Sowing Holiday Seeds

I hope we all have a happy and safe holiday in the midst of whatever inevitable stress pops up. If you have contact with any young people that are suddenly curious about politics and what some other kids are up to here’s a couple of links to one example. (“Teens In Politics”) It might resonate just enough to spur even some unlikely individuals to click and get surprised, and certainly worth the effort.

Good Luck and Great Family Time.

SMM

Manhattan teen makes it easier for fellow high schoolers to get involved in politics

Teens in Politics

Early Thanksgiving on Election Day?

I’m encouraging everybody here at PeaceTalks and in our extended family and social circle to keep in touch on Election Day and into the night. If things go well it will be a rare chance for even divorced couples to “reach across the aisle” and show the kids what cooperation and unity of purpose can accomplish. If things go “south”then we get to experience that “misery loves company” thing.

After you’ve voted if you’d like to do something for the victims of the massacre at the Pittsburgh synagogue I’ve provided a link below along with a quote from the sponsors of the fund.

This is a brilliant example of the way that most people feel in this country and a perfect rebuke to the “fear mongering” coming from the White House. The fact that this gesture is coming from the Muslim communityproves that the spirit of this country is as alive as it always has been no matter what trumped up lies are conjured up to divide us. Let the kids see, learn and encourage one another to pay attention, vote and avoid complacency like the plague.

Muslim Groups Raise Thousands for Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting Victims

 MUSLIMS: Let us stand with our Jewish cousins against this senseless, anti-Semitic murder. Guided by our faith, @CelebrateMercy & @MPower_Changeask you respond to evil with good. Donate here now to help shooting victims with funeral expenses and medical bills.

“Maverick” and “FL Madness”

Even people that did not agree with John McCain about public policy had to admire him for his service and for having the cajones to stand up to bullies.

If your kids are video game enthusiasts and seem in any way disturbed by the tragedy in Jacksonville don’t hesitate to stop and let them talk or ask questions. You may not have enough answers and be looking for resources.  Whether you are co-parenting or not this is something that needs attention.

I came across a really clear and concise encapsulation of the “gun problem” in our country today. It might come in handy for your older kids but the younger ones will need as much attention as any and all “parental units” can provide. This is, of course, the first shooting “Live Streamed”to be seen and heard by anyone with the proper access.  How many kids were watching isn’t known yet. Here’s the link and a few facts:

America can prevent shootings like Jacksonville.
But it must come to terms with its gun problem.

By German Lopez
@germanrlopez | german.lopez@vox.com |  Aug 27, 2018, 10:40am EDT

“The research, compiled by the Harvard School of Public Health’s Injury Control Research Center, is pretty clear: After controlling for variables such as socioeconomic factors and other crime, places with more guns have more gun deaths. Researchers have found this to be true not just with homicides, but also with suicides (which in recent years were around 60 percent of US gun deaths), domestic violence, and even violence against police.

But as far as homicides go, people with mental illnesses are more likely to be victims, not perpetrators, of violence. And Michael Stone, a psychiatrist at Columbia University who maintains a database of mass shooters, wrote in a 2015 analysis that only 52 out of the 235 killers in the database, or about 22 percent, had mental illnesses. “The mentally ill should not bear the burden of being regarded as the ‘chief’ perpetrators of mass murder,” he concluded. Other research has backed this up.

None of that is to say that milder measures are useless. Connecticut’s law requiring handgun purchasers to first pass a background check and obtain a license, for example, was followed by a 40 percent drop in gun homicides and a 15 percent reduction in handgun suicides.”

 If you’d like to contact people in the government to let them know how you feel here is a link:

https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials

 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “Duncan’s Campaign Dough = Nuts”

In case you are trying to show your kids what’s wrong with the country, I wanted to pass along an appeal from Senator Elizabeth Warren.

“It’s unbelievable, Within just hours of unveiling my new anti-corruption legislation yesterday: Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter—one of Donald Trump’s first supporters in the House—was indicted by the Department of Justice for misusing $250,000 of campaign money for personal expenses.

