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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Right Wing Terrorism; Guns Kill People; Obama Continues Failed Bush Education Policies; more (posted 06/15/09)

- Far-Right Shootings Raise Fear of Hate Offensive in America "The killing of a black security guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington last week was the latest example of a surge in extremist violence, as the election of Barack Obama and the economic crisis breed resentment in a fanatical, racist minority"

- Obama Gives Bush a 3rd Term in Education "The great mystery of education policy today is why the Obama administration is embracing the Bush program. I recently wrote in Education Week (June 10) that it is time to kill the Bush-era No Child Left Behind program. The overwhelming majority of teachers agree with me. Those who educate our kids know that NCLB is a failed program that is not improving our schools but rather turning them into test-prep factories and dumbing down our kids.... A California study in Science magazine predicted that by 2014, nearly 100% of all elementary schools would be deemed failures because of NCLB"

- World Bank Loan Withdrawn From Brazilian Cattle Corporation "THE INTERNATIONAL Finance Corporation (IFC), private lending arm of the World Bank, has withdrawn a $90 million (€57 million) loan to Brazilian cattle industry giant Bertin, following complaints that it was using the money to expand further into the Amazon region... "It is good news that the World Bank is withdrawing these funds, yet scandalous that it was feeding a company that causes Amazon deforestation and climate change in the first place," said Paulo Adario, Greenpeace Brazil's Amazon campaign director. The move came two weeks after a Greenpeace report, Slaughtering the Amazon, revealed that financial backing for the Brazilian cattle industry had turned it into the largest single source of deforestation in the world. Tropical deforestation is responsible for approximately 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and Brazil has been ranked by Greenpeace as the world's fourth biggest climate polluter"

- Pro-English Measures Being Revived Across US "In a report this year, the Southern Poverty Law Center, a liberal activist group, portrayed the founder of ProEnglish, retired eye surgeon John Tanton, as the mastermind of a national anti-immigrant network with ties to racist organizations. "

- Tense Iran Braces for Anti-Ahmadinejad March "Iranian opposition supporters staged a defiant rally against [right leaning] President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election on Monday, with his defeated rival set to appear in public for the first time since the vote triggered the worst unrest in a decade."

Why Have We Stopped Talking about Guns?
by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship
Published on Saturday, June 13, 2009 by
You know by now that in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, an elderly white supremacist and anti-Semite named James W. von Brunn allegedly walked into the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum with a .22-caliber rifle and killed security guard Stephen T. Johns before being brought down himself. He's 88 years old, with a long record of hatred and paranoid fantasies about the Illuminati and a Global Zionist state. How bitter the bile that has curdled for so many decades.

You will know, too, of the recent killing, while ushering at his local church, of Dr. George Tiller, one of the few doctors in the country still performing late term abortions. Sadly, this case was proof that fatal violence works. His family has announced that his Wichita, Kansas, clinic will not be reopened.

You may be less familiar with the June 1st shootings in an army recruiting office in Little Rock that killed one soldier and wounded another. The suspect in question is an African-American Muslim convert who says he acted in retaliation for US military activity in the Middle East.

Soon, however, these terrible deeds will be forgotten, as are already the three policemen killed by an assault weapon in Pittsburgh; the four policemen killed in Oakland, California; the 13 people gunned down in Binghamton, New York; the 10 in an Alabama shooting spree; five in Santa Clara, California; the eight dead in a North Carolina, nursing home. All during this year alone.

There is much talk about hate talk; hate crimes against blacks, whites, immigrants, Muslims, Jews; about violence committed in the name of bigotry or religion. But why don't we talk about guns?

We're arming ourselves to death. Even as gunshots ricocheted around the country, an amendment allowing concealed weapons in national parks snuck into the popular credit card reform bill. Another victory for the gun lobby, to sounds of silence from the White House.

Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, wrote -- just days before the Holocaust Museum incident -- that "rather than propose concrete action that makes it harder for dangerous people to get firearms -- while still respecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners -- all Washington can seem to muster after high-profile shootings are 'thoughts and prayers' for the victims and their families.

"For his part, the President has also included sincere expressions of 'deep sadness' at these tragic losses -- though without any call to change any of our policies to prevent those losses.'

Yet, as a presidential candidate, Obama pledged "our determination to do whatever it takes to eradicate this violence from our streets, from our schools, from our neighborhoods and our cities. That is our duty as Americans."

The fact is, neither party will stand up to the National Rifle Association, the best known front group for the arms merchants. In Virginia, just across the Potomac River from the Holocaust Museum, this week's Democratic primary for governor was won by state legislator R. Creigh Deeds, a man who supports allowing concealed weapons in restaurants that serve alcohol and opposes limiting handgun purchases to one a month.

After Wednesday's shooting, a conservative organization immediately offered those of us in the media a chance to interview the founder of "Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership," whose expertise, it was said, is in helping people understand why gun control doesn't belong in a civilized society.

The e-mail went on to say, "Your audience will appreciate [his] non nonsense common sense talk that will make them wonder why anyone wants to ban guns in the first place."
Thanks, but no thanks. And no thanks to his counterparts among Christians and Muslims who use every violent shedding of blood to try to promote the worship of guns. Guns don't kill people, they say. People kill people. True. People kill people -- with guns.

So let the faithful of every persuasion keep their guns for hunting and skeet, for trap and target practice, for collecting. They can even have a permit for a gun to protect their business or home, even though it's 22 times more likely to shoot a member of the family (including suicides) than an intruder.

But please, there are already some 200 million, privately owned firearms in America. Every year there are 30,000 gun deaths and in some years more than 400,000 non-fatal, gun-related assaults. The next time someone wades through a pool of blood to sidle up and champion the preservation of firearms, can't we just say, no thanks?

Enough's enough.

Bill Moyers is managing editor and Michael Winship is senior writer of the weekly public affairs program Bill Moyers Journal, which airs Friday night on PBS. Check local airtimes or comment at The Moyers Blog at