Archive for December 21st, 2012

Mayan ‘Apocalypse’ Update

All is well.

Calling it a night… and a b’ak’tun.


Edwin Hawkins Singers, “Oh Happy Day” (1967)
YouTube Video

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Nuclear Material On The Loose

“The Obama administration is warning that the danger of a terrorist attack with nuclear weapons is increasing, but U.S. officials say the claim is not based on new intelligence and questioned whether the threat is being overstated.”

-Washington Times, April 14, 2010

I don’t agree with President Obama on a number of things, but here’s one we do see eye-to-eye on:

The threat posed by nuclear terrorism.

Consider recent events in the former Soviet Union. Desmond Butler of the Associated Press reported back on December 9:

Despite years of effort and hundreds of millions of dollars spent in the fight against the illicit sale of nuclear contraband, the black market remains active in the countries around the former Soviet Union. The radioactive materials, mostly left over from the Cold War, include nuclear bomb-grade uranium and plutonium, and dirty-bomb isotopes like cesium and iridium.

The extent of the black market is unknown, but a steady stream of attempted sales of radioactive materials in recent years suggests smugglers have sometimes crossed borders undetected. Since the formation of a special nuclear police unit in 2005 with U.S. help and funding, 15 investigations have been launched in Georgia and dozens of people arrested.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

And what of the years between 1991 (Georgian independence) and 2005? I shudder to think how much radioactive material might have found their way across the Georgian border and into the hands of the bad guys during those 14 years.

According to the piece, highly-enriched uranium has also recently been seized from smugglers in Moldova, another former Soviet republic.

From the Council on Foreign Relations website:

There have been no confirmed reports of missing or stolen former-Soviet nuclear weapons, but there is ample evidence of a significant black market in nuclear materials. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reported more than a hundred nuclear smuggling incidents since 1993, eighteen of which involved highly enriched uranium, the key ingredient in an atomic bomb and the most dangerous product on the nuclear black market.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

That portion of the CFR website was last updated in January 2006.

While the Council said there have been no confirmed reports of missing or stolen nuclear weapons, the same can’t be said of nuclear material. Butler added:

Russia maintains that it has secured its radioactive material — including bomb-grade uranium and plutonium — and that Georgia has exaggerated the risk because of political tension with Moscow. But while the vast majority of the former Soviet Union’s nuclear arsenal and radioactive material has been secured, U.S. officials say that some material in the region remains loose.

“Without a doubt, we are aware and have been over the last several years that not all nuclear material is accounted for,” says Simon Limage, deputy assistant secretary for non-proliferation programs at the U.S. State Department. “It is true that a portion that we are concerned about continues to be outside of regulatory control.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

“U.S. officials say that some material in the region remains loose.”

If smuggling is taking place and the whereabouts of the nuclear material is unknown, I wonder if the above shouldn’t be changed to “some material from the region remains loose?”

Since illegal aliens and drugs routinely manage to find their way into the United States, it requires no stretch of the mind to envision nuclear material for a terrorist weapon also being smuggled in.

Butler’s incredibly-informative piece be read on the Yahoo! News website here.

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Friday, December 21st, 2012 Crime, Europe, Public Safety, Terrorism No Comments

China, Global Mainstream Media Urge U.S. To Enact More Gun ‘Control’

Since last week’s mass shooting in Newtown Connecticut, the global mainstream media has gone to work pushing the United States to adopt more restrictions on firearms. Reuters’ Edward Krudy and Peter Rudegeair reported Wednesday:

Around the globe, newspaper editorials from the Philippines to South Africa urged U.S. gun-control efforts and said they were long overdue.

“It takes no great deductive genius to understand the link: a violent individual with a gun will be more able to kill, and can kill more people, than a violent individual without a gun. Elsewhere in the world, tighter gun laws have been shown to save lives,” said an editorial in India’s The Hindu newspaper.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

“Elsewhere in the world, tighter gun laws have been shown to save lives.”

I’d really like to see the evidence supporting that statement.

Even the People’s Republic of China is chiming in on this. From state-run Xinhua News Agency on December 14:

Innocent blood demands no delay for U.S. gun control

Every time a tragedy occurs, there are renewed appeals for gun regulation. However, the calls disappointingly always fail…

The latest heartbreaking deaths of the 20 schoolchildren aged five to 10 have made the crime especially unbearable. Many people can’t help but turn to the dim hope once again: the gunman’s cruelty and evil may provide a strong momentum and broader public support for the restart of gun control efforts. Moreover, with no re-election pressure, President Obama is currently in the best position to promote it…

Action speaks louder than words. If Obama wants to take practical measures to control guns, he has to make preparation for a protracted war and considerable political cost.

This brings to mind something China’s Chairman Mao said in Problems of War and Strategy, November 6, 1939:

All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The Communist Party must command all the guns. That way, no guns can ever be used to command the Party.

Sources:

Krudy, Edward and Rudegeair, Peter. “White House readies gun-control plan as more children laid to rest.” Reuters. 19 Dec. 2012. (http://news.yahoo.com/schools-reopen-newtown-washington-talks-gun-control-002828916.html). 21 Dec. 2012.

“Innocent blood demands no delay for U.S. gun control.” Xinhua News Agency. 14 Dec. 2012. (http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2012-12/15/c_132042820.htm). 21 Dec. 2012.

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Obama May Use Executive Orders For More Gun ‘Control’

JENNIFER GRANHOLM: After Gabby Giffords was shot in 2011, the Department of Justice actually came up with a list of steps- this was reported in The New York Times this weekend- a list of steps that the administration could take to improve the system of background checks. Like pooling information from other agencies to help identify people who are not mentally competent. I, as a former person in the executive branch, used to love stuff that I could do without having to go to the state legislature. The President, presumably, has an opportunity here to pick up those regulatory measures. Do you think not?

ROBERT REICH: Yes, some can be done by executive order. And he will, I think, try to do that. If it’s an executive order, by definition, Congress can’t stop him. There may be efforts to say that he has exceeded his authority under executive order. I think the big factor here, though, for the President, the White House, for Democrats, is that the election is over. And I don’t want to appear too cynical about this, Jennifer, but one reason the President may not have taken up what the Department of Justice had tentatively come up with, before the election, was the fear that there would be a backlash.

-Gun ‘control’ discussion between Current TV’s Jennifer Granholm and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich on Current TV’s The War Room with Jennifer Granholm this past Monday.

The following talk of “executive actions” caught my attention the other day. From Reuters’ David Ingram and Karey Wutkowski on Wednesday:

The Obama administration will consider executive actions and specific proposals for legislation as part of its gun policy response to the school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Wednesday.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

And then there was this from Michael D. Shear on The New York Times that same day:

President Obama declared on Wednesday that he would make gun control a “central issue” as he opens his second term, promising to submit broad new firearm proposals to Congress no later than January and to employ the full power of his office to overcome deep-seated political resistance.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

“And to employ the full power of his office to overcome deep-seated political resistance.”

By the sound of all this, I wouldn’t be surprised if the White House uses Executive orders to implement more gun “control.”

According to the Federal Register website, Barack Obama has issued 140 of these orders since becoming President.

Sources:

Shear, Michael D. “Obama Vows Fast Action in New Push for Gun Control.” The New York Times. 19 Dec. 2012. (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/20/us/politics/obama-to-give-congress-plan-on-gun-control-within-weeks.html?_r=1&). 21 Dec. 2012.

Wutkowski, Karey and Ingram, David. “Holder: executive actions to be considered on gun violence.” Reuters. 19 Dec. 2012. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/19/us-usa-shootings-connecticut-holder-idUSBRE8BI13720121219). 21 Dec. 2012.

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Chicago-Area Mayors Push For Illinois ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban Despite Rare Use In Crimes

“‘Assault weapon’ is an invented term. In the firearm lexicon, there is no such thing as an ‘assault weapon.’ The closest relative is the ‘assault rifle,’ which is a machine gun or ‘select fire’ rifle that fires rifle cartridges. In most cases so-called ‘assault weapons’ are cosmetically similar to military guns but are functionally identical to and less powerful than hunting rifles.”

-GunFacts 6.1, a popular firearms reference book

As Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and a handful of other predominantly suburban mayors pleaded for more gun “control” yesterday- including a ban on “assault weapons” in Illinois- here’s an interesting tidbit that both the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune picked up on Thursday:

Only about 300 of the 7,000 firearms the Chicago Police Department has taken off the streets in 2012 would be classified as so-called assault weapons.

This according to Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy yesterday.

And, considering the strong push right now by Mayor Emanuel and these other politicians to ban these semi-automatic firearms, the question begs to be asked:

How many of the 518 murders in Chicago this year (per the Crime In Chicago blog this morning) were from “assault weapons”?

I suspect not many.

You see, according to the Congressional Research Service (who did tremendously-thorough research for me back when I was a U.S. Senate staffer) in a November 14 report on gun “control” legislation:

According to a 1997 survey of 203,300 state and federal prisoners who had been armed during the commission of the crimes for which they were incarcerated, fewer than 1 in 50, or less than 2%, used, carried, or possessed a semiautomatic assault weapon or machine gun.

In other words, in these 200,000-plus crimes, “assault weapons” were used less than 2 percent of the time.

This echoes other research I’ve come across showing usage of these guns in crimes and homicides is only in the single digits percentage-wise.

Informed parties on both sides of the gun “control” debate have known this for some time now.

Therefore, is it no wonder that many Americans suspect this latest push to ban “assault weapons”- now being taken up by some Chicago-area mayors- is not so much about the “gun” as much as it is “control”?

Sources:

Spielman, Fran. “Rahm Emanuel and area mayors want state ban on assault weapons.” Chicago Sun-Times. 20 Dec. 2012. (http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/17138022-418/rahm-emanuel-and-area-mayors-want-state-ban-on-assault-weapons.html). 21 Dec. 2012.

Byrne, John. “Emanuel presses for gun control moves while public is at ‘tipping point’” Chicago Tribune. 20 Dec. 2012. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-emanuel-mayors-gun-control-1221-20121221,0,3826210.story). 21 Dec. 2012.

Krouse, William J. Gun Control Legislation. Congressional Research Service. 14 Nov. 2012. (http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL32842.pdf). 21 Dec. 2012.

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Mayan ‘Apocalypse’ To Begin This Morning

Late in the afternoon yesterday Shepard Smith was on FOX News saying that the “official” start time of the Mayan ‘Apocalypse’ is 11:11 AM Eastern Time Friday, December 21, 2012.

That’s a little more than an hour away for me here in Chicago.

Despite assurances from various governments, astronomers, geologists, scientists, and countless other experts, the fact is, lots of people around the globe are concerned about this event. Especially here in the United States. Back on December 4 I blogged about the results of a May Reuters/Ipsos “end times” poll and said:

One of the findings was that 12 percent of Americans surveyed agreed with the statement “the Mayan calendar, which some says ‘ends’ in 2012, marks the end of the world.”

“12 percent.” As percentage of the U.S. population in 2011, that’s approximately 37.4 million Americans who might agree with that statement about the world ending in a couple of weeks.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Possibly 37.4 million Americans out there that believe the world is ending today.

Time will tell if they’re correct.

Like, by the end of today.

Stay tuned…

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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