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It is no exaggeration to report that the second amendment of the United States constitution is under threat in a number of states. Almost ironically the first showdown is in Virginia, one of the 44 states which included in it's state constitution the following words: "That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state, therefore, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; …" This text hearkens back to the original words of the Constitution of the USA: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Virginia is home to the National Rifle Association (NRA) of the USA.
It is important to point out that only three countries in the world give their citizens the "right to bear arms"....Mexico, Guatemala and the USA. Both Guatemala and Mexico have strict restrictions on the types of firearms permitted, where purchase of firearms is permitted and who may buy firearms: no one with a history of mental illness, who deserted the army or the police and who has a police record. www.businessinsider.com/2nd-amendment-countries-constitutional-right-bear-arms-2017-10#united-states-4 However, illegal gun ownership in both countries is estimated to be high. Guatemala is reported to have the highest per capita gun ownership in Latin America.
The perception of the US violent crime rate from media, popular films and folklore is that we are a violent society. However, when using the data from the last twenty years and using statistics on the violent crimes of homicide and rape committed with guns or the threat of violence per 100,000 people; out of 193 countries, the US is not even in the top 100. worldpopulationreview.com/countries/violent-crime-rates-by-country/
Here are the top ten:
It seems every generation needs to be reminded of history. The steps toward disarmament in Europe began with disbanding hunting and gun clubs (in Hungary under Lazlo Rajik) and censoring specific groups of people from access and ownership of guns under Hitler (political opponents, Jews, Roma). mises.org/wire/brief-history-repressive-regimes-and-their-gun-laws
"Gun confiscation holds a special place in the halls of political repression. Gun rights might not guarantee victory against tyrants, but being deprived of them all but guarantees submission."
The three bills passed by the newly elected "Democrat" legislature and fiercely supported by the current Democratic Governor Ralph Northam, would severely restrict gun ranges, gun clubs, deny reciprocity for conceal carry permits from other states and overturn existing rights including banning open carry in vehicles. How the public responds is a beta test for other states.
Over 100 of Virginia's counties and cities have declared themselves "gun sanctuaries". Maryland declared they will try to pass similar laws while West Virginia has offered sanctuary to those Virginia counties who wish to retain all their second amendment rights. nationalfile.com/west-virginia-plans-to-accept-virginia-counties-that-secede-over-gun-control-concerns/ The massive rally to show support for the 2nd amendment and disapproval for Governor Northam and the Democrats in the legislature, was well attended even with freezing temperatures and completely peaceful. www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2020/01/20/virginia-gun-rally-updates/
The pro-gun rights rally and demonstration was an exercise of First Amendment rights which includes the right to assembly. I am including the actual words to remind you once more of this important cornerstone of our Republic which many countries do not include in their charter:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
There were a number of countries which did grant their citizens the right to own firearms and ammunition, until one or two "mass shootings" caused emotional reactions in the populace and knee jerk legislation to ban private ownership and strip citizens of "gun rights". Australia, Norway, the United Kingdom, Canada and recently, New Zealand are examples of nations with restricted gun "rights".
"Many politicians and gun control advocates say if more guns mean fewer mass public shootings, the United States should be the safest place in the world. Indeed, the US has relatively few mass public shootings compared to the rest of the world, but we would have even fewer if we could get rid of gun-free zones. Ninety-eight percent of the mass public shootings in the US from 1950 to 2018 occurred in places that banned general citizens from having guns for protection." crimeresearch.org/2019/06/the-danger-of-gun-free-zones-what-are-you-supposed-to-do-when-you-cant-have-your-gun-with-you/
The saying "use it or lose it" applies to our rights and skills. Exercise your right to "free speech" and gun ownership as an individual by practicing both. These are "perishable skills". Along with ownership comes responsibility for gun safety and accountability for what you say, express and write.
Vigilance is required to protect ourselves and our rights or we may be going down a path that countries such as China and Russia have taken. The USA is unique. Let's keep it that way. Vote and appoint politicians, legislators and law enforcement officials who will support and defend the Constitution and our rights.
