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Florida Student Survivors Announce 'March For Our Lives': Here’s a Time to Talk about Gun Control

February 18, 2018 in Blogs

By Charlie May, Salon

“This is about the adults. We feel neglected, and at this point, you’re either with us or against us.”


Surviving students of the Valentine's Day school shooting in Parkland, Florida, have set a date for lawmakers, and everyone else in the country to discuss gun control: March 24.

“People keep asking us, what about the Stoneman Douglas shooting is going to be different, because this has happened before and change hasn't come?” 11th-grader Cameron Kasky told ABC's “This Week” on Sunday. “This is it.”

“This is about the adults. We feel neglected, and at this point, you're either with us or against us,” Kasky said.

 

“People are saying that it’s not time to talk about gun control, and we can respect that. Here’s a time: March 24, in every single city,” he continued.

The demonstration set for next month in Washington D.C. is to be called the “March For Our Lives” Kasky explained Sunday, seated next to four of his classmates Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Alex Wind and Jaclyn Corin.

In the wake of last week's tragedy that claimed 17 lives, the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have been the leading voices in calls for action from lawmakers, and have boldly expressed frustration over a nation gridlocked on the issue of guns, as Salon has previously reported.

“We’re going to be facing this with trepidation and determination, and we have an incredible support system around us. We are going to be the difference,” Gonzalez said on CNN.

“This isn’t about the GOP. This isn’t about the Democrats,” Kasky added. “Any politician on either side who is taking money from the NRA is responsible for events like this. “At the end of the day, the NRA [National Rifle Association] is fostering and promoting this gun culture.”

Many have said that mass shootings in America have …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'Scared' Trump Blamed FBI for Shooting to Deflect from the Russia Probe Says Ex-FBI Official

February 18, 2018 in Blogs

By Raw Story

“He’s scared out of his mind and playing with the parents of America.”


Appearing on AM Joy, former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi harshly criticized Donald Trump for attacking the FBI over the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, in an attempt to deflect attention away from Friday’s bombshell indictments of 13 Russians accused of meddling in the election that put Trump in the White House.

During a panel discussion, Figliuzzi was asked about a Sunday morning tweet from the president which implied that the FBI “missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter” because “[t]hey are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.”

“Frank, I’ll go to your reaction to the President of the United States blaming the FBI, in essence, for the massacre at Parkland,” host Joy Reid prompted.

The former FBI official appeared furious at the suggestion.

“Joy, let’s distill down what that late night tweet really says after some cheeseburger induced coma after 11:00PM last night,” Figliuzzi explained. “The president puts this squarely on FBI. Here’s what he’s telling parents of America, ‘hey, our gun violence problem would go away if the FBI would just leave me alone.’ That is what he’s saying.”

“He’s saying the FBI is spending too much time on the Russian threat while he is spending zero time addressing the gun violence threat,” he continued. “He’s choosing to ignore what the FBI actually does for a living. He’s choosing to ignore the fact that the local police visited this guy 39 times in response to 911 calls. Social services for the county had to do an assessment of this. Everyone in the school saw the warning signs and indicators, yet he decides not to address the mental health issues, not to propose solutions on making it easier to deny an assault weapon purchase because you have mental health issues.”

“Instead he ‘s defending himself from the FBI,” the disgusted FBI man stated. “Why? He’s read the 32-page indictment Mueller issued on Friday and he knows there’s electronic intercepts of Russian officials. He’s scared out of …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Watch: NRA-Backed Congress Members Refuse to Offer More than 'Thoughts and Prayers' as Student Survivors Mount Protests

February 17, 2018 in Blogs

By April M. Short, AlterNet

Their responses are telling.


A gunman killed 17 high school students last week in Parkland, Florida. A new video from NowThis shows the responses of NRA-backed representatives in Congress to a reporter who asked them for “any solutions at all, other than thoughts and prayers,” regarding gun control.

Their responses are telling.

After Rep. Masha Blackburn (R-TN) was asked, “Do you have anything besides thoughts and prayers to offer? Any solutions at all for this gun violence?” all she had to say was, “We are so concerned about those precious children and families.” Then she ducked into the elevator as fast as she could repeating, “This is a members' only elevator.”

The reporter pressed on, saying, “I know you’re concerned enough to pay for the funerals. Are you concerned enough to do anything else at all?”

She responded by crossing her arms over her chest and repeating, “This is a members' only elevator.” When pressed again for a solution, she said, “My heart breaks for these families.”

Rep. Ron Desantis (R-FL) responded to the reporter’s request for a solution to gun violence with “I gotta go,” as he scurried rapidly away from the reporter. The reporter walked with him and asked again, and Desantis responded with, “I mean praying for people, I don’t think you should diminish that.”

The reporter said he didn’t diminish it, just asked for anything in addition to prayers, referencing the Frederick Douglass quote: “I prayed for freedom for 20 years, but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.”

