Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Baltimore Activist Alert - February 28 - March 1, 2018

35] Rohingya Advocacy Day – Feb. 28
36] Vehicles for Change Meet & Greet – Feb. 28
37] Honor Lillie Carroll Jackson – Feb. 28
38] "Nuclear North Korea: Is War the Way Ahead?" – Feb. 28
39] District 3 Happy Hour – Feb. 28
40] Conversation on Racial Profiling – Feb. 28
41] Chat about Michelle Alexander's “The New Jim Crow” – Feb. 28
42] Walk to Stay Home – Mar. 1
43] Art and Social Justice in Delaware – Mar. 1
44] Fundraiser for the Festival for the Animals – Mar. 1
45] Rally for Net Neutrality-Maryland – Mar. 1
46] Peace Corps Week – Mar. 1
47] Candidates forum – Mar. 1
48] Hear from Jorge Ramos – Mar. 1
49] What you can do about guns in Maryland – Mar. 1
50] Solar co-op info session -- Mar. 1
35] – The Burma Task Force, ADAMS, and other mosques and groups are organizing a Rohingya Advocacy Day on Wed., Feb. 28 to bring many small delegations to Congress to lobby appropriate Members of the House and Senate to help end to what has been called a Genocide by many organizations worldwide. Register at 

    Over one million Rohingya have been forced to flee Burma by the Myanmar Army, including near 700,000 who fled to Bangladesh since August 2017 alone.  Tens of thousands have been murdered, even more Rohingya women (and young girls) have been raped, and countless children have been horrifically killed or maimed right in front of their parents.

36] – On Wed.., Feb. 28 from 5 to 7 PM get over to a Vehicles for Change Meet & Greet, hosted by Full Circle Auto Repair & Training Center – Waverly, 3419 Greenmount Ave., Baltimore 21218. Find out more about the services & support the Vehicles for Change Program can provide in changing the lives of returning citizens. See

37] – On Wed.., Feb. 28 from 5:30 to 8 PM, honor Lillie Carroll Jackson at 1320 Eutaw Pl., Baltimore 21202. In honor of Black History Month, honor trailblazing women! From 1935 until her retirement in 1970, Lillie Carroll Jackson was president of the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP and for much of this time her home on Eutaw Place was a hub of civil rights organizing and activism. Come to a community celebration at the Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum! There will be live jazz music, curated tours, door prizes, special guests and more. The event is hosted by the Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum in partnership with Baltimore Heritage and Not Without Black Women. Go to or

38] – On Wed., Feb. 28 at 6 PM, Amb. Robert Gallucci, Georgetown University and Johns Hopkins University, Ret. Amb. Christopher Hill, University of Denver, and Mary Beth Long, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, will tackle "Nuclear North Korea: Is War the Way Ahead?" at the McCain Institute for International Leadership, 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, WDC 20004. RSVP at

Olympic developments aside, tension between the United States and North Korea appears alarmingly high and escalating. Kim Jong Un, authoritarian Supreme Leader of the ‘Hermit Kingdom’, now has nuclear missiles perhaps capable of striking mainland America. And this threat and the vitriol has Americans amped up, aided by (false) inbound missile alarms.

Should the United States resolve this situation through sustained economic and military deterrence, or has the time for a diplomatic solution ended? Doors open at 5:15 PM. Debate begins at 6 PM. The event will also be available via live stream at Follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #MIDebate, and submit questions for the panel of experts by tagging @McCainInstitute.

39] – PMD Montgomery is hosting a District 3 Happy Hour at Greene Growler's, 227 E Diamond Ave., Gaithersburg 20877 on Wed., Feb. 28 from 6 to 8 PM. RSVP at There will be extended happy hour specials and great company!  Contact at Andrew Krug at

40] – On Wed., Feb. 28 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM here a Conversation on Racial Profiling in Our Community, hosted by Howard County Branch NAACP #7020 at Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Rd., Columbia 21044. This event is co-sponsored by Jack and Jill of America, Columbia Chapter and Howard County Branch of the NAACP. It is an All Ages Event. Over the past few years, our nation has been embroiled in a difficult conversation about the history of police brutality and racial profiling. Stories of young black men shot by officers, and footage of police behavior before many of those deaths, have raised hard questions about institutional racism and misconduct within our police force. Come learn about what our county is doing to combat profiling and help our youth be advocates in our community. Email

41] – On Wed.., Feb. 28 from 6:30 to 7:30 PM come to Kramers Book Club: News in Longform, hosted by Kramerbooks & Afterwords CafĂ©, 1517 Connecticut Ave. NW, WDC 20036.  Delve into today’s most pressing political discussions with Brookings Senior Fellow John Hudak who will chat about Michelle Alexander's “The New Jim Crow.” HUDAK is deputy director of the Center for Effective Public Management and a senior fellow in Governance Studies. His research examines questions of presidential power in the contexts of administration, personnel, and public policy. Additionally, he focuses on campaigns and elections, legislative-executive interaction, and state and federal marijuana policy. Go to

42] –   On Thurs.,, Mar. 1 at noon, help out Walk to Stay Home: DC Shutdown, hosted by The Seed Project at the Washington Monument, 2 15th St. NW, WDC 20024.  Eleven undocumented youth along with allies have walked 250 miles and crossed five states highlighting their stories. Continue the last stretch for a Clean Dream Act that does not separate families or puts our immigrant community into the shadows. See

43] – On Thurs., Mar. 1 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM, enjoy Art and Social Justice in Delaware, a panel discussion, at the University of Delaware, Room 211, Old College Hall, Newark, DE 19711. Go to

44] –   Join the MD SPCA at Cosima, 3000 Falls Road, Mill No. 1, Baltimore 21211, on Thurs., Mar. 1 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM to start fundraising efforts off on the right paw for the Maryland SPCA Festival for the Animals presented by M&T Bank. For tickets, go to;jsessionid=00000000.app334a?view=Tickets&id=100841&NONCE_TOKEN=5E6F3624F81B1B95E01FB8A895988CF3.

