Nel's New Day

October 27, 2018

DDT: Week 92 – Continued Incitement to Violence

Republicans, including VP Mike Pence and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, express “thoughts and prayers” after a white 46-year-old man killed at least 11 people and wounded another six at a synagogue in Pennsylvania. The killer was heard to shout “all Jews must die” during his slaughter and earlier posted on Gab, a social media source for alt-right activists and white nationalists, that the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), liked to bring “invaders in that kill our people.” He also wrote, “There is no #MAGA as long as there is a kike infestation.”

Dictator Donald Trump’s first statements (DDT) after the shootings criticized the synagogue for not having security guards and said that all churches and synagogues should have this armed “protection.” Later, the self-avowed “nationalist,” made a comment about being surprised that such an anti-Semitic act would happen in “this day and age,” perhaps after his staff recommended the statement. In 2017, DDT’s first year in office, anti-Semitic events increased almost 60 percent over the previous year, in the largest single-year increase on record and the second-highest number reported since these events were first tracked in 1979.

Having called for “unity” in the United States after bombs were sent to at least a dozen high-profile Democrats in the United States, DDT said after the Pennsylvania shooting that “something has to be done.” Yet he refuses to accept any responsibility for the pervasive conservative anger resulting in violence and blames the “fake news” despite his frequent targeting CNN and people who were sent explosives. DDT false attacked the first victim of the bombs, George Soros, by saying that he paid people on the caravan going from the Honduras to the United States. After the capture of the person suspected of sending the bombs, a white male U.S. citizen living in Florida, DDT whipped the crowd into changing “CNN Sucks!” at a rally, the same image on the suspect’s van.

DDT also accused Democrats of sending the bombs to make Republicans look bad and was annoyed that this domestic terrorism detracted from his Medicare drug price announcement, a campaign “promise” that he has been making for several years. DDT also told a black audience that Democrats had betrayed them and encouraged them to chant “Fake News!” and “Lock him up!” about Soros. Before the Pennsylvania shooting, DDT told reporters that he doesn’t plan to tone down his rhetoric, saying, “I could really tone it up.” He described the suspect accused of sending the pipe bombs as “a person that preferred me over others.” The person who “preferred” DDT lived with his mother because he had lost his home in a “dodgy” (aka illegal) foreclosure by the bank owned by Steve Mnuchin, DDT’s Treasury Secretary.

Only ten days ago, a Montana audience cheered DDT when he talked about GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte who had physically assaulted a Guardian reporter the night before Gianforte’s election: “Any guy that can do a body slam — he’s my guy.” (The physically attacked reporter is considering suing Gianforte after the representative started lying to the newspaper about what happened.) Since people called on DDT to stop the hateful rhetoric, he has said such things at his rallies as “I’m gonna be nice tonight” before he reverts to his showman behavior to reassure his base that he isn’t changing.

Tony Schwartz, DDT’s ghostwriter (and probably real author) of his 1987 autobiography, said that DDT has a “fascination of violence”; his two obsessions are football and boxing. Schwartz added, “He loved black people to commit violence against other black people—while he watched.” DDT just didn’t want to be in the middle of the violence. Rage is the reason behind this obsession, according to Schwartz:

“He’s in the business of being aggrieved, and he’s using that in these 10, 12 days leading up to the midterms in trying to bring it out in all the people that are possibly going to vote on the Republican side in this next phase.”

The mailed bombs and today’s killings in Pennsylvania are two more examples of how DDT is pushing unstable people toward increasing levels of violence. Neuroscientist Bobby Azarian pointed out that DDT and his far-right propaganda media targets “mentally vulnerable people with their heated and divisive rhetoric, as well as their outlandish conspiracy theories. These theories describe nefarious plots by the ‘deep state,’ a cabal of Left-wing politicians and powerful co-conspirators that is trying to undermine President Trump, while running child sex trafficking rings on the side.” Perpetrators who follow DDT’s direction don’t need to be “delusional”; they only need to be “suggestible.” A trigger pushes them over the edge, and DDT refuses to take any responsibility while fueling more hatred and copycat attacks from his supporters. People criticizing DDT put their lives at risk.

With Election Day only 10 days away, self-identified “nationalist” DDT upped the ante this past week with his press releases and comments to reporters by declaring “Congressional Democrats Want to Take Money from Hardworking Americans to Fund Failed Socialist Policies” and other fake claims about Democrats:

  • Make Venezuela is the “model.”
  • Destroy the economy.
  • Support Karl Marx.
  • Give undocumented immigrants free cars.
  • Turn America “into a giant sanctuary for criminal aliens and the MS-13 killers.”
  • “Impose socialism” on America.
  • “Take away your health care.” [The first item on the GOP Senate agenda after midterms is to repeal healthcare.]
  • Destroy Americas borders.
  • Turn the nation over to “deadly drugs and ruthless gangs.”
  • Destroy the military.
  • “Launch an assault” on the sovereignty of our country and the safety of citizens.

DDT also described non-existent “riots” at his campaign rallies and falsely accuses “mobs” of “rioting” against “sanctuary cities.” The real “mobs” that DDT doesn’t mention include those by the violent “Proud Boys,” supported by Republicans, who are beating up protesters and verbally assaulting Democrats such as Rep. Nancy Pelosi (R-CA) who was in southern Florida for a campaign event.

DDT plans to deploy 800 military members to the border to illegally stop anyone from seeking asylum in the United States. DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen promised they won’t shoot the members of the caravan—at least not right away. The border patrol may shoot them first. The National Patrol Council, the union representing BP agents, is featured in a new video, “Killing Free Speech,” including white nationalists and anti-Muslim extremists that the union has endorsed. Shown to agents throughout the country, the video describes Democrats as “dark and evil” and correlates gang rapes, Islam, and immigration. Also featured in the documentary are members of the Proud Boys, a white supremacist, misogynist, anti-Muslim hate group. It also attacks the mainstream media that “will stop at nothing to … demonize those who risk their lives protecting America’s borders.” The video’s director created the same message in “Killing Europe” and plans “Killing Canada.”

The union represents 90 percent of the almost 20,000 BP agents in the field. Within 100 miles of any U.S. border, agents can enter private property, set up highway checkpoints, and profile people for stopping, questioning, and detaining them. That  “constitution-free zone” contains 65.3 percent of the U.S. population.

Over 500 employees of the border patrol agency have been charged with drug trafficking, accepting bribes, and other crimes during 2016 and 2017, according to a report from Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Human Resource Management and its Office of Professional Responsibility. Some of the most heinous of these crimes in 2018 include the ten-year agent accused of killing four women and assaulting a fifth, two of them U.S. citizens, in two weeks and the BP agent who shot and killed a 19-year-old woman illegally crossing the border near Laredo.

VP Mike Pence, self-identified fundamentalist Christian, continues to follow the liar-in-chief to be vice-liar-in-chief. With no evidence, he cites the apprehension of “more than 10 terrorists or suspected terrorists” at the U.S. southern border and claims that “people of Middle Eastern descent” (aka Muslims) could be on the caravan still 1,000 miles from the United States. DHS says that most people stopped from entering the country try to come on airplanes, and being on a watch list isn’t the same as being a terrorism suspect. Pence’s religion is to win votes for GOP candidates through fear-mongering from lying.

In a display of how little concern DDT has for the slaughtered people at the Pennsylvania synagogue, he proceeded with a campaign rally today, using the excuse that his friend, Dick Grasso, opened the New York Stock Exchange the day after the 9/11 attacks. But he didn’t: the exchange was closed for three trading days after the disaster. When he asked his audience if he could “tone it down a bit,” they yelled in disapproval. He continued to stir up the crowd to yell “Lock her up” about Hillary Clinton and then denigrated the conservatives who don’t support him, calling them “very stupid” and “losers.” A member of the crowd called out “Pocahontas” when he referred to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and he false said she had “no Indian blood.” He added, “I can’t call her Pocahontas anymore, but I think I will anyway. Do you mind?” The crowd continued to cheer every one of DDT’s personal attacks. DDT continues to incite violence.

