SCOPE NY

Briefings  from SCOPE President, Tom Reynolds

  • 10/10/2022 8:28 PM | Anonymous
    • Happy Indigenous Peoples Day!  by Tom Reynolds

      The Left wants to eliminate Columbus Day - as he offends them because he was involved with slavery – and the Left wants to honor Indigenous Peoples, instead.  It’s appropriate that Democrats want to honor Indigenous Peoples as their history parallels the Democrat Party’s history of slavery.

      Did you know that the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery did not apply to all slaves?  The “Five Civilized Tribes” of the southeast - Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole - also participated in the institution of slavery.  Because these tribes were located outside the sovereignty of the United States, constitutional amendments did not apply to them.  (Kinda like Kathy Hochul, who doesn’t believe the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution applies to New York State.)

      According to journalist Aliana E. Roberts, by 1800, the “Five Tribes” had developed “plantations that rivaled those of their white neighbors.”  She also notes that the percentage of black slaves in the population was not insignificant.  In 1860:

    • Cherokee Nation citizens owned 2,511 slaves (15 percent of their total population),
    • Choctaw citizens owned 2,349 slaves (14 percent of their total population), and
    • Creek citizens owned 1,532 slaves (10 percent of their total population).
    • Chickasaw citizens owned 975 slaves, which amounted to 18 percent of their total population.

    These were proportions equivalent to that of white slave owners in Tennessee, a large slaveholding state.

    Most other North American tribes also practiced some form of slavery, even before Columbus.  (Wait a minute – Columbus didn’t introduce slavery to America?  If that’s so, could the 1619 Project also be wrong?)

    A special “shout out” on Indigenous Peoples Day to the Aztecs.

    The Aztecs had religious festivities at the end of their 20-day months and human sacrifice was an essential feature of these festivities.  (And you thought giving up something for Lent was hard.)

    Human sacrifice also was part of the legend around the founding of the Aztec capital city, Tenochtitlan, which was accompanied by the sacrifice and skinning of the daughter of the King Coxcox of Culhuacan.  (By contrast, Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton decided on the current site of Washington D.C. over dinner and a glass of wine.)

    Another aspect of Aztec human sacrifice was children who were made to cry before the sacrifice. The tears were thought to wet the earth and thus appease the gods. If a child did not cry, the priests would sometimes tear out the nails of the child to make him or her cry.

    The Aztec practice of human sacrifice also served a political purpose.  Since the Aztecs were small in number compared to the other subjugated tribes and, thus, there was always a danger of an alliance between these tribes against the Aztecs.  To avert this, Aztecs demanded humans as a tribute from the subjugated tribes.  As a result, these tribes would constantly raid each other to procure humans for sacrifice. This minimized or eliminated the chance of an alliance between the tribes.  (Sounds like the current effort to keep the left in power by dividing people over race and gender issues.)

    Five years before Columbus discovered America, in 1487, “Templo Mayor” was dedicated in the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, with a four-day celebration. How many were sacrificed during that time is a subject of scholarly speculation with the lowest estimate is 4,000. 

    It is hard to know how many Aztecs died under the sacrificial knife. Many reputable scholars today put the number between 20,000 and 250,000 per year for the whole Aztec Empire.  (Hitler, Mao and Stalin would have been proud of the Aztecs.)

    Indigenous People Day would not be complete without mentioning the Incas of Peru.  Although a little less bloodthirsty than Aztecs, the Incas had also enslaved the indigenous people further south along the Andes.

    Human sacrifices were practiced by the Incas to ward off danger, famine or an epidemic. The victims were usually children, sometimes men and virgins.  (Apparently, virgins have been sacrificial favorites, everywhere.) 

    More recently, archaeologists have discovered a site in northern Peru of mass child sacrifice.  Over 140 children were probably sacrificed about 550 years ago on a site known as Huanchaquito-Las Llamas.  Later, the number of sacrificed children’s remains found rose to 269, with the discovery of another nearby site. 

    An interesting aspect of the Inca Empire is described in the book “A Socialist Empire: The Incas of Peru” by Louis Baudin.  He writes that the regime imposed by the Inca rulers on the indigenous populations they had enslaved was a precursor of Marxist-style socialism.  Private property and individual initiative were prohibited.  Money and commerce did not exist.  Private life was subject to tough state regulation: people had to dress in a similar way; marriage was allowed only following the eugenic laws of the state, to avoid “racial contamination”.  Like any tyrannical system of this type, it was oppressive and didn’t work, so much so that the subjugated indigenous peoples enthusiastically helped the few Spaniards who came to get rid of it.  (Sounds like the Incas deserve the Margaret Sanger Planned Parenthood award for eugenics.) 

    So, the Aztecs and Incas enslaved other indigenous peoples.   Well, at least they weren’t racists.          

    It’s lucky for those Indigenous Peoples that they weren’t “White European Heritage Peoples” or they would have to lose their new holiday because they practiced slavery.  If the day had to be renamed, again, the “woke” would demand that it honor someone who did not practice slavery; that, of course, would eliminate just about every race and country in the history of the world.  But if you wanted to name it for someone who did not practice human sacrifice, Christopher Columbus is available.

