Nel's New Day

July 28, 2019

DDT: Week 131 – Disastrous Domestic Events

A second day of false and racist tweets from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) about what he calls the “Cumming [sic] district” came from a slanted video by a guest on Fox & Friends who sought out the most struggling, severely impoverished Baltimore neighborhoods. The heavily gerrymandered district has urban, suburban and rural areas ranging from well-off to poor, but the video focused on only one aspect. DDT’s racist rants followed Cummings’ criticism of southern border detention centers, subpoenas for emails and texts of White House aides including Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, and Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony where Cummings asked people to pay attention to activities of DDT and his associates.

Kushner owns thousands of rental units in Baltimore County providing substandard housing to lower-income tenants and cited for hundreds of code violations. His company made repairs only after threats of fines for mice infestations, mold problems, and maggots. DDT wants Cummings to thank him for low unemployment figures for blacks, but most of the drop in unemployment rates for blacks came during President Obama’s terms (16.8 percent to 7.8 percent) and from Democratic policies.

Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney defended DDT’s racist comments, saying he would have been fired as representative if his district had Cummings’ problems. Compared to Cummings’ district, Mulvaney’s former district, South Carolina’s 5th district, has a lower median household income and a similar poverty rate, 14.9 percent versus 16.6 percent. The Baltimore Sun’s editorial ran with the headline, “Better to have a few rats than to be one.”

Afraid that Congress will see his tax returns, DDT is suing the House Ways and Means Committee, the New York state attorney general, and a New York state tax official to hide state tax returns—although the House has not tried to get the returns. His lawsuit follows a complaint from the House committee to get DDT’s federal tax returns.

A judge also ruled that   a lawsuit against DDT’s alleged deceptive and unfair business practices may proceed. Roberta Kaplan, who successfully argued the Supreme Court marriage equality decision in U.S. v. Windsor, represents the plaintiffs who claim that DDT and three of his children scammed them.

A federal jury convicted Michael Flynn’s former business partner Bijan Rafiekian because of the work that the two men did for Turkish interests during the last months of DDT’s presidential campaign in 2016—acting as an unregistered foreign agent and lying to the DOJ. Flynn was DDT’s national security adviser for 24 days; his sentencing is pending.

Four automakers—Ford, Honda, VW, and BMW—from three continents have a deal with California to sell the state more fuel-efficient cars after DDT rolled back tougher standards.

Election systems in all 50 states were Russian targets, according to the heavily-redacted Senate Intelligence Committee report. Subsequent volumes will report on Russia’s use of social media for influencing the vote. The committee recommended a paper trail for voter machines and backups for registration systems, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has refused to take any action. A new hashtag #Moscow Mitch came from Joe Scarborough who asked, “How can Moscow Mitch keep denying that Vladimir Putin continues to try to subvert American democracy?” Lobbyists for the two largest electronic voting machine vendors that provide 80 percent of the voting machines in the U.S. donated to McConnell’s campaigns. Fourteen states used electronic voting systems with no paper trail in 2018.

DDT thought he was home free after a judge ruled in favor of his new rule requiring asylum seekers to ask for protection in another country before crossing the southern border, but soon after that ruling, another judge blocked DDT’s rule. The second judge stated that the “new Rule is likely invalid because it is inconsistent with the existing asylum laws.”

In the UN, DDT blocked condemnation of Israel’s demolishing Palestinian homes on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Israel claimed that the 10 apartment buildings were a threat to Israeli armed forces, a barrier outlawed by the UN in 2004. Israelis performed the demolishment operation in the night and displaced Palestine refugees, some of them for a second time. https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/07/1042981

This is “who we are” as a country as DDT brings out the worst in people:

Three million more poor people may go hungry, thanks to Minnesota millionaire Rob Undersander who said he managed to get food stamps. Over 250,000 children won’t receive free school meals, no one with $2,000 in savings can receive food stamps, and people are discouraged from working longer, getting a job with better pay, and saving for education or emergencies. The change, claimed to save $2.5 billion, will require expenditures of extra paperwork, staff hours, and other costs.

DOJ’s AG Bill Barr plans to kill people by lifting the 16-year hiatus on federal capital punishment with five executions in December and January. Conviction for one of them has been described as “unreliable.” Twenty-one states abandoned capital punishment, and several others have frozen them.

