Sunday, January 17, 2016

Beware the Rat-Lovers Conspiracy!


The organization calling itself People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is probably crowing over its latest victories: forcing Barnum and Bailey's circus to give up its performing elephants, after a century of displaying them, and steadily running Sea World (and its marine studies division) out of business.  Flushed with victory, PETA has let slip that the next step in its agenda is to get rid of all circus animal acts.  Apparently there are enough gullible people out there, with more money than sense, who are happy to contribute millions to PETA every year.

But cracks are appearing in the facade;  more and more animal welfare organizations are turning on PETA and publishing revelations of its real behavior and intentions.  As the director of Humane Farm Animal Care reveals:

"I don’t think you can stand in the way of progress for farm animals, euthanize more dogs and cats than other animal shelters, and still call yourself a “humane” organization.

"The PETA animal shelter in Norfolk, Va., euthanizes dogs and cats in far greater numbers than does other animal shelters in Virginia.  According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, PETA has euthanized more than 33,514 animals since 1998 at its Norfolk shelter. In 2014, the group euthanized 2,454 of the 3,369 cats, dogs and other animals there. Most were “surrenders” – pets turned into shelters by their previous owners. Only 23 dogs and 16 cats were adopted.

"By contrast, the Lynchburg Humane Society (LHS), also in Virginia, took in about the same number of animals as PETA in 2014, but saved 94 percent of its homeless pets. Other animal shelters in the state found homes for more than 90 percent of their animals, and without the $51,933,001 that PETA raised in contributions and merchandising in 2014.

"Tabitha Frizzell Hanes, of the Richmond SPCA, once wrote on the shelter’s blog, “Over the past decade, as save rates at private shelters across Virginia have risen and euthanasia rates have fallen, the PETA facility euthanizes the animals it takes in at a rate of about 90 percent. It is out of step with the progress being made for our state’s homeless animals for a private shelter to operate not with the purpose of finding animals adoptive homes, but almost entirely to take their lives.”

"Meanwhile, the elimination of pets rather than finding the animals new homes appears to be something PETA embraces. PETA President Ingrid Newkirk once admitted, I would go to work early, before anyone got there, and I would just kill the animals myself … I must have killed a thousand of them, sometimes dozens every day. The animals…got the gift of euthanasia, and to them it was the best gift they’ve ever had. How dare you pretend to help animals and turn your back on those who want an exit from an uncaring world!”"

Now personally I have never seen an animal indicate that it wants "an exit from an uncaring world".  But it gets worse.

"According to an article published in the Huffington Post in 2015, a former PETA employee, Heather Harper-Troje, the wife of a U.S. diplomat, alleged that Newkirk authorized her and other employees to steal and kill pets, then falsify records in order to cover their tracks. Harper-Troje said, “If we felt an animal was in immediate danger we would steal them . . . It was what she told us to do — it was standard operating procedure . . . If you adopt out dogs you steal then you leave a trail, in theory. If they just go poof, there is no trail.”

"America has been hoodwinked to think that PETA wants to help animals, when in fact it wants to eliminate pet ownership and sever all our ties with the animal kingdom.

"PETA’s Web site and print material states: 
“Pet ownership is an absolutely abysmal situation brought about by human manipulation.”

“Let us allow the dog to disappear from our brick and concrete jungles — from our firesides, from the leather nooses and chains by which we enslave it.”

“The cat, like the dog, must disappear…We should cut the domestic cat free from our dominance by neutering, neutering, and more neutering, until our pathetic version of the cat ceases to exist.”

“As John Bryant has written in his book ‘Fettered Kingdoms,’ they [pets] are like slaves, even if well-kept slaves.”

“In a perfect world, all other than human animals would be free of human interference, and dogs and cats would be part of the ecological scheme.”

[Dogs] would pursue their natural lives in the wild…they would have full lives, not wasting at home for someone to come home in the evening and pet them and then sit there and watch T.V.”

“The bottom line is that people don’t have the right to manipulate or to breed dogs and cats. If people want toys, they should buy inanimate objects. If they want companionship, they should seek it with their own kind.”

"That will not likely sit well with the estimated 70 million to 80 million dogs and 74 million to 96 million cats living with people in the United States. [Source: American Pet Product Association]

"As the executive director for Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC), I have spent 35 years working on animal protection issues. After seeing laying hens crammed in cages and pigs confined to gestation crates, I launched HFAC in 2003 to improve the lives of farm animals raised for food.

"However, HFAC’s mission is not to turn everyone into vegans. With 95 percent of the U.S. eating meat, HFAC offers a realistic approach to helping farm animals with standards of care written by the world’s top animal welfare scientists. These standards ensure farm animals cage-free, allowed to exhibit natural behaviors, receive humane care throughout their lives, and includes humane slaughter guidelines. The standards also require the animals’ diets are free from hormones, antibiotics, and animal by-products. HFAC uses third-party independent inspectors to perform audits for the Certified Humane Raised and Handled® program, which has grown from 143,000 farm animals in 2003 to more than 103 million farm animals today in four countries.

"All too often animal rights groups such as PETA sabotage farm animal welfare progress. Although they may appear to attack factory farming, they go after animal welfare groups such as ours that are trying to improve the lives of farm animals. They would rather see farm animals suffer to promote their agenda than support compassionate standards and systemic change to the farm animal system. That’s the height of hypocrisy to me.  They would rather go after companies and farmers who have actually worked very hard to raise the animals the right way.

