July 18, 2019

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ON THE RECORD.....

“It’s not surprising that one of the loudest disseminators of misinformation is inviting known extremists and conspiracy theory peddlers to the White House social media summit. It’s a shame President Trump would prefer to fan the same fires of online social discord that Russia sparked in the 2016 election rather than bring real experts together to address the issue of content moderation in a thoughtful and rational manner.” — Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), who leads the House’s top tech committee.

“To me free speech is not when you see something good and then you purposefully write bad. To me that’s very dangerous speech and you become angry at it. But that’s not free speech.” -- Trump quoted by Brian Stelter, CNN.

‘‘And while we hear some Democrats in Washington, D.C., referring to U.S. Customs and Border facilities as ‘concentration camps,’ what we saw today was a facility that is providing care that every American would be proud of.’’ — VP Pence

“Mr. President, the country I ‘come from,’ & the country we all swear to, is the United States. But given how you’ve destroyed our border with inhumane camps, all at a benefit to you & the corps who profit off them, you are absolutely right about the corruption laid at your feet.” -- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

“When it comes to race, Mr. Trump plays with fire like no other president in a century. While others who occupied the White House at times skirted close to or even over the line, finding ways to appeal to the resentments of white Americans with subtle and not-so-subtle appeals, none of them in modern times fanned the flames as overtly, relentlessly and even eagerly as Mr. Trump,”-- NY Times Peter Baker 

“We all know that this crowd are a bunch of communists, they hate Israel, they hate our own country. They’re calling the guards along our border, the border patrol agents, ‘concentration camp guards.’ They accuse people who support Israel of doing it for the Benjamins. They’re anti-Semitic. They’re anti-America.” — Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), declining to condemn the President over his racist tweets against several minority members of Congress, instead calling them a “bunch of communists.”

“It doesn’t concern me, because many people agree with me.” — Trump told reporters when asked if he was concerned that his inflammatory, baseless lies will inspire white nationalists.

"This is a president who has openly violated the very value our country appears to uphold. Equality under the law, religious liberty, equal protection, and protection from persecution. And to distract from that, he's launching a blatantly racist attack on four duly elected members of the United States of House of Representatives, all of whom are women of color. It is time for us to stop allowing this president to make a mockery out of our constitution. It is time for us to impeach this president.”-- Rep. Ilhan Omar.

“I refer to him as ‘the occupant.’ He simply occupies the space. He embodies zero of the qualities and the principles, the responsibility, the grace, the integrity, the compassion, of someone who would truly embody that office.” — Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) on Donald Trump.

When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said. So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions! — Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

President Trump’s attacks against four minority lawmakers placed him with Andrew Johnson as the “most racist president in American history.” What the president’s done here is yet again, because I think he did it after Charlottesville, and I think he did it frankly when he was pushing the birther lie about president Obama, is he has joined Andrew Johnson as the most racist president in American history.” — Presidential historian Jon Meacham

The Democrat Congresswomen have been spewing some of the most vile, hateful, and disgusting things ever said by a politician in the House or Senate, & yet they get a free pass and a big embrace from the Democrat Party. Horrible anti-Israel, anti-USA, pro-terrorist & public.....shouting of the F...word, among many other terrible things, and the petrified Dems run for the hills. Why isn’t the House voting to rebuke the filthy and hate laced things they have said? Because they are the Radical Left, and the Democrats are afraid to take them on. Sad! -- Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump continuing his vile attacks on four Democrat congresswomen. Sad!

“I believe that what this president has done to our culture, to our civic discourse … you cannot unring these bells and you cannot unsay what he has said, and you cannot change that he has now in a very short time made it seem normal for schoolboy taunts and obvious lies to be spun out in a constant stream. I think this will do more lasting damage than Richard Nixon’s surreptitious burglaries did.” — Conservative commentator George Will

IN THIS ISSUE

FYI

1. Andy Borowitz: Democratic Congresswomen Urge Trump to Go Back to Russia
2.‘This is tough stuff’: At Texas detention facility, Pence sees hundreds of migrants crammed with no beds
3. Trump’s new replacement Secretary of Labor just had his Russian ties exposed
4. Family separations aren't over. As many as five kids per day are separated from their parents at the border.
5. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost Was A Member Of Secret Facebook Group
6. The unmistakable ugliness of Trump urging brown-skinned congresswomen to ‘go back’ to their countries
7. House Passes $733 Billion Defense Bill Checking Trump’s War Powers
8. The DAILY GRILL
9. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)
10. From the Late Shows
11. Trump kills key drug price proposal he once embraced
12. U.S. Placed Immigrant Children With Traffickers, Report Says
13. Duncan Hunter Sends More Islamophobic Campaign Mailers
14. Elizabeth Warren takes on Trump with immigration overhaul
15. Fact check: Trump wrong on all 3 claims in tweet on Iran deal
16. Trump’s premeditated racism is central to his 2020 strategy
17. Tariffs on China Don’t Cover the Costs of Trump’s Trade War
18. Biden Says He’ll Challenge Trump to Do Push-Ups
19. Trump's racist strategy will not age well
20. Trump’s ‘Better’ Deal with Iran Looks a lot Like Obama’s


OPINION

1. Frida Ghitis: Trump’s racist tweets come straight from the authoritarian playbook
2. Paul Krugman: Racism Comes Out of the Closet
3. Matt Viser: Democrats debate how far left is too far left as they prepare to take on Trump
4. Marshall Cohen: Kay Guerrero and Arturo Torres: Exclusive: Security reports reveal how Assange turned an embassy into a command post for election meddling
5.  Eric Lutz: Sen. Graham Defends Trump’s Racist Attack On Progressive Congresswomen: They’re “A Bunch Of Communists!”
6. LA Times Editorial: Trump is truly America’s Bigot-in-Chief
7. Adam Serwer: Trump Tells America What Kind of Nationalist He Is
8. George Conway: Trump is a racist president
9. Michael Gerson: Trump never takes a vacation from provocation
10. Susan B. Glasser: “Congratulations Again, Mr. President”: Trump and the Co-opting of the G.O.P.
11. Nate Silver: A Midsummer Overview Of The Democratic Field
12. Carolyn Kormann: The Case for Declaring a National Climate Emergency
13. Darlena Cunha: ICE Is Dangerously Inaccurate. Even American citizens are not immune from immigration raids.
14. Michelle Goldberg: Acosta Resigned. The Caligula Administration Lives On.
15. Marc Fisher: Behind Trump’s ‘go back’ demand: A long history of rejecting ‘different’ Americans
16. Eric Lutz: “Just Another Day At The White House”: Trump’s Social Media Summit Was Ugly, Pointless, And Weird

FYI

1.  Andy Borowitz: Democratic Congresswomen Urge Trump to Go Back to Russia

Four Democratic congresswomen issued a brief statement on Monday urging President Donald Trump to go back to Russia and improve the dire conditions of that country.

In the tersely worded statement, the four lawmakers—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of New York; Ilhan Omar, of Minnesota; Ayanna Pressley, of Massachusetts; and Rashida Tlaib, of Michigan—indicated that Russia was “broken and crime-infested” and required Trump’s immediate attention.

