Tag Archives: Associated Press

Elizabeth Warren Has A Point We May Not Get Any Better Cabinet Picks

Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

The true catch 22 democrats find themselves in balanced between principles and survival of the fights ahead. Her name conjures images of a staunch democrat fighting for average Americans sounding off about the debt crisis, …Read More

The Problem With “Female Bodies and Alcohol”: Stop Framing Campus Sexual Assault As A Drinking Issue—Agree To Disagree A Critique

Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

We will do anything but teach alcohol education, consent education, legal definitions of rape… Also addressing changing public attitudes on key social issues like criminal responsibility while under the influence of substances, ‘I was high’ uttered by defendants or victims in court meant to explain why the gas station clerk was heinously shot during the commission of a robbery you admit to participating in, doesn’t cut it anymore. ‘I was high’ is no longer an excuse to why you can’t account for your whereabouts on the night in question for a crime to which you have pled not guilty, no longer explains away the vicious beating of your girlfriend. Bad trips, laymen’s terms for bad illegal drug reactions, have ceased to be an acceptable reason eliciting leniency from judges, jurors for extreme vandalism or otherwise seen as random attacks of persons on the streets, stopped being a blanket understood concept of ‘how can you expect me to be responsible for what I did,’ years ago. ‘I was drunk,’ long abandoned as a believable defense when causing death or injury to people with your car, motorcycle or boat, any kind of motor vehicle. And following historical lines in the modern era is fast becoming less of an excuse why it is ok to be judgmentally impaired enough to think raping someone is ok, then actually doing it. But equally for victims, it is unacceptable they can’t remember significant events surrounding the incident due to, not the drugs in their system, not the thing someone slipped into their drink, rather their alcohol consumption, again not liquor they were plied with by a predator, even coerced into drinking via peer pressure, ever popular drinking games everywhere you turn in college, instead willing alcohol ingestion, type of liquor (usually hard liquor) they indulged in. Nor is it wrong, seeing what’s clearly going on, to put out pamphlets talking about alcohol, even one titled ‘Female Bodies and Alcohol’ bullet pointing facts that weighing less, having less muscle mass than men and a different hormonal makeup, more hormonal fluctuations than men you metabolize alcohol differently may, and probably will, feel it’s effects sooner and more acutely, therefore need to drink accordingly. Neither is it overly condescending to begin a guide “We like to think men and women are equal in all things, right,” because they’ve been brought up all their lives to believe this, which socially is true and a message very much needed; however, that doesn’t apply to science, physiology, the basis for their information. Men and women are not equal when their bodies process alcohol…Gaging then campus response, appropriateness of that response is to likewise remember, even post Todd ‘legitimate rape’ Akin, how many high profile sex assault allegations, on campus rapes have been proven false, utterly made up. Going all the way back to the Duke lacrosse case to present day stories like Jackie’s, subject of the since retracted Rolling Stone article…And when it comes to athletes, high school, college and beyond they are natural targets due to their social status, wealth; Duke’s accused played lacrosse, Brock Turner was what, a swimming star, Steubenville assailants later convicted played what, football, the Massachusetts case receiving similar sentencing and attention involved a high school basketball star mirroring Derrick Rose, following in the dubious footsteps of Kobe Bryant off the court and found not liable in is on sex scandal case plays what, basketball. Now this could just as much be about athletes who think, because they are brilliant with a ball, gifted in a sport they are god and have narrowed their perception to seeing women as objects, or it could be some women are looking to be with an athlete, mad about rejection, seeking money. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle differentiated on a case by case basis. Prime example, convoluted story of Brian Banks, charged, tired and convicted as a promising 16 year old up and coming football star, sounds an awful lot like Steubenville doesn’t it; eventually cleared after 10 years, 5 in prison, 5 on parole, contact with the Innocence Project and an accuser recant, finally getting his dream football chance. Welcome to what victims, authorities and the, trying to discern it all, public are up against…. There are a thousand and one things wrong with how universities in general, Stanford specifically, handle sexual assault, handle under age, binge drinking, any issues cropping up involving mass student safety, learning and enrichment; this guide wasn’t one of them. Discouraging fellow members of the swim team, counterpart members of the women’s swim team from writing their own victim impact statements to the judge describing their own strange, creepy, uncomfortable encounters with Brock Turner, possibly speaking to sexually predatory behavior, evidence society may need to watch him long after this incident, proof he perhaps belongs on the sex offender registry rockets to the top of the list… UVA’s ‘don’t go to frat parities’ mandate stands out as the most condescending and offensive to women. Or officials blaming the campus newspaper for their decreased reporting in sexual assaults post their publishing stories of an associate professor’s sexual harassment and assault of students; University of Kentucky staff at The Kernel (the publications name) put forth it’s the exact opposite, more people are coming to Kernel staff because they distrust the university, awareness and reassurance it’s not their fault, they can speak up and receive support, justice helps too… But backing up a step, where are the fundamentals of personal safety, party safety, bar safety, concert safety we’ve tried to drill into our citizenry, focused on this age group, people who regularly frequent above venues? Let’s too dismiss the notion general party, personal safety rules, regardless of the guide’s wording, what it covered, is sexist; watching your drink, monitoring it being poured, not leaving it alone, applies to anyone looking at the increasing numbers of homosexual, bisexual, transgender, non-traditional encounters, situations showing that as the increasing norm… . To that end what were you doing, in the case of Brock Turner’s victim, unconscious behind a dumpster; not because you had been hit over the head, physically assaulted, robbed, not because you had something dropped into your drink, suddenly had a medical episode, heart attack, seizure, asthma attack, succumbed to meningitis you thought was the flu, are homeless and want a place un-harassed by the mean public to sleep, but because you had had too much to drink, have/had no awareness of alcohol’s effect on your unique body?… Massachusetts high school basketball player convicted of raping 2 girls and receiving only probation depicted 2 girls having gone to a bedroom to lie down, reading in between the lines, to sleep it off, and being penetrated with his finger as they slept. He denied touching one girl at all, apologized to the other as well as telling the court when she didn’t protest, he thought it was ok; victim precipitating his light sentence via her impact statement saying he didn’t want to ruin his life, didn’t think jail time was necessary, hints the light sentence everyone is blaming everything from bad judges, to ‘rape culture’ to ‘white privilege’ for. Except, rewind what were you doing sleeping in some strange house, post a house party, crawling off to a room surrounded by people you barely know, don’t know at all, drunk people you barely know, don’t know at all, likely without telling a soul where you were going to sleep thinking you would be safe?