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A Constitutional Amendment Overturning Citizens United: Really? How?

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Peter J. Wallison writes: One jarring note in Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention was her statement that she would press for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission.

“The New York Times is a corporation, so this language would prohibit the Times from editorializing in favor of or against either Ms. Clinton or Donald Trump. Moreover, it might shut down blogs, or firms like Facebook or Twitter, that are corporate vehicles for the expression of opinions about candidates by others.”

This 2009 Supreme Court case held that corporations had the same rights as individuals to make statements for or against the election of a candidate for public office. Particularly difficult to understand was her linking Citizens United to the fact that our economy is not functioning well for many Americans.

A sign during a protest against the Citizens United decision in Portland, Oregon. Credit: Flickr/lance_mountain

A sign during a protest against the Citizens United decision in Portland, Oregon. Credit: Flickr/lance_mountain

“Clearly, closing down newspapers that publish editorials wouldn’t be satisfactory to many Americans, and if extended to other corporate opinion forums would be highly unpopular among the American people. How, then, could the language be modified to allow the New York Times and other corporations to express their views and still overturn Citizens United?”

Taking the last point first, what could be the link between Citizens United and a poorly functioning economy? It’s likely that Ms. Clinton wanted her listeners to infer that corporate power, expressed through independent expenditures—presumably Hidden in plain sightcontributions to superpacs or other hidden sources—had distorted the public’s will for the benefit of powerful private parties.

[Order Peter J. Wallison’s book “Hidden in Plain Sight: What Really Caused the World’s Worst Financial Crisis and Why It Could Happen Again from Amazon.com]

This is a peculiar claim to make after almost eight years of the Obama presidency, in which the most significant government actions—the Dodd-Frank Act, ObamaCare, and various tax increases on corporations and wealthy individuals—could hardly be said to favor corporations or business interests generally. It is also peculiar in light of a recent Wall Street Journal report that hedge fund contributions to Clinton superpacs have outraised those to Trump superpacs by a ratio of more than 2000-to-1 ($46.5 million to $19,000).

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But leaving aside these anomalies, what is it about Citizens United that has stirred Ms. Clinton to propose something as drastic as a constitutional amendment, especially one affecting the First Amendment’s right to free speech?

[Read the full story here, at AEI]

Many of Ms. Clinton’s listeners who cheered her idea probably believe that their right to free speech would not be affected by overturning Citizens United. Of course, the language of the amendment would be determinative, but let’s assume it is as simple as adding new language at the end of the First Amendment as it now reads. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘California Has the Strictest Gun Control in the Nation, so Obama’s Politicization of San Bernardino Rings Sickeningly Hollow’

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No, Mr. President, the NRA is not to blame

Chris Cox writes: Just when we think that politics can’t sink any lower, President Obama once again proves us wrong by politicizing the tragedy in San Bernardino before the facts were even known. What we do know is that the American people are heartbroken by these horrific crimes — and despite what the president would have us believe — America’s law-abiding gun owners are heartbroken by these horrific crimes as well. At the same time, we are sick and tired of this president suggesting the men and women of the National Rifle Association are somehow to blame.

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The National Rifle Association is not to blame. Neither is our Second Amendmentfreedom. An act of evil unfolded in California. President Obama used it not as a moment to inform or calm the American people; rather, he exploited it to push his gun control agenda.

[Read the full text here, at USA Today]

Policy discussions should be intellectually honest and based on facts, not politics. And the fact remains that California has already adopted President Obama’s gun control wish list: “universal” background checks, registration, waiting periods, gun bans, magazine bans and an expansion of Hands off my gun - Dana Loeschprohibited gun categories. But those laws did nothing to prevent this horrific crime from taking place. Nothing.

[Order Dana Loesch’s booHands Off My Gun: Defeating the Plot to Disarm America” from Amazon.com]

Here’s another fact: the president’s failed foreign policy has made us less safe. And his domestic gun control agenda would jeopardize our safety even further. In California, President Obama had what he wanted — the strictest gun control in the country — and it did not prevent this evil act. Read the rest of this entry »


Alan Dershowitz: ‘Forget about my standard or yours. By his own standard he is an abject failure when it comes to dealing with Iran’

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Exclusive interview with liberal lawyer and lifelong Democrat says Obama was ‘checkmated’. 

