Are Police in America Now a Military, Occupying Force?

Despite the steady hue and cry by government agencies about the need for more police, more sophisticated weaponry, and the difficulties of preserving the peace and maintaining security in our modern age, the reality is far different. Indeed, violent crime in America has been on a steady decline, and if current trends continue, Americans will finish the year 2013 experiencing the lowest murder rate in over a century.

Despite this clear referendum on the fact that communities would be better served by smaller, demilitarized police forces, police agencies throughout the country are dramatically increasing in size and scope. Some of the nation’s larger cities boast police forces the size of small armies. (New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg actually likes to brag that the NYPD is his personal army.) For example, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has reached a total of 10,000 officers. It takes its place alongside other cities boasting increasingly large police forces, including New York (36,000 officers) and Chicago (13,400 officers). When considered in terms of cops per square mile, Los Angeles assigns a whopping 469 officers per square mile, followed by New York with 303 officers per square mile, and Chicago with 227 cops per square mile.

Of course, such heavy police presence comes at a price. Los Angeles spends over $2 billion per year on the police force, a 36% increase within the last eight years. The LAPD currently consumes over 55% of Los Angeles’ discretionary budget, a 9% increase over the past nine years. Meanwhile, street repair and maintenance spending has declined by 36%, and in 2011, one-fifth of the city’s fire stations lost units, increasing response times for 911 medical emergencies.

For those who want to credit hefty police forces for declining crime rates, the data just doesn’t show a direct correlation. In fact, many cities across the country actually saw decreases in crime rates during the 1990s in the wake of increasing prison sentences and the waning crack-cocaine epidemic. Cities such as Seattle and Dallas actually cut their police forces during this time and still saw crime rates drop.

Read more here.

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Beck Delivers Rousing Church Speech

Glenn Beck took the stage twice on Sunday at Skyline Church in La Mesa, California, where he tackled issues pertaining to faith and politics. At the center of his message was the notion that America must get back on track — a central tenet that he drove home to the nearly 2,000 people who packed the church to hear his address. The popular commentator, who was joined by televangelist James Robison and Pastor Jim Garlow, spoke at 2 p.m. and again at 4 p.m.

“They’re trying to divide us in every way. They’re poking at us. They need you to stand up and to be angry,” he said of the American left. “And there are times that I, for one, am angry…Every day I get up and my job is to look at the news of the world. My job is to piece it together.”

Beck said that he gets up every morning to start the day with prayer, but that it is often difficult to be faced with the news of the day — news that is overwhelmingly tragic and horrific. Despite these challenges, the radio and television host told the audience that America has reached a dire crossroads and that it’s time to take action.

“It’s line in the sand time. Our back is up against the wall and there’s no place to go,” Beck proclaimed. “We can’t give anymore without losing everything we are.”
It was with this cultural battle cry that he told the audience that it is time to set the United States’ path straight.

“We either go back into the right direction, and that’s not the George Bush years, that’s the George Washington years,” UT San Diego quoted Beck as telling the crowd. “Or we go and fundamentally complete the transformation.”

Read more here.

Judge rules school must allow access to sexually explicit LGBT sites

A federal judge has ordered a Missouri school district to unblock its web filters and give students access to sexually explicit material by the middle of March.

A US District Judge issued a preliminary junction against the Camdenton R – III School District banning them from using filtering software. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the district claiming it was deliberately restricting access to homosexual themed sites, while allowing students to view what it claims are “anti-LG BT sites that condemn homosexuality.”

In issuing its ruling, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri said the district’s custom filtering system “systematically allows access to websites expressing a negative viewpoint toward LGBT individuals by categorizing them as ‘religion,’ but filters out positive viewpoints toward LGBT issues by categorizing them as ‘sexuality.”

Joe Ortwerth, executive director of the Missouri Family Policy Council, says, “When you consider that there’s a federal law on the books that obligates school districts to ensure that their computers do not allow access to materials that might be pornographic for minors, this judge’s action — considering that — is pretty shocking.”

The ACLU’s website claims that schools cannot block LGBT sites claiming that to do so is a violation of the First Amendment. “Programs that block all LGBT content violate First Amendment rights to free speech, as well as the Equal Access Act, which requires equal access to school resources for all extracurricular clubs, including gay-straight alliances and LGBT support groups.”

Among the sites the ACLU says students have a right to view is the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. The site provides a link to “It Gets Better” which is a program advocating the homosexual lifestyle founded by Dan Savage, a “gay” sex columnist.

Savage is known for his vulgar and raunchy columns. He was also responsible for “bullying” Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum by creating a “Google bomb” that attached a vile sex term to the candidate’s name.

Read more here.

Americans have a duty to resist tyrannical government

These days, most commentary on the Declaration of Independence focuses on the implications of the passage that “all men are created equal [and] that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” Dwelling on that passage might surprise Thomas Jefferson, who thought it was self-evident. The argument that flowed from his premises is more important, namely that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and when the relationship shifts to the point where government becomes a threat to the lives, liberties and pursuit of happiness of the people, it is government – not the people – that must change.

