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Archive for December 17th, 2012


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While reports of Tuesday’s shooting at the Clackamas Town Center Mall in Oregon, dominated the national media, until Friday’s horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, one very important detail has been repeatedly (and intentionally) left out of the MSM’s coverage.

The shooter, Jacob Tyler Roberts, was confronted with an armed citizen, at which time he ran away and shot himself. By the time police arrived on the scene, Roberts was already dead.

That armed man was 22-year-old Nick Meli, who was at the mall shopping with a young woman who was babysitting her friend’s baby.

On Friday, KGW News Channel 8, the only media outlet to cover this part of the story, posted the following report on their website:

“I heard three shots and turned and looked at Casey and said, ‘are you serious?,'” he said.

The friend and baby hit the floor. Meli, who has a concealed carry permit, positioned himself behind a pillar.

“He was working on his rifle,” said Meli. “He kept pulling the charging handle and hitting the side.”

The break in gunfire allowed Meli to pull out his own gun, but he never took his eyes off the shooter.

“As I was going down to pull, I saw someone in the back of the Charlotte move, and I knew if I fired and missed, I could hit them,” he said.

Meli took cover inside a nearby store. He never pulled the trigger. He stands by that decision.

“I’m not beating myself up cause I didn’t shoot him,” said Meli. “I know after he saw me, I think the last shot he fired was the one he used on himself.”

The gunman was dead, but not before taking two innocent lives with him and taking the innocence of everyone else.

We now know that the assailant’s gun had jammed, and when he cleared it, he quickly retreated and shot himself, as Meli continued to keep him in his sights.

Not only has the national media refused to acknowledge this aspect of the deadly event, but law enforcement has as well.

On Tuesday night, Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts held a press conference in which he credited local police officers and deputies with ending the rampage, never mentioning Meli’s actions.

 

Sheriff Roberts said: “I’m really proud of all the different agencies that came together to really step up and put their lives on the line,” to “basically hunt down this guy in the mall.”

 

Now, remember, the shooter was already dead when police arrived on the scene.

 

Killed in the attack were Steven Mathew Forsyth, 45, and Cindy Ann Yuille, 54, A 15-year-old girl, identified as Kristina Shevchenko, was seriously wounded but was expected to survive.

 

Of course, the Obamamedia is in full support of even harsher gun control laws and it should come as no surprise that they would suppress any story which provides proof that lawfully armed citizens do prevent crimes and save lives.

 

Here are a few facts about armed Americans:

 

-In 1982, the town of Kennesaw, Georgia, passed an ordinance which required all heads of household to have at least one gun in the house. The burglary rate immediately dropped an astounding 89 percent. Ten years after the law was passed, the burglary rate was still 72 percent less than it was in 1981.

Armed citizens shoot and kill at least twice as many criminals as the police do every year in this country (1,527 to 606).

-A 1996 University of Chicago study concluded that states which passed concealed carry laws reduced their murder rates by 8.5 percent, rapes by 5 percent, aggravated assaults by 7 percent, and robbery by 3 percent.

-According to the National Safety Council, with guns being used 2.5 million times a year in self defense against criminals, firearms are actually used more than 80 times more often to protect lives, rather than to take lives.

-A 1979 Justice Department study entitled Rape Victimization in American Cities, concluded that of more than 32,000 attempted rapes, 32 percent were actually committed. But when a woman was armed with a gun or knife, only 3 percent of the attempted rapes were actually committed.

-Another Justice Department study found that 57 percent of felons agreed that “criminals are more worried about meeting an armed victim than they are about running the police.”

Read more on the subject of gun ownership:

12-year-old girl shoots intruder with mom’s gun

14-year-old boy shoots intruder while babysitting

Pizza Hut worker shoots, kills two armed robbers

Even Jesus opposed gun control

Obama wants to renew assault weapons ban

So-called ‘gun-free zones’ never protect the innocent

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According to numerous media reports and witnesses, alleged Newtown, Connecticut shooter Adam Lanza was a ‘genius’ with computers. And yet, we are told that Lanza apparently left no online footprint. The question must be asked: Was the electronic history of Adam Lanza scrubbed?

