Tuesday, February 20, 2018

"Guns don't kill people"? Countering The Rationalizations and Memes Employed By The NRA

"This weapon, the AR-15, was actually the weapon the military was trying to use - instead of the M 16- in Vietnam, because it was more lethal." - Joe Scarborough yesterday morning

Even as one hundred activist students - survivors of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High -  march to the Florida state capitol today, they have to know they will be confronting lawmaker hard heads. Especially on the Reepo side, i.e. those who sold out their brains long ago to the NRA for a few campaign bucks.  The kids, part of the newly activated #NeverAgain movement, with allies across the nation, will have to be able to counter the specious arguments that will be hurled back at them.

This begs the question of why, apart from campaign largesse, it is so difficult to change minds. Well, one reason is the penchant of the NRA to trot out  glib rationalizations and facile arguments,  with which it seeds the susceptible  brains of so many.

How effective are these canards and rationalizations? A poll reported this morning on CBS shows that the nation is nearly evenly divided on an assault weapons ban - among the few things that would actually work to limit mass shootings - ask Australia!   The poll showed only 50 percent support such a ban and 46 percent oppose. WHY do so many oppose it? I submit because they are victims of one or more NRA mind viruses that have infected their brains and spread by the minions of the NRA.

For example: "Guns don't kill people, people kill people".

Which is one of the most popular because it catches so many would-be opponents off guard. They are then left to flap gums, i.e. "B-b-but y-you can't say that!!"  As opposed to offering a powerful retort,  for example:

"But if you had taken that AR-15 out of that kid's hands and replaced it with just a kitchen knife would he have still killed so many?"  In other words, the weapon used also factors in, just as the use of an accelerant by an arsonist to burn down an apartment bldg. That accelerant - like the AR-15 or any other assault weapon -dramatically increases the body count. This isn't rocket science and you don't need a Mensa level IQ to get it.

This tack effectively puts  them on the defensive. Of course, then the usual reply - again thanks to the NRA - is: "So what?  You now want to ban all kitchen knives too?"

NOOOOOO... But you fail to process that there is a logical difference between a prosaic, everyday implement that can sometimes be used as a weapon, and a military style rifle that is specifically designed to kill. In this case, a rifle that was once earmarked for possible use in Vietnam to make killing easier than the older model M16.  In other words, Roscoe, how many mass killings have been done by knives? It is easy to mock the notion of "knife laws" but when you hold their feet (and brains) to the fire on a logical basis they are the ones usually spluttering.  

Or maybe not. CBS interviewer John Blackstone tried to do that with the couple ( James and Kimberly Snead)  that took  in  Nikolas Cruz, even confronting them about allowing him to have a case of "five or six guns"  including the AR-15 assault rifle. The guy - a total dope - was nonchalant,  telling Blackstone when asked about this, "It was his right".  His right?! A nineteen year old twerp whose brain is still forming? So these Sneads  also appear to be brain- jacked idiots who perhaps had imbibed too much NRA hog swill.   Confirmation? When Blackstone asked James Snead  if he felt differently about it now after the massacre, he replied, "No, not at all." In other words,  this guntard would let another kid into his home to have his own gun case too. It is morons like this that confirm again the need for parental (or guardianship) licensing tests, and  blacken this country's name and make us all look like damned fools.

It was two days ago that I came across another favorite NRA trope that I've seen in various guises. It appeared on my Facebook home page, and it clearly showed why banning assault weapons is often made to appear ridiculous. The canard was compliments of a nephew who is part of my "Friends" group. It went like this:

"A DUI driver gets rightly blamed and prosecuted for killing 3 people in a crash he caused. A guy shoots up 17 kids with an assault rifle -  and the rifle gets the blame.  Typical liberal logic."


Most of us have to admit this "reasoning"  is mind blowing in its simplicity and precisely for that reason is dangerous, because it can lull those without critical thinking skills to accept it.  This is what I call an example of sophistry often employed by those who'd seek to defend the purchase and ownership of a weapon which - as Joe Scarborough notes at the top - was actually considered for use in Vietnam because of its lethality. In other words, its staunch defenders are full tilt embracing the right to own and operate a weapon that is specifically dedicated to slaughter the enemy in a war theater.

Now, let's take step back and process merely what the old fashioned M 16 could do as reflected in this image after a whole village was wiped out by Lt. William Calley's platoon in the Mai Lai massacre:
















Dozens of men, women and children were slain in that rogue exercise engineered by the war criminal Calley and it is surely difficult to process how a more lethal scenario could emerge. But - if the AR- 15 had been used instead it would have snuffed out  the few surviving villagers.. Yet that weapon - at least ownership of it - is what the assault weapons' folks defend.  WHY?

Let's go back to the specious argument posted on Facebook and see why it is specious.  Consider the case of the DUI - such as occurred in Denver barely a month ago-  when three members of a family were wiped out of existence by that inebriated driver. He was surely to blame as his blood alcohol level was later found to be 0.3. There is no issue on who was to blame, and the car was merely the instrument for the killing. However, the extent of the death was self limiting by the capacity of the car.

In the case of an AR-15 (or other assault rifle) there is no self limiting factor - and a gunman (like Nikolas Cruz) could move at will - say floor to floor, room to room- slaughtering as many as his trigger finger speed and aim permit.  Now, this is crucial  - the ability to do that is a function primarily of the weapon,  not just the mobility of the gunman. Again, leave him with just his "fists" - as my AR-15 owner pal put two days ago, i.e. "more people are killed with fists than guns" - and I promise you 17 do not die.

Hence, the AR-15  example is qualitatively and quantitatively distinct from the DUI deaths.  For sure, the gunman is also to blame - but his choice of instrument must also be factored in, to the extent of contributing to the body count. In other words, it's the combination of shooter and weapon that's most important. Or to use the words of journalist Hava Leipzig Holzhauer, writing in the Broward Sun-Sentinel:

"This combination is a threat to our way of life in America."

As I posted in a response comment, take the AR-15 out of Cruz's hands and substitute a knife -  whatever one you  choose- and 17 don't lose their lives. You can take that to the bank. What has been done is to replace one of the most lethal weapons with a much less lethal one. In the first case, the weapon,  a cousin to the M16, is expressly designed to kill and do so with maximal efficiency.  Moreover, it is expressly designed to kill people, not hunt prey. As blogger David Lindorff put it:

"An AR-15 is not a hunting weapon. In fact there’s a reason it’s called an “assault rifle.” As a hunter, unless you’re an atrocious shot and are hunting random flocks of small birds, you certainly don’t need to be able to fire powerful ammunition of two bullets per second — the rate at which experts say an ordinary person could be able to pull the trigger."

By contrast, the knife  -- no matter how sharp or large- must usually be wielded by an assailant in an up close and personal manner. It isn't like taking aim from 20 or more feet away and dispatching victims with the touch of a trigger.  To kill seventeen people  even in the same room - the assailant would have to work demonically, stabbing from one to the other, and there is no assurance any given slash would be a fatal one  say like an  AR-15 bullet fired into a chest.  Even if it took only 3 seconds per stab, this  is much longer than firing 2 rounds per second. And you can't assume the people will just stand there like dummies and let you do them in, oh no. They will react and more than likely several will gang up to take the assailant down

This is the first point that the assault rifle lovers must be forced to admit, that it is far more difficult to kill with a knife than an assault weapon. Now, the FLA AR-15 owner in his response cited a stat where he said: "you're more than twice as likely to be killed from being kicked or punched than being shot".