The statement went on to suggest that, once Trump had fixed the problems plaguing Russia, he could return to the United States and “show us how.”

In a tweet, Trump mocked the congresswomen, contrasting them with the “real revolutionaries” honored over the weekend on Bastille Day. “In 1789, these brave people stormed Louis XVI’s airports,” he wrote. https://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/

2.‘This is tough stuff’: At Texas detention facility, Pence sees hundreds of migrants crammed with no beds

When Vice President Pence visited a migrant detention center here Friday, he saw nearly 400 men crammed behind caged fences with not enough room for them all to lie down on the concrete ground. There were no mats or pillows for those who found the space to rest. A stench from body odor hung stale in the air.

When reporters toured the facility before Pence, the men screamed that they’d been held there 40 days, some longer. They said they were hungry and wanted to brush their teeth. It was sweltering hot, but the only water was outside the fences and they needed to ask permission from the Border Patrol agents to drink.

Pence appeared to scrunch his nose when entering the facility, stayed for a moment and left. A few minutes earlier, from a bird’s eye room called “The Bubble,” he’d seen 382 men packed into cells, peering against the windows to get a view of him. Some appeared shirtless.

Trump earlier Friday called recent media reports and comments from Democrats about poor conditions “phony.” Republicans, as well as Trump, who have accused Democrats who have visited similar facilities of exaggerating the poor conditions. Trump earlier Friday called recent media reports and comments from Democrats about poor conditions “phony.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/pence-tours-detention-facilities-at-the-border-defends-administrations-treatment-of-migrants/2019/07/12/993f54e0-a4bc-11e9-b8c8-75dae2607e60_story.html

3. Trump’s new replacement Secretary of Labor just had his Russian ties exposed

Trump has appointed a new Acting Secretary of Labor, Patrick Pizzella, to replace disgraced former Labor Secretary Alex Acosta. But it turns out that Acting Secretary Pizzella could be the one man in the Labor Department with even more skeletons in his closet than Alex Acosta.

Pat Pizzella used to be a lobbyist with Republican super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff for a Russian oil company whose million-dollar bribe to former House GOP Majority leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) was exposed when his felony fraud conviction led to multiple Congressmen going to jail.

He also lobbied for sweatshop interests in the Marianas Islands and who intentionally and completely deleted his entire email account upon leaving the Bush Administration, but it’s his track record as a Russian oil lobbyist is most disturbing. The Stern Facts reports:

Patrick Pizzella’s involvement with the Mariana Islands was focused on getting Congress to keep the tiny island’s minimum wage at $ 3.05. The island became a destination for companies seeking poverty-wage jobs but could still slap a “Made in the USA” sticker on their products because it’s a U.S. territory — one of our colonial possessions.

Naturally, he next became a member of the George W. Bush transition team and was appointed as Assistant Secretary of Labor from 2001 through 2009. When he left, Pizzella covered his tracks. In 2009, the nonprofit watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint against Pizzella for deleting all of his official emails.

During the Obama era, Pizzella partnered with former Reagan Attorney General Edwin Meese, who resigned in a cloud of scandal after running the Conservative Action Project with — surprise, surprise — current Trump surrogate Kellyanne Conway.

It seems like it would be difficult to find someone with a more sordid past than Alex Acosta, but somehow President Trump managed to find a way. https://washingtonpress.com/2019/07/12/trumps-new-replacement-secretary-of-labor-just-had-his-russian-ties-exposed/

4. Family separations aren't over. As many as five kids per day are separated from their parents at the border.

More than a year after the Trump administration ended a controversial policy that led to hundreds of family separations, as many as five migrant children per day continue to be separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to federal data gathered by an immigrant advocacy group.

The data, which the American Immigration Council and other immigrant advocacy groups requested from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, shows that almost 400 children were separated from their parents between June 2018 — when the Trump administration ended its controversial zero tolerance policy — and March 2019.

That number jumped to more than 700 children by May, according to data the government provided to the American Civil Liberties Union, which is litigating the family separation crisis in federal court.

Despite the executive order that President Donald Trump signed in June 2018 to end zero tolerance — which directed immigration officials to file charges against all adults who crossed the border illegally — advocates say adult migrants continue to be separated from children for reasons that are increasingly vague and difficult to corroborate. https://www.texastribune.org/2019/07/12/migrant-children-are-still-being-separated-parents-data-show/

5. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost Was A Member Of Secret Facebook Group

When news broke that thousands of current and former Border Patrol agents were members of a secret Facebook group filled with racist, vulgar, and sexist content, Carla Provost, chief of the agency, was quick to respond.

Said Provost: “These posts are completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor and integrity I see — and expect — from our agents day in and day out. Any employees found to have violated our standards of conduct will be held accountable.”

For Provost, a veteran of the Border Patrol who was named head of the agency in August 2018, the group’s existence and content should have come as no surprise. Three months after her appointment to chief, Provost herself had posted in the group… Provost’s comment was innocuous — a friendly clapback against a group member who questioned her rise to the top of the Border Patrol — but her participation in the group, which she has since left, raises serious questions. https://theintercept.com/2019/07/12/border-patrol-chief-carla-provost-was-a-member-of-secret-facebook-group/

6. The unmistakable ugliness of Trump urging brown-skinned congresswomen to ‘go back’ to their countries
 
The president of the United States on Sunday urged some women in Congress to go back to the countries from which they came. The problem — beyond the nasty historical overtones of such a sentiment, of course — is that three of the four women about whom he appeared to be talking were born in the United States.

Trump’s tweets on these kinds of things are often somewhat carefully crafted — enough to give him some plausible deniability. But it’s pretty clear this one was directed at three American-born congresswomen, as well as one refugee-turned-lawmaker, otherizing them and urging them to return to countries in which they weren’t born.

“So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly . . . and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run,” Trump said.

He added: “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how . . . it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/07/14/unmistakable-ugliness-trump-urging-brown-skinned-congresswomen-go-back-their-countries/

7. House Passes $733 Billion Defense Bill Checking Trump’s War Powers

The House gave final approval Friday to a defense bill that would put a liberal stamp on military policy by shackling President Trump’s ability to wage war in Iran and Yemen, restricting the use of military funds at the southwestern border and returning transgender troops to the armed forces.

In amendment after amendment, lawmakers flexed their oversight muscles, reflecting a growing desire to take back long-ceded authority over matters of war and peace from the executive branch, a reclamation that legislators in both parties contend has grown more urgent amid escalating tensions with Iran.

Passage of the measure with support from liberal Democrats — and no Republicans — could set up another difficult showdown between Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and her left flank. Negotiations with the Senate will almost certainly result in a compromise measure that jettisons many, if not most, of the amendments secured by House liberals. That could set up a final vote that liberals will oppose, leaving Democratic leaders to appeal for Republican votes.

For now, though, the House bill bears the stamp of the resurgent left. The House passed a bipartisan amendment on Friday that would curb Mr. Trump’s ability to authorize a military strike on Iran unless he obtained Congress’s explicit approval. The 251-to-170 vote reflected general war weariness after almost two decades of conflict in the Middle East; 27 Republicans joined all but seven Democrats to approve it. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/12/us/politics/trump-iran-vote.html

8. The DAILY GRILL

Trump has told confidants he's eager to remove Dan Coats as director of national intelligence, Coats angered Trump when he appeared to criticize the president's relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin during an on-stage interview with NBC's Andrea Mitchell at last year's Aspen Security Forum. He also drew Trump's ire again in January when he told a Senate panel that North Korea was unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons, contradicting the president's cheerier assessments.