Closing tonight from a country which does not grant their citizen these rights....Iraq. Law abiding citizens here do not have the right to "bear arms" but the criminals and violent extremists totally disregard the laws. There are no "gun free" zones when there is no effective rule of law.
Watch and listen to this short music video by Mr. Feshamon entitled: "Gun Control"
www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJXwGWAGXmI See it as a cautionary tale using our first amendment rights.
Until next week,
As often as I have witnessed "soft target" programs being used as shields for nefarious activities in various parts of our world, and by this I mean "humanitarian efforts" be they in education, health or the general catch all of "capacity building"...it still sickens me and I am still surprised when I see it happening.
However, after years of doing evaluations and being part of programs, schools, grand scheme projects in conflict zones, or what used to be labeled as "third world" countries-my eyes, ears and seventh sense is able to "case a place" rather quickly and sniff a scam/shield when I stumble upon or walk right into one.
First the outward signs of being "legitimate" are created. A logo with a western established icon and nation label such as "American" or "British" or "Canadian" or "United Nations" sponsored - clinic, refugee camp, school, or even university is designed. Then a website is posted with the stereotypical photos of children in need, then children smiling and all sorts of credentials displayed along with pictures of "events" with notable "officials" receiving "gifts". Then, "future plans" are presented, donations accepted and "testimonials" placed to give "credibility" to whatever program or project is being advertised.
Who is the audience for these advertisements? Well, that depends. There can be a number of registers advertising at once.
In the United States of America, National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is observed annually on January 11. Beginning in 2010, by Presidential Proclamation, each January has been designated National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. We are two weeks into January 2020-half way through a month supposedly dedicated to raising awareness and action-but I have not seen enough articles or alerts posted continuously online. As least not yet-hence my post this week as part of my personal effort to keep shining a light on this dark scourge on our earthly population and especially on our most vulnerable and innocent segment of the world's population...and our future.
Shamefully, my home state of Texas is listed as the #1 state in human trafficking and sex trafficking of children. Children from within the state and the USA as well as tens of thousands of minors from other countries are trafficked through Texas.
Some of these children trafficked to the USA are orphans culled/selected via "refugee camps", some are kidnapped and "disappeared", tragically some are sold by members of their own community or family. Some are "born into the sex trade" and into cartels or other criminal or extremist gangs. Some children are forced to be "child soldiers" and "enforcers as well as recruiters" for other children.
Children from Asia including: Russia, China, Thailand, Pakistan and from "war torn countries" of Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine, Syria and Iran are collected and dispersed throughout the world. When they get sick or grow older, become addicted or try to run away and their "usefulness" is at an end...they are often filmed, then "harvested" for their organs, sold again even after their death. A horrible fate for anyone. Human beings carry out these vile and evil acts. Human beings are not doing enough to protect our children and bring the perpetrators to "justice" and exposure.
The perpetrators of these crimes (the traffickers, johns, pimps) don’t fit a single stereotype. They represent every social, ethnic, economic strata and racial group. Some perpetrators are involved with local gangs, others are members of larger nationwide gangs and criminal organizations, and some have no affiliation with any one group. Traffickers can also be women – in fact, many women run established rings around the country. https://leb.fbi.gov/2011/march/human-sex-trafficking
A lack of food access is one reason children will be forced to trade sex for food. Food "insecurity" (not knowing where you next meal will come from) impacts millions of children around the world today-there have been a number of cases in different countries where those who were supposed to be distributing food that was donated "charged" children and families for the food. If they could not pay they were subjected to "trading" - sex - for something to eat.
