From the tragedy of a mass shooting to a new hope for the future

“Shooting reported at school”

You read the words in Twitter and feel your shoulders drop, your head lower, and you don’t want to hear any more, but you want to hear everything.

The scenarios run through your head. “A teacher accidentally shot themselves in the foot.” “One kid was showing another a gun he found at home and it accidentally discharged.” “Troubled teen kills himself.”

“A shooter entered the school and killed several people using an AR-15 and a high capacity magazine.”

It’s almost overwhelming when you realize that you’re hoping you’ll read about some troubled kid killing him or herself, because you don’t want to read the alternative.  But it was not to be on Valentine’s Day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Continue reading “From the tragedy of a mass shooting to a new hope for the future”

We Kick Out Trump and Greitens. Then What?

The St. Louis PD headline reads Missouri Republicans debate whether Greitens should stay or go. The debate is centered around revelations of the Greitens’ affair, and especially whether he photographed a bound, blindfolded woman and threatened blackmail.

Of course, discussions about kicking out a Republican in charge are not new this year. They happen all the time with President Trump. People breathlessly wait for the culmination of Mueller’s Russian investigation, hoping for a criminal indictment and impeachment.

Just stop for a moment, though, and think about what would happen if Greitens was forced to resign, and Trump kicked out of office?

In Missouri, the Lt. Governor would take over. This is Mike Parson. Many of us know Mike Parson from his effort to destroy Proposition B, the anti-puppy mill bill. He did so at the behest of Forrest Lucas, a wealthy Indiana oil man. Forrest Lucas is also the man behind Protect the Harvest, a frothing-at-the-mouth anti-animal welfare, anti-environmental effort. Lucas owns Mike Parson.

Not only would Parsons continue the destructive efforts begun by Greitens in the state, he’d likely increase such efforts because, unlike Greitens, Parson knows how to get along with the Republicans in the legislature. Right now, it is these same Republicans who have stymied some of Greitens more egregious actions.

Interestingly enough, the same circumstances hold true for Trump and the Vice-President, Mike Pence.

Mike Pence would support most of the cabinet members Trump has appointed. Heck, he probably recommended most of them. Pence would also continue undermining our civil rights, our environment, and our attempts at economic equality. But, unlike Trump, he’s seemingly level-headed, not overtly narcissistic, knows how to hide the bodies, and is a former Congressman. He’d get along with the Republicans in Congress—to the point where the GOP would stage such a slash-and-burn on the government and this country that it could be decades before we’d recover.

Most importantly, both Trump and Greitens are tarnishing the Republican brand. They are millstones tied around the neck of every Republican running for office.

So, giving up Eric Greitens for Mike Parson, and giving up Donald Trump for Mike Pence. Is this really what we want? Is it worth the momentary satisfaction of kicking a hated person out of office, only for them to be replaced by an even more destructive, harmful person?

Or is a better use of our time focused on preventing as much damage as we can, locally and at the national level, while we replace all of these jokers during elections in 2018 and 2020?

The Republicans are going after Clinton again and Other Judicial Abuses

Update

To add to the judicial abuse, Congressional Republicans want the FBI to investigate Christopher Steele for the Russian “dossier”.

A veteran prosecutor, Peter Zeidenberg, said he had never heard of anything like the Grassley-Graham complaint and labeled it “nonsense” designed to detract from ongoing inquiries in to Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“The FBI doesn’t need any prompting from politicians to prosecute people who have lied to them,” said Zeidenberg, a federal prosecutor for 17 years. While members of Congress make criminal referrals from time to time, they are usually related to independent congressional investigations, not to material already known to the FBI. “They should stay in their lane,” Zeidenberg said of the Grassley-Graham effort.

Earlier

I was astonished to see Clinton Foundation trending on Twitter. Even more so to read that yet more investigations have been opened into the Clinton Foundation and Clinton’s emails. This, following the DOJ’s and FBI’s capitulation to Paul Ryan and Devin Nunes, related to Russian investigative documents.

Continue reading “The Republicans are going after Clinton again and Other Judicial Abuses”

Updated: Vanity Fair demonstrates how to become the most hated publication in America

Vanity Fair decided to do a year-end video dedicated to Hillary Clinton.