  • 10/07/2022 9:53 AM | Anonymous
    • GOA-NY # 2 Ruling on October 6th  by Tom Reynolds

      On October 6th, U.S. District Judge Glenn Suddaby issued a decision on the GOA-NY lawsuit.  This was the follow up law suit that SCOPE described in its Email of September 23rd titled “GOA-NY #2”.  S.C.O.P.E. Shooters Committee On Political Education - GOA-NY #2 (scopeny2a.org) The original law suit’s results were described in SCOPE’s Email of September 2nd called “Round One”.   S.C.O.P.E. Shooters Committee On Political Education - Round One (scopeny2a.org)

      The new law suit asserted that the Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA) violated the 1st, 2nd, 5th and 14th Amendments.

      The CCIA is a long law with many parts and the challenges to it were successful on many parts - but not all.  2nd Amendment defenders may feel good but not overjoyed.  The following will highlight each of the parts of the decision.

      Temporarily Restrained is a temporary 2nd Amendment victory.

      As with the First law suit, NY State tried to get the case dismissed on technical grounds.  They failed.

    • The first law suit resulted in a dismissal for lack of standing. However, in the new law suit, “the Court finds that Plaintiffs have sufficiently shown that they each have standing and that each Defendant is a proper party…”
    • NY State also tried for a dismissal by describing a technicality, out of context.  The judge caught it and dismissed it.
    • NY State then tried to show that the circumstances did not call for a Temporary Injunction.  The judge overruled them.

    Then, the judge made his rulings on the various parts of the law.  Remember, SCOPE is attempting, below, to convert the lengthy legal rulings and pages of back-up into some easily understood descriptions.

    License applicant must show “good moral character”.

    The judge first rejected CCIA saying that under CCIA: “the applicant (must) rebut the presumption that he or she is a danger to himself or herselfs ...instead of moving toward becoming a shall-issue jurisdiction, New York State has further entrenched itself as a shall-not-issue jurisdiction.”  (Emphasis added.)

    But the judge also gave NY State a way out.  He let the provision stand but he inserted mandatory language that, instead of the license applicant proving he/she has good moral character, NY State must now prove the applicant does not have good moral.

    The applicant went from guilty until proven innocent to innocent until proven guilty.

    License applicant must furnish character references

    The judge let this provision stand.

    License applicant must furnish names and contact information for the applicant's current spouse, or domestic partner, any other adults residing in the applicant's home, including any adult children of the applicant, and whether or not there are minors residing, full time or part time, in the applicant's home

    The judge said: “…the Court finds that no such circumstances exist under which this provision would be valid… The Court orders its enforcement temporarily restrained.”

    License applicant must furnish social media accounts

    The Court ordered its enforcement temporarily restrained.

    License applicant must furnish “Such Other Information Required by the Licensing Officer”

    The judge had doubts about this except for minor follow up information but gave NY State the benefit-of-the-doubt and ruled: “…the Court will let this provision stand for now, although it is willing to revisit the issue…”

    License applicant must undergo Eighteen Hours of Firearm Training.

    The judge, “ …has been persuaded by Defendants that historically Americans’ familiarity with firearms was far more common than it is today; and it is has not yet been persuaded by Plaintiffs that the CCIA’s firearm-training requirements are so onerous as to fall within the scope of what the Supreme Court in Bruen called ‘exorbitant.’” 

    But he also quoted a warning from Bruen “…because any permitting scheme can be put toward abusive ends, we do not rule out constitutional challenges to shall-issue regimes where, for example, lengthy wait times in processing license applications or exorbitant fees deny ordinary citizens their right to public carry.”

     As a result, the Court let that provision stand, for now.

    License applicant must have an In-Person Meeting with Licensing Officer

    The judge found: “…that no such circumstances exist under which this provision would be valid…As a result, the Court orders this provision’s enforcement temporarily restrained.”

    The judge then turned his attention to sensitive locations and restricted locations where concealed carry is prohibited under CCIA. 

    Government Buildings and polling places as sensitive locations

    The judge let these provisions stand.

    Places of Worship or Religious Observation as sensitive locations

    The judge ruled that “…the Constitution demands that this provision contain an exception for those persons who have been tasked with the duty to keep the peace at the place of worship or religious observation. The Court therefore orders Defendants to so construe this provision when performing their duties in their official capacities.”

    The judge is saying that general parishioners cannot carry but designated security can carry.

    Schools, etc as sensitive locations

    The judge ruled that this provision may stand for now, except for the prohibition on concealed carry in “summer camps.”

    Places or Vehicles Used for Public Transportation as a sensitive location

    The judge ruled, “…it does not appear permissible for New York State to restrict concealed carry in ‘any place, conveyance, or vehicle used for public transportation or public transit, subway cars, train cars, buses, ferries, railroad, omnibus, marine or aviation transportation; or any facility used for or in connection with service in the transportation of passengers, airports, train stations, subway and rail stations, and bus terminals.’”

    The Court ordered the enforcement of this provision temporarily restrained.

    Any gathering of individuals to collectively express their constitutional rights to protest or assemble as a sensitive location.

    The judge said: “…it appears permissible for New York State to restrict concealed carry in ‘any gathering of individuals to collectively express their constitutional rights to protest or assemble’”

    As a result, this provision may stand.

    Performance events, etc as sensitive locations

    The judge said it does not appear permissible for New York State to restrict concealed carry in the following places: “…any place used for the performance, art entertainment, gaming, or sporting events such as theaters, stadiums, racetracks, museums, amusement parks, performance venues, concerts, exhibits, conference centers, banquet halls, and gaming facilities and video lottery terminal facilities as licensed by the gaming commission….”

    The judge ordered the enforcement of this provision temporarily restrained.

