BBC reporter’s sobering advice to America: ‘Break’ the NRA or your mass shootings will never stop

BBC presenter Aaron Heslehurst (screen grab)

BBC presenter Aaron Heslehurst (screen grab)


BBC host Aaron Heslehurst advised Americans this week that they would have to “break” or “dismantle” the National Rifle Association (NRA) if they wanted the mass shootings in the United States to stop.

On Wednesday’s Morning Business Report, BBC presenter Adnan Nawaz pointed out that journalists still did not have all of the details about the shooting in San Bernardino.

“There have been more mass shootings in the United States this year than there have been days this year,” Nawaz noted. “We’re at about 330-odd days with 350+ mass shootings. And it’s becoming far too common as far as almost any sensible person including President Obama is concerned.”

Columnist Maike Currie agreed that the figures were “staggering.”

“Obama has said this is not normal, this shouldn’t be considered as normal,” she explained. “And Hillary Clinton has said the same thing. And on her presidential campaign, gun control is actually one of the key things she’s looking at.”

Nawaz observed that Clinton was unlikely to put in place new gun safety measures because Congress would block her.

“The thing that everyone points to is the Second Amendment,” Currie said. “But the Second Amendment was set up in 1789. That was a different world then and something needs to be done about this.”

Heslehurst revealed his own “staggering” statistics: “In the last 43 years, more Americans have been shot by another American — shot and killed by another American — than all of America’s soldiers killed in wars in the last 240 years.”

“And you go where’s the priority?” he asked. “You talk about Congress — NRA, right? If Clinton really wants to get serious, that’s what you have to try to break, dismantle.”

Watch the video below from BBC News 24, broadcast Dec. 3, 2015.

Hasselbeck: Oprah shouldn’t call out racists because it ‘undermines racism’

Fox News host Elisabeth Hasselbeck and co-hosts

I always knew Elisabeth Hasselbeck was not the “sharpest tool in the shed” but this is simply astonishing…

The Raw Story

Fox News host Elisabeth Hasselbeck on Thursday warned Oprah Winfrey that she “undermines racism” by pointing out that some of President Barack Obama’s critics disliked him because of the color of his skin.Now, I knew Hasselbeck was never the brightest tool in the shed, but wow.  How in the world is she gonna clean this one up?

“There is a level of disrespect for the office that occurs,” Winfrey said in a recent interview with BBC. “And that occurs in some cases and maybe even in many cases because he’s African American. There’s no question about that, and it’s the kind of thing that nobody ever says but everybody is thinking it.”

On Thursday, the hosts of Fox & Friends — who are all white — asserted that even Democrats were afraid to criticize the president because they didn’t want to be called racists.

“Do you see racism when Harry Reid called President Bush a loser? Is that respect for the office?” co-host Brian Kilmeade asked. “Bill Clinton was impeached for his actions in the office? Is that racist?”

“I don’t know that Barack Obama could have been elected president if he was living in a racist nation,” co-host Steve Doocy opined. “Are there racists out there? Absolutely. Is it a majority of people? No. A majority of the people, according to the polls, simply don’t like his policies.”

“And certainly throwing around racist accusations, calling someone a racist certainly for disagreeing when they are indeed not, would undermine racism when it does occur,” Hasselbeck chimed in.

“That’s right,” Doocy agreed.

“There’s so much rude stuff toward 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in my lifetime,” Kilmeade said. “Reagan was dumb, remember. George Bush was incompetent and illegitimate. Bill Clinton, we know where he ended up with the Monica Lewinski stuff. Where was the racism there? This, to me, is a situation where you’ve gone six years with almost no criticism of the president.”

“But this is someone as powerful as Oprah instilling fear in those that may come to critique policy under a cloak of racism when it may not be there,” Hasselbeck declared. “So again, it undermines racism when it does occur.”

Since Winfrey actually was hoping to “undermine racism” by calling it out, Hasselbeck most likely meant that she was undermining the struggle against racism with her comments.

Watch this video from Fox News’ Fox & Friends, broadcast Nov. 20, 2013.


Body of student falsely accused of Boston attacks possibly found

Sunil Tripathi
Sunil Tripathi, missing since March, was wrongly identified as one of the Boston bomb suspects

According to the following BBC report, this is merely speculation at this time.  Yet, if it is true, what does this young man’s murder say about our country and our press?

