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?