"A growing number of farmers, producers, grocery stores, and retailers who want to improve the lives of farm animals, are under constant pressure by PETA to halt this progress because PETA believes factory farming will result in more vegetarians and vegans. Recently, fast-food retailer, Tasty Burger succumbed to PETA’s pressure to drop HFAC’s Certified Humane Raised and Handled® label from its menu because as PETA puts it, “the only truly humane meal is a vegan meal.” PETA also went after Whole Foods, asking that firm to remove “humane,” “humanely-raised,” and “raised with care” from its marketing materials.

"Humane Society of the United States President Wayne Pacelle quickly came to Whole Foods’ defense, saying, “This is why I am troubled that PETA has chosen to sue Whole Foods in an apparent attempt to undermine or call into question the value of the GAP program.  This is counterproductive, especially in a marketplace where there are dozens of other chains nearly exclusively selling factory farm animal products. Not one of them has done as much as Whole Foods has to promote more plant-based eating and to advance farm animal welfare and fight factory farming in very practical terms.”

"PETA’s Newkirk was once quoted as saying, “Businesses are terrified. They have no idea what I’m going to do next.”

"People who choose to be vegans and vegetarians will not be persuaded to eat meat because of
HFAC’s standards. Putting pressure on businesses that want to make a difference for farm animals and keeping the status quo of factory farming alive only increases animal suffering. Any progress for animals is seen as a loss by PETA because it wants animals gone from our lives. That’s PETA’s warped strategy – a strategy that causes farm animals to continue to suffer in factory farms because that better supports their agenda.

"The fact that this group continues to portray itself as the humane stewards of animals is duplicitous. I don’t think you can call yourself “humane” while you’re standing in the way of the humane treatment of farm animals and euthanizing dogs and cats at a 99 percent rate at your shelter. They’re not interested in creating a humane world, only a world where our relationship with animals is broken. Does this sound like an organization working on “humane” changes for animals?"

In fact, PETA's agenda is not only inhumane, it's cruelly insane.  Humans have always lived with animals, and animals with us, and certain of those animals will not be willing to break the connection with us.  One in particular will definitely not go away willingly, and I don't just mean the cockroach.  There is one animal that not only eats, happily, all the foods we eat but will gladly eat us as well -- and also carries catastrophic diseases.  It infests all of our habitat, city or country, taking advantage of unprotected food stores and unprotected humans too.  In the countryside, its numbers are kept in check by bird, reptile, and mammal predators.  In cities, all that keeps its population down, besides regular poisoning by humans, is the presence of -- yes -- dogs and cats.  Get rid of all the dogs and cats, and this animal would swiftly overwhelm us.  There are already, according to the UN, more of this animal in the world than there are humans -- and there are 7 billion of us.

This animal is the rat -- particularly the brown rat, rattus norvegicus.  

The last time humans drove small dogs and cats away from a large geographic area, the result was an explosion of the rat population -- and the Black Plague, which killed one-third of the human population of Europe.  One has to wonder if the PETA people are ignorant of history.

Or, perhaps, given their famous slogan "A boy is a dog is a rat", they're perfectly aware of it -- and hopeful of a rerun.  They've revealed, many times, their real contempt for human beings.  They've said, many times, that there are too many humans in the world.  Iis this their plan for cutting our numbers down?

  --Leslie <;)))>< 
    

Sunday, January 10, 2016

An Open Letter to 'Black Lives Matter'


It's not just Black lives, you fools!

Trying to make political hay out of police corruption isn't doing Blacks any favors, either.  Yes, yes, you can stampede this or that city council into giving you and your cronies money, sinecures, and political clout, but the tactics you're using are going to backfire on you.

Look, from the top, thuggish cops are quite ready, willing, and eager to attack, beat up, and even kill poor folks who aren't Black.  If you want specific cases, look up Corey Kanash -- Paiute Indian, Misty Holt-Singh -- Sikh, Samantha Ramsey -- White, and for a real horror-show go up on YouTube and search 'The Death of Kelly Thomas'.  But with that last one, turn the sound down once the beating starts;  the screams get very loud.  Anyone, of any race, is fair game when dirty cops go out to play;  all you have to be is poor and powerless when a bored cop wanders by.

...Or a drugged one.  One of the best-kept secrets in America is how many police are taking steroids -- or stimulants, or both.  It's difficult to catch them with random drug-tests, because steroids break down quickly in the bloodstream, though stimulants leave more obvious traces.  Still, bi-weekly random tests would help, if only by making the cops more circumspect about what they take and when.

The government's deliberate policy of militarizing the police is another obvious culprit, which could be reversed if the federal administration really wanted to do it.  Surely the army keeps records of just when and where it has sold -- or given -- that military hardware to various police departments.  It would be easy enough to round up those goodies and send them off to the local National Guard armories, where they belong, and replace them with a lot of tasers.  Since so many cops are willing to shoot first and think later, let them do it with non-lethal weaponry.

