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HeadlinesJuly 10, 2019

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Children Recount Mistreatment, Sexual Abuse at Yuma, AZ Migrant Jail

Jul 10, 2019

A report by NBC shares new accounts of mistreatment and sexual violence experienced by locked-up migrant children at a Yuma, Arizona, detention facility. In nearly 30 accounts collected by Health and Human Services case managers, children complained of hunger, having to sleep on concrete floors or outside, and lack of access to basic sanitation. A 15-year-old girl said an officer groped her underneath her clothing during what was supposed to be a routine pat-down, and joked around with other agents during the ordeal.

The Trump administration has dismissed reports of abuse against detained migrants despite recent congressional visits to migrant jails and multiple accounts of mistreatment recorded by legal and other experts. Trump said migrants were “very happy,” while acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan called such accounts “unsubstantiated.” House Democrats have called on McAleenan to testify about the conditions faced by jailed migrants.

Scabies, Shingles & Chickenpox Spreading Among Children at Clint, TX Migrant Jail

Jul 10, 2019

Meanwhile, a new report from The New York Times and El Paso Times details the ongoing dire situation at the Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas, where hundreds of migrant children are locked up without access to sufficient food, water, sanitation, beds or proper medical care. Border agents reported spreading “outbreaks of scabies, shingles and chickenpox” among the children. One staffer says he was ordered to remove beds from children to make more space in the overcrowded cells. The facility has been described by an expert who visited it as a “child jail.”

Jewish Activists Arrested After Protesting Migrant Detention on Capitol Hill

Jul 10, 2019

In Washington, D.C., 18 Jewish activists with the group Never Again Action were arrested on Capitol Hill Tuesday as they protested against the jailing of migrants and called on lawmakers to shut down the detention camps and defund ICE and CBP.

Protester: “Congress once again voted to increase funding to ICE and CBP by passing a supplemental funding bill to send $4.6 billion to bankroll the criminalization, detention and deportation of those seeking refuge on our southern border. We thank the 95 representatives who voted against funding hate, and say 'shame' to the 305 representatives”—

Protesters: “Shame!”

In a statement, Never Again Action said, “As Jews, we know what the separation of families, the covert rounding-up of people and the creation of concentration camps can lead to. We refuse to wait and see what happens next.” They also said, “We know what happens when people unaffected by crises act as bystanders and look the other way. We will not stay silent while our historical trauma is weaponized to distract from the terror that our government is unleashing on immigrant communities.”

Court Says Trump Cannot Block Critics on Twitter

Jul 10, 2019

A Manhattan federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that Trump is violating the Constitution when he blocks his critics on Twitter. Jameel Jaffer of Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute, which filed the lawsuit, said, “Public officials’ social media accounts are now among the most significant forums for discussion of government policy. This decision will ensure that people aren’t excluded from these forums simply because of their viewpoints, and that public officials aren’t insulated from their constituents’ criticism. [It] will help ensure the integrity and vitality of digital spaces that are increasingly important to our democracy.”

U.K. Ambassador Resigns After Leaked Cables Scandal

Jul 10, 2019

Britain’s ambassador to the U.S., Kim Darroch, resigned today following the fallout from leaked cables in which he called Trump “inept,” “insecure” and “incompetent.” In cables going back as far as 2017, Darroch questioned whether the Trump administration “will ever look competent.” He also said Trump’s presidency could “crash and burn,” and voiced fears that he may launch an attack on Iran. On Tuesday, Trump continued to lash out at Darroch, tweeting, “The wacky Ambassador that the U.K. foisted upon the United States is not someone we are thrilled with, a very stupid guy.” He also called the outgoing prime minister “foolish” and blamed her for creating a mess out of Brexit.

Prime Minister May, who said earlier this week she stood by Darroch, said in Parliament after his resignation today, “Sir Kim has given a lifetime of service to the United Kingdom and we owe him an enormous debt of gratitude. Good government depends on public servants being able to give full and frank advice. … I hope the House will reflect on the importance of defending our values and principles, particularly when they are under pressure.” Opposition Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn also lamented Darroch’s resignation.

Afghan Peace Talks Close as Deadly Attacks Continue

Jul 10, 2019

In Afghanistan, an airstrike in the northern Baghlan province killed a family of seven Tuesday—six of the victims were children—as two separate peace talks recently wrapped up in Qatar. The air raid by government forces followed an earlier land attack on a medical facility which killed at least five. On Sunday, a Taliban car bomb killed at least 18 people and wounded more than 180 others, including dozens of children. The deaths came as Afghan leaders and Taliban officials ended a historic meeting with calls to reduce civilian casualties to “zero.” A seventh round of talks between the U.S. and the Taliban reiterated hopes for a peace deal before September elections.

Appeals Court Hears Arguments on Constitutionality of Affordable Care Act

Jul 10, 2019

A federal appeals court Tuesday heard arguments in a key case that could help determine the fate of the Affordable Care Act. Twenty-one Democratic attorneys general and the Democrat-led House of Representatives are challenging a decision by a Texas judge last December that ruled the “individual mandate” provision of Obamacare to be unconstitutional, effectively invalidating the act. Eighteen Republican state attorneys general and two Republican governors brought the original suit. Earlier this year, the Trump administration backed the ruling and said the ACA should be dismantled. The 5th Circuit Appeals Court’s ruling will likely be challenged be the opposing side, setting the case up for a Supreme Court battle.


Megan Rapinoe to Trump: “Your Message Is Excluding People”

Jul 10, 2019

In New York City, fans are celebrating the U.S. women’s soccer team’s historic World Cup victory today in a ticker tape parade. The team won its record fourth World Cup Sunday—its second consecutive win. The games also brought renewed attention to the team’s struggle for equal pay. Earlier this year, they sued the U.S. Soccer Federation for gender discrimination. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin introduced a bill Tuesday to withhold federal funding for U.S. participation in the 2026 FIFA World Cup unless the United States Soccer Federation implements equal pay for the women’s soccer team.

Outspoken co-captain Megan Rapinoe has also made headlines for her comments about Trump during the World Cup, saying, “I’m not going to the f—ing White House.” On CNN Tuesday, Anderson Cooper asked Rapinoe what her message was to President Trump.

Megan Rapinoe: “Your message is excluding people. You’re excluding me. You’re excluding people that look like me. You’re excluding people of color. You’re excluding, you know, Americans that maybe support you. I think that we need to have a reckoning with the message that you have and what you’re saying about 'make America great again.' I think that you’re harkening back to an era that was not great for everyone. It might have been great for a few people, and maybe America is great for a few people right now, but it’s not great for enough Americans.”

Rapinoe also said the team would be traveling to D.C. at the invitation of several lawmakers in Congress, but repeated that she would not accept an invitation to the White House as she did not want her message or the team’s platform to be co-opted.

Calls Grow for Acosta to Resign over Epstein Scandal

Jul 10, 2019

More high-profile Democrats are calling on Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta to resign over the lenient 2007 plea deal given to serial child sex abuser Jeffrey Epstein, when he was the U.S. prosecutor in Florida. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and 2020 candidates including Senators Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and Bernie Sanders said Acosta should step down. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney reportedly urged Trump to fire Acosta. According to Politico, Mulvaney is unhappy with Acosta’s reluctance to dismantle workplace regulations and quash employment discrimination lawsuits.

Secretary Acosta defended the plea deal on Twitter Tuesday and said he was “pleased that New York prosecutors are moving forward with a case based on new evidence.” No new evidence, many said, has been presented.

Trump, meanwhile, praised Acosta and said he feels “very badly” for him, while distancing himself from Epstein. Trump said he hadn’t spoken to Epstein after a falling-out 15 years ago and that Trump “was not a fan of his.” In 2002, Trump said Epstein was “a terrific guy,” who “likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”

SF Man Apologizes for Calling Police on Black Man for Entering a Building

Jul 10, 2019

A white man who called the police on a black man, after falsely accusing him of trespassing, has apologized following a viral video showing the interaction, which happened on July 4. The man, a manager at YouTube in San Francisco, was with his young son when he started questioning 35-year-old software engineer Wesly Michel about why he was entering a building, accusing him of “tailgating” as the father and son opened the door to leave. The man’s son can be heard pleading with him not to call the police and to move on. The video was shot by Michel.

Christopher Cukor: “Yeah, there’s a trespasser in my building.”

Cukor’s son: “Don’t! Dad, don’t! Please, don’t!”

Christopher Cukor: “He’s refusing to leave, and he’s”—

Wesly Michel: “Listen to your son.”

Cukor’s son: “Daddy, no.”

Christopher Cukor: “1868 Van Ness.”

Cukor’s son: “It’s the better—I agree with him, Daddy. It’s the better.”

Christopher Cukor: “At Washington.”

Cukor’s son: “Let’s go. Please! I don’t like this. I don’t like this. Daddy, I don’t like this!”

Christopher Cukor: “He’s standing in the lobby, and he’s refusing to leave.”

Cukor’s son: “Let’s go.”

Christopher Cukor: “He tailgated through the door. As I left, he walked in.”

Cukor’s son: “Daddy, let’s go.”

Wesly Michel: “I 'tailgated through the door.'”

Christopher Cukor: “He’s—he appears to be African-American.”

When Michel’s friend appears later in the video, the young boy says, “Told you. Let’s go now. Daddy, look what you’ve gotten us into.” He also said, “I agree with the man.”

Christopher Cukor issued his apology in a post for Medium Tuesday, saying he was sorry he “caused Welsy to feel unfairly targeted due to his race.” He added that his father was killed outside his home by a trespasser. In an interview with CNN, Wesly Michel said the interaction “mirrors the experience that African Americans endure daily where we are questioned on whether we belong.” He added that he started filming to protect himself and get a true account of what happened if police got involved.

2-Time Presidential Candidate Ross Perot Dies at 89

Jul 10, 2019

Texas billionaire and two-time presidential candidate Ross Perot died Tuesday at the age of 89 after a battle with leukemia. Perot ran as an independent in 1992 and as a third-party candidate in 1996. He won 19% of the vote in '92, finishing third behind Bill Clinton and George Bush Sr. Perot opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement and famously said a “giant sucking sound going south” of U.S. jobs going to Mexico would be heard if it passed. Perot founded the Reform Party in 1995. Donald Trump briefly ran an unsuccessful bid for the Reform ticket in 2000. Many argue Perot paved the way for Trump's presidency. Both ran as anti-free trade, populist political outsiders who preyed on voter anger.

Billionaire Democratic Donor Tom Steyer Enters 2020 Race

Jul 10, 2019

And billionaire Tom Steyer entered the crowded 2020 Democratic primary race Tuesday. The prominent Democratic donor and former hedge fund investor said he will put $100 million of his own money into his campaign, starting with television ads in key states. Steyer has repeatedly called for impeaching President Trump since Trump took office, but has focused his early campaign messaging on tackling climate change, creating a government-backed healthcare option and tackling Big Oil, Big Pharma and big banks.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, who raised $19 million over the last quarter with an average donation of $28, tweeted Tuesday, “The Democratic primary should not be decided by billionaires, whether they’re funding Super PACs or funding themselves. The strongest Democratic nominee in the general will have a coalition that’s powered by a grassroots movement,” while Senator Bernie Sanders said of Steyer’s bid, “I am a bit tired of seeing billionaires trying to buy political power.”

In more 2020 news, California Congressmember Eric Swalwell announced earlier this week he was dropping out of the presidential race.

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