Mass shootings in the US

We hear of mass shootings that occur periodically where a gunman (it is almost always a man with a gun) goes on some kind of rampage and slaughters a number of people. NPR interviewed Jodi Upton, a member of a team of reporters at USA Today that decided to find out how many mass murders had occurred since 2006, because the federal government does not keep track of such statistics. A mass murder was defined as one in which at least four people other than the killer died.
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The phony suggestions for making the Iran deal ‘better’

The opposition to the deal arrived at between the P5+1 nations and Iran has been led by the Republicans, the Israeli government and its lobby in the US, and the neoconservatives, all of whom would like the US to go to war with Iran, which is a truly insane idea. (Interestingly, American Jews support the deal by larger margins than the American public overall, showing once again that the Israel lobby in the US reflects the view of the most extreme elements of the Israeli government more than that of American Jews, something we saw before in the run-up to the Iraq war.) The absurdity and shallowness of their statements about the deal reveal that they were opposed to any agreement that Iran would agree to because that would pre-empt war, or at least delay it.
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Details? Who cares about details?

The Daily Show looks at the critics’ reactions to the deal arrived at between the P5+1 nations and Iran. It is obvious that they had decided what to say before they even knew what the deal contained because that is the level of politics now, where your attitude is totally unconstrained by facts. When your goal is to frighten everyone by warning of the sky falling, the actual issue doesn’t matter.
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Barrett Brown gets sent to ‘the hole’

I gave an update last week on the case of Barrett Brown, about whom I have written before, and linked to his posts about life in prison where he was incarcerated after exposing government misdeeds. Unfortunately, a few days ago he was sent for 30 days to ‘the hole’, one of the many synonyms for the ‘solitary housing unit’ or SHU that prisons in the US use as a form of punishment.
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Why is Trump doing so well?

I think a lot of political commentators (including me) need to apologize to Donald Trump for seriously underestimating him. We thought he would be a sideshow in the election, Herman Cain redux, someone who provides great entertainment for a brief time before the ridiculousness of his candidacy sinks in and he fades away. But looking back we should have realized that he is no dummy. It is true that he is not a self-made man. He started out with rich parents and inherited the family real-estate company but he did manage to use it as a springboard to make a lot more money later and that requires a considerable level of shrewdness and ruthlessness and determination that is standing him in good stead in his unlikely election campaign. We were just too blinded by his massive ego and penchant for outrageous statements, boastfulness, and over-the-top buffoonery to see that when it comes to advancing his own interests, he is no fool but has proven himself to be a canny operator.
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Death because of ‘contempt of cop’

Another day, another unarmed person dies in police custody. This time it is a black woman Sandra Bland who is the victim when a traffic stop for what is a minor offense ends up with the police officer seemingly taking umbrage because she did not cower sufficiently before him, resulting in him assaulting her and throwing her in jail for three days before she was found dead in her cell. The authorities claim it was suicide but it is being investigated. It should be noted that the county where this occurred is notorious for being racist.
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