Ticket price includes appetizers by Cosima and two drink tokens. Additional Happy Hour drink specials will be available for purchase. Stay for dinner afterward and receive a discount on your bill. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. All proceeds help save the lives of the thousands of animals.

45] – On Thurs., Mar. 1 from 6 to 8 PM, come to the Rally for Net Neutrality-Maryland General Assembly, hosted by Solidarity Maryland in Lawyers Mall, Annapolis 21401.  Sign the petition at Bills to protect Marylanders from the negative ramifications of the FCC vote to overturn net neutrality regulations will be introduced in both houses.  Go to

46] – On Thurs.,, Mar. 1 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM, get with Peace Corps Week: Films from the Field, hosted by Peace Corps Journey at Landmark's E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW, WDC 20004. Peace Corps cordially invites you to view the films submitted in the Peace Corps Week Video Challenge. This year's theme is Highlighting Home: What does home, family, and community look like in your Peace Corps country? Volunteers are welcomed into the hearts and homes of their Peace Corps communities and gain new families in all shapes and sizes during service. This Peace Corps Week, celebrate the host families, faces, and places that Volunteers call home during service. Registration is required. Seating is limited. Doors at 6:30 PM, and the film starts at 7 PM.  RSVP at  Visit

47] –Progressive Cheverly is urging you to attend on Thurs., Mar. 1 from 7 to 9 PM the District 47A candidates forum at the Hoyer Education Center (cafeteria), 2300 Belleview Ave., Cheverly 20785. Here is your chance to hear and meet the candidates for State Senate and the House of Delegates. Visit

48] – On Thurs., Mar. 1 from 7 to 8:30 PM be at Sixth & I, 600 I St. NW, WDC 20001, to hear from Jorge Ramos about his book “Stranger: The Challenge of a Latino Immigrant in the Trump Era.” Tickets are available at When Ramos confronted candidate Donald Trump about his controversial remarks on Mexicans, the need for a wall, and deportations during a 2015 press conference in Iowa, a member of Trump’s security team threw him out of the room. He uses this experience to explore his own biography as an immigrant from Mexico, with America’s long immigration history as a backdrop, and draws from the latest data and immigration statistics to respond to Trump’s claims. See

49] – On Thurs.,, Mar. 1 at 7 PM, participate in What you can do about guns in Maryland, hosted by the Women's Democratic Alliance of Howard County at the East Columbia Library Park, 6600 Cradlerock Drive, Columbia 21044. Hear from Nicole Berger with Moms Demand Action and Liz Banach from Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence about bills currently before the general assembly that will reduce gun violence. Join us to hear how you can be part of the solution to this crisis in America. See

50] – The Mountain Maryland Solar Co-op Info Session #2 is happening on Thurs., Mar. 1 at 7 PM at the Garrett Information Enterprise Center, Room 111, 685 Mosser Rd, Mc Henry, MD 21541.  Neighbors across Mountain Maryland (Garrett and Allegany Counties) can join the second round of the Mountain Maryland Solar Co-op. With the help of Solar United Neighbors of Maryland this co-op will make it easier to save money on the purchase of solar panels, while building a community of local solar supporters.  Learn about solar energy, as well as how the co-op simplifies the process of going solar while providing a discount through its bulk purchasing power. See

To be continued.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Monday, February 26, 2018

Report: 170 Million in US Now Drinking Radioactive Water -- Is Yours Affected?

Monday, 26 February 2018 07:24

Report: 170 Million in US Now Drinking Radioactive Water -- Is Yours Affected?

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  More than 170 million Americans, or around 52 percent of the entire population, may be at risk of radiation exposure through their drinking water, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), one of the country's leading water testing organizations. The EWG published its findings based on a compendium of data collected from over 50,000 public drinking systems nationwide between 2010 and 2015. The report reveals a shocking trend: much of the nation's drinking water "contains radioactive elements at levels that may increase the risk of cancer."

   The EWG reported its findings after President Donald Trump re-nominated Kathleen Hartnett White as head of the White House's own Council on Environmental Quality. In an interview in 2011, Hartnett White admitted to falsifying data while she was head of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), in a scheme to show radiation levels were below the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) limit in communities where levels actually exceeded those thresholds. She justified the falsification because she said she "[didn't] believe the science of [radiation-caused] health effects" espoused by the EPA. Hartnett White also said she "placed far more trust" in the work of the TCEQ, which she admitted again in 2017 ignored EPA regulations. While her name has been withdrawn at her own request, many remain concerned about the safety of America's drinking water.

  According to EWG's research, radium is the most common radioactive element found in U.S. water systems, and the problem is pervasive coast to coast. The non-profit NGO found radium 226 and radium 228 lurking in tap water in all 50 states. The EPA on the other hand, lumps the two isotopes together when measuring. So, in at least one capacity, the EWG went a step further than the federal government in testing America's water supplies.

   Radium is naturally occurring and usually found in drinking water at levels less than one picocurie per liter. The EPA has set the maximum level for safe drinking water at five picocuries per liter. As reported repeatedly by EnviroNews, any exposure to ionizing radiation presents a risk. Radiation is also bioaccumulative, and like many other contaminants, can bioconcentrate its way up the food chain. The EPA classifies all ionizing radiation carcinogenic.