Part II: Jamal Khashoggi update.

 

 

August 5, 2018

Religion: Violence, Killing

Pope Francis has changed Catholic Church teaching to fully reject the death penalty, but Texas allows the bible to sentence someone to death. After a juror showed that his religious source recommends death for a person who kills someone with an instrument of iron, Khristian Oliver was sentenced to death and executed. Despite First Amendment separation of church and state, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case. Thirty-five other offenses qualify for the death penalty in the bible including these:

  • Cursing Parents
  • Striking Parents
  • Not Obeying Parents by Boys
  • Premarital Sex by Girls
  • Rebellion against Law
  • Worshipping Any God but Yahweh
  • Being a Witch
  • Loose Daughters of Clergy
  • Girls Raped within the City Limits
  • Blasphemers
  • Anyone Trying to Deconvert Yahweh Worshipers
  • Working on the Sabbath
  • Kidnapping
  • Men Lying with Men
  • Adulterers
  • Men Lying with Beasts and Beasts Lying with Men

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has surely committed at least five offenses that could lead to the biblical death penalty.

Former CIA intelligence official, Michael Scheuer, is best-selling author, historian, essayist, public speaker, TV commentator, Ron Paul’s adviser, secessionist advocate, Christian nationalist, Vladimir Putin apologist, and terrorism expert. He is also married to a senior intelligence official, Alfreda Frances Bikowsky who was referenced as “Queen of Torture” in 2014, and frequently appears on a radio program with close ties to DDT, his family, and his administration, a show directing people to Scheuer’s blog that calls for “well-armed citizens who voted for Trump” to “kill those seeking to impose tyranny.” That classification includes journalists, activists, pundits, abortion providers, Republican and Democratic elected officials, federal judges, law professors, FBI agents, intelligence officials and Justice Department officials, and “all who support them.” Scheuer calls them all “expendables.” To “end the tyranny of their elected representatives,” people should “eliminate” them by stockpiling guns and ammunition.

Scheuer appears often on John Fredericks Radio as either commentator or host—more than 25 times in 18 months– spreading the ultra far-right messages of justifying Putin’s seizure of Crimea and aggression in Ukraine, conspiracy theories about Robert Mueller’s investigation, the illegitimacy of the U.S. government, and NATO and Israel as “cancers.” John Fredericks, also CNN commentator and member of DDT’s 2020 presidential advisory board, has interviewed DDT eight times on his program, and many of DDT’s inner circle have done the same, one at least 23 times. DDT paid Fredericks’ company $34,000 for “placed media.”

From his home, Scheuer Skypes with the Russian state TV outlet RT and disparages the CIA as corrupt, incompetent and bloated with too many “immigrants, Hispanics, transgender people, and homosexuals.” In his view, too many members of the Jewish community support Israel. He shocked even Glenn Beck by calling for a “civil war” and the glorification of assassins, listing President Obama and then-British Prime Minister David Cameron as tyrants, ostensibly to be assassinated. Scheuer said, “At some point, when push comes to shove, you kill people and get them out of the way.” Georgetown University decided to not renew Scheuer’s two classes, despite his protests.

Designated for “elimination” on Scheuer’s list are TV journalists Shepard Smith, Jake Tapper, Jim Acosta, and Rachel Maddow and commentators Bill Kristol and Joe Scarborough. Other names are Attorneys General Jeff Sessions, Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch; former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein; special counsel Robert Mueller and prosecutors on his team; former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Former NSA Director Michael Hayden, current and former and current FBI directors James Comey and Christopher Wray; former CIA Director John Brennan; former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell; former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page and other “work-a-day FBI agents,” as well as the staff of the U.S. Department of Justice. The list goes on with elected officials, former presidential aides, and various billionaires. It seems to be endless and he called on DDT to “slay the republic’s domestic enemies now.” Recently he wrote about the “sheer, nay, utter joy and satisfaction to be derived from beholding great piles of dead U.S.-citizen tyrants.”

Close associates of the U.S. president and senior members of his administration support and promote a man who call for mass murder by armed rebels. And white supremacists are planning a rally in Washington, D.C. on August 11-12 to celebrate the violence a year earlier at Charlottesville (VA).

Religious people like to claim that people require religion—preferably Christianity—to be moral. The world of DDT, however, is constantly proving this belief to be wrong. Fundamentalist Christians, dismayed by DDT’s immorality, say that they have to rationalize away some of his behavior and keep the parts that they want. The same is true with the contents of the bible.

Fundamentalists reject fantasy, calling it morally wrong. They often keeping their children from reading books about magic, but the bible is filled with magical occurrences. Most fundamentalists following the biblical interpretations of their clergy instead of reading the document themselves. Religious policies come from church leaders; i.e., not eating meat on Friday isn’t found in the bible. Instead it was developed as a political ploy by the church.

According to research, people have their personal moral compass and then find biblical passages that match their beliefs. If they change their mind about issues, they still claim that God agrees with them—like their acceptance of DDT’s adultery and sexual abuse. A study indicates that the part of a person’s brain activated by personal beliefs is the same as thinking about their perception of God’s beliefs. Thinking about other people’s beliefs activates another part of the brain.

The source of individual morals is complicated, probably a blend of genetics and acculturalization. Atheists get their morals from the same place as Christians—heredity and cultural influence. That’s why atheists don’t score differently than religious people in solving moral dilemmas. Religion is a system of faith and worship of a supernatural power, separate from the moral difference between right and wrong. Christians can easily murder, operate in a corrupt fashion, beat their wives, or commit other crimes. If they don’t break the law themselves, they justify others who do.

Professors Rodney Hessinger and Kristen Toby have an explanation of why fundamentalist Christians support DDT. The preservation of patriarchy that he exhibits has its background in biblical male dominance and superiority that was rooted in the South. Evangelicals have long overlooked the crossing of moral lines as women were forced to ignore their culture’s adultery and acceptance of slavery. Even now, fundamentalist women justify slavery by claiming that slaves were fed, housed, and given health care. With their persecution complex, fundamentalists identify with DDT because he is the “outcast,” the “outsider,” as they believe themselves to be. They believe that all criticisms of DDT are also criticisms of themselves. Fundamentalist religious leaders continually commit adultery, but followers accept this as part of their religion with many leaders keeping their positions.

Thus evangelicals will continue to follow DDT with their violence and patriarchy, believing in the cry to “Make America Great Again,” working for that mythical white nation of centuries ago when immigrants from Europe openly committed genocide.

December 11, 2015

Gun Violence, Good for the Weapons Industry

Killings are great for the bottom line of weapons manufacturers, and representatives from major defense contractors made that clear this week at a conference in West Palm Beach. Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President Bruce Tanner praised the “indirect” benefits from a war in Syria, and part of his speech was widely shared on the Internet. According to Tanner, Middle East strife and conflict in Syria and Turkey will cause “an intangible lift because of the dynamics of that environment and our products in theater.” Wilson Jones, the president of the defense manufacturer Oshkosh, concurred about increased sales, and  Raytheon Chief Executive Tom Kennedy talked about the “significant uptick.” Another speaker at the conference predicted that ISIS’s active armed profile would lead to more marketing opportunities for US defense firms.

Another reason that contractors celebrated was the $607 billion budget from Congress for the Department of Defense. “Our programs are well supported [in the budget]. We think we did fare very well,” Tanner concluded. Very well, indeed, as did stock holders with weapons manufacturers.

U.S. dealers also profit from terrorism by selling weapons to the terrorists. For example, a M29 semi-automatic pistol has been traced to the Florida gun dealer Century Arms. They bought it from Zastava Arms, a Serbian arms manufacturer, that imports heavy weapons to U.S. dealers. Loopholes in U.S. lax gun laws allow gun dealers to import high-powered rifles “stripped of their military features” so that they can be sold as “sporting rifles.”  After arriving in the U.S., rifles can be modified back into assault rifles. Having restored the full killing power of the guns, dealers distribute them to civilians.

