Monday, April 16, 2007

Fast, Get Me the Briefing Book on Jews

Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson, a back-of-the-pack Republican presidential candidate, appears to be trying out for the slot left vacant by Don Imus. Here's a report from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency:

Making money is part of the Jewish tradition, a U.S. presidential candidate said in a speech to the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

"I'm in the private sector and for the first time in my life I'm earning money," Republican hopeful and former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson said Monday. "You know that's sort of part of the Jewish tradition."

After being made aware that his remarks were problematic, Thompson returned to the podium and told the several hundred activists assembled, "I just want to clarify something because I didn't in any means want to infer or imply anything about Jews and finances and things.

"What I was referring to ladies and gentlemen is the accomplishments of the Jewish religion and the Jewish people. You have been outstanding business people and I compliment you for that and if anybody took what I said wrong, I apologize. I may have mischaracterized it. You are very successful. I applaud you for that."

During the speech, Thompson also called himself the governor of the first state to buy "Jewish bonds" -- presumably meaning Israel Bonds -- and said his friend who persuaded him to buy the bonds was also a big supporter of the "Jewish Defense League" -- probably meaning the Anti-Defamation League, not the militant group.

Lastly, he said Winston Churchill was really the first leader of Israel, but because Britain was so anti-Zionist in the 1940s, it would be hard to find anyone in the Jewish or pro-Israel community who would agree.

"We are pleased that Governor Thompson made time in his schedule -- like many other policy makers -- to address the 2007 Consultation of Conscience," RAC Associate Director Mark Pelavin said in a statement afterward.

Yeah, really pleased. I hope Pelavin and his associates at least got a good laugh out of this. Instead of appearing on Al Sharpton's show to do penance, will Thompson have to do a gig with Jackie Mason?

Posted by David Corn at April 16, 2007 04:54 PM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

You might have dated yourself with the Jackie Mason reference.

Check out Mr. Masons comments on Imus HERE

Thanks for all of your work!


Anonymous said...

Multiply Virginia Tech by a factor of 2-5...every day, 365 days per year.....and you're not far from the daily carnage in Iraq due to sectarian violence.

Multiply Virginia Tech by a factor of 20-50....every day, 365 days per year...and you're not far from what an equivalent amount of carnage would be in America (with roughly 10 times the population of Iraq).

We are horrified by Virginia Tech, and should be. But imagine such massacres happening 20-30-40-50 places....EVERY DAY in America. That is the reality of daily life in Iraq.

Bob in North Dakota

Saladin said...

April 16, 2007

Campus Gun Ban Disarmed Virginia Victims
VA Tech has "blood on its hands" as gun control advocates milk tragic events

VA Tech has "blood on its hands" as gun control advocates milk tragic events

Paul Joseph Watson & Alex Jones
Prison Planet
Monday, April 16, 2007

A gun ban recently enforced by Virginia Tech campus prevented over thirty victims of today's mass shooting from defending themselves against the killer, and yet gun control advocates are already politicizing this morning's tragic events to pull the lever for mass gun control.

Virginia is a concealed carry state and yet Virginia Tech campus recently enforced a policy prohibiting "unauthorized possession, storage or control" of firearms on campus.

According to gun rights activists such as Aaron Zelman of Jews For The Preservation of Firearms, VA Tech has "blood on its hands" for disarming the victims and other students who could potentially have stopped the killer in his tracks in the three hour time period he was allowed to carry out his rampage by cowardly police who hid behind trees as the carnage ensued.

Reuters is already disseminating the talking points for an imminent propaganda coup against the Second Amendment, and yet it was the stripping of that right to bear arms that ensured today's death toll represents the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Students at VA Tech are already slamming the pathetic response on behalf of the police, who locked down the school and sat back as the killer was able to carefully pick off his targets.

"What happened today this was ridiculous. And I don't know what happened or what was going through this guy's mind," student Jason Piatt told CNN. "But I'm pretty outraged and I'll say on the record I'm pretty outraged that someone died in a shooting in a dorm at 7 o'clock in the morning and the first e-mail about it — no mention of locking down campus, no mention of canceling classes — they just mention that they're investigating a shooting two hours later at 9:22."

He added: "That's pretty ridiculous and meanwhile, while they're sending out that e-mail, 22 more people got killed."

The lesson of today's tragedy is simple.

The police cannot protect you.

Gun bans cannot protect you.

Only YOU can protect you.

The taxes the government takes with the promise of being able to protect us are money taken under false pretenses. Far more crimes are thwarted by private citizens with legally owned firearms than by the police.
Ya know, there is something VERY fishy about all this. Why is it the shooters ALWAYS commit suicide? When 99.9 percent of the population of gun owners are decent, law abiding citizens who would never even THINK of doing such a thing, why do the gun grabbers always use a tragedy like this to disarm everyone? Maybe we should ban cars AND alcohol, both of which cause serious mangling and death, even though the vast majority who drink or drive a car are responsible people. They're shredding all the other amendments, might as well dump that one too.

kathleen said...


Also at JTA Breaking News

Will the Aipac/Rosen/Weissman trial be delayed again?

The judge in the classified information trial of two former AIPAC staffers threw out a prosecution request to keep significant portions of the trial secret from the public.

kathleen said...

Judge rejects government plan for secret evidence at AIPennsylvaniaC trial
Associated Press Writer
April 16, 2007
ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Prosecutors suffered a setback in their case against two former pro-Israel lobbyists accused of violating the 1917 Espionage Act when a judge on Monday rejected the government's proposal for conducting much of the trial in secret.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis said the government's proposal to keep huge swaths of evidence in the case out of public view was unprecedented and violated the both the defendants' and the public's right to an open trial.

The defendants--Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, who had been lobbyists with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee--are charged with illegally disclosing sensitive national defense information to persons not entitled to receive it, including journalists and foreign diplomats.

Concerned that a public trial would result in wholesale disclosures of classified and sensitive information, prosecutors proposed a procedure that would have kept "the heart of the case" forever shielded from public view, Ellis said.

Under the plan, only the judge, lawyers and the jury would have been given access to classified evidence. The trial would have been conducted in open court, but witnesses and lawyers would have referred to classified evidence using coded language such as "Country A" and "Foreign Agent #2." The code would have been continually changed to prevent the public from cracking it.

Ellis said the proposal not only raised constitutional questions, but would have been unwieldy as a practical matter and likely confused jurors trying to keep up with the code.

On rare occasions, prosecutors have been allowed to use what is called the "silent witness" rule, in which only a jury receives classified information that is never disclosed to the public.

But Ellis said the government's proposed use of the silent witness rule was unprecedented in scope.

"Its use would ... exclude the public from important and substantial parts of the trial," Ellis said. "Justice must not only be done; it must also be seen."

The information would have been at the heart of the case, because much of the defense centers on whether the information Rosen and Weissman allegedly disclosed is actually "national defense information." To qualify as such, the information must be both closely held and potentially damaging to national security.

The defense contends that much of the information in question was already publicly available. Indeed, during Monday's hearing Ellis said that some of the information deemed classified by the government includes news reports.

Rosen's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said he was pleased with Ellis' ruling and called the government's proposal unconstitutional and "worse than unprecedented."

A coalition of media organizations, including The Associated Press, and a coalition of Jewish organizations had also opposed the government's proposal. In court papers, the Jewish coalition cited the Dreyfus affair, a 19th-century case in France in which a French Army officer, Alfred Dreyfus, was wrongly convicted of treason based in part on secret evidence. The prosecution of Dreyfus, who was Jewish, stirred anti-Semitic sentiment throughout France.

"Any use of 'secret evidence' runs the risk of deepening anti-Jewish sentiment in the United states by perpetuating the myth of overly powerful 'Jewish lobby' composed of people loyal to Israel first and the United States Second," lawyer Steven Lieberman on behalf of AMCHA--The Coaltion for Jewish Concerns.

Prosecutors told Ellis after he issued his ruling that they are reviewing their options, including a possible appeal that would delay the scheduled trial date of June 4. Another option is to craft unclassified substitutions of the classified evidence that would be given to the jury and would be made public.

Such substitutions are permitted under a federal law that was written in part to reduce the problem of so-called "graymail," in which espionage defendants could stymie prosecutions by threatening to force classified information into public view during a trial.

Rosen and Weissman are not charged with espionage, but are charged under the 1917 Espionage Act, a rarely used World War I-era law that has never before been applied to lobbyists.

The indictment alleges that Rosen and Weissman conspired to obtain classified reports on issues relevant to American policy, including the al-Qaida terror network; the bombing of the Khobar Towers dormitory in Saudi Arabia, which killed 19 U.S. Air Force personnel; and U.S. policy in Iran.

A former Defense Department official, Lawrence A. Franklin, already has pleaded guilty to providing Rosen and Weissman classified defense information. Franklin was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison.

kathleen said...

So will the right wing radicals be successful at "casting a cloud" over the upcoming Aipac trial (if it is not delayed for the 4th time) by outing Paul McNulty who is the prosecutor for the A trial..

Gonzales Deputy, in Crossfire,
Looks for Quiet Exit
McNulty Seeks Job
In Private Sector;
Scrutiny Intensifies
April 16, 2007; Page A5

WASHINGTON -- With Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on the ropes over the firings of eight U.S. attorneys, his deputy, Paul J. McNulty, is quietly testing the waters for a new job.

He may need one, if critics have their way. Some Democrats and conservative Republicans argue that the deputy attorney general, who so far has been relatively unscathed, should shoulder more responsibility for the mishandling of the firings, which has devastated morale at the Justice Department and embarrassed the Bush administration.
At a Judiciary Committee hearing in February, Mr. McNulty said the Bush-appointed prosecutors were dismissed for "performance-related" reasons. When the fired prosecutors spoke out in defense of their reputations, it triggered widespread media coverage and fueled a new round of congressional questions. Mr. McNulty also said Bud Cummins, a U.S. attorney in Little Rock, Ark., was fired to make way for a former aide to presidential adviser Karl Rove.

Still, the focus remains Mr. McNulty's boss, Mr. Gonzales, who is to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow. Mr. Gonzales, in prepared remarks he plans to deliver to the panel, says of the eight fired prosecutors: "I apologize to them and to their families for allowing this matter to become an unfortunate and undignified public spectacle, and I am sorry for my missteps that have helped to fuel the controversy."

If the political and public pressure on Mr. Gonzales leads to his resignation, Mr. McNulty could be first in line to assume his duties until a successor is appointed.

Even before the controversy erupted, Mr. McNulty, 49 years old, had been making plans to join the private sector after 24 years in government, which included a term as U.S. attorney in Virginia's Eastern District, people familiar with his plans said. Knowing he would like to take a higher-paying job, partly to cover tuition for his four college-age children, well before the end of the administration, his friends recently have sent out feelers on his behalf for possible corporate and law-firm jobs, the people said.