   "Radium in drinking water is a nationwide problem, in the same way that radon in homes has become a primary health concern. Although radium in water is often natural, certain industries can exacerbate the problem. Oil and gas production can cause local groundwater contamination by radium," said Marco Kaltofen in an email to EnviroNews. Kaltofen is the Affiliate Research Engineer for the Nuclear Science and Engineering Program in the Department of Physics at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and is considered one of the world's leading experts on radiation in the environment.

   About 20% of radium consumed through drinking water is absorbed by the body. Some of that will be excreted through the urinary tract; the rest, the body interprets as calcium, which in turn gets deposited in tissues and bones. Exposure to high levels of alpha radiation, the primary form in radium, for extended periods, may depress the immune system and cause anemia, cataracts, fractured teeth, and some types of cancer.

  "The most visible human-caused radium problem is at the West Lake Landfill near St. Louis, Missouri. This is an illegal radioactive waste dump where [the] EPA has recently agreed to spend more than $200,000,000 to begin removing some of the radium and other radioactive materials," said Kaltofen, whose paper about that ongoing crisis is set to be published in the Journal of Applied Radiation and Isotopes soon.

  As for the EWG, the group is not impressed with EPA standards, saying that the agency relies on science collected in the 1970s, and is more concerned with the feasibility and cost of removing contaminants from the water system, rather than placing human health first.

  Bill Walker, Editor-in-Chief and Vice President with the Environmental Working Group wrote this:

  Radiation in tap water is a serious health threat, especially during pregnancy. But the Environmental Protection Agency's legal limits for several types of radioactive elements in tap water are badly outdated. And President Trump's nominee to be the White House environment czar rejects the need for water systems to comply even with those outdated and inadequate standards.

  The EWG decided that instead of assessing the threat to public health by comparing its data to the "EPA's 41-year-old legal limits," that it would instead stack the findings against the "respected and influential" California Office of Environmental Hazard Assessment. That agency set health goals in 2006, and maintains separate safety thresholds for both radium 226 and 228 – levels that are "hundreds of times more stringent than the EPA limit for the two isotopes combined."

   For example, where the EPA's safety limit is five picocuries per liter, the California public health goal for radium 226 is 0.05 picocuries per liter, while for radium 228 it is just 0.019 picocuries per liter. The public health goals set by the California Office of Environmental Hazard Assessment are not enforceable by law.

  Radium isn't the only contaminant the EWG found though. The group looked for six different types of radiation, including radon and uranium. The EWG also created a tap water database and interactive map to help citizens learn more about the water quality where they live and to display highlighted areas where radium is a pervasive problem.
The EWG has been conducting extensive water testing throughout the U.S. for years. In August of 2017, EnviroNews published an article about another EWG study that revealed at least 250 million Americans are also drinking Chromium 6, a.k.a. "the Erin Brockovich carcinogen," in their tap water. In that article, Robert Colman, a project manager with the EWG, pointed out that the contamination numbers are almost certainly even higher than their research indicated because "water from most smaller utilities and private wells usually is not tested for chromium 6," leaving people to wonder if that may also be the case for radiation.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Ahead of Trial, Government Vilifies NSA Whistleblower Reality Winner

Ahead of Trial, Government Vilifies NSA Whistleblower Reality Winner
Monday, February 26, 2018

By Michael SainatoTruthout | Report

Reality Winner exits the Augusta Courthouse June 8, 2017 in Augusta, Georgia. Winner is an intelligence industry contractor accused of leaking National Security Agency (NSA) documents. (Photo: Sean Rayford / Getty Images)
Reality Winner exits the Augusta Courthouse June 8, 2017, in Augusta, Georgia. Winner is an intelligence industry contractor accused of leaking National Security Agency documents. (Photo: Sean Rayford / Getty Images)

