Friday, March 23, 2018

The Washington Post learns that more than 187,000 students have been exposed to gun violence while at school.

Courtesy of WaPo: 

Over the past two decades, a handful of massacres that have come to define school shootings in this country are almost always remembered for the students and educators slain. Death tolls are repeated so often that the numbers and places become permanently linked. 

What those figures fail to capture, though, is the collateral damage of this uniquely American crisis. Beginning with Columbine in 1999, more than 187,000 students attending at least 193 primary or secondary schools have experienced a shooting on campus during school hours, according to a year-long Washington Post analysis. This means that the number of children who have been shaken by gunfire in the places they go to learn exceeds the population of Eugene, Ore., or Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 

Many are never the same. 

School shootings remain extremely rare, representing a tiny fraction of the gun violence epidemic that, on average, leaves a child bleeding or dead every hour in the United States. While few of those incidents happen on campuses, the ones that do have spread fear across the country, changing the culture of education and how kids grow up. 

Every day, threats send classrooms into lockdowns that can frighten students, even when they turn out to be false alarms. Thousands of schools conduct active-shooter drills in which kids as young as 4 hide in darkened closets and bathrooms from imaginary murderers. 

“It’s no longer the default that going to school is going to make you feel safe,” said Bruce D. Perry, a psychiatrist and one of the country’s leading experts on childhood trauma. “Even kids who come from middle-class and upper-middle-class communities literally don’t feel safe in schools.”

These statistics are terrifying.

No child should have to fear going to school, or sitting down in a movie theater, or shopping at the local mall.

And yet many of them live with that fear every single day.

That is why this march on Saturday is so important.

It might not change anything on its own, but it is the first positive steps in that direction. 

The March for Our Lives event on Saturday is going to be huge.

I do not know how they keep doing it, but these kids continue to impress me just about every day.

Usually this is where the media moves on from another senseless shooting to focus on other issues, but these students refuse to let that happen this time, and almost by sheer force of will they are keeping the debate alive.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

H.R. McMaster out as Trump's National Security Adviser, will be replaced by John "bomb the hell out out everybody" Bolton.

Courtesy of the New York Times:

Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the battle-tested Army officer tapped as President Trump’s national security adviser last year to stabilize a turbulent foreign policy operation, will resign and be replaced by John R. Bolton, a hard-line former United States ambassador to the United Nations, White House officials said Thursday. 

General McMaster will retire from the military, the officials said. He has been discussing his departure with President Trump for several weeks, they said, but decided to speed up his departure, in part because questions about his status were casting a shadow over his conversations with foreign officials. 

The officials also said that Mr. Trump wanted to fill out his national security team before his meeting with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un. He replaced Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson with the C.I.A. director, Mike Pompeo, last week. 

Officials emphasized that General McMaster’s departure was a mutual decision and amicable, with none of the recrimination that marked Mr. Tillerson’s exit. They said it was not related to a leak on Tuesday of briefing materials for Mr. Trump’s phone call with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

"They said it was not related to a leak on Tuesday of briefing materials for Mr. Trump’s phone call with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia." In other words that is EXACTLY what it is about.

(I just assume now that the truth is always the opposite of whatever the Trump White House says that it is. Real time saver. )

So now another grown up is out the door, leaving Trump surrounded by sycophants and conspiracy theorists.

And this new addition is DEFINITELY going to make things even more inane inside this White House.

John Bolton worked for the Bush Administration and was well known for wanting to bomb just about everybody, and who as Ambassador to the UN spent all of his time undermining it and shitting on its agenda.

After the Russians hacked the DNC, Bolton put forward the theory that it was a false flag operation orchestrated by President Obama.

You know, because THAT makes sense. 

Bolton also has ties to Cambridge Analytica, and once appeared in an advertisement for a pro-gun Russian group with ties to the NRA.

Fox News contributor, with ties to Cambridge Analytica, the NRA, and Russia.

Oh yeah, he is going to fit into this clown car just fine.

Saudi prince bragged that Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner was "in his pocket."

Courtesy of The Intercept:

In June, Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman ousted his cousin, then-Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, and took his place as next in line to the throne, upending the established line of succession. In the months that followed, the President’s Daily Brief contained information on Saudi Arabia’s evolving political situation, including a handful of names of royal family members opposed to the crown prince’s power grab, according to the former White House official and two U.S. government officials with knowledge of the report. Like many others interviewed for this story, they declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak about sensitive matters to the press. 

