Thursday Reads: Some Good News for a Change

Good Morning!!

For once I can begin a post with some upbeat stories.

Chicago Tribune: llinois approves Equal Rights Amendment, 36 years after deadline.

The Illinois House voted Wednesday night to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment more than 45 years after it was approved by Congress, putting it one state away from possible enshrinement in the U.S. Constitution amid potential legal questions.

The 72-45 vote by the House, following an April vote by the Senate, was just one more vote than needed for ratification. It does not need the approval of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, who has said he supports equal rights but was faulted by Democrats for not taking a position on the ERA….

As has been the case for decades, the legislative debate over the Equal Rights Amendment was fraught with controversy. Opponents largely contended the measure was aimed at ensuring an expansion of abortion rights for women. Supporters said it was needed to give women equal standing in the nation’s founding document.

Opponents also contended the measure may be moot, since its original 1982 ratification deadline has long since expired. Supporters argued, however, that the 1992 ratification of the 1789 “Madison Amendment,” preventing midterm changes in congressional pay, makes the ERA a legally viable change to the constitution.

Read the whole thing at the link above. Some history:

On March 22, 1972, the Senate approved the Equal Rights Amendment, which banned discrimination on the basis of sex. The amendment fell three states shy of ratification.

In 1923, three years after the ratification of the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote, suffragist Alice Paul drafted an amendment to guarantee equal rights for women. Known as the Equal Rights Amendment or the Lucretia Mott Amendment, it stated, “Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction.”

The amendment was presented to Congress in 1923, and re-introduced to every session of Congress for nearly 50 years. It mostly stayed in committee until 1946, when a reworded proposal, dubbed the Alice Paul Amendment, lost a close vote in the Senate. Four years later, the Senate passed a weaker version of the amendment that was not supported by ERA proponents.

Opposition to ERA came from social conservatives and from labor leaders, who feared that it would threaten protective labor laws for women. Support for the amendment increased during the 1960s as the Civil Rights Movement inspired a second women’s rights movement. The National Organization for Women (NOW), founded in 1966, led to movement for the passage of ERA.

In 1970, Rep. Martha Griffiths of Michigan succeeded in getting the ERA out of committee and before Congress for debate. The House of Representatives passed the amendment without changes 352-15 in 1971. The Senate passed the amendment on March 22, 1972, a day after voting against any proposed changes.

The passed amendment read: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

The second bit of good news, from The Washington Post: Virginia General Assembly approves Medicaid expansion to 400,000 low-income residents.

The Virginia legislature voted Wednesday to make government health insurance available to 400,000 low-income residents, overcoming five years of GOP resistance. The decision marks a leftward shift in the legislature and an enormous win for Gov. Ralph Northam (D), the pediatrician who ran on expanding access to health care.

Virginia will join 32 other states and the District in expanding Medicaid coverage. The measure is expected to take effectJan. 1.

“This is not just about helping this group of people,” said Sen. Frank Wagner (Virginia Beach), one of four Republicans in the Senate who split from their party to join Democrats and pass the measure by a vote of 23 to 17. “This is about getting out there and helping to bend the cost of health care for every Virginian. . . . It is the number one issue on our voters’ minds. By golly, it ought to be the number one issue on the General Assembly’s mind.”

Another Republican who broke ranks, Sen. Ben Chafin (Russell), is a lawyer and a cattle farmer from a rural district where health care is sorely lacking.

“I came to the conclusion that ‘no’ just wasn’t the answer anymore, that doing nothing about the medical conditions, the state of health care in my district, just wasn’t the answer any longer,” he said.

After the Senate vote, the House of Delegates approved the measure by 67 to 31 as the chamber erupted in cheers.

Also from the WaPo: Why Virginia’s Medicaid expansion is a big deal.

It’s another nail in the coffin for efforts to repeal Obamacare and a fresh reminder of how difficult it is to scale back any entitlement once it’s created. Many Republicans, in purple and red states alike, concluded that Congress is unlikely to get rid of the law, so they’ve become less willing to take political heat for leaving billions in federal money on the table.

Years of obstruction in the commonwealth gave way because key Republicans from rural areas couldn’t bear to deny coverage for their constituents any longer, moderates wanted to cut a deal and, most of all, Democrats made massive gains in November’s off-year elections.

Years of obstruction in the commonwealth gave way because key Republicans from rural areas couldn’t bear to deny coverage for their constituents any longer, moderates wanted to cut a deal and, most of all, Democrats made massive gains in November’s off-year elections.

As President Trump steps up efforts to undermine the law, from repealing the individual mandate to watering down requirements for what needs to be covered in “association health plans,” the administration’s willingness to let states impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients has paradoxically given a rationale for Republicans to flip-flop on an issue where they had dug in their heels.

And in New Jersey: Phil Murphy signs law protecting Obamacare from Trump with N.J. mandate to have health insurance.

Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday signed a law preserving a critical yet controversial part of the Affordable Care Act that President Donald Trump‘s administration repealed last year.

One of the laws creates a statewide individual mandate, which will require all New Jerseyans who don’t have health coverage through a government program like Medicare or their jobs to buy a policy, or pay a fee at tax time.

The landmark federal health care law, better known as Obamacare, imposed the mandate to ensure younger and healthier people who might otherwise forgo insurance will buy-in and share costs.

But the tax package approved by the Republican-led Congress and signed into law by Trump will end the mandate in 2019. The requirement was one of the more distasteful parts of the law for lawmakers and the public who believe it allowed government to intrude into people’s lives.

State Sen. Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex, one of the prime sponsors of the law, said keeping the mandate “was needed to maintain a foundation for the insurance market and to allow the success of the ACA to continue.”

The resistance is making progress!

In other news, The Daily Beast reports that Trump wanted Howard Stern to speak at the 2016 Republican convention, according to his interview last night with David Letterman (emphasis added).

Letterman doesn’t spend much time on the subject of Trump, a person whom Stern has spent more time interviewing than anyone else on the planet, the host does ask the “King of All Media” how he feels about Trump’s tenure as president.

“Well you know, it was a very awkward kind of thing, because Donald asked me to speak at the Republican National Convention,” Stern reveals. “And he would call me from the campaign trail very often, and say, ‘Are you watching?’ I was tickled by this, because I really kind of felt, deep in my heart, that this campaign was really more about selling a book, or selling a brand. I didn’t really understand that he would really want to be president.” [….]

Stern continued: “I was put in a very awkward position of having to say publicly—and to him—that I was a Hillary Clinton supporter. I always have been, and I was honest with Donald. I said, ‘Donald, you also supported Hillary.’ And I do consider Donald a friend but my politics are different.”

The AP has an interesting story on Republican efforts to protect Jeff Sessions’ job.

In private meetings, public appearances on television and late-night phone calls, Trump’s advisers and allies have done all they can to persuade the president not to fire a Cabinet official he dismisses as disloyal. The effort is one of the few effective Republican attempts to install guardrails around a president who delights in defying advice and breaking the rules.

It’s an ongoing effort, though not everyone is convinced the relationship is sustainable for the long term….

The case that Sessions’ protectors have outlined to Trump time and again largely consists of three components: Firing Sessions, a witness in Mueller’s investigation of obstruction of justice, would add legal peril to his standing in the Russia probe; doing so would anger the president’s political base, which Trump cares deeply about, especially with midterm election looming this fall; and a number of Republican senators would rebel against the treatment of a longtime colleague who was following Justice Department guidelines in his recusal.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has said that he will not schedule a confirmation hearing for another attorney general nominee if Sessions is fired.

Click on the link to read the rest.

Melania Trump has missing from the public eye for 20 days now. Yesterday her husband apparently decided to send a message from her Twitter account, but he forgot to make the language sound like her.

A few more stories to check out:

The New Yorker: How the Trump Administration Got Comfortable Separating Immigrant Kids from Their Parents.

Nicholas Kristof at The New York Times: Trump Immigration Policy Veers From Abhorrent to Evil.

The Washington Post: Trump plans to impose metal tariffs on closest U.S. allies.

The New York Times: For ‘Columbiners,’ School Shootings Have a Deadly Allure.

The Daily Beast: What Happened to Jill Stein’s Recount Millions?

The New York Times: How Trump’s Election Shook Obama: ‘What if We Were Wrong?’

NPR: Russia’s Lavrov Meets With Kim Jong Un, As Pompeo Tries To Salvage Summit.

CNBC: Trump will pardon conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza, who was convicted of campaign finance violation.

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Wednesday Reads: Razing the Barr

Popeye by E.C. Segar

News of yesterday in one tweet:

But they didn’t just fire Roseanne from her new old show…check this out:

Yes please…take Maher’s sorry ass with you!

Then as if those moments didn’t bring a fleeting tickle of joy, it seems like FoxNews is hitting a wall?

Well, if you ever need to get a glimpse at what a tRump rally is like, but don’t want to actually watch one, check out Daniel Dale twitter feed during one of them:

Dale fact checks tRump as he goes along. It is refreshing to see.

See what I mean…

Can we get this asshole…gone already?

Oh about the news regarding the number of dead in Puerto Rico:

And here is a bit of tRump foreign policy…in the works…

But the funny thing is…this is just what China did with all those Ivanka trademarks and that tRump tower deal, innit?

Enough of all this shit. Here are your cartoons:

05/29/2018 Cartoon by John Cole

Cartoon by John Cole -

05/29/2018 Cartoon by Bob Gorrell

Cartoon by Bob Gorrell -

You have to go click the link to see that one…I suggest you do it!

Trump and NFL offended by kneeling : 05/29/2018 Cartoon by David G. Brown

Cartoon by David G. Brown - Trump and NFL offended by kneeling

They aren’t funny anymore…

For Profits: 05/29/2018 Cartoon by Paul Fell

Cartoon by Paul Fell - For Profits

Tap Dance: 05/28/2018 Cartoon by Ed Hall

Cartoon by Ed Hall - Tap Dance

take a knee – NOT: 05/27/2018 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - take a knee - NOT

Memorial Day 2018: 05/28/2018 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - Memorial Day 2018

NFL Anthem Policy: 05/27/2018 Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - NFL Anthem Policy

05/27/2018 Cartoon by MStreeter

Cartoon by MStreeter -

Clay Bennett editorial cartoon: 05/27/2018 Cartoon by Clay Bennett

Cartoon by Clay Bennett - Clay Bennett editorial cartoon

Memorial Day: 05/27/2018 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Memorial Day

How I wish….

I’m ending the post with news that Kim Kardashian is meeting with tRump and Kushner on prison reform. It seemed like the punchline to the start is another day in tRump hell.

This is an open thread.


Tuesday Reads: Where is Melania? And Other News

Dump trucks lined up around Trump Tower in NY.

Good Afternoon!!

What has happened to Melania? I’m becoming obsessed with this question. It has now been 18 days since she’s been seen in public on May 10. How much longer can the White House go on claiming she’s living there without evidence? The latest rumor is that she has gone back to New York.

The evidence is that dump trucks have appeared all around Trump Tower. Apparently, that also happened the two times that Trump stayed in New York.

The Inquistr reported yesterday that Melania’s Twitter location had changed to New York. But it turns out that they were looking at the Twitter account Melania used before becoming first lady. The FLOTUS account that she uses now still says Washington, DC. So that’s a red herring that was debunked by The Palmer Report.

Why wasn’t Melania with her husband at yesterday’s Memorial Day ceremony?

Trump claimed she was in a window looking down at a press gaggle outside the White House, but no one else could see her. The White House is going to have to explain what’s happening eventually, or the occasional speculation is going become an uproar.

This is from a gossip site linked by The Palmer Report. Hollywood Life: Melania Trump Vanished After Surgery – She Wishes Donald’s Presidency Was Over, Claims Source.

Melania Trump, 48, underwent kidney surgery on May 14, and has since secluded herself from the public eye. But her break isn’t completely health-related – she’s also trying to better her marriage to Donald Trump, 71.“Melania has been taking a little ‘me time’ to work on fully regaining her health, and to try and strengthen her marriage again,” a source close to the First Lady tells HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. “It’s been a hideously stressful past few months, and Melania needs a break out of the media glare to recharge her batteries and take stock.”

However, our insider noted that the president isn’t making things easier for his wife. “Donald has been under an ever increasing ton of pressure, so he definitely isn’t in the best of moods, which makes for a pretty tense atmosphere at home,” the source continued. “Melania really is getting to the point now where she just wishes Donald’s presidency was over, and she can’t wait to return to her ‘regular’ life again, even though she realizes it will never be quite the same.”

The Palmer Report claims this means Melania is having psychological problems.

This confirms that there was never any kidney problem; this is some kind of mental health break. It’s been fairly obvious from the start that this has probably been a mental health issue, but due to the sensitive nature of the situation, we’ve gone out of our way not to explicitly say it.

I’m not sure we can assume this based on an anonymous source quoted at a gossip site, but what else could explain her disappearance from public view? At this point, I have to believe that Melania wants out of her marriage and that’s why we haven’t seen her since May 10. We’ve seen how she resists holding his hand–sometimes even batting it away.

This is interesting, from Riot Woman (second tweet in series):

There’s more. You can see the entire thread here. One more from Sarah Kendzior:

It’s time for some serious journalists at the NYT and WaPo to locate Melania and find out what’s going on.

In Other News . . .

A few days ago I posted a Politico article in which former SDNY prosecutor Nelson W. Cunningham offered some predictions about the Rus:sia investigation. Today he has more predictions, again at Politico: Bob Mueller’s White Hot Summer.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller may well be in the final stages of wrapping up his principal investigation. Last week, I argued here in Politico that Mueller will want to avoid interfering with the November midterms, and so will try to conclude by July or August. On this one we can believe Trump’s new lawyer, former prosecutor and New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who claims Mueller’s target is September 1.

How will Mueller wrap up his investigation? What will he produce? And then – what can we expect from the other players in this saga: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, President Trump and his lawyers, and the Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress?

Nelson W. Cunningham

As a former prosecutor and Senate Judiciary and White House lawyer who has carefully studied presidential investigations since Watergate, the next steps in this constitutional dance seem clear. Mark Twain was certainly right when he said, “History does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” And this summer may well be the most consequential in presidential politics since 1974, the year Watergate came to a head.

Here are the predictions, which you can read about in detail at the link above.

 – Mueller will not indict the president, but will issue a comprehensive and detailed report.

– Rod Rosenstein will decide to release the report to Congress and the public.

– Rosenstein’s move to release the Mueller report will lead to his firing and perhaps another      Saturday Night Massacre.

– And this is when the Senate and the Congress might finally engage.

If Cunningham is correct, we have an interesting summer ahead.

Trump is clearly obsessed with what Mueller is doing. He spent the long Memorial Day weekend tweeting about it. Yesterday, after inappropriately tweeting “Happy Memorial Day!” and then bragging about his so-called accomplishments, he sent multiple tweets about the Russia investigation, trying to twist it into a Democratic scandal. Politico:

Trump pivoted to tweeting about Fox News segments on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election – an investigation that Trump and his allies contend, without evidence, was politically motivated to harm Trump’s campaign and his administration.

“‘The President deserves some answers.’ @FoxNews in discussing ‘SPYGATE.’” Trump wrote on Twitter.

The “president” is bald.

Minutes later, he posted again: “‘Sally Yates is part of concerns people have raised about bias in the Justice Dept. I find her actions to be really quite unbelievable.’ Jonathan Turley.”

“‘We now find out that the Obama Administration put the opposing campaigns presidential candidate, or his campaign, under investigation. That raises legitimate questions. I just find this really odd…this goes to the heart of our electoral system.’ Jonathan Turley on @FoxNews,” he added….

