Month: February 2018

Court rules Trump can build border wall

A federal court cleared the way Tuesday for President Trump to build his border wall, ruling that the administration has the power to waive a series of environmental laws to speed up construction. The state of California and environmental groups had been counting on the lawsuit to derail the border wall and called the decision disappointing. The ruling is a major boost for the president and is all the more striking because it comes from Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel, whom Mr. Trump famously called biased during the 2016 presidential campaign because of his Mexican heritage. Judge Curiel said he wasn’t opining on whether a wall was good or bad policy but had to conclude that the government has the power to build it. “It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices,” he wrote in a 101-page ruling. His decision does not ease fights over land rights, which could delay some construction in areas such as Texas, where much of the border is on private property. Nor does the ruling grant Mr. Trump funding for the wall. That must come from Capitol Hill, where lawmakers have been sparring over how much to grant, and over what concessions to demand in return — such as a full amnesty for illegal immigrant Dreamers. But the judge’s ruling does overcome a major legal hurdle that opponents had raised, citing the Trump administration’s intent to waive some three dozen laws to build fencing. Among them are some of the country’s most iconic statutes: the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Antiquities Act, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, and the Eagle Protection Act. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife all filed lawsuits, which were consolidated into one case in front of Judge Curiel. The opponents argued that the waiver laws Mr. Trump is using were unconstitutional and, even if they were legal, they applied only to fencing that was built under Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama and couldn’t be stretched to Mr. Trump’s plans. Judge Curiel rejected all those claims. The Justice Department, which scored a rare victory in district courts on one of Mr. Trump’s immigration proposals, cheered the ruling. “Congress gave authority to the Department of Homeland Security to construct a border wall without delay to prevent illegal entry into the United States, and we are pleased DHS can continue this important work vital to our nation’s interests,” Justice spokesman Devin O’Malley said.

It’s a small victory.  But, we’ll take it.  And, we give credit where credit is due.  So, kudos to Judge Curiel.    🙂

Opinion: NRA boycott: When Delta, United and others protest the gun group, they are boycotting upstanding Americans

A few weeks before the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar (Tex.) invited a special guest to attend the State of the Union address: Stephen Willeford, the hero who just months earlier had stopped a mass shooter at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Tex. An ordinary citizen who heard the shots from his home across the street, Willeford grabbed his weapon, ran to the scene barefoot (knowing every second he delayed could mean another life lost) and exchanged fire with the gunman, wounding him in the leg and torso. When the killer jumped into his vehicle to escape, Willeford stopped a passing vehicle and followed in hot pursuit until the shooter crashed his car and shot himself in the head. Willeford says he’s not a hero. “I’m no brave man. I was terrified,” he said after the shooting. But, he added, “I was there when nobody else was.” Thank God he was. Here’s something else you need to know about Willeford. First, he is a long-time National Rifle Association instructor; it was his NRA training that allowed him to subdue the shooter. Second, the weapon he used to stop the killing spree in Sutherland Springs was an AR-15 — the very weapon gun-control advocates now want to ban. Without an AR-15, he says, he might not have stopped the killer. “If I had run out of the house with a pistol and faced a bulletproof vest and Kevlar and helmets, it might have been futile,” he said. Because of his weapon, his training and his courage, countless lives were probably saved. They could have used a Stephen Willeford in Parkland. Keep his story in mind as you watch the current movement to boycott the NRA and ban so-called assault weapons. In the wake of the Parkland shooting at least a dozen companies — including United Airlines, Delta, Best Western and First National Bank of Omaha — have joined the NRA boycott. Chubb Limited insurance even announced it would cancel a program, “NRA Carry Guard,” which provided insurance for NRA members who faced lawsuits for using their weapons in self-defense. When companies do this, they are not boycotting lobbyists in Washington; they are boycotting upstanding citizens such as Willeford. He and his fellow gun owners deserve better. The NRA is a grass-roots organization made up of millions of decent, patriotic Americans who believe that guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens make our country safer, not more dangerous. To suggest that it is responsible for what happened in Parkland is obscene. Police officers were called to shooter Nikolas Cruz’s house on 39 separate occasions since 2010. The FBI was warned about the shooter in January and failed to adhere to its own procedures to follow up. An armed sheriff’s deputy was on the scene at the shooting, but he failed to act. And yet somehow the NRA is at fault? Please. The NRA is far from perfect. I’ve criticized the NRA leadership’s resistance to legislation banning “bump stocks.” And there is nothing sacrosanct about the age of 18 for buying certain guns (or voting for that matter). But NRA members have done more to prevent gun deaths, and promote firearms safety, than any other citizens’ association in the country. When Democrats respond to shootings like the one in Parkland by demonizing the NRA and calling for a ban on weapons such as the AR-15 that are critical to Americans’ right to self-defense, they send a clear and unmistakable message to millions of gun owners across the country: We don’t respect you or your gun rights. This makes it harder to reach bipartisan agreement on solutions that could improve public safety without threatening the fundamental constitutional right of Americans to keep and bear arms. We all want to keep guns out of the hands of mentally unstable people such as Nikolas Cruz. But we should all want to keep guns in the hands of responsible citizens such as Stephen Willeford. That’s not the case today. Willeford deserves a medal, not a boycott. If corporate America can’t figure that out and continues capitulating to the NRA boycott movement, maybe it is time for gun owners to boycott them.

