Add lace to Mitt Romney’s(RINO-UT) Magic Mormon underwear and call him Wilma.
Lisa Murkowski (RINO-AK) and Susan Collins(RINO-ME)have always been gutless and spineless.
Three Republican senators have yet to back a resolution to condemn House Democrats’ secret, closed-door impeachment inquiry practices.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced a resolution Thursday night to condemn House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) secretive impeachment inquiry proceedings.
Graham announced Friday that the resolution had gained 50 cosponsors across the Senate Republican conference; three senators have yet to cosponsor the resolution sign on.
Sen. Johnny Isakson’s (R-GA) office told Breitbart News that the senator wants to ensure that the impeachment inquiry remains a “fair process.”
The three Republican senators that have yet to back the impeachment resolution are Sens. Mitt Romney (R-UT), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Susan Collins (R-ME).
Even though these senators have yet to cosponsor the resolution, this does not mean that they may not cosponsor the resolution in the future or vote for the bill should it come to the Senate floor for a vote.
Sen. Murkowski’s office told Breitbart News that the senator has yet to review the Graham resolution.
Sens. Romney and Collins did not respond to a request for comment from Breitbart News.
Republicans’ fight against the House Democrats’ secretive impeachment inquiry practices has quickly become a rallying cry for the GOP.
Graham announced during a press conference Thursday that his and McConnell’s resolution gained 41 cosponsors. Now, the resolution nearly has the backing of the entire Senate Republican conference.
Conservative activist groups have also backed the bill. The Club for Growth “key voted” the Graham-McConnell resolution, and the Tea Party Patriots Honorary Chairman Jenny Beth Martin praised McConnell’s bill.
Senators have backed the resolution Friday, decrying the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry as “one-sided.”
“I have co-sponsored the Graham resolution because in an impeachment process, the American people above all expect it to be fair,” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said in a statement Friday, announcing his support for the Graham-McConnell bill. Alexander added:
House Democrats might want to stop and take a look at how the House Democratic majority bent over backwards to include Republicans and the President’s representatives in the 1974 Nixon impeachment, and compare that with the one-sided, largely secret inquiry they are conducting today.
Sen. Graham said Thursday that the “growing” list of Republican senators backing the bill shows that the GOP is fighting back.
After the way the drive-by media slandered the Covington Kids, I hope they collect millions of dollars.
Covington teen Nick Sandmann, through his attorneys announced that they are suing the Washington Post and othe leftist media outlets for “ignoring the truth” about the incident and says the paper “falsely accused Nicholas of … ‘accosting’ Phillips by ‘suddenly swarming’ him in a ‘threatening’ and ‘physically intimidating’ manner … ‘blocking’ Phillips path, refusing to allow Phillips ‘to retreat,’ ‘taunting the dispersing indigenous crowd,’ [and] chanting, ‘Build that wall,’ ‘Trump2020,’ or ‘Go back to Africa,’ and otherwise engaging in racist and improper conduct. …”
Sandmann’s attorneys accuse The Post of publishing seven “false and defamatory” articles about the incident between Jan. 19 and 21 and claim the paper “knew and intended that its false and defamatory accusations would be republished by others, including media outlets and others on social media.”
Initially, a federal judge dismissed Sandmann’s case but that has changed.
On Monday that same judge, William O. Bertelsman, partially reversed his ruling to dismiss the case and will now allow discovery, according to one of Sandmann’s attorneys — which is pretty great news for Sandmann and pretty bad news for those scumbags at the Post.
Todd V. McMurtry@ToddMcMurtry
NEWSFLASH: Federal Judge William O. Bertelsman partially reversed his ruling to dismiss #nicksandmann‘s claims against the @washingtonpost. Nick’s case may now proceed into discovery. The ruling bodes will for the NBC and CNN cases, as well. @LLinWood
Todd V. McMurtry@ToddMcMurtry
This is a huge win. Now #NickSandmann will be able to start discovery and find out exactly what the reporters were thinking when they attacked Nicholas and the #CovingtonCatholic kids.
As a prepare for summary judgment hearing today in LA in Vernon Unsworth v. Elon Musk, the news of our team’s huge win in Covington, KY reaffirms my career-long belief that our system of justice works. Nicholas Sandmann deserves his day in court against WaPo. Now he will get it.
