PUSHBACK AGAINST OPERATION CHOKE POINT GAINS MOMENTUM

Written by Bob Adelmann | The New American

The secret initiative that began as Operation Choke Point (OCP) in March 2013 is now beginning to meet not only with massive unfavorable publicity but also congressional pushback. Three hearings by House committees this week are indicative of the mounting outrage OCP has generated.

Just months into his first term, President Obama launched “Operation Broken Trust” under an executive order, creating the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, seeking to “root out and expose” various investment scams that cropped up at the start of the Great Recession. It has now morphed into a gigantic interagency behemoth involving the Department of Justice, the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Postal Service, the IRS, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the U.S. Secret Service.

“Mission creep” inevitably set in, and the scope of the investigative attention expanded greatly to include at least 30 separate industries, many having little or nothing to do with financial services, such as ammunition sales, firearms sales, fireworks dealers, coin dealers, escort services, online gambling, and travel clubs, to mention only a few.

These were selected by the task force as being “high” in “reputational” risk, and pressure was brought to bear on banks providing services to them to terminate those banking services under threat of subpoena from the Department of Justice.

That pressure has worked. The Financial Services Centers of American commissioned a survey of its members and learned that 14 of the 61 banking relationships reported by its members have been terminated since November.

Just ask T.R. Liberti, the owner of Discount Ammo-N-Guns in Florida, whose bank closed his accounts in March. Or ask the owner of Black Rifle Armory in Henderson, Nevada, whose accounts were closed until the bank determined if any of his company’s transactions were “suspicious.”

Or ask Kelly McMillan of McMillan Group International, a gun manufacturer in Phoenix, Arizona, about the Bank of America abruptly terminating their 12-year relationship. She saw clearly what was going on: “This is an attempt by the federal government to keep people from buying guns and a way for them to combat the Second Amendment rights we have.”

The banks are caught in the middle: wanting to serve their customers while at the same time keeping their regulators happy. It’s an impossible situation as noted by Richard Riese, a senior vice-present at the American Bankers Association:

We’re being threatened with a regulatory regime that attempts to foist on us the obligation to monitor all types of transactions. All of this is predicated on the notion that the banks are a choke point.

The pushback likely began in earnest when Senator Ted Cruz published his list of “76 Lawless Obama Actions” on May 7 which listed, at No. 8:

Government agencies are engaging in “Operation Choke Point” where the government asks banks to “choke off” access to financial services for customers engaging in conduct the Administration doesn’t like, such as “ammunition sales.”

This was followed by a demand letter from Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder which said, in part:

The extraordinary breadth and depth of [your] Department’s dragnet prompts concern that the true goal of Operation Choke Point is not to cut off actual fraudsters’ access … but rather to eliminate [businesses to] which [your] Department objects.

Weeks later Issa’s committee published its report about OPC, accusing the program of illegally choking off financing resources to legitimate businesses and claiming that the Department of Justice “lacks adequate legal authority” for its moves. OPC, Issa’s committee claims, has “effectively transformed the [original] FDIC guidance into an implicit threat of a federal investigation. Suddenly, doing business with a ‘high-risk’ merchant is sufficient to trigger a subpoena by the Department of Justice.”

The report concluded:

The Department’s radical reinterpretation of what constitutes an actionable violation … fundamentally distorts Congress’ intent in enacting the law, and inappropriately demands that bankers act as the moral arbiters and policemen of the commercial world….

It is necessary to disavow and dismantle Operation Choke point.

Hard after that report came a lawsuit filed on June 5 by Community Financial Services Association and Advance America against the FDIC, claiming that it has exceeded its statutory authority, that is actions are “arbitrary and capricious” and “were promulgated without observance of the procedures required by law,” while depriving them “of liberty interests without due process of law.”

Barely a week later, the United States Consumer Coalition announced a $5 million media campaign against OCP, claiming that it “is a program created by the Administration to shut down lawful businesses by ‘choking off’ their access to banking services,” which “fundamentally violate the principles upon which this country was founded.”

A week later Senator Rand Paul filed an amendment to prevent any funds given either to the FDIC or the Department of Justice to enforce OCP, particularly noting that it would prohibit any action by either department to “discourage the provision or the continuation of credit … to a manufacturer, dealer, or importer of firearms or ammunition.”

On top of that came a bill filed on June 26 by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) to end Operation Choke Point altogether, saying, “It is time to stop these backdoor attempts by government bureaucrats to blackmail and threaten businesses simply because they morally object to entire sectors of our economy.”

On Monday William Isaac, the former chairman of the FDIC, expressed his chagrin at the direction his agency had taken under the Obama administration. Writing at The Hill, Issac exclaimed:

Operation Choke Point is one of the most dangerous programs I have experienced in my 45 years of service as a bank regulator, bank attorney and consultant, and board member.

Operating without legal authority and guided by a political agenda, unelected officials at the DOJ are discouraging banks from providing basic banking services … to lawful businesses simply because they don’t like them. Bankers are being cowed into submission by an oppressive regulatory regime.

On Tuesday there will be two hearings on OCP, one by the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee entitled “The Department of Justice’s ‘Operation Choke Point’” and the other by the House Committee on Financial Services, which will examine Luetkemeyer’s bill with the help of six panelists representing the banking industry.

The relentless onslaught against OCP will continue on Thursday when the House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing entitled “Guilty Until Proven Innocent? A Study of the Propriety and Legal Authority for the Justice Department’s Operation Choke Point.”