BBC News

The body of a man found in a Rhode Island river may be a student mistakenly identified as one of the Boston bombers, authorities say.

The state medical examiner’s office is trying to determine whether the dead man is Sunil ­Tripathi, 22, who has been missing since March.

Members of a university rowing team found the body on Tuesday evening.

Mr Tripathi has been described as the other victim of the bombings after he was wrongly identified a suspect.

Police Lieutenant Joseph Donnelly told the Boston Globe it was “very possible” that the body is Mr Tripathi.

Brown University’s rowing coach called police after spotting the body floating in the Providence River.

Mr Tripathi, a former Brown University student, was last seen in his apartment in Providence on 16 March.

On Monday social media website Reddit issued a public apology for its coverage of the Boston bombings after it wrongly named specific people as suspects.

Those mistakenly identified as suspects included Mr Tripathi.

Mr. Tripathi’s sister, Sangeeta, told the BBC of her family’s anxiety at how fast “completely unsubstantiated claims were spreading”.

She described how media surrounded their family home after her brother was wrongly named.

London mayor calls out Romney in front of 100,000 at Olympic torch lighting

London Mayor Boris Johnson

Apparently Mittens was a bit snooty with his criticism of  the London Olympics’ security issue.  The London press, the Prime Minister and now the Mayor did not take to kindly to Romney’s remarks about London and their Olympics…

The Raw Story

London Mayor Boris Johnson shamed presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in front of a crowd of 100,000 people at the Olympic torch lighting on Thursday.

In an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams, Romney had offended Brits when he suggested that London wasn’t ready for the games.

“It’s hard to know just how well it will turn out,” the candidate said. “There are a few things that were disconcerting. The stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials — that obviously is not something which is encouraging.”

During the torch lighting ceremony the next day, the London mayor made a point of calling out Romney.

“There are some people coming from around the world who don’t yet know about all the preparations we’ve done to get London ready in the last seven years,” Johnson told the massive crowd in Hyde Park. “There’s a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we’re ready.”

“Are we ready? Are we ready? Yes, we are!”

Watch the video from BBC, broadcast July 26, 2012 via Crooks & Liars.

From Crooks & Liars:

Mitt Romney’s very bad week in London just got worse, as he was called out by name by London’s Mayor Boris Johnson in front of 100,000 in Hyde Park, and millions more watching on the ‘telly’.

Boris Johnson: “I hear there’s a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know if we are ready. Are we ready? Are we ready? Yes, we are!”


When the Mayor ended by asking the crowd if London will put on the greatest Olympics that have ever been held they shouted in unison “Yes We Can!” And with that Mitt Romney’s humiliation was complete.

Cat Saves Owner’s Life Just Hours After Being Adopted

I love animals, particularly cats, so this story is especially heartwarming…

The Huffington Post

A newly adopted cat repaid his owner’s loving gesture earlier this month by saving her from a medical emergency just hours after he was brought home, the Green Bay Press Gazette reports.

Amy Jung and her son Ethan stopped into The Humane Society near their home in Sturgeon, Wisconsin on Feb. 8 to play with the cats, but one feline — a 21-pound orange-and-white cat named Pudding — stood out to the pair. Jung learned that the laid-back cat had been in and out of the shelter since 2003, and made an impulsive decision to adopt him and his friend Wimsy.

Jung said the cats wasted no time fitting into their new home when they arrived. But just hours later, the Jungs’ happy day took a turn for the worse. Soon after going to bed, Amy Jung, who has had diabetes since childhood, started having a diabetic seizure in her sleep.

That’s when Pudding sprang into action. The fast-acting feline sat on Jung’s chest in an attempt to wake her up and when that didn’t work, he nudged and nipped her face until she briefly returned to consciousness.

In that moment, Jung was able to call out to her son Ethan, but he couldn’t hear her calls. Luckily, Pudding darted into Ethan’s room and pounced on the bed until he woke up and was able to call for help.

Jung told the Press Gazette that she believes she wouldn’t have made it through the night without Pudding — an opinion her doctors share. Pudding is now being registered as a therapy animal, and has learned to sit by Jung’s feet and meow when he senses that her blood sugar is low.

There have been a number of reports of dogs sensing impending seizures, but the same behavior in cats is much rarer, according to doctors who spoke to the BBC for a story about a cat who predicted a number of deaths at a nursing home.

The cat, Oscar, made headlines in 2007 after he “predicted” 25 deaths at a nursing home by showing affection for sick patients right before they passed away. Animal psychologist Roger Mugford said that although cats have been known to pick up on illnesses, they do so much less frequently than dogs because they are more withdrawn.

“Dogs are very good at picking up on emotional changes and when people are depressed and inactive they are very good at comforting them in these circumstances. Elephants show the same altruistic tendencies, but not cats, they are very much more selfish, solitary creatures,” he said.

Nevertheless, cats have been the heroes of a number of rescue stories in recent years. In May 2011, the Atlanta Humane Society reported on a cat who could predict his 19-year-old owner’s seizuresminutes before they happened.

In July 2011, a Pennsylvania cat helped save its owner’s life by pawing at her when she was feeling unwell, compelling her to take her condition seriously and call the doctor. She later learned that she had suffered a heart attack.

Newsweek Asks Americans “How Dumb Are We?”

The dumbing down of America…real or imagined?

Mario Piperni

How bad are Americans when it comes to knowledge of their own history and system of government?  Well, going by a recent Newsweek poll, it’s not pretty.

They’re the sort of scores that drive high-school history teachers to drink. When NEWSWEEK recently asked 1,000 U.S. citizens to take America’s official citizenship test, 29 percent couldn’t name the vice president. Seventy-three percent couldn’t correctly say why we fought the Cold War. Forty-four percent were unable to define the Bill of Rights. And 6 percent couldn’t even circle Independence Day on a calendar.

And when it comes to international affairs, Americans fall far behind Europeans in depth of knowledge. No surprise there.  Unlike real news organizations like the BBC and CBC, American television news rarely reports on anything of international significance unless a 1000 or more locals (or at least 2 Americans) have died in an act of nature or unless the U.S. is waging a war in that country.  Seriously, if one got all their news from Fox, they’d be hard-pressed to name a country in the world other than the United States, Iraq and Afghanistan.  OK, and Japan.  The same can be said of MSNBC, CNN and the major networks. 

In the 17th century, Galileo did his best to enlighten the masses by informing them that Earth was not the center of the universe. If he was around today, he’d be trying to tell Americans that the U.S. is not the center of the universe. I have no doubt that he’d be treated no differently now for his heretic beliefs than he was by the Catholic Church 400 years ago. Getting the truth out is always a difficult matter when up against a lifetime of ignorance.    Continue reading…

Iran Blocks Sites, Texts, Calls

Reporters Without Borders

The authorities have increased censorship in a bid to prevent yesterday’s anti-government protests, blocking independent or pro-opposition websites and other electronic media. Broadband speed has greatly slowed in major cities as in the run-up to previous anti-regime demonstrations or opposition events.

Mobile phone and text-message traffic has been badly disrupted and the Persian calendar month “bahman” has been added to blocked keywords in an effort to reduce calls for today’s protests (14 February is 25 Bahman).

The stepped-up censorship and cyber-attacks began on 10 February in an effort to prevent organisation and reporting of the demonstrations. Two news sites, and (the latter close to opposition leader Mehdi Karoubi), were blocked.

Satellite TV broadcasts to Iran have been jammed and the BBC officially protested on 10 February. The jamming first targeted news about the revolution in Egypt and then was extended on 12 February to all BBC and Voice of America broadcasts, which were either cut off or became hard to pick up.

Confirmed: WikiLeaks’ next target is Bank of America, Assange says

Logo used by Wikileaks
Image via Wikipedia

Now this should be interesting, and less intimidating to the U.S. Government…uh, on second thought…

Raw Story

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Tuesday the Swedish women who have accused him of sexual assault had got into a “tizzy” about the possibility they had caught a sexually transmitted disease from him.

Assange told the BBC that one account of what happened in August — the month at the centre of allegations against him — was that the two women had panicked when they found out they had both slept with him and went to police who “bamboozled” them.

He insisted he was fighting a Swedish extradition warrant because he believes “no natural justice” would occur in Sweden.

“There are some serious problems with the Swedish prosecution,” he said in an interview from the mansion of a wealthy supporter in eastern England where he must stay as part of his bail conditions.

Sweden wants Britain to extradite the 39-year-old Australian to face questioning over allegations from two women that he raped one of them and sexually assaulted the other in Stockholm in August.

Assange claimed that the Swedish authorities had asked that his Swedish lawyer be “gagged”, adding that his offers to be interviewed by video link or by Swedish officials in Britain had been rejected.

“I don’t need to be at the beck and call of people making allegations,” he said.   More…

Assange threatens to release ‘poison pill’ if arrested or killed

Real life cloak and dagger drama…

Raw Story

There is a new threat from the founder of the whistleblower website WikiLeaks.

Julian Assange will release a “poison pill” that contains a “deluge” of secret information if he is killed, arrested or his website is permanently shut down, Daily Mail reports.

“Due to recent attacks on our infrastructure, we’ve decided to make sure everyone can reach our content. As part of this process we’re releasing archived copy of all files we ever released,” WikiLeaks said in a message on its site.

WikiLeaks says it has another 250,000 cables it plans to gradually release over coming months — if it can.

Anticipating the US attempts to block it though, WikiLeaks has taken the precaution of posting a big, 1.4-gigabyte file encrypted with a 256-digit key said to be unbreakable.

Titled “insurance.aes256”, the file was big enough to contain all the US cables said to be in WikiLeaks’s possession.

The encryption makes it unreadable until the key is supplied — at which time all its contents would be available to those who downloaded it from torrent-feeding sites such as

“It’s a ticking time bomb with a remote fuse,” one expert told NBC News. “So this bomb can go off the second that they release the key and the key will spread around the internet in a matter of seconds.”

Appearing on the BBC, Assange’s lawyer defended the move. “They need to protect themselves,” Mark Stephens said. This is what they believe to be a thermo-nuclear device effectively in the electronic age.”

WikiLeaks has been under constant cyber attacks since it began releasing the secret US diplomatic cables.

Continue reading here…

George Bush Book ‘Decision Points’ Lifted Passages From Advisers’ Books

Recently, George Bush complained that many folks thought he couldn’t read, much less write a book.  It seems some of his critics may have been right on the latter point…

Huffington Post

When Crown Publishing inked a deal with George W. Bush for his memoirs, the publisher knew it wasn’t getting Faulkner. But the book, at least, promises “gripping, never-before-heard detail” about the former president’s key decisions, offering to bring readers “aboard Air Force One on 9/11, in the hours after America’s most devastating attack since Pearl Harbor; at the head of the table in the Situation Room in the moments before launching the war in Iraq,” and other undisclosed and weighty locations.

Crown also got a mash-up of worn-out anecdotes from previously published memoirs written by his subordinates, from which Bush lifts quotes word for word, passing them off as his own recollections. He took equal license in lifting from nonfiction books about his presidency or newspaper or magazine articles from the time. Far from shedding light on how the president approached the crucial “decision points” of his presidency, the clip jobs illuminate something shallower and less surprising about Bush’s character: He’s too lazy to write his own memoir.


1.  From Decision Points, p. 205: “When Karzai arrived in Kabul for his inauguration on December 22 – 102 days after 9/11 – several Northern Alliance leaders and their bodyguards greeted him at an airport. As Karzai walked across the tarmac alone, a stunned Tajik warlord asked where all his men were. Karzai, responded, ‘Why, General, you are my men. All of you who are Afghans are my men.'”

From Ahmed Rashid’s The Mess in Afghanistan, quoted in The New York Times Review of Books:   “At the airport to receive [Karzai] was the warlord General Mohammad Fahim, a Tajik from the Panjshir Valley …. As the two men shook hands on the tarmac, Fahim looked confused. ‘Where are your men?’ he asked. Karzai turned to him in his disarmingly gentle manner of speaking. ‘Why General,’ he replied, “you are my men—all of you are Afghans and are my men…'”   Bush was not at Karzai’s Innauguration.

2.  From Decision Points, p. 267: “Several months later, four men came to see me at the White House. They were members of the Delta Team that had captured Saddam. They told me the story of the hunt…’My name is Saddam Hussein,’ the man said. ‘I am the president of Iraq and I want to negotiate.’ ‘Regards from President Bush,’ the soldier replied.”