FOUNDATIONS & ORGANIZATIONS AS "SHIELDS" FOR CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES INCLUDING SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN, BLACKMAIL, MONEY LAUNDERING
As part of their strategy to gain access and the trust of children and communities, some of the most high profile foundations dcdirtylaundry.com/the-clintons-laura-silsby-haiti-amber-alerts-human-trafficking/
and religious institutions which purport to "help children" and particularly "help victims of sexual abuse", are the most grievous offenders and predators of children. For more specifics read this excellent investigative report and summation by Corey Digs: www.coreysdigs.com/child-trafficking/are-bill-hillary-clinton-involved-with-child-trafficking/ (see captions under the photos above)
The Catholic Church has been prosecuted through it's member priests, bishops cardinals and nuns and so has the Anglican church and Islamic "schools" and "charities" in a wide range activities of their shield organizations and foundations. Individual investigations of other sects and "charities" with tax breaks because of their "religious affiliations" are not often covered in the media but hundreds of thousands of children have been sexually, physically and emotionally abused/used and denied justice and counsel over the past decades in the USA and globally.
Ignorance of this scourge on the children of our Earth is no excuse anymore. Moreover, most parents are unwittingly (perhaps) "sharenting" and posting multiple pictures of their precious children, and/or teacher/administrators proudly posting photos of their underage students on the worldwide net casting a "free view" for sophisticated criminal networks as well as individual predators to scan, file and possibly use to entrap or kidnap children for "product" for their "clients".
Read this (and other articles) to know some of the strategies they use easily online. Don't feed the beast! nationalpost.com/news/canada/photos-shared-on-pedophile-sites-taken-from-parents-social-media-accounts
Closing this morning with a music video from "Take No Glory" based on the true story of one victim. The song is entitled: "Beautiful Slave". I suggest you watch it more than once.
If you have children, work with children or just live in neighborhoods, communities with children...be vigilant for them. Learn to recognize the signs they have been abused, the signals they may use for "help". No matter the race, culture, language or economic strata most young children exhibit the same signs if you know what to look and listen for when you are with them. They are our most vulnerable and precious resource now and for the future. We owe them protection from harm.
Never underestimate the tactics used by the ruthless or the power of prayer as a shield. "Defende Omnis Innocentis" have the courage to "defend the innocent".
Signing off from Iraq,
Iran is in the mainstream global news this week because a few of it's most nefarious, effective and ruthless military leaders were killed while in the midst of plotting and interfering in Iraq. They were directing the attacks on the US embassy in Baghdad, killing American military and civilians in the region and coordinating with Latin American and Mexican cartel leaders to infiltrate and attack Americans through it's southern border. They trained, hired, planned attacks through their branches in Hezbollah, Hamas, the Houthis in Yemen, the Palestinian Jihad (PIJ) Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) and the Basij Militia-to name a few of their proxy units in the world. The continual fighting in Syria and the various battles with Daesh/ISIS involved some of the fighters/trainers from Iran as well.
"Harakat al Nujaba has close ties with Lebanese Hezbollah. The two groups have coordinated activities as Iraqi militia fighters entered Syria to battle rebels and jihadists. The militia was established to funnel fighters from two other Iranian-backed militias, Hezbollah Brigades and Asaib Ahl al Haq, into Syria. It has been spotted on several battlefields in Syria, including in Aleppo." https://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2016/03/hezbollah-and-harakat-al-nujaba-are-the-twins-of-resistance-iraqi-militia-spokesman-says.php
Although most will say it is a nation' s right to determine it's own laws, punishments and protection for it's own citizens; it is also important to point out that millions of Iranians were affected by the cruel, relentless policing of Iran's Revolutionary guards, the elite Quds forces. This includes their actions against protesters peacefully demonstrating since 2017. Human rights organizations with insiders report over 1,500 confirmed deaths and over 9,000 injured during arrests, detainment or harassment in Iran. These are only conservative estimates. www.dailysabah.com/mideast/2019/12/23/death-toll-hits-1500-in-iranian-anti-government-protests
People forget (or never knew) of the bloody history of the "Islamic Revolution" that shook the world in 1979 and was responsible for over tens of thousands of deaths, arrest, detention and torture or disappearance of their own citizens.