Trump appears increasingly obsessed with what he is calling “Spygate” – the notion that his campaign was surveilled by the Justice Department for political purposes. There is no evidence to suggest this is the case. The FBI utilized an informant to talk to campaign officials after they discovered evidence that the officials had Russia-linked contacts during the campaign, while Russia was allegedly waging a covert disinformation campaign to harm Democrat Hillary Clinton and help Trump.

The NYT on Trump’s attempts to reshape the narrative: With ‘Spygate,’ Trump Shows How He Uses Conspiracy Theories to Erode Trust.

As a candidate, Donald J. Trump claimed that the United States government had known in advance about the Sept. 11 attacks. He hinted that Antonin Scalia, a Supreme Court justice who died in his sleep two years ago, had been murdered. And for years, Mr. Trump pushed the notion that President Barack Obama had been born in Kenya rather than Honolulu, making him ineligible for the presidency.

None of that was true.

The “president’s” narrative

Last week, President Trump promoted new, unconfirmed accusations to suit his political narrative: that a “criminal deep state” element within Mr. Obama’s government planted a spy deep inside his presidential campaign to help his rival, Hillary Clinton, win — a scheme he branded “Spygate.” It was the latest indication that a president who has for decades trafficked in conspiracy theories has brought them from the fringes of public discourse to the Oval Office.

Now that he is president, Mr. Trump’s baseless stories of secret plots by powerful interests appear to be having a distinct effect. Among critics, they have fanned fears that he is eroding public trust in institutions, undermining the idea of objective truth and sowing widespread suspicions about the government and news media that mirror his own.

“The effect on the life of the nation of a president inventing conspiracy theories in order to distract attention from legitimate investigations or other things he dislikes is corrosive,” said Jon Meacham, a presidential historian and biographer. “The diabolical brilliance of the Trump strategy of disinformation is that many people are simply going to hear the charges and countercharges, and decide that there must be something to them because the president of the United States is saying them.”

Read the rest at the NYT.

The Washington Post has a piece on the ways Trump has reduced the White House to a one-man operation: ‘The only one’: In new West Wing season, Trump calls the shots and aides follow.

The White House communications director’s job has been vacant for exactly two months. But in practice, it has been filled since the day Hope Hicks said farewell to her unofficial replacement — President Trump himself.

The president also has unofficially performed the roles of many other senior staffers in recent months, leaving the people holding those jobs to execute on his instincts and ideas.

And that’s exactly how Trump likes his West Wing.

Largely gone are the warring factions that dominated life at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the first year of Trump’s term, replaced by solo players — many with personal connections to the president and their own miniature fiefdoms — laboring to do their jobs and survive.

Trump has brought in a handful of senior people who believe in him personally, are temperamentally in sync with the brash boss and are invested in his political success more than some of his first-year aides were. As one top official put it, “Ultimately he’s the only one anyone elected.”

The authors point out that this doesn’t seem to be working for him in terms of accomplishments. They also write that WH staff has been reduced to simply trying to stop him from doing something completely crazy.

Rather than struggling to manipulate the president to follow their personal agendas, the senior staff members of Trump’s Year 2 — or “Season 3,” in Trump’s reality television parlance — focus on trying to curb his most outlandish impulses while generally executing his vision and managing whatever fallout may follow. Most of all, officials said, they “get” Trump.

“Last year was the year of adjustment. He was constrained by an axis of adults and adjusting to be president,” said Thomas Wright, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “This year is the year of action. He’s giving the orders, even if there’s resistance.

“Next year,” he continued, “is the hangover year, the year of living with the consequences.”

That doesn’t sound too promising.

Anyway, onward into another day of hoping Trump doesn’t blow up the world. What stories are you following?


Memorial Day Reads

It’s the Memorial Day Holiday!

Sewell Chan writes for the NYT about the ‘unofficial’ history of Memorial Day. It is something we discovered and shared before but it bears repeating because it explains why the holiday still gets short shrift in here in the Deep South. It also explains why some Southern States still have a separate Confederate Memorial Day.  I still remain shocked that Mississippi refused to recognize it as a holiday until recently.

David W. Blight, a historian at Yale, has a different account. He traces the holiday to a series of commemorations that freed black Americans held in the spring of 1865, after Union soldiers, including members of the 21st United States Colored Infantry, liberated the port city of Charleston, S.C.

Digging through an archive at Harvard, Dr. Blight found that the largest of these commemorations took place on May 1, 1865, at an old racecourse and jockey club where hundreds of captive Union prisoners had died of disease and been buried in a mass grave. The black residents exhumed the bodies and gave them proper burials, erected a fence around the cemetery, and built an archway over it with the words, “Martyrs of the Race Course.”

Some 10,000 black people then staged a procession of mourning, led by thousands of schoolchildren carrying roses and singing the Union anthem “John Brown’s Body.” Hundreds of black women followed with baskets of flowers, wreaths and crosses. Black men, including Union infantrymen, also marched. A children’s choir sang spirituals and patriotic songs, including “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

“The war was over, and Memorial Day had been founded by African-Americans in a ritual of remembrance and consecration,” Dr. Blight wrotein a 2011 essay for The New York Times. “The war, they had boldly announced, had been about the triumph of their emancipation over a slaveholders’ republic. They were themselves the true patriots.”

The African-American origins of the holiday were later suppressed, Dr. Blight found, by white Southerners who reclaimed power after the end of Reconstruction and interpreted Memorial Day as a holiday of reconciliation, marking sacrifices — by white Americans — on both sides. Black Americans were largely marginalized in this narrative.

“In the struggle over memory and meaning in any society, some stories just get lost while others attain mainstream recognition,” Dr. Blight wrote.

His claim is not universally accepted; the fact-checking website Snopes says of the 1865 remembrance: “Whether it was truly the first such ceremony, and what influence (if any) it might have had on later observances, are still matters of contention.”

Here is BostonBoomer’s blog from 2014 and Mink’s from 2012.  We remember the role of slaves freed by the sacrifice of Union Soldiers in our Civil War in celebrating that sacrifice.

I always remember Decoration Day because when I was very young we would do what my parents did as children.  We went to small cemeteries in Kansas and Missouri to make certain the family grave sites were attended and clean. We picnicked  and trimmed bushes then put peonies in jars on the graves of greats and cousins who died in war. For some reason, all of our family grave plots were resplendent with huge peony bushes.  My mother always beat them back and would announce loudly how much she hated them. Peony bushes were not allowed any where near home. They were left to the dead in my family and they bloomed profusely each Memorial Day.

In Caney Kansas, where my own grandparents are now buried, lays my Great Uncle Jack along side his mother, my Great Grandmother Anna.  He didn’t die in the battlefields of Europe during World War 1 but came home with complications from Mustard Gas. He died quite young on the family farm but it was of his wounds brought home as a dough boy fighting in a trench.  Many soldiers come home with wounds seen and unseen that eventually catch up to them. I never understood why I was told Dad’s Uncle Jack wasn’t quite included in the same way as those whose graves got the peonies properly but we gave him peonies because my Dad and Nana adored him and it felt right to me.  Some times our country has a short memory with a narrow focus. It doesn’t really remember all of the sacrifices of those who came before us including every single slave who died unfree.

Today, we also remember the sacrifice of every gold star family too. I hope Cadet Bonespurs plays golf and that his selfish, hateful face stays away from the one holiday he can truly sully with just his presence. Unfortunately, he left long enough to give a lofty speech at Arlington that should have been given by any better person.  But, take heart, he still had a way of making it all about him!

I read this article last night and even reviewed the variables and methodology of the original study.  It’s amazing to actually review the panel data and see which attributes are significant to the question at hand but the findings are not surprising. NBC shares “The Trump effect: New study connects white American intolerance and support for authoritarianism.”

A new study, however, suggests that the main threat to our democracy may not be the hardening of political ideology, but rather the hardening of one particular political ideology. Political scientists Steven V. Miller of Clemson and Nicholas T. Davis of Texas A&M have released a working paper titled “White Outgroup Intolerance and Declining Support for American Democracy.” Their study finds a correlation between white American’s intolerance, and support for authoritarian rule. In other words, when intolerant white people fear democracy may benefit marginalized people, they abandon their commitment to democracy.

