Tuesday, January 29, 2013

RANDOM SHOTS - Great American Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr.; Eric Holder starts Gun-Ownership Data Sharing and Collection; and Much More!

Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr.  says 911 not best option, urges citizens to arm themselves

Milwaukee County, Wis., Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr.
rides his horse during the Mexican Independence Day
Parade in Milwaukee in 2010.

Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr., is a Great American!

Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. made waves last week after releasing a radio ad urging citizens to arm themselves, rather than relying solely on police in case of an emergency.

“With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option,” Sheriff Clarke said in the ad spot Thursday.

“You could beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back.”

The sheriff urged citizens to take gun-safety courses and learn how to handle a firearm “so you can defend yourself until we get there.”

“You have a duty to protect yourself and your family. We’re partners now. Can I count on you?” he asked.

“The police are not omnipresent, we can’t be everywhere all the time. Sometimes we can’t be there as fast as we’d like. So in those situations, once the wolf is at the door, once the intruder is in your home, once a guy sticks a gun in your face on the street and demands your wallet or wants to take your car, 911 isn’t going to help you,” Clarke said, adding that he feels it’s his “obligation” to make sure people are aware of how they can protect themselves.

Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs’ Association President Roy Felber told The Associated Press that it sounds like "a call to vigilantism."

“I’m not telling you to ‘Hey, pick up a gun and blast away,’” the sheriff told the AP in defense of the ad. “People need to know what they are doing if they chose that method — to defend themselves.”

Last night on Fox News, Sheriff Clarke was told about Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs’ Association President Roy Felber who told The Associated Press that it sounds like a call to "vigilantism".

Sheriff Clarke was typical of a great man. He didn't side-step or evade answering what Felber had to say. Instead Sheriff Clarke answered matter of fact saying he's fine with that if that means getting people to stand up to criminals.

His message was not well received by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D), who said apparently Clarke “is auditioning for the next ‘Dirty Harry’ movie.”

Barrett called it “troubling” that Clarke sounded like he was dissuading people from calling 911, saying he wants people to call 911 in an emergency. He said Clarke succeeded in his goal of “getting a lot of attention and publicity.”

Sheriff Clarke, in an interview with Fox News, brushed off the criticism.

"Personally I've never seen the Dirty Harry movie -- but if that's all the mayor can come up with, that's pretty weak," he said. "I think that what's going on in the city of Milwaukee on his watch is kind of, you know -- it looks like he doesn't have much to say, he doesn't have much to offer and that's okay.

"My job is to protect the public," he said.

Clarke said that with the Milwaukee area beset by burglaries and robberies, residents need to know how to protect themselves.

"We can't be everywhere all the time. Sometimes we can't be there as fast as we'd like," he told Fox News. "Once the wolf is at the door ... 911 isn't going to help you, but there are some things that you can do."

The ad has generated sharp criticism from other area officials and anti-violence advocates. The president of the Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs' Association, Roy Felber, said it sounds like a call to vigilantism.

"That doesn't sound too smart," Felber said. "People have the right to defend themselves, but they don't have the right to take the law into their own hands."

Under Wisconsin's "castle doctrine," someone who uses deadly force against an unlawful intruder to their home, business or vehicle is presumed to have acted reasonably. A spokeswoman for the state Department of Justice said that as of this week, there are about 155,000 concealed carry permits in Wisconsin.

Barrett was beaten up several years ago by someone with a tire iron, and Clarke said he thought that would make the mayor "a lot more sensitive to people being able to defend themselves in such instances. A firearm and a plan of defense would have come in handy for him that day."

It is not everyday that someone rises above the politics and gives straight talk regarding the situation at hand. God Bless you Sheriff Clarke. Thank you for taking a stand.

Just as a reminder, this is not the first time a Sheriff or Chief of Police has come out to warn the residents of his jurisdiction.

Last October, the Detroit Police Officers Association warned citizens and tourist that they enter Detroit at their own risk, saying that the "grossly understaffed" and that an overworked Detroit Police Department is a force that cannot adequately protect the public in that extremely violent city.

