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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

OBAMA TO WRITE NEW U.S. CONSTITUTION

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama reportedly said The U.S. Constitution is out-of-date, so he is ripping it up and writing a new one.
President Barack Obama reportedly told reporters last night that the U.S. Constitution has become a hindrance to progress in America. “The document is so out-dated, that it is now becoming a hindrance to governing the country.”
Obama has signed an Executive Order voiding the U.S. Constitution. “We need to move forward. We need change.”
Obama reportedly said he has already drafted a new constitution and that Americans “will love what I came up with.” Insiders say Obama is keeping a lot of old elements from the original constitution “he’s just making it better, bringing it into the 21st century,” said White House Spokesman, Jay Carney.
Many Democrats said that President Obama was a constitutional scholar and probably the only President – since the Founding Fathers – who is qualified to change the Constitution.
“President Obama knows more about the Constitution than any man who has ever lived,” said Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi. “It’s about time we change that document and we are lucky to have President Obama to do it.”
Republicans, of course, were outraged that Obama would even consider changing the constitution, and they vowed to fight. “We will fight this to the bitter end,” said Speaker of the House, John Boehner, “there’s no way we are going to let the Constitution of the United States be altered even a little bit. If there are changes to be made to the Constitution it should be done the appropriate way – through amendments and we think Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor are the ones to make any changes.”
Insiders say the new Constitution will look a lot like the constitutions of Kenya, France and Soviet Russia.
There are many, many changes in the New U.S. Constitution, but here are a few of the highlights.
1) SUPREME COURT – Will now have 11 members, which reflects the growing U.S. population. President Obama will appoint two new members immediately. The President can name a new justice without the approval of Congress.
2) EXECUTIVE FINANCIAL POWER – The President will have the power to unilaterally enact any financial policy he chooses, without approval of Congress. He must inform them, but they can not “stop” the President from promoting his (or her) agenda.
3) LOBBYISTS – They will now be outlawed. There will be no more lobbyists in Washington. However, there are some exemptions outlined in the New Constitution” : Trial Lawyers, National Education Association and unions. They will all be able to lobby.
4) REPRESENTATION – California, New York and Illinois will double the number of representatives in Congress – permanently. “The President feels that the smartest people in the country live in these states, so they should be over-represented,” said a White House spokesperson.
5) GUNS & RELIGION – Both will be banned in the United States

Illinois Gov. William Daley nice ring to it

Former White House chief of staff Bill Daley is serious about wanting to be Illinois governor, and he makes a compelling case.Get used to it. Because he wants it. And he's reaching for it.

"I've thought about it before and I don't take it off the table," Daley told me in an interview on WLS-AM 890 on Wednesday as he sat for an hour talking national and local politics. "I think right now, to be very frank with you, the last thing in the world anybody wants to hear about is a race that's two years down the road."

Attorney General Lisa Madigan held a fundraiser to challenge Gov. Pat Quinn in 2014

Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who is considering a Democratic primary challenge to Gov. Pat Quinn in 2014, held a fundraising advantage among big-dollar donors through the first quarter of this year, according to campaign finance reports filed Friday.

Madigan deposited $736,015 in political donations at the end of March and has raised a total of $770,365 in contributions of $1,000 or more from Jan. 1 through March 31, State Board of Election records show. She had more than $3.6 million in her campaign fund at the start of the year.

Quinn raised $551,034 in donations of $1,000 or more over the same period, counting $490,534 he deposited at the end of March, and had more than $1 million in his campaign bank account at the start of the year, state records show.

Quinn, elected to a full term in 2010 after replacing impeached and imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2009, has said he is seeking re-election next year.

His fundraising totals illustrated the power of incumbency amid increased speculation about a potential challenge from Madigan or from William Daley, the former chief of staff to President Barack Obama and brother of former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

Among Quinn’s top donors were the Service Employees International Union, which gave $25,000, the state’s trial lawyers association with $20,000, the painters’ union with $17,600 and the Illinois Laborers' union with $15,000.

The union donations came despite contention between the governor and public employee unions over Quinn’s efforts to change workers’ retirement benefits to help salvage the state’s pension system, which has an unfunded liability of $97 billion.

Madigan also received hefty labor support, including matching $52,600 donations from an engineers' union and from the association of plumbers and pipefitters. She also got $50,000 from the laborers’ political committee and $20,000 apiece from union operating engineers and the trial lawyers.