There’s something that you can do right this minute to take on this corrupt machine:You can help Duncan Hunter’s Democratic opponent—Ammar Campa-Najjar—so we can kick one more corrupt politician out of office and get one seat closer to taking back the House in 2018.

Ammar worked as a grassroots organizer for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign and then went on to work in the White House and the Department of Labor.

Ammar has pledged not to take any corporate PAC money in his campaign for Congress, so he’s not going to be bought by corporations.”

Click here now to chip in $3—or whatever you can afford—to help defeat Duncan Hunter, elect Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, and end GOP control of the House this November.

Thanks for being a part of this.

–Elizabeth

Supremely Important Court Decision

Senate Chambers

I don’t need to emphasize how important this is to all of us. Anyone can write to any United Sates Senator to urge action on a matter of concern to citizens of the United States. This is one source for facilitating the contact process:

https://www.senate.gov/reference/common/faq/How_to_correspond_senators.htm

On August 26, all across the country, Americans will stand united in commitment to our freedom and our future to demand that the U.S. Senate stop Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination for a lifelong appointment to the Supreme Court.

In Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump chose a nominee who not only has extremist, ultra-conservative legal views on a range of issues, but who has repeatedly argued that the Supreme Court should put the president above the law.

Kavanaugh would rule against reproductive freedom, health care, the environment, voting rights, workers’ rights, LGBTQ rights, and immigrant rights for generations.

Senators in all fifty states must listen to their constituents, do their jobs to uphold the will of the people, protect the soul of our country and Constitution, and block this nomination. United, we will fight to ensure Brett Kavanaugh never gets confirmed by the Senate. We will #StopKavanaugh. Join us.

Divorce and the 2018 Tax Law Change Snapshot

I came across this exchange with Jim Tankersley who covers economic and tax policy for The New York Times and Ailsa Chang from NPR. Jim gives a nice summary of the dynamics involved that are driving financial advisors to get a strategy in place for all their clients that are party to a divorce settlement before the end of 2018. He also points out that the men do not have as much to lose with the new deal.

There’s a link at the bottom to the whole conversation but here’s a few examples of how Jim lays it out:

CHANG: So the couples that will be most impacted by this are those wealthiest ones in the top tax bracket.

TANKERSLEY: Absolutely because it means the most for them because they’re getting the biggest break from their taxes ’cause they pay the…

CHANG: Right.

TANKERSLEY: …Highest marginal income tax rates. 

CHANG: And I can imagine most couples that have severely disparate incomes – it’s usually the woman who earns less. So this tax law change will probably have women bearing most of the cost.

TANKERSLEY: That’s what divorce lawyers and tax professionals and financial planners have been telling me – is that, yeah, it’s largely women who receive alimony. And particularly with wealthy couples, it’s largely women who leave the labor force to take care of kids or for whatever reason. And women earn less in the economy for the same work than men do. This is a potentially big loss for women…

CHANG: What was Congress’ rationale for getting rid of the alimony tax break?

TANKERSLEY: This is a way to raise revenue for the government. So by closing this loophole, they’re going to get more money in taxes, and therefore they help offset some of the enormous other costs of the rest of the tax bill.

 It’s also, again, a drop in the bucket of a $1.5 trillion tax cut.

To read the full interview click here

Flipping The House

There was a letter generated by Robert Fox of MoveOn that highlights why this push for the Midterms is so important. There is a link at the end to assist you should you want to show your support.

“Recent polls have Democrats ahead by a whopping 12 points in the generic ballot but Democrats would need a tremendous electoral wave not seen in more than 40 years to overcome Republican advantages from gerrymandered districts in key states.

Poll numbers for Democrats have been consistently climbing over the past few weeks. That increases the odds that we can make a decisive difference and take back the House.

To win this fall, we will have to beat Trump’s propaganda machine and we can expect billionaires such as the Koch brothers to pour as much money as possible into races across the country to keep Republicans in power.  

To stay on track with our field-organizing program, we need to hit our fundraising goals. Your support will help determine how much support wecan give to candidates.

Click here for more information

 

Elizabeth Warren: Georgia On My Mind

Stacey Abrams
Stacey Abrams

It was a backyard barbeque where serious conversations are rarerthan the steaks, and someone was overheard referring to Ms. Abrams, “…and she can’t even balance her checkbook…”This was a reference to a comment made by the candidate herself, admitting to something that most of us have experienced, in spite of QuickBooks and Excel.

So when I saw the letter from Sen. Warren it seemed like a good idea to share this with as many people as possible. For anyone inspired to support her this is a rare opportunity to be part of “outside money”being used for a progressivepurpose.

Here is some of Sen. Warren’s appeal and I’ve put a link to a Time Magazine article about Ms. Abrams herself to provide some perspective.

“Democrat Stacey Abrams is INCREDIBLE—she’ll make history by being elected our country’s first African American woman governor, EVER.

The national Republicans and their powerful friends know that Stacey can win—and they’re terrified of it. As the top Democrat in the Georgia House, she fought to level the playing fields for women, students, seniors, veterans, and working people. I know that as governor, Stacey Abrams will build a Georgia where more families can get ahead.”

Please, click here to chip in $3 right now to help Stacey Abrams fight back, win, make history, and get things done for Georgia’s working families.

Thanks for being a part of this.

–Senator Elizabeth Warren

Read the Time Magazine article here

Fuel For November

I want to pass along a heads up on an encouraging piece by Noah Berlatsky from the LA Times. It’s been tough to focus on positive slants about the chaos we’ve seen in the headlines but there are some rallying points the article highlights for us.

“Voters are not angry at the left’s efforts to preserve healthcare, or to protest vicious policies. They’re angry at right-wing extremism, tax cuts for the wealthy, and monstrous border policies designed to separate children from their families.”

“Overall, Democrats have flipped more than 40 state and local special election seats since 2016, and the average swing toward Democrats in special elections is more than 13 points.” 

It’s nice to see movement in the right, make that correct, direction, but Berlatsky couples this with a strong warning about complacencywithout using the word. (We can’t take our foot off the gas with so much ground to make up.) 

“We can’t know for sure if Democratic wins will continue. Republicans have many advantages because of gerrymandering, voter suppression, and structural biases in favor of rural voters. Democrats are by no means assured of winning the House, much less the Senate.”

Read full article here

Swing Shift

It’s tough enough to be a parent without having to try to explain to the kids what we’re seeing in the news on a daily basis.

A lot of the families that walk through my door have never experienced a political dark cloud like Watergate so there’s no frame of reference for the stonewalling and blind submission currently on display in Washington.

The people I talk to echo the general mantra of wanting to do something positive but their choices are limited, as is the case with the majority of the population.

There is an organization “Swing Left” that supports many different types of action movements and encourages people to create their own.

There’s a link below to their website where you can explore options to help fight that feeling of powerlessness that we all endure.

https://swingleft.org/take-action

Rob Reiner’s Petition

The outrage that followed the images from the “Summit” between President Trump and “President” Putin has been overwhelming the media across the board.

If you would like to add your voice to the growing (over 100K) population of people that want to show their disapproval over what we just witnessed please consider signing Rob Reiner’s petition.

“In front of the world’s media, standing next to Russian President Vladimir Putin after their closed-door Summit, Donald Trump said that he believes Putin over the findings of EVERY SINGLE U.S. intelligence agency that the Russian government committed cyber warfare against the U.S. in the 2016 presidential election.1

Meanwhile, Trump still won’t meet with special counsel Robert Mueller, the man leading the federal investigation into Russian interference and the Trump campaign’s possible conspiracy with Russian agents.”

I started a petition demanding Trump meet with Mueller and tell the truth. Will you join me in defending our democracy by signing?

We, the American people, demand that Trump meet with special counsel Robert Mueller and answer his questions about possible conspiracy with the Russian government to influence the 2016 presidential election and obstruction of justice to cover it up. It’s imperative that federal investigators have all the information they need to get to the truth.

Sign Rob’s petition click here

Thanks for taking action.

