What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White
Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.
This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.
Saturday, September 30, 2017
"... Like many Puerto Ricans, she left the island to pursue opportunities on the mainland, earning a bachelor's in political science at Boston University and a master's in public management and policy at Carnegie Mellon.
She stayed on the mainland for many years, according to her official biography, and worked her way up to the position of human resources director at several companies, including Scotiabank and the U.S. Treasury Department.
In a 2014 interview with a small New York newspaper, Cruz described the tug of war she and other Puerto Ricans often feel between the mainland and their home island.
"I often say to my friends that I felt too Puerto Rican to live in the States; then I felt too American to live in Puerto Rico," she said. "So when I settled back in Puerto Rico in 1992, I had to come to terms with all of that."
After 12 years on the mainland, Cruz returned to her island to plunge back into politics.
She became an adviser to Sila María Calderón, a San Juan mayor who later became Puerto Rico's only female governor.
With the experience she gained under Calderón, Cruz ran in 2000 for a seat in Puerto Rico's House of Representatives. She lost that race, but in 2008 she ran again and won.
"Politics is a rough game, and sometimes as females we are taught that you have to play nice," she said in a 2014 interview. "Sometimes you can't play nice."
A new mayor
As the race for mayorship of her home town approached in 2012, she waffled publicly on whether to become a candidate.
At first she denied any plans to run. Once she entered the race, she strung together a series of small coalitions — including the LGBT community, students, Dominican immigrants and taxi drivers — to form a base of support.
Such allies helped her defeat a formidable opponent — a three-time incumbent, Jorge Santini.
"People don't realize they have the power," she recalled in an interview several years later. "People don't realize that if they come together, there are more of them than those who occupy the seat that I'm in right now."
Puerto Rico's politics are largely defined by their relationship with the mainland and whether the island should remain a U.S. territory, gain statehood or vie for independence."
Who is Carmen Yulín Cruz, the San Juan mayor Trump blasted? - The Washington Post
"What made Gorsuch’s appearance especially notable was that it took place at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, which is the focus of several pending cases that may well wind up before the Supreme Court. These lawsuits allege that the Trump family’s ownership of the hotel, which is patronized by foreigners with interests before the executive branch, violates the emoluments clause of the Constitution. Gorsuch’s presence at the hotel could look like an endorsement of the propriety of its ownership arrangements.
Gorsuch’s Trump Hotel speech followed one he gave at the University of Louisville, where he was introduced by Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, who was, more than anyone, responsible for blocking Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the seat that Gorsuch now occupies. Gorsuch rewarded McConnell not only with an appearance in the senator’s home town but with a speech that underlined the Justice’s own conservative approach to the law.
There is nothing unlawful about Gorsuch’s speeches, though it’s hard to say just what the ethical rules are for Supreme Court Justices. They are exempt from the code that governs the conduct of other federal judges, so the Court has traditionally relied on informal self-policing. There is a strong internal culture based on the idea that no Justice should embarrass the Court; Gorsuch’s tiptoeing up to the line of advocacy for and gratitude to conservatives might earn some advice from the Chief Justice to mind the unwritten rules.
Gorsuch’s speeches might appear less distasteful to his colleagues if he had made an otherwise more graceful début on the Court. As Linda Greenhouse observed in the Times the end of Gorsuch’s first term, he managed to violate the Court’s traditions as soon as he arrived. He dominated oral arguments, when new Justices are expected to hang back. He instructed his senior colleagues, who collectively have a total of a hundred and forty years’ experience on the Court, about how to do their jobs. Dissenting from a decision that involved the interpretation of federal laws, he wrote, “If a statute needs repair, there’s a constitutionally prescribed way to do it. It’s called legislation.” Perhaps he thought that the other Justices were unfamiliar with this thing called “legislation.” Gorsuch also expressed ill-disguised contempt for Anthony Kennedy’s landmark opinion legalizing same-sex marriage in all fifty states. Earlier this year, the Court’s majority overturned an Arkansas ruling that the state could refuse to put the name of a birth mother’s same-sex spouse on their child’s birth certificate. Dissenting, Gorsuch wrote, “Nothing in Obergefell spoke (let alone clearly) to the question.” That “let alone clearly” reflected a conservative consensus that Kennedy’s opinion was a confusing mess.
Perhaps Gorsuch will, as the years pass, prove to be a more clubbable colleague; or perhaps he’ll decide, at least socially, to go his own way. But what’s already clear is his ideology as a Justice. In his first fifteen cases on the Court, as the number-crunchers at FiveThirtyEight discovered, he joined Thomas, the most right-wing Justice, every time—and he even joined all of Thomas’s concurring opinions. Gorsuch’s outside activities may draw a private word from the Chief Justice, but Roberts would never presume (or want) to change Gorsuch’s votes. And the new Justice is casting those just as his sponsors had hoped and his opponents had feared."
"Now, more than a week later, filthy, stagnant floodwaters still blanket the streets. The island remains almost entirely without electricity, and nearly half of the 3.4 million US citizens who live there don’t have fresh water. Food and fuel supplies are scarce, and two people on life support have died because a hospital’s generator ran out of diesel. The island’s communications infrastructure was also badly damaged, leaving Puerto Rico eerily cut off from the rest of the world. The widespread power outage knocked out almost all cable service and telephone lines, according to the latest update from the Federal Communications Commission. And more than 90 percent of the island’s cellphone towers are still out of service."
Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria: when communication is a matter of life and death - The Verge
"SAN JUAN, P.R. — In the storm-battered neighborhood of Barriada Figueroa on Friday, neighbors greeted visitors with a now-familiar question, one that was inevitably followed by a disappointing answer: “Are you FEMA?”
Hurricane Maria had ripped walls and metal roofs from the brightly colored homes in this working-class neighborhood in central San Juan. Nine days after the storm hit, putrid water still lay stagnant in the streets.
Aida Perez, 73, gave a tour of her house, pointing to the holes in her roof and ceiling. She said she could use a tarp. And food. And money. But no federal officials had been spotted yet.
