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.