Mr. McNulty says future plans aren't his focus now. "I am fully focused on doing my job and haven't given much thought to what comes next," he said Friday. "To be honest, there hasn't been much time for that."

Mr. McNulty's supporters say he doesn't deserve any more blame than he already has received. William Barr, general counsel at Verizon Communications Inc., served as U.S. attorney general under the first President Bush and chose Mr. McNulty to work as a close aide at the Justice Department. "This doesn't seem to be a stink bomb of his making." Mr. Barr said. "...I'd hate to see him made the scapegoat; the main screwups were not his."

Some critics argue the deputy attorney general should get more of the blame. "What got [the Justice Department] in trouble was this hatchet job and trashing of the reputations of these people," said Mark Carollo, who ran the Justice Department's public affairs office under John Ashcroft and now works as a consultant in Washington. "Paul McNulty does have to take some responsibility for that."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, said in a Senate speech last month that she felt misled by Mr. Gonzales' Jan. 18 testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee and by a private briefing by Mr. McNulty to some members of the panel a week after his Feb. 6 public testimony. "It turned out that the performance reports of the very people he [Mr. McNulty] was saying were being terminated on the basis of performance were all excellent," she said.

Mr. Gonzales's supporters at the Justice Department say Mr. McNulty went off-script during the congressional hearing when he cited performance as a reason for the dismissals. In Mr. McNulty's defense, people close to him said that in a Feb. 5 preparatory session before his testimony, it was agreed that if pressed, he would have to cite "performance." Mr. Gonzales had made a passing reference to performance as a factor in his own Senate testimony in January.

Another reason some conservatives believe Mr. McNulty deserves more scrutiny is that he has been spared much public criticism from Sen. Charles Schumer, the New York Democrat who has led the investigation of the firings. People close to the two men said they have a warm relationship that dates to when they both worked on the House Judiciary Committee's crime subcommittee in the early 1990s, with Mr. Schumer chairing the panel and Mr. McNulty serving as a counsel for the Republican minority.

Sen. Schumer says he isn't sparing Mr. McNulty of scrutiny, but he notes, "No one has said McNulty was at the center of this." Sen. Schumer says he credits Mr. McNulty for being "the first to come forward. He said he knew nothing about it. He said he was misled by others. What you logically do is ask questions of those others, and then come back to McNulty."

At the private briefing for some Judiciary panel members on Feb. 14, people familiar with the meeting said, Mr. Schumer peppered Mr. McNulty with questions, interrupting him frequently.

Mr. McNulty's return to the hot seat may come soon, congressional aides say. Following a week of interviews of Justice staffers by the committee, congressional staff expect to interview Mr. McNulty perhaps as early as Friday.

Write to Evan Perez at

kathleen said...

AT JTA "Poverty the Great Divide"

an exerpt

"As evidence that at least one sector is thriving, consider that the number of Israeli millionaires per capita is twice the world average, according to the 2005 World Wealth Report."

Household Income

The median household income of the Jewish population is about $50,000, which is higher than the approximately $42,000 median for all U.S. households reported by the Census Bureau.

A fifth (19%) of all Jewish households are low income, defined as $25,000 or less per year, compared to 29% among all U.S. households.

capt said...

Hold Gonzales Accountable, Then Bush


The great lost admission of the whole US Attorneys scandal came at a press briefing on March 13, when White House counselor Dan Bartlett acknowledged that the President was aware of complaints from Republicans around the country that US Attorneys were not using their positions to pursue the so-called "voter fraud" cases that the party had made a central focus of its efforts to erect barriers to voter participation--by eliminating same-day registration in the states where it is allowed, requiring Voter IDs and otherwise making it harder for Americans to participate in the political process.

"That information, it's incumbent upon us to share with the relevant Cabinet officers, incumbent upon the President to do that, as well," said Bartlett. "The President did that briefly, in a conversation he had with the Attorney General in October of 2006, in which, in a wide-ranging conversation on a lot of different issues, this briefly came up and the President said, I've been hearing about this election fraud matters from members of Congress, want to make sure you're on top of that, as well. There was no directive given, as far as telling him to fire anybody or anything like that. That would be under the prerogative of the Justice Department to take a look at those issues, as they obviously were doing."

Bartlett was trying to cover the president's backside by claiming Bush did not order the firing of the eight US Attorneys who were removed. But the firings of the eight are a secondary issue when compared to the question of what the 85 US Attorneys who were not fired did to keep their jobs--and to thwart the rule of law.

Bartlett inadvertently acknowledged Bush involvement in the most serious aspect of the scandal: the politicization of prosecutions. Of course, Bush will claim ignorance of specific firings. So be it.

What Bartlett gave us in March was confirmation that the president was aware of, indeed supportive of, efforts by key players in his own party to prod U.S. Attorneys to do their bidding. That bidding was never ill-defined; Republicans at the state level and in Washington wanted federal prosecutors to launch conveniently-timed investigations and prosecutions that might harm Democrats, and to back off inconvenient inquiries into the actions of Republicans.


micki said...

I notice most people just ignore you... but Saladin, since you're talking about "fishy" I'll take the bait...just what is FISHY about all this?

Ya know, there is something VERY fishy about all this. Why is it the shooters ALWAYS commit suicide?

Just what is your point anyway? You see a conspiracy under every rock. If not a conspiracy, you view yourself as a victim -- like someone or something is always out to get you!

Well, nevermind....

capt said...

Crazed gunman kills!

The fact is once in a while and from time to time someone goes nuts. They lose it. Some emotional or organic force comes over some person and they kill, murder, maim or injure.

People feel the emotionally charged circumstance and hoist a number of issues (some not even connected) and tend to parade their pick of a conclusion for the cause of such a terrible loss.

It is the guns, the drugs, the alcohol, the immigrants, the foreign students, the gangs, and on and on. I have heard blame directed at law enforcement for failing to shut-down the campus. Have you ever known a campus cop? We don't want them armed to the teeth in SWAT gear with bomb sniffing dogs checking all corners of a room - "Clear!" and class can start.

We have a few safety nets that try to address people that do not function well or might pose a threat to themselves or others but the institutions and the systems we have in place will never stop the exception. It makes no sense to have everybody wear a straight-jacket because one guy needs one and the same applies to guns. We cannot take guns away from everybody because one guy misuses or has no business having one.

There is a large difference between a gun owner and a "NRA" mentality. There are a few folks that should never have a gun - convicted felons, mental patients, etc. . I have know a few "gun owners" that have no business holding a weapon let alone owning one.

The idea of and discussion about gun ownership shouldn't be influenced by the single act of a crazed person as the issue is emotionally charged without the distraction of a masacare. The fact that the discussion falls below the din of Briteny's bald head or whatnot IS the problem. Gun ownership is not a binary issue it is very complex and the solutions to the problems that exist today will come from many answers not just "no guns." If only it were that simple . . . .


capt said...

Friendly advice to American candidates trying to woo the Jewish vote

It was like a scene from the Borat movie. A man from a foreign land trying to connect with a tribe of people with whom he is unfamiliar. A wonderfully disastrous misconnection leading to misunderstanding leading to embracement.

The only problem is that both the man - former governor Tommy Thompson, and the tribe - activists gathering for the Washington convention of the Jewish Religious Action Center, were Americans. And that this man was claiming he was running for president of the United States. He came to woo, but left behind a crowd of sophisticated adults giggling like teenagers at his expense.

So, as friendly advice to this candidate (and all other candidates) here's my list of things not to do when trying to connect with the Jewish electorate:

Telling Jewish activists that "making money is part of the Jewish tradition" is not a good idea. (Full quote: I'm in the private sector and for the first time in my life I'm earning money. You know that's sort of part of the Jewish tradition and I do not find anything wrong with that).

Apologizing is generally a good idea if you do happen to make such a gaffe, but before apologizing one needs to make sure the apology does not make the situation even worse.

Thompson apologized by saying that he only wanted to highlight the "accomplishments" of the Jewish religion. (Full quote: I just want to clarify something because I didn't in any means want to infer or imply anything about Jews and finances and things. What I was referring to ladies and gentlemen is the accomplishments of the Jewish religion. You've been outstanding business people and I compliment you for that.)

Saying again and again that you have Jewish friends - also not good. Jews don't like to be reminded constantly that people of other religions are self-conscious whenever they talk to someone who happens to be Jewish.

Israel might be the Jewish state, but there are no Jewish bonds, only Israeli bonds. American Jews will not appreciate the misconception that everything Jewish is Israeli and vice versa.

Jews in America are generally liberal, and those associated with RAC are even more so. Mentioning Israeli politicians whom one has met can be a good thing, but Benjamin Netanyahu might not be your best choice to name-drop.

And the same can be said about American groups associated with Rabbi Meir Kahane. If you have had any contact with them, don't brag about it, not here.

People will appreciate support for Israel if you convey the sense that you knows what you're talking about (Churchill was not a leader of the Israeli region).

After the governor left people were kindly making excuses for him. He was trying to be nice; he was trying to connect; he doesn't understand our sensibilities. So here's one last piece of advice for him and his many friends: Get a good adviser to prepare you for such events.

Even those willing to forgive you for these foolish remarks will not forgive you for the unprofessional way you handled this public appearance. They will also not vote for you, but as a Republican your chances were slim anyway, so you probably shouldn't worry about it too much.


capt said...

The nightmare Bush dreads most

Public opinion polls are valuable chips to play for those engaged in a debate of national or international consequence. In the end, however, they are abstract numbers. It is popular demonstrations which give them substance, color, and - above all - wide media exposure, and make them truly meaningful. This is particularly true when such marches are peaceful and disciplined in a war-ravaged country like Iraq.

This indeed was the case with the demonstration on April 9 in Najaf. Over a million Iraqis, holding aloft thousands of national flags, marched, chanting, "Yes, yes, Iraq/No, no, America" and "No, no, American/Leave, leave occupier."

The demonstrators arrived from all over the country in response to a call by Muqtada al-Sadr, a radical Shi'ite cleric, to demand an end to foreign occupation on the fourth anniversary of the end of Ba'athist rule in Baghdad.

Both the size of the demonstration and its composition were unprecedented. "There are people here from all different parties and sects," Hadhim al-Araji, Muqtada's representative in Baghdad's Kadhimiya district, told reporters. "We are all carrying the national flag, a symbol of unity. And we are all united in calling for the withdrawal of the Americans."


Saladin said...

No Capt, it's simple, punish the 99.9 percent who abide by the law by taking away the guns and then we will live in a heaven on earth! Banning guns on that campus sure was effective. The only problem, what to do when that .1 percent start shooting at you, guess just pray and hope for the best.

capt said...