Many articles, including witnesses’ accounts, have described Adam Lanza’s advanced skills with computers, a skill-level common with Asperger’s sufferers. Indeed, many computer hackers have Asperger’s syndrone — Adrian Lamo, Ryan Cleary, and Gary McKinnon, for example. And yet, Adam Lanza ‘left no online footprint?’

According to a New York Daily News article (15 Dec 2012), “[Adam] Lanza, who friends and officials said suffered from Asperger’s syndrome or a personality disorder, had a tortured mind. He was socially awkward and at times unstable, but also extraordinarily bright. ‘He was smart,’ the insider said. ‘He was like one of these real brainiac computer kind of kids.'”

A Honolulu Star Advertiser/New York Times (15 Dec 2012) article, ‘Gunman left few hints about his life or motives,’ noted the alleged shooter’s lack of electronic footprints. “In his brief adulthood [Adam] Lanza had left few footprints, electronic or otherwise. He apparently had no Facebook page, unlike his older brother, Ryan… Lanza did belong to a technology club at school that held ‘LAN parties’ — short for local area network — in which students would gather at a member’s home, hook up their computers into a small network and play games, The Associated Press reported.”

Even ‘original’ school shooting suspect Ryan Lanza, Adam’s brother, had his computers and phone records searched by law enforcement. “Ryan Lanza had been cooperative and was not under arrest or in custody, but investigators were still searching his computers and phone records.” This news was reported in an MSN item (15 Dec 2012), ‘Conn. gunman recalled as intelligent but remote.’

The MSN article includes a statement by one of Adam Lanza’s classmates, Joshua Milas. “Adam Lanza attended Newtown High School, and news clippings from recent years show him on the honor roll. Joshua Milas, a classmate who was in the technology club with Lanza, said that he was generally a happy person but that he hadn’t seen him in a few years. ‘We would hang out, and he was a good kid. He was smart,’ said Milas, who graduated in 2009. ‘He was probably one of the smartest kids I know. He was probably a genius.'” The article also notes Adam’s attendance at the LAN parties.

Anyone with enough computer knowledge to attend and participate in LAN parties would likely have an online footprint. Where’s Adam Lanza’s?

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Alleged Shooter Adam Lanza

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by Frank Scott
As America develops newer deadly weapons to threaten more nations with its inspired movement for humanitarian democracy through rape and murder, our economy is supposedly headed for what an ad campaign has branded  “the financial cliff”. We need to either raise private taxes on a tiny minority of the 1% super rich or cut  public spending on the overwhelming 99% majority. Only in a nation run by people who  regularly visit  a proctologist to have their heads examined could this be seen as a crippling dilemma involving tough choices and necessarily shared suffering. But that’s how it’s being played by our consciousness commissars and their servants in mind management.
This while the annual shopping frenzy commemorating the birth of a prince of peace – to the god of war – threatens to sink more of the 99% into greater debt for the benefit of the 1% creators of the alleged cliff over which we are all invited to plunge, on their behalf.
And then we have the soon to be fulfilled Mayan prophecy, accepted by some so terrified of material reality that immaterial fantasy is their only defense. Beseeched souls expect the oceans to rise and the land to sink, not because of capital’s attack on nature in its pursuit of profit, but because of ancient people’s ability to forecast the distant future while they were being evolved out of existence for inability to comprehend their nearby present.
We do have a deadly serious problem, recently avoided by most global representatives at a conference on the dilemmas posed by climate change, and some of the worst case scenarios would seem to fit into Mayan, Christian, Islamic, Judaic, science fiction, schizophrenic or realist patterns of observation and prophecy. The question is how to deal with these  real problems that need a confrontation with global political economics, while our brains are filled with personal, fictional and mythological cases that defy reason and only serve the cause of further increasing profits  for the few, as always, at  even greater losses for the many, as usual.
The incredible claims that Syria is about to use chemical weapons on its own people are (un)balanced by those citing newer and more deadly Iranian plans to nuke the world, especially Israel, despite no evidence other than supposed (un)intelligence  from an anonymous nation – ??? – supplied regularly to its american puppets and then widely reported by those puppets, without blushing, as fact. Having shattered Libya out of nationhood and into an alleged central government that, like Afghanistan’s, has little power outside the capital city limits, the rush to destroy Syria by any means necessary is joined with the long desired crushing of the Iranian regime in pursuit of destroying anything standing in the way of continued domination of the world by a fading if still malevolent empire. As the power of  eastern Islam rises and western Judeo-Christian dominance falls, the Abrahamic religious trio mostly controlled by capital must confront its role in propping up political economic power under the guise of one or another scriptural excuse for inequality, racism and endless war.
While Islam is still in opposition to the interest collecting model of the JC west, it also entertains enough symbolic unity with the older members of the triad to only offer short  term relief, if that, from the universal model of democracy in name and hypocrisy in action that has brought the world to its current predicament.
Nowhere can the contradiction of the material and the immaterial find greater gaps than in the USA, where incredible wealth has enabled a standard of living for most that has until recently been beyond the grasp of much of the world. The rising of the present rest at the sinking of the past best has offered a means of bringing the positives and negatives of profit and loss capital markets to more people the world over. As it is shown quite clearly here – to any who will bother to look at the material reality and not simply the economic religious fables that give it psychotic substance – the sector gathering the profits gets smaller in number every day even as its personal wealth expands, while those absorbing the loss expand in number while their personal losses grow . This is happening in China, Russia and anywhere else the model of private profit/social loss enterprise is in command and control.
And nature has begun to call out in a louder voice than even some political demands for democracy and freedom. Deadly storms , floods and eruptions which are clearly the response – except to corporate science and its political shills – to treating the natural environment as a simple profit making commodity are causing breakdowns both physical and mental. Millions succumb to hysterical economics, ignorant superstition and fanatic legends to explain what is kept from their consciousness by the political high priests , rabbis and mullahs speaking from global capital’s banking cathedrals.
Almost daily stories of an economy allegedly recovering and booming once again are contradicted within the same bulletins with conflicting signs of pending doom for that same economy. Whatever figures we are given about employment on the upswing, consumer confidence growing and democracy expanding through warfare, always assume the reality is worse, and usually much worse. Just as corporate capital keeps three sets of books – one for itself, one for investors and one for tax purposes – the corporate government keeps books which are juggled by public accountants as much as private capital’s accountants juggle its profit figures.
When corporate government says the patient is resting comfortably or getting better every day, that could mean the patient is dying, or already  dead. We are nearing the edge of a cliff, but it is hardly this childish nonsense over a national debt which has been incurred almost exclusively for war, the destruction of nature and the murder of millions all for the benefit (?) of a shrinking minority. Humanity does face serious problems over our collective future, but one of those problems is a government owned and operated by private capital, at the expense and loss of just about everyone.
Disregard fairy tales about a financial deficit but regard that real imperial cliff with growing concern and informed democratic action, before fanatic profiteers push us all over the edge.
email: fpscott@gmail.comFrank Scott writes  political commentary and satire which appears online at the blog Legalienatehttp://legalienate.blogspot.com

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The tragedy in Connecticut will convince communities across the country to cut other spending in favor of funding greater security measures, including adding armed guards at schools, said Peter Pochowski, the former executive director of the National Association of School Safety and Law Enforcement Officers. Many states, including Illinois and Wisconsin, already have laws requiring schools to hold drills to prepare for attacks and to have crisis plans in place. But Pochowski says that won’t be considered enough… John LaSorsa, a former Secret Service agent and security consultant based in North Carolina, blamed the plague of shooting sprees on the decades-long national trend away from institutionalizing most mentally ill people. “They must be in a controlled environment with no access to the outside world,” LaSorsa said.

For school security, ‘This is a game-changer’ 1

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An energy company says it’s trying to figure out why a central Pennsylvania nuclear power plant reactor shut down unexpectedly.

PPL Corp. says Unit 2 at the Susquehanna nuclear facility near Berwick shut down early Sunday morning. The company says the reactor is safe and stable.

In a statement, Allentown-based PPL says the shutdown occurred during routine testing of a valve on the unit’s main turbine system.

The company says the plant’s other reactor is operating normally.