    Serving Alcohol or cannabis as sensitive locations

    It does not appear permissible for New York State to restrict concealed carry in the following places, “…any establishment issued a license for on-premise consumption… where alcohol is consumed and any establishment licensed under article four of the cannabis law for on-premise consumption.”

    The Court ordered the enforcement of this provision temporarily restrained.

    Times Square as a sensitive location

    The judge ruled that enforcement of this provision is temporarily restrained.

    All Other “Sensitive Locations”

    The judge found: “…it impermissible for New York State to restrict concealed carry in the remaining 10 purported ‘sensitive locations’ set forth in the CCIA…the Court orders the enforcement of these remaining provisions temporarily restrained.”

    Prohibition on ‘Restricted Locations’ which prohibits license holders from carrying in other persons’ buildings and or on other person’s land, enclosed or not, unless expressly permitted to do so.

    The judge ruled that, ”…The State of New York is now making a decision for private property owners that they are perfectly able to make for themselves (and, in fact, did before the CCIA was enacted), as well as arguably compelling speech on a sensitive issue.”

    “The Court orders the enforcement of this provision temporarily restrained, except with regard to fenced-in farmland owned by another or fenced-in hunting ground owned by another.”

    The Temporary Restraining Orders shall be in effect pending a hearing and ruling on Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction.  Currently, that briefing is scheduled to conclude on October 20, 2022.

    The Temporary Restraining Order should be stayed three business days to allow NY State to seek emergency relief in the Second Circuit Appeals court.

  • 10/05/2022 4:07 PM | Anonymous

    Lessons from Reagan  by Tom Reynolds

    A month ago, Mikhail Gorbachev died and the main stream media couldn’t say enough about how he was responsible for the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) – as if it was his idea.  The reality is that he did everything he could to preserve the USSR until the “Evil Empire’s” death was unstoppable.  The main person responsible for destroying the USSR was Ronald Reagan, with help from Lech Walesa, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II.  If Gorbachev was in any way responsible it was by his incompetence, as Reagan ate-his-lunch.

    When Reagan took office in January 1981, the general philosophy amongst the U.S. leadership was that we had to coexist with the USSR.  In January 1992, the USSR no longer existed.

    How did Reagan do it?  Any lessons to be learned from Reagan?

    When Reagan said the Soviet Union was destined for the “Ash heap of history”, it wasn’t just rhetoric.  He understood the precarious position that the USSR was in, especially economically.

    Anyone ever buy a Russian refrigerator, a Russian car or a Russian TV?  Not likely.  The USSR’s main source of hard cash to fund its expansionist empire was from its exports of fossil fuels: oil and natural gas.  The USSR’s economy desperately depended on cash from those exports.

    Reagan worked to flood the market with oil: he accelerated the removal of U.S. price controls; lowered the windfall profits tax; and trumpeted that Capitalism was a good thing.  In addition, the trans-Alaska pipeline came on-line and North Sea oil production increased. 

    What happens when there is an excess of any product?  The price drops.  And to the Soviet Union’s distress, Reagan engineered a glut of oil and its price dropped, dramatically. In 1986, oil sold for 26% of its 1980 price per barrel.  Basically, Reagan bankrupted the USSR by letting supply-and-demand do the work for him.

    Fast forward to 2022.  The Russian Federation is the successor to the USSR but very little has changed from the USSR’s good-old-days; oil and natural gas are still Russia’s main source of cash from exports.  No one is yet buying Russian refrigerators, cars or TV’s. 

    Europe, in particular, due to some of the dumbest political leadership in history, has made itself dependent on Russia for natural gas and oil.  Then, earlier in the year, the European Union said it planned to phase out imports of Russian oil, aiming to cut their purchases by 90% by the end of the year. Is the E.U. leadership aware of the weather phenomenon called Winter?

    Current President Joe Biden was a Senator in the 1980’s and did everything he could to oppose Reagan.  He hasn’t learned anything, especially about supply-and-demand.  Or maybe he has issued an executive order to outlaw it.

    Biden was determined to destroy the fossil fuel industry in the U.S. and when Russia invaded Ukraine, Biden was the prime mover in imposing an embargo on Russian exports of oil and natural gas.  Net result - an oil and natural gas shortage - and the law of supply-and-demand took over; oil and natural gas prices soared, worldwide.  When Biden became president, the average price of a barrel of oil was about $54.  It’s now about $84 (a 55% increase) and earlier in the year was about $120.  Russian oil revenue averaged $15 billion a month in 2021 and was averaging $20 billion in the first half of 2022.  The embargo reduced Russia’s exports but not it's income. 

    As a by-product of all this, gasoline prices in the United States dropped during Reagan’s administration.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average price of a gallon of gas in 1980 was $1.25.  In Reagan’s last year in office, 1988, it was $.95. 

    Contrast this with Biden’s strategy where, in 2020, gasoline sold for $2.17 per gallon.  In 2021 it was $3.05.  In 2022…you know what it is and had been a few months ago and is predicted to be again.

    Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may yet fail.  But it won’t be because of an oil embargo against Russia.  The people the embargo has hurt are…look in the mirror. 

    How would the world be different if Biden had followed Reagan’s plan and reversed his opposition to fossil fuels and flooded the market?  Would Russia’s Ukrainian invasion already have flopped, saving the U.S. taxpayers hundreds of billions in support of Ukraine?  How many Ukrainians and Russians would still be alive?  And what would a gallon of gas cost? 

    There’s another lesson from Reagan that the current political leadership at the federal and New York State level hasn’t learned.