Daily Show: Senator Stevens Knows Where To Find The Missing Emails

When five million White House emails suddenly go missing, who ya' gonna call? Ted Stevens, of course. If anyone can track down those benignly "misplaced" messages — which have nothing to do whatsoever with the purge scandal, I assure you –, it's the internet-savvy Senator from Alaksa.

Download (WMV)

Download (MOV)

FLASHBACK: Watch President Bush explain why he doesn't use email. He does use "the Google," though.


*****end of clip*****

Too effin funny!


Saladin said...

Gun Control's Twisted Outcome

Restricting firearms has helped make England more crime-ridden than the U.S.

Joyce Lee Malcolm | November 2002 Print Edition

Reason Magazine

On a June evening two years ago, Dan Rather made many stiff British upper lips quiver by reporting that England had a crime problem and that, apart from murder, "theirs is worse than ours." The response was swift and sharp. "Have a Nice Daydream," The Mirror, a London daily, shot back, reporting: "Britain reacted with fury and disbelief last night to claims by American newsmen that crime and violence are worse here than in the US." But sandwiched between the article's battery of official denials -- "totally misleading," "a huge over-simplification," "astounding and outrageous" -- and a compilation of lurid crimes from "the wild west culture on the other side of the Atlantic where every other car is carrying a gun," The Mirror conceded that the CBS anchorman was correct. Except for murder and rape, it admitted, "Britain has overtaken the US for all major crimes."

In the two years since Dan Rather was so roundly rebuked, violence in England has gotten markedly worse. Over the course of a few days in the summer of 2001, gun-toting men burst into an English court and freed two defendants; a shooting outside a London nightclub left five women and three men wounded; and two men were machine-gunned to death in a residential neighborhood of north London. And on New Year's Day this year a 19-year-old girl walking on a main street in east London was shot in the head by a thief who wanted her mobile phone. London police are now looking to New York City police for advice.

None of this was supposed to happen in the country whose stringent gun laws and 1997 ban on handguns have been hailed as the "gold standard" of gun control. For the better part of a century, British governments have pursued a strategy for domestic safety that a 1992 Economist article characterized as requiring "a restraint on personal liberty that seems, in most civilised countries, essential to the happiness of others," a policy the magazine found at odds with "America's Vigilante Values." The safety of English people has been staked on the thesis that fewer private guns means less crime. The government believes that any weapons in the hands of men and women, however law-abiding, pose a danger, and that disarming them lessens the chance that criminals will get or use weapons.

The results -- the toughest firearm restrictions of any democracy -- are credited by the world's gun control advocates with producing a low rate of violent crime. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell reflected this conventional wisdom when, in a 1988 speech to the American Bar Association, he attributed England's low rates of violent crime to the fact that "private ownership of guns is strictly controlled."

In reality, the English approach has not re-duced violent crime. Instead it has left law-abiding citizens at the mercy of criminals who are confident that their victims have neither the means nor the legal right to resist them. Imitating this model would be a public safety disaster for the United States.

The illusion that the English government had protected its citizens by disarming them seemed credible because few realized the country had an astonishingly low level of armed crime even before guns were restricted. A government study for the years 1890-92, for example, found only three handgun homicides, an average of one a year, in a population of 30 million. In 1904 there were only four armed robberies in London, then the largest city in the world. A hundred years and many gun laws later, the BBC reported that England's firearms restrictions "seem to have had little impact in the criminal underworld." Guns are virtually outlawed, and, as the old slogan predicted, only outlaws have guns. Worse, they are increasingly ready to use them.

Nearly five centuries of growing civility ended in 1954. Violent crime has been climbing ever since. Last December, London's Evening Standard reported that armed crime, with banned handguns the weapon of choice, was "rocketing." In the two years following the 1997 handgun ban, the use of handguns in crime rose by 40 percent, and the upward trend has continued. From April to November 2001, the number of people robbed at gunpoint in London rose 53 percent.

Gun crime is just part of an increasingly lawless environment. From 1991 to 1995, crimes against the person in England's inner cities increased 91 percent. And in the four years from 1997 to 2001, the rate of violent crime more than doubled. Your chances of being mugged in London are now six times greater than in New York. England's rates of assault, robbery, and burglary are far higher than America's, and 53 percent of English burglaries occur while occupants are at home, compared with 13 percent in the U.S., where burglars admit to fearing armed homeowners more than the police. In a United Nations study of crime in 18 developed nations published in July, England and Wales led the Western world's crime league, with nearly 55 crimes per 100 people.

This sea change in English crime followed a sea change in government policies. Gun regulations have been part of a more general disarmament based on the proposition that people don't need to protect themselves because society will protect them. It also will protect their neighbors: Police advise those who witness a crime to "walk on by" and let the professionals handle it.

The murder rates of the U.S. and U.K. are also affected by differences in the way each counts homicides. The FBI asks police to list every homicide as murder, even if the case isn't subsequently prosecuted or proceeds on a lesser charge, making the U.S. numbers as high as possible. By contrast, the English police "massage down" the homicide statistics, tracking each case through the courts and removing it if it is reduced to a lesser charge or determined to be an accident or self-defense, making the English numbers as low as possible.

