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Idiocy 101: Arming Teachers To Stop Mass Shootings In Schools

NRA Stooges like Trump twist Second Amendment meaning


So President Donald Trump now pontificates that he would run into a school building to save students during a mass shooting attack even if he was “unarmed!”

This empty boast is from the same Trump who failed the bravery test during the Vietnam War by dodging the draft -- not for principle but because the poor guy had "bone spurs" on one foot (he can't remember which).

Yes, that braggadocio is on top of other asinine blather from the Oval Office occupant. Trump for example made that boast while taking another shot at the police who failed to rush into that south Florida high school during the Valentine’s Day 2018 massacre that left 17 dead including 14 students.

The unwillingness of armed cops outside that Parkland high school to rush inside to confront an assault rifle firing shooter didn’t stop pseudo Tough Guy Trump from pushing the asinine proposal to arm teachers to help stop mass school shootings.

The Trump who wants to pay teachers to carry guns in schools is the same Trump who wants to slash billions of dollars in federal funding for education.

Arming teachers is a big pay day for gunmakers. It doesn't make America great or safe.Arming teachers is a big pay day for gunmakers. It doesn't make America great or safe.

Since Trump never lets facts stand in the way of his fantasies, he doesn’t care that a study conducted by his hometown police force – - the New York City Police Department –- found police only had an 18 percent success rate in hitting a person they were shooting at if that person was shooting back at them.

That begs the question: In arming teachers, does Trump accept that teachers will almost inevitably accidentally kill a few students while trying to shoot a mass shooter, given the NYPD certified fact that even trained police, who are regularly retrained on shooting guns accurately, have such a poor ‘good shoot’ percentage in shootout situations?

Washington has Long Engaged in Information Warfare, Including Fake News and Trolling

I've been a target of US government propaganda attacks


The howling in government and the corporate media and among many liberals about an alleged Russian information war, with bots, trolls and fake news being placed in social media to mislead and incite Americans against each other, might lead one think, like Sen John McCain, that we are practically at war with Russia. Yet it's all actually pretty silly. After all, our own government has been playing this game for decades, both abroad, and also right here inside the "Land of the Free and Home of the Brave" and against us American citizens.

I know. I was a victim of such an attack, though initially I didn't realize what was happening.

Back on August 25, 2005, I published a piece in In These Times titled Radioactive Wounds of War about the devastating damage caused by the US military's use of depleted uranium weapons in its brutal assault leveling Fallujah, the Iraqi city of 300,000 people that was destroyed by US marines in 2004 as retribution for the killing of four US contractors by the Iraqi insurgents who at the time controlled the city, and for their humiliating defeat of a smaller Marine assault on the city earlier in the year.

At the time I was and had been a contributing editor at ITT, a publication for which I had written regularly since it was founded back in 1978, and was listed on its masthead as such.

(DOD photo)(DOD photo)

As I recount in an article published in Counterpunch on November 19, 2005 titled R.I.P In These Times, the left-liberal news magazine had been promptly bombarded with letters criticizing my article after it came out. The critiques were not about the main topic of the article, which was evidence discovered in medical studies done on returning Iraq veterans from a unit of New York National Guard soldiers, funded by the New York Daily News and reported on by Juan Gonzalez, which had found evidence of exposure to depleted uranium dust that was causing serious health damage in these soldiers, and even birth defects in their young children. Those findings were undeniable. What attracted the critical mail, which would now be called trolling, was my reporting on how much depleted uranium weapons had been dumped on Iraq by invading and occupying US forces.

Based on my research into reports, mostly by European sources, I had written in that article:

U.S. forces first used DU in the 1991 Gulf War, when some 300 tons of depleted uranium–the waste product of nuclear power plants and weapons facilities–were used in tank shells and shells fired by A-10 jets. A lesser amount was deployed by US and NATO forces during the Balkans conflict. But in the current wars in Afghanistan and, especially, Iraq, DU has become the weapon of choice, with more than 1,000 tons used in Afghanistan and more than 3,000 tons used in Iraq. And while DU was fired mostly in the desert during the Gulf War, in the current war in Iraq, most of DU munitions are exploding in populated urban areas.

The Pentagon has expanded DU beyond tank and A-10 shells, for use in bunker-busting bombs, which can spew out more than half a ton of DU in one explosion, in anti-personnel bomblets, and even in M-16 and pistol shells. The military loves DU for its unique penetration capability–it cuts through steel or concrete like they’re butter.