“After Georges, FEMA came, the Red Cross came, and they came rapidly,” she said, referring to Hurricane Georges, the 1998 storm that caused extreme damage here, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The slow pace of the federal response to Hurricane Maria — and the upbeat portrayal of the response by federal officials, including President Trump — threatened this week to become an embarrassment and political liability for the administration as it scrambled to confront a natural disaster that has overwhelmed this island, and presented breathtaking logistical challenges.
On Friday evening, Mr. Trump again repeatedly praised his government’s response to the Puerto Rico hurricane during remarks to reporters before leaving for his New Jersey club for the weekend.
“It’s going really well, considering,” Mr. Trump said. He added: “We’ve made tremendous strides. Very tough situation.” Later, he said, “People can’t believe how successful it’s been.”
But the disconnect between what officials in Washington were saying and the situation on the ground in Puerto Rico was captured on live television by the response of the mayor of San Juan when she was played a clip of the acting Homeland Security secretary, Elaine Duke, saying that she was “very satisfied” with the government’s response. Ms. Duke called it “a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people and the limited number of deaths that have taken place.”
The retort from Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz: “This is, damn it, this is not a good news story. This is a ‘people are dying’ story. This is a ‘life or death’ story. This is ‘there’s a truckload of stuff that cannot be taken to people’ story. This is a story of a devastation that continues to worsen.”
Mr. Trump’s political adversaries quickly pounced on what they said was evidence of a lack of interest or urgency on the part of the president. And some saw an echo of the comments made in 2005 by former President George W. Bush, when he praised then-FEMA head Michael Brown for doing “a heck of a job” in the midst of what was widely seen as a slow and botched recovery effort in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
“The problem is, and this is what felled the Bush administration: images tell the whole story,” said Dan Pfeiffer, who served as a communications director and senior adviser for former President Barack Obama. “You had Trump on Twitter saying one thing, and then you have the images all over cable news telling a different story.”
Peter Feaver, a national security official for Mr. Bush during Katrina, said there were many similarities between Hurricane Maria and the 2005 storm, each of which hold lessons for Mr. Trump and his team.
“There are echoes to it that should concern the White House,” Mr. Feaver said. “They would be wise that they not take it for granted that they can avoid that image stamped on this episode.”
“What matters more is the perception than the reality,” Mr. Feaver added. “The best after-action histories did not condemn Bush as vividly as the immediate media framing.”
The administration is unquestionably facing a daunting task. The hurricane knocked out nearly all of Puerto Rico’s electrical grid, and most of its cellular service. Roads are damaged, bridges have collapsed, and an unknown number of Puerto Ricans are stranded in the hills and hollows of the mountain interior without access to water or food.
Representatives of the commonwealth government stationed outside the capital have taken to driving to San Juan in person to present their progress reports. On Friday, Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló said that the government would begin commandeering and giving away at least 3,000 containers of cargo stuck at the Port of San Juan, much of it meant for the island’s supermarkets, if the stores themselves could not move the merchandise."
San Juan Mayor Rebukes Trump Administration for Rosy Comments on Relief Effort - The New York Times
Friday, September 29, 2017
Thursday, September 28, 2017
"Yes, Donald Trump has once again used racial hostility to rouse his base and is reveling in the achievement.
According to The New York Times, when Trump’s advisers appeared lukewarm about the uproar he created by chastising, in the coarsest of terms, N.F.L. players who chose to quietly kneel to protest racial inequality and police violence, “Mr. Trump responded by telling people that it was a huge hit with his base, making it clear that he did not mind alienating his critics if it meant solidifying his core support.”
Every way he is manipulating his majority-white base to oppose a majority-black group of private citizens is disgusting. Trump is disgusting.
But I am also infuriated by his framing: that this has nothing to do with race (whenever you hear that, know that the subject at hand must have everything to do with race) and that this is just about patriotism, honoring national ritual, celebrating soldiers, particularly the fallen, and venerating “our flag.”
What this misses is that patriotism is particularly fraught for black people in this country because the history of the country’s treatment of them is fraught. It’s not that black people aren’t patriotic; it’s just that patriotism can be a paradox.
Many black people see themselves simultaneously as part of America and separate from it, under attack by it, and it has always been thus.
W.E.B. Du Bois wrote over a century ago about this sensation:
“It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness — an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”
It is through that haze of hurt that black people see the flag, because the blood memory of the black man is long in this country.
Let’s start this story from its ghastly beginning.
Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr., citing the Trans-Atlantic Slave Database, writes that an estimated 10.7 million people survived the voyage — called the Middle Passage — from their homelands to North America, the Caribbean and South America, between 1525 and 1866. Of those, about 390,000 made it to North American soil. This was about 3 percent of the total who survived.
PolitiFact wrote: “Historian Herbert Klein of Columbia and Stanford Universities, who worked on the database, said that the data suggest about 85,000 people destined for North America did not survive the trip across the Atlantic.”
The overall slave trade in North and South America caused about 1.8 million deaths. There was so much human flesh being tossed over the sides of those boats — or jumping— that sharks learned to trail the boats to feast on it.
As Haaretz wrote in 2014 in an interview with Marcus Rediker, the author of “The Slave Ship: A Human History”:
“There are descriptions of coerced cannibalism, the hanging of innocent individuals by their toes, the amputation of limbs, feeding by means of the ‘speculum oris, the long, thin mechanical contraption used to force open unwilling throats to receive gruel and hence sustenance,’ branding with white-hot metal rods, starvation to death, shackling with handcuffs or by chains to other captives, and rape.” And this was just onboard the ships.
And while the percentage of slaves brought to the United States was relatively small, American owners bred slaves like cattle.
As the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History put it, “Well over 90 percent of enslaved Africans were imported into the Caribbean and South America.” Only a small fraction of African captives were sent directly to British North America, and “yet by 1825, the U.S. had a quarter of blacks in the New World.”
Furthermore, “While the death rate of U.S. slaves was about the same as that of Jamaican slaves, the fertility rate was more than 80 percent higher in the United States.”
Those children faced a harsh and uncertain future, including a strikingly high mortality rate. As Rebecca Tannenbaum’s book “Health and Wellness in Colonial America” points out:
“While good data is hard to come by, estimations of infant mortality (deaths among infants up to a year old) among African-Americans during the 18 century ranges from 28 to 50 percent. Child mortality (children from one year to 10 years old) was also high — 40 to 50 percent.”
This says nothing of the untold number of older children and adults who died during captivity in America due to cruelty, starvation, exposure, assault, and lynching and other forms of murder.
We often hear about the 620,000 people who died during America’s Civil War (in recent years, scholars have estimated the number was actually higher), trying either to eradicate slavery or save it, but what we hear less often is that black people were included in that number.
According to the National Archives:
“By the end of the Civil War, roughly 179,000 black men (10 percent of the Union Army) served as soldiers in the U.S. Army and another 19,000 served in the Navy. Nearly 40,000 black soldiers died over the course of the war — 30,000 of infection or disease.”
After the war and the Emancipation Proclamation, the terror continued. According to the N.A.A.C.P.:
“From 1882-1968, 4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States. Of these people that were lynched, 3,446 were black. The blacks lynched accounted for 72.7 percent of the people lynched.”
Then, there are America’s heinous and racially biased state-sponsored executions. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, there have been 1,460 executions since 1976, when the Supreme Court effectively lifted a moratorium on the death penalty. Almost 35 percent of those executed were black, although the proportion of black people in the country hovers around 13 percent.
In fact, the the youngest person executed in America in the 20th century was a 14-year-old black boy named George Stinney. He was convicted in a rushed miscarriage of justice in which the jury was selected (all white), the trial was conducted (it lasted only a few hours, and his appointed lawyer didn’t ask a single question) and the verdict was rendered (after only 10 minutes of deliberation) all in the span of single day.
The 5-foot-1, 95-pound Stinney was so small in the electric chair that they had to use a book as a booster seat. Some say it was a phone book; others say it was the Bible.
This is to say nothing of the disastrous effects of mass incarceration and the chaos unleashed by sucking so many young people, particularly young men, out of communities.
As the Pew Research Center put it in 2013, “The incarceration rate of black men is more than six times higher than that of white men, slightly larger than the gap in 1960.”
Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow,” has put it more starkly: “More African-American adults are under correctional control today — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.”
And then come police shootings. According to a database maintained by The Washington Post, there have been 730 police shootings so far this year, putting 2017 on track to match or surpass the number of shootings in 2015 and 2016. But here again there is a racial imbalance: black people represent nearly a quarter of those shot but only about an eighth of the general population. When you look at unarmed victims, blacks make up nearly a third of that cohort.
Throughout most of this pain and bloodshed, some version of the flag has waved.
So how dare anyone suggest that people simply rise and conform to custom when they feel the urgent need to protest. How dare America say so cavalierly, “Forgive us our sins and grant us our laurels,” when forgiveness has never been sufficiently requested — nor the sins sufficiently acknowledged — and the laurels are tainted and stained by the stubbornness of historical fact. How dare we even pretend that the offenses have been isolated and anomalous and not orchestrated and executed by the nation?
So those football players should take a knee if they so choose. If America demands your respect it must grant you respect and the first order of that respect is equality and eradicating the ominous threat of state violence.
People upset with those who kneel seem to be more angry about black “disrespect” than black death. (Here, I need to applaud the non-black players who demonstrated their solidarity in the cause of free speech and equality.)
We have to accept that different Americans see pride and principle differently, but that makes none of them less American.
Indeed, we Americans see the flag itself differently. As the civil rights legend Fannie Lou Hamer once said, “The flag is drenched with our blood.”
‘The Flag Is Drenched With Our Blood’ - The New York Times
"MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Firebrand jurist Roy Moore on Tuesday night won the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat that previously belonged to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He will face Democrat Doug Jones in Dec. 12 election. Here are some things to know about Moore.
"WASHINGTON — The tax plan that the Trump administration outlined on Wednesday is a potentially huge windfall for the wealthiest Americans. It would not directly benefit the bottom third of the population. As for the middle class, the benefits appear to be modest.
The administration and its congressional allies are proposing to sharply reduce taxation of business income, primarily benefiting the small share of the population that owns the vast majority of corporate equity. President Trump said on Wednesday that the cuts would increase investment and spur growth, creating broader prosperity. But experts say the upside is limited, not least because the economy is already expanding.
The plan would also benefit Mr. Trump and other affluent Americans by eliminating the estate tax, which affects just a few thousand uber-wealthy families each year, and the alternative minimum tax, a safety net designed to prevent tax avoidance."
"CRUZ BAY, V.I. — Even before two Category 5 hurricanes struck the United States Virgin Islands with punishing fury this month, the notion of paradise here was already about as brittle as a sand dollar.
The local treasury had barely enough cash to keep the government funded for three days. Its debt had grown so large that Wall Street stopped lending it money. The unemployment rate was more than twice the national average.
The one-two punch of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria 14 days later was especially cruel. In many places across the three major islands of this American territory, the second storm drowned what the first couldn’t destroy, ravaging what was once one of the Caribbean’s most idyllic landscapes."
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
"How far away is Puerto Rico, from President Donald Trump’s perspective?
“This is an island sitting in the middle of an ocean. And it’s a big ocean, it’s a very big ocean,” he said, on Tuesday morning, before a meeting with House members. Puerto Rico is, indeed, an island, but it is also an American island, inhabited by three and a half million United States citizens who are in immediate danger, owing to the havoc wrought by Hurricane Maria. The storm made landfall on the commonwealth more than a week ago as a Category 4 hurricane and swept it from end to end, destroying fields of crops and ripping the façades off of apartment buildings. Relief workers have still not been able to reach some towns in the interior.