Agreed!!  And well said, Marc.  Author Marc Thiessen is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).  Excellent!!     🙂

6 In 10 Adults Are Too Scared To Visit The Dentist

Feeling bristled? Imagine how your teeth might feel, especially if you’ve been putting off your annual checkup. If you have, you’re likely far from alone. A new study finds that six in 10 American adults are too scared to visit the dentist. Researchers at Hello Products, a dental care startup, polled 2,000 adults in the U.S. on their oral hygiene habits, which led to some more-than-toothless findings. For instance, among the more stunning results, the survey showed that three in 10 millennials only brush their teeth once a day. Millennials also admit they’ve gone two or three days on average without brushing at all. Yet, a convincing majority (56 percent) expressed fear or anxiety over losing their teeth, despite possessing slovenly dental habits. “It’s crucial to take the right steps every day to maintain a healthy mouth,” reminds Craig Dubitsky, Hello Products’ founder. “This involves using effective oral care products, as well as being mindful of your daily habits.” Going to the dentist was admittedly a phobia for most respondents — overall, 62% of adults surveyed said that they were too spooked to even visit a dentist’s office — but particularly among millennials, perhaps helping explain why their much-flaunted smiles appear to be at-risk. Millennials were more likely than those over 55 to create excuses to avoid regular dental checkups (56 percent to 36 percent, respectively). “Going to the dentist has many advantages aside from ensuring you have pearly whites and bad breath prevention,” says California based dentist, Dr. Lawrence Fung, DDS, founder of Silicon Beach Dental. “Research has shown that there are many linkages to oral health and your overall health. For what it’s worth, dentists were feared almost seven times as much as neurologists (9%), and more than twice as much as surgeons (26%).

Soo… Bottom line..  Millennials are, as a group, gross!  And, they’re a bunch of sissy la las.  I mean, c’mon..  The idea that being far more scared of getting your 6 month check-up and a cleaning over an appointment with a neurosurgeon (a BRAIN doctor), is crazy!  For more on this disturbing article, click on the text above.

Schools safer today than in 1990s, study on shootings says

As President Trump and lawmakers consider ways to make schools safer in the wake of the Florida high school massacre, an academic study is reporting that U.S. schools overall are safer today than they were in the early 1990s, and there is not an epidemic of such shootings. Researchers at Northeastern University say mass school shootings are extremely rare, that shootings involving students have been declining since the 1990s, and four times as many children were killed in schools in the early 1990s than today. “There is not an epidemic of school shootings,” said James Alan Fox, the Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law, and Public Policy at Northeastern. He said more children die each year from pool drownings or bicycle accidents. There are around 55 million schoolchildren in the U.S., the study said, and over the past 25 years, about 10 students on average per year were killed by gunfire at school. The researchers used data collected by USA Today, the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Report, Congressional Research Service, Gun Violence Archive, Stanford Geospatial Center and Stanford Libraries, Mother Jones, Everytown for Gun Safety, and a New York City Police Department report on active shooters. The Everytown group said this month that its own research shows there have been nearly 300 school shootings in America since 2013 — defining a shooting as anytime a firearm discharges a live round inside or into a school building or on a school campus. Since the shooting on Feb. 14 in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and wounded 15 others, policymakers including Mr. Trump have been exploring ways to prevent more school shootings, including proposals to arm more teachers and to raise the age limit for purchasing firearms. Mr. Fox said some policy changes could lead to an overall decrease in gun violence, such as banning “bump stocks” and raising the age of purchase for assault rifles from 18 to 21. But he doesn’t believe such measures will prevent all school shootings. “The thing to remember is that these are extremely rare events, and no matter what you can come up with to prevent it, the shooter will have a workaround,” Mr. Fox said in a report on the university’s website.

Exactly!!  Some good info here that the White House and members of Congress need to read.  So, please forward it on to your member of Congress and both of your U.S. Senators, regardless of party.  Oftentimes it is they who pass laws which restrict our freedoms based on emotion; NOT facts.  To read the rest of the article, click on the text above.

Norway to spend $12.7M in upgrades to ‘doomsday’ seed vault

Does Norway know something we don’t? The Scandinavian country announced Monday that it is going to spend about $12.7 million to upgrade its “doomsday” seed vault that is the world’s largest repository built to safeguard against wars or natural disasters wiping out global food crops. The Verge reported that the upgrades will focus on a new concrete tunnel and “emergency power and refrigerated units and other electrical equipment that emeits heat through the tunnel.” The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a gene bank built underground on an isolated island in a permafrost zone some 620 miles from the North Pole, was opened in 2008 as a master backup to the world’s other seed banks, in case their deposits are lost. The latest specimens sent to the bank, located on the Svalbard archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole, included more than 15,000 reconstituted samples from an international research center that focuses on improving agriculture in dry zones. They were the first to retrieve seeds from the vault in 2015 before returning new ones after multiplying and reconstituting them. The specimens consisted of seed samples for some of the world’s most vital food sources like potato, sorghum, rice, barley, chickpea, lentil and wheat. The agency borrowed the seeds three years ago because it could not access its gene bank of 141,000 specimens in the war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo, and so was unable to regenerate and distribute them to breeders and researchers. Fifty thousand samples were deposited last year from seed collections in Benin, India, Pakistan, Lebanon, Morocco, Netherlands, the U.S., Mexico, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus and Britain. It brought the total deposits in the snow-covered vault — with a capacity of 4.5 million — to 940,000.

Heritage Foundation: 64% of Trump’s agenda already done, faster than Reagan

With unprecedented speed, the Trump administration has already implemented nearly two-thirds of the 334 agenda items called for by the Heritage Foundation, a pace faster than former President Reagan who embraced the conservative think tank’s legendary “Mandate for Leadership” blueprint. Thomas Binion, director of congressional and executive branch relations at Heritage, said that Trump has implemented 64 percent of the “unique policy recommendations” from the group. At this stage of his presidency, Reagan had completed 49 percent of the Heritage policy recommendations. “We’re blown away,” Binion said in an interview. Trump, he said, “is very active, very conservative, and very effective.” What’s more, he said, Trump hasn’t just focused on one agenda area, but he and his team have pushed through administrative moves on foreign policy, deregulation, immigration, tax reform and health care, moves often ignored by the media. “It is a huge volume that his administration has worked on and it is a huge spectrum of issues,” said Binion. His report card jibes with one from the West Wing which showed at the end of the year that the administration has scored 81 major achievements; slashed at least 11 major legacy items of former President Barack Obama. Together, the policy wins are adding up to a reelection agenda. “It is absolutely a winning agenda,” said Binion. Trump very early in his presidency signed reelection papers and on Tuesday he began to set up his reelection team, naming is digital advisor Brad Parscale as his campaign manager. Heritage has been a partner with Trump and his administration since the transition from the Obama administration. Their “Mandate for Leadership” was first produced for Reagan in 1981. Reagan handed out a copy of the single book to every cabinet member. For Trump, Heritage produced five books and the president has embraced them. “He has been very, very active,” said Binion. “He is moving the ball in the conservative direction,” he added. Click here to see Heritage’s review of Trump’s moves so far.

