Illinois governor wants ban on assault weapons Reply

From MSN

CHICAGO — Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on Tuesday proposed a state ban on assault weapons in the aftermath of the July 20 movie theater massacre in Colorado in which a former graduate student is charged with killing 12 people with guns including a semi-automatic rifle.

Quinn, a Democrat, called himself a “strong supporter” of the constitutional right to bear arms, but said in a letter to state legislators that the proliferation of military-style assault weapons undermines public safety.

“There is no place in the state of Illinois for weapons designed to rapidly fire at human targets at close range,” said Quinn, who also proposed a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines.

States including California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York have similar bans in place, Quinn said. A nationwide ban on certain semiautomatic rifles expired in 2004.

Police refuse to save drowning man due to lack of training Reply

By Rob Parsons

Police officers refused to get into the water to save a man drowning in a London canal because they had not had the right training, an inquest heard.

Unemployed Panayiotis Petrou, 30, died after getting into the Grand Union canal near King’s Cross station while under the influence of the anaesthetic ketamine.

A member of the public alerted police, who found Mr Petrou, originally from Harrow, “splashing around as if in a swimming pool on holiday” and refusing to accept a life ring.

An inquest heard that despite the first officers being alerted at 8pm on April 26, his body was not found until 9.55pm after three emergency services teams ruled it would be too dangerous to enter the canal.

Police Sergeant Philip Orphanides described Mr Petrou as “in his own world” but decided against entering the water because he had not had any official water rescue training.

By the time the Met’s Marine Unit and London Fire Brigade arrived at around 9pm Mr Petrou, who had been intentionally submerging himself, had disappeared beneath the surface and not come up for half an hour.

Firefighter Neil Cash said it was because he was already submerged when they arrived that they ruled against getting into the water and instead set up lights and an inflatable boat.

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Real World Facts vs. Drug Warrior Superstitions Reply

From BrassCheckTV.Com

Drug warriors often contend that drug use would skyrocket if we were to legalize or decriminalize drugs in the United States. Fortunately, we have a real-world example of the actual effects of ending the violent, expensive War on Drugs and replacing it with a system of treatment for problem users and addicts.

Ten years ago, Portugal decriminalized all drugs. One decade after this unprecedented experiment, drug abuse is down by half.

Do countries with the death penalty have higher homicide rates? Reply

From FullFact.Org

Since the Government launched its new ‘e-petitions’ site this week there has been a surge in debate surrounding the death penalty – one of the most popular topic areas in the site’s first few days.

Newspapers, bloggers and other commentators quickly joined the debate with both sides of the argument quoting different statistics at each other in attempts to gain the upper hand.
One of the most contentious debates surrounds the deterrent effect of the death penalty. The anti-capital punishment campaigning group ‘Reprieve’, for instance, quote figures which suggest that countries with the death penalty tend to have higher homicide rates. They claimed last year:
“The five countries in the world with the highest homicide rates that do not impose the death penalty have nearly half the number of murders per 100 000 people than the five countries with the highest homicides rates which do impose the death penalty (United Nations Development program)”
The validity of using static murder rates as a means of determining the penalty’s deterrent effect is of course open to question.
While the figures could lead one to conclude that capital punishment is ineffective given the high murder rates in countries where it is legal, it could also be the case that the countries which do practice it would have much higher homicide rates if the death penalty were not in place.
Homicide rates have, however, proven to be a common measure of deterrence in the United States, and have also been the basis of detailedresearch on the matter.
In light of this, Full Fact decided to test the claim that countries with the death penalty tend to have higher homicide rates on average, using the latest United Nations data.

The murders so brutal they shocked even South Africa: Couple shot dead, then son aged 12 is drowned in scalding bath 2

From the Daily Mail.Torn apart: Amaro with his mother Geraldine and father Tony, who were shot to death by the robbers, along with Gabriela Correia, Mr Viana's daughter by his first marriage

Seriously fucked-up, but not terribly surprising…

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By Dan Newling

Even in a country that sees 44 murders a day, the case has left the public horrified.

A gang of robbers gunned down a father, raped and murdered his wife.

Then, in a final act of sickening brutality, they drowned the couple’s 12-year-old son in scalding bath water.

Amaro Viana was murdered to prevent him from identifying the three housebreakers who carried out the raid in suburban South Africa.

The gang included the family’s gardener and the son of a domestic servant.

It was claimed they were motivated by the way they had been treated by the Viana family.

Appearing in court yesterday, the gardener Patrick Radebe, 24, confessed to being part of the gang which broke into their home in October last year.

Vereeniging Regional Court heard that, after gaining access to the house in Walkerville, a suburb of Johannesburg, the gang lay in wait for Amaro’s engineer father Tony, 53, to arrive home.

When he walked through the front door, they attacked him with golf clubs and a machete-like knife known as a panga before tying him up and ordering him to tell them how to open the family safe.

When Mr Viana’s wife Geraldine, 43, and her son returned to the property, they too fell victim.

Mother and son were tied up in separate rooms.

Two of the men then raped Mrs Viana before both she and her husband were shot dead.

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Prisons as Growth Industry Reply

By Ralph Nader

Ever visit a major prison? The vast majority of Americans have not, despite our country having by far a higher incarceration rate per capita than China or Iran. Out of sight is out of mind.

Imagine the benefits of the average taxpayer touring a prison. The lucrative prison-industrial complex would definitely not like public exposure of their daily operations. Prison CEOs have no problem with a full house of non-violent inmates caught with possession of some street drugs (not alcohol or tobacco). Our horrendous confinement system cannot change when it clings to perverse practices such as cruel, costly, arbitrary, mentally destructive solitary confinement (again, the highest in the world, see: http://solitarywatch.com/). Corporate profits drive the prison system’s insanity.

Indeed, for the giant Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), times are booming. CCA builds their prisons or buys or leases public prisons from financially strapped governments. Barron’s financial weekly can always be expected to give us the Wall Street perspective. In a recent article titled “Ready to Bust Out,” writer Jonathan R. Laing is bullish on CCA stock. He thinks it could double to more than $50 a share if the company were to convert to a real estate investment trust (REIT).

Mr. Laing writes that CCA has cost advantages over the public-prison sector, paying lower non-union wages and using more automated technology. Besides, the company is a tough bargainer when it buys or operates public prisons. One CCA condition is that the facility must have 1,000 beds, can’t be more than 25 years old, and get this, “the contract must guarantee a 90 percent occupancy rate.” A guarantee backed by taxpayers no less, unless, that is, the clause works to put more prisoners in jail for longer sentences.

The Barron’s article adds that CCA is counting on “the old standby of recidivism to keep prison head counts growing, filling its empty beds.” To the impoverished rural communities where these prisons are located, it’s about needed jobs.

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The Joker’s Razor Reply

By Jim Goad

In the wake of Friday morning’s bloodbath at a Colorado movie theater, America struggles to figure out who or what to blame.

They’ve obviously ruled out the shooter.

James Holmes, 24, will be arraigned in a Colorado courtroom this morning and charged with a spree killing at a midnight debut screening of the new Batman film The Dark Knight Rises that at last count left 12 dead and 58 wounded. Based on the total number of victims, the event would constitute the largest lone-wolf mass shooting in American history. Although he reportedly surrendered to police outside the theater clad from head to toe in riot gear and told them he was the “Joker,” he has apparently not formally confessed and has yet to be convicted, so journalistic etiquette dictates that Holmes be called the alleged gunman.

But even if he hurled the tear-gas canisters and fired the rounds, no man is an island, correct? At best, we’re all tiny non-autonomous fiefdoms in a sprawling continent. We are mere cells in a giant organism, little pieces in a huge puzzle, and when one of the pieces doesn’t quite fit anymore, the rest of the puzzle must be blamed.

So obviously “society” is to blame. But not all of society, because that would include the countless members of society who are blaming society for this. So what part of society is to blame?

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Opposing Circumcision: A Shoah Thing? 3

My latest from the Inferno, looking into the intersection between prepuce-pruning and PC…

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It pleased me to read of a Cologne court’s decision to give the legality of child-circumcision the snip. Even a crotchety old anti-statist like myself can appreciate the few laws that uphold some level of liberty and isonomy in the current set-up, flawed though the arbiters may be. In a culture which prohibits the abomination known as female genital mutilation, the extension of such legal concerns to Y-chromosomers has been a long time coming.

Unfortunately, not everyone shares my sentiments. Beyond the gynocentric mewling of various women’s groups playing Oppression Olympics, Muslims and Jews—two factions who view cock-slicing as holy writ—united in uproar over the ruling (Middle East peace-mediators, take note!). Naturally, in post-Hitler, PC Germany, the whiff of Cologne sent prominent politicos into spasms of supplication.

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News UK news Simon Harwood trial Tomlinson case: Met police tried to hide PC Harwood’s disciplinary record Reply

As Mad Max wrote: “The state calls its own violence law, but that of the individual, crime.” This doesn’t surprise me in the slightest…

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Simon Harwood

The Metropolitan police attempted to keep the disciplinary record of PC Simon Harwood secret from the family of Ian Tomlinson, the newspaper seller he struck with a baton and pushed to the ground at G20 protests, it can now be reported.

Lawyers for the force tried and failed to argue that disclosing the litany of complaints about Harwood’s conduct would have breached his privacy, saying the officer’s disciplinary history did not have “any relevance” to Tomlinson’s death.

Harwood, 45, who was found not guilty of Tomlinson’s manslaughter on Thursday, had repeatedly been accused of using excessive force during his career, including claims he punched, throttled, kneed and unlawfully arrested people.

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Florida cops kill innocent man at his own home Reply

Joe Raedle / Getty Images / AFP

From Russia Today. Talk about a gangland execution!

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Hearing a knock on his door at 1:30 am, a perplexed Florida man answered the door to see what kind of unannounced visitors were outside. Holding a gun for security, 26-year old Andrew Scott was instantly shot dead by police after he opened the door.

It took the Lake County Police Department an hour and a half to realize they had killed an innocent man.

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Because We Care About You… and school sucks Reply

Luna @ A Hopeful Pessimist on truants, prozzies, paternalism, and Social Darwinism.

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Well, I’m back again. I didn’t intend to take this long to write again, but due to technological troubles, I was offline for awhile, thus making it impossible to post more entries. This is not ideal because my lead in story in this post is now somewhat older news. Anyhow, what I hope to do in this entry is combine several possible posts that I have been planning to do in the past, so hopefully, despite my lack on consistency in writing here, I will partially make it up by killing several birds with one stone, so to speak. 

Okay, I want to start this post with a story I originally came across on attackthesystem.com, about an incident in Montgomery County in the grand old State of Texas, where a 17-year-old high-school student by the name of Diane Tran was sentenced to a day in jail and a fine for contempt of court (I believe) because of missing too many days of school. This despite the fact that the student in question was working two jobs to support her siblings because of her parents splitting up, and despite missing some classes over being extremely tired from that out-of-school work (Who wouldn’t be?), she apparently managed to make the honour roll. Anyhow this story became viral and spread around the world, prompting outrage and leading to some donation campaign set up specifically for Tran, with a website set up for that purpose. Anyhow, what eventually happened was that the charges were dropped, with Mr. Judge Moriarty backing down from his hard-line stance to some extent. Anyways, if you are curious about this story, there are more articles here, and probably even more if you care to search for them on the net. Now when I came across this story, I was immediately interested because I had read some articles about a county in Texas with a Judge who was well known for incarcerating students who were chronic truants from school, and I had planned to write a blog post about two articles about this 1, 2.

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Help Free Rock Singer Wrongfully Imprisoned in the Czech Republic Reply

An old friend of mine is in some trouble in the Czech Republic. I would really appreciate it if ATS readers  would sign this petiton: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/help-free-d-randall-blythe-prage-czech-republic-where-he-falsely-accused-commiting-manslaughter/3dsZD2Gd
His wife is interviewed on Czech television here:http://www.blesk.cz/clanek/video-udalosti/177880/manzelka-metalisty-randyho-blythe-je-mi-lito-smrti-fanouska.html I’ve known Randy and Cindy for about 15-20 years each. They’re good folks. This case is a crock.

Obamacare Wins, We Lose Reply

By John Stauber

It was a brilliant move by far Right (but oh so likable) Chief Justice Roberts to side with the Dem-appointed Justices and uphold ObamaCare.  After all, this is a massive victory for corporate power, forcing citizens to buy an expensive insurance product that won’t serve our needs very well but will profit industry, in lieu of receiving real health care.

Obamacare and its corporate mandate were born on the Right (as in Heritage Foundation) as a way to destroy the political prospects of any single payer system that would cover all Americans with a tax-funded system of guaranteed medical care.  This is the way all other industrial societies protect the right to health care, by taking it out of the hands of the giant insurance industry.  The right to health care is like the right to not be enslaved – there are  no half measures, and the insurance industry is the slave master.

Roberts may have brilliantly scored a “4-fer” victory:

1.)  He now has an interesting historic legacy.

2.) He and his Dem-appointed colleagues have given huge new powers to corporations, and further reduced the rights of citizens.

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The Price of Screwing With America Reply

By William Blum

I’m sure most Americans are mighty proud of the fact that Julian Assange is so frightened of falling into the custody of the United States that he had to seek sanctuary in the embassy of Ecuador, a tiny and poor Third World country, without any way of knowing how it would turn out. He might be forced to be there for years. “That’ll teach him to mess with the most powerful country in the world! All you other terrorists and anti-Americans out there — Take Note! When you fuck around with God’s country you pay a price!”

How true. You do pay a price. Ask the people of Cuba, Vietnam, Chile, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Iran, Haiti, etc., etc., etc. And ask the people of Guantánamo, Diego Garcia, Bagram, and a dozen other torture centers to which God’s country offers free transportation.

You think with the whole world watching, the United States would not be so obvious as to torture Assange if they got hold of him? Ask Bradley Manning. At a bare minimum, prolonged solitary confinement is torture. Before too long the world may ban it. Not that that would keep God’s country and other police states from using it.

You think with the whole world watching, the United States would not be so obvious as to target Assange with a drone? They’ve done it with American citizens. Assange is a mere Aussie.

And Ecuador and its president, Rafael Correa, will pay a price. You think with the whole world watching, the United States would not intervene in Ecuador? In Latin America, it comes very naturally for Washington. During the Cold War it was said that the United States could cause the downfall of a government south of the border … with a frown. The dissolution of the Soviet Union didn’t bring any change in that because it was never the Soviet Union per se that the United States was fighting. It was the threat of a good example of an alternative to the capitalist model.

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Special treatment for Israelis to enter the US Reply

Program with Israel pre-clears Israeli travelers from immigration and customs into the United States. “Special friendship” says Napolitano. Listen to the interview here.

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forward.com
Nathan Guttman

Homeland Security Sec’y Defends Controversial Grant Program

Secretary Speaks: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano speaks to staff at the Forward’s offices.

NATE LAVEY
Secretary Speaks: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano speaks to staff at the Forward’s offices.

Jews face special risks that require vigilance, though there is no “specific, credible threat” against Jewish targets, Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, told the Forward during a visit to the newspaper’s New York offices.

In a June 4 meeting with the paper’s editorial staff, Napolitano cited the particular exposure she said Jews face in explanation of a DHS security grant program that mostly benefits Jewish groups.

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Health care: What the Supreme Court’s ruling means for US consumers Reply

By Mark Trumbull

The US Supreme Court‘s decision on health-care reform Thursday opens the door to a major expansion of health insurance, affecting households across America.

Circumcision ruling condemned by Germany’s Muslim and Jewish leaders 3

From The Guardian.

Boy being circumcised

Personally, I like this ruling.

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by Kate Connolly

Jewish and Muslim leaders were united on Wednesday in their condemnation of a German court’s decision to in effect outlaw the circumcision of boys after a judge deemed that the religious practice amounted to bodily harm.

Representatives of the two religious communities called the ruling insensitive and discriminatory, saying it was an attack on centuries of religious tradition.

A judge at a Cologne court said that the circumcision of minors went against a child’s interests because it led to a physical alteration of the body, and because people other than the child were determining its religious affiliation.

Religious leaders said the court had stepped into a minefield with its decision, which undermined their religious authority and contravened Germany‘s constitution.

Ali Demir, chairman of the Religious Community of Islam in Germany, said: “I find the ruling adversarial to the cause of integration and discriminatory against all the parties concerned.”

Dieter Graumann, president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, called it “an egregious and insensitive measure” which amounted to “an unprecedented and dramatic intervention in religious communities’ right of determination”.

The ruling followed a lengthy legal battle, sparked when a Muslim couple decided to have their son circumcised, specifically for religious reasons, by a Muslim doctor in Cologne. The doctor, identified only as Dr K, carried out the circumcision on the four-year old boy in November 2010, before giving the wound four stitches. The same evening, he visited the family at home to check up on the boy. When the boy began bleeding again two days later, his parents took him to the casualty department of Cologne’s University hospital. The hospital contacted the police, who then launched an investigation. The doctor was charged with bodily harm, and the case was taken to court.

While the court acquitted Dr. K on the grounds that he had not broken any law, it concluded that circumcision of minors for religious reasons should be outlawed, and that neither parental consent nor religious freedom justified the procedure. It ruled that in future doctors who carried out circumcisions should be punished.

The court weighed up three articles from the basic law: the rights of parents, the freedom of religious practice and the right of the child to physical integrity, before coming to the conclusion that the procedure was not in the interests of the child.

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SCOTUS: Render Unto Caesar … er, Kaiser Permanente Reply

By Thomas Knapp

Well, here it is, folks: The Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the “individual mandate” provision in the Affordable Care Act, aka “ObamaCare.” As of 2014, all Americans will pay a portion of their taxes to an insurance company of their choice instead of to Uncle Sam (or Uncle will come calling).

Canned consternation from the usual critics on the right, of course — you know, the people who brought you HMOs, Medicare Part D, and RomneyCare, all in the name of “free enterprise.” Forcing you to buy “insurance,” whether for yourself or someone else, is only bad when Democrats or New York’s “Five Families” do it.

In reality, the right should be celebrating CannibalCare … er, ObamaCare. Not only did Republicans lay three decades of its groundwork, not only was the template for the law laid down by none other than GOP presidential Mitt Romney, not only was the deciding SCOTUS vote cast by a George W. Bush appointee, Chief Justice John Roberts, but it’s the ultimate triumph of “privatization.”

Huh? What? Yes, “privatization.”

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Roberts Affirms the Total State Model Reply

From The Ruling Class

Yesterday, the Roberts court affirmed the Obama defense of the so-called “Affordable Care Act.” To me, it is not a particularly surprising result. Two years ago, I noted thatthe Obama Admin’s principal argument relied on the classification of the mandate as a tax and that the legislation–all 2000 pages plus–was carefully crafted to categorize any penalty as an excise tax. As I wrote at the time, Obama–his “socialist” caricature notwithstanding–wasn’t arguing the case by making appeals to the Communist Manifesto. He was merely relying on past American constitutional precedent. He had “the firm’s” legal team carefully draft the new rules of the health care political economy to pass compliance strictly with the firm’s monopoly power to tax.

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Major Violent Crime Wave Hits Anti-Gun Cities Across America Reply

From Off Grid Survival

As crime rates drop around the country, a somewhat predictable but disturbing trend is starting to pop up in big cities across America. In a number of large metropolitan areas throughout the country, where guns are severely restricted, crime is actually increasing. In fact, it’s increasing at a rather alarming rate.

gang member holding gunTake the notoriously Anti-Gun city of Chicago, where in the first 6 months of this year the city has already seen over 228 Homicides. Last weekend alone, Fifty-three people were shot; nine of them fatally, in what’s becoming a deadly weekly trend on the streets of Chicago. From Flash Mobs attacking shoppers on Michigan Avenue, to the Gang Violence that’s plaguing the city, Chicago has become more violent than the deadly war zones in the Middle East.

While gun control advocates point to Chicago as being a major reason for needing stricter gun laws, what they fail to mention is that nationally crime rates are actually dropping. In areas that actually respect your right to bear arms, crime rates have been dropping year after year.

Last week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced that violent crime decreased 4 percent in 2011.

So why are national rates dropping when places like Chicago become deadlier?

If you look at places like Chicago, Washington D.C. and New York City where they refuse to recognize the right to bear arms, one thing becomes painfully obvious. Gun Control Laws DO NOT WORK!

While national crime rates are dropping, the cities mentioned above are becoming gang infested warzones with sky rocketing murder rates. If these gun control measures actually worked, then why are these cities all in the middle of unprecedented violent crime wave?

When will they ever learn?

Chicago’s answer to the problem is almost too stupid to believe. This week Chicago is encouraging residents to turn in their guns in exchange for a $100 gift card. The Chicago Police Department is asking residents to get guns out of their homes and turn them in during their annual gun turn-in program, “Don’t Kill a Dream, Save a Life.”

Anyone who turns in a gun will get a $100 gift card, no questions asked!  

In a public statement, the City of Chicago said they are encouraging:

“people come out that have weapons lying around the house, or weapons, maybe, that they don’t necessarily want in their house. This is a chance to get some money for their weapon, and get another dangerous weapon on the street.”

I fail to see how asking law abiding citizens to turn in their guns and leave their homes defenseless is a viable option for solving the violent crime issue in Chicago. I mean let’s get real here, we all know criminals are not going to be the ones showing up to turn their guns; so who are they really targeting with this campaign? If you ask me, it seems like all they’re doing is making it that much easier for the criminals to rob and steal without fear of being held accountable.