Thursday, February 13, 2020

Last Call For The Kids Are Not Alright, Con't

America's kids are learning from Donald Trump's example.  Unfortunately, they're learning how to be bullies, how to harass black and brown and Muslim kids, and how to carry his hatred into a whole new generation.

Two kindergartners in Utah told a Latino boy that President Trump would send him back to Mexico, and teenagers in Maine sneered "Ban Muslims" at a classmate wearing a hijab. In Tennessee, a group of middle-schoolers linked arms, imitating the president's proposed border wall as they refused to let nonwhite students pass. In Ohio, another group of middle-schoolers surrounded a mixed-race sixth-grader and, as she confided to her mother, told the girl: "This is Trump country."

Since Trump’s rise to the nation’s highest office, his inflammatory language — often condemned as racist and xenophobic — has seeped into schools across America. Many bullies now target other children differently than they used to, with kids as young as 6 mimicking the president’s insults and the cruel way he delivers them.

Trump’s words, those chanted by his followers at campaign rallies and even his last name have been wielded by students and school staff members to harass children more than 300 times since the start of 2016, a Washington Post review of 28,000 news stories found. At least three-quarters of the attacks were directed at kids who are Hispanic, black or Muslim, according to the analysis. Students have also been victimized because they support the president — more than 45 times during the same period.

Although many hateful episodes garnered coverage just after the election, The Post found that Trump-connected persecution of children has never stopped. Even without the huge total from November 2016, an average of nearly two incidents per school week have been publicly reported over the past four years. Still, because so much of the bullying never appears in the news, The Post’s figure represents a small fraction of the actual total. It also doesn’t include the thousands of slurs, swastikas and racial epithets that aren’t directly linked to Trump but that the president’s detractors argue his behavior has exacerbated.

“It’s gotten way worse since Trump got elected,” said Ashanty Bonilla, 17, a Mexican American high school junior in Idaho who faced so much ridicule from classmates last year that she transferred. “They hear it. They think it’s okay. The president says it. . . . Why can’t they?”

Asked about Trump’s effect on student behavior, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham noted that first lady Melania Trump — whose “Be Best” campaign denounces online harassment — had encouraged kids worldwide to treat one another with respect.

“She knows that bullying is a universal problem for children that will be difficult to stop in its entirety,” Grisham wrote in an email, “but Mrs. Trump will continue her work on behalf of the next generation despite the media’s appetite to blame her for actions and situations outside of her control.”

Most schools don’t track the Trump bullying phenomenon, and researchers didn’t ask about it in a federal survey of 6,100 students in 2017, the most recent year with available data. One in five of those children, ages 12 to 18, reported being bullied at school, a rate unchanged since the previous count in 2015.

However, a 2016 online survey of over 10,000 kindergarten through 12th-grade educators by the Southern Poverty Law Center found that more than 2,500 “described specific incidents of bigotry and harassment that can be directly traced to election rhetoric,” although the overwhelming majority never made the news. In 476 cases, offenders used the phrase “build the wall.” In 672, they mentioned deportation.

The nation's kids are becoming more like Trump every day, especially young white boys copying his hatred of black and brown folks and women.  They think it's funny because it shocks the adults in their lives.  They think it's okay and like Trump, they believe they should be able to get away with it.

Unless something changes, they will.

And then they'll grow up and vote and become the new leaders of Trumpism.

The Great Equalizer

The U.S. House gave the Equal Rights Amendment a temporary new lease on life Thursday by voting to remove a 1982 deadline for ratification by the states.

The 232-183 vote, on a resolution introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), pushes the issue to the Senate, where Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) have introduced a similar measure.

During debate on the House floor, Republicans leaned on antiabortion and constitutional arguments to oppose the ERA, arguing that enshrining protections for women in the Constitution would mean abortion could not be restricted. Democrats focused on the legality of deadlines and the importance of equal rights.

“This has nothing to do with the abortion issue. That is an excuse, not a reason,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), arguing that women are still paid less than men for similar work, and often are shorted on pensions and maternity leaves.

She and some of the other female lawmakers wore purple to show their support for the long-sought constitutional amendment, which was first proposed nearly a century ago.

But it will take more than color coordination to enact the ERA.

Three-quarters of the states must ratify a proposed amendment for it to be added to the Constitution. With new Democratic majorities in both chambers, the Virginia General Assembly met that threshold last month, becoming the 38th state to ratify the ERA.

Supporters of the amendment say that Congress’s deadline can be changed by a simple vote of the same body, because the Constitution itself does not specify a ratification deadline.

Others disagree.

In anticipation of Virginia’s vote, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel advised the national archivist not to certify the ratification because of the expired deadline.

Three lawsuits have been filed over the ERA, including one this month by the attorneys general of Illinois, Nevada and Virginia, calling for its addition to the Constitution. A lawsuit opposing ratification was filed in Alabama last year by the attorneys general of Alabama, Louisiana and South Dakota.

Another lawsuit supports ratification and was filed in Massachusetts by Equal Means Equal, the Yellow Roses group and Katherine Weitbrecht.

At least one of the legal challenges is expected to end up at the U.S. Supreme Court.

And it's that last part that's the killer.  Even if the ERA got past the Senate tomorrow, the Roberts Court would block it. Even Justice Ginsburg has openly questioned the process, noting five states have withdrawn their support for the ERA since 1972.

It doesn't look good, and it looks like it won't make it into the Constitution at any point soon.

Retribution Execution, Con't

Donald Trump has continued his attacks on anyone and everyone involved in his impeachment and the/or the Mueller investigation as he went on yet another Twitter rampage on Wednesday.

President Trump is testing the rule of law one week after his acquittal in his Senate impeachment trial, seeking to bend the executive branch into an instrument for his personal and political vendetta against perceived enemies.

And Trump — simmering with rage, fixated on exacting revenge against those he feels betrayed him and insulated by a compliant Republican Party — is increasingly comfortable doing so to the point of feeling untouchable, according to the president’s advisers and allies.

In the span of 48 hours this week, the president has sought to protect his friends and punish his foes, even at the risk of compromising the Justice Department’s independence and integrity — a stance that his defenders see as entirely justified.

Trump complained publicly about federal prosecutors’ recommended prison sentence for one of his longtime friends and political advisers, Roger Stone. After senior Justice Department officials then overruled prosecutors to lighten Stone’s recommended sentence, the president congratulated Attorney General William P. Barr for “taking charge” with an extraordinary intervention.

Next Trump sought to intimidate the federal judge in the Stone case, badgering her on Twitter for previous rulings, and attacked the four prosecutors who resigned from the case in apparent protest of the Justice Department’s intervention. Then Trump floated the possibility of a presidential pardon for Stone, who was convicted by a jury in November of tampering with a witness and lying to Congress.

The president has openly encouraged his Justice Department to retaliate against a quartet of former FBI officials who long have been targets of his ire for their involvement in the Russia probe.

“Where’s [James] Comey?” Trump bellowed Wednesday in a stream-of-consciousness diatribe from the Oval Office. “What’s happening to [Andrew] McCabe? What’s happening to Lisa and — to Pete Strzok and Lisa Page? What’s happening with them? It was a whole setup, it was a disgrace for our country, and everyone knows it, too, everyone.” 
For months now, Trump has been enraged that these FBI officials have not been charged with crimes. And he has vented at length privately in recent weeks that James A. Wolfe, a former aide to the Senate Intelligence Committee, received a prison sentence of two months for lying to FBI agents about his contact with reporters during a federal leak investigation — a criticism the president repeatedly publicly on Wednesday.

Some of Trump’s top aides have counseled him against speaking out on legal matters, warning him that doing so could wrongly influence proceedings because officials at the Justice Department or elsewhere would then know they needed to please him or risk his wrath. Trump has often responded, “I have a right to say whatever I want,” according to a former senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal conversations.

“He knows exactly what he’s doing,” this official explained. “He knows that he has more power than anyone else in the government — and when he tweets, everyone has to listen to him.”

A second former senior official, former chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, said of Trump, “He is mad and he should be mad. The Democrats and the media wasted three years of the nation’s time on a witch hunt. Now he understands how to use the full powers of the presidency. The pearl-clutchers better get used to it.”

We've reached the point now where Trump is openly defying the Constitution on an hourly basis and feels he no longer is answerable to anyone on the planet.  There's no effort to cover up or conceal what he wants.  He wants everyone who defied him to go to prison.  And Bill Barr is going to have to make a decision very soon about whether or not he delivers on that.

Our country is run by a rampaging toddler in full tantrum mode in the middle of the grocery store.  Nothing resembling a parent or guardian is around.  There's no longer any indication that the "adults" that were supposed to be in charge even exist.  It's all Trump Twitter rage, all the time.

Bill Barr won't even bother talking to Congress until the end of March and in the intervening seven weeks Trump will have carte blanche to wreck the country.  Trump keeps demanding people go to jail.  We know now Barr will do whatever Trump orders him to do.  How long does it take Trump to order Barr to round up Comey, Mueller, and whoever else he wants?

We're well past the point where we should be in the streets.


Related Posts with Thumbnails