The Year So Far

The Year So Far | CT News Junkie:

By Doug Hardy and RJ Matson, Political Cartoonist

Editorial cartoon by R.J. Matson. The year has started off poorly with respect to gun violence. California experienced two mass shootings in three days. First, 10 were killed on Saturday, followed by seven murdered Monday.


23 thoughts on “The Year So Far”

  1. How US gun culture stacks up with the world (

    By Kara Fox, Krystina Shveda, Natalie Croker and Marco Chacon | CNN
    Monterey Park. Atlanta. Orlando. Las Vegas. Newtown. Parkland. San Bernardino. Uvalde.
    Ubiquitous gun violence in the United States has left few places unscathed over the decades. Still, many Americans hold their right to bear arms, enshrined in the US Constitution, as sacrosanct. But critics of the Second Amendment say that right threatens another: The right to life.
    America’s relationship to gun ownership is unique, and its gun culture is a global outlier.
    As the tally of gun-related deaths continue to grow daily, here’s a look at how gun culture in the US compares to the rest of the world.
    There are 120 guns for every 100 Americans, according to the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey (SAS). No other nation has more civilian guns than people.
    The Falkland Islands — a British territory in the southwest Atlantic Ocean, claimed by Argentina and the subject of a 1982 war — is home to the world’s second-largest stash of civilian guns per capita. But with an estimated 62 guns per 100 people, its gun ownership rate is almost half that of the US. Yemen — a country in the throes of a seven-year conflict — has the third-highest gun ownership rate at 53 guns per 100 people.
    While the exact number of civilian-owned firearms is difficult to calculate due to a variety of factors — including unregistered weapons, the illegal trade and global conflict — SAS researchers estimate that Americans own 393 million of the 857 million civilian guns available, which is around 46% of the world’s civilian gun cache.
    About 44% of US adults live in a household with a gun, and about one-third own one personally, according to an October 2020 Gallup survey.
    Some nations have high gun ownership due to illegal stocks from past conflicts or lax restrictions on ownership, but the US is one of only three countries in the world where bearing (or keeping) arms is a constitutional right, according to Zachary Elkins, associate professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin and director of the Comparative Constitutions Project. Yet the ownership rate in the other two — Guatemala and Mexico — is almost a tenth of the United States.

  2. [more from mercury news link]

    In the US, firearm manufacturing is on the rise, with more Americans buying guns.
    In 2018, gun makers produced 9 million firearms in the country — more than double the amount manufactured in 2008, according to the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). More recently, January 2021 marked the biggest annual increase since 2013 in requests for federal background checks necessary for purchasing a gun — a nearly 60% jump from January 2020.
    And in March 2021, the FBI reported almost 4.7 million background checks — the most of any month since the agency started keeping track more than 20 years ago. Two million of those checks were for new gun purchases, making it the second highest month on record for firearms sales, according to the National Shooting Sports Federation, the firearms industry trade group that compares FBI background check numbers with actual sales data to determine its sales figures.
    Almost a third of US adults believe there would be less crime if more people owned guns, according to an April 2021 Pew survey. However, multiple studies show that where people have easy access to firearms, gun-related deaths tend to be more frequent, including by suicide, homicide and unintentional injuries.
    It is then unsurprising that the US has more deaths from gun violence than any other developed country per capita. The rate in the US is eight times greater than in Canada, which has the seventh highest rate of gun ownership in the world; 22 times higher than in the European Union and 23 times greater than in Australia, according to Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) data from 2019.
    US President Joe Biden’s administration renewed calls for gun reform after mass shootings in Colorado, South Carolina and Texas last year. In March 2021, the House of Representatives passed legislation that would require unlicensed and private sellers, as well as all licensed sellers to do federal background checks before all gun sales — and to ensure that buyers are fully vetted before making the sale.
    The bills are now stuck in the Senate where, despite some Democrats’ efforts to build bipartisan support, there has been no indication they have the votes to overcome the 60-vote filibuster.
    For decades, political roadblocks have stalled such efforts in the US. And that partisan divide is reflected in the population as well, with 80% of Republicans — and 19% of Democrats — saying gun laws in the country are either about right or should be less strict, according to the April Pew survey.
    Meanwhile, mass shootings continue to drive demand for more guns, experts say, with gun control activists arguing the time for reform is long overdue.
    Many countries around the world have been able to tackle gun violence. Yet, despite the thousands of lost lives in the US, only around half of US adults favor stricter gun laws, according to the recent Pew survey, and political reform remains at a standstill. The deadly cycle of violence seems destined to continue.
    [continues with background of CNN methodology]

  3. a message from our friends down under 8 years and thousands of deaths ago

    You know things are bad when the population of an island where literally everything can kill you thinks your country is too dangerous

  4. I watch Mika and Scar-bro cause they’re anti-orange gasbag, but during Bush 2 Scar totally greased the skids making him almost inevitable.  