Miller and Davis used information from the World Values Survey, a research project organized by a worldwide network of social scientists which polls individuals in numerous countries on a wide range of beliefs and values. Based on surveys from the United States, the authors found that white people who did not want to have immigrants or people of different races living next door to them were more likely to be supportive of authoritarianism. For instance, people who said they did not want to live next door to immigrants or to people of another race were more supportive Iof the idea of military rule, or of a strongman-type leader who could ignore legislatures and election results.

The World Values Survey data used is from the period 1995 to 2011 — well before Donald Trump’s 2016 run for president. It suggests, though, that Trump’s bigotry and his authoritarianism are not separate problems, but are intertwined. When Trump calls Mexicans “rapists,” and when he praises authoritarian leaders, he is appealing to the same voters.

The Chinese Trade Wars are showing winners and losers already. Winners include Trump himself–and now, Ivanka– plus Chinese Companies including ones that threaten US National Security. The losers are US companies.  We seem completely unable to stop this.

Ivanka Trump’s brand continues to win foreign trademarks in China and the Philippines, adding to questions about conflicts of interest at the White House, The Associated Press has found.

On Sunday, China granted the first daughter’s company final approval for its 13th trademark in the last three months, trademark office records show. Over the same period, the Chinese government has granted Ivanka Trump’s company provisional approval for another eight trademark s, which can be finalized if no objections are raised during a three-month comment period.

Taken together, the trademarks could allow her brand to market a lifetime’s worth of products in China, from baby blankets to coffins, and a host of things in between, including perfume, make-up, bowls, mirrors, furniture, books, coffee, chocolate and honey. Ivanka Trump stepped back from management of her brand and placed its assets in a family-run trust, but she continues to profit from the business.

“Ivanka Trump’s refusal to divest from her business is especially troubling as the Ivanka brand continues to expand its business in foreign countries,” Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said in an email Monday. “It raises significant questions about corruption, as it invites the possibility that she could be benefiting financially from her position and her father’s presidency or that she could be influenced in her policy work by countries’ treatment of her business.”

As Ivanka Trump and her father have built their global brands, largely through licensing deals, they have pursued trademarks in dozens of countries. Those global trademarks have drawn the attention of ethics lawyers because they are granted by foreign governments and can confer enormous value. Concerns about political influence have been especially sharp in China, where the courts and bureaucracy are designed to reflect the will of the ruling Communist Party.

Chinese officials have emphasized that all trademark applications are handled in accordance with the law.

More approvals are likely to come. Online records from China’s trademark office indicate that Ivanka Trump’s company last applied for trademarks — 17 of them — on March 28, 2017, the day before she took on a formal role at the White House. Those records on Monday showed at least 25 Ivanka Trump trademarks pending review, 36 active marks and eight with provisional approval.

Don’t forget!  Trump’s Indonesia project has been financial enhanced by the Chinese Government after he announced he would help with ZTE.   China is definitely on the winning side with the Trumps.  However, what about US Businesses?  

As Washington and Beijing try to resolve their trade disputes, several big companies are caught in the middle.

One is Qualcomm (QCOM), an American chipmaker whose $44 billion purchase of NXP Semiconductors (NXPI), a Dutch company, has been waiting for Chinese regulators’ approval.

Far more controversial is the case of ZTE (ZTCOF), the Chinese phone and telecom equipment maker that was crippled by a US export ban issued last monthin punishment for what the US said were violations of its sanctions against North Korea and Iran.

Easing penalties on ZTE is a key priority for Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Trump has indicated he’s willing to yield in order to move ahead with further trade discussions.

But members of Congress from both parties, many increasingly wary of China’s trade practices, believe such leniency would be a mistake. A growing number of senatorshave drawn a red line on ZTE, and have been vocal in recent days about their opposition to restoring the company.

Are we winning yet?

Meanwhile, TrumpsterFires continue to break out as white men go after our national “enemies” like young men from China attending school  here.  This must be an additional feature to calling the police because black people are going about their lives in clear view!

California police say they thwarted a vigilante deportation attempt last week – in which a pilot allegedly kidnapped a foreign student, took him to an airport and tried to send him “back to China.”

Jonathan McConkey, a pilot and certified flight instructor, is accused of orchestrating the kidnapping with his assistant, Kelsi Hoser, a ground instructor. Both reportedly worked at the IASCO flight training school in Redding, California.

Among IASCO’s students were dozens of Chinese nationals with student visas, according to court records. KRCR News 7 reported that the school contracted with China’s civil aviation authority to train its new pilots, one of whom was apparently Tianshu Shi.

Shi told reporters that he had been in the United States for about seven months – living with several other IASCO trainees at an apartment in Redding. It was there, police said, that McConkey and Hoser came for the student.

Some interesting stats from Axios you can review.  Which part of our country has lost the most on the battlefield since 9/11?

Today is the 17th Memorial Day since 9/11. Since then, 6,940 U.S. military service members have died for America.

Why it matters: Every part of the country has lost soldiers to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. All were Americans — someone’s neighbor, child, parent, mentor, buddy. Their average age was between 26 and 27 years old.

Have a great day and be safe if you’re in the path of all that weather on the East coast and the panhandle of Florida!.

 


Sunday Reads: Please @UNHumanRights investigate US for the inhumane treatment of children…missing, abused and imprisoned at the border…

I used the word US, for both the Country… the “U.S.” and the “us”…as in we people…this thing we call ourselves. Americans.

What a disgrace!

Thank you Kamala. For giving a voice to these lost and abused and imprisoned children. Because the silence around you is deafening.

From this Mashable link: We’ve become normalized to Trump’s tweets. Not this one.

Nowadays, it takes a lot for Americans to become incensed about Trump’s tweets. We need at least one World War threat or nuclear weapon tangent to wake up and realize we’re seconds away from doomsday.

The President still has that magical ability to completely eviscerate our joy. Take Saturday’s tweet, where Trump — in one of his worst lies yet — had the audacity to complain that Democrats were responsible for separating parents from their children at the border.

This is the tweet of which they speak:

That is an outright lie.

The Mashable article also points to this tweet by Amee Vanderpool:

This is a letter written to the Human Rights Branch of the UN, by the CEO of RINJ…an organization that:

…RINJ Women as a Civil Society Organization seek sustainable human development from a position of perceived feminine helplessness rudely imposed on women by a patriarch to which women traditionally acquiesced.So yes, we rise up above the misconception of weakness to love & support women and children, especially the most vulnerable. While we strive for all our rights we encourage others to joinus.

I am glad that this non-profit group is bringing this latest tRump administration atrocity to the attention of the UN. I just wish that there was some of those with more, and I am going to say it, power to move the UN to investigate the human rights crisis going on at our southern border. Where are the outcries and official demands for an investigation into human rights abuses from say, important Democrat congress people? Foreign policy wonks? Other nations? (As I write this, there has not been any commentary…btw, aside from Kamala Harris.)

Nothing.

(Well, I am calling for an investigation myself…)

Twitter has been busy, from the Mashable link up top:

Now, social media is asking: #WhereAreTheChildren? The hashtag was a constant presence on Twitter all day on Saturday as people demanded answers on the missing children.

https://twitter.com/Goss30Goss/status/1000482458381553671

That tweet there cites something of interest.

Take a look at this: How the Court works –International Criminal Court

Emphasis mine…

The crimes

The Court’s founding treaty, called the Rome Statute, grants the ICC jurisdiction over four main crimes.

First, the crime of genocide is characterised by the specific intent to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial or religious group by killing its members or by other means: causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; or forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

There is also this:

Second, the ICC can prosecute crimes against humanity, which are serious violations committed as part of a large-scale attack against any civilian population. The 15 forms of crimes against humanity listed in the Rome Statute include offences such as murder, rape, imprisonment, enforced disappearances, enslavement – particularly of women and children, sexual slavery, torture, apartheid and deportation.