Along side Chicago which has the strictest gun-control laws of any city in the US, Detroit is in the top 5 of America’s most violent cities. Its homicide rate is one of the highest in the country.

Last summer, an analysis of the FBI's Uniform Crime Report data from 24/7 Wall St. indicated that Detroit actually has the second-highest violent crime rate in the country, behind Flint, Mich.

Chicago ended up overtaking everyone else with 500 killed during 2012. You have to love that Chicago pride.

Though violent crime is actually down nationwide, in places with ultra-liberal gun policies there has been an explosion in violent crime. In fact, while the rest of the country is pretty safe, living in big cities like Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and New York have seen an the incredible spike in the number of homicides.

According to the Defense Department, in a report last summer, they surmised that it is safer to be in Afghanistan than in Chicago.


Police barred from Vermont gun range over proposed semi-automatic rifle ban

The battle over the right to bear arms is flaring in Vermont, where a local gun range has moved to prohibit the Burlington Police Department from training at its facilities after the City Council voted to advance a measure banning semi-automatic rifles and large-capacity magazines.

The leadership of the Lamoille Valley Fish and Game Club explained that it's "difficult" for the club to support the city -- even its officers -- given the actions of the council.

"We have members in Burlington as well as members of our club that are going to be passing through Burlington and this would directly affect them and we felt that a prejudicial vote like that was going to be non-supportive of our club and being non-supportive of our club makes it very difficult to support Burlington City," said Bob Boivin, chairman of the Lamoille Valley Fish and Game Club.

"It is a constitutional issue. I mean, it's not just a Second Amendment constitutional issue; but it's also a constitutional issue for Vermont. We have laws that have the state governing our gun controls in this area and they're looking to supersede those," he said.

The group's ban will affect how and when officers train in the state, where such facilities are limited.

In response, the Burlington Police Department released a statement saying: "It is unfortunate that this important and much-needed community dialogue regarding gun control currently under way in the City of Burlington and across the nation has resulted in this action."

The city government is defending the measure.

"In the absence of federal legislation or state law we feel it has come upon us as a city to take the measures we feel are necessary to protect our citizens," Burlington City Councilman Norman Blais said.

"Ultimately, I don't think that the best way to assert control over guns is at the local level," conceded Joan Shannon, president of the Burlington City Council. "But here in Burlington, I think we felt the need to act because we didn't see action coming from either the state level or the federal level."

Boivin argues city-by-city gun rules would create a multitude of challenges.

"If you're going to a shoot, say in one end of Vermont to the other, you have to check the laws for every town in between, and you will pass through a half a dozen different towns, and that makes it almost impossible for someone to stay as a legal gun owner, and that's what we're concerned about," he said.

Shannon said the council's action are only a first step toward better protecting the people of the city, "but this at least gets the discussion started and often times we have found in Burlington that we lead the way and others will follow, and I think that that's the intention here."

The Burlington City Council's proposal to ban certain assault weapons is far from being implemented. City voters would get a say in 2014.

Then the measure would require approval by the Vermont legislature. Finally, if it does become law, it's likely to face a constitutional challenge from gun-rights advocates.


Homeland Security getting 7,000 assault weapons for ‘personal defense’

While the Obama administration calls for a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, the Department of Homeland Security is seeking to acquire 7,000 “personal defense weapons” — also known as “assault weapons” when owned by civilians.

A report by Steve McGough of RadioViceOnline.com cites a General Service Administration request for a proposal on behalf of DHS seeking more than 7,000 AR-15s and matching 30-round clips “suitable for personal defense use in close quarters.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, introduced legislation Thursday that would enact a so-called “assault weapons” ban, prohibiting more than 150 firearms and limiting magazines to 10 rounds.

Critics, such as Republican New York state Sen. Greg Ball, are already blasting the DHS request, arguing that the government deems these firearms as suitable for self-defense but want to ban civilians from owning them.

“Now the Department of Homeland Security even agrees that these modern sporting firearms, made illegal by Governor Cuomo, are suitable for self-defense,” Sen. Ball said.