The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Kentucky, accused The Post of practicing “a modern-day form of McCarthyism” by targeting Nicholas Sandmann and “using its vast financial resources to enter the bully pulpit by publishing a series of false and defamatory print and online articles … to smear a young boy who was in its view an acceptable casualty in their war against the president.”
Sandmann, a junior at Covington Catholic High School, became a target for outrage after a video of him standing face-to-face with a Native American man, Nathan Phillips, while wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat surfaced in January. Sandmann was one of a group of students from Covington attending the anti-abortion March for Life in Washington, D.C., while Phillips was attending the Indigenous Peoples’ March on the same day.
Sandmann and the Covington students were initially accused of initiating the confrontation, but other videos and the students’ own statements showed that they were verbally accosted by a group of black street preachers who were shouting insults both at them and a group of Native Americans. Sandmann and Phillips have both said they were trying to defuse the situation.
Sandmann’s attorneys sent preservation letters to more than 50 media organizations, celebrities and politicians — including The Post, The New York Times, CNN, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and actors Alyssa Milano and Jim Carrey — the first step in possible libel and defamation lawsuits.
If by chance the Senate Republicans vote to remove President Trump from office that will be the end of the Republican party.
Even with the American people pretty much divided along party lines on whether or not President Donald Trump deserves to be impeached and removed from office for the non-crime of asking the president of Ukraine to investigate a possible crime, Trump supporters haven’t seemed to be really all that worried about the prospect. That’s probably because of the widespread belief that, regardless of what the Democratic-controlled House does, the Senate, firmly in the hands of the venerable Cocaine Mitch’s GOP, would easily vote to acquit the president.
And those who want to see Trump removed wouldn’t just need a simple majority, something that could be obtained even without the votes of RINO squishes like Romney, Collins, and Murkowski, but a SUPER majority, or 67 senators. In other words, 20, yes 20 Republican senators would have to defect and vote to remove Trump in order to make it happen.
So we’re safe, right? … Right??
Uh, not so fast! At least that’s what embattled Trump confidante Roger Stone says, warning Trump via a Friday media interview to take the ongoing impeachment inquiry “very seriously” and not to assume an automatic Senate acquittal.
The former Trump associate speculated that “wobbly Republican senators” could vote against the president unless pressure from their constituents is brought to bear.
“I think that those who sit back and say, ‘Well, the House may impeach the president, but surely the Republican Senate will never convict him,’ I think are being naive,” said Stone, adding that Trump is “in for an incredible fight” because the media and the “two-party duopoly” is against him and hope the attacks against him “will wear his support down in the states where there are wobbly Republican senators, so they feel comfortable voting for his removal.”
Stone said the notion that anything in Washington these days is simply “Republicans vs Democrats” is “outdated thinking.”
“This is insiders versus an outsider,” he said. “This is the status quo versus a disruptor.”
So, is Stone onto something here? I sure would love to say no way, that is if my Daily Caller colleagues hadn’t contacted EVERY SINGLE Republican Senate office just last week to ask them if they would rule out impeaching and removing Trump from office. Out of 53 senators, how many do you think responded in the affirmative?
How about … seven.
Give a round of applause to Senators Jim Inhofe, Thom Tillis, Cindy Hyde-Smith, Roger Wicker, Mike Rounds, Rob Portman, Jerry Moran for seeing through this ridiculous charade right away. But what’s up with the other 46? Even accounting for some who didn’t respond because they didn’t get the message in time or others who know how they’ll vote but want to hold out official comment because of their potential role as “juror,” that’s a pretty high number. Sure, nobody thinks Ted Cruz would really vote to remove Trump from office, but they only need 20, remember? Suddenly, it doesn’t seem like such an impossible reach.
Then, you might remember, there’s GOP consultant Mike Murphy, who claimed last month that upwards of 30 Republican senators would vote to remove Trump from office if only their vote were held in secret. Sure, he’s a former Romney, McCain, and Jeb! advisor, so take what he says with more than a little grain of salt, but it’s still a disturbing thought.
What’s the answer? Well, Stone’s suggestion for the president, and it’s a great one, is to use his “incredible fundraising juggernaut” to advertise in states where “there are Republican senators who may be thinking about joining this lynch mob.”