VERSUS

Trump has told people that he likes Fred Fleitz and has "heard great things." Fleitz has publicly criticized Coats and even called for Trump to fire Coats on Lou Dobbs' Fox Business program after Coats' Senate testimony. Fleitz accused Coats of undermining and "second-guessing" the president.

 

"I'm a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican — in that order.” — Mike Pence in 2016

VERSUS

Immigrants who are packed into overcrowded cages with no showers and forced to sleep on the floor like animals “are being well cared for.” — Mike Pence in 2019

 

“The real controversy here is who took the citizenship question off the Census, and why? Why is the controversy wanting to know who among us happens to be a citizen and who isn’t? Why is that controversial?” “It would seem to me that this kind of attention should have been asked when somebody in the Obama regime decided to get rid of it." -- Rush Limbaugh

VERSUS

This is entirely untrue. Not only did Obama not remove the question from the census, over the past 10 years it has been asked more frequently than it was before his two terms in office. -- Washington Post

 

Three of the most spectacular golf courses in the world @TrumpGolf: Tune into @GolfChannel next week during @TheOpen to catch our latest commercial #TheTrumpTriangle— The Trump Organization @Trump

VERSUS

“The post was the latest example of what ethics experts have complained is Trump’s manipulation of his powerful office to enrich himself and his family.” — Huff Post

 

Friday’s tour showed vividly, to politicians and the media, how well run and clean the children’s detention centers are. Great reviews! Failing @nytimes story was FAKE! The adult single men areas were clean but crowded - also loaded up with a big percentage of criminals…… — Trump

VERSUS

“Almost 400 men were in caged fences with no cots. The stench was horrendous... there were no mats or pillows... The men said they were hungry and wanted to brush their teeth. It was sweltering hot... They said they’d been there for 40 days or more.” — Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA)

 

Look at Omar, I don’t know, I never met her. I hear the way she talks about al-Qaida. Al-Qaida has killed many Americans. She said you could hold your chest out. When I think of America, huh. When I think of al-Qaida, I can hold my chest out. When she talked about the World Trade Center being knocked down, some people, you remember the famous, some people. — Trump who, when asked about his tweets, immediately began ranting about the Muslim congresswoman.

VERSUS

“Omar has not praised al Qaeda or said she can hold her "chest out" when thinking of al Qaeda. Trump was inaccurately describing remarks she made in 2013 about how one of her college professors acted when he discussed al Qaeda.” — Daniel Dale and Sarah Westwood on CNN

9. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)

Fox legal analyst Gregg Jarrett calls Rep. Tlaib "so dumb" and mocks her for tearing up during detention center testimony. GREGG JARRETT (GUEST HOST): And Representatives Tlaib and Presley -- Tlaib was in tears today, you know, because using the term 'illegal immigrant' is derogatory and demeaning. And she seemed to be blaming you and others, and yet she -- she's so dumb she doesn't realize it's actually in the law that Congress wrote, 'illegal alien.' And you cited the statute, and there's another one as well. She ought to look them up. If she wants to change that language, she ought to change it herself. She's a member of Congress. Congress created that law with that language. https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2019/07/12/fox-legal-analyst-gregg-jarrett-calls-rep-tlaib-so-dumb-and-mocks-her-tearing-during-detention/224203

Fox & Friends praises Trump's bigoted tweet telling Democratic congresswomen to leave the United States. Fox & Friends cohost Jedediah Bila says that Trump is "making an important point.” https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2019/07/14/fox-friends-praises-trumps-bigoted-tweet-telling-democratic-congresswomen-leave-united-states/224205

Fox’s Todd Starnes: Ilhan Omar and other immigrants should take "a one way plane ticket back to whatever third-world hellhole you came from.” Starnes: "Don't let the door hit you where the good lord split you.” https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2019/07/12/fox-s-todd-starnes-ilhan-omar-and-other-immigrants-should-take-one-way-plane-ticket-back-whatever/224202

Fox & Friends praises Trump's bigoted tweet telling Democratic congresswomen to leave the United States. Fox & Friends cohost Jedediah Bila says that Trump is "making an important point.” https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2019/07/14/fox-friends-praises-trumps-bigoted-tweet-telling-democratic-congresswomen-leave-united-states/224205

Fox's Katie Pavlich defends Trump's racist tweets: "He didn't say go there permanently. He said go there, fix the problem, come back.” Pavlich also insists Trump could have just been referring to Rep. Ilhan Omar, who was "brought to the country under the graciousness of the American people.” https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2019/07/15/Foxs-Katie-Pavlich-defends-Trumps-racist-tweets-He-didnt-say-go-there-permanently-He-said-/224213

Tucker Carlson goes full-on climate denier, hypes debunked document that blames global warming on clouds. Carlson: "Despite what they tell you, the science is not settled. https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2019/07/15/Tucker-Carlson-goes-full-on-climate-denier-hypes-debunked-document-that-blames-global-warm/224217

Fox host: Trump's tweets weren't racist they were "about patriotism.” Jesse Watters: "When did 'love it or leave it' become racist?” https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2019/07/15/fox-host-trumps-tweets-werent-racist-they-were-about-patriotism/224218

Senior Bureau of Land Management official is a right-wing pundit who has said climate change isn’t real and diversity is killing people. https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2019/07/17/senior-bureau-land-management-official-right-wing-pundit-who-has-said-climate-change-isn-t-real-and/224235

Rush Limbaugh: "We have to be very vigilant" about immigrants so the US isn't "undermined from within.” Limbaugh: "As optimists, we tend to see the good before we see the bad, but when we see the bad we have to recognize it and react to it, and deal with it, for the sake of the country.” https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2019/07/17/Rush-Limbaugh-We-have-to-be-very-vigilant-about-immigrants-so-the-US-isnt-undermined-from-/224251

Monica Crowley, President Donald Trump’s pick for the top communications position at the Treasury Department, is a longtime Fox News contributor who has pilloried journalists as “dishonest, hostile, biased, rude fake news” and has endorsed a series of racist conspiracy theories, including about President Barack Obama’s “real father.” https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2019/07/17/monica-crowley-fox-promoter-bigoted-conspiracy-theories-named-top-treasury-post/224248

10. From the Late Shows

TONIGHT: We're back from our break but Trump hasn't taken any time off from his role as Racist-In-Chief. -- The Late Show @colbertlateshow

11. Trump kills key drug price proposal he once embraced

The Trump administration has withdrawn a key proposal to lower drug prices, which its top health official had touted seven months ago as the most effective way to curb medicine costs for consumers.

The so-called drug rebate rule would have ended a widespread practice in which drugmakers give rebates to insurance middlemen in government programs such as Medicare. The idea was to channel that money to consumers instead.

The proposed rule was the second major Trump drug pricing effort to collapse this week after a federal judge blocked an administration rule that would have required drugmakers to disclose the list prices of their medicines in television ads. Together, they complicate the administration’s efforts to lower prescription drug costs, potentially undermining one of Trump’s main campaign promises as he seeks a second term. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/white-house-kills-key-drug-pricing-rule-to-eliminate-hidden-rebates/2019/07/11/ff595192-a3de-11e9-bd56-eac6bb02d01d_story.html

12. U.S. Placed Immigrant Children With Traffickers, Report Says

The Department of Health and Human Services placed more than a dozen immigrant children in the custody of human traffickers after it failed to conduct background checks of caregivers, according to a Senate report released on Thursday.

Examining how the federal agency processes minors who arrive at the border without a guardian, lawmakers said they found that it had not followed basic practices of child welfare agencies, like making home visits.

The Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations opened its inquiry after law enforcement officials uncovered a human trafficking ring in Marion, Ohio, last year. At least six children were lured to the United States from Guatemala with the promise of a better life, then were made to work on egg farms. The children, as young as 14, had been in federal custody before being entrusted to the traffickers.

“It is intolerable that human trafficking — modern-day slavery — could occur in our own backyard,” said Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio and the chairman of the subcommittee. “But what makes the Marion cases even more alarming is that a U.S. government agency was responsible for delivering some of the victims into the hands of their abusers.”

In addition to the Marion cases, the investigation found evidence that 13 other children had been trafficked after officials handed them over to adults who were supposed to care for them during their immigration proceedings. An additional 15 cases exhibited some signs of trafficking.

The report also said that it was unclear how many of the approximately 90,000 children the agency had placed in the past two years fell prey to traffickers, including sex traffickers, because it does not keep track of such cases.

“Whatever your views on immigration policy, everyone can agree that the administration has a responsibility to ensure the safety of the migrant kids that have entered government custody until their immigration court date,” Mr. Portman said. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/29/us/politics/us-placed-immigrant-children-with-traffickers-report-says.html

13. Duncan Hunter Sends More Islamophobic Campaign Mailers

Indicted Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) is sending Islamophobic mail pieces to voters in his Southern California district, attacking his Democratic opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, for his deceased grandfather alleged ties to a 1972 terrorist attack.

The mailers show a photo of one of the terrorists involved in an attack on Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics wearing a ski mask on one side, and photos of Campa-Najjar and Muslim Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, on the other. Campa-Najjar is Christian. https://static.politico.com/b8/fd/922317c84240a224f1d2adbbaa5f/image2.jpeg

14. Elizabeth Warren takes on Trump with immigration overhaul

Elizabeth Warren on Thursday unveiled her plan to reform the nation’s immigration system amid a deepening crisis over detention at the southern border and a fraught debate across the country and within the Democratic Party on the way forward.

Among other things, the proposal calls for allowing more immigrants to come into the country legally, lifting the refugee cap from 30,000 under the Trump administration to 125,000 and then 175,000; a revamp of the immigration court system to establish independence from Justice Department leaders; and the creation of an "Office of New Americans" tasked with facilitating integration, including teaching English.

“We must address the humanitarian mess at the border and reverse this president’s discriminatory policies,” Warren wrote in a Medium post describing her plan. “But that won’t be nearly enough to fix our immigration system. We need expanded legal immigration that will grow our economy, reunite families, and meet our labor market demands.”

Perhaps anticipating criticism from the right that she and other Democrats support “open borders,” Warren said that her plan would be “a rules-based system that is fair, humane, and that reflects our values.” And in a nod to concerns from some labor unions about increasing immigration levels, Warren wrote that “[w]e should put American workers first by ensuring that workers already here get the first opportunity to fill any available positions.” https://www.politico.com/story/2019/07/11/elizabeth-warren-legal-immigration-refugee-cap-1407229

15. Fact check: Trump wrong on all 3 claims in tweet on Iran deal

There is no public evidence to support Trump's claim that Iran "has long been secretly 'enriching.'" The claim has been contradicted by the International Atomic Energy Agency, whose monitors were tasked with ensuring that Iran was complying with the terms of the 2015 deal, as well as by independent experts and by Trump's own top intelligence officials.

The US did not pay Iran even tens of billions of American dollars in the agreement. Rather, the US agreed to unfreeze a significant sum of Iran's assets that had been frozen in international financial institutions, predominantly outside the US, because of sanctions against Iran.

Trump could have accurately said that some central provisions of the agreement would have expired in the next 10 to 15 years. But the deal as a whole -- including a blanket prohibition on Iran developing nuclear weapons -- was written to continue in perpetuity. https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/11/politics/fact-check-trump-wrong-iran-enrichment/

16. Trump’s premeditated racism is central to his 2020 strategy

It might seem like improvisational madness when President Trump tells American citizens in Congress to "go back" where they came from, but those close to Trump say there's a lot of calculation behind his race-baiting.

It’s central to his 2020 strategy, they say. Trump's associates predict more, not less, of the race-baiting madness.

Trump knows that in 2016, he won the white vote by 20+ points. 

He hopes he can crank their turnout even higher, especially among older, white evangelicals. He knows most of those voters are unlikely to ditch him, no matter how offensive his comments.

He watches Fox News and knows AOC, in particular, is catnip to old, white voters, especially men. She is young, Hispanic, female and a democratic socialist — a 4-for-4 grievance magnet. Last week, AOC got nearly as much online attention as all 2020 Democrats combined. He watches Fox News and knows AOC, in particular, is catnip to old, white voters, especially men. She is young, Hispanic, female and a democratic socialist — a 4-for-4 grievance magnet. Last week, AOC got nearly as much online attention as all 2020 Democrats combined. https://www.axios.com/donald-trump-racist-tweets-2020-presidential-election-d531e17d-aa83-4544-9a50-54e8c939ed03.html

17. Tariffs on China Don’t Cover the Costs of Trump’s Trade War

President Trump on Monday portrayed America as being on the winning end of his trade war, saying tariffs are punishing China’s economy while generating billions of dollars for the United States, an economic victory that will allow him to continue his fight without domestic harm.

But government figures show that the revenue the United States has collected from tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods is not enough to cover the cost of the president’s bailout for farmers, let alone compensate the many other industries hurt by trade tensions. The longer Mr. Trump’s dispute with China drags on, the more difficult it could be for him to ignore that gap” https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/15/business/trade-war-tariffs-revenue.html

18. Biden Says He’ll Challenge Trump to Do Push-Ups

If President Trump makes of fun of his age or questions his mental state during a debate, Joe Biden has a response at the ready: He’ll challenge him to do push-ups on stage.

Said Biden: “I’d say, ‘C’mon Donald, c’mon man. How many push-ups do you want to do here, pal?’ I mean, jokingly. . . . C’mon, run with me, man.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/joe-biden-ill-challenge-trump-to-do-push-ups-on-stage-if-he-makes-fun-of-my-age-or-mental-state/2019/07/16/efe9d848-a7b3-11e9-a3a6-ab670962db05_story.html

19. Trump's racist strategy will not age well

Trump's tweets telling minority congresswomen to “go back” to their countries follows a long history of racism and nativism. Voters will decide if this is an effective strategy. VIDEO

20. Trump’s ‘Better’ Deal with Iran Looks a lot Like Obama’s

Donald Trump has long trashed the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement as “the worst deal ever,” a “disaster” that didn’t cover nearly enough of the Islamist-led country’s nefarious behavior.