With all the negative press and exposure OCP has been getting, the more likely it is that the old expression will be found to be true once again: When combating corruption, sunlight is the best disinfectant.

DEMS VOTE AGAINST SPORTSMEN’S BILL OVER GUN CONTROL OBJECTIONS

By Ramsey Cox | The Hill

The Senate voted to move forward on Monday with legislation aimed at preserving federal lands for hunting and fishing, despite objections from Democrats who wanted the measure to include gun control language.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said they voted against cloture on the motion to proceed because they don’t think the Senate should be considering a gun bill that doesn’t include reforms such as background checks on all gun sales.

“I cannot vote for a measure that makes owning, possessing or using guns more readily or easily usable when we have failed to act and we have failed to act on common sense, sensible measures that would stop gun violence,” Blumenthal said ahead of the vote. “First things first, let’s reduce gun violence.”

Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Bob Menendez (N.J.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Jack Reed (R.I.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Ed Markey (Mass.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) and Ben Cardin (Md.) joined Blumenthal and Murphy in opposing the bill. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) also voted no.

The 82-12 vote opened debate on a bipartisan sportsmen’s bill introduced by Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.).

The legislation is meant to help several red-state Democrats in tough reelection races this year. Co-sponsors include four other Dems who, like Hagan, are facing difficult reelection races this year: Sens. Mark Pryor (Ark.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Mary Landrieu (La.) and Mark Udall (Colo.).

“In North Carolina, hunting, fishing and shooting are a way of life,” Hagan said. “Many of these traditions have been handed down through my own family, and I’m proud that our bill protects these activities for future generations while ensuring that outdoor recreation can continue to support jobs and local economies across the country.”

The sportsmen’s bill would also reauthorize wetland and fishing conservation programs and would allow online sales of duck stamps. The Senate is expected to continue debating the legislation this week.

Democrats have used similar legislation before to try to help incumbents fighting for reelection.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced a similar bill while he was up for reelection in 2012, but Republicans filibustered it.

The Senate also voted 93-0 on Monday to confirm Cheryl Krause to serve as a judge for the 3rd Circuit Court.

GUN CONFISCATION BEGINS IN NEW YORK?

Nassau County man: State Police “just came to my home and took everything”

by Paul Joseph Watson

Second amendment activists are expressing concern that authorities in New York state have begun moving towards mass gun confiscation after a man had all his firearms seized by police over a 15-year-old misdemeanor charge.

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In a post on the nyfirearms.com forum entitled, “NY State Police Just Came to My Home and Took Everything,” a Nassau County man describes how he received a visit from State Police who wanted to inspect the serial number of a semi-automatic rifle he had just purchased.

“I brought him to my safe, opened it and the 2nd officer went in and took out my cx4, Remington 70 sps and Remington 870 shotgun. Then he says that I had a misdemeanor possession charge 15 years ago and all the guns will be taken,” the man wrote, adding that he was put through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System when he purchased the guns with no issues.

The post elicited a huge response from other forum members who encouraged the man to get a lawyer while advising them that he shouldn’t have allowed cops to enter his home without a warrant. Others said the case highlighted how “registration leads to confiscation.”

The man now faces having to get permission from a judge in order to have his firearms returned.

After the passage of the the NY Safe Act back in April, which was described by Governor Andrew Cuomo as the “toughest” gun control law in the United States, less than 10 per cent of residents obeyed by registering their assault-style weapons.

Some Sheriffs publicly stated that they would not order their deputies to enforce the law, while Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb derided the Safe Act as “the worst piece of legislation I have seen in my 14 years as a member of the Assembly.”

Protesters against the measure marked the deadline by shredding their registration cards during a demonstration in upstate New York, arguing that the law merely creates a new class of criminals out of responsible gun owners.

The backlash against the NY Safe Act mirrors what happened in Connecticut, where residents were required by law to register high capacity magazines and assault rifles manufactured after 1994, yet just 13% of gun owners complied.

HOW FAST AND FURIOUS CREATED ‘REFUGEES’ OUT OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS

by Susanne Posel ,Chief Editor Occupy Corporatism | The US Independent

Unnamed officials for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced that Central Americans crossing the border into the US illegally should be considered refugees “displaced by armed conflict”.

The anonymous officials said they “hope to see movement toward a regional agreement on that status” so that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the US Department of the Interior (DoI) would accept illegal immigrants into the US under the condition that the US is “obligated” to aid refugees.

The UN defines refugee as “someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so. War and ethnic, tribal and religious violence are leading causes of refugees fleeing their countries.”

Two years ago, the Obama administration’s Fast & Furious (F&F) operation may have paved the way for the recent influx of illegal immigrants from Central America into the US and obvious public outcry over the issue.

F&F was the scheme of the Obama administration, the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to move automatic and semi-automatic weapons through the US into the hands of members of Mexican drug cartels.

In 2012, Attorney General Eric Holder was found to be in contempt of Congress for failing to cooperate with the House Oversight Committee (HOC) congressional inquiry into F&F.

In the background Holder and President Obama were discussing how to handle the F&F scandal.

Ultimately Holder chose to hide under the cover of the president’s right to executive privilege has only stood to fuel questions about Obama’s participation, knowledge and role in the operation.

In a letter to Obama, Holder advised the President to use executive privilege to protect internal documents on F&F that would “have significant, damaging consequences.”

Holder went on to explain that handing over the documents to Congress “would inhibit candor of such Executive Branch deliberations in the future and significantly impair the Executive Branch’s ability to respond independently and effectively to congressional oversight.”