The two other crimes the court can prosecute, war crimes and crimes of aggression can be found at the link above. I am mostly concerned with the first two. Genocide and crimes against humanity:

Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group-

Imprisonment, enforced disappearances, enslavement – particularly of women and children, sexual slavery…deportation-

Almost 1,500 Migrant Children Placed in Homes by the U.S. Government Went Missing Last Year

Federal officials lost track of nearly 1,500 migrant children last year after a government agency placed the minors in the homes of adult sponsors in communities across the country, according to testimony before a Senate subcommittee Thursday.

The Health and Human Services Department has a limited budget to track the welfare of vulnerable unaccompanied minors, and realized that 1,475 children could not be found after making follow-up calls to check on their safety, an agency official said.

Federal officials came under fire two years ago after rolling back child protection policies meant for minors fleeing violence in Central America. In a follow-up hearing on Thursday, senators said that the agencies had failed to take full responsibility for their care and had delayed crucial reforms needed to keep them from falling into the hands of human traffickers.

A few more examples to prove that tRump and his Administration, as well as anyone who does not officially speak out against this is complicit in crimes against humanity:

Border Patrol Kicked, Punched Migrant Children, Threatened Some with Sexual Abuse, ACLU Alleges

Migrant children under the care of United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) were allegedly beaten, threatened with sexual violence and repeatedly assaulted while in custody between 2009 and 2014, according to a report released Wednesday from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School.

Based on 30,000 pages of documents obtained through a records request, the report includes gruesome, detailed accusations of physical and mental abuse at the hands of officers. The claims were filed by unaccompanied minors, most of whom hailed from El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras. CBP officials have contested large swaths of the report, telling Newsweek that many of the allegations have been investigated and are “false.”

Border authorities were accused of kicking a child in the ribs and forcing a 16-year-old girl to “spread her legs” for an aggressive body search. Other children accused officers of punching a child in the head three times, running over a 17-year-old boy and denying medical care to a pregnant teen, who later had a stillbirth.

Mitra Ebadolahi, ACLU Border Litigation Project staff attorney, said the allegations describe a law enforcement system “marked by brutality and lawlessness.” The organization also accused Border Protection officials of failing to “meaningfully investigate” the allegations detailed in the public records.

I know this is a repeat…but follow this thread:

And don’t forget that ICE has requested to destroy the complaints of sexual abuse since last year:

ICE Plans to Start Destroying Records of Immigrant Abuse, Including Sexual Assault and Deaths in Custody | American Civil Liberties Union

Immigration and Customs Enforcement recently asked the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA), which instructs federal agencies on how to maintain records, to approve its timetable for retaining or destroying records related to its detention operations. This may seem like a run-of-the-mill government request for record-keeping efficiency. It isn’t. An entire paper trail for a system rife with human rights and constitutional abuses is at stake.

1,224 Complaints Reveal a Staggering Pattern of Sexual Abuse in Immigration Detention. Half of Those Accused Worked for ICE.

test alt

The reports obtained by The Intercept include 1,224 complaints filed between 2010 and September 2017, primarily about incidents that took place in ICE custody. But in earlier responses, officials with the DHS Office of Inspector General indicated that the office received some 33,000 complaints between 2010 and 2016 alleging a wide range of abuses in immigration detention. The OIG provided records documenting investigations for just 2 percent of the complaints it shared with The Intercept.

But the sheer number of complaints — despite serious obstacles in the path of those filing them, as well as the patterns they reveal about mistreatment in facilities nationwide — suggest that sexual assault and harassment in immigration detention are not only widespread but systemic, and enabled by an agency that regularly fails to hold itself accountable. While the reports obtained by The Intercept are only a fraction of those filed, they shed light on a system that operates largely in secrecy, and they help hint at the magnitude of the abuse, and the incompetence and complicity of the agency tasked with the safety of the 40,000 women, men, and children it detains each day in more than 200 jails, prisons, and detention centers across the country.

Not sure if they are actually destroying the complaints….The New ICE Age: An Agency Unleashed | by Tina Vasquez | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books

More stories of ICE’s growing powers and abuses continue to emerge. This includes ICE’s push to become an intelligence agency, which would grant the agency unprecedented access to vastly more information, and it request to destroy records of in-custody deaths and sexual assaults—both of which measures have received support from the Trump administration. There are growing signs that the agency is not just flexing its new muscles, but has gone rogue. In Philadelphia alone, according to reporting by ProPublica, there have been numerous allegations of ICE agents’ engaging in racial profiling, conducting warrantless searches, detaining people without probable cause, fabricating evidence, and, in one instance, soliciting a bribe.

The former senior DHS official I spoke with said his “overarching fear” is that, with Trump’s help, ICE is laying the groundwork for institutionalizing its independence, making it immune from Washington oversight: in essence, each ICE field office would operate as its own district with its own rules. If ICE acquires that sort of autonomy and power, it will be incredibly difficult to restore oversight, control, and accountability to the elected federal government in Washington, D.C.

“The American public needs to begin wrapping its head around the disproportionate political power that ICE wields,” said the former DHS official. “The most extreme environment isn’t extreme enough for them. Under Trump, ICE can do more damage than we’ve ever seen.”

The best thing would be for you to read that entire New York Book Review article…by Tina Vasquez. There is a lot of information there, from the immigrants point of view. Please take a look and read it.

I think that covers many of the crimes the ICC can prosecute…I would like to see some investigations into the Trump Administration…for crimes against humanity…and human rights abuses. It is too disgusting to go on with the post, the rest of today’s thread is cartoons.

That disgusting uh…disrespectful treatment of the US Flag are a men’s bathing suit found at my local Walmart.

Bruce Plante Cartoon: Harvey Weinstein gets arrested: 05/26/2018 Cartoon by Bruce Plante

Cartoon by Bruce Plante - Bruce Plante Cartoon: Harvey Weinstein gets arrested

05/26/2018 Cartoon by David Cohen

Cartoon by David Cohen -

05/26/2018 Cartoon by Joel Pett

Cartoon by Joel Pett -

Fear and loathing : 05/25/2018 Cartoon by Ed Hall

Cartoon by Ed Hall - Fear and loathing

05/25/2018 Cartoon by Signe Wilkinson

Cartoon by Signe Wilkinson -

Finally, I want to end with this,

‘I’m not reading any more of these — they’re lies’: MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace refuses to read Trump tweets on air

MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, said President Donald Trump’s lies are getting out of control and they are more like “fairy tales and fantasy” at this point.

On Friday afternoon, Wallace began catching up with Trump’s latest early morning tweet storm, reading them to her panel and viewers at home.

“It started with Donald Trump making up about the FBI spies implanted in his campaign,” Wallace said. “It exploded to the point where the Justice Department had to brief lawmakers about what actually happened. And finally today, after those classified meetings where the only public statements we’ve heard have shot down the original allegation, the conspiracy theory seems to have been largely debunked for everyone but Donald Trump and his allies.”

Wallace then read off President Trump’s tweets about Russia.

You can go to the link to read the lying sack of shit’s tweets.

However, before she could finish reading the tweets, Wallace paused and said: “I’m not reading anymore of this, these are bold face lies.”

I wish more media people would do exactly what she did.

This is an open thread.


Lazy Saturday Reads: Where Are The Children? And Where is Melania?

About two dozen people, mostly Guatemalan parents and their children, waiting to seek asylum in the U.S., in Nogales. Arizona

Good Afternoon!!

Trying to survive the Trump administration is so exhausting and overwhelming. I know I’m far from alone in these feelings. But how much longer can we go on like this? Trump is a master of gaslighting, and he never hesitates to escalate his lies and his efforts to pull all of us down the rabbit hole with him.

Yesterday was a terrible day, as Americans woke up to the horror that Trump is perpetrating on people seeking asylum in our country–ripping parents from their children and then either losing track of the children or even handing them over to human traffickers. PBS Frontline:

Steven Wagner, the acting assistant secretary of the agency’s Administration for Children and Families, faced a barrage of questions from senators on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations over why HHS does not track unaccompanied minors who fail to appear at their immigration court hearings. The agency has faced increased scrutiny following a scathing 2016 report from the committee that found it failed to protect unaccompanied minors from traffickers and other abuses.