  5. Joe was still a Republican back then rather than the husband of Mika and recovering Republicon he tries to be today.

  6. Jennifer Rubin on Florida’s white supremacist governor in yesterday’s WaPo:

    Florida’s Republican governor and presidential aspirant Ron DeSantis has made a name for himself by harassingBlack voters, setting up a system to sue teachers for teaching race in ways that might offend Whites, singling outLGBTQ youth(while gagging teachers) and engaging in extremegerrymanderingto reduce the voting power of minorities.

    Now he’s gone full-blown white supremacist, banning the College Board’s Advanced Placement for African American studies course from Florida’s schools.

    In what is surely among its most explicitly racist actions, the DeSantis administration determined (on what basis?) that the course is “inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value,” according to a Jan. 12 letter from the Florida Education Department to the College Board.

    White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre blasted the move (while clarifying that the White House does not dictate curriculum). Jean-Pierre declared that it is “not new from what we’re seeing, especially from Florida, sadly.” She pointed out that state officials “didn’t block AP European History. … They didn’t block our art history. But the state chooses to block a course that is meant for high-achieving high school students to learn about their history of arts and culture.” She called the decision “incomprehensible.”

    In any event, DeSantis can expect more litigation over this latest move to appease the right-wing base. Janai S. Nelson, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, told me, “If the new Advanced Placement Course on African American Studies violates Florida laws, as alleged by the Florida Department of Education, it only proves the unconstitutionality of the state’s laws.” Her group’s lawsuit challenging the Stop WOKE Act obtained a temporary injunction, banning it from going into effect in colleges and universities based on the First Amendment.

    Historically, a key aspect of white supremacy has been the denial of Blacks’ own suffering, their historical experience and their current scholarship. It’s the ultimate expression of contempt for certain Americans as unworthy and peripheral to the story of “real” — read “White” — America. The goal here is unmistakable: eradication of African American historical experience.

    “AP courses are college-level courses that, by extension, are protected under the First Amendment, and the specific targeting of African American Studies is evidence of unlawful racial discrimination,” Nelson said. “There is no question that the Florida Department of Education’s ban of AP African American Studies courses also will be challenged.”
    I recently visited the magnificent “Great Wall of Los Angeles,” a half-mile mural begun in 1974 to tell the story of the city and state from prehistoric to modern times, including an array of outstanding African American, Latino, immigrant, LGBTQ and Native American figures and milestones in the battle for civil rights. I was horrified at the number of historically noteworthy figures I had never learned about in school, including Mifflin W. Gibbs, Mary Ellen Pleasant, William A. Leidesdorff, Biddy Mason, Jeannette Rankin and Charles Drew. (And while I had learned about the Zoot Suit Riots and the Chinese massacre of 1871 in Los Angeles, for example, they weren’t part of the K-12 curriculum.)

    DeSantis and those playing to White grievance may prefer that students never learn about such figures and incidents. But considering the damage already done in under-educating Americans, perhaps African American studies (and a complete study of the diverse American experience) should be included in every K-12 curriculum for every student.

    Ron DeSantis should remind us that if we want a fully aware, educated population capable of functioning as competent citizens in a diverse democracy, the rest of us need to push back against nefarious attempts to erase history.

    Karine obviously isn’t a white supremacist – otherwise DeInsanity’s move would be thoroughly comprehensible.

  7. What!??….   more shootings!
    We lost power for over 24 hours….  it came back on about an hour ago.  Our generator has a problem.  It has enough juice to power lights….  but no cable or internet.  After catching up to what when on…~~~ I almost would like to have no power again.~~~

  8. the hill:

    Documents with classified markings were found at former Vice President Mike Pence’s Indiana home last week, officials confirmed Tuesday.
    Pence’s team notified the National Archives on Jan. 18 that a small number of documents were “inadvertently boxed and transported” to the former vice president’s home at the end of the last administration. Pence was “unaware of the existence of sensitive or classified documents at his personal residence,” his lawyer wrote to the Archives.
    Documents with classified markings were found at former Vice President Mike Pence’sIndiana home last week, officials confirmed Tuesday.
    Pence’s team notified the National Archives on Jan. 18 that a small number of documents were “inadvertently boxed and transported” to the former vice president’s home at the end of the last administration. Pence was “unaware of the existence of sensitive or classified documents at his personal residence,” his lawyer wrote to the Archives.
    The findings at Pence’s home make him the third former or current top U.S. official to have had classified materials at his home from his time in office, following Biden and former President Trump. The Presidential Records Act requires presidents and vice presidents to turn documents over to the National Archives for proper preservation.

