By: James Simpson
Doug Ross @ Journal
Since the day President Obama was elected, gun owners have been on an unprecedented buying spree, purchasing everything from .22 ammunition to every kind of semi-automatic firearm available.
Their fears are not unwarranted — especially because, for a while, the federal government seemed to be racing private owners to buy the ammo first.
Closer examination shows that some fears of federal activity on this front are overblown. Others, though, are deeply rooted in legitimate concerns.
While Obama claims to support “common-sense” gun laws, he has made high-profile public announcements telegraphing his anti-gun intentions and engaged in behind-the-scenes gun control — tweaking government regulations to deny gun rights to veterans, seeking the same for Social Security recipients, and using the ATF to ban certain types of popular ammo. Calling guns more dangerous than terrorism, Obama recently indicated he’ll devote the rest of his time as president to gun control.
Calling guns more dangerous than terrorism, Obama says he’ll devote the rest of his time as president to gun control.
But one event in particular fed fears of back-door government gun control: the unprecedented purchase of ammunition by the feds.
In early 2013, the Internet blazed with news that the Department of Homeland Security intended to purchase over 1.6 billion rounds of pistol and rifle ammunition. The order would fulfill DHS requirements for five years, reportedly. DHS has 55,471 employees authorized to carry firearms, which comes to about 5,800 rounds per year, per employee.
For perspective, during the first year of the war on terror, approximately 72 million rounds were expended in Iraq and another 21 million in Afghanistan — about 2,000 rounds per war fighter. Thus, giving DHS agents a much larger quota of 5,000 rounds did seem extreme.
Some people asserted the feds deliberately intended to dry up the private market for ammunition. Lawmakers demanded answers. Yet the overall requisition, in context, may not have been unreasonable.
The largest order, 750 million rounds, came from DHS’s Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) for instruction purposes. Another 650 million rounds were slated for Inspections and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. FLETC public affairs director Peggy Dixon said at the time that the purchase request was “a ceiling. It does not mean that we will buy, or require, the full amounts of either contract.” FLETC in fact uses approximately 20 million training rounds per year, and overall, actual DHS purchases have declined continually since 2009. In 2014, DHS-planned purchases were 75.1 million rounds, down from 84.4 million in 2013.
But there was more. In 2012, the Social Security Administration published a requisition for 174,000 rounds of hollow point pistol ammo — a particularly lethal type and certainly not suited for target shooting. Why on earth would the SSA need it? For that matter, why does SSA need a police force, much less highly trained SWAT teams? Do they anticipate an armed revolt by elderly Social Security recipients upset with their latest cost of living increases? Do they fear an anti-government conspiracy launched over tepid coffee in the reading lounges of retirement communities across the country? Given Obama’s attitude toward the elderly (e.g. “Granny, take the pill”) they may have reason to fear.
Giving DHS agents a much larger quota of 5,000 rounds did seem extreme.
Again, though, many such purchases are based on a justifiable rationale — or at least justifiable for the size of the government we have. (Whether it should be that large in the first place is a very different question.)
An unfortunate consequence of massive government growth and expansion is the requirement for a law enforcement presence to oversee it all. One would not think the Social Security Administration or the Department of Agriculture, for example, would need a large law enforcement presence.
But welfare and food stamp fraud is epidemic. Some gangsters engaged in these activities are as dangerous as drug traffickers – and are involved, often, in both. Determined welfare fraud rings connected to organized crime are ripping off billions of taxpayer dollars. One of the most dangerous federal law enforcement jobs is — believe it or not — ole’ Smokey Bear, the National Park Service rangers, since a great deal of criminal activity takes place within the peaceful aura of life in the woods. (Marijuana fields, for example, are guarded by trigger-happy, AK-47 toting goons.)
At the same time, fears of an omnipresent federal law enforcement infrastructure are justified. The growing federal police force contains the potential to evolve into a police state.
The increasing use of SWAT-type raids against established businesses like Gibson Guitar, Duncan Outdoors and Mountain Pure Water Co., and countless smaller raids against other non-threatening targets for essentially routine administrative matters reinforce the belief among many that such a police state is just around the corner, if not here already. Innocent people have been killed in some of these unwarranted raids.
It is not the amount of ammunition purchases posing the threat. Instead, it is the ominous growth of federal law enforcement under a president who abuses power and ignores the constitutional limits of his office.
The growing federal police force contains the potential to evolve into a police state.
