New Jersey has arguably the strictest gun laws on the books and one single mom is learning the hard way that prosecutors there don't make exceptions for honest mistakes.
Shaneen Allen is a single mother with two children and after she was robbed twice, she went through the proper legal channels to obtain a firearm and a concealed carry license in her home state of Pennsylvania. She has no criminal record. Allen is currently facing up to ten years in prison after she crossed a bridge from Pennsylvania to New Jersey with her firearm. Her firearm is legal and registered in Pennsylvania, but illegal in New Jersey. She was pulled over after crossing the bridge for a traffic violation and voluntarily told the officer she had a firearm in the vehicle (standard practice for law abiding citizens when pulled over while carrying by police). Her honest admission and honest mistake of crossing an arbitrary line into another state landed her in jail and charged with a felony.
"As I let them know that (that she had a firearm), that's when they started to lock me up," Allen said in an interview. "I wasn't a threat to the police."
When President Obama and Senator Dianne Feinstein's gun control bill failed last year thanks to a lack of Democrat votes, one piece of news got buried. That same day more Senators from both sides of the political aisle voted for national carry reciprocity than voted for more gun control. National reciprocity would not only give citizens their Second Amendment rights back, but would have also saved Allen and her children from the hell she's going through now.
NRA News correspondent Ginny Simone has been all over this story for months now. Watch her report below.
On this week's Townhall Weekend Journal:
Hugh Hewitt and Dick Cheney on how much worse ISIS is than al Qaeda. Bill Bennett spoke with Nina Shea of the Hudson Institute, where she directs the Center for Religious Freedom--they discuss the humanitarian crisis in Iraq. Bill Bennett turned to Tom Joselyn of LongWarJournal.org--they discuss on how ISIS got so strong. Michael Medved discussed media blindness with regards to Israel and Iraq with Cliff May, President of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Atheist Dan Barker is founder and co-president of Freedom from Religion--he discussed IRS monitoring of churches with Medved. Michael Fumento and Dennis Prager on Ebola. Prager on MN restaurant adding an extra charge to each receipt with the description that it's a minimum-wage increase charge that MN voters approved of.
“These coat hangers represent the terror enacted against women!” So screamed Alexandria Petersburg, an organizer for a pro-abortion group known as “Stop Patriarchy.”
Petersburg and her group made quite the scene in Austin, Texas Wednesday when they gathered outside a federal courthouse to protest the pro-life bill HB2. Governor Rick Perry signed this legislation into law last summer and it has since shuttered over a dozen abortion clinics in the state after they failed to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers. Since its passage, pro-choice advocates have used rather unorthodox tactics to voice their opposition. "Stop Patriarchy," however, took their protests to an egregious level:
They were cloaked in black chains, holding bloody clothes hangers and chanting, "Abortion on demand without apology!" Protesting outside the Austin federal courthouse during the trial to overturn Texas' abortion law last week, members of the national abortion rights group Stop Patriarchy likened forced motherhood – that is, no access to abortion care – to female enslavement. The fiery rhetoric and dramatic display caught the eyes of local TV news – one newscast reported, "Those orange shirts were back to protest the law."
Eleven of these protesters were even arrested outside of the governor's mansion.
If you have a hard time imagining this scene, check out the shocking video footage from The Austin American-Statesman. You’ll see women holding signs that read, “Forced motherhood is female enslavement,” and “Abortion providers are heroes.”
It’s no wonder some reproductive rights organizations have chosen to distance themselves from this radical group:
Among the litany of criticisms, prominent is that the New York-based group did little to meaningfully collaborate with homegrown advocates, who have spent years combating state anti-abortion laws. Instead, the group hopped on its "Abortion Freedom Ride" Texas tour – a month-long, protest-filled road trip – and asked for support from local organizations while diverting financial resources and energy away from those local groups. Others say Stop Patriarchy's rigid anti-sex-worker and anti-pornography beliefs fail to support bodily autonomy and female empowerment. Additionally, Austin advocates consider Stop Patriarchy's bombastic tactics intimidating, disruptive, and counterproductive to the local efforts.
