Weaponizing Social Media to Leverage Hate Speech

In the wake of the horrific one man pogrom on Saturday in Pittsburgh, the problems with social media has risen to the attention of the citizenry once again.  Since most legitimate web sites claim to filter out hate speech, the "good people on both sides"...as described by Mr. Trump, have had to settle for their own little corner of the "swamp," called Gab, which welcomes hate speech.  One of the hundreds of thousands of white nationalists was quioted in the paper as saying that "Free speech will always win!"....What a misnomer for spewing their neo-Nazi garbage!!

As it turns out, free speech is not always free.  It is paid for with the blood of innocents who are targeted by the "good people" while armed with assault rifles.  One blood bath after another has created more deaths than are created by wars.  The hysteria and fear endemic in the extreme right helps to embolden and enable those who would Nazify America.  Just as it has long been illegal and against the intention behind the First Amendment to enable a free expression of ideas by yelling FIRE in a crowded theater, there has been an equal misuse of the Second Amendment.

When enacted, the Second Amendment provided for the creation of a "militia" which was the backbone behind the military and other law enforcement agencies.  This is a legitimate application of that portion of the amendment.  HOWEVER, when the right to "bear arms" was enacted, the only available arms were muskets.

Does every home and school really need to have a "musket"....  This was before our forefathers (no mothers) even imagined assault rifles.  The mass shooters of schools, churches, mosques and synagogues have all been white, home-grown males enabled in their nefarious intentions by an arsenal of weapons which should never have been made available for purchase.  The fear generated by ignorance or lies that there is a danger at the "border" or by a "caravan" 1000 miles away is obliterated by the REAL DANGER of the instruments of war available to every zealot, bigot, anti-Semite, or delusional individual.

THERE MUST FINALLY be an outcry by the citizens of both parties to de-legitimize NON free speech and to de-fund the NRA and their puppets of both parties.  The existence of this horrific national danger is greater to the safety and health of all our countrymen and women and their children than the worst flu, polio, or other health epidemic that this country has faced.

How I Told My Children About Donald Trump

A NOTE FROM ROZ:  “No matter what your political bent, we are all facing a surprising reality:  Donald J. Trump is our president-elect.  What comes with this news is a pall that has fallen across this land that threatens women, minorities and children - especially children.  Not so much as a target of legislation, but as a demographic that is fighting to find comfort in our distress.  As an advocate for children, I feel it is all of our duties to address issues that create discomfort.  When it comes to children, it is my hope that we remain apolitical, with our only allegiance to their well-being.  I think this article does a great job in addressing the concerns that all parents, grandparents and guardians of children have.”


I lay in bed for hours before they finally woke up. I listened to them move around, go to the bathroom, sing little songs. I knew I had to get out of the bed. This is what I signed up for when I became a parent: be the person who gets out of the bed.

Still. It took me a while.

But I got up. I made the coffee. The children, eight and four, chattered on mindlessly. They made their opening pitches in the negotiation for Halloween candy; they needed help opening their yogurt. And I felt myself held in suspension, doing all the normal things — unloading the dishwasher, pouring the milk — feeling the end of their innocence approach like a slow-moving train.

The important thing is to project normalcy. I don’t want to scare them.

The important thing is to be honest, though, isn’t it? I don’t want to lie to them.

“Hey, listen,” I began. “I want to tell you something because you’re going to hear about it at school.” I was already in trouble. They could tell. I tried to keep my voice from shaking, but my kids are not dumb. My vision of myself as some calm, reassuring presence proved to be just another of my self-delusions.

“Last night, Donald Trump was elected president.” I only had eyes for my eight-year-old. His eyes widened and his face got small. “It’s gonna be okay,” I said, but that was self-evidently untrue. If it was going to be okay, why was I telling him like it was a death in the family?

My son knows about Trump. We had a few conversations about it. When he asked about him, we would tell him, Trump is a bully. We tried to explain that he said mean things about people of color and that he was supported by groups who think white people are better than other people. In that conversation, my son’s reaction was, “That’s still going on?” He’d learned about MLK in school, but as a historical figure, someone far removed from today.

Yes, we told him. That’s still going on.

Mostly, we’d talked about Hillary Clinton — how she would be the first woman president, how we voted for her and campaigned for her, how much she resembles his grandma. That was a much more optimistic and hopeful story.

I was not prepared for this conversation.

“It’s gonna be okay,” I said. “You’re gonna be okay. I know it’s not what we wanted, but the people voted and he won fair and square, and that’s how it goes in a democracy.”

