Tag Archives: guns

ACLU will no longer defend free speech rights of armed protestors

While routinely denounced as a bastion of liberalism, the ACLU has often drawn leftist fire for its defense of the free speech rights of the radical right – on the theory that vilified speech is what the First Amendment is designed to protect.

City officials in Charlottesville, Va., initially denied white supremacists a permit for their rally last weekend, but the ACLU filed a lawsuit defending their right to gather. However, in the aftermath of the Saturday violence, the ACLU has imposed a new limit on who it’s willing to defend. From the Los Angeles Times:

The national organization said Thursday that it would not represent white supremacist groups that want to demonstrate with guns. That stance is a new interpretation of the ACLU’s official position that reasonable gun regulation does not violate the 2nd Amendment.

More from AJC’s Political Insider

Posted by Libergirl

More Guns, Less Medicine: Trump’s Military Spending Binge Would Swamp Savings From Health Care Repeal

THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE (CBO) released its analysis of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) on Monday, finding that the Trump-backed House Republican bill that seeks to repeal and replace Obamacare would save the federal government $337 billion over 10 years — at the cost of throwing 24 million people off of health insurance coverage by 2026.

But those theoretical savings would be more than wiped out by an also theoretical increase in military spending that President Trump wants Congress to pass.

Shortly after the release of the CBO report, House Speaker Paul Ryan put out a statement embracing its findings, claiming among other things that it found that the AHCA would “dramatically reduce the deficit.”

Yet Ryan has offered no objections to Trump’s request for an additional $54 billion in annual military spending in this coming year. The increase alone amounts to 80 percent of Russia’s current military spending; it would make the United States responsible for almost 40 percent of global military expenditures.

Assuming that the Trump administration set the new amount as a baseline going forward, over 10 years it would amount to $540 billion in additional spending. This eclipses the $337 billion that would ostensibly be saved were the AHCA to pass in its current form and remain in place.

And the CBO also finds that the vast majority of savings from the law will come after 2020, when the Medicaid expansion is rolled back. In fact, it wold add $56 billion to the deficit in its first three years:

CBO2-1489445969

Congressional Budget Office

The reason the AHCA doesn’t save more is because it also includes a $600 billion tax cut, most of it aimed at benefiting wealthier taxpayers, by paring back taxes used to support the Affordable Care Act.

AHCA’s impact on the federal budget deficit is hardly the whole picture, of course. The CBO estimates that 14 million people would lose health insurance coverage in its first year. The cost of health insurance premiums would go up for many. The CBO notes, for example, that someone 64 years old earning $26,500 a year would see their net premiums increase from $1,700 annually to $14,600:

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Congressional Budget Office

President Trump can offer any number of justifications for hiking military spending while embracing a health care bill that would throw tens of millions off of health insurance. But he just can’t claim to care about the deficit.

By Zaid Jilani/TheIntercept

Posted by The NON-Conformist

More than 700 people have been murdered in Chicago this year

Murders in Chicago have already topped 700 this year, police said on Thursday, as a surge in violence in the third largest U.S. city has sent the number of killings to its highest point in nearly two decades.

There were 77 murders in November, according to the Chicago Police Department, bringing the number of murders to 701 for the year to date.

Murders have surged 55 percent from the same period last year, according to CPD spokesman Frank Giancamilli. The murder rate is the highest since 704 people were killed in 1998 and 761 in 1997.

The number of murders in Chicago, a city of 2.7 million, exceeds those in Los Angeles and New York combined, according to data from the respective police forces. Both cities have considerably larger populations than Chicago.

More from New York Post

Posted by Libergirl

 

The Haunted House That Guns Built

Did a marketing campaign trick Americans into loving firearms?

Image result for Winchester Mystery House
Image: Visit California.com

Sarah Winchester was the widow of William Winchester, and William’s father Oliver was the pater familias of the Winchester gun company. Oliver died in December 1880, and William succumbed to tuberculosis four months later. Two months after that, Sarah’s mother died. By mid-1881, Sarah was essentially alone. But she also held 48 percent of the stock for the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. And the stock paid dividends, between 21 and 79 percent of profits every year from 1869 to 1914.

Upon William’s death, his wealthy widow got on a train in New Haven and went west until she couldn’t go further. She ended up in San Jose, then a burgeoning town still feeling the aftereffects of the gold rush. She bought some land and began building a house—and kept building, and building, and building. When she died in 1922, the house was still under construction: a confusing, ad hoc, and immense mansion of 160 rooms filled with inscrutable architectural choices. Doors open onto walls; staircases go nowhere; halls wind back and forth; rooms are built within rooms. The whole disorienting, labyrinthine mess is now dubbed the Winchester Mystery House.

Why did Sarah build it? Well, there’s the legend and there’s the truth.

More from Reason Magazine

Posted by the NON-Conformist

‘US ongoing problem – it can’t control its weapons in Mideast’

US weapons ending up in the hands of terrorists and current happenings in Washington DC and the Middle East are reminiscent of the Afghan Mujahideen, said international lawyer and former CIA officer Jack Rice.
American and Jordanian officials testified to the New York Times and Al Jazeera that weapons sent to Jordan by the CIA and Saudi Arabia for Syrian rebels have been repeatedly stolen and sold on the black market. According to the recent report, the CIA-Saudi shipment, under the “arm and train program”, included Kalashnikov rifles, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades (RPG).

RT: There have been plenty of previous reports of US weapons ending up in the hands of terrorists. How serious is this latest claim?

Jack Rice: It doesn’t shock me at all. I can go back decades now, when I think about operations and frankly… what this is reminiscent of – is the Mujahideen. You can take a look at exactly what was going on with the CIA, and the Middle East, and specifically with Afghanistan and the inability to control the weapons once you hand them over to somebody else – this has always been a problem for the US. They continue to do it. And despite knowing that they can’t control them, they seem to do it anyway.

RT: Is it surprising the US is still arming rebel groups, despite the huge risks?

JR: It doesn’t really shock me though. What I’ve found over and over again – is there is a desire in the US that somebody fights ISIS; that somebody fights the Damascus regime, but it shouldn’t be Americans. So the best ways to do that is to hand weapons over to somebody else and say: “It’s your problem. It is your fight. You take care of it, or we’ll drop bombs from the sky, but we don’t want boots on the ground; we would rather drop AK-47s, mortars, and RPGs.” That is a much easier thing to deal with. And if some of them end somewhere else: “Oh well…”

RT: What do you make of the State Department’s refusal to comment on these recent allegations?

JR: That doesn’t shock me either again. It doesn’t shock me the CIA wasn’t responding obviously, because these are covert operations. But the thing is – it assumes the State Department is actually going to tell you honestly what it is actually going on is a foreign policy approach.

I think we have to contemplate exactly what is going on in Washington DC right now. There is something going on fist in glove with the Agency, the Department and the Pentagon – all three of which are working very closely on these operations. So this doesn’t surprise me at all that nobody is willing to talk about it, especially when things go bad. When things go south who do you think is going to stand up and say: “Yeah, it was me, I am the one who screwed up!” No, nobody is going to say anything.

RT: What are the security implications for Jordan? The country was recently hit by a terrorist attack near the Syrian border, in which seven Jordanian soldiers died.

JR: That is a great point. And that is one of the real problems here: there are security implications – again thinking back to Afghanistan – it is the very same problem. Any time you start providing arms to somebody who is your friend – and that is a very clear and, I should say, not clear definition… The problem is it’s very difficult to determine who your friends are and who your enemies are. And sometimes it’s both.

Those things can end up in all sorts of places for the Jordanians right now. Not they could potentially see a whole series of AKs, mortars, and RPGs that were just rolled through Jordan – that is going to come back at the Jordanians themselves. That is a concern. Remember: these were supposed to go into Syria and into Northern Iraq. That doesn’t mean that is where they end up. They can end up in Western Europe; they can end up in Eastern Europe; they can end up in the southern republics; they can end up in Moscow. We really can’t tell, because once you let go of the weapon, it can end up just about anywhere.

From RT

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Just in case you missed this: Iowa Dem rips Republicans for bill that would let children carry guns: ‘We do not need a militia of toddlers’

Image: Raw Story

The bill would allow anyone under the age of 14 to handle handguns under adult supervision, with no age limit.

Source: More from the Raw Story

Posted by the NON-Conformist

‘Don’t go there’: Texas teachers told to drop ‘sensitive topics’ for fear of getting shot

The University of Houston is advising staff members to “be careful discussing sensitive topics” and not to “go there” if they sense anger. The guidelines are in response to legislation passed in Texas that will allow individuals to carry concealed guns on campus.

Members of staff were briefed during a slideshow on how to adjust to the new law, which could potentially put them in dangerous situations. Lecturers are being recommended to “drop certain topics from your curriculum” if the topic is controversial, so as to avoid potential flash points.

Image: Brenda Hawkins(Twitter)

Teachers are also being advised not to “go there” if they sense a situation might be getting out of hand and be “careful discussing sensitive topics.”

Staff members are also being instructed to “limit student access off hours” to teaching facilities.

More from Russia Today

Posted by The NON-Conformist