In recent weeks, however, the president has indicated that the Barack Obama-era deal might not be so bad after all.

Trump has repeatedly urged Iran to engage in negotiations with him, while saying that Tehran’s nuclear ambitions are his chief concern — “A lot of progress has been made. And they'd like to talk,” Trump asserted Tuesday at the White House. His aides and allies, meanwhile, have recently suggested that Iran and other countries should follow the guidelines of a deal they themselves have shunned as worthless.

At times, analysts and former officials say, it sounds like Trump wants to strike a deal that essentially mirrors the agreement that his White House predecessor inked — even if he’d never be willing to admit it. Iranian officials seem willing to egg him on, saying they’ll talk so long as Trump lifts the sanctions he’s imposed on them and returns to the 2015 Iran deal. And as European ministers warn that the existing deal is nearly extinct, Trump may feel like he is backed into a corner and running out of options.

“Trump got rid of the Iran nuclear deal because it was Barack Obama’s agreement,” said Jarrett Blanc, a former State Department official who helped oversee the 2015 deal’s implementation. “If you were to present to Trump the same deal and call it Trump’s deal, he’d be thrilled.” https://www.politico.com/story/2019/07/17/trump-iran-deal-obama-1417801

OPINION

1. Frida Ghitis: Trump’s racist tweets come straight from the authoritarian playbook

President Trump’s barrage of racist tweets on Sunday ignited precisely the kind of firestorm he wanted. So on Monday he doubled down — and then tripled down, again attacking the four nonwhite Democratic women in Congress he had just urged to “go back” to their countries. He accused them, without a hint of irony, of “racist hatred,” and claimed that they hate America, even that they support al-Qaeda.

As he unfolds his toxic strategy for the general election — an us-vs.-them blueprint relying heavily on social media to inflame supporters and polarize the country — Trump is cementing his position as a leading figure in the current wave of populist authoritarian leaders who have undercut democracy across the globe.

Watch the tactics of Hungary’s Viktor Orban, the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte, Italy’s Matteo Salvini and the growing number of their nationalist imitators, and you will see the pattern now familiar to Americans.

A key tactic for such leaders is leveraging social media to identify and demonize critics, usually people engaged in activities that are normal in a functioning democracy — such as belonging to a different political party, working as a journalist or criticizing the president — and labeling them as a threat to the nation. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/07/16/trumps-racist-tweets-come-straight-authoritarian-playbook/

2. Paul Krugman: Racism Comes Out of the Closet

As everyone knows, on Sunday Donald Trump attacked four progressive members of Congress, saying that they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” As it happens, three of the four were born in the U.S., and the fourth is a duly naturalized citizen. All are, however, women of color.

Sorry, there’s no way to both sides this, or claim that Trump didn’t say what he said. This is racism, plain and simple — nothing abstract about it. And Trump obviously isn’t worried that it will backfire.

This should be a moment of truth for anyone who describes Trump as a “populist” or asserts that his support is based on “economic anxiety.” He’s not a populist, he’s a white supremacist. His support rests not on economic anxiety, but on racism.

It’s tempting to say that Republican claims to support racial equality were always hypocritical; it’s even tempting to welcome the move from dog whistles to open racism. But if hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue, what we’re seeing now is a party that no longer feels the need to pay that tribute. And that’s deeply frightening. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/15/opinion/trump-twitter-racist.html

3. Matt Viser: Democrats debate how far left is too far left as they prepare to take on Trump

The past few weeks have put on remarkable display just how far to the left the Democratic Party has moved, with many in the 2020 presidential field now embracing previously untouchable positions on health care and immigration.

Democrats once touted their defense of those with preexisting conditions — a stance supported by the vast majority of Americans — but many leading presidential candidates now support ending the private insurance coverage on which most of the country relies. Democrats used to focus almost exclusively on reuniting migrant children and their families and protecting undocumented immigrants brought here by their parents; now many of the candidates are openly espousing making illegal border crossing a civil offense rather than a criminal one.

The high-profile shifts on issues that voters say they care about most mark a risky gambit by many candidates to tap into new energy in the party’s liberal base, the home of some of its loudest voices in the primary season. But it is triggering new worry that it comes at a cost: confirming Republican arguments that Democrats are far out of the mainstream, a threatening posture when moderate suburban voters have been the linchpin to winning general elections and down-ballot races. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/democrats-debate-how-far-left-is-too-far-left/2019/07/14/deb8ce90-9f38-11e9-9ed4-c9089972ad5a_story.html

4. Maureen Dowd: Scaling Wokeback Mountain

Corbin Trent, a spokesman for A.O.C. and co-founder of Justice Democrats, the progressive group that helped propel her, told Grim: “The greatest threat to mankind is the cowardice of the Democratic Party,” with the older generation “driven by fear” and “unable to lead.”

Message: Pelosi is past her prime.

Except she’s not.

And then there’s the real instigator, Saikat Chakrabarti, A.O.C.’s 33-year-old chief of staff, who co-founded Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress, both of which recruited progressives — including A.O.C. — to run against moderates in Democratic primaries. The former Silicon Valley Bernie Bro assumed he could apply Facebook’s mantra, “Move fast and break things,” to one of the oldest institutions in the country.

But Congress is not a place where you achieve radical progress — certainly not in divided government. It’s a place where you work at it and work at it and don’t get everything you want.

The progressives act as though anyone who dares disagree with them is bad. Not wrong, but bad, guilty of some human failing, some impurity that is a moral evil that justifies their venom.

Chakrabarti sent shock waves through the Democratic caucus when he posted a tweet about the border bill comparing moderate and Blue Dog Democrats — some of whom are black — to Southern segregationists in the ’40s.

In the age of Trump, there is no more stupid proposition than that Nancy Pelosi is the problem. If A.O.C. and her Pygmalions and acolytes decide that burning down the House is more important than deposing Trump, they will be left with a racist backward president and the emotional satisfaction of their own purity. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/13/opinion/sunday/scaling-wokeback-mountain.html

5.  Eric Lutz: Sen. Graham Defends Trump’s Racist Attack On Progressive Congresswomen: They’re “A Bunch Of Communists!”

Lindsey Graham on Monday offered a rabid defense of Donald Trump’s most recent racist meltdown, essentially suggesting to Fox & Friends that the president’s ongoing attacks on progressive women in Congress are justified because the women in question had it coming. “We all know that AOC and this crowd are a bunch of communists,” Graham said. “They hate Israel. They hate our own country. They’re calling the guards along our border, the border patrol agents, concentration camp guards. They accuse people who support Israel of ‘doing it for the Benjamins.’ They’re anti-semitic. They’re anti-America.”