The Susquehanna plant is owned jointly by PPL and Allegheny Electric Cooperative Inc.

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Canada has officially withdrawn from the Kyoto climate agreement.

The death notice comes years after the Stephen Harper government made clear it rejected the terms that were negotiated by the Jean Chretien government in 1997.
According to the agreement, Canada would reduce its greenhouse gases 6% below 1990 levels by 2012.
Environment Minister Peter Kent pointed to the fact the United States and China – the two largest carbon emitters – never signed on as reason to abandon the agreement. And one year ago Canada officially announced its repudiation of it, becoming the first country in the world to do so.

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Robert Galbraith/Reuters

As the nation tiptoes closer to the fiscal cliff, a frightening number of leaders on both sides of the political aisle seem ready to push poor, beleaguered Social Security over the edge. Not only would that be a huge mistake for the nation’s future, but these leaders show a dreadful misunderstanding of the new challenges faced by the U.S. retirement system. Particularly in the aftermath of the largest economic collapse since the Great Depression, none of the proposals on the table are grappling with some stark economic realities. How we settle this New Deal legacy will decide fundamental questions about what kind of society America will be for generations to come.

Here’s the dilemma that the United States faces. Since World War II, individual retirement has been based on a “three-legged stool,” with the three legs being Social Security, pensions, and personal savings (the latter primarily centered around home ownership). But two out of three of these legs have been chopped back to blunted pegs, leaving the retirement stool as an unstable, one-legged oddity.

Pensions have always been the least broadly distributed asset, with only a third of elderly Americans (those 65 and over) earning pension income, a percentage which has been declining dramatically in recent years. A bit over a majority of these older Americans have income from personal savings, most of that residing in the value of their homes. But 86 percent receive Social Security payments (see Figure 1).

hill1.pngEven before the Great Recession, 40 percent of middle-income and 53 percent of lower-income Americans already were at risk of having insufficient retirement funds. But the economic collapse has taken its toll on two out of three of Americans’ primary retirement resources: pensions and savings/investment in a home.

Already Off the Cliff: Pensions, Private and Public

American pensions were some of the hardest hit in the world by the Great Recession, falling in value by over a quarter in 2008, with only modest recovery since then. But private pensions already had become a less steady leg of retirement security prior to the recent recession. Since the early 1980s, businesses have gradually shifted responsibility for pensions onto workers, with predictable results. In 1981, approximately 60 percent of private sector workers were covered by a pension with a guaranteed payout. Today only about 10 percent of private sector workers have guaranteed payout pensions. Meanwhile, 401(k)-type retirement contribution plans have gone from covering only about 17 percent of the private workforce to about 65 percent today (see Figure 3).

hill2.png401(k)s and other defined-contribution plans have turned out to be an unreliable pillar of retirement security, not only because they don’t provide as secure a net but because many Americans are pretty lousy at managing their investments. A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that more than one-quarter of baby boomer households thought “hardly at all” about retirement and that financial literacy among boomers was “alarmingly low.” Half could not do a simple math calculation (divide $2 million by five) and fewer than 20 percent could calculate compound interest.

In the public sector, most workers still are covered by guaranteed payout pensions, but the number of public sector workers has declined dramatically in recent years, accelerating as a result of the Great Recession. There are now a million fewer federal employees than when Ronald Reagan left office, and public sector employment is at a 30-year low.

In addition, states have funded only about 80 percent of their pension liability, leaving a $3.32 trillion funding gap. Ohio and Rhode Island are in the worst shape, having underfunded their pensions by almost 50 percent of their gross state product. Other liabilities, such as retiree health and dental insurance, also are underfunded. City governments similarly are plagued by underfunded pensions, with Los Angeles underfunding its public pension liabilities by $3.53 billion, with an additional $2.43 billion owed for other employment benefits such as healthcare. As of June 2009, New York City public pension programs had liabilities that exceeded their assets by $39.9 billion with an additional $65.5 billion owed for other benefits.

So both the private and public components of the U.S. pension system are under severe strain, as the Great Recession combined with pre-recession patterns of rising inequality and a diminishing social contract have taken their toll. With fewer workers covered by pensions, this leg of the three-legged stool of retirement security is too short — and growing shorter.