A government becomes corrupt when it abuses the power derived from the people by doing things that harm the polity and when it acts primarily as a servant of its own interests. This definition of illegitimate government has a history going back at least to Aristotle, though the 17th-century philosopher John Locke, in his “Two Treatises of Government,” gave it a form that would have been more familiar to American colonists. Beyond a certain point, when the actions of government become intolerable, the people have not only a right but a duty to reclaim their inalienable sovereignty and start over. This must be done, as Jefferson said, to “provide new Guards for their future security.”

The list of grievances in the Declaration – the part people often skip over – is critical to the argument because those grievances serve as evidence to make the case that British government had by its actions sundered the fundamental relationship between Parliament and the American colonists. Such a catalog of “abuses and usurpations” today might include: imposing confiscatory levels of overall taxation; using budget authority to transfer billions of taxpayer dollars to government insiders and pet causes; running up the national debt to a point where it is nearly equal to the nation’s total productive output; saddling current and future generations with ruinous debt to pay for pet programs that benefit the few at the expense of the many; failing to secure the nation’s borders from a flood of illegal immigrants and standing in the way of states and localities seeking to take up this fundamental duty, which the national government has chosen to ignore; and a variety of other issues ranging from a sketchy national census to crumbling national security.

The prime difference between the situation in 2010 and that of 1776 is that the people now can provide oversight through the election process. The ballot is the corrective mechanism that was unavailable to the Founders. Today’s dire situation in Washington has approached the intolerable because too few have gone to the polls to defend their rights against the predatory, permanent governing class in Congress. An electorate that fails to defend its rights deserves what it gets. Rights guarantee nothing unless they are used, and if they are not exercised, they tend to be exorcised.

After independence, Jefferson explained that the Declaration was “an expression of the American mind” intended to “give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion.” The result is a timeless document the spirit of which is as applicable today as it was then. The people have the means at their disposal to take back our country and the government from the disconnected oligarchy in Washington. However, this only works if Americans actually step up. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, the country will only be a republic if the people are strong enough to keep it.

Chicago Mayor Vows To Fight Against The Rights Of The People…

(CBS/AP) A Supreme Court ruling finding that Americans have the right to bear arms anywhere they live almost certainly means the end of Chicago’s decades-old handgun ban, but it may not make handgun ownership there much easier if the city’s powerful mayor has his way.

Shortly after the high court voted 5-4 Monday along ideological lines – with five conservative-moderate justices in favor of gun rights and four liberals opposed – Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley said officials were already at work rewriting the city ordinance to adhere to the court ruling while protecting Chicago residents from gun violence.

“We will never give in to those who use guns to harm others,” Daley said in comments aimed at his constituents. “Your fight is my fight and we’re in this together.”

And in other cities and states, officials said they were confident their gun control laws would withstand legal challenges.

“We do think it’ll probably give us some bigger legal bills, but I suspect that we will be able to continue to do exactly what we’ve been doing – have reasonable regulations as to who can buy and where you can carry,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an ardent gun control advocate, said of Monday’s ruling.

The decision didn’t explicitly strike down nearly 30-year-old handgun bans in Chicago and its suburb of Oak Park. Instead, it ordered a federal appeals court to reconsider its ruling. But it left little doubt that the statutes eventually would fall.

In the majority decision, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that the Second Amendment right “applies equally to the federal government and the states.”

But the decision also signaled that some limitations on the Constitution’s “right to keep and bear arms” could survive legal challenges. Alito noted that while fully binding on states and cities, the Second Amendment “limits (but by no means eliminates) their ability to devise solutions to social problems that suit local needs and values.”

Justices John Paul Stevens and Stephen Breyer, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, each wrote a dissent. Stevens said that unlike a ruling two years ago overturning a Washington, D.C., handgun ban, Monday’s decision “could prove far more destructive – quite literally – to our nation’s communities and to our constitutional structure.”

Gun rights supporters had challenged the Chicago and Oak Park laws – the last two remaining outright bans in the country, according to The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence – almost immediately after the high court struck down a ban on handguns and a trigger lock requirement for other guns in Washington, a federal city with a unique legal standing. That ruling applied only to federal laws.

Lower federal courts upheld the Illinois cities’ bans, noting that judges on those benches were bound by Supreme Court precedent and that it would be up to the high court justices to ultimately rule on the true reach of the Second Amendment.

Monday’s ruling was a victory for gun rights supporters, but they also said they expected state and local governments to draft laws to impede gun ownership.

Attorney David Sigale, who represented one of the plaintiffs associated with Monday’s decision, said he has been advising prospective handgun owners to hold off buying them.

“In light of Mayor Daley’s threat … that there could be a whole new mess of regulations on the books, which I’m sure will only go to further hinder and burden the Constitutional rights given today, I think it would be prudent to wait and see what those developments are before everyone rushes out and avails themselves of this new right,” Sigale said.