It has not gone over well.

I particularly liked pushing the stereotype of women in technology. That was a nice touch.

One of the Hive editors, before she took her Twitter account private, expressed resentment that the video was taken out of context, as it was part of a series. What she and the others don’t seem to realize is that the other targets of a not-especially-funny set of videos are all still public servants. As such, they can expect to be the focus of year-end zingers.

More importantly, it wasn’t all that long ago when Time magazine featured women on its cover, and in a completely different context. How absolutely tone deaf can the Vanity Fair crew be to follow that elegant and profound piece with, at best, a juvenile, snarky piece targeting our country’s first woman Presidential candidate?

Even if you don’t care for Clinton, hell even if you voted for Trump, seeing six smug young people condescendingly telling a former Senator, Secretary of State, and Presidential candidate to take up knitting should piss you off. Not unless you’re the worst misogynist in the nation.

Donald Trump will love it.

Enjoy those magazine cancellations, Vanity Fair. Maybe with all that free time, you can take up crocheting. Or learning humility.

Update:

NYLON’s Sara Beauchamp writes about the backlash to the Vanity Fair video:

So next time you read a headline or watch a video that’s being quote-tweeted like crazy, before you’re quick to react, stop to consider what you’re getting outraged about. Look into the context before you join the pile on, because there are real people on the other end of our internet outrage. And, especially if they’re a woman, it’s important to remember that they’re already going through enough online, so maybe don’t make it worse.

I haven’t seen any tweets reflecting the editor’s weight, which is the backlash NYLON is responding to. If there are, then these need to be deleted.

However, the Vanity Fair people are professionals. They’re also adults. They’re learning about having to accept the consequences of their actions. If they’re feeling hurt about attacks against them, they might want to consider their attack against private citizen Hillary Clinton, particularly after years of Clinton being bashed the the media.

So no, they earned this pile-on. Best they just suck it up.

Wanting Content, Publications on the Far-Left Easily Duped by Alice Donovan

The Washington Post published an in-depth piece about Putin’s misinformation campaign that impacted on the 2016 Presidential campaign. In it they mentioned a writer going by the name of Alice Donovan. Rather than the ‘beginning freelance writer’ this Donovan claimed to be, the individual was a fake, a contrived persona, and a source of misinformation.

Donovan duped several far-left sites into publishing ‘her’ material. CounterPunch danced all around the issue in its effort to excuse it’s lax vetting. Ultimately, it accepted some blame…after first blaming the FBI.

If the FBI was so worried about the risks posed by Alice Donovan’s false persona, they could have tipped off some of the media outlets she was corresponding with. But in this case they refrained for nearly two years. Perhaps they concluded that Donovan was the hapless and ineffectual persona she appears to be. More likely, they wanted to continue tracking her. But they couldn’t do that without also snooping on American journalists and that represents an icy intrusion on the First Amendment. For a free press to function, journalists need to be free to communicate with whomever they want, without fear that their exchanges are being monitored by federal agencies. A free press needs to be free to make mistakes and learn from them. We did.

No, CounterPunch, you don’t get off that easy. In your effort to continuously publish, you accepted work from a ‘journalist’ whose only qualification seems to be they’ll allow you to publish their work without being paid.

Online writers don’t have to publish under their own name, but if so-called ‘news’ sites want to be treated credibly, they have to know the actual person submitting the work. They have to vet not only the sources of the news they print, but the people writing the stories.

Another far left group, We are Change, also published Donovan’s work. It scrubbed her stories from their site, but you can see them in the Wayback Machine.

By scrubbing Donovan’s stories it would seem as if We Are Change is acknowledging its errors in spreading misinformation. But what’s We Are Change NYC’s lead tweet today? A link to a 2016 piece attacking Hillary Clinton using unproven information that lacked any vetting.

What’s in one of its lead stories? A video claiming that Clinton is in hot water over Uranium One. This, even though this story was debunked. And among the sources for the video is RT, a well known Russian propaganda organization.

For all of our valid criticism of mainstream media—in particular its obsessiveness with ‘both sides’—most of its members flatly acknowledge when they screwed up. And they promise to do better.

Sites like CounterPunch and We Are Change need to do the same.