Century Arms is a primary importer of the WASR-10, a Romanian modified version of the AK-47 bought legally and smuggled into Mexico where drug cartels use them to spread terror and death. The dealer’s history goes back to its implication in the 1980s Iran Contra scandal when they “supplied rockets, grenades and other weapons to Nicaraguan rebels.”

With 31 percent of global arms exports from 2010 to 2014, the United States is number one in exporting hundreds of billions of dollars worth of military weaponry and equipment. At home, gun sales surged after the San Bernardino as NRA followers repeated the myth of a “good guy with a gun.” NRA collects money for each and every gun sold in the United States, and gun sales are breaking records. Gun production has more than doubled since President Obama was first elected as gun manufacturers and dealers kept spreading the falsehood that he would take away the guns.

Sales from just one company, Smith & Wesson, rose 15.2% to $124.9 million in the past three months and were up 32.1 percent since the same time period last year. Net income was $14.2 million, almost three times the $5.2 million that the company made during the same time period last year. The company’s stock climbed 125 percent in the past 12 months despite an ongoing SEC investigation into the company’s alleged corruption practices.

In response to this travesty, the New York Times published its December 5 editorial, “The Gun Epidemic,” on the front page above the fold for the first time since 1920. That editorial denounced the “cowardice and imbecility” of Warren Harding’s nomination. From the NYT editorial:

“It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency. These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection. America’s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing, as they did on Thursday.”

Another NYT editorial this week attacked the gun industry’s “war profiteering”:

“Across recent decades, gun manufacturers, facing a decline in general gun ownership as demographics shifted and sports hunting faded, have cynically created a domestic market for barely altered rifles and pistols developed for the military. These are weapons designed for the rapid spray-shooting of multiple enemy soldiers in wartime, not homeland civilians living in peace.”

The term “military grade” is one that the NRA and gun “enthusiasts” criticize as a meaningless statement about guns meant for warfare. They try to use descriptions of stocks and barrel length to claim ignorance on the part of gun control advocates. Yet the gun industry itself markets these firearms as weapons of war.

“’As Close as You Can Get Without Enlisting,’ reads one tag line under a photo of a poised shooter aiming the civilian version of a military rifle. An ad for a semiautomatic shotgun promises security whether in ‘Iraq, Afghanistan, Your Livingroom.’ An ad for an armor-piercing handgun shows an embattled infantryman above the line: ‘Built For Them … Built For You.’”

New York Times bulletsPeople concerned about the lax U.S. gun laws question why civilians need to own guns “designed to pierce concrete bunkers and armored personnel carriers.” The guns flooding the U.S. are most useful for mass shootings. Not since the tobacco industry lied about the lethal effects of its product have corporations sold a product with the complete understanding of how many deaths would result from their product. The only answer to the necessity for “military grade” gun ownership is always “freedom” and “protection from tyranny,” but a more credible response would be the feeling of control over lesser individuals.

Showing the level of maturity in someone who most likely calls himself a “responsible gun owner,” Erick Erickson, conservative talk radio host and editor of RedState.com, shot holes in a copy of the New York Times. He also invited others to post photos of bullet holes in the editorial. Is it possible that he believes he can destroy an idea by shooting the paper that it’s printed on?

Making profits from gun violence has extended into the schools. These items for sale show the gun culture in a country that has almost no gun restrictions:blankets

  • Bulletproof blankets: The “Bodyguard™ blanket for school shooting is made of materials used by U.S. soldiers in battle.
  • backpacks
  • Bulletproof backpacks: Armored backpacks rose in sales after the massacre at Sandy Hook, and the number of manufactures has expanded since then.
  • Bulletproof classroom whiteboards: Schools are increasingly spending money on whiteboards that might give people hope.
  • Bulletproof clothing: Parents asked for “ballistic protection” because they are afraid of sending their children to school. The manufacturer is in Colombia but markets for the American market.
  • School shooting smartphone apps: This “panic button in the hands of every teacher and staff” alerts participating schools within a five-mile radius as well as “all participating law enforcement officers, on and off duty, who are in close proximity.”
  • Bulletproof baseball caps: Manufactures claim that the impact from a variety of calibers is “twice that of being hit in helmet with a hockey puck.”
  • School shooting-focused books: Goodreads lists 51 novels about school shootings, and nonfiction books include how-to guides.

For the parents, a bedside gun holster and a bulletproof Bible. (We might ask how safe any of these devices are–especially the “bedside gun holster.”)

bedside holster

No, this isn’t a parody, and no additional guns, including those in schools, won’t help. Only 3 percent of active shooter events were stopped by a civilian with a gun, according to a FBI analysis of these events between 2000 and 2013; unarmed civilians stopped over four times as many, about 13 percent. The higher the household gun ownership, the greater the number of homicides, according to studies. All weapons manufacturers and dealers are creating are more deaths.

July 17, 2015

Time to Protect People from Gun Violence

A couple of articles about guns caught my eye in yesterday morning’s newspaper. One was about a proposed sales tax on guns and ammunition in Seattle to pay for the costs of gun violence and research its prevention. The sales tax would follow one in Cook County (IL), and Seattle would be the second major U.S. city to help offset costs—more than $12 million paid by taxpayers for treating 253 gunshot victims at Harborview Medical Center in 2014.

The second article was about Texas gun owners afraid of Jade Helm 15, a routine military two-month exercise that started Wednesday in seven states with about 1,200 people from Texas to California. To extremists, however, it’s a ploy by the U.S. to take over Texas, one of the “united states.” (Personally, I don’t understand why they would think the U.S. wants Texas.) The New York Times reported an interview with a woman who owns a hair salon in Christoval (TX). About the “conspiracy-theory-type people,” she said, “All they’re worried about is their beer and their guns.” That may describe most of the extremists down there.

The state governor, Greg Abbott, ordered the Texas Guard to “monitor” the exercises after Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) checked on a possible takeover with Pentagon officials and a three-star Air Force general. As recently as mid-May, one-third of the Republicans believed that “the government is trying to take over Texas.” Abbott’s Texas Guard has help from Counter Jade Helm Operation, civilian watchdogs who plan to observe and report military activity every day as they search for suspicious activity. The director tried to explain that “we are not the radical extreme groups.”  I would still check them out to see if they’re wearing tin-foil hats.When the exercises peacefully end in September, conservatives will pat themselves on the back for having prevented President Obama’s dastardly martial law.

The big story about guns yesterday, however, was the murder of four Marines at two military facilities, a recruitment center and a Naval and Marine reserve center, in and near Chattanooga (TN) followed by the death of the shooter.  The right-wing bloggers are in full glory about the tragedy, blaming it on the facilities being designated as “gun free zone” and the shooter being an immigrant to the United States. Nothing was said on right-wing blogs, however, about yesterday’s news that a Colorado jury found James E. Holmes guilty of 165 counts of murder and attempted murder for the mass shooting in an Aurora movie theater almost exactly three years ago. Born in the United States, Holmes was a graduate student at the University of Colorado.

Killing the children in Newtown (CT) seems acceptable to many people in the United States—especially conservative members of Congress—and the deaths of nine people in a Charleston (SC) church inflamed a debate about the Confederate flag which the right-wing supports. The question is whether people will be upset enough about the death of four Marines to allow the “politicization” of change in gun laws.

The editorial board of the conservative USA Today stated, “The guilty verdicts in the James Holmes murder trial and a Tennessee shooting re-enforce the need to tighten gun laws in order to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of those who pose a danger to society.” It pointed out that the number of mass shootings is almost tripling, and laws need to do something about this increase. Without any congressional action, President Obama could tighten gun sense protection through executive orders:

Help prosecutors go after black-market gun sellers: Although it is a federal crime to “engage in the business” of selling firearms without a license, the definition is too fuzzy to shut down most unlicensed dealers who flood the black market with guns that go to criminals. Only 18 states, recently including Oregon, require private sellers to run background checks on handgun sales.

Require the FBI to inform local law enforcement when someone fails a background check: Telling local law enforcement about people trying to buy guns who aren’t allowed to do so could raise red flags about potential crimes. For example, a man trying to buy a gun after a woman takes out a restraining order against him is committing a crime. Passing along that information could save the woman’s life.

