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HeadlinesJune 19, 2018

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Despite Outrage, Trump Defends Practice of Separating Immigrant Children from Parents

Jun 19, 2018

President Trump is continuing to defend his administration’s practice of forcibly separating immigrant children from their parents at the border, in violation of international human rights law.

President Donald Trump: “The United States will not be a migrant camp, and it will not be a refugee holding facility. Won’t be. You look at what’s happening in Europe, you look at what’s happening in other places, we can’t allow that to happen to the United States. Not on my watch.”

During his speech Monday, Trump also falsely claimed Democrats were to blame for the practice. More than 2,000 children have been forcibly separated from their parents since mid-April alone. Trump also went on a xenophobic Twitter rant Monday about migration into Europe, tweeting, “Crime in Germany is way up. Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!” In fact, Germany recently recorded its lowest crime rate since 1992. Trump also tweeted, “We don’t want what is happening with immigration in Europe to happen with us!” Trump is meeting with Republicans today, as the House is slated to hold votes on two separate immigration bills later this week.

ProPublica Releases Audio of Separated Children Sobbing “Mama” and “Papi”

Jun 19, 2018

Outrage is continuing to mount over the Trump administration’s practice of forcibly taking children away from their parents, which the American Academy of Pediatrics calls “government-sanctioned child abuse.” The Pulitzer Prize-winning news outlet ProPublica released audio from inside a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility, in which children estimated to be between the ages of 4 and 10 years old are heard crying “Mama” and “Papi” after being separated from their parents. A warning: the audio is disturbing.

Children: [wailing]

In another part of the audio, a Border Patrol agent is heard joking, in Spanish, “Well, we have an orchestra here. What’s missing is a conductor.” Only minutes after this audio was released, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen began a White House press briefing, during which she repeatedly lied by claiming only congressional action could stop the practice of separating children and parents. During the briefing, a reporter from New York magazine played the audio of the children weeping out loud, leading one reporter to ask Kirstjen, “How is this not child abuse?”

Microsoft Facing Threats of Boycott for Collaboration with ICE

Jun 19, 2018

Meanwhile, the technology company Microsoft is facing threats of a boycott over its collaboration with ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Over the weekend, a blog post from January resurfaced, in which Microsoft said it is “proud to support” ICE and that Microsoft’s technology can help the agency “accelerate facial recognition and identification.” In response to the online outrage and boycott threats, the company said, “Microsoft is dismayed by the forcible separation of children from their families at the border.”

We’ll have more on the mounting outrage over the practice of forcibly separating thousands of immigrant children from their parents at the border after headlines.

U.S. and South Korea Cancel Joint Military Exercises, After Trump’s Meeting with Kim

Jun 19, 2018

The U.S. and South Korea have canceled joint military exercises on the Korean Peninsula scheduled for August, a week after President Trump vowed to end the United States’ “provocative war games” during his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Kim Jong-un is traveling to China to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, in his third trip to China so far this year. Meanwhile, President Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, escalating the threat of a trade war between the U.S. and China and sending stock markets tumbling.

Trump Directs Pentagon to Create Military Branch to Dominate Space

Jun 19, 2018

President Trump announced Monday that he would direct the military to create a sixth branch of the armed forces aimed at dominating outer space.

President Donald Trump: “When it comes to defending America, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space. So important. Very importantly, I’m hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces. That’s a big statement. We are going to have the Air Force, and we are going to have the 'Space Force.' Separate but equal.”

That was Trump speaking at a meeting of the National Space Council Monday. The Air Force currently oversees all outer space-related military activity. In his announcement, Trump said the “Air Force” and the “Space Force” would be “separate but equal”—parroting a phrase used to describe unconstitutional racial segregation. Defense Secretary James Mattis says he is opposed to creating a new “Space Force.”

Afghan Peace Activists Finish 435-Mile March to Kabul, Demand Extension of Ceasefire

Jun 19, 2018

In Afghanistan, dozens of activists have arrived in the capital Kabul after a 435-mile march to demand peace. The march began with a dozen youth activists on May 12 and swelled to over 70 men by the end of the 38-day journey, during which they crisscrossed government and Taliban-controlled territory. Their arrival in Kabul comes after the end of a historic 3-day ceasefire between the Afghan military and the Taliban. This is Zemarai Zaland, one of the peace marchers.

Zemarai Zaland: “We are calling on both the government and the Taliban to find a way for peace and to extend the ceasefire. We are feeling a pain in our hearts, and that’s the pain of our people who are suffering from the conflicts. We want a ceasefire, and we want both sides to reach lasting peace in the country.”

Judge Strikes Down Kansas Proof-of-Citizenship Voter ID Laws

Jun 19, 2018

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach needs more legal education—that’s according to a federal judge who struck down Kansas’s discriminatory voter ID laws and ordered their architect, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, to take six hours of legal classes. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson ruled Kansas’s law requiring voters show proof of citizenship prevented tens of thousands of eligible citizens from registering to vote. Kobach led the Trump administration’s so-called voter fraud commission and is a key architect of the GOP’s voter suppression efforts nationwide.


Former CIA Software Engineer Accused of “Vault 7” Leak Indicted

Jun 19, 2018

Former CIA software engineer Joshua Adam Schulte has been indicted on charges of violating the Espionage Act for allegedly leaking thousands of documents last year revealing CIA programs and tools that are capable of hacking into both Apple and Android cellphones. WikiLeaks published the documents last March under the name “Vault 7,” calling it the largest leak of secret CIA documents in history. Joshua Adam Schulte is already in federal custody on child pornography charges.


Leftist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Challenging NY Rep. Joe Crowley in Next Week’s Primary

Jun 19, 2018

And MoveOn, the United States’ largest online progressive organization, has broken with House Democratic leadership and endorsed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is challenging New York Congressmember Joe Crowley. Crowley’s name is regularly floated as a potential speaker of the House, but he’s facing his first primary challenge in 14 years. Ocasio-Cortez is a 28-year-old community organizer. In a debate with Crowley on NY1, moderated by Errol Louis, Ocasio-Cortez called for the abolition of ICE—that’s the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. This clip begins with Crowley.

Rep. Joe Crowley: “Where this government is separating children from their mothers, it is antithetical to everything that I believe in, and that’s what I fight for every day.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “And you know what? If this organization is as fascist as you have called it—”

Rep. Joe Crowley: “I’ve said it’s fascist.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “And you have said it’s fascist. Then why don’t you adopt the stance to eliminate it? This is a moral problem. And your response has been to apply more paperwork to this situation, to have ICE collect more information on immigrants. And that puts our communities in danger. And it also conveys a profound misunderstanding of how we should be approaching this problem.”

That’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is challenging New York Congressmember Joe Crowley in next Tuesday’s primary.

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