In a statement Friday, Madigan indicated she had not yet made a decision on running for governor but added “as 2014 approaches, I'm taking steps to ensure that I have the financial and political resources necessary for another campaign.”

Critics have questioned the potential conflict if she served as governor while her father, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, the state’s Democratic chairman, remains in power.

Daley has not created a campaign finance committee and there are questions whether he would seek a primary run for governor if Lisa Madigan also entered the contest.

Meanwhile, businessman Bruce Rauner, who is exploring a potential run for the Republican nomination for governor, has sold his stake in the Chicago Sun-Times, a spokesman said. The website of Crain’s Chicago Business first reported the move.

“Bruce has great respect for the role of the press and sold his stake in the company to avoid even the appearance of any conflict of interest if he decides to run,” said Rauner spokesman Chip Englander.

North Korea tells foreigners in South to take safety measures

Pyongyang to foreigners: Leave S. Korea


STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • British Embassy says it sees no immediate threat in South Korea
  • The North says it doesn't want to see foreigners hurt in any war
  • Last week, it told diplomats in Pyongyang it couldn't guarantee their safety
  • Japan has deployed missile defense systems around Tokyo
(CNN) -- North Korea issued its latest dispatch of ominous rhetoric Tuesday, telling foreigners in South Korea they should take steps to secure shelter or evacuation to protect themselves in the event of a conflict on the Korean Peninsula.
The unnerving message came as Japan set up missile defenses in Tokyo, and North Korean workers failed to turn up for work in the industrial complex jointly operated by North and South Korea.
In the statement published by state-run media Tuesday, the North's Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee reiterated accusations that Washington and Seoul were seeking to provoke a war with Pyongyang.
"Once a war is ignited on the peninsula, it will be an all-out war," the committee said, adding that North Korea doesn't want foreigners in South Korea to "fall victim" to a conflict.
It follows a warning from the North last week to diplomats in its capital city, Pyongyang, that if war were to break out, it would not be able to guarantee their safety.


But staff at the British Embassy in Seoul appeared unimpressed by the North's most recent attempt to rattle nerves in the region.
"We are not commenting on the specifics of every piece of rhetoric from North Korea," said Colin Gray, head of media affairs at the embassy. "Our travel advice remains unchanged. At this moment, we see no immediate threat to British citizens in South Korea."
Several Western countries said last week they had no plans to withdraw staff from Pyongyang after the North's warning to diplomats there.
And foreign visitors in Seoul didn't appear to be panicking Tuesday.
"I am concerned, but not enough not to make the trip," said Vicky Polashock, who was visiting from Atlanta.
She said that there was more tension than she'd noticed on previous visits to South Korea, but that the North's latest threat "doesn't heighten the danger any more than the last couple of weeks."
Threat after threat
North Korea has unleashed a torrent of dramatic threats against the United States and South Korea in recent weeks, including that of a possible nuclear strike. But many analysts have cautioned that much of what Kim Jong Un's regime is saying is bluster, noting that it is believed to still be years away from developing an operational nuclear missile.
A more likely scenario, they say, is a localized provocative move.
Amid the fiery words from Pyongyang and annual military training exercises by U.S. and South Korean forces in the region, government officials in Washington and Seoul say they are taking the North Korean threat seriously.
The North was blamed for two attacks on South Korea in 2010 -- one on a navy vessel and another on the island of Yeonpyeong -- that killed 50 people. Pyongyang still denies responsibility for the sinking of the South Korean warship, the Cheonan, in which 46 sailors died.
On Tuesday, Japan said it had deployed missile defense systems around Tokyo amid expectations that the North could carry out a missile test in the coming days.