Obama has done his best to induce panic among gun owners. This, more than anything else, has created the shortages – driven by an unprecedented increase in private market demand. At the height of the frenzy, the NRA provided a good analysis in its American Rifleman magazine. While ammunition manufacturers are loath to admit exact production numbers, the NRA found that between 2007 and 2012, excise taxes on ammunition purchases doubled.
Many other reports tell a similar story, but it is easy to understand with a simple example. There are over 80 million gun owners in the U.S. If every single one went out and bought just 100 rounds – barely enough for one afternoon on the range – it would require 8 billion rounds of ammo. But many gun owners have been stockpiling, and retailers seek to purchase large quantities to capitalize on higher demand and prices. The shooting sports, meanwhile, have enjoyed a revival, even on college campuses.
Despite the unprecedented explosion in demand, the shortage is now largely past. After producing round the clock for years, ammunition manufacturers are now able to fulfill orders for most of the popular calibers, albeit at higher prices. Even the popular .22, long unavailable after supplies of other ammo reappeared, is finally coming back on the shelves.
While the ammo shortage was not caused by excessive government purchases, Obama can nonetheless take credit for creating justifiable panic among private citizens that prompted an unprecedented ammo buying spree that cleared retailer shelves for years. It would not be at all surprising to see another uptick in demand if Obama makes good on his threat to push more gun control.
Read more at LifeZette.com
By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi (CCB) member Clare Lopez believes that in 2011 Hillary Clinton’s State Department was orchestrating its own gun running operation to the Libyan rebels—and that arms dealer Marc Turi has been set up to take the fall for these “illicit arms deals.”
“The Justice Department has charged Turi with lying on an export-license application, alleging he hid his intent to ship weapons and ammunition to Libya in direct violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 170,” reports Jerome Corsi for WorldNetDaily.
“Marc Turi was set up and framed for something he didn’t do, while others, who actually did collaborate with Qatar and the UAE to deliver the weapons under U.S. and NATO protection and supervision, are not only not prosecuted like Marc Turi, they’re not even mentioned,” Lopez told Corsi.
“Lopez made it clear she was speaking for herself and not for the commission,” he reports.
Corsi has written several previous articles about the work of the CCB, which was established by Accuracy in Media back in 2013. “The commission has been working behind the scenes for the past two years to ensure Congress uncovers what really happened in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans,” writes Corsi.
“Lopez [said the] ‘key point is that Marc Turi, despite receiving written approval from the U.S. government to broker weapons to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, never actually went through [with] any weapons purchases or shipments to Qatar, to the UAE or to Libya,” he writes.
Lopez referred to the Citizens’ Commission’s April 2014 interim report, which stated: “Even more disturbingly, the U.S. was fully aware of and facilitating the delivery of weapons to the al-Qa’eda-dominated rebel militias throughout the 2011 rebellion. The jihadist agenda of AQIM, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), and other Islamic terror groups represented among the rebel forces was well known to U.S. officials responsible for Libya policy.”
In fact, “The rebels made no secret of their al-Qa’eda affiliation, openly flying and speaking in front of the black flag of Islamic jihad…” states the report.
When Hillary Clinton’s Libya-related emails were released, they exposed how Mrs. Clinton was interested in arming the rebels before they were “formally recognized by the U.S. or United Nations,” according to Catherine Herridge and Pamela Browne.
Fox News previously reported that Turi had said the “weapons supplied to Libya were in the hands of the U.S. government and the State Department’s Bureau of Political and Military Affairs, headed by key Hillary Clinton aide Andrew Shapiro,” reports Corsi. “Shapiro was responsible to oversee the export control process at the State Department.”
Mrs. Clinton exchanged emails with the Director of Policy Planning for the Department of State, Anne-Marie Slaughter, in the spring of 2011. On March 30, 2011, Slaughter counseled Hillary Clinton that she was “VERY dubious about arming the Libyan rebels.” When Hillary Clinton asked why, Slaughter argued that “sending more arms into a society generally… will result in more violence—against each other” and “adding even more weapons does not make sense.”
Yet Mrs. Clinton emailed her aide, Jake Sullivan, on April 8, 2011, that “FYI. The idea of using private security experts to arm the opposition should be considered.”
Years after the intervention, Libya remains a broken state marred by ongoing violence.
It’s already been established that Mrs. Clinton failed to turn over all of her work related emails, allowed sensitive and classified material on her private email server, and lied about both. Yet we are asked to believe that the more than 30,000 emails that she had deleted and wiped from her server were all personal emails. It’s clear that even her allies in the media are getting nervous about where all of this is headed, since she is the presumed Democratic Party standard bearer. The question is, will she ever be held accountable, and judged by the same standards as others who have “mishandled” classified information? And what about her role in the Libyan and Benghazi scandals? It is looking more and more like the only accountability may come from the American voters.