This criticism of “Stop Patriarchy” is well placed. However, regardless of their tactics or names, any group operating under the banner of “reproductive justice” has the same goal in mind: Abortion on demand. Just take a look at their hero, Wendy Davis. This Texas state senator became famous for trying to stop a ban on abortions at 20 weeks. It didn’t matter to Davis that unborn babies can feel pain at this point in the pregnancy.
“Stop Patriarchy” may be a bit more provocative than other abortion rights groups, but is this really that much more civilized? Their agenda is dangerous - no matter what chants they choose to sing or signs they choose to wave.
Arguments for and against HB2 concluded Wednesday. Now Texans wait for Judge Lee Yeakel to rule before the abortion clinic regulations go into effect September 1.
Although he has yet to issue a ruling, Yeakel likely made pro-lifers a bit nervous with these statements:
Yeakel expressed discomfort with requiring women in the Rio Grande Valley to make the 300-mile round-trip drive to the closest facility in San Antonio, asking if most people “would stand for” an all-day drive to receive treatment for an ankle sprain or an appendectomy.
“I have a problem believing it is reasonable to require anyone to travel 150 miles for medical care when they can get that medical care closer,” Yeakel said.
I hope Yeakel realizes his mistake in comparing abortion to an ankle sprain and ultimately takes into account the unborn children who don’t get a vote.
Up until yesterday Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had no intentions of retiring. Even after President Fuad Masum hand-selected Haider al-Abadi to replace him (a selection fully within his legal authority), Maliki filed a claim in the country's court system contending that the maneuver was improper and illegal. Tensions flared for days as the newly elected president and the old guard quibbled over political control of the government. This threatened the future and stability of Iraq. In the end, however, Maliki bowed to international and inside pressure:
Iraq's top Shiite cleric urged unity on Friday after Nouri al-Maliki agreed to step down as prime minister, reviving hopes for a new government that can take on Sunni insurgents who have overrun large parts of the country.
Al-Maliki announced he was giving up his post on national television late Thursday, standing alongside senior members of his Shiite Islamic Dawa Party, including his rival and premier-designate Haider al-Abadi.
The move paves the way for the country's first democratic transfer of power since U.S. troops withdrew at the end of 2011 and comes amid widespread calls for a more inclusive government that can reach out to Sunnis and Kurds and stitch the country back together.
It’s no secret that the current administration was hoping for this outcome. ISIS and the humanitarian crisis aside, a protracted political impasse followed perhaps by a coup would have made matters in Iraq exceedingly worse than they already are. Hence why the president’s national security advisor, Susan Rice, hailed Maliki’s impending resignation as a “major step forward”:
Today, Iraqis took another major step forward in uniting their country. We commend Prime Minister Maliki for his decision to support Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi in his efforts to form a new government in line with the Iraqi constitution. We have heard from a wide range of leaders across the Iraqi political spectrum who have expressed their commitment to work with Dr. Abadi to form a broad, inclusive government with an agenda that can address the needs and legitimate aspirations of the Iraqi people. In the last few days, we have also welcomed statements of support from all over the world for the new Prime Minister-designate. These are encouraging developments that we hope can set Iraq on a new path and unite its people against the threat presented by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The United States remains committed to a strong partnership with Iraq and the Iraqi people.
Nevertheless, with the political crisis seemingly resolved, Maliki’s successor now inherits immense challenges:
Al-Abadi, a veteran Shiite lawmaker, now faces the immense challenge of trying to unite Iraqi politicians as he tries to cobble together a Cabinet over the next 30 days. The country's major political factions deeply distrust each other and the army has thus far proved incapable of taking back territory.
Al-Maliki had been struggling for weeks to stay on for a third four-year term, and had vowed to challenge the selection of al-Abadi in court. Military tanks and Humvees had deployed across Baghdad over the past week, raising fears of a coup.