Cultural differences and more-permissive legal standards notwithstanding, the English rate of violent crime has been soaring since 1991. Over the same period, America's has been falling dramatically. In 1999 The Boston Globe reported that the American murder rate, which had fluctuated by about 20 percent between 1974 and 1991, was "in startling free-fall." We have had nine consecutive years of sharply declining violent crime. As a result the English and American murder rates are converging. In 1981 the American rate was 8.7 times the English rate, in 1995 it was 5.7 times the English rate, and the latest study puts it at 3.5 times.

Preliminary figures for the U.S. this year show an increase, although of less than 1 percent, in the overall number of violent crimes, with homicide increases in certain cities, which criminologists attribute to gang violence, the poor economy, and the release from prison of many offenders. Yet Americans still enjoy a substantially lower rate of violent crime than England, without the "restraint on personal liberty" English governments have seen as necessary. Rather than permit individuals more scope to defend themselves, Prime Minister Tony Blair's government plans to combat crime by extending those "restraints on personal liberty": removing the prohibition against double jeopardy so people can be tried twice for the same crime, making hearsay evidence admissible in court, and letting jurors know of a suspect's previous crimes.

This is a cautionary tale. America's founders, like their English forebears, regarded personal security as first of the three primary rights of mankind. That was the main reason for including a right for individuals to be armed in the U.S. Constitution. Not everyone needs to avail himself or herself of that right. It is a dangerous right. But leaving personal protection to the police is also dangerous.
Banning guns doesn't work, it never has and never will. Mr. Corns statements are demonstrably false. I want the criminals and the govt. to be in fear of an armed and dangerous populace, it is the only thing that keeps us relatively safe from both of them. Remove the citizens ability to reasonably defend themselves and they are doomed.
Micki, owning a gun is like having an abortion, both are the right of the individual, if you don't like it, don't do it, but don't try to prevent the rest of us from exercising our rights, it's none of your business.

micki said...

Well, it is my business. Just like it's yours or Sally's or John's or Abe's or any American's business...I have never, ever said anything about taking away anyone's guns. But, you keep on believing what you THINK you read...

micki said...

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

One reason the Second Amendment has become a talking point in the wake of the carnage is that the bush administration mentioned it from the git-go -- they had to pander to their base. They brought it up to placate the NRA. I have no illusions about getting guns off the streets -- it's too late for that.

Will the day come when Americans think they have a constitutional right to keep and bear Stinger missles, biological weapons, chemical weapons, tanks, etc. to protect themselves and their families? Afterall, the Second Amendment refers to ARMS not GUNS. Oy.

micki said...

to be in fear of an armed and dangerous populace

Dangerous populace? What a goal!

Saladin said...

Capt, assuming you're not "ignoring" me, I saw the Stewart episode last night, it was HILARIOUS! I liked the theory that the server was on it's way home from work and accidentally went off a cliff ! Bummer.

Saladin said...

Micki, the goal is for the criminals and govt. to think that. Make sure you don't read the article so you can maintain your fantasy land.

capt said...

Blair blames spate of murders on black culture

Tony Blair yesterday claimed the spate of knife and gun murders in London was not being caused by poverty, but a distinctive black culture. His remarks angered community leaders, who accused him of ignorance and failing to provide support for black-led efforts to tackle the problem.
One accused him of misunderstanding the advice he had been given on the issue at a Downing Street summit.

Black community leaders reacted after Mr Blair said the recent violence should not be treated as part of a general crime wave, but as specific to black youth. He said people had to drop their political correctness and recognise that the violence would not be stopped "by pretending it is not young black kids doing it".


*****end of clip*****

No crime wave - just the black culture?


capt said...


TDS always rocks, eh?

I couldn't get the links to play video but the "play" option at C&L is not working either so I figure they will fix it on their (C&L's) end.


Robert S said...

It is about more than just guns.

It is also about a culture which holds that violence is a legitimate means to accomplish goals. A culture which assumes that children can play the most violent of video games, and that all of them can distinguish reality from play, or turn off the built in reflexes which develop. A culture which does not support mental health; a culture which holds that wealth is paramount, no matter the thuggery used to acquire.

At today's convocation, one of the world's leading thugs and supporters of the violence philosophy is to be chief mourner. No matter that the grieving will no doubt be highly inconvenienced by a presidential visit on campus. No matter that his is, at best, a divisive figure which will only lead to more more controversy at this troubled place and time.

Perhaps we would do well to separate the functions of head of state from those of head of government, but this is one service where the head of state should steer clear of.

Dennis Kucinich is calling for the creation of a cabinet level Department of Peace, with a mission of reducing the incidence of violence, both nationally and internationally. The time for such is right.

capt said...

Was Einstein Right? Scientists Provide First Public Peek At Gravity Probe B Results

For the past three years a satellite has circled the Earth, collecting data to determine whether two predictions of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity are correct. Recently, at the American Physical Society (APS) meeting in Jacksonville, Fla., Professor Francis Everitt, a Stanford University physicist and principal investigator of the Gravity Probe B (GP-B) Relativity Mission, a collaboration of Stanford, NASA and Lockheed Martin, provided the first public peek at data that will reveal whether Einstein's theory has been confirmed by the most sophisticated orbiting laboratory ever created.

"Gravity Probe B has been a great scientific adventure for all of us, and we are grateful to NASA for its long history of support," Everitt said. "My colleagues and I will be presenting the first results today and tomorrow. It's fascinating to be able to watch the Einstein warping of space-time directly in the tilting of these GP-B gyroscopes—more than a million times better than the best inertial navigation gyroscopes."