Claudia Gómez González, a young woman from Guatemala, was shot in the head by a border patrol agent near Laredo, TX, yesterday.

“It’s just a system that has so many gaps, so many opportunities for these children to fall between the cracks, that we just don’t know what’s going on — how much trafficking or abuse or simply immigration law violations are occurring,” said the committee’s Republican chairman, Sen. Rob Portman.

In 2014, at least 10 trafficking victims, including eight minors, were discovered during a raid by federal and local law enforcement in Portman’s home state of Ohio. As FRONTLINE examined in the recent documentary Trafficked in America, HHS had released several minors to the traffickers. The committee said the case was due to policies and procedures that were “inadequate to protect the children in the agency’s care.”

After unaccompanied minors arrive in the United States, often to reunite with family members or to flee violence or poverty in their home countries, they are typically transferred from border patrol or customs officers to the custody of HHS, which often reunites the minors with a relative or another sponsor. The department is supposed to place check-in phone calls 30 days after a minor’s placement, but during the hearing, Wagner acknowledged gaps in that system.

Between October 2016 and December 2017, he said, the agency was unable to locate almost 1,500 out of the 7,635 minors that it attempted to reach — or about 19 percent. Over two dozen had run away, according to Wagner, who said the agency did not have the capacity to track them down.

This morning, Trump was gaslighting again, blaming Democrats for what his ICE agents are doing.

Two responses:

I’m going with Susan Simpson. Trump is have one of his patented public tantrums, threatening to hurt children and their families until he gets his way. This man is evil.

In case you missed it, here is a video report from Chris Hayes’s show last night.

Without a doubt, this is the most important story for Americans to know about. This is being done in our name, and we must stop it. This is what Hitler did, as he gradually dehumanized Jews, referring to them as “vermin.” Trump is doing that too–calling refugees and immigrants “animals.” Check out this solid read here. Some in the media have tried to excuse Trump by claiming he was only referring to gang members; but it’s clear he means all immigrants. From the Washington Post:

Immigrant advocates have long said that the children, primarily from Central America, are fleeing violence in their home countries and seeking safe harbor in the United States. But the Trump administration has used their plight to justify cracking down on policies that allow these migrants to be released and obtain hearings before immigration judges, rather than being deported immediately.

“We have the worst immigration laws of any country, anywhere in the world,” Trump said at the roundtable held at the Morrelly Homeland Security Center. “They exploited the loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors.”

Trump added: “They look so innocent. They’re not innocent.”

Jews were forced to wear yellow stars. Trump is forcing parents who have just had their children torn from them to wear yellow bracelets. Tucson.com:

Alma Jacinto covered her eyes with her hands as tears streamed down her cheeks.

The 36-year-old from Guatemala was led out of the federal courtroom without an answer to the question that brought her to tears: When would she see her boys again?

Jacinto wore a yellow bracelet on her left wrist, which defense lawyers said identifies parents who are arrested with their children and prosecuted in Operation Streamline, a fast-track program for illegal border crossers.

Moments earlier, her public defender asked the magistrate judge when Jacinto would be reunited with her sons, ages 8 and 11. There was no clear answer for Jacinto, who was sentenced to time served on an illegal-entry charge after crossing the border with her sons near Lukeville on May 14.

We should be protesting in the streets until someone in Trump’s orbit convinces him the policy is hurting him. We know he has no shame, and we know John Kelly has no shame; but surely there is someone around Trump who isn’t a raging psychopath.

Nickolas Kristof wrote on April 25: Why Does Trump Treat Immigrant Kids Cruelly? Because He Can.

A lifetime ago, Anne Frank’s family applied for visas to the United States to escape Hitler, but we rejected the Franks and other desperate Jewish refugees. We thought: This is Europe’s problem, not ours, and we don’t want to be overrun by “those people.”

Today President Trump is again slamming the door on desperate refugees. Indeed, the Trump administration is going a step further by wrenching children from the arms of asylum-seekers, apparently as a way of inflicting gratuitous cruelty to discourage new arrivals.

José Demar Fuentes, a 30-year-old college graduate, arrived in November with his 1-year-old son, Mateo, from El Salvador, where Fuentes was on a gang’s execution list, according to his lawyer, Noreen Barcena. Father and son entered the United States legally, presenting themselves to an immigration officer, providing birth certificates and other documentation, and requesting asylum to save their lives.

Several days later, immigration officers came and took Mateo.

“They basically pried my client’s son from his arms and told him that he had to give up his son,” Barcena told me. “They were both crying.”

Esteban Pastor, 29, hoped Border Patrol agents would free him and his 18-month-old son while they fought their deportation case. Instead the father was imprisoned for crossing the border illegally and his toddler was placed in federal foster care. For months, Pastor said he didn’t know what had happened to his son and he was deported to Guatemala without him last October (Houston Chronicle).

This cannot stand. I hope Robert Mueller is getting ready for more indictments, and that he has carefully planned ahead for the day when Trump finds a way to get rid of him. People who have worked with him say he likely has reports prepared to release and other prosecutors who can carry on the fight.

The latest stories on the Trump/Russia front, in case you haven’t already read them:

Michael Isakoff at Yahoo News: ‘Trump’s son should be concerned’: FBI obtained wiretaps of Putin ally who met with Trump Jr.

Wired: Former Trump Campaign Aide: My Russia Ties Are Not Nefarious!

Politico: Manafort’s ex-son-in-law’s attorneys quit over unpaid bills and ‘lack of candor.’

CNN: Russian oligarch met with Michael Cohen at Trump Tower during transition.

Mother Jones: Roger Stone to Associate: “Prepare to Die.”

Jack Shaeffer at Politico: Week 53: Trump Goes Spy Hunting and Gets Skunked.

 

Has anyone seen Melania Trump? Where is she? “She hasn’t been seen in public for two weeks.” The Washington Post:

First lady Melania Trump, who spent five nights in the hospital following a kidney procedure, has been out of public view for 15 days running — an unusually long absence even for a first lady who relishes life outside the spotlight.

The first lady was last seen on May 10 standing alongside her husband at Joint Base Andrews as the couple greeted three Americans who had been released from prison in North Korea. On May 14, the White House announced that she had undergone a successful embolization procedure at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to treat a benign kidney condition.

Although medical experts have said the kind of procedure the first lady had typically requires only a night’s hospitalization, White House and East Wing aides have said nothing more about her condition and instead asked for privacy.

Someone on Twitter said she had gone from the hospital to her parents’ home in Maryland. I don’t know if that’s true, but Trump claims she’s in the White House now.

Friday morning, a reporter shouted a question to the president about a his wife’s whereabouts as he prepared to board Marine One to attend the Naval Academy commencement.

According to a pool report, President Trump responded by pointing to a window in the White House residence, and said: “She’s doing great. She’s looking at us right there.”

Reporters turned to look at the spot he indicated, but there was no sign of the first lady.

What’s going on? From The Palmer Report (yes, I know it’s sort of a gossip site): Melania Trump has gone missing.

Melania Trump is missing. There’s no other way to put it. She disappeared into the hospital under suspicious circumstances, the White House ended up refusing to explain what was going on, Donald Trump then claimed she had returned home, and no one has seen her since. Now a particularly bizarre stunt today by Donald Trump raises even more questions about where Melania is, and why….

Something serious is going on, and if it were the kind of health issue they could talk about, they’d just tell us. Instead the White House claimed Melania was going to be in the hospital for multiple days for a “kidney procedure” that shouldn’t have taken that long. Then, when she was still missing in action after the initially stated timeframe had come and gone, the White House refused to answer the media’s questions about whether she was even still in the hospital. Now it’s gotten even weirder, thanks to her husband….

it’s fair to assume he’s lying about Melania being in the White House at all. Where the heck is she? Why is she hiding? Whatever has happened to her, it’s the kind of thing that the White House clearly can’t talk about.

If the Washington Post is asking questions and publishing stories about this, other outlets will soon be doing the same, and the White House is going to have to explain her absence from public view. I hope Barron is OK.

So . . . what do you think? What stories have you been following?


Friday Reads: What Kind of Country do We Really want to Be?

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

What kind of country are we? What kind of moron parent leaves guns around so a 13 year old can grab them to shoot his teacher and a girl in his class? Both are in critical condition and the shooter is in custody. Let’s make bets on this girl and teacher trying to stop him from toxic male behavior which is now being mislabeled ‘bullying’ because some dads teach their sons to be predators?

Two people are in critical condition and a shooter is in custody after a shooting inside of Noblesville West Middle School.

The Noblesville Police Department said the call first came in at 9:06 a.m. Two people were shot, a 13-year-old girl and a teacher. They are in critical condition.

A male student was detained and taken into custody.

The teacher that was shot while taking down the shooter and was taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital. The teen was taken to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. Families have been notified.

Additionally, another student is being treated at Riverview Health with a fractured ankle.

“There a male student at Noblesville West Middle School who has been detained,” said Kevin Jowitt, Noblesville Chief of Police. “We believe he is the involved suspect. We have no reason to believe that there is any kind of a threat connected to this anywhere else.”

After the shooting, a SWAT team swept the building.

News 8 spoke with one parent, Chad, who had just learned that his daughter was safe.

“Well, my ex-wife called me and she was hysterical and couldn’t even talk,” he said. “And I had to calm her down and what’s going on. All she said there was shooting at my kid’s school. My daughter called her while it was happening from underneath the desk and it sounded like it was coming from another hallway.”

One victim is a 13-year-old girl. One victim is a teacher that was shot while taking down the shooter. The adult was taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital. The teen was taken to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. Families have been notified.

It’s impossible to wonder how far the depths of Republican Party immorality can go.  ” The teacher was shot while taking down the shooter.”  Is that the new central job duty for teachers now?  Police classrooms for kids of parents who are ammosexuals?

The teachers of Indiana have released a statement that says they want no thoughts and prayers.  They want action!

The Indiana State Teachers Association released a statement following the shooting:

“Our hearts go out to the students, educators, families and community members of Noblesville who this morning faced a senseless act of gun violence at Noblesville West Middle School. We understand at least one student and an adult may be injured, and we are praying for the best.

This national crisis has landed in our backyard. We all have a responsibility to keep our kids safe from violence, and it’s unconscionable that they live in fear that one day their school may be next. When is enough, enough?

Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough to keep our students and educators safe. We need to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous people. We now know that it is up to communities, families, activists, educators and the students themselves to stand up and demand that those who are trusted with protecting them do their jobs.”

Exactly, enough should be enough. But, hey, the party of “family values” values indentured servitude too.  Tax dollars are being used to turn aides into virtual servants.

Freshman Rep. Tom Garrett (R-Va.) and his wife turned the congressman’s staff into personal servants, multiple former aides told POLITICO — assigning them tasks from grocery shopping to fetching the congressman’s clothes to caring for their pet dog, all during work hours.

POLITICO has spoken with four former staffers who detailed a deeply dysfunctional office, where the congressman and his wife, Flanna, often demanded that staff run personal errands outside their typical congressional duties. The couple called on staff to pick up groceries, chauffeur Garrett’s daughters to and from his Virginia district, and fetch clothes that the congressman forgot at his Washington apartment. They were even expected to watch and clean up after Sophie, their Jack Russell-Pomeranian mix, the aides said.

The staffers said feared that if they refused Garrett or his wife’s orders — both were known for explosive tempers — they would struggle to advance in their careers. It wasn’t just full-time staff: many of the allegedly inappropriate requests were made of interns, the former aides said.

“I didn’t know who I was working for: was I working for him? Was I working for her?” said one of those staffers who, like others interviewed for this story, asked not to be named for fear of retribution. “We became their gofers.”

It all comes from the top of the rotting head of the fish. This WAPO Op-Ed is from former Republican Jennifer Ruben.  The hypocrisy, greed, and love of power sends a stench smelled round the world.

Speaking at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast on Thursday morning, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) pronounced that “there is a deeply serious problem we see right now within our society.” What might that be? “We see moral relativism becoming more and more pervasive in our culture,” he declared. “Identity politics and tribalism have grown on top of this. All of it has been made more prevalent by 21st-century technology. And there is plenty of money to be made on making it worse.”

One doesn’t know whether to laugh, cry or scream. Ryan’s lecturing about truth and tribalism comes the day after the president’s lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, literally said “truth is relative“; during an episode in which the president has made up a fake scandal about the FBI “spying on his campaign”; and in an administration in which the president has lied more than 3,000 timessince taking office. Ryan denounces tribalism but supports the efforts of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) to smear the FBI and interfere with a legitimate investigation of the president and his cronies. Ryan denounces money in politics as we learn the president’s lawyer Michael Cohen had a lucrative business hitting up corporations and foreign governments for money. Ryan grouses about moral relativism but did not support a resolution condemning the president’s comparison of neo-Nazis to anti-Nazi protesters, because doing so would have just devolved into partisanship or something.

Speaking of money in politics, has Ryan called for a single hearing on the president’s foreign emoluments? On the Trump family’s conflicts of interest? On Jared Kushner’s receipt of two jumbo loans shortly after he met with principals of the lenders?

What would you expect from a man who considers ‘The Virtue of Selfishness” to be his personal moral guide?  There is, of course, no doubt our President and all around him are corrupt as hell.

Eleven days before the presidential inauguration last year, a billionaire Russian businessman with ties to the Kremlin visited Trump Tower in Manhattan to meet with Donald J. Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, according to video footage and another person who attended the meeting.

In Mr. Cohen’s office on the 26th floor, he and the oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg, discussed a mutual desire to strengthen Russia’s relations with the United States under President Trump, according to Andrew Intrater, an American businessman who attended the meeting and invests money for Mr. Vekselberg. The men also arranged to see one another at the inauguration, the second of their three meetings, Mr. Intrater said.

Days after the inauguration, Mr. Intrater’s private equity firm, Columbus Nova, awarded Mr. Cohen a $1 million consulting contract, a deal that has drawn the attention of federal authorities investigating Mr. Cohen, according to people briefed on the inquiry

Why would any one vote for a candidate that requires a ‘fixer’ and who has so many mob ties? How can any one defend this let alone any one sworn to uphold the US Constitution?  How can any person who has to work for a living support this kind of policy?

Or any parent support this kind of policy?

And why are these children still missing?

The Trump administration recently announced a new, get-tough policy that will separate parents from their children if the family is caught crossing the border illegally.

It was a big news story. So big it overshadowed the fact that the federal government has lost — yes, lost — 1,475 migrant children in its custody.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told Congress that within 48 hours of being taken into custody the children are transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services, which finds places for them to stay.

“They will be separated from their parent,” said Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.

“Just like we do in the United States every day,” Nielsen replie

Except that the states, unlike the federal government, have systems in place to better screen the people who become guardians of the children and much better ways to keep track of those children.

And not lose them.

That is what happened to 1,475 minors swept up at the border and taken into custody by the federal government.

Is this how a great nation treats its chidren?  Is this the kind of life we want children to have in this country?

We have a law enforcement crisis.  But, it’s not related to the FBI is investigating the Treason curious President.  It’s how law enforcement treats racial and ethnic minorities in this country.

Republicans, touting themselves as the party of law and order, have long aligned themselves with the law-enforcement and intelligence communities. Just before the presidential election, Trump’s newest lawyer and spokesman Rudy Giuliani defended the FBI against criticism about the agency’s handling of an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. FBI agents “don’t look at it politically,” he said at the time. He frequently touted his ties to the bureau, and claimed to have insider knowledge. In an interview with CNN, in August 2016, Giuliani said FBI agents “talk to me all the time.” In another interview with Fox, days before the election, Giuliani said the FBI agents were “outraged” with Comey’s handling of the Clinton probe. In a radio interview unearthed by The Daily Beast, Giuliani described “a kind of revolution going on inside the FBI” among agents who he claimed disagreed with the decision to clear Clinton of criminal charges. The intelligence community frequently tries to position itself as apolitical, but public opinion of intelligence agencies has in recent decades been clearly divided on partisan lines. Those views have clearly shifted.