The F&F was an attempt by the US government to create a problem by arming Mexican drug cartels which can later be used to justify the confiscation of American arms in the name of national security.

Issa explains to Fox News that “very clearly . . . they made a crisis and they’re using this crisis to somehow take away or limit people’s 2nd Amendment rights.”

At the time of the scandal’s revelation in the media, the family of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was killed by member of a Mexican drug cartel with guns that the DoJ provided them through F&F, came forth to respond to Obama’s use of executive privilege.

Their statement reads that “President Obama’s assertion of executive privilege serves to compound this tragedy. It denies the Terry family and the American people the truth.”

The Terry family were requesting for over a year and a half for the US government to hold those responsible within the government to “justice and accountability”.

They recognize that it is very “disappointing that [the Terry family] are now faced with an administration that seems more concerned with protecting themselves rather than revealing the truth behind Operation Fast and Furious.”

In response to recent immigrants coming across the US border, armed militias organized by Jim Robinson, founder of Free Republic (FR), were deployed to “defend” the US border.

Robinson wrote in the FR forum: “We have independent units from the Bolinas Border Patrol and the Central Valley Citizens militia joining forces with independent citizens militia units of Texas to defend our southern border in Texas, to protest Obama’s lawless open borders policies and to rally support for Governor Perry to officially call out Guard units and Texas militia units at his disposal to defend the border!! Lawsuits will not cut it. The invasion is happening now. Action must be taken NOW!!”

TARGET’S GUN BAN BACKFIRES: HERE COME THE ROBBERS

By Leo Hohmann | World Net Daily

Within three days of a new policy asking customers not to bring their guns to Target stores, reports have surfaced of armed attacks on customers.

Two Target shoppers at two different stores in Georgia have been robbed by armed thugs since the discount retailer announced on July 2, in a letter from its CEO, that it would “respectfully request” that customers leave their guns at home when they visit Target. Spokeswoman Molly Snyder said it was not a ban on guns, just a “request” that the Minneapolis-based retailer hoped its customers would honor. She said no signs would be posted banning guns, nor would any customer legally carrying a gun in Target stores be asked to leave.

On the very same day that CEO John Mulligan issued his public statement, a man was robbed at gunpoint in the parking lot of a Target in Gainesville, Georgia.

Three days later, on July 5, a woman in the Edgewood area of Atlanta had just parked her Mercedes Benz in a Target parking garage and exited her vehicle when she was approached by a black man who punched her in the head, knocking her to the ground. He took her purse and car keys, then warned her to “stay on the ground or I will f—ing kill you,” according to police reports. He then put her car in reverse and would have run her over if she hadn’t rolled out of the way, she told police. She said she obeyed his commands, according to Decaturish.com.

Just days earlier, the Gainesville Police Department arrested three men on charges of robbing a man of his cash at gunpoint in the parking lot of the Target on Shallowford Road in the city about 50 miles northeast of Atlanta.

Officers were able to get a vehicle and suspect description, according to police spokesman Cpl. Kevin Holbrook. The alleged robbers were arrested later that same day. The victim, Kyle Bledsoe, reportedly had more than $500 cash on him. Officers confiscated one handgun when they made the arrest, Holbrook said.

Jerry Henry, executive director of GeorgiaCarry.org, said he thought Target made a poor decision.

“That’s what happens in gun-free zones,” he told WND. “They actually should be called victim-enrichment zones because that’s what they are. If anyone wants to commit a crime with impunity, take your gun where there are no guns. You can do what you want, get in and get out and there’s nobody to stop you.

“If you notice where most of the so-called mass shootings are happening, they’re in gun-free zones,” Henry continued. “You don’t see them at gun shows or at gun stores. You don’t see people walk in there and start shooting. They’re not going to do it because they know everybody in there is armed.”

Mulligan’s message to Target customers asking them to keep their firearms at home appeared July 2 in the retailer’s online magazine which, as irony would have it, is named “A Bullseye View.”

The alleged gunpoint robbery in Gainesville occurred about 6 p.m. on July 2, followed by the Atlanta robbery on July 5.

Mulligan said in his letter that the company had “studied the nuances” of the gun-rights issue from both sides and decided that it didn’t want its customers to carry weapons into its stores, “even in communities where it is permitted by law.” Georgia is one of those states where carrying a gun at a retail store is legal for those possessing a concealed-carry permit.

Mulligan said this was a complicated issue, but the company’s decision came down to its belief that carrying firearms at Target “creates an environment that is at odds with the family friendly shopping and work experience.”

Read the Target CEO’s complete letter asking its customers not to carry.

The carefully worded statement stopped short of banning guns.

“As you’ve likely seen in the media, there has been a debate about whether guests in communities that permit ‘open carry’ should be allowed to bring firearms into Target stores. Our approach has always been to follow local laws, and of course, we will continue to do so. But starting today we will also respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target – even in communities where it is permitted by law.”

Henry, the GeorgiaCarry.org director, said he believes Target issued the “no guns” request in an effort to assuage Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a group backed by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg that is pushing for stricter gun-control measures in both the public and private sectors.

“Moms Demand Action was bombarding them with calls and letters telling them that they needed to change or they were going to leave and go elsewhere (to shop),” Henry said. “They were getting a lot of pressure from Bloomberg’s group, and now they’re going to be pressuring somebody else to make the same kind of statement. This will go on until his money runs out.”

Snyder told WND she could not disclose who the company may have consulted with prior to making its decision.

“We typically don’t discuss interactions with specific groups or individuals,” she said. “However, what I would say is that we received feedback from our guests who have shared their varied perspectives on this topic.”