Trump announced that he would visit Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which were also hard hit, next Tuesday, which he said was the soonest practical date. Meanwhile, the majority of people in Puerto Rico remain without clean water, the electricity grid is inoperable, cell towers are down, roads are impassable, food is rotting, and many of the elderly and the sick have been left without care. All of this is happening in America, rather than some place distant from this country. But instead of emphasizing that closeness, or a sense of mutual obligation, Trump has, so far, focussed on how different Puerto Rico is, and what its people owe him, which is, above all, their gratitude.
“We have been really treated very, very nicely by the governor and by everybody else,” Trump said later, during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon with Mariano Rajoy, the Prime Minister of Spain. Trump was referring to the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, and his colleagues. “They know how hard we’re working and what a good job we’re doing.” When a reporter nonetheless asked Trump whether he had perhaps spent a disproportionate amount of time tweeting complaints about N.F.L. players kneeling during the national anthem, when he should have been rallying support for Puerto Rico, Trump bristled, and insisted that his attacks on the players were important for America. Then he went back to talking about what he had done for Puerto Rico—“I have plenty of time on my hands”—adding that the governor “is so grateful for the job we are doing. In fact, he thanked me specifically for fema and all the first responders.” Trump described that praise as “incredible” and “amazing,” and said, “We have had tremendous reviews from government officials.”
The Devastation in Puerto Rico, as Seen From Above By SARAH ALMUKHTAR, TROY GRIGGS, TIM WALLACE and KAREN YOURISH SEPT. 27, 2017 Last week, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico with winds of 155 miles an hour, leaving the United States commonwealth on the brink of a humanitarian crisis. The storm left 80 percent of crop value destroyed, 60 percent of the island without water and almost the entire island without power, as seen in the nighttime satellite images below.
Roy Moore Wins Senate G.O.P. Runoff in Alabama - The New York Times. Another evangelical bigot in the Senate.
"MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Roy S. Moore, a firebrand former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, overcame efforts by top Republicans to rescue his rival, Senator Luther Strange, soundly defeating him on Tuesday in a special primary runoff.
The outcome in the closely watched Senate race dealt a humbling blow to President Trump and other party leaders days after the president pleaded with voters in the state to back Mr. Strange.
Propelled by the stalwart support of his fellow evangelical Christians, Mr. Moore survived an advertising onslaught of more than $10 million financed by allies of Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader. His victory demonstrated in stark terms the limits of Mr. Trump’s clout.
Taking the stage after a solo rendition of ‘How Great Thou Art,’ an exultant Mr. Moore said he had ‘never prayed to win this campaign,’ only putting his political fate ‘in the hands of the Almighty.’
‘Together, we can make America great,’ he said, borrowing Mr. Trump’s slogan and adding, ‘Don’t let anybody in the press think that because he supported my opponent that I do not support him.’
Continue reading the main story RELATED COVERAGE
Trump Deletes Tweets Supporting Luther Strange SEPT. 27, 2017
MAN IN THE NEWS Alabama Republicans Bet on Roy Moore, a Familiar Rebel, for Senate SEPT. 27, 2017 RECENT COMMENTS
winchestereast 46 minutes ago This race was a choice between a religious zealot bigot and a bigot. Both standing against core American Constitutional principles. Six of... cheryl 54 minutes ago I am really trying to wrap my head around the idea of this throwback as the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, which he had managed... Jordan Davies 54 minutes ago Is this possible only in Alabama or is it a trend? A homophobe, religious nut, what better for the ultra reactionary Senate. This man is... SEE ALL COMMENTS WRITE A COMMENT "
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
"‘One day, maybe my youngest, who is in second grade, is going to open up a history book and he’ll read about Colin,’ Phil Sanchez, Colin Kaepernick’s high school guidance counselor, told Kent Babb this summer. ‘And it won’t have anything to do with throwing a touchdown.’
The notion of Kaepernick as an American historical figure was cemented this weekend. Among NFL players, the preferred method of protest — taking a knee — and the impetus to use the national anthem as a platform for expression traces back to Kaepernick. It was a momentous weekend, and it was shaped primarily by someone who wasn’t there. NFL teams may not have signed him to play quarterback this season, but they could not keep Kaepernick off the field.
Donald Trump prompted mass player protests during the national anthem with his caustic remarks Friday night and tweets all day Saturday. He left players with little choice but to respond, and many players took their cues from Kaepernick."
Charles M. Blow SEPT. 25, 2017
"Donald Trump is operating the White House as a terror cell of racial grievance in America’s broader culture wars.
He has made his allegiances clear: He’s on the side of white supremacists, white nationalists, ethno-racists, Islamophobes and anti-Semites. He is simpatico with that cesspool.
And nothing gets his goat quite like racial minorities who stand up for themselves or stand up to him.
Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors was asked about the annual rite of championship teams visiting the White House, and Curry made clear that he didn’t want to go because ‘we basically don’t stand for what our president has said, and the things he hasn’t said at the right time.’
Trump responded to Curry’s expressed desire not to go by seeming to disinvite the entire team, to which Curry responded with a level of class that is foreign to Trump. Curry said, ‘It’s surreal, to be honest.’ Curry continued: ‘I don’t know why he feels the need to target certain individuals, rather than others. I have an idea of why, but it’s kind of beneath a leader of a country to go that route. That’s not what leaders do.’
Continue reading the main story
Charles M. Blow Politics, public opinion and social justice. Is Trump a White Supremacist? SEP 18 Dispatch From the Resistance SEP 14 Soul Survival in Trump’s Hell SEP 11 Inner Racism Revealed SEP 7 In Defense of the Truth SEP 4 See More »
"The central question to ask about President Trump’s latest travel ban, which he issued on Sunday, is: Will it make Americans safer?
The answer, as best as anyone can tell based on publicly available information, is no."
"WASHINGTON — A last-ditch attempt by President Trump and Senate Republicans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act appeared to collapse on Monday as a pivotal senator announced her firm opposition to the latest repeal plan, virtually ensuring that Republicans would not have the votes they need for passage.