Paul Miller writes: The night the Iran nuclear deal was announced was a sleepless one for Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, utterly distraught by the terms of the agreement.

“People want to read about the deal. People want to be informed; they want to read the actual text of the deal. They want an informed judgment as to what’s good about it, what’s bad about it. There are some positive elements, but in my view most of the elements are quite negative and it virtually assures that Iran will get the bomb within a decade.”

“I got up and emailed my eBook publisher and said I have an idea. What if I do an eBook that could be out in time for the congressional debate? He thought it was a great idea,” Dershowitz explained in an exclusive interview with the Salomon Center for American Jewish Thought. “He gave me two weeks to write it. He got it in eleven days.”

Fears of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon have haunted supporters of Israel and advocates of Middle East peace for over a decade, stoked by frequent public reminders by back-to-back regimes of the Islamic Republic that their goal is the annihilation of the Jewish State.

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“All of this has been said by Obama himself. When Obama first set out the red lines, he specified 24/7 inspections – we didn’t get that. He set out that Iran would never have nuclear weapons – we didn’t get that. He set out to end the nuclear facility at Fordow – we didn’t get that. He has crossed his own red lines at least three times.”

“This book took me less than two weeks to write and ten years to research, so I’ve been thinking about and writing about this potentially for ten years,” explained Dershowitz. “I wrote my first long article about this in 2005. I had my ideas and I’ve been following the deal very closely. As soon as the deal was announced, I read it and annotated it, and the pages appear as an appendage to the book.”

“The cynical theory, which seems to be supported by the data, is that once he was out of politics, that is, once he couldn’t run again and once the House and the Senate were firmly in the hands of Republicans, he was going to do what he always wanted to do and he was less than completely candid with those of us whom he told that the military option was on the table and that Iran would never be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.”

Dershowitz explains that he has been writing and lecturing about the threat of a nuclear Iran for over a decade. He has discussed the 41Gl-0kahwL._SL250_subject directly with President Obama.

[Order Alan Dershowitz’s book “The Case Against the Iran Deal: How Can We Now Stop Iran from Getting Nukes? from Amazon.com]

Fifteen days after Dershowitz decided to write “The Case Against the Iran Deal: How Can We Now Stop Iran from Getting Nukes?. it was released on Kindle and the following day was the number one international Kindle best seller.

“The other theory is that he genuinely changed his mind when he saw that Iran had an opening for negotiations. And I leave it to the reader to judge which of those theories is true.”

“People want to read about the deal. People want to be informed; they want to read the actual text of the deal. They want an informed judgment as to what’s good about it, what’s bad about it,” said Dershowitz. “There are some positive elements, but in my view most of the elements are quite negative and it virtually assures that Iran will get the bomb within a decade.”

(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

“He took the military option off the table, and that was an extraordinarilynaïve and wrong thing to do because that allowed the Iranians to negotiate with us as equals. And I’m not the only one who has said this.” 

Dershowitz, who has been called by Newsweek “the nation’s most peripatetic civil liberties lawyer” and one of its “most distinguished defenders of individual rights,” wrote his latest book not just to educate the public, but to have it serve as a call to action with the hope that citizens will contact their representatives and encourage them to vote against the Iran deal.

“Many liberal Democrats I’ve spoken to believe we made a tragic negotiating mistake, that what we should have done was said to the Iranians: Look—You’re never, ever going to be able to develop nuclear weapons. That’s American policy, and we’ll stop you, whatever it takes.”

“I wrote the book, keeping in mind people I’ve known for years, Senator [Chuck] Schumer, Senator [Elizabeth] Warren, Senator [Ed] Markey, Senator [Kirsten] Gillibrand, various United States senators, Democrats and also some Republicans,” Dershowitz explained. “Clearly I want to influence the outcome of their vote by engaging directly with the senators and congressmen, first with my own writing and ideas. Second, by encouraging their constituents to read it and write to them, call them and urge them to do the right thing.”

[Read the full text here, at the Observer]

He added, “This is not merely an academic book for posterity. It was designed to affect real policies in real time.”