“On top of that, a recent story reports that two RIT [Rochester Institute of Technology] students who were legal gun owners were protected by an AR-15.  The story may have had a very tragic ending, had Governor Cuomo’s anti-self-defense bill been in full effect.”


US Attorney General Eric Holder starts Gun-Ownership Data Sharing and Collection

Let's forget about the fact that it is not legal yet to do so!

Let's forget about waiting for Congress to pass legislation to act, Attorney General Eric Holder is moving on gun-control measures as you read this.

He submitted three measures on Monday to increase Gun-Ownership data collection and sharing regarding firearms and potential gun purchasers.

Yes, it is ILLEGAL to do so! But that doesn't seem to stop President Obama from thinking they simply have no limitations and can do as they please even if it means breaking the law and acting completely alone.

The first of Holder’s measures expands access to information on gun permits to Indian tribal law enforcement agencies; the second allows local law enforcement to access the FBI’s national criminal database to conduct background checks on people they’re transferring weapons to; and the third authorizes the FBI to maintain records on denied firearms transactions in a separate database for longer than 10 years.

All three were published on Monday in the Federal Register for comment.

“These proposed changes are intended to promote public safety, to enhance the efficiency of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) operations, and to resolve difficulties created by unforeseen processing conflicts within the system,” Mr. Holder wrote.

Under the Brady Act of 1993, background checks are required for any gun transfer from a federal firearms licensee to any unlicensed person.

But access to NICS for background checks unrelated to those outlined in the law currently is limited to providing information in connection with a firearm- or explosives-related license or responding to an inquiry from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Obama has said he will take the steps that he will on gun-control alone, but he won’t be able to get major pieces of what he wants to do in the future - such as an assault weapons ban, limits on high-capacity magazines, expanding background checks -  without action from Congress.

Obama signed three Executive Orders when he said what he planned to do earlier this month directing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct research on gun violence; ensuring firearms recovered from crime scenes are traced; and directing Holder’s Justice Department to outline guidance for federal agencies on submitting records to NICS.

Surprisingly, even Mr. Holder conceded that the impact of Monday’s proposals are unknown at this point, in part because of the lack of data the government has about the kind of transfers the new rules would allow.

The public has 60 days to comment on the proposals.

Broader gun-control measures will undoubtedly be discussed Wednesday morning, when the Senate Judiciary Committee holds its first hearing this year on gun violence.

Witnesses scheduled to appear include Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president and CEO of the National Rifle Association, a group that has vigorously opposed Obama’s proposals.

Also appearing will be retired astronaut Mark Kelly, the husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was gravely wounded during a mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz., in January 2011; Nicholas Johnson, a law professor at Fordham University School of Law; James Johnson, chief of police for Baltimore County, Md.; and Gayle Trotter, a lawyer and senior fellow of the Independent Women’s Forum.

Yes, it will be a political circus for the liberal news media!


Boy Scouts May End Ban on Gay Youths, Leaders

Reports have it that The Boy Scouts of America, a group that has been the ire of liberals because of their no gays allowed stance, is expected to lift its longstanding ban on gay Scouts and troop leaders.

The reversal of the decades-old policy is expected to be approved by the organization’s national board next week, reported both USA Today and NBC News.

“The policy change under discussion would allow the religious, civic or educational organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address this issue," Deron Smith, a Boy Scouts spokesman, told USA Today.

After a two-year examination of the issue, the Boy Scouts affirmed its ban on gays just seven months ago.

The volunteer review committee was convened by national leaders of the Boy Scouts of America.

But several local chapters and some members of the national board, including pro-gay advocates CEO Randall Stephenson of AT&T and CEO James Turley of the Ernst & Young accounting firm called for a reconsideration, USA Today reports.

Under the proposed change, decisions on membership and leadership would be decided by the organization’s 290 local governing councils and 116,000 sponsoring religious and civic groups.

“Scouting has always been in an ongoing dialogue with the scouting family to determine what is in the best interest of the organization and the young people we serve,” Smith told USA Today.

“The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members or parents,” he said. “Under this proposed policy, the BSA would not require any chartered organization to act in ways inconsistent with that organization's mission, principles or religious beliefs.”

I can't help but wonder what other alternative lifestyles will the Boy Scouts now allow into their organization because of political pressure.

Who knows what sorts alternative lifestyles and strange fetishes will be forced on groups that simply don't want to participate in the liberal effort to try to make strange behaviour accepted as normal.

Unlike dealing with the pigment of a person's skin, which has no bearing on any one's character, actions do have everything to do with being accepted of not. And I'm not sorry to say, that yes, some actions are simply acceptable.

Whether it's sex acts with men or boys or animals, using heroin or sniffing glue, or shooting up a school loaded with defenseless kids, there are simply some actions that are not accepted.

I am always amazed that no one wants to say out loud what they are thinking when they see something that is just wrong.

Folks, those Catholic priests were not your normal Catholic priests. They're "Gay Catholic Priests." The Catholic priests who molest boys are all gay men.

They are gay and see nothing wrong with their gay lust for boys. They don't see it as a sickness, because they see it as acceptable. They see us as being sort of racist for not accepting what they see as an expression of love.

Their problem is that our society does not agree with them. It is a practice that will never be acceptable in America.

And those who are trying to pursue the Gay Agenda of man/boy love are sick people if they think it will be acceptable. They ultimately want their sick behavior to be accepted by the general public, by society, as being "normal."  But society won't.

Groups like the Boys Scouts can be forced to accept gay boys. Through court orders and political pressure, anything is possible.

But if they do get in, then those organizations and groups will not be the same as it was before.

By having people in their group who practice sick acts, unacceptable behavior which is euphemistically called "an alternative lifestyle," like it or not, there will always be us who will not see sex acts between men, or men with children, or with animals, or doing drugs, or others contemptible acts as acceptable.

Societies have standards. You can only shove so much at folks, before they simply refuse to accept it. Many folks have nothing against gay people, me included. I know real well that this world is made up of some very strange people who get off on doing some very strange things. But I also know for fact, that they are not the norm.

Adam Lanza who shot all of those children in Newtown Connecticut was not the normal person brought up with guns in his home. The gay Catholic priests who molest a boy is not the norm of the many many great priests out there.

I could honestly care less if some fool wants to marry his goats, as I'm sure there are those who think that that sort of alternative lifestyle should be accepted as well, but I really don't think strange and unnatural acts with men, children, animals, and other sick behavior will ever be accepted as something that is normal.

No matter how many liberals say different, there's some behaviors that are just not acceptable.


Tina Turner gives up US Passport to become Swiss Citizen

It was announced that singer Tina Turner is on her way to becoming a Swiss citizen. Imagine that!

Turner has lived in the Zurich suburb of Kuesnacht since the mid-1990s. The local Zuerichsee-Zeitung newspaper said on its website the local council announced its decision to grant the 73-year-old Turner citizenship in an official notice published in Friday's edition.

Though the decision still requires formal approval from cantonal (state) and federal authorities, it is apparently a sure thing.

She is not the first American celebrity to do such a disgraceful thing. Among some of those well known people who have:

John Houston did it. The Missouri-born film director, screenwriter, and actor. He emigrated to Ireland in 1952 in disgust over the activities of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and renounced U.S. citizenship in 1964 to become an Irish citizen.

Some sources claim that actress Grace Kelly was required to relinquish her U.S. citizenship when she married Monegasque Prince Rainier and subsequently became Princess Grace of Monaco.

But, that might not be the case because at the time of the birth of her first son, it was reported that the U.S. State Department made a determination that she remained a U.S. citizen, which made her son one as well

So let's say that Houston had his reasons as some sort of dumb ass protest and Grace Kelly did in fact hold duel-citizenship because of marriage, there are others in Celebrities and other rich Americans who apparently throw away being an American to get out of paying high taxes.