As whistleblower Reality Winner nears trial, prosecutors for the United States government have focused on framing Winner as "anti-American," denying her bail and due process, and depriving her defense attorneys of adequate access to resources.
Winner, an Air Force veteran working for an intelligence contractor in Augusta, Georgia, printed out and mailed a classified NSA document to The Intercept in May 2017. The document reported that Russian hackers conducted cyberattacks against a United States voting software supplier and sent phishing emails to more than 100 election officials leading up to the November 2016 election, though the data used to develop this analysis was not included in the report.
Through metadata from the document obtained after a reporter from The Intercept forwarded the full document to verify its authenticity, government officials deduced that it was printed, rather than sent electronically. They then concluded that Winner was the one who sent it, as she was one of only six people who had printed the document and she had also previously contacted the media outlet.
Shortly after The Intercept contacted intelligence agencies about the document, FBI agents arrested Winner on her way home from the grocery store. She confessed to leaking the classified document, but her attorneys are working to have that confession thrown away, as she was not read her Miranda rights before the FBI interrogated her. Winner was charged under the Espionage Act with leaking classified information to a media outlet, and now faces up to 10 years in prison.
"What's been going on is unfortunately typical of what happens when you overcharge someone who, by all appearances, is a whistleblower, with charges like the Espionage Act," said Jesselyn Radack, head of the Whistleblower and Source Protection Program (WHISPeR) at ExposeFacts, in an interview with Truthout. She pointed to the situation as an example of the "criminalization of whistleblowing." Winner has no public interest defense available, and the use of the Espionage Act ensures many of the legal proceedings will take place in secret.
"Unfortunately, the government has used the Espionage Act more on whistleblowers than it has on traditional spies," Radack said. She added that the government has a variety of other laws it could use to prosecute the leaking of classified information, but the use of the Espionage Act reveals political motives to make an example of whistleblowers.
The FBI's interrogation tactics and campaign led by prosecutors to vilify Winner have incited criticism from civil rights and whistleblower advocates that her rights are being undermined in a case that has heavy political connotations.
"I feel like she's not being treated fairly by the courts," said Winner's mother, Billie Winner-Davis, in an interview with Truthout. Winner-Davis took an early retirement from her job as an administrator for child protective services programs in Texas to focus on her daughter's case. "I feel almost like she's already been convicted by these courts, without the due process, without the constitutional right of having a jury."
Requests for bail were repeatedly denied to Reality Winner, as prosecutors claimed she was a flight risk who had exhibited contempt for the United States and an interest in living abroad. In the government's response to Winner's request for bail, they cited several diary entries from Winner and private phone calls she had with her sister to try to portray her as "anti-American" and on the side of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Prosecutors have also used Winner's linguistic skills in Farsi, Dari and Pashto, which she developed in the Air Force, as claims that she has pro-Taliban leanings and would flee even if placed under house arrest with an electronic monitor. Winner received a commendation medal during service in the military before being honorably discharged. As a civilian, she instructed yoga and spin classes while working for a private intelligence contract firm.
"An inconvenient truth is that high-ranking government officials routinely leak documents far more 'sensitive' and secret than what Reality Winner allegedly provided to The Intercept," said Norman Solomon, editorial board member of ExposeFacts, in an interview with Truthout. "The hypocrisy involved with arresting and prosecuting her in the first place is extreme. For many decades, top US officials have fed all sorts of classified and top-secret information and officially sanctioned disinformation to the press. Behind the scenes, they get a pat on the back from on high, or -- if exposed -- at most, a slap on the wrist."
In contrast with the Trump administration's tactics in prosecuting Winner, Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort was offered bail and even granted permission to spend the holidays in the Hamptons, despite being indicted on 12 charges of money laundering and conspiracy against the United States.
"There is no hope for her getting pre-trial bond ... that's something that I was really hoping for," said Winner-Davis. "In our country, there's a presumption of innocence until otherwise determined by either a court or a jury. It appears that Reality is not getting that presumption of innocence."
The government has used secrecy to obstruct Winner's defense attorneys from working on key parts of her case, including attempting to prevent her attorneys from reviewing classified material cited in media articles in the case.
Winner is currently being detained in a county jail in Lincolnton, Georgia, about 39 miles outside of the city of Augusta.
"I don't feel like that jail is set up to house anyone long term, yet it appears that she's going to be there probably about a year and a half before she ever has her trial," said Winner-Davis, who noted the jail has given her daughter trouble in meeting dietary and nutritional needs, and visitation privileges are only offered on weekends between a glass divider.
Winner's next hearing is February 27. At that time, the court will review a motion to dismiss Winner's confession. Her trial is currently scheduled to begin on March 19, but both sides have filed for extensions to postpone it.
Winner will be the first whistleblower to be tried in court under the Trump administration.
Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.
Michael Sainato's writing has appeared in the Guardian, The Miami Herald, The Baltimore Sun, The Huffington Post, LiveScience, Buffalo News, The Plain Dealer, The Hill, Gainesville Sun, Tallahassee Democrat, Knoxville News Sentinel and the Troy Record. He lives in Gainesville, Florida. Follow him on Twitter: @msainat1.
By Patrick McCurdy, Waging Nonviolence | Op-Ed
By Ted Asregadoo, Truthout | Video Interview
By Arne Hintz, The Conversation | Op-Ed

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Remember This Week: It’s the Beginning of the End of the NRA’s Reign of Terror

Published on Portside (

Remember This Week: It’s the Beginning of the End of the NRA’s Reign of Terror

Joy-Ann Reid
February 23, 2018
The Daily Beast

   Shun the NRA. Shun the assault weapons manufacturers. Shame and vote out the politicians who take their money and do their bidding. That’s the strategy that activists for firearms sanity have finally seized on, after decades of losing to the most bloodthirsty lobby in America.

  The rise of the Parkland students, and their #NeverAgain movement following the slaughter of 17 of their classmates and teachers by a 19-year-old former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County Florida, presents the most existential threat to the gun lobby in my lifetime. These kids, aged 15 to 18, have spoken more clearly, more forcefully, and more effectively than any activists or politicians, who for decades have pleaded for laws prohibiting the amassing of personal military-style arsenals by American gun fetishists.

  What these young people have is special. They are too hurt and shocked and angry to be told to calm down. They are too social-media savvy to be fazed by bots and trolls and insane conspiracy theories. They were born in the post-9/11 age and are too fearless to be made to back down by bullies like the NRA’s resident Cruella de Ville Dana Loesch and her fellow travelers on the right. And they can easily spot the BS of a president, who has to hold a palm card to remind him to care when he speaks to them about their terrifying experiences.  

  And what they are demanding is so rational it’s impossible to argue against it: an end to the ability of a teenager who can’t legally purchase Sudafed, rent a car or buy a beer to obtain a weapon of war, and to turn his anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts into mass slaughter.

   The statistics are damning. Since 1966, when a gunman turned the clock tower at the University of Texas into a sniper’s nest, killing 17 people before police killed him, 1,077 Americans have been murdered in mass shootings, including 162 children and teenagers. According to The Washington Post, which examined 150 mass killings in which one or more gunmen participated and four or more people died, 167 of the 292 guns used by 153 mass murderers were obtained legally, and only 49 illegally (the sources of the rest are unknown).