Henry said his group held a “We beat Bloomberg” party when Georgia’s HB 60 law went into effect July 1 and he told Georgia Carry members, “Now we’re going to celebrate with a big sugary drink,” since “he [Bloomberg] wants to ban those, too!”

The former New York mayor infamously led a campaign to restrict the sales of soft drinks there to 16-ounce sizes and smaller. It recently was thrown out by the courts.

Target’s new policy follows that of Starbucks and other major retailers that have issued similar policies. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz used the same language in a September 2013 letter to customers in which he made a “respectful request” that they not carry guns in his stores.

“Most of them, especially the large companies, say ‘we follow the state law, if you’re allowed to carry you can do so,’” Henry said. “Starbucks started off the policy that Target just adopted, saying we’re not going to ban guns but we request you don’t bring them. Bloomberg’s ladies, the Moms Demand Action, call it a ban. ‘Oh yay, we won, we got bans approved for the stores.’ That’s what they say. But it’s not a ban. They got the companies to issue a letter saying we don’t want you to bring them in here. Target even followed up with a statement saying, ‘This is not a ban, but we just ask you not to bring your guns in here.’”

Henry said he believes at least two groups are operating in Georgia with financial backing from Bloomberg.

“He’s paying a couple of groups down here. One is Moms Demand Action and the other is Mayors Against Illegal Guns,” he said.

Henry said he refers to the latter group as “Illegal Mayors Against Guns” because its members are far more likely to commit a felony than any licensed gun holder in states like Georgia or Texas.

“Somebody did the math, and if you are a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns then you are 82 times more likely to commit a felony than a licensed gun holder in Texas,” he said. “If you Google ‘gun owners against illegal mayors’ you’ll see all those mayors who have been convicted of or arrested (on charges of) felonies.”

Target’s no-guns “request” sparked more than 4,800 customer comments on Target’s website. The back-and-forth debate between Second Amendment advocates and gun-control progressives reached a fevered pitch.

“Thank you, Target for displaying #gunsense and promoting public safety as a civic duty,” wrote S.K. Boss of Arkansas.

“Public safety is removing my ability to defend myself? Are you on drugs?” responded another customer, Bob Jones.

Boss then struck back with the comment that only police should be allowed to carry guns in a “civilized” society.

“Civilized societies hire police for this purpose (of protecting the public) and don’t rely on random individuals among us,” Boss wrote. “If you are a cop, thanks for taking on that task. We all appreciate the work you do.”

Georgia’s new law, known as House Bill 60, went into effect July 1, allowing permit holders to carry in shopping malls, stores, restaurants and government buildings where there is not a security checkpoint.

“The timing of our announcement was in no way tied to the new law in Georgia. As our interim CEO John Mulligan noted, this was something the leadership team had been monitoring for some time,” said Snyder.

Henry likes to remind skeptics that very few businesses, even those owned by gun-control advocates, will post a sign advertising that guns aren’t allowed.

Taco Mac, an Atlanta-based Mexican eatery, did that several years ago and it backfired.

“They’d been in business for 29 years and never had a robbery,” Henry said. “After we passed our update to the Georgia carry laws in 2008 allowing us to carry in restaurants that served alcohol, as long as we didn’t consume alcohol, Taco Mac posted a sign, and within nine months they had their first robbery.”

It didn’t take that long when Jack in the Box restaurants made a similar demand.

In fact, there have been four robbery reports in the few weeks after the change was announced.

One incident was in Liberty, Texas. Only a few weeks earlier, a Jack in the Box in northwest Houston was hit. The second in the series also was in Houston, but the first one after company officials announced their changed policy, only about a month ago, was in Tennessee, where a man was shot in the restaurant’s parking lot.

The incidents began shortly after an anti-gun group, Moms Demand Action, put pressure on the company to ban guns.

Jack in the Box announced the new policy with an explanation: “Creating a warm and inviting environment for all of our guests and employees is a top priority for Jack in the Box. The presence of guns inside a restaurant could create an uncomfortable situation for our guests and employees and lead to unintended consequences. While we respect the rights of all our guests, we would prefer that guests not bring their guns inside our restaurants.”

BIDEN: ‘TEA BAGGERS’ PREVENTING NEW GUN-CONTROL LAWS

By Andrew Johnson | National Review

Vice president Joe Biden has disparaged gun-rights advocates as “tea baggers,” CNN host John Walsh told reporters today. Walsh, the former host of America’s Most Wanted, recounted that he bonded with Biden over the need for more gun control and their distaste for the National Rifle Association..

“I said to Joe Biden, ‘90 percent of Americans are for a responsible background check for a gun, and you know what this Congress has done? Not voted on it, not brought it to the floor, not introduced a bill,’” he recalled to reporters during an event for his upcoming program, a crime show called The Hunt. “I said, ‘They’re all scared shitless of the NRA, aren’t they?’”

“‘John, every one of them,’” the vice president replied, according to Walsh. “‘Because the NRA will run a tea-bagger against you. . . . They’ll put 5 million bucks against you.’”

Walsh made clear that he is a gun owner, but said the United States needs to do more to address gun violence and characterized himself as “the biggest advocate for background checks out of any gun owner in America.”

BLOOMBERG’S ANTI-GUN GROUP TO SURVEY 2014 MIDTERM CANDIDATES

Purpose of questionnaire is for candidates to state opinions on issues related to Second Amendment

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Bloomberg's Anti-Gun Group to Survey 2014 Midterm Candidates

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Written by  Raven Clabough | The New American

As the 2014 federal midterm elections approach, the gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety, founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (shown), will be surveying all House and Senate candidates on Second Amendment issues in order to determine which ones to support.

