Christine Rousselle - Maine Gov: Ban Soda From Food Stamps, Or We'll Shut The Program Down
Posted: 6/22/2016 1:40:00 PM EST

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) is threatening to suspend the SNAP (food stamp) program in the state over the ability to bar the purchase of soda, candy, and other junk foods. SNAP stands for "supplemental nutrition assistance program." LePage is upset that the USDA will likely deny the state's request for a waiver to prohibit the purchase of these items with SNAP funds.

LePage wants to create a "pilot project" with further restrictions on what can be purchased with food stamps.

'What we are aiming to do is to have a pilot project to ban the purchase of candy and junk food, sugar-sweetened beverages, with food stamps in Maine," Bennett said.

According to Bennett, LePage brought the measure to the legislature and it failed.

The Governors spokesperson said, "we want folks to be purchasing nutritious food with these benefits. And we want to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely."

According to the radio interview, the letter was sent on June 17 to Secretary Tom Vilsack because they had received word from the federal government that they were going to deny the waiver.

Maine has already seen some pretty incredible successes when it comes to welfare reform. In 2014, the state began to require able-bodied adults without dependents to work or volunteer if they wished to keep receiving food stamps, and in 2015 the state began to use asset tests for households without children. Since these reforms were put into place, the number of people receiving welfare has dropped and wages have increased.

Considering that the "n" in SNAP stands for "nutrition," and that sodas, energy drinks, and candy bars have little-to-no nutritional value whatsoever, it makes sense to exclude these items from the program. This shouldn't be controversial. Soda is empty calories and one of the leading causes of obesity and tooth decay. If a person is craving a coke badly enough, there's nothing stopping them from using cash to buy one--but the state should not be the ones funding these purchases under the guise of a nutrition program.

Matt Vespa - Misdirected Hostility: Democratic Senator Says People Who Own AR-15s Are Buying Them 'To Do Bad Things'
Posted: 6/22/2016 1:40:00 PM EST

Why did conservatives so forcefully point out that Omar Mateen used a Sig Sauer MCX rifle and not an AR-15 as originally reported? For starters, it’s just the right thing to do by naming the murder weapon correctly. Second, we knew the attacks on the AR-15 were going to continue, and that needed to be challenged. The anti-gun Left loves to paint this rifle as an instrument of evil. Despite the fact that it was not used in this likely terrorist attack, anti-gunners were still going to demonize it.

That alone should show that these folks aren’t concerned about safety or the families of the victims, they just want to ban guns, especially this line of rifles that are owned by millions of Americans. Many more will own an AR-15 after this attack. Some might own a couple. 

For New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Sheehan, people who buy such weapons are up to no good. She made her view on the rifle know on Mitchell In The Morning with Dan Mitchell on WKBK radio based in Keene (via Buzzfeed):

The fact is, the AR-15, the gun that (Omar) Mateen used, that’s a weapon of war; it’s advertised as being able do technologically advances in killing people that previous weapons have been unable to do and somebody who is buying that kind of a weapon isn’t buying it for target shooting,” she said. “They’re not buying it to go out and hunt deer. You don’t need an AK-47 or an AR-15 to hunt deer. They’re buying it to do bad things and we need to recognize that and address it.”

Sheehan is just wrong. The AR-15 rifle is most certainly used for hunting (it can be chambered in over 30 calibers); it’s used for competitive shooting, and target practice. It’s also lightweight, has low-recoil, and is incredibly accurate. It’s a beautiful firearm. So, an anti-gun Democrat failed at basic facts again. Oh, and just a reminder for the anti-gun Left—the National Rifle Association is just one pro-Second Amendment group. There are million of gun owners in this country. There are over 300 million firearms in circulation. The NRA is just one part of the massive coalition of pro-gun rights supporters, who have over the past decade, have been winning consistently in the legislatures and the courts. Also, they wouldn’t be as effective if a) Democrats knew what they were talking about; b) liberals stopped blaming mass shooting on all gun owners; and c) actually had so-called common sense polices on gun control. Stripping Americans of their gun rights based on a suspicion of terrorist ties without due process of law is abhorrent.