Prime Minister Maliki served for eight years. His decision to resign is a hopeful sign his successor can finally begin addressing two important challenges: unifying the country and taking the fight to ISIS.
Earlier this year a report from the Center for Immigration Studies showed the Obama administration released 68,000 criminal illegal aliens onto the streets of the United States. Many of those released have criminal records of armed robbery, assault, rape and homicide.
-In 2013, ICE targeted only 195,000, or 25 percent, out of 722,000 potentially deportable aliens they encountered. Most of these aliens came to ICE’s attention after incarceration for a local arrest.
-ICE released 68,000 criminal aliens in 2013, or 35 percent of the criminal aliens encountered by officers. The vast majority of these releases occurred because of the Obama administration’s prosecutorial discretion policies, not because the aliens were not deportable.
-ICE targeted 28 percent fewer aliens for deportation from the interior in 2013 than in 2012, despite sustained high numbers of encounters in the Criminal Alien and Secure Communities programs.
- Every ICE field office but one reported a decline in interior enforcement activity, with the largest decline in the Atlanta field office, which covers Georgia and the Carolinas.
-ICE reports that there are more than 870,000 aliens on its docket who have been ordered removed, but who remain in defiance of the law.
-Under current policies, an alien’s family relationships, political considerations, attention from advocacy groups, and other factors not related to public safety can trump even serious criminal convictions and result in the termination of a deportation case.
- Less than 2 percent of ICE’s caseload was in detention at the end of fiscal year 2013.
-About three-fourths of the aliens ICE detained in 2013 had criminal and/or immigration convictions so serious that the detention was required by statute.
Bolstering the CIS report and revealing new information, a recently released Inspector General report from the Department of Homeland Security shows hundreds more criminal aliens with brutal crime records were also released.
More than 600 illegal immigrant detainees released by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement(ICE) in February 2013 have previous criminal convictions, according to a new report from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General. ICE released over 2,000 illegal immigrant detainees in February 2013.The report containing the findings of the investigation, conducted at the request of Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and John McCain (R-AZ), was released today.
"It is baffling how an agency charged with homeland security and immigration enforcement would knowingly release hundreds of illegals with criminal histories.In this single action, ICE undermined its own credibility, the rule of law, and the safety of Americans and local law enforcement," Dr. Coburn stated. "This report provides more evidence that our nation's immigration laws are being flagrantly disregarded. Americans need to be assured the problems within ICE that led to the dangerous release of illegal aliens will be fixed and DHS and ICE will never again violate the law by releasing known criminals into our streets."
Many Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents have been warning about criminal aliens for years and have expressed frustration with those in Washington D.C. who do not take the danger seriously.
"We aren't even scratching the surface on the criminal illegal alien problem in the United States," ICE Council President and ICE Agent Chris Crane said on a call with reporters last year. "That part [cartels] is absent from this discussion as are many parts of this....we know that the drug cartels, that the lieutenants and the troops, the soldiers, they're all within the interior of United States and they're all conducting business as are many other criminal elements and criminal individuals. There are people coming here for this to be a land of opportunity and there are people coming here because the United States for them is a target of opportunity and we believe there is a very disproportionate number of criminals coming into the United States. That conversation is almost completely absent from this entire public conversation about what's happening....It's just another part of this debate that gives us this concern that this is all about politics and not about really fixing the problems that we face within our broken immigration system and providing for what is best for everyone is best for America to include and most importantly, public safety."
It was just over a week ago when Border Patrol Agent Javier Vega was murdered while fishing off-duty with his family in Texas by two illegal aliens with known criminal records.
Although U.S. airstrikes on ISIS in Iraq have helped to slightly push back the terror army, they're still on the march with no plans of stopping. As a result, an all-female battalion has prepared themselves to take on the brutal group should they advance in Kurdistan. More from the New York Post:
Hundreds of mothers, sisters and daughters have taken up arms and devoted their lives to protecting Iraq’s Kurdish population against the threat of the Islamic State.
