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General News You Want to Talk About

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181default Re: General News You Want to Talk About on Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:20 am

Poppy

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My heart goes out to the survivors and the families and friends of the victims of the Florida shooting. 

I have relatives in school, in elementary school, middle school, high school, and college.  Most people have some friends and family members who attend school.  I'm sure I am not alone in worrying about my relatives' safety while their loved ones are away from home and attending school.  At first, I at least thought that elementary students were least likely to be attacked in a mass shooting.  But now, after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newton, Connecticut, where 20 children were among the 26 victims, I clearly cannot  believe even that any longer.



I am sick of the senseless loss of life.   The sheer numbers of mass shootings, and of victims of gun violence in the U.S. is astounding and discouraging. 
New York Times wrote:
How to Reduce Shootings

February 15, 2018

Opinion

Some of you will protest (as President Trump did the last time) that it’s too soon to talk about guns, or that it is disrespectful to the dead to use such a tragedy to score political points. Yet more Americans have died from gun violence, including suicides, since 1970 (about 1.4 million) than in all the wars in American history going back to the Revolutionary War (about 1.3 million). And it’s not just gang members: In a typical year, more preschoolers are shot dead in America (about 75) than police officers are.

Source:  https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/11/06/opinion/how-to-reduce-shootings.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region®️ion=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region
 

I believe that change is long over due, and I am not alone in my belief. According to polls:

-93% if those households with a gun and 96% of households without a gun believe there should be universal background checks for all gun buyers. 
--89% of both households with a gun and households without a gun believe the mentally ill should be prevented from buying guns. 
--88% of gun households and 85% of households with no guns believe there should be a nation-wide ban on gun sales to people convicted of violent crimes
--82% of gun households and 84% of households with no guns believe people on no-fly lists should not be able to buy guns. 
Source:  https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/11/06/opinion/how-to-reduce-shootings.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region®️ion=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region


Gun control is an example where there is a dichotomy between what the majority of people feel in the U.S. in support of gun control, versus what  our politicians will do to oppose gun control.  In the country of the United States, lobbyists often control what gets done in terms of what laws are passed.  The National Rife Association is one of the strongest lobbies in our country.  Whichever politician the NRA contributes to--whether it's the U.S. President or a member of Congress--those politicians will oppose any gun control of any type with great passion.  Those same politicians instead will pass laws making it easier for persons like the gunman who used a semiautomatic rifle to fire on high school students in Florida, killing 17 and wounding at least 14 --to purchase guns.  This gunman was reported to suffer from erratic behavior prior to the shooting.   

Republicans in Congress are more likely than Democrats to receive large amounts of money from the NRA. Trump himself received 10.6 million in 2016 from NRA (in addition NRA donated $19.7 million in 2016 to defeat Hillary Clinton).  Source:  http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-nra-politicians-20180215-story.html

Also see:  "The gun Lobby:  See how much your representative gets."  Source:  https://www.politico.com/interactives/2017/gun-lobbying-spending-in-america-congress/


And it appears in return for their funding, Trump and the Republican Congress have done what they can to make it easier for all types of people to buy guns.  For example, former President Obama had passed a regulation making it harder for persons with mental illness from buying a gun.  But Trump and Republicans in Congress passed a law that repealed that Obama regulation.
Vox wrote:
Last February, Trump signed a bill making it easier for people with mental illness to buy guns

Feb. 15, 2018

It did not attract a ton of attention at the time (nothing does these days) but about a year ago on February 28, 2017, Congress passed and Donald Trump signed a law revoking an Obama-era regulatory initiative that made it harder for people with mental illness to buy a gun.

Yet despite this effort to roll back even a very modest effort to restrain the ability of seriously incapacitated people from obtaining deadly weapons, this morning Trump tweeted that there were “so many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed,” implying that someone should have done something to report him.

So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2018

But it’s Trump’s party — and Trump himself — who have consistently prevented the federal government from doing anything about this kind of situation.

[. . . ]

Specifically, what Obama did was order to Social Security Administration to take the list of people who were deemed so severely mentally ill that they are unfit to handle their own disability benefits and forward it to the FBI. The FBI was then supposed to incorporate that list in the background checks used to disqualify people from gun ownership.

Source:  https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/2/15/17016036/trump-guns-mental-illness








New York Magazine wrote:
How Republicans Have Been Making Gun Laws Worse Under Trump

February 15, 2018

In the past year Democrats have introduced more than 30 pieces of legislation aimed at combatting gun violence, and only four have had GOP sponsors, according to the Washington Post.

. . . Since President Trump took office, he and other Republicans have launched several efforts to loosen gun-control laws. There are also a handful of GOP lawmakers who expressed interest in fixing the gaps in existing laws that appeared to play a role in recent mass shootings — yet so far, nothing has come of those efforts. Here’s what Washington has been up to.

Trump Blocked a Rule That made It Harder for the Mentally Ill to Obtain Guns

In December 2016, the Obama administration finalized a rule that would have added people receiving Social Security checks for mental illnesses and deemed unfit to handle their own finances to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The rule was written in response to the massacre in Newtown and the Obama administration predicted it would have added 75,000 people to the national database.

President Trump signed the measure [that repealed Obama's regulation (which had made it harder for people with mental illness from buying a gun)] into law in February 2017, with no public signing ceremony. Since then Trump has continued to say mass shootings are a “mental-health problem,” not a gun problem.

Trump Made It Easier for "Fugitives" to Buy Guns

The 1993 Brady Act, which mandated federal background checks on gun purchases, says that gun dealers can’t complete the sale if the prospective buyer is a “fugitive from justice” . . .For years the FBI argued that this restriction applied to anyone with an outstanding arrest warrant, while the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives said it only applies to people with outstanding warrants who have fled across state lines to avoid prosecution.

In February 2017, Trump’s Justice Department sided with the ATF and purged about 500,000 people previously labeled “fugitives” from the system [thus permitting these persons to purchase guns].

