Friday 5th of June 2020

political blanks .....

political blanks .....

Obama supports supreme court reversal of gun ban

· Candidate's stance at odds with former position

· Democrat backs death penalty for child rapist

Barack Obama intensified his campaign to appeal to voters on the life-and-death issues of the American heartland yesterday by stepping away from his past support for gun control. 

In the latest in a series of policy reversals for the Democratic presidential candidate, Obama came out in support of yesterday's supreme court decision overturning a gun ban in the city of Washington that had been a model for fighting urban crime. 

He had previously supported the Washington ban, the strictest in the US. 

It was the second time in 24 hours that Obama had shifted towards a more conservative position. On Wednesday, he took issue with the supreme court for striking down the death penalty for cases of child rape that do not involve murder. 

In yesterday's decision, judges struck down Washington's 32-year-old gun ban by a five-to-four margin, saying it was incompatible with the second amendment of the constitution. 'Whatever the reason, handguns are the most popular weapon chosen by Americans for self-defence in the home, and a complete prohibition of their use is invalid,' the conservative Justice Antonin Scalia said. However, the judges defended the need for firearm bans in schools and public buildings. 

Immediately after the ruling Obama and the Republican candidate, John McCain, both sought to exploit one of the most emotive political issues. McCain tried to revive charges that Obama was out of step with smalltown values. Obama ran into controversy last April for telling a fundraiser that Americans in small towns clung to guns and religion out of bitterness.

Obama Supports Supreme Court Reversal Of Gun Ban

Hosanna Obama?

I often agree with Philip Adams... Some people I know do not. They find him pompous, full of himself and sub-patronising. Not faults in my book if only parts of a style in which strong truth is expressed bravely. But today, his blind support for Barack Obama and demolition of Hillary Clinton appeared to me below the belt. One does not make a great US President because one does great speeches in 2004. Many cartoonists in the USA show Hillary as the wrecker of the Democrat Party with her determination to hang on despite having been behind (no far though) in the presidential nominations... I see a strange opposite. Obama was the wrecker of the party — Hillary's party, sure. But then he will unify the Democrats or so we believe. And it's not a question of color if there are some doubts... Doubts include his feeding from many religious trough. I suppose one's got to know what's around one though...

I feel a few Democrat Super Delegates could start shaking in their boots for having given Obama the ointment.

His record in the senate has been mostly obscure but on the Cheney energy bill, for example, he sided with the Republicans. Hillary did not. On the gun laws in Washington, his recent "pirouette" shows he's ready to do anything for votes, including massage or disembowel "principles" ... His views on the death penalty, and other back-flips with a twist, are abhorrent and should be so to the fair minded (but pompous for some) Adams.

I fear, young Obama may be painting pure white with his "hope and change" rhetoric brush, be milk chocolate of skin (love it - nothing wrong with that) but dark of soul in his desire to grab power at any cost, while being "generous" with his cash. Thus if he is "blackened" by his opponents, Obama may have only himself to blame. I may be wrong. I hope I am wrong. It's not like in Australia where one's got to elect a smarter cookie than Rattus, the former PM, to take the hot seat. In the US, the Prez is on his way out no matter what after two terms. The Democrats to some extend had better candidates than Hillary and Barack, but the machine (the press and the people) dismissed them pronto.

Our new PM has a few issues to sort out and we knew that, before passing him the baton... We might give him the stick instead anyway... Kev Ruddy has to wake up. Things are not so simple. His saving moneys like 20 billions is borderline when claytonly decimating the CSIRO for example for a few dollars more (in the footstep of Johnnee-the-Slasher) is not on. Or like giving the funny tax break for planting trees on farm-lands in the name of carbon-trading, while at the same time letting old growth forest being felled (a wicked legislation dreamed up by Johnnee-the-Smartee, but not enacted before the elections).

As they say, nothing's perfect but there is no reason why things should not be better. Sure the human capitalistic way has always been to demolish things to rebuild them, while keeping a few retaining walls. These two seemingly opposed activities create "the business" flow. Nature is more cautious. It takes time to evolve and consolidate its capital. Yet we just burn it. But fear not...

An so flipflopped Barack... 

guns laws ...

Gun Laws and Crime: A Complex Relationship

Lurking behind the Supreme Court’s ruling last week that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms were a series of fascinating, disputed and now in many ways irrelevant questions.

Do gun control laws reduce crime? Do they save lives? Is it possible they even cost lives?

Justice Stephen G. Breyer, one of the dissenters in the 5-to-4 decision, surveyed a quite substantial body of empirical research on whether gun control laws do any good. Then he wrote: “The upshot is a set of studies and counterstudies that, at most, could leave a judge uncertain about the proper policy conclusion.”

There is no question, of course, that guns figure in countless murders, suicides and accidental deaths. Over the five years ending in 1997, the Justice Department says, there was an average of 36,000 firearms-related deaths a year. (Fifty-one percent were suicides, and 44 percent homicides.) Determining whether particular gun control laws would have, on balance, prevented some of those deaths is difficult. Take Washington, D.C., whose near-total ban on handguns in the home was on the receiving end of last week’s decision.

At the crudest level, as Justice Breyer wrote, violent crime in Washington has increased since the ban took effect in 1976. “Indeed,” he continued, “a comparison with 49 other major cities reveals that the district’s homicide rate is actually substantially higher relative to these other cities than it was before the handgun restriction went into place.”

Those statistics by themselves prove nothing, of course. Factors aside from the gun ban, like demographics, economics and the drug trade, were almost certainly in play. “As students of elementary logic know,” Justice Breyer wrote, “after it does not mean because of it.”

But Gary Kleck, a professor at Florida State University’s College of Criminology and Criminal Justice, whose work Justice Breyer cited, said there were good reasons for making a definitive judgment.

“We know the D.C. handgun ban didn’t reduce homicide,” he said in an interview.

Not everyone agrees.


Gus: Sure, guns alone do not kill people and whether having more or less guns amongst the population may or may not influence the numbers of murders, in statistical soup. It does affect the numbers of suicides though.

But the main paradigm is that guns, although not driving exclusively to a culture of violence, do contribute to it should there be such an under-current. Canada for example has a similar proportion of guns per capita than the United States. Yet Canada has far less "murders' per capita than the United States where there is about 36,000 death by small guns annually of which 15,000 are murders. If there had been an increase of say 1,000 murders and a decrease of say 6,000 suicides, the upshot would be to carry on with the ban and work arduously to eliminate the culture of violence — a culture that unfortunately oozes from the US President down.

Having less guns about under properly managed gun control may not be enough. Rather than bring a relaxation of gun laws, the laws should be made even tougher...  Look at one of Johnnee's success. Everyone hails his strict gun control laws (a drover's dog enacting the same laws would have had similar success too). Is it possible too that the "toughest" gun control laws in the US are a full of loop-holes?

Guns, especially hand guns for "self-defence", are the symbols of an immature society. Having more guns available for the pockets of good folks do not fare well on our values — Christian or whatever... 

Most guns are designed to kill. Handguns are designed to kill people. 

fun guns...

French shooting show injures 16

It is not clear whether or not foul play was involved

A military shooting demonstration in south east France has left 16 people wounded, after real bullets were used instead of blanks.

Four of the wounded are in a critical condition, including a young child.

A Defence Ministry official said the incident occurred during a demonstration of hostage-freeing techniques at a barracks in Aude.

The soldier who fired the shots has been detained. It is not clear why the wrong ammunition was used.

Reports from the scene say the hostage scenario had been acted out five times before a crowd at the Laperrine military barracks, near Carcassonne, when on the sixth take real bullets began flying through the air, and onlookers fell to the ground.

rumors and ducks

In Flag City USA, False Obama Rumors Are Flying

By Eli Saslow
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 30, 2008; A04

FINDLAY, Ohio -- On his corner of College Street, Jim Peterman stares at the four American flags planted in his front lawn and rubs his forehead. Peterman, 74, is a retired worker at Cooper Tire, a father of two, an Air Force veteran and a self-described patriot. He took one trip to Washington in 1989 -- best vacation of his life -- and bought a statue of the Washington Monument that he still displays in a glass case in his living room.

He believes a smart vote is an American's greatest responsibility. Which is why his confusion about Barack Obama continues to eat at him.

On the television in his living room, Peterman has watched enough news and campaign advertisements to hear the truth: Sen. Barack Obama, born in Hawaii, is a Christian family man with a track record of public service. But on the Internet, in his grocery store, at his neighbor's house, at his son's auto shop, Peterman has also absorbed another version of the Democratic candidate's background, one that is entirely false: Barack Obama, born in Africa, is a possibly gay Muslim racist who refuses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

"It's like you're hearing about two different men with nothing in common," Peterman said. "It makes it impossible to figure out what's true, or what you can believe."