Now those are solutions that would work, but I don't see you guys yelling for them.  Instead, we've seen a lot of obstructive demos -- like that stunt of blocking streets on Christmas eve -- which are guaranteed not to win you any sympathizers, even in the Black community.  Worse, you're public speeches have stopped barely short of inciting fools to go out and shoot cops.  If you'll recall, that tactic didn't do the original Black Panthers any good, either.

It sure as hell isn't winning you any sympathy in cases where assorted Black looneys have actually gone out and done it.  Neither is staying noticeably silent in public about those incidents. 

Note the present case of Edward Archer, Black, in West Philadelphia, who ran up to a cop-car and fired 13 rounds through the window.  I find it ironic that he managed to hit the cop with only three of those shots, all of which hit in the arm.  This doesn't say much about Archer's shooting ability.  It's also remarkable that the cop then jumped out of the car, chased Archer down, caught and cuffed him, and only then called for help.  The cop is in stable condition in a local hospital, and Archer is still alive, thank you.  Now that's one tough cop -- and a remarkably restrained one.

Archer then compounded his stupidity by bragging in public that he'd pledged allegiance to ISIL/Daesh, and did the attempted assassination "in the name of Islam".  That, to say the least, made him look like a terrorist -- even though the Philadelphia mayor and district attorney promptly tried to divert attention by blaming "too many guns on the street".  This argument was rendered even more laughable when it turned out that Archer's gun had been stolen from, if you please, the local police department.  Everyone who's heard the story can readily assume that Archer was a Muslim terrorist, who are sympathetic to nobody but themselves.

Now, have you guys made a point of publicly denouncing this murderous idiot, or taken care to separate your cause and complaint from any and all Muslim terrorists?

Believe me, the last thing you need is to make Black Lives Matter look like an ISIL/Daesh front!

That's guaranteed to make the clash between cops and urban Blacks escalate to a real war, not to mention getting your members hunted down and prosecuted by Homeland Security.

So just how far do you want to push your proud-and-loud, emotionally-satisfying but none-too-smart protests?  At what point are you going to take a deep breath, calm down, and start running your campaign with some real political common sense?

--Leslie <;)))>< Fiah     

Sunday, January 3, 2016

INDEPENDENCE, SELF-RELIANCE AND COMPETENCE (Part II)




(Sorry I took so long getting back to this.  I’ll continue quicker hereafter, I promise.)

Suppose that you were a proper British (or French, or Dutch) aristocrat, just after the American Revolution.  Of course you'd believe that the aristocracy were a superior "race" (or at least bloodline) – more intelligent, moral, beautiful, graceful, etc. than the "lower orders", and therefore naturally fit to rule them.  Of course you'd be appalled at this horrid vulgar "democracy", which allowed any coarse peasant to vote, to choose his leaders and laws, or even (horrors!) get rid of them if he so chose.  Oh, outrageous!  But those peasants and their "class traitor" generals had won the Revolution, and even written a Constitution and made it the supreme law of the land.  What could you do to restore the Proper Order of Things?

At first, you and your class of Proper People would simply ignore these upstart new laws by the time-honored process of suborning the agents of government.  The ink was barely dry on the Constitution when the new Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Acts – whose basic purpose was to prevent Irishmen from immigrating to the United States, gaining the vote, and voting for that original Traitor to His Class, Thomas Jefferson.

That didn't work.  First, that upstart new Supreme Court made it clear that no citizen was required to obey, nor any government agent required to enforce, an unconstitutional law.  The Alien and Sedition Acts were repealed, Irish refugees came to America anyway, and Thomas Jefferson got elected President.  One of the first things he did was to pass the Homesteading Act, which gave portions of federal land, free, to any peasant who would work it and claim it.  He also funded the Merriweather and Clark expedition to explore and map the unknown territories to the west, to provide more lands for individual settlement.  The War of 1812 ended not only with Britain failing to take back its old colonies, but with America owning more territory than before. The Mexican War ended much the same way.  One result of this was that the early 19th century saw an explosion of American small businesses – starting as small as the family farm, and growing from there.  At the beginning of the Civil War, the average American lived on a family farm and provided most of their necessities for themselves.  Even city-dwelling craftsmen and businessmen owned houses on plots of land big enough to provide a kitchen-garden and a small pen of livestock – poultry or rabbits, at least, and often a horse.  The average American citizen, even in the slave-states, was distressingly self-reliant and independent. 

By the end of the Civil War it was clear that direct opposition – openly trying to establish a de facto aristocracy – wouldn't work, and more subtle manipulations were necessary.  The obvious means was the manipulation of money, either by establishing large factories to sell products and make money and crowd out the small-fry competition, or by directly manipulating money through the burgeoning "financial industry".  The factory system led to the growth of labor unions (horrors!), but the financial manipulators suffered no worse than an occasional slap from various governments – and that happened only when the government was effectively petitioned by those pesky citizens.  By the turn of the 20th century it was clear that the only major obstacle to establishing the New Aristocracy was the competence and vigilance of the citizenry.  What could the would-be ruling class do about that?

Well, since 1852 there had been a growing movement toward public schools, and every private-interest group in the country had been trying to take them over.  The aristocracy was just one voice out of many, each trying to insist that the schools teach their agenda --   religious, economic, or political – but at least it could use money, by suborning state and local governments, to become a major voice.  This is why the public school system was originally designed along factory-model lines: to teach working-class children to become good, obedient, interchangeable factory-workers, while the private schools continued to teach the children of the better-off how to become good managers and rulers.  Besides teaching propaganda that was acceptable to the major factions, schools could also be used to divide the populace into classes according to skills – and keep each class from learning the skills of the others, on the excuse of "division of labor".  Thus evolved the difference between "blue-collar" and "white-collar" workers, with the "white-collar" workers assuming themselves better educated and of a higher class, even though the "blue-collar" workers might actually have more skills and earn more money. 

But working against this effort was the folk tradition of learning cross-class survival skills as "crafts"— which included gardening, livestock raising, hunting and fishing, even among the new industrial urban poor, and never mind the rural middle-class and poor.  Also, there were various social crusaders, often religious, who made a point of spreading literacy and survival skills among the "less fortunate".  By the turn of the century, every American had the means, or at least access to them, of self-reliance – therefore independence.  And of course, most of them could vote.

By the early 20th century, despite the wealth it had gained during the age of the Robber Barons, the aristocracy was embattled on several fronts.  The labor movement was growing, women were agitating for the vote, education and literacy were widespread, and the average citizen was still dangerously competent, self-reliant, and independent.  What to do?  How to reduce them to that dependence which ensures the rule of the aristocracy?

Well, first there was the growing influence – often mistaken for power – of the media.  William Randolph Hearst's newspapers covered the nation with his own attitudes, which had been influential enough to stampede his readers, and then the federal government, to waging the Spanish-American War.  It was lost on nobody that one way to power was to gain a monopoly on the public's source of information.  Thus began the trend, continuing today, of publishing companies buying each other up until only half a dozen giants are left.  This pattern was followed in turn by later-developing media: film, radio, and television.

The drift toward monopolies, which had begun in the 19th century and suffered only temporary setbacks with Teddy Roosevelt's Anti-Trust crusade, spread to other industries too.  Mining and manufacturing companies, which were in the front of the wars with the labor unions, ate up any of their weaker brethren who faltered.  Service industries were slower to follow, but managed to consolidate the medical business – especially after the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act – into the "closed shop" of the A.M.A. and the narrowing handful of big pharmaceutical, medical equipment, and hospital companies.  The financial industry made its greatest gain with the establishment of the Federal Reserve, which empowered a collection of banks to control America's money supply regardless of actual wealth created.  And on, and on.  The point was to concentrate ownership and control of what Marx called "the means of production" in as few hands as possible, leaving the rest of the citizens dependent on the "job creators" for their survival.

World War One provided a marvelous new tool to the aristocracy, in the form of the federal government's bureaucracy.  The mass regimentation necessary for raising, arming, training, transporting, and supplying the biggest military America had yet seen required a similarly huge bureaucracy which the aristocracy could easily influence and use.  This is where the now-famed Military-Industrial Complex got its start.  The tendency toward growing bureaucracy and monopoly was only encouraged by World War Two, which followed just over twenty years later.

Unfortunately for the aristocracy, the skills learned during WWI also assisted the "peasants" in forming labor unions.  The "labor wars" of the '20s-to-'50s were real shooting wars, in which the aristocracy hired private guards and government troops, but the "blue collar" workers outnumbered and often outshot them.  Eventually the aristocracy realized that some concessions – and a more subtle attack – were necessary.  The National Labor Relations Board was formed not just at the request of the working class for legal protections but also at the urging of the aristocracy, who managed to work in some legal restraints on unions as well, and followed with a few more – as note the Taft-Hartley Act.  The last shooting labor-battles happened in the 1960s, in the coal-fields of Harlan County, Kentucky, and by then most of the aristocracy had already changed tactics.

Since most unions were clustered in the “blue collar” jobs – primarily mining and manufacturing – the aristocracy did its best to take the jobs away, moving them overseas to countries where the peasants had never heard of the concept of unions.  The fact that such labor was lamentably unskilled was beside the point;  cheap, if shoddy, goods would always sell among the poor at home.

Alas, the tactic wasn’t entirely successful.  Some industries – such as construction, medical treatment, firefighting, police work, teaching, and weapons construction (for obvious security reasons) couldn’t be moved, and those industries found themselves unionized in short order.  It was no coincidence that the era of greatest union membership in America also happened to be its period of greatest prosperity;  a rising tide lifts all boats.  But this isn’t what the aristocracy intended.

What to do, what to do?  Well, first, try corrupting those unions.  It’s easier to corrupt a poor man than a rich one, because it’s cheaper;  wave $10,000 at a rich man, and he’ll sneer and hold out for $100,000 – but wave $10,000 at a poor man, and he’ll think of all the necessities (like paying off the mortgage on his house, or buying decent health-insurance, or paying for his kids’ college) he could buy with that money, and his knees will shake and his morals will quake.  From the 1950s on, a distressing number of union officials were corrupted by big money – which was dutifully exposed and gleefully moralized about in the mainstream media, giving the impression that unions were all corrupt. 

Second, playing on that phenomenon, launch a long and thorough and subtle propaganda campaign to discredit the very idea of unions among most of the population.  And, of course, every time a business raises prices or closes a mine or factory, blame it on the cost of union demands.  It’s cheaper to dig minerals or make goods overseas, anyway.  As we’ve seen recently, blame the cost and inefficiency of government on government-workers’ unions – teachers, police, firefighters, garbage-collectors, and all.