Everytown for Gun Safety was formed after the Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America merged, and Bloomberg became a vocal gun-control advocate while serving as New York City mayor.

However, the group has been under scrutiny for presenting false information to support its anti-gun agenda.

According to Fox News, the survey will “ask respondents questions about their stances on issues like background checks for gun buyers, limiting magazine capacity, and passing laws restricting gun trafficking.” The primary purpose of the 10-part questionnaire is for candidates to state publicly their opinions on issues related to the Second Amendment.

“People deserve in this country to know where candidates stand on reasonable gun measures,” said John Feinblatt, the president of Everytown and Bloomberg’s longtime senior policy adviser. “For too long, the gun lobbyists had the field to themselves.”

The website for the survey reads, “Every day, 86 Americans die by gunfire. That’s why the Gun Sense Voter Project is asking all federal candidates to complete this brief questionnaire…. Using this questionnaire and the candidate’s past history on gun issues, we will make determinations that will help Gun Sense Voters decide where candidates stand.”

Questions found in the survey include:

• The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is missing hundreds of thousands of records that would block dangerous people, including those with severe mental illness, from passing background checks when they try to buy guns. States are responsible for sending these records to NICS, but vary widely in their performance. Do you support an increase in congressional funding for the federal grant programs that help states submit their records?

• Historically, states have set their own laws for who may carry a concealed gun and where they may carry it in public. Many states require applicants to be trained in gun safety and do not grant concealed carry permits to teenagers or people who have recently been convicted of assault, battery, or stalking offenses — while other states have weaker standards and will allow individuals like these to carry in public. Some in Congress have proposed “national concealed carry reciprocity” legislation, which would create a new federal mandate forcing every state to recognize concealed carry permits from every other state, no matter how lax a state’s laws are. Do you oppose national concealed carry reciprocity, which would overturn state public safety laws and replace them with a lowest-common denominator standard?

The survey is meant to counter the legislative ratings system of the National Rifle Association, which assigns higher scores to lawmakers based on their pro-gun stance. Initially, Bloomberg wanted to emulate the NRA scorecards by assigning lawmakers grades of A through F, but the strategy was changed to utilize a public questionnaire. The webpage boasts, “Unlike the NRA, we’re making our questionnaire available to the public.”

But NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam contends Everytown will have a tough time matching the NRA’s network and campaign.

“Money cannot buy the hearts and minds of the American people when it comes to the Second Amendment,” he said.

Arulanandam told the Washington Post that Bloomberg’s efforts made him “just the latest incarnation of a long line of anti-freedom billionaires who’ve tried to take on the National Rifle Association.”

Everytown President Feinblatt asserts that the group intends to be around long after the 2014 midterm elections.

“You don’t build a counterweight to the gun lobby overnight,” he said. “We’re in this for the long haul.”

Following the Sandy Hook school shooting, Bloomberg unsuccessfully tried to push through the Senate a bill that would have expanded background check laws. He has vowed to double the amount the NRA spends on political campaigns in this election cycle. According to the Washington Post, the NRA lays out approximately $20 million a year on various campaigns.

According to the Post, Everytown is “using data-driven organizing techniques from Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns to expand its network of supporters, which now totals nearly 2 million.”

“We’re going to be very, very data-driven, metrics-driven, making sure that we identify the people who care about this issue,” said Mitch Stewart, who served as the battleground-states director for Obama’s campaign and is now a political consultant advising Everytown.

“The NRA, they have this aura of being invincible,” Stewart said. “We’re going to show these candidates and these members of Congress that there is a sizable group of people in their districts and states who care about these issues and they’re going to demand some answers.”

But Everytown’s credibility has been called into question after CNN helped expose what appears to be deliberate deception by Bloomberg’s organization. The group claimed that there have been 74 school shootings since the December 2012 Sandy Hook incident. However, the Canada Free Press reports that a journalist looked at the list released by Everytown alongside a map and discovered that “many didn’t happen on school campuses, and others were gang-related events after school hours, or that happened in parking lots.”

CNN used Everytown’s misleading figure in a report but later acknowledged that the number had not been checked for accuracy.

“Bloomberg should change the name of his $50 million ‘grassroots’ political machine to ‘Every Liar for Gun Safety’,” said Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “This press scrutiny of claims by the gun prohibition lobby is long overdue, because this is hardly the first time that anti-gunners have tried to bamboozle the public with deceptive data.”

“Sadly,” he concluded, “this episode not only reveals how gun prohibitionists try to fool people with questionable information, it also shows that the liberal, anti-gun-rights media all-too-willingly accepts such information at face value. What does that say about press partisanship, if not press gullibility? Let’s hope that from now on, CNN and other news agencies challenge information from anti-gun organizations before treating it like scripture.”

BLOOMBERG GROUP DISTRIBUTES GUN CONTROL SURVEY TO POLITICIANS

by Susanne Posel ,Chief Editor Occupy Corporatism | The US Independent

Everytown for Gun Safety (ETGS), an advocacy propaganda group founded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have released a questionnaire to politicians to find out where they stand on gun control, limiting sales of high-capacity ammunition magazines and restricting the ability of gun buyers to obtain certain types of guns.

ETGS claims that “every day 86 Americans die by gunfire” and because of this, they have launched their Gun Sense Voter Project (GSVP) to inquire of “all federal candidates” which would “will vote for common-sense laws to reduce gun violence.”