“As long as the president remains more popular in those states than those individual senators, they will be loath to cast a vote against the president, particularly based on the thinnest read that we have seen so far,” he said. Stone’s advice to Trump, and I completely concur: “Take this very seriously. Continue to demand total transparency. Stay very focused on those states with wobbly Republican senators. That is where this fight will be won or lost.”
In sum, some of these “wobbly” GOP senators may dislike, even hate President Trump in secret, but odds are they like their power and position even more. They need to unequivocally know that stabbing Trump voters in the back will mean the end of their political career, period. Good luck getting elected dog catcher, much less to another Senate term. They can pack up and take their misguided “principles” to the house.
“Donald Trump is the toughest guy I’ve ever met, and he isn’t doing it for himself. He’s doing it for us,” said Stone.
Maybe so, but going forward he’s going to need a LOT of help.
Perhaps the Senate vote will indeed turn out to be a breeze, especially if no evidence of actual lawbreaking turns up, but given today’s crazy political times, it would be a mistake to take ANYTHING for granted.
The pros and cons of carrying concealed in Synagogue.
Yocheved is a gun-owning Jewish mother who thinks it’s not anyone’s business—not even her rabbi’s—if she decides to carry a weapon to Rosh Hashanah services this year. She doesn’t know if any other gun owners in her community are armed when they attend services at her Orthodox shul in Dallas, but she believes they are. Yocheved, who moved to Texas from California about two years ago, in part because of less stringent gun laws, thinks her community would be safer if all Jews concealed a weapon under their clothing or tallit.
“I would feel very comfortable if I went into synagogue and everybody had concealed carry,” said the 57-year-old, who asked that her last name not be used because she fears for her safety. “The bad guy would probably know that and would not use that synagogue as a target.”
Yocheved became a strong supporter of guns in synagogue after personally experiencing anti-Semitic threats when she spoke publicly about her love for Israel. With the recent shootings inside and outside congregations in Pittsburgh, Poway, Calif., and Miami, more and more Jews in the United States feel that their institutions are under threat—and that armed guards and even armed congregants may be the only way to assure their safety.
Violent anti-Semitism is not a new experience for American Jews. In the 1950s and ’60s, for example, a wave of white supremacist bombings hit synagogues in the South. Another wave of violence hit Jewish institutions in the West in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Many communities responded to the attacks by hiring guards and locking their doors full-time. But the nationwide movement to strengthen security didn’t seem to infuse every community—big and small, rural and urban—until the deadly shootings over the past year in Pittsburgh and Poway. After those attacks—11 were murdered at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in October 2018 and one at Chabad of Poway in April of this year—American Jews began waking up once again to the very real threat of anti-Semitic violence in their places of worship. These fears are compounded by a rise in the number of mass shootings at schools, clubs, shopping malls and other public spaces.
Not only has the debate over how best to secure our synagogues become more widespread, but the tone and content of that discussion has changed. In addition to armed guards, the conversation in many Jewish institutions now includes how and when to conduct lockdown and exit drills and whether synagogues should allow congregants to carry concealed weapons to either assist or replace professional security. And while there are no hard numbers on any of these developments, experts suggest that an increasing number of Jews are arming themselves in the belief that they must be prepared to defend themselves and their fellow congregants in the event of an attack.
How did we go from simply promoting tighter gun laws—as, for example, many Jews in the Seattle area did in the aftermath of a deadly shooting at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle in 2006—to debating if we should share our sanctuaries with friends and family members with Glocks concealed under their jackets?
The answer is complicated. The debate over weapons in synagogues is not simply an argument between Second Amendment die-hards and liberals fighting for stronger gun laws. It involves rising anti-Semitism, easier access to firearms and concealed carry permits, different laws in different states, as well as political rhetoric, hate speech and a social media free-for-all amplifying all the above. This includes white nationalists who have excelled at using social media to share their message and recruit new followers.
The gun debate is “just another example of how the Jewish community reflects society in general,” said Amy Asin, director of Strengthening Congregations for the Union for Reform Judaism.
Darla Kashian, a 55-year-old mother of a 9-year-old son and a 12-year-old daughter living in St. Paul, Minn., tweeted after a shooting at a summer festival in California earlier this year that her children are afraid at school, they’re afraid at synagogue and afraid at big events. A financial adviser, Kashian has long advocated for stronger gun laws and is on the safety committee at Shir Tikvah, a Reform congregation in Minneapolis. “Why do you keep taking me to unsafe places?” she quoted her daughter saying to her.
Dr. Murray Zedeck, an 82-year-old retired family physician and gun owner with residences in Florida and Colorado, agrees there is a need to strengthen gun laws. But he does not believe the Second Amendment should be blamed for violence in America.
“Guns don’t kill people any more than knives or indeed cars. It’s people that kill with the tools they have at hand,” he said. “The solution is to enforce and strengthen laws already in existence and not attack good people with guns.”
All the major American Jewish denominations have advocated for tightened gun laws. But all the groups—Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist—leave individual choices about security up to their member synagogues.
In about one in five hate crimes in the United States, the victims are targeted on the basis of religion. Of the 1,749 victims of anti-religious hate in 2017, 58 percent were attacked because of anti-Jewish bias, according to the FBI. Anti-Muslim bias is a distant second, making up 18.6 percent of anti-religious hate crimes in that same year.
While some synagogue leaders have made headlines recently by stating publicly that they are in favor of arming congregants, they appear to be in the minority. And law enforcement experts offer many reasons why they think that is a bad idea.
The notion of armed congregants “just scares the heck out of me,” said Jim Elliot, chief deputy at a county sheriff’s office in suburban Chicago who also serves on the Facilities and Public Safety Committee at Temple Chai in Long Grove, Ill. His Reform temple decided to ban guns from the building and hire armed security after Illinois changed its laws in 2013 to permit the public to carry concealed weapons. The board hired off-duty law enforcement officers to guard the building on Shabbat, during religious school and other times the building gets heavy use.
Armed congregants would be a big problem for law enforcement during an active shooter situation, Elliot explained. They don’t want civilians walking around the temple shooting at each other, making it potentially difficult to pinpoint an attacker. “The bad guy is probably not walking around wearing a hat saying, ‘I’m the bad guy,’ ” he said.
Elliot lists several other reasons to ban guns from inside a synagogue. They are an insurance liability for the congregation. Allowing guns inside means any visitor could bring a weapon to shul, not just the people chosen to help with security. In addition, the requirements for a concealed weapon permit includes only minimal training in most states. Just because someone has experience target shooting or might even be ex-military doesn’t mean they have the abilities of a police officer in a stressful situation, he said. “I could have been a cook in the military. That doesn’t mean I’m able to deal with an active threat.”
In 2004, the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations formed the Secure Community Network, known as SCN, to address both growing domestic anti-Semitism and FBI reports of threats from foreign terrorists. The group helps synagogues and other Jewish organizations assess threats, make security plans and train staff and volunteers. It also works with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to connect the dots on perceived threats and share information widely among American Jewish institutions.
“We’ve gotten very good, unfortunately, at understanding those threats,” said Michael Masters, national director and CEO of SCN, who previously served as executive director of the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for Cook County, Ill. He said synagogues have been targeted by both home-grown and international terrorists because they are a symbol of Jewish life as well as the place where more Jews gather than any other American Jewish institution.
The father of two young daughters, Masters said the single goal of his organization is clear: “We want to make sure no one questions dropping kids off at school, sending them to camp or walking into shul.
Zedeck, the retired physician who is licensed to carry a concealed handgun in Florida and Colorado, thinks the tide is shifting toward more acceptance of gun ownership among Jews. He may or may not be armed when he walks into either of the two congregations he belongs to in Colorado and the North Miami area, the site of a recent drive-by shooting of a man outside a local synagogue. Zedeck declined to name his synagogues, but said he is not a frequent attendee at either one.Acknowledging that organizations need to make their own decisions about concealed carry and armed security guards, Masters echoed Elliot in cautioning community leaders to think hard before allowing anyone not professionally trained in law enforcement to bring in guns. In some areas of the country, like the South, where the Pew Research Center says 36 percent of people own guns, the debate over congregants bringing weapons into the sanctuary is more common. According to Masters, this practice, along with the debate itself, is much less prevalent in other parts of the country. However, there are exceptions, with a lively debate raging in some Jewish, particularly Orthodox, communities in the New York and New Jersey area.
Even though he supports tougher gun laws, such as background checks, Zedeck said, “My very liberal friends would say I’m a gun nut.”