    From the 1950’s and on, both the USSR and the U.S. had enough nuclear weapons to destroy the other.  But they did not do it because of a policy called Mutually Assured Destruction.  If the USSR had attacked us, they knew we would retaliate and destroy them.  Even if the USSR succeeded in destroying the U.S., they would also have been destroyed.  Or as President Eisenhower put it, “We’ll all be grubbing for worms”.  In a world where our adversaries were not going to disarm themselves, Mutually Assured Destruction worked.

    Why do mass murderers attack Gun Free Zones and not places where their victims might fight back.  The murderer may succeed in killing someone but, if the victims are armed, it’s likely the murderer will also be killed.  On a smaller scale, it’s Mutually Assured Destruction.  And since criminals are not likely to unilaterally disarm, the ability to shoot back is the key to survival when a murderer is at hand - or to prevent that situation from happening.

    Would a murderer plan to face an AR15 locked and loaded with 15-20 rounds of ammo.  Not a concern for murderers in Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer’s vision of America where the AR 15 is outlawed.

    Would a murderer plan to face a potential victim who may be concealed carrying?  Not a concern for murderers in Kathy Hochul’s New York State where U.S. Supreme Court decisions are ignored in favor of declaring the entire state a gun free zone.

  • 10/03/2022 4:37 PM | Anonymous

    Attorney General  by Tom Reynolds

    We often talk about races for governor, for congress, etc. But the “down ballot” elections you don’t always hear much about can be equally important.  For instance, the race for Attorney General in New York State where Republican Michael Henry is challenging incumbent Democrat Attorney General Letitia James is important to 2nd Amendment supporters and to anyone who fears government agencies using their power against political opponents.  (Can you say Merrick Garland and the F.B.I.?)

    James is so caught up in her power that Democrats should also be afraid because she will use her office against anyone – even Democrats – who dare oppose her. 

    James has shown she knows how to abuse power to go after our 2nd Amendment rights.  She made a campaign promise to go after the National Rifle Association (NRA) for political purposes.  She wants to use alleged misdeeds by NRA officers to completely shut down the organization.  That kind of “corporate death penalty” has rarely been used, but there have rarely been Attorney Generals as completely motivated by politics as James.  (Which is saying a lot in New York State where the list of disgraced ex-Attorney Generals includes Elliot Spitzer, Andrew Cuomo and Eric Schneiderman.)

    The NY Post says, “James may be the most partisan Democratic prosecutor in the country”.  (In a country filled with George Soros funded prosecutors, that is saying something!)

    James’ also demanded that credit card companies create a specific merchant category code for sales of guns and ammunition. She then celebrated the International Standard Organization’s (ISO) requirement for the new code. This would allow credit card information to be used to generate a list of possible gun owners, if subpoenaed by any state Attorney General who is anti-2A…like Letitia James.

    Twenty four (24) state Attorneys General called out the credit card companies for giving in to the demands of James.   

    Leaking confidential information is how government agencies convict people in the media and destroy reputations.  The Attorney General’s office is supposed to be impartial and information it gathers is confidential.  But, former U.N.  Ambassador and South Carolina governor Nikki Haley accused  James’ office of breaking tax laws by leaking the list of donors to Haley’s conservative advocacy group, “Stand for America”. Politico obtained an unredacted copy of Stand For America’s tax return.  Haley said, “We look at the last page from what Politico provided and it has the New York state attorney general’s office stamp on it…that office leaked it to the press.”

    Crime is usually the number one concern of voters in polls and is the issue that state AGs should care most about, particularly murders in NY State’s crime-ridden cities or crimes that cost taxpayers money. Which brings us to James’ recent lawsuit against former president and 2nd Amendment supporter Donald Trump, which includes neither of these issues.  After running for AG on a platform that included bringing down Trump, James accuses Trump of inflating his assets on loan applications.  Curiously, none of the corporations that made those loans are joining her suit.  She alleges a crime without a victim. 

    The retired head of GE Asset Management, John Myers, completed scores of such loan transactions and he explains the real situation: “…the banks and other sophisticated financial institutions do their own due diligence on valuations and basically could care less what Trump’s valuation was. Plusthe loans were all repaid, so who was the victim?”  Myers also points out that real estate “valuations themselves are subjective in nature.” (Remember the appraisals on your mortgage application, which were certainly for a lot less than Trump’s loans?)

    Speaking of crime – or the lack of interest in it by James - government unions typically endorse Democrats, especially in NY State where the Democrat Party controls the power.  However, the NY City Police Conference (50,000 member detectives, sergeants, captains and lieutenants) is backing  Henry over James.  The NY Post reported that, “Frustrated public safety reps…don’t see James…as a friend of law enforcement during these troubling times.” 

    NYC Detectives Endowment president Paul DiGiacomo said she is, “no help whatsoever to the women and men who daily put themselves in harm’s way. Keeping New Yorkers safe from criminals is not her priority.”

    Remember the destruction in the George Floyd riots?  DiGiacomo added, She sued the NYPD on pattern and practices after the George Floyd riots, but said nothing about the rioters total disregard for public safety and for public and private property.”

    When crime is the number one concern of many new Yorkers, James is so bad that New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association (NYSTPBA) has endorsed Henry.  NYSTPBA President Tom Mungeer said: “The NYSTPBA is urging all of its members, along with their family members and friends, as well as all members of the law enforcement community, to vote for Michael Henry for New York State Attorney General.”