[. . .]

Republicans Advanced a Bill to Make It Easier to Buy Gun Silencers

[The bill has been delayed because of the shooting involving Congress member Steve Scalise, then delayed again after the Las Vegas shooting.]

[According to Politico, the bill is] expected to pass eventually. The bill would also make it more difficult for the ATF to classify ammunition as “armor piercing,” and ease restrictions on the interstate transportation of weapons.

Congress Discussed Banning Bump Stocks, Has Yet to Pass Anything


After a “bump stock,” which makes a legal semiautomatic firearm function like an illegal automatic weapon, was used in the Las Vegas shooting, Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein introduced a bill that would ban the devices. . . However, many GOP lawmakers backed off after the NRA said their legality should be addressed by the ATF.

House Passed Bill Allowing Concealed Carry Acros State Lines


. . . The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act . . .  would allow people [who are] granted a concealed-carry license in their state to conceal a weapon anywhere in the country, overruling other states’ gun laws. That top NRA legislative priority passed by a vote of 231-198 in December, mostly on partisan lines.

[New York Magazine believes this bill will not survive the Senate, because it will require the support of nine Democrats.]

Trump Proposed Cutting Millions of Dollars From the Background-Check System

Trump’s fiscal year 2019 budget, which he rolled out two days before the Florida shooting, calls for reducing funding to the National Criminal Records History Improvement Program and the NICS Act Record Improvement Program, which give states federal grants to improve reporting to the national background-check database.
Source:  http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/02/every-attempt-to-change-gun-laws-under-trump.html



If you are like me and the deaths of children and teenagers--if the deaths of people--anger you, then please make your voices heard.  Contact your lawmakers, especially if they are Republican, and let them know that you expect them to stop this senseless violence.  Tell your lawmakers that they need to pass reasonable gun control.


To find out how to contact your Senators, please go here:    https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm




You can find your House of Representative’s number  by calling the Capitol's switchboard at 202-224-3121.   You also may find your House of Representative's phone number by going here: https://www.house.gov/representatives/



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182default Re: General News You Want to Talk About on Fri Feb 16, 2018 4:57 pm

Poppy

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Special Counsel Robert Mueller has announced 13 Russian nationals have been indicted for interfering with the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.  (Note:  Trump still claims there was no Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election; and Trump claims Mueller's Russia investigation is a "witch hunt"  See "Indictment makes Trump's Hoax Claim Harder to Sell," Link:   https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/16/us/politics/a-hoax-indictments-make-trumps-claim-even-harder-to-maintain.html  ). 

It's scary how sophisticated, extensive and organized was this Russian organization and its staff, that was set up to devote their time to disrupting the election and swaying the U.S. presidential election in favor of one American candidate (Trump) over another American candidate (Hillary Clinton).  I know many folks get their "news" from the internet, whether it's Facebook, or Twitter, or Tumblr.  But since Russia is so skilled at masquerading as real U.S. residents, people have to be really careful and to check out the validity of "news" that they discover via Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr, by going to reliable news websites.


Mueller Indicts 13 Russians for Election Interference

CNN wrote:  
Mueller indicts 13 Russian nationals over 2016 election interference

February 16, 2018

Special counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for allegedly meddling in the 2016 presidential election, charging them with conspiracy to defraud the United States, the Department of Justice announced Friday.

[. . . ]

"The defendants allegedly conducted what they called information warfare against the United States, with the stated goal of spreading distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general," Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said.

Mueller had convened a grand jury as part of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election as well as any possible connections between Russia and Trump campaign associates.

The sweeping indictment describes in detail an unprecedented campaign by Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election, affirming the longstanding conclusions of the US intelligence community. It is at odds with President Donald Trump's repeated questioning of those conclusions, which has continued throughout his first year in office. CNN reported this week that Trump is still not convinced that Russia meddled in the election.

[. . . ]

Indictment details


Beginning as early as 2014, the Russian organization Internet Research Agency began operations to interfere with the US political system, including the 2016 elections, according to the indictment.

The defendants [the 13 Russian nationals and 3 Russian entities] allegedly posed as US persons, created false US personas and operated social media pages and groups designed to attract US audiences, the indictment reads. Two of the Russians also allegedly traveled to the United States in 2014 to gather intelligence for their operations.

[. . . ]

Russians posted "derogatory information about a number of candidates," according to the indictment. They bought ads and communicated with "unwitting" people tied to the Trump campaign and others in order to coordinate political activities.

The indictment mentions a February 2016 memo to [the Russian] Internet Research Agency staff telling them to post political content on US social media sites and "use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump — we support them)." The reference to Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who challenged Clinton for the Democratic nomination, shows that the Russian government decided early on to oppose Clinton.

[. . . ]

According to the indictment, the Russians created an email address, allforusa@yahoo.com, to purport to be a US person in order to send out press releases in June 2016 for a "March for Trump" rally to New York media outlets.

The defendants allegedly used a Facebook account belonging to a fictitious person named Matt Skiber, posing as an American to contact a real US citizen to act as a recruiter for the rally, even offering money to print posters and buy a megaphone.

The advertisements weren't limited to Trump. They also allegedly purchased ads on Facebook to promote "Support Hillary. Save American Muslims" rally to allege Clinton was supporting Islamic law. They also allegedly bought ads to promote a "Down with Hillary" rally.

The defendants focused on key purple states during the election. The Skiber account allegedly sent a private message to a real Facebook account, "Florida for Trump," to offer support. They also allegedly used a stolen identity of a real US citizen to email grassroots groups in Florida.

The defendants allegedly attempted to cover their tracks after social media companies, including Facebook, publicly disclosed in September 2017 that they had identified Russians purchasing political and social advertisements on its platform and after media reports noted the company was cooperating with the special counsel's investigation.