   The problem is not “illegal” guns. It’s the ones that are perfectly lawful to obtain. And by the way, mass shootings represent a fraction of the overall gun deaths that are unique to America, which lost more than 1.5 million lives to gun homicides and suicides between 1968 and 2015 – more than have perished in all the wars America has been involved in combined.

   And the gun lobby aims to keep the cash registers ringing. With gun sales on the decline, particularly without the black bogie man President Obama to send the “war games in the woods” militia ranks soaring, they are constantly looking for new ways to terrify existing gun owners into hoarding even more.

  “The problem is not “illegal” guns. It’s the ones that are perfectly lawful to obtain.”

    With each new tragedy the gun lobby pushes for more concealed carry, more open carry, campus carry, guns in bars and churches, preventing bans on guns that are undetectable by metal detectors, legalizing silencers and armor piercing bullets whose purposes is solely human extermination, and arming teachers; all in the name of expanding firearm sales. And they stand firmly in the way of any law that would take weapons of mass death out of the hands of abusers, suspected terrorists, and even the insane.

  After a gunman used a Glock 17 and Ruger P89 9mm pistol to shoot 50 people, killing 23 inside Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas in 1991, both the U.S. House and Democratic Governor Ann Richards fought for measures that would have outlawed the kind of weapons used in the killings. The Texas and national gun lobbies fought back, defeating the measures and replacing them with increased support for concealed carry. Richards vetoed one of the new, bloody bills. Her successor, Gov. George W. Bush, signed it.

  After an armed security guard – a proverbial good guy with a gun – proved powerless to prevent two students from Columbine High School in Colorado from slaughtering 13 of their classmates before killing themselves in 1999, the Denver Post’s David Olinger wrote this:

  They stashed enough firepower under long black coats and in duffel bags to shoot at hundreds of classmates. Concealed in the coat Dylan Klebold wore to school on April 20 was an assault weapon banned from manufacture in 1994, a crude, menacing pistol made to fire 36 rounds without reloading. Eric Harris brought a new, short-barreled rifle that fired 10 rounds at a clip, the maximum allowed by the assault-weapons law.

  Each carried a shotgun, sawed off at both ends to render it half its original length, short enough to hide like a handgun and wield like a Capone-era street sweeper.

  All four of these guns had been sold from Colorado gun-show tables in 1998 by private sellers who took no names, required no signature, called nobody for a background check. Robyn Anderson, an 18-year-old Columbine High senior, bought three on a weekend shopping spree with her 17-year-old companions. Klebold and Harris supplied the cash, she the driver's license. The assault weapon, a TEC-DC9, was sold at a different gun show to Mark Manes, a young man who later resold it for $500 to the killers - and then sold them a fresh supply of ammunition on April 19, 1999.

  At that time, the question was how to close this “gun show loophole." The NRA and its fellow gun lobbyists went to work on politicians fearful of being washed out in the 2000 elections and saw to it that nothing was done.

  After another gunman carried four guns including an AR-15 (the assassin’s weapon of choice) and 6,000 rounds of ammunition and murdered 12 people at a Batman: The Dark Knight Rises screening in Aurora, Colorado in 2012, injuring 70, the NRA made sure nothing was done.

  After a gunman killed 32 of his classmates at Virginia Tech in 2007, the NRA made sure nothing was done.

   After a teenager slaughtered 20 six- and seven-year-olds and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut 11 days before Christmas in 2012, the NRA made sure nothing was done.

   After a racist gunman murdered nine black parishioners during Bible study inside historic Mother Emmanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina in June of 2015, the NRA made sure nothing was done.

   After the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando left 49 young people dead and 58 injured in June 2016, Marco Rubio used the tragedy to launch his reelection campaign, and then he and his fellow Republicans, under the direction of the NRA, made sure nothing was done.

  “As the young people of an earlier time led their parents and grandparents and an unwilling nation to moral improvement during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s, these children are leading us.”

   After gunman turned a hotel room on the Vegas strip into a sniper’s roost like the one in Texas 51 years earlier, raining more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition onto a crowd of country music concertgoers, killing 58 people and wounding a breathtaking 851 more, the NRA made sure nothing was done. When it was revealed that the gunman tricked out his semi-automatic rifles with “bump stocks” to allow them to fire like machine guns, the NRA opposed outlawing the accessory, even after hinting they might grow a conscience and support a ban.

  Indeed, all the NRA and even more extreme lobbying groups like Gun Owners of America have done after each of these tragedies is to push for more guns in more places, more permission for gun owners to kill fellow human beings by ensuring they can get away with it via laws like “Stand Your Ground,” more extremism allied to right wing media, neo-Confederate lunatics and even Russia, and more blood money in the hands of Republican politicians.

   Currently, the NRA is on record opposing restoring 21 – the age of majority at this country’s founding – as the minimum legal age to buy the kind of assault weapon used to mow down 17 children and teachers at Marjory Stone Douglas High School – something that now even the A+ rated governor of Florida, Rick Scott, is calling for. The 21-year-old minimum age to buy a handgun (but notably not a rifle, including an assault rifle) became the law of the land in 1968 following the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy that year and the murder of President John F. Kennedy five years before. At the time, the NRA – which was still primarily a sportsman’s organization – supported it, as it had supported the public disarming of the Black Panthers in California under the Mulford Act signed into law by then-governor Ronald Reagan in 1967.

  Well, the children of Parkland, in 2018, have finally said “enough.” As the young people of an earlier time led their parents and grandparents and an unwilling nation to moral improvement during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s, these children are leading us. And we are proud to so honorably led.

   These children are united and determined. And they can win. Indeed already, the quarantining of the gun lobby has begun.

