Which Paper Tiger Folds First:  NRA, Walmart, Trump, or McConnell?

New Orleans     Unbelievably, President Trump was unable to stay on message even in the wake of the national tragedy of mass murder in El Paso and Dayton.  Only, Trump could make a day of mourning and the traditional post-disaster visit all about him and his sense of grievance and entitlement, rather than about the victims, their families, and communities.  He read from a statement that was on message, but couldn’t control either his mouth or his Twitter-finger.  He will pay for this lack of discipline and decorum and reap a whirlwind of disgust.

So, will the Republican Party.  If they hadn’t lost any prospects of a Latino vote before, they surely have lost it for a generation now from El Paso to immigrant-bashing to overt racism to mass workplace arrests in Mississippi with more to come to detention centers and child separation.  The only question may be whether the Party has lost votes for several generations rather than just this one where the memories – and wounds – are fresh.

What other paper tigers will fold?

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is hamstrung by internal conflict, board resignations, mass subpoenas of its board members, accusations of financial misdealing, and a wrenching power struggle.  No matter what they argue today, their voice has been reduced.  What politician would fear their wrath now or not weigh it against the red-hot rage of their own constituents?

Even the President in his own bumbling way seemed to argue for some kind of gun registry without any details.  Where Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been able to wall off any reforms in the Senate, it may be harder now, and even he has been quoted opening the door a crack to the considerations of some reforms, even if weak ones like the “red flag” warnings, which put the onus on friends, family, and the community to report others who should be flagged.

Even Walmart, where recent killings have occurred in Mississippi and Texas is feeling the pressure not only as a venue for slaughter, but also as a purveyor of the weapons of mass destruction.  Hundreds of white-collar Walmart employees walked out of the mega-retailer’s e-commerce offices in California, Oregon, and New York to pressure the company “to stop selling guns and discontinue donations to politicians who receive funding from the National Rifle Association,” according to The Washington Post. “Walmart sells guns in about half of its 4,750 U.S. stores, making it one of the nation’s largest retailers of firearms and ammunition.”

The organizers of the walkout faced retaliation from the company, but other reports have focused on the limited training and protection workers have gotten from Walmart about active shooter situations.  No amount of money is worth taking a bullet for your boss, and ten dollars an hour is far less than any would consider a fair price for the risk.  Tourists and pedestrians panicked and ran for cover around Times Square in New York when they heard a backfire on a small vehicle.

This is out of control.  The paper tigers must fold so that the public is protected.  We are close to the tipping point where politics is forced to recede in the face of common sense and basic safety.

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Please enjoy “”Unwed Fathers”” by John Prine and Margo Price. Thanks to KABF.

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Neighbors Protecting Their Own in Tennessee

New Orleans     This is a story that needs to be retold of a working class neighborhood in Hermitage, Tennessee, who stood up for one of their own, even if he and his son were undocumented immigrants.  Margaret Renkl, a contributing writer for the New York Times, wrote the story of what happened when,

ICE Came to Take Their Neighbor. They Said No.

NASHVILLE — Residents of a quiet working-class neighborhood in the Hermitage section of Nashville woke up very early on July 22 to find officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement trying to arrest one of their own.

An unmarked pickup truck with flashing red and blue lights had pulled into the man’s driveway, blocking his van. Two ICE agents armed with an administrative warrant ordered the man and his 12-year-old son to step out of their vehicle. The man, who had lived in the neighborhood for some 14 years, did exactly what the Tennessee Immigrant Refugee and Rights Coalition urges immigrants to do in such cases: He stayed put.

An administrative warrant gives officials permission to detain a suspect but it does not allow them to enter his house or vehicle. The ICE officials in that Nashville driveway were apparently counting on the man not to know that. With an administrative warrant, “there’s no judicial review, no magistrate review, no probable cause,” Daniel Ayoade Yoon, a lawyer later summoned to the house by immigration activists, told The Nashville Scene. He told WTVF, “They were saying, ‘If you don’t come out, we’re going to arrest you, we’re going to arrest your 12-year-old son.’” The administrative warrant they held did not give them the authority to do either.

Neighbors witnessing the standoff were appalled. “We was like, ‘Oh my God, are you serious?’” Angela Glass told WPLN. “And that’s when everybody got mad and was like, ‘They don’t do nothing, they don’t bother nobody, you haven’t got no complaints from them. Police have never been called over there. All they do is work and take care of their family and take care of the community.’”

Another neighbor, Stacey Farley, told Newsweek, “The family don’t bother nobody, they work every day, they come home, the kids jump on their trampoline. It’s just a community.”

More neighbors joined the scene and urged the man and his son not to listen to the agents. As temperatures rose in the hot Tennessee sun, they brought water and food and cool rags. They refilled the van’s gas tank so the man could keep his air-conditioner running. “We stuck together like neighbors are supposed to do,” Felishadae Young told WZTV.

ICE officials summoned the Nashville police for backup, but the officers who arrived stood nearby but did not intervene. State law prohibits any Tennessee community from designating itself a sanctuary city, but the police here don’t get involved in civil immigration cases. “We’re not here to enforce any federal script,” Sgt. Noah Smith told The Tennessean. “We’re just here if anything major happens.”

More than four hours later, ICE agents finally abandoned their efforts and drove away, though everyone on the scene expected them to return. Neighbors and activists linked arms to form a human chain from the van to the door of the house. The man and his son dashed inside. A woman came to the door and in Spanish tearfully thanked bystanders for their help. Shortly thereafter, the family fled.

Small as this story might appear to be when balanced against the great travesty of American immigration policy today, it nevertheless gives us hope. It is the story of David and Goliath, of Hansel and Gretel, of Robin Hood. It is the story of weakness defeating strength. It reminds us, in this cynical age, of what is still good in us, of what we are yet capable of, even against great odds.

So we salute the heroes of Hermitage — the ordinary people who, like the rest of us, are absorbed by their own worries, contending with their own troubles, but who nevertheless turned from their own lives to protect their neighbor, to shield him from the lies and tricks of the very government that was formed to protect his rights. We celebrate their courage in the face of unwarranted authority, and we take heart from their commitment to justice. We replay the video again and again to watch them link arms, to watch them calling out words of comfort and encouragement. We remember a truth that has lately been too easy to forget: We belong to one another.

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