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Monday, January 10, 2011

Right Wing Racism and Violence; AZ Shooting; Guns; Healthcare Repeal Will Harm Economy; Republicans Try to Destroy Unions; WikiLeaks; Climate Change; more

- Palin Put a Gun Target on Giffords' District; Now a Colleague Says: 'Palin Needs to Look at Her Own Behavior' After Sarah Palin targeted her district with a gunsight on a map identifying Democrats Palin was urging her followers to "reload" and defeat, Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords said: "We are on Sarah Palin's targeted list. The way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of the gunsight over our district. When people do that, they have got to realize there are consequences to that action." On Saturday, Giffords, a moderate Democrat who stirred the wrath of right-wingers with her vote for health care reform, was shot by a gunman who had posted "I can't trust the government" videos on the Internet. The shooting spree killed six people, including a federal judge and a nine-year-old girl, and left 13 others injured.

- Now Arizona Wants to Allow Concealed Guns on Campuses Arizona's weak gun laws could reach a new low this spring.  When the Arizona state legislature reconvenes today for the first day of the new session, two gun bills will be on the table for debate.

- Shameless: Right-wing pundit Jim Hoft Falls For Fake Facebook Profile In Attempt To Link Loughner To Obama In the wake of Saturday's tragic shooting in Arizona, Gateway Pundit and Breitbart blogger Jim Hoft has been on a one man mission to prove that the deranged shooter was a "typical leftist nut." This morning, Hoft posted what he seems to think is bulletproof evidence supporting this thesis, but, as is usually the case with him, it is merely evidence that someone as hackishly irresponsible as Hoft should have no role in our national political discourse.

- The Tucson Massacre: After the Cameras Are Gone? The hate here is deafening. We have been sending signals for years now and the hate continues. It is relentless, whether from minutemen, hate-radio loudmouths or from state legislators.

To the parachute journalists and all those that have discovered Arizona overnight, don't forget that. Long after you leave, long after this massacre has ceased to be headline news, we will continue to have to contend with the normalized bigotry and hate against brown peoples that continually comes out of the state capitol and that is nowadays prevalent throughout the state. Please remember this and look at your own communities to see if all this hate is already festering there. I can almost guarantee you that it is. Bring it to light before the next massacre. Perhaps you will prevent the next massacre.

- U.S. Healthcare Law Repeal Hurts Deficits An effort by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal the healthcare law enacted last year would add to already huge federal budget deficits, the Congressional Budget Office warned on Thursday.

- Will the New Assaults on Public Employee Unions Undermine All Workers? Years of demonizing public employee unions as part of a right-wing assault against the labor movement now seems about to pay off...

- Crabs, Birds, Fish: No End to Mysterious Animal Deaths First, it was birds falling from the sky, then thousands of dead fish washing up on shore.

- Great Barrier Reef Under Threat From Floods Australia's spectacular Great Barrier Reef is under threat from massive floods swamping the country's northeast which are pouring harmful debris and sediment into the sea, an expert said Wednesday.

- WikiLeaks Reveals Israel Aimed to Keep Gaza Economy on Brink of Collapse Israel told U.S. officials in 2008 it would keep Gaza's economy "on the brink of collapse" while avoiding a humanitarian crisis, according to U.S. diplomatic cables published by a Norwegian daily on Wednesday.

- Newly Elected Republicans Violate Constitution and US LAW- Miss Swearing-In Oath, Vote on Floor Anyway Two Republicans, including a member of the GOP leadership, voted on the House floor several times despite not having been sworn in, throwing the House into parliamentary turmoil Thursday - the same day the Constitution was read aloud on the floor.

- Canadian Study Sees Global Warming for Centuries Carbon dioxide already emitted into the atmosphere will keep contributing to global warming for centuries, eventually causing a huge Antarctic ice sheet to collapse and lift sea levels, Canadian scientists said on Sunday.

Posted before, but in the wake of the recent shootings it needs to be repeated:
- Fox News Makes You Stupid
- The Truth About "The Truth About Fox News Viewers"

Serious Guns and White Terrorism: Two Unasked Question in Tucson Mass Murder
by Bill Quigley

Question: How does a mentally unstable man who was kicked out of school and had run-ins with the law buy such a serious weapon?

The weapon reportedly used in the mass murders in Tucson was a serious weapon - a Glock 19, semi-automatic pistol, with an extended magazine. Some weapons like that were illegal to sell in the US from 1994 to 2004 under the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. It is now legal to sell and own them. The National Rifle Association reports there are tens of millions of assault weapons in private hands in the US.

The federal background check for people purchasing such weapons only prohibits selling such weapons to people who have been legally determined to be mentally defective or found insane or convicted of crimes. This man had not been found legally mentally defective or convicted so he was legally entitled to purchase an assault weapon. In Arizona he was legally entitled to carry the weapon in a concealed manner.

The US has well over 250 million guns in private hands according to the National Rifle Association. That is more, according to the BBC, than any country in the world. In one year, guns murdered 17 people in Finland, 35 in Australia, 39 in England and Wales, 60 in Spain, 194 in Germany, 200 in Canada, and 9,484 in the United States according to the Brady Campaign.

Does the US really need tens of millions of assault weapons and hundreds of millions of other guns? We already put more of our people in prison than any country in the world and we spend more on our military than all the rest of the world together. How fearful must we be?

Question: Why is there so little talk of terrorism?

Apparently when a mentally unstable white male is accused, terrorism is not the first thing that comes to mind. White terrorism is not a concept the US takes seriously.

When Clay Duke, a white male, threatened Florida school board members with a gun and shot at them before shooting himself, in December 2010, he was mentally imbalanced.

When Michael Enright, a white male, was arrested for slashing the throat of a Muslim NYC cab driver in August of 2010, his friends said he had a drinking problem.

When Byron Williams, a white male, was arrested after opening fire on police officers and admitted he was on his way to kill people at offices of a liberal foundation and a civil liberties organization, in July 2010, he was an unemployed right wing felon with a drinking problem.

When Joe Stack, a white male, flew his private plane into a federal building in Austin, Texas, in February 2010, he was angry with the IRS.

When a white male is accused of mass murder, white terrorism is not much talked of. Rather the mass murder becomes a terrible tragedy but not one where race or ethnicity or religion need be examined.

Now, if the accused had been Muslim, does anyone doubt whether this mass murder would have been considered an act of terrorism? US Muslims could have expected increased surveillance and harassment at home and the places where they work and worship. They could have expected a Congressional inquiry into the radicalization of their people. Oh, Representative Peter King (R-NY) has already started that one!

Bill is Legal Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights and a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans.  He is a Katrina survivor and has been active in human rights in Haiti for years with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti.