Sunday, April 19, 2015

Texas Embraces Handgun "Open - Carry": What Took So Long?

An example for other States that have yet to follow; crime rates will fall, police forces may then be scaled back, disarmed, relieved of military gear they don't know how to use or deploy and then go back to rescuing cats out of trees and scarfing donuts   

By Patrik Jonsson

Despite its reputation as a conservative bulwark, Texas has long acted more like California or New York when it comes to aversion to guns in public. But that’s now changing, as Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has indicated he’ll sign a bill that’ll make Texas the largest US state to allow open carry of handguns in public.

Mr. Abbott’s expected signature will make Texas the 45th state to allow open-carry of handguns in public spaces, a fact that polls suggest is indicative of a deeply-held suspicion of handguns and gun-carriers in the Lone Star Republic.

Yet a years-long push by tea party lawmakers and gun rights advocates has steadily worn down the resistance at the Austin statehouse, yielding to a contentious 96-35 vote on Friday, just a month after the Texas Senate passed a similar open carry bill.

Indeed, lawmakers in some ways spoke up on behalf of a minority of Texas residents who want to see an increase in open-carry. Only one in three Texans want to see open-carry without a permit, and only 45 percent are okay with open-carry with a permit – which is what the legislature finally adopted. In a recent University of Texas survey, only one in 10 Texans wanted to see open carry without a permit, and 25 percent said no one should carry handguns openly in public.

What’s more, according to a recent Texas Policy Project poll, even a majority of Republicans wanted to see gun laws in Texas unchanged, with 55 percent of tea party respondents saying there was no need to add more gun rights in the state.

To be sure, Texas has always allowed residents to carry long runs, like rifles and shotguns, in the open, a nod to its pioneer past and living ranch legacy.

A well armed society is a polite society

But residents have been more suspicious about carrying handguns in public, in part owing to the state’s large and dense urban areas – think Houston and Dallas – where police and residents fret that more guns in public will equal more violence and problems for law enforcement.

“It’s going to be difficult for the beat cop to know who should have a gun, who shouldn’t have a gun, and frankly there are people out there who shouldn’t own guns,” Sean Mannix, the police chief of Cedar Park, Tex., and chair of the Texas Association of Police Chiefs, told KXAN TV.

Because of its sheer size, Texas has long been seen as a prize by gun rights advocates, who have had significant successes in expanding the breadth of the Second Amendment even as America becomes increasingly more urban. Since the sun-setting of the assault rifle ban in 2004, states have steadily expanded gun and self defense rights while rebuffing federal attempts at closing gun show loopholes and expanding background checks.

As with fences, good guns make good neighbours

Currently, about 841,000 Texans have concealed handgun licenses, or about 5 percent of eligible residents.

Democrats tried in vain to restrain those numbers with a variety of amendments, including an opt-out provision for larger urban areas. Democrat Rafael Anchia at one point asked a fellow Dallas lawmaker, Eric Johnson, whether there’s a “groundswell” in Dallas demanding open carry.

Instant remedy for Federal tyranny
Mr. Johnson answered no, but added, “I also recognize that there may be districts around the state where there is this outcry.” While most Democrat amendments failed, the final bill did include a compromise to include concerns from police. While some lawmakers pushed for so-called constitutional-carry where no license is required, the legislature finally opted to require a special open-carry permit.

For gun rights advocates, the victory seemed decisive after years of inaction. Terry Holcomb, Sr., told the Wall Street Journal that the open-carry provision had never even made it out of legislative committees before this year. That it passed suggests “we are seeing historic progress in Texas,” he said.

This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Monuments Of Aristocratic Might and Lower - Class Deaths

Monuments to a tyrannical government, police state, failed elitist/corporate social genocide of the middle and poor classes    

By Dallas Darling

Washington DC has again become a monument of aristocratic might and lower-class deaths. But since too much knowledge and reality ignites insurrection, the recent political self-immolation in front of the U.S. Capitol building must be depoliticized. Also, the seat of a superpower, with all of its trappings of an imperial city and military hubris, must frame the gyrocopter dissenter landing on the west lawn in a threatening and national security narrative.

Leo P. Thornton, a 22-year old man from Lincolnwood, Illinois, took his own life with a gun while a protest sign was taped to his hand. 

The sign read: "Tax the One Percent." A list of political and economic abuses lay nearby his lifeless body. 

Despite enormous economic disparities and a number of tax exempt corporations, the message he was trying to deliver to Congress has yet to be discussed by any major news outlet in the U.S.