"We have a slight crisis here at work: the FBI busted our activity (not a joke). So, I got preoccupied with covering tracks together with colleagues," one of the defendants wrote, according to the indictment.

[. . . ]

The defendants took extensive precautions on travel to the United States, the indictment alleges. They "planned travel itineraries, purchased equipment (such as cameras, SIM cards, and drop phones), and discussed security measures (including 'evacuation scenarios')," it says.

[. . . ]


Facebook's vice president of global policy, Joel Kaplan, said in a statement that the company has "more to do to prevent against future attacks. We're making significant investments, including increasing the number of people working on security from 10,000 to 20,000 this year. We're also continuing to work closely with the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and other companies on better ways to protect our country and the people on our platform."

"We're committed to staying ahead of this kind of deceptive and malevolent activity going forward," Kaplan added.

[... ]


House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that the indictments "make absolutely clear" that Russians tried to influence the presidential election to support Trump's campaign and continue to try to interfere with our elections.

"We are on the eve of the 2018 midterm elections,
" the statement added. "There is no time to waste to defend the integrity of our elections and our democracy."

Former CIA Director John Brennan said he thought the actions alleged in the indictments would have influenced some US voters, going further than the stated position of the US intelligence community.

"DOJ statement and indictments reveal the extent and motivations of Russian interference in 2016 election
," Brennan tweeted. "Claims of a 'hoax' in tatters. My take: Implausible that Russian actions did not influence the views and votes of at least some Americans."

[. . . ]

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement that given the indictments, Trump should "immediately" implement the Russia sanctions that Congress passed last summer to punish Moscow for its election meddling.

"The administration needs to be far more vigilant in protecting the 2018 elections, and alert the American public any time the Russians attempt to interfere," Schumer said.

Source:  https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/16/politics/mueller-russia-indictments-election-interference/index.html


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183default Re: General News You Want to Talk About on Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:31 pm

Poppy

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I have to say, with all the deeply concerning issues happening in my country right now, . . . it has been inspiring how people are determined to make positive changes in our society.   So many people have taken a stand for what they believe in, whether it's the Women Marches, the Me Too movement, those folks in the Resistance movement attending protests or rallies, writing letters, making phone calls, and meeting with their government representatives.  And now we have the latest group of folks, these young teens who have turned the tragedy and loss from this mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, into a movement for reasonable gun control in order to save lives.

I cannot imagine how traumatic is the experience that these teens have gone through, living through and surviving the horrors of a gunman attacking their high school with a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle (the same weapon used in the Pulse night club massacre in Orlando, Florida), and losing beloved siblings, friends, teachers, and coaches.   But out of this horrible tragedy, these kids are doing whatever they can to prevent other kids and teachers from losing their lives senselessly to gun violence.

These students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, traveled a 400 mile trip on buses to their state capitol, Tallahassee, to meet with their state representatives to advocate for reasonable, life-saving gun control.  The students advocated for a ban on AR-15s and similar semi-automatic rifles, weapons of war.

Note:  According to this article in Time, "Florida has a reputation for expanding gun rights."  "[Florida] has rebuffed gun restrictions since Republicans took control of both the governor’s office and the Legislature in 1999."   For example,   "[Florida Senate President Joe] Negron sponsored a 2011 bill that Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed into law that banned cities and counties from regulating gun and ammunition sales."  Source:  http://time.com/5166244/florida-shooting-gun-reform-protest-students/

Teens all over our nation also were inspired to take action.  All over our country, teens walked out of their classrooms in solidarity with those students who traveled to meet with their Florida state representatives, and advocate for a ban on assault weapons.  Source:  https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/21/us/florida-school-shooting/index.html


Some students and parents from this high school also met with Trump in the White House.  If you watched the news on TV, it was heartbreaking to hear some of these students who are survivors of the shooting, talk about losing people they loved and fearing for their lives while hiding from the gunman.   Here is a short video of Sam Zeif, a student from this high school, talking to Trump about fearing that  he and his younger brother (who attended the same school) would die, and losing his best friend in the shooting.  There was a longer video shown on TV where this same student talked about texting "goodbye" to his parents and family because he thought he would die in the shooting. He was sitting next to  Nicole Hockley, a mother who lost her six-year old son in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.


Source:  http://people.com/politics/florida-school-shooting-survivors-president-trump-listening-session/



There also was a CNN "town hall" meeting yesterday (February 21) with survivors and parents of young victims of the shooting at Stoneman Douglas high school, who had a chance to ask questions to three U.S. officials, two Democrats (Senator Ben Nelson-FL and Representative Ted Deutch-FL), as well as Republican Senator Marco Rubio-FL (Rick Scott, the Republican Florida governor declined to attend).   In a particularly heartbreaking, but revealing exchange, a father who lost his daughter in the shooting, confronted Marco Rubio about admitting guns were a factor in the shooting (this is not primarily a "mental illness issue" as the National Rifle Association, is trying to indicate through deflection), and about Rubio's refusal to support a ban of semi-automatic rifles.   Rubio, did talk about several measures, but in answer to this father's question, Rubio followed the NRA's angle, that this is more a "mental illness" issue, not a gun issue.  Rubio danced around the question about a semi-automatic weapon ban.   (You also see persons in the audience holding their cell phones with photos of young people, who I assume were lost in the shooting.)

CNN
February 21, 2018



Note:  This is the longer video of the CNN town hall. 