–Rob Reiner

Summer Reading Autumn Voting

After the circus act the Senate put on with grilling Peter Strzok followed by the Mueller indictments naming Russian GRU members with everything but their spy school nicknames you might want relax with some stimulating reading material.

There’s also a link to the story of a fascinating candidate (Richard Ojeda) in West Virginia-that got beaten with brass knuckles by a Trump supporter at a barbeque.

Tea Party Liberal’ Promises To Bring A Blue Wave To West Virginia

If you, or the kids, do somehow find the time for some background reading related the bizarre political events that we’ve seen, here are a few suggestions from other readers:

 Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau

He spent a night in jail for not paying his “Poll Tax” and came out with some radical ideas about what a propergovernment should strive to achieve. Here are a few gems from “Mr. Walden Pond”:

“Can there not be a government in which majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience?”

“Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislation?”

“It is truly enough said that a corporation has no conscience; but a corporation of conscientious men is a corporation with a conscience.”

“Thus, under the name of Order and Civil Government, we are all made at last to pay homage to and support our own meanness.” 

It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis is a great tribute to what catastrophes can happen when the “popular wool” is pulled over the eyes of the populace. Like Orwell a lot would come true.

If there are any future, or current, lawyers in the family here’s a link to the “Mueller” indictments.

Roe, Roe, Roe, the Vote

Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe) and her lawyer Gloria Allred on the steps of the Supreme Court, 1989.

The SCOTUS nomination is at the center point of what women are facing with respect to their fight for access to the proper healthcare to which they are entitled.

I saw one idea suggesting people send postcards to individual Senators by the millions if they can’t mobilize in any other way but want to do something. You’ll see more information about opportunities to raise a voice as they appear.

In the meantime here are a few points from an article by Katha Pollitt, author of “Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights,” published in The New York Times:

“The president promised to nominate only justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, …and there is no reason not to take Mr. Trump at his word”…at least on this point.

“So tattoo this on your brain: Sixty-seven percent of Americans do not want Roe v. Wade to be overturned.”

“We need to mobilize in the states. If Roe is overturned, each state will be free to make its own laws.”

“People need to know that the risk of death due to childbirth is about14 times greater than the risk of death from abortion, and that contrary to stereotypes, 59 percent of abortions are obtained by women who are mothers.”

Link to full article in the NY Times: “Roe Isn’t Going Down Without a Fight

In 2016, Senator Mitch McConnell had this to say after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia prompted President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court: “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice.”1

The same should hold true about Donald Trump’s replacement for retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy which means that the Senate must reject Trump’s nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Will you join with me in calling on the Senate to not vote on a new Supreme Court justice until after the midterm elections? Click here

A Tough Climb

Before the fireworks were lit and showing some “rockets red glare”, there were some different fireworks set off at the feet of the Statue of Liberty. 

“A woman who climbed up on the Statue of Liberty and sat on the monument’s base is in detention, police say.

US officials identified her as Therese Okoumou, a 44-year-old immigrant from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ms. Okoumou was reportedly protesting against President Trump’s zero-tolerance policy on immigration”

You can read the whole BBC News article using the link below but it does seem to be the perfect metaphor for America’s “struggle to climb out from under British oppression”.  I’m sure the irony of this being reported by the British media on American “Independence Day” gave a lot of people a chuckle.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44718811

This kind of inspired action may come in handy as we begin the struggle over the nomination of the next Supreme Court Justice.

June 30th For Families and MD Shooting

There are thousands of events across the country scheduled for Saturday to give people a chance to make a statement about the administration’s approach to handling requests for asylum.  Here are a couple of familiar names that are encouraging people to add their voices and signs:

America Ferrera
“Seeing thousands of immigrant families torn apart, I am devastated and beyond furious.”

Alyssa Milano
“I believe that what this administration is doing at the border is a “crime against humanity,” and it is on us to stop it.”

Make sure you and everyone you know has signed up to take action this Saturday, June 30th by sharing this image on Facebook:

Join me on June 30 in Washington, D.C., or in a city near you to demand an end to this disgusting family separation policy.