In later years, I've done more reporting on the US military's use of depleted uranium, which the Pentagon loves because of its unique ability to penetrate even thick solid steel tank armor and reinforced concrete bunkers with ease, bursting into intense flame on impact and spreading super toxic uranium oxide dust in the aftermath. There is no dispute about the use of these weapons by US forces. But in 2005, the Pentagon was fighting a brutal rear-guard battle to claim the stuff is safe and at the same time that it was not being used in populated urban areas. Both claims were official lies.

America's High School Yearbook: 2018


 2018 (Creative Commons 2.0 copyright by Andy Myer, High School Yearbook: 2018 (Creative Commons 2.0 copyright by Andy Myer,

Here we are again. Another massacre in a school, this time in Parkland, Florida. Before we ultimately resign ourselves to this obscene state of affairs, shouldn't we at least see the actual crime scene photos? It's an argument made recently in Slate. Don't we deserve to have all relevant information and visual material as we debate the issue of guns in this country?

It's unlikely. In the meantime, let's close our eyes and imagine what the bodies of youngsters in Sandy Hook Elementary torn apart by assault weapon ammunition really look like. Conjure up the slumped figures peppered with slugs in the pews of the Sutherland Springs Church, the dead and wounded littering the campus of Virginia Tech, the concert grounds in Las Vegas, and the hallways and classrooms of Columbine and Stoneman Douglass High School. Think of the thousands of shattered families, whose lives surely will never be the same.

While we're at it, consider the injured survivors, some of whom will have lifelong disabilities, medical needs, and unalterably changed futures. Go on to contemplate the emotional distress of witnesses and first responders who may be physically unscathed, but will suffer PTSD for months, years, perhaps their entire lifetimes.

Don't stop there! Think of the millions of American schools students (elementary to high school) who are forced to participate in active shooter drills. They become wonderfully proficient in immediate responses to alarms, barricading doorways, picking up objects to hurl at an armed intruder, where they should assemble after the terror subsides, and how to properly exit their buildings in full view of heavily armed SWAT teams. Sweet dreams, kids!



a random student,
friend . . .

--Gary Lindorff

McMaster of War

Unrealistic war experience leads to Trump advisor overconfidence


This article appears in the London Review of Books

A number of military experts – including the defense secretary, James Mattis – have warned that a US war against North Korea would be hard, incredibly destructive and bloody, with civilian casualties in the millions, and could go badly for US forces. But Lt. Gen. Herbert Raymond McMaster, President Trump’s national security adviser, is apparently insistent that ‘a military strike be considered as a serious option’.

One of Gen. McMaster’s claims to fame is a Silver Star he was awarded for a tank ‘battle’ he led in the desert during the so-called Gulf War of 1991. As a young captain leading a troop with nine new Abrams M1A1 battle tanks, McMaster destroyed 28 Iraqi tanks in 23 minutes without losing any of his own or suffering any casualties.

 Capt. McMaster's vastly superior Abrams tanks were able to destroy Iraqi tanks at a distance, out of range of any Iraqi returning fire, makinTurkey shoot: Capt. McMaster's vastly superior Abrams tanks were able to destroy these dug-in Iraqi tanks at a distance, out of range of any Iraqi returning fire

McMaster’s exploit (later embellished with a name, the ‘Battle of 73 Easting’) was little more than a case of his having dramatically better equipment. His tanks were several generations ahead of the antique Russian-built T-72s of his Iraqi opponents. They were protected by depleted uranium armour – a dense metal virtually impenetrable by conventional tank shells, anti-tank rockets and RPGs – and carried anti-tank munitions tipped with depleted uranium penetrators, which can punch through steel armour as if it were cardboard. They then ignite a tank’s interior, exploding any ordnance inside and incinerating the crew. The Abrams main cannon also has a significantly longer range than the tanks McMaster was confronting, meaning he and his men were able to pick off the Iraqi tanks while the shells fired back at them all fell short...

For the rest of this article in the LRB, please go to: London Review of Books

Ostrich's lament

New poem:

The sand underground is very dark
But I’ve learned to open my inner eye.
I’ve become quite the dreamer!
Been dreaming up a new world.
It used to be dark down here
All by myself, hiding
From everything that is going on, everything
Swirling around the United States of the Ostrich Farm.
Sure I miss running with my fellow birds.
But I don’t miss it much!
Nobody takes us seriously.
We’re sort of the muppets of nature.
Big eyes, long eyelashes, long scaly legs.
Fluffy butt feathers.
Nobody cares that I can run as fast as a horse
And that I have three stomachs
Which is helpful in a world where
There is so much junk to digest.
Did you know that I can see clearly
For over 2 miles with my Disney eyes?
What an irony that my sensitivities
Force me to keep my sight sequestered
In this underworld of sand and darkness,
Dreaming for a better day.

US Mass Killers Crucially Abetted by Nuts Who Won’t Ban Assault Weapons and High-Capacity Clips

The nuts aren’t just the ones doing the shooting


Something is clearly sick in America.

The latest shooting in Broward County Florida was no surprise. Like almost all the school shootings that are now weekly events in the United States, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where it took place was in not some violence-plagued, over-crowded, mostly non-white urban school, but rather was located in the town of Parkland, an upscale suburban community. The school had an “A” rating from the state, as a top-performing high school.

According to Census statistics, Parkland’s over 24,000 people are 84% white, 13% Latino, 7% black and 6 percent black. Median income all the way back in 2008 was reported as $278,000 and the median home value that same year was just under $1 million. This was a wealthy community, not some “shithole” one, as our president might say.

All this is so common to the school shooting profile of most of these deadly incidents that we have to ask, what the hell is going on?

In the case of the suspect, 19-year-old Nickolas Cruz was unusual in that he had been adopted, along with his younger brother, by a couple who were childless and wanted children. Nothing unusual there. As the father of an adopted son I can say that there is really no fundamental difference between a biologically born and an adopted child in terms of the love and care that parents put into their development. In fact, because of the intentional efforts that go into doing an adoption there may often be even more attention and affection poured on an adopted child.

We don’t know about Cruz’s early childhood, so it’s possible he suffered at a very young age or perhaps was damaged in the womb if his birth-mother had a drug or drinking problem. That’s always a risk, just as it can be a risk with a children who are the biological offspring of their parents.

What we do know is that Cruz, who was diagnosed as depressive and possibly on the autism spectrum, was expelled Marjory Stoneman Douglas right around the time that his adoptive mother, to whom he was very attached, died at the age of 68 (his adoptive father had died much earlier). So this young man was depressed, deprived of his parents, and dumped by his school.

I almost think that at this point we don’t need to think to hard to see what went wrong. Technically an adult, and reportedly living of late in the home of a kind friend of his parents, he slipped through the cracks of a larger society that doesn’t really care much about what happens to a kid once she or he hits 18 (if they care much about them even at a younger age).

Obviously, a lot of people dropped the ball with this kid. The school, which had warned teachers about him, washed its hands of him, the friend of his late mother, who took him in, allowed him to bring along his AR-15, although she at least required him to keep it locked up albeit with him having the key (why would any adult allow a visiting kid to do that?), and nobody, like a social worker, appears to have followed up when he stopped going to the mental health clinic where he was being treated.
AR-15 Assault rifle with loaded clipAR-15 Assault rifle with loaded clip


Converting SNAP into a Canned Goods Distribution Program is a Revolutionary Idea

Trump’s latest insulting proposal


What a truly horrific idea President Trump has come up with in calling for an end to the provision of food assistance money under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which he’d supposedly like to turn into a “surplus food” type operation where people are provided with canned goods and other packaged foods instead of cash.

First off, consider that we’re talking about 45 million people — about one-seventh of the entire population of the United States — who in any given month are receiving this assistance because they have been deemed at risk of being unable to buy enough food to survive on their own.

Just try and imagine the Trump administration, that was and still is unable to provide food to people starving in Puerto Rico in the wake of two back-to-back hurricanes that devastated that island half a year ago, and that’s just three million people. There are over eight million SNAP recipients just in California and Texas alone and they and the rest of the other 38 million recipients are spread across the country, in cities, suburbs and rural regions alike. Getting all these people cash cards that they can use in supermarkets and local shops to buy their own food is a cheap, fast and easy way to get these hard-up individuals and households the food they need, especially as the program is administered not by a federal workforce, but by state agencies close to where the needy people are. Distributing food to that many people, in contrast, would require a colossal effort, a huge bureaucracy, and would entail unimaginable costs.

Switching from offering struggling families SNAP cash cards to distributing canned goods will lead to rebellion by the poor as during the Depression eraSwitching from offering struggling families SNAP cash cards to distributing canned goods will lead to rebellion by the poor as during the Depression era (USDA and archival photos)

Maybe Trump is thinking of hiring Amazon to do the job, in hopes of winning over the support of the owner of the Washington Post, currently one of his media antagonists.

As things now stand, SNAP costs about $70 billion a year. The cost of administering the program relatively low, with the bulk of the funds going to provide about $125 worth of food assistance per person per month in aid. Because the cards are electronic, when used at computerized stores using bar-code scanners, the system helps keeps spending limited to food items, and not liquor, toys or other unneeded items. That might seem like a lot of money, even it it is keeping 45 million people from starving, but there's something else to consider: It's a direct stimulus into the communities using the cash cards, since it is all spent in local stores where it then is turned into actual cash that circulates through struggling economies.

Switching over to actual delivery of food to recipients would reverse the equation, with most of the cost going to actual delivery of the goods, and to a vast bureaucracy to organize the purchase, shipment and delivery of those goods to where they’re needed. And switching to providing surplus food would also have the exact opposite and perverse effect of sucking that much money out of those economies since people getting surplus food wouldn't be spending money for food in local stores. Brilliant move, right?

Worse yet, instead of letting people buy what they and their families are accustomed to preparing and eating, as SNAP does, a system involving providing foodstuffs to recipients is an open invitation to scammers who will predictably start providing defective goods, products that have passed their sell-by dates, and items that recipients will reject. Just imagine the number of Muslim and Jewish families that will find themselves receiving canned ham, Buddhist families that will receive meat, Hindu families that will get unwanted beef products and families with members who have allergies who will be stuck with foods that cannot be consumed. It’s madness!

Then again, switching from SNAP cash cards — a program that, because the cards include a photograph of the owner, reportedly has virtually eliminated fraud in the program — to providing actual food products offers huge corporations, whether Amazon or Walmart or whatever enterprising enterprise wants to jump in, an extraordinary opportunity to feed at the federal trough. Just wait for it.

Memo Exposes both the Danger Posed by FBI and NSA and that FISA 'Court' is a Joke

unes issue isn't possible 'damage' to FBI:


Days after the release of the so-called Nunes memo the Democrats are insisting on the release of their memo, which might be considered a minority rebuttal, but it’s time to take a look at the big picture. What does this whole incident say about the FBI, its power, its capacity for abuse and misconduct, and the history of an organization that has played such a decisive and often repressive and even unconstitutional role in American politics over many, many decades. Brian Becker and John Kiriakou of the Sputnik radio program "Loud and Clear" in Washington, DC, speak with Dave Lindorff, an investigative reporter, a columnist for CounterPunch, and a contributor to Businessweek, The Nation, London Review of Books, Extra! and, (and founder of this news site,, and with David Cobb, campaign manager of the 2016 Jill Stein/Ajamu Baraka presidential campaign.

Hear the half-hour interview please go please click here or click on the image below.


Our Racial and Ethnic Roots in all their Tangled Diversity are What’s Best about this Country

Trumpian White Supremacy has it All Wrong


I’m a white American, but like a majority of us, that’s only small part of the story.

In a country where the federal government is currently in the hands of so-called “nativists” like Trump and his white mostly male Republican Party backers only celebrate white roots, I like many of us have various genetic strands that include a little of what might best be called “diversity.” There is a touch of Native American on my mother’s side — hardly enough to qualify for inclusion in the Algonquin Nation, but enough to remind me and my siblings that our ancestors include both conquerers and the conquered.

Then too, while there is a direct line on both my mother’s side and my father’s side tracing back to the same Warren family that arrived on the Mayflower in 1620, there are also immigrants who came from Scotland (the Stewart Clan) and Ireland on my mother’s side, and from Germany (Kerpol) and England (the Plymptons and Lincolns) on my father’s.
America's diversity is to be celebrated, not viewed as a threat (Creative Commons share alike 2.0)America's diversity is to be celebrated, not viewed as a threat (Creative Commons share alike 2.0)

For me, one of the most interesting roots is my great great grandfather, a Lindorff who left Sweden for Germany, marrying a German woman. According to family lore I’d always heard while growing up, this Scandinavian immigrant had been chased out or fled from Sweden because he was a thief or something, though I later learned it was more likely that he was hounded out as a “red” or socialist undesirable.

That seems to be correct because his daughter — my great grandmother — who with her German husband immigrated to the US in the early 1900s with her young children so they wouldn’t get caught up in Europe’s wars, according to my father proudly voted Socialist in US elections all her life — first for Socialist Party leader Eugene Debs for president and then, after he died, for Socialist leader Norman Thomas. (Her sister, though, was a Nazi sympathizer during the 1930s, hosting gatherings at her home in New York City, to the consternation and embarrassment of my great grandmother.)

As an aside, there’s an irony in the family’s having moved to escape Europe’s wars: Both my grandfather and his older brother ended up fighting in WWI — my great uncle as a bi-plane pilot, and my grandfather as an ambulance driver on the front lines in France, where he won a Silver Star for heroism under fire saving countless lives of wounded soldiers.

I mention all this because it’s important to think about all of this rich complexity — racial, social and political — when we talk about the historical and cultural roots of the United States.

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