    The Attorney General title is often shortened to “AG”.  In New York State, that also stands for “Aspiring Governor”, as evidenced by Spitzer and Cuomo.  (Didn’t I mention them before?)  James flirted with running for governor this year but there was as much enthusiasm for her as there was for former NY City Mayor Bill DiBlasio, also running for governor.  One thing can be said for both their candidacies: They united both parties - no one wanted them to be governor.

  • 09/29/2022 10:52 AM | Anonymous

    CO2 Shortage  by Tom Reynolds

    A “perfect storm” is leading to a CO2 shortage.

    Jackson Dome, located near Jackson, Mississippi on an extinct volcano, is a large and relatively pure source of naturally occurring CO2 and is the only significant underground deposit of CO2 in the United States east of the Mississippi River.  It has become contaminated. The supplier of this gas shut down in July.  Failure to address contamination issues can leave a product at risk of bad tastes, strange odors, spoilage, and product recalls. 

    Another CO2 supplier’s plant in Illinois suffered a mechanical failure that will shut the plant down until mid-September.

    CO2 as a byproduct of Ethanol production.  Ethanol plants had to shut down during the pandemic because there wasn't a big demand for gas due to people staying home and not driving. 

    Besides the CO2 shortage, there are other issues.

    The price of aluminum cans has increased. The DailyMail cited that inflation has driven aluminum can prices up by 20 percent. The COVID pandemic kept people at home and there was a rise in at-home drinking causing a can shortage.

    If that wasn’t enough, a lack of delivery drivers has also had an impact. To make matters worse, a union of delivery and warehouse workers went on strike in Philadelphia, mid-year. And labor shortages are happening across the board as a result of the pandemic. 

    Okay, there’s a CO2, aluminum and driver shortage.  So…?

    The weather didn't cooperate for growing barley in the Northern Plains and Pacific Northwest last year. With high heat and dry conditions, the barley crops got scorched. 

    Barley…isn’t that used in…?

    Yep.

    Barley is used in beer.

    CO2 contributes to beer foam, shelf stability and it’s used throughout the production and packaging process.  It is essential to modern beer making.  A handful of big brewers are insulated from the shortage because they use innovative technology to capture natural carbon dioxide from the brewing process and store it for future use.  Denver Beer Co. in Colorado uses reclaimed CO2 and sells extra supply to a cannabis company for use in the grow houses.  (It’s a relief that beer and marijuana are supportive of each other in this time of crisis.)

    Beer is packaged in aluminum cans.

    Beer is transported by delivery drivers.  And remember, Pete Buttigieg is working on the delivery problems.  Gulp!

    Net result: at worst a beer shortage and at best an increase in the price of beer. Beer prices have risen less than the broader food and beverage market, but food has risen so sharply that isn’t much consolation.  And that could get worse as the rising cost of these issues leads to a more expensive pint.

    You don’t drink?  Besides beer, soft drinks and seltzers also rely on CO2 for carbonation. Without it, the drinks fall flat.

    CO2 is also used to help preserve certain frozen foods like pizza.

    A beer and pizza shortage!

    Wait a minute, isn’t CO2 one of the boogeymen that the green environmentalists are trying to eliminate?

    Yes.  California just passed a law allowing human bodies to be composted instead of cremated because cremation releases so much CO2.  Californians can now be composted!  (I was tempted to make a joke about a friend who grows tomatoes but…)

    Don’t plants use CO2 and convert it to oxygen?

    In the competition for CO2, will people have to choose between air and beer?

  • 09/26/2022 9:17 PM | Anonymous

    First Week in Congress  by Tom Reynolds

    At the Steuben County SCOPE Bar-B-Que on the 18th, Congressman of less-than-a-week Joe Sempolinski was there.  After some discussion, it became obvious that the experiences of a new congressman’s first week were something most of us have never heard and he agreed to share some of it with SCOPE.

    It is the honor of a lifetime to be sworn into the United States House of Representatives and I was blessed with that honor on September 13, 2022. Words cannot express what it meant for me to be sworn in as my wife Angie, my daughters Maddie and JoJo, my parents, and my wife's parents looked on. It is a feeling I will never forget.

    To think of the decisions and the history that has been made in that chamber is truly awe-inspiring.  As I have said before, whether it's four minutes or four months, it is a privilege to serve in the United States Congress to represent the good people of NY's 23rd Congressional District.

    As I was sworn in, I gave my oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, which is a commitment I do not take lightly. That is why I commend you at S.C.O.P.E for all that you do in that exact mission.

    Since being sworn in, our team has hit the ground running here in Washington and, most importantly, back home in the 23rd District. Our offices are staffed and busy helping constituents which was always my first objective. In Washington, I have been busy with votes and my committee assignments on the Education and Labor Committee as well as the Budget Committee, always making sure that I am a voice for our district by putting their best interest first.

    I managed Republican speakers on the House floor for two bills. It is very rare that a congressman, with less than one week in office, manages one bill, let alone two. 

    I've also gotten to know the NY delegation and have had wonderful conversations and discussions with them. Everyone has been very gracious and kind, especially my fellow upstate Republicans.

    I was surprised to learn, early on, how frequently members vote remotely in committee hearings. When the Republicans take the House back in November, they will be doing away with proxy voting. It's unsettling that major decisions are being made by a representative eating a sandwich on a computer screen. It is time that our Representatives do their jobs and return to Washington in person.