Already Off the Cliff II: Home Ownership and Personal Savings

Now let’s examine the second leg of retirement well-being, personal savings centered around homeownership. For tens of millions of Americans, security in their elderly years has been directly linked to the value of their homes. Yet the rupture of the housing bubble illustrated in dramatic fashion the danger of over-reliance upon ever-rising home values for retirement security.

The Federal Reserve has estimated that homeowners lost approximately $8 trillion in home equity during the Great Recession, a 53 percent drop in the overall value of the national homeownership stock. About 14 million Americans — about 28 percent of all homeowners — are still underwater today, owing more on their mortgage than their home is worth. These homeowners are, in effect, flat broke if they have no other accumulated savings or retirement vehicle (see Figure 6, which shows the percentage of mortgages that are underwater).

hill3.jpgThis has been devastating for Americans’ retirement well-being because home ownership accounts for a large proportion of assets for so much of the population. As of 2008, only the top two income quartiles had accumulated enough equity from financial assets and pensions to weather the bursting housing bubble. The bottom 50 percent had not saved enough outside their homeownership to avoid severe wreckage to their retirement plans.

Thus, the second leg of the three-legged retirement stool has been broken down to a nub. And with home prices unlikely to recover soon, this loss in equity has significantly reduced the economic security of the lower and middle classes, which are less likely to have pensions and other assets such as private savings (beyond homeownership) to sustain them. Indeed, the bottom two income quartiles for those aged 65 and over depend on Social Security for at least 80 percent of their income, but even the second richest quartile still depends on Social Security for over 50 percent of its retirement income (see Figure 7).

hill4.jpegIn short, the collapse of the housing bubble when combined with the slow erosion of America’s pension system has hacked away two of the three legs of the retirement stool. In the future, the vast majority of baby boomers and other retirees will be almost completely dependent on the single leg of Social Security for their retirement. The retirement stool no longer is stable and secure, and suddenly Social Security, which always has been viewed as a supplement to private savings, is the only leg left for hundreds of millions of Americans.

Financial experts say it will take a monthly retirement income of about 70 to 80 percent of pre-retirement income levels — as well as $200,000 to $300,000 in personal savings — for the average American to have a secure retirement. Yet most older Americans have saved only a fraction of that. In 2010, 75 percent of Americans nearing retirement age had less than $30,000 in their retirement accounts. About half of all Americans are at risk of not having sufficient retirement income, and three-fifths of low-income households are at risk of not having sufficient income to maintain their pre-retirement standards of living at age 65 (see Figure 9).

hill5.pngA single legged stool might be sufficient if that single leg was robust enough to stand on its own. But Social Security currently provides much less than the 70 to 80 percent of pre-retirement income needed to maintain pre-retirement standards of living. It is estimated to replace only about 33 to 40 percent of pre-retirement income for the average wage earner, compared to other nations like Germany or France where it replaces 70 percent (see Figure 10).

hill6.jpegSo the one-legged stool of the U.S. retirement system is looking like a rather odd piece of furniture, one that is increasingly unstable. For more and more Americans, the dream of a secure retirement is threatened. New solutions are needed to provide security to retiring Americans, both now and in the future.

More here: The Solution: “Social Security Plus”– Expanding Social Security

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Secretary of state Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton has been noted as a particularly hard-working secretary of state. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, is recovering at home after suffering concussion in a fall brought on by illness, her spokesman said on Saturday.

Clinton, 65, had already been forced to cancel a planned trip to the Middle East and north Africa this week. It is thought that she will now miss congressional hearings due next Thursday into the September attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which killed four Americans including the ambassador, Chris Stevens.

A spokesman for Clinton, Philippe Reines, said the secretary of state came down with a stomach virus last weekend. “While suffering from a stomach virus, Secretary Clinton became dehydrated and fainted, sustaining a concussion,” he said.

“She has been recovering at home and will continue to be monitored regularly by her doctors,” Reines said in a statement.

On the recommendation of doctors, Clinton will work from home in the coming week, but will remain in contact with department staff. “She is looking forward to being back in the office soon,” Reines said.

more here

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