Michael B. Jordan’s remake may be the quintessential movie of our time but those more needing to see it probably won’t; then again maybe they shouldn’t, and others don’t need to.
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Surely they will liken it to what Soylent Green, where they were all eating euthanized people after previous generations had destroyed the environment to the point earth’s remaining inhabitants thought they were consuming blocks of sea plankton (the only food there is), a cup of strawberries probably grown in a green house is a luxury only for the rich at a hundreds of dollars price tag, protagonist finding out humanity’s dark secret and attempting to inform the masses, was to its decade crafted in the spirit of similar remakes. TV series adaptations of say The Handmaid’s Tale, where a Christian fundamentalist takes over the United States by killing the president, a good chunk of congress and suspending the constitution under the guise of restoring order only to create a theonomy where women have no rights, instead are property, few remaining fertile women used essentially as breeding stock while those in power try to repopulate a decimated human species met with environmental calamity after calamity somehow leading to massive female sterility; sounds an awful lot like the opening episodes of the Kiefer Sutherland drama Designated Survivor on the destroyed government front only appealing to our worst instincts not our best. Creations like Homeland and Westworld perfectly suited to our era of fake news, distraction and a seemingly ever growing war on concrete facts, pacifying the masses with entertainment was Ari Melber of The Beat’s take on it, positing questions too on reality, right, wrong and how we treat each other. 451’s revamp called a different type of firefighter shot and released now by creators hoping it will do what Schindler’s List, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and The Pianist did for solidifying the horrors of the holocaust in the public’s mind, what The Walking Dead, The Last Ship, 12 Monkeys (the TV series), Z Nation, and other pandemic, end of the world, apocalyptic films and television have tried to point out about mass disease; that they don’t care about boarders, nationalities, ethnicities or socioeconomic statuses. Demonstrating how woefully unprepared we are to handle any of the possibilities presented, more and more plausible in the era of superbugs, long abolished diseases trapped in permafrost and coming out as it melts; fictional movie elements underscoring the fragility and importance of government to controlling chaos, what happens in the absence of traditional government, the social orders that form in that void. Climate disaster fics on the level of Day After Tomorrow, Into the Storm, Geostorn, San Andreas to name but a few of the latest showing what would happen if we were confronted by a whole United States, North American, or planet wide natural calamity, calamities precipitated by pollution related climate change left unchecked, environmental preservation not done, not done in time to keep the planet livable for human beings, modern society. Coupled with our thought to be budding idiocracy (based on the mid 2000’s movie of the same title where a man put into hibernation as a military experiment is forgotten only to wake up almost 600 years later discovering he went to sleep an average Joe and woke up the smartest man in the world, human intelligence dwindled to near non-existent), a president who prefers TV, entertainment over the intellectual meat of books, people still reading books at all reading the shallow, vapid Harlequin romance variety not anything that will better inform them about their world, is our ever growing technology and our equally ever increasing dependence on that technology rendering us to chanting fear your robot overlords, fear your robot overlords. Whether it’s Watson who wins at Jeopardy, the first robot lawyer, the robot that purposefully hurts people as an art exhibit and thought experiment that has us all channeling Isaac Asimov’s I Robot, (the book not the review hated Will Smith film adaptation); the one able to fold laundry has everyone yammering about how lazy we have become, how unwilling we are to do any work separated from jobs but standard household chores, cooking, cleaning, organization, minimal physical labor associated with same, side notes on no wonder we have a nationwide obesity epidemic, new inventions with no other explanation beyond the 2 word phrase— because America. Forgetting research, never mind anecdotal evidence, showing the increase of human intelligence with every generation, parents genuinely flabbergasted at what their children come up with in terms of imagination, ideas, how fast they grasp complicated concepts at school, or dream up new ways to get into trouble; research also indicating laziness is a sign of intelligence, not the opposite. Forgetting again the impetus behind say the self-tying shoes of Back to the Future wasn’t just the thrill of can we make innovative, imaginative future fiction, a-la Star Wars’ light saber, a reality, but the positive implications for people with disabilities like Parkinson’s, giving them more freedom, independence and clothing choices as their disease progresses; helped along by the trilogy’s lead actor Michael J. Fox’s very public battle and advocacy for research and advanced treatments pertaining to the disease. Similar implications for the self-laundry folder granting more independent living skills to persons with a myriad of debilitating disabilities, giving a boost in old age completing rudimentary tasks; every day practicality uses rarely thought of, giving persons minus a closet a boost a getting back on their feet via unwrinkled clothes for work, a job interview something you can doubtlessly, or would be able to plug in (once the technology reaches standard household use on par with washer and dryer hookups, dishwashers) into a storage unit outlet. Could also facilitate younger children folding and putting away their clothes as it’s easier for them to put garments into the folder then place them neatly in a basket or carry them to a drawer; ideal when they are still too short to reach and hang things in the closet safely. Pivoting back to people with disabilities, wearable wrist and ring technologies that can be programed to do everything from operate your smart phone to adjust lights, music player volumes and window blinds could work wonders for the disabled in living unassisted, less assisted, but as pointed out 3 years ago, marketed as the ultimate lazy person’s remote will determine it’s trajectory, limit the fine tuning necessary to achieve maximum usability for this group. Connecting prevailing sentiments to addressing 451’s critical questions on rights and freedom translating to, and how to survive the Trump era, what many fear is our coming dystopia, answering those questions is unsurprisingly a bit more complicated and complex; commentators remarking people constantly compare our current times to George Orwell’s 1984 whereas they see it as Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World the difference between banning books and bombarding people with so much information, social conditioning, psychological and genetic manipulation they never want to pick up one. On one hand we do see people who are ever increasingly in their own bubble, listening only to the news slanted to a particular political bent, YouTube’s viewer, money making content creators dubbed ad-pocalypse randomly demonizing videos, flagging content like the birth of a giraffe at a zoo as inappropriate, the rumored blacklist of independent media, simultaneously yes there are people actively trying to erode knowledge itself not only concrete, knowable facts and who have seemingly convinced a lot of people on multiple topics to join their way of thinking or suspending thinking. Conversely google, the internet, varying voices have helped steady the demise of organized religion globally, most remarked in young people; theory being in addition to all the sex scandals surrounding abused children by the catholic church, hypocritical/intolerant stances on LGBT persons in Christianity/Judaism only for pastors to be caught engaging in homosexual activity, historical reality the bible has been used to justify slavery, domestic abuse, one of several subjugations of women in younger generations eyes, the internet allows people to quickly google hard, scientific fact debunking creationist myths on how old the earth is, who can google the theory of evolution if it’s not being taught in their school. Researcher’s find teens of the current generation old enough to start willingly experimenting with sex are having decidedly less of it, theory paralleling religiosity/following of organized religion, that years of expanding comprehensive sex ed., until conservatives won back control of all 3 branches of government, maintaining hold on their traditional local pockets, has alerted kids to the dangers of sex making it a turn off, has taught them the basics of sexual safety known to delay first time willing sexual encounters among teens and young people; combined with increased homes housing internet access, free Wi-Fi in establishments a-la McDonald’s/Starbucks, the so called i-generation having internet capabilities at the touch of a button on their phone/farther removed from their parents prying eyes to track search histories, assuaging their curiosity about sex via Pornhub, the glut of porn sites littering cyberspace meaning there is no mystery left and no need to engage in a risky activity spelling disease or pregnancy. Encouragingly more teens up to the Trump administration were also using the morning after pill to prevent one of the consequences of regrettable sex, economics asserting itself in teen sexual habits; too stressed about college, work, bills, debt to engage in dangerous frivolity, also the go to explanation for low birth rates. Greater bright spots dispelling both the idiocracy and dystopia narratives, circa 2015 South Carolina wanted to replace their current AP history courses with the 10 commandments and Reagan speeches without success when students and parents stood up to the proposed legislation; in 2017 a parent’s lawsuit to remove after school bible classes, started after she had to pull her daughter from the school post taunts and bullying she (the child) was going to hell among other cruelties, caused the school to suspend the classes voluntarily and indefinitely. Top of 2018 saw a Louisiana high schooler suing her school exhausted with being constantly bombarded by rituals of a religion she didn’t believe in exactly because of years long pressure to participate in morning payers, listening to bible verses broadcast over the school PA, tangible glares when she chose to opt out, descriptions of affirmations on walls reading: ‘want a change-pray,’ pep rallies, football games any school function infused with payer making it feel more like church than public education, religious indoctrination she wanted no part of; asking where is the separation of church and state? North Carolina’s bathroom bill went all of nowhere and led to the ousting, via election, of governor Pat McCrory who soundly lost his reelection bid thanks to his spearheaded legislation, more importantly the intention behind it, all starting because he didn’t want to include LGBT persons in statewide anti-discrimination statutes previously adopted by select cities in the state; plus the millions if not billions slated to be lost in tourism, acts that would no longer perform there, businesses that withdrew plans to build and hire there, imminent removal of the college and pro basketball entities bringing billions to the state annually. Profoundly inconsistent is the meant to be warning, teaching films mentioned and a plethora of like movies, think the one on NSA whistleblower hero Edward Snowden titled simply Snowden, the Rest in Power Trayvon Martin story documentary are being made unhindered by anything apart from traditional Hollywood maneuvering, identical to how things end up on the cutting room floor, films that were slated to be made that never were due to squabbling directors and other movie staff, fickle actors, budget problems or deadly set accidents. Books critical of current happenings are being printed, put out in audio, digital formats, excerpts available online, in other words in any format you’d come to expect in the 21st century; for all the sitting president’s threats to sue various persons, entities and businesses, media outlets, verbal declarations to change liable laws so he can sue credible media for printing/airing truthful stories about him, persons who had various kinds of relationships with him, those involved in his administration the needle hasn’t moved. In fact he, the president, was the one ordered to pay out in a lawsuit, 25 million to defrauded Trump University students as part of a settlement he agreed to after vowing not to settle; consistent with a trail of lawsuits following behind him for unpaid wages to workers building his buildings, unpaid monies for services rendered to him and may well be called to give deposition, testimony in the sexual harassment case of former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos, wholly separate from the ongoing saga of Stormy Daniels and the shady agreement he had her sign, monies paid so she would stay silent about their sexual exploits before the 2016 election. All due respect to marginally readable classic and past literature trying for a meaningful message, connecting what future forecasting science fiction writers envisioned decades ago to our evolving now, except the brave new world won’t be coming soon because of the Trump administration’s damage to democracy and freedom, complexity of thought, people so exhausted they won’t pick up a book alongside technology ready before people knew how to handle it, Dolly the cloned sheep and CRISPR DNA editing real precursors to hatching children in artificial wombs and training them not to react to death, making a calming drug not only legal but mandatory for anyone slightly agitated; the brave new world, as described by multiple summaries, is the present American now taken straight out of fun kid, tween/teen films like Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, true to its book roots or not, it’s significance is how true to life it is exposing the ridiculous lengths we, adults, will go to crafting reams of rules and just how many, so that no adult has to make or defend a decision, all to avoid the other big, dirty D word distraction, ignorant kids are so distracted because their teachers are so soporifically boring. Rules predictably resulting in cruelty and inhumanity visited upon children when we insist on uniformity without actual uniforms in public schools, chastise children for ‘showcasing’ where their chest hair will be while wearing normal, store bought clothes; when we prime children to be nothing more than worker bees or prison system occupants with a charter school’s strict demerit system perp walking kids from the building for minor infractions and allowing menstruating young girls to bleed through their clothes for want of adequate bathroom breaks to fit the mini dictatorial regime, amending their dress code to allow girls to tie sweatshirts around their waist the school’s idea of a solution. Who needs Soma with the cocktail of legally sanctioned medical drugs we already possess anti-depressants, anti- anxiety, ADHD treatments overprescribed to kids who need better engaging teachers, more recess, to people who have a reason to be anxious or depressed as Brave New World put it ‘the right to be unhappy;’ yet, instead of counselors, psychologists, psychotherapists, psychiatrists doing anything to improve the conditions creating the problem poverty, poor health through lack of care, helping patients first and foremost manage their grief, connecting them to services to provide economic and other stability they are trained only focus on the psychological because the rest of the list is not their purview and to dole out pills chiefly because the rest of society can’t handle a misanthrope. Or it could be said the present day soma goes by a different name, it was reefer back in the day when it became the prime target of the war on drugs called a gateway to much harder, more addictive and dangerous illicit substances; currently called marijuana or cannabis, though having little of the ill-effect projected, rather helping people better manage anxiety, treat bi-polar disorder better than approved, medically sanctioned drugs, medical oils and substances made from various marijuana components stopping seizures/varied types of epilepsy more effectively than again on the market medical drugs, provide pain relief to elderly persons as well as a better overall feeling of wellbeing all without the horrid addiction rate of things like opioids. It has positives for the environment demonstrated by the farmers in Italy using industrial hemp made from marijuana fighting polluted soil coming from a local steel plant, on the heels of its use at Chornobyl to remove specific radioactive elements from land there, studies show weed users are skinnier, a quarter of beer drinkers have switched to weed doubtlessly in states having chosen to legalize recreational use, important considering the health damages from overindulgence in alcohol in cirrhosis of the liver, diabetes and drunk driving all rolled into one; stoned drivers shown to be safer than drunk ones, opioid users have voluntarily switched to marijuana for chronic pain management and equally studies show it works better for treating pain than narcotic based medicines. Speak of the medical/illicit substance devil (opioids), A- talk about the 21st century gateway drug; here it is handed out by mislead doctors after surgical, dental procedures to combat pain speeding head long into street drug heroin addiction producing the same high, honestly quelling the symptoms of withdraw so the addict can be barest minimum functional. B- it is verbatim what they said about crack cocaine in the urban black community all through the 80’s, 90’s and into the early 2,000’s incurring vastly longer sentences for possessors, users or dealers versus powder cocaine most often used by, wait for it, white people, usually well to do kids of congress members until the fair sentencing act was signed into law by president Obama 8 ½ years ago in 2010, slated for reversal under Trump and his war on drugs, war on marijuana taking us back to 1970’s and 80’s policies despite updated research holding nothing but almost always positive effects in managing a host of diseases/disorders, minimal harm if you simply use it because you like it. Tying the threads together to the 451 revamp, its anticipated benefit as a public/social message, another reality, what are the odds your average Trump voter somewhere between 45-50 to 65 plus, to end of life, years of age (arguably the origin of decisions leading to what many feel is our coming dystopia, mirroring age brackets who voted for Britain’s Brexit) will 1- go to any movie theater, 2- want, let alone know how to operate, a Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu or other subscription, streaming service account, 3- even if enticed to either, would chose to see this particular movie; worse by a thousand miles, or any metric you want to gage, the maybe they shouldn’t portion of the subheading, what happens once they see the movie, like what they see and think that is the way the world should be? Next voting for the local, regularly conservative politicians who will do their best to make it come to pass; seeking salient proof, refer back to the examples in previous portions of the paragraph and who put forth drastic changes in educational curriculum, who is it who put up a fight to keep the bible classes post their catalyst to bullying, who is it who makes schools nationwide look like the mentioned movie, only a hairs breath away from actual prison, who insists on muddying the water between separation of church and state with bible classes, where does so much of the anti-LGBT sentiment come from but the twins of religion and older individuals enamored with the nostalgic 1950’s. Counter to younger people who grew up with abortion and birth control being legal, divorce something either party could initiate and through proper court proceedings obtain, young people living in a post-civil rights world where it’s abhorrent to call black people the N word, discriminate against them, integration is just normal and where purposeful segregation is happening it is fought, where organic segregation is by virtue of the people living in an area, attending school it’s noticed; young people not the driving force behind anti-immigrant stances directed at brown people, denial of police brutality, willfully ignoring of the need for criminal justice reform, who love political faces like Bernie Sanders because they seek viable solutions to issues, living wages, functional education access, healthcare access and making the 1% pay their fair share in taxes. Young people who don’t need to see a reincarnation of Fahrenheit 451 to see the possible danger, to see the signs in front of them of what could happen if we allow the existing state of things to continue, already working on improving their world for the better. Proof positive that just because we elected a bad president, changed decision making political parties doesn’t mean the soul of America is rotten, the whole of America has even temporarily lost its mind and while we may have a longer way to go on issues such as race, it doesn’t mean the past years gains evaporated, were won in vain. Following up on that, watchful attention, actions and smart political choices are what’s needed unfortunately what 451’s remake is much more apt to do is create doomsday fatalist fear convincing people it’s too late to change what is clearly set in motion, potentially varying levels of panicked anxiety driving people to a shrinks office or finally blatant disbelief that we could ever get there, the precursors referenced are happening, coming over the social/political horizon. Lost entirely is The Handmaid’s Tale novel series ends implying it is a historical record and society has evolved back to normal where religion, one religion is NOT in control of everything, women’s rights and religious freedom are restored, in 1984 people fought back and in Soylent Green the protagonist discovered the truth as Bradbury’s Guy Montag became self-aware and changed the trajectory of his life, joins the resistance. Protagonists in A Brave New World opted for individualism instead of the world state independent their exile from it; main character hanging self when he cannot stomach the savagery brought out in him by their false and sterile utopia. One word translation, hope: that even if we go down their projected road to the fullest extent of their stories, there was always a resistance interested in putting things back the way they were before totalitarian governments set in, before a theonomy, before an idiocracy, before dystopia perhaps even better than the best of the way things were.
Continued mounting evidence we aren’t as close to the shining city on a hill, the great experiment, democracy’s utter ruin, for one thing, select movie theaters ran George Orwell’s 1984 shortly after president Trump’s 2016 election, sales of books like 1984 and Ray Bradbury’s original Fahrenheit 451, Margret Attwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale are spiking, the Netflix adaptation of the latter; yes president Trump did try to ban a book, Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, meaning stop the publication of one, and was wholly unsuccessful having the actual effect of causing the book’s pre-order sales to be sold out, sending the book flying off shelves once it was in physical copy. It was an identical case with James Comey’s memoir that made it onto the New York Times best seller list well before its release date; subsequent interviews where he explains the more ‘petty’ details finding their way in to the publication, size of Trump’s hands for instance, are because James Comey is a writer trying to paint the scene for you, first impressions, internal dialogs with himself, things that stand out upon meeting him, Comey’s previous job one where noticing such details is a must. Being a writer myself I fully understand Comey’s intent, as writers everywhere probably did. On the subject of the New York Times and its rival stature newspaper the Washington Post, subscriptions to those publications increased after the election of president Trump probably overall newspaper subscriptions, likewise so did the viewership of news outlets like MSNBC, lock step with the increased interest and tracking of independent media, channels found on YouTube; interest holding well into 2018 and that’s despite a commander in chief constantly shouting fake news, calling the times the failing New York Times, though it’s anything but. Equally important, trust in the given institutions, commonly referred to as the 4th estate, has significantly increased to the point of several newspapers including those 2, among others, achieving a Pulitzer prize versus polling indicating a majority of the population believes our president lies, nearly half who believe the president is racist and if not racist per say is emboldening racist persons, groups and actions across the country. We know more now, as the general public, than we did leading up to and throughout the 2016 election, now aware that many of the profiles and activist groups, political ads disparaging immigrants, using cartoons like Dora the Explorer were manufactured by Russian bots, coming out of a Russian troll farm whose goal was to stir up both sides of hot button issues sowing chaos, division across the country; even people who staunchly don’t believe it (we’ll talk more on who exactly that is in coming paragraphs) have been told it’s a thing. Cambridge Analytica’s manipulations, behavior to influence political outcomes, not only on American soil but pulling voter strings behind the UK’s Brexit outcome were exposed complete with video of the perpetrators caught in the act. Amidst Facebook’s ongoing bungling trying to fix the problem of actual fake news YouTube announced it would start putting links on videos to Wikipedia pages explaining the origins of PBS, ABC News so people fully understand what they are viewing, where applicable steps Facebook needs to take as well as keeping track of who’s paying for what on their platform. Returning to books, upon Stephen Hawking’s death this year his most known book again hit the top of Amazon’s best seller list; David Corn and Michael Isikoff’s co-authored book Russian Roulette giving an inside look into exactly what the hell happened in 2016 and how, Russia’s seemingly endless involvement, was too and CBS has won the movie rights to convert it to film on par with, The Post detailing publication about the infamous pentagon papers exposing the ensnared administration’s dirty secrets about the Vietnam War willfully hidden from the pubic as well as congress and Rob Reiner’s ‘Shock and Awe’ exposing what lead us to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Former U.S. armed forces intelligence and counter terrorism operative now intelligence and foreign policy analyst Malcom Nance’s book The Pot to Hack America was on the Wall Street Journal best seller list and arguably its sequel The Plot to Destroy Democracy on a trajectory to do the same at the New York Times and USA Today no matter how short the time period, dispelling this idea Americans don’t read, their reading is confined to Reddit forums, Facebook memes, twitter feeds and the contents of snapchat. Neither are they so undiscerning they will read anything precisely because it’s a book and will look impressive to their higher educated friends/neighbors, get their parents and grandparents off their back about constantly being attached to screens or because it’s about America’s favorite soap opera-esque obsession the ‘man baby,’ child king president, Donald Trump; people want nothing to do with former press secretary Sean Spicer’s new book: The Briefing: Politics, The Press, and The President mainly showing up to his book signings to heckle him, reviewers pointing out he mixed up Michael Steele former RNC chairman and MSNBC political analyst and Christopher Steele the former MI6 agent and compiler of the Steele dossier most pertinent thing republicans got out of it was a supposed pee-pee tape they openly mocked forgoing the underlying substance, Omarosa’s new book about her short lived time in the Whitehouse already a turn off before its release. Contrasted to the fact independent book stores are booming, becoming hubs for guest speakers, local comedians and millennials are singlehandedly keeping libraries alive for identical reasons speakers, events, book signings, my local one did an exotic animal petting session for children last summer; banned books were only ever most applicable to k-12 schools, possibly college campuses and spawned counter events such as banned book weeks, librarians still sought out for answers in the google era. Schools caught or foolishly announcing banning classical literature for now seen racist themes are being called out for their silliness absent historical context as are parents filing complaints, To Kill a Mocking Bird and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 2 on local chopping blocks despite the whole point is what Scout learns about justice and racism or that Huck overcomes his racist culture and father to help Jim, a slave. Laura Ingalls Wilder and renaming of an award baring her name was by the Association of Library Service for children trying to serve both the interests of history and diversity of culture, ensuring it is a teaching tool not a license to be racist; all have the Apu (from The Simpsons) problem best articulated by Bill Maher accompanied by a workable solution: recognizing past generations did stupid things and we now know better and thus try to do better. We live among a plurality of the American public who believes Russia interfered with the 2016 election to varying degrees, the only true center of debate, same majority who want the Mueller probe to continue, want him to reach his final findings undeterred; where poll numbers on the topic wane is Americans want an executive summary, not a play by play this isn’t baseball, they want a definitive answer on collusion and indictments that actually have to do with Trump’s inner circle, campaign, not what some guy did in a foreign country years and years ago— until then shut up. Divorced from the Russia investigation and all its components, we know about the corruption in the Trump administration that lead to Tom Price and now Scott Pruitt’s resignations because of journalistic reporting, that alone proving reporting pressure and accountability still work in Donald Trump’s Whitehouse, we know about the mass regulation rollbacks that stand to harm U.S. citizens dirtying our air and water, breaking promises to coal miners, gutting renewable energy, harming American workers not singularly on trade, immigrants U.S. industries need to function and can’t get, in shrimping one prominent example, but also worker safety rollbacks because of journalistic endeavors, magazines like Salon.com, the Conversation, Common Sense Media, AlterNet, Axios in addition to the pillars of print and television media, nightly national news. We know about migrant family separation at the border, children kept in cages, a child sobbing trying to give border patrol agents her aunt’s phone number so said aunt could come pick her up because of a mixture of conscientious citizen workers and journalistic reporting; we know about the conditions inside detention facilities and the effect on children because reporting anchors for much maligned by the left ‘mainstream media’ a-la MSNBC said as if it’s a swear word, were the first to report on what was being done, again Trump backed down rescinding his policy due to the dual components public pressure and journalistic reporting. Middle age and older Americans who don’t need the news to tell them the Trump Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a bust, because, whatever can be said about the heartland, blue collar workers feeling left out, marginalized in society, abandoned and forgotten by the nation’s political leaders explaining their eye-popping 2016 voting choice, they can read their paychecks; they know what they were getting paid before the cuts, know what they are getting paid now and are good enough at math to notice the measly difference, that it’s nowhere near Trump’s promise and paramount to their interest, sprinkle in the poison to our economy encompassed in the trade war and no one is happy. We are aware of attempts to circumvent, roll back child labor laws if nothing else because older people are the demographic watching Fox News seeing the host fawning over an app that would help his 14 year old get a job; are aware the Trump administration wants to wipe away rules barring teens from working longer hours and navigating harsh working conditions because journalists didn’t suddenly stop doing their jobs when Trump was sworn in, have continued to persevere through hostile circumstances. Concerning what we don’t know, pieces of history getting lost via the slow march of time, a few months ago historians and experts were sounding the alarm about how many Americans were ignorant about the holocaust worry ratcheted up in our modern era looking so much like 1930’s Europe politically, so many precursors to the horrific event seen today; but the survey results are slightly misleading, nowhere did you find Holocaust denial, 98 and 93%’s respectively believed it was something that could happen again and something that should be taught in school. Of the people who didn’t believe 6 million Jews died during it, it wasn’t that they didn’t believe any Jews or anyone died there, it was they believed the number to be 2 million lower indicating 6 million or 4 million they still understand it was a genocide and it was astronomically bad to produce those numbers of dead sans a pandemic disease, mass disaster, standard or nuclear weapons of war; those who couldn’t name a concentration camp could well have been unable to pronounce one and didn’t want to seem stupid, the question not asked, or results not given, is what is a concentration camp, when/where in history was one used, commenters on the more optimistic interpretation of the survey were quick to remind segment anchors of the millions of other persons who died in Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini’s Europe, gypsies the one highlighted. Take the next link discussing poll results 33% of Americans who couldn’t name the 3 branches of government, 37% who couldn’t name a single thing protected by the first amendment, almost no one who could name a supreme court justice and 5% who wrongly named senator Harry Reid as a justice; however, a commenter comprehended what the Ring of Fire host did not: “I think you’ve got it wrong. I learned American government almost 40 years ago in high school. I’m not going to remember the specifics unless I use them on an everyday basis! The same with algebra, biology, and world history. However, based on my general accumulated knowledge, both academic and life lessons, I can make an educated decision. I think either you connected with Trump’s salesmanship or you didn’t. Don’t blame Education! Blame frustration, anger, and fear! I think many journalists assume that the general public actually remembers all of their history and government lessons from K-12, College, and beyond. Constitutional lawyers, politicians, and journalists hopefully have that correct specific knowledge at their fingertips. The rest of us need to devote our time to other information depending on our jobs etc. I hope a high school student who has just finished their government course understands the complexities of our constitution etc. It’s fresh in their minds! As time passes, I know that I have forgotten most of the facts that I learned in school…. but I certainly know how to THINK!” Use it or lose it isn’t simply a concept applying to muscle mass, people don’t use knowledge of the 3 branches of government in their daily lives, in school I don’t ever remember a quiz or test asking us to name sitting supreme court justices, plenty on the functions of the of the supreme court; people are less apt to hear names of individual justices on the news but rather rulings given by the high court, not all pertaining to their lives, the lives of people they know, however Mr. Reid’s name was one heard frequently, until his retirement, on the news. What do we want to bet the percentages listed match the percentages of the population baby boomer or older and/or at minimum partial percentages of those who suffer forms of dementia, Alzheimer’s proper or cognitive decline; age brackets also most known to comprise Trump’s base, percentages who continue their support, baby boomer ages conveniently matching the average age of members of congress. Ring of Fire host additionally wrongly assuming cold, hard facts are the only thing garnering voting decisions not documented tribalism, racism, nostalgia; our commenter has a point too on who has the most facility with these categories of information, politicians and journalist are not our cable guy, who maybe doesn’t need as much of this information as the former of the first two groups do. Plus, Mr. Cousins, independent media may not have, but major news programs vis a vis Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes and the like employ entire research teams to help provide background and historical contexts to stories they run, too much for one person to track down; this blog has long advocated mailing packets to voters on key issues, telling people where they can obtain voting records of politicians and attaching their rationale for voting the way they did on bills, propositions exc., we don’t do that hints the results. Similarly for all the stereotypes thrown around about young people follow what they are doing, the parkland students organizing protests against the gun violence touching them so profoundly, bringing out people from all walks of life, all age brackets, getting a blueprint published brilliantly outlining what they believe would curb all gun violence, not exclusively what impacted them valentine’s day; parkland students who have gone toe to toe with both the gun lobby and the NRA, parkland students who knew the names of their local representatives, their elected officials unafraid to debunk repeated talking points with hard facts, unafraid to ask the hard questions of political operatives, will they reject money from the NRA, will they support sane gun legislation, concurrently unveiling just how much money they are receiving from said NRA to hold their views and voting stances, parkland students who knew who Marion Hammer was and the negative impact she wrought on reasonable gun regulation, the influence she still held over the area and nationally. Maryland students reacting in a parallel way speaking about steps to end school shootings on a student to student interpersonal level; asking people how they are, noticing if someone is having a bad day, virtually paying attention to your fellow human being in a positive manner. Even in the worst parts of America, urban blight cities with a long history of poverty, violence, and city corruption, large high school dropout rates, churning out illiterate persons in a westernized nation students firstly recognized their subpar education and its impact on their future, secondly they organized and found themselves legal representation willing to take on their state’s education system justifiably accusing their state officials they are being deprived of their right to literacy via competent/present teachers and adequate resources; in the meantime one 7th grade student stepped up to teach his fellow math students when their wasn’t a teacher for an entire month. Watch teacher’s strike footage and count how many students are in the crowd more than holding up duct-taped textbooks, detailing a deplorable lack of resources, dilapidated classroom and school building conditions but telling reporters about their teachers who arrive early, stay late, dig into their own financially stretched pockets for the betterment of them, their fellow classmates, incredulous at their tender ages those teachers are forced to work 2, 3 and 5 jobs to survive; middle age and older Americans who supported, still support teachers strikes, teacher activism toward fair/commiserate pay, resource allocation, who understand it’s impact on their children, grandchildren and the country we live in. Young people’s involvement, countering perceptions, nothing new; we forget that in the 60’s and 70’s youth were the ones protesting the Vietnam war instrumental in lowering the voting age to 18 because they could be drafted by then but not make decisions regarding the country they were being mandated to fight for; those same 70’s and 80’s saw protests and wining the right to wear casual clothing to school versus suites and ties blouses and skirts, girls won the right to wear pants, clothing wars that go on today young people exercising their civil disobedience, peaceful protest rights fighting for the freedom to wear leggings, yoga pants, ripped jeans, tank tops and short shorts to class. Largely obliterating the sexualized implications adults routinely shove on them by their lifestyle of not having sex; better suggesting boys be taught not to treat girls as objects as opposed to forcing her to cover up. Students themselves spearheading pushback against alterations to textbooks removing historically influential minorities, pushing patriotism, renaming the slave trade the transatlantic trade, branding imperialism expansionism and engendering outrage and backpedaling calling slaves workers; students upset by a beloved teacher’s sudden disappearance from their school embarked on a journalistic endeavor to find out what happened, upon discovering he was ousted for sexual contact with a student they placed their findings on the school newspaper’s website, when they were censored and their content taken down for essentially telling the truth, they started their own online publication. From the slightly older crowd, director of 13 Reasons Why controversial Netflix series accused of causing, if not promoting suicide, recently stated in an interview she refused to apologize for a tool meant to help parents and kids start a conversation about what their kids go through going to school every day, elaborating she knew the parents were going to be the ones with problems because ‘the kids get it;’ Bo Burnham almost half the age of the previously cited director doing the same with 8th Grade, confronted with its R rating advised teens to sneak in. Just a few short years ago it was very young change minded students who got firsthand knowledge of how their local state governments work petitioning for a state fossil in South Carolina at age 8, one of the few without a designated state fossil, in Idaho it was a petition for a state amphibian the giant salamander begun by a 4th grader who was 14 when it passed the Idaho house, in one instance navigating the legislative process toward adding a student to one Kentucky panel picking a superintendent so children being educated have a greater say in who their school officials are. Teens too young to vote ran for governor instead in 2017, a phenomenon carrying though to 2018 with teens as young as 13 applying to run for local office, i.e. governor in Vermont, focused on sending a message about young people’s attentiveness to political issues, politics and government’s influence and impact on social issues, the lives of citizens, not least of all theirs. Pattern consistent over the past decade, a Muskogee Oklahoma University of Oklahoma student who won his mayoral race at 19 that was 2008, an Iowa town who voted for an 18 year old mayor in 2009, Indiana’s youngest mayor (2012) was a ripe old 24 compared to ones still dangling teen behind their age but landed the epic job interview directly post graduating college and throws out the concept young persons hold no interest in politics; similar to Stockton California’s youngest mayor Michael Tubbs at 26 elected 2016, the Texas high school senior sworn in as Archer City’s mayor circa 2014 where he ran unopposed. Youngest mayor in Indianhead Maryland hit the ground running to tackle both joblessness and a lack of business opportunities for residents proposing fees on out of town business property owners who leave those properties vacant for an extended span of time, the longer they are left vacant; one of those young teen office holder hopefuls highlighting we elected the oldest president ever and he tweets like a kindergartener, his words not mine. Encouraging, those middle aged and older people who joined the parkland students’ protests, local protests nationwide, not because they too had been victims of mass violence, had students at home, beside them who experienced a school shooting or neighborhood violence chronic in our inner cities, but Americans, parents and not, who didn’t want to see it be their child, who wanted to see such violence end, who were inspired to action by poised, articulate teens after such a harrowing event. Encouraging the older, middle aged adults who joined college kids during occupy Wall-Street, who understood far better than Bill Maher and Dennis Miller their goals; boiled down to one sentence, if we can bail out big banks we can help students with their crushing student loans, we can ensure that costly educations lead to the middle class lives they were promised. Students sued the government over climate change and won the right to continue, when that ceased another city’s students took over where they left off, students participating in the NASA science contest subject to racism who devised a substance that would make lead contaminated water clean following on the heels of a girl who made an inexpensive, near immediate lead detector echoing the footsteps of children who designed inexpensive cancer detectors, made lighter, reusable sandbags. One college student’s genealogy project and diligence served to solve a 43 year old crime through the perseverance we’re constantly told young people don’t have. In light of what was divulged about Bill Cosby California passed a bill changing the statute of limitations and caused select states to review theirs, by the time his retrial came about #metoo had swept across the country securing a conviction, #metoo still outing long time sexual predators in power the latest 2 being Les Moonves and Jim Jordan for sexual harassment/assault and knowing about the molestation of wresting team members by an embattled doctor and doing nothing, respectively. Brock Tuner’s mugshot is now to be used in a criminal justice textbook a visual representation of the definition for rape, and California changed 2 laws to broaden the definitions for rape and prevent those convicted of assaulting persons unconscious or intoxicated from only receiving probation, not all actions taken by young people but by moral minded adults regardless age.
Bradbury may well have overestimated the devastation of technology on the level of it being a Terminator’s Skynet for intellectualism, intellectual thought, humanity’s self-awareness and underestimated its positive effect on the American, world populous; even calculating the looming shadow effects of eliminating net neutrality, realistically it likely won’t lead to the internet in the movie versus the internet we utilize today. Because, people living in restrictive countries, dictatorial regimes have long had work arounds to access the internet period, the full internet sans state censorship; we only need follow the playbook of independent journalists in Russia, how Arab spring nations got to and harnessed social media to broadcast their protests for democracy, self-governance by the citizens of those countries. Despite members of Silicon Valley’s tech industry sounding the alarm saying their devices, programs, apps present negative effects on children, admitting they made their things addictive purposefully coupled with adult users’ reactions to smartphones, tablets, titter, Facebook, Snapchat, Reddit scientific information explaining why you are addicted to your smartphone, the endorphins, dopamine released when you see received Facebook likes and other positive feedback from social media, tech addiction is exaggerated and always has underlying or more traditional causes; further twitter and Facebook’s platforms are also places listing job postings Indeed, Monster and LinkedIn are added avenues for persons seeking jobs or employers seeking workers. Teens are at the forefront of designing apps to help them and fellow students find local jobs, the newest helping teens get cash paying gigs, in this gig economy, coordinating blocks of time they can do listed odd jobs people are willing to pay to have done with such jobs available; busy adolescents finding that works better than the traditional jobs confined to set hours and still pays, accumulates coveted experience, apps for specific areas, apps for specific sections of job seekers example, construction workers, employ increasing numbers of Americans yearly. Social media has been integral in connecting people to their lost items, treasured wedding rings, meaningful children’s stuffed animals i.e. the bunny given to a 2 year old by his grandmother before she passed away, an adopted teens sentimental toy sole remaining possession of her biological brother she hasn’t seen since they were tiny, a little boy reconnected with his teddy-bear and all the people who pitched in to help, the uplifting it gave to people hearing the story, feel good news story on the temporarily lost stuff giraffe, the one constant for a frequently moving military family toddler, illustrating it’s not just stuff, there can be deeper value in material possessions than appears on the surface. Online networks helping return people’s lost pets, getting slated to be euthanized animals adopted into loving homes, helped one mother find her deceased husband’s car to buy for her son struggling to cope with his father’s death; a father who was killed in Iraq when he was an infant, a father he thus never got to know, only knows through pictures and things he used to own, hints the car. A new tool side by side video in combatting porch thieves stealing packages while the rightful owners are out, are at work; facial recognition used to keep track of children at summer camp, providing today’s justifiably jittery parents a way to see how their kids are doing. Videogames like TV assumed by adults to rot your brain actually can lead to increased intelligence in the areas of strategic thinking, greater capacity in areas of memory, honed fine motor skill; finally surprisingly increased sociability, life satisfaction, cutting hyperactivity, peer conflict and emotional problems. An innovative tool being used by Chicago to combat gun violence, allowing people to play the game based on real life, in the street scenarios seeing the effect their decisions have; learn to make the perceived less confrontational choice by those who could be irrational and also carrying a gun. Sites like ansetry.com for all the potential for misuse, exposure of family secrets and breaking up of families united a father and son, father not knowing he existed, helping adopted/abandoned babies find their birth parents. It and like DNA registries solving cold cases giving victims, their families justice, an opportunity at closure starting with the golden state killer and branching outward. And predictably if you are grappling with unexpected DNA results there is now a Facebook group there where you just might find others going through the same thing, but we should chuck Facebook, all social media, too bad there is no putting the genie back in the bottle. Same social media key when paired with smartphones that are now video phones in bringing social justice if not legal justice to the rash of minorities harassed and assaulted by do-gooder neighbors and community members frequently nuisance calling the cops, the person known as ‘Permit Patty’ resigned as CEO of her cannabis products for dogs business once her face was known since she too was selling without a permit, totally ironic since she was in California where with a little work she could have obtained a permit for such a thing, ID Adam, fully explained in the next paragraph, not only was pushed to resign from his home owners association but fired from his job because the video of his behavior went viral, as was a phony health inspector asking a black woman and her child if they had bathed before entering the hotel pool banned from that hotel chain. The man irate at a woman speaking Spanish in a coffee shop yelling and so on lost office space for his law firm, a teen’s video of him being ousted from his community pool lead to assault charges for the woman in question when she’s plainly seen hitting him; a woman in a Porto Rico shirt harassed by