    It has also become clear that the Democrats have a very different, unconstitutional vision for this country. It is more important than ever that the direction of this country changes and we reject the Biden/Pelosi agenda. I will never stop defending our rights.

    Overall, my first week has been a busy and thrilling experience. I thank everyone in the 23rd who put their faith and trust in me. I will not let you down. I am excited about what we have accomplished so far and look forward to the work ahead, fighting day in and day out for my friends, family, and neighbors.

    Before he was Congressman Sempolinski, Joe spoke at the last two SCOPE Member’s Meetings.  He is a SCOPE member.

  • 09/23/2022 1:30 PM | Anonymous

    GOA-NY #2

    SCOPE previously wrote that on August 31st, the GOA-NY lawsuit against NY’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA) was dismissed by the judge because the plaintiff lacked standing.  Presumably, this was because the plaintiff had not yet violated the law.  However, the judge opinioned that large portions of CCIA were unconstitutional and it was only the defendant’s lack of standing that prevented the judge from ruling major portions of CCIA as unconstitutional.

    They’re back!

    GOA-NY has filed a new lawsuit that will hopefully cure the lack of standing.  Several plaintiffs declare under oath their intention to violate the CCIA. Below are some of the reasons the plaintiffs should now have standing.  Each plaintiff states several other places they intend to concealed carry in violation of CCIA – but you will get the picture.

    In their haste, Kathy Hochul and her cohorts never considered these issues – but they should have since they are everyday issues of everyday people of NY State.  But then again, CCIA was never about everyday issues that New Yorkers face, it was about Hochul making political points with her supporters by spitting on the Supreme Court and the United States Constitution.

    Each plaintiff faces a credible threat of prosecution because his specific intentions are now public through this filing and the State Police have made it clear that they intend to enforce the CCIA’s provisions on a “zero tolerance” basis, stating “If you violate this law, you will be arrested.”

    The first plaintiff routinely goes on hiking and camping trips throughout NY State and intends to carry his firearm on his upcoming trip to a State Park, where concealed carry is not allowed under CCIA.

    The plaintiff intends to carry his firearm within a restaurant that serves alcohol, where concealed carry is not allowed under CCIA.

    The plaintiff intends to carry his firearm while attending pro-gun and other rallies where people assemble to exercise constitutional rights and where concealed carry is not allowed under CCIA.

    A second plaintiff states that he routinely goes to the movies and states he intends to concealed carry in violation of CCIA.

    Plaintiff is a grandfather to 5 grandchildren and states it is his duty to protect his family. He intends to take his grandchildren to a State Park and intends to concealed carry, which is not allowed under CCIA.

    CCIA criminalizes his taking of a firearm to the airport, even unloaded, locked, and properly declared in checked baggage, in compliance with federal regulations.  Plaintiff states he will be flying to Tennessee, which allows him to carry there.  He intends to check his firearm in his luggage in accordance with TSA regulations, which requires declaring the firearm, in which case he would be confessing to being in illegal possession of a firearm under the CCIA.

    Plaintiff plans to concealed carry at a Gun Show, in violation of CCIA, in a Community Center described as a conference center, banquet hall & wedding venue.  CCIA bans firearms at “conference centers” and “banquet halls,” and the Community Center may not opt out of this ban and expressly allow firearms.  Plaintiff states that “a gun show is, almost by definition, a ‘gathering of individuals to collectively express their constitutional rights to protest or assemble’ ... and, thus, the CCIA appears to entirely ban gun shows.”

     A third plaintiff is a pastor who states that the church maintains a “church security team, consisting of trusted church members who are licensed carry permit holders, and are designated to carry their firearms to provide security and protection to the congregation during worship services.” Under the CCIA, neither the pastor nor his security team may possess firearms on church property. The pastor intends to continue to possess and carry his firearm while on church property, in violation of the CCIA.

    The pastor lives in a parsonage that is physically part of the same building as the Church. This parsonage is not only used as his family’s residence, but is also used for church business.  Under the CCIA, the pastor’s home is now a “sensitive location” where he is prohibited from possessing a firearm, including a handgun for self-defense. In order to fully comply with the CCIA, the pastor would have to turn all his firearms over to the government, and he refuses to do so.

    The pastor’s church has an addiction recovery ministry, and the pastor travels to homes of people addicted to drugs. CCIA makes it impossible for the Pastor to legally carry while ministering, as it declares all private property a “restricted location” and requires him to get express consent, sometimes of an addict, before entering his or her home while carrying a firearm. But for the CCIA, he would continue carrying his firearm while providing this ministry as he has in the past.

    The pastor believes that the CCIA places off limits “any gathering of individuals to collectively express their constitutional rights to ... assemble.”  This would seem to cover a church service. To the extent that this section covers church activities, the Pastor does not intend to comply.”

    The Church maintains a church bus and a church van, used to take church members, youth, and members of the public with them when they travel. The CCIA appears to ban firearm possession in their “bus” and the pastor Mann does not intend to comply

    Because the pastor’s church plays music before, during, and after worship services, the CCIA separately bans firearms at a “performance venue” or “concert” and additionally a “banquet hall,” as they often break bread together. The CCIA does not appear to include an exemption even for the Lord’s Supper.

    A fourth plaintiff is a volunteer firefighter. This usually means that he is going about his normal daily routines when he receives a call to respond and he has no opportunity to go home to disarm and stow his firearm. There are times that, while armed, he has responded to an emergency call at locations that the CCIA now declares to be “sensitive locations” including private property now deemed a “restricted location”.