Penalize states that fail to report to NICS in a timely manner: Many states are “irresponsibly slow” in reporting people barred from buying guns to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Withholding grant funds to states failing to report in a timely fashion could encourage a faster response.

Differentiate between private gun sales and licensed dealer sales: The FBI does not ask whether a sale is private or through a licensed dealer when a seller calls NICS for a background check. Better information would determine the success of stopping sales to people not allowed to buy guns from private individuals.

Prohibit dealers who lose their licenses from selling off stock through private sales: In 2006, DOJ allowed gun dealers who lose their licenses for violating gun sale regulations to sell their stock privately without background checks. A revision of the rule requiring the leftover inventory to be sold to another licensed dealer would remove the advantage of people who have already proved that they have acted illegally and irresponsibly. For example, a Baltimore dealer with more than 900 infractions of federal regulations was allowed to sell the remaining 700 guns with no background checks.

A study from Harvard University has shown the importance of these changes—and even more stringent gun sense laws. More guns equal more crime, including more firearm robberies, firearm assaults, and homicides by firearms. The rate of all homicides is two times higher in states with the highest number of gun owners. The new study compliments a 2013 study that increased gun ownership corresponds to an overall increased rate of non stranger homicides. A 2014 Boston University study shows that the overall homicide rate increases 0.7 percent for every one percent increase in gun ownership.

States with the highest numbers of gun owners had 6.8 times more firearm assaults than states with the lowest numbers of gun owners. Firearm homicides were 2.8 times higher. Additionally, the rate of firearm robberies was found to increase, point by point, in correlation to an increase in gun ownership. The theory that people are safer by buying more guns is wrong. Increased gun ownership preceded the increased crime rate, indicating that increased gun ownership leads to more crime.

The new study is one of many that show a correlation in recent years between increased gun ownership and increased crime rates. Last year a Stanford University study revealed that relaxed gun laws led to an increase in crime, instead of a decrease, in spite of NRA predictions that the opposite would happen. NRA focuses on just one study, conducted before the organization succeeded in deregulating firearms in large parts o the United States and at the same time that the NRA convinced Congress to cut off any funding for more research on the impact of these lax gun laws. The study negates the theory expressed on a right-wing blog that “the U.S. is just experiencing a run of phenomenal bad luck.”

On a day-to-day basis, people with guns in the United States are the greatest threat to other people in the U.S.—greater than Russia, China, North Korea, and ISIS, the threats listed by General Joseph Dunford, President Obama’s nominee to be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.Every day 30+ people are murdered with guns in the United States. The five youth killed each day by gun violence is 11 times more than any other “high income” nation. The 33,636 killed by gun violence in this country in 2013 is more than the number killed by terrorists in the last 14 years, including 9/11. Only 48 have been killed since then by terrorism. Of these deaths from gun violence, about 20,000 are from suicide—fatal 85 percent of the time in contrast to the 3-percent fatality rate from pills.

Republicans reluctant to link themselves with gun sense laws include the presidential candidates. For example, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has failed to say whether he will to sign a bill, passed three weeks ago, to reduce gun possession by domestic abusers. After the woman’s death that moved the bill out of committee, Christie created a commission the night before he announced his campaign for president to determine if any state gun laws “infringe on New Jerseyans’ constitutional rights” and require modification. Gun groups oppose laws that bar suspected domestic abusers, abusers under protective orders, or convicted stalkers from owning guns. The proposed law would attempt to ensure that the subject of a restraining order actually surrenders his or her guns.

Republicans responded to the woman’s death with a bill to expedite the gun permitting process for victims of domestic abuse. A California shows that the percentage of women who purchased a handgun before being killed jumped to 45 percent from the 20 percent of women shot to death by an intimate partner.Christie supported the state’s tough gun laws until he considered a run for president when he vetoed the .50 caliber rifle ban in 2013.

The United States has a special department to protect people from terrorism but no department to protect people from gun violence. It’s time for an agency to coordinate efforts to keep the people within the United States safe from the clear and present danger from guns.

October 3, 2014

Stop Gun Violence by Diagnosing IED

Whenever the NRA and the gun manufactures face the threat of gun restriction laws after a major event, they claim that it’s not the fault of the guns. If the government did something about the mentally ill, the whole problem would be solved. But who are the mentally ill and what can be done.

Laura L. Hayes wrote about her experiences working with the mentally ill thirty years ago. She described “one sweet, diminutive, elderly patient” who stabbed a person in a supermarket. At her commitment hearing, the patient explained that she had been hearing voices that told her not to hurt the man in front of her in line.  Yet she had become so angry because he had over 10 items in the express lane that she couldn’t keep from stabbing him. In the hospital, her medications stabilized her, but at home she didn’t take them.

The stabbing didn’t come from mental illness. It was from the inability to control anger. Violence comes from people who lack the skills to manage their anger, and most homicides are committed by people who have a history of violence. A summary of studies on murder and prior record of violence show that between 80 and 90 percent of murders had prior police records as compared to 15 percent of the general population. A study of domestic murders shows that 46 percent of the perpetrators had a restraining order against them when they killed the person or persons. Family murders are preceded by prior domestic violence more than 90 percent of the time.

Paolo del Vecchio of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has said that only five percent of violence comes from people with mental illness. Seena Fazel’s 2009 study shows a slightly higher rate of violent crime by schizophrenics but almost entirely from alcohol and drug abuse. The MacArthur Violence Risk Assessment Study found that mentally ill people with no substance abuse problem are no more violent than other people in their community.

Anger comes from the primal fight-or-flight response. People stop thinking and react as if their lives depend on their actions. Fighting was useful for survival in our ancestors’ times, but it has become a problem in our current complex world. The angrier one is, the less one can think clearly. The abilities to negotiate, find a new perspective, or handle provocation disappear.  The lack of those abilities transfers responses to repressed rage with no acceptable outlet. It usually comes from backgrounds in which adults repress anger or intimidate in a violent manner.

The anger culture in the country has developed into growing mass murder as well as violence toward children and spouses, rape, road rage, assault, and violent robberies. People who have intermittent explosive disorder (IED) tend to have been exposed to patterns of IED, often by parents who cannot control their anger. The disorder affects up to 5 percent of adults, or about 16 million Americans. The first episode of rage may occur in adolescence, about age 13 for males and age 19 for females.

People can be trained to balance the initial fight-or-flight response with the nervous system that returns the ability to reason. Some techniques include deep breathing, relaxation techniques, identification of warning cues, and listening skills that shift a person from emotional to more objective thinking.

One technique that has proved useful is mindfulness training. The incorporation of deep breathing, heightened attention to the internal state, and the acceptance of internal discomfort can reduce anxiety, depression, and stress. The goal is to observe thoughts without identifying with and acting on them. Dialectical behavior therapy incorporates these skills with instruction in distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.

IED doesn’t stand alone; it can lead to depression, anxiety, and alcohol or drug-abuse as well as coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, ulcers, headaches, and chronic pain.

IED may be diagnosed with blood tests. Two inflammation markers have been found in people diagnosed with IED but not in people with good mental health or other mental heal disorders. IED may initially be viewed as merely bad behavior, but “it has strong genetic and biomedical underpinnings,” according to Emil Coccaro, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Chicago. About his study, he said, “This is a serious mental health condition that can and should be treated.”

The two markers of inflammation are C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6). The liver produces CRP in response to an infection or injury to focus the immune system on dead or damaged cells. White blood cells secrete IL-6 to stimulate immune responses such as fever and inflammation as well as increasing production of CRP.

The study shows that “medications that reduce inflammation may also drive down aggression,” Coccaro said in a news release. Anti-inflammatories such as Celebrex, or even aspirin, might make a difference for those with IED. People with a biochemical and genetic predisposition for IED, at the drop of a pin could benefit from looking into treatment.

Diagnosis of IED includes a feeling of tremendous tension before the outburst, including tremors and head pressure, followed by a sense of relief. Afterwards, people feel their outbursts are justified but still suffer embarrassment and regret. Criteria evidencing IED are several anger-driven episodes showing failure to resist aggression and intentional destruction of property or assault on others or themselves. The violence is out of proportion to the stress.

