Author Archives: Mary Turck

About Mary Turck

News Day, written by Mary Turck, analyzes, summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to immigration, education, and journalism. Fragments, also written by Mary Turck, has fiction, poetry and some creative non-fiction. Mary Turck edited TC Daily Planet, www.tcdailyplanet.net, from 2007-2014, and edited the award-winning Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG, in its pre-2008 version. She is also a recovering attorney and the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues.

Living in a Kleptocracy

After four years of ripping off the taxpayer for everything from bar bills to floral arrangements, after funneling millions of taxpayer dollars to his own businesses, after 142  golf outings and counting, Donald Trump has found a new way to grab even more money on his way out of office. 

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Celebrate, And Keep Working

Courtesy of TwitterPeople celebrate at Black Lives Matter Plaza across from the White House in Washington, DC (courtesy of Twitter)

November 7, 2020—Today is a day to celebrate. Next week, we get back to work, rebuilding our country. 

Joe Biden will become the 46th President of the United States on January 20, and Kamala Harris will become Vice-President: the first woman, first Black person, and first Asian person to hold that office. That’s a win. That’s a big win, even for those of us whose first choice candidate was someone else. The Biden/Harris win, and especially Kamala’s win, is a defeat for racism and xenophobia. 

We did not win as big as we hoped. We did not win as much as we hoped. Today is still a day to celebrate.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Naming Racism: The Ocoee Election Day Massacre

From account of Federal Writers Project in 1936.

One hundred years ago, on Election Day in 1920, White people in Ocoee, Florida reacted to Black people voting with violence that escalated to lynching and burning and destruction. The Ku Klux Klan lynched July Perry, a prosperous and civically active Black man. They burned black churches and homes and murdering uncounted other Black men, women, and children. This was a massacre that is misnamed a “race riot.” 

Words have power. “Race and Violence in Our Cities” was one of the topics for the first presidential “debate.” This Trump-tilted topic combines the dog whistles of “urban” and “crime” and “race.” Calling the Ocoee massacre a “race riot” misnames the KKK massacre of Black people who dared to vote. The 2020 debate topic, one hundred years later, misnames systemic racism in today’s United States in the same way.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Tear Gassing Voters and Children in North Carolina

Police spraying demonstrators in Graham, NC. Photo by Anthony Crider, published under Creative Commons license.

Police pepper-sprayed a disabled woman in a motorized wheelchair, children, and many others at a peaceful march to the polls in Graham, North Carolina on Saturday, October 31. The march and rally were held to encourage voting, and in memory of people killed by police, from George Floyd all the way back to Wyatt Outlaw. 

Shortly after the Civil War, Wyatt Outlaw became the first Black man to be elected Town Commissioner and Constable of Graham, North Carolina. In 1870, he was lynched by the Ku Klux Klan. Near the courthouse where Saturday’s march ended. Near the courthouse where a Confederate statue has been the focus of demonstrations. Near the courthouse where people were headed to vote, when they were pepper-sprayed by the police in 2020. 

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

For My Mom: Notes on Corruption

Yes, he is a crook.

During one of the long phone conversations that substitute for actual visits these pandemic days, my mom asked about Trump’s financial (mis)dealings. I have written about them before, but more information has come out in recent days. So here’s another take: Mom, this one’s for you!

Trump has used the presidency to make millions of dollars for his businesses, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. His suppression of criminal charges against Turkish Halkbank sell out U.S. interests. And his financial dealings with Deutsche Bank and the hundreds of millions of dollars he owes tie in with his business failures, losses, and evasion of income taxes

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Resisting With Joy in 2020

Kamala Harris in Jacksonville, dancing in the rain.

In Philadelphia, people sang and danced up a storm as voters waited in long lines for early voting. In Texas, more than 43 percent of registered voters have already voted. In 2016, a total of 59 percent voted in the presidential election. A marching band and drumline, dressed in white and masked against COVID, greeted voters at New York City’s Barclay Center on the first day of early voting. Ora Smith, 102, handed in her absentee ballot in South Carolina last week. A cavalcade of Latino voters on horseback rode to the Walnut Recreation Center in Las Vegas to vote on October 24. In Florida, Kamala Harris held an umbrella against the rain as she danced to Mary Blige’s “Work That.”  

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Covering Up Human Rights Violations

Gender-based violence? Denial of reproductive rights? Violence against LGBTI persons? Sexual slavery in military training camps? The Trump State Department has de-emphasized all of these human rights violations in country reports, according to a just-released analysis from the Asylum Research Centre.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

“You’re Fired!” Trump Eliminates Civil Service Protection

Trump Won’t Drain the Swamp. Trump IS the Swamp. (Photo by Fibonacci Blue, used under Creative Commons license)

In a sweeping executive order, Trump has just eliminated civil service protection for hundreds of thousands of federal employees. In so doing, he also eliminated the veterans’ preference for hiring for those positions. 

His order probably violates federal laws. It most certainly demonstrates ignorance and contempt for the civil service system established in 1883. That system was established to end the political “spoils system” of giving federal jobs to political cronies without regard for merit or ability.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Watching Science Die

Coronavirus
Coronavirus from Wikimedia Commons

Pro Publica’s deep dive into the destruction at the Centers for Disease Control reads like a bad disaster novel: a deadly virus, scientists scrambling to meet the challenge, politicians sabotaging their efforts at every turn. Perhaps the most stark illustration comes from the church directive. The CDC had identified a COVID-19 outbreak at an Arkansas church that caused four deaths. In another superspreader event, 52 of 61 singers at a choir practice got COVID-19, and two died. Singing and chanting were identified as especially high-risk behaviors for spreading the disease. Despite the evidence, in late May President Trump announced that churches were “essential services” and that the CDC would release safety guidelines. Pro Public reports:

“[CDC Dr. Jay] Butler’s team rushed to finalize the guidance for churches, synagogues and mosques that Trump’s aides had shelved in April after battling the CDC over the language. In reviewing a raft of last-minute edits from the White House, Butler’s team rejected those that conflicted with CDC research, including a worrisome suggestion to delete a line that urged congregations to ‘consider suspending or at least decreasing’ the use of choirs.

“On Friday, Trump’s aides called the CDC repeatedly about the guidance, according to emails. ‘Why is it not up?’ they demanded until it was posted on the CDC website that afternoon.

“The next day, a furious call came from the office of the vice president: The White House suggestions were not optional. The CDC’s failure to use them was insubordinate, according to emails at the time.

“Fifteen minutes later, one of Butler’s deputies had the agency’s text replaced with the White House version, the emails show. The danger of singing wasn’t mentioned.”

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Deep in the Swamp: It’s More Than His Taxes

Image by Harvey Finch, used under Creative Commons license

After promising to “drain the swamp” in Washington, Trump has proved to be among the biggest swamp critters there. The New York Times finally got copies of tax returns that Trump still refuses to release to the public. They found that he paid only $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and $750 in 2017, and that he paid no federal income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years.  Other recent reports show his resorts making money from his visits and a new directive that will use taxpayer money to boost his re-election campaign.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized