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The Left Column


David Simon, creator of The Wire, puts it in perfect context:

"School teachers carrying firearms and readied for gun battles in grade school classrooms is a level of social pathology that signals the end of any viable, coherent society. Travel such a path, and the barbarism and fearmongering of the American abattoir can only accelerate."

6:04 PM - Feb 21, 2018

Julian Englis

Little Marco Unintentionally Causes A Crowd to Erupt In Cheers for His Gun Control Argument

Rubio scores an own goal when he says the assault weapons ban "would literally ban every semi-automatic rifle that's sold in America" and the crowd erupts in cheers (Click for video)


Melania Trump's parents are legal permanent residents, raising questions about whether...

(WaPo) The parents of first lady Melania Trump have become legal permanent residents of the United States and are close to obtaining their citizenship, according to people familiar with their status, but their attorney declined to say how or when the couple gained their green cards.

Immigration experts said Viktor and Amalija Knavs very likely relied on a family reunification process that President Trump has derided as “chain migration” and proposed ending in such cases.


Conservative Twitter Users Lose Thousands of Followers, Mass Purge of Bots Suspected

(Gizmodo) Twitter suspended thousands of accounts overnight and conservatives on the platform aren’t happy about it. Twitter has yet to make a public statement about the issue, but right-wing users believe that they’re being targeted in a mass purge of suspected Russian bot accounts.

Conservative Twitter has even started a hashtag called #TwitterLockOut to talk about the purge, with some claiming that real people (as opposed to bots) were locked out of their accounts. Gizmodo has so far been unable to confirm that any real people have had their accounts mistakenly suspended.


Democrats just flipped a Kentucky state legislature seat in a district Trump won by 49 points

(Vox) Democrat Linda Belcher was just pronounced the winner of the special election in Kentucky’s House District 49, a seat that Donald Trump carried by a 72-23 margin in 2016 and that went 66-33 for Mitt Romney in 2012.


Florida House votes down motion to take up weapons ban with Douglas students present

On their first full day lobbying Florida lawmakers in Tallahassee to change the state's gun laws, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School quickly learned change does not happen very fast in government, if at all.

With Douglas students in the gallery Tuesday, the Florida House voted down a motion to take up a ban on assault weapons such as the AR-15 used by Nikolas Cruz when he killed 17 people at the school on Valentine's Day.

The final motion vote was 36-71.


My theory on why the MSDHS students have been so vocal:

Sandy Hook was a little over five years ago.

The students at Stoneman Douglas were only a couple of years older than the student victims at Sandy Hook. They were old enough to have a conscious memory of that horrible day and probably associate in some way with the students killed there. They probably haven't forgotten those feelings of vulnerability.

It's a generational thing, and they are the generation of school massacres.

It's as though the tragedy followed them.

Different schools, different states, different shooters, but the same exact problem.


State election officials across country returning to paper ballots

(Boston Globe) Hoping to counter waves of Russian Twitter bots, fake social media accounts, and hacking attacks aimed at undermining American democracy, state election officials around the country are seizing on an old-school strategy: paper ballots.

In Virginia, election officials have gone back to a paper ballot system, as a way to prevent any foreign interference. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolfe this month ordered county officials to ensure new election equipment produces a paper record. Georgia lawmakers are considering legislation to replace a touch-screen voting system with paper.

George II

Former Trump aide Rick Gates to plead guilty; agrees to testify against Manafort, sources say

(Los Angeles Times) A former top aide to Donald Trump's presidential campaign will plead guilty to fraud-related charges within days – and has made clear to prosecutors that he would testify against Paul J. Manafort Jr., the lawyer-lobbyist who once managed the campaign.

The change of heart by Trump's former deputy campaign manager, Richard W. Gates III, who had pleaded not guilty after being indicted in October on charges similar to Manafort's, was described in interviews by people familiar with the case.


Sanders: Trump not speaking out against Russia 'is a horror show'

(The Hill) Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Sunday blasted President Trump for not taking action to protect the U.S. from Russian meddling in future elections, saying "that we don’t have a president speaking out on this issue is a horror show."

His comments follow an indictment released Friday by special counsel Robert Mueller outlining multiple actors who played a role in extensive Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.

"We have got to bring Democrats and Republicans together despite the president to go forward to protect the integrity of American democracy,” Sanders said on “Meet The Press.”

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