Gallup polling late last year found that about half of Republicans said the FBI does an excellent or good job, down 13 percentage points since 2014. At the same time, the polling for Democrats who said the FBI does a good or excellent job was up nine points to 69 percent, compared with 60 percent in 2014. “The partisan shift in views suggests Trump’s and other Republicans’ efforts to cast doubt on the FBI’s professionalism and portray it as a partisan agency have been somewhat successful among their supporters,” Gallup’s RJ Reinhart wrote.

In the 22 months since the FBI launched its counterintelligence investigation into potential coordination between members of Trump’s campaign and Russia, Trump has attacked his own intelligence and law-enforcement communities far more often than he has condemned Moscow for its election interference. The president has chided the FBI, former FBI Director James Comey, Mueller, the Russia “witch hunt,” and the “deep state” in more than four dozen tweets since April alone. He used Twitter to criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first and only time on April 8. On March 21, Trump tweeted: “Getting along with Russia (and others) is a good thing, not a bad thing.” On April 2, he called the FBI and Justice Department’s desire to withhold sensitive information related to the ongoing investigation “an embarrassment to our country

This is what runs for office in Trump and Ryan’s party of “family values”:   ‘GOP House candidate in Illinois is a 9/11 truther, said Beyonce had ties to the Illuminati.’  They are the country’s unhinged and the country’s most extreme religionists.

The Republican nominee for a US House seat in Illinois has said the September 11 terrorist attacks were an inside job and that singer Beyonce Knowles has ties to the Illuminati.

Bill Fawell is running against incumbent Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos in Illinois’ 17th District, where she won by 20 points in 2016 even though the district also voted narrowly for Donald Trump. Fawell won his uncontested primary in March. He has not reported any fundraising to the Federal Election Commission, per publicly available records.

A KFile review reveals Fawell, a real estate broker, pushed conspiracy theories in blogs and his 2012 book, “New American Revolution.”

In his book, Fawell pushed a conspiracy theory that 7 World Trade Center collapsed as part of a controlled demolition and the attacks were a plot to destroy documents.

“Go to YouTube and punch in ‘Building #7’ It’s the third building that went down with the twin towers on 9/11,” Fawell wrote. “Nothing hit this building, not a thing, and it fell entirely upon its own. If it looks like a standard commercial implosion demolition, it’s because that is exactly what it is.”

“It’s interesting to note that the clandestine branch of the CIA was housed on the top floor,” he added. “No personnel were lost, but any and all documents were destroyed, just like a giant shredder. The Pentagon was hit in a wing being remodeled (but few people), that held a mountain of paperwork regarding 1 trillion dollars which the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, was having trouble accounting for. That mountain of paperwork became a pile of ash.”

In a February 2013 post on the blog of a political action committee he established in 2012 called Elect a New Congress, Fawell said that Beyonce’s husband, rapper Jay-Z, “has a long history of serving up the godless Illuminati” and shared a YouTube video that speculated that Beyonce’s upcoming halftime performance at the Super Bowl would have Illuminati symbolism.

The Illuminati is a secret society that serves as the basis for a popular conspiracy theory that alleges that many of the world’s leaders and celebrities are masterminding world events.

In the same blog post, Fawell said that the previous Super Bowl’s halftime show, performed by Madonna, was satanic and influenced by the Illuminati. He also called Madonna a “narcissist skank with the crooked teeth.”

In an interview with CNN, Fawell stood by his blog posts and the theories he espoused on them. He said that Jay-Z and Beyonce expressed their support for the Illuminati in their videos, and that singer Taylor Swift had as well.

But, such is the life of any one that only listens to Trump and Fox News. “Fox’s favorite new pro-gun pundit is a birther who hates gay people” and just happens to be a black man.  This is from Oliver Willis at share blue.

Fox News and the NRA are promoting a pro-gun birther pundit who says gay people are “devil-worshipping child molesters,” black Democrats are “slaves,” the student survivors of the Parkland shooting are “silly little immature media prosti-tots,” and Michelle Obama is a man.

Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt is so impressed by him, she suggested he run for office.

Video of Mark Keith Robinson’s angry rant to his city council in North Carolina has gone viral over the last few days, assisted by the right-wing media, the NRA, and even a Republican member of Congress.

But Robinson has a slew of social media posts that quickly reveal him to be an extremist with bizarre theories and a burning hatred for the survivors of the Parkland school shooting.

A quick visit to Robinson’s Facebook account, where he shows off his NRA hat and touts his membership in the organization, would have exposed his strange rantings. They were not hard to find.

He believes a “big push to Marxist Socialism” is underway in America, and that “hammering of the NRA” and how stories about mass shooters are reported are evidence of this conspiracy.

Robinson wrote that “since the end of World War Two this nation has been slowly poisoned” with “the poison of the Marxist” in “school, in the news, in the movies and television, in music, and even in church.”

He described the teenage activists who organized the March for Our Lives after the Parkland shooting as “silly little immature media prosti-tots” who “need to grab a passy (sic), have seat in time out, and shut up.” The students are “simply making irritating noise” when they call for reforms to reduce gun violence, he claimed.

How have we gotten to the point where on group of people actually do nothing all day but listen to a  “news” channel that pushes nothing but conspiracy theories?  What happens to a country when the press has to daily cover a president who lies and creates his own conspiracy theories like the current “the deep state and Obama planted spies in my campaign?”

This is how conservative media transformed a small news item into a full-blown conspiracy theory that the president (apparently) believes to be true.
The plot goes like this: During the summer of 2016, on the clandestine orders of then-president Barack Obama, the FBI and CIA hatched an ambitious plan to topple the Trump campaign from the inside. In a scandal of unprecedented scope, Democratic politicians commandeered American counterintelligence resources to spy on their primary political opponent and boost Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the election. The Russia investigation that has dominated headlines for nearly two years is, in fact, a desperate smokescreen conjured up by terrified Deep State actors to conceal evidence of their own wrongdoing, and to frame the president for heinous crimes he didn’t commit.
On May 8, The Washington Post reported on the White House’s decision to back the Justice Department’s withholding of information from House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, on the grounds that disclosure would expose the identity of “a U.S. citizen who has provided information to the FBI and CIA.” The authors added, though, that the individual had been a source of information used by the special counsel’s office—and that it was unclear whether Trump knew this “key fact” when his administration chose to side with law enforcement.
It didn’t take long for him to find out. Almost immediately, the right-wing-media ecosystem began laundering and repackaging this news item, weaving its constituent elements together with Trumpian talking points until a full-blown conspiracy theory worthy of the president’s tweets emerged on the other side. This metamorphosis is what would happen if a word cloud sourced from a Trump rally were used in a giant game of telephone—but one in which the gibberish end result were then broadcast as news to hundreds of millions of recipients.
How did this happen?

Go read the article at GQ.  It’s a tick tock of how Fox and the Russian Potted Plant blew up the story into a full blow pack of lies. At Vox, we have this: “Spygate,” the false allegation that the FBI had a spy in the Trump campaign, explained Stefan Halper, a professor and FBI informant, didn’t “spy” on Trump. Here’s what actually happened.”  Read it and arrive at this scary conclusion:

On this, Trump has a point: A ginned-up controversy is about as politically useful to him as a real scandal would be.

Turning public schools into armed authoritarian institutions that enforce things like saying pledges, praying, and memorizing false history is exactly what DeVos is planning to do. If she can’t, then she’ll take the money from schools that won’t and send it to private schools that do.

Today, we face more challenges than ever before. To me, the essential question is still is this what I want the youngest, most vulnerable among us to face as they grow up?

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?