    The Catskills Park surrounds the fourth plaintiff’s town and he has often responded to calls for assistance in that park. There is no exception for him to carry there or even drive to there with a firearm during an emergency call, and he would be liable for a felony if he, as a first responder, responded to an emergency situation while armed.

    The plaintiff responds to house and structure fires, and renders aid. Plaintiff states it would be “absurd” to have to ask a family to provide him with their ‘express consent’ to carry his firearm prior to entering their home to put out a fire or to provide lifesaving medical care.

    Plaintiff intends to continue carrying his firearm as a firefighter, which will put him in violation of the CCIA as he responds to calls.

    Plaintiff also runs a small hotel/bed and breakfast.  His now “restricted location” would have to post signage to allow guests to carry, because “person-by-person ‘express consent’” is impractical to give to each visitor. CCIA requires him to engage in compelled speech to continue to provide services to those who bring their firearms to his hotel.  If he refuses to be compelled to speak, he will lose the business of gun owners who lawfully travel with their firearms.  If he posts a sign allowing concealed carry, he will lose business from customers that do not share that view.   The CCIA politicizes his business against his will and, no matter which option he chooses, he will lose business.”

    Plaintiff cannot leave with a firearm without entering the Catskills Park surrounding his town, even if the firearm is unloaded, locked and stored in a trunk because there is no exception for travel in the park.

    A fifth plaintiff has accounts on some “social media” platforms, of which his Facebook profile is set to “friends only.” He would have to add a sheriff or investigator or perhaps even his licensing official as a “friend” so that they could view his Facebook posts. He refuses to comply with this requirement, or to divulge any social media accounts to the state.  Plaintiff states that, if he were “forced to produce all his speech,” he would “self-censor for fear of retribution”, unwilling to express his true feelings, especially on contentious issues involving political speech.

    Plaintiff objects to the in-person interview requirement, because it would violate his “Fifth Amendment rights to remain silent and against self-incrimination.”

    Plaintiff’s sheriff does not have an appointment available submit his application until October of 2023, more than 13 months from today, in violation of Bruen, which anticipates challenges to permitting regimes which require “lengthy wait times” to obtain a permit. The Sheriff’s current 13 months delay greatly exceeds the time the Sheriff has to process an application under NYS statute.  The Sheriff’s delay in accepting license applications also violates New York Penal Law 400(4-b), which requires that applications for licenses shall be accepted for processing by the licensing officer at the time of presentment and that, except upon written notice to the applicant specifically stating the reasons for any delay, in each case the licensing officer shall act upon any application for a license pursuant to this section within six months of the date of presentment.

    Plaintiff will not complete sixteen hours of classroom instruction, plus two hours of live-fire training, as it is unnecessary and expensive.  Plaintiff objects to the requirement that he has to pay to learn about “suicide prevention,” as he is not suicidal and such subject matter has no bearing on his being a responsible gun owner.

    A sixth plaintiff is a property owner and enjoys the right to determine who and under what circumstances, people visit his property. The CCIA infringes on this right, as it declares his home a restricted location.

    The CCIA requires that he post “clear and conspicuous signage indicating that the carrying of firearms ... is permitted” or otherwise provide his “express consent” to someone wanting to carry a firearm in his home or on his property. Plaintiff states that it is impossible to provide express consent to each and every visitor that stops by unless he is present on his front lawn 24 hours a day, as a delivery driver, or some other visitor may come to his home while he is unavailable.

    Plaintiff states that the CCIA could prevent one of his neighbors from coming to his aid, at his home, unless he previously gave them “express consent” to carry a firearm on his property and that perhaps that person “would be forced to mill around in the dark, searching for ‘conspicuous signage’ authorizing him to help.”

    Plaintiff is left with the option of posting “conspicuous signage.” But he cannot safely comply with that requirement because many New Yorkers are vehemently anti-gun and posting a sign in favor of gun rights can open him and his family to criticism, harassment and even possible hostile action (such as vandalism or a physical confrontation) by those who disagree with his political views.

    Plaintiff will not post a sign that labels his home as being the likely location of a gun owner which would raise the risk that his home would be targeted by burglars, thieves, home invaders, or other violent criminals.

    Elected officials are supposed to use good judgment and act soberly when passing laws.  When you vote in November, remember all the sober judgment used in passing CCIA.

  • 09/22/2022 11:17 AM | Anonymous
    • Following in Andrew’s Footsteps  by Tom Reynolds

      During the COVID-19 state of emergency, the NY Governor’s office and state agencies were given expanded discretion on state expenditures. In an effort to expedite the state’s purchasing and procurement processes during the public health crisis, the Legislature’s and Comptroller’s normal oversight authority was significantly restricted. It appears that Governor Hochul may have abused this relaxed oversight to reward political supporters with taxpayer’s money.

      Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay released the following, (emphasis added) which explains the situation:

      Assembly Republican members of the Oversight, Analysis and Investigation Committee today called on their Democrat counterparts to conduct an immediate inquiry into Governor Hochul’s highly questionable contract with Digital Gadgets, a company owned by a major donor to the governor’s campaign which sold COVID-19 tests to the state.”

       “Through a no-bid contract, the Hochul Administration purchased COVID-19 tests from Digital Gadgets for an average of $12.25 per test, when other companies offered the same tests for as little as $5 each. The state of California purchased the same tests for only $6.75 apiece. The decision to pay Digital Gadgets’ higher price forced taxpayers to spend hundreds of millions more than necessary. Recent reports in the Albany Times Union show that the CEO of Digital Gadgets and his family have donated $300,000 to the Hochul campaign and hosted an in-person fundraiser for the governor just a month before the deal was reached.”
       
