Craven Rightwing Media Attacking Florida Teens Speaking Out On Government-Sanctioned Gun Violence


By Jason Wilson
The Guardian (2/20/18)

After Parkland’s mass shooting, the wind seems to have changed. Students are speaking out, demanding that politicians act. And they’re getting some traction.

Many found their voice on Twitter and directly attacked Donald Trump’s strange and distracted online response to the massacre. David Hogg, a student journalist who interviewed his classmates as the massacre was happening, has been one of the leaders of a chorus of students calling for tough action on gun control. Emma González made a widely shared, impassioned speech which attacked the president directly, calling out the funding he has received from the National Rifle Association. Today, many of them are making their way in buses to the Florida State House to demand change.

The survivors are not elementary school students, or public employees, either shielded from media intrusion or disbarred from speaking out. They are confident young adults, many of them media savvy, and more than capable of matching the president when it comes to online snark. Several made it clear that “thoughts and prayers” in the wake of slaughter isn’t welcome.

Obedience to the NRA

So what is a rightwing media apparatus dedicated to the maintenance of unrestricted access to powerful assault weapons to do?

By and large, the answer has been to attack the students, along with anyone who offers them a platform or any other form of support. The nature of such attack has varied with the self-perceived seriousness of the outlet, but almost the entirety of the right has joined in. Unremitting support for the current interpretation of the second amendment and the advocacy of the NRA is one of the single issues that unites them.

The sleaziest and most direct attacks on individual students have come from the right’s more conspiratorial fringe. On Jim Hoft’s pro-Trump, conspiracy-mindedwebsite, Gateway Pundit, Lucian Wintrich performed a hatchet job on David Hogg, suggesting that he was “heavily coached on lines and is merely reciting a script”. Wintrich once told the Guardian that he learned about the perfidy of the left while attending Bard College. In his new piece, he claimed that because Hogg’s father works for the FBI, he may well be part of a broader anti-Trump conspiracy.

Gateway Pundit has been retweeted by Donald Trump senior and junior in the past, and they were trying their best last year to get White House Press Corps accreditation.

Conspiracy kingpin Alex Jones, who once told Piers Morgan that “1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms,” published a similar attack on his Infowars website. His minions trawled through Hogg’s past, unrelated media appearances, saying that they “raised questions”. The piece then quoted one of their bevy of retired military “experts” who had appeared on Infowars, who repeated the FBI conspiracy theory, claiming that the bureau “has been hiring Social Justice Warriors for years”. …

Read the Rest


Florida House Debates Porn, But Refuses To Discuss Assault Weapons

By Dominique Mosbergen
The HuffPost (2/21/18)

As tearful survivors of the Parkland school shooting watched, the Republican-led Florida House of Representatives on Tuesday refused to discuss a ban on assault weapons. Photos showed a distraught student being comforted in the gallery. Another survivor of last week’s massacre expressed “indescribable” rage on Twitter.

Later in the day, many of the same lawmakers discussed at length a bill that declares porn a public health risk. The bill ― which calls for improved “education, research and policy changes to protect Floridians, especially teenagers, from pornography” — was approved by a voice vote, reported the Tampa Bay Times.

“Has anyone had to bury their child because of pornography?” asked Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D), who sponsored the legislation seeking to ban assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines.  …

Read the Rest and 45-Second Video



Our Escalating War Against Our Children

By Mark L. Taylor
The Commoner Call (2/19/18)

Since its founding the citizens of the United States have been quite comfortable with the killing and mass slaughter of other peoples’ children. From the ongoing genocide of the Native American population through violence, disease and introduced addictions on to the wars of empire waged in Cuba, Mexico, the Philippines, Central America, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. We continue to kill other peoples’ children with the casual selective blindness of industrialized for-profit warfare in Iraq (where our mercenaries continue to operate) and Yemin (where we supply the Saudi military with cluster bombs, intelligence and mid-flight fueling).

Through our participation — or lack of participation — in the politics and economy we have, each and every one of us,  approved the killing and maiming of other peoples’ children. Through our taxes we have paid for this ongoing evil. Through our votes — or lazy indifference — we perpetuate a corporate ruling class that increasingly looks to warfare and the tools of warfare to drive our Potemkin death economy. We have slept comfortably as children are routinely killed and maimed in our name.

No price is too great to pay in our perverse death cult of sexualized gun fetishism. The fact that the recent killings took place on Valentine’s Day embodies our darkly twisted love of violence.

Now — as we saw in Parkland, Florida — we are killing our own children. Last week’s shooting was the 18th school shooting of 2018. Think of that for a moment. Forty-seven days into the year and we had 18 school shootings. Even after the Dec. 14, 2012 massacre of twenty 6 and 7 year-old children in Sandy Hook we did nothing. Most of the members of congress who take their money and tout their “A” scores from the NRA who were in office then are in office today, including our local corporate democrat Rep. Ron Kind.

No price is too great to pay in our perverse death cult of sexualized gun fetishism. The fact that the recent killings took place on Valentine’s Day embodies our darkly twisted love of violence.

But, as they always do, the karmic scales have shifted and what we have done to others is now coming home; a stage experienced by all corrupt and crumbling empires throughout history.

It’s time to face the fact: in America we kill our children and we kill them violently and we are willing to do it over and over again and nothing in the existing political and economic structure will change that fact. Nothing.

Beyond the bullets in the classroom we are willing to kill off our children by gutting public education and not providing health care to all. We are perfectly comfortable knowing 20 percent of children in the United States go hungry every day. Instead of treatment centers and mental health services we build prisons for our new corporate for-profit prison system — an especially evil and pernicious ‘business’. Despite the highest infant mortality rate among western industrialized nations, the republican right will moralistically prattle on about saving the lives of the unborn only to callously abandon them once they are here.

It is a kind of cultural and collective moral suicide. All declining cultures eventually eat their young. The declining Incan and Mayan empires sacrificed their young. That is what we are now seeing here.

There is a name for it

The Native Americans have a term for what we are seeing — doing — called Wetiko. The name and spelling can vary from tribe to tribe but the understanding is consistent. Wetiko is a kind of moral virus that begins with consumption, grows to over consumption and finally metastasizes into cannibalism. The nation’s orgy of school shootings are just the most dramatic of the many ways we have become a Wetiko culture. There are many others.

Since last Friday’s shooting I have been humbled at the eloquence of many of the Parkland students who see the greed and have bravely called out the hypocrisy of our supposed leaders. If there is any hope for us it is with them: our children. We adults have failed and betrayed the children of our nation. Let us hope they can survive our myopic indifference.

Across the nation flags fly at half-staff. They do not just memorialize the innocents murdered in Florida last week, they mark the disgrace of what we have become at the great cost of what we could — and should — be.

(Commoner Call photo by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Open source and free to use with link to )


How The Vietnam War’s ‘Napalm Girl’ Found Hope After Tragedy

PRI/The World (2/21/18)

Her picture was one of the most iconic images of the Vietnam War: a girl running naked down a road, screaming in pain after a napalm attack.

Her name is Kim Phuc, but to many people, she’s known as the Napalm Girl. She was only 9 years old when that photograph was taken by The Associated Press photographer Nick Ut, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize. That photo exposed the horrors of the Vietnam War to the world. It also left Phuc bitter and full of hatred. Later, she picked up the Bible and converted to Christianity.

Today, she lives in Toronto with her family and helps other children victims of war around the world. In between her trips, she shared her story with The World. …

Link to Story and 15-Minute Audio