There is perhaps no one who better exemplifies the G.O.P.’s about-face on Trump than Graham, who was once a fierce Trump critic, even suggesting during the 2016 race that he be booted from the GOP. But Graham has since become one of Trump’s most vocal supporters, despite even the president’s ongoing feud with the late Senator John McCain, one of Graham’s best friends in the Senate. Trump’s flailing defense was predictable. (“If somebody has a problem with our country, if somebody doesn’t want to be in our country, they should leave,” he told reporters Monday, ignoring the fact that the four women in question are US citizens.) Theoretically, though, this offense was egregious enough to earn some pushback from Graham and his fellow Republicans. But evidently, there’s no line they won’t let the president cross. https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/07/lindsey-graham-defends-trumps-racist-attack-on-progressive-congresswomen-a-bunch-of-communists

6. LA Times Editorial: Trump is truly America’s Bigot-in-Chief

Trump’s Twitter feed is a repugnant place, and no one would want the thankless task of having to weed through all his bitter, bigoted ramblings to determine which are the most offensive. But a three-tweet thread early Sunday morning — in which he wrote that the four progressive House Democrats who call themselves “The Squad” should “go back” to the “crime-infested places from which they came” — certainly has to rank among the most disgusting.

By now everyone in America should realize the threshold problem with what Trump is saying about the lawmakers, all of whom are women of color: Three out of the four — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts — can’t “go back” to the countries he has in mind because they are, in fact, from here. They were born in the United States, just like Trump himself, making them every bit as American as he is. Only the fourth, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, was born elsewhere; she emigrated from Somalia. And as a naturalized citizen of the United States, she too is as American as he is.

But Trump doesn’t care about such niceties. Nuance has never been his thing. And in any case, he is not really trying to inform us or to make a reasoned point about anything or to express a fully formed thought of any sort. He is simply spewing as usual, and in the process fanning the flames of disunity, chaos, prejudice and polarization — all cleverly hidden behind a veneer of rote and thuggish patriotism. He is playing to the lowest, most degraded emotions of his supporters while reveling in the fury of his opponents. This is the definition of demagoguery.

Sadly, it has found a receptive audience. https://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-trump-aoc-squad-ilhan-bigoted-tweets-20190714-story.html

7. Adam Serwer: Trump Tells America What Kind of Nationalist He Is

On Sunday morning, the president told four members of Congress to “go back” to the countries “from which they came.” The remark, a racist taunt with a historic pedigree, inspired a flurry of fact-checking from mainstream journalists who were quick to note that Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Ilhan Omar are American citizens, and that only Omar was born abroad, in Somalia. It was a rather remarkable exercise in missing the point.

When Trump told these women to “go back,” he was not making a factual claim about where they were born. He was stating his ideological belief that American citizenship is fundamentally racial, that only white people can truly be citizens, and that people of color, immigrants in particular, are only conditionally American. This is a cornerstone of white nationalism, and one of the president’s few closely held ideological beliefs. It is a moral conviction, not a statement of fact. If these women could all trace their family line back to 1776, it would not make them more American than Trump, a descendant of German immigrants whose ancestors arrived relatively recently, because he is white and they are not.

After telling minority members of Congress to go back to where they “came from,” Trump today accused the women of “foul language & racist hatred.” White nationalists in the United States have always asserted that they are, in fact, the true victims of racial hatred, even as they’ve demanded the exclusion of nonwhites from the polity. When the Confederacy was shattered, its partisans launched a propaganda campaign rewriting the origin of their rebellion as the defense of individual freedom rather than property in man. The Redeemers who overthrew Reconstruction with terrorism and violence portrayed themselves as the victims of Negro tyranny, and as the historian Jonathan Sokol has written, when de jure segregation unraveled in the South in the 1960s, white southerners “began to picture the American government as the fascist, and the white southerner as the victim.” https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/07/trumps-white-nationalist-attack-four-congresswomen/594019/

8. George Conway: Trump is a racist president

I thought, President Trump was boorish, dim-witted, inarticulate, incoherent, narcissistic and insensitive. He’s a pathetic bully but an equal-opportunity bully — in his uniquely crass and crude manner, he’ll attack anyone he thinks is critical of him. No matter how much I found him ultimately unfit, I still gave him the benefit of the doubt about being a racist. No matter how much I came to dislike him, I didn’t want to think that the president of the United States is a racial bigot.

But Sunday left no doubt. Naivete, resentment and outright racism, roiled in a toxic mix, have given us a racist president. Trump could have used vile slurs, including the vilest of them all, and the intent and effect would have been no less clear. Telling four non-white members of Congress — American citizens all, three natural-born — to “go back” to the “countries” they “originally came from”? That’s racist to the core. It doesn’t matter what these representatives are for or against — and there’s plenty to criticize them for — it’s beyond the bounds of human decency. For anyone, not least a president.

What’s just as bad, though, is the virtual silence from Republican leaders and officeholders. They’re silent not because they agree with Trump. Surely they know better. They’re silent because, knowing that he’s incorrigible, they have inured themselves to his wild statements; because, knowing that he’s a fool, they don’t really take his words seriously and pretend that others shouldn’t, either; because, knowing how damaging Trump’s words are, the Republicans don’t want to give succor to their political enemies; because, knowing how vindictive, stubborn and obtusely self-destructive Trump is, they fear his wrath.

But none of that is good enough. Trump is not some random, embittered person in a parking lot — he’s the president of the United States. By virtue of his office, he speaks for the country. What’s at stake now is more important than judges or tax cuts or regulations or any policy issue of the day. What’s at stake are the nation’s ideals, its very soul. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/george-conway-trump-is-a-racist-president/2019/07/15/b13c0bd4-a740-11e9-9214-246e594de5d5_story.html


9. Michael Gerson: Trump never takes a vacation from provocation

The leader of our republic has made his priorities clear. There is a crisis at the border, magnified by the administration’s malice and ineffectiveness. Utter incompetence has led to predictable chaos. But immigration officials are apparently fired, not for lacking skills or accomplishment, but for lacking sufficient cruelty. Officials seem to be advanced, not because of requisite experience, but because they share Trump’s zeal for dehumanization. The result is a dysfunctional system that prefers heartless yes-men.

The problem, however, is not merely a matter of management. The deeper scandal is this: Trump is trying to make desperate, suffering people the villains of our national story. He compares refugees fleeing repression and violence to snakes. He smears them as rapists and invaders . In his warped moral vision, mercy is a form of national weakness. Kindness and respect are crimes against the state. His approach to nationalism involves slander against the voiceless. It demands further oppression of the oppressed. Trump wants to change not just the policy of our government, but also the character of our country, into something hard, and dark, and dishonorable, and pitiless. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-never-takes-a-vacation-from-provocation/2019/07/15/3377696c-a724-11e9-a3a6-ab670962db05_story.html

10. Susan B. Glasser: “Congratulations Again, Mr. President”: Trump and the Co-opting of the G.O.P.

Donald Trump hates criticism but loves to criticize. As President, he’s done more of it than perhaps any of his predecessors. He is a cry baby, a snowflake, a wimp, as he himself might say. Many leaders are thin-skinned, but few are so publicly, transparently, unreservedly so. Along with a brazen disregard for facts and a willingness to flout norms that previous Presidents of both parties have observed, issuing a daily deluge of schoolyard taunts and petty insults may be the most distinguishing characteristic of Trump’s Administration. In other words, Twitter is his perfect medium. He remains dazzled by its power, the instant gratification it affords him, and the ability to say what he wants, when he wants, aimed at whomever he wants.

“It’s true, it’s incredible what it does,” he told a conservative social-media summit convened at the White House, on Thursday afternoon. “If I put it out on social media, it’s like an explosion.” Trump makes policy with his Twitter feed, using it to upend the best-laid plans of his Administration and to take on enemies both real and imagined. Just in the past couple days, he has reminded his millions of followers that the former Vice-President running against him is “Sleepy Joe” Biden, that Elizabeth Warren is “a very nervous and skinny Pocahontas,” and that the “Fake News Media” is doomed to be “driven out of business.” The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, on her way out of office, has been “foolish” and a “disaster” in handling Brexit, and her Ambassador “wacky,” “very stupid,” and “not liked or well thought of.”

In each case, Trump was lashing out at those who have criticized him, most notably and pointedly the British envoy to the United States, Kim Darroch, whose private diplomatic cables were leaked to the London tabloid the Mail on Sunday. The cables, once revealed, constituted the very definition of a Washington gaffe in that they were entirely accurate, filled with sharp but essentially banal observations echoing the past few years’ headlines. Darroch called Trump “insecure” and described his dysfunctional White House as “inept,” “clumsy,” and “riven by knife fights.” The essential truth of the Ambassador’s critique was confirmed by Trump’s hair-trigger response. On Monday, he announced—by tweet, of course—that he would no longer deal with the Ambassador; by Wednesday, Darroch was out, resigning because, he said, he could no longer do his job.

Yet the public spectacle of Presidential name-calling—Trump, while President, has called a former aide who turned on him a “dog” and attacked as a “Horseface” the alleged lover who said he had tried and failed to buy her silence—obscures a highly relevant political truth. Trump may love to hurl insults and quite visibly relishes nothing so much as a public Twitter spat. He is willing, though, to accept and make peace with even his harshest critics, as long as they cease and desist from their public dissent. Trump cares about the appearance of criticism more than the criticism itself. His unheralded genius is not in insulting his critics but in co-opting them—or at least in coming to mutually beneficial truces of the sort that suggests Trump’s social-media histrionics are more calculated than they seem. https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-trumps-washington/congratulations-again-mr-president-trump-and-the-co-opting-of-the-gop

11. Nate Silver: A Midsummer Overview Of The Democratic Field

Biden, Harris and Warren represent three relatively distinct, but fairly traditional, archetypes for party nominees:

▪ Biden, as a former vice president, is a “next-in-line” candidate who is rather explicitly promising to perpetuate the legacy of President Obama and uphold the party’s current agenda.

▪ Harris is a coalition-builder who would hope to unite the different factions of the party — black, white, left, liberal, moderate, etc. — as a consensus choice.

▪ Warren is offering more red meat (or should it be blue meat?) and would represent more of a leftward transformation from the status quo. But she’s simpatico enough with party elites and has broad enough appeal that she isn’t necessarily a factional candidate in the way that Sanders is. Instead, a better analogy for Warren might be Ronald Reagan; they are not comparable in terms of their backgrounds or their political styles, but they are both candidates who straddle the boundary between the ideological wings of their party and the party establishment.

On an empirical basis, the Biden and Harris strategies have produced more winners than the Warren one, although all three approaches are viable. That doesn’t mean that Biden, Harris and Warren are the only candidates pursuing these strategies. Cory Booker’s coalition could look a lot like Harris’s, for instance, were he ever to gain traction. But they’re the only candidates who are both (a) taking approaches that have worked well in the past and (b) polling reasonably well at the moment. That puts them in the top tier.

Biden and Harris are a fairly clear No. 1 and 2 in endorsements, meanwhile, with Harris having recently picked up a number of endorsements from members of the Congressional Black Caucus, an indicator that coincides with her gaining support among black voters in polls. Warren lags in endorsements, meanwhile. Also, it’s worth noting that whichever candidate wins the plurality of black voters usually wins the Democratic nomination — something that Biden and Harris probably have a better chance of doing than Warren does. For those reasons, I have Biden and Harris a half-step ahead of Warren. That said, I see the dropoff from Biden and Harris to Warren as being considerably smaller than the dropoff from Warren to the rest of the field.
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/a-midsummer-overview-of-the-democratic-field/

12. Carolyn Kormann: The Case for Declaring a National Climate Emergency

While Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez’s calls for a climate-emergency declaration are not solving any problems, they are providing the language that needs to dominate the national conversation. And that matters. The United Nations recently warned that climate disasters are happening at the rate of one per week. This past June was the hottest on record. At the end of the month, a freak storm buried Guadalajara, Mexico, in hail, and on Thursday morning news outlets reported that freak hailstorms in Greece killed seven people. A month’s worth of rain fell on Washington, D.C., in an hour on Monday (while Trump completely ignored the climate crisis in his speech on the environment), then more flash floods drowned New Orleans, which is now preparing for a tropical storm that could dump another twenty inches of rain and test the city’s levees.

The warming that happens over the next few decades could kill all of the world’s coral reefs, lead to even more severe storms and wildfires, and set off the sorts of tipping points that most concern scientists—specifically, the irreversible dissolution of the Greenland ice sheet, where, in June, a heatwave set off melting across half of its surface. More than seven hundred and forty governments in sixteen countries have now declared some form of climate emergency, according to activists from the Climate Mobilization, who have been helping lead the campaign.

The city government of Darebin, Australia, was the first, in December, 2016. Fierce little Hoboken, New Jersey, was the first in the United States, in November, 2017, and the third in the world. New York City declared a climate emergency on June 26th this year. That month, in interviews with the New York Times and in Presidential debates, several of the Democratic candidates used the phrase “climate emergency,” and others referred to the “climate crisis,” “climate ruin,” and “climate chaos.” (On Thursday, Columbia University, The New Republic, Gizmodo, and a group of environmental organizations announced that they, too, would be hosting a climate summit, in September, for all of the Democratic candidates.)

The alarm bells are working, the wheels are turning. State and city policies won’t get us where we need to be by 2025, but they—along with a new President—could get us closer to where we need to be by 2030. It’s just going to keep getting harder. https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-case-for-declaring-a-national-climate-emergency

13. Darlena Cunha: ICE Is Dangerously Inaccurate. Even American citizens are not immune from immigration raids.

Tracy Nuetzi, a Trump voter and resident of Florida, was an American citizen for 60 years, until the country decided she wasn’t.

“I thought, ‘This is a mistake, this must be a mistake,’” she said. Ms. Nuetzi spent nearly a year, from December 2017 to November 2018, trying to prove she was an American, and not liable to be arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

ICE is not, of course, just a run-of-the-mill government bureaucracy doing necessary work to keep our borders intact. Under President Trump, a wildly invigorated ICE has become an American nightmare, nothing less than the main thrust of an attempt to institutionalize racism against a scapegoated minority — undocumented, nonvoting, mostly voiceless brown people.

ICE is Trump’s main instrument for the dirty work of trying to make America whiter again, without regard for family values, due process, human rights or even plain human decency. The agency has been a problem for decades, but American citizens often ignore it, content in the belief that their citizenship will prevent them from ICE, deportation, detention without representation and all those horrific stories written about other people.

