Friday, January 08, 2016

A good guy with a gun doesn't always stop the bad guy with the gun.

December 21, 2012
By Josh Levin 

In today’s NRA press conference, (click here) the group’s executive vice president Wayne LaPierre called for “armed security in every school”:

LaPierre is right—it’s possible that an armed guard could have stopped Adam Lanza. But is it likely? Consider the case of Columbine High School.

On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and one teacher at Columbine. On the scene that day was Neil Gardner, an armed sheriff’s deputy who had been policing the school for almost two years. 

As a CNN report describes, Gardner was eating lunch when he got a call from a custodian that he was needed in the school’s back parking lot. A few minutes later, he encountered Harris and the two exchanged gunfire. Harris was not hit and ran back inside the school. At that point, “Gardner called for additional units to respond to the south parking lot of Columbine High School. … While he was on the radio calling for assistance, five other Jefferson County deputies already were on their way, arriving only minutes after the first report of a ‘female down’ at Columbine High School.” Later, Gardner saw Harris again, through a broken window. Once again, he fired. Once again, he didn’t hit him.... 

Officer Gardner responded as he should have, but, he was alone with two young men in the building with very different style guns than he was carrying and with pipe bombs, luckily that didn't ignite.

Look at this footage and tell me if Officer Gardner was in the room that it would have ended the assault. Probably not, but, some students might have been able to get out of the library.

Let me add this, did the Columbine killers know there was an armed sheriff's deputy in the school? Sure they did. Why did they choose the library during lunch hour to begin their assault? These young men weren't stupid. We know they had plans to continue their assault after they killed everyone at Columbine. They didn't expect to die. They had plans to hijack a jet.

The additional law enforcement was already on their way to Columbine because at least one of the survivors of those attacked used his mobile phone to call for help.

The arguments of the NRA are 'sucker punches.' If there was only a "Good Guy with a Gun" it would stop the "Bad Guy with a Gun." That is a cigarette commercial telling the audience smoking doesn't cause cancer. There was a good guy with a gun at Columbine doing his job well and acting in defense of the students and teachers. So, what does the NRA want, an armed detachment to guard every school?

So, let's say a woman has been the victim of sexual assualt and only feels safe with a gun on her person or in her purse.

April 9, 2015
By Nathan J. Robinson

...Over the past year, (click here) new studies and media reports have documented America’s extraordinary number of child-involved shootings. These occur when a child happens upon a gun, or is left alone with one, and ends up shooting themselves or another person. Such disasters result in hundreds of child fatalities and have made American children nine times more likely to die in gun accidents than children anywhere else in the developed world. These deaths pose a massive challenge for the NRA. They demonstrate fairly conclusively that guns cannot be both safe and ubiquitous; the inevitable consequence of widespread gun ownership is a never-ending series of tragedies involving children. But, desperate to insist there’s nothing wrong, the NRA has proved itself totally incapable of responding to the problem....

President Obama's response to audience participation during the Anderson Cooper Town Hall regarding guns in the USA, was spot on.

The answer to sexual assault is not conceal carry and bring guns into a family's home, but, to return to a place of feeling safe again. Sexual assault does not happen everyday. Women can protect themselves in many ways including being aware of their circumstances before walking alone.

A woman can recuperate from sexual assault emotionally and cognitively, but, they can't bring back a child killed accidentally with a gun. 

The "fears" Americans have are real, but, their answer to those fears are not realistic. Guns are not the answer.

This is not a reply to President Obama's town hall. It was a discussion raised to bring reality to real life fears.

March 3, 2015

Move over #TheDress, (click here) there’s a new debate packing heat: should college students be able to bring their guns to school?

While the carrying of concealed firearms on campus is banned in 41 states by law or university policy, this year lawmakers in some states are preparing legislation that would give college students the option of carrying a concealed weapon on campus. Those include Indiana, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming, according to The New York Times...

...But the argument raises another point: who’s to stop a potential assailant from bringing a gun to campus as well?
When it comes to preventing sexual assault, the notion of allowing concealed weapons at universities simply misses the mark.
Alexandra Brodsky, Yale Law Student and co-founder of Know Your IX, a student-driven national campaign to end sexual violence, agrees.
“Guns won’t stop campus rape violence. In fact, they will put more students at risk. The evidence is extensive and definitive — the mere presence of a gun in an abusive situation has been shown to increase fatality by 500%.”...

I attended an assault prevention class on campus for four days, two weekends in a row. The first lesson taught is that any weapons a woman is carrying, be it gun or knife can ultimately be used against them as the assailant is most always stronger.

A woman is far better off using her body and leverage moves to end assault. The best defense is to scream and run at first opportunity. It took four days across two weekends to be educated about the best weapon in the world and that was my own body.

The issue of rape can be very cloudy as well. 

There are three main considerations (click here) in judging whether or not a sexual act is consensual 

Are the participants old enough to consent?

Did both participants agree to take part?

Do both people have the capacity to consent? States also define who has the mental and legal capacity to consent. Those with diminished capacity — for example, some people with disabilities, some elderly people and people who have been drugged or are unconscious — may not have the legal ability to agree to have sex.

Views and opinions change during the first two months of life on campus. 

The first two months of college (click here) comes with new classes, new friends, a new campus—and new ideas about sexual assault.
“In general, we see agreement with healthy attitudes and behaviors tend to drop in a lot of students after they’ve gone on campus,” says Dr. Dan Zapp, director of research for EverFi, an education technology company.
Zapp and the EverFi team surveyed more than 280,000 students twice: once before college and again four to six weeks into the school year.
Before going to school, participants tended to strongly agree with statements such as, “A victim of sexual assault should never be blamed,” or “I genuinely feel sorry for victims of sexual abuse”, Zapp explains. When they arrive on campus, there’s a “rapid shift” and their beliefs are much less black-and-white.
“Students who think they totally understand these situations and these issues—what consent is—see it’s more complex,” Zapp says. “There are unique social situations and factors we add in, like alcohol, that introduce these gray areas.”...

FEMA delivered some bottled water before the December holidays.

December 16, 2015
By J. Navarra

...On Tuesday, (click here) FEMA sent 28,000 liters of bottled water in two trucks to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. The water will be distributed to centers handling food, soup kitchens for example and shelters that are thirsty for water.
Cassie Ringsdorf, FEMA spokeswoman released a statement regarding the warehoused available commodities:
As a part of our normal commodities management process, FEMA periodically offers commodities nearing the end of their shelf-life to eligible non-profits for donation. These donations are not done, 'on-request,' but are a part of our normal strategy to maintain our stockpiles for use in emergencies....

Currently those supplies are completely depleted according to the charities that have distributed them.

Flint is a city of at least 100,000 people. While those 28 thousand liters of bottled water was exceptionally helpful, there isn't anymore. My understanding is there are two FEMA representatives on their way to Flint. Thank you for that. I am fairly confident FEMA believed they had supplied enough water for a short run and the State of Michigan would have time to establish a safe and perpetual supply from then forward. That perpetual supply has not happened. 

If the Governor of Michigan can't get his mind around this emergency, perhaps, FEMA employees can provide a consultation so the people of Flint no longer suffer from the malicious actions of the Governor and Emergency Manager to cut the cities costs of operation AT ANY COST to even human life.

Thank you. Someone heard our plea. The people of Flint, Michigan are great people. They were the backbone of the USA economy for many decades. The believed in the middle class and stood for the dignity of 'work' as a means of living. Flint, Michigan is one of those cities that the country should never turn it's back on. That city taught the rest of the country the value of work and the rewards of demanding respect to build a middle class. 

Someone needs to be sure the people effected by this lead poisoning are living happy and healthy lives for a long time. This is a crime. It sincerely is a crime for many, many reasons. 

Flint, Michigan doesn't need more hardship, they need answers.

Thank you, FEMA.

There is no such thing as unconstitutiaonl union dues.

I really hate morons. Labor law is a contract established through a democratic process called a vote. Unions introduce themselves to potential members and outline what they can do to help labor. In doing so it wins an election and BY MAJORITY it is decided the union will represent the labor through contract law. In that understanding is the FACT unions provide SERVICES to all the labor and not just those that voted "Yes." So, the contract states all of the labor of an establishment is receiving the same pay and benefits established by participation of the majority, hence, non-members that could have voted no will benefit from the contracts as well. In that is an understanding there is partial costs sustained and hence the less amount of dues paid.

There are costs affiliated with carrying benefits for non-members within a union shop. The union elected by MAJORITY is allowed to recuperate those costs according to the contract.

This has to be the 365th veto this year, isn't it? One for every day of the year.