North Korea willing to hold talks with US, ex-spy chief says

North Korea has “enough” willingness to hold talks with the U.S., a former intelligence chief from the rogue country believed to be the mastermind behind a deadly attack on South Korea told the country’s president on Sunday. The Blue House, South Korea’s presidential office, reported Sunday the news of the meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim Yong Chol, a senior official of the North’s ruling Worker’s Party, during the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics, according to Yonhap News Agency. “President Moon pointed out that U.S.-North Korea dialogue must be held at an early date even for an improvement in the South-North Korea relationship and the fundamental resolution of Korean Peninsula issues,” spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said of the meeting. The two met for an hour in Pyeongchang, the host city of the 2018 Winter Olympics, according to Yonhap. “The North Korean delegation too agreed that North Korea-U.S. relations must develop along with the South-North Korea relationship while noting [the North] has enough intention to hold North Korea-U.S. dialogue,” the spokesman added. The United States and North Korea, which have no diplomatic relations and are technically in a state of war after an armistice in 1953, have been at odds for decades. In recent months the war of words between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump has escalated as the North tests nuclear missiles and Washington pushes the Hermit Kingdom to disarm. The White House said in a statement on Sunday that “denuclearization must be the result of any dialogue with North Korea.” “We will see if Pyongyang’s message today, that it is willing to hold talks, represents the first steps along the path to denuclearization. In the meantime, the United States and the world must continue to make clear that North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs are a dead end,” the statement read.

For more of this story, click on the text above.

‘They beat our a–es’: Russian mercenaries talk about humiliating defeat by US in reportedly leaked audio

Leaked audio recordings said to be of Russian mercenaries in Syria capture expressions of lament and humiliation over a battle in early February involving US forces and Russian nationals. Published by Polygraph.info — a fact-checking website produced by Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, news organizations that receive funding from the US government — the audio recordings paint a picture of Russian mercenaries essentially sent to die in an ill-conceived advance on a US-held position in Syria. Polygraph says the audio recordings are from a source close to the Kremlin. The Pentagon has described the attack as “unprovoked” and started by forces loyal to the Syrian government that crossed over the Euphrates River, which functions as a border between US-backed troops and Russian-backed ones. The Pentagon says that about 500 troops began to fire on the position and that the US responded with air power and artillery strikes. The audio from Polygraph seems to confirm that while giving some insight into the feelings of the defeated forces. Also apparent in the audio is displeasure with how Russia has responded to the situation. Initially, Russia denied that its citizens took part in the clash. Later, a representative said five may have died. Last week, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the fight left “several dozen wounded” and that some had died. The audio recordings, in which voices can be heard saying 200 people died “right away,” appear to back up reports from Reuters, Bloomberg, and the Pentagon that roughly 100 — if not more— Russians died in the fight. Reuters has cited sources as saying the advance’s purpose was to test the US’s response. Russia is thought to use military contractors in Syria rather than its military — experts speculate it’s to maintain deniability for acts of war and conceal the true cost of fighting from the Russian people. The Washington Post reported last week that US intelligence reports with intercepted communications showed that a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin told a senior Syrian official he “secured permission” from the Kremlin before the advance on the US forces. The accounts in the audio also align with reports of how the battle went down, depicting an unprepared column of troops meeting an overwhelming air response before helicopter gunships strafed the remaining ones.

That’s a pretty standard response for something like this.  Clearly the Russians were totally unprepared..  To see a profanity-laced transcript of their reaction to what happened, click on the text above.

NRA accuses companies of ‘cowardice’ for severing ties under boycott threat

The National Rifle Association has swung back at companies severing their partnerships with the gun-rights advocacy group under the threat of boycott, accusing them of “political and civil cowardice.” In a Saturday statement, the NRA said its 5 million members would not be deterred after a string of businesses, including Symantec, MetLife, Hertz, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, TrueCar, and airlines Delta and United announced they no longer will offer discounts for NRA members, as the boycott campaign gained steam after the Valentine’s Day shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. “The law-abiding members of the NRA had nothing at all to do with the failure of that school’s security preparedness, the failure of America’s mental health system, the failure of the National Instant Check System or the cruel failures of both federal and local law enforcement,” said the NRA statement. “Despite that, some corporations have decided to punish NRA membership in a shameful display of political and civic cowardice,” the statement said. Calls for an NRA boycott, egged on by activist groups, launched in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 students and adults. “The #BoycottNRA movement is working,” tweeted the Women’s March. “It shows, yet again, that activism works. To everyone reading this: Keep calling on corporations to cut their ties with the NRA. Our collective voice will win.” In response, the NRA accused the companies of trying to “punish our members who are doctors, farmers, law enforcement officers, fire fighters, nurses, shop owners and school teachers that live in every American community.” “Let it be absolutely clear,” said the NRA. “The loss of a discount will neither scare nor distract one single NRA member from our mission to stand and defend the individual freedoms that have always made America the greatest nation in the world.” Supporters came to the NRA’s defense by sharing photos of their membership confirmations. “Just signed up now. Not going to be bullied when it comes to the right of self-defense,” tweeted BizPac chief editor Kyle Becker. Gun-control advocates on the left have charged NRA officials with having “blood on their hands” following the Parkland shooting, while on the right, critics have pointed to the absence of action by the FBI and by sheriff’s deputies at the scene. CNN came under fire Friday after student survivor David Hogg called NRA members “child murderers,” and host Alisyn Camerota did nothing to challenge his assertion. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee called the corporations “cowardly,” while conservative actor James Woods said he would rethink his patronage of Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Robert Kuykendall, spokesman for the conservative corporate watchdog 2ndVote, accused the companies of “caving to the left’s misinformation campaign rather than addressing actual solutions that would prevent these heinous acts.” “Over 5 million NRA members and 2ndVote followers will now be looking for better alternatives when it comes to their next car rental,” Mr. Kuykendall said.

Exactly!!  As a proud, long-time, NRA member, I encourage anyone on the fence to become an NRA member.  Let’s shove it down the throats of these gutless corporations pandering to the fascist, anti-gun, activist mob out there.  No new gun-control law could have prevented what happened in Florida.  And, the NRA had nothing to do with that horrible day.  For these companies suddenly pulling their affiliation with the NRA is indeed cowardly and hypocritical.  Shame on them.  And, let’s be honest..  The NRA isn’t hurt by this one bit.  It’s the law-abiding, average joe members who get some minor discount through these companies that have/had an affiliation with NRA who are impacted.  So, let’s just take our business elsewhere!

Schools That Already Have Armed Teachers Show the Way for Schools That Don’t

School districts that already have armed teachers stand out as an example for what schools with “gun-free” designations can do to ensure student safety. For example, Fox 5 reports that Texas has 1,000 school districts, and approximately 170 of those districts allow teachers and school staff to be armed on campus for self-defense. These armed districts do not make news with reports of accidental shootings, students getting their teachers’ guns, or armed faculty committing crimes on campus. Rather, they enjoy not making news, as the deterrent of having certain teachers armed appears to make attackers think twice before striking. The Callisburg Independent School District, which is “about 85 miles North of Dallas,” has had armed teachers for about four years, and school superintendent Steve Clugston simply views it as part of what must be done to protect students. He said, “We’ll do whatever’s necessary to protect our kids and staff. We don’t want to be at the mercy of somebody that’s intent on doing harm.” He added, “We’re trying to put our teachers in a position to be better equipped to protect their kids. And I have complete faith in our team, that they’re willing to stand up and protect our people.” Fox 6 reports that Arkansas’ Clarksville School District took a similar approach following the December 14, 2012, attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School. In 2013 KARK reported that the district could not afford to hire full-time security guards, so they “trained and armed a number of teachers and staff to become commissioned school security officers.” Teachers in South Dakota are being trained and carrying guns under that state’s “School Sentinel” program, and teachers in Utah have been carrying guns on campus for self-defense for over 15 years. On June 26, 2017, Breitbart News reported that a number of Colorado school teachers were enrolled in FASTER–Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response–so they can carry guns on campus for defense of themselves and their students. And there are numerous school districts with armed teachers in Ohio and other states around the country as well. So when President Trump pushes to arm “20 percent” of teachers for school safety, he is not pushing something unproven or untested. Rather, he is pushing something that has enjoyed demonstrable success in the states wherein it has been implemented.