…Bringing us to St. Paul’s prep school and Owen Labrie, less about alcohol and more about non-existent safety instincts…You met a boy you were chatting online with, who went to your school true, on the roof of your school; online to real life meet up’s 101 meet in a public place, then later go on a date alone once you are around person X, sense if he is a threat or not, if he is who he says he is unlike the BYU student who met with and was then raped by a guy who lied about everything—age, marital status. Agreeing with the Salon link below, it has to be about women trusting their gut, young women developing that gut, those sets of protective instincts… lone felony related to using a computer to lure a minor, divulging the path to his lighter sentence. Vanderbilt’s headline making rape case, unquestioning these young men were despicable, especially confronted by accusations an ex-boyfriend orchestrated the whole thing, the 2 photo takers didn’t step up and ask what are you doing, hey stop this, sentence more fitting for the last one to be convicted, seeing the singular reason we know about this is surveillance footage. Yet we come around again to the redundant question of what were you doing so drunk you passed out to the point they could carry you around, drag you back to his room and not once did you wake up; remembering there are accusations the former boyfriend orchestrated and manipulated things, part of that manipulation however wasn’t drugging her drink…. common denominator alcohol, way past too much of it combined beside terrible instincts; underscoring the crystal clear, none of these excuse rape, should never excuse rape, but going back to dissecting the base article, certainly explains why there is such a guide, why Stanford is trying to limit alcohol and focusing on alcohol at all. It bolsters it was written exactly as it should have been, sexist, condescending or not, judging by behavior exhibited here…. It’s blatantly obvious we will do anything but talk to our kids about culturally relevant developments regarding drinking, particularly binge drinking, dangers of alcohol poisoning, party culture, sex, consent, even what constitutes a healthy relationship then we want to come down with the fury of god’s own thunder on young people, young boys/men repeatedly for things they didn’t do or say proliferated by social media in addition to legal charges they face…. First seeing widespread evidence of just that when the Steubenville saga began; Michael Nodianos’ sickening ranting video about an incident he wasn’t part of was attributed to both him as well as Ma’lik Richmond and Trent Mays, though they never said any such things. Likewise every mean tweet calling her a wh*re, death threats for daring to charge her attackers that came from others landed on their shoulders….amplified when Ma’lik Richmond got out and his lawyer said patently offensive things upon his release from juvenile detention talking about how hard things had been for him…Forgotten, that’s his lawyer and part of his lawyer’s job in a high profile case like his is to present his client in the best light while he Ma’lik Richmond kept his head down and his mouth closed, no hint of criminal activity ever again years later. Identically Bock Turner’s father makes a comment about his son’s sentence, sex offender status, lifetime ban from swimming exc. being a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action and all the sudden we see the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, exactly where he got his views on women and sex, but he’s held accountable for his father’s words, he doesn’t control, the judge’s sentence he didn’t have anything to do with other than writing a statement, something every defendant in his position has the opportunity to do; no he’s not. He is solely responsible for what he did and the impact it had on his victim, society, more than enough to contend with… Because it’s not as if we’ve ever misconstrued a situation, more information through greater investigation trumped admittedly preliminary speculations on crime X committed by teen Y featured on the nightly news; wait that’s every modern case for 2 plus decades if it involves the latest heinous, depraved thing done by children/teens, drunk/high college students… On the other side a court just found Rolling Stone liable for the defamation of UVA’s college dean in reference to their story later retracted story “A Rape on Campus” and what happened to Jackie…. We will do anything but teach whether that’s sex education that includes conversations about healthy relationships, consent, too many conservatives afraid what students will actually learn about their own bodies… In direct opposition to alcohol education and how what you drink, what type/kind of liquor you consume affects your impairment level, we would prefer to stick to don’t drink your underage, don’t drink and drive you’ll die, because it’s simpler for us, doesn’t cover nuance or conflicting messages; never thinking to teach responsible drinking in preparation for when they are legally able to drink. In light of legalization in an increasing number of states marijuana education a-la what Colorado is doing, broadening it to a comprehensive explanation of the differences between all illicit drugs, their addictiveness, their danger to your body, impact of prescription drug abuse, instead of treating all illicit drugs equally, as the same kind of off the charts horrible, when teens find out that’s not true discarding every other thing you said. Oh no, absolutely not, on the contrary one California mother and police officer didn’t want her state to legalize pot because it will be more prevalent and challenging for kids to say no, though the legal age for recreational use will be identical to alcohol 21, most states have decriminalized 1-2 joint amounts, “there will be more people driving DUI, losing their lives”… Stanford bans alcohol in X quantity for select younger students, no one ever putting together k-12 education stops at 18, college students will turn 21 before graduating, maybe we ought to educate them on the differences in types of alcohol, gender differences and alcohol. Floating so much as the idea people getting sick, falling down, slurring their words is not responsible drinking; responsible drinking… returning again to the base article critique the author talks angrily and incredulously about, “What is frustrating in these ongoing campaigns, however, is the tone is almost always focused on what women can do to not get raped instead of how men can conduct themselves to not rape people.” As if it’s the simplest thing in the world, as if no decent person should ever have to be told this and it’s a sad commentary on society we do, when it’s so much more nuanced than that; here being where feminists and women’s rights activists earn parts on their bad name… 99% of the time we aren’t dealing with future sexual predators, budding serial, habitual rapists as much as drastically uninformed, misinformed young people; even Brock Turner whose behavior points to that possibility, it’s hard to know if he would never have done those things with a father who said more than his measly sentence was a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action. Ma’lik Richmond told the ABC interviewer what he thought rape was, jumping out of an alley and attacking a girl, forcing yourself on her in that context, saying he didn’t do that, elaborating later he didn’t rape anyone, see a rape going on and if he had seen one he would have stopped it. David Becker the Massachusetts high school student found guilty of rape sincerely told the judge he thought his victim’s lack of protest meant it was ok; if we want men, young men specifically to stop raping people, not to be rapists we have to give them an accurate definition, picture of what that is in all it’s facets, something we have yet to do, never mind effectively… We don’t have a rape culture in America we have a consent ambiguous culture whereby rape remains a crime on the books that is dutifully enforced, cases prosecuted and rapists put in jail every day; our problem is narrow social definitions of rape that haven’t caught up to real life scenarios, federal definitions and recent court cases…We operate on the ignorance is no excuse understanding to ensure ‘I didn’t know that’ doesn’t become a legal defense for any number of obviously illegal actions, stealing, killing, physical assault, rape where the person is fighting you, screaming, no, begging you to stop. But is it time to reexamine that in the shadow of Zach Anderson, what really happened in Steubenville, details surrounding David Becker producing that impact statement and persecutors went ahead with the rape, not a lesser degree charge, anyway, when adults are as unaware as their teens and teaching them wrongly, when education systems don’t, won’t teach these issues from a legal perspective believing it’s a family thing, the province and purview of parents to teach these values according to their moral compass, religion?… Surely we can and should do better by both women and men.Read More