Third, mechanize whenever possible.  No workers = no unions, and never mind what this does to your product quality or the overall economy.  There’s an old tale of Henry Ford taking John L. Lewis on a tour of his newest, most thoroughly automated factory, and then bragging: “How are these machines going to join your union, John?”  John L. replied: “How are they going to buy your cars, Henry?”  There is no record of what Henry Ford replied, or if anyone learned from that exchange.

In any case, today – 60 years later – union membership is down to less than 10% of the American work-force, and our economy is in wretched shape.  It seems that a falling tide lowers all boats, too – except for the aristocracy, now labeled “the 1%”, who own more than half the physical wealth in the country.


                                                              (To be continued)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

A Humane Solution to the Immigration Problem


Merry Christmas, with its attendant wish for peace and goodwill to everyone.

The problem is that there are a lot of people who don't believe in any of that, and we don't know exactly who and where they are.  Yes, I mean those tens of thousands of "Syrian" refugees, as well as other refugees moving into Europe and America with not-so-benign intent.  Here in Arizona we've had close to 100,000 illegal refugees per year running across our border from Mexico, and we've seen the trouble they cause once they get here.  Now it's clearly bigoted and unconstitutional to ban some people from coming to America because of their religion, race, or ethnicity, so how do we keep out the Bad Guys?

Well, there's a simple and perfectly lawful way to do it;  stop all immigration to the US, from everywhere, completely.

Yes, that includes people who claim that they're in danger if they don't get out of where they are.  We can politely route them to somewhere else, some place that's willing to take them in: other Muslim countries for the "Syrian" refugees, other Latino countries for the Mexican ones, Taiwan (or any other Asian country with a large Chinese population) for the ones from China, and so on.  We can even afford to quietly bribe those countries to take them, which should make them a bit more willing.

Yes, we have good reason -- beyond the terrorist problem -- for stopping all immigration;  the US now has the third largest population in the world, we're close to the limit of the carrying-capacity of our land and water, not to mention social services, and we just plain can't take in all the distressed people in the world.

What's more, we should get serious about rounding up all the illegal immigrants (there may be as many as 12 million of them) already here, and send them off to whatever country will have them.  As I've said before, by all means let them take with them all the goodies they've gotten and all the money they've made here in Goody-Land.  In fact, we should give each of them -- man, woman, and child -- a parting-gift: one sturdy revolver, .38 caliber at least, along with five boxes of ammunition, a cleaning kit, and an instruction book (profusely illustrated) printed in the refugees' own language.  After all, they'll need some way to protect what cash and goodies they have when they get to where they're going.

In the case of the Muslim immigrants, specifically, instead of armament for a parting-gift, we should give each of them a suit of clean white clothes (suitable for a pilgrim), $100 for the necessary bribes, and send them off to that one place in the world where all Muslims supposedly want to go at least once in a lifetime: Mecca.  Even the notorious World Opinion will have a hard time complaining about sending Muslims to Mecca.

In any case, we should take thorough biometric readings -- photos, fingerprints, retinal prints, DNA -- of each departing emigrant -- send the same to a central database that every border-patrol agent and cop in the country can tap into, send off the departees with exit visas but no passports, and make certain that they never come back.  As to how their new host countries treat them, well, that's their business;  we will have done our best for them.

--Leslie <;)))>< 




Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Countering the Lies of the Desperate


Since last week, several more sheriffs have appealed to the citizens to carry weapons in public and be prepared to use them against terrorist attacks.  Likewise, more media pundits have published calls to abolish the 2nd Amendment, using some amazingly questionable claims and statistics.  If the supposed intelligentsia are willing to manipulate figures and lie outright in support of their cherished cause, it's becoming obvious that the only statistics we can trust are those from the FBI, the Department of Justice, the Center for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization -- whose archives are public records.   These are necessary for countering the attempted Big Lie blizzard of false claims, such as the following.

1)  Claim: "The US has the highest number of gun-deaths in the world."
     Fact:  No, this is a lie.  Syria does -- closely followed by Iraq.  The anti-gun crowd will no doubt claim That's Different, because Syria is in the middle of a civil war, and Iraq in the middle of an invasion and conquest.  But in that case they'll have to make exception for Mexico, which has had a smoldering 3-way war -- between the government, the Indians, and the drug cartels -- going on for the last 6 years.  (WHO figures.) 

2) Claim: "There were over 300 mass-shootings in the US this year alone."
     Fact: This is a half-lie.  The FBI defines "mass shooting" as an incident in which at least 4 people are shot -- but not necessarily killed.  The CDC notes that better than 90% of all gunshot victims survive, over 85% of them with no permanent debilitating damage. In 42% of the 353 mass shootings recorded in 2015 so far, there were no reported fatalities. An additional 47% of those mass shootings resulted in between one and three people killed.  (FBI figures.)



3) Claim: "The US is the most violent country in the world."
    Fact:  This is a lie.  There are 106 nations in the world which have higher homicide rates than the US. (WHO figures.)  All of them have stricter gun-control laws, if not outright bans, than the US.
   The anti-gun crowd will then quibble that these aren't "modern industrial democracies" -- though they include Russia, Mexico, South Africa, Greenland and Argentina  -- or have only "negligible populations".  Since the US has the 3rd highest population in the world (317 million, behind China and India, but ahead of everyone else -- WHO figures), "negligible" is a very subjective term.   