The GP-B satellite was launched in April 2004. It collected more than a year's worth of data that the Stanford GP-B science team has been poring over for the past 18 months. The satellite was designed as a pristine, space-borne laboratory, whose sole task was to use four ultra-precise gyroscopes to measure directly two effects predicted by general relativity. One is the geodetic effect—the amount by which the mass of the Earth warps the local space-time in which it resides.


*****end of clip*****

Science is too cool and interesting. I am betting Einstein was more right than wrong.


capt said...


"It is also about a culture which holds that violence is a legitimate means to accomplish goals."


Not to mention if a crazed person is determined to kill and murder a gun is only one of many options. It is the larger picture of violence and hatred that is screaming to be addressed.

"It is by no means self-evident that human beings are most real when most violently excited; violent physical passions do not in themselves differentiate men from each other, but rather tend to reduce them to the same state."
~ Thomas Elliot


Robert S said...

You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war. - Albert Einstein

Robert S said...

Not to mention that the Second Amendment has at its roots an attempt to avoid the United States from establishing a Standing Army...

capt said...

Rupert Cornwell: Will this terrible day in Virginia be enough to dent America's love affair with guns?

"A tragedy of monumental proportions" was how Charles Steger, the president of Virginia Tech, described the slaughter at his university yesterday, the worst campus mass shooting in US history. But whether it is of sufficient proportion to dent America's love affair with guns is quite another matter. Similar disbelief followed other mass shootings in recent years - from the 24 people gunned down in a fast-food restaurant in the Texas town of Killeen in October 1991, to the Columbine school massacre in Colorado in 1999, to the five little girls shot dead at an Amish school in Pennsylvania in October last year. But the practical effect has been very little.

Gun control, along with abortion and same-sex marriage, has long been one of the litmus test issues defining the debate in the US between liberals and conservatives. Guns tend to be more common and more entrenched in the culture of southern, central and mountain states, which tend to vote Republican and where hunting is a popular sport. Gun crime is rife in big cities on the east coast too, which are invariably Democratic, but gun ownership among the general population is notably less common.

The gun lobby, led by the National Rifle Association, is one of the most powerful in the US and gun owners are a constituency no one wants to alienate. John Kerry, the thoroughly liberal Democratic presidential nominee of 2004, was careful to have himself pictured on a duck hunt in Ohio as that year's campaign neared its climax.

Many of the Democrat gains in the 2006 midterm elections came thanks to conservative candidates running in states traditionally dominated by Republicans. Amusement, rather than shock, was the general reaction earlier this year when an aide of Jim Webb, the shock Democratic victor in the Virginia senate race last year, was arrested when he was caught taking a gun owned by his boss into the US Capitol building.

"I believe that wherever you see laws that allow people to carry [weapons], generally the violence goes down," the strongly pro-gun Mr Webb told reporters afterwards. To which the tens of millions of US gun owners (by some calculations there are as many guns as people in the country) would say, Amen.

The passionate feelings of the gun lobby may be traced to the second amendment of the US Constitution, enshrining "the right of the people to keep and bear arms". Although the provision stems from the times when "well regulated militias" were deemed necessary to protect against a British attempt to regain the lost colonies, it is the default position of any argument against greater gun control here.

As such, it has trumped every other consideration, not least the fact that on any given day about 80 people are killed by firearms, the vast majority by murder or suicide. Gun violence may cost $2.3bn (£1.2bn) each year in medical expenses, but it is a price, gun supporters believe, that is worth paying to protect a fundamental freedom.

Virginia's gun laws are fairly typical for what has been (until recently) a reliably Republican state, part of the old Confederacy. Non-Americans may be amazed, but a state law of the 1990s limiting handgun purchases to one per person per month was regarded as a step towards curbing Virginia's reputation as a source of easily acquired "illegal" weapons used for crime.

There is no sign of attitudes hardening. Despite the opposition of every police force in the land, Congress in 2004 allowed to lapse a 10-year federal ban on semi-automatic assault weapons, a particular favourite of violent criminals. The reaction was not exactly deafening. Even amid yesterday's shock, the initial calls were for stricter security measures on campuses - not serious moves to reduce gun ownership.


Robert S said...

Bush event volunteers say they did nothing wrong
The Associated Press

DENVER | White House officials have the right to exclude dissenters from appearances by President Bush, according to lawyers for volunteers who helped eject three people from a hall where Bush was about to speak.

Defense attorneys made the argument last week in a civil suit filed against Michael Casper and Jay Bob Klinkerman. The suit was filed by Leslie Weise and Alex Young of Denver, who were told to leave just before Bush was to talk about his plans for Social Security at the March 21, 2005, taxpayer-funded event in Denver.

Weise and Young argue they were ejected for their political views. They had arrived in a car bearing a "No blood for oil" bumper sticker. They were also wearing T-shirts saying "Stop the lies" under their clothes but did not show them.

They have said they had no plans to disrupt the event, but Young hoped to ask Bush a question if given the opportunity.

Casper and Klinkerman's lawyers said the government has the same rights as a private corporation when its officials speak.

"The president may constitutionally make viewpoint-based exclusionary determinations in conveying his own message," the attorneys said in the filing. "So in following the instructions of the White House and carrying out its viewpoint-based exclusions, Casper and Klinkerman did not violate any of plaintiffs' constitutional rights."