Zedeck, who grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., thinks community attitudes about guns changed after the creation of the State of Israel and again when concealed carry permits became easier to obtain in Florida in the 1980s and in the 2000s in Colorado. Gun laws vary from state to state, but more than 30 states, including those where Zedeck lives, have some form of reciprocal agreements allowing someone with a concealed carry permit in one state to bring it to another state.
People respect strength, he said. “People respect the State of Israel, not because they like Jews but because it’s strong.”
Gun owner David Shatz, 58, of Cherry Hill, N.J., is not interested in carrying a gun to shul himself but said he would feel a lot safer if fellow congregants, particularly those with military backgrounds, were allowed to do so, which they’re not. Since the Pittsburgh shooting, his modern Orthodox synagogue, Congregation Sons of Israel, has hired an armed guard to stand out front every Shabbat as well as on holidays and other events. Members are now required to use a key fob to enter the building and visitors have to buzz and wait at the door. The congregation installed a reinforced gate and concrete pylons this summer to further improve the synagogue’s security.
“My synagogue prior to the shooting in October was probably as vulnerable as any other synagogue in America,” said Shatz, who works for a car donation organization. “People could walk in. Nobody questioned who you were.”
Yocheved, the Dallas gun owner, who has her own marketing firm, practices regularly at an indoor shooting range. The recent spate of shootings at schools, synagogues, churches and public spaces has left her feeling continually frightened. She believes one of the most dangerous places for Jews today is in shul. “There have been times when I have not gone to synagogue because I was afraid,” she admitted. “If I can’t feel protected in synagogue, there’s a problem with our country.”
Rabbi Daniel Weiner of Temple de Hirsch Sinai in Seattle doesn’t buy these pro-gun arguments. He called arming congregants a “misplaced, delusional idea.” He said that if trained police officers generally hit their mark less than 30 percent of the time, according to a study of the New York Police Department, then why would nonprofessionals expect to make a difference in the stressful moments of a synagogue attack.
His large Reform congregation, which is split between two campuses, has had armed guards outside their buildings every day for decades, in part because the campuses are on the edge of a high-crime neighborhood. Even in the wake of the Pittsburgh and Poway attacks, the congregation has not reconsidered its no-weapons-in-the-buildings policy.
After the Seattle Federation shooting, Weiner became a leader in the fight for tighter laws to keep guns out of the hands of abusers, teens and the mentally ill. He worries that congregants with guns are more likely to kill another member than an armed assailant. He cited a 2007 incident in a Dallas synagogue, when the accidental discharge of a weapon during Erev Rosh Hashanah services injured the gun owner’s adult daughter and two other congregants.
Weiner called on Jews everywhere to be more thoughtful and deliberate and not give in to their fears. “There’s just no need for firearms in a congregation,” he said. “We take security incredibly seriously.”
He said that security experts told his synagogue that having an armed guard outside the building “hardens the target,” making it less likely to be attacked, because potential shooters are driven to try somewhere else. Having an unknown number of amateur gun owners inside does not have the same impact, Weiner said.
Asin from the URJ acknowledged that security decisions are easier at well-funded congregations like Temple de Hirsch Sinai. In smaller towns, where the local police force doesn’t patrol on a regular basis, or at less wealthy synagogues that can’t afford trained security officers, the decisions are more complex. But many communities have overcome these challenges by forging strong relationships with local law enforcement or forming cooperatives with other congregations.
Jim Elliot, the chief deputy in the Chicago suburbs, said that every synagogue should work toward strengthening its relationship with local law enforcement. Reach out, welcome them into the building for a cup of coffee or make known that they can use the facilities for a bathroom break while doing their neighborhood rounds, he said.
Paying for security is an important part of the plan, but only one part, Elliot said. Security hardware, well-trained volunteers and general community awareness are also essential to any good synagogue security plan, he said.
Inspiring a congregation to be responsible for its own security is the goal of another national group, the Community Security Service, which since 2007 has been quietly training volunteers across the nation to protect Jewish spaces by teaching them to identify threats and work with police.
While the Secure Community Network focuses on nationwide and local threat assessment, CSS focuses on training volunteer security and increasing community member awareness. Like SCN, CSS does not encourage volunteers to carry guns.
“We started with 10 volunteers in New York,” said Jason Friedman, executive director of the New York-based CSS. “Just by word of mouth, we have grown and grown and grown.” He said CSS has trained more than 4,000 security volunteers in New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C, Maryland and California and recently started groups in other states in other parts of the country.