4)  Claim: "Gun control works.  Australia got rid of all its civilian-owned guns."
      Fact:  This is a half-lie.  If the purpose of gun control or gun confiscation is to reduce crime, then it hasn't really worked in Australia -- where (WHO figures) the violent-crime rate has not dropped since the gun confiscation.  It certainly hasn't worked in Canada or Britain, where the violent-crime rate has steadily climbed since the gun confiscations there.

5)  Claim: "Gun control works.  Japan has no civilian-owned guns.)
     Fact:  This is a half-lie.  If the purpose of gun-control is to reduce civilian violent deaths, then it hasn't really worked in Japan -- where (WHO figures) the preferred weapon is a blade, and the suicide-rate is higher than the American murder-rate (FBI figures).

6) Claim: "Civilians with guns can't possible prevent violent crime."
     Fact:  This is a lie.  On average, every year (FBI figures) at least 900,000 Americans use firearms to prevent crime.  According to the CDC the figure is closer to 3 million, since most such cases end with the would-be crook running away without a shot fired and the case is not reported.

7)  Claim: "Violent crime in America is increasing."
      Fact:  This is a lie.  According to the FBI, violent crime in America has been decreasing steadily since 1993.  In particular, the number of gun-homicides has dropped by half.  In 2014, 2/3rds of all gun fatalities in the US were suicides (approx. 20,000).  

For anyone who wants to research the details on these claims, I'd recommend starting here:


“In every mass killing—every one of them—when someone with a gun arrives determined to stop the killing, it stops; the killer flees or is disabled or is killed or dies by suicide.”

            Andrew Napolitano | December 10, 2015

"--  https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2014/crime-in-the-u.s.-2014/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement

Overview

  • In 2014, an estimated 1,165,383 violent crimes occurred nationwide, a decrease of 0.2 percent from the 2013 estimate. (See Table 1/1A)
  • When considering 5- and 10-year trends, the 2014 estimated violent crime total was 6.9 percent below the 2010 level and 16.2 percent below the 2005 level. (See Table 1/1A)
  • There were an estimated 365.5 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants in 2014, a rate that declined 1.0 percent when compared with the 2013 estimated violent crime rate. (See Table 1/1A)
  • Aggravated assaults accounted for 63.6 percent of violent crimes reported to law enforcement in 2014. Robbery offenses accounted for 28.0 percent of violent crime offenses; rape (legacy definition) accounted for 7.2 percent; and murder accounted for 1.2 percent. (Based on Table 1/1A)
  • Information collected regarding types of weapons used in violent crime showed that firearms were used in 67.9 percent of the nation’s murders, 40.3 percent of robberies, and 22.5 percent of aggravated assaults. (Weapons data are not collected for rape.) (See Expanded Homicide Data Table 7, Robbery Table 3, and the Aggravated Assault Table)

Murder --  https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2014/crime-in-the-u.s.-2014/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/murder

Download Printable Document
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program defines murder and nonnegligent manslaughter as the willful (nonnegligent) killing of one human being by another. The classification of this offense is based solely on police investigation as opposed to the determination of a court, medical examiner, coroner, jury, or other judicial body. The UCR Program does not include the following situations in this offense classification: deaths caused by negligence, suicide, or accident; justifiable homicides; and attempts to murder or assaults to murder, which are classified as aggravated assaults.

Data collection

Supplementary Homicide Data—The UCR Program’s supplementary homicide data provide information regarding the age, sex, and race of the murder victim and the offender; the type of weapon used; the relationship of the victim to the offender; and the circumstance surrounding the incident. Law enforcement agencies are asked—but not required—to provide complete supplementary homicide data for each murder they report to the UCR Program. Information gleaned from these supplementary homicide data can be viewed in the Expanded Homicide Data section.
Justifiable homicide—Certain willful killings must be reported as justifiable or excusable. In the UCR Program, justifiable homicide is defined as and limited to:
  • The killing of a felon by a peace officer in the line of duty.
  • The killing of a felon, during the commission of a felony, by a private citizen.
Because these killings are determined through law enforcement investigation to be justifiable, they are tabulated separately from murder and nonnegligent manslaughter. More information about justifiable homicide is furnished in the Expanded Homicide Data section and in Expanded Homicide Data Table 14, “Justifiable Homicide by Weapon, Law Enforcement, 2010–2014,” and Expanded Homicide Data Table 15, “Justifiable Homicide by Weapon, Private Citizen, 2010–2014.”