CNN
February 21, 2018




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184default Re: General News You Want to Talk About on Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:10 am

Poppy

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This story has enraged and disgusted me.  These far right groups have attacked on social media one of the students who survived the mass shooting In Parkland, Florida.  This student has been an articulate advocate for gun control following the mass shooting.  A YouTube video and attacks on twitter of this student and his family (including his 14-year old sister who also survived the mass shooting), by far right groups have occurred, where the far right groups allege the student is an actor, coached by his father, a retired FBI agent, to advocate against guns.    Sources:  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/melania-donald-trump-jr-parkland-cyberbullying_us_5a909bb6e4b01e9e56bbd275


The most disgusting thing about these conspiracy theorists' hate-filled attacks is that Donald Trump, Jr. liked some of the tweets.  See https://www.thedailybeast.com/donald-trump-jr-likes-conspiracy-theory-about-florida-shooting-survivors-ex-fbi-dad


The reality, despite what these groups allege, is that this student and his younger sister are actual survivors of a mass shooting!  They are advocating against guns because they have seen friends killed!

Huffington Post wrote:
Parkland Survivor To Melania Trump: Stop Donald Trump Jr. From Cyberbullying Me

February 23, 2018

A 14-year-old survivor of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, has pleaded with first lady Melania Trump to stop her stepson Donald Trump Jr. from bullying her and her family online.

“You say that your mission as first lady is to stop cyber bullying,” tweeted Lauren Hogg. “Don’t you think it would have been smart to have a convo with your stepson @DonaldJTrumpJr before he liked a post about a false conspiracy theory which ... put a target on my back?”

“I’ve been getting all these horrible messages from Nazis and white supremacists and I woke up this morning and remembered that Melania Trump’s mission was to fight cyberbullying,” Hogg told Huffpost on Friday. “That’s what’s happening to me: cyberbullying. I thought she could do something about Donald Trump Jr.”

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump’s eldest son “liked” two tweets promoting a conspiracy theory about Lauren’s 17-year-old brother, David Hogg, another shooting survivor. The cooked-up conspiracy claimed he had been coached to speak out against guns by his former FBI agent father to “cover” for the agency’s failure to prevent the shooting. The ruse was backed up by the “deep state media,” claimed one of the posts.

The fake theories circulating about the Hoggs have resulted in death threats against the family, the siblings’ mom, Rebecca Boldrick, told The Washington Post.

[. . .]

The Hogg siblings are now dealing with an onslaught of social media hate after a gunman killed 17 people at their school.

“It’s unbelievable to me that these people are even saying this,” David Hogg told CNN. He called Donald Trump Jr.’s support for the conspiracies “disgusting.”

The 17-year-old has become a key target for conspiracy theories swirling around Parkland’s student activists. One conspiracy video that presented him as a paid “crisis actor” — not a student — hit No. 1 on YouTube’s trending page before the company took it down earlier this week.

[. . . ]

The first lady had not yet responded to Lauren Hogg’s tweets as of Friday evening.

Source:  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/melania-donald-trump-jr-parkland-cyberbullying_us_5a909bb6e4b01e9e56bbd275


If you see tweets attacking the students who survived the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, to the extent the tweets constitute bullying and harassment (including spreading false conspiracy-theorist lies), please report them to Twitter.  Please do the same if you see YouTube videos.  Harassment and bullying is not acceptable under the policies of both Twitter and YouTube.  But do not engage with these people. 

https://help.twitter.com/en/safety-and-security/report-abusive-behavior

https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2802268?hl=en



Last edited by Poppy on Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:01 pm; edited 1 time in total


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185default Re: General News You Want to Talk About on Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:44 am

*Jeremy*

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It's unbelievable what happens in your country. It must be exhausting to hear such stories all the time.

186default Re: General News You Want to Talk About on Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:52 pm

Poppy

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Jeremy wrote:It's unbelievable what happens in your country. It must be exhausting to hear such stories all the time.

Thank you for your sympathy, Jeremy.  I think a lot of people are exhausted living in my country during this time.  It's a surreal time.  It s a time full of hate and full of lies that are supported by a significant segment of U.S. citizens and by the highest levels of our government.

But we also are energized by our collective efforts to fight back, to support the truth and to support the rights of others.  We are seeing historical numbers of people in our society being active and advocating for human rights.   It's inspiring to see so many people, including these young teens, using their eloquence for good causes.  :happy face


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187default Re: General News You Want to Talk About on Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:25 pm

Poppy

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This is important:  There is a special election tomorrow (Tuesday) for a House of Representative district in Pennsylvania.  The special election is being held to fill a seat in the 18th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

If you are registered to vote in Pennsylvania, please, please vote in the special election, for the Democratic candidate, Conor Lamb, who is running against the Republican candidate, Rick Saccone.  

Republican Rick Saccone is a loyal supporter of Trump.  Donald Trump Jr. actually is campaigning for Republican Saccone in Pennsylvania.   This is going to be tough race, and conservative groups have spent more than $10 million dollars supporting Republican Rick Saccone and opposing Democrat Conor Lamb. 

The polls are open from 7 am to 8 pm.  For more information about voting, including checking your registration status, go here:

https://www.pa.gov/guides/voting-and-elections/

or here: 
http://www.votespa.com/en-us


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188default Re: General News You Want to Talk About on Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:45 pm

Poppy

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Update on the U.S. House of Representative Special Election in the 18th congressional district:


Democrat Conor Lamb is declaring victory, but CNN has not yet called the race, since absentee ballots need to be counted.  It's very close.  Thank you to all those who voted for Conor Lamb.  Cross our fingers!


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189default Re: General News You Want to Talk About on Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:05 am

dusty001


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All those school shootings are horrific! I find it absolutely mind boggling that any tom dick or harry can just walk in off the street and buy a military weapon used in wars. It's staggering! How can anyone even justify that? What the heck would anyone need an assault rifle for, yet alone a teenager? Personally I think they should change the constitution and erase the second amendement. Or failing that I'd put in serious laws banning anyone from buying anything more advanced than a simple hand gun. The age limit should be set at 30 and before you can buy one your medical history etc should be checked out by the gun seller. For instance if you've had psychological problems in the past then that would be flagged up and you'd be refused to buy one. Something needs to be done about this. 

As an aside is Trump still meeting Kim jong-un? Oh God lord, imagine being a fly on the wall for that! Throw Boris in there as well and it'll be like a particularly explosive episode of Big Brother.