The Japanese government is making "every possible effort to protect the Japanese people and ensure their safety," said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The Patriot missile batteries were set up in the central Tokyo district of Ichigaya and in the suburbs of Asaka and Narashino, authorities said.
South Korean government officials have said they think North Korea could conduct the test launch of a missile as soon as Wednesday, following reports that the North had loaded as many as two medium-range missiles onto mobile launchers on its east coast.
The United States had previously said it was moving missile defense systems to Guam, a Western Pacific territory that is home to U.S. naval and air bases. North Korea has cited those bases when listing possible targets for missile attacks.
A symbol of cooperation at risk
The souring situation on the Korean Peninsula was in evidence in the failure of more than 50,000 North Korean workers to show up for work Tuesday morning at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, the manufacturing zone shared by the two Koreas that had operated without such an interruption for eight years.
The North had declared Monday that it would pull out its workers and temporarily suspend activities at the complex, which sits on its side of the heavily fortified border but houses the operations of more than 120 South Korean companies.
On Tuesday, the South Korean Unification Ministry said the North Korean workers hadn't reported for work in the district, which is the last major symbol of cooperation between the two Koreas.
Analysts had expressed skepticism that Pyongyang would follow through on previous threats to shut down the complex, noting that it was an important source of hard currency to the regime of Kim Jong Un.
It also likely to put pressure on the city of Kaesong itself, where the North Korean workers and their families live. With an estimated population of between 200,000 and 300,000 people, it is one of the impoverished country's largest cities.
South Korean officials criticized the North's decision to halt activities at Kaesong, with President Park Geun-hye saying Tuesday that it risked damaging its credibility as a place to do business.
Since last week, the North had been blocking South Koreans from entering the zone, depriving the factories of key personnel and supplies. The entry ban had already prompted more than 10 of the companies to cease production.
As of Tuesday, 406 South Koreans and two Chinese remained inside the industrial complex, the South Korean government said.
The North had blocked South Koreans from going into the complex before, in March 2009. But it returned the situation to normal in a matter of days and didn't withdraw its own workers from the factories.
Anger about sanctions
North Korea stepped up its efforts to stir tensions in the region after the U.N. Security Council imposed stricter sanctions for Pyongyang's latest underground nuclear test, which took place in February.
Shows of strength by the U.S. military during the current training exercises with South Korea have provided extra material for the North's verbal broadsides.
The United States has since dialed back its military displays to avoid any further escalation of the crisis. It postponed a missile test scheduled for this week in California to prevent any misreading of the situation by Pyongyang.
But North Korea is sticking to its claim that it needs its own nuclear weapons as a deterrent to the threat it perceives from the United States. And it is demanding to be recognized globally as a nuclear power.
Last week, Pyongyang said it would restart a nuclear reactor that it had shut down five years ago under an agreement with Washington, Seoul, Beijing and other parties.
It has also severed a key military hotline with the South, and said it was ditching the armistice agreement that stopped the Korean War in 1954. Because that war ended in a truce and not a formal peace treaty, the two Koreas technically remain at war.

CNN's K.J. Kwon, Tim Schwarz, Kyung Lah, Judy Kwon, Jim Clancy Yoko Wakatsuki and Junko Ogura contributed to this report.

Wife of a Tennessee Deputy was gun down by 4 year old boy

Josephine FanningA 4-year old boy shot and killed the wife of a Tennessee sheriff's deputy over the weekend, police say.

On April 6, Wilson County Deputy Daniel Fanning was inside his home showing his weapons collection to a relative when the officer's wife and young nephew entered the room. The child grabbed one of Fanning's loaded guns off the bed and fired a single shot.
The bullet struck Josephine Fanning, the deputy's 48-year-old wife. Despite efforts to revive her, Josephine was pronounced dead at the scene.
The gun used in the shooting was not the officer's service weapon, nor was he on duty at the time of the incident, The Tennessean reported.
According to CBS News, Fanning is a school resource officer at two area elementary schools. He and Josephine wed last year.
Sheriff Robert Bryan called the shooting a terrible accident.
"It's a sad, sad set of circumstances," Sheriff Bryan told WSMV.
At this time, charges are not pending. However, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is examining the incident.

al-Qaida in Iraq has merged with Syria's extremist Jabhat al-Nusra

CAIRO — The leader of al-Qaida in Iraq says it has merged with Syria's extremist Jabhat al-Nusra, which has sided with the rebels fighting President Bashar Assad's regime.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, says the two groups will rally under the same al-Qaida flag. His announcement came in a 21-minute audio message posted on militant websites late Monday.
Al-Baghdadi says the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria's Jabhat al-Nusra will be known as the "Islamic State in Iraq and Sham."
Sham is a name for Syria and the surrounding region.
The development is likely to raise concerns among foreign backers of Syria's opposition.
Jabhat Al-Nusra has taken an increasing role in Syria's conflict, claiming several large suicide bombings. The U.S. has designated it a terrorist organization.