Gus: I do not know Obama and my feelings could be wrong. All I know is what I have collected from many official (including US senate papers) and unofficial websites, and countless news reports. And a few things do not add up. Officially, he is a Christian in favour of more guns, is in favour of the death penalty and voted for Cheney's energy bill. That's already enough to worry me: it's the wrong mix of beliefs as if designed to capture Republican voters while evocating a liberal/social attitude. A bit glib in my book. At least with Hillary, there were flaws and truer turn of phrase that unfortunately were turned upside down by the press and used against her while she was really expressing positive, if uncomfortable truths. She shot herself a few time by embellishing her adventures while Barack stayed the course, dumped his pastors when required and used lovely gymnastics of "change' in his "beliefs" to explain his position. Barack is the consummate spruiker and this worries me too. But I could be wrong. Yes, he has been involved with Muslims, (Jews?) and Christians alike but this does not make him Muslim or Jew, as he profess to be Christian. I accept that... Bush professed to be Christian too and went on a killing spree. Thus understandably, people are weary... Obama's choice of VP will be telling... He may have no choice in the end, when starting to do some number crunching, but to nominate Hillary. 


GOP Sharpens Attacks on Obama
Allies of McCain Casting Democratic Candidate as Unprincipled, Opportunistic

By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 30, 2008; A04

CLEVELAND -- Sen. John McCain's allies have seized on a new and aggressive line of attack against Sen. Barack Obama, casting the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee as an opportunistic and self-obsessed politician who will do and say anything to get elected.

McCain typically leaves the sharpened criticism to others, in the hope of being able to claim the high ground of conducting a "respectful" campaign. But the abrupt shift in tone among his paid staff members, volunteer surrogates and other Republican staples of the cable news circuit is unmistakable, and it resembles the unified message the GOP used to paint the 2004 Democratic candidate, Sen. John F. Kerry, as a flip-flopper.

It also reflects a growing belief among McCain's strategists that the campaign for the White House will be won or lost based on voters' view of Obama's character. In a strategy memo released Thursday, McCain's top political adviser accused Obama of "self-serving partisanship."

"In his time on the national stage, he has consistently put his party and his self-interest first," McCain strategist Steve Schmidt said in the memo. "We have seen Barack Obama forced to choose between principle and the interests of himself and his party. He has always chosen the latter."


Gus: nothing wrong if you flip-flop-twist in the right direction... Obama flip-flops-backwards with a half turn it seems.

Mind you being unprincipled, opportunistic should make one ideal for the presidency

Have a nice day...

some more flip-flop on his shoes...

Senate Backs Wiretap Bill to Shield Phone Companies

Published: July 10, 2008

WASHINGTON — More than two and a half years after the disclosure of President’s Bush’s domestic eavesdropping program set off a furious national debate, the Senate gave final approval on Wednesday afternoon to broadening the government’s spy powers and providing legal immunity for the phone companies that took part in the wiretapping program.

President Bush praised the legislation’s passage in remarks from the Rose Garden. He is expected to quickly sign the surveillance plan into law.

The plan, approved by a vote of 69 to 28, marked one of Mr. Bush’s most hard-won legislative victories in a Democratic-led Congress where he has had little success of late. Both houses, controlled by Democrats, approved what amounted to the biggest restructuring of federal surveillance law in 30 years, giving the government more latitude to eavesdrop on targets abroad and at home who are suspected of links to terrorism.

The issue put Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, the presumptive Democratic nominee, in a particularly precarious spot. After long opposing the idea of immunity for the phone companies in the wiretapping operation, he voted for the plan on Wednesday. His reversal last month angered many of his most ardent supporters, who organized an unsuccessful drive to get him to reverse his position once again. And it came to symbolize what civil liberties advocates saw as “capitulation” by Democratic leaders to political pressure from the White House in an election year.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, who was Mr. Obama’s rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, voted against the bill.


see toon at top... 

happy days...

Jackson Apologizes for Obama Remarks

Updated The Rev. Jesse Jackson apologized Wednesday for critical comments he made about Senator Barack Obama that were picked up by a Fox News Channel microphone.

According to various reports, Mr. Jackson made disparaging remarks, apparently including a crude reference to male genitalia, about how Mr. Obama was talking to black people.

In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Jackson, a former Democratic candidate for president, said: “For any harm or hurt that this hot mic private conversation may have caused, I apologize. My support for Senator Obama’s campaign is wide, deep and unequivocal. I cherish this redemptive and historical moment.”

He later held a news conference, during which he traced the history of the civil rights movement. He said he was passionate about Mr. Obama’s campaign and hoped his remarks wouldn’t distract from it, saying the campaign represented too many dreams and sacrifices made in the past. Mr. Jackson apologized after Fox News said it would be broadcasting the remarks on “The O’Reilly Factor” Wednesday night.

According to a Fox spokeswoman, Mr. Jackson was recorded speaking to Reid Tuckson, an executive vice president at United Health Group, when both men were about to be interviewed on “Fox & Friends” Sunday morning.

Bill O’Reilly, the host of “The O’Reilly Factor,” plans to play the exchange. At least one of the words will be bleeped, the spokeswoman confirmed.

Mr. Jackson’s comments were apparently in reaction to a recent speech Mr. Obama gave, saying that he felt Mr. Obama was “talking down to black people.”

with the blessings from Obama...

Bush approves surveillance bill

US President George W Bush has approved a bill to shield telephone companies
[just passed by Obama, rejected by Ms Clinton] who helped in the White House's controversial wiretaps programme.

The bill also grants the US government the power to continue with the telephone surveillance scheme.


It would have been strange had Bush decided to veto the bill... "People of America... the US administration cannot spy on you anymore and your privacy is paramount to us — the gardians of the constitution — as paramount as the gun you keep in your bedside table... Please, use it wisely, but use it... shoot someone... otherwise loose it..."

Big Brother of 1984 fades into insignificance, as we accept our dumbing pills and lemming ointments while cherishing our daily bread of dictum... "would you like a colonoscopy with that?" says the television set to the couch potato we've become...

Go ahead...  make my day.


Americans stick to their guns as firearms sales surge

At the Guns and Ammo Warehouse they are reluctant to admit Barack Obama is right about very much. But customers enjoy the thought that his controversial campaign comment, that "bitter" small-town Americans are clinging to their guns, has proved more true than the president could have imagined.

Firearms sales have surged in the six months since Obama's election as millions of Americans have gone on a buying spree that has stripped gun shops in some parts of the country almost bare of assault weapons and led to a national ammunition shortage.

The FBI says that since November more than seven million people applied for criminal background checks in order to buy weapons, a figure excluding the many more buying at thousands of gun shows in states such as Virginia, without facing any checks.


see toon at top...

in coldish blood...

Blood on the Tracks: The Continuing Lessons of Terror and Tyranny
Written by Chris Floyd      
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 14:19
At some point earlier this month, Barack Obama took a moment out of his busy day to sign an "execute order." That is, he ordered American agents to kill a man without any legal procedure whatsoever: no arrest, no trial, no formal presentation – and disputation – of evidence, no defense…and no warning. They killed him on the open road, in a sneak attack; he was not engaged in combat, he was not posing an imminent threat to anyone at the time, he had not been charged with any crime. This kind of thing is ordinarily regarded as murder. Certainly, if you or I killed someone in this way – or paid someone to do it – then we would find ourselves in the dock, facing life imprisonment or our own execution. But then, you and I are subject to the law; our leaders are not.

Let's say it again, just to let the reality of the situation sink in a bit further: at some point last week, Barack Obama ordered men in his employ to murder another human being. And not a single voice of protest was raised anywhere in the American political and media establishments. Churchmen did not thunder from the pulpits about this lawless action. The self-proclaimed patriots and liberty-lovers on the ever-more militant Right did not denounce this most extreme expression of state tyranny: the leader's arbitrary power to kill anyone he pleases. It is simply an accepted, undisputed fact of American life today that American leaders can and do – and should – murder people, anywhere in the world, if they see fit. When this supreme tyranny is noted at all, it is simply to celebrate the Leader for his toughness -- or perhaps chide him for not killing even more people in this fashion.

See toon at top and read more of Chris Floyd...

missing guns...

A congressional committee has voted to hold United States attorney-general Eric Holder in contempt of congress for not releasing critical documents which reviewed a failed gun trafficking investigation.

Over a two-year period US federal agents allowed more than 2,000 guns to cross the border into Mexico, in an operation known as "Fast and Furious".

The agents hoped to track the guns to a drug cartel but lost track of most of them.

A committee investigating the botched operation asked Mr Holder to release all relevant documents, but he declined, saying he was prohibited by law from producing them.

In a party-line decision, the committee voted 23 to 17 to have him held in contempt of congress.


It's not new that countries provide weapons to their "enemies", in this case the drug cartel, with an intent to trace the guns... The French did the same during the Algerian war... And it is not unusual for such gun shipments to blow up before arriving at destination... or that the guns sights were "crooked"... The French used to do this as well... They even supplied sandals to the rebels... The sandals had special markings that one could follow in the sand... but of course the markings were useless in rocky areas... and the sandals were badly made... the markings under the sole would quickly wear off... But the concept here was to dry the funds from the rebels who of course would have been getting some unlimited dosh from other arab countries... There again the stategy failed... Stupidity prevails... now more than 2000 guns? That's a lot of guns...

salesman of the year...


President Barack Obama has been referred to as “salesman of the year” for the gun industry. The nickname is likely to stick around, considering that gun sales are expected to rise like a speeding bullet now that he’s been reelected.

Though they’d probably never admit to it, gun manufacturers and weapons retailers might have secretly been rooting for a second term for President Obama. Why? The presence of Obama in the White House—or merely the thought that he could be commander in chief—has consistently been a trigger for soaring sales of guns and ammo.

Read more:



As we all know, these drone missiles are, like the president who wields them, super-smart, a triumph of technology and technocratic expertise. We know, for the president and his aides have repeatedly told us, that these weapons -- launched only after careful consultation of the just-war strictures of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas -- strike nothing but their intended targets and kill no one but "bad guys." Indeed, the president's top aides have testified under oath that not a single innocent person has been among the thousands of Pakistani civilians -- that is, civilians of a sovereign nation that is not at war with the United States -- who have been killed by the drone missile campaign of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

see toon at top...

god, guns, greed and more guns...


Gun rights activists have been out in force since the massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, once again blaming the slaughter on so-called gun-free zones, and claiming that an armed citizen could have otherwise stopped the attack. It's an argument that the gun lobby has used for many years, but on Thursday afternoon it was marked by a brazen new low with comments from Charles Cotton, a longtime board member of the National Rifle Association. Cotton wrote on a Texas gun-rights forum that slain pastor and South Carolina state Sen. Clementa Pinckney was responsible for the murders of his congregants because of his opposition to looser concealed-carry laws.

"Eight of his church members, who might be alive if he had expressly allowed members to carry handguns in church, are dead," Cotton said. "Innocent people died because of his political position on the issue."


of guns, obama and loonies..

See toon at top...

Read article below it...




The US is too immature a society to be allowed to play with guns. It has never shed its Wild West mythology. Americans still use their courts to kill people, which sends a message in its own way. Read The New Yorker's account of the Rodricus Crawford case and see a state that thinks taking a life is a no big deal. It's a country that values property more than life.


Unlike the US, we collectively decided to have a decent social safety net, the concept of a living wage and make good education freely available. Most of us are wary of those with extreme views of any kind. Inherent scepticism about church and state turns out to be not such a bad thing.

Unlike Australia, the US is at war with itself, strongly divided on racial, religious, political and social lines. We have our problems, significantly worse in some places than others, but overall our gaps are bridgeable. The US seems to prefer to use its societal chasms as moats and defend their borders.

Dystopian view

The dystopian viewpoint is a significant theme in American literature, the assumption that the country is a disaster away from rape and pillage, from turning into plundering carnivores. Having never made peace with its past, which pretty much was one of rape and pillage, it hasn't escaped it.

From The Road to Hunger Games, the effect is numbing. The National Geographic Channel features a show called Doomsday Preppers, a how-to guide for armed and dangerous "survivalists" building redoubts on the assumption that everyone else is armed and dangerous and out to get them. It is a nation that is collectively paranoid.

It doesn't seem to help to have a large body of religious fanaticism – it doesn't help anywhere, whatever the particular brand of religion. There's little difference between the violently fundamentalist Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Jew.

There's an American brand that hasn't evolved far from justifying slavery. It carries a fundamentalist certainty that is in equal parts both ignorant and frightening. The concept of American exceptionalism – that God has a chosen mission for the USA – is a dangerous adjunct.

It's all fodder for the deranged fanatics of the American gun lobby, with a bible in one hand and an assault rifle in the other. It's fuel for the paranoid interpretation of a line in the constitution that is a blatant anachronism.

We have our share of deranged individuals, but we try not to empower them. We don't promote violence for good or bad and increasingly decry the bad.

Read more:
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Good on you, Michael...