The Voter Fraud, ‘Election Rigging’ We Need To Be Worried About

Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

To republicans and likeminded citizens, voter fraud is neatly summed up in illegal immigrants, namely Hispanic, Latino ‘Mexican’ illegal immigrants somehow casting ballots, liberal, progressive candidates who want voting rights for said illegal immigrants, completely ignorant to how many Mexican, Hispanic, Latino and similar heritage persons are here legally, possess their citizenship or were born her in the first place. Same liberal, progressive, social justice warrior, advocate types who want to restore voting rights to convicted felons; what’s next giving voting rights to actual inmates while incarcerated, oh the horror. Voting errors where rolls of dead people are casting ballots, non-residents of specific cities, counties or states are voting there, people are voting multiple times, coming in 10 times, assumption skewing the vote in one candidates favor… In reality nothing could be further from the truth, their stereotyped version of voter fraud is so minimal it has little or no impact on voting results at all and is patently racist to boot; however, voter fraud serves a dual purpose these days providing a convenient excuse for why, usually republican, tea party, conservative candidates, 3rd party outliers didn’t win. Donald Trump uses it all the time to energize his rally crowds and to provide cushion when he inevitably loses post alienating key voting blocks women , minorities and young people; the election was rigged, the system is corrupt, there is a conspiracy against me personally, larger policy, issue X launched by the nebulous opposition. Not say your candidate’s antics, ill-preparedness and utter unfitness for office, traits we saw long before Donald Trump, Gary Johnson and to a lesser extent Jill Stein; like the guy who made his dog chief of staff , Delaware candidate Christine O’Donnell who told Phil Donahue back in the day condoms wouldn’t prevent HIV/AID, recorded an MTV abstinence ad that compared masturbation to adultery and, running on a conservative platform, had to issue an ad assuring voters she’s not a witch after admitting to dabbling it witchcraft as teenage rebellion…Then let’s look at the ones who got in, those who achieved enough votes to hold political offices on a local, national level: Jan Brewer fighting for reelection when she had, not 1 but 2 ‘brain freeze’ moments at her crucial debate, who bungled opening statements both there and at a press conference a-la 2010, including totally awkward pauses when asked about supposed beheadings of Americans on U.S. soil by Mexican drug cartels, how she justified Arizona’s ‘papers please’ immigration law, and couldn’t identify one single case. Yet Hillary Clinton and her muumuus are concealing a ‘brain stem battery pack’ to control Parkinson’s tremors, if you say so…. Still, our biggest obstacle to republican won seats and a ‘return to traditional American values’ is vast voter fraud, leading to unfavorable outcomes like LGBT rights, keeping abortion intact so women don’t die if something goes wrong with their pregnancy, more insured Americans receiving healthcare, state by state legalization of marijuana to keep people from serving jail time for our biggest hysteria driven petty drug crime, one joint, single persons smoke-able amounts of a natural substance, federal funding for public schools producing the highest high school graduation rate to date; again oh the horror…. But there is actual voter fraud worthy of concern and its source, as stated above, is primarily republican politicians; by contrast their efforts to stop nearly non-existent voter fraud result perpetrating the biggest fraud against the people. The American people who have the majority’s will regularly subverted via strategically drawn lines, comprising voting districts whose main goal is winning over the competition; that’s called gerrymandering. Easily then answering the echoing question why, why these eyebrow raising candidates won their primaries, why we had to endure Ted Cruz reading Green Eggs and Ham during a government shutdown to impede the implementation of Obamacare is to understand they got there by gerrymandering, a practice well in full swing as the tea party came on scene in 2008; gerrymandering only ramped up since the last election. After their voter driven gut punch in 08’, giving us the first African American president much to their angered dismay even post their huge Palin debacle, their own shellacking in 2012, seeing their least favorite person reelected, they resorted to an anything to win mentality. Best illustrated through the Missouri case where ‘districts’ were so crazily and unfairly drawn one student comprised a district and they weren’t in favor of voting for the proposed business venture said districts were drawn to pass…. Voting restrictions, handed a big boon via the Supreme Court’s ruling removing huge sections of the voting rights act circa 2013, giving carte blanche to forcing people to provide a birth certificate or passport upon voting such as Alabama, demanding photo ID‘s when showing up to vote, limiting early voting, removing same day registration, states accepting gun permit ID’s, fishing licenses but not student ID’s from local universities and students who can’t fly home to cast ballots there. Rural citizens having to go several miles from home to register to vote in offices only open once or twice a month, closing polling places altogether, remaining places having to be told why polls must be kept open past 5:00 PM (people need the opportunity to vote after work) explain long lines seen in 2012, people in line well past closing just to cast their ballot, an elderly disabled woman in line 3 hours to vote. Voter ID laws that aren’t based