As for Doug Hughes, who landed his gyrocopter plane in the midst of aristocratic monuments, he wanted to "spotlight corruption in DC and more importantly, to present the solutions to the institutional graft."(1) 

But again, the corporate news media and radio talk show pundits framed the story within the perimeters of a radical and militant Islamic attack, or if the pilot should have been shot down by Blackhawk or Apache helicopters.

Most people suppose that great monuments and buildings are products of a civilization's achievements and the artist's liberty. But for most of history, the opposite has been true. From the great pyramids of Egypt and Great Wall of China to the aristocratic monuments of Washington DC., they are monolithic tombstones of the poor and oppressed. Millions have perished from exposure and fatigue, their hobbled bodies sacrificed for the wealthy.

Washington DC was built on the ancestral and sacred grounds of the Iroquois Confederation. After the Revolutionary War, commanders and colonists turned their guns on their Iroquois allies. Many died from disease and starvation or were massacred. 

Those siding with the British were forced to make peace. The Washington Covenant Wampum was named after George Washington who ordered the utter destruction of Iroquois homelands in 1789.(2)

Washington and other colonial aristocrats, signers of the Declaration of Independence, oversaw their city, "the mistress of the western world, the dispenser of freedom, justice and peace to unborn millions," built mainly by black slaves.(3) Thousands toiled and died under their white overseers, clearing the land for the new federal city, felling trees and uprooting the stumps that clogged the future routes of streets and avenues.

Thousands more laid the foundation to Washington DC, baked bricks, quarried stone, stirred mortar, sawed lumber, and erected the walls of the grand new temples to an Empire of Liberty. The city was named after George Washington. For two centuries the presence of black slaves, including their sacrifices, was left out of the Capitol's narrative. It was as if they had never been there, buried in the grim past much like slavery.(4)

Also buried in Washington DC are the mass movements towards political, economic and social equality. The Bonus Marchers, unemployed World War I veterans, were dispersed only by military force, leaving behind dead and wounded. The 1963 military coup shocked a bewildered nation. The assassination of Martin Luther King., Jr., in 1968, brought six days of burning and looting to the city's black areas. Vietnam protesters were beaten and tear-gassed.

Movements today are de-legitimized by the corporate media or moved miles away to "free speech zones," out of sight and mind. Meanwhile, tourists are greeted with massive monuments of aristocratic might and buildings of large scale control. Considering the ongoing military engagements propagated, manufactured and implemented by the imperial city, how many more millions will be entombed by Washington DC?

"Monuments," wrote anthropologist E. De Marrais, "are effective and enduring means of communication." Washington's monuments and buildings of aristocratic might speak of genocide, destructive wars, the suppression of civil rights, military coups and assassinations, and political self-immolation and gyrocopter dissenters. For those who attempt to keep the memory of history alive, Washington DC is an expression of tragedy.

It was never the Peoples Capitol. Instead, it has always been the Military-Corporate-Academic and Lobbyist's Capitol.

Leo Thornton and Doug Hughes are merely fodder, sacrificial offerings to monuments of aristocratic might, as were the Iroquois, black slaves, and radical reformers wanting sweeping change. Perhaps someday in the near future, there will be millions of small memorials in honor of those who finally brought about regime change.

Dallas Darling (

Dallas Darling is the author of Politics 501: An A-Z Reading on Conscientious Political Thought and Action, Some Nations Above God: 52 Weekly Reflections On Modern-Day Imperialism, Militarism, And Consumerism in the Context ofJohn's Apocalyptic Vision, and The Other Side Of Christianity: Reflections on Faith, Politics, Spirituality, History, and Peace. He is a correspondent for You can read more of Dallas' writings at and


(1) "Pilot Who Landed Gyrocopter at U.S. Capitol Blogged About Why," by Josh Levs. April 16, 2015.

(3) Bordewich, Fergus M. Washington: The Making of theAmerican Capitol. New York, New York: HarperCollins, 2008., p. 6.

(4) Ibid., p. 8, 9.

This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

"Any Reader Of Orwell Would Be Perfectly Familiar" With U.S. Maneuvers – Chomsky

Obama's enduring legacy; mass-murder, illegal wars, needless deaths of tens of thousands of innocent civilians and U.S. military personnel  

By Noam Chomsky

Major American media organizations diligently parrot what US officials want the public to know about global affairs, historian Noam Chomsky told RT. To US leaders, any news outlet that “does not repeat the US propaganda system is intolerable,” he said.