Which merely goes to show how statistics can be used to disguise the nature of a threat if not carefully considered.   What was my retort? Well, I said I would gladly face any flying fists or feet rather than an AR-15 (or AK 47) any day. If he believed he'd sway me to accepting that owning an AR-15 was ok because I'd more likely get offed by a latter day Bruce Lee with a karate kick, he was mistaken.

His argument actually derived from then Texas AG  Greg Abbott's 2013 Facebook post. But that post did not include homicides the FBI attributed to handguns (6,220), firearms whose type was not stated (1,587) and "other guns" (97). Those numbers mean handguns were used in 72 percent of all firearm murders in 2011 and slightly under half of all murders using any kind of weapon that year.

These sort of stats have also been used by assault rifle defenders to argue that the risk of being shot  by an assault rifle in a mass shooting is so freakishly small it is not worth fretting about.

But the exact same logic can be applied to terror attacks by Islamic extremists.

It was  columnist Gideon Rachman of The Financial Times  who first pointed out that the number of Americans killed by terrorists since 1960 is "about the same as the number killed over the same period in deer accidents". For example, cars careening into a deer and being driven into a ditch.  The probability turned out to be roughly 1 in 18,000.

But look at what we are dealing with, despite the rarity of terror attacks!  TSA searches of bags etc.  at all the airports, alerts, blockages of roads and mobilized tactical and other police forces after each terror attack. So why this huge reaction difference if the odds are so minuscule?  Because we treat the threat of a terror attack - say on a plane or in NYC on New Year's Eve -   as a code red security threat that must be dealt with accordingly.  So my question is, "Why not treat mass shootings ALSO as terror attacks?"

If we adopt the arguments of the assault rifle lovers  i.e. that mass shootings are just a "distortion" of overall gun deaths, then why do most of them also support the anti-terror strategies?  I mean if the odds of being killed in a terror attack are 1 in 18,000 and the odds of being murdered in a mass shooting by a homegrown nut wielding an AR-15  are 1 in 11,000  why not adopt the same threat response for both?

There is only one logical reason for the difference in response: the rank and file of the AR-15 defenders and NRA gun lobby fear the Islamic extremists who carry out terror attacks more than the white boys who do mass shootings.  This is why I stated in a tongue- in -cheek manner that if most or all of these mass shootings were done by Islamic extremists (or black gang members)  you'd see action on gun control faster than a  tachyon's flight..

Look, the gun insanity will not stop until our population of assault weapon owners are forced to confront these contradictions and provide coherent explanations. Also,  why they continue to support a loophole in the gun laws that enables any extremist to buy an assault weapon,

Added to the gun debate there is added confusion now that Russian bots are evidently entering as well. As reported in the NY Times:

One hour after news broke about the school shooting in Florida last week, Twitter accounts suspected of having links to Russia released hundreds of posts taking up the gun control debate.
The accounts addressed the news with the speed of a cable news network. Some adopted the hashtag #guncontrolnow. Others used #gunreformnow and #Parklandshooting

Those automated Twitter accounts have been closely tracked by researchers. Last year, the Alliance for Securing Democracy, in conjunction with the German Marshall Fund, a public policy research group in Washington, created a website that tracks hundreds of Twitter accounts of human users and suspected bots that they have linked to a Russian influence campaign.

The researchers zeroed in on Twitter accounts posting information that was in step with material coming from well-known Russian propaganda outlets. To spot an automated bot, they looked for certain signs, like an extremely high volume of posts or content that conspicuously matched hundreds of other accounts.

All this shows me we have  a lot of work to do in order to combat and counter the NRA sophistry. We now also need to be aware many of the assault rifle defenders may well be Russian bots  seeking to stir up even bigger shit storms.

See also:


And:


http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/dave-lindorff/77748/us-mass-killers-crucially-abetted-by-nuts-who-won-t-ban-assault-weapons-and-high-capacity-clips


Monday, February 19, 2018

Stoneman Douglas Students Rip Donnie Dotard Over Twitter Tirade

Image result for brane space, Twitter troll
Trump spewed a Twitter tirade over the weekend, politicizing the Parkland school shooting big time by blaming the FBI for "spending too much time on the Russia probe" explaining the failure to pick up Nikolas Cruz on their radar.

"This weapon, the AR-15, was actually the weapon the military was trying to use - instead of the M 16- in Vietnam, because it was more lethal." - Joe Scarborough this morning

As reported in the NY Times yesterday evening, Donnie Dotard went on a "Twitter tirade" all through the weekend, spewing out 13 tweets - like the angry little bird he is - mostly still insisting there was no collusion - after the release of the Mueller indictment. (See my post on it).    Never mind Trump's obvious guilt (he "doth protest too much") tweets against Russian collusion, the most odious of all - which got the attention of a number of Stoneman Douglas High students - was that which tied the Parkland massacre to the Russian probe. The delirious  Doturd wrote:

"Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They were spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign- there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!"

Well, this prompted a reaction from the students who survived the carnage, including the following texts:

From Morgan Williams, a 16 yr. old Junior:

"Oh my god!  17 OF MY CLASSMATES AND FRIENDS ARE GONE AND YOU HAVE THE AUDACITY TO MAKE THIS ABOUT RUSSIA??? HAVE A DAMN HEART! You can keep all of your fake and meaningless thoughts and prayers!

Carly Novell - a Senior:

You know what isn't acceptable? Blaming everyone but the shooter and the lack of gun control in our country. You even blamed the students. We did report him, we tried. But how were we supposed to know what would happen? Your lack of sympathy proves how pitiful a person you are.

Kyra Parro - A Senior:

My friends were all brutally murdered and you have the nerve to make this about Russia? I can not believe this.

Aly Sheehy- A Senior:

17 of my classmates are gone. That's 17 futures. 17 children and 17 friends stolen. But you're right. it always has to be about you. How silly of me to forget.

Meanwhile senior Emma Gonzalez had this simple advice:

"I think the best way to deal with this is to ignore him. I think we can all agree that nothing Trump tweets has a lasting impact."

Then there was David Hogg, a 17-year-old student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school on NBC’s Meet the Press, who said:

You’re the president. You’re supposed to bring this nation together, not divide us, How dare  you!"


Hogg was responding to the president’s tweet on Saturday that Democrats had not passed any gun control measures during the brief time they controlled Congress with a supermajority in the Senate. Trump also alluded to the FBI’s failure to act on tips that the suspect was dangerous, while bemoaning the bureau’s focus on Russia’s role in the 2016 election.

After more than a day of criticism from the students, the White House said the president would hold a “listening session” with unspecified students on Wednesday and meet state and local security officials Thursday..

I'd warn the students now that this "session" may well turn out to them doing most of the listening, and Dotard doing the blabbing. Be warned!
Sudents across the country are now organizing  rallies and a national walkout in support of stronger gun laws in a challenge to politicians they say have failed to protect them. Emma Gonzalez made clear yesterday she and her fellow Douglas students will be pressing and organizing to have all NRA lapdog lawmakers voted out in November  - in the expected "Blue wave".

Other activities  will include a “March for Our Lives” protest in Washington on 24 March to call attention to school safety and ask lawmakers to enact gun control.
See also:





My Response To The Florida AR-15 Defender

Our AR-15 Owner writes:

First off, comparing MA with Fla or any other large state is a smokescreen to obscure the real facts. MA has a population of 6,811,779 compared to Fla’s population of 20,612,439!


Actually, it is precisely the use of comparative ratios (e.g. incidents per 100,100 or similar) that makes comparing events in two or more states legitimate. You take every 100,000 people in FL and every 100,000 in MA and compare the respective incidents per that block.  Then since the frequencies are set to  a defined baseline (e.g. per 100,000) this  corrects for any disparity in scale  say for population size  Once one does that,  one is effectively comparing "apples to applies" in terms of event frequency. So it is not a "smokescreen" at all.