January 8, 2016
By Darlene Superville

Washington — Protecting his signature domestic achievement, (click here) President Barack Obama on Friday vetoed Republican-inspired legislation to repeal his health care law, saying to do so "would reverse the significant progress we have made in improving health care in America."
Republican lawmakers have pushed many repeal measures since 2010, when Obama signed the health care program into law. This bill was the first one to make it through Congress and reach his desk.
Republicans have argued that the law is costly and doesn't work.
In his veto message to Congress, Obama disagreed. Obama said the Affordable Care Act includes fairer rules and stronger consumer protections "that have made health care coverage more affordable, more attainable and more patient-centered. And it is working."...

Trump is correct, the government has become a joke.
January 6, 2016

Bay Area Lyme Foundation (click here), a leading nonprofit funder of innovative Lyme disease research in the US, last month released its roster of 2015 research grant recipients. Collectively these researchers received $1.5 million from the Foundation for research related to Lyme disease, a growing epidemic with more than 329,000 reported new cases each year according to the CDC. The organization also highlights the exponential increase in donations to the Foundation in 2015, including more than $6 million that will go directly to support research over the next few years, and announced the addition of Duke University cancer researcher/physician and Lyme survivor Neil Spector, MD to its Scientific Advisory Board....

This is the second demand for monies from Non-Profit Foundations. This increase is outrageous.

I have not found the bill online. This announcement was probably released to tease out opposition to such a raise in taxation of Foundation funding. "W" changed the non-profit definition/status of Foundation to drain their asset value to their missions.

This is the very definition I have given before in that any elected Republican looks to sources of RESERVE CASH in the USA economy in order for Grover Norquest's pledge is safe in that there were no taxes raised on the taxpayer. This draw on CASH into the USA economy is nothing short of robbing the poor to pay the wealthy.

January 8, 2016
By Janet Lorin

A U.S. Congressman (click here) is floating an idea that’s likely to find opposition from the wealthiest colleges: devote 25 percent of a school’s annual endowment income for financial aid or lose tax-exempt status.
Almost 100 endowments with assets of more than $1 billion would be required to give that percentage to lower college costs for middle and low-income students, according to a draft congressional bill provided to Bloomberg. If they didn’t comply for three consecutive years, they could lose their nonprofit status.
The bill, aimed at addressing the skyrocketing cost of college, is expected to be introduced during the congressional session that began this month and could undergo changes in the meantime, said Representative Tom Reed, a New York Republican who is sponsoring the proposal. No co-sponsors are attached to the proposal....

This proposal in the US Congress has the audacity to demand higher amounts of a foundation's treasury to fund HIGHER EDUCATION. 

Unbelievable. This TAXATION on foundations is under the radar and isn't regularly visited.

Make no mistake this is taxation on foundations. Under the "W" years non-profit corporations were required to payout at least 5 percent of their value every year to fund their causes.

What is the 5 percent payout requirement? (click here)

The purpose behind the minimum payout requirement is to prevent foundations from simply receiving gifts, investing the assets and never spending any funds on charitable purposes. The basic rule can be stated simply, but its calculation is complex: Each year every private foundation must make eligible charitable expenditures that equal or exceed approximately 5 percent of the value of its endowment. The word "payout" while convenient is somewhat misleading and is not used in the Tax Code section that creates the rule. The word "payout" suggests grants or contributions paid out to other charities. Although these grants normally make up more than 93 percent of the expenditures of most foundations, many other expenses can also qualify in meeting the minimum payout requirement. In short, the 5 percent payout rule need not be satisfied solely with grants....

The new 5 percent tax on foundations was to increase circulating capital in the USA economy to paint a better economic picture. 

So, why don't we put it out there, if such draconian laws were passed The Clinton Foundation would come under scrutiny for their spending. It won't stop with the Clinton Foundation. ALL non-profit foundations will be effected and drained of valuable equity leaving them even more vulnerable to Wall Street's ups and downs. 

Most significant foundations invest in Wall Street to grow their value. Much of the FOUNDATION monies of non-profit foundations are invested monies across America. Those monies are ALREADY at work to grow the USA economy, not just in financial investment, but, in real benefits to carry out investigation of better medications, supporting other non-profit foundations that care for children and women's health. 