Nelson, Georgia passes law that everyone shall own a firearm

Lyle Denniston looks at if a Georgia town can really tell every homeowner to have a gun inside their house.

The statements at issue:

“After weeks of national media attention and debate among residents, members of the Nelson City Council stuck to their guns and unanimously voted to enact a law that requires every head of household within its city limits to own a firearm.”
City Councilman Duane Cronic said a section of the ordinance “could exempt basically any of Nelson’s about 1,300 residents; the ordinance is meant simply as a message to any criminals and was never intended to be enforced.”
Nelson Police Chief Heath Mitchell, the city’s lone police officer, said he was happy to see the law added to the books, and he too hopes it will help keep crime out of Nelson. He admitted, though, that it will most likely never be enforced.”
– Selected paragraphs from a story by Joshua Sharpe in The Cherokee Tribune in Canton, GA, on April 3, describing the approval of the “Family Protection Ordinance” by a 5-0 vote of the City Council in the town of Nelson, GA, on April 1.

We checked the Constitution, and…

If the U.S. Congress were to pass a law like the one just enacted in Nelson, Georgia, there is little doubt that it would violate the Constitution. Congress has no power to order individuals to buy a product they do not want; that was one of the conclusions the Supreme Court drew last year even as it upheld the new federal health care law based on other congressional powers. And Congress has no power to implement the Second Amendment by compelling everyone to “keep and bear arms.”
But the constitutional answer is not so easy when a local government passes such a law. Local governments share with state governments very wide authority to pass laws under what are called “police powers” – that is, laws that seek to protect public health and safety. Those are core functions of local and state government, reserved to them by the Constitution’s 10th Amendment.
But there may be limits on the use of such powers. A local government may not have broad powers of “home rule,” because state law may curb the expansive use of such authority. In Maine, for example, when a town sought recently to pass a gun ownership mandate like the one in Nelson, the state attorney general ruled that was beyond local authority; state law controlled the issue of gun control, the official said.
If a local government does as the city legislators in Nelson did, and includes in a gun ownership mandate a broad exemption for anyone who objects, the law would be very difficult to enforce because each head of household would have to be questioned on whether they object. That could keep local police busy full time.
But suppose an ambitious local police force decided at least to attempt to enforce it: Can gun ownership be compelled? The Second Amendment does not deal with that issue at all; it is an amendment that, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, protects a personal right to have a gun, but it does not compel the exercise of that right.
The issue, then, is whether such a mandate could be justified as a public safety measure. Assuming that the particular community was not under a siege by criminals, there would be serious questions about whether a gun ownership requirement was an intrusion upon individual liberty, one not truly supported by public safety concerns.

About Constitution Check

  • In a continuing series of posts, Lyle Denniston provides responses based on the Constitution and its history to public statements about its meaning and what duties it imposes or rights it protects.
If, however, there had been a serious wave of criminal activity locally, a local government might argue that it was necessary to deputize and arm the whole of its citizenry for community defense – rather like the militia from America’s colonial days. (Today, Second Amendment advocates argue that it is a significant part of the history of gun rights that colonial residents were, indeed, ordered to be armed.)
Even with a crime wave in a given community, though, a local resident who chose – for whatever reason – not to get a gun might be able to convince a court that an ownership mandate for everyone was a form of official coercion not necessary to promote public safety. The argument might be that a state government could be expected to step in, with its stronger law enforcement resources, to quell widespread crime in such a community.
In the case of the specific ordinance in Nelson, even the City Council apparently did not mean what it said in seeking to impose the ownership mandate. The first paragraph of the ordinance makes that command, requiring all heads of households to have a gun and ammunition as a way to protect the “general welfare of the city and its inhabitants.”
It is the second paragraph, however, that spells out the exceptions to this requirement, and that includes those who object to having a gun. That is why the sponsor of the measure, City Councilman Duane Cronic, said it would not be enforced, and why the local police chief echoed that view.
Why was it passed? The councilman’s answer: “This is a big security sign that says ‘you really don’t know what you’re getting into, potential criminal; move along.’ ”
But, one might ask, would a determined criminal conclude that Nelson was an armed enclave, or not?
Lyle Denniston is the National Constitution Center’s adviser on constitutional literacy. He has reported on the Supreme Court for 55 years, currently covering it for SCOTUSblog, an online clearinghouse of information about the Supreme Court’s work