Questions asked by ETGS include:

- Do you agree: we can both do more to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and protect the rights of responsible, law-abiding people?

- Do you support requiring background checks for all gun sales (with reasonable exceptions such as for transfers between close family members and temporary transfers for hunting and self-defense)?

- Do you support a law that would prohibit gun possession by convicted stalkers and people convicted of—or, who after due process, are actively restrained from—abusing a dating partner?

- Do you support legislation that would level the playing field by treating sites like Armslist as licensed gun brokers, and require a background check every time someone buys a gun through one of these sites?

- Do you support an increase in congressional funding for the federal grant programs that help states submit their records?

The questionnaire placed this disclaimer: “Opposing a gun safety policy in this questionnaire will not necessarily be considered a statement against gun sense.”

This is the latest stunt to “mobilize one million Americans to vote in the mid-terms for those candidates who pledge to support gun safety measures.”

John Feinblatt, president of ETGS and long-standing policy adviser to Bloomberg, said : “People deserve in this country to know where candidates stand on reasonable gun measures. For too long, the gun lobbyists had the field to themselves.”

Feinblatt explained that ETGS “is focused on the 2014 midterms but plans to be active in elections for many years to come. You don’t build a counterweight to the gun lobby overnight. We’re in this for the long haul.”

Bloomberg is also the head of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) who told the press earlier this year he will invest $50 million this year to develop an anti-gun campaign to rival the National Rifle Association (NRA).

MAIG is 750 mayors strong and would like to see massive restriction of the 2nd Amendment under “commonsense reforms”.

The former New York mayor has built a fake grassroots effort to lobby the public against Capitol Hill for the expansion of background checks on registered guns at the state and federal levels.

MAIG, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America (MDAGSA) and the newly formed ETGS have become a dynamic trio to bring an estimated 2.5 million supporters to aid their cause against the 2nd Amendment.

Bloomberg said of ETGS: “We’ve got to make them afraid of us.”

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DOES UNITED NATIONS ARMS TRADE TREATY THREATEN THE SECOND AMENDMENT?

Written by  Joe Wolverton, II, J.D. | The New American

At a meeting to discuss gun control held at the United Nations on June 25, representatives of the global anti-gun lobby were discouraged by the U.S. Senate’s failure to ratify the UN’s Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

“Unfortunately, the United States, the world’s largest arms exporter, has signed but not ratified the treaty,” said Dr. Natalie J. Goldring, a senior fellow with the Security Studies Programme in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Goldring went on to lament that the U.S. Senate doesn’t seem disposed to act on approving the treaty and likely won’t “for many years.”

For now, it seems Goldring’s gauge of the political climate in the Senate is accurate. In a letter sent to President Barack Obama last October, 50 senators laid out six reasons the president should refuse to present the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to the Senate for ratification. Among the objections is the grant to “foreign sources of authority” the power to “impose judgment or control on the U.S.”

At the conference, held to discuss the Programme of Action (PoA) to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons, Goldring told lobbyists representing both sides of the issue that the National Rifle Association (NRA) and other pro-Second Amendment organizations in the United States have spread lies regarding the potential effect of the Arms Trade Treaty on the right to keep and bear arms.

“The simple truth is the ATT does not affect the domestic trade in weapons in the United States. It’s a treaty about international arms transfers, not sales within the United States,” she added.

In case a reader would rather read the text of the treaty than to take the word of a UN representative, the English-language version of the Arms Trade Treaty can be found here. Beyond that, here are a few provisions of the treaty that would, despite Goldring’s assurances, directly and immediately impact the full expression of the right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

• Article 2 of the treaty defines the scope of the treaty’s prohibitions. The right to own, buy, sell, trade, or transfer all means of armed resistance, including handguns, is denied to civilians by this section of the Arms Trade Treaty.

• Article 3 places the “ammunition/munitions fired, launched or delivered by the conventional arms covered under Article 2” within the scope of the treaty’s prohibitions, as well.

• Article 4 rounds out the regulations, also placing all “parts and components” of weapons within the scheme.

• Perhaps the most immediate threat to the rights of gun owners in the Arms Trade Treaty is found in Article 5. Under the title of “General Implementation,” Article 5 mandates that all countries participating in the treaty “shall establish and maintain a national control system, including a national control list.” This list should “apply the provisions of this Treaty to the broadest range of conventional arms.”

Goldring thinks such steps are but the first in a path that leads to “better control” of the trade of weapons. There is little doubt who would be left in control of firearms if Goldring gets her way. The United Nations, acting through domestic enforcers, would require registration of weapons, which Americans recognize as the first step toward their control and outright confiscation.

The right to keep and bear arms was known to our Founders as he ultimate check on the rise of tyrants. Americans jealous of this God-given right know that now is the time to reject the UN’s attempts to repeal the Second Amendment and that organization is the key to safeguarding their gun rights.

For more than half a century, The John Birch Society has offered patriots an opportunity to unite in the cause of preserving the Constitution and enforcing its principles of limited government. Not long after its founding, the JBS launched its project to get the United States out of the United Nations — and this project remains one of the most  timely and critical aspects of the JBS agenda.