But ICE makes mistakes. American citizens can get caught in its maw — even white Americans. According to the Cato Institute, from 2006 to 2017 ICE wrongfully detained more than 3,500 U.S. citizens in Texas alone. Even in Rhode Island, ICE issued 462 detainers for people listed as U.S. citizens over a 10-year period, according to the A.C.L.U. From 2017 to 2019, A.C.L.U. data showed that law enforcement detained 420 citizens in Ms. Nuetzi’s state of Florida, at ICE’s request. Eighty-three of those requests have been canceled, and the people released. The rest remain in detention, waiting for ICE, according to the A.C.L.U. report. Even though ICE detainers should lapse after 48 hours, local law enforcement often continues to hold people until the agency gets around to checking them. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/12/opinion/ice-raids.html

14. Michelle Goldberg: Acosta Resigned. The Caligula Administration Lives On.

Trump will sometimes jettison men accused of abuse when they become a public relations liability. But his first instinct is empathy, a sentiment he seems otherwise unfamiliar with. In May, he urged Roy Moore, the theocratic Alabama Senate candidate accused of preying on teenage girls, not to run again because he would lose, but added, “I have NOTHING against Roy Moore, and unlike many other Republican leaders, wanted him to win.” The president has expressed no sympathy for victims in the Epstein case, but has said he felt bad for Alexander Acosta, the United States attorney who oversaw a secret, obscenely lenient deal that let Epstein escape federal charges for sex crimes over a decade ago.

Trump seems to understand, at least on a limbic level, that the effect of this cavalcade of scandal isn’t cumulative. Instead, each one eclipses the last, creating a sense of weary cynicism that makes shock impossible to sustain.

It was just three weeks ago that E. Jean Carroll, a well-known writer, accused Trump of what amounted to a violent rape in the mid-1990s, and two friends of hers confirmed that she’d told them about it at the time. In response, Trump essentially said she was too unattractive to rape — “No. 1, she’s not my type” — and claimed that he’d never met her. That was a provable lie; there’s a photograph of them together. It didn’t matter. The story drifted from the headlines within a few days.

Since Epstein’s arrest, many people have wondered how he was able to get away with his alleged crimes for so long, given all that’s publicly known about him. But we also know that the president boasts about sexually assaulting women, that over a dozen have accused him of various sorts of sexual misconduct, and one of them has accused him of rape. We know it, and we know we can’t do anything about it, so we live with it and grow numb. Maybe someday justice will come and a new generation will wonder how we tolerated behavior that was always right out in the open. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/12/opinion/acosta-epstein-trump.html

15. Marc Fisher: Behind Trump’s ‘go back’ demand: A long history of rejecting ‘different’ Americans

The Know-Nothings wanted German and Irish immigrants to get out because they were allegedly subversive and diseased people who were stealing American jobs. White preachers and politicians of the 1820s urged freed blacks to move to West Africa, supposedly for their own good.

From that drive to encourage blacks to go back where they came from to waves of nativist attacks on Catholics, Jews, Asians and Hispanics in nearly every generation that followed, “go home” rhetoric is as American as immigration itself.

President Trump’s raw assertion of nativist language, in attacks Sunday and Monday on four Democratic congresswomen — all of them U.S. citizens, three of them native-born — is consistent not only with his long history of attacks on people he perceives as the other, but also with the nation’s oscillating attitudes toward immigration.

From Calvin Coolidge’s warnings in the 1920s that the country was becoming “a dumping ground” and that “America must remain American” to the “America: Love it or leave it” rhetoric that surrounded Richard Nixon’s presidency, the nation’s leaders have struggled for two centuries with ambivalence about its core identity as a magnet for immigrants. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/behind-trumps-go-back-demand-a-long-history-of-rejecting-different-americans/2019/07/15/aeb4539a-a712-11e9-a3a6-ab670962db05_story.html


16. Eric Lutz: “Just Another Day At The White House”: Trump’s Social Media Summit Was Ugly, Pointless, And Weird

For those thrilled at the prospect of hearing a 73-year-old totter on for more than an hour about his Twitter feed, Donald Trump’s social media summit represented a rare and precious opportunity. On Thursday, very online president rounded up his favorite internet trolls—Diamond and Silk, James O’Keefe, and the like—for a “very big and very important” White House visit wherein they could air their grievances about tech companies’ allegedly unfair and discriminatory treatment.

Democrats, naturally, took issue with some of the most toxic figures on the web milling around the White House. “This has the appearance not of a social media summit but a political rally and call for the right,” Senator Mark Warner told the Washington Post. “The fact that some of the most extreme voices on social media are coming to the White House, and they get a forum to complain about how often they’re retweeted, and that the actual platform companies aren’t even invited, smacks of the absurd.” In practice, however, the event was less a coordinated rallying cry than a disjointed circus, featuring a parade of self-styled provocateur bozos and a near-melee in the Rose Garden.

The event was pretty doomed from the start, boasting the production value of a middle school science fair: the White House printed and displayed on poster board a selection of notable Trump tweets, including the much-memed “covfefe,” and another from 2012 in which the future-president reported that “many are saying I’m the best 140 character writer in the world.” The administration also printed dictionary-style definitions of various words—including a pronunciation guide, in case participants were tripped up by “shadow banning”—that have been thrown out by conservatives to explain Big Tech’s supposed bias against them. Sadly, any scholarly tone staffers had hoped to convey was torpedoed by the predictably aimless Trump address that served as the summit’s centerpiece. It was standard-issue Trump: various superlatives and complaints interspersed with odd strolls down the winding, mossy footpaths of his mind. https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/07/trumps-social-media-summit-was-ugly-pointless-and-weird

17. Marshall Cohen, Kay Guerrero and Arturo Torres: Exclusive: Security reports reveal how Assange turned an embassy into a command post for election meddling

New documents obtained exclusively by CNN reveal that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange received in-person deliveries, potentially of hacked materials related to the 2016 US election, during a series of suspicious meetings at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

The documents build on the possibility, raised by special counsel Robert Mueller in his report on Russian meddling, that couriers brought hacked files to Assange at the embassy.

The surveillance reports also describe how Assange turned the embassy into a command center and orchestrated a series of damaging disclosures that rocked the 2016 presidential campaign in the United States.

Despite being confined to the embassy while seeking safe passage to Ecuador, Assange met with Russians and world-class hackers at critical moments, frequently for hours at a time. He also acquired powerful new computing and network hardware to facilitate data transfers just weeks before WikiLeaks received hacked materials from Russian operatives.

These stunning details come from hundreds of surveillance reports compiled for the Ecuadorian government by UC Global, a private Spanish security company, and obtained by CNN. They chronicle Assange's movements and provide an unprecedented window into his life at the embassy. They also add a new dimension to the Mueller report, which cataloged how WikiLeaks helped the Russians undermine the US election.

Meanwhile, Assange still has allies in Russia. Within hours of Assange's arrest, senior officials from President Vladimir Putin's government rushed to Assange's defense and slammed the US for infringing his rights, declaring that, "The hand of 'democracy' squeezes the throat of freedom.” https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/15/politics/assange-embassy-exclusive-documents/index.html

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