Ten years ago, people were saying we don’t even need security, the Navy reservist recalled. Now many want to take personal responsibility for their own safety. He believes the growth of his organization is evidence that the conversation around synagogue security has changed.
This is hard work requiring dedication and time for training as well as making sure participants remain aware and engaged. It’s more difficult and complicated than debating whether guns should be allowed in sanctuaries and communal spaces, he asserted. “Sometimes, the gun debate hides a little bit of laziness.”
Just think about what a 42% national sales tax would do to businesses and the economy.
This tax and more would be required to pay for Medicare for all.
If you’re a Democrat who supports “Medicare for All,” pick your poison. You can ruin your political career and immolate your party by imposing a ruinous new sales tax, a gargantuan income tax hike or a surtax on corporate income that would wreck thousands of businesses.
This is the cost of bold plans.
Supporters of Medicare for All, the huge, single-payer government health plan backed by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and several other Democratic presidential candidates, say it’s time to think big and move to a health plan that covers everyone. Getting there is a bit tricky, however. A variety of analyses estimate that Medicare for All would require at least $3 trillion in new spending. That’s about as much tax revenue as the government brings in now. So if paid for through new taxes, federal taxation would have to roughly double.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) has done voters a favor by spelling out what kinds of new taxes it would take to come up with that much money. Warren justifies many of her programs by saying all it would take is “two cents” from the wealthy. That’s a reference to her 2% wealth tax on ultra-millionaires. But Medicare for All would be so expensive that if you taxed top earners at 100%—that’s right, if you took all the income of couples earning more than $408,000 per year—you’d still fall far short. And everybody getting taxed at 100% would obviously stop working.
Okay, that won’t do it. So what will? CRFB outlined a variety of options. A 42% national sales tax (known as a valued-added tax) would generate about $3 trillion in revenue. But it would destroy the consumer spending that’s the backbone of the U.S. economy. A tax of that magnitude would be like 42% inflation, wrecking consumer budgets and the many companies that depend on them, from Walmart and Amazon to your local car dealer.
Other options include a 32% payroll tax split between employers and workers or a 25% income surtax on everybody. Or, the government could cut 80% of spending on everything but health care, which would include highways, airports and the Pentagon. Or here’s a good one: Just borrow the money and quadruple Washington’s annual deficits.
The best idea might be charging every enrollee in the new program $7,500 per year, so they’d be paying directly for the coverage they’re getting. Some people pay more than that now for health care, by purchasing insurance outright or sacrificing pay raises in exchange for employer coverage. It would still be a nifty trick to propose that to voters.
The upside to these impossibly draconian scenarios is that nobody would pay anything for health care, except in the $7,500 example. And it’s possible that Medicare for All would cover health care for more people at a lower total cost than we spend now, meaning the average cost per person would go down. The problem is transitioning from what we have now to whatever Medicare for all would be. And it’s a giant problem, like crossing the Mississippi River without a bridge or a boat. The other side might look great but you’ll die before you get there.
Warren, Sanders and others tout the virtues of this magical health care program without explaining what it would cost. Sanders has at least suggested some possible ways to pay for it, including premiums paid by enrollees, a wealth tax on millionaires and income tax rates as high as 52%. Warren has been cagier, saying only that under her plan “costs” would go down for middle-class families. Under pressure to explain, Warren has pledged to come up with a financing plan soon. Now, maybe she doesn’t have to.
Bravo, to Maine’s Legislators for standing up for the Second Amendment.
Huge news out of Maine, where the state’s Legislative Council, comprised of 10 lawmakers from both parties and legislative chambers, met this week to decide what bills would heard in the legislative session beginning in early January. Anti-gun moms may have demanded action by lawmakers in Maine, but they’re not happy with the action taken by legislators. There were seven gun control bills submitted by several lawmakers, and the Legislative Council rejected every single one of them.
The gun bills rejected by the council were proposals meant to improve school safety and create penalties for unsafe gun storage. Another bill that would prohibit guns at daycare centers and other child care facilities was tabled for reconsideration in November.
A bill that would have banned the distribution of assault weapons without proper authority was defeated on a 4-6 vote while another that would have required all gun owners to buy liability insurance for their weapons was defeated unanimously.