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MORE HYPE ABOUT IMMINENT UNITED NATIONS GUN CONFISCATION

by Joel Skousen | World Affairs Brief

Dave Hodges was at his hyperactive worst this week as he turned a UN job offering for disarmament workers in Africa into an imminent threat for US gun confiscation. He wasn’t alone—this story was crawling all over the web this week, but Hodges’ was the most outrageous purveyor of this hype:

I have been writing that my military sources tell me that their greatest fears are beginning to become realized because the United States will be, in the relatively near future… under martial law and the bulk of the occupation force will be comprised by foreign troops operating under the flag of the United Nations. [I can’t even begin to cover the number of false claims on the net about thousands of foreign troops on US soil. There are some foreign troops doing cross training with the US, but never any more than a hundred at a time, and they aren’t staying.]

The United Nations is advertising for the following position:

Job Title Code: Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Officer

Duty Station: New York [That’s because the official address of the UN is in New York where training will occur—but the jobs are in various peacekeeping hot spots around the world, mostly in Africa and the Carribean.]

Job Description: A minimum of seven years of progressively responsible experience in disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration or related area. Experience working within peacekeeping, peace-building or development programs operations is desirable. Experience with small arms control, conflict/post-conflict crisis management, economic recovery is desirable. Experience coordinating multiple partner agencies, funds or programs is desirable.

Now, I’m no fan of the UN but I object to how Hodges puts his own exaggerated spin on this:

 Peacekeeping is normally the euphemism reserved for gun confiscation and population subjugation. [Not necessarily. UN peacekeeping is usually about taking sides politically that favor or protect communists in third world countries and looks the other way at petty tyrants until their actions turn into a tribal bloodbath—which gives the UN an excuse to come in and intervene. But, rarely are the bad guys disarmed.] If there is any doubt to the veracity of this claim, the following phrase “Experience with small arms control“, should remove any doubt as to what is coming. [—Implying that the target is the US. Not at all. The US isn’t planning on using foreign troops to confiscate US guns. They’ll use our own SWAT teams and the US military, but only after war comes and gives them the excuse. Currently, especially in Africa, UN peacekeepers do perform some disarming of combatants, but not necessarily the bad guys.]

 Further, the phrase “reintegration” is also significant. By definition, what is a re-education camp designed for? Quite simply put, it is designed for reintegration back into society. Back into society from where? This question can be answered with a pair of four letter words, FEMA Camp.

I have no doubt that the US is planning on rounding up dissidents someday and disarming them, but in Africa peacekeeping operations (usually very flawed) they do have to do a lot of reintegration, but from refugee camps not FEMA camps. We mustn’t let our knowledge of future bad intent of the globalists taint our views so much that we see imminent martial law in every UN pronouncement. It’s never as simple as that.

What is highly significant is that nobody seems to be talking about this illegitimate imposition of foreign troops on our soil and this notion is represented in the phrase “conflict/post conflict management“! What conflict/post conflict management? Conflict management is another euphemism reserved for one of two possibilities. First, this implies there will be a civil war. With over 260+ senior military officers fired by Obama for not embracing the future need to fire on American citizens, speaks clearly to this point...

Once again, Hodges is seeing through very distorted glasses of his own making. Africa is full of post-conflict management and so are the Balkins, which continue to flare up constantly—because the UN never does any proper conflict management nor resolution. But to infer that this job offering directly relates to a future American civil war is a huge stretch, and is made even worse by his repeating the terrible exaggeration about Obama firing over “260+ general officers” for supposedly refusing to fire on Americans.

This is bogus on its face. First, Obama didn’t personally fire anyone. In fact, Obama isn’t running the country at all—his globalist advisors are. Second, in the WAB I’ve covered the specific cases of a number of the generals that were fired for cause, and all except 2 for were for gross violations of discipline or morality—and the specific causes differed widely. But NONE were for refusing to “fire on Americans.” The two general officers who did get fired for opposing the White House were sacked for resisting an order from someone on the National Security Council—the real guys running the show in Benghazi. They had issued a stand down order to two general officers who refused to stand down their rescue efforts, so they were relieved of command on the spot. But even these two were still yes-men to the politicians as noted by their refusal to blow the whistle after forced into retirement. Hodges continues:

In order to create the manufactured need to impose martial law, the administration would need a pretext, a false flag event. I have been covering the pretext for nearly a year [he keeps hyping economic collapse, like a lot of others, which is not how the PTB are going to justify martial law]. In fact, the pretext has been rehearsed repeatedly since last fall.

Last fall, FEMA, DHS and select foreign entities extensively rehearsed for the following contingencies in the following list of preparedness and disaster drills planned and carried out over a six week period:

1. FEMA purchase orders for over $14.2 million for MREs and heater meals to be delivered to Region III by October 1st, 2013.

2. FEMA purchase orders for 22 million pouches of emergency water to be delivered to Region III by October 1st, 2013.

3. FEMA purchase orders for $13.6 million for MREs and heater meals to be delivered to Austin, TX. by October 1st, 2013.

4. $11 million in antibiotics to be delivered to FEMA region III by October 1st ordered by CDC

Notice that all of these had October 1st completion-by dates. These purchases were end-of-the-fiscal-year expenditures (use it or lose it type of purchases) and nothing else. All of these stockpiles are going into the Continuity of Government program, and little for civilians. These kinds of rush purchases are not signs of imminent crisis or collapse. Then, comes his big claim:

5. Nine-week training course for UN Peacekeepers in CONUS to learn Urban Warfare, English, and US weapons systems beginning late July for 386,000 troops to be completed by October 1st

I can find no other source for this other than Hodges himself, although I suspect he was fed this from one of his supposed military insider sources (which are always suspect). Regardless, the claim is ridiculous on its face. There are less than 100K UN peacekeepers in the entire world and no budget for more–let alone a quadrupling of forces and their training. Furthermore, there is no space on any current US military training base for even 20,000 additional trainees, let alone 386K.

