Nel's New Day

February 14, 2018

Shooting, Russian Involvement: Demand Action

Filed under: Guns — trp2011 @ 10:20 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

Today at least 17 people were killed in a school shooting, taking the public attention from other events. Vice President Mike Pence is especially lucky because most people may not notice that he again blatantly lied in an interview of Axios. He said:

“Irrespective of efforts that were made in 2016 by foreign powers, it is the universal conclusion of our intelligence communities that none of those efforts had any impact on the outcome of the 2016 election.”

Pence lied.

Six U.S. intelligence leaders, including Pompeo, Coats, and Wray, testified that Russia had interfered in the last general election, that they plan to do so in the current election, and that DDT has not given any direction to stop the Russian meddling. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last week that the meddling has already started but that there is nothing that the United States can do to prevent any Russian involvement.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said:

“We have seen Russian activity and intentions to have an impact on the next election cycle.”

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said:

“There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 U.S. midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations.”

The intelligence community concluded that Russia “aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.” Collectively, they made this statement:

“We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election. The US Intelligence Community is charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities, and actions of foreign actors; it does not analyze US political processes or US public opinion.”

The intelligence community made no ruling on the Russian affect on the outcome of the election last year when Donald Trump became the president of the United States. Yet Pence said that “it is the universal conclusion of our intelligence communities that none of those efforts had any impact on the outcome of the 2016 election.”

Donald Trump’s appointed FBI director, Christopher Wray, thinks that Russia believes its maneuvers succeeded in electing Trump as the president.

The Russians hacked and revised emails that resulted in negative press about Hillary Clinton. It distributed massive communications on social media that lied about Clinton and other progressive candidates. The FBI spread doubt about Clinton just days before the election while it failed to release the information about the Russian involvement in Donald Trump’s campaign, knowledge that they had for months before the election. And Donald Trump got over 60 million votes after he lied to the public about protecting the working people.

The same hackers also got into the email accounts of defense contract workers, and nobody is talking about that. Donald Trump refuses to sanction Russia for its interference.

Today witnessed the 18th school shooting in only 31 days of school in 2018, most of the shootings largely unnoticed by the media. Because of the gun industry and the NRA, conservatives take no action. (Although I wonder if they decide to allow all students over the age of five to take guns to school.) Yet GOP legislators give away trillions of dollars to the wealthy and the huge corporations. They plan to spend tens of billions of dollars on a wall to keep out immigrants and hundreds of billions of dollars to start and continue wars throughout the entire world.

The killer’s choice of weapon, at least one AR-15 style rifle and a large number of magazines, was the usual one for the deadliest mass shootings, including the October 1, 2017 Las Vegas massacre and the November 5, 2017 Texas church shooting. The assault-style rifle was developed for military use, but people use the Second Amendment to force its availability for the general population. Florida has no waiting period for anyone, including those on the terrorist watch list, who wish to buy guns, and the U.S. House has passed a bill making concealed-carry permits in one state valid in any other state.

Within hours after the shooting, officials associated the shooting with mental illness and calling them “evil.” Sheriff Scott Israel of Broward County said that nothing can be done about shooters if they are determined to kill people. Others are using the standard statement that shooters are “evil.” Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s response was that she would guarantee no “price gouging” for funerals and make sure that the families didn’t have to pay for the funerals of the dead students. Florida Gov. Rick Scott gave his “thoughts and prayers” to the victims.

People who want to think of the United States as exceptional should know that the U.S. has 270 million guns with 90 mass shooters from 1966 to 2012. No other country has more than 46 million guns or 18 mass shooters. In 2009, the gun homicide rate in the U.S. was far higher than other developed countries at 33 per million people. The rate was 5 per million in Canada and 0.7 million in Britain, corresponding with differences in gun ownership. In 2013, Japan had 13 deaths related to guns; U.S. gun-related deaths included 21,175 suicides, 11,208 homicides, and 505 deaths caused by an accidental discharge. The chances per capita of a U.S. resident dying from a gun is 300 times more likely than a Japanese person dying in the same manner, and U.S. gun ownership is 150 times as high as that of Japan. Only three countries—Guatemala, Mexico, and the U.S.—have the assumption that people have an inherent right to own guns.

Gun ownership is the reason for these gun deaths:

  • The U.S. does not reflect a greater problem with mental health issues than any other wealthy country. Only four percent of U.S. gun deaths might be attributed to mental health problems. Other countries with high suicide rates have low rates of mass shootings.
  • People in the U.S. are no more likely to play video games than in any other developed country.
  • European countries show little association between immigration and other diversity with the rates of gun murders or mass shootings.
  • The U.S. is no more prone to crime than other developed countries—just more lethal.
  • Gun control legislation reduces gun murders, according to an analysis of 130 studies from 10 countries.

Britain’s 1987 mass shooting and Australia’s 1996 shooting turned the tide of unregulated gun ownership. The U.S. doesn’t care. British journalist Dan Hodges wrote:

“In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate. Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.”

These are the 1,607 mass shootings in the U.S. since Sandy Hook.