Taking 25 percent out of non-profit foundations is a direct attack on the poor when they receive benefits from these foundations to protect their health and otherwise. How many homes will "Habitat for Humanity" be able to build if this 25 percent tax is passed by the US Congress.

This is a common strategy by Republicans. Real tax cuts that helped the economy was when the FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act : Social Security)  taxation rate was cut with the Democratic majority of 2008 following the 2008 economic collapse. The tax cut worked and was a great help to a recovering economy shedding jobs at 100 thousands per week.

The "W" hump (click here) was caused by an illegitimate economy. The consumer was bathing in a false sense of wealth. They were borrowing monies from their primary residence to purchase multiple residences as investments. The housing collapse beginning in 2007 was a direct result of a false sense of wealth beginning in 2002 and 2003. 

But, to realize the lost jobs were real, the cut in FICA under Obama stopped the economic disaster. It would not have stopped if there wasn't a money infusion to the Middle Class, the economic giant of the USA.  

When examining the "W" economy, one has to realize the implementation of taxes leveraged by changing the definition of a non-profit as an example, was draining any and all money resources/reserves to drive an economy. The entire "W" economy can best be defined as "Draconian" with absolutely no real change of wealth equity among the middle class and the poor.

This is not good governance. It will deplete reserves of foundations and cause their failure. Realize how these non-profits were effected in 2008, with perhaps the best example is the Harvard Endowment. Their losses were considerable and needed a reassessment of their funds and investments to decide their spending while still maintaining the integrity of the funds. An entire housing complex had to be abandoned after the 2008 economic collapse. Wall Street will feel these foundations taxes because it will have a direct depletion of foundation investments.

September 10, 2009

Harvard Management Company (HMC) reported today that the University’s endowment was valued at $26.0 billion as of June 30—29.5 percent less than the record $36.9 billion reported for the prior fiscal year. That result reflects a negative 27.3 percent investment return on endowment assets after expenses and fees; plus capital gifts received during the year (total giving, reported on September 10, was $602 million, down just 8 percent from fiscal year 2008, but the portion directed to endowment has not yet been disclosed); minus the distribution of somewhat more than $1.6 billion from the endowment to support University operations during the year. The latter figure is surprising: it represents an increase over the funds distributed in fiscal year 2008. Details presumably will be forthcoming with the autumn publication of the University’s annual financial report—but the planned reduction in endowment distributions in the current and next fiscal years is driving cost-cutting throughout Harvard...

That was a $10.9 billion US lost out of the Harvard Endowment. A similar loss occurred with the USA's SSI fund.

Realize that Harvard carries some of the best genetic research on Earth. Harvard was the first to begin genetic research with old stocks to prove no matter how hard the US government under a Republican can make research impossible, it is never going to end.

The USA is very lucky to have these magnificent foundations that function to improve our quality of life. If the Republican Congress wanted to increase monies used in the economy annually, then change it from 5 percent to 6 percent; not 25 percent. 25 percent would result in an initial dump of money into the USA economy in 2016, only to tank in 2017. It is a ridiculous idea and Americans need to end the draconian economics of the GOP.

Europe needs to pay attention.

January 8, 2016
By VOA News

Two refugees from Iraq (click here) have been arrested on terrorism-related charges by U.S. federal authorities, prompting renewed criticism of a White House plan to accept thousands of refugees from war-torn parts of the Middle East.
Both men were Palestinians from Iraq who have been in the U.S. for several years, according to U.S. officials. The men may have been in contact with each other, but do not appear to have been planning any attacks in the U.S., the officials said.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 23-year-old Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab was arrested Thursday in Sacramento, California, where he was charged with making false statements involving international terrorism.
Al-Jayab came to the U.S. from Syria in 2012 as a refugee. He is accused of lying to authorities about his travels to Syria, where according to social media postings, he fought with extremist groups, including Ansar al-Islam....

These men were both from Palestine, were accepted as refuges, where in the country for years, carried the same belief system and never conspired to carry out violence together.

The American Dream is not the focus of these men. Freedom in European countries is not the focus of the refugee men coming as refugees and migrants. It sometimes takes a few years of employment and democratic opportunity including government programs to help them thrive as refugees before their extremist agenda's are served. 

Refugees coming to democratic countries all to frequently, after a few years, declare violence on someone.

"You can take the man out of a war front, but, you'll never take the war front out of the man."

This is reality. I refuse to be blind to the facts and the danger to pretend all refugees are benign entities within our borders.