  9. more george/anthony/kitara news


    one of the tweet commenters: Ronald Reagan once said in a meeting “Trust, but verify” – With Santos, it’s just verify.

  10. George/Anthony Santos/Devolder might actually be Baghdad Bob.  

    He seems to have always been a pathological liar (or maybe it’s just “lucky girl syndrome”), but it also looks like performance art.  

    Either way, I still want to know his legal name, if he used his legal name on the election ballot, and from whence came his sudden influx of cash.  Most of all, I want a real journalist (if one still exists) to pull at that monetary thread and unravel Kitara’s dress.


    “In November, Pence was asked by ABC News at his Indiana home whether he had taken any classified documents from the White House.”

    “I did not,” Pence responded.

    “Well, there’d be no reason to have classified documents, particularly if they were in an unprotected area,” Pence continued. “But I will tell you that I believe there had to be many better ways to resolve that issue than executing a search warrant at the personal residence of a former president of the United States.”

    Yep, tRUMPsky could have cooperated and avoided it.

    “Pence asked his lawyer to conduct the search of his home out of an abundance of caution, and the attorney began going through four boxes stored at Pence’s house last week, finding a small number of documents with classified markings, the sources said.”

  12. “No I did not” is a pretty definitive, assertive answer with very little ambiguity or room for correction in the event that he “did”.  Oops.  
    And yes, as BiD pointed out, there had to be many better ways to resolve that issue than executing a search warrant at the personal residence of a former president of the United States – kinda like what Biden, and now Pence, did. 

  13. Let’s see, a VP and a President (former VP and Senator) have classified documents at home.  Hmm, how sinister is that. For once I do believe Pence when he says he did not think he had any classified material.  In the case of Biden, I am sure his active documents were in the SCIF. I am also sure that much of the material was packed up from the old office in the WH or the Capitol by his staff.  The old stuff from VP and Senator days probably declassified due to date, that is true for all classified material, unless there is a high level agreement to keep something classified longer. I have worked with material that will never be declassified and there is a lot of work to get it to that point.  I also worked on material that was lowest level and probably should not have been that.
    There are ways to help the people of Ukraine to fight the enemy invaders.  One is you can pay some level of money and you get to have a message written on the shell/rocket/bomb/whatever and you get a picture of it being fired off.  One of my messages was to let the invaders know that the spirit of my Great-grandmother says Hello.  Hope a tank or squad of them get the message.

  14. BB – May your g-grandma’s regards fly high and free, and May her sun be true!
    Is it an issue (if they are nope declassified due to age) if they weren’t declassified at the time?  Of course, then one would need to prove when the doc(s) were mishandled.

  15. bId – The control of classified material is the issue of this thing with Biden and Pence and why the documents were still in their control after all this time.  We are not talking about the material in the Biden house SCIF.  SFB purposely took classified material for some reason – not inadvertent, so we are not talking about him. 
    Control of material tightens as you climb the ladder.  I am not including “Sensitive” or other non-classifications.  There are so many of those that every couple of years another clarifying action takes place to ensure those are not made into real controlled materials. A document that is at the lowest might be a report of some squad action in a location to be disclosed later.  Nothing happened and it does not affect life outside of the outhouse.  Butit classified due to it be a field action. You go to the next level, Secret.  Those do have some level of need to be controlled.  But, again there is too much over classified there.  The next is Top Secret.  This stuff contains information that does affect life, things such as spies, or personnel working in areas that they official are not at.  However, there is a very real possibility of someone trying to be important raising a classification level of something.  Above those which are called DoD classifications, are the really interesting ones.  Some you will never hear of.  Some the president will never hear of.  These are highly controlled.  And, these are what SFB tried to take home.  We need to learn what damage was caused by those not being returned. These include the deep and sometimes “dark” secrets of our country.
    Classified materials are more than a document.  Think of a super-duper-double-secret rocket.  There are many different classified documents and materials.  The specifications are one set, the tools to build it are another, the final product itself is and whatever the thing is supposed to do or produce are more.  Some contractors may even build parts of it to non-classified specs because that one piece does not let them know the next level.  It gets very complicated.  The higher it goes the less is available in one document.  The idea is to not have the whole available to all, just a very few special people.

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