The culpability of the West – namely the United States – for world affairs, such as the Ukrainian conflict or tensions with Iran, is another idea that is not permissible in leading American media, Chomsky said, adding that world opinion does not matter when that opinion counters US strategy.

“The West means the United States and everyone else that goes along,” he said. “What’s called the international community in the United States is the United States and anyone who happens to be going along with it. Take, say, for example, the question of Iran’s right to carry out its current nuclear policies, whatever they are. 

The standard line is that the international community objects to this. Who is the international community? What the United States determines it to be.”

He added that, “any reader of [George] Orwell would be perfectly familiar with this. But it continues virtually without comment.”

Chomsky’s remarks came this week just before a congressional hearing that was officially titled ‘Confronting Russia’s Weaponization of Information.’ Of the meeting, House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Ed Royce said, “The Russian media is now dividing societies abroad and, in fact, weaponizing information.”

The social philosopher and MIT professor said, “if there were any imaginable possibility of honesty,” Rep. Royce could be talking about the American media. He pointed to a recent New York Times story that discussed reasons not to trust Iran amid the tentative agreement between Tehran and Washington, along with other major global powers, over the former’s nuclear ambitions. “The most interesting one is the charge that Iran is destabilizing the Middle East because it’s supporting militias which have killed American soldiers in Iraq,” Chomsky told RT’s Alexey Yaroshevsky.

“That’s kind of as if, in 1943, the Nazi press had criticized England because it was destabilizing Europe for supporting partisans who were killing German soldiers. In other words, the assumption is, when the United States invades, it kills a couple hundred thousand people, destroys the country, elicits sectarian conflicts that are now tearing Iraq and the region apart, that’s stabilization. If someone resists that tact, that’s destabilisation.”

Chomsky also related American media propaganda to recent moves by US President Barack Obama to reach out to Cuba, which the US has long considered a state sponsor of terror while instituting a harsh embargo regime. Chomsky said top American media outlets go to great lengths to pit Cuba -- and not the US -- as the isolated party in the Western Hemisphere.

“The facts are very clear. This is a free and open society, so we have access to internal documents at an extraordinary level. You can’t claim you don’t know. It’s not like a totalitarian state where there are no records. We know what happened. 

The Kennedy administration launched a very serious terrorist war against Cuba. It was one of the factors that led to the missile crisis. It was a war that was planned to lead to an invasion in October 1962, which Cuba and Russia presumably knew about. It’s now assumed by scholarship that that’s one of the reasons for the placement of the missiles. That war went on for years. No mention of it is permissible [in the US]. The only thing you can mention is that there were some attempts to assassinate [Fidel] Castro. And those can be written off as ridiculous CIA shenanigans. But the terrorist war itself was very serious.”

Obama has lifelong family ties to CIA scum
Obama has changed course on Cuban policy not for reasons pursuant to freedom or democracy, as is peddled in the US media, Chomsky said. “There is no noble gesture, just Obama’s recognition that the United States is practically being thrown out of the hemisphere because of its isolation on this topic,” he added. “But you can’t discuss that [in the US]. It’s all public information, nothing secret, all available in public documents, but undiscussable. Like the idea -- and you can’t contemplate the idea -- that when the US invades another country and the other resists, it’s not the resistors who are committing the crime, it’s the invaders.”

As for international law, Chomsky said it “can work up to the point where the great powers permit it.”Beyond that, it is meaningless. Thus, is international law an illusion if the US picks and chooses -- while exempting itself -- from what is enforced?

“To say that [international law is] dead implies it was ever alive. Has it ever been alive?” he said, citing US stonewalling of the world court’s demand in the 1980s that the US halt its war on Nicaragua and provide extensive reparations for damage done.

“International law cannot be enforced against great powers,” he said. “There’s no enforcement mechanism. Take a look at the International Criminal Court, who has investigated and sentenced African leaders who the US doesn’t like. The major crime of this millennium, certainly, is the US invasion of Iraq. Could that be brought to the international court? I mean, it’s beyond inconceivable.”

Chomsky said the so-called American Dream and US democracy are in “very serious decline,” as social mobility is among the worst among the richest nations. He added that, formally, the US retains a democratic veneer, but actual manifestations of democracy are dwindling.

“Basically, most of the population is disenfranchised,” he said, referring to public polling. “Their representatives pay no attention to their opinion. That’s roughly the lowest three-quarters on the bottom of the income scale. Move up the scale, you get a little more influence. At the top, essentially policy is made. That’s plutocracy, not democracy.”

This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.



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By Robert S. Finnegan

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