This Is a Dark Hour for America

The question is: What are we — the vast majority of Americans — going to do about this? 

By Robert Reich, The Baltimore Sun
05 July 18

Seven suggestions:

First and most importantly, do not give up. That’s what they would like us to do. Then they’d have no opposition at all. Powerlessness is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Please do not succumb to it.

Second, in the short term, contact your senators and urge them to oppose Mr. Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court.

If your state has a Republican senator, you might mobilize and organize your friends and neighbors to do whatever they can to get that senator to reject Mr. Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. Or, at the least, postpone consideration of that nominee until after the midterm elections, so there’s a chance to change the composition of the Senate.

Third, make a ruckus. Demonstrate. Engage in nonviolent civil disobedience. Fight lies with truth. Join the resistance.

Many grassroots organizations are doing great work, and could use your help. Among them are: @IndivisibleTeam, @swingleft, @UpRiseDotOrg, @MoveOn. @Sister_District, and @flippable_org. I’m sure I’ve left out many others. Check with your friends, and check online.

Fourth, don’t engage in divisive incrimination over “who lost” the 2016 election. There’s no point in Hillary Clinton loyalists, Bernie Sanders supporters, Jill Stein voters, and others turning on one another and blaming each other for the outcome. We must be united.

Fifth, vote this Nov. 6 for people who will stand up to the Trump Republicans’ rampage. Mobilize and organize others to do so, too. If you live in a blue state, contact friends and relatives in red states and urge them to do the same.

Sixth, help lay the groundwork for the 2020 presidential election so that even if Trump survives Robert Mueller’s investigation and a possible impeachment proceeding, he will not be re-elected.

Finally, bear in mind that this fight will be long and hard. It will require our patience, our courage and our resolve. Yet the stakes could not be higher. We’re talking about the future of our democracy, and the well-being of our children and our children’s children.


Source: Baltimore Sun 07/05/18 republished ReaderSupportedNews.org

Reuniting children with their families

We are all witnessing the humanitarian crisis unfolding at our southern border as images and sounds of crying children in obvious distress have finally surfaced. Since April. when the Trump Administration implemented the “Zero Tolerance” policy to arrest and charge immigrants crossing illegally between official ports of entry, an estimated 2300 children have been displaced from their families.  Although President Trump reversed his own Family Separation policy today, much confusion exists about reuniting the children already taken by the Department of Homeland Security and placed into a hodgepodge network of shelters, tent cities and foster homes.

Complicating everything is the apparent lack of planning and the woefully inadequate resources to help families find and reunite with their children after their cases have been adjudicated.  In some cases, parents have already been deported back to their home countries while their children remain in custody somewhere in the United States. Little or no thought has been given to what happens to these families afterward.  The very real possibility exists that many of these children will never be reunited with their mothers and fathers.

Long-tail Hashtag Searches on Twitter

Example: a Mother & Father looking for their child & the people helping your child to find you are hampered by disjointed agencies not communicating let alone sharing their data.

Think about this:  Long-Tail Hashtag Searches on Twitter.

Different parameters than Boolean Searches; instead Twitter uses hashtags, underscores.

Help to reunify separated families. Long-Tail Hashtag Searches on Twitter
Help to reunify separated families. Long-Tail Hashtag Searches on Twitter

 

 

CODE BLUE

I asked my brother last night. “So, did you hear about Trump making Sessions fire FBI Deputy Director Andy McCabe?”

“Oh yeah, he’s that corrupt FBI agent who took money from Hillary Clinton while he was investigating the Clinton Foundation.”

“No Stan, Mr McCabe is not that corrupt FBI agent who took money from Hillary Clinton while he was investigating the Clinton Foundation. Why do you think he got fired just 2 hours before his 50th birthday & 26 hours before he was eligible for his full pension & benefits after 21 years of honorable service to the United States?”

“Well, I don’t know anything about that but Sarah Sanders said it’s well documented McCabe is a bad player.”

“No Stan, it is not well documented the former Deputy Director of the FBI is a bad player.  Just because Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says something doesn’t make it true. ”

“Well, you don’t want Sharia Law in America do you?”

“Whaaat?”

Another victim of NRA culture

I will forever be haunted by the child’s voice on the phone “My name is Nicolas Cruz.  My mother died recently and I don’t know what to do.”

Nicolas Cruz, the shooter at Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, Florida, is a teenager and, until recently, a student himself at the 3000-student high school.  Since his Valentine’s Day Massacre which claimed 17 lives, much has been published about the 19-year old’s troubled life. Arrested a short time after the attack by local police, Cruz faces 17 counts of premeditated murder. The prosecutor is calling for the death penalty. Cruz has indicated he’ll plead guilty if the death penalty is taken off the table.

Seeing Nicolas Cruz as he’s brought into court, I am taken by how thin, deflated he looks. Caved chest, head hanging low as possible, he shuffles to the defense table with shackled waist, ankles and wrists. He is a shell of a teenager, traumatized, dejected, unable to look up or respond to anything around him.

Politicians are quick to cast blame on the system for not stopping a “sicko” from an “act of pure evil.” Although law enforcement, social services and/or other emergency agencies had (supposedly) been alerted some 39 times in the last  two years that Cruz was a danger to himself and others, he was allowed to accumulate 10 weapons of varying types and calibers including the AR-15 assault rifle.

The weapon of choice among ardent 2nd Amenders & the National Rifle Association, the semi-automatic AR-15 was used in the mass murders at Pulse Nightclub, the Aurora, Colorado movie theater, the Las Vegas outdoor concert, the Sutherland, TX church, and Sandy Hook Elementary School 5 years ago. In each case, the weapon and high-velocity ammunition were obtained legally.

Nicolas Cruz is the poster child of the lone wolf who commits mass shootings in America. Unable to buy a handgun until age 21, Cruz needed to be just 18 years old  to purchase his AR-15 and train on a youth gun range funded in part with a grant from the NRA.  Disaffected, disassociated, socially inept, an outlier who never fit in, he was that kid who can never be normal. 

As Cruz drifted farther from normalcy, he found kindred spirits, an accepting family of some very fine people – skinheads, white nationalists, Anglo-Americans, NeoNazis. Indeed, Cruz allegedly scratched swastikas onto the metal ammo clips he left behind signifying his intent and purpose.

The argument is made that millions of gun owners have tough lives but they don’t shoot up schools. Why did Nicolas Cruz fall off the edge into an orgy of blood and violence against his own peers?

His mother died suddenly just months before from a case of the flu. There were only 4 people at her funeral – himself, his brother and two former neighbors. The family of a classmate invited Nicolas to live with them but it’s clear the loss of his mother was so significant that tragedy of some kind was inevitable.