an old man in a park’s video got the cop standing by doing nothing as she repeatedly asked for his help placed under department investigation due to his blatant inaction in getting the man to simply go away if he was so bothered, prompting his voluntary resignation. In another case the property manager who confirmed a black man was legitimately a resident of the complex but still allowed the police to remove him has been placed on administrative leave, as was the property manager who threw a man out of his community pool for the lone fashion faux pas of wearing socks in that pool claiming improper pool attire though the sign lists no examples of what this is, firm no’s not allowed, expediently fired due to competency issues not only racial profiling, both being African Americans and spotlighted managers white. CVS removing 2 employees after a manager called police when a black woman tried to use a coupon calling it invalid without checking and exaggerating her behavior to get them to show up, both quickly fired and the coupon was legitimate from the manufacturer of whatever product or prescription the woman attempted to purchase. Different CVS, different state a transgender woman denied hormone medications unto gender reassignment because the pharmacist had an objection, fired for violating company policy; hopefully bolstering the case for complete LGBT rights after the press and social media got hold of the story. Many times civilian shot videos have changed the conversation on police brutality in this country providing proof to white people what blacks and minorities have been screaming for decades is the horrifying truth causing them to join in solidarity protests, sit ins, die ins after people saw on video what an officer did to Eric Garner, Michael Slagger is sitting in a jail cell today because someone took cellphone video of that traffic stop gone wrong, tragically turned because the officer decided to shoot 8 times and rifle his pockets instead of offer the CRP he lied about trying to administer; Philando Castile’s girlfriend Facebook lived his shooting and death to show people what happens in a simple traffic stop when you are open and honest about what you have, what he legally had a permit to carry. Others have been fired and investigated based on dash and body cam footage including the officer who shot a man in the hip after stopping him when he pulled unto a gas station, had already exited his car when the officer asked him for his ID and he ducked back into his truck to retrieve it; people saw the video of a father begging for his life, trying to follow officers’ Simon says instructions before being killed in a hotel hallway over a pellet gun from their own body cam, next seeing his acquittal. They saw the felony stop of Kametra Barbour and her 4 kids wrong color car, makeup of occupants, they saw the arrest of a 65 year old woman exercising her right to ask for a supervisor; they’ve seen dash cam of the officer arresting his daughter’s boyfriend for no other offence than being her boyfriend promising out loud, video rolling, to fabricate something to charge him with missing a traffic call driving her around once he discovered she was in her boyfriend’s car, seen 2 younger officers deciding on a woman’s arrest for speeding via a coin toss app, latter 2 cases fired outright or placed on leave pending investigation, in part because supervising authorities know what the public outcry will be when they can see it before their eyes. To combat bullying and help kids make friends during the awkward phases of middle and high school one teen created the app Sit With Us, another app giving tweens/teens a chance to rethink that mean message before it’s sent; kids creating apps to help those with visual impairments process and learn high school and advanced science heavily dependent on seeing both models as well as formulas. Idea behind smart lights for visually impaired, ADHD and other delayed kids letting them play hokey or enjoy an Easter egg hunt with beeping eggs. A teen who created an app to help those with Alzheimer’s identify friends and family as they are talking to them, remind them they just sent a message to so and so, asking do they want to send it again combatting disease related absentmindedness and repetitively doing tasks forgotten they were already done, developed after watching her grandmother battle the affliction; apps to help teens connect in fighting mental illnesses like depression, not to mentioned others that connect digitally with a therapist getting people the vital talk therapy they need. Beyond the brief mentions in the introduction technology can be a game changer for people with disabilities whether it’s an app that tells them about public places with various accessibility features they might need or the one helping deaf and hard of hearing parents decipher their baby’s cries fussiness from huger or pain for instance; smart homes giving quadriplegics new independence. Persons worried about smartphones changing children’s brains, compartmentalizing a commenter’s analysis of Joe Scarborough’s thoughts, devoting a segment to the concern, that said “Socrates said that books were a horrible crutch that destroyed the memory and clarity of thought. This is all just psychology voodoo and grandpa cane waving,” might want to remember they likely said the same thing about television, certainly computers in the days of the Apple 2 E green screens/next generation gray screens; and paramount, we society survived, another way to frame that, look at it is children’s brains are adapting to their environment, which should represent a good thing right? Individuals, a-la Joe Scarborough, admonishing young people needing to pick up a book and recommending ones with political or historical content forgetting that digital e-books are available online, people possess e- readers and libraries e- selections just keep growing; tech giants like Apple’s i-tunes, Google Play carries what— audio books, relatively new company audible, an Amazon affiliate, offers the same, books on digital tech, audio books in MP3 form revamp of books/religious sermons on tape/CD, tools used by the blind and dyslexic to absorb written content absent the ability, in spite of difficulty reading. App Blinkist goes a step further offering 15 minute condensed audio books for busy professionals and citizens, fairly well debunking the Bradbury claim if we (society) lose the ability to read we lose the ability to be part of civilization, be part of a democracy; the website Class Central has class lectures from top universities, what we truthfully need to do is a better job of alerting people to their availability. Here is found a fundamental flaw in Fahrenheit 451’s revamp/update in the trailer used by Ari Melber you see the new fire fighter AKA book burner finding a hidden cache of physical books with a voice overlay of the veteran firefighting/book burner asking if he’s ever seen an actual book before, saying a little knowledge is a dangerous thing news, facts, memoirs, internet of old, calling what’s inside books insanity; the problem, younger people seeing that will doubtlessly laugh though they recognize the seriousness of what’s emerging, what could happen because they’ve seen books in multiple formats than just physical, so what else is the movie exaggerating to the point of becoming unrealistic? Further if we want people not to hate reading from their formative years then bluntly it’s time to let them read what they want in elementary school, rethink what we deem a classic, stop forcing kids to slog through The Sun Also Rises and The Great Gatsby holding no relevant value to the modern age and contextualizing the classics that do, recall the ones listed in paragraph 2, novels like The Scarlet Letter, let students excited by literature, interested in classic works take advanced classes in high school/college. If we want people to continue reading into their adolescent and later life another strategy would be to make sure students and adults have access to books with characters that represent them, look like them, have compelling experiences matching theirs; polar opposite of the 11 year old girl who had to start her own book drive to find juvenile fiction and literature featuring black girls, tired of reading class assigned books about ‘white boys and dogs,’ ticking off 3 out of 4 Shiloh books, seeking a mere 100 books fitting her criteria. Thankfully she was able to find them and her search went viral both highlighting the sexist, race exclusion problem in children’s, youth literature and helped her in her cause surpassing her goal, but what about Hispanic, Muslim students, LGBT offerings in conservative states’ school libraries, communities? Going back to the what we don’t know discussion in the previous paragraph and the staggering percentages of Americans who don’t understand basics about our government, Cousins’ message we need to vastly improve education in this country, if we know people get more out of visual representations of historical events, visual representations of concepts why aren’t we embracing it; if people better understand government from Schoolhouse Rock and The West Wing make more of those, not shun them remembering the creator who designed the former did so because his boss came to him irritated his son could remember all they lyrics to a Jimmy Hendrix song but not his multiplication tables asking for a song to help, there is a reason baby and toddler toys match music with words, numbers colors, shapes and animal sounds, it helps them better absorb the information in that critical birth to 5 year window. Want students to fully understand slavery show them movies light Roots, my high school American history teacher showed us scenes from the latest such film at the time Amistad, incorporate scenes from 12 Years a Slave, want them to fully grasp the civil rights movement and the basic things that had to be fought for, try Loving; Hidden Figures addresses a plethora of issues in one film rights for both women and blacks, women working in male dominated fields, showing they are just as smart and capable as men in science, based on a true story. The Scarlet Letter has a film version The Crucible same thing giving 2 windows into puritanical early America, The Great Gatsby has a recent film remake if you insist on teaching the latter; pair text, class discussion topic with film and teacher guided analysis so students aren’t given wrong impressions, walk away thinking they’d like to live in the regressive world they see. The band Ok Go used math and science in the making of their videos so prominently teachers began using them to show practical applications of concepts; when the band learned this they responded be designing a series of strictly education videos including experiments and things students could try at home, teachers could do in class to solidify their lessons in student’s minds. Critiquing adult reading habits and gaging how informed they are or not about national happenings, national news, international news as it pertains to the meetings/summits the president is having, maybe it’s a good argument for stopping major newspaper’s online offerings being limited, readers googling topics and finding articles on a desired subject prevented from reading everything they want to instead treated messages like ‘you have 3 more free articles remaining’ and ads for cheap subscriptions they may not want. It is an argument for stopping newspapers, no matter what their caliber, from twisting people’s arms into disabling their computer/browser’s ad blockers to view content so newspapers can pay their bills; not only does it make them vulnerable to malware and viruses often harbored in ads, despite virus software packages/programs, it wreaks havoc on older machines, types of machines i.e. laptops when you are fighting a double digit number of HD blinking, bopping, jumping video ads and probably a lower internet speed to boot, takes the real chance of overheating said computers, particularly bad with the rash of laptops catching fire, otherwise causing heat damage to something it means hundreds of dollars to replace. If Joe Scarborough really wanted to say something profound about knowledge and information he wouldn’t be shouting at young people to put down their twitter, Facebook, social media feeds and pick up a book, he would be shouting it should be made illegal for newspapers to do the 2 things explained above; putting forth the case because you are disseminating news, in the business of news, purpose to inform citizens, you can’t block the public from it. Situation worse for bloggers like myself who may be looking for a video or written reference to thing X coming across the same phenomenon when you intended to include the link in your work all along disseminating their content with yours creating greater exposure and likelihood locals at least might subscribe; I had to leave a comment talking about just that when Salon was Bata testing taking readers excess computing power to limit ads in lieu of an ad blocker because it was overheating my computer and making me less likely to use their stuff suddenly not going to roughly 1,600 subscribers to the blog I write for. Robots we’re afraid of not least of which because they stand to take a lot of our jobs can be harnessed to work alongside humans resulting in more jobs for their organic counterparts, can do more to give those with disabilities personal independence opening doors for them, fetching items, a potential solution to home health aide shortages in time. They can facilitate such persons’ greater participation in society from allowing chronically ill kids to attend school remotely, plus those undergoing cancer treatment, bone marrow transplants necessitating extended periods of sterile isolation; helping children with physical disabilities master walking, to getting a job, helping accident victims keep a job as a robotic exoskeleton did for one surgeon, giving accident survivors back a sense of normalcy playing video games with siblings, allowing the differently abled to enjoy what is a giant pastime for everyone else, robots helping children with autism learn about emotions, facial expressions, communication they struggle to master. Young people front and center to not waiting for national institutions to mobilize toward solving global problems directing science, tech, big data at cleaner air, better water, treatments and eventually curers for ailments like diabetes; non-profits using technology to aid the developing world whether it’s apps on smartphones hooked to computers monitoring pregnant mothers or drones delivering blood in Africa. Lifeline and Life Alert just 2 types of technology helping keep senior citizens in their home while also offering help after falls, help when out in public if they get lost, feel unsafe; Skype and Facetime, other video chat entities offer ways for families living apart to stay connected, people coping with rare diseases where there are only a few sufferers worldwide to see each other, connect and cope, share medical breakthroughs and research regarding their condition. Those virtual reality goggles offering augmented reality and full virtual reality experiences we’re prettified will herald Bradbury’s vision of entertainment drugged masses are currently being used by doctors to diagnose and assess concussion symptoms and monitor recovery for sufferers, used by mental health professionals to treat phobias, show promise in battling aspects of Alzheimer’s and chronic pain; some aren’t augmented reality at all, not the way it’s been marketed to us and we’ve come to understand it anyway, rather helping the legally blind see clearly their family, friends for the first time, allowing the color blind to see the full color spectrum, any color for the first time in their literal decades of living. Putting in perspective it isn’t technology itself that is bad only how it’s used, when you have to tell Gale King this isn’t just another piece of technology to make parents lazier but has practical use in helping people never mind how many cases of shaken baby syndrome and various kinds of child abuse it might be able to prevent when barely sleeping newborn parents can fulfill their child’s needs, parents of a marginally older child can get them to shut up so the rest of the house can sleep, handy when there are older children needing to get up for school. We are forever told we should keep our kids away from technology ignoring the 4 year old whose mom passed out and he used her smart phone to pick dad’s picture from the favorites list thus saving his mother’s life when she had a seizure due to high fever, the 3 year old who used Facetime to call mom saving her dad’s life when she found him lying on the floor unable to more or speak after a stroke, suspected she learned how to operate the app facetiming her grandparents; Apple’s watch saved a teen siting in church alerting her and her nurse mother to a dangerously high heartrate and ultimately diagnosed kidney failure. Telemedicine is providing improved quality care to inmates in continuity and chronic condition management, reminder prison is meant to be a punishment not a death sentence unless determined by a court; telemedicine helping diagnose allergies and could easily serve as a house call, things being revived as a way to help patients who recover faster in their own homes and is cost effective. The sensor designed by a boy compelled to do something after seeing a neighbor child die in a hot car connects to your phone in addition to alerting emergency services and does it really matter if it prevents a greater quantity of, potentially eliminates future hot car deaths killing children? It isn’t that their aren’t bad technologies, a Salon.com author took on the developing tech of videogames that plug directly into your brain with the subheading what could go wrong, Facebook, YouTube and all of social media has an algorithm problem, they rely on them too much when they should be using humans to actually look at something, you shouldn’t need to ‘sign in to confirm your age’ to see video that was aired on broadcast television’s 5:30 news, and they are poorly crafted for what they are meant to do; but, railing on the good technologies, neutral technologies does nothing to stop the bad, clearly distinguish good from bad or teach people how to use certain technologies correctly so they don’t become bad or dangerous.
Politically, fact is someone else won the popular vote by a wide margin of 3 million votes, people were crying in the streets less because we didn’t achieve our first woman president and more because of who did achieve the presidency and how they won; not by the, would seem sane and reasonable popular vote, whichever candidate garners the most votes wins, but the electoral college and which candidate holds the most electrical college delegates votes based on which of our most populous states that candidate won. Millions more abstained from voting at minimum for the highest office because they felt disgusted or ill-represented by either candidate; since 2016’s shockwave outcome there have been moves to abolish the electoral college viewed as antiquated and no longer needed at best, at worst found to be obstructive to the will of the people having a habit of doing this to democrat, more progressive candidates. Petitions in select states have cropped up, legislative bills proposed that to be placed on their voting ballot you must release your tax returns, others pushing for similar measures regarding the release of pertinent medical records, at minimum a physician’s summery to be placed on a ballot at least when running for the 2 highest offices, president and vice president. Faced with the erratic nature of Donald Trump, lawmakers concerned explored creating a panel on his mental health and going forward creating an advisory panel on presidential capacity to address exactly the issues he raises, someone running for office/in office who may not be cognitively sound, may be suffering an undiagnosed, poorly treated mental illness; rethinking the stricture on the psychiatric community known as the Goldwater Rule named for presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, whose political aspirations were grind to a halt by armchair psychologists commenting publically on his fitness, rather his, in their minds, patent unfitness, for office sans ever meeting with him, doing a clinical assessment. Reinforced when Thomas Eagleton vice presidential hopeful in 1972’s failure to disclose barbaric electroshock treatments for depression ended his higher office hopes along with those of the would-be future president a full 8 years after what happened to the man whose rule would change psychiatric approaches and bear his name. Finally leading us to modern times, remember mere hint of having sought mental health help stalled presidential candidate hopeful Michael Dukakis’ campaign in the late 80’s; fast forward to 2016 and post 2016, psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health professionals all feel compelled by another of their rules, a rule they feel supersedes the Goldwater guideline, known as duty to warn. Extrapolating from the given definition: [it] arises when a patient has communicated an explicit threat of imminent serious physical harm or death to a clearly identified or identifiable victim or victims, and the patient has the apparent intent and ability to carry out such a threat, they point to the stakes being higher with a commander in chief who has access to the nuclear launch codes, who’s policy decisions can crash markets in hours, impacting the livelihoods and wellbeing of the world not singularly the nation, his immigration policy separating children from their parents, keeping them in cages exhibiting cruelty usually associated with dictators known for psychological disturbances; findings compiled based on observable behaviors from speeches, interviews, public appearances, comparing interviews 30 years ago to now spelling cognitive decline on top of a 4 disorder grouping found in tyrannical leaders first explained in the 1930’s using the Nazis. To say nothing of reports from persons who work with him daily, friends who’ve known him for years seeing the change, just in case he’s putting on a persona when in front of audiences; 27 phycologists, psychiatrists and mental health professionals in fall 2017 coauthored a book titled The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump which distills nearly identical highlights as follows: speech patterns out of a psychiatric textbook, medium grade mania, Trump displaying its characteristic flight of ideas words tumbling out of his mouth in a disjointed fashion. Nor is it merely political issues surrounding president Trump getting increased attention of the populous, gerrymandering as a legal issue has worked its way through the courts mandating some of the worst states redraw their districts to be balanced (North Carolina and Pennsylvania), despite the Supreme Court rejecting hearing a case regarding the matter earlier this year; the latest, a federal 3 judge panel has again stuck down North Carolina’s efforts to redraw their districts fairly calling districts so partisan as to be unconstitutional. Use of the controversial cross check system meant to find duplicate voter registrations and weed out the dead, persons who moved was halted in one state via restraining order and has been slowly deserted by others for sloppy analytics, too vague criteria creating legions of false positives; meaning, despite GOP efforts to purge voter rolls they remain largely intact. Progressive groups are pushing for a constitutional convention to override Citizens United with a constitutional amendment to remove mega corporate money from politics tantamount to legalized bribery ever gaining support and willing states’ political leaders to sign on. Political participation has skyrocketed, the sleeping giant that is the American masses has awoken no longer taking their democracy for granted; whether it was the protests just after his election chanting ‘not my president,’ the women’s march happening the day after his inauguration, his gallant swearing in to the highest office drawing exponentially more participants throughout the country and across the globe, women saying we are here and we are not ok with your behavior, what you plan to do to our county, our rights, our freedoms, slated to remove our agency over our own bodies. There was a march for science, saddening, shameful we needed one but there was one; again like the woman’s march exceeding the bounds of our own boarders and spanning worldwide fighting for research dollars toward combating climate change. Scientific voices like Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye have become larger known faces ever outspoken as the degradation of scientific fact has reached record heights in some circles; the latter who went from kid’s show creator to debunking deflate-gate to breaking down scientific concepts in a way the public could understand, Tyson sounding the alarm to the consequences of why we are so bad at math and science, almost proud to be so, warning about the impending death of democracy in our times as well, matching what is happening with and since the election of Donald Trump. Impromptu protests sprang up against the Trump travel ban targeting Muslims from 7-9 countries, depending on which version, almost equal to the speed he announced then implemented the policy; conscience minded lawyers willing to offer their impromptu, pro bono legal services to persons suddenly denied entry independent visas, citizens returning to the country as legal residents, naturalized citizens, even by the time the 3rd iteration had gotten past the supreme court to finally be upheld it still spawned protests. Sit-ins, die in and protests that readily could have been dubbed the new occupy movement ‘occupy our congressmen, local/national representative’s office space’ surrounding the proposed repeal and replace, boiled down to just repeal, of Obamacare that did not happen partially because of citizen pushback. Identical citizens, particularly parents, who when they found out about the separation of parents and children at the U.S. Mexico border as a deterrent to prevent migrants from seeking asylum, protest was their first go to, GoFundMe pages and donations to immigrant assistance non-profits poured in generating bail/bond money so separated parents can get out of detention and find their children, a caravan of people getting one woman with no ID and thus no way to fly, use mass transit literally across the country from where she was in detention to at least see her children, be near her children before a hearing decided the continuing validity of their collective asylum claim. American, United and Frontier airlines released public statements expressing their commitment to not being party to helping separate migrant children from their families, a law firm offered free legal service to border patrol agents who no longer wish to enforce inhumane immigration policies. Isolating sections of the parkland students’ message and national tour happening all summer long it is one part insistence on voting out NRA bought, NRA supporting politicians who refuse to move the slightest bit on gun control and one part get out the vote initiative registering their eligible fellow young people and eligible persons of any age to vote, convincing them their vote matters, together they can shift the tide to change by voting for political operatives who will enact the measures desired by the vast majority of Americans. As this piece is being written protests irrupting due to president Trump’s second supreme court nominee post the announced retirement of justice Anthony Kennedy, citizens who recognize his swing vote status on the highest, final court, who comprehend the vulnerability of Roe V. Wade if yet another conservative is confirmed to the court, upcoming rulings on environmental laws, labor laws/worker rights, healthcare and understand with the repeal of the individual mandate, the crux of the high court’s former ruling upholding the legality, constitutionality of Obamacare, it too could be in jeopardy. Middle America’s famers are going to capitol hill to express their extreme worry about Trump’s trade war, are thoroughly unimpressed with the proffered aid package instead wanting trade, worried about years long cultivated international markets to sell their goods and that even if the trade war is called off, agreements reached those markets could be gone by then. Both the lemonade maker Country Time and a local mother trying to teach her children about charity by having them operate a lemonade stand and donate the proceeds are pushing back against permit requirements for children operating such stands succeeding in getting her area’s lawmakers to consider changes and the beverage company setting up a fund to reimburse children for costs of permits and fines for shutdowns; an arguable microcosm of pushing back against government overreach, the wrong kind of regulation versus just less regulation overall. People within the Stanford judge’s jurisdiction voted him out, per the law in that state, after the Brock Tuner decision parallel to the family court judge voted out after video surfaced of him hitting his daughter with a belt for continuing to use the internet or downloading things illegally it is plain she didn’t know was illegal. Voters in Ferguson Missouri made sure the prosecutor in the controversial Michael Brown case after his death, hours spent laying in the street that tragic day that lead to protests, riots and civil unrest for weeks especially when no indictment was returned for the shooting officer, reports from grand jury witnesses showed people not paying attention and prosecutors when asked questions about local law were given out of date information effecting their decision lost his race to continue his job. Moving through yet more positives than negatives concerning our current times, there are a record number of first time office runners, a record number of women office runners, moms focused on kitchen table issues, moms who want to solidify the future of good/solid public education for their kids, vastly improve the public education their kids receive, who want action on gun control as fervently as the parkland students or greater because either their child has survived one or they never want them to have to experience the phenomenon, independent the potential mortality attached to it, women and moms who are running in direct response, protest to a self-described pussy grabbing president who occupies the oval office not a trial courtroom for harassment/sex assault, possible rape, women appalled at his unprofessional, un-presidential behavior and the example being set, determined to change it by serving in political office themselves if they have to. And runners who are winning their primary races to be placed on local ballots; standard democrats are adopting a more progressive platform coming out in support of Medicare for all, free in-state college, a $15 minimum wage, the concept of economic dignity defined as living wage jobs, funding for K-12 public schools, support for senior citizens and social security, #abolishICE based on their actions at the border with children and their parents. Cities and states, towns, municipalities are not taking the changing of the guard in Washington lying down either, a flurry of lawsuits have hit the Trump administration connected to harmful to the area’s residents policy including the rescinding of DACA, establishing so called sanctuary cities/jurisdictions per residents vote at the same time preventing the federal government from withholding funding due to their sanctuary status, aspects of healthcare, retaining present vehicle emissions standards, wildlife preservation, challenging the proposed limiting deductions of state and local taxes on your federal income tax, efforts to maintain current reproductive rights, push back against religious freedom executive orders concerning contraceptives, businesses and the mandate they must offer them in health insurance packages to their employees now done away with, prevent the skimming of union dues from Medicaid, challenging the addition of a citizenship question on the census which is designed to count the number of persons residing in the U.S. and where to determine funding for a whole host of things, adjustments as needed to political representation in congress. Faced with the death of net neutrality where all content is held at the same speed based on the bandwidth the consumer is paying for not the higher prices unpopular or extremely popular content creators, think Netflix, might be pushed to pay, they attempted local legislation to keep rules as they are, one considering a public option. Confronting cuts to ACA healthcare subsidies under the Trump administration California and 17 other states devised their own workarounds to stabilize care for citizens. Aiding them are the courts that are holding, rioting charges carrying years in prison for what were actually protests on inauguration day were dropped against 39 persons others pleading to applicable lesser charges representing their behavior disorderly conduct, destruction of property for broken windows small fires and the like, a judge ruled challenges to proposed census questions mandating people identify their citizenship status can go forward; the decision to fight release of specs for 3D printer fabricated plastic guns paramount when another court decided that said blueprints could be published online for public use several states banded together and won an emergency hold. Judges where applauded and incredulous upon hearing the ACLU brought case advocating for migrant children at the border immediately ordering migrant kids 0-5 be reunited with their parents within 2 weeks and the rest within 30 days, phone contact with parents established for the latter within 2 weeks; the first deadline missed earing no kudos from the judge, the second only partially met with some 6 to 700 kids still not with their parents, some 400 of whom have already been deported, others deemed a nebulous ineligible for unknown reasons minor criminal records, attempted maneuvering because some children came with other relatives not their parents, prompting the judge to older them back in to lay out step by step guidelines to reunite the remaining children, insisting the government will do so. Currently also under consideration halting active deportation orders for migrant parents and their children for 7 day in order that the ACLU might provide them legal counsel and ensure that papers signed essentially waving legal rights to asylum petitions or agreeing to be deported weren’t signed in error because they didn’t speak the language, more than a few completely illiterate, or were too distressed without their child/children to make coherent decision; another separate court hearing a different case on migrant children ruled detention facilities can no longer drug children without parental consent shutting down one facility where staff admitted to doing just that. A judge also rejected Trump administration lawyers’ suggestion the ACLU, not the federal government, use its resources to locate deported parents; another judge noticeably angry during court proceedings ordering the return of a mother and daughter secretly removed from detention and put on a plane to their native El Salvador while the ACLU was representing their asylum case before that judge contrary to what government lawyers told the court they would do, prompting the judge to demand that plane be turned around, threatening attorney Jeff Sessions with contempt if they did not comply, issuing further orders no one was to be deported while they still had a case pending in asylum court. DACA the program giving work status to undocumented persons who came here as children over the last X number of years has officially been ordered to be restored halting the potential deportation of young people who know no other country than America, speak no other language than English or garnered lessons in school rather than a ‘native language’ spoken at home; young people who are going to hire ed. aspiring to be doctors, nurses, open their own businesses, begin not for profits, who contribute vital pieces to our economy and social fabric. A Louisiana judge ruled you can no longer lock up persons for the sole reason of their inability to pay fines and court fees sans the opportunity to plead poverty and have that verified by the court and the military who has had a recent rash of racial incidents, hazing and even death kicked out a soldier whose involvement in a white supremacist march where he beat protesters in Charlottesville lead to his being convicted in military court of disobeying orders and making false statements about his participation. Long though the legal fight has been consistent rulings have meant Monsanto would face some facet of trial; a jury just awarding millions to a high school grounds keeper regularly exposed to their product, jurors believing evidence presented they knew the chemicals could cause cancer hiding findings from the public. Battling back the corruption of the Trump administration and adjacent Trump family members a court ruled the emoluments case relating to the Trump hotel in D.C. and is he making profit from foreign or domestic persons staying their hoping to curry favor with him before or after meetings with him, hoping to achieve meetings with him exc. has merit and can proceed. A judge would not entertain a delay in the potential charity fraud case facing Trump’s family members and Kushner companies ran by Jared Kushner, husband of Trump daughter Ivanka colloquially referred to by some as Javanka, said companies lost a key motion in a class action suit by Baltimore tenants allegedly charged excessive fees. Dr. Ronny Jackson’s nomination to be secretary of the VA instead served to expose his unethical practices of handing out powerful drugs like candy, called into question the press conference he gave post the president’s first physical possibly fudging his height to keep him out of the obese range on BMI charts, floating he maybe could have lived to be 200 with better lifestyle choices, touting his genes, despite a high calcium score indicating potential for heart attack and plans for diet and sleep changes, losing him his position as Trump’s doctor while serving in office; after appointed VA secretary David Shulkin was in so much ethics trouble for a foreign vacation billed as a work trip costing taxpayers over $100,000, the optics were too bad for even Trump’s swampy cabinet to keep him. Judges associated with the saga of stormy Daniels and the trial of previous campaign chairman Paul Manafort are having none of the Trump lawyer’s shenanigans displayed on TV; finding only a fraction of the Michael Cohen materials privileged, unimpressed by the delay tactics and obscure legal wrangling attempted concerning Manafort. Separately the case of alleged Russian spay Maria Butina infiltrating the NRA and manipulating it unto Russian influence on our elections via money and information’s judge bluntly told her lawyer to limit how much he speaks to the press and asserted documents to prove the government’s case seized from her possession under warrant, other legal proceedings doesn’t make them magic and it is not the court’s job to hand over that evidence earlier than it normally would, or at all to rebut media reports unfavorable to his client i.e. allegations she traded sex for access to persons, events and information. Lastly here, for all the talk regarding sycophancy among Trump supporters, there are those Trump voters who have lost faith in him to the point of not voting for him come 2020; not everyone, even in what Michael Moore affectionately called Trumpland, is ok with his Helsinki meeting with Russia’s Putin, who while they are most concerned about local kitchen table issues and things that effect their daily lives, bristle at his caviler brushing aside of the idea Russia meddled in, attacked our elections. Not all or perhaps even a majority of Trump voters are comprised of persons like the woman who stunned speechless a CNN reporter as she talked about millions of illegal voters misidentifying CNN as the network who reported the story. There are people who saw him talking about his crowd size, fundamentally misunderstanding how government works, offended by his tone coupled with his up to now job performance who see he isn’t what he said he was, can’t do what he promised, on veteran now ashamed of his country who stopped believing in Donald Trump 6 months ago as of March this year. Remember the Trump troubadour who stopped attending rallies and stopped singing for him after he did nothing on the opioid crisis; here is your evidence, your hope dystopia, an idiocracy is not on the horizon, everything is not yet lost and is in little danger of being so if the people we’ve seen rise up continue to fight as they have been. People now see the vulnerabilities in our system, laws that need to be crafted and pun in place where rules, norms and guidelines where once enough and are fighting to make it happen.
Too examine closely who it is exactly that doesn’t read, doesn’t comprehend well what they read, who is it who fell for a candidate conman’s lies that ultimately made him president, who is it who doesn’t know the law, how the government works, basic tenets of the constitution us 30 something’s remember from childhoods of watching previously referenced School House Rock others garnered from that aforementioned TV classic The West Wing, final nail in the coffin of entertainment being the opiate of the masses it’s painted out to be, virtually making people placidly stupid. The answer is the same one this blog gave when countering Michael Moore’s assertion we shouldn’t make fun of Trump voters, by extension not call them out for their monumental stupidity fueled mistake, because people aren’t well educated, our schools are not good; here’s why that doesn’t wash, those people so ardently supporting Trump, voting for him, and in the end hoodwinked, are persons who were educated during the acknowledged heyday height of excellence in American education. Pride of the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s and Reagan pre-space race 80’s, the self esteem movement later 80’s, the ‘feel good social promotion not academic performance promotion 90’s,’ well before no child left behind or common core, ‘the horrors of phonics now exposed;’ these are the persons who went berserk misunderstanding a headline titled “Get off the Couch Baby Boomers” they wrongly assumed was maybe about laziness, a counterargument to the sloth they accuse young people of, they clearly never read, instead of noting the health risks associated with sitting a lot tied specifically to their age group. NRA members who destroyed their coolers misunderstanding a coupon/discount forcing the cooler company to clarify their position and tell the public they offered other discount packages to the NRA and its members, gun enthusiasts who after parkland attacked the wrong Emma Gonzalez for the student’s protest advocating sane gun restrictions, smashed Keurig coffee makers when the machine designers decided to pull ads from Sean Hannity’s show post his Roy Moore interview where the senate candidate admitted to dating teen girls in his 30’s while Hannity continued to defend him. Data showing the average age of a Fox New watcher is roughly 65; who is it who was falling for the Russian bot generated fake news, what is the age bracket of persons believing ‘pizzagate,’ the QAnon pro-Trump conspiracy website thrust back into the spotlight when Rosanne Bar’s racist tweet went viral, signs in favor of the site reappearing at Trump rallies post him naming the press the enemy of the people? Who are the people who don’t believe in Russian meddling, influence wielded by what turned out to be bots on social media but persons a-la the congressman who asked ‘what is the Facebook’ during hearings on data privacy and the bot findings related to 2016; for all the problems with getting the left to understand ‘Russia-gate’ as more than an excuse for why democrats lost, as a distraction from real issues effecting American citizens, ignoring more significant influence, corruption exc., they do understand/believe the Russian bots existed, they downplay however their effectiveness in changing voter minds, somewhat naively. Mark the age of Alex Jones, anyone who can watch him sans concluding he is either high on substances, mentally ill or both is probably themselves high on substances, mentally ill or both; despite Jones’ assertion his Infowars appearances are him playing a character things on his Inforwars program tend to incite people to violence, like the man who went hunting for ‘lizard people’ arrested while waving an AK-47 and pistol alleging he’d received a call from president Trump, admitting to deputies he snorted meth to lose weight and was taking prescribed morphine, probably part and parcel to why Alex Jones has been banned from many major social media platforms, late though it is. Speaking of Roy Moore before he was known for his 99% possible pedo habit of dating teen girls during his 30’s kissing them, giving them wine and stripping a 14 year old nearly naked, groping her and forcing her to touch him through his underwear he was known for what, being kicked off the Alabama supreme court twice (finally losing that job) for failure to follow the constitution, refusal to remove a 10 commandments plaque from his courtroom, then when appointed to his state’s supreme court erected a 10 commandments statue on the lawn of a government building/facility refusing to remove it under court order; cycle repeating itself when he refused to implement the national supreme court’s decision to allow same sex marriage across the whole country as the law of the land telling his probate judges to do the opposite. Moore one in long list of politicians, judges, legal authorities and hopefuls in all mentioned categories and additional ones besides who mystifyingly seek jobs in areas they know next to nothing about; exhibit A- Steve Mnuchin, who in addition to massive corruption taking a military plane so he and his wife could sit atop Fort Knox and view the eclipse, told Fox News’ Chris Wallace concerning the budget the president should be given, permitted a line item veto. Problem, the line item veto was ruled unconstitutional by the supreme court in 1998; still undaunted he asserted congress could pass a rule, vaguely meandering off implying there are several ways to get such a veto or only pass portions of the spending bill president Trump agreed with, changing the subject when Wallace articulated it would require a constitutional amendment because congress cannot override the supreme court any more than the president can. Fellow Trump administration member Betsy DeVos, who beyond her never having attended a public school, allowing her children to attend public school, her investments in private schools representing a glaring conflict of interest for an education secretary that manages educational needs for public schools on a national level, there is her performance at her confirmation hearing suggesting guns are needed in schools circa Wyoming to protect against grizzly bears, not what they currently use, fences and locked doors; she apparently the architect behind convincing president Trump to revoke the transgender guidelines for k-12 schools, discontinued civil rights probes, efforts toward diversity meant to aid all students and even sided against rape victims when it came to protections for students on campus experiencing sexual assault in the wake of Brock Turner, massive campus sex assault stories and amid the #meetoo movement. Capping things off on her incompetence train, a 60 Minutes interview where she admitted dereliction of her job never having visited a failing school; Ben Carson who eventually admitted he doesn’t feel qualified to be employed in government after a wildly unsuccessful run for president, who still accepted the offer to head the department of housing and urban development. Again plagued by corruption issues after it was discovered he spent way over the $5,000 office renovation allotment, which is given to such persons by the way, charging taxpayers $31,000 for a dinning set then throwing his wife under the bus placing all the blame on her, while later removing language from HUD’s mission statement about fair housing, non-discrimination based on race, proposing raising rents on people living in public housing arguably the poorest in America many of them with children, who recently pushed back against lead paint removal initiatives despite the documented health effects devastating to young children never mind the 40 odd years said paints have been banned and this should have long been done, because of cost. Astute persons concluding rightly their hiring to listed positions was by design; they are incompetent to wreck the organizations to the end goal of disbanding the treasury department, the department of education, the department of housing and urban development unto privatizing them translating to money for big, private corporations and less help and wellbeing for citizens, but also look at the age visible on De Vos’ face, check the birthdate of Ben Carson, Mnuchin older than he appears. Moving away from ‘the new free world order’ that is the Trump administration follow closely lower level officials, who was it who had a woman thrown out of a town hall for listing corporate donors of her state legislature’s politicians all fossil fuel industry names as they were slated to vote on a gas drilling bill, town halls/public hearings the perfect/designed place to voice the grievances Lissa Lucas did, who was it who called for the teacher’s arrest at a school board meeting for questioning raising the salaries of administrators and not teachers and support staff, gigantic clue— gray in their hair, visible age on their faces; who was the judge who ruled, pertaining to the story above, kids have no fundamental, constitutional right to literacy via competent, present teachers, basic materials and safe buildings in which to learn? Who was the judge who gave Brock Turner his lenient sentence, removed from presiding over any more sexual assault cases before his recall by voters, who was the judge who wrote an entire rant on popular/hookup culture meet, have sex, sayonara when sentencing Zach Anderson 19 who only had sex with the 14 year old because her profile was on the adult portion of a site doubling as a dating app and she lied about her age, facts fully entered into evidence and the ordeal he endured to be resentenced, the justice system that won’t let him go despite committing no other crime, no similar crime? What overarching characteristic threads through all such judges making horrendous rulings encompassing sexual assault, rape, child molestation, pedophilia, student teacher sexual relationships that have to be amended, resentencing taking place; hint it involves gray to white hair, years approaching triple digits and sitting judges who may not have read current legal decisions on any issue for a number of decades. Wasn’t that the problem with Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen before we ever knew anything about his participation in potential collusion by the Trump campaign unto conspiracy to improperly win an election, before we knew about Trump Tower Moscow, Trump’s signed letter of intent, a deal facilitated by Cohn; he was known for, refresh all our memories, telling the world there was no way you could legally rape your spouse after a young reporter unearthed old allegations his ex-wife made in divorce proceedings. Here is a person who attended law school, passed the bar in at least one of 50 states and he’s going on national TV saying that; except marital rape expectations were ruled unconstitutional and abolished from the last state in 1993 though degrees of rape that can be charged to a spouse and circumstances there in vary by state. Speaking of hearings connected to the Russia matter, the ongoing investigation into their interference during 2016’s election designed to uncover what and how they did it, did the Trump campaign help in their efforts to sabotage American democracy, collude with them unto conspiracy to illegitimately win an election, look at the overwhelmingly aging faces and the arguments coming from those faces as they questioned former Mueller investigator Peter Strzok, in hot water for sending biased texted to his colleague girlfriend also working in the FBI; fellow congress members shouldn’t be shouting at you for your unprofessional, inappropriate questioning saying at one juncture you need your medication, seeming correct in their assessment, someone please inform Louie Gohmert and get him the medical/psychological help he needs. Of greater importance to the topic, you don’t get to be confused about rudimentary elements underpinning how our governmental democracy, democratic republic works when your occupation, your career, years upon years spent in that career is serving as a congressional member; someone should tell Paul Gossar who mangled voting and the electoral college’s roles in our election process, passing of laws and rules regulating how government works, when he could finally think of the name for the latter, irrelevant to the job he was supposed to be performing at the time. Look at the obvious advanced age of persons comprising the Trump legal team current and former John Dowd, Ty Cobb, Alan Dershowitz, Rudy Giuliani; perhaps that’s what’s behind the budging eyes, rambling sentences earning him the stunning media moniker ‘confused Rudy,’ potentially dubious source rival attorney in the Stormy Daniels case, Michael Avenatti aside. Controversial convicted of breaking the law recently rendered former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio has been back in the news throughout the past year as he was found guilty of criminal contempt of court for failure to abide by a court order ending papers please racial profiling, then pardoned by president Trump even before sentencing, only to announce then fail at a senate bid another case of likely senility in power on display at now 86; sheriff David A. Clarke known for being at the center of investigations into a man in one of his jails who died of thirst after the developmentally delayed, mentally ill, perhaps both inmate housed in general population, not the psychiatric unit reportedly flooded the cell prompting the shut off his water, begging for something to drink for 7 days before succumbing to a lack of fluids. His story follows that of an infant who died in the jail after its mother’s pleas for medical attention were ignored; legal proceedings pending in the former case, Clarke 61. Coming back to lower level authority, ID Adam, tough slightly younger than his do-gooder, busybody counterparts, is the latest internet nickname given to someone harassing persons of color as they do normal, everyday tasks used his authority as home owners association ‘pool monitor’ to harass a woman and her son using the community pool though she possessed a keycard for that pool mimicking all community members authorized to use it, police demonstrating it worked perfectly when called to the scene to defuse the situation; reminiscent of the Jimmy Carter look alike home owner’s association board member harassing the skateboarding teen for allegedly using the community skate park when he lived on the other side of town, taking his skateboard away and telling him his parent would have to come get it minus contact information for the parent to do so, who waits until he’s 3 minutes into the confrontation to state the tidbit about that park being only for kids on his side of town. Kid finally understanding their problem offers to leave if given his board, his property; come to find out, the teen in question was actually skateboarding on the public sidewalk and driveway adjacent to the community skate park, thieving old man losing his board seat when residents were alerted to what he’d done. Who is the sub-literate America Bill Maher references, apart from our current commander in chief whom there are serious questions pertaining to his reading proficiency, staff members giving him briefing materials mainly consisting of graphs and pictures, putting his name in documents to get him to read them, who is attracted to the tone of word salad, verbal diarrhea speeches, campaign rally style event rambling Trump regularly engages in, in front of crowds, who eats it up? For all the exclamations we don’t teach history anymore, commenting on how poorly we teach history to schoolchildren (argument to be made the absence is context, correlation between 1865 end civil war and 1965’s civil rights act signing, it took another 100 years for blacks to gain rights to vote sans poll taxes, other suppressive restrictions, to have the support of laws treating them like human beings), who is it really who doesn’t understand history except our sitting president who thought the Canadians once upon a time set fire to the Whitehouse when in reality it was the British in1814 during the event known as The War of 1812 and Canada having yet to be formed as a country, that happening in 1867. Who spoke about Frederick Douglass as if he were still alive and a present day civil rights/black activist not a former slave turned time-period pillar of the abolitionist movement who died in 1895; who treats our European allies like that whole WWII thing never happened, NATO thus irrelevant, who had to be convinced not to invade the country of Venezuela as if we don’t have enough foreign conflicts currently bombing 8 countries? Remembering Joe Scarborough’s comments about old grandpas in a rest home saying stuff was about president Donald Trump who is 72 and his insane comments on ‘Canadian shoe smugglers;’ his comments early this year stating he was sick of baby boomers who think the rules don’t apply to them referenced both Trump and Clinton and the respective scandals associated with them both for the inability to follow rules, who are in fact baby boomers. Who is it precisely who doesn’t know basic facts about the country they were born into, the country they’ve lived in all, the majority of their lives young people, middle aged persons, people educated under hated education policies or persons like the man in video 60 below harassing a woman in a park she rented for a birthday party for wearing a Porto Rico t- shirt saying among other things she shouldn’t be wearing it in America; upon pointing out the U.S. owns Porto Rico who refutes that stating they don’t, repeatedly badgering her asking if she is an U.S. citizen completely ignorant Porto Rico is a U.S. territory and thus its residents considered U.S. citizens. Now people may look at his clearly advanced age misjudge it by a decade and guess perhaps our acquisition of them as a territory, those persons being considered citizens happened after they surpassed high school, college age, not following modern era current events he doesn’t know; one little hiccup, Porto Rico became a U.S. territory in 1898, it’s citizens deemed citizens of the United States since 1917. Who is more prone to racist rants like the woman berating a ‘Mexican’ for no other reason than he is ‘Mexican,’ the woman who can’t stand hearing Korean spoken in a restaurant, younger or older individuals with graying hair and emerging wrinkles; the 71 year old woman who got into a physical altercation with a pregnant military woman at a restaurant says it all at 71, the old man shouting about a parking space, using racial slurs, the N word and kicking her first on a college campus was 80, woman on a New York bus charged with disorderly conduct, aggravated harassment and choking someone for her racist tirade, smacking their recording cellphone from their hand in addition to the choking was 57, next watch closely the compilation of racist incidents in the bay area of San Francisco comprised of older people thinking every person they see who doesn’t look like them is an illegal immigrant, is someone who doesn’t belong. Who are the people most supportive of Trump’s actions on the U.S. Mexico border, fine with children kept in cages, crying over how unfairly they believe president Trump to be treated by the public and the media but unable to muster empathy for children forcibly separated from their parents in some cases lied to and told their parents chose to leave them there, leave the country without them? To the extent there are vanishing adults in our culture, lack of adult behavior is a detriment to our society who is responsible, the neo-parent nearly 40 later born self branded xennials who may have a tween at home, true millennial gen Y parents of elementary school children or the father and son convicted criminal public land arsonists following in the footsteps of Cliven and Armen Bundy, the former of whom president Trump just pardoned? Who is it who has emboldened racism and bigotry the neo-parent or older Trump supporters with guardianship of younger children who generated a cringe worthy video and picture still shots of little kids garbed in Trump hats and t-shirts saying ‘we don’t want Mexicans they’re overpopulating us;’ to the extent young people, decidedly younger persons do support Trump discerning is why almost always those in isolated communities with a store, stoplight and diner, regular readers will remember this analogy, looking for all the world like the 1980’s movie Goonies or even older? Listening only to their supposed elders, people who don’t have internet access, who can’t afford cars, carpooling with friends everywhere they can’t walk, let alone smartphones where 4G and coming 5G networks don’t reach even if they could justify the expense of the fancy phone and accompanying plan. Fairer question still, what adults, or who do you think you’re calling out when the common denominator at a recent Trump rally for bizarre things said and obnoxious behavior are those showing visible age, when we have to talk about the 92 year old who shot her 72 year old son slated to put her in a nursing home, perhaps because his own health was failing we don’t know, when the high school football field pooper turns out to be the superintendent of a rival school in his 40’s and a now former port authority official tries to pull rank during a traffic stop then rants like an out of control lunatic when that doesn’t work leading to her resignation. The vanishing adults are our older citizens regressing to acting like children, the man taunting a bison in yellow stone facing charges was 55 years old the same age as our referenced ‘lizard people hunter,’ and a society who essentially lets them, gives them a pass because they are ‘elders;’ retired army Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters, former acting Assistant Attorney General put it this way (paraphrased) Trump’ core sycophantic are supporters couch potato anarchists who don’t like America, they comprise ungrateful nation wrongly thinking we/they deserve more; no we don’t he feeds sense nothing is their fault, gives them someone to blame for their failures versus responsibility. Others have called Trump’s election a symptom of America’s focus on the superficial over substance, but for all of our reality TV, social media fakeness, political correctness, who is it who was drawn to his message but older people not the younger, little effort given over to addressing senility, dementia, cognitive decline by firstly saying acting like this is not normal, acceptable and is a sign of the above. Repetitive though it is, who is it who confused people kneeling in protest at the national anthem seeking to end police brutality and kneeling Christians praying well before the game or the playing of the anthem but Fox News’ older contingent, who are the people putting on and flocking to flat earth conventions honestly seeking comradery in their conspiracy theory rather than truly believing the earth is actually flat, who was it who used as satirical article from The Daily Current a known satirical magazine/website to argue against medical marijuana but a 60 year old congresswoman who actually believed there were 37 deaths from Colorado’s legalization of natural marijuana? Ron Paul is the one who tweeted out a cartoon that “featured a range of minorities depicted in stereotypical terms—including a Jewish man with a hooked nose, a black man with large lips as well as portrayals of Asians and Latinos. The four men are shown punching up at an Uncle Sam figure together with a speech bubble that reads, “Cultural Marxism!” at 82 and completely off the chain; who are the people comedian Sacha Baron Cohen is able to get to do totally outrageous things, engage in outrageous behavior on camera but older republicans who supported giving children guns hidden in/disguised as stuffed animals to protect themselves, their schools citing the second amendment has no age requirement, who got republican Jason Spencer to literally drop his drawers and repeatedly yell the N word, Spencer being the youngest at 43, but Baron Cohen’s most impressive yet sad feat has to be getting gun activist Dan Roberts to suck on a dildo for his comedy prank then tell news reports it made sense. We’re sure Marc Kasowitz probably saw the rationale in swear word laced threats he sent to random strangers asking about his new job, could explain away the misspellings in press releases similar to the way this blog does (though note no one here wants to work for the government or advocates such sloppiness in official documents or résumés); or the Paul Manafort associate Steve Calk who was allegedly considered, told he would be considered for secretary of the army if he agreed to loan, through his bank, Manafort millions, thinking his new job a done deal sending a résumé and list of possible roles he wanted with the heading ‘perspective rolls’ rather than prospective roles, illustrating the point about non-existent, haphazard vetting in something as important as our government versus a blog with less than 2,000 subscribers. Talked about before the Manafort trial judge who was taking no nonsense, but soon he was dolling it out going from snarky and eccentric telling lawyers to control their facial expressions leaving court to obstructionist and interfering potentially swaying jurors one way or the other to the point of having to apologize to prosecutors who pushed back at him on a matter of law not just how he likes his courtroom. Hold them up against older persons who are acting like elders, behave as if they have something meaningful to contribute and are willing to do so Alan Alda discussing his podcast and how you reach people, Howell Raines giving his assessment on what Trump is doing undermining the legitimate media and all the other older persons who do not act so abhorrently, who do not do all the things making the news for all the wrong reasons, and judge for yourself.
Dystopia hardly, dystopia is what happens when all the presented positives stop; instead non-profit and activist organizations are going stronger than ever collecting signatures from people committing to march in the streets within hours if Donald Trump fires special counsel Mueller, if he begins pardoning key witnesses in the Russia investigation aimed at demonstrating he is not above the law, merely one example. Those most familiar with it are teaching activists how to spot and counter Russian doctored ads and other materials on social media leading up to the 2018 midterms though coming late to the game because our commander in chief sees fit to do nothing to address the intelligence community supported, 12 new indictments supported fact Russia interfered in various ways in our election, it may not be too late. At least one congressman has spoken out about Russian interference in his state’s election sites and materials right now in 2018 sounding the alarm for states to protect themselves, the federal government from the president down to do more to protect our election process, election results; the FBI aware and investigating computer hacks related to California house races and both Facebook and Microsoft have found yet more fake accounts, misinformation campaigns and spear fishing like attacks similar to the Russian Fancy Bear attack launched against the DNC and John Podesta this time zeroing in on republican frequented sites. There was a swift and sharp reaction to the revoking of security clearances of former intelligence community personnel a-la John Brennan for no other reason than having been critical of the president and his leadership of his administration. Thanks to a delay in publication, we now know that former campaign manager Paul Manafort was convicted by a jury on 8 out of 18 counts brought by prosecutors, mistrial declared in the other 10 due solely to one hold out juror; another juror willing to speak publicly providing that insight as well as her own perspective on the experience revealing she was/is a Trump supporter, Trump voter who wanted Manafort to be innocent but after viewing the evidence found him overwhelmingly guilty continuing to weigh in calling speculation the president could/would pardon Manafort soon a mistake because she believes justice was served. Clear signals not all Trump voters are brainwashed sycophants who believe anything him and his surrogates tell them, who when presented with evidence and given a job to do can rise to the occasion; that 8 count guilty verdict further reached despite amply seen interference from an unconventional judge who spent most of his time favoring the Manafort defense. Secondly president Trump’s former lawyer self-described fixer Michael Cohen plead guilty to 8 counts including tax fraud and 2 counts of campaign finance violations related to publicly known payments to porn stars and playboy playmates Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal respectively. Adding he did so at the behest of ‘a candidate for federal office,’ how he worded his statement in court though clearly meaning candidate turned president Trump, to the goal of keeping their stories from the public shortly before an election to shield said candidate from negative impacts of their salacious interactions with him indicating intent on both his and the now president Trump’s part. Also currently given immunity by prosecutors in exchange for their testimony are owner of American Media Inc., publisher of the National Enquirer David Pecker who helped Trump by ‘catching and killing’ negative stories about him and running an utter written smear campaign on Hillary Clinton, AMI revealed as the vehicle for the payments to Daniels and McDougal violating campaign finance laws; Pecker/AMI known to have a safe full of possible incriminating evidence on not only president Trump but potentially illicit activities, tax law violations, business law violations of Trump’s children, information guessed to be in the hands of prosecutors per his immunity deal. And chief financial officer of the Trump organization Alan Weisselberg thought to be someone who knows where all the bodies are buried so to speak in terms of his finances, tax fraud, tax evasion, plus the aptly named hush money payments. Breaking, yet one more immunity deal for one Sam Patten former Paul Manafort ally who worked for the same pro-Russian elements in Ukraine, aiding Manafort and raking in the cash sans registering as a foreign agent as required by law; hints the guilty plea and cooperation. Mr. Patten’s story even more interesting as he is also alleged to have set up a strawman donation to Donald Trump’s inauguration fund on behalf of those same foreign, pro-Russian entities, long viewed as a fuzzy math slush fund used to pay off hush money payments, legal settlements, legal bills and who knows what else, both of which is yet another set of illegalities the former resulting still more Russians who got tickets to inaugural events; remind us again how many Russians or Arabic/Arab nation leaders president Obama had it ha inauguration considering he was a ‘Muslim plant who hated out country and wanted Islamic law.’ Known name Christopher Steel compiler of the infamous Steel dossier, little more than written accounts of what people told him concerning Trump, Trump associate and Trump campaign members activities, just won a lawsuit in an American court stating said dossier did not meet the standard of liable or slander; not to say that everything in it was 100% the truth, Steel doesn’t even allege that himself, rather ruling that there was no intent to deceive or fabricate materials to be purposefully defamatory, engage in character assassination. Where parts and pieces of these cases are being tried matters too organized strategically not just because the Michael Cohen portion does not fall under Robert Mueller’s mandate but both in what state select acts of tax fraud and other crimes took place as well as insulating their proceedings from presidential pardon power; that even if he follows through on the hints he keeps giving he will pardon key convicted and pleading guilty persons, they will not escape justice entirely facing state charges the president has no power to wave away. State courts, state law enforcement isn’t afraid to stand up to the Trump administration, Trump’s corruption whether it’s challenging the Trump charity’s blatant fraud or pursuing things brought to light by Pecker, Cohen and now Weisselberg or Patten; Trump son in- law Jared Kushner’s family real-estate business was just fined a whopping $210,000 by the city of New York for falsifying data on construction-permit applications by ‘under-reporting the number of rent-regulated tenants in 17 buildings,’ a pattern going back to at least 2013. Reasons for the reporting requirement, to avoid disruption to poorer rent controlled tenets as it pertains to desired renovations by builders/developers; necessary to curb harassment and hold landlords accountable. Elsewhere, representatives Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter along with his wife were both indicted for their respective corruption, Collins in relation to insider trading connected to an Australian pharmaceutical company having sold his stock before it tanked based on a bad test of an experimental drug; Hunter for his misuse of campaign funds to, for one thing, fly his pet rabbit across the country and other exorbitant expenses bought via donations people believed were going for his political campaign, family dental bills disguised as donations to a dental charity and golf shorts written up as golf balls given to, disgracefully, the wounded warriors project helping veterans, family vacations, utility bills and their children’s private school tuition, Hunter not seen in any better light for essentially throwing his wife under the bus blaming her for improperly filing his taxes, subsequent paperwork while he served in the military ongoing once he got into congress, both politicians noted to be the first and second sitting congressional members to endorse president Trump as a candidate. President Trump has an abysmal track record of his policies and executive orders being stalled in the courts on constitutional and other law violating grounds, a trend that continues with both a hand full of states challenging the enacted GOP tax cuts already adding billions to the national debt and a judge dealing a proverbial death blow to parts of 3 executive orders aimed at making it easier to fire federal workers; touted in speeches as something to expediently fire persons mistreating veterans at our beleaguered VA, the most skeptical Americans can easily see it being used instead to fire people like Trump’s periodic whipping boy Jeff Sessions, newest information is he’s reviving talk of his firing with aides who implore him not to either due to the midterms or the fact the special counsel would see it as blatant obstruction of justice, oust deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, special counsel Robert Mueller, Whitehouse counsel Don McGahn whose cooperation with the special counsel said to be sanctioned by the president set him off because he failed to understand as Whitehouse counsel his job wasn’t to protect he president rather the office and serve the American people who in turn became infuriated when he learned how much and what precisely McGahn was actually doing. People are aware of yet more efforts to effect voting in the midterms this time in Georgia by virtue of closing polling places deemed non-handicap accessible; problem, not singularly did they do this so close to the election there was no way to either make them accessible or open new ones with accessibility features; next said closures A- effect almost exclusively black voters in the slated county and leave it with roughly only 2 open polling stations in that county, B-the lone one serving predominately black persons now serving triple the population bringing back fears of the long line hell that was 2012. A vote in in end rejected and spelled the firing of the consultant who suggested it though the naked racism it embodies will not soon be forgotten the votes in that county remain safe in part due to the efforts of the local ACLU and other voting rights organizations. Speaking of the ACLU they along with non-profits and pro bono lawyers are again appearing at the nation’s boarder crisis working tirelessly to reunite separated parents and children, their emergency petition for 7 days to provide legal counsel to reunited families who also have active deportation orders or signed forms they 99% probably didn’t understand or were too emotionally distressed without their child or children to make an informed decision; we know they are still being separated within the confines of the detention facilities by thousands of square feet, we know about sexual abuses of minors held in immigration detention because journalism didn’t stop when the Trump administration began, politicians for all the bad rap they justifiably get, when they heard about this beet feet to detention centers demanding to see the children, appalled and speaking out when they were turned away. On the heels of the monumental Monsanto verdict siding with the terminally ill high school grounds keeper comes legal charges for the at least one official presiding during the Flint water crisis will face trial for manslaughter a small step in rendering a modicum of justice after the locally engineered disaster there and hurdles residents still face fighting for should be taken for granted clean water. Remember Johnson and Johnson lost its suit jurors believing the 22 women in the suit and their medical evidence Johnson’s talcum powder products gave them cancer; a judge recently going a step further and upholding the 4.6 billion dollar judgement rather than reducing it as is typical; this particular suit revealing even more egregious details about knowledge of asbestos in the powder and worse than doing nothing aggressively marketed it not only as a feminine hygiene product giving easy entry into the body to sicken persons but to low income persons on top of it; literally thousands more individual law suits marching their way through the justice system related to both the danger of talc fibers and those laced with asbestos. Despite Trump administration, viewed as disastrous environmental policies a judge in Idaho just block grizzly bear hunting in that state as well as Wyoming a federal judge issuing a restraining order while he contemplates whether the iconic symbol of the American wild should be returned to the endangered species list; directly challenging the Trump administration’s removal of the animal from that all important list in 2017 upon taking office. A police precinct, prosecutors and jurors came together to render justice to a teen shot by a cop leaving a party initially accused of backing up in his car toward the officer’s partner to where he feared for his life; no one buying that story after viewing the body camera where the car load of teens is simply seen leaving, the partners own court testimony he never felt any such fear, his superiors firing him within days, jurors convicting him of murder facing up to life in prison, all spelling justice for Jordan Edwards life taken at 15 for making a responsible decision and leaving a chaotic house party. The trial of the officer who shot Laquan McDonald 16 times in 2014 is set to begin and he’s speaking out, but you know your off to a bad start when you have to ensure viewers of your interview you’re not a racist, being white and the person you shot a black teen armed with only a knife, knowing your fellow officers never felt the need to fire a single shot yet you fired so many. A quirky battle over freedom of speech and city ordinances related to how one couple decided to paint their house, a comfort to their autistic son it might be added, (a mural replica of Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’) ultimately allowed to keep their house painted as they chose; now a tourist destination drawing people from across the globe much with their story as the famous replica. Dystopia comes when all the acts of kindness stop instead what we see is the opposite, from the officers who chose to clean up a man’s yard rather than just hand him a citation, the firefighters who finished sodding the lawn a man was working on when he suffered a heart attack, another officer who fixed a homeless man’s shaver so that he could clean up and get the job he was offered at McDonald’s if he could do so; to the officer who just happened to be in the right place at the right time to save a woman’s toddler choking on a chicken nugget while at a local mall, or the ones who stopped a man only to buy him breakfast and create a caravan of patrolling officers to transport him to work. Contrast the next 3 officers one who when he encountered a disturbed man during a call was held up as exactly what not to do to deescalate a situation taunting him he lives with his mother, challenging him to go ahead and off himself to the pair of officers who were called to a bridge where a woman was distraught and threatening to jump able to talk her down with simple compassion and calm, or the officers who convinced semi-truck drivers to create a type of net under a highway overpass for a man threatening to jump who eventually didn’t, just broadcast a pair of truck drivers who seeing a suicidal man clinging to the wrong side of a fence over a bridge tried to convince him to come over to safety succeeding by offering him a drink from their beer truck. The officer not even fully out of training who pulled a man from a burning car is exactly the kind of law enforcement we want making stand out all the more starkly ones who so miserably fail to live up to the most basic expectations; yet another officer who saved a family of from a burning house no special gear or training just a compulsion to help. You see first responders and rescue workers pulling shelter animals from the jaws of deadly wildfires, community acts of kindness in the wake of devastating California wildfires; the Milwaukie bus camera catching acts of kindness done when no one thought anyone was watching from guiding a blind rider through a news construction zone to the other side of the street, to helping an older man who fell on an icy sidewalk just after getting off, to the driver who seeing a lost little girl under dressed for the frigid weather got her onto the warm bus until a police officer could take her home mere blocks away. The young supermarket employee who noticed a young man with autism’s interest in his job allowing him to help stock juices in the refrigerated section leading to a part time job for the developmentally delayed young man that might not have otherwise happened; youth we so chide for who don’t have to be told what the right thing, the kind, decent thing to do is, high school young people who took it upon themselves to give back by organizing and cooking meals for a local homeless shelter focused on treating these persons with the dignity and respect of their fellow humanity. Yong football player who banded together to save persons from an overturned car post an accident; the young waitress at Waffle House who went viral helping an old man eat by cutting up his food; far cry from the manager a few months back calling cops on a woman asking about charging a fee for plastic silverware don’t we think? Greatly encouraging those middle agers who saw fit to honor the young woman for her kindness by naming that day after her, a local college giving her thousands of dollars in scholarship funds to attend, reach her goal of studying business management. A guy who was on his way to his workout ended up with a different kind of workout when he spotted a woman whose motorized scooter chair broke down that lead to a GoFundMe page to likewise replace her handicap accessible van lost in an accident once the story went viral. Acts of kindness that are neither new nor diminished because we now seem to have a bully in chief residing in the Whitehouse from doctor using house calls to the man who brought his sowing machine to the San Francisco’s Tenderloin district sowing a variety of clothing backpacks and various items for homeless and poor people who don’t have a sowing machine, the money to buy/maintain one or pay him, though some offer him a few dollars if they have it, profiled in 2015 or the judge known for his creative sentencing meant to better the lives of the defendants who come before his bench doing his part to focus on the rehabilitation portion of the criminal justice system not just the punishment aspect giving a teen a choice 30 days in jail or walk 30 miles after taking a cab and stiffing the driver, a man brought before him for soliciting a prostitute got to stand out in public wearing a chicken suit and holding a sign versus going to jail, a teen who stole a bike forced to ride a charity one in a parade route for the embarrassment factor; most importantly leading to a 10% recidivism, reappearance rate in his court, additions to their misdemeanor criminal record versus the national average at then 75%. Watch reactions to the Connecticut man who found another way to help and restore dignity to homeless persons offering shaves and haircuts in a local park, showing the difference to be made by being simply willing to touch a homeless, ‘dirty’ persons profiled in 2014, the teacher bringing hopes and dreams to a forgotten boarder town using her background in science to create a rocket club in a school no other teacher would come to, honored as aerospace teacher of the year finally earing that green card, finally proving she has the type of exceptional ability they were looking for, also profiled in 2014. Credit where credit is due to the middle aged persons in America despite the highlighted negatives, note the people who came together to give a holocaust survivor a much belated Bar Mitzvah, a critical coming of a ceremony for Jewish boys and girls; independent some of our oldest Americans’ bad behaviors, a surprising phenomenon popping up in nursing homes and senior centers, bullying, it stands out all the more to watch the veteran 90 something year old take his time, expend the effort to lend a 4 year old courage in going off the family pool’s diving board doing it himself first; shining example of the venerable, role model elders all but non- existent today, better still that the main stream media found a place for it in their news, found a place to air things making us feel good about humanity and ourselves for good reason. These should be cause for hope not despair when people demonstrate they don’t have to be told what the right thing to do is, they don’t have to be prodded into using their moral compass, they simply act because it’s instinct to do well by their fellow man, having known hard times, bad situations they operate from a place of compassion and empathy; there are people who will stand up, stand in the gap willing to foster and adopt children who for whatever reason don’t have the love and care of their parents, grandparents and relatives have taken over the care of young people whose parents are impacted and incapacitated by the opioid crisis. Never forget the kindness of total strangers like the Uber driver who stepped up to be there for a woman and her now paralyzed 23 year old son after a motorcycle accident left him recovering in a hospital 500 miles from home why she returned to her job in order to keep the family’s health insurance and ensure he got as better as he could get considering his injuries, was able to forge the road to a new life based on who he is, his capabilities now. Sacha Baron Cohen’s new satire, comedy, political lesson asks who is America with astoundingly bad results; well, this too is America, the best of it.