The announcement by the senator, Susan Collins of Maine, effectively dooms what had been a long-shot effort by Republicans in the Senate to make one more attempt at repealing the health law after failing in dramatic fashion in July.
The demise of the latest repeal push means that Republicans are now all but certain to conclude Mr. Trump’s first year in office without fulfilling one of their central promises, which the president and lawmakers had hoped to deliver on quickly after Mr. Trump took office.
For seven years, Republicans have said they would repeal President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement and replace it with a new health care system more palatable to conservatives. But they were never able to formulate a replacement that was both politically and substantively viable.
Ms. Collins, one of three Republican senators who opposed the last repeal attempt in July, described the latest plan as “deeply flawed.” She expressed concerns about cuts to Medicaid as well as the rolling back of protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions."
Monday, September 25, 2017
"The Trump administration announced new restrictions Sunday on visitors from eight countries — an expansion of the preexisting travel ban that has spurred fierce legal debates over security, immigration and discrimination.
In announcing the new rules, officials said they are meant to be both tough and targeted. The move comes on the day the key portion of President Trump’s travel ban, one which bars the issuance of visas to citizens of six majority-Muslim countries, was due to expire.
‘As president, I must act to protect the security and interests of the United States and its people,’ Trump wrote in a proclamation announcing the changes for visitors from specific nations. On Twitter, he added: ‘Making America Safe is my number one priority. We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet.’
Trump’s original travel ban, signed as an executive order in the first days of his presidency, was always meant to be a temporary measure while his administration crafted more permanent rules. A senior administration official cautioned the new restrictions are not meant to last forever, but are ‘necessary and conditions-based, not time-based.’’"
"On three teams, nearly all the football players skipped the national anthem altogether. Dozens of others, from London to Los Angeles, knelt or locked arms on the sidelines, joined by several team owners in a league normally friendly to President Trump. Some of the sport’s biggest stars joined the kind of demonstration they have steadfastly avoided.
It was an unusual, sweeping wave of protest and defiance on the sidelines of the country’s most popular game, generated by Mr. Trump’s stream of calls to fire players who have declined to stand for the national anthem in order to raise awareness of police brutality and racial injustice.
What had been a modest round of anthem demonstrations this season led by a handful of African-American players mushroomed and morphed into a nationwide, diverse rebuke to Mr. Trump, with even some of his staunchest supporters in the N.F.L., including several owners, joining in or condemning Mr. Trump for divisiveness."
Sunday, September 24, 2017
Rula JebrealVerified account @rulajebreal 2h2 hours ago More American history shows that civil disobedience is not a departure from democracy, it is essential to it. I will never forget this day in 1968, siting on my best friends couch. I laughed so hard and we slapped five until I fell onto the floor.
The Racial Demagoguery of Trump’s Assaults on Colin Kaepernick and Steph Curry. President Trump’s assault on athletes, particularly prominent black ones, is is part of his larger culture war. Divide. Inflame. Confuse. Divert. And rule. | The New Yorker
John Legend on why the NFL protests are patriotic. The most patriotic thing any American can do is pressure Congress to inpeach and convict Trump ofthe many high crimes and misdemeanors he has committed.
"The president of the United States loves to drape himself in the symbols of patriotism, but fails to respect the ideals at the core of our Constitution and national identity. Trump may love the flag, but he doesn’t love anything it’s supposed to stand for. He actively encouraged a hostile foreign power to infiltrate our electoral process. He wants to suppress millions of Americans’ right to vote because they didn’t vote for him. He routinely undermines freedom of religion with his rabid Islamophobia, attacks the free press with disturbing regularity, and is now attacking the rights of the people to peacefully protest.
Protest is patriotic. Protest has played a critically important role in elevating the voices of the most vulnerable in our nation. Protest in America has been essential to ending war, to demanding equal rights, to ending unfair practices that keep citizens marginalized. If we quell protest in the name of patriotism, we are not patriots. We are tyrants.
Would there have been a Civil Rights Act without the Birmingham protests? When Bull Connor unleashed his fire hoses and dogs on the schoolchildren taking to the streets, racial disparities and the violence facing people because of the color of their skin became the issues of the times. With savage images of the brutal attack in the news every day, President John Kennedy had little choice but to push for a Civil Rights Act that demanded equal services and equal rights.
Protests in Selma, Alabama, changed the trajectory of this nation and catapulted the Voting Rights Act into being. Soon after images of Bloody Sunday flooded television sets, President Johnson presented to Congress the Voting Rights Act, which would remove barriers to voting like literacy tests. If you think these protests were irrelevant, consider Johnson’s words to Congress: ‘[A]t times history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man’s unending search for freedom ... So it was a century ago at Appomattox. So it was last week in Selma, Alabama.’
These are some of the most iconic protests in our history, but they are simply chapters in the great American novel where protests and social activism push us into a better and more just reality. There are the anti-war demonstrations of that decade, demanding that our soldiers be treated better in this country, that young men not be sent to their deaths for an unjust cause. The day before Woodrow Wilson’s election, thousands of suffragists marched down the street demanding the right to vote. Massive protests from steelworkers and coal miners propelled safer working conditions and better wages for millions of Americans. And where would we be, of course, without the Boston Tea Party?
These protests woke Americans up from complacency. And combined with other forms of social activism, they helped to show citizens, policymakers, and anyone listening that there could be a better way. That hope was not just an idea—a better future was both necessary and possible."
The NFL protests carry on in this tradition. They are not some arbitrary statement about a flag. They are a demand that we Americans make this country’s reality match its proud symbolism. They are an attempt to educate the public that criminal justice—mass incarceration, lengthy sentences, police brutality—is the civil rights issue of our time. Colin Kaepernick, Michael Bennett, and Marshawn Lynch are demanding that this country again take a breath, self-reflect, and recognize that we fail a large and important population in this country by investing in prison systems rather than education and housing, by using the criminal system as a first rather than last resort, and by failing to punish police officers who engage in illegal racial profiling and police abuse. They are insisting that we do better.