Denise Rich, socialite and the former wife of a pardoned billionaire, gave up her U.S. citizenship, and will reportedly thus save millions in U.S. taxes as well.

Though Denise Rich wrote songs for Aretha Franklin and Jessica Simpson, she's best known as the ex-wife of Marc Rich who fled the country in 1983 after being indicted for tax evasion, racketeering, and trading oil with Iran.

liberal Hero President Bill Clinton pardoned Marc Rich, who was among the biggest Democrat donors, on Clinton's last day in office in 2001.

A House of Representatives committee concluded that Denise Rich helped bring about her ex-husband's pardon through donations to the Clinton library and campaign.

Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, another big Democrat donor, made headlines when gave up his U.S. passport and became a citizen of Singapore, just before the social networks's May I.P.O.

Early last year, one report said that wealthy Americans renouncing U.S. citizenship rose sevenfold since UBS AG (UBSN) whistle-blower Bradley Birkenfeld triggered a crackdown on tax evasion in 2008.

Last year's report said that about 1,780 expatriates (ie: those who has taken up residence in a foreign country) gave up their nationality at U.S. embassies last year, up from 235 in 2008, according to Andy Sundberg, secretary of Geneva’s Overseas American Academy, citing figures from the government’s Federal Register.

The embassy in Bern, the Swiss capital, redeployed staff to clear a backlog of Americans wanting to relinquish their citizenship.

The U.S., the only nation in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that taxes citizens wherever they reside, is searching for tax cheats in offshore centers, including Switzerland, as the government tries to curb the budget deficit.

Shunned by Swiss and German banks and facing tougher asset-disclosure rules under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, more of the estimated 6 million Americans living overseas are weighing the cost of holding a U.S. passport.

“It started with the fallout from UBS and non-U.S. banks feeling it’s too risky to deal with Americans abroad,” said Matthew Ledvina, a U.S. tax lawyer at Anaford AG in Zurich. “It will increase because Fatca will require banks to track down people, some of whom will make voluntary disclosures before renouncing their citizenship.”

Renunciations are higher in Switzerland because American expatriates expect extra scrutiny of their affairs after the UBS case and as the U.S. probes 11 other Swiss financial firms for aiding offshore tax evasion, said Martin Naville, head of the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce in Zurich.

It only takes about 10-minute!

That's right, a renunciation ceremony where an embassy staff member may ask exiting Americans whether they are acting voluntarily and understand the implications of giving up their passports, only takes about 10 minutes.

They pay a fee of $450 to renounce their American citizenship and may incur an “exit tax” on unrealized capital gains if their assets exceed $2 million -  or their average annual U.S. tax bill is more than $151,000 during the past five years.

They receive a certificate within three months, telling them they are no longer American citizens and that they are not entitled to any of the services and protections of the U.S. government overseas.

But wait, they think it's easy to run from the Tax Collectors - are they wrong!
The U.S. State Department doesn’t disclose annual figures, said Elizabeth Finan a spokeswoman for the Washington- based department, adding that “on average” 1,100 people give up their citizenship each year.

While the U.S. taxes citizens regardless of where they reside, overseas income of as much as $95,100 is exempt and credits help compensate for foreign taxes paid.

Americans living in Switzerland can’t take advantage of the absence of a capital gains tax in the Alpine country or tax deductions allowed on pension contributions.

“Every dollar you save, you lose to the U.S. tax man,” said a tax lawyer. “That’s one reason why people give up citizenship.”

Americans, who disclose their non-U.S. bank accounts to the IRS, must file the more expansive 8938 form beginning in 2012. It asks for all foreign financial assets, including insurance contracts, loans and shareholdings in non-U.S. companies.

Obama has a long reach!

The Obama administration new 2010 Fatca law requires banks to withhold 30 percent from “certain U.S.-connected payments” to some accounts of American clients who don’t disclose enough information to the IRS.

“There is incredible frustration at the audacity and imperial overreach of this law,” said David Kuenzi, a tax adviser at Thun Financial Advisors in Madison, Wisconsin, referring to Fatca.