Overview

  • In 2014, the estimated number of murders in the nation was 14,249. This was a 0.5 percent decrease from the 2013 estimate, a 3.2 percent decrease from the 2010 figure, and a 14.9 percent drop from the number in 2005.
  • There were 4.5 murders per 100,000 people. The murder rate fell 1.2 percent in 2014 compared with the 2013 rate. The murder rate was down from the rates in 2010 (6.1 percent) and 2005 (20.8 percent). (See Table 1/1A)
  • Of the estimated number of murders in the United States, 46.0 percent were reported in the South, 20.5 percent were reported in the Midwest, 20.5 percent were reported in the West, and 13.1 percent were reported in the Northeast. (See Table 3)

Expanded data

UCR expanded offense data are details of the various offenses that the UCR Program collects beyond the count of how many crimes law enforcement agencies report. These details may include the type of weapon used in a crime, type or value of items stolen, and so forth. In addition, expanded data include trends (for example, 2-year comparisons) and rates per 100,000 inhabitants.
Expanded information regarding murder is available in the following tables:
  • Trends (2-year): Tables 12, 13, and 14
  • Rates (per 100,000 inhabitants): Tables 16, 17, and 18
Expanded Homicide Data (supplementary homicide information):
  • Victim data: Expanded Homicide Data Tables 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, and 13
  • Offender data: Expanded Homicide Data Tables 3, 5, and 6
  • Circumstance data: Expanded Homicide Data Tables 10, 11, 12, and 13

Expanded Homicide Data -- https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2014/crime-in-the-u.s.-2014/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/expanded-homicide    

Expanded Homicide Data

Download Printable Document

Data collection

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program collects supplementary homicide data that provide the age, sex, and race of the murder victim and offender; the type of weapon used; the relationship of the victim to the offender; and the circumstance surrounding the incident. Statistics gleaned from these supplemental data are provided in this section.
This section also includes information about justifiable homicide—certain willful killings that must be reported as justifiable or excusable. In the UCR Program, justifiable homicide is defined as and limited to:
  • The killing of a felon by a peace officer in the line of duty.
  • The killing of a felon, during the commission of a felony, by a private citizen.
Because these killings are determined through law enforcement investigation to be justifiable, they are tabulated separately from murder and nonnegligent manslaughter. Justifiable homicide information can be found in Expanded Homicide Data Table 14, “Justifiable Homicide, by Weapon, Law Enforcement, 2010–2014” and Expanded Homicide Data Table 15, “Justifiable Homicide, by Weapon, Private Citizen, 2010–2014.”

Overview

  • In 2014, most (77.3 percent) of the 11,961 murder victims for whom supplemental data were received were male. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 1)
  • Of the murder victims for whom race was known, 51.6 percent were black, 45.7 percent were white, and 2.6 percent were of other races. Race was unknown for 160 victims. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 2)
  • Nearly 48 percent (47.7) of all murders for which the UCR Program received supplemental data were single victim/single offender situations. (See Expanded Homicide Data Table 4)
  • When the race of the offender was known, 53.0 percent were black, 44.7 percent were white, and 2.3 percent were of other races. The race was unknown for 4,132 offenders. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 3)
  • Nearly 68 percent (67.9) of the homicides for which the FBI received weapons data in 2014 involved the use of firearms. Handguns comprised 68.5 percent of the firearms used in murder and nonnegligent manslaughter incidents in 2014. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 8)
  • In 2014, nearly 29 percent (28.7) of homicide victims were killed by someone they knew other than family members (acquaintance, neighbor, friend, boyfriend, etc.), 14.3 percent were slain by family members, and 11.5 percent were killed by strangers. The relationship between murder victims and offenders was unknown in 45.5 percent of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter incidents. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 10)
  • Of the female murder victims for whom the relationships to their offenders were known, 35.5 percent were murdered by their husbands or boyfriends. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Tables 2 and 10)
  • Of the murders for which the circumstances surrounding the crimes were known, 40.4 percent of victims were murdered during arguments (including romantic triangles) in 2014. Felony circumstances (rape, robbery, burglary, etc.) accounted for 24.0 percent of murders. Circumstances were unknown for 37.7 percent of reported homicides. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 11)
  • Law enforcement reported 721 justifiable homicides in 2014. Of those, law enforcement officers justifiably killed 444 felons, and private citizens justifiably killed 277 people during the commission of crimes. (See Expanded Homicide Data Tables 14 and 15)"


 Happy researching.

--Leslie <;)))>< 
   
 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

An Almost Desperate Outrage


Within three days of the San Bernardino shooting, the facts were out in public;  the shooters were definitely Jihadi terrorists, who had personally pledged allegiance to ISIL/Daeth.  The third member of their team was still at large, and the police were hunting him closely.

Seeing that yes, Jihadi terrorism is alive and well in the US, citizens and low-level police officials -- no higher than the rank of sheriff -- responded reasonably;  the citizens went out an bought guns and ammo and took training courses, and the sheriffs actively requested that citizens with CCW permits (who, by definition, had been through the training and qualifying courses) make a habit of carrying in public and be ready to defend the public against terrorist attacks until the police can arrive.

