February 28, 2013

New Conservative Hero Bob Woodward Has an Obama Threat Level Problem

Bob Woodward, the square-jawed star of the Watergate scandal, recently sat down with Politico to gripe about how an Obama aide "yelled at [him] for about a half hour" and later said he'd "regret" asking the administration tough questions. As you might've gather from that whole "star of Watergate" statement above, Woodward is no stranger to the president's men making tough talk with journalists. And beyond being a little bit miffed about the administration's posture towards the press, Woodward is bullish in his quest to let America know that this sequestration crisis is simply a product of Barack Obama making marionettes out of all of us — Congress, the press, the people. He wrote a whole book about it. But did the White House really threaten him? Some people think that Woodward's gone little too far this time.
Woodward's latest swipe at the White House has Beltway types pretty stirred up, especially the ones in the media already making a mess out of the administration's press policies this month. It smacks of the real playground intimidation nonsense that makes politicos cover their mouths and say, Ohhh! First, you have a star like Woodward lowering his brow at the Obama administration. Again, this is the guy that Robert Redford played in All the President's Men, a movie about how journalism brought down an American president. Whomever that "senior aide" was that threatened Woodward — he's been identified to Buzzfeed's Ben Smith as White House Economic Director Gene Sperling — just threw his juicebox at man who's now accusing the executive branch (in Politico) of going "tremble tremble" and (on CNN Wednesday night) with "a tactic" that makes him "very uncomfortable."
That would be a silly thing to do on any day of the week. But at a time when the Obama administration's taking heat for being hypocritical about transparency, it's just madness. "Madness" — that's the same word that Woodward used on television Wednesday morning to describe Obama's handling of sequestration, a situation that the journalist says the president orchestrated. Woodward's been at this since last week, and kept it up both in print over the weekend and at various stops in Congress and on TV later through Wednesday. That's exactly what Woodward called to talk to said senior aide about when he got the yelling routine. However, some would doubt Woodward's account of the whole exchange. It's hard to know what was said on that initial phone call, but the "you will regret" threat came in the form of an email that Woodward shared with Politico. "I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today," wrote the aide. "You're focusing on a few specific trees that give a very wrong impression of the forest. But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here. … I think you will regret staking out that claim."
Different people will interpret that threat differently. Members of the press pool and other D.C. journalists can't help but separate it from the recent controversy over the White House blocking the press from following Obama on to the golf course. That seemingly small incident is part of a broader complaint that many journalists have with Obama and his promise to be transparent. "The way the president's availability to the press has shrunk in the last two years is a disgrace," longtime ABC News White House reporter Ann Compton told Politico recently. "This is different from every president I covered. This White House goes to extreme lengths to keep the press away." Extreme lengths like veiled threats? Bob Woodward says yes.
However, it's impossible not to read into Woodward's intentions in blowing up his exchange with a White House aide, not to mention Politico's decision to report on the incident. Even Politico's Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei, who wrote that big post-golf "puppet master" exposé, now admit that "Woodward, once Public Enemy Number One to a generation of Republicans, [has become] the unlikely darling of the right wing." After Allen and Vandehei published their latest story about Woodward's run-in, journalists were quick to reinterpret what happened between Woodward and the aide. The Huffington Post's Jason Linkins actually talked to the White House after the story went live on Wednesday night and got this reply for an "official":
Of course no threat was intended. As Mr. Woodward noted, the email from the aide was sent to apologize for voices being raised in their previous conversation. The note suggested that Mr. Woodward would regret the observation he made regarding the sequester because that observation was inaccurate, nothing more. And Mr. Woodward responded to this aide's email in a friendly manner
Your conspiratorial self may ask: But isn't that just more evidence that the White House is manipulating the press into telling it what to report???? No, it's actually just a less slanted read of what went down. Woodward's more slanted read, by the way, looks like this:
Woodward repeated the last sentence, making clear he saw it as a veiled threat. " 'You'll regret' Come on," [Woodward] said. "I think if Obama himself saw the way they're dealing with some of this, he would say, "Whoa, we don't tell any reporter 'you're going to regret challenging us.'"
We'll let you interpret the two sides of this argument before, but it's worth remembering that Woodward's been waging a war on Obama for a while now. He's going to keep fighting it, too. Woodward heads to Fox News tomorrow to talk about the whole situation with Sean Hannity. Maybe they'll eat some donuts and have a soda.