To be clear, this is not the end of their activism. Malcolm Jenkins, who has raised a fist, and retired player Anquan Boldin are co-leading a “Players Coalition” of 40-plus players, working with grassroots activists and talking with legislators to demand police accountability and push for change in this country’s bail and juvenile sentencing scheme. Jenkins recently spent an afternoon watching bail hearings with the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and Boldin left the league to devote all of his time to reform and humanitarian work. Colin Kaepernick has donated at least $900,000 to causes that work to better the lives of the most vulnerable. Chris Long is donating his first six game checks to fund scholarships to poor kids from his hometown of Charlottesville.
"N.F.L. players and owners, already on edge after critical statements made by President Trump at a rally on Friday night, woke up on game day to another series of tweets from the president, this time calling for football fans to boycott N.F.L. games unless the league fires or suspends players who refuse to stand for the national anthem.
Team owners responded by condemning Trump’s criticism, while the Jaguars and Ravens started things off by kneeling and locking arms during the anthem in London. There are expected to be several more demonstrations around the league today. Stay here for live updates:"
"Is Donald Trump a white trash icon? His hair is as teased and artificial as Dolly Parton’s; his eternally pursed lips recall Elvis’s, minus the sensuality; his orange skin suggests the kind of cosmetic mask that Tammy Faye Bakker once kept between herself and her viewers. Ten years ago, he even went so far as to gamely don a pair of overalls and perform the Green Acres theme, alongside a giggling Megan Mullally, at the Emmys.
WHITE TRASH: THE 400-YEAR UNTOLD HISTORY OF CLASS IN AMERICA by Nancy IsenbergViking, 480 pp., $28.00MOST POPULAR
Today, commentators who try to make sense of Trump’s mass appeal often fall back on “white trash” signifiers, even if the term itself never rises above the level of subtext. A recent New York Times article announced that counties most likely to contain Trump supporters were also likely to be populated by mobile home residents who had no high school diplomas, worked “old economy” jobs, and listed their ancestry as “American” on the U.S. census. Trump’s public persona is the kind of brash, ball-busting bully you want on your side when you have become convinced that no one else will stand up for you. His campaign strategy may be unfamiliar to the democratic process—or at least to its public face—but he comes from a long and well-established tradition of heavies, henchmen, and block bosses. He is, in other words, the kind of leader who might well be called on by a population demographer William Frey described to the Times as “nonurban, blue-collar and now apparently quite angry.” Or, to put it in the kind of blunt terms we associate with the candidate: White trash.
If Trump’s success has indeed been driven by the “nonurban, blue-collar” and “quite angry,” then he is only exploiting a demographic that is as integral to American identity as the Founding Fathers. “The white poor,” historian Nancy Isenberg writes in her new book White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America,
Saturday, September 23, 2017
The dark racial sentiment in Trump's NBA and NFL criticism CNN Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large Updated 5:31 PM ET, Sat September 23, 2017
Washington (CNN)In the last 24 hours, President Donald Trump has criticized NFL players who refuse to stand for the national anthem and NBA superstar Steph Curry for expressing ambivalence about whether or not to attend the traditional White House celebration for champions in professional sports. On Friday night in Alabama, Trump condemned football players who either sit or protest in some other way during the national anthem -- and chastised the NFL owners for not coming down harder on them. "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. He is fired. He's fired!" Trump said to considerable applause from the overwhelmingly white crowd. "Total disrespect of our heritage, a total disrespect of everything that we stand for. Everything that we stand for." Then, on Saturday morning, Trump tweeted this about Curry: "Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!"
"Companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google have become a huge force in the political system and in society broadly. While their executives have eagerly embraced their status as disrupters and innovators, they have been reluctant to acknowledge that their creations have been used to do harm. Technology executives have been loath to accept much or any responsibility for the power they and their businesses wield. In fact, many of them have gone out of their way to avoid or evade rules that apply to the traditional businesses that they are trying to displace. For example, Facebook argued in a 2011 letter to the Federal Election Commission that it and other internet companies should not be subject to regulations on political ads that radio and TV stations have to abide by.
Mr. Zuckerberg’s concern about democracy is commendable, and some of the changes he announced could have a positive impact. But they apply only to his company and can be easily evaded. Disclosing the name of Facebook business accounts placing political ads, for instance, will be of little value if purchasers can disguise their real identity — calling themselves, say, Americans for Motherhood and Apple Pie. Further, even if Facebook succeeds in driving away foreign propaganda, the same material could pop up on Twitter or other social media sites."
Thursday, September 21, 2017
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
"The worst aspect of President Trump’s speech at the United Nations on Tuesday was not his immature taunting of a dangerous foreign leader when the stakes far outweigh those of a schoolyard fight.
Calling North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un ‘Rocket Man’ may make Trump happy by reminding him of the glory days of ‘Little Marco,’ ‘Lyin’ Ted’ and ‘Crooked Hillary.’ But it does nothing to win over the allies we need.
Read These Comments The best conversations on The Washington Post Sign up And his threat ‘to totally destroy North Korea’ is what you’d expect to hear in a bar conversation from a well-lubricated armchair general, not from the leader of the world’s most powerful military.
But the most alarming part of an address that was supposed to be a serious formulation of the president’s grand strategy in the world was the utter incoherence of Trump’s ‘America first’ doctrine.
The speech tried to rationalize ‘America first’ as a great principle. But every effort Trump made to build an intellectual structure to support it only underscored that his favored phrase was either a trivial applause line or an argument that, if followed logically, was inimical to the United States’ interests and values..."
Manafort offered to give Russian billionaire ‘private briefings’ on 2016 campaign - The Washington Post
"Less than two weeks before Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination, his campaign chairman offered to provide briefings on the race to a Russian billionaire closely aligned with the Kremlin, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Paul Manafort made the offer in an email to an overseas intermediary, asking that a message be sent to Oleg Deripaska, an aluminum magnate with whom Manafort had done business in the past, these people said.