      “Assembly members Joseph Angelino (R,C,I-Norwich) and Jarett Gandolfo (R,C,I-Sayville) wrote to their Majority colleagues on the Committee, urging the panel to investigate the governor’s actions and waste of taxpayer dollars.”

      • The CEO of Digital Gadgets, Charles Tebele and his family members had no prior history of political donations.
      • A business associate of the Tebeles, Jack Cayre, and his family members gave $418,000 to the Governor’s re-election effort.
      • The Hochul campaign hired a member of the Tebele family on its fundraising staff.

      “It is the Legislature’s distinct role to keep the executive branch in check. It appears the Hochul administration took advantage of the relaxed procurement process permitted during the pandemic and awarded an overpriced contract for COVID-19 test kits to a large donor – Digital Gadgets. As Ranking Republican on the Committee on Oversight, Analysis and Investigation, we must not let this go without investigating the matter. These are the kind of scenarios that create distrust in government, and we owe it to the public to do our jobs,” said Angelino.”

      “’The Hochul Administration purchased COVID tests from a major campaign donor, paying nearly double the market rate – it looks suspiciously like a kickback scheme using taxpayer dollars,’ Gandolfo said. ‘The governor initially claimed that neither she nor her team knew that the company was supportive of her. However, we now know that the company’s founder held a fundraiser for her just one month before striking this shady deal. The excuses aren’t adding up, and, as Members of the Oversight Committee, we owe it to New Yorkers to uncover the truth.’”

      The letter from Angelino and Gandolfo had a couple other interesting facts not in Barclay’s release:

    It will be interesting and surprising if anything comes from this prior to - or even after – the November election.  Unless Lee Zeldin wins the governorship.  Since the Democrats control the entire New York State government, their attitude is “it’s my ball and my rules”.

    Another danger to Kathy Hochul would be if Mike Henry takes the Attorney General’s position away from Letitia James.  She has no trouble using the power of her office to harass Donald Trump but possible political abuse of power by a fellow Democrat is of no interest to her.

    In a similar situation, the Democrats in Congress recently refused to investigate Hunter Biden and the many connections Joe Biden has to Hunter’s business.

    Many of us are frustrated that members of the political elite enrich themselves at the taxpayer’s expense.  But we do have a method of striking back: it’s called VOTING!

  • 09/15/2022 10:55 AM | Anonymous

    Important Election Deadlines!

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    November 8, 2022:  ELECTION DAY  Deadline to Return Absentee Ballot.

  • 09/14/2022 2:38 PM | Anonymous

    An OP Ed by Tom Reynolds which appeared in last Sunday's Elmira Star Gazette and will appear in the future in the The Fingerlakes Times.

    The first legal challenge to Governor Hochul’s new gun control laws was dismissed on technicalities, allowing the Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA), to go into effect.

    The CCIA bans all guns in approximately ninety percent of NY State, as "sensitive" places, and imposes strict new concealed carry permit restrictions similar to - or worse than - those that were recently struck down by the Supreme Court.  Judge Suddaby’s decision questioned the constitutionality of New York's CCIA - even calling it legally "doomed" - but ruled that he had no power to overturn the gun control measures because of technicalities in the lawsuit. 

    The judge warned that numerous parts of the law were likely unconstitutional and could be challenged again in the future.  These all appeared to violate a law-abiding citizen’s constitutional right to carry a gun.

    The law’s vague requirement of "good moral character" is fatally similar to the NY carry-permit application language that the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional.

    The insistence that a gun could only be used "in a manner that does not endanger oneself or others" ignores what guns are all about.  "The very act of using a firearm in self-defense against another person necessarily involves threatening, if not actually causing, danger to that other person," the Judge noted.  The law "literally does not permit one to use a firearm in self-defense" and is therefore "conditioned on a logical impossibility…and "doomed" to be struck down.

    In regards to the disclosure of social media accounts, such a requirement could endanger a law-abiding citizen’s First Amendment right to free speech and Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. In no situation should a citizen be required to surrender one constitutional right in order to assert another. Therefore, someone should not risk losing First or Fifth Amendment protections in order to enjoy their Second Amendment rights.

    The judge found fault with the state’s extensive list of gun-free zones and the part of the law that banned guns on private property without permission. The list of banned locations was so extensive as to be “almost limitless.”  And the presumptive ban on private property was not consistent with the nation’s history of firearm regulation.

    Nevertheless, after 24 pages of describing why he believed the law was unconstitutional, Suddaby concluded his decision by noting that he didn’t think he could do anything about it - right now.  (It appears that someone will have to be arrested for violating the CCIA in order to give Judge Suddaby the opportunity to move against the law.)

    In responding to the decision, neither Hochul nor Attorney General Letitia James addressed the fact that the Judge labeled parts of the law as unconstitutional and it only a technicality saved it. 

    This continues the left’s strategy of passing unconstitutional laws and daring anyone to sue them.  Hochul and James defend the laws on the taxpayer’s dime while plaintiffs must pay thousands of dollars to sue NY State.

    Both Kathy Hochul and Letitia James are running for reelection in November.

A 2nd Amendment Defense Organization, defending the rights of New York State gun owners to keep and bear arms!

PO Box 165
East Aurora, NY 14052

SCOPE is a 501(c)4 non-profit organization.

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