Secondly, although he may be correct in the “gun death rate” comparisons, he fails to cite the cause of those gun deaths. Well, maybe I can help him out here....


The cause of said gun deaths is subsumed in the statistics for "gun deaths", i.e. whether for homicide, by accident or suicide. Since there can only be three possible  causes, then the incidence per 100,000 for gun deaths  (i.e. covering all) already takes these 3 causes into account.  Whether there are 2 suicides to every homicide and 1 accidental shooting to every 100 suicides is immaterial once we are talking about "gun deaths" in toto.   I suspect he may be placing overt emphasis on "intent" - say for homicides- but let us agree suicides and accidents (say a 4 -year old accidentally discharging a loaded weapon at his mom in a Walmart as happened in Colo. three yrs. ago) are just as tragic.  This is why the role of guns in whatever scenario must be weighed and factored in.

If he says “yes,” then I would ask him to explain how the states that have rolled back gun regulations and have a low number of laws on the books have also seen declines in gun homicide rates


This is a false interpretation which has been circulated in right wing media, e.g. The National Review, but doesn't hold ballast. A  study from 2013, led by the Boston University School of Public Health found that homicides that didn't involve guns didn't significantly increase as gun ownership did. In other words, more guns meant more homicides, particularly gun homicides.: After controlling for multiple variables, the study found that a 1 percent increase in gun ownership correlated with a roughly 0.9 percent rise in the firearm homicide rate at the state level.  That is about as close to a perfect Pearson product -moment correlation coefficient as one can get. This also  holds up around the world.


States with low gun-homicide rates also tend to rank high in other quality-of-life rankings, like per-capita income and educational attainment, while states with the most gun homicides, like Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, also rank near the bottom in such measures


This is actually a perfect example of the "No true Scotsman" fallacy first highlighted by Antony Flew in his book, Thinking About Thinking.  Flew's No True Scotsman  Suppose A says, "No Scotsman puts sugar in his porridge." B replies, "But my uncle Angus puts sugar in his porridge." A then responds, "Then your Uncle Angus is no true Scotsman!" In other words, the artificial stipulation is made that to be a genuine Scotsman (person of Scottish descent) one must conform to the rubric of  "no sugar in the porridge".

Now we frame his answer in similar terms:  "No True Gun-using Murderer Lives In A High Life  Quality state."   But, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama etc. are low life quality states and have the most gun homicides.  Conclusion: You cannot compare the former to the latter in terms of incidence, because the only "true" gun homicides, i.e. worth measuring from the stipulated basis,   occur in low life quality states.   Of course, as Flew would point out, this doesn't wash. He is in fact resorting to  a stipulative definition that artificially discriminates between states with high and low homicide rates   In this way he's able to argue one is disallowed from comparing the two gun homicide rates for differing life quality index states.   But as  Flew would argue 'Not so fast!' - if that was true than no strict gun regulations would ever be able to be enacted in such states  because their low quality of life prohibits it.


This is a red herring because he introduces an irrelevant topic in an argument to divert readers’ attention from the original issue – which is new gun control laws as well as the AR-15’s.


Not so!  Since the Journal Of Health Affairs study bears directly on the incidence of gun homicides in different nations, it is totally relevant, i.e it provides a crucial glimpse on how our nation is handling these homicides compared to other rich nations.   The original issue then is not strictly gun control per se, but in the context of how the prevalence of guns in the U.S. compared to other wealthy nations impacts health statistics.   So it is not intended to divert at all, only to force gun aficionados to reckon in these health factors into gun ownership and hence control

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the rate of violent crime dropped from 79.8 to 18.6 victims per 1,000 people age 12 and older from 1993 to 2015.

These statistics do not support the opinion that more guns lead to more crimes!


But this is a non sequitur .  The purported decrease in violent crimes overall does not show that more guns do not lead to more homicides..  When we isolate homicide from the constellation of violent crimes we see nearly a 1: 1 correlation, Refer to the Boston University study cited earlier

The more concerning issue is that Massachusetts is one of the worst states for submitting the names of people deemed mentally insufficient by the state into the NICS database. While MA legislators seek more and more gun control, they don’t follow the laws already in place; laws that all law-abiding, safety-conscious gun owners believe should be followed.


 As I already pointed out (in my original post) the MA law subsumes the mental health issues-problems  by the fact so many formidable barriers are incorporated into the law, e.g. having to pass a state approved  gun safety course, getting licensed and fingerprinted. These would arguably be obstacles too insurmountable for a mentally deranged or debilitated person, but not for a healthy, law abiding John  Q.  Citisen.  My point is that since the barriers to mental cases owning are so formidable in MA it doesn't really matter if they don't cross every t and dot every i in submit all the names of mental cases. Those mental cases would not likely get through to gun  ownership anyway!

Further research shows that since the assault weapons ban ended in 2004, violent crime has actually decreased by 16.6 percent from 2004 to 2016, according to FBI statistics


Ahhhh...but NOT the mass shootings using assault weapons, including school shootings - which have only inreased.

Rifles accounted for only 1.9 percent of all murders in 2015. You were more than twice as likely to be killed from someone kicking or punching you to death than to be shot by a rifle.


Maybe! But I'd rather take my chances against someone coming at me with fist, "flying"  feet  or knife than with an AR-15. Just sayin'.

Judging by these numbers, rifles are not the problem the left make it out to be.


But assault rifles ARE the problem in all the mass shootings. I guarandamn- tee you if Islamic extremists  were doing these mass shootings you'd see action taken fast enough to control access to these weapons.
.

Well, yes I do. Why? Because it reeks of Nazism! 


Please, this is pure hyperbole and false analogy, Nazism was a specific political ideology predicated on National Socialism, which consciously incorporates racial eugenics and anti-Semitism linking it to a one party, militarized state. This is absolutely NOT the state of Massachusetts  whose laws - like other state laws - are still based on our U.S. Constitution. Since the latter disallows Nazism, the state laws - including gun laws of whatever form -must as well.


My friend, you are an educated man, so you must concede that the Weimar Republic’s well-intentioned gun registry became a tool for evil.The same arguments for and against were made in the 1920s in the chaos of Germany’s Weimar Republic, which opted for gun registration. Law-abiding persons complied with the law, but the Commies and Nazis committing acts of political violence did not.



Politifact checked similar claims when Ben Carson made them during the 2016 campaign. It turns out that as the Nazi Party rose to power in Germany, it inherited a 1928 gun registration law that had replaced a total ban on gun ownership imposed on a defeated Germany after World War I. The 1928 law created a permit system to own and sell firearms and ammunition. According to Dagmar Ellerbrock, an expert on German gun policies at the Dresden Technical University.:


"This order was followed quite rarely, so that largely, only newly bought weapons became registered.  At that time, most men, and many women, still owned the weapons they acquired before or during the first World War."


When the Nazis did come to power, they used whatever gun records they had to seize weapons from their enemies, but Ellerbock  has noted the files included very few of the firearms in circulation. According to him:

"In my records, I found many Jews who well into the late 1930s possessed guns,"


This was confirmed by three former Wehrmacht troops I had occasion to speak with about the war and the Hitler era, when I traveled to Bielefeld with Janice in 1985.  Hans Borchers, the oldest of the former German troops,  affirmed he "knew many Jews who possessed rifles and pistols long after Hitler attained the Chancellorship in 1933".

The Nazis DID adopt a new gun law in 1938. According to an analysis by Bernard Harcourt, a professor at Columbia University School of Law, it loosened gun ownership rules in several ways:

1) It deregulated the buying and selling of rifles, shotguns and ammunition.

2) It made handguns easier to own by allowing anyone with a hunting license to buy, sell or carry one at any time. (i.e. You didn’t need to be hunting.)

3) It extended the permit period from one year to three and gave local officials more discretion in letting people under 18 get a gun.

The regulations to implement this law, rather than the law itself, did impose new limits on one group: Jews.

On Nov. 11, 1938, the German minister of the interior issued the Regulations Against Jews Possession of Weapons. Not only were Jews forbidden to own guns and ammunition, they couldn’t own "truncheons or stabbing weapons."   In addition to these restrictions, confiscation was also present, thus the Nazis had already been raiding Jewish homes and seizing weapons. But according to Ellerbrock, also confirmed by Dieter - another Wehrmacht soldier I met in 1985:

"The gun policy of the Nazis can hardly be compared to the democratic procedures of gun regulations by law.  It was a kind of special administrative practice (Sonderrecht), which treated people in different ways according to their political opinion or according to ‘racial identity’ in Nazi terms."

In short, Nazi-era Germany imposed greater gun restrictions for Jews (and other perceived enemies) at the same time it loosened gun restrictions for other groups.  German citizens as a whole were not disarmed by the Nazis. Jews and other supposed enemies of the state were subject to having their weapons seized. But for most German citizens, the Nazi period was one in which gun regulations were loosened, not tightened.

Second, a lack of guns was not the issue. If the majority of Germans had wanted to use these guns to fight the Nazis, they could have. But they didn’t. Carson  (and our AR-15 owner) ignored the fact  that the Nazis enjoyed significant popular support, or at least, broad acquiescence.  Given that popular support they had no reason at all to fear a popular revolt or uprising.  As for the Jews, the ones that had the most weapons and most likely would have fought, had all left by  Nov. 11, 1938 when the most severe  weapons regulations were enacted.

Now, what would I change if I could.....


I actually agree with all of your proposed changes. I also acknowledge they would not be a "panacea".  We  don't seek a panacea per se just some movement on curbing access to powerful assault weapons from those   criminals and psychos  - who might inflict the most harm.

Lastly, as for you stating that I should “hear the cry” of Parkland student “Sarah”... I’d like to hear what other “gun control” laws that she has in mind to “prevent it from happening again.”


Interesting you mention that! There is now a movement, begun in Parkland, to march into the FLA legislature in  Tallahassee tomorrow  to demand legislative changes including: 1) firmer control on all assault- type weapons,  including licensing and fingerprinting, 2) allowing  individual communities (like Parkland)  to impose their own regulations such as for age of purchase, and limiting magazines and the sale of ammunition.  These kids are also dispatching a retinue to meet Trump on  Feb. 24th and demand federal gun law changes.

Yet, now…they do a complete 360 and blame the prez and the NRA, etc. And, btw, I challenge my friend here – or anyone – to show me where any member of the NRA has committed any of these atrocities!


This is a true strawman argument given no one is asserting the NRA committed any atrocities. What we are saying is that the NRA was responsible for altering the original 2nd amendment interpretation  i.e. as a collective right (acknowledged by the Supreme Court in 1934)  then pushing ever more aggressive gun ownership memes and laws, state by state  - until we have the situation today when 1.5 million assault rifles are sold each year.

Again, the proof is in the pudding. Australia had problems with mass shootings until the Port Arthur massacre in 1996 .  The sheer magnitude of this tragedy spurred laws whereby Aussie assault weapon owners had to turn them in. and strict licensing - registry applies..   There have been NO mass shootings since,

I know you won’t agree with me here, friend – but as I said, we can agree to disagree.


Well, let me say I can agree with a number of your suggestions on how things might be changed for the better. I definitely disagree on a number of other aspects which were discussed above.


And may I respectfully suggest that the left stop politicizing these incidents and exploiting the victims for their own political purposes.


Sorry, I don't see the 'left" doing that at all. The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas are  organizing mass student marches and gun control activism all on their own - there are no lefties sneaking into their rallies and whispering in their ears on what  to do. If anyone is guilty of politicizing the latest incident it is Trump - tying it to the Russia probe - and blaming the FBI for 'wasting too much time on it'.  (see my next post).

Meanwhile, the kids at Stoneman Douglas - who have been most affected-  are the ones who plan to head off to Tallahassee and demand change from lawmakers, they are the ones organizing a national student march, and THEY are the ones who plan to meet with Trump and demand change  One of their reps  Emma Gonzalez - is also organizing parents, many others and students in a number of states to vote out all NRA backed lackeys and yes men. Granted, she and her group may not succeed  but it won't be for lack of trying!

From The Washington Post lead story yesterday:

Students at the Florida school where 17 people died last week said Sunday they will organize nationwide marches for gun control next month and try to create a “badge of shame” for politicians who take money from the National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups.
“We are losing our lives while the adults are playing around,” Cameron Kasky said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” 

Kasky, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., has been part of an outpouring of anger from students who survived the shooting, many of whom have publicly blamed President Trump and NRA-supported politicians for creating the conditions that led to the shooting.


Sunday, February 18, 2018

The AR-15 Owner Responds To My Questions - Arguments

First off, comparing MA with Fla or any other large state is a smokescreen to obscure the real facts. MA has a population of 6,811,779 compared to Fla’s population of 20,612,439!


Secondly, although he may be correct in the “gun death rate” comparisons, he fails to cite the cause of those gun deaths. Well, maybe I can help him out here.


According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), in 2015 (the latest stats available), MA had 216 firearm deaths, of which 144 were homicides. Fla, for the same year, had 2,559 firearm deaths, of which 1,208 were homicides. It should also be noted that the CDC does not list how many of those firearm homicides were committed with semi-auto rifles or handguns.


Now, sure, I don’t disagree with my friend that states like MA (as well as Illinois, Calif, NY, Rhode Island, D.C., et al), that have some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, have seen gun homicides decline in the past decade. But even setting aside his lack of stats for the AR-15, were the states’ tough gun laws responsible for the declines?


If he says “yes,” then I would ask him to explain how the states that have rolled back gun regulations and have a low number of laws on the books have also seen declines in gun homicide rates. One of these is Texas. The state isn’t exactly on the front lines of progressive gun policy — you can carry your handgun to your college biology class if ya so desire — yet its gun-homicide rate has plummeted 61 percent in the last quarter century. Gun laws?


I’m confident that my friend will also concede that there are also lots of factors that almost certainly affect the gun-homicide rate that have nothing to do with firearm laws. States with low gun-homicide rates also tend to rank high in other quality-of-life rankings, like per-capita income and educational attainment, while states with the most gun homicides, like Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, also rank near the bottom in such measures. There is also, typically, a wide murder inequality within states, and even within cities. In Chi-town, for instance, the homicide rate in the dozen or so highest-crime ‘hoods’ is eight times higher than in the lowest-crime neighborhoods.


My friend then pulls up his red herring and writes:


He [meaning myself] also lists, in terms of hunting, all the prey he fancies killing with the AR-15, including: coyote, white tail (deer), prairie dogs (encountered on a trip to TX), and other varmints. Fair enough but he still cannot deny the recent Health Affairs research that concluded that the United States has become “the most dangerous of wealthy nations for a child to be born into.” According to the Health Affairs study. the homicide rate in this country is 49 times higher than in other rich countries. It doesn’t take a Mensa level IQ to grasp this ratio cannot be solely from the U.S. having more crazies on the loose. I.e. the US of A cannot have 49 times more crazies than those other rich nations. That is a statistical impossibility – unless our nation is a giant nuthouse.


This is a red herring because he introduces an irrelevant topic in an argument to divert readers’ attention from the original issue – which is new gun control laws as well as the AR-15’s.


According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the rate of violent crime dropped from 79.8 to 18.6 victims per 1,000 people age 12 and older from 1993 to 2015.


These statistics do not support the opinion that more guns lead to more crimes!


As a result of the 1994 assault weapons ban, a national database referred to as NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) was created. This database is supposed to have the records of all convicted felons, domestic abusers, dishonorably discharged military members, people deemed mentally insufficient and anyone else who should be excluded from ever legally owning a firearm. Any time anyone legally purchases a firearm, their name and Social Security number are run through the database.


Regarding the claims of a need for a “universal background check,” the NICS database already exists.


The more concerning issue is that Massachusetts is one of the worst states for submitting the names of people deemed mentally insufficient by the state into the NICS database. While MA legislators seek more and more gun control, they don’t follow the laws already in place; laws that all law-abiding, safety-conscious gun owners believe should be followed.


The assault weapons ban was not renewed because it had little to no impact on firearm-related violent crimes.


Further research shows that since the assault weapons ban ended in 2004, violent crime has actually decreased by 16.6 percent from 2004 to 2016, according to FBI statistics.


According to FBI data, 13,455 people were murdered in the U.S. during 2015, with 1,544 people killed with knives; 624 by personal weapons such as hands, fists, or feet; 437 by blunt objects such as hammers or clubs; and 252 by all rifles combined. Rifles accounted for only 1.9 percent of all murders in 2015. You were more than twice as likely to be killed from someone kicking or punching you to death than to be shot by a rifle.


Judging by these numbers, rifles are not the problem the left make it out to be.


Some states, such as MA, limit the number of attachments that can be put on a rifle — as if limiting cosmetic features make rifles safer.


According to Alan Korwin, co-author of “Gun Laws of America,” there are 271 gun laws at the federal level, a 17 percent increase in the past decade. That does not take additional laws of individual states, like MA, into account.  Murder is already illegal. Criminals, terrorists and the mentally ill don’t obey current gun laws. Do we really expect that they will obey new ones?

My friend then goes on to write:

Given this, I propose that – especially as a former law officer – he should have no qualms, ZERO about accepting the MA gun laws.


Well, yes I do. Why? Because it reeks of Nazism! My friend, you are an educated man, so you must concede that the Weimar Republic’s well-intentioned gun registry became a tool for evil.


The same arguments for and against were made in the 1920s in the chaos of Germany’s Weimar Republic, which opted for gun registration. Law-abiding persons complied with the law, but the Commies and Nazis committing acts of political violence did not.

Granted, they went a step further than the current MA gun law…but not by much. In 1931, Weimar authorities discovered plans for a Nazi takeover in which Jews would be denied food and persons refusing to surrender their guns within 24 hours would be executed. They were written by Werner Best, a future Gestapo official. In reaction to such threats, the government authorized the registration of all firearms and the confiscation thereof, if required for “public safety.”

In 1933, the ultimate extremist group, led by Adolf Hitler, seized power and used the records to identify, disarm, and attack political opponents and Jews. Constitutional rights were suspended, and mass searches for and seizures of guns and dissident publications ensued. Police revoked gun licenses of Social Democrats and others who were not “politically reliable.”


In 1938, Hitler signed a new ‘Gun Control Act.’ Now that many “enemies of the state” had been removed from society, some restrictions could be slightly liberalized, especially for Nazi Party members. But Jews were prohibited from working in the firearms industry, and .22 caliber hollow-point ammunition was banned.  The time had come to launch a decisive blow to the Jewish community, to render it defenseless so that its “ill-gotten” property could be redistributed as an entitlement to the German “Volk.” The German Jews were ordered to surrender all their weapons, and the police had the records on all who had registered them. Even those who gave up their weapons voluntarily were turned over to the Gestapo.


No wonder that in 1941, just days before the Pearl Harbor attack, Congress reaffirmed Second Amendment rights and prohibited gun registration. In 1968, bills to register guns were debated, with opponents recalling the Nazi experience and supporters denying that the Nazis ever used registration records to confiscate guns. The bills were defeated, as every such proposal has been ever since, including recent “universal background check” bills.

As in Weimar Germany, some well-meaning people today advocate severe restrictions, including bans and registration, on gun ownership by law-abiding persons. Such proponents are in no sense “Nazis,” any more than were the Weimar officials who promoted similar restrictions. And it would be a travesty to compare today’s situation to the horrors of Nazi Germany.


Still, as I mentioned at the start of this post, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.


Now, what would I change if I could?

First off, I would change the minimum age to 25 for anyone to buy and legally own a firearm…any firearm! This would be waived for those on active duty military or those honorably discharged veterans. Fla, as I mentioned, already has a mandatory 3-day waiting period for purchase of a handgun. Thus, 72 hours must elapse between the purchase and the delivery at retail of any handgun, exclusive of weekends and legal holidays. I would extend this to include the purchase of rifles, since currently there is no waiting period to buy a rifle at a retailer in Fla. The 3-day waiting period is so a background check can be done on buyers via the NCIC (National Crime Information Center), which would also include any prior confinements for mental health issues (voluntary or involuntary, e.g., Fla’s Baker Act Law).


Ditto with issuing of CCL’s (Concealed Carry License). Note that for a CCL in Fla, the applicant must submit a separate application to the state, undergo another background check (local and national), and be at least 21-yrs of age. They must also show proof of successfully completing a 40-hour state approved firearm safety and proficiency course (which includes the gun range). This is currently waived for individuals like myself who show proof of being an honorably discharged veteran (i.e., DD-214), and/or proof of prior LE experience. Convicted felons are not eligible unless they had their civil rights restored.


I would also apply the above (age requirements only) to gun shows.


Would my ‘changes’ be a panacea? Of course not. Even IF my changes had been in effect prior to this POS going off the mental rails (including gun shows), he was “hell bent”, as Sheriff Scott Israel said, to commit this atrocity, and he would have got the guns, etc…from the numerous ‘street dealers’ – especially in So. Fla. I mean, GEEZ…it’s easier to get an illegal, unregistered handgun, AR-15, fully auto weapons…you name it – in any major metro area today than it is to try and rent a car without a credit card!


Lastly, as for you stating that I should “hear the cry” of Parkland student “Sarah” who tweeted the following to the prez: “I don’t want your condolences, you fucking piece of shit, my friends and teachers were shot, Multiple of my fellow classmates are dead. Do something instead of sending prayers. Prayers won’t fix this. But gun control will prevent it from happening again!”


Well, I, for one, consider the source. A young, emotionally traumatized (rightfully so), kid, spurting a spontaneous juvenile outburst. I’d like to hear what other “gun control” laws that she has in mind to “prevent it from happening again.”

I would also ask her to set aside her (obvious) libo hate and indoctrination and reflect on what a sheriff in Washington state said about the youth of today: “You started glorifying cultures of violence – you’ve glorified the gang culture, you’ve glorified games that actually give you points for raping and killing people. Guns didn’t change. We, as a society changed.


The left, when HUSSEIN Obozo was in office for 8-yrs (2 of which the Dems had the House and Senate – plus the WH), didn’t ‘fix’ this gun control issue. They blamed the NRA, Repubs (when we got the House and Senate), and the “gun nuts.” They NEVER blamed Obozo and the Dems. Yet, now…they do a complete 360 and blame the prez and the NRA, etc. And, btw, I challenge my friend here – or anyone – to show me where any member of the NRA has committed any of these atrocities!


The bottom line, let’s leave any more gun control laws to the individual states. I know you won’t agree with me here, friend – but as I said, we can agree to disagree. And may I respectfully suggest that the left stop politicizing these incidents and exploiting the victims for their own political purposes.