Putting that number of foreign personnel on any US base would require several billion dollars in infrastructure costs and improvements. How are they going to hide those kinds of expenditures from Congress? Yes, they could always print the money, but how do you hide that many people? You don’t.

Then Hodges lists 5 or 6 major drills that happened last year. He and others said at the time that these were preludes to martial law. It didn’t happen, and they’ve been wrong about these predictions since at least 2012.

Last fall, I expressed serious concerns over so many of these drills taking place in such a short period of time. I raised the question of martial law arising from any one of these events going hot. [He and others said they were “going hot”] In hindsight, I think I was too close to the truth as to what is coming because even the Russian media invited me on a news show that is distributed in New York City and Washington DC, as well as in 35 other countries. On October 28, 2013, I was contacted by reporter and producer, Victoria Mashkova, from the Voice of Russia (formerly Radio Moscow), and was invited on to their radio program to discuss the possibility of martial law coming to America.

It wasn’t because he was “too close to the truth,” he was just plain wrong. But these kinds of predictions do interest KGB media sources like Russia Today (RT) and Voice of Russia who look favorably upon the Right wing opposition in America—for their own conflict creation purposes. They would have loved to run with Hodge’s evidence if he had any, but he didn’t. Here’s an example of his unverifiable claims:

Inside of the United States today, there are untold numbers of Russian troops for which I have received reports of sightings from first-hand witnesses.

None of those supposed witnesses to “untold numbers” of Russians have taken any pictures, and nearly everyone has a cell phone camera to do so—very telling. Sure a few Russians have been seen, but not huge groups, as claimed. And, none have given specific directions to or location of large concentrations so claims can be corroborated. Every time someone has given specific locations (like the claimed 300K Chinese troops across the border in Mexico from a specific US city) I’ve had subscribers from that city go immediately to check it out and there’s NOTHING there—time and again.

At the beginning of the interview, the Russian host, Kate Zickel, introduced me as merely the “Host of The Common Sense Show” and there was no mention of my academic credentials.

This is what Hodges considers academic credentials (his words): “I am a retired college basketball coach. A former mental health counselor. I have taught graduate and undergraduate psychology, sociology and research classes.” Those kinds of statements mean nothing in terms of academic credentials. Why not tell us his specific degrees and the universities where he taught if these claims are everything he says they are. I’ve known many who have taught a few community classes and later claimed to be “professors.”

Immediately, I felt this was an attempt to marginalize my credibility by ignoring the requested credentials I provided VOR [no mainstream outfit would dare parade those general claims as credentials—In my opinion, they did him a service by saying truthfully that he was the host of the “Common Sense show. Why should he consider that as sabotage of his credentials?]

Paul Joseph Watson of Infowars.com also covered the same UN job solicitation, and although he also suspects these kinds of trainees will someday be turned loose in America, he had the intellectual honesty to admit that,

Although the posting prompted feverish speculation that the UN was about to embark on a mass gun confiscation program within the United States, it’s important to note that the DDR program is only currently active in countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast and Haiti.

At least Watson did some actual research—I always appreciate honest reporting that doesn’t jump to cheap conclusions, even when we know that ultimately our government has evil intentions relative to our right of dissent.

BILL WOULD ALLOW POLICE TO CONFISCATE GUNS BASED ON ACCUSATION ALONE

California’s AB 1014 labeled most draconian gun control legislation in the country

by Paul Joseph Watson | Infowars.com

A draconian gun control bill set to be voted on by the California legislature would allow police to confiscate a person’s firearms solely on the basis of an accusation made against the gun owner by a family member or a health professional.

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Although the bill was amended after an onslaught of complaints, the legislation is still being labeled as the harshest gun control law in the country.

AB 1014, authored by Assemblymembers Das Williams and Nancy Skinner, would create ‘gun violence restraining orders’ that would allow police to proactively confiscate firearms and hold them for one year with no due process merely based on an accusation made by an immediate family member, a law enforcement officer or a health professional.

“This bill would allow a search warrant to be issued when the property or things to be seized are a firearm or firearms or ammunition that is in the custody or control of, or is owned or possessed by, a person who is the subject of a gun violence restraining order and who is presently known to have in his or her custody and control or possession, or to own a firearm or firearms or ammunition,” states the bill.

The accusation against the individual has to meet the standard of evidence, “to believe that the subject of the petition poses a significant risk of personal injury to himself, herself, or another by having under his or her custody and control, owning, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm,” states the bill, although the nature of this evidence is not properly defined.

The bill has drawn fiery criticism from gun rights advocates who see the legislation as an onerous assault on the Second Amendment.

“If for example, person A goes to a judge and files a complaint about person B, person B can have his/her guns and gun rights taken away without any idea why or even have the chance to plead their case. Only after law enforcement searched person B, their family, friends, place of work, and anywhere else police might have thought person B hid guns would that person have the right to defend themselves. Guilty until proven innocent,” writes Yehuda Remer.

“This bill goes too far,” Sean Doherty of California Assn. of Federal Firearms Licensees told a Senate panel. “AB 1014 shreds the right of privacy and right of property that has been jurisprudence for decades.”

Even David Warren, of Taxpayers for Improving Public Safety (a group that normally supports gun control legislation), spoke out against the bill, stating that it had “significant constitutional deficiencies” and would not be enforceable.

Having been passed by the California Senate Public Safety Committee, the bill now heads to the legislature for a full vote.

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