodo reported:

Eight U.S. sailors have filed a damages suit against Tokyo Electric Power Co., claiming they were exposed to radiation and face health threats as the utility did not provide appropriate information about the Fukushima nuclear disaster while they engaged in rescue operations on board an aircraft carrier, U.S. media reported.

The plaintiffs who filed the suit at the U.S. federal court in San Diego — seeking a total of $110 million, or 9.4 billion yen, in damages — were aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan when it was involved in “Operation Tomodachi,” a disaster relief effort shortly after a big earthquake and tsunami triggered the worst nuclear accident in decades, the reports said.”

What is sad is that while everyone in the alternative media was repeatedly warning about the radiation exposure being misrepresented by both TEPCO and various Japanese ministries, it was the mainstream media that was constantly complicit in disseminating official and unofficial lies that there is nothing to fear.

One year after our report, the lies are not only catching up (and overtaking), but are ruining and dooming innocent lives. As Fox reports, dozens of US soldiers who participated in the Fukushima cleanup effort, are succumbing to numerous radiation-related illnesses, including cancer, and their only error was believing the official media lies.

From Fox:

When the USS Ronald Reagan responded to the tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011, Navy sailors including Quartermaster Maurice Enis gladly pitched in with rescue efforts. 

But months later, while still serving aboard the aircraft carrier, he began to notice strange lumps all over his body. Testing revealed he’d been poisoned with radiation, and his illness would get worse. And his fiance and fellow Reagan quartermaster, Jamie Plym, who also spent several months helping near the Fukushima nuclear power plant, also began to develop frightening symptoms, including chronic bronchitis and hemorrhaging.

They and 49 other U.S. Navy members who served aboard the Reagan and sister ship the USS Essex now trace illnesses including thyroid and testicular cancers, leukemia and brain tumors to the time spent aboard the massive ship, whose desalination system pulled in seawater that was used for drinking, cooking and bathing. In a lawsuit filed against Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the plaintiffs claim the power company delayed telling the U.S. Navy the tsunami had caused a nuclear meltdown, sending huge amounts of contaminated water into the sea and, ultimately, into the ship’s water system.

“At our level, we weren’t told anything,” Plym told FoxNews.com. “We were told everything was OK.” Now, Plym, Enis and dozens of others wonder if their service to their country and to Japan has left them doomed.

“I get so angry,” Plym said. “They said as long as the plume was avoided we would be fine. But we knew then that something was going to happen. Common sense tells you that the wind would blow it everywhere. You don’t need to be a nuclear scientist to figure that out.”

Why the anger though: after all everyone lied, starting with those in control, and certainly the media that supports the status quo (one must think of all those advertising dollars) constantly and repeatedly that it is simply preposterous to assume that a benevolent regime which only cares about the wealth effect (of both the US and Japan) would engage in such a vast conspiracy as to hide from the world just how destructive the fallour from Fukushima truly was (even as the fringe blogosphere was warning precisely about this day in, and day out).

But while the lies are easily explainable, what is more surprising is that the soldiers are blaming just Tepco instead of everyone in their chain of command for putting them in the line of gamma radiation fire.

San Francisco Attorney Charles Bonner,who is representing allegedly cancer-stricken sailors, initially filed a federal suit in the Southern District of California more than a year ago on behalf of a dozen sailors. The lawsuit was initially dismissed, when the court ruled that any ruling would hinge on interpreting communication between the Japanese and U.S. governments, which could violate the separation of powers. But Bonner is amending the suit to add new allegations that would fall under the court’s jurisdiction. And the number of plaintives has more than quadrupled as more service members come forward with radiation-related illnesses, he said.

“They went in to help with rescue efforts,” said Bonner, who plans to refile the suit on Jan. 6. “They did not go in prepared to deal with radiation containment.”

The plaintiffs don’t blame the U.S. Navy, which they believe acted in good faith, Bonner said. It was the plant’s operators who sat on the meltdown information during the crucial hours following the March 11, 2011 disaster, he said.

“TEPCO pursued a policy which caused rescuers, including the plaintiffs, to rush into an unsafe area which was too close to the [Fukushima nuclear power plant] that had been damaged,” Bonner charged in an April filing now being updated to add more plaintiffs. “Relying upon the misrepresentation regarding health and safety made by TEPCO, upon information and belief, the U.S. Navy was lulled into a false sense of security.

“The officers and crew of the U.S.S. Reagan (CVN-76) and other vessels believed that it was safe to operate within the waters adjacent to the FNPP, without doing the kinds of research and testing that would have verified the problems known to the defendant TEPCO at the time.”

Nathan Piekutoski, 22, who served aboard the USS Essex, which was in the same deployment as the Reagan, said sailors had no choice but to trust what they were told.

“They did say it was safe at the time,” Piekutoski said. “We had to take their word for it.”

Piekutowski says he suffered from leukemia and, while he is currently in remission, Doctors have told him that he may need a bone marrow transplant.

“Within a few months I started getting all these weird symptoms,” he recalled of the months following the disaster response. “Night sweats. Not sleeping. I started losing a lot of weight.

“It’s one of those things,” he added. “You’re angry that it happens but we had to go. It was our duty. I joined the military to help people in need.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Defense declined to comment on the pending lawsuit, but told FoxNews.com the Pentagon has been monitoring and collecting data on radiation exposure in the region.

Needless to say, the criminals at Tepco have nothing to say:

TEPCO officials did not respond to requests for comment. But a recent admission before members of the Japanese press on Dec. 12 during a meeting at the Tokyo Press Club, former Prime Minister Naoto Jan said the first meltdown occurred five hours after the tsunami, not the next day as reported at the time. 

Bonner alleges that the statement means that the Japanese government knew radiation was being leaked and did not inform the U.S. Navy.

“They knew there was an active meltdown and they deliberately hid it from the public as well as the Navy,” Bonner said. “Those sailors went in there totally unaware and they were contaminated as a result.”

Plym says she is prepared to have her symptoms question in court, should the case go to trial. But with so many U.S. sailors coming forward, she believes justice will prevail.

“People will say that out lawsuit is fake and that we are doing this for money, but it’s really about getting the correct information out there,” Plym said.

And now back to a mythical reality in which insolvent governments tell the “truth” about the true, and very deplorable, state of affairs just behind the peeing facade. In the meantime, to all the sailors whose only crime was believing their criminal, corrupt superiors: our condolences.

‘Good Guy with a Gun,’ Not Gun Control, Stopped Arapahoe High Rampage

December 22, 2013

From YAHOO! News by Dylan Stableford, December 22, 2013

The National Rifle Association says the Arapahoe High School shooting is proof that an “armed response” to school massacres — putting more “good guys with guns” in schools — works, and that Colorado’s new gun control laws, passed in the wake of the 2012 theater massacre in Aurora, did nothing to keep guns “out of the hands of bad guys.”

“Gun control laws didn’t stop a possible massacre at Arapahoe High School,” the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action wrote in a letter to its members on Friday. “A good guy with a gun stopped the rampage and in doing so almost certainly prevented much greater harm. For that, we can all be thankful.”

Claire Davis, a 17-year-old student, was shot at point-blank range as she sat in a hallway at the school on Dec. 13. “As bad as that was,” the NRA wrote, “things could have been much worse.”

Davis died Saturday. The 18-year-old gunman — a senior who was reportedly armed with a shotgun, about 125 rounds of ammunition, three Molotov cocktails and a machete — killed himself before carrying out what authorities believe was a planned killing spree.

“The attacker’s mission was stopped short by the quick response of an armed deputy sheriff who was working as a resource officer at the school,” the letter continued. “Upon learning of the threat, the deputy ran from the cafeteria to the library, yelling for people to get down and identifying himself as a deputy sheriff.  The horrific incident lasted only a total of 80 seconds and ended with the shooter turning his gun on himself in the library as the deputy was closing in on him.”

During a Dec. 15 appearance on “Face The Nation,” Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said the gun control laws passed in Colorado in March “are going to make us safer, but in this specific case aren’t going to make a difference at all. And that’s the challenge.”

“What does make a difference is an armed response,” the NRA letter said. “But it only works in a situation where properly secured firearms are available onsite to be used by responsible, proficient, courageous people — in other words, the good guys.”

A week after the Dec. 14, 2012, massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the NRA argued that gun control legislation would not prevent similar shootings, calling for a nationwide program that would place armed security in every school desiring protection.

“I call on Congress today to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation,” NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said at a press conference in Washington. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”