Pedro Arriago-Santoya is the seventh person to die in ICE custody in the past nine months. At least 25 people have died in ICE custody since DDT was inaugurated, and another 12 have died in federal immigration custody that includes Border Patrol station and youth migrant detention centers.

ICE posted a job from a for-profit company for “lead physician” of a “facility” who will be “philosophically committed to the objectives of the facility” and “based on the company goals, objectives and philosophy.” That company, GEO, “permitted armed men to forcibly remove the fathers [from their children] from their rooms at the Karnes Detention Center by using bulletproof vests, shields, knee pads, boots, helmets, tear gas equipment and guns” and told them “that they would never see their sons again.” That “general practitioner” can make $400,000 a year without board certification.

Francisco Erwin Galicia, the 18-year-old U.S.-born citizen captured in Texas 75 miles from the Mexican border, was imprisoned in a detention center for 23 days. He lost 26 pounds and considered self-deporting just to escape horrific conditions. Locked up with 60 other men in an area so crowded that some of them slept in the toilet area, he was given only a few “HandiWipes” for cleaning—no showers, no clean clothes, no other hygiene. He had his papers, but, according to their own documents, border agents lied about his telling them that he was a U.S. citizen. Galicia was denied a telephone call to his mother for help and released only after Dallas Morning News reporting.

Pennsylvania’s Wyoming Valley West School District in Pennsylvania sent 1,000 threatening letters to parents, telling them their children could go into foster care if the lunch debt of over $10 wasn’t paid. Rep. Omar Ilhan (D-MN) has co-introduced a bill to stop multiple incidences of lunch debt shaming. Oregon gives free lunches to students up to three times above the poverty level.

Carrizo Springs, the “model” detention center for unaccompanied migrant minors used to show how well migrant children are treated, is closing. Opened last month, the facility has a five-year, $8.8 million lease; BCFS Health and Human Services received a $308 million contract through January 2020 to house up to 1,344 children at a cost of $750 to $800 per child per day. Children will be sent from the non-profit facility to for-profit centers like the already-crowded one in Homestead (FL) where inmates have been abused. 

After McConnell was forced by public decency to allow a vote for the House bill passing by 402-2 that provides health care for 9/11 First Responders, it passed that chamber by 97-2. Former Daily Show host Jon Stewart was instrumental in the bill’s House passage and watched McConnell take the bill to the Senate floor. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), one of the no votes, was furious because of no offset costs for the annual $1 billion expenditure. Paul supported the tax cuts for the wealthy and big business that cost taxpayers $1 trillion ever year.

Like deadbeat DDT, VP Mike Pence isn’t paying his bills, this one $24,000 for security at a fundraiser bringing him $700,000. The event was at the Caribou Club in Colorado owned by a gay couple.

The 40-percent tax cuts for big business failed; private-sector investments dropped for the first time in several years in opposition to GOP promises of increased business investment. Tax cuts aren’t paying for themselves, they aren’t boosting economic growth, and they don’t increase private-sector hiring. Businesses bought back their stocks and gave markets a false short term boost before they sheltered their benefits overseas.

The Equifax settlement promising $125 for each person whose personal data was stolen may be $.21 if all 147 million people apply, and the money won’t hide Social Security numbers. Yet people who do nothing automatically waive any right to take legal action against Equifax. People can check here to see if their data was stolen; the deadline is 1/22/2020. People who settle also waive any right to take legal action. Those who want to keep the option of taking legal action must mail a written “request for exclusion,” postmarked by Nov. 19, 2019, to the settlement administrator. Updates available here.

February 13, 2014

Activism with Fences for Fido

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 11:17 AM
Tags: , , , ,

My partner and I share many things in common. We both like to read and write, we both like to walk the beach, and we both want to change the world. But our journey toward our goals sometimes diverge, as Robert Frost describes in “The Road Not Taken.” Together we edited a cookbook, along with another friend, but my partner writes lesbian mysteries and I write this political blog. I read books for youth and with LGBT content for the purposes of evaluating and reviewing while she reads for pure pleasure. At the beach, she sees the surrounding details—fossils and tiny creatures, for example—as I look at the horizon and throw a ball for our standard poodle.

Something that we’ve had in common for our 44+ years together is activism. While we taught in Phoenix (AZ), we tried to make lives and learning better for our students. Once retired, I turned to politics with a vengeance, occasionally irritating people with my obsession. My partner supports me in my projects, but again she follows her own path.

Recently, her road “less traveled by” has taken her to Fences for Fido. At 80 years of age, she can no longer do much of the building and remodeling that so engaged her for many years, but in this project, she can continue to make life better for creatures that have no voice.

Fences for Fido began on May 23, 2009 when a small group of people built a fence for Chopper, who had been chained to a tree for six years. The dog’s person had no idea that Chopper was unhappy. When he started playing with Chopper in the fenced yard, their relationship became rewarding for both of them.

Chained dogs are either listless or violently aggressive. They are 2.8 times more likely to bite than unchained dogs and become a threat to the neighborhood if they get off their chains. Pack animals need companionship and a social life. When their persons understand this, they either give the dogs new lives or surrender them to people who can provide the love that the dogs need.

At this time, the wind chill is 8 degrees in Portland (OR) with snow and sleet coming tomorrow. This is a miserable situation for dogs who are chained outside in all weather. Fences for Fido provides not only fences but also raised wooden dog shelters with shingled roofs and dog beds.

The small group of people that built Chopper’s fence has expanded into a number of volunteer groups throughout northwestern and central Oregon and southwestern Washington. There is no government funding for Fences for Fido; it is a volunteer nonprofit group of activists who want to change the lives of dogs tethered outside with no company and no comfort.

Activities include cutting ground wire, tying fence ties, transporting dogs for health needs, delivering and/or assembling dogs’ houses, checking up on dogs, and providing foster homes. Each “build” costs about $600. The project has about 1,700 donors of money and new or gently used fence materials, such as welded wire fencing, pressure-treated 4-by-4 posts, 6-foot chain-link gates, and 60-pound bags of concrete. Donors can e-mail info@fencesforfido.org.

Volunteers go beyond building fences and dog houses. Annual visits to the dogs allow them to see that the dogs are still unchained, the fences are still intact, the doghouses have beds, and dogs have enough water and seem healthy. As co-founder and co-chair Kelly Peterson said, “This is our commitment. Our promise is that we don’t build a fence and then walk away after the fence is built.” Volunteers also deliver bags of flea medications, treats, and bedding as well as help connect the dog’s person with veterinary care, spay/neuter surgeries, and dog food if needed.

People can request a fence by filling out an application on the website for Fences for Fido or call 503-621-9225. Anonymous referrals for dogs that seem to need help are also accepted.

Joining 13 other states and the District of Columbia, Oregon now has an anti-tethering law that limits tethers of unreasonable length that might cause the animal to become entangled or a collar that pinches or chokes the animal when pulled. Animals cannot be tethered more than ten hours in a 24-hour period. Yet that’s still a long time for an animal chained outside with no company.

Chopper recently died of cancer after several years of happiness, but his legacy lives on. Since that first unchaining, over 650 dogs have had their lives changed through fences and dog houses.

chopper

While I read about the problems of the world and write my blog, my partner makes plans about how to makes lives better for dogs. To volunteer, she emailed volunteer@fencesforfido.org. As she said, “What a good feeling to know this group is really making a difference. I am proud to belong!” That’s just one of the reasons that my partner is so special.

If you live in an area with Fences for Fido, you can volunteer to help chained dogs. If you don’t, you can start a chapter.

Sometimes my partner’s and my activism merge. This was the case after we read about the lunch workers in both Utah and New Jersey throwing out food in front of children because their parents had unpaid balances at the cafeteria. Just as bad are the number of children afraid to go through the lunch line at school because they are afraid that this will happen to them.

Kenny Thompson in Houston (TX) had a very simple solution: he paid the delinquent accounts for all the children at an elementary school where he was a tutor. Thompson said, “These are elementary school kids. They don’t need to be worried about finances. They need to be worried about what grade they got in spelling.” You can donate school lunches at his foundation, Feed the Future Forward, so that children in all schools can get meals.

My partner and I took a simpler approach. We went to the neighborhood school and zeroed out the unpaid balances there. We agreed with Thompson when he said, “When I left the building knowing that they were getting fed, they didn’t have that stress … the best money I ever spent.”

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has another solution. After schools in that state threw away hot lunches in front of children whose parents had not paid the school, he is calling for $3.5 million to purchase hot lunches for all children. “We cannot expect our students to succeed on an empty stomach,” Dayton said. Until there is funding in our states, however, individuals are forced to care for vulnerable children who need nutritional meals to participate in their education.

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