February 27, 2013

Inspector General: Treasury has created incentive for companies to seek bailouts

Christy Romero, the special inspector general overseeing the bailout, said that the Treasury Department allows such high compensation for executives at bailed-out auto companies as to create an incentive for other companies to seek bailouts.
“Absolutely,” Romero replied when Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Mich., asked her if the Treasury Department had created a “moral hazard” by approving so many pay increases. “It shouldn’t be comfortable or luxurious to be in TARP.”
Romero noted that shows that the Treasury Department had approved numerous raises ranging between $30,000 and $1 million. Romero also reminded Congress that ”executive compensation did play a material role in the financial crisis” that made the bailouts necessary because executives lacked the long-term incentives to make responsible long-term decisions about the company.
“Treasury approved raises at GM of 15 percent to 23 percent without any further detail or analysis for four employees “on the basis that they were among the individuals that GM’s CEO most relied on, and they had received significant promotions or increased job responsibilities,” the Detroit News quoted the audit as saying. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., suggested that President Obama’s “you didn’t build that” remark is true of General Motors, given that the company is so dependent on taxpayer support.
Patricia Geoghegan, the Treasury Department official responsible for approving or rejecting the pay raises, defended her decisions. “The regulation makes clear that we must consider market forces,” Geoghegan said. “By no means do we approve ever compensation package that’s put in front of us . . . In some cases, pay raises are totally justified. In other instances it is not unusual for [companies] to come to us and recommend that an executive receive a pay decrease.” Twenty-three executives received pay increases that raised their salary above $500,000, while three saw their pay cut, but not below $450,000. “As time goes by, the companies are getting more and more of what they want,” Romero said.


February 26, 2013

Wal-Mart Bribery Scandal Puts Spotlight on U.S. Anti-Corruption Law

Federal regulators have taken heat for not cracking down enough on Wall Street misdeeds, but Washington’s watchdogs have been baring their teeth plenty when it comes to investigating the business of foreign corruption.
            The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) prohibits U.S. companies and individuals from bribing foreign officials to obtain or retain business. Passed in 1977 in the wake of revelations of widespread global corruption, the FCPA was the first statute of its kind in the world.
            Now a major Wal-Mart bribery scandal in Mexico has cast a spotlight on the FCPA. The company confirmed last year that it was the subject of investigations by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission after a New York Times bombshell investigation reported that Wal-Mart had paid bribes to Mexican officials to open more stores in the country.
            A just-published Bloomberg Government Study by Global Business Director Sandy Reback and Quantitative Analyst Miguel Garrido suggests that the Wal-Mart investigation may be part of a longer and larger trend in FCPA enforcement. The study details the growing number of enforcement actions and the increasing size of settlement amounts, as well as the U.S. industries and countries targeted in recent years by the DOJ and SEC. The study also highlights the measures the U.S. government says that businesses can take to prevent and mitigate FCPA liability.
            A growing international consensus against corruption has resulted in global anti-bribery pacts such as the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and the United Nations Convention Against Bribery. American companies should closely monitor these efforts overseas to combat bribery, especially a recent U.K law similar to the FCPA, while following the suggestions of the DOJ and SEC about how to ensure compliance with the FCPA itself.