on when you register to vote, provide proof of residence, usually a utility bill, local pay stub, your picture will be taken, you sign it, similar to a driver license, and that photo and signature are compared to your face, you signature when you sign in at your polling place; rather voter ID laws meant to ‘authenticate whose reporting to vote, prevent duplicate voting, felons, criminals, illegal persons from using some else’s name to vote’ end up disenfranchising older persons past driving age (most common form of ID) and many who are legitimately not be able to locate documents such as a birth certificate to obtain state ID’s, homeless people residing in city, county, state X but who can’t afford a state ID, can’t pay to receive a copy of their birth certificate from say another state, afford expensive transportation to appear in person as is routinely required…. Jim Crow era southerners born outside a hospital who never had a birth certificate, lived somewhere with public transit systems mitigating state ID necessity, working menial labor, who are American citizens, who do reside in area X and have every right to vote, just can’t prove it to the new ‘standards’ blatantly designed to exclude individuals like them… “He’d spent $200, visited two states, and made seven trips to different public institutions, but still couldn’t vote in Wisconsin;” here describes Eddie Lee Holloway Jr. who move to the badger state in 2008 voting without incident until their 2011 restrictive laws went into effect. Yet because of a clerical error on his original birth certificate even with his previous states’ expired license and social security card Milwaukee’s DMV would not issue him the ID; attempting to fix the error required a nearly $200 bus ticket, $400 to 600 he couldn’t afford to verify and reprint his birth certificate, and numerous phone calls, social security statements people couldn’t fax to the appropriate office, rendering him unable to vote in the April primary. Welcome to document hell after a federal appeals court kept the photo ID portion of Wisconsin’s restrictive voting law also demanding they simplify the process to getting said photo ID; obviously it didn’t work…Yet voter fraud is something miscreant citizens are trying to perpetuate on candidates and the law abiding portions of America…. We’ve now added to gerrymandering and voter suppression, in previously seen senses, voter intimidation under the guise of preserving the integrity of our election; hardly surprising when Trump rallies have been marked by fisticuff altercations, calls to beat people in the face, haul those with loud opposing viewpoints out on a stretcher and when 2 white, drunk brothers decided to beat up and urinate on a homeless Latino person, and our GOP candidate for president’s response was my people are passionate. Fast-forwarding to right now, Trump supporters and probable Trump voters, Daniel Parks and friend, are standing outside democratic offices holding fire arms saying they are protecting the election, but clearly making staff, visitors uncomfortable. One Trump supporter, Dan Bowman, vowing to ‘be a patriot’ if Hillary Clinton gets in, ‘doing what he has to do if she is elected,’ thinly veiled allusion to planning her assassination; an outgrowth of his repeated second amendment people rhetoric attacking the legitimacy of the presidency in a whole new way, a sinisterly perfect follow up to his pre-candidacy years dogging president Obama’s birth certificate….New Mexico republicans rather than having faith in their ideas, policy platforms, polished delivery to voters and how it will better their lives resorted to mailers ‘warning’ Albuquerque residents people would be made aware of their voting choices; threats encapsulated in ominous phrases you’d think were movie mafia grade if violence hadn’t been a central theme dominating 20l6 election politics: “your neighbors will know if you vote democrat or “your neighbors will know if democrats win.”…average citizens such as Steve Webb practically giddy describing how he plans to defend his polling place election day, methods: admitted racial profiling, creeping up behind “Mexicans, Syrians, people who can’t speak American,” swearing to do things legally, not do anything illegal, but “I’m going to make them a little bit nervous.” Guess no one told him voter intimidation, interfering with an election is illegal…threats a-la the bombs people want to send to the newly opened civil rights museum when they denied Donald Trump a photo-op. Done so upon encountering rude and disrespectful campaign staff who thought they could bully museum personnel on behalf of a candidate, who didn’t want a tour, just a photo as he breezed through town on a campaign stop then audaciously demanded it be close significant portions of the day during his desired photo-op….You shouldn’t receive death threats being a credible newspaper, publication deciding on a candidate to endorse representing any given election cycle, especially weighing the significance of general elections wherein is chosen a president, the next leader of America, determining our direction for 4 years. Nevertheless that’s the perceived comeuppance doled out to the Arizona Republic for endorsing Hillary Clinton, first democrat in it close to 2 centuries…. interestingly shrugged off, dismissed, downplayed by Trump growing potential threats to our democratic system via hacking, manipulations by foreign powers into our election choices, serious fears Russia may be hacking ballot terminals, is confirmed suspected of distributing documents to WikiLeaks including the Podesta e-mails, causing so much trouble for the Clinton campaign, breaching the DNC, the New York Times and other media outlets. Instead he was concurrently begging Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s 