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, said he expects the same from other municipalities as well, saying the NRA “will continue to work at every level to insure that defiant city councils and cynical politicians do not transform this constitutional victory into a practical defeat through Byzantine regulations and restrictions.”

In Massachusetts, Attorney General Martha Coakley said the ruling would not pose a problem because the state controls, but doesn’t ban, guns. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is pushing a bill that would make it illegal to buy more than one gun per month.

“The provision in the governor’s bill relative to a one-gun-a-month limit is not analogous since it does not ban the ownership of firearms, but just regulates the amount,” said Patrick’s spokesman, Kyle Sullivan.

Daley didn’t specify what measures he intends to push, but he said he planned to move quickly to get them in front of the City Council, saying that it is possible a special session will be called to address the issue.

He said he’s considering creating a registry of the names and addresses of everyone in the city who legally owns a handgun, which would be made available to police officers, firefighters and other “first responders” before they arrive at the scene of emergencies.

The mayor also said Chicago might follow the District of Columbia’s lead in requiring prospective gun owners to take training courses that include several hours of classroom learning about gun safety and passing a 20-question test.

Daley has suggested that owners may be required to buy insurance for those guns.

DISCLOSE Act attacks freedom of speech

By: Ken Klukowski

Congress is considering a censorship law to muzzle conservative groups, one that exempts pro-Democrat groups from its requirements, called the DISCLOSE Act. This blatant assault on the First Amendment is worse in some respects than McCain-Feingold, and should be a major focus during Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

Modern campaign finance started with the 1976 Supreme Court case Buckley v. Valeo, where among other things the Court held that campaign contributions were protected by the First Amendment, but less protected than speech, and subject to disclosure requirements. Ever since then, campaign finance has been a complicated series of hits and misses.

The biggest miss was McConnell v. FEC in 2003, where the Court upheld the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), better known as McCain-Feingold. By a 5-4 vote, the Court sustained BCRA’s provision that if Americans spoke through a public-interest group within 60 days of an election, those involved could spend five years in prison for committing a federal felony.

Thankfully, the Supreme Court rectified this travesty in Citizens United v. FEC, declaring, “Speech is an essential mechanism for democracy, for it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people…. The right of citizens to inquire, to hear, to speak, and to use information to reach consensus is a precondition to enlightened self-government and a necessary means to protect it.” The Court struck down BCRA’s “blackout periods,” restoring free speech to what it had been since 1791.

The reaction from the left was shameful, exemplified by Senator Chuck Schumer calling the decision “un-American.” But President Obama took the cake, condemning the Supreme Court to its face on national television in the State of the Union.

The justices sat motionless as the president humiliated them, mischaracterizing the Citizens United opinion, as they were surrounded in the House chamber by cheering (jeering?) congressional Democrats behaving like a bunch of thugs. This deplorable action was unprecedented in American history.

Democrats promised to get around the Citizens United ruling. (That’s a telling statement about the current Congress and administration, that they consider the Constitution something to “get around.”)

Their answer is the DISCLOSE Act, which is every bit as much an attempt to silence free speech as BCRA. Among other things, it requires that every group seeking to run political ads must show pictures and carry audio approvals from the organization’s head, the head of their largest contributor, and the names of the organization’s five top donors, whether or not they contributed to the message in question.

The end result of these onerous requirements is that of a 30-second TV or radio spot, perhaps 15 seconds will be consumed with these tedious, eye-glazing disclosures.

And by the way, labor unions are exempt from this law. Team Obama says, “We need disclosure!” Yet Team Obama’s storm troopers don’t need to disclose their activities, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

At least BCRA applied to unions. It was unconstitutional, but at least it went after both sides. DISCLOSE, by contrast, mostly criminalizes speech from conservative groups, while leaving liberals unfettered.

Fortunately, that may be its undoing. Because free speech is a fundamental right, an equal-protection challenge to it will be subject to what is called strict scrutiny. This law will not survive such an exacting standard in court.

Like BCRA, the DISCLOSE Act is unconstitutional. It runs afoul of both the First Amendment and the equal-protection guarantee of the Fifth Amendment. It exploits an unguarded area of law, taking disclosure requirements to an unprecedented level to the point where they swallow up the speaker’s message, and intimidate donors. It violates the spirit of the Supreme Court’s recent decision, if not the letter. And Team Obama is trying to cram it into law to stem their losses in the upcoming election.

If DISCLOSE passes, our only hope is that the Supreme Court decides it before the 2012 election. (Unfortunately 2010 would be a lost cause unless a court orders a preliminary injunction.)

That being the case, Elena Kagan should have to answer a lot of questions. She took a radical view of government censorship when arguing the Citizens United case, arguing that government can outlaw political pamphlets. Senators (like voters) have every right to know how those arguments apply to this law.