Of course, that’s not exactly true, the “fair and square” part. How do I explain voter suppression to a third grader? How do I explain that laws were passed to explicitly target minority voters, that rolls were purged, that polling places were eliminated, that early voting was curtailed, all in an effort to make it easier for one party to win?

“But we’re still going to do what we’ve always done, which is practice loving kindness, and to stand up to bullies.” He nodded solemnly, and I picked up my coffee mug and walked calmly into the bathroom where I held toilet paper up to my eyes to catch the tears and tried to breathe my way through the sobs that were threatening to shake me apart.

I came out of the bathroom.

We spent the rest of the morning attempting good humor. I strove to keep my voice light; I gave in on all pleas for candy. We talked about video games, and he explained how Link has the worst luck in Legend of Zelda, and it all sounded aggressively normal, but our bodies betrayed us. My kids clung to me. They wrapped their legs around my waist and climbed onto my back. We had an impromptu cuddle party on the stairs.

Who was comforting who?

“Let’s be thankful for what we have, instead of mad about what we don’t have,” I say to them every morning, usually when they ask for yet another piece of candy. “No whining,” I say. “Focus on your behavior, not other people’s behavior.”

I am trying to teach them how to live with integrity.

They went to school, and I got back in bed.

My Two Cents About Fifty Cent

The recent announcement of the rapper, 50 Cent (aka Curtis James Jackson III), filing a Chapter 11 claim in U.S. Bankruptcy Court is an obvious attempt to avoid having to pay for the equally obvious and unwise decision to post a sex tape of Lastonia Leviston, in order to embarrass his rival, Rick Ross, with whom Ms. Laviston was romantically involved, if they still call that ‘romance’.  Coincidentally, Mr. Jackson was also supposed to make an appearance in a New York state court to explore the possibility of punitive damages to Ms. Laviston on the same day that he filed bankruptcy.  

This is what happens when someone violates someone else’s privacy by posting sex tapes on the Internet.  You get sued, and the poster usually loses, as is evidenced in this case.

According to Forbe’s Magazine, Mr. Jackson is worth well over $150 million, which makes the $5 million in damages seem somewhat affordable.  

It is likely that the bankruptcy filing may be dismissed, based on Mr. Jackson's reported wealth.  The cost to the court system for processing this claim, however, will cause the already overburdened court system to incur unnecessary costs, which cost is borne by the taxpayers.  Had the lovely Ms. Laviston not memorialized her sexual activities, had the ex boyfriend not been an "ex"... had the two men not been childish in their rivalry, etc. this could all have been avoided.  

This tale has several morals, as in Grimm's or Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tales... or today's tales...

1) For want of a nail, a kingdom was lost;

2) One is never sorry for something they didn't say (or do);

3) No good deed goes unpunished;

4) Sex is best enjoyed in private;

5) Love conquers all;

6) Don't be penny wise, and dollar foolish;

7) A dollar saved is a dollar earned;

8) A stitch in time saves nine; 

9) A fool and his money are soon parted;

10) All that glitters is not gold

Challenges to an LGBT Union.

The recent demise of DOMA by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Windsor case has brought into the mainstream millions of citizens who were previously deprived of their constitutional right to equal protection under the law.  It has affected, not only many children living in limbo, but partners who were financially penalized by the IRS, many pension plans, and even real estate ventures.

It is refreshing to see the speed with which so many states have joined the "bandwagon"... as in sports, everyone likes to back a winner.  A recent article noted that judges are now increasingly backing the flood of enthusiasm for equal rights for fear that their grandchildren would otherwise consider them biased.  With the law behind them, they are finally enabled to do the right thing, and can no longer have any excuse not to do so!!!

Since it is not yet the law in each state, it is important for same sex couples who choose to marry to also get a Domestic Partnership, should they find themselves for any reason, in a state which does recognize such civil agreements, but have not yet validated marriage.  Those who have recently married should consult a tax specialist to see if they qualify to get a tax refund based on amended federal tax returns for the prior three years when they could not file jointly.

In addition, those who have a child in a same sex relationship, even if two or more names are on the birth certificate, should make sure that there is a second parent adoption... again, if they and their offspring should be in a state which does not yet recognize shared parentage.

While we are on the way to a citizenry that increasingly advocates equal protection, not every state has done its job in assuring that "state ways" keeps up with "folk ways".  There is the inevitable lag between what is right, and what is legal.  To make sure that each family unit is as legally protected as possible in each state, it is always wise to seek legal and tax counsel.