30,000 e-mails alluding to big rewards from U.S. press and using dubiously uncovered ‘documents’ for propel his campaign forward. Lavishing praise on Vladimir Putin, alternating between, we don’t know if there is any hacking and, assuming there is, we don’t know it’s the Russians, it could be a 400lb person sitting on their bed; said despite a double digit number of U.S. intelligence agencies saying concretely yes there is hacking and unanimously naming the Russians, said despite national intelligence briefings where we know he’s being to it is the Russians. Meanwhile substantiated hacks have been successful in cracking voter registration systems circa Illinois and the secretary of states’ office circa Arizona; prime suspect, you don’t need a crystal ball for this one, you guessed it the Russians… Adding to a climate of should be unease, hacks doled out to some of the most known entities in cyberspace shutting down Netflix, Twitter; a Russian traced hack on LinkedIn lead to an on camera arrest of a Russian citizen. Oh and let’s not forget Russia wanted to monitor/observe our elections and was promptly told no way, whatever’s Russian for get lost and don’t come back…. Lost in the clamor about what Mr. Podesta’s emails reveal regarding Clinton campaign tactics, inner workings, her speeches to Wall Street, Clinton Foundation intermingling with the state department, jobs given to former president Bill Clinton stemming from a supposed to be charity doing good work, and long held speculations on ‘crooked, criminal’ Hillary who belongs in jail are incidents of real criminal behavior presenting a real, not manufactured, threat to national security. Another Edward Snowden-esque situation where an NSA contractor walked out of his workplace with classified materials for NSA hacking code to be found on the ‘dark web’ a corner of the internet frequented by criminals; originally though weird-o not whistle blower now facing coming espionage charges. Retired general James Cartwright, who pleaded guilty to giving classified information to the media, 2 journalists at the New York Times and News Week respectively, then lied to investigating FBI agents about it; he says he was just trying to talk them out of publishing top secret information they already had, going to jail regardless….Instead we’re focusing on the contents of WikiLeaks released e-mails no standard news agency can verify, taking them as gospel playing right into a Russian propaganda campaign that starts giving credible facts and slowly slips in fictitious material towards their agenda…. , John Podesta hack-gate ‘Better than Podesta’s creamy risotto recipe! WikiLeaks dumps an email about Nicki Minaj’s butt;’ WikiLeaks is releasing cooking recipes and comments on Nikki Minaj’s behind, don’t leave out thoughts on Cecil the lion, and we’re supposed to take them seriously?… Now the FBI is reopening their investigation into Clinton’s e-mails and private server based on new e-mails uncovered in the unrelated investigation into disgraced congressman Anthony Weiner, who shared a laptop with wife Huma Abedin close Clinton aide…. When both sides, from libertarian Bill Weld to Karl Rove, republicans Chuck Grassley, Joe Walsh, Jim Jordan, John Cornyn, John Weaver, and a legion of democrats, Eric Holder, Harry Reid naming just two, down to Fox news host Jeanine Pirro are angry and clamoring for more information, saying they made a grievous error in judgement. When FBI director James Comey defied FBI and DOJ (department of justice) protocols with his ominous letter to congressional members Friday, defied his own boss, Loretta Lynch or no. Why, firstly they don’t usually comment on commencement of investigations, ongoing investigations or conclusions of investigations; immoveable guidelines prevent FBI personnel from disclosing derogatory information unless charges are filed; once charges are filed, only negative information directly listed and relevant to the charges is mentioned otherwise they don’t talk about it. Why, the FBI is given incredible access and power to look through our personal papers, find out intimate details about our lives, financial status exc., therefore the FBI should be a safe place to put classified, confidential information, leaks shouldn’t be happening and that expands to Paul Manafort and preliminary inquiries into him and Trump campaign person Carter Page both with suspected of Kremlin connections; they don’t belong tried in the court of public opinion, they belong tired in the designated court of law. ‘You don’t get to be a smearer at large with derogatory information,’ why the rule exists; former prosecutors, the attorney general and Whitehouse ethics lawyer under George W. Bush collectively gasping at violations of their most basic rules, telling news outlets Comey had zero obligation to congress precisely to keep politics out of it, not to go down the rabbit hole of what congress thinks appropriate. Ratcheting up stakes even higher credible interpretations he violated The Hatch Act preventing government employees from doing anything to help or hurt partisan political entities in a partisan election; most glaringly we are 7 days out from the election, as this goes to press, 11 when the story broke, FBI, DOJ normally refraining from making public investigations 30 days, preferably 60 days, before an election due to easily seen influencing opportunities. Millions already having cast ballots in early voting permitted states, millions more doing so daily as the election draws closer; a majority telling news media Hillary’s latest e-mail saga chapter didn’t/won’t affect their vote, but divides are on partisan lines and not applicable to everyone; some individuals wanted more information before voting would like to know what it’s about before solidifying their final choice….Read More

Dallas was Wrong But Completely Unsurprising

Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

Echoing, Baltimore, Ferguson what did you expect; 2 people gunned down savagely by police with badges and you didn’t think there would be a reaction, a response, predictably a violent one, retaliation aimed at officers? commiserating with citizens over their justifiable anger toward police after a grand jury declined to indict the lead officer responsible for the chokehold ultimately killing Eric Garner. Where we had video showing exactly what the officer did: initiating the pile up atop a man trying to walk away, saying please don’t touch me, asking over and over why police were bothering, harassing him, later smiling and waving to present cameras after seeing the man he arrested carted off in an ambulance unresponsive, exactly what Garner did: passively pulling away, growing agitation not violence, his labored statements repeating 11 times I can’t breathe while officers continued to kneel on him, hold him down, press his head and body into the sidewalk. And again no charges; replacing charges, the unmitigated gall of a police union representative trying to insult everyone’s intelligence by calling what one of their own had done a seatbelt maneuver. Going back a short ways again to Ferguson, when bumbling Mayberry-esque law enforcement top brass couldn’t even get their stories straight on why they stopped Michael Brown, was it jaywalking or was it he fit the description of robbery suspects potentially guilty of stealing $4.88 in mini cigars, let alone why a lone officer pelted him with bullets, the last literally blowing off his forehead. Didn’t stop them from releasing an inflammatory video of a person committing a strong armed robbery speculated to be Brown; then seeming genuinely confused regarding why they had people looting everything that wasn’t nailed down… The only reason Michael Slager was charged in the savage, man with a badge, induced death of Walter Scott was because civilian video shows him running away and Slager lying through his teeth about administering CPR, rifling his pockets instead; the only reason the other South Carolina officer, who shot a man in the hip, was removed from his department and charged is because his own dash cam shows the man non-violent, actually following officer instructions to show license and registration. Both arrests the products of public pressure, intense scrutiny and protest to hold police accountable than an inherent understanding what they did was wrong, should never have happened. Video not always working to bring justice, glaringly obvious in the death of Tamir Rice, independent of a patrol car rolling up on him and within quite literally 3 seconds they open fire, despite 12 year old Tamir being alone in that gazebo, only after video came out did they say they told him to put his hands up, drop his ‘gun’ from the car; one guesses because there was no audio and other people in the public park it gave the grand jury reasonable doubt, translation the redundant no indictment… Speeding us toward right now Baton Rouge Louisiana, Alton Sterling suddenly tackled to the ground by police, held down to the ground by 2 officers, one pointing a gun at his chest yelling, using expletives, threating him not to move until the other officer yells gun, 2 distinct pops and Alton Sterling is now expediently dying on the parking lot pavement…A single day later Philando Castile’s deadly traffic stop live streamed on Facebook by his girlfriend as it happened, as Castile groaned in pain and bled out right there while the officer continues to point his gun at her awaiting backup. Why, because the officer mistook Castile for a possible robbery suspect and panicked when he reached for his ID as instructed all while trying to tell the officer he was licensed to carry and had his legal firearm on his person, in his vehicle; Minnesota, like Ohio, home of Tamir Rice, being an open carry state presence of a gun shouldn’t have ended like that. A day after two more black men succumbed to the looming danger of jittery patrol personnel former Army reserve Micah Johnson takes up multiple sniper positions killing 5 police officers present in solidarity with protesters, wounding 7 other police members and 2 civilians in Dallas Texas…. Compartmentalizing for a moment getting serious about the ongoing wars we fight, waged for years, seeing no end in sight and the toll it takes on good people sent to fight them, scars left on them not erased by returning to their home geography, reentering civilian life, lasting effects we don’t have a process for mitigating, treating or have outlandish expectations as to how well it works….are police always so unprepared; by the time we had gotten to the Eric Garner grand jury decision paralleling the death of New York officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu police retaliation wasn’t new or unheard of in the wake of video gone viral putting on display police brutality, excessive force adding up to needless civilian death? At the same time the named officers were ambushed in their patrol car L.A. had already seen a cop shot at, Ferguson had already erupted once, would again when Darrin Wilson faced zero incitement and a Florida officer was killed under similar circumstance; far from random, New York and Missouri explained, L.A. a direct response to the released autopsy report of one Ezell Ford developmentally delayed, shot by police, medical examination finding one shot was to his back, at close range leaving powder burns in the wound and inciting the public, nation too focused on Michael Brown to string together the pieces… Further Dallas is a huge metropolitan metropolis housing exponential numbers of tall buildings and it took it happening before you look up and think someone might do this, aptly named skyscrapers make ideal, prefect sniper perches; compounding what can only be called police shortsighted stupidity at our reading juncture, you have Dallas police chief David Brown scrutinizing positions of his dead officers calling the landscape adjacent to the shoot out a fatal funnel meaning their sniper took more time analyzing the area than they did when it came to where they should place officers, precautions they should take in the event of a protest disturbance, actual riot or active shooter situation—huh?.. Why are police always so flummoxed when confronted with criminal work arounds to achieve their goals, not necessarily in the heat of the moment believing there was more than one shooter, but in the immediate post analysis, the mistaken idea no one would ever take up a sniper perch at a protest, there aren’t civilians who possess requisite training to pull off such a plan and the persons who hold aforementioned training are not unstable enough to do so, earnest in their assessment nothing like that would happen during a protest scenario? Every assumption utterly false considering the sheer amount of returning soldiers, and all their problems, coming home in the last decade…. And in light of extensively listed facts and practical realties regarding scenarios various police divisions, law enforcement specialties should be fully aware of, the best thing they could do to disarm, neutralize the threat this guy presented to cops, protesters and citizens below was to, for the first time ever in U.S. policing history, send in a robot armed with a bomb to blow him apart?… Reading up to our current paragraph illustrating it goes beyond black lives matter, really incomparable to all lives, blue lives matter because it isn’t just coming to the understanding black, minority lives are also human lives, not the animals they have long been portrayed as, the understanding black, minority lives are important, more so now with them continually under siege…about correctly identifying, to a reasonable standard, what is a threat and what’s not, what is a deadly threat and what is a more moderate type of threat; it is coming full circle reaching the realization when shown a picture of a black person, seeing a black person walking down the street they are not a thug, they are not a gangbanger, drug dealer, shifty criminal about to commit petty theft, simple assault, because they sag their pants, wear oversized clothes, have necklaces around their necks and name brand sneakers. They are not, if female, a prostitute working the corner based solely on her clothing and location, they did not steal it, i.e. the car they’re getting into, because they have nice things, they aren’t necessarily out of place in that neighborhood because it is upscale and they are black, they are just people going about their business like you do when off duty, during a traffic stop, legitimate questioning by police, even situations as deadly as Dallas, they are not an exaggerated, elevated threat because they are black… Alton Sterling wasn’t a thug, a gangbanger, drug dealer, a hood rat, a hardened, habitual criminal; he was just a guy trying to earn money the only way he could, money intended to support his children not buy drugs, get high, spent on booze. Philando Castile had no criminal record absent a sizable collection of traffic stops and citations, half of those 52 amassed in the maximum 16 years he possibly had a driving license dismissed once reaching court…Philando Castile wasn’t violent, a thug, a gangbanger, miscreant, had a job, as a school cafeteria supervisor where students described him as Mr. Rogers with dreads…Prevailing attitude remains, there’s no need to change police culture regardless of we have a man, a civilian putting out video on how to survive a traffic stop, not departments nationwide who have seen this, unfortunate in their eyes, type of shooting happening with alarming frequency….When Senator Tim Scott, singular black republican, must resort to testifying on the Senate floor about times he has been pulled over throughout his life focusing on the 7 times in one year because police did not believe him to be the elected official he was to get his fellow republicans to comprehend then contemplate the clamors for mandatory and immediate criminal justice reform, reigns put back on our policing…Then over the weekend following one thwarted attempt to kill Baton Rouge police a man succeeded in ambushing, killing 3 cops and wounding at least 3 others; president Obama making clear it can’t be open season on police, there is no justification for targeting police and justice on their behalf will be done. Quick rebuttal being why not Mr. president, it’s been open season on us for years going all the way back to Rodney King…
Read More