I will pass along any information about special funds for the benefit of the families affected by the MD shootings. Hopefully we will figure out a better way to do things…soon.

Helping Reunite Border Families

by Stephanie Maloney

Helping Reunite Border Families - Reunite Families - Los AngelesWe were at a local demonstration piling our donation of blankets in with the flood of relief materials from supporters as frustration ran deep throughout the crowd. Our pics are on Facebook but I wanted to pass along some other ways for us to actually “do” something about this nightmarish situation.

This is from my friend Jonathan Verk cofounder of coParenter describe the trip:

75 neighbors, friends and community activists are on our way home from San Diego. And what an absolutely powerful trip it was!

We did it! We delivered 200 toys, blankets, necessities and other items to their children currently being held at Casa San Diego detention center!  By the Time we arrived at the detention center, we had basically no confidence that we would be let in. After all we’ve seen on the news- and everything we’d been told, we didn’t even think they’d let us near the gate. Politicians, authorities—  even clergy haven’t been let near the gate!  we were told by everyone not to bother.

But honestly… I’m not that great at listening.

We parked across the street, about 40 yards down the block. We were explicitly told that any sign of protesters would force the facility to put the kids in ‘lock down’, which- as it sounds, probably sucks. So, One of my fellow protesters and I walked two huge boxes and an envelope full of letters of hope, written by kids- to the kids on the inside.

We walked up to a very industrial looking, tarp-covered fence and very calmly rang the buzzer. Nothing. We rang again… nothing. We rang it 7 more times— and then started strategizing how we could lift the boxes over the fence and gently lower it down the other side.

And then they answered.

A soft voice with a Spanish accent asked “Hello? How can I help you”.  We told them that we’re just some kids from LA who came to drop off some toys, would they let us leave them for the kids….

Silence. A staticky click. And then the voice came back… “we’ll be right out”.

The lady (wouldn’t give us her name) looked friendly but exhausted. Clearly, It’s been an emotional, hard week for them (YES- the kids have it worse, but this poor woman didn’t sign up for this insanity either).

We explained what we were doing and why we were there… and after a minute, she allowed us to brings the toys in. We weren’t allowed to cross the property line (they were afraid they’d get ‘caught’ on their surveillance cameras letting us in) and we certainly didn’t meet he kids. But we did share the letters and the toys and the blankets and the absolutely wonderful items that the LA community donated.

It was an amazingly joyous and spectacularly cathartic experience for everyone on the buses.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this ‘Rally to the Border’ so incredible. There’s lots more to share, but right now I wanna get some shuteye.

Because tomorrow is another day…. we’ve got to get some rest… and fight on!

1500 people. 10k toys, books and other items. 75 people down to San Diego on 2 buses.

200 toys delivered to the kids of Casa San Diego!

Below is a link to a great article (Melanie Gleason) about sources of help that you can contribute to that also provide legal help “on the ground” along the border. This, especially as Gleason points out, President Donald Trump’s executive order on Wednesday trades family separation for indefinite detention of children.”

You can call your members of Congress through the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121

What You Can Do To Help Families Separated At The Border

Women’s Place is in “The House”

by Stephanie Maloney

Apparently, women have had enough of being on “the short end of the stick” when it comes political policy in this country.

record number of women — 309 — had filed to run for the U.S. House as of April 6. That’s a nearly 90-percent increase over 2016’s numbers.

That wave of women candidates has sent the share of candidates who are women skyrocketing…to 22 percent. Along with the number of women candidates climbing sharply this year, however, the number of men running for office has risen. As a result, the number of women candidates — despite a large spike — is still dwarfed by the number of men candidates.

In many places, women are running for congressional seats that have never had a female representative. Just over half of the US population is female, but 80% of the members of “The House” are men.

I’ve noticed that with our awakened youth on the march they seem to sense that having more women involved in policy decisions would be a very good and smart plan.

There are thousands of our kids that can’t vote but they are doing their damnedest to help register and actually pledge to escort travel-challenged voters to the polls.

Maybe we can offer to pay for the bus fare and the gas.