Iran (Eran) has been a significant military and economic force in the world since around 550 BC. Until the 1930s other countries called Eran-"Persia" and before the use of guns (fire arms) the "Persian army" were famous for their cavalry and as archers. Eran instituted a policy of "tolerance" for those they conquered under the master leader and diplomat, Cyrus. He instituted laws protecting people's right to speak their own languages and practice their own religions. The "Cyrus Cylinder" was a collection of guidelines written on stone tablets and preserved to this day. It stated that while Zoroastrianism was the official religion, other religions were respected. Conquered peoples would be protected as long as they paid taxes and abided by Persian laws. Their places of worship were often rebuilt after battles and their cultural traditions and festivals permitted to continue "in freedom throughout the Persian empire". study.com/academy/lesson/the-persian-empire-religion-social-structure.html
iranians fought long and hard against invading Arabs in the mid 600s AD, but were part of the large Islamic conquest and submitted to Islam. Thereafter, Eran was ruled by a number of "dynasties" for the next thousand years, developing weapons, alliances and battling the Ottomans, Great Britain and Russia. After World War II and the development of Eran's natural resources (oil, natural gas, coal, copper, chromium, etc) the Shah (leader) of Iran had the financial resources to build up their military. Eran was ranked 9th in the world for their economic strength.
Eran began it's nuclear program in the late 1950s. "The U.S. provided Iran with its first research reactor — a nuclear reactor, a 5-megawatt nuclear reactor that is still functioning and still operational in Tehran. The United States built that nuclear reactor in 1967 on the campus of Tehran University. It also provided Iran with fuel for that reactor — weapons-grade enriched uranium." www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2015/09/18/440567960/born-in-the-u-s-a-how-america-created-irans-nuclear-program
"In 1953, amid a power struggle between Mohammed Reza Shah and Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the U.K. Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) orchestrated a coup against Mosaddegh’s government. The interference of these two outside intelligence/government forces changed the political landscape and direction of Iran."
In the 1970s, Eran paid out billions of dollars to purchase the latest equipment and weapons from the UK, Russia, Sweden, Canada, the Netherlands, the USA and Israel. The Shah (leader of Iran) Mohammed Reza Pahlavi reigned over a secular regime. He was the last of the Pahlazi dynasty. Iran recognized Israel in those years:
"On 18 July 1977, Iranian Vice Minister of War General Hassan Toufanian traveled to Israel where he met with Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan and Minister of Defense Ezer Weizmann. They discussed a number of joint Israeli-Iranian military projects, among them Project Flower."
Politically, the Shah Reza Pahlavi envisioned a "social provisionary" state which provided for it's citizens all the benefits of "eastern and western" society including healthcare, education, infrastructure, defense and human "freedoms" under a monarchy. He included human rights, women's rights and literacy goals in his governing aims. The income from high oil prices and mineral exports was substantial. Eran had the possibility to raise the standard of living of it's citizens to the highest level in it's history, albeit it did so with many repressive measures against those resisting change. Arrests, detention and torture were part of the Shah's legacy as well as his "White Revolution" and leaping into the 21st century.
All these programs ended with the "Islamic Revolution" and the deposing and exile of the Shah of Iran as leader. Protests against the shah encouraged by those denigrating "westernization", western influences and promoting Shiite factions, divided Eran. Formerly secular leaders took an interest in the fundamentalist views of Ruhollah Khomeini in exile in France.
"The Iranian Revolution, also known as the Islamic Revolution, was the revolution that transformed Iran from an absolute monarchy under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to an absolute Islamic republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, one of the leaders of the revolution and founder of the Islamic Republic. It began in January 1978 with the first major demonstrations and concluded with the approval of the new theocratic Constitution by referendum. The Shah went into exile in January 1979. Ayatollah Khomeini became "Supreme Leader" of the country—in December 1979."
Ayatollah Khomeni immediately imposed a rigid form of sharia law and formed special military units and "religious police patrols" to enforce those laws. The former rights given to women were declared null and void. courses.lumenlearning.com/suny-hccc-worldhistory2/chapter/the-iranian-revolution/
For a quick but unique view of Iran's history in the 20th century I highly recommend the Iranian (in exile) film maker Marjane Satrapi's 2007, "Persepolis" linked here online in English and available in other languages: www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZ22VyjJ6n8 "Satraps" in ancient Persia were the governors of the province system Persians set up in their empire.