   This week, the mayor pro tem of Dallas invited the NRA to find a new location for their bloody convention, and warned that if they do show up in his city, there will be protests. Governor Scott and Nevada Attorney General Paul Laxalt, both staunch pro-gun Republicans, won’t even publicly admit they plan to attend – a sign of how toxic the NRA has already become.

   The Parkland students have called for a March 24 march on Washington. “The march for our lives” has already attracted millions of dollars in pledges and support from Hollywood titans like George and Amal Clooney and Oprah Winfrey. The march could put millions of people, young and not-so young, in the streets all over the country. School districts should be warned that punishing students for walking out in support of the movement will only make it stronger.

   On Friday, First National Bank of Omaha, the largest privately owned credit card company in the U.S., along with Enterprise, Alamo and National car rental agencies, ended their partnerships with the NRA, which offered discounts and perks to their members.

  This is only the beginning.

   The forces of rationality finally sense an opening. The gun lobby is weak and cleaving to extremists. The Parkland children are strong and declaring that they no longer want to be a generation practicing active shooter drills and afraid to go to school.

    Parents are standing up and refusing to sacrifice their children so the gun lobby can stuff more money into their pockets. Their kids may be too young to vote, but they aren’t.

   And no, we don’t want are schools to be armed camps, with the lunch lady and the math teacher expected to be prepared to kill a former student who arrives ready to murder and to die

   If our politicians don’t have the courage to do what is right, what is moral and what makes sense, by stopping the legal sale of these weapons, the American majority will change the politicians. If Wayne LaPierre doesn’t understand that the next generation and the next will be unavailable to him and his vile philosophy, he needs a quick lesson in demographic math. One way or another, the NRA and its extremist ideology are on a path to extinction.

And good riddance to them in advance.

Joy-Ann Reid is the host of "AM Joy" on MSNBC and the author of "Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons and the Racial Divide," which is out in paperback on September 27th. 

Baltimore Activist Alert - February 26 - 27, @018

15] Preventing Electoral Violence in Asia -- Feb. 26
16] Janus v. AFSCME – Feb. 26
17] Uyghur Religious Freedom and Cultural Values Under Siege – Feb. 26
18] Maryland Sierra Club Lobby Night – Feb. 26
19] Fight for $15 -- Feb. 26
20] Film on DOLORES HUERTA – Feb. 26
21] A Carbon Fee & Rebate in DC?  – Feb. 26
22] "Live With a Nuclear North Korea" – Feb. 26
23] Housing in Takoma Park – Feb. 26
24] PeaceSeekers Meeting – Feb. 26
25] "Nuclear Risks in Northeast Asia" – Feb. 26
26] One More Vote Rally – Feb. 27
27] Fight for $15 hearing – Feb. 27
28] Hearing on Water Liens – Feb. 27
29] Peace Vigil – Feb. 27
30] Rally in Annapolis for School Funding – Feb. 27
31] No more Drone Research at JHU – Feb. 27
32] Enjoy the Rohingya Refugee Musicians – Feb. 27
33] Nature for All – Feb. 27
34] Interfaith Vigil for Immigrant Rights – Feb. 27

15] – From Mon., Feb. 26 at 8 AM through 5 PM, take the course Preventing Electoral Violence in Asia, hosted by the United States Institute of Peace, 2301 Constitution Ave. NW, WDC 20037. Tickets are available at  Both fragile and established democracies in Asia report various forms of electoral violence, ranging from opposition intimidation in Cambodia, to street protests in Thailand, to extremist attacks against election candidates and facilities in Pakistan. With important elections on the horizon in 2018 and 2019, this course will examine specific examples from cases across the region. Not only do these countries have a history of tense and sometimes volatile elections, but their stability is important to their respective regions and the international community at large. In this course, learners will identify options for violence prevention through effective strategic planning and early intervention.  This 3-day course aims to increase the capacity of practitioners and policymakers to identify triggers of electoral violence and, importantly, to help these actors develop evidence-based strategies to help stem the risk of violence. The design of the course walks through various phases of the election cycle–before, during and after Election Day–as well as the underutilized time between elections. Making linkages between actual implementation examples from Asia and the unexplored possibilities can help inform international, national and local efforts to promote peaceful elections.  Apply at  Go to

16] – On Mon., Feb. 26 the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Janus v. AFSCME―a case that could profoundly affect the ability of public sector workers to improve their wages and working conditions. Join a rally outside at 9 AM calling for strong unions that give us a voice and respect on the job. But we won’t be alone; the other side, led by the conservative Heritage Foundation, will be out in full force pushing its lies about what this case is actually about. Visit

The Koch brothers, the DeVos family and other wealthy, anti-union corporate interests are attempting to use the Supreme Court to try to take away the voice of the union. In swift sequence, once Trump’s nominee to the court, Neil Gorsuch, was confirmed, anti-union activists moved the Janus case onto the docket, confident of the outcome in light of Gorsuch’s long history of siding with corporations over workers. The current ideological composition of the court suggests that one person’s complaint—without any evidence of harm—could undermine the interests of millions of workers by depriving their unions of the funds they need to function. That’s not an unintended consequence—it’s the entire point of these assaults on unions. Unions fight for a better life for working people; and the right wing sees that as a threat.