-----------

My reply to his response will be posted tomorrow.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Okay, You "Want" Your AR-15? Fine, Then You Ought To Be Willing to Compromise On Gun Law

Recall in my post on the "gun-tards" and 2nd amendment- after the Parkland massacre, I wrote:

"You don't need a military assault weapon for "protection"  or for hunting...No upstanding citizen in these United States "needs" such a weapon.."

Evidently a gun aficionado in FLA took umbrage at this  "snow flake" take declaring that hey- it is not a question of "need" - but he WANTS the damned AR-15.    Ok, let us grant that he ought to be able to satisfy that lurking want, especially as he has a law abiding (military, police) background. So is your ideal gun owner - even AR-15  owner- if there can ever be such a thing.

Then I argue, if that is the case, he ought to be willing to accept the kind of gun laws passed in Massachusetts which has seen its gun death rate decline to only 2 in 100,000 compared to Florida's 13.1 per 100,000.

He also lists, in terms of hunting, all the prey he fancies killing with the AR-15, including: coyote, white tail (deer), prairie dogs (encountered on a trip to TX), and other varmints. This despite - as blogger David Lindorff observes (see link at the end):

"An AR-15 is not a hunting weapon. In fact there’s a reason it’s called an “assault rifle.” As a hunter, unless you’re an atrocious shot and are hunting random flocks of small birds, you certainly don’t need to be able to fire powerful ammunition of two bullets per second — the rate at which experts say H=an ordinary person could be able to pull the trigger."


He also claims he wants the AR- 15 for home protection, so I suppose he's expecting an invasion of either 100 Isis radicals or Russian-trained guerillas.   To bolster this he  quotes a Broward County sheriff that "make no mistake the killer is the only one responsible" for all those 17 deaths. But this is hog shit- as the weapon is  responsible at least for the LEVEL of carnage. Replace the AR-15 with a knife and I promise you seventeen don't get killed!


As one of the Douglas students, Emma Gonzalez,  said at the rally held at the school on Saturday: "He wouldn't have harmed that many students with a knife."   Which is the key point and any dummy-   even that sheriff - should grasp there's a world of difference between knife killing and gun killing.   Any knife wielder would be taken down after the first couple stabs.  The reason school shootings are so lethal in this country is because the perps select the most lethal weapons to carry out their deeds.  The canard that "guns don't kill people, people kill people"  can only be verified if the gun is subtracted from the scenario, If then, left with no gun-  no AR-15 - Cruz still manages to kill 17 then yeah, people kill people.  Otherwise the gun must be an integral part of the killing.

Anyway,  he still cannot deny the recent Journal of Health Affairs research that  concluded that the United States has become “the most dangerous of wealthy nations for a child to be born
into.”   According to the Health Affairs study. the homicide rate in this country is 49 times higher than in other rich countries. 

It doesn't take a Mensa level IQ to grasp this ratio cannot be solely from the U.S. having more crazies or criminals on the loose.  The US of A cannot have 49 times more crazies  and criminals than those other rich nations.  That is a statistical impossibility .

Given this, I propose that -   especially as a former law officer  - he should have no qualms, ZERO  about accepting the MA gun laws, which I hereby repeat from a previous post and summarized from a Wikipedia article:

"Massachusetts Law requires firearm owners to be licensed through their local Police Department or the Massachusetts State Police if no local licensing authority is available. A license is required by state law for buying firearms and ammunition. An applicant must have passed a State approved firearm safety course before applying for a license.

All applications, interviews, fees, and fingerprinting are done at the local Police Department then sent electronically to the Massachusetts Criminal History Board for the mandatory background checks and processing. All approved applicants will receive their license from the issuing Police Department. All licensing information is stored by the Criminal History Board. Non residents who are planning on carrying in the state must apply for a temporary license to carry (LTC) through the State Police before their travel."

For perspective and reference, take the Parkland killer (Nikolas Cruz) and  put him in Massachusetts instead of FLA.  In the former state he'd have had to first pass a state approved gun safety course, then be licensed and fingerprinted.. His licensing info would then end up at a Criminal History Board assuming he passed the other thresholds.  But I argue he'd have been finito at the safety course, i.e. he wouldn't have passed it, No way, not with his mental debility.

If this is true - on would have been  of Cruz in MA-  then I submit it's precisely this rigorous process that weeds out nuts and criminals from the outset.  This isn't rocket science!  What objections could our friendly AR-15 (and Glock) owner in FLA possibly have? Too troublesome and inconvenient? Give me a break!  For anyone with his background  and experience the MA law would be a breeze. A minor formality.  But he knows as well as I do that it could prevent thousands from getting hold of weapons that put them - and especially others - at risk.

I also don't buy that the MA law is any imposition on his freedom. That is just codswallop. I DO agree that it likely represents a limit on the freedom of a crook or mental case to get a powerful weapon, that'd put others at risk.

But hey, since we're both for law and order, it should not matter that  adopting another state's stringent gun laws limit access for crooks, slimeballs and other MFs, eh?  And after all, it's not like the draconian Aussie law that mandates all citizens turn in their  semi-automatics

I wait with bated breath to see his response, and  I trust he bears in mind that I am conceding his ability for AR-15 ownership and fulfilling all his "wants" - especially to take out pesky prairie dogs when he encounters them.  All I ask in turn is that he also concede the wisdom and rationality of the Massachusetts gun law in particular to keep the wrong guns out of the wrong hands. Again, the proof in the pudding is the low MA gun death rate.

If he is not willing to make this concession, in the interest of enhancing public safety -  even though it's no skin off his nose -  then I must conclude he's not truly serious about public safety. Well, other than maybe parroting Rick Scott's balderdash about mental health and "giving hugs". (Again, the MA law automatically subsumes 99.9% of the mental health issues by the barriers to ownership it features, especially passing the gun safety course like one would pass a driving test.)

One would hope he hears the cry of Parkland student "Sarah" who tweeted the following after she read Dotard's tweet about sending condolences to the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High:

"I don’t want your condolences, you  fucking piece of  shit, my friends and teachers were shot,” wrote Twitter user @chaddiedabaddie, who identifies herself as Sarah. “Multiple of my fellow classmates are dead. Do something instead of sending prayers. Prayers won’t fix this. But gun control will prevent it from happening again!"

See also:


http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/dave-lindorff/77748/us-mass-killers-crucially-abetted-by-nuts-who-won-t-ban-assault-weapons-and-high-capacity-clips

Excerpt:

I have to say, given what we are learning from neurology studies of the young brain, which show that the brain does not really reach maturity until the age of 24-26, and that one of the last things to reach mature development is the part of the brain that provides impulse control, you have to wonder why we are allowing people that age and younger, for example the legal age of maturity which is just 18, to buy such weapons of mass destruction....

Any person, politician or lobbying organization (think National Rifle Association) that claims it’s every American’s god-given Constitutional right to buy and own an assault rifle, including young people with age-appropriate impulse control programs, and even documented mental health issues, is either an idiot, an ideologically driven nut-job, or has some kind of other insidious agenda.

Bob Mueller Scuttles Russia "Hoax" Meme With Indictment Of 13 Russian Operatives

Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Bob Mueller - left - with his 13 indictments of Russian intel operatives shows the Dotard the Russian intervention in 2016 election is no "hoax".