BBC, Dec. 15, 2003:   “How Saddam Hussein was captured”: “[Saddam] put up no resistance although armed with a pistol. ‘My name is Saddam Hussein. I am the president of Iraq and I want to negotiate,’ he told the US troops in English, according to Major Bryan Reed, operations officer for the 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. ‘Regards from President Bush,’ US special forces replied, Major Reed recounted.

A Time magazine story later questioned whether the story was accurate.  “Legends of the Fall,” Dec. 29, 2003:    “A U.S. intelligence official, meanwhile, casts doubt on another widely reported tale: that a U.S. soldier hailed the nemesis of two Commanders in Chief named George Bush by saying: ‘Regards from President Bush.’ This person says some officials suspect the story is ‘apocryphal.’”

So did the soldiers tell Bush that story or did he lift it from the BBC?

3.  From Decision Points, p. 199:   “At a National Security Council meeting the next morning, I said, ‘just want to make sure that all of us did agree to this plan, right?’ I went around the table and asked every member of the room. They agreed….I could sense the relief in the room.”

From Bob Woodward’s Bush At War, p. 261:  “The next morning, Bush arrived at the White House Situation Room for the NSC meeting…’I just want to make sure that all of us did agree to this plan, right?’ [Bush] said. He looked around the table from face to face….Each affirmed allegiance to the plan and strategy. …Hadley thought the tension suddenly drained from the room.

From Bob Woodward’s The War Within, p. 430:  “At the next day’s meeting, Bush said, ‘I just want to make sure that all of us did agree to this plan, right?’ He went around the table asking everyone to affirm allegiance to the plan.”

4.   From Decision Points, p 234-5:   Tommy told the national security team that he was working to apply the same concept of a light footprint to Iraq… “If we have multiple, highly skilled Special Operations forces identifying targets for precision-guided munitions, we will need fewer conventional grounds forces,” he said. “That’s an important lesson learned from Afghanistan.” I had a lot of concerns. … I asked the team to keep working on the plan. “We should remain optimistic that diplomacy and international pressure will succeed in disarming the regime,” I said at the end of the meeting. “But we cannot allow weapons of mass destruction to fall into the hands of terrorists. I will not allow that to happen.”

From General Tommy Franks American Soldier, p. 350:  “For example, if we have multiple, highly skilled Special Operations forces identifying targets for precision-guided munitions, we will need fewer conventional ground forces. That’s an important lesson learned from Afghanistan.” President Bush’s questions continued throughout the briefing…. Before the VTC ended, President Bush addressed us all. “We should remain optimistic that diplomacy and international pressure will succeed in disarming the regime.” … (p. 355-6) The President paused. “Protecting the security of the United States is my responsibility,” he continued. “But we cannot allow weapons of mass destruction to fall into the hands of terrorists.” He shook his head. “I will not allow that to happen.” (emphasis in the original text)

5.  From Decision Points, p, 223: I asked each man two questions. Do you have everything you need to win? And are you comfortable with the strategy? Each commander answered affirmatively. Tommy spoke last. “Mr. President,” the commanding general said, “this force is ready.” I turned to Don Rumsfeld. “Mr. Secretary,” I said, “for the peace of the world and the benefit and freedom of the Iraqi people, I hereby give the order to execute Operation Iraqi Freedom. May God bless the troops.” Tommy snapped a salute. “Mr. President,” he said, “May God bless America.”

From General Tommy Franks, American Soldier, p. xvi-xvii:  “Mr. President, this force is ready. D-Day H-Hour is 2100 hours tonight Iraqi time, 1800 Greenwich mean, 1300 East Coast time.” President Bush nodded toward the Natioanl Security Council, then turned toward me. “All right. For the sake of peace in the world and security for our country and the rest of the free world …” He paused as we listened intently, “And for the freedom of the Iraqi people, as of this moment I will give Secretary Rumsfeld the order necessary to execute Operation Iraqi Freedom.” “Tommy,” the president added, his voice firm, “May God bless our troops.” … “Mr. President,” I answered. “May God bless America.” I saluted, and the Commander-in-Chief returned the salute.

Continue reading…