17] – On Mon., Feb. 26 from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM, catch the talk Uyghur Religious Freedom and Cultural Values Under Siege, hosted by UNPO in the Cannon House Office Building, WDC 20003.  Religious freedom and cultural values are under siege in East Turkestan, the homeland of the Uyghurs. Advanced technologies are being deployed against the Uyghurs in the name of security, creating what amounts to the world’s most advanced police state, with serious implications for the future of China and the world. Chinese authorities consider religious diversity a threat to the country’s stability and, as a result, implement an autocratic monopoly over freedom of religion. The Uyghurs’ language and culture are also being systematically marginalized and actively suppressed by the Chinese government. Under the pretense of “anti-terrorism," Chinese authorities crackdown ruthlessly on Uyghur communities across East Turkestan, depriving them of their fundamental human rights. Under the pretense of their culture and religious practice being a security threat, a security crackdown has intensified in recent months, with more than 120,000 of Uyghurs being detained in re-education camps, study abroad students being forced to return home for political assessment, with widespread political campaigns and militarization creating a climate of fear.  See

18] – Get over to the 2018 Maryland Sierra Club Lobby Night on Mon., Feb 26 from 4 to 8 PM at 6 Bladen St, Annapolis 21401.  Contact Mark Posner at or 301-277-7111. Tickets Available  Each year, the Maryland Sierra Club hosts one of the biggest grassroots lobby events of the legislative session. Come out to protect our forests, ban foam packaging, create more transparency around gas infrastructure proposals, and secure dedicated funding for Metro so that the system continues to successfully serve millions of Marylanders! RSVP at

19] -- On Mon., Feb. 26 from 5 to 8 PM, rally for the Movement Lobby Day, hosted by Fight for $15 Maryland and Progressive Maryland in Lawyers Mall, 100 State Circle, Annapolis 21401.  Rally for a minimum wage increase! Food and transportation will be provided. Buses will depart from Red Emma's, 30 W. North Ave., Baltimore at 5:30 PM. Go to Other issues of concern are Bail Reform, Workplace Protections, Closing Tax Loopholes, -Fairness in Scheduling Practices in the Workplace and Protecting the ACA while and pushing for Single-Payer. CONTACT Beth Landry at  Go to

20] – On Mon., Feb. 26 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM, see the film DOLORES HUERTA, followed by a Panel Discussion, hosted by the Center for Student Diversity in the Towson Student Union, 8000 York Road, Towson 21252.  Dolores Huerta is among the most important, yet least known, activists in U.S. history. An equal partner in co-founding the first farm workers unions with Cesar Chavez, her enormous contributions have gone largely unrecognized. Dolores tirelessly led the fight for racial and labor justice alongside Chavez, becoming one of the most defiant feminists of the twentieth century—and she continues the fight to this day, at 87.  The film will be shown in UU 315-316.  See

21] – On Mon., Feb. 26 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM, the issue is Climate & Environmental Justice: A Carbon Fee & Rebate in DC?  It will be hosted by Put A Price On It DC at the Petworth Library, 4200 Kansas Ave. NW, WDC 20011.  Metro DC DSA will feature Danielle J. L. Meitiv, climate scientist & DSA-endorsed candidate for Montgomery County Council, and Camila Thorndike, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s "Put A Price On It DC” campaign (!

Danielle will wonk out about her work in climate research and how the science should inform our understanding of the urgent crisis we face, and how the movement to restore a safe climate for all is shaping up in Montgomery County, Maryland. Camila will present the grassroots effort to get DC City Council to introduce and pass a bill this year for a local carbon fee-and-rebate policy, which is designed to tackle climate change and inequality at once by cutting greenhouse gas emissions 20% by 2032 while also laying the groundwork for a universal basic income. In the proposed Climate and Community Reinvestment Act of D.C., companies that buy and sell fossil fuels in the District would pay a steadily-rising fee on each ton of heat-trapping pollution they cause. The majority of the money raised would be returned—through a quarterly “rebate”—to every D.C. resident, with additional support to low-income District residents. Strategic investments would also be made to accelerate D.C.’s transition to a clean energy economy in a way that is just and equitable—the bill has been modified from the original draft in order to minimize costs to local low-income residents and communities of color. 

There will be an open discussion and Q&A period about the policy & the campaign to get it passed—if you can think of any questions or concerns ahead of time that you'd like to see discussed at the meeting, please submit them in this form:

22] – On Mon., Feb. 26 at 6:30 PM, David Sanger, New York Times, Helene Cooper, New York Times, and Jake Sullivan, former national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, will discuss "Live With a Nuclear North Korea" at the Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, WDC.  Register at Mark Landler, a White House correspondent and former bureau chief in Hong Kong and Frankfurt, will moderate the discussion.

President Trump, like many of his predecessors, has said that it would be “intolerable” to live with a nuclear-armed North Korea that can strike any American city. He’s argued that conventional nuclear deterrence, once used to contain the Soviet Union, will not work. Is he right? What is the risk of disarming an unpredictable regime, known for blackmail and coercion? Is there any military option that would not endanger the entire region? What would war on the Korean Peninsula look like? How does history inform our understanding of volatile, nuclear-armed nations? The cost of admission is $25.