In late October, Jared Kushner made an unannounced trip to Riyadh, catching some intelligence officials off guard. “The two princes are said to have stayed up until nearly 4 a.m. several nights, swapping stories and planning strategy,” the Washington Post’s David Ignatius reported at the time. 

What exactly Kushner and the Saudi royal talked about in Riyadh may be known only to them, but after the meeting, Crown Prince Mohammed told confidants that Kushner had discussed the names of Saudis disloyal to the crown prince, according to three sources who have been in contact with members of the Saudi and Emirati royal families since the crackdown. Kushner, through his attorney’s spokesperson, denies having done so.

On November 4, a week after Kushner returned to the U.S., the crown prince, known in official Washington by his initials MBS, launched what he called an anti-corruption crackdown. The Saudi government arrested dozens of members of the Saudi royal family and imprisoned them in the Ritz-Carlton Riyadh, which was first reported in English by The Intercept. The Saudi figures named in the President’s Daily Brief were among those rounded up; at least one was reportedly tortured. 

And then there was this:

One of the people MBS told about the discussion with Kushner was UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, according to a source who talks frequently to confidants of the Saudi and Emirati rulers. MBS bragged to the Emirati crown prince and others that Kushner was “in his pocket,” the source told The Intercept.

So is it possible that Jared Kushner shared top secret information, that he is not even cleared to access, with a Saudi prince which allowed him to move on his potential enemies/family members and grab power?

Is that even really a question?

What's more the Trump Administration's support for the UAE over Qatar might have something to do with Kushner's financial situation:

Kushner's support for Saudi Arabia and the UAE over Qatar in the Gulf crisis has raised questions about a possible conflict of interest. Kushner backed the blockade a month after Qatar’s ministry of finance rebuffed an attempt by Kushner’s real estate firm, Kushner Companies, to extract financing for the firm’s troubled flagship property at 666 Fifth Avenue.

The story is that Kusher's dad made a pitch to Qatar to gain financing for a Kushner property that is about to go under, when that deal fell through the Trump Administration suddenly sided with the UAE in setting up a blockade of Qatar.

Remember this photo?

This was the meeting that precipitated that blockade.

So to put it bluntly, diplomacy with other countries is apparently being determined by how they might benefit Trump and Kushner businesses.

And none of it has anything to do with what is good for America. 

Oh goody.

So Donald Trump starts today by fantasizing about brutalizing a former Vice President.

Okay so first a little back story courtesy of WaPo: 

“A guy who ended up becoming our national leader said, ‘I can grab a woman anywhere, and she likes it,’ ” Biden said during a speech at the University of Miami, according to ABC News. “They asked me if I’d like to debate this gentleman, and I said ‘no.’ I said, ‘If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.’ ” 

“I’ve been in a lot of locker rooms my whole life,” Biden continued. “I’m a pretty [darn] good athlete. Any guy that talked that way was usually the fattest, ugliest S.O.B. in the room.”

Biden's remarks were made during  the University of Miami’s “It’s On Us” rally, a gathering which discussed sexual assault and gender based violence.

So as you can imagine they were well received.

Now to be totally honest I get where Uncle Joe is coming from, in my high school days Donald Trump would have been EXACTLY the kind of pompous bullying windbag that I would have targeted.

But that was high school, and keep in mind that Biden is referring to an incident that would have only happened in high school if the two had crossed paths way back when.

Trump on the other hand is all about the here and now:
Once again Biden is not threatening anybody. He is talking about a possibility that never presented itself, and venting some frustration about the way that Trump treats women.

However, and I just have to add this, if there were to be a physical confrontation between today's Donald Trump and today's Joe Biden, I do not think many bets would be placed on a Trump victory.

The man has french fry grease running through his veins, can barely walk a 100 feet unassisted, and if he were to make a fist his heart would likely explode.

I think the only way that Trump could win a fight like this is by using the same technique he used to impregnate Melania, lying on top of her until she was too exhausted to push him off, until she finally gave up told him "Fine you win."

Okay so that was one bizarre tweet from Tangerine Hitler this morning, this was the other one.
Yeah, I don't know what this means.

I tried to decipher it earlier but as it turns out I don't speak "unhinged."

Trump attorney John Dowd resigns.

Screw this noise, I am out of here!
Courtesy of the New York Times:  

The president’s lead lawyer for the special counsel investigation, John Dowd, resigned on Thursday, according to two people briefed on the matter, days after the president called for an end to the inquiry. 

Mr. Dowd, who took over the president’s legal team last summer, had considered leaving several times in recent months and ultimately concluded that Mr. Trump was increasingly ignoring his advice, one of the people said. Under Mr. Dowd’s leadership, Mr. Trump’s lawyers had advised him to cooperate with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, who is investigating Russia’s election interference and possible ties to Trump associates as well as whether the president obstructed the inquiry.

The president has instead in recent days begun publicly assailing Mr. Mueller, a shift in tone that appears to be born of the president’s concern that the investigation is bearing down on him more directly. He has also privately insisted he should sit for an interview with the special counsel’s office, even though Mr. Dowd believed it was a bad idea. 

Mr. Dowd’s departure marks the most prominent shake-up for the president’s legal team since he took over from the president’s longtime personal lawyer, Marc E. Kasowitz.

Hey remember this blast from the not too distant past?
So Dowd is out, and conspiracy theory embracing Joseph E. diGenova is in.

Oh, that does not bode well for the Trump legal defense.

You know I was a little young when the Nixon presidency started to come apart at the seams, so I really did not get to fully enjoy the spectacle.

But I am DEFINITELY enjoying watching it happen this time.

Tucker Carlson gets a little panicky about white people becoming the minority in America.

 Courtesy of Vox: 

On his top-rated Fox News show Tuesday night, conservative pundit Tucker Carlson opined on demographic change and immigration in America, saying that though “most immigrants are nice ... this is more change than human beings are designed to digest,” and asking viewers, “How would you feel if that happened in your neighborhood?”

The segment was focused on a National Geographic article featured in the magazine’s April issue. Though the article, centered on the Pennsylvania town of Hazleton, was titled “As America Changes, Some Anxious Whites Feel Left Behind,” Carlson focused his remarks on the growth of Hazleton’s Hispanic population, which has increased exponentially since 2000 — a change that Carlson said “makes societies volatile.” 

But he saved his strongest words for “our leaders ... who caused all this,” who, in his words, live in neighborhoods that “are basically unchanged — they look like it’s 1960. No demographic change in their zip code.” He concludes, “Our leaders are for diversity, just not where they live.”

My favorite line is  “How would you feel if that happened in your neighborhood?”

Perhaps Carlson should have some native Americans on and ask THEM that question.

It kind of sounds as if Tucker is suggesting that the uptick in violence that we have seen is due to the fact that there are more brown people in the country these days.

And his argument is not that THEY are being violent, but that there very presence incites violence from those who were here before them.

Essentially white people, right?

So rather than educate everybody to be more tolerant by teaching our children about different cultures and customs, while trying to create more inclusive activities in communities to unite the people living there, we should instead start blocking nonwhites from entering the country?

Let's call that the "Fox News solution. "

So there is a possibility that even if Robert Mueller is never fired we will never see his final report.

Courtesy of Vox: 

President Donald Trump spent the weekend publicly bashing special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, raising new fears that the president might take the extreme step of actually firing Mueller in an attempt to end the probe. 

But even if the Mueller investigation survives, the public may never get to hear most of what he ultimately finds. 

That’s because Mueller is only required by law to deliver a confidential report to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the investigation. And Rosenstein has no obligation to send the report to Congress or tell the public about it. Which means much of what Mueller uncovers may remain a secret. 

Now, Rosenstein could choose to make some or all of the report public, but he’s only required to notify Congress if Mueller proposes some action that is “so inappropriate or unwarranted” under Justice Department rules “that it should not be pursued.” So unless Mueller does something Rosenstein finds objectionable, he can keep the report secret. 

Mueller certainly knows this, which is why he’s using his indictments to reveal part of what he’s finding. “He is telling a story through the indictments that he files in court, which are painting a vivid picture of Russian efforts to interfere in the election,” Jens David Ohlin, the vice dean of Cornell Law School, told me. 

And because of the way the special counsel is set up, that picture may end up being the closest thing the public ever gets to a full accounting of what happened between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Well this is completely unacceptable.

After all of this time we need, no we DESERVE, to read that final report.

I'm hoping that even if Trump's Justice Department tries to bury this report that some intrepid Democrat will simply choose to leak it, or that there will be enough new liberal members of Congress elected in 2018 that they will vote to make this public despite Trump's efforts to quash it.

Of course admittedly that is less important to me than that Congress read the report and use it as justification for starting impeachment proceedings against Trump.

Meet the Nazi who just won the Illinois Republican primary.

Finally a Republican who is being honest about what that party represents.

Just in case you think this could not possibly be happening, oh yes it is.