IED affects more men than women and can be a particular problem in school. Children have negative feelings toward others, probably because of harsh punishments from parents, and believe that people are out to get them. Their way to protect themselves is through violence. Frequent discipline because of aggressive acts increases frustrations.

Adult IED sufferers’ inability to interact in social and professional environments leads to divorce and job loss which causes financial and legal problems. Road rage causes car accidents and, more and more commonly, assaults on other drivers.

A recent study of the military has discovered that almost 25 percent of almost 5,500 active-duty, non-deployed Army soldiers suffer from some form of behavioral disorders. About 80 percent of these (ADHD, IED, and substance abuse) existed before enlistment. IED is six times as high among soldiers as civilians.

The military largely depends on candidates to disclose their mental wellbeing histories. Between that system and the culture that does not see anger as a major problem, the violence will continue. The NRA and gun manufacturers refuse to recognize any problems in a person with IED carrying a loaded gun.

Perhaps the new discovery that IED may be caused by a physical condition can help identify people who are dangers to themselves and others. We need to address IED as a public health issue to reduce suicides and murders.

September 22, 2014

Courts, Laws Protect Domestic Abusers

Jessica Arrendale, 33, was found dead in her bathroom after her partner beat her with a baseball  bat, kicked in the locked bathroom door, and then shot her with an assault rifle. She saved her six-month-old daughter, Cobie by putting her in the toilet and leaning over it. Antoine Davis, a Iraq veteran, had been suffering from depression, according to his ex-wife. After killing Arrendale, Davis went to his infant daughter’s bedroom and killed himself. His two daughters, ages 9 and 10, were in the house. Police waited 13 hours until storming the townhouse. The infant has a traumatic head injury but is alive after being cared for hypothermia.

The death of Arrendale will join the number of women killed with a gun by an intimate partner—6,410 between 2001 and 2012, more than the number of U.S. military members killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  The risk of a woman being the victim of homicide increases at least 500 percent when guns are present during the domestic violence crisis.

While people continue to be killed by guns either through intent or accident, the National Rifle Association has ramped up its attempt to put more money into the coffers of gun manufacturers. One of these efforts is hiring female gun enthusiasts as official NRA News commentators and the NRA Women’s TV Network, launched last year. Next month the NRA-hosted Women’s Leadership Forum Executive Summit will “celebrate the role of women as powerful leaders.”

One woman leader who NRA won’t celebrate is Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, attacked in the most recent issue of NRA’s America’s 1st Freedom. Conservative legal scholar and gun rights lobbyist Dave Kopel accuses Watts of being a front for a political group instead of a homemaker turned grassroots activist. Mother of five, Watts left her corporate PR executive position four years ago to be a consultant from her home. In 2010, she and her husband opened an art gallery. After Kopel’s denigration of Watts, he proceeds into the stale, false argument about how often good guys with guns stop the bad guys. But the major criticism is that “the willfully gullible media persist in portraying [Moms Demand Action] as an authentic social movement and Watts as a homemaker who just decided to do something about guns.”

Male NRA members support Kopel’s position. After the magazine posted an item on Facebook about Moms Demand Action “desperately bullying Kroger” over that company’s gun policy one commenter responded: “‘Moms Demand Action’ more like fat housewives that need to get a good dicking and get their ass back in the kitchen.” Another wrote, “Women are generally idiots.” Other responses: “Somebody needs to point out to these bitches that people who legally buy guns are not the ones going out and committing crimes”; and “They need to change their name to everyday nagging wives. That’s all they do. Seriously annoying.”

Desperate because they are not selling enough weapons for the gun manufacturers, the NRA has released two videos fantasizing young women as assault rifles. “Beauty Shots” shows NRA News commentator Colion Noir describing an attractive woman as she dresses in workout gear, swims, and stares seductively into the camera. Noir concludes, “She is Daniel Defense M4-A1.” The video was released three days after a college student killed seven people in Santa Barbara because of his rage at attractive young women. In a discussion of another video, Noir said, “The HK MR556 is that gun like that girl who’s unbelievably attractive, she has this presence about her that seems untouchable and she’s not apologetic about her beauty.” His female interviewer responded, “I like the comparison with the woman—the hot woman.”

The NRA sees women as an untapped source of gun buyers. Of the 70,000 people who attend its annual conferences, over 80 percent are men. As household gun ownership declines, male gun owners outnumber females by 3-1.

A common response from NRA supporters and people who refuse to believe in gun sense is that women should protect themselves with guns. Arrendale tried to protect herself with a baseball bat, but her killer took it away and beat her with it. Violence would most likely have happened if she had had a gun. There are many stories of men who purchase guns for wives and female partners before killing them with these weapons.

Equally—or perhaps more—tragic is the story of  Marissa Alexander, who fired one warning shot into the wall to ward off her abusive ex-husband as he threatened to attack her. The Florida woman was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Following George Zimmerman’s exoneration after he stalked and killed a black teenager, Alexander’s supporters were able to get her out of prison for a new trial. Now the prosecutor, the same person who gave such a weak case against Zimmerman’s defense, wants her in prison for 60 years. Florida has a new “Stand Your Ground” law that legalizes warning shots without first attempting to retreat. Yet Duval County Circuit Court Judge James Daniel has denied Alexander a hearing seeking immunity from prosecution.

No one knows how many other women are in prison because they defended themselves against abusers: no agency, including prison and court systems, keeps track of this statistic. A California prison study found that 93 percent of women who killed their significant others had been abused by them. In New York, it’s 67 percent.

Victoria Law reports that every domestic violence survivor in prison for defending herself had repeatedly, and unsuccessfully, sought help. One woman said that the police drove by and ignored the violence while her boyfriend beat her on the street. The only time that they arrested the boyfriend was for illegal drug paraphernalia—an overnight offense. Another woman said that every time she called the police that they would talk to the boyfriend and then allow him to return to abusing her. The abuser of a third woman was a police officer which left her nowhere to go for protection.

Law wrote:

“In Sin by Silence, a documentary about survivors incarcerated for defending themselves, sociologist Dr. Elizabeth Leonard explained that a battered woman is 75 percent more at risk of being killed after she leaves. She stays at that increased risk for the next two years. Feeling as if he’s losing control, batterers generally increase their level of violence. ‘Leaving does not stop the violence,’ states Dr. Leonard, in the film.”

Every women dealing with abuse knows that the choice is his life or hers. The difference between men and women is that men are exonerated and women are imprisoned.

Last month U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller was arrested for misdemeanor battery after his wife called 911 during his attack on her. He agreed to a 24-week domestic violence intervention program with no time behind bars and stays on the bench with his record expunged. Federal judges are confirmed by the Senate to lifetime terms, though the chamber can also remove them from office. Fuller, a George W. Bush appointee, was confirmed in 2002 with the support of GOP Alabama Sens. Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions.

Fuller issued this statement:

“This incident has been very embarrassing to me, my family, friends and the court,” Judge Fuller said in a statement. “I deeply regret this incident and look forward to working to resolve these difficulties with my family, where they should be resolved.”

At this time, Shelby and Sessions both want Fuller to leave the bench, but they have not called for impeachment. Law enforcement and courts continue to protect men and incarcerate women. Marissa Alexander is still in prison for defending herself, as are thousands of other women. Jessica Arrendale is dead because of domestic violence, like thousands of other women. And the United States allows uncontrolled purchase and ownership of guns used for killing innocent people.

September 13, 2014

NFL, U.S. Have Violence against Women Problem

Rush Limbaugh: forcing the NFL to punish players for domestic violence will “chickify” the game:

“We’re feminizing this game, and it’s a man’s game. If we keep feminizing this game, we’re going to ruin it.”

Limbaugh also said that NFL players are Democats—probably because they’re black—and no Republicans are accused of beating up on their wives.

Brian Kilmeade, co-host of Fox & Friends: beaten unconscious by then fiancé and now husband, Baltimore Raven Ray Rice, Janay Rice should “take the stairs.” Co-host Anna Kooiman giggled. Host Steve Doocy: “The message is, when you’re in an elevator, there’s a camera.”

Fox network contributor Tamara Holder: “The anti-testicular police are coming out and just taking this guy’s b*lls and ripping them off and not paying attention to the fact that there is a family here.”

David Anthony Wiggins, a Republican candidate for Baltimore County sheriff: “Women want equality. [Janay Rice] got some of it.”

Bryan Fischer, American Family Association spokesman:  regarding his perception of Janay Rice’s lack of education, “when biblical standards of morality are ignored, people get hurt.”

People have expressed outrage at Janay Rice or dismissal of the abuse’s seriousness because married Ray Rice; others blamed her because she must have done something to provoke Rice.

Sixteen female senators expressed outrage in a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell demanding the dismissal of all players who commit domestic violence. The only women senators failing to sign the letter are Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Deb Fisher (R-NE). Rice had originally been suspended for only two games; his indefinite suspension came only after the graphic video footage was leaked to the public.

Before the video was leaked, Ray Rice avoided any jail time because Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain approved his entering New Jersey’s Pre-Trial Intervention program as a first-time offender. The same prosecutor is trying to put Shaneen Allen, a 27-year-old mother of two, into jail for three to ten years. Also a first-time offender, she didn’t know that her Pennsylvania concealed-carry permit didn’t allow her to carry a gun in New Jersey. Pulled over for a minor traffic offense, Allen informed the officer she had a gun, explaining that she had been robbed twice and was afraid for her children, and showed her permit. She was arrested and refused the same pre-trial program where Rice is before losing her job.

With evidence that they had seen the video last April, NFL has asked for an independent investigation into the situation. A law enforcement official, who insisted on anonymity, reported an NFL official left him a voice mail on April 9 thanking him for the video and adding, “You’re right. It’s terrible.” Leading the investigation is former FBI director Robert Mueller who works for a law firm that has represented the NFL; the investigation is being overseen by two NFL owners. Only the Rice controversy is the focus of the investigation.

Terry O’Neill, president of NOW, said, “The NFL does not just have a Ray Rice problem; they have a violence against women problem.”  Two other players still on the field are Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, convicted of DV, and San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald, accused of domestic violence. A description of the alleged violence is here. According to Slate research, the 49ers have four players who have been either charged with or arrested for domestic violence, sexual assault, or assaults against women. The Arizona Cardinals have three, with one of them on the practice squad instead of the 53-man roster and another suspended for substance abuse. The Seahawks have two, as do the Chicago Bears. The Ravens had two until the video of Rice showed up. Nine other teams have at least one player. These don’t include players like Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs who was accused of domestic abuse but not charged. There was no video.

The NFL also has a violence against children problem. Texas has indicted Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson on a charge of injury to a child after he “whooped” his four-year-old son. Peterson, 29, lost a son a year ago from head injuries after the boyfriend of the boy’s mother assaulted the two-year-old. After the boy pushed a sibling off a video game motorbike. Peterson stripped a tree branch of leaves and left the child with cuts and bruises to his back, buttocks, ankles, legs and scrotum, along with defensive wounds to the child’s hands. At a previously-scheduled appointment, a doctor concluded the wounds are consistent with child abuse. The boy also said that his father often used “a lot of belts in daddy’s closet” and would stuff leaves in his mouth while striking him with his pants down. Although Peterson was deactivated from the game tomorrow, he has not yet been suspended from the NFL. That means he still gets paid.

Domestic violence discussion is a long-buried issue, but Nation reported on an investigation into South Carolina’s crisis. Three times as many women have been killed by current or former lovers there than the number of South Carolina soldiers who lost their lives in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The state is among the top ten states in the rate of women killed by men for over 15 years and topped the list three different times, including last year with a murder rate for women more than double the national rate.

Factors that leading to this large number of killings in South Carolina:

Legislators don’t pass laws to protect women. The series reported that “a man can earn five years in prison for abusing his dog but a maximum of just 30 days in jail for beating his wife or girlfriend on a first offense.”

Prosecutors face challenges in getting cases to stick. These range “from overcrowded court dockets and under-trained police to victims too scared to testify against the men who beat them.”

Trusted pastors advise that staying and working things out is God’s will. “In churches that did acknowledge abuse… pastors often compounded the problem by counseling abusers and victims together—and then sending them home with the sting of their shared grievances still fresh. Back behind closed doors, the abuser would take out his frustrations on his partner all over again.”

Todd-Kincannon-twitter-photoTodd Kincannon, former director of South Carolina’s GOP, demonstrates the state’s attitude toward domestic violence. After the release of the Rice video, he tweeted, “I hope the dumb bitch who initiated physical violence with her NFL player fiancé  learned a good lesson when he justifiably beat her.”

Domestic violence problems are not unique in South Carolina, and opposition to fighting domestic violence is not unique with the NFL in sports. More than three women per day lose their lives at the hands of their partners. Since February 15, 2014 when Ray Rice hit Janay in the elevator, over 600 women have died from domestic violence. This is a cultural problem in our society.

Twenty years ago today, President Clinton signed the Violence against Women Act.  It was the first federal legislation to specifically address domestic violence and sexual assault as crimes and to provide federal funding to improve local response to violence against women, including training and resources for law enforcement and judges. The law has been renewed three times since 1994, the most recently last year when Republicans bitterly fought its expansion to Native American, immigrant, and LGBT communities. A key part of the landmark law redefined wife beating as a crime rather than a joke. A man witnessing Rice’s brutality laughed and told his friends that Rice “should have taken her to their room first.” That’s today’s society.

Major brand sponsors are watching the NFL investigation into domestic violence. Nike and Electronic Arts have already dropped their connections to Ray Rice. Perhaps money can succeed when a sense of right and wrong doesn’t.

June 18, 2014

Domestic Terrorists, a Bigger Problem than Foreign Ones

Almost 13 years, 19 al-Qaeda extremists killed 2,977 people in the U.S., a tragedy that allowed George W. Bush to start two “military actions” costing us over one trillion dollars. Reasons beginning with a search for non-existent weapons of mass destruction evolved to an excuse of bringing democracy to the world—preferably countries with oil. In the past 11 years, the U.S. has caused 6,717 military deaths, 650,000 or more Iraqi civilian deaths, and at least 320,000 brain injuries.

Shortly before Bush left the presidency, he signed an agreement that required U.S. forces to withdraw from Iraq by December 31, 2011. President Obama complied with Bush’s agreement, but the Sunni insurgents that the U.S.-appointed Shia government replaced are returning.

So are the conservative war hawks in Congress. As violence in Iraq escalates and Sunnis take over parts of Iraq, the conservative rhetoric against the president and for another “military action” in Iraq ramps up. The chicken hawks in Congress are demanding that the U.S. military kill more Iraqis.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is outraged because we are losing all those non-existent “gains” that the U.S. made in Iraq. He was wrong when he said over ten years ago that winning would be easy and that Iraqis would greet the U.S. as liberators, and he’s wrong now when he said, “The fact is, we had the conflict won. The surge had succeeded. And then, the decision was made by the Obama administration to not have a residual force in Iraq.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tried to cover for his buddy when he injected greater fear in his warnings. “The people that are moving into Iraq … have as part of their agenda … to hit our homeland.” What Graham ignores is that “our homeland” is already under attack. The attackers, however, are not foreign terrorists; they are domestic terrorists.

The definition of terrorism is violence against innocent civilians to advance a political cause. People in the United States are far more likely to be killed by right-wing Americans than foreign terrorists. Since 9/11, right-wing extremists (aka terrorists) have killed people at the Jewish Community Center in Kansas City, a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, a church in Kansas because a doctor performed abortions,  These acts were not simply one person deciding to murder another; the killers were tied to far right-wing groups.

In both the recent murders at the Jewish Community Center and the Boston Marathon bombing, three people were killed. One of these events produced hours and hours and hours of media attention, even on its anniversary; the other event received far less attention. A big difference is that the killer at the Jewish Center yelled “Heil Hitler” instead of “Allah Akbar.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) calculates that the United States has 939 far right-wing hate groups, including neo-Nazis, Klansmen, white nationalists, neo-Confederates, racist skinheads, and border vigilantes. This is 56 percent more than in 2000. SPLC stated:

“This surge has been fueled by anger and fear over the nation’s ailing economy, an influx of non-white immigrants, and the diminishing white majority, as symbolized by the election of the nation’s first African-American president…. The number of Patriot groups, including armed militias, skyrocketed following the election of President Obama in 2008 – rising 813 percent, from 149 groups in 2008 to an all-time high of 1,360 in 2012.”

The standoff at Cliven Bundy’s ranch because he didn’t want to pay his debts to the federal government is an indicator of domestic terrorism in the United States. Well-armed self-identified militia demanded that federal officials stand down and give up their guns. To prevent deaths, the federal officials complied. While conservatives refer to the people fighting the Iraqi government as insurgents, they use the term “patriots” to refer to the self-identified militia in Nevada and Utah. These armed “patriots” pointed weapons at federal officials, took armed control of local roads without challenge, and rode roughshod over federally-protected sacred Native American lands.

Five years ago, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a report about violent right-wing extremist groups that were recruiting military veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. Conservative columnists expressed outrage, and DHS retracted the report. They stopped examining non-Islamic terrorist threats—anti-abortion extremists, white supremacists, “sovereign citizens,” eco-terrorists, etc.

The myths that gun carriers are good people and that killings can be stopped by gun carriers were erased less than two weeks ago when members of the militia on Bundy’s ranch walked into a Las Vegas Walmart and killed two cops before killing another man. There have been claims that the couple was asked to leave because one of them was a felon, but he was still part of the group holding off the federal officials.

While the killer was at the Bundy ranch, he spoke to reporters:

“I feel sorry for any federal agents that want to come in here and try to push us around or something like that. I really don’t want violence toward them, but if they’re going to come bring violence to us, well if that’s the language they want to speak, we’ll learn it.”

Before he fired on the police officers, he reportedly yelled, “This is the start of a revolution.” After the murders, the couple draped the bodies with the Revolution-era “don’t treat on me” flag.

A few days before the murders, the Department of Justice announced a law enforcement group to investigate domestic terrorism. The Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee was formed after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 but disbanded after 9/11. Attorney General Eric Holder said it was to “return our focus to potential extremists here at home,” specifically those motivated by “causes from anti-government animus to racial prejudice.”

Conservatives are again in a snit about the committee. Pat Dollard said it was waging war on white men. Alex Jones claimed that the president is going after his political enemies. Glenn Beck thinks that “this regime” is terrified about attempts to “re-establish our constitutional government.”

Another Bundy-follower and self-proclaimed “sovereign citizen,” 60-year-old  Brent Douglas Cole, shot a BLM ranger and a California Highway Patrol officer last Saturday at a campground in California’s Nevada County. According to SPLC, “Sovereigns believe that they–not judges, juries, law enforcement or elected officials–get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore, and they don’t think they should have to pay taxes.” Cole describes himself as “a statutory Attorney General of the United States.”

The “stand your ground” laws that allowed people to kill others and walk free has been superseded by an even more horrifying  NRA-promoted law in Indiana. In that state, anyone can kill police officers who might be overstepping authority. If a police officer trespasses on property, for example, that person can be shot and perhaps killed. The couple who killed the police officers in Las Vegas was from Indiana.

Graham is wrong about al-Qaeda hitting “our homeland.” People within the “homeland” are doing just fine at destroying it. Gun makers, gun sellers, gun show vendors, NRA execs and lobbyists, and open carry fanatics are terrifying members of Congress so that more people—including small children—will be killed and others will start to hide. The gunners succeeded in frightening people in Nevada and Utah, breaking laws with impunity and taking over governments.

The Pentagon has an ongoing series of studies to investigate large-scale civil unrest. The Minerva Research Initiative, started in 2008, is now studying only non-violent activists as part of a “social contagion.” A concern is that “problem-causers” in peaceful protests are “threatening the established balance of power and influence, and challenging law and order.” Part of the study also deals with how “to counteract grassroots movements.”

Instead of spending trillions of dollars to “fight terrorism abroad,” the country needs to fight homegrown terrorists who are taking over the United States. Instead of concentrating on non-violent activists, the Pentagon needs to look into domestic terrorists. We have a serious problem in “our homeland,” and it needs to be addressed.

February 14, 2013

One Billion Rising Fights Violence against Women & Girls

For years, February 14 was known as “V” Day for those who could not bring themselves to say “vagina.” Written by Eve Ensler 17 years ago, The Vagina Monologues is a play in which women discuss feminist topics, emphasizing how the vagina empowers women and addressing women’s views on physical and emotional sexuality. On the 15th anniversary of V-Day, Ensler has initiated the One Billion Rising campaign to protest violence against women.

At some time during their lives, one in three women are subject to violence—domestic abuse, gang rape, female genital mutiliation, war, etc.  Half of the seven billion global population are women. That means that one billion women alive now will be, or have been, subjected to violence.

Joanne Tosti-Vasey wrote that the violence against women may be even more pervasive. The United Nations reported that the percentage may be as high as 70 percent of women and girls who experience sexual or physical violence during their lifetime. “Among women ages 15-44, the incidence of this form of violence – mostly perpetrated by husbands, intimate partners, or people the women know – accounts for more disability and deaths than occur from cancer, malaria, traffic accidents, and war combined.”

Today flash mobs, dancers, and other artistic expressions around the world gave vision to unifying events designed to “Break the Chain” of violence against women and girls. “Violence is like climate change,” said Connie Madden, one of the participants. “People do not want to look at it. We need to shine a light on the violence and change what we do. Instead of the growing cultural clashes around the world, we need to find ways to come together as one human race, rather than warring tribes.”

This February 14th may have brought the largest art event in history, including the beautiful posters and videos easily available online.

Jasmine Whitbread wrote,

“Violence against women begins with violence against girls. In many countries, this begins even before birth — estimates suggest that there are more than 100 million ‘missing women’ as a result of sex-selective abortions.

“For far too many girls this violence continues through childhood. In its most obvious forms, that means that millions of girls face being victims of sexual violence, female genital mutilation and forced into early marriages. In the next decade more than 100 million girls are expected to be married before they reach 18. Early marriage increases the likelihood of early pregnancy and that substantially increases a child’s risk of ill-health and even death. Babies born to girls in their teens face a 50 percent higher risk of dying before age one than babies born to women in their 20s.

“But violence comes in less obvious forms too. Excess female childhood mortality is on the rise in several areas of the world. Globally, there are 107 female child deaths for every 100 deaths amongst male children. Often because of a lower value put on them girls eat last (and least) in vulnerable households around the world and have less access to healthcare than boys. Gender discrimination towards women is inseparably linked to child survival–studies have repeatedly shown that the mortality, health and well-being of children are intimately linked to the health of their mothers.”

Ensler said,

“I think it’s really important that when we dance, we think about what dance is and why dance is important. I think most of us women, we don’t wear what we want. We don’t go where we want at any time of the day. We don’t move the way we want because we are always afraid at some level of being attacked or harassed or hurt or raped or invaded. And when we dance on the 14 th the whole idea is we break out of this cage of patriarchy, of fear, of intimidation, and we blast open the boundaries that have kept ourselves, kept our creativity, kept our vision, kept our bodies in prison.”

Even if you didn’t join a flash mob or dance group, wear One Billion Rising colors red and black tomorrow to keep the spirit of the day alive. Tell everyone you know about this problem—especially the 22 male GOP senators who have just voted against the passage of the Violence against Women Act. And tell people about the five male senators who refused to endorse an amendment that would ban human trafficking.

Over one billion women in the world suffer from violence. This is unacceptable.

February 1, 2019

DDT: Week 106 – Mass Shootings, Corruption

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The shutdown is on hiatus, and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) gets to escape the White House this weekend for a retreat to Mar-a-Lago. DDT spent his week causing making Venezuelans people to suffer while gifting Vladimir Putin by lifting sanctions and encouraging him to make as many nuclear weapons as he wants by removing a treaty. Little noticed by the media, however, is the ongoing slaughter of people in the United States by young white men. Three 21-year-olds each murdered at least three people in three different mass shootings last week:

  • Five women killed in a Sebring (FL) SunTrust bank.
  • Three people shot in a Pennsylvania bar, two of them killed, and an elderly man shot dead in a home where the suspect crashed his car and killed himself.
  • A young woman killed with her brother and father before the murderer shot and killed his parents in their nearby Louisiana home.

Media focus on mass shootings now seems to come only from a location such as a school or religious institution and/or massive numbers of dead. Largely ignored in the first month of 2019 were 32 mass shootings—the shooting of at least four or more people. As the media writes about how ISIS radicalized its recruits, it skips over how young white men in the United States are radicalized and committing more and more mass shootings.

Back, however, to the actions of the nation’s tweeter-in-chief who promotes violence in the United States. Before DDT left for his weekend getaway, he gave an 85-minute interview to the New York Times, which he claims to hate, in which he said that he would proceed with “wall” without congressional negotiations because they were a “waste of time.” About House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), DDT said, “I’ve actually always gotten along with her, but now I don’t think I will any more.” He also denied that he worked on his Moscow skyscraper through his election, saying that former fixer Michael Cohen was lying. According to DDT, outgoing deputy AG, Rod Rosenstein, told his lawyers that DDT was not a target of special investigator Robert Mueller.

In a reversal from his temper tantrums how his intelligence leaders had contradicted him, DDT claimed that they told him that the media misinterpreted the testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee. “They said, ‘Sir, our testimony was totally mischaracterized,’” DDT said. “I’m happy with Dan Coats.”

In his intent to take over Venezuela, DDT looks to help from Brazil where 13 Brazilian investors, involved with DDT in a Rio de Janeiro hotel project until 2016, have been arrested and charged with diverting pension money into the scheme. DDT bailed just after his election and just before a criminal investigation into the funding process.

Three of DDT’s children—Ivanka, Eric, and Don, Jr.—are being sued for their endorsement of a fraudulent scam promoted on DDT’s reality show, The Apprentice. The Trumps received millions of dollars in secret payments from 2005 to at least 2015 from ACN persuading people to sell a “doomed” desktop video phone service. The video phone, which connected calls among only ACN customers, lost to Skype and smart phones.

Three House committee chairs have asked for documents surrounding Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s lifting sanctions from Russian companies, giving Vladimir Putin’s oligarchs millions of dollars to spend on election interference. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) has also asked about Mnuchin’s possible conflicts of interest with his ties to the oligarchs because he refused to recuse himself from the sanctions discussions.

When Mnuchin took his current government position, he sold his shares in RatPac-Dune Entertainment for $25 million to Len Blavatnik and Oleg Deripaska. Blavatnik co-owns Sual Partners with another sanctioned oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg, and Sual “is a major shareholder” of Rusal, one of Deripaska’s companies that benefited from Mnuchin’s lifting the sanctions. Blavatnik, who donated $1 million to DDT’s inaugural fund, formerly served on Rusal’s board. SUAL will own 22.5 percent of Rusal after the restructuring, and the rise in Rusal’s stock price with the lifting of the sanctions increased the value of SUAL Partners’ holding in the company by about $800 million. When questioned earlier about lifting the sanctions, Mnuchin testified in a House committee hearing that legislators should just “trust” DDT.

Part of the agreement to lift the Russian sanctions was for the Rusal to change its board of directors. Now one of DDT’s presidential transition team, Christopher Burnham, sits on Rusal’s board. Burnham is a former official at Deutsche Bank, the financial institution involved in money-laundering scandals with strong ties with DDT’s funding for his projects. The sanctions were quietly lifted last Sunday as Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) announced her presidential candidacy to a crowd of over 20,000 in Oakland.

Russian oligarchs support U.S. Christian fundamentalists in their fight to make the United States a theocracy. As the keynote speaker for the 2014 National Organization for Marriage gala, Ben Carson mixed with such notables as Alexey Komov, fascist-supporter, anti-Semite, and key employee of sanctioned Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev. In his speech, Carson said that Marxists were “using LGBT rights to destroy American unity and impose the ‘New World Order.’” The process of “Making America Christian” includes partnering with U.S. homeschool organizations and working closely with Christian movie reviewers. Malofeev funded eastern Ukrainian pro-Russian “separatists” who are believed to shoot down Malaysian Air Flight MH17 and kill all 283 passengers and 15 crew members.

Campaign groups connected to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY), instrumental in making sure the sanctions were lifted, received $7 million to elect Republicans, starting with $3.5 million to a PAC connected to McConnell. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) also received hefty donations.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), chair of the Armed Services Committee, received $1,000 in “unused campaign funds” from former Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) on the day that a McKeon associate met with an Inhofe staff on behalf of the Saudi Arabians. The Saudis paid McKeon $450,000 three days after they killed U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The House has also directed the Pentagon to complete a report on climate change that ommitted requested details such as specific cost estimates to protect or replace the ten most vulnerable bases from each of the military services. The Pentagon report already released expressed security concerns about climate change although it listed no Marine Corps installations. Four months before the release of the report, Hurricane Florence cost Camp Lejeune, the biggest Marine base on the East Coast, over $3 billion in damages. Also omitted was Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida where Hurricane Michael destroyed 95 percent of the buildings. Patrick Shanahan, former Boeing executive, became acting DOD Secretary after Jim Mattis left.

DDT is sending thousands more troops to the border with Mexico because of the “caravans” coming from the south, and he agrees with the majority of people that a physical barrier will not stop the migrants. Told that the border for much of Texas is the middle of the Rio Grande River, DDT agreed that people just had to “touch the land.” He was wrong when he said that criminals “are released into our country.”

A caravan of millions is actually crossing the Mexico border for health care—but it’s going south. In just Yuma (AZ), 6,000 people cross into Los Algodones every day for healthcare, especially dental care. In the U.S., 74 million people, one-fourth the population, have no dental insurance, and most people with that insurance are not covered beyond regular checkups and filings that have a cap of $1,500. Getting dental work in Mexico saves people between 67 percent and 80 percent. One reason for less cost is lack of student debt: dentists pay the government for tuition with one year of free service. [Below: U.S. cars heading into Tijuana.]

More people are going to need healthcare with DDT’s plans to weaken regulations for beryllium exposure, causing lung cancer and symptoms such as difficulty breathing/shortness of breath, weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, joint pain, cough, and fever. The disease also leads to disability and death.

DDT may be watching too many Star Trek reruns on television. He offered NASA unlimited funding if they can put the U.S. flag on Mars by 2020. An astronaut surprised DDT by reminding him that DDT had already set the timeline for the 2030s. Unhappy with that revelation, DDT suggested that NASA drop all other priorities and focus on a trip to Mars, which is 200 times farther than the moon. Even private efforts for a Mars journey were set back last week after a storm flipped the test vehicle SpaceX in progress at Boca Chica (TX). In his new book Team of Vipers, Cliff Sims described a conversation in the White House when DDT was pushing for a trip to Mars in the coming year.

The Senate passed nonbinding bipartisan legislation objecting to DDT’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Syria. Women in Afghanistan fear control by the Taliban who may subject females to forced marriages, domestic violence, inability to leave their homes without a male relative, and mandatory full-length burqas that cover their faces.

To keep DDT happy, his campaign team used Republicans to poll 10 GOP-leaning House districts that Democrats took in 2018 and supposedly found that a plurality of voters endorsed DDT’s wall. The purpose is to convince DDT that he has a good chance of being re-elected. Unfortunately for DDT’s peace of mind, 56 percent of people say they would “definitely not vote for him.” Majorities of independents (59 percent), women (64 percent), and suburbanites (56 percent) said they won’t support DDT for a second term. It is early to determine his chances, but another shutdown won’t be good for his reputation.

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