Broward County Public Schools Supt. Robert Runcie said, “This has been a day we’ve seen the worst of humanity.” He may be right, but the worst is coming from people on the internet accusing the shooter of being a DACA recipient and an ISIS supporter with no evidence. The worst of humanity comes from people who refuse to take any action to stop mass shootings. The shooter will be dehumanized as insane, and the dead will be classified as heroes. And the Republicans will block any sane action. Only a shooting by an immigrant or in the name of a non-Christian religion would bring any action.

In their sanctimonious method of controlling gun safety laws, conservatives always accuse people who want to stop shootings as attempting to “politicize” a tragedy. The only way to stop the growing mass shootings and lack of safety at schools is to stop electing Republicans because they are controlled by the NRA and the gun industry. They have no interest in protecting people; they only want to get elected and grow richer and more powerful. Their demands to not politicize tragedies are to guarantee that gun laws grow more lax.

Happy Valentine’s Day, thanks to your GOP legislators, owned by the gun industry, who think that words like “prayers and condolences” are sufficient action. And Vice-President Pence, your intelligence community didn’t say that Russia had no impact on last year’s election that turned the United States away from democracy and toward authoritarianism.

September 6, 2013

Tuesday Elections

If it’s Tuesday, there must be an election somewhere. This next week, there are Current mayor Michael Bloomberg served three out of two terms because he got the city terms’ limit law changed to let him run a third time. There’s very little publicity about the GOP candidates: one of the three is a billionaire, but he’s not the one ahead in the polls. On the other hand, Democratic candidates have been seen on television a lot—especially Anthony Weiner after he said he was through with texting photos of his personal anatomy and then did it again. One of his opponents is the city commissioner Christine Quinn, a lesbian who married after New York changed its marriage equality laws and published a book, much of it about her marriage.

nyc_mayor_dabate_0903

Weiner seemed to be in the lead until he took up his texting again, but after a few highly publicized temper tantrums, there doesn’t seem to be much hope for him. The leader is the tall guy, Bill de Blasio, whose 43-percent polling puts him far in the lead. At the last debate, the other candidates, including Bill Thompson, Jr. and John Liu, kept trying to knock him down. The 43 percent would serve Blasio well because he needs over 40 percent not to have a run-off on October 1 before the general election on November 5.

A more important election, however, decides the fate of two Colorado state senators, one of them the senate president, because they supported gun control. If they are successfully recalled this next Tuesday, other gun legislation may suffer. The election has brought in almost $2 million in the past month, most of it from groups outside the state. NRA alone has spent almost $400,000 to protect their turf, and the Koch brothers have piled on more money. Bloomberg has promised $350,000 to Taypayers for Responsible Democracy, and Mayors against Illegal Guns back the background checks on gun purchases and limiting the size of ammunition magazines that passed the legislature earlier this year.

Voters decide both on the recall and, if that passes, the replacements. Only two incumbents are running, both Republicans who would win by default if the recall passes. The two subjects of the recall come from districts in which President Obama received 58 percent and 59 percent, respectively, during the last election. Yet regular absentee voters won’t receive ballots in the mail; in 2012, 77 percent of Coloradans voted by mail, instead of going to a polling place. Military and overseas voters can cast absentee ballots, probably on the Internet.

After three days of early voting, registered Democrats were outvoting Republicans in the Sen. Angela Giron (Pueblo) recall by a three-to-one margin. A recent poll by Quinnipiac University showed that Colorado voters opposed the recall efforts by two-to-one, saying that people who disagree with legislator should wait for another election. The poll was across the state, however; the winner will be decided by the voters who show up. It will also show whether NRA’s money can control state legislatures.

Colorado has another looming issue, the desire of the disgruntled to form a new state. The map below shows how people are reacting. The 51st State Initiative is a blog devoted to keeping track of interest in the project. Blue indicates counties with “significant support” from citizens or officials; yellow is used for places where people actively work for secession, green shows counties with a popular vote or a resolution to join the working group, and white counties in Kansas also might want to join “North Colorado,” the new name. Red? Just not interested.

Colorado

Left of Colorado, a group of counties in southern Oregon and northern California may go backwards over 70 years in their consideration of creating the free State of Jefferson, removed from “loony California.” This plan was hatched in the 1935s but lost momentum after just before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. On November 27, 1941, irate citizens blocked Highway 99 where the road entered the wished-for State of Jefferson. members of the citizen committee used guns to block Highway 99 where it entered the State of Jefferson. After distributing their proclamation, they let motorists continue on their way.

In last Tuesday’s meeting, Siskiyou County (CA) voted 4-1 for a declaration of secession from the state. Even staff members of their representative in Washington, Doug LaMalfa (R), expressed support for the separation. Country officials are also trying to drum up support in both Oregon and California; they say that Humboldt County (CA) has shown interest.

jefferson

Only one problem with all these separations from the mother state: seceding from one state and forming another one requires approval of both the original state and the U.S. Congress. But it entertains all the people involved in protesting their legislators.

All the complaining reminds me of teenagers who want to have their own way but don’t want to pay for their livelihood. Texas had the same issue when Gov. Rick Perry considered secession a few years ago before he counted all the money that the government sends to the state.

 

 

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