Known as the women peshmerga of the 2nd Battalion, the group is made up of 550 female fighters led by Col. Nahida Ahmad Rashid, Barcroft reports.
The soldiers have not yet faced the Islamic State since the terrorists seized control of towns in Kurdistan, but the group has carried out in-depth exercises in the scorching heat of Sulaymaniyah to prepare themselves for battle.
or one mother who already has a 5-year-old daughter, even pregnancy can’t stand in her way.
“This is my duty, no matter if I am bearing a child or not,” the four-months-pregnant woman said. “If I am called to the front lines, I will go.”
Yesterday Fox News Contributor and Middle East Journalist Lisa Daftari talked about the women during a segment with Gretchen Carlson.
"I'm not afraid of them, they should be afraid of me."
The Internal Revenue Service has become the poster child for government incompetence, inefficiency, overreach, and corruption. They allegedly targeted conservative groups, they’ve lost emails, and now we’re learning that they failed to conduct background checks on some of their contractors; people who have access to highly sensitive information about your life. As a result, millions of Americans are now vulnerable to identity theft and fraud (via Associated Press):
The IRS failed to do background checks on some private contractors who handled confidential taxpayer information, exposing more than a million taxpayers to an increased risk of fraud and identity theft, a government investigator said Thursday.
In one case, the IRS gave a printing contractor a computer disk with names, addresses and Social Security numbers of 1.4 million taxpayers, but didn't require a background check for anyone who worked on the job, said a report by the Treasury inspector general for tax administration.
In another case, to transport sensitive documents the IRS used a courier who previously had spent 21 years in prison on arson and other charges. In other cases, contractors underwent background checks but weren't required to sign agreements not to disclose sensitive information, the report said.
Yet, liberals wonder why conservative are so distrustful of Washington. And to think that this was the agency tasked with making sure that those Obamacare taxes got paid–or else.
Is Senator Kay Hagan getting nervous? The incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator from North Carolina is the proud beneficiary of a $9 million dollars worth of media buys from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). Hagan is vulnerable this cycle, with polls showing her in a dead heat with her Republican opponent, Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives Thom Tillis. Media buys are common in elections, but this is the biggest one in this race so far, which has some people wondering if Hagan is hitting the “panic button” (via Charlotte Observer) [emphasis mine]:
The ad buy, the largest so far in North Carolina, would be paid out through the end of the campaign. It reflects both the outside interest in a race that will help decide control of the Senate and, some say, concern about Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan.
“It tells me a couple things,” said Jennifer Duffy, an analyst with the Washington-based Cook Political Report. “One, that she really is in trouble. They’re not going to spend that kind of money defending an incumbent who’s in reasonably good shape.
“Two, they’re going to do the negative ads because I don’t think her approval ratings can take any more hits.”
Brad Dayspring, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said the buy signals that Democrats have hit the “panic button.”
“The DSCC very clearly believes that if Kay Hagan loses North Carolina, their majority is gone,” he said in a release.
Along with this media buy, Hagan is hoping to link discontent with North Carolina's GOP leadership to Tillis, while Tillis is trying to make Hagan synonymous with Obama and his failed policies. Republicans look like they have the Senate races in Montana, West Virginia, and South Dakota locked, but they need three more to retake the Senate. And North Carolina, Louisiana and Arkansas all have vulnerable red state Democratic Senators–with each race being a bellwether for survival for the other two. Grab some popcorn.
Back to school just got a lot more complicated for school districts across the nation, as many prepare to deal with enrolling up to 50,000 unaccompanied minors who recently entered the U.S. illegally.
[O]ther states have received thousands of unaccompanied minors, which could create a strain on some school districts. The highest number were released to relatives or other sponsors in Texas (5,280), followed by New York (4,244), California (3.909), Florida (3,809), and Virginia (2.856).
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), 62,998 unaccompanied alien children under the age of 17 have illegally crossed the southern border since October of last year. So there are still thousands of children and teens in detention centers waiting to be processed before they are released throughout the U.S.
The vast majority are from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico, according to the CBP.
Educationally speaking, schools in America are already lagging behind their foreign counterparts. When compared to 64 other countries around the world in math, science, and reading, the U.S. ranked below average in math, and only average in reading and science, according to the Program for International Student Assessment’s 2012 report. The influx of children, most of whom do not speak English, will only make getting ahead all the more difficult.
“We don't know the educational background (of the students), if they've even been to school, the language issue and operational issues that could raise costs,” Francisco Negron, the National School Board Association’s general counsel, told USA Today.
Back in May, the Obama administration reminded public schools that they are required, by law, to provide children access to education, no matter what the student or their parents’ immigration or citizenship status is.
The cost to taxpayers, however, is not something that can be ignored. Some districts, such as Florida’s Miami-Dade County, have requested additional federal funding to support the flood of new students. In addition to language training, schools will need to account for social and psychological services as well as basic technology training, as many immigrant students have never seen a computer before.
"We haven't started school yet, so we are all just holding our breath to see what's going to come on the first day of school," Caroline Woodason, assistant director of school support for Dalton Public Schools in Georgia, told USA Today.
If there’s anything that will rehabilitate Texas Governor Rick Perry’s image as a presidential candidate, it’ll be how he’s handling the border. In 2012, Perry briefly took the top spot within the Republican field for president only to see his support evaporate after a couple of debate performances that one could only describe as disastrous.
Perry’s hunting location with a racially insensitive name also elicited some controversy, but where he saw his conservative support evaporate was over his bill that provided in-state tuition for illegal aliens.
At the recent RedState Gathering in Texas, Perry’s leadership on securing the border is having a positive effect on his reputation. Kevin wrote that his speech to the attendees covered all the topics conservatives like to see their candidates espouse on the campaign trail. Perry touted his economic record, criminal justice reform, and how the Lone Star state is the mecca for high-tech exports. Such rosy economic news isn’t what’s being disseminated at the national level.
As for his bill allowing illegals to receive in-state tuition, some feel that his leadership on the border has “inoculated” himself from those attacks on the right, others aren’t so sure (via NRO):
“The people who are here this year who have been deeply skeptical of him in the past are seeing the whole national guard issue and securing the border and suddenly reacting to him differently than they did in the past,” RedState editor Erick Erickson told National Review Online after Perry’s speech Friday at the RedState Gathering in Fort Worth. “They don’t think he’s squishy on the issue since he’s sending the soldiers.”
Perry was the morning star of the conference, though. “If Washington won’t act to secure the border, as the governor of Texas, I will,” he declared, eliciting a 22-second standing ovation.
“Dealing firmly with what’s happening on the border now will to some degree inoculate him from statements in the past,” DeMint told NRO during a Friday interview. “And so, we’ll see how it plays out. There’s no one who will run who hasn’t made a statement or voted for something that wasn’t exactly what they would want now.”
Heritage Action and other conservatives have used the same “magnet” metaphor deployed against Perry to describe President Obama’s immigration policies, though. Is it easy for a presidential rival to say that Perry and Obama’s magnets helped create the border crisis?
“It’s all rhetoric, it’s all done in front of the cameras,” Katrina Pierson, a close ally of Senator Ted Cruz (R. Texas) — she was an early supporter of his Senate campaign and Cruz’s father, Rafael, endorsed her congressional bid — told NRO. “Just going back to the last legislative session, he could have ended sanctuary cities, he could have ended all kinds of magnets.”
Let’s see what happens. It’s not like the 2016 race is over for Republicans if Perry decides to sit it out. But for now, Perry is certainly highlighting he's a leader on immigration enforcement, which is a red meat issue for conservatives due to Washington inaction.