Today, 43 is going to make an appearance in front of those grieving. These will not be exclusively supporters, unlike almost every other appearance he has had the lack of courage to make. What if someone shows up with a t-shirt or bumper sticker?

WTF said...

"This debate about whether to guns diminish violence or create it has gone on for years, personally, I want all the guns I need to defend myself, since I live in a city that is No. 3 on the list to get yourself killed in and we have incidences every day, I feel that my and my families personal security depends on due diligence by me. Depend on the police? Ha! Depend on the government, well we see how capable they are, hell they cannot even find Osama so we know they are useless. Just what suggestions are valid for self defense in this country? I for one will choose to defend myself if necessary, and fortunately not one person that I have shot has ever come back and given me any further problems. Just lucky I guess, I could have used tomatoes and that might have worked.

Robert S said...

By Dr. June Scorza Terpstra
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Apr 17, 2007, 01:34

On Thursday evening, March 8, International Women’s Day, I was arrested by Evanston police. This occurrence came on the heels of a controversial article I wrote for which I received hate mail and death threats.

I was made to step out of my car; my hands were cuffed behind my back as I stood in the dark street with three young, piggish male officers. I was asked if I had 100 dollars cash. Cars with people stopped at the nearest cross light were staring at me. My person, my car and my purse were searched. I was asked if I had anything up my crotch. I was placed in the suffocating back seat of a squad car and taken to the Evanston police station.

As I was commandeered into a holding area, my hands cuffed behind my back, I remembered this police station. Twenty years ago I was the founder of a women’s shelter and a women’s university program in Evanston and had occasion to work with police in that building who knew little to nothing and cared less about victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

I was questioned as to whether I take drugs. I consciously kept my dignity and said, no, do you? I was told I thought I was “above the law” by a boy given deadly toys to protect his master’s money and rules playing king of the traffic violations hill. For further intimidation I was threatened with a strip search and a jail cell. My husband bailed me out.

What was my crime? I had failed to pay a speeding ticket in Kansas about a year ago and unknown to me my license was suspended...


capt said...

Articles of Impeachment To Be Filed On Cheney

Looks like he's reached his boiling point.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), the most liberal of the Democratic presidential candidates in the primary field, declared in a letter sent to his Democratic House colleagues this morning that he plans to file articles of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney.

Kucinich has made ending the war in Iraq the central theme of his campaign. He has even taken aim at the leading Democratic presidential candidates in the field for their votes on authorizing the war.

Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution gives Congress the authority to impeach the president, vice president and "all civil Officers of the United States" for "treason, bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."

Sources tell the Sleuth that in light of the mass killings at Virginia Tech Monday, Kucinich's impeachment plans have been put on hold. There will be no action this week, they say.

Kucinich's office had no comment on the Congressman's "Dear Colleague" letter -- which apparently was drafted over the weekend, before the school massacre -- or on what the focus of articles of impeachment against Cheney would be.

But Kucinich shouldn't hold his breath on getting anywhere with his impeachment plan. "We'll see a Kucinich Administration before we'll see a Cheney impeachment," quipped one Democratic aide.

Here is the text of his letter, a copy of which was forwarded to the Sleuth:

April 17, 2007

Dear Colleague:

This week I intend to introduce Articles of Impeachment with respect to the conduct of Vice President Cheney. Please have your staff contact my office . . . if you would like to receive a confidential copy of the document prior to its introduction in the House.



Dennis J. Kucinich

Member of Congress


*****end of clip*****



Gerald said...

Father John Dear's trial has been postponed until May 18. He expects to do time in a federal facility. Or, as I like to say he will serve time in a federal reichstag camp.

"A recent survey said that the majority of U.S. Catholics think torture is acceptable. I find that reprehensible. What a scandal. As a priest, I say torture is counter to the Gospel of Jesus. I don't think Christians should be doing this. We need to renounce torture, war and nuclear weapons. We have to learn to love as Christ loved, and abolish torture and war once and for all. So we go to trial as people accused of breaking the law, but we feel we are raising consciousness and trying to put Fort Huachuca and torture on the map."

So as it stands, I go to trial on May 18. Steve and Louie go on June 4 -- just two of many trials this summer against those who acted on behalf of justice and peace. And then there are the countless others speaking boldly against our nation's violent ways, and for God's ways of love and peace. All that is reason enough to take heart.

There will be more trials. The 21st century will see the slaughter of more Christians than the previous 20 centuries. We are truly an evil nation that has lost what is right and what is wrong. The path that Nazi Americans continue to walk is the path that accepts murders, war crimes, and torture. We have turned our backs on Jesus Christ and His Words of love and mercy for our brothers and sisters in God.

Gerald said...

Nazi America spreads her family values throughout the world

Does Nazi America really love families and children?

Gerald said...

Is Nazi America just like Bush? A lying sack of shit!!!

Gerald said...

Blood on our hands

capt said...

New Thread!

Gerald said...

Nazi America needs more cannon fodder so the military draft will be reinstated

The killing of our soldiers will keep the Project for a New American Century alive. We are on the path where only 500 million people will remain on our planet. That is the Nazi American way.

David B. Benson said...

The crucial test of the Gravity Probe B results is still to come: frame dragging.

There is at least one alternate to Einstein's General Relativity which differs in two predictions. One is no frame dragging and the other is no black holes, just arbitrarily massive stars.

Nobody should be surprised at the experimental outcome regarding the geodetic effect. So we'll have to wait until about December for the other result...

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