Yesterday was a bad day for all the purveyors of the "Russian election interference is a hoax" meme - including the Fox & Friends 3 stooges, and the WSJ's  stable of resident deniers (William McGurn, Kimberley Strassel, Dan Henninger, and Holman Jenkins).  The reason?  Robert Mueller, announced that thirteen Russians have been criminally charged for interfering in the 2016 U.S. election to help catapult Donald Trump into office.  As Shepard Smith  - the only FOX News host with any integrity -  put it in his Friday p.m. hour: "Mr. President you can no longer say this Russian campaign  interference is a hoax."     Shep didn't go so far as to allege any witting Trumpie conspirators, but he did mention (several times) how the 37 page detailed indictment referenced "co-conspirators".  

Mueller alleged that Russian operatives “communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump campaign”, but the indictment did not address the question of whether anyone else in Trump’s team had knowingly colluded.  But let's be frank, these are minor details which will soon be "the next shoes to drop" as Mueller'e team consolidates and presents its abundance of evidence.

One defendant, Irina Kaverzina, is accused of admitting her involvement in the operation and a subsequent coverup in an email to a relative in September last year, after Mueller’s inquiry had begun. “We had a slight crisis here at work: the FBI busted our activity,” Kaverzina allegedly wrote, “so I got preoccupied with covering tracks together with the colleagues.”

Others  charged were Mikhail Ivanovich Bystrov, Mikhail Leonidovich Burchik, Aleksandra Yuryevna Krylova, Anna Vladislavovna Bogacheva, Sergey Pavlovich Polozov, Maria Anatolyevna Bovda, Robert Sergeyevich Bovda, Dzheykhun Nasimi Ogly Aslanov, Vadim Vladimirovich Podkopaev, Gleb Igorevitch Vasilchenko, Irina Viktorovna Kaverzina, Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin and Vladimir Venkov.  All were charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States. Three defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and five defendants were charged with aggravated identity theft.


Separately, Mueller’s office announced that Richard Pinedo, of Santa Paula, California, had pleaded guilty to identity fraud. Pinedo, 28, admitted to running a website that offered stolen identities to help customers get around the security measures of major online payment sites.  Basically, Pinedo was responsible for facilitating monetary support for the Russkie operations by making it possible for dumb Americans to PayPal donate or buy ad space on assorted (VPN) platforms  to air bogus anti-Hillary or pro-Trump material. 

Viktorovich Prigozhin is accused of using companies he controlled – including Concord Management and Consulting, and Concord Catering – to finance the operations against the US. The operation at one stage had a monthly budget of $1.25m, according to Mueller, which paid for operatives’ salaries and bonuses.

So what were the deviant Russkies up to?  Basically, sophisticated  psychological and information warfare to snare as many gullible or clueless Americans as possible to help  stir up shit storms and internecine hatreds during the 2016 campaign.  For example,

In August 2016, Russian operatives communicated with Trump campaign staff in Florida through their “@donaldtrump.com” email addresses to coordinate a series of pro-Trump rallies in the state, according to Mueller, and then bought advertisements on social media to promote the events.  At one rally in West Palm Beach, a Russian operative is even alleged to have paid Americans to build a cage on a flatbed truck and to have an actor posing as "Killary"  in a prison uniform stand inside.

Thousands of 'Muricans turned into instant raving zombies screaming "YESSS!" amd made their own signs e,g, "Lock her up!" as divisions rent the country asunder.  But that was merely the beginning, and the Russians had planned their gambit from 2014. 

The Russians also worked to suppress turnout among ethnic minority voters. They  created an Instagram account posing as “Woke Blacks” and railed against the notion that African Americans should choose Clinton as “the lesser of two devils” against Trump.  Then in early November 2016, according to the indictment, the Russian operatives used bogus “United Muslims of America” social media accounts to claim that “American Muslims [are] boycotting elections today.”

Following Trump’s victory, the Russian operation promoted allegations of voter fraud by the Democratic party, according to Mueller’s team. Around that time, Trump repeatedly claimed without evidence that he would have won the popular vote if not for large-scale voter fraud.  As former Justice Dept. spokesman Matt Miller pointed out last night on All In, this was right out of the KGB-FSB playbook, i.e. to cast doubt on the integrity of the election process. It's worked in eastern Europe to the point of getting a number of Rightist authoritarians into power - including most recently in Austria.

In a statement on Friday, Trump suggested that what he called “outlandish partisan attacks, wild and false allegations, and far-fetched theories” relating to possible collusion were serving to further the Russian agenda.  But in fact, it's been Trump's obstinacy in imposing sanctions or doing anything to halt the next assault - on the midterms this year- that have done most to further the Russian agenda. That and continually denying any involvement by hitherto calling it a "hoax".  Right out of the Kremlin  agitprop playbook according to Matt Miller, former DOJ guy.


One could also suspect the WSJ editors of operating from the same playbook. Cue their  delirious, irritating, spin-infused  editorial today ('The Russia Indictments', p. A16) which also continued to bamboozle with the likes of this twaddle

"The 37- page indictment contains no evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign but it does show a systematic effort to discredit the results of the 2016 election, On the evidence so far President Trump has been the biggest victim of that effort."

This absurd take is oblivious to the fact the Russians wanted a TRUMP win, not a Hillary Clinton win  - and how all the operatives in the U.S. were working feverishly to attain it  Hence, it's difficult to process this doggerel as little Donnie Doturd being the "victim" when he was the one handed the election based on a 77,000 voter differential in three states.  A margin so narrow that it can be easily explained by adept hacking into states' voter rolls, e.g. to disqualify or remove voter names.

As for the "no evidence of collusion" claim, the WSJ is too quick to jump on the premature conclusion bandwagon,  forgetting that  evidence of absence doesn't mean absence of evidence.  As former Watergate assistant prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks spelled it out last night on 'Last Word', this is only the beginning, adding:

"The indictments show there's a reason why there's been an obstruction of justice. We now have proof that the Russians meddled and that there was at least unwitting cooperation with Americans including Trump campaign aides.  


But that's not the end of it Just because this indictment doesn't set if forth doesn't mean there's not another one coming, and that will set out just who cooperated with this."

Then there was former DOJ spokes man Matt Miller, rebutting Trump's BS that the indictment "vindicates" him:  "This indictment does no such thing. There could well be multiple conspiracy charges in the months to come."  Adding:

"You have to remember we had the then candidate, now president of the United States, out there publicly not just benefiting from the Russian operation but actively encouraging Russian interference. Actively encouraging it in July when he asked them to hack Hillary Clinton's emails, (e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnY7D4M4k68 )

and encouraging it in the fall when he was talking about the Wikileaks hacks (e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUtT0b0EnSw )

He has been actively promoting the Russian interference in the election for now a year and a half."

Richard Painter, former ethics counsel in the Bush White House, was even more blunt appearing on 'Am Joy' this morning:

"Look, we already know there was collaboration, that was what the meeting in Trump Tower in 2016 was all about.  This indictment covers the social media side of what the Russians were doing....taking advantage of group identity politics, especially on the Right. Where you have all these people whose identity is tied to their guns.  Sure there were some unwitting people, but there were others - as I said in Trump Tower - who in June, 2016 were knowingly meeting with Russian agents who had dirt on Hillary.  That whole part of the operation has nothing to do with this indictment. That is yet to come."



So the WSJ editorial nabobs would do well to withhold their daft opinions until all indictments and evidence have been submitted. We know they are in a hurry to pardon Trump from any wrong doing, but their unseemly eagerness to paint this traitor as a victim does them no service. Indeed, it further puts them on the same yellow journalism  basis as say, The National Enquirer.
Let us recognize that Donnie J. (for Jackass) Dotard believes many things, most of which are not remotely true. One of those, emitted in another brain fart ....errr tweet earlier yesterday, is that he's convinced he can't be a target of Special Prosecutor Bob Mueller because the 13 indictments handed down yesterday don't mention collusion. Also, since the Russian intervention began in 2014 -  before Trump tossed his hat into the ring.  The dope seized on Rod Rosenstein’s remarks  to falsely claim that the indictment proved there had been no collusion and that the election result had definitely not been impacted. In fact it did no such thing. Mueller has simply provided the net and scaffolding to hang the prick in the next round of indictments.  (Trump in the candidate debates even hung himself  as guilty on multiple occasions, e.g. "Please,  Russia go get those thirty thousand emails!", And "I love WikiLeaks!" (Whose operatives hacked into the DNC)

For the Russians: What better traitor to use than a narcissistic megalomaniac dupe and puppet like Dotard to wreck American institutions and democratic governance ?  Hell, each day this abomination is in power more American norms and principles crash to the sewer and even worse is how a seeming increase in Americans believe him. A poll cited last night by Bill Maher on his show indicated the public now prefers the Trumpkins by 46% to 24% in matters of security.

The entire set of convictions expressed by 40 percent of Americans (now) that the Russian interference is "fake news" would be analogous, as Rep. Gerry Nadler put it (on All In),  to then Americans refusing to accept FDR's speech in December 1941 that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.   It would also be compounded by a GOP congress that refused to declare war. Now we are in an effective cyber war- attack situation and those like FOX News, the WSJ editors and others (e.g. Devin Nunes) want to sit on their hands?  Or twist it around to blame Dems for "doing the Russians' work for them"?

Apart from the 13 Russian individuals Mueller's office also named three Russian entities, including the notorious state-backed “troll farm” the Internet Research Agency. We already - most of us - were aware that IRA's denizens were able to get right inside the heads of the targets. Even before Mueller's revelations we knew (thanks to research published in The Atlantic)  these mind manipulators were mainly elite Russian college students specializing in linguistics, journalism and psychology trained at a central troll farm in St. Petersburg.

These were savvy kids who mastered their "Americana" politics by watching cynical, Machiavellian fare like "House of Cards".   By also using emotions and reading Americans' own emotional responses to race, Trump and immigration they were able to jack up their messages and twist them into fake news to mindfuck millions. How so? By using specially manipulated videos guaranteed to be shared by the gullible.

The Russians  posed as Americans to operate bogus social media accounts, buy advertisements and stage political rallies. They stole the identities of real people in the US to post online and built computer systems in the US to hide the Russian origin of their activity, according prosecutors. 

As for Rod Rosenstein, he said yesterday:

This indictment serves as a reminder that people are not always who they appear to be on the internet. These individuals worked to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence in democracy,” adding: “We must not allow them to succeed."
Two of these subversive Russian groups and bots included "Blacktivists"  and "Secure Borders" . The first was ostensibly run by two Baltimore homies. They professed to be supporting causes in the black community while skewering Hillary Clinton as a "witch" at the same time using hashtags such as #BlacklLives Matter.  The fake videos included police allegedly shooting unarmed black men.

The second featured  xenophobic yahoos who railed against illegal immigration.  Their weaponized shtick was to publish "material such as a photo-shopped image of a woman holding a sign reading 'Give me more free shit!'Such an image alone was worth about a million and a half shares - say on Facebook, or a half million retweets- multiplying the mindfuck effect.  The reason? It deliberately embodied sentiments already felt by millions of the weaker-minded  in key states, descendants of those who used to riff on about "welfare queens" in the Reagan era.

Now for some reality checks: Rosenstein also said at his press conference in Washington: “There is no allegation in this indictment that any American had any knowledge.”

Of course, Rosenstein wasn't going to put himself out on a limb because he planned to keep his job. Apart from the fact,Mueller is still building his prima facie case of Trumpie conspiracy  - knowing and witting - with the Russian interlopers.  The "ducks" are all being lined up in a row, just waiting to be taken down.

Rosenstein added that the charges "did not mean the Russian activity had an effect on the outcome of the election".  But as Salman Rushdie put in on Bill Maher's Real Time, anyone familiar with the state voting stats, i.e. Jill Stein (backed by the Russkie trolls) got 51,000 odd votes in Michigan and Trump took MI with a margin of barely 12,000, knows that is nonsense. Of course the outcome was affected, and we haven't even included the hacking into state election systems yet.

The key point is that the weaponized Russkie psychological warfare attacks - whether videos from Blacktivists or Secure Borders, were superbly designed to send hooks into millions of emotionally susceptible brains. If even a hundredth of them were influenced - say in the "Brexit" states (WI, MI, PA) - it would have tossed the 2016 election to Trump.

It is  also important to grasp here that the election board hacking and social media fake news strategies were not mutually exclusive The hacking attacks in fact complemented the initial propaganda, or information warfare attacks. The latter rendered hundreds of thousands of brains more averse to Hillary while the election hacking delivered dozens of vulnerable systems that might be useful - if compromised-  to reinforce the scale of interference.  If 1000 names in each precinct of the "Brexit" states (MI, WI, PA) could have the names or voter attributes altered, then overturning the election could became a real possibility since their electoral votes  ultimately determined the winner.

So we now know the Russians engaged in a three-pronged attack to subvert our elections and get Trump elected. These included: 1) hacking into the election systems of 21 states, 2) hacking into the DNC - using Wikileaks  and then releasing the negative information into the already polarized political landscape and 3) using social media platforms like Facebook to subvert American minds into being willing pawns.

An intriguing comparison  (to a Russian intervention) made last night by historian Michael Beschloss was  to the events immediately following the  JFK assassination. He noted how some in the political establishment thought maybe the Russians were behind it  because Lee Oswald - the alleged assassin- "had defected to Russia and married the niece of  a Soviet intelligence official."    Added Beschloss:

"The person most worried was Lyndon Johnson, the President, He knew that if Americans believed the Russians were behind a change in power there'd be a huge demand among Americans to retaliate against the Soviet Union, and would quickly lead to a nuclear war. And that's one reason LBJ did the Warren Commission, and told the Chief Justice I hope you will resolve suspicions like this."

Left unsaid was that the whole theme that Oswald was a "KGB -linked assassin"  hired to kill Kennedy was  a narrative  confected by the CIA using fake cables.. It was based on a supposed "Oswald" phone call to the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City with a KGB agent, Valeriy Kostikov.   While the "Oswald as KGB assassin"  ruse was never used  or published in its Report by the Warren Commission, "it almost certainly contributed to the Warren Commission's determination to close the case as the work of a lone assassin" (Scott, Deep Politics, 113)   This is actually validated and was foreseen when one examined a key paragraph in the Katzenbach memo which readers can see in full here: http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?absPageId=756877

Note in particular paragraph (2):

"Speculation about Oswald's motivation ought to be cut off, and we should have some basis of rebutting thought that this was a Communist conspiracy".

When this is interpreted in the context of the rest of the memo, and especially Part (1) pertaining to convicting Oswald, it is clear the Commission was driven to the lone assassin bunkum as the only alternative to the KGB assassin hypothesis.

The surge to do this was reinforced after the Commission was informed  by CIA head Richard Helms* of the Kostikov -Department Thirteen connection ("Department Thirteen" was that KGB Section assigned to assassinations) . Earl Warren evidently became so spooked that he felt the only alternative to a possible nuclear  confrontation  was to find for the lone assassin theory. From then, all evidence, documents and tests became devoted to nailing Oswald as the lone perp. It was either that or find him a KGB- hired contract killer, which many (including LBJ) felt would have led to war. 
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Memo of 1/13/ 64 from Richard Helms to the Warren Commission Counsel J. Lee Rankin, CIA Document 509-803.