Dershowitz explains that he has been writing and lecturing about the threat of a nuclear Iran for over a decade. He has discussed the subject directly with President Obama. Read the rest of this entry »


Gun Production Has Doubled Under Obama

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The number of pistols made has nearly tripled during the Obama administration, which could reflect more people turning to firearms for personal protection.

Tim Devaney writes: Gun production has more than doubled over the course of the Obama administration, according to a new report from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“The ATF report confirms what we already know, that Barack Obama deserves the ‘Gun Salesman of the Decade’ award. People have been rushing to buy firearms because they’re afraid that Obama will take away their Second Amendment rights.”

— Erich Pratt, spokesman for the Gun Owners of America

The manufacturing boom has come in the face of the president’s push to expand background checks and place new restrictions on guns in the wake of high-profile shootings like the recent mass-killing in Charleston, S.C., and the 2012 massacre at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school.

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Pistols are the most popular type of gun, accounting for 4.4 million of the firearms made in 2013, according to the report. Meanwhile, gun manufacturers produced 3.9 million rifles and 1.2 million shotguns.

The numbers paint a picture of gun owners who are concerned about new restrictions on their Second Amendment rights, activists say.

“President Obama has been relentless in his attacks on the Second Amendment, and it’s not shocking people are frightened and want to protect themselves. He’ll stop at nothing to strip people of their constitutional rights to self-protection.”

— National Rifle Association spokeswoman Jennifer Baker

[See John R. Lott’s More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws at Amazon]

“The ATF report confirms what we already know, that Barack Obama deserves the ‘Gun Salesman of the Decade’ award,” said Erich Pratt, spokesman for the Gun Owners of America. “People have been rushing to buy firearms because they’re afraid that Obama will take away their Second Amendment rights.”

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“President Obama has made it very clear he wants to strip away our gun rights, so people are going out and purchasing more firearms and ammunition.”

— Joe Neville, director of political affairs at the National Association for Gun Rights

The ATF’s annual firearms commerce report tracks the number of guns manufactured in the United State, which provides an indication of gun sales around the country.

“The gun lobby seizes on those fears and uses scare tactics and doomsday rhetoric in order to sell more guns.”

— Mark Prentice, spokesman for Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun safety group run by former congresswoman Gabby Giffords

[Order Emily Miller’s book “Emily Gets Her Gun” from Amazon]

[Also see – Editorial: Americans Seem to Embrace Idea of More Guns, Less Crime]

The number of guns manufactured increased by 18 percent during the George W. Bush administration, while the Clinton administration actually saw a 9 percent reduction. Read the rest of this entry »


Richard Dreyfuss: ‘Hey, We Should Rewrite Second Amendment’

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‘It’s the only amendment that’s obscurely written’. People should be allowed have guns if they ‘participate in a militia’, only.

Awr Hawkins writes: In a July 23 interview published in the New York Observer, actor Richard Dreyfuss said he would like to rewrite the 2nd Amendment to make it clear it applies to the militia rather than individual rights.

Dreyfuss said this after being asked, “What was the Founding Fathers’ biggest mistake” and “What article of the Constitution would you rewrite?”

Dreyfuss said their biggest mistake was in not “[making] public education part of the Constitution.” Read the rest of this entry »


REWIND: #Baltimore Police Chief Calls For More Gun Control, NRA Predicts Citizens Will Need Guns In Crisis

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Mike Piccione writes: In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing for the merits of additional federal gun control on Jan. 30, 2013.

Three advocates for additional gun control, one being Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson, squared off against three proponents for the Second Amendment, including NRA’s Wayne LaPierre.

When asked by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, “We need the firepower and the ability to protect ourselves from our government” — from our government, from the police — “if they knock on our doors and we need to fight back.”

[Read the full text here, at The Daily Caller]

“Do you agree with that point of view?” Senator Durbin asked NRA executive VP Wayne LaPierre.

LaPierre initially responded, “I think without any doubt, if you look at why our founding fathers put it there, they had lived under the tyranny of King George and they wanted to make sure that these free people in this new country would never be subjugated again and have to live under tyranny.”

Then the NRA VP continued with a statement that has since been proven to be true in both Ferguson, Mo., and now Baltimore, Md. Read the rest of this entry »