Trump & DOJ Reverse Stance, Will Keep Pushing for Citizenship Question in 2020 Census

Jul 08, 2019
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In a stark reversal, President Trump and the Justice Department say they are still looking at ways to add a citizenship question in the 2020 census. Trump issued several tweets and comments late last week, starting just one day after the Justice Department said the census would go ahead without the citizenship question on Tuesday following a Supreme Court ruling against the administration. Trump says he would consider an executive order to add the question, though it’s unclear if this would succeed given the recent ruling.

Meanwhile, on Friday, a federal judge in Maryland said he is moving ahead with a case to determine whether the Trump administration added the question in order to discriminate against immigrant communities.

Trump Admin Threatens It’s Ready to Start Deporting Up to 1 Million People

Jul 08, 2019
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The acting head of Citizenship and Immigration Services said Sunday Immigration and Customs Enforcement was ready to start rounding up and deporting 1 million people. The comments from Ken Cuccinelli echoed threats by Trump last week, who said the raids would start sometime after the holiday weekend. City officials, police departments and mayors from major cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago and New York, said last month they would refuse to cooperate with ICE if Trump enacted mass deportations.

ICE and FBI Have Used Facial Recognition Technology to Mine DMV Databases

Jul 08, 2019
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Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports that Immigration and Customs Enforcement and FBI officials have mined the databases of multiple state Department of Motor Vehicles records, using facial recognition technology. This includes at least three states where undocumented residents are allowed to obtain driver’s licenses: Vermont, Utah and Washington. Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have blasted the practice, which has not been authorized by Congress. Immigrant and communities of color have warned that facial recognition can be easily weaponized to target and criminalize vulnerable populations.

Trump: Migrants “Very Happy” with Situation in U.S. Migrant Jails

Jul 08, 2019
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In more immigration news, President Trump dismissed widespread reports of dire conditions for locked-up migrants over the weekend, saying many border facilities are “clean” and “run beautifully.”

President Donald Trump: “In all cases, if you look, people that came from unbelievable poverty, that had no water—they had no anything where they came from—those are people that are very happy with what’s going on, because, relatively speaking, they’re in much better shape right now.”

On Sunday, he accused the media on Twitter of “phony and exaggerated accounts” of migrant detention centers, and again blamed Democrats for failing to enact more effective immigration policies—this despite recent congressional visits to migrant jails and multiple accounts of abuse recorded by legal and other experts.

Iran Breaches Nuclear Deal Limits, Condemns U.K.’s Seizure of Oil Tanker

Jul 08, 2019
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Iran announced today it has breached the limit on enriched uranium permitted under the landmark 2015 nuclear deal. Iran says they will continue to up their production in response to the failure of other signatories of the deal to uphold its commitments following Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement last year and the reimposition of crippling sanctions. The U.S. withdrew from the accord despite widespread international disapproval and evidence that the agreement was effective. In response, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned of further sanctions and isolation, and Trump said Iran “better be careful.”

In more news from Iran, officials have denounced Britain’s detention of an Iranian oil tanker last Thursday as an “act of piracy” and are calling for its immediate release. British marines seized the vessel after they suspected it of violating sanctions by carrying oil to Syria.

Sudanese Military Leaders and Opposition Agree to 3-Year Power-Sharing Deal

Jul 08, 2019
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In Sudan, the Transitional Military Council and leaders of the civilian opposition and protest movement have agreed to a power-sharing deal, three months after the ousting of President Omar al-Bashir. An African Union mediator announced Friday a joint military-civilian council will be formed and will run the government by rotation for three years before holding elections. A military representative will head the council for the first 21 months. Members of the civilian coalition Forces for Freedom and Change said the deal was a victory for the revolution.

Protesters in the streets of Khartoum celebrated the news but vowed to keep up the pressure in the streets if the arrangement did not respond to their demands.

Mohamed Mahmoud: “I am sending a message to the Freedom and Change movement and to the Military Council. If you work well, then fine. And if you do not, look at the past four or five months. We will take to the streets for the fourth or fifth time, until we find the Sudan that we want to live in.”

Greek Snap Elections Hand Victory to Conservative Party

Jul 08, 2019
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In Greece, conservative Kyriakos Mitsotakis is being sworn in as the new prime minister today after he defeated the outgoing Alexis Tsipras and his leftist Syriza party by around 8 percentage points in Sunday’s snap general election. The elections were called after Syriza suffered major losses in May’s European Parliament elections. Syriza came to power on an anti-austerity platform in 2015 amid a crippling financial crisis, but ultimately signed on to another bailout plan and failed to transform the Greek economy. The conservative New Democracy party now holds an outright majority in the 300-member Parliament. Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and his recently formed anti-austerity party MeRA25 scored nine legislative seats in the elections.

U.S. Women’s Team Wins Soccer World Cup, Shining a Spotlight on Gender Pay Disparity

Jul 08, 2019
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In France, roaring chants of “Equal Pay!” broke out as the U.S. national women’s soccer team won the World Cup final Sunday, holding on to their title by defeating Netherlands 2 to 0. It was their record-breaking fourth victory in the games and their second consecutive win. The team’s win is likely to boost their gender-based pay discrimination battle with the U.S. Soccer Federation. This is outspoken co-captain Megan Rapinoe, who scored the team’s first point in a penalty kick, speaking Saturday.

Megan Rapinoe: “Earlier in the year, or maybe it was last year, a quote came out that I said FIFA doesn’t care about the women’s game. And that’s what I mean. So, if you really care about each game in the same way, are you letting the gap grow?”

Rapinoe refused to sing the national anthem ahead of games and went viral after she told reporters, “I am not going to the f—ing White House” if invited by Trump. Trump told reporters Sunday he hadn’t really thought about inviting the team to the White House, despite an earlier tweet in which he did invite the whole team, “win or lose.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, however, invited the team to visit the U.S. Capitol following their victory. We’ll have more on the U.S. women’s team’s history-making games after headlines.

State of Emergency Declared After 2 Major Earthquakes Shake California

Jul 08, 2019
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Image Credit: Twitter: @rylxan / David Di Sano & Kim Wannop

Two major earthquakes shook Southern California late last week. Friday’s 7.1 magnitude quake in Ridgecrest was the state’s biggest in 20 years and followed a 6.4 magnitude quake one day earlier. The tremors could be felt as far north as Sacramento and down into Mexico. No casualties or serious injuries were reported as recovery efforts continue from damage to buildings and roads, as well as power cuts and ruptured water and gas lines. Residents in the affected areas have been told that more tremors could be headed their way in the coming days.

Joe Biden Apologizes for Praising Segregationists, Defends Record

Jul 08, 2019
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While on a campaign stop in South Carolina, former vice president and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden apologized Saturday for his comments last month about segregationist senators in the 1970s and ’80s, praising them for their “civility.”

Joe Biden: “Folks, now, was I wrong a few weeks ago to somehow give the impression to people that I was praising those men who I successfully opposed, time and again? Yes, I was. I regret it. And I’m sorry for any of the pain or misconception they may have caused anybody.”

Biden went on to say that his 50-year record on issues of race should speak for itself, and suggested he was being unfairly smeared. A number of other 2020 Democrats took Biden to task over his track record on civil rights, most notably California Senator Kamala Harris, who challenged him over his opposition to desegregation busing. During his South Carolina address, Biden also tried to distance himself from parts of the 1994 anti-crime law that directed billions of dollars toward building state prisons, even though he strongly supported such efforts.

2020 Dems Propose Measures to Address Racial Labor, Housing Inequalities

Jul 08, 2019
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A number of 2020 Democrats were in New Orleans this weekend to attend the Essence Festival in New Orleans, where they made their case to the largely African-American audience. California Senator Kamala Harris announced a $100 billion plan to reduce racial disparities in homeownership by helping black buyers secure homes in historically redlined areas where they were previously denied loans by banks. Harris also says she will work to pass better protections against housing discrimination and for changes to calculate credit scores more fairly.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren unveiled a plan that would require federal contractors to diversify their hiring and pay women of color equally. Warren also vowed to diversify the federal government’s own workforce and increase small business loans for people of color.

Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg—who is facing questions by his own constituents about his record on policing and racism in South Bend—also announced a plan to invest in small businesses owned by people of color. Buttigieg also said he would sign off on a House bill to study the question of reparations for slavery, which is likely to be a key issue for black voters in 2020.

Rep. Justin Amash Leaves GOP, Blasts D.C.’s “Partisan Death Spiral”

Jul 08, 2019
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Michigan Congressmember Justin Amash announced Thursday he was leaving the Republican Party to become an independent. In an op-ed for The Washington Post, he said that we are caught in a “partisan death spiral,” writing, “The two-party system has evolved into an existential threat to American principles and institutions. … I’m asking you to join me in rejecting the partisan loyalties and rhetoric that divide and dehumanize us.” In May, Amash became the first Republican lawmaker to express support for impeaching President Trump. In a CNN interview Sunday, Amash said high-level members of the Republican Party thanked him privately for speaking out in favor of impeachment. He also did not rule out a 2020 presidential bid.

Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein Arrested for Sex-Trafficking Women and Girls

Jul 08, 2019
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Billionaire hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein is set to appear in federal court in Manhattan today facing sex trafficking charges. He was arrested on Saturday. The New York Times reports Epstein is accused of running a sex trafficking operation by luring underage girls—some as young as 14 years old—to his mansion in Manhattan. Epstein was previously accused of molesting and trafficking dozens, and potentially hundreds, of underage girls in Florida. But he ended up serving just 13 months in county jail after the U.S. prosecutor in Florida—now Trump’s labor secretary—Alexander Acosta cut what’s been described as “one of the most lenient deals for a serial child sex offender in history.” We’ll have more on this story after headlines.

NJ Judge Under Fire for Defending Privileged Teen Who Filmed Himself Assaulting 16-Year-Old Girl

Jul 08, 2019
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A New Jersey family court judge is under fire after he denied a motion to try a 16-year-old for rape as an adult, justifying the decision by saying the perpetrator came from a good family, was an Eagle Scout, attended an “excellent school” and “is clearly a candidate for not just college but probably for a good college.” Judge James Troiano also said he did not think the attack was rape despite the attacker filming the assault on the 16-year-old intoxicated girl and sharing the video with friends along with a text message that read “when your first time having sex was rape.” The judge also rebuked the girl and her family for bringing charges that could have a “devastating effect” on the attacker’s life.

An appeals court has, however, reversed Troiano’s decision, citing his display of bias because of the teenager’s privilege—meaning the unnamed teen could now be indicted and tried in criminal court.

Alabama DA Drops Charges Against Woman Indicted After She Was Shot and Miscarried Fetus

Jul 08, 2019
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And in Alabama, prosecutors dropped charges against Marshae Jones, a black woman who was charged with manslaughter after she was shot in the stomach, causing her pregnancy to end. Jones’s case sparked widespread outrage. Nia Martin-Robinson of Planned Parenthood said, following the decision, “We must ensure that this doesn’t happen again. Prosecuting someone for being the victim of a violent crime is not only alarming—it signals an intent to target and criminalize Black pregnant women.”

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