“If he needs private briefings we can accommodate,” Manafort wrote in the July 7, 2016, email, portions of which were read to The Washington Post along with other Manafort correspondence from that time.
The emails are among tens of thousands of documents that have been turned over to congressional investigators and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s team as they probe whether Trump associates coordinated with Russia as part of Moscow’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election."
Trump Administration Rejects Study Showing Positive Impact of Refugees - The New York Times. The Trump administration is pure evil, plain and simple.
"WASHINGTON — Trump administration officials, under pressure from the White House to provide a rationale for reducing the number of refugees allowed into the United States next year, rejected a study by the Department of Health and Human Services that found that refugees brought in $63 billion more in government revenues over the past decade than they cost.
The draft report, which was obtained by The New York Times, contradicts a central argument made by advocates of deep cuts in refugee totals as President Trump faces an Oct. 1 deadline to decide on an allowable number. The issue has sparked intense debate within his administration as opponents of the program, led by Mr. Trump’s chief policy adviser, Stephen Miller, assert that continuing to welcome refugees is too costly and raises concerns about terrorism.
Advocates of the program inside and outside the administration say refugees are a major benefit to the United States, paying more in taxes than they consume in public benefits, and filling jobs in service industries that others will not. But research documenting their fiscal upside — prepared for a report mandated by Mr. Trump in a March presidential memorandum implementing his travel ban — never made its way to the White House. Some of those proponents believe the report was suppressed."
"In late March 2016, a series of powerful bomb blasts killed nearly three dozen people at the international airport in Brussels, Belgium, as well as in a train carriage pulling out of one of the central city’s busy stations.1
Within hours of the atrocity, then–presidential candidate Donald Trump had taken to the airwaves and to Twitter. He didn’t make statements expressing moral and emotional solidarity with the victims and their families. Nor did he talk about the extraordinarily complex political and intelligence challenges confronting multicultural Western societies in the face of the ISIS attacks. Instead, he used his platform to proselytize for torture. Salah Abdeslam, the recently captured suspect in the previous year’s Paris attacks, would, said the presidential hopeful, have talked “a lot faster with the torture,” and in doing so might have spilled the beans on his confreres in Belgium before they could launch their own attacks.2
Torture had, by that point in the campaign, become Trump’s leitmotif—and he did far more than applaud the waterboarding sanctioned by George W. Bush’s administration, as if that weren’t bad enough. Time and again, Trump urged his crowds of supporters on by dangling before them the prospect of violence for violence’s sake. Time and again, he flaunted his contempt for international norms by embracing torture—the word, for so long taboo, as much as the deed—as an official policy of state.3
And yet he never defined exactly what kind of state-sponsored torture he was advocating, or exactly what actions he sought to make the courts, the military, and the general public complicit in.4
More than half a millennium ago, as the Spanish Inquisition gathered steam, the fanatical grand inquisitor, Tomás de Torquemada, wrapped himself in the mantle of faith and declared that he would torture to save souls and destroy heretics. The Inquisition began by liberally employing tormento del agua (a technique the US military and intelligence agencies rebirthed after 2001 with the label “waterboarding”). When this method failed to extract the desired response, Torquemada’s team moved on to more drastic methods, such as the strappado, in which the victims had their hands bound behind their backs and then were hung by them from a rope; and the infamous rack, on which the victims were stretched slowly, dislocating joints and destroying muscles, ligaments, and bones. The list of the Inquisition’s torture techniques is long, and its legacy wafts through the centuries—a potent reminder of the horrors that a handful of fanatics can unleash on a civilization. More than five centuries later, Torquemada’s name still evokes cruelty and extremism.5
In the 18th century, Enlightenment philosophers like Cesare Beccaria and Voltaire sought to discredit torture as a legitimate tool of the state. It was, they argued, a relic of barbarism, both unjust and ineffective. In the democratic age that was then dawning by fits and starts, torture would have no official place. It could not be a formal part of the legal system, nor could it be publicly defended by those claiming their right to govern from the people and, as their reason for governing, to serve the people.6
This didn’t mean that torture disappeared; far from it. But the Enlightenment critique did lead to a public rejection of the practice. When it did continue, it was either in dictatorships or, in democracies, hidden deep in the shadows, used in extreme situations but never publicly acknowledged. The legal and linguistic wiggle room that democracies created to insulate themselves from charges of torture speaks to the grave moral opprobrium that was directed toward the practice.7
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Which is why Donald Trump and his supporters’ extraordinary embrace not just of acts of torture but of the word itself was a watershed moment. Here was a man vying for the highest office in the United States, as a candidate of one of the two major political parties, who wanted to turn into a moral good, to romanticize, acts of savage violence that for hundreds of years had been regarded as beyond the democratic pale. In speech after speech, Trump’s rhetoric normalized the extraordinary, making torture simply one more part of the state’s standard tool kit, as run-of-the-mill as fingerprinting or booking. This truly was the banality of evil described by the philosopher Hannah Arendt.8
In front of his adoring crowds, Trump played the tough guy well. They wanted theater, and he provided it. They wanted cathartic violence, and he offered it up to them in spades. He was like the Mafia figure in cinema who intimidates and thrills his audiences by talking about his enemies “sleeping with the fishes.” But for all the bravado, the reality-TV star turned presidential candidate never actually got down and dirty and explained to his audiences—especially those people in the military—exactly what he would be asking them to do when, as president and commander in chief, he authorized “the torture” and a “hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”9
Would he make them dismember ISIS recruits limb from limb? Would he order them to impale suspects slowly on spikes? Would he have them, as the Nazi Gestapo did with their victims, hang terrorism suspects from meat hooks? Would he have enemy fighters disemboweled, as partisans did during the brutal Russian civil war that followed the 1917 revolution? Would he order psychiatrists to break the minds of dissidents and terrorists, as Soviet medics did under Stalin? Would he order soldiers to throw young men and women out of helicopters and airplanes into the ocean, as Argentina’s military dictators did in the 1970s and ’80s?10