By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
Time magazine is out with a colorful and glossy “Inside the New Cuba” special edition, featuring smiling Cuban kids wearing Communist garb on the cover. Page 64 has a photo showing “Cuban fans” holding up “their national flag” at a baseball game. It turns out that the really happy Cubans are those who have been defecting from the island “paradise,” as Time magazine calls the prison camp country.
Credit goes to Christine Rousselle of Townhall.com for covering these defections. They seem to be developing into a regular feature, with Rousselle providing regular updates about additional defections.
So far, eight players from the Cuban men’s field hockey team, four rowers from the Cuban national team, and two members of the Cuban soccer team have defected.
The defections completely undercut the chapter of the special Time magazine issue on Cuba that is titled, “The Big League Next Door,” which speculates that normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba could “stop Cuba’s top talent from fleeing…” This chapter is written by Robert Siegel, senior host of National Public Radio, and Eyder Peralta, an NPR reporter.
Washington Nationals infielder Yunel Escobar defected from Cuba when he was 21. The Washington Post covered his story in a May 7 article, noting:
Escobar’s love of baseball was fueled by television broadcasts and video games, both forbidden in Cuba. He paid to watch MLB games and favorite players such as Alex Rodriguez, Roberto Alomar, Omar Vizquel and fellow Cuban Livan Hernandez on a TV with a hush-hush antenna at a friend’s house. He also grew to love Ken Griffey Jr. because of a video game he played often in secret. A friend had smuggled in a console and charged the equivalent of 50 cents per hour to play.
The entire story is worth reading and there are many touching moments, such as the story of when Escobar spent two days at an immigration detention center in Miami “and kissed the ground when he was released.”
These are the immigrants we should welcome, since they have developed an appreciation of the struggle between freedom and totalitarianism. They want to enjoy and celebrate American freedom, not distort and transform the country into a Third World welfare state of cheap labor for corporations and paid-for votes for the Democratic Party.
In the Time magazine version of Cuba, we are told in the section, “Scenes from the Revolution,” that Fidel Castro “promised to clean up the government, restore democracy and civil liberties, and promote social justice.” Nothing is said about whether he fulfilled those promises.
By contrast, we are told that his predecessor, Fulgencio Batista, was a “ruthless dictator” who ran a system characterized by “economic and social inequality and a corrupt government.” The implication is that Castro changed all of that for the better.
A caption on a page of pictures of Cuban cowboys on the communist island informs us that “Before Castro nationalized all farms, almost three quarters of Cuba’s arable lands was owned by fewer than 3,000 individuals and corporations, many of them American, while most farmworkers were renters.” One of the Cuban cowboys proclaims, “It is no longer of Communism or no Communism. It belongs to us.”
You mean communism works after all? That seems to be the message of this special Time magazine Cuba edition.
It’s completely absurd but this is what passes for serious journalism. It reminds me of the old Ronald Reagan joke, reportedly told to Mikhail Gorbachev, about two men walking down a street in Moscow, when one asks, “Is this pure communism? Have we passed through the stage of socialism and reached pure communism? The other replies, “Hell, no. It’s gonna get a lot worse.”
Ben Lewis wrote an article, “Hammer & tickle,” noting that “Communism is the only political system to have created its own international brand of comedy.”
These days, Oleg Atbashian makes fun of the Marxists and their apologists on a regular basis, on his “People’s Cube” website. One of his latest offerings is the new poster featuring the “Rebel without a gender.” The People’s Cube proclaims, “Che is dead, long live Conchita: a new rebel icon.”
His tribute to the Museum of Communism in Prague is a lot of laughs, as he displays some of the posters from the old communist days, such as the one announcing that communist women would have burnt their bras like their sisters in the West, “if there were any in the shops.”
Another communist poster said: “Sometimes there was no toilet paper in the shops. Luckily there was not much food, either.”
Meanwhile, believe it or not, the comedian Jack Black is being featured in a video campaign from the group Global Zero to sell the Iranian nuclear deal. He previously starred in such films as “Shallow Hal,” “School of Rock,” “Nacho Libre,” and the Kung Fu Panda films.
A comedian as the face of the Iranian nuclear deal? This is where the laughing begins to die down.
The Iranians and their Russian sponsors are the ones laughing at us now.
So are the Cuban Communists.
They may lose some people through defections, but they get an embassy on American soil where they can base their spies and recruit agents inside the U.S. government.