Failure to file the 8938 form can result in a fine of as much as $50,000. Clients can also be penalized half the amount in an undeclared foreign bank account under the Banks Secrecy Act of 1970.

“It’s a Big Brother concept,” said Brent Lipschultz, a partner at New York-based accounting firm EisnerAmper.

The implementation of Fatca from 2013 comes after UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, paid a $780 million penalty in 2009 and handed over data on about 4,700 accounts to settle a tax- evasion dispute with the U.S.

Whistle-blower Birkenfeld was sentenced to 40 months in a U.S. prison in 2009 after informing the government and Senate about his American clients at the Geneva branch of Zurich-based UBS.

The UBS settlement led to about 33,000 voluntary disclosures to the IRS in the three years through 2011 and the repatriation of billions of dollars to the U.S.

Swiss banks saw their offshore North American assets shrink by about 60% to 60 billion Swiss francs ($66 billion) in 2010 from three years earlier, according to Boston Consulting Group.

American Citizens Abroad, a Geneva-based organization that campaigns for taxation based on residency, said the government doesn’t always distinguish between U.S.-based tax dodgers with offshore accounts and expatriates that need foreign banking services.

“The perception is that any American living overseas is there for a nefarious reason,” said Marylouise Serrato, executive director of the organization that has members in 90 countries. “There isn’t a deep understanding in the U.S. of why American citizens would move overseas.”

So can someone please explain what the attraction is? Why would an American dump the land that gave you so much and possibly made you rich for some country that Americans probably helped to keep free?

Well, according to Jackie Bugnion of American Citizens Abroad, taxing Americans resident overseas is a “hangover from the American Civil War” and the introduction of federal income tax in 1861.

"The rules make it harder for Americans to hold foreign bank accounts and gain access to mortgages," she said.

German lenders Deutsche Bank AG and HVB Group terminated the securities accounts of some U.S. citizens following the announcement of stricter reporting requirements.

Swiss Raiffeisen Group, Switzerland’s third-biggest banking network, decided at the end of last year to sever ties with U.S.- domiciled clients and refuse new applications from any American, said Philippe Thevoz, a spokesman for the St.Gallen, Switzerland-based firm.

The additional compliance costs for companies to ensure that Americans they hire are filing the correct U.S. tax returns and asset-declaration forms are at least $5,000 per person, said Ledvina.

Where individuals are getting their returns prepared, the expense may amount to $1,500 to $2,000, which is pushing expatriates to consider giving up citizenship.

“The compliance costs are high and they’re getting worse,” tax attorney Ledvina said. “It’s hard to serve two authorities and the problem for Americans abroad is that the IRS doesn’t care.”

Do I feel sorry for folks who move overseas in an effort to try to evade paying taxes in the US? Especially those who relinquish their American citizenship?

No, I don't. Fact is that most made there money here. Their companies were here. The technology was here. Their customer base started here and most likely still is.

America gave them the opportunity to achieve, to aspire to their greatest potential, to reach heights unimaginable in many other countries.

If Tina Turner was born in Kenya, could she have reached the point of stardom she has in life? No, she would be just another among the herd.

If a boy was born in Kenya and lived out his life there, instead of say being shipped to the US, could he have gotten more than just a hut and horrible poverty in his future? No, he would have not.

In America, a boy can grow up to be President of the United States - and then attack the very country that gave him so much opportunity.

Americans who live abroad are great people if they are there for all of the right reasons such as a job, or family, or just wanting to live out a dream.

But if they are indeed rich and only there to skip out on paying their taxes after they have made their millions here?

Well then, when you consider how hard it is for folks with a lot less to pay their taxes, I think those rich folks are lacking a lot of what it takes to be good and decent people.

It is nice to know that along with losing the services and protections of the US government, that they also have forfeit the right to voice their concerns about the good or bad policies of the American government.

Just as with Tina Turner, she gave up her rights to complain about anything taking place here. This is no longer her nation.

Story by Tom Correa

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