Brexit Buyer’s Remorse, Calls For A Do Over A Cautionary Tale To Americans Considering Their Own Elections?

Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

Impact felt immediately as world stock markets tumbled after the profound uncertainty of an outcome every educated person looking at it said wasn’t likely to happen; comment from one British analyst: they lost more in one night than in 15 years of payments to the EU, the pound cratering to a 31 year low against the dollar…Worries there, now former Prime Minister Cameron was onto something when he forewarned of a possible self-induced recession, the UK representing the largest to second largest, depending on source, European economy, thought being where they go others will follow or be caught in the undertow; thinking not limited to economic realities, who could be hurt in the interim 2 years it may take to engineer the UK’s lengthy, complicated, convoluted and, complex EU exit, who could find themselves in dire straits as the UK implements Brexit, shifts from EU guidelines, regulations and laws to exclusively UK ones. While worries in America center on their own coupled with global financial markets, stocks tumbling for 2-3 days straight, 401ks, retirement accounts losing up to $5,000; market uncertainties not going anywhere knowing as, stated, it could take up to 2 years for the UK to process its formal, official I’s dotted, T’s crossed exit. Down the road issues of trade, alliance on a global political scale, what the threat of a breakup of the UK, more likely the EU, means for global security, a constant American concern as definitive global leader in shaping worldwide events. Real trepidation is reverberating through Europe other countries will follow suit using Britain’s example, that it could reach so far as to divide the UK itself; Scotland for example, overwhelmingly voting to remain in the EU, already having held their own internal referendum seeking Scottish independence from the UK in the not so distant past. Defining catalyst behind forming the EU was to shape a post-soviet Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall, moving from vision to existence a unified Europe for the benefit of participating nations pillared on ‘four freedoms’ of: movement of goods, services, people and money; emphasizing these are small counties land mass a faction of the United States, populated landmasses in Canada, Asia causing a coalition, unification like the EU to make sound sense allowing people things, workers, service to flow freely in such close quarters, increase trade, lower costs, completely disconnected from the elitist power play, better to go it alone lines fed to the people. Processing the leave vote, worries there may be significant problems operating their national health service as it depends heavily on other EU members for doctors, nurses, support staff…foreshadowing for Americans if they continue to blithely listen to Donald Trump and like-minded persons, is hearing people’s explanations behind their vote, thought processes, lack thereof resulting in the shockwave magnitude world consequences; comments like they didn’t think their vote would count, thought their vote insignificant, they didn’t really want to leave they just wanted to make a statement, shrugging it off saying they could always vote differently next time. Right after the vote’s announcement the most googled thing from there, what is the European Union, what does it mean to leave the European Union; shouldn’t that have been a topic you were googling before you cast your ballot, whichever decision you made? It’s like watching a montage to the uninformed voter, would be funny if it wasn’t so serious…British born comedian John Oliver never letting up on Britain for their monumentally stupid decision, quashing calls for a revote with this succinct line: there are no f-ing do overs, sentiments needing to be prevailed upon the public prior to election day obviously, realization coming too late; the punch in the nose, mentioned during the first set of videos at the top of the piece, coming to the voters who thought this would solve your problems. Politicians lied to you, shocker—that’s what politicians do; they said the 300 million pounds going to the EU daily would go to the NHS, strongly implied it, and it didn’t? Except anyone having passed high school level government 101, knows the excess money not used by countries in paying bills, seeing to operations, funding various programs is usually funneled back into generic government coffers and there are no earmarks; someone please tell me if UK democracy, democratic republic structures are that different…What could this mean for Americans poised to make their own decisions, we can’t keep buying into the Trump mantra of making America great again by dragging back jobs from China, Japan, Mexico, everywhere when existing trade deals, trade memberships like with the WTO, stand in the way. Moves away from them could mean drastic ripple effects not singularly for us but other westernized and developing nations alike. We can’t buy that one liner realizing it doesn’t matter how many jobs he might bring back with different deals if it translates into making enemies out of people we must trade with, equal world players, superpowers holding their own weight to throw around who can make things infinitely worse in trading with the United States, if animosity is the ‘weapon’ of choice, and most importantly, when we don’t have the skilled workers waiting to fill those suddenly available jobs. Young people today seen as being pushed away from dirty jobs, working with your hands, Mike Rowe and Bill Maher fond of saying “we can’t all be the person drawing on the cave wall,” the former saying we need people to do something, forever sounding the alarm about the skills gap still failing to understand what’s truly behind it. Young people are going in different directions to follow job landscape shifts yes however, also possessing different talents and seeking out different places to ply them; regarding America, business, including the remaining facets of the manufacturing, skilled trades, construction, exc., failing to be candid and forthcoming about their need for workers, the academic subjects needed for success in field X paired with places to receive training…As the child of a blue collar, unskilled worker, a parent who did factory work, who grew up as part of the transitional generation between pencil and paper, the typewriter and the computer, smartphone, tablet, information age I’m struck by one fundamental question, why can’t we understand industry, working, job markets have changed…e last time industry kept pace with service was in the 1880’s…tasks, technology experts predicting a drastic shift in the face of what future work looks like. Leading my analytical mind to a single set of follow up questions, where is the revitalization of steal towns, coal towns, rust belt areas to match the changing job landscape whether from the government or neighborhood by neighborhood renovations instigated by the people? UK or America, if you don’t like your neighborhood can you mobilize people and supplies….imagine if some of those older citizens in the UK seeing the younger people on street corners offered to teach the knowledge, skill they worked in for years…Read More