190default Re: General News You Want to Talk About on Thu Mar 15, 2018 12:07 am

Poppy

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As Darren said, today was National School Walkout Day for  students all across our country acting in solidarity with all those students, starting with the survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, who are trying to make a change in regulating our guns in order to protect lives.  


Thank you, Darren, for speaking out in support of our smart, persistent, articulate leaders of the future.


Via dcriss-archive






A major protest against gun violence will occur on March 24 in Washington DC, called "March for Our Lives."  And there is another National School Walkout Day scheduled for April 20.



Although there is still much change that needs to occur, these students have managed to make amazing progress in terms of seeing change in gun laws across the country in the various states.  Read here to see how some of the state governments have responded to the student's pressure:  https://www.vox.com/2018/3/14/17121958/national-school-walkout-march-for-our-lives








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191default Re: General News You Want to Talk About on Sat Mar 24, 2018 1:23 am

Poppy

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From dcriss-archive:



Thank you, Darren.  heart


Link

Link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aQykuIaJVI&feature=youtu.be











For more information about donating or finding a local March for Our Lives, go here:  https://marchforourlives.com/rsvp/

For information about a Voter Registration Toolkit and other info, go here:  https://marchforourlives.com/resources/


Lyft is offering free rides up to $15, to those who are attending the March for Our Lives rallies this weekend.  Go here for terms and conditions, and directions:  https://blog.lyft.com/posts/mfol


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192default Re: General News You Want to Talk About on Sun Mar 25, 2018 12:03 am

Poppy

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From dcriss-archive:

Well said, Darren!  These passionate, articulate, smart young people are speaking from their heart.


darrencriss: Proud to have joined so many Americans that came together today for #MarchForOurLives. Was so inspired to be standing in front of City Hall in Los Angeles, listening to the rousing words of kids half the age of most of the people that work there- being the leaders of this important movement. This kind of mass civic engagement has the power to make serious change if we hold on to what we felt today and bring it to the voting booth. #VoteThemOut






More than 800 March for Our Lives rallies took place around the world.  So amazing, so inspiring!  Event organizers estimate more than half-million people attended the Washington D.C. rally. 




If you believe in the cause of these students, of their fight to save lives from senseless gun violence, please, please register to vote now, if you have not yet done so. 

 I will repeat the link for the website of March For Our Lives which will direct you how to register to vote in your state--go to the end of this post.  I also will list the link for Rock the Vote which will also direct you how to register to vote in your state at the end of this post.


NBC News wrote:
March For Our Lives pushes to expand the voter rolls across the country

March 24, 2018

At many of the March for Our Lives events across the United States on Saturday, speakers reminded the hundreds of thousands of people in attendance that there was an important way they could push for gun reform: register to vote and go to the polls.

According to many of the student speakers at the Washington rally, voting is the only way to pressure politicians to propose legislation that would meet the movement's demands, which include universal background checks and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

“Let’s take this to our local legislators and let’s take this to midterm elections," said David Hogg, one of the survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who helped organize the march. "Because without the persistent heat, without the persistence of voters and Americans everywhere getting out to every election, democracy will not flourish.”

[. . . ]

“The engagement has really increased and I think it’s an awareness,” said [Diane] Burrows [vice president of League of Women Voters in New York], who said the group had probably registered hundreds of geographically diverse voters. “People are really understanding the power of the vote and that’s what’s really motivating a lot of them. They’re figuring out the importance and power of civic engagement.”

Voter registration is the first option offered by the website of the March for Our Lives movement — powered by Rock the Vote, a progressive organization that encourages young people to vote — and visitors are given the ability to download “voter registration toolkits,” which are state specific.

Hogg told MSNBC on Saturday that the movement plans to continue to engage prospective voters and legislators.

“We have another national school walkout on April 20, on the anniversary of Columbine, where students are going to be walking out,” [David] Hogg said, referring to the Columbine High School massacre in which 13 were killed in 1999. “And hopefully they’ll organize it in their own communities, so they can walk out and register to vote."
Source:  https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/march-our-lives-pushes-expand-voter-rolls-across-country-n859756







Some pics:

Parkland, Florida





Washington, D.C.

Looking west, people fill Pennsylvania Avenue during the "March for Our Lives" rally in support of gun control, on March 24, 2018, in Washington. (Photo: Alex Brandon, AP)








New York City

Participants take part in the March for Our Lives Rally in New York on March 24, 2018. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)





Chicago

People carry signs and chant as they participate in a March for our Lives rally in Chicago. (Photo: TANNEN MAURY, EPA-EFE)






Houston

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, center, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, right, and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, right in blue, join demonstrators during a March for Our Lives on Saturday in Houston. (Photo: David J. Phillip, AP)








Boston








Atlanta

U.S. Rep. John Lewis leads a march of thousands through the streets of Atlanta on Saturday. (Photo: Ron Harris, AP)






Detroit









Iowa City

March For Our Lives marchers make their way to the Pentacrest on March 24, 2018 in Iowa City, Iowa.   David Scrivner, Iowa City Press-Citizen via USA TODAY NETWORK








Milwaukee

Thousands of Milwaukee students, adults and community advocates for change participate in March For Our Lives, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 24, as part of other marches across the country to pressure for gun measures following the Parkland shootings.    RIck Wood, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY NETWORK








London

Supporters of stricter gun control stage a "die in" during a solidarity rally with March For Our Lives outside the U.S. Embassy in London on Saturday. (Photo: Neil Hall, EPA-EFE)








Paris

French and Americans hold anti-gun posters as they gather near the Eiffel Tower on the Trocadero square in support of the March For Our Lives movement, in Paris, France, on Saturday. (Photo: CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON, EPA-EFE)


Source (of pics):  https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/03/24/aerial-images-around-world-shows-scope-march-our-lives/455891002/











For information of how to REGISTER TO VOTE IN YOUR STATE, go here: 

https://marchforourlives.com/vote-for-our-lives/





You may also go here:
https://www.rockthevote.org/register-to-vote/








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193default Re: General News You Want to Talk About on Mon Mar 26, 2018 4:45 pm

Poppy

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Just to clarify, when I said some deadlines to vote may have passed for some elections in some states--I meant deadines to register for a few state primaries, special elections, or local elections, may have passed.  