Other bills that were rejected sought to redefine machine guns and ban assault-style weapons outright. Also rejected was a Republican proposal that would allow retired law enforcement officers who are cleared by the federal government to carry concealed firearms on school grounds.
Gun control activists in Maine were hoping that with a Democrat in the governor’s mansion and Democrats in control of both the House and the Senate, their legislative agenda would be front and center next year. Instead, they’re now complaining that a small group of politicians is putting politics ahead of public safety.
“Every other day, a person in Maine dies from a gunshot, meanwhile a small group of legislators today blocked gun safety legislation from even being discussed in 2020,” said Nacole Palmer, a volunteer with Maine chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “The policies raised in the council are backed by evidence and can save lives, but our lawmakers let politics stand in the way. We’re grateful to those who defended public safety in Maine, but we fear the results of today’s vote will have deadly consequences.”
One thing that’s worth pointing out about that Moms Demand Action press release is that it doesn’t mention the “assault weapons” bans or the mandatory liability insurance policies. Part of the current effort to portray the anti-gun movement as being about “gun safety” is to not talk much in public about banning semi-automatic rifles, even while pushing legislation to do exactly that. That’s why no gun control group has been out there vocally backing Beto O’Rourke’s gun ban and compensated confiscation idea, but have said things like “we need to see where the voters are on this” instead. They’re publicly pushing things like “universal background checks” and “red flag” laws, but they’re still just as committed to sweeping gun bans as they’ve ever been.
Gun owners need to understand Google and Facebook are not firearms friendly.
It’s a common enough thing. People pick up a new firearm and they snap a picture to share on Facebook, either on their profile or in one of the hundreds of firearm-focused groups on the platform. They want to show their friends what they got. You know, before it gets lost in a tragic boating accident.
However, according to the good folks over at The Firearm Blog, there’s a problem with that practice.
Google and Facebook have now made it possible to find photos of firearms by simply typing a serial number into the search box. Earlier today, the automotive website Jalopnik published a story showing how license plate numbers are evidently scanned using optical character recognition (OCR) on Google images, allowing them to be searchable using text queries. Using the OCR hypothesis, TFB wondered if this image data mining technique might be able to be used to search for firearm serial numbers. Using images posted previously on TFB with serial numbers displayed on firearms, we tested the serial number search technique. As you can see from the results below, firearm serial numbers are in fact part of this apparent large-scale data mining operation by companies like Google and Facebook.
Facebook and Google are Reading and Cataloging Your Firearm Serial Numbers. If you’re an avid TFB reader, you might have read our article about how we’re not concerned about posting firearms serial numbers. However, this does not mean that we should be complacent in the information that we share being controlled or censored.
Go to the original link for photos of their findings.
To be fair, TFB notes that the firearm community isn’t being singled out in this by any stretch. After all, the tip to explore this was a story on Jalopnik about license plates being scanned and tracked as well.
The problem, in my mind, is that there are no grounds to do so. I can’t imagine a legitimate reason to scan each image and write a script that will pick out alphanumeric strings and make them searchable. Neither with license plates or with gun serial numbers.
In fairness, I guess I can think of one reason. Searching gun serial numbers may allow the police to find stolen guns since criminals often pose for photos with their firearms.
But that’s a longshot, in my opinion.
While license plates are fairly public–I mean, we see them on the road each and every day–firearm serial numbers are something different, especially when we don’t know how Facebook or Google are storing the data. Neither has been particularly great when it comes to privacy concerns in the past. I can’t help but wonder if they’re somehow also keeping the account that shared that image, creating something of an impromptu database of gun ownership.
Or I may need to break out the tinfoil. I’ll admit that I may well be going down some rabbit holes in my thinking that isn’t warranted.
Regardless, someone had to intentionally write programming to do this with images, and I can’t imagine a single legitimate reason to do so. I’m sorry, I can’t. While I appreciate being able to plug a tracking number into Google and find out when my UPS package will be delivered, I don’t want someone to plug in the serial number on my Glock 19 and find anything.
Of course, for our purposes, it’s easy to defeat if you have concerns. For one, don’t photograph it where the serial number is visible. If it is, use Photoshop or similar program to obscure the number.
While some won’t care either way, which is fine, it’s important that people know so that if they do have an issue with it, they can act accordingly.