In the past 18 months protests within Iran, due to rising cost of living, corruption, repression and frustration - resulted in a brutal crackdown by the Quds (led by Qassem Solemani) and their further interference into Iraq's governing - with an agenda to commandeer Iraq's rich natural resources as well. With the death of Solemani and his cohorts, hundreds of thousands celebrated in many parts of the world adversely affected by Iran and especially by Solemani and his policies of inciting terrorist acts, brutality and disruption.
People in Syria, Jordan, Iraq and expat Iranians in Armenia, Canada, the UK, Australia,the USA and other countries posted videos of dancing, fireworks, marches and handing out "sweets and delicacies" during the official "days of mourning" declared by Iran's current Ayatollah Khomeni.
The belligerent threats and hyperbolic rhetoric we read and hear is more common in the "near" East and the Middle East. Did you know Iran has a declared "Death to America" day which is November 4-recalling the day Americans were taken hostage from their own embassy in 1970s. The Iranian government declared in 1987, an official day and official chants against the USA. Over thirty years of continual hate propaganda on an entire generation, indoctrinated in Iran. www.nationalreview.com/2020/01/death-to-america-iran-philosophy-for-40-years/
There is projection from numerous political camps, think tank types, former military advisers, intelligence analysts, academics and leaders about what will happen next. There are rumors printed as if they are "confirmed" strategies and "targets" from both the Iranians and the Americans. The location, value and number of "targets" are changed daily. As one contributor to Rudaw news. net from Kurdistan wrote:
"Whatever Iran’s capabilities, they pale in comparison to those of the United States. At a moment’s notice, Washington could take out other Iranian leaders, Iranian oil refineries, Iranian bases in Syria, or any number of targets." www.rudaw.net/english/analysis/06012020
In response to the responses from both sides Iraq leader Muqtada al- Sadr issued the following statement on Sunday, January 5:
"I call on Iraqi resistance factions especially, and factions outside of Iraq, to instantly meet to announce the formation of ‘International Resistance Regiments’,” Sadr said.
Sadr became the founding leader of southern Iraq’s Mahdi Army in 2003, during US occupation of the country. His militia killed and injured scores of American servicemen.
He disbanded the militias in 2008. However, he announced the reactivation of the Mahdi Army on Friday, (January 3, 2020) referring to himself as the “head of Iraqi National Resistance".
Other militia leaders such as Kataib Imam Ali’s Shibl al-Zaidy have also pledged allegiance to the proposal.
Hassan Nasrallah, head of Hezbollah, vowed to expel US troops from Iraq in a speech made on Sunday.
Sadr’s call to arms means the two major Shiite parties, who hold over 100 out of 329 parliamentary seats, are now threatening US forces with military action.
This is a gathering of forces foreseen for at least a decade. Each nation/government outwardly threatening has internal divisions-Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon-the USA. Which "targets" they choose to demonstrate their "resolve" and even "vengeance" will no doubt incur "collateral damage" in the civilian population, loss of life, injury, property destruction and trauma. Unfortunately there has been a build up of a nuclear style game of "chicken and concession" between the US and Iran since before 2000.
Other administrations have wagged their flaccid fingers about "red lines crossed" and done nothing but send billions in cash and equipment. Finally this week, they realize there is a "new deal-new players" who mean "business".
We know there will be at least some "show" of force in the coming weeks and months. We pray they select their "targets" with discrimination, and with the ultimate aim of "de-escalation" of tensions. We pray innocents are not caught in the crossfire.
Closing with strong theme song from Zack Hemsey - "Don't Get In My Way".
Read between the lines/lyrics and the notes as you will, but turn up the volume for full effect: www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIt6hRhM33g
Remember the 5 Ps'=Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance!
Stay healthy and alert,