Gay Men Still Can’t Give Blood Exactly The Wrong Kind Of 80’s Flashback

Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

Telegraph commenter absolutely right, science has moved beyond our feeble debate; if you can test for blood born infections, every pint/blood sample collected undergoes screening, anyone thought to be healthy should be allowed to donate within the LGBT community or without, including gays, lesbians and bisexuals. One more reason why the marriage equality portion of gay rights, pushback against bathroom bills was and is so important because the recognition went far, far past just marriage, just a piece of paper signifying you as a legal couple, far, far past access to social security, death, survivors benefits from the government generating the understanding gay people are in more ways than not, just like you, choosing to love someone of their own gender the way you love your wife, capable of cultivating lasting relationships and stable families, ironically instability once applied to blended families of 2 people marrying after divorce. Because it focuses us on practical social realities backed by science and research; science and research that says children can thrive in homosexual homes just as they do in heterosexual ones, science and research that dispels the myth homosexuals, transgender people are pedophiles making identity over birth sex assignment bathroom choice a case of perverts lurking near you or your kids. Science that proves medically gays pose no greater risk to the national blood supply than automatically assumed healthy people listed above, statistics unearth probably aren’t, sloppiness of lab screeners brought on by preconceived attitudes about who gets something like HIV and who doesn’t, sloppiness in general marring test results. Negligence stories involving hospital errors, unscrupulous dentists, doctors, nurses, lab techs, healthcare professionals across the board…. Singular way the FDA’s affirmation of their ‘no gay men’, ‘no man having had sex with a man in the last 12 months’ policy works is to pre-conclude every homosexual man, every homosexual, bisexual person is 100% an infected person. Except let’s refresh memories on what those terms mean, homosexual is the term for anyone, gender non-specific, who is sexually attracted to one’s own gender, bisexual refers to anyone attracted to their own gender as well as the opposite gender, gay the gender specific term referring to males who prefer their own gender when seeking sexual partners, definitions telling us nothing about disease status; you determine disease status using a blood test, blood tests we have and are effective. Writers sadly correct treating gay men as an increased danger, greater threat to the national donated blood supply than a heterosexual man treated for a myriad of STD,STI infections not only constitutes a double standard but a dangerous one considering anti-biotic resistance sweeping across all sectors of the medical community also showing up in the treatment, containment of sexually transmitted illnesses; all the major ones gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, demonstrating aforementioned resistance, are already documented in the United States or are headed this way tracking information from entities like the World Health Organization. FDA in their shortsightedness may be initiating the spread of resistant infection by accepting blood offered by individuals having been treated for STI/STD infections in the last 12 months, asymptomatic, certain their infections are gone, anti-biotics rendering them undetectable, harder to detect, but their only concern is gays…Worse related to the Orlando shooting, you could say they are only endangering each other, their own kind, a kind select sections of society evangelicals, conservatives gave up on eons ago, if you want to be that cold, cruel, crass and insensitively cynical, so let them give blood…. We expect this kind of ignorant, fear mongering, uneducated dogma from republican politicians who haven’t picked up a science textbook since the 1970’s maybe before considering the median age of those serving in the 114th congress, who didn’t have the benefit of modern sexual education and their religious affiliations made it even more unlikely they got the proper sexual health information of their day. People who think women can spontaneously prevent pregnancy during rape and a fight for insurance covered birth control was about women having so much sex, being such sluts they wanted the government to pay for their birth control as opposed to access through insurance for women battling genetic disorders and reproductive diseases having nothing to do with sex, endometriosis polycystic ovarian syndrome, who required higher end, more expensive birth control to help treat their ailment, preventing pregnancy a secondary, happy side effect. Not from the FDA, reiterating those initials stand for the food and drug administration, the governmental, oversight body meant to keep our food supply safe, monitor regulated drugs, medications pertaining to the safety and wellbeing of the general public, monitoring for zero contamination in our nation’s donated blood supply, keeping in place procedures towards ensuring that outcome….Worth instilling in the public mindset, not everyone in the Pulse night club on June 12 was gay; some there because it was a cool club, they had a singular drink someone preferred, they came for the Latin music, were dragged out by friends for a good time, something out of your house, to the nearest place serving liquor, functioning as a designated driver. Nor will every time a gay person wants to give blood be in reaction to something affecting just their ‘isolated little enclave’ many motivated to donate out of a genuine desire to help; their blood that could save countless lives if entered into the supply as safely as anyone else’s. Bottom line, people don’t care where their blood comes from as long as it’s clean, it’s safe, you haven’t crossed species, a current impossibility, it’s not a synthetic blood product, products also just reaching human trials. People only care, after answering the clean and safe question, it will be there when they, their loved one need it…Read More