But, you still have time to register to vote for most primaries in the various states, AND. . .  most importantly, you still have time to register for the very important midterm elections in November for U.S. House of Representatives and  U.S. Senate seats. 



So please, please REGISTER TO VOTE NOW



Note:  I'm not sure how many states do this, but in California, teenagers who are 16 and 17 years old, may PRE-Register to vote.  This means they cannot vote yet, but they can Pre-Register to vote so that when they turn 18 years old, they are registered and ready to vote.  So check your state rules to see if Pre-Registration to vote is allowed or not.



Please REGISTER TO VOTE NOW.  Also--ask your siblings, friends, relatives, co-workers, and classmates to REGISTER TO VOTE NOW.








For information of how to REGISTER TO VOTE IN YOUR STATE, go here: 

https://marchforourlives.com/vote-for-our-lives/





You may also go here:
https://www.rockthevote.org/register-to-vote/



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194default Primary Elections in the U.S. on Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:29 pm

Poppy

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Primary Elections


Ok guys, Primary Elections for the various states in the U.S. are absolutely critical to whether or not we increase the Democrats' chances of winning back one of the houses in the U.S. legislature later this year in the November mid-term General Election.  Primary Elections are also important because they give us the opportunity to flip states' legislatures and state governors to Democrat, which is important in terms of redistricting in the various states (and redistricting affects how hard or easy it is for Democrats to win races for U.S. House of Representatives). 

Please make sure you are registered to vote (see above post).  And if you are registered to vote, PLEASE, PLEASE VOTE IN YOUR STATE'S PRIMARY ELECTION.  It's extremely, extremely important! 

Go here to see when your State's Primary Election is being held:
http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/2018-state-primary-election-dates.aspx


California Primary Election (June 5)

My state, California, is having their Primary Election this coming Tuesday, June 5.


I want to say a few words about California's Primary Election on June 5, for some of you living in California.  California has a "jungle primary," which means for several races, the persons with the two highest amount of votes will progress and move forward to the General Election in November, regardless of Party Affiliation.  This means in the November General Election, for several races, we could have two Republicans running against each other (NO!!!!), two Democrats running against each other (YES!!!!), or one Democrat v. one Republican. 

In California, for this year, because of the enthusiasm from folks who want to help create a blue wave of Democrats winning races, there is a unusually large number of Democrats running for certain races.  Thus, the concern is that voters will be confused about who to vote for, which could result in diluting the vote for Democrats running in certain races.  This concern, combined with the fact that there is no guarantee that there will be at least one candidate who is Democrat who progresses to the General Election in November in certain races, means many progressive folks in California are very concerned.  Progressive folks are advising people to be strategic in their voting.


CALIFORNIA AND FEDERAL RACES

--These two sites (an article in Medium and a google doc by Michael MacDonald) give straightforward reasons why their authors are voting for certain California and federal candidates:
https://medium.com/@MasterPsTheater/the-official-dan-boland-voting-guide-for-the-2018-california-statewide-direct-primary-election-on-9c14d2f07fe1
and
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1LTMMxHPp9z_VRQOEPYjdGATAJGr1Jx7T5MygYLYl_fo/edit

Here are some suggestions of who to vote for in California:


U.S. SENATOR:  VOTE FOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN!!! (read the Medium article about why to vote for her--he's both very persuasive as well as hilarious).  It all comes down to Dianne Feinstein being a senior Senator on powerful committees in the U.S. Senate.  I will quote the writer of the Medium article for why he firmly believes you should vote for Dianne Feinstein for U.S. Senator for California: 

Listen, don’t be a f*cking baby. We have recently elected a badass firebrand progressive to the United States Senate, and her name is Kamala Harris. Senator Harris will do all the mean tweets at President Trump that California needs to provide. . .  It would be a massive mistake to send Kevin DeLeon to Washington right now. 

The United States Senate functions largely via committee. Senate Committees are populated via rules which favor SENIORITY. And Dianne Feinstein is literally the oldest person in the Senate. Meanwhile, Kamala Harris is one of the most junior of the junior senators. She won’t have decent seats on decent committees for another entire term, and that’s assuming she’s making a lot of friends. If California chooses to lose our very-senior committee seats via ousting Senator Feinstein, California loses even more of its inadequate voice in the Senate. This is bad. We do not want this.

Give Senator Feinstein another term and allow Kamala Harris the space to work her way towards being something other than the most junior Senior Senator in her first term.



Who to vote for in the U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE race in your California district:

Flipping the U.S. House of Representatives to a Democratic majority (instead of the current Republican majority) is the best chance Democrats have of doing damage control to all the destructive policies being pushed by the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled U.S. legislature.  Currently, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is assisting Trump.  Let's flip the U.S. House of Representatives to the Democrats being the majority.


To see which Democratic candidates are being endorsed by the California Democratic Party for the U.S. House of Representative race in your California district, go here:  https://cadem.org/our-candidates 



Recommendations of who to vote for in some California State races:

CA STATE GOVERNOR:   Antonio Villaraigosa   (Gavin Newsom is expected to coast to first place--so vote for Villaraigosa so we have two Democrats competing in the final race for CA governor in the November election--let's prevent a Republican from being on the ballot for CA governor in the November General Election.  But if you are not a risk-taker, vote for Gavin Newsom.)


LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR:  ED HERNANDEZ


CA STATE SECRETARY OF STATE:  RUBEN MAJOR (Alex Padilla is expected to progress to the General Election in November--so vote for Ruben Major so we have two Democrats competing in the final race for CA Secretary of State in the November election--let's prevent a Republican from being on the ballot for CA Secretary of State in the November General Election.  But if you are not a risk-taker, vote for Alex Padilla.)


CA STATE CONTROLLER:  BETTY YEE

CA STATE TREASURER:  FIONA MA

CA STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL:  DAVE JONES (Xavier Becerra is expected to progess to the  General Election in November--so vote for Dave Jones so we have two Democrats competing in the final race for CA Attorney General in the November election--let's prevent a Republican from being on the ballot for CA Attorney General in the November General Election.  But if you are not a risk-taker, vote for Xavier Becerra.) 


Also The California Democratic Party has endorsed the following CA State candidates:

CA State Controller:  Betty Yee

CA State Insurance Commissioner:  Ricardo Lara

CA State Secretary of State:  Alex Padilla

CA State Superintendent of Public Instruction:  Tony Thurmond

CA State Treasurer:  Fiona Ma


California State Senate and California State Assembly races:

--For more info about other endorsements by the CA Democratic Party for CA State Senate races (for your district) and CA state Assembly races (for your district), along with Special Elections in 4  CA districts, go to https://cadem.org/our-candidates 


--Voters Edge, a project of the League of Women’s Voters, also gives summaries of each candidate for CA races and federal races:  https://votersedge.org/en/ca   


--Also, the CA Secretary of State's official Voter Information Guide and June 2018 Primary Election guides.  Links:
http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/ and
http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/upcoming-elections/statewide-direct-primary-june-5-2018/




CALIFORNIA STATE PROPOSITIONS

--For the 5 CA Propositions on the June Primary Ballot, here is is what the Democratic Party and other progressive groups are recommending in terms of how to vote:


Prop. 68 – Support
Prop. 69 – Support
Prop. 70 – OPPOSE
Prop. 71 – Support
Prop. 72 - Support


The two pundits I mentioned earlier (the Medium article and the Google doc) agree with the CA Democratic Party on the Propositions.   

--Easy Voters Guide (By The League of Women Voters) also summarizes the for and against reasons for the CA Propositions:  http://www.easyvoterguide.org/  


I didn't list recommendations for who to vote for your House of Representative for your district, for candidates for your California State Senate for your district, candidates for your California State Assembly for your district, or for Superior court judges in your district since those races will be specific to your area/your district.


Again, PLEASE, PLEASE VOTE IN YOUR STATE'S PRIMARY ELECTION.  It's extremely, extremely important!


For questions you may have, such as if you are registered to vote, where is your polling place, and polling/voting hours in California, please go here:   http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/upcoming-elections/statewide-direct-primary-june-5-2018/

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Last edited by Poppy on Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:37 pm; edited 1 time in total


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195default U. S. Primary Elections on Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:36 pm

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U.S. PRIMARY ELECTIONS IN STATES OTHER THAN CALIFORNIA

In the previous post, I focused on state and federal races in California for this coming Primary Election on June 5 (tomorrow). 

If you live in another U.S. state, how do you decide who to vote for in the crucial races for U.S. House of Representatives in your district for your state? 

--You can contact the Democratic Party in your state and ask if they have endorsed a particular candidate for U.S. House of Representative for your district. 

--You can check with the major liberal-leaning news media for your area or your state, to see if they endorsed a particular candidate for the U.S. House of Representative race for your district.

--You can check to see if labor groups for your state have endorsed a particular candidate for the U.S. House of Representative race for your district.

--The League of Women Voters is a neutral group that will not endorse a candidate, but will provide information about the various candidates, so that you can decide who you wish to vote for.  I like to click on the various candidates and see who (what individuals and organizations) have endorsed the candidates.    Go here:  https://www.vote411.org/

--Your state's official Voter Information guide also may provide information about endorsements for each candidate for U.S. House of Representatives.

--I would imagine that other states have something similar to what is called the California Fair Political Practices Commission (CA FPPC), which is a non-partisan commission that regulates campaign financing, lobbying, conflicts of interest, governmental ethics.  The FPPC site will list major donors for some candidates' campaigns.  For example, when I went to my state's FPPC site, I clicked on "June 2018 Primary Election," and I could see that in the California race for Superintendant of Public Instruction, Marshall Tuck got about $7 million from a PAC called "Ed Voice for the Kids."   On the other hand, Tony Thurmond, another candidate for this state office who is endorsed by the California Democratic Party, has donors from many unions. 


Again, it is deeply critical that you vote in your state's Primary Election, especially in the race for U.S. House of Representatives for your district!  Please, please vote!

Go here to see when your State's Primary Election is being held:
http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/2018-state-primary-election-dates.aspx



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196default Re: General News You Want to Talk About on Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:53 am

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Sorry that I didn't post today--it's been busy, and I've been nervous about the various primaries around the country, especially for my state with its stupid jungle primary. 

Some close races right now.  I'm gonna vent and say when I went to vote today, the polls were practically empty.  It's true what the news have been saying, that the enthusiasm of liberals is dying down, while the enthusiasm of conservative voters is increasing due to their need to protect Trump from Robert Mueller, by making sure the Republicans stay the majority in both houses of the U.S. legislature.

Liberal people need to take this more seriously.

The voters of my city just voted in a racist on the city council.  Not proud of it.  In fact, damn disgusted.


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197default Re: General News You Want to Talk About on Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:29 pm

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So far, there is only one U.S. House district in California where the Democrat candidate was prevented from advancing to the General Election in November:  District 8 (where two Republicans, and no Democrats, will advance to the General Election).  There are 2 or 3 districts where the second place Democrat is still battling it out with a Republican who is following a close third, but absentee ballots and provisional ballots have not been completely counted yet.  Cross fingers the Democrat candidates currently in second place stays in that position, so that we have a Democrat advancing to the General Election in November for those districts. 

Other than that, in California, it looks like the Democrats are in a good position when the General Election in November approaches, because we have at least one Democrat advancing to the General Election for the remainder of the U.S. House  races.  That is such a relief. 

I saw on the news that one political pundit believed the number of people who turned out to vote in June 2018 stayed flat.   Despite all the talk about liberal enthusiasm, maybe folks are not channeling their enthusiasm via getting out and voting? 

We definitely need to get out the vote more for the General Election in November. 



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198default Re: General News You Want to Talk About on Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:20 am

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I have little understanding of all this but I hope you'll feel at peace with the results :happy face

199default Re: General News You Want to Talk About on Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:15 am

Poppy

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Aw, thank you, Jeremy.  I dislike the jungle primary that California uses, but so far the results for the June 2018 primaries in California have been good for the liberal party, the Democratic Party.  There are 2-3 U.S. House of Representative races in California districts that are too close to call yet . . . hopefully, we'll find out in the next week.


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200default Re: General News You Want to Talk About on Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:22 am

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Trump's policy of taking children--even babies and toddlers-- from immigrant parents at the border and placing the children in large cages in buildings that have been converted into detention centers/prisons is horrifying, deplorable and inhumane.

Four First Ladies spoke out against Trump's policy.  Republican First Lady Laura Bush wrote an Op-Ed (Opinion) in the Washington Post: 

Washington Post wrote:
Laura Bush: Separating children from their parents at the border ‘breaks my heart’

Laura Bush is a former first lady of the United States.

[. . .  ]

. . . This zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.

Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso. These images are eerily reminiscent of the internment camps for U.S. citizens and noncitizens of Japanese descent during World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history. We also know that this treatment inflicts trauma; those who have been interned have been twice as likely to suffer cardiovascular disease or die prematurely than those who were not interned.

[. . . ]

Recently, Colleen Kraft, who heads the American Academy of Pediatrics, visited a shelter run by the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement. She reported that while there were beds, toys, crayons, a playground and diaper changes, the people working at the shelter had been instructed not to pick up or touch the children to comfort them. Imagine not being able to pick up a child who is not yet out of diapers.

Twenty-nine years ago, my mother-in-law, Barbara Bush, visited Grandma’s House, a home for children with HIV/AIDS in Washington. Back then, at the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis, the disease was a death sentence, and most babies born with it were considered “untouchables.” During her visit, Barbara — who was the first lady at the time — picked up a fussy, dying baby named Donovan and snuggled him against her shoulder to soothe him. My mother-in-law never viewed her embrace of that fragile child as courageous. She simply saw it as the right thing to do in a world that can be arbitrary, unkind and even cruel. She, who after the death of her 3-year-old daughter knew what it was to lose a child, believed that every child is deserving of human kindness, compassion and love.

In 2018, can we not as a nation find a kinder, more compassionate and more moral answer to this current crisis? I, for one, believe we can.
Source:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/laura-bush-separating-children-from-their-parents-at-the-border-breaks-my-heart/2018/06/17/f2df517a-7287-11e8-9780-b1dd6a09b549_story.html?utm_term=.0517bfc08833


News media have had limited access to some of the detention centers/prisons holding young and older boys.  (It is strange that the media has not been given access to see how the young and older girls are doing.  Some speculate that Trump is selectively allowing the public to only see the boys--not the girls, or babies and toddlers--possibly because the public will associate the older boys with gang members.)  But news media are reporting that they have seen young boys with only thin mylar-like, metallic "blankets" in freezing cold cement buildings, in large metal cages that were built within the buildings.  Reports include young children despairing and confused, crying, wailing, and acting out.  Often these children cannot even communicate in their native language with the adults supervising them.

How unbelievably cruel and harsh is this Trump policy of taking immigrant kids--including babies, toddlers and young children--from their parents?!  There is no law mandating such cruelty.  Trump is doing this through a recent policy announced by his own Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, for the purpose of deterring other immigrants from seeking asylum, in the hope immigrant parents will not seek asylum in the U.S., for fear of losing their children.

The news are reporting that staff at this detention centers/prison seem unsure if their tracking "system" is adequate to allow reunification of the children with their parents, since such a large number (over 2,000 thus far and growing) of young children being separated from their parents is unprecedented and has only occurred in the Trump administration.  

The president of the American Academy of Pediatrics says this forced separation of children from their parents amounts to government-sanctioned child abuse, that emotional trauma forced on these children will be long-lasting, not to mention that there is a grave and serious possibility that many of these children will never be able to be reunited with their parents.  Just think about.  Hundreds, maybe thousands, of children made parent-less due to Trump's cruel, inhumane policy that many suspect he is executing for the sole purpose of appealing to his most conservative, racist, anti-immigrant followers. 






Note:  There is a Republican Senate bill and  a Republican House Bill with the aim to cause the termination of Trump's separation policy--but Democrats believe Trump and Republicans are using this moral and actual crisis to negotiate other immigration policies, including building Trump's wall, essentially holding these children taken from their parents as hostage to the demands of Trump and his party.  Democrats point out that practically speaking, since children are being taken from their parents purely because of Trump's policy--not because of any actual current or existing statute or law--that Trump easily and immediately can end this policy of separating immigrant children from their parents, without passage of any Republican immigration legislation.



If you live in a state with Republican Senators or your U.S. House of Representative is Republican--please call them and tell them you would like them to advocate that Trump put an end to his own policy of separating immigrant children from their parents.  No new law needs to be passed.  There is no current law requiring immigrant kids be separated from their parents.  Trump and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions made this policy up and they can end it immediately, without any legislation.



To find out how to contact your Senators, please go here:    https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm




You can find your House of Representative’s number  by calling the Capitol's switchboard at 202-224-3121.   You also may find your House of Representative's phone number by going here: https://www.house.gov/representatives/





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