Or would he ask them to force confessions out of suspects, like the rogue police unit on Chicago’s South Side that I wrote about in the 1990s, by tying them to scalding-hot radiators, by mock-executing them, or by using the Vietnam War–era “telephone” torture, in which electrodes are clipped to the victims’ genitals and a windup device, like a field telephone, is then cranked to deliver devastating electric shocks?11
These are not the kinds of questions that one normally asks a leading presidential hopeful. But then again, no serious candidate for the American presidency—or for the leadership of any other functioning modern democracy—had ever fetishized torture the way Donald Trump did. No modern presidential candidate had declared entire races and religions to be the enemy. And no leading candidate had sung the song of fear as perfectly as did Trump to his angry, vengeful, and deeply fearful throngs.12
As the real-estate mogul’s campaign gathered steam, one saw in Trumpism the interweaving of a host of fears—of immigrants, of Muslims, of domestic crime and criminals, of changing cultural mores, of refugees, of disease—and a host of deeply authoritarian impulses. In such a milieu, it became acceptable to bash refugees fleeing appalling conflicts, and even to argue—as did several GOP hopefuls during the party’s presidential primary—that only Syria’s Christian refugees should be admitted into the country.13
Less than two months after the November 2015 terrorist atrocity in Paris, Trump released a half-minute television commercial. “The politicians can pretend it’s something else,” a narrator intoned, “but Donald Trump calls it radical Islamic terrorism. That’s why he’s calling for a temporary shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until we can figure out what’s going on.” After another few seconds devoted to the candidate’s plan to build a wall to seal off the United States from Mexico, the footage cut back to Trump. His anti-immigrant solutions, he shouted out to an enthusiastic crowd, would “make America great again!”14
Throughout the primary season and the general-election campaign, Trump ginned up his crowds by calling for the mass execution of terrorism suspects, by advocating collective punishment and “the torture,” and by mocking Muslims for their dietary rituals and religious beliefs.15
These words aren’t just empty slogans. They come with consequences, and they legitimize bigotries and hatreds long harbored by many but, for the most part, kept under wraps by the broader society. They give the imprimatur of a major political party to criminal violence. In the five days following Trump’s December 7, 2015, announcement that he would seek to ban all Muslims from entering the country, hate crimes against Muslims surged. When researchers at California State University, San Bernardino, analyzed crime data from the period, they found a shocking 87.5 percent increase in such crimes against Muslims in that five-day period compared with the same week in 2014. Taken as a whole, in the 20 states that the researchers looked at, anti-Muslim crimes increased by 78 percent in 2015 over the previous year.16
A demagogue such as Trump connects best with a scared audience, with people so addled by fear that they cease to think rationally. Trump’s appeal, as he mowed down his Republican primary opponents and contested the general election, wasn’t based on how he hewed to facts but on how he played to emotions. That many of his statements were spun out of thin air was far less important to his cheering crowds than that he seemed to connect with their anxieties about a world run amok.17
It was the same playbook used by a slew of Tea Party figures in the years leading up to Trump’s eruption onto the national political stage. In mid-February 2016, Maine Governor Paul LePage, a self-made businessman who’d won election as part of the Tea Party sweep of 2010, addressed a town-hall meeting in which he urged stringent restrictions on the admission of Syrian refugees into Maine. LePage—whose political résumé was full of such controversial acts as ordering officials to destroy a mural on the Department of Labor building showing striking trade unionists in a positive light, talking about African-American drug dealers coming north from New York to seduce young white Maine women, and calling for drug dealers to be guillotined—told the crowd that asylum seekers were the carriers of all sorts of diseases, including something he referred to as the “ziki fly.” This was presumably a reference to the Zika virus, carried by mosquitoes and at that moment striking fear not throughout the Middle East but in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the southernmost reaches of the United States.18
There are, in modern America, friction zones, spaces both physical and psychological, where our dreams coexist with our nightmares, where opportunity and despair intermingle, where innocence and depredation collide. In these zones—along the US-Mexican border, where fears of invasion and terrorism loom like grotesque caricatures; in our terrors about children being abducted, raped, or killed; in neighborhoods that serve as buffers between decayed and desperate ghettos and wealthy suburbs; in the anxiety we feel at airport security lines, as the convenience of interconnected travel clashes with our fear of terrorists—in all of these places, different rules apply.19
Out of these nightmares, demagogues like LePage and Trump can rise: would-be leaders who promise quick and violent fixes to deep and intractable problems. In the friction zones, anything goes—up to and including torture.20
It is on the border, for example, that undocumented migrants caught by the Border Patrol frequently have their faces pushed into cactus spikes. It is in our suburbs that parents who allow their children to play outside, or single moms who leave their kids unattended while they head off to job interviews, can find their lives uprooted by hostile personnel from Child Protective Services. It is in poor neighborhoods that men—and it’s usually men, although, as the Sandra Bland case shows, poor women aren’t immune from this treatment—can be yanked from cars and savagely beaten or killed by the police on nothing more than a hunch or a whim. It is in these friction zones that our sense of decency is most aggressively undermined and our willingness to embrace unsavory policies and law-enforcement practices is most viscerally displayed.21
In an age of anxiety, it is too easy to assume that everyone has fallen into the fear trap, that the choice isn’t whether to fear but simply what to fear. This was Trump’s demagogic gamble—and, in the short term, it paid off for him hugely. It is also too easy to assume that the most debased style of political rhetoric will always work; that political speech that sows discord will drown out that which seeks unity; that race- and religion-baiting will beat the language of universalism.22
Yet even in a season of rage, there are people everywhere who insist on bucking the trend—people who understand that the language of fear and hatred is often simply a manifestation, in mutated form, of deeply unfair power relationships. Theirs are the stories that we must nurture: Their more optimistic understanding of community is the one that offers a way forward in an age too often paralyzed by anxiety and rendered brutal by our epidemic of fear.23"
How Trump Has Normalized the Unspeakable | The Nation