I don't fully understand what "Leading from behind" means, but, it appears to be working

January 8, 2016

...IS does not tolerate any dissent (click here) and imposes brutal punishments, often carried out in public.
The UK-based monitoring group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) and the activist group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently reported the incident.
Lena al-Qasem had reportedly told her son that the US-led military alliance fighting IS would "wipe out" the group, and tried to convince him to leave the city with her.
Her son is then said to have informed the group of her comment, and they ordered her killed.
Ali Saqr is reported to have shot her outside the post office where she worked, in front of hundreds of people.
IS, a jihadist group which follows its own extreme version of Sunni Islam, took over large parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014.
Since then the group has killed more than 2,000 people for reasons including homosexuality, and for the alleged practice of magic and apostasy, according to the SOHR.

I second that.

December 4, 2015
The Editorial Board of the NY Times.

...It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace (click here) 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. They distract us with arguments about the word terrorism. Let’s be clear: These spree killings are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism....

President Obama wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Times regarding our responsibility in gun violence.

January 7, 2016
By Barak Obama

The epidemic of gun violence (click here) in our country is a crisis. Gun deaths and injuries constitute one of the greatest threats to public health and to the safety of the American people. Every year, more than 30,000 Americans have their lives cut short by guns. Suicides. Domestic violence. Gang shootouts. Accidents. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost brothers and sisters, or buried their own children. We’re the only advanced nation on earth that sees this kind of mass violence with this frequency.
A national crisis like this demands a national response. Reducing gun violence will be hard. It’s clear that common-sense gun reform won’t happen during this Congress. It won’t happen during my presidency. Still, there are steps we can take now to save lives. And all of us — at every level of government, in the private sector and as citizens — have to do our part.

We all have a responsibility....

What Americans are owning the danger of our country's gun violence? 

There was a time in the USA when simply exposing the widespread violence was enough to bring concern for every life in the country, but, that time is passed, the USA is in a very odd mood. The country is following it's instincts rather than facing the real problem. There are too many guns on the street. The killers within our country are using gun laws to kill. The most stark reality of that are the deaths in "Mother Emanuel." (click here)

Americans are being played for fools. They are given false information regarding gun violence and believe if they own guns they are safe. That is not the case.

The murderer at "Mother Emanuel" carried a philosophy of hate as his life belief system. He was an extremist and studied where and how he could obtain guns and ammunition to successfully kill dearly wonderful people belonging to the church including Rev. Pinckney, the church's pastor.

The American people need to realize how their political scheme to arm themselves is counter to what is best for the country. The American people need to realize mass shootings are conducted with military style weapons that were once removed from the "for sale shelf" in gun stores. 

The killers in San Bernardino used guns that were once illegal in the USA. Their modifications were and are still illegal, yet they occurred. Mail order and internet sales are outrageous to realize they facilitate mass shootings. 

I think of gun modification equipment no different than drug paraphernalia. It is all illegal, but, there is a subversive gun culture that serves mass killers the best. There are dearly few people with guns locked into their bedroom side table that own these extreme guns. 

There are significant measures to take to end the gun violence in the USA and every one of those measures should be pursued. I don't want the blood of innocent Americans on my hands.

One of the worst offenses in the subversive gun culture of the USA is the ease with which guns are transported across state lines. There is no end to gun supplies to our larger cities. The east coast has the I-95 corridor of gun sales. It is very real. Along with the gun culture sales is drug transportation as well. The two make for the most dangerous trends in modern American life. The guns facilitate the movement of drugs. The addiction rate of drugs in the USA has been and continues to grow. 

We, as a country, need to have a productive conversation regarding what works and what does not work when it comes to gun violence and drug addiction including the transportation of them. Guns do not stand alone as a concern, it is the profession of organized crime that comes with them. 

There are drugs that enter every border of the USA. It is an international issue. Guns owned for self-defense isn't the issue. The issue is the extremes of the USA gun laws that facilitate a drug/gun economy. There will be considerable danger to Americans as long as there are dangerous weapons such as the military style guns within easy reach. 

Americans have to realize dangerous guns come with a price to our society and it has to stop. The price are deaths of dearly innocent people that represent the values of this USA democracy. It is not a state's rights issue when there is interstate transportation. Americans have to come to conclusions about what is going to end these mass killings. 

Think about it. Take responsibility.