'Twas the politicians and the professional political flacks who responded with hysteria and illogic.  By now everybody's heard about Trump's proposed "Muslim registry" and ban on all Muslim immigrants, which has even turned most of the GOP against him.  However, you don't see any parallel disgust at Obama's attempt to stampede the public into howling for gun control instead.  Note that the governor of California blamed the shooting, if you please, on the state of Arizona -- for having lighter gun-laws than California, which (he claimed without evidence) allowed the terrorists to buy guns easily (though he said nothing about all the homemade bombs which the terrorist couple had with them).  The best day's work that our current Arizona governor has done yet was to promptly lash back at that ridiculous bit of slander.  But that hasn't stopped other dutiful anti-gun pundits from making even more amazing claims.   Indeed, the New York Daily News published a front-page editorial actually calling for repeal of the 2nd Amendment.  Other dutiful media-flacks have gotten even more visibly hysterical, as with Alternet's latest:

"10 Things You Can Buy in America That Prove Just How Sick Our Gun Laws Are

A disturbing number of these seem to accept school shootings as a fact of life.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
Just one day after the most recent mass shooting in America, Senate Republicans voted against a bill that would have prevented gun purchases by suspected terrorists. The official reasons—as if they ever might be valid—have something to do with “liberty” and “freedom.” The real reason, as we all know, has everything to do with the NRA and a gun lobby that has proved itself quite the smart shopper, having bought up a significant portion of Congress.
Shop ▾
When a lack of gun control and a culture of gun violence collide with capitalism, the result is a market for the kinds of goods that speak volumes about a society, nearly all of them tragic and troubling. So let’s have a look-see at what our weapons worship hath wrought. Here are 10 things you can buy in America that prove how f*cked up our gun laws are.
1. Bulletproof blankets.
There may be other manufacturers of bulletproof blankets for use during school shootings, but the industry leader is Protecht, which developed the Bodyguard blanket after the Sandy Hook massacre. I’m not sure anything does a better job of encapsulating why the viability of this product should be a source of national shame than the text on the website itself."

Other things the article howls about include:

"Bulletproof backpacks.
 Bulletproof classroom whiteboards.
Bulletproof clothing. 
and School shooting smartphone apps.
The SchoolGuard app, which describes itself as “a panic button in the hands of every teacher and staff,” aims to cut down on police response times when school shootings happen, as they so often do in America. After the first shots are fired, the app calls 911, lets all the faculty and staff know what’s happening, alerts participating schools within a five-mile radius and “instantly alerts all participating law enforcement officers, on and off duty, who are in close proximity.” The app sounds like a helpful aid to school personnel, though not quite as helpful as a Congress that wasn't in the pocket of the NRA."

Now given that abolition of "Zero Tolerance" and "Gun-Free Zone" (a.k.a. "fish-in-a-barrel") rules is going slowly, leaving schools as lamentably "soft" targets, these items actually do sound reasonable.  But note the attitude of pious horror, of almost desperate outrage, at the very idea that people might take action to defend themselves against terrorists, thugs and lunatics -- rather than demanding that the government Do Something, a something that is clearly aimed at gnawing away further at the Bill of Rights.  Doesn't this sound the least bit frantic to you?

Could it possibly be that Obama and his backers are dismayed at seeing the popular tide turn against them?  After all, several recent public-opinion polls have shown that more than 51% of the citizens now believe that average citizens should have guns to defend themselves (and never mind those troublesome sheriffs), and that was before the terrorist attack in San Bernardino.  Particularly embarrassing must have been the discovery that the terrorist couple did get past the "extensive background checks" required by California laws to get their rifles, pistols, et al.

Abe Lincoln was right about not being able to fool all the people all the time, even when you have tremendous control over the news media, and the citizens have seen enough evidence to choose sensible solutions to the violence problem.  I've actually seen some letters to editors proposing that we bring back gun-safety training in the schools and require everyone to get concealed-carry permits.  People are coming to realize that there is no way to keep weapons out of the "wrong hands", and it's best if the citizens are armed and trained to defend themselves.

The nearly-century-long government campaign toward gutting the Bill of Rights has shot its bolt, the pendulum is swinging back, and the campaigners must be nearly frantic at seeing power sliding out of their grasp.  Let's hope they don't do something irrevocably stupid in trying to hang onto it.

--Leslie <;)))><          
   

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Some Refugee Questions



Before we decide to (Democrat) compassionately take in the "Syrian" refugees or (Republican) hawkishly keep them out, there are some questions about the refugees that I, for one, would like to see answered.

1)  The Syrian civil war has been going on for over eight years.  Why are refugees from the conflict flooding Europe in great numbers only now?

2)  If these refugees are fleeing the violence in Syria, why are so many of them from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Chad, Niger, Somalia, Mali and Libya?  What motivated them to suddenly leave those places?

3)  Despite the attacks in the middle-east on the few remaining Christians and Jews, all the refugees are Muslim.  Why haven't the numerous Muslim countries taken them in?  Why are they running to Europe?

4)  If these are simple refugees fleeing violence at home, why are so few of them women, children and old folks?  Why are the great majority of them military-age men?

5)  How have these "pitiful" refugees behaved in the countries -- like Britain, Germany and Sweden -- that have taken them in?  Have they shown any gratitude for the free blankets, food, clothing, shelter, money, cars and TV sets that the host countries have given them?  Have they bothered to conform to the local laws and customs of their hosts?  How many of them have bothered to learn the local languages?

6)  Wherever the refugees have been even temporarily settled in refugee camps, large numbers of them have mysteriously vanished.  Where have they gone?

7)  Where the refugees have been settled in Europe, they usually haven't gotten jobs but have gone on "the dole"/Welfare, and they boast of having sent some of the money back to their families in the old countries.  Just how much money does that come to, and exactly where is it going?

I really think we should get accurate and complete answers to these questions before we take in any more of these "Syrian" refugees.  In fact, I think that when we get the answers we should seriously consider deporting the ones who are already here.


--Leslie <;)))><