February 25, 2013

FBI Sexting Scandal: More Abuse Of Government Power

Politicians, CIA directors, and now FBI agents have reminded the American public time and again that no one, regardless of their position of authority or power, is above sexual misconduct. CNN reported Friday that a confidential FBI internal disciplinary report was recently distributed to employees with the aim of preventing future inappropriate behavior. Misconduct outlined in this report includes paying for sex, drunk driving, and using government-issued phones to send tawdry text messages and nude photos. So much for “Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity” – the FBI motto.
According to the internal report, from 2010 to 2012, the FBI disciplined a little over 1,000 employees for a variety of misdeeds and violations, such as engaging in a romantic relationship with a known drug dealer, involvement in a child pornography sting operation, and emailing nude photographs to an ex-boyfriend’s wife. The FBI Agents Association, an organization devoted to advocating for active and former FBI agents, did note, however, that the ratio of disciplinary problems among FBI agents is one of the lowest in comparison to other federal government and private sector organizations.
Though men in positions of power typically seem to be the ones to get involved in these lurid situations, such as former CIA director General Petraeus or the U.S. secret service agents who brought prostitutes to their Colombian hotel room in April, it appears that misbehavior among FBI employees befell both men and women. One woman, who ultimately received a 10-day suspension, used her personal cellphone to send nude photos of herself to several colleagues, which obviously disrupted the productivity of those squads for that day. Of the FBI’s approximate 36,000 employees, around 16,000 are women.
CNN managed to obtain a copy of an internal disciplinary report that cites a number of cases of FBI employees sending coworkers unsolicited money shots.
When public figures, especially members of an agency designed to enforce and uphold federal law, behave in ways that seem more fitting for high school co-eds, we have to wonder whether they are truly fit to serve. And yet on the other hand, it seems like many individuals have been unable to resist such questionable decision-making, considering the behavior of past presidents, congressmen, and prime ministers.
In fact, it is probably more perceptive to consider how power makes these women and men feel as though they are above the law, ethical and otherwise. Evidently, with power comes a sense of entitlement that obscures rational deliberation on consequences and morals.
This assertion is by no means meant to excuse the behavior of the FBI agents in question. Explicitly addressing how authority and influence affects behavior should hopefully inspire a more honest conversation about accountability and integrity.

February 22, 2013

White House sequester scare campaign continues

President phoned top GOP Hill leaders Thursday, marking another stage in the public relations campaign to spur a media storm over the pending budget sequester that will trim federal spending by roughly two percent in 2013.

White House spokesman announced Obama’s phone calls, but declined to describe the conversation.

“The president spoke with Sen. [Mitch] McConnell and the Speaker” John Boehner, Carney said during the midday press conference. “I have no content to read out to you from those conversations,” he said.

Currently, the cuts begin March 1, and are concentrated on the so-called discretionary side of the federal budget, and exclude entitlement programs, such as Medicare. For example, up to $45 billion will be cut from the Pentagon’s $630 billion 2013 budget by October.

Carney’s confirmation of the calls comes as White House officials — including the president — step up their effort to dominate media coverage of the pending cuts.

Strategically, the White House’s goal is to maximize the cuts’ perceived impact on middle-class Americans, then blame the GOP and so weaken the GOP prior to the 2014 election.

At part of that political campaign, Carney again used provocative language that said GOP legislators prefer to impose painful spending cuts on middle-class Americans rather than close a few tax “loopholes” used by high-income Americans.

The cuts are “a manufactured crisis that is unnecessary,” he claimed.
Obama has offered compromises that require “tough choices for his party … [and are] middle-of-the-road, common-sense plans,” he claimed.

Carney also claimed the president is powerless to reduce the impact without action from Congress.
“It would certainly be a welcome development if the president was able to pass legislation,” he said when asked if the president has any bureaucratic ability to reduce the impact of spending cuts on middle-class Americans.

The sequester was included in the bipartisan deal at Obama’s request and approved by congressional members of both parties. In 2011, Obama threatened to veto any effort to stop the sequester’s cuts. Since then, Obama and other administration officials have repeatedly claimed included the sequester cuts while claiming credit for cutting the predicted 10-year deficit by $2.5 trillion.

However, deficit spending has raised the federal government’s debt by $6 trillion since 2009. It is expected to climb another $3 billion by the end of his second term.

This year, Obama is demanding the GOP agree to tax cuts before he will sign a bill to stop the sequester.

GOP officials now label the cuts as the “Obama-quester.”

Unless stopped by a congressional deal, the sequester will trim roughly $42 billion to $85 billion in 2013, or from 1.2 to 2.4 percent, from the federal government’s $3.8 trillion 2013 budget.

“If lawmakers chose to prevent those automatic cuts each year without making other changes that reduced spending by offsetting amounts, spending would be $42 billion higher in 2013 and $995 billion (or about 2 percent) higher over the 2014–2023 period than is projected in CBO’s current baseline,” said CBO’s February report, titled “The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2013 to 2023.”

A $42 billion cut in 2013 is equivalent to roughly one cent from every dollar of 2013 spending.


February 21, 2013

Money chase by Obama circle ripe for corruption, say government watchdogs

Government watchdog groups once allied with President Obama warn he could become embroiled in a second-term scandal because of ties to a group set up to collect unlimited donations.
The group, Organizing for Action, plans to raise unlimited chunks of funding to promote the president’s agenda. It is chaired by Jim Messina, Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, and advised by David Plouffe, who recently served as Obama’s senior adviser.

The creation of this group by Obama’s inner political circle combined with the president’s silence on campaign finance reform during Tuesday’s State of the Union address has alarmed government watchdog groups such as Common Cause and Public Citizen.
"We’re concerned by his Organizing for Action group that’s being set up because it creates a huge potential for government corruption where basically corporations and other wealthy donors can fund this new group that can be a partner organization that is basically working on Obama’s agenda,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, senior vice president for policy and program at Common Cause.
“It invites through a back door special interest influence and access and it’s a step in the wrong direction," she added.
One Democratic senator, Ron Wyden of Oregon, says at the very least the Obama administration should not allow political advocacy groups such as OFA to benefit from a tax exemption intended for social welfare organizations.
Wyden pressed Jack Lew, Obama’s nominee to head the Treasury Department, on the subject during a hearing Wednesday.
“They’re really ripping off the tax code because they’re not social welfare organizations. They’re doing politics,” Wyden told Lew.
White House spokesman Eric Schultz defended Obama’s efforts to limit the influence of special interests within his administration.
“The president has outlined new steps Congress should take to eliminate the corrosive influence of money in politics like holding Congress to the same conflict-of-interest standards as the executive branch, and prohibiting lobbyists from bundling and bundlers from lobbying,” said Schultz.
“But we have not waited for Congress to act,” he added. “On his first day in office, the President issued an executive order designed to reign in the influence of lobbyists and shut down the ‘revolving door’ that carries special interest influence in and out of government.”
Schultz noted the administration backs the closure of loopholes in government ethics rules and increased disclosure of corporate efforts to gather political intelligence.
Organizing for Action did not respond to a request for comment.
Liberal-leaning good-government groups once considered Obama an important ally. In the past, he touted an array of campaign finance regulations.
Over the summer, he called for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. FEC, the controversial Supreme Court ruling that allowed corporations, unions and issue advocacy groups to spend unlimited funds on independent expenditures for or against candidates.
In 2011, he endorsed public financing for presidential candidates when House Republicans tried to end it.
In 2010, he urged Congress to pass legislation requiring outside advocacy groups to disclose their donors.
Obama won plaudits from good-government groups by setting up limits on lobbyist contacts with his administration.
He banned lobbyists from giving gifts to federal employees, directed agencies to stop appointing lobbyists to federal boards and commissions, and barred lobbyists from working in his administration on issues they lobbied for within the previous two years.
But the relationship with left-leaning watchdog groups has soured in recent months.
They were sorely disappointed by the president’s failure to mention campaign finance reform in the State of the Union address. Some thought it would be the perfect opportunity for the president to revive the reform debate after record-breaking political spending in the 2012 election.
Obama zeroed in on special-interest influence in his 2010 address when he criticized the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, handed down weeks before, for opening the “floodgates for special interests.”
“It looks like he’s embracing Citizens United and the role of corporate money in politics,” said Craig Holman, the government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen.
Organizing for Action will disclose its donors, but Holman said that would do little to dispel public suspicions that corporations who donate generously could receive special access.
“I think it’s definitely going to embroil the Obama administration in a scandal. Either it’s going to be a real scandal or a perceived scandal,” Holman said.
Holman warned that if a corporate special interest makes a publicly reported contribution to OFA and the president later makes a decision affecting that donor, it will cause problems for the president.
"We think it’s an unprecedented and dangerous vehicle for raising money from corporations and other special interests who may be seeking government decisions,” Fred Wertheimer, the president of Democracy 21, said about OFA.
“It appears to be very closely tied to the president. It shouldn’t exist. It’s going to cause problems for the president. The sooner he shuts it down, the better," he added.
Good government groups were also disappointed by Obama’s decision to allow the presidential inaugural committee to accept unlimited corporate donations. The Democratic National Convention in Charlotte accepted at least $5 million in corporate cash even though Democratic officials had said they would only raise money from individuals.
Wyden, who is working with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) on bipartisan legislation to require outside groups to reveal their donors, said he hoped Obama would call for campaign finance reform in his address. Even without Obama’s explicit backing, Wyden’s hopeful the issue can gain political traction this year.
“This has to find its way back into a more visible part of the debate,” said Wyden. “Anytime he has the megaphone it helps.”
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who led an effort to pass comprehensive campaign finance reform in 2002, criticized Obama for backing away from the issue.
“I hope he would instruct some of his friends who are setting up an ongoing PAC to follow their agenda, which is obviously the same as all these other super-PACs,” said McCain. “You can judge for yourself whether there is a taint of hypocrisy in that.”
OFA is classified under section 501(c)4 of the tax code. Conservative groups with the same classification include Americans for Prosperity.
Obama opted out of the presidential public financing program in 2008 and vastly outspent McCain, his opponent.


February 20, 2013

If a Simpson-Bowles Debt Plan Drops in D.C., Will Anybody Hear It?

By now, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson must feel like Cassandras—prophets of crisis doomed to be ignored.

At a Tuesday morning breakfast, the two launched their latest effort to persuade lawmakers and the public to rein in the nation’s growing debt, unveiling yet another plan to cut spending and raise revenue. It’s at least the fourth such effort from the duo, as The Wall Street Journal points out. And who knows if it will work.

The latest effort met controversy before Bowles, a former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, or Simpson, a former Republican senator, even got a word out. As the event began, a handful of scattered protesters stood up one at a time to criticize the pair’s “Fix the Debt” campaign and call for job and tax equity.

Bowles, Simpson, and moderator Mike Allen, Politico’s chief White House correspondent, handled the disruption in stride, but it was a reminder that a “grand bargain” on reducing the nation’s growing debt is at best elusive and at worst impossible. The nature of the Sisyphean task isn’t lost on the pair, though.

“We just keep clawing ahead,” Simpson said on Tuesday. “It’s such fun for me to irritate the AARP and Grover Norquist with equal measure.” And you can add the AFL-CIO, the nation's largest union federation, to that list. Its leader, Richard Trumka, described the pair’s latest plan as “dead on arrival” in a statement, adding that it sent a message to America’s working class to “drop dead.”

After the presidential commission they chaired failed to agree on a plan to reduce the nation's growing deficits, Bowles and Simpson launched the Fix the Debt campaign, a major effort to perseuade the public and lawmakers to address the problem in a comprehensive way. The group’s members, including major business leaders and former officials, held high-profile meetings at the Capitol and the White House throughout the fall, but failed to get lawmakers to agree to a broad solution to the year-end fiscal cliff.
The plan unveiled on Tuesday would reduce the deficit by about $2.4 trillion. About one-fourth of the solution would come from new revenue, another fourth from health care cuts, and the remainder from assorted other spending cuts, Bowles said on Tuesday.

“We need a grand bargain,” he added. Easier said than done.

February 19, 2013

Jesse Jackson Jr. and wife Sandi to plead guilty

CHICAGO, February 16, 2013 — Former Democratic Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. and his wife Sandi, a former Chicago alderman, were served up on a silver platter to the federal courts yesterday. It was as predictable as the sun rising and setting. 
The Jacksons were charged in criminal information documents filed with the federal court in Chicago. The congressman is charged with mail fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, and making false statements. He faces up to five years in prison, a $250,000 dollar fine, and other penalties including restitution. 
Sandi Jackson is charged with one count of filing false income tax returns. She faces up to three years in prison, a $250,000 dollar fine, and other penalties including restitution.
Criminal information documents are used when there is a plea deal, no expectation of trial, and the only issues left are penalties. Once the information is filed, a judge will be picked to handle the matter. The Jackson’s attorney stated he would plead guilty to the charges. 
Jesse Jackson, Jr. was accused of diverting over $750,000 dollars in campaign funds for personal use. The funds were allegedly used to purchase a $43,350 gold Rolex watch, $5,150 worth of fur capes and parkas, and $9,588 in children’s furniture between 2007-2009. Other purchases included $10,105 on Bruce Lee memorabilia, $11,130 on Martin Luther King memorabilia, and $22,700 on Michael Jackson items, including $4,600 for a "Michael Jackson fedora, all of which will probably be confiscated by authorities and sold. 
The false statement allegation against Jackson concerns $28,000 dollars in gifts and loans he allegedly received and failed to report. Some of those gifts were alleged air transportation costs to and from Chicago for a blonde Washington, D.C. cocktail hostess with whom the congressman allegedly had an affair. A campaign bundler and friend of the canoodling congressman paid for the flights of the “social acquaintance.” 
Sandi Jackson is accused of filing incorrect tax returns with her husband between 2006-2011 that “substantially” under reported their joint income with “substantial” taxes due. Her attorneys state she will plead guilty to one count of tax fraud.
The former congressman resigned last year, citing the investigation and his supposed poor mental health. The congressman claims he suffers from bi-polar disorder. His resignation was met with syrupy sympathy and accolades.
A special election will be held soon to replace him. 
His wife, the alderman, resigned her position last month. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently appointed her replacement. The power-couple were a perfect representation of Chicago Machine politicians. 
If the court accepts their pleas, the Jacksons will join a long, sordid line of felonious Chicago politicians convicted of crimes. Besides being the murder capital of the nation, Chicago is its corruption and political crime capital as well.
Another chapter is ending in the ongoing saga of Chicago corruption. Currently two elected state officials from Chicago are under indictment for political corruption and other financial misdeeds. It is a good bet others are being investigated.
Chicago's history of political criminality go back to its very founding. The only thing that has changed over the centuries is the sophistication of Chicago's politicians. Most of their corruption today is of an ethical nature versus an overtly criminal one, but as they skate close to the line, it is predictable that some will cross it and commit crimes. 
The Jacksons can now be inducted into the Chicago Corruption Hall of Fame and Shame. Voters in Chicago must take a certain pride in their corrupt politicians. They keep electing and reelecting them, even when they are under investigation or indictment. Aldermen, congressman, state representatives, state senators, city and county officials, and a host of other corrupt luminaries have been returned to office despite their overt corruption and criminality. Even known associates of the Chicago crime syndicate have had their days in the political sun, all thanks to the voters. 
Either Chicago voters are stupid or they are proud of their loveable criminal politicos. Either way, they have the government and governance they deserve. 
It will not be long before letters, emails and petitions requesting sympathy and mercy for the Jacksons flood the federal courts and Bureau of Prisons. There will be pleas that they do no or little jail time, and that the court remember the Jackson children, who will be left parentless. It is a good bet some brave journalists will also write treacly letters on their behalf, and bravely demand that the court seal their letters so the public does not learn who they are. 
Journalists did just that when Illinois political powerhouse Bill Cellini was up for sentencing for his long career of paying bribes to politicians of both parties and profiting from them. Journalists, some very well known, wrote letters on his behalf and demanded that the court seal them. For some unknown reason their demands were met. Unless the court unseals those letters, the public will never know who these journalists are. It seems that in Chicago, even the journalists are corrupt. 
The Jacksons are typical in their petty corruption. What they did is not new, and is even expected and tolerated. The only real Chicago mortal sin they committed was violating the sacrosanct Eleventh Commandment, “Thou shalt not get caught”. 


February 18, 2013


During the State of the Union address last week, President Barack Obama wound down his speech with nonsensical pleas for federal gun control laws based on fear tactics and a dishonest formula.
Obama says that Congress ought to initiate tough new gun control laws and background checks. Yet, knee-jerk reactionary laws that have been proposed by the most progressive, anti-liberty representatives in Congress will do nothing to prevent violent crime.
Obama’s speech amounts to huff, puff, and propaganda.
Let’s look at the data, instead:
The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act which was signed into law by President William J. Clinton on Nov. 30, 1993 requires that background checks be conducted on individuals before a firearm may be purchased from a federally licensed dealer, manufacturer or importer.
Approval is obtained through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
So, in order for the President to be correct that we need tougher background checks then we must believe that Obama is unaware of the Brady Act or that the federal government is not enforcing the law.
According to statistics compiled by the Bureau of Justice the homicide rate since the year 2000 has declined to levels that were last seen in the mid-1960s. According to a 2011 gallop poll, 47% of American adults report that they have a gun in their home or elsewhere on their property. This is a 6-point increase from 2000.
Crime rate statistics compiled by the Census Bureau for the year 2009, reports that compared to other states in the union, the State of Maine has the lowest rate of violent crime per 100,000 people.
Maine firearm regulations are minimal; no firearm registration, no permit to purchase or owner license required. Maine is a “shall issue” state for concealed carry handguns. Open carry is generally permitted. There is no assault weapons ban.
Twenty percent of all homicides in this country occur in 4 cities with just 6% of the population – New York, Chicago, Detroit and Washington D.C. All have strict gun control. (“Gun Rights Fact Book” Gottlieb, Alan M., Merril Press, 1989)
When the Heller ruling struck down a gun ban in the Washington D.C. in 2008, violent crime rates plummet by 25% in 2009, compared to a national drop of 7%. (“Shooting Blanks” Gottlieb, Alan M., Merril Press, 2011)
An isolated incidence of brutal crime that is highlighted in the news does not represent the norm. Capitalizing on horrific crimes such as the Newtown, Connecticut murders or the Aurora, Colorado murders is a fear tactic for the gun grabbers to produce more laws. They glean in the illusion that violent crime is on the rise, when the data says it is not.
Big government’s control of our lives, rejection of the Bill of Rights, and massive tax and spend policies should not be the goal of Congress. They ought to be focusing on cutting spending, and balancing their budget.
Obama said an up or down vote on federal gun prohibition is a way to secure America and reduce what he calls a rise in violence. He repeatedly said the victims deserve a vote.
The victims deserve a reasoned and thoughtful review from local municipalities that understand the dynamics of crime, and the dynamics of its turf. The federal government is not equipped to make gun control provisions for the entire nation because what may be effective in Chicago, Illinois may not be effective in Boise, Idaho.
The closer to the people laws are generated, the more positive effect it has. Gun control only punishes law abiding citizens and leaves Americans vulnerable to harm.
Want to do something to prevent violent crime from happening? Be safe by being armed.