So, no, Senator, people who buy AR-15s aren’t bad, nor are they planning another American revolution. It’s a great gun—and law-abiding citizens want it. Not to mention, the AR-15 wasn’t even used in the attack, so why are we going after a firearm that wasn’t used in this attack? Oh, I forgot about the whole campaign fundraising part.

Katie Pavlich - The Susan Collins Gun Control Amendment is a Nightmare For Innocent Americans
Posted: 6/22/2016 12:45:00 PM EST

Earlier this week four different gun control bills were predictably voted down in the Senate. Now, as Matt has reported, Senators will vote on yet another piece of legislation introduced by Maine Republican Susan Collins. 

"The bipartisan 'Terrorist Firearms Prevention Act of 2016' would prevent people who are on the No Fly List or the Selectee List from purchasing firearms. If our government has determined that an individual is too dangerous to fly on an airplane, that person should not have the opportunity make a legal firearm purchase," Collins office released yesterday in a white paper. "Due process principles require that Americans denied their right to purchase a firearm under this provision have the opportunity to appeal this denial to a federal court."

"To ensure appropriate oversight and transparency, the Attorney General would be required to report to the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees of the House and Senate on the number of persons denied a firearm, the number of appeals filed, and number of persons who prevailed in their appeals under the provisions of this Act," the memo continues.  

By Collins' own admission, this proposal still strips due process and takes away Second Amendment rights before an appeal, boiling down to an absolute bureaucratic nightmare. Although Collins' effort to prevent terrorists from purchasing firearms is noble, her amendment is an absolute nightmare for innocent Americans who end up on these secret, government terrorism no-fly and "selectee" lists. 

First, let's look at the details:

What the Amendment Does:

1. Gives the AG the authority to deny firearms sales to individuals who appear on the No Fly List or the Selectee List.

2. Provides a process for Americans and green card holders to appeal a denial in U.S. Court of Appeals and to recover their reasonable attorneys fees if they prevail.

3. Sets forth a procedure for protecting classified information during the appeal.

4. Protects ongoing FBI counter-terrorism investigations by giving the AG the discretion to allow gun sales to go forward to individuals covered by this Act.

5. Includes a “look-back” provision that ensures prompt notification to the FBI if a person who has been on the broader Terrorism Screening Database (TSDB) within the past five years purchases a firearm.

And the rebuttal: 

1. The Attorney General will now determine who is or is not a terrorist and incapable of purchasing a firearm? Doubtful. The No-Fly and Selectee list are already poorly managed, are full of Americans in addition to foreigners and the Attorney General doesn't have the resources to analyze 109,000 people individually in order to deny or approve a gun sale. 

2. After being stripped of their Second Amendment rights for landing on a No-Fly list, Americans can retroactively seek due process through appealing a denial in court. Further, attorney fees can be recovered so long as a a defendant wins their case against the U.S. government? After hours, days, weeks and potentially years spent buried in paperwork, government bureaucracy, missed work, stress and thousands of attorney's fees to prove innocence? How generous....Americans can't even get through the DMV in a timely fashion, not to mention getting through a court appeal with the federal government after being improperly placed on a secret list. 

3. If classified information is involved in an appeal and must be protected, it will be impossible for a regular, every day American who is innocent but on the lists to make their case and quickly win an appeal.

4. Again, the Attorney General does not have the resources to get involved in the minutia, especially with a list containing thousands of names. 

5. This is the best part of the proposal, but the problem of innocent Americans being on the list again strips due process. 

The bottom line is that until Congress can clearly define a process and standard for which people are placed on the terror No-Fly list, Terror Watch list or Selectee list, innocent Americans will be punished and stripped of their rights due to a bloated, bureaucratic system. The lists must be cleaned up and tailored to fit those who are truly associated with terrorism before we can prevent them from legally purchasing firearms.

 

Matt Vespa - Shocker: Gun Sales Spiking Across The Country Post-Orlando
Posted: 6/22/2016 12:30:00 PM EST

In the wake of the Orlando attack, gun sales are spiking across the country. Hunter’s Warehouse, a Pennsylvania-based online gun store, has sold 30,000 AR-15 rifles since the shooting. In Oklahoma, gun sales have spiked due to security concerns, with locals buying firearms to protect themselves and their families (via The Oklahoman):

Oklahomans typically buy more guns after mass shootings, said Miles Hall, owner of H&H Gun Range. Hall said one day last week his store had a more than 90 percent increase in sales from the same time the previous year.

Gun sales followed a similar trend in the days and weeks after 20 children and six adults were killed in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Hall said. He said sales skyrocketed after President Barack Obama weighed in on gun control. This time, customers more often cite safety concerns as the reason for their purchases.

“The reality for Oklahomans, by the way, is not because they think the government is going to mess with (their gun rights),” Hall said. “What we're hearing this time is they are wanting to protect their families and themselves. After Sandy Hook it was more of the government says I can't have it.”

Of course, the Sunshine State saw an increase in firearms sales (via CBS Miami):

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement ran 9,854 background checks Sunday, Monday and Tuesday on people hoping to buy firearms, more than double the 4,468 during the same time frame in 2015.

Another 3,956 background checks were conducted Wednesday, according to state numbers.

Also, gun ranges and businesses offering concealed-weapons classes said they are seeing a spike in business.

[…]

The state is on track to break that record in 2016, as month-to-month background check comparisons show an increase for every month when compared to the same time in 2015.

In Atlanta, AR-15 rifles are also “flying off the shelves” (via Atlanta Journal-Constitution):

A gun store in Cobb County says they have to restock military-style rifles by the dozens.

Adventure Outdoors in Smyrna reports selling 15 AR-15s an hour. The gun retailer says their norm is about four or five a day.

The store owner told Channel 2 Action News the current boost in sales is not just due to people seeking protection, but a fear that the AR-15 could soon be banned.

So, we have fears of terrorism driving Americans to gun stores, but there’s also the Washington factor, where Democrats wanting to curb Second Amendment freedoms always provides a nice jolt to gun rights supporters. Senate Democrats recently tried and failed to adopt two gun control measures. President Obama and Hillary Clinton want to reinstate the so-called assault weapons ban. Liberals wrongly view the AR-15 as such imaginary weapons, but as you can see—it’s a fool’s errand. The more Democrats discuss gun control, the more AR-15s, and other firearms, end up in civilian hands. 

Last Note: Firearm ownership has spiked among those in the LGBT community as well.

Cortney O'Brien - LOOK: Dems Stage Sit-in On House Floor to Demand Gun Control
Posted: 6/22/2016 12:05:00 PM EST

Democrats are so determined to enforce gun control legislation that they are currently staging a sit-in on the House floor to force a vote.

Among those squatting and sitting in the name of "commonsense legislation" are Reps. Donna Edwards (D-MD), John Yarmuth (D-KY) and John Lewis (D-GA).

Earlier this week, Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced four different gun control measures in the wake of the Orlando massacre. All four failed. The result drew ire from the White House, who accused the lawmakers of "cowardice."

You can follow the Democrats' sit-in on Twitter by searching for the hashtag #NoBillNoBreak.

Katie Pavlich - Homeland Security Employee With Top-Secret Security Clearance Allegedly Planned Attack on D.C. Headquarters
Posted: 6/22/2016 12:00:00 PM EST

A man who works for Homeland Security was arrested earlier this month after allegedly planning an attack on headquarters in Washington D.C. From ABC News

Federal prosecutors are investigating whether a Department of Homeland Security employee with top-secret clearance was planning an attack at the agency's Washington headquarters when he entered the building with a gun, a knife, an infrared camera, pepper spray and handcuffs.

Jonathan Wienke, and analyst in the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, allegedly carried the weapons into the building on the morning of June 9. Court documents filed by the federal government state that investigators have probable cause to believe Wienke "was conspiring with another to commit workplace violence, and more particularly may have been conspiring or planning to commit violence against senior DHS officials in the building."

In his affidavit for a search warrant, Department of Homeland Security Special Agent Eric Mann listed the potential crimes as attempt and conspiracy to assassinate, kidnap or assault a member of the executive branch of the government, false impersonation of a federal officer and possession of a firearm in a federal facility.

It is illegal to bring a firearm into the District of Colombia without registration or permit.

“Initial reports of this incident are very troubling, and my Committee is looking into this serious matter. DHS has been in contact and we will continue to engage with the appropriate officials to gather all the facts," House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul released in a statement Wednesday.

Keep in mind Orlando terrorist Omar Mateen, who murdered 49 people at the Pulse Nightclub, was employed as a professional, licensed and armed security guard by G4S. G4S is a security company contracted by DHS to protect nuclear facilities and a number of federal buildings.

Justin Holcomb  - Donald Trump: Clinton Gets Rich by Making You Poor
Posted: 6/22/2016 11:45:00 AM EST

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump took the stage Wednesday morning and went after Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.  

To start his speech, Trump clarified his mindset of "thinking big and making it happen."  He said he was "running to give back to this country" which has been "so good" to him.

He then made a formal offering to Bernie Sanders supporters to join the movement.

He then went after Clinton by bringing up her false 1996 story of being attacked by sniper fire after getting off a plane in Bosnia.

"This election will decide whether we are ruled by the people or the politicians," he said.

He said Clinton "gets rich, making you poor."

Trump also pointed to the fact that Clinton's time as secretary of state was surrounded by failures.

He reminded voters that Islamic extremism has reached heights never before seen.

To conclude his attacks on Clinton, Trump said that she may be the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency of the United States.

Justin Holcomb  - Cash Money: Clinton to Inherit Obama's Donor List
Posted: 6/22/2016 11:45:00 AM EST

Hillary Clinton will soon have access Barack Obama's donor list which will surely boost her fundraising efforts to unforeseen levels as she prepares for the general election, according to a report form the Washington Examiner.  

As the Clinton campaign takes control of the Democratic National Committee, she will inherit the nearly 20 million people on the e-mail list.  A list that helped Obama raise over $50 million during the 2012 cycle alone.

"The best email list is the one you build yourself," one Clinton ally told The Hill. "But it doesn't hurt. There's data they can get from that, ways they can clean it up, there's stuff that can help fill a void. The more resources that they piece together the better." 

Organizing for America, the nonprofit offshoot from Obama’s campaign, had rented the list for more than $1.2 million per year, The Wall Street Journal reported last year. 

However, it’s unclear how many Obama loyalists will be convinced to back Clinton.

“It’s four years old,” a former Obama aide noted.

Christine Rousselle - Trump Has a Playboy Hanging On His Wall
Posted: 6/22/2016 10:45:00 AM EST

On Tuesday, Donald Trump met with evangelical pastors and leaders yesterday in Times Square. While the meeting reportedly went quite well, one eagle-eyed Twitter user spotted something pretty shocking hanging on Trump's wall: a Playboy magazine featuring himself and a porn star.

The picture was originally tweeted by Jerry Falwell, Jr., who didn't take too kindly to people pointing out what was pictured behind him:

While Trump appearing on the cover of Playboy is neither here nor there, one must think it's a little odd that the magazine cover is so prominently displayed. Additionally, that imagery conflicts with the "gentler demeanor" he's trying to convey to woo evangelical voters. It's pornography. On display. Without shame.

Election 2016 is truly one like no other.

Guy Benson - Former Friend Who Reported Mateen to FBI: He Was a Hillary Supporter
Posted: 6/22/2016 10:25:00 AM EST

Why raise this tawdry irrelevancy, you ask? Because if Democrats think heinous demagoguery will give them a political advantage after Orlando, two can play at that game. Following the defeat of four gun-related measures in Congress' upper chamber on Monday evening, fact-averse Senator Chris Murphy declared that Republicans had come down on the side of selling weapons to ISIS. Lefty heartthrob and privilege-stealing fraudster Elizabeth Warren enthusiastically endorsed her colleague's loathsome framing, earning a rebuke from Nebraska Republican Ben Sasse:

Since liberal lawmakers have evidently decided that Republicans and the NRA share blame for the murderous actions of a committed jihadist (a US citizen who passed a background check, mind you), they ought to be reminded that mindless, partisan mud can be flung in the other direction. As I noted in my satirical piece last week, Omar Mateen was a registered Democrat. What was it about that party's rhetoric and agenda that so attracted a gay-slaughtering terrorist, I wondered sarcastically, fake-suggesting that elected Democrats and their media pals watch their language as to avoid fueling the 'climate of hate' that could cause additional massacres. Now we have a new detail via a Washington Post op/ed written by a former friend of Mateen's -- a fellow Muslim, it should be emphasized -- who reported the eventual killer to the FBI over his alarming behavior and remarks:

Omar and I continued to have infrequent conversations over the next few years. I last saw him at a dinner at his father’s house in January. We talked about the presidential election and debated our views of the candidates that were running – he liked Hillary Clinton and I liked Bernie Sanders. This banter continued through texts and phone calls for several months. My last conversation with Omar was by phone in mid-May. He called me while he was at the beach with his son to tell me about a vacation he’d taken with his father to Orlando the previous weekend. He’d been impressed by the local mosque.

To make it as clear as possible, Mateen's apparent support for Hillary Clinton is in no way a reflection on her, nor does it attach any responsibility for the horrors he inflicted to her campaign.  At all.  That said, I cannot help but contemplate whether his political preferences may have been treated differently by the media class if the shooter had been of a different ideological persuasion.  Here's your answer to that hypothetical question, incidentally.  In any case, much of the Democratic Party and media echo chamber appear to have decided that partisan point-scoring and opponent-shaming is more valuable than confronting (or even acknowledging) obvious truths, or actually solving any problems.  Which brings us back to those previously-mentioned Senate gun votes.  Republicans and a handful of Democrats scuttled two Democratic gun control proposals that critics said (a) offered insufficient civil liberties protections for eligible US citizens who find themselves erroneously added to secret government watch lists, and (b) could expand mandatory federal background checks in such a way that may necessitate a national gun registry to enforce.  Two GOP alternative bills were filibustered and thwarted by Democrats, leading Gabriel Malor to conclude that the gun control lobby on Capitol Hill is more interested show votes and demonization than compromise or bipartisan progress:

Rather than agree to the incremental gun control measures Republicans proposed, the Democrats chose to pass no gun control legislation at all. At some point after loudly demanding legislation for more than a week, Senate Democrats decided it would be better for their reelection prospects that no gun control bills pass the Senate during the election season. Their decision was hypocritical, unprincipled, and pure politics. Republicans were willing to link the terrorism watch list to a gun sales ban, as Democrats have demanded. The price of agreement was due-process protections for Americans placed on the list. But apparently due process is too much for the Democrats. They would rather have no sales ban than a sales ban that comports with the Fifth Amendment. The Democrats similarly rejected an incremental expansion of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Apparently, some gun control is not worth sharing credit with the Republicans.

That's right, Republicans offered legislation that would have further tied the terrorist watch list to the screening process for potential gun-buyers ("the FBI is already alerted during the criminal background check process anytime someone on the watch list tries to purchase a gun, and it is already illegal for almost all of the people on the list to buy a gun," John McCormack reported last year), by allowing federal officials to delay approval for up to three days in order to allow prosecutors to present probable cause arguments before a judge.  This was not good enough for Democrats, who voted in near-lockstep to ensure the bill's defeat.  They could not abide affording that amount of due process to US citizens, insisting instead on a plan that would have given the government much more sweeping powers, while placing the onus on individuals to prove that they're deserving of exercising their constitutional rights. Many of these same Democrats also professed outrage over non-citizen enemy combatants -- actual terrorists -- being denied sufficient due process protections at Guantanamo Bay.  They also rebuffed a Republican proposal to strengthen the existing federal background check system:

While Grassley's bill would steer more money towards the federal background check system and include provisions dealing with mental health, Democrats say that is not enough.

They declared marginal, cautious steps to be disqualifyingly unsatisfactory, actively chose to do nothing, then attacked Republicans for having done nothing. Actually, it's worse than that:  They've slandered Republicans for wanting to arm ISIS, and smeared the NRA -- and Congress itself -- for 'complicity' in the bloodshed.  Given the attempt to censor ISIS references from official transcripts of the killer's phone calls and the moral confusion about the overriding issue at play in Orlando, it's becoming increasingly and depressingly clear that a significant portion of our political leadership is incapable of dealing honestly or seriously with a deadly threat that should serve as a rallying point for unity, reasoned debate and shared resolve.


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