Other representatives slammed doors in the reporter’s face and flat-out ignored the questions.  

Each of the congress members in the video has received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the National Rifle Association.

Watch the video below:

In response to the general inaction on the part of Congress and the president when it comes to gun control, Douglass High School students in Florida are calling for a widespread movement including school walk-out protests across the nation. They want this shooting to mark a turning point for the U.S. on gun control.

 

“We are going to be the …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Because 'Nothing Has Changed Since Columbine,' Students, Teachers Call for Nationwide School Walkouts

February 17, 2018 in Blogs

By Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams

“The time to act is now.”


As families continue to grieve and hold funerals for the 17 victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Fla., students and educators are calling for a nationwide day of action including school walkouts to protest lawmakers' deadly inaction on gun control legislation.

The day set for the actions is April 20, which will be the 19th anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School.

The Twitter account National School Walkout, which was started Friday, declares, “We are the students, we are the victims, we are change.”

The April 20 walkout, it says, will be “polite, passionate, plea for peace.”

Change.org petition, which has gathered over 6,100 signatures as of this writing, and is linked to the Twitter account, says, “There has been too much complacency on the part of politicians when it comes to gun violence. The time to act is now!”

“The violence of guns is being performed in our schools and our communities. Not the Senate floor. As the future of America, it is time for teenagers to speak their minds and put their frustration into action,” it adds. It also encourages people to sign on to take part in the action, saying,” Nothing has changed since Columbine, let us start a movement that lets the government know the time for change is now.”

The students' call-to-action comes days after David Berliner, an educational psychologist and Regents' Professor of Education Emeritus at Arizona State University, issued a call for a national teachers' strike if lawmakers continue their failure to enact “sane gun laws.”

Berliner's call, which he sent in a message to education historian Diane Ravitch, states, in part, “Almost all of America's 3 million teachers—nurturers and guardians of our youth—want sensible gun laws. They deserve that. But they have to be ready to exert the power they have by walking out of their schools if they do not get what they want. They have to exert the reputational power that 3 …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Humans Would Rather Be in Contact with Aliens Than Artificial Life forms Made on Earth—Study

February 17, 2018 in Blogs

By Elana Glowatz, International Business Times

Are we alone in the universe?



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…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Fox News Host Shep Smith Destroys Trump Claim That Russia Investigation Is a 'Hoax'

February 17, 2018 in Blogs

By AlterNet

“If there was ever any question, even a single question, there is no more.”


Fox News host Shep Smith forcefully shut down President Donald Trump's longtime questioning of the validity of special prosecutor Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

Smith's words were especially pointed because the majority of his colleagues on the Fox network are sycophantic supporters of Trump.

“If there was ever any question, even a single question, there is no more,” Smith said, before explaining Mueller's indictment of 13 Russian nationals.

“Russia attacked the United States of America,” Smith continued. “A coordinated government-sponsored campaign to undermine America’s democracy, eventually in support of Donald Trump and against Hillary Clinton.”

“The Russian investigation is the opposite of a hoax,” Smith declared.

“Now we know how vulnerable we were and how effective the Russians became.”

Watch the segment below.

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Source: ALTERNET

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Intelligence Analyst Explains Why Nunes Is a 'Loser' After Mueller Indictment

February 17, 2018 in Blogs

By Noor Al-Sibai, Raw Story

His attempts at protecting the president are failing.


It’s been a few weeks since he dominated headlines, but House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) was passively proven wrong by special counsel Robert Mueller’s Friday indictment bombshells.

“One of the biggest losers in this case, in my judgment, is Devin Nunes,” former FBI counterintelligence chief Phil Mudd told a CNN panel, “the effort on the House committee to undermine this investigation.”

An ally to President Donald Trump and his White House, the California Republican has in recent months used his power as chairman of the House’s intelligence oversight panel to paint Mueller’s probe and the Justice Department and FBI at large as terminally infected with anti-Trump bias. Others, like Fox News host Sean Hannity and other conservative pundits, capitalized upon Nunes’ memo as proof the Russia investigations are a “hoax.”

Though right-wing news outlets capitalized upon details in the DOJ’s report charging Russian individuals with organizing in favor of other candidates and against Trump as proof that the indictments somehow “exonerate” the president, Mudd argued that those instances only show how successful they were in sowing division.

The reportedly Russian-organized “Trump is NOT my president” rally, which took place in New York City on November 12, 2016, was “clearly intended to divide American and bring American democracy to its knees.”

Watch below, via CNN:

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Source: ALTERNET

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Former Bush White House Official Sounds Alarm That Americans Are 'Sitting Ducks' Amid Russia Threats

February 17, 2018 in Blogs

By Bob Brigham, Raw Story

“You can’t overstate what is happening right now.”


Richard Painter, the former chief White House ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush adminstration, warned on MSNBC’s “The Beat with Ari Melber” that America remains a “sitting duck” for Russian interference in our politics.

“You can’t overstate what is happening right now, you are looking there at a Trump official announcing charges against Russians for helping the Trump campaign,” Melber noted. “We’re in new territory right now.”

“Bob Mueller said that Russians were communicating with people associated with the Trump campaign,” Melber reported. “I repeat, from the new Mueller indictment, these Russians — now indicted — were communicating with people associated with the Trump campaign.”

Prof. Richard Painter noted the indictments prove, “the Russia investigation is not a hoax, anybody who said it is a hoax is a fool and doesn’t belong in our government, whether they’re a Democrat or a Republican.”

“We’ve known for a long time that there’s been Russian interference in our election, the CIA and the FBI told us that over a year ago and this indictment is the first step toward legal action being taken,” Painter suggested.

“We’re sitting ducks for the Russians. We’re going to get taken over by the Russians,” Painter warned.

“We got to understand that there are other people in the Trump campaign, including Donald Trump, Jr and Jared Kushner who met with other Russian agents in the Trump Tower to get dirt on Hillary Clinton, so there was definitely willing collaboration with the Russians with respect to the other parts of the Russian operation,” Painter reminded.

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Source: ALTERNET

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Want to See Gun Control Enacted? Support a Movement to Arm Black Folks En Masse

February 16, 2018 in Blogs

By Kali Holloway, AlterNet

The gun control bills will get signed so fast your head will spin.


The only greater certainty than another mass shooting in this country is the likelihood that it will be met with inaction. Since the 2012 massacre of 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, there have been a staggering 1,607 mass shootings across the U.S., nearly 240 in schools. Each has been met with useless thoughts and prayers from craven conservative politicians, all of whom insist there’s never a right time to discuss gun control. The fatigue incurred from the whole circular spectacle makes it feel like it might just be easier to start labeling lawmakers either “pro-child murder” or “anti-child murder.”

It’s impossible to reason with the disingenuous logic that mass slaughter is just the cost of freedom, and not a consequence of NRA-owned politicians, which is why even the mildest gun reform seems impossible. Sandy Hook proved the GOP is willing to take donor dollars to look away from dead American children. The correlation between levels of gun ownership and gun deaths has similarly failed to rouse GOP political will, as have arguments that military-style killing machines should be kept off U.S. streets. While the “mental health problems” of white “lone wolf” shooters bring Republicans to crocodile tears, Trump signed a bill making it easier for mentally ill people to buy guns just a year ago. The knowledge that toddlers accidentally shoot more Americans annually than foreign terrorists do didn't stop Iowa Republicans from proposing a bill to let “1-year-olds, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds [and] 4-year-olds…operate handguns,” leading one Democratic lawmaker to observe, “We do not need a militia of toddlers.” Perhaps relatedly, studies find the reflexive GOP tendency following mass killings is to make gun laws more, not less permissive, as evidenced by Florida Republicans’ attempts to loosen state gun restrictions just 24 hours after the Parkland massacre.

Ending mass shootings might seem like a hopeless cause in light of all this, but that kind of thinking ignores the historic infallibility of racism to move American political …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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The Hidden Costs of America's Wars

February 16, 2018 in Blogs

By Stephanie Savell, TomDispatch

We're losing money, lives, and our sense of morality.


I’m in my mid-thirties, which means that, after the 9/11 attacks, when this country went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq in what President George W. Bush called the “Global War on Terror,” I was still in college. I remember taking part in a couple of campus antiwar demonstrations and, while working as a waitress in 2003, being upset by customers who ordered “freedom fries,” not “French fries,” to protest France’s opposition to our war in Iraq. (As it happens, my mother is French, so it felt like a double insult.) For years, like many Americans, that was about all the thought I put into the war on terror. But one career choice led to another and today I’m co-director of the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.

Now, when I go to dinner parties or take my toddler to play dates and tell my peers what I do for a living, I’ve grown used to the blank stares and vaguely approving comments (“that’s cool”) as we quickly move on to other topics. People do tend to humor me if I begin to speak passionately about the startlingly global reach of this country’s military counterterrorism activities or the massive war debt we’re so thoughtlessly piling up for our children to pay off. In terms of engagement, though, my listeners tend to be far more interested and ask far more penetrating questions about my other area of research: the policing of Brazil’s vast favelas, or slums. I don’t mean to suggest that no one cares about America’s never-ending wars, just that, 17 years after the war on terror began, it’s a topic that seems to fire relatively few of us up, much less send us into the streets, Vietnam-style, to protest. The fact is that those wars are approaching the end of their second decade and yet most of us don’t even think of ourselves as “at war.”

I didn’t come to the work that’s now engulfed my life as …read more

Source: ALTERNET