23] – On Mon., Feb. 26 from 7 to 9 PM,  get over to Housing in Takoma Park - Providing Diverse Housing Opportunities, hosted by City of Takoma Park, MD - Municipal Government, 7500 Maple Ave., Takoma Park 20912.  Are you a renter, a homeowner, landlord, housing advocate or just interested in local housing issues? Continue the conversation on how to address the Takoma Park City Council’s interests in providing diverse housing opportunities to residents throughout the community. Representatives from Mullin & Lonergan, one of the firms working on the City’s upcoming strategic plan, will provide background information on current conditions in Takoma Park and the region, give an overview of the feedback gathered from local housing representatives, and discuss the housing recommendations included in the draft Strategic Plan.  Audience members will have an opportunity to ask questions and provide comment to the City Council. Unable to attend? Weigh in on the discussion on Facebook Live or provide your feedback online at

24] – On Mon., Feb. 26 from 7 to 8:30 PM, there is a PeaceSeekers Meeting: Next Steps Activism at Pacem in Terris office, 401 N. West St., Wilmington, DE.  Go to

25] –  On Tues., Feb. 27 from 10:30 AM to 2 PM, hear a talk about "Nuclear Risks in Northeast Asia" at the Carnegie Endowment, 1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, WDC. RSVP at

26] – Join the ‘#OneMoreVote Rally’ to Save Net Neutrality at the US Capitol Building, East Capitol St. NE & First St. SE, WDC 20004 on Tues., Feb. 27 at 11 AM. Meet outside the Capitol Building, between the dome and the Russell building, on the dome side of Constitution Ave. A Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to reverse the FCC’s disastrous move that gutted net neutrality is just one vote away from passing in the senate. This is a crucial time for activists in DC, and across the country, to show up in force.  RSVP at  Check out the Facebook page for this event:

27] –  On Tues., Feb. 27 from noon to 3 PM, come to the Maryland Fight for $15 Legislative Hearing, hosted by Fight for $15 Maryland in Annapolis. Please come out and show your support for raising Maryland's minimum wage to $15 per hour by the year 2023! The Maryland General Assembly will be holding a legislative hearing in Annapolis. Call for a raise for the wages for 573,000 Maryland workers who are struggling to make ends meet! Check out The hearing for HB664 - Fight for $15.

28] – Attend a hearing on the Baltimore City - Tax Sales of Real Property - Water Liens (Water Taxpayer Protection Act) (HB1409) on Tues., Feb. 27 at 1 PM in the House Ways and Means Committee. This bill would ensure no occupied properties will be sent to tax sale for unpaid water bills alone. It would also ensure water bills will never trigger a tax lien certificate sale, even if it is not the sole outstanding charge owed to the city. Visit

29] –  Each Tuesday from 4:30 - 5:30 PM, the Catholic Peace Fellowship-Philadelphia for peace in Afghanistan and Iraq gathers at the Suburban Station, 16th St. & JFK Blvd., at the entrance to Tracks 3 and 4 on the mezzanine.  The next vigil is Feb. 27.  Call 215-426-0364.

30] –  On Tues., Feb. 27 from 5 to 8 PM, join the Rally in Annapolis for School Funding, hosted by City Neighbors Hamilton, 5609 Sefton Ave., Baltimore 21214.  The Baltimore Education Coalition and fellow public school advocates from across our city will rally in Annapolis. This year, ask the State to support facilities funding for Baltimore City schools and to make a strong down payment on the Kirwan Commission plans – plans to significantly re-work the state funding formula to make a much greater investment in education.  Buses will leave the City Neighbors Hamilton parking lot around 5 PM (exact time yet still to be determined) and will return between 8 to 9 PM. Students are welcome and encouraged to participate with their parents.  RSVP at  Contact Mike Chalupa at

31] – Vigil to say "No Drone Research at JHU" each Tuesday at 33rd & North Charles Sts. Join this ongoing vigil on Feb. 27 from 5:30  to 6:30 PM. Contact Max at mobuszewski2001 at Comcast dot net or 410-323-1607. 

32] – On Tues., Feb. 27 from 6:15 to 8:30 PM,  enjoy the Rohingya Refugee Musicians In Bangladesh, hosted by Music in Exile at the District Distilling Co., 1414-1418 U St. NW, WDC 20009.  Come listen to live music, have some drinks, and support Music in Exile, a DC-based nonprofit, as it gets ready for the next trip to document the music and stories of displaced musicians!  Help with the funding to record refugees in BANGLADESH. The music, photos, and video will be published on More than 700,000 Muslim Rohingya have fled violence in Burma.  Go to

33] – On Tues., Feb. 27 from 6:30 to 9:30 PM, enjoy Nature for All, hosted by Latino Conservation Week at the National Aquarium, 501 E Pratt St., Baltimore 21202.  Tickets are available at  Lend your voice and get to know the leaders of a growing movement working to connect diverse communities to the outdoors, inspiring them to care for and protect our ocean planet.  In honor of Black History Month, join the National Aquarium for an evening centered on diversity in conservation, with experts reflecting on the challenges, trends and progress shaping this movement. Our featured speaker for the event is Dr. Mamie Parker, the first African American Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A conservation trailblazer, she will reflect on her experiences working toward a more just and fair future that ensures everyone can access the physical, mental and spiritual benefits of nature in Baltimore and beyond.

The evening begins with a complimentary reception featuring community groups on the ground connecting their communities to nature, environmental careers and championing action. Mingle with representatives of these local and regional organizations and discover ways you can get involved. Visit

34] – Our friends from The Columbia Jewish Congregation is sponsoring an Interfaith Vigil for Immigrant Rights on Tues., Feb. 27 at 7:30 PM at Oakland Mills Interfaith Center, 5885 Robert Oliver Place, Columbia 21045.  The holiday of Purim is celebrated that week. Purim is a joyous holiday celebrating the heroism of Queen Esther in preventing a pogrom against Jews in the Persian Empire. The Fast of Esther precedes the celebration. As Esther asked all Jews to fast and pray for their deliverance, we too will pray for the deliverance of our friends and neighbors awaiting to see how safe they truly are. 

Maryland is currently considering three bills that will protect Maryland residents in different ways. Jews United for Justice (JUFJ), a group in solidarity with CASA of MD, will be discussing these bills, and share what we can do to help get them passed.  Donate money saved during the fast to CASA and other immigrant rights groups. Email See

To be continued.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs