Trump Administration, Week 91: Friday, 12 October – Thursday, 18 October 2018 (Days 631-637)

Cambridge, MA, 20 January 2018

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 12 October 2018, Day 631:

 

Trump administration weighs new family-separation effort at the borderThe Washington Post, Nick Miroff, Josh Dawsey, and Maria Sacchetti, Friday, 12 October 2018: “The White House is actively considering plans that could again separate parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border, hoping to reverse soaring numbers of families attempting to cross illegally into the United States, according to several administration officials with direct knowledge of the effort. One option under consideration is for the government to detain asylum-seeking families together for up to 20 days, then give parents a choice — stay in family detention with their child for months or years as their immigration case proceeds, or allow children to be taken to a government shelter so other relatives or guardians can seek custody. That option — called ‘binary choice’ — is one of several under consideration amid the president’s frustration over border security. Trump has been unable to fulfill key promises to build a border wall and end what he calls ‘catch and release,’ a process that began under past administrations in which most detained families are quickly freed to await immigration hearings. The number of migrant family members arrested and charged with illegally crossing the border jumped 38 percent in August and is now at a record level, according to Department of Homeland Security officials.”

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Changes His Story on Discussions Of Citizenship Question for CensusThe New York Times, Glenn Thrush and Adam Liptak, Friday, 12 October 2018: “Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has shifted his explanation for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census, saying he now recalls discussing it with Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, according to court documents filed Thursday. Mr. Ross, who faces a court order to provide a deposition to the plaintiffs in a lawsuit seeking to strip the question from the questionnaire, told a congressional committee earlier this year that he had only talked about the question with Justice Department officials to determine its legality. Mr. Ross now says Mr. Bannon suggested that he contact Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state whom Mr. Trump appointed to a commission to investigate his unsubstantiated claims that millions of illegal immigrants cast ballots for Hillary Clinton in 2016. The panel was later disbanded, and Mr. Kobach is currently the Republican candidate for governor of Kansas.” See also, New emails reveal a central political motivation for changing the censusThe Washington Post, Philip Bump, Friday, 12 October 2018: “When Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross instructed the Census Bureau earlier this year to include a question on the decennial census about the citizenship of residents, he offered a specific rationale. Having data on citizenship, he wrote, would allow the government to better enforce the Voting Rights Act, Civil-Rights-era legislation meant to protect voting from discriminatory policies. This rationale was quickly treated with skepticism. The Trump administration has not in other significant ways championed the importance of Americans to vote or seemed particularly concerned about cracking down on efforts to limit voting. In fact, President Trump convened a commission meant to study the purported issue of voter fraud, an effort that in other places has been a precursor to new laws making voting more difficult, not easier. Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, even praised a 2013 Supreme Court decision that gutted the rule. So what was the rationale? Newly released emails from the Commerce Department offer an unsurprising answer. The emails were released in response to questions Ross faced about why he’d demanded the new question in the first place. He was asked in March whether he’d spoken with anyone at the White House about the question, a pointed effort to figure out whether this was part of the Trump administration’s broad effort to crack down on immigrants in the country illegally. Ross said he hadn’t spoken with anyone at the White House — but the new emails show that, in fact, he had. Specifically, he spoke with Stephen K. Bannon, the former adviser to the president who was one of the more outspoken anti-immigration members of the president’s early team. Ross had also spoken with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, as shown in an email Kobach sent to the secretary. Kobach has long crusaded against the essentially nonexistent scourge of rampant voter fraud and served as the vice chairman of Trump’s voter fraud commission.”

Inside the Vast Tent City Housing Migrant Children in a Texas DesertThe New York Times, Manny Fernandez and Caitlin Dickerson, Friday, 12 October 2018: “The tent city that the federal government operates at the Tornillo border station about 35 miles southeast of El Paso on the Mexico border was built in June as a temporary home for a few hundred migrant children. Four months later, it has rapidly expanded and has nearly quadrupled in size. The creation and expansion of the Tornillo camp shows the degree to which the Trump administration has taken a disaster-oriented, militaristic approach to the care and housing of migrant youths. The contractor hired by the government has assisted emergency workers in natural and man-made disasters around the globe.”

Continue reading Week 91, Friday, 12 October – Thursday, 18 October 2018 (Days 631-637)

 

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Trump Administration, Week 90: Friday, 5 October – Thursday, 11 October 2018 (Days 624-630)

Cambridge, MA, 20 January 2018

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 5 October 2018, Day 624:

 

Divided Senate clears way for Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme CourtThe Washington Post, Seung Min Kim and John Wagner, Friday, 5 October 2018 and updated on Saturday, 6 October 2018: “A bitterly divided Senate cleared the way for Brett M. Kavanaugh to become the next Supreme Court justice as President Trump’s nominee secured the support of a handful of wavering senators in a tumultuous confirmation fight. During a frenzied day Friday on Capitol Hill, two Republicans — Susan Collins of Maine and Jeff Flake of Arizona — and one Democrat — Joe Manchin III of West Virginia — said they would vote for Kavanaugh, whose confirmation seemed in peril three weeks ago over allegations of sexual misconduct. Another lawmaker, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), broke with her party, saying Kavanaugh was a good man but ‘not the right man for the court at this time.’ Their pronouncements turned Saturday’s confirmation vote into a fait accompli, and one that will reverberate for the judiciary, the Senate and the nationwide #MeToo movement. In a show of defiance, Democrats spent the night making impassioned floor speeches against Kavanaugh’s nomination to an almost-empty chamber. Their speeches were part of their strategy of using the full 30 hours of debate time automatically granted to senators, allowing them to delay the final vote on Kavanaugh until late afternoon. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) delivered a blistering, two-hour floor speech, starting at 4 a.m., in which he read testimonies from more than 30 rape and sexual assault survivors who had written to him after Kavanaugh’s nomination.” See also, Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, and Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, Will Vote for Kavanaugh, Ensuring His ConfirmationThe New York times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Nicholas Fandos, Friday, 5 October 2018: “Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, whose Supreme Court hearings ripped apart the Senate and roiled the nation, headed for final confirmation to the court after two key undecided senators announced on Friday that they would back him, despite allegations of sexual assault and deep-seated Democratic opposition. The last-minute announcements by Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, and Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, capped an emotional and deeply divisive confirmation process that, in the end, turned as much on questions about Judge Kavanaugh’s honesty, temperament and treatment of women as it did on his jurisprudence. A final vote is expected late Saturday afternoon.” See also, Read Susan Collins’s Speech Declaring Support for Brett KavanaughThe New York Times, Friday, 5 October 2018.

F.B.I. Review of Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Was Limited From the StartThe New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Michael S. Schmidt, and Adam Goldman, Friday, 5 October 2018: “An exasperated President Trump picked up the phone to call the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, last Sunday. Tell the F.B.I. they can investigate anything, he told Mr. McGahn, because we need the critics to stop. Not so fast, Mr. McGahn said. Mr. McGahn, according to people familiar with the conversation, told the president that even though the White House was facing a storm of condemnation for limiting the F.B.I. background check into sexual misconduct allegations against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, a wide-ranging inquiry like some Democrats were demanding — and Mr. Trump was suggesting — would be potentially disastrous for Judge Kavanaugh’s chances of confirmation to the Supreme Court.”

American Bar Association to reevaluate Kavanaugh’s high rating, citing his ‘temperament,’ The Washington Post, Alex Horton, Friday, 5 October 2018: “The American Bar Association said Friday that it will reevaluate its high rating of Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh after his combative, tear-streaked Senate testimony last week, signaling doubts about the judge’s temperament. ‘New information of a material nature regarding temperament’ during the hearing prompted the reopening, the ABA said Friday. The ABA committee that reviews federal judges awards ratings based on three criteria: integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament. The national lawyers organization told the Senate Judiciary Committee that its team of internal reviewers ‘does not expect to complete a process and revote’ before the anticipated final confirmation vote Saturday. The process became rancorous after Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when both were teens. The ABA and its committee declined to comment further about what portions of Kavanaugh’s testimony raised concerns. Regarding temperament, the ABA says judges should have ‘compassion, decisiveness, open-mindedness, courtesy, patience, freedom from bias and commitment to equal justice under the law.’ Kavanaugh was combative with Senate Democrats throughout his testimony, claiming that Ford’s accusation was a vehicle of ‘revenge on behalf of the Clintons’ and responding angrily to questions about his drinking habits.”

Continue reading Week 90, Friday, 5 October – Thursday, 11 October 2018 (Days 624-630) 

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Trump Administration, Week 89: Friday, 28 September – Thursday, 4 October 2018 (Days 617-623)

Families Belong Together and Free: rally in Williamstown, MA, Saturday, 30 June 2018

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 28 September 2018, Day 617:

 

Trump administration sees a 7-degree rise in global temperatures by 2100The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin, Brady Dennis, and Chris Mooney, Friday, 28 September 2018: “Last month, deep in a 500-page environmental impact statement, the Trump administration made a startling assumption: On its current course, the planet will warm a disastrous seven degrees by the end of this century. A rise of seven degrees Fahrenheit, or about four degrees Celsius, compared with preindustrial levels would be catastrophic, according to scientists. Many coral reefs would dissolve in increasingly acidic oceans. Parts of Manhattan and Miami would be underwater without costly coastal defenses. Extreme heat waves would routinely smother large parts of the globe. But the administration did not offer this dire forecast, premised on the idea that the world will fail to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, as part of an argument to combat climate change. Just the opposite: The analysis assumes the planet’s fate is already sealed. The draft statement, issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), was written to justify President Trump’s decision to freeze federal fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks built after 2020. While the proposal would increase greenhouse gas emissions, the impact statement says, that policy would add just a very small drop to a very big, hot bucket. ‘The amazing thing they’re saying is human activities are going to lead to this rise of carbon dioxide that is disastrous for the environment and society. And then they’re saying they’re not going to do anything about it,’ said Michael MacCracken, who served as a senior scientist at the U.S. Global Change Research Program from 1993 to 2002.”

Trump Agrees to Open ‘Limited’ F.B.I. Investigation Into Accusations Against Supreme Court Nominee Brett KavanaughThe New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Friday, 28 September 2018: “President Trump, ceding to a request from Senate Republican leaders facing an insurrection in their ranks, ordered the F.B.I. on Friday to reopen a background investigation of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, his nominee to the Supreme Court, and examine the allegations of sexual assault that have been made against him. The announcement plunged Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination into new turmoil after a tumultuous week on Capitol Hill, and will delay, by as much as a week, a final confirmation vote. It came only 24 hours after the judge and one of his accusers, Christine Blasey Ford, each gave emotional testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee that led many Republicans to think Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation was inevitable. Republican leaders had little choice but to ask Mr. Trump to order the F.B.I. inquiry after Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, first announced he was supporting Judge Kavanaugh, and then, in a stunning reversal, said he would not vote to confirm him without an F.B.I. investigation first. With a handful of allies in a closely divided Senate, Mr. Flake, a conservative but an outspoken critic of the president, could determine the future of the Kavanaugh nomination, and that gave him leverage over Senate Republicans as well as the president.” See also, Kavanaugh vote: Senate Republican leaders agree to new FBI background investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett KavanaughThe Washington Post, Seung Min Kim, John Wagner, and Josh Dawsey, Friday, 28 September 2018: “President Trump on Friday ordered the FBI to reopen the investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh’s background, a stunning turnaround in an emotional battle over sexual assault allegations that has shaken the Senate and reverberated across the country. The dramatic developments capped an extraordinary day on Capitol Hill, which began with a sense of momentum for Kavanaugh but then sharply changed when one of Trump’s fiercest Republican critics, Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), who at first endorsed the nominee, emerged from a private meeting with Democrats to call for a renewed inquiry into misconduct allegations.” See also, How the F.B.I. Will Investigate the Accusations of Sexual Assault Against Supreme Court Nominee Brett KavanaughThe New York Times, Adam Goldman and Rebecca R. Ruiz, Friday, 28 September 2018: “The renewed F.B.I. background check of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh over allegations of sexual assault will be relatively limited, relying on voluntary interviews and document production. Former prosecutors said that because it is not a criminal investigation, F.B.I. agents will not be able to get search warrants or grand jury subpoenas compelling witnesses to testify or hand over documents. Witnesses and others can refuse to cooperate, though talking to an F.B.I. agent is often a powerful motivator to tell the truth.” See also, Here’s What Happened as Senator Jeff Flake Chose to Delay the Kavanaugh VoteBuzzFeed News, David Mack, Friday, 28 September 2018. See also, A Tumultuous 24 Hours: How Jeff Flake Delayed a Vote on KavanaughThe New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Nicholas Fandos, and Michael S. Schmidt, Friday, 28 September 2018. See also, A minute-by-minute breakdown of how Kavanaugh’s nomination got held upThe Washington Post, Amber Phillips, Friday, 28 September 2018.

Full Transcript: Senator Jeff Flake Is Confronted on Video by Sexual Assault SurvivorsThe New York Times, Niraj Chokshi and Astead W. Herndon, Friday, 28 September 2018: “The scene was striking: Two women blocking an elevator door, angrily demanding to be heard as a senator stood by, listening quietly, nodding and looking away. ‘On Monday, I stood in front of your office,’ one of the women, Ana Maria Archila, forcefully told Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona. ‘I told the story of my sexual assault.’ Mr. Flake had just announced his intention on Friday morning to vote to confirm Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, despite emotional testimony a day earlier from Christine Blasey Ford, who had accused Judge Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Reporters swarmed around as Mr. Flake waited in the elevator, but the two women interrupted and demanded that he listen.” See also, ‘Look at me when I’m talking to you!’: Sexual assault survivors confront Senator Jeff Flake in Capitol elevatorThe Washington Post, Lindsey Bever, Friday, 28 September 2018: “After Sen. Jeff Flake’s announcement that he would, in fact, vote to confirm Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, the emotional debate over the confirmation spilled into the halls of Congress — on live television — as two women loudly and tearfully confronted the Arizona Republican in an el­e­va­tor Friday, telling him that he was dis­miss­ing the pain of sexual-assault survivors.” See also, Protest Matters: Senate Asks FBI to Investigate Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh After Senator Jeff Flake Is Confronted by Sexual Assault SurvivorsThe Intercept, Robert Mackey, Friday, 28 September 2018: “The Senate Judiciary Committee abruptly halted the effort to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Friday, agreeing to a request from Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, to delay a final vote for one week, to give the FBI time to investigate three allegations of sexual assault and harassment against the judge. Flake’s request, which stunned colleagues, came after he was confronted on live television by two female protesters who expressed dismay at the Republican rush to confirm the man who had been credibly accused of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford, in dramatic testimony to the committee on Thursday.”

Continue reading Week 89, Friday, 28 September – Thursday, 4 October 2018 (Days 617-623)

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Trump Administration, Week 88: Friday, 21 September – Thursday, 27 September 2018 (Days 610-616)

Families Belong Together and Free: Rally in Williamstown, MA, Saturday, 30 June 2018

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 21 September 2018, Day 610:

 

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Suggested Secretly Recording Trump and Discussed the 25th Amendment in the Spring of 2017, The New York Times, Adam Aoldman and Michael S. Schmidt, Friday, 21 September 2018: “The deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, suggested last year that he secretly record President Trump in the White House to expose the chaos consuming the administration, and he discussed recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Mr. Trump from office for being unfit. Mr. Rosenstein made these suggestions in the spring of 2017 when Mr. Trump’s firing of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director plunged the White House into turmoil. Over the ensuing days, the president divulged classified intelligence to Russians in the Oval Office, and revelations emerged that Mr. Trump had asked Mr. Comey to pledge loyalty and end an investigation into a senior aide. Mr. Rosenstein was just two weeks into his job. He had begun overseeing the Russia investigation and played a key role in the president’s dismissal of Mr. Comey by writing a memo critical of his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. But Mr. Rosenstein was caught off guard when Mr. Trump cited the memo in the firing, and he began telling people that he feared he had been used. Mr. Rosenstein made the remarks about secretly recording Mr. Trump and about the 25th Amendment in meetings and conversations with other Justice Department and F.B.I. officials. Several people described the episodes in interviews over the past several months, insisting on anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The people were briefed either on the events themselves or on memos written by F.B.I. officials, including Andrew G. McCabe, then the acting bureau director, that documented Mr. Rosenstein’s actions and comments. None of Mr. Rosenstein’s proposals apparently came to fruition. It is not clear how determined he was about seeing them through, though he did tell Mr. McCabe that he might be able to persuade Attorney General Jeff Sessions and John F. Kelly, then the secretary of homeland security and now the White House chief of staff, to mount an effort to invoke the 25th Amendment.” See also, McCabe memos say Rosenstein considered secretly recording Trump, The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky, Friday, 21 September 2018. See also, So You Want to Use the 25th Amendment to Get Rid of Donald Trump? Here Are the Hurdles to Removing a Mentally Impaired President. The Intercept, James Risen, Friday, 21 September 2018: “Of the three major processes through which Trump could be evicted from the White House — impeachment, indictment, or a determination of mental unfitness under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution — the last may be the Republic’s only hope. Today’s polarized politics and Republican strength in Congress would make impeachment nearly impossible, while longstanding Justice Department legal opinions may convince federal prosecutors that they can’t indict a sitting president. Yet the 25th Amendment has never been used to remove a president, and the path to doing so is by no means clear.”

Kavanaugh ally Ed Whelan says he did not communicate with White House or Supreme Court nominee about his theory of another attacker, The Washington Post, Elise Viebeck, Emma Brown, and Robert Costa, Friday, 21 September 2018: “A conservative legal commentator on Friday denied communicating with the White House or Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh about his theory that the woman [Christine Blasey Ford] accusing Kavanaugh of sexual assault was mistaking him for someone else. ‘I have not communicated at all with [White House counsel] Donald McGahn or anyone at the White House, or Judge Kavanaugh, about the topic of the Twitter thread,’ Ed Whelan said in a brief interview with The Washington Post…. Whelan’s claims on Twitter on Thursday evening that Ford might have been assaulted by someone else raised immediate questions about whether he had spoken to or coordinated with Republican leaders about his theory…. Whelan has been involved in helping to advise Kavanaugh’s confirmation effort and is close friends with Kavanaugh and Leonard Leo, the head of the Federalist Society, who has been helping to spearhead the nomination. On Sunday, Ford noticed that — even before her name became public — Whelan appeared to be seeking information about her. That morning, Ford alerted an associate via email that Whelan had looked at her LinkedIn page, according to the email, which was reviewed by The Post. LinkedIn allows some subscribers to see who views their pages. Ford sent the email about 90 minutes after The Post shared her name with a White House spokesman and hours before her identity was revealed in a story posted on its website.”

‘This is an extraordinary moment’: Yale Law faculty call on Senate committee to treat sexual assault allegations seriously in the hearing on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, The Washington Post, Susan Svrluga and Shelby Hanssen, Friday, 21 September 2018: “A majority of Yale Law School faculty members are urging the Senate Judiciary Committee not to rush to judgment in considering Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, a graduate of the school, and to treat seriously allegations regarding a past sexual assault. On Friday afternoon, as some Yale Law students worked on plans for protests on Monday, 47 faculty members sent a letter to the committee, writing, ‘Some questions are so fundamental to judicial integrity that the Senate cannot rush past them without undermining the public’s confidence in the Court. This is particularly so for an appointment that will yield a deciding vote on women’s rights and myriad other questions of immense consequence in American lives.’ Nearly every permanent member of the faculty joined the effort, which happened essentially overnight, said Muneer Ahmad, clinical professor of law and deputy dean for experiential education at Yale Law School. It is something that had never happened in his more than 15 years on the faculty. ‘In my view it’s an extraordinary statement that this is an extraordinary moment in our country’s history,’ with great concern about public confidence in the Supreme Court, he said. Ahmad said professors sought to express their belief that the confirmation process should proceed in a fair and deliberate way in light of the charges made by Christine Blasey Ford.”

Continue reading Week 88, Friday, 21 September – Thursday, 27 September 2018 (Days 610-616)

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Week 87: Friday, 14 September – Thursday, 20 September 2018 (Days 603-609)

Families Belong Together and Free: rally in Pittsfield, MA, Saturday, 30 June 2018

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 14 September 2018, Day 603:

 

A Sexual-Misconduct Allegation Against the Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Stirs Tension Among Democrats in Congress, The New Yorker, Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer, Friday, 14 September 2018: “On Thursday, Senate Democrats disclosed that they had referred a complaint regarding President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, to the F.B.I. for investigation. The complaint came from a woman who accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct when they were both in high school, more than thirty years ago. The woman, who has asked not to be identified, first approached Democratic lawmakers in July, shortly after Trump nominated Kavanaugh. The allegation dates back to the early nineteen-eighties, when Kavanaugh was a high-school student at Georgetown Preparatory School, in Bethesda, Maryland, and the woman attended a nearby high school. In the letter, the woman alleged that, during an encounter at a party, Kavanaugh held her down, and that he attempted to force himself on her. She claimed in the letter that Kavanaugh and a classmate of his, both of whom had been drinking, turned up music that was playing in the room to conceal the sound of her protests, and that Kavanaugh covered her mouth with his hand. She was able to free herself. Although the alleged incident took place decades ago and the three individuals involved were minors, the woman said that the memory had been a source of ongoing distress for her, and that she had sought psychological treatment as a result…. In recent months, the woman had told friends that Kavanaugh’s nomination had revived the pain of the memory, and that she was grappling with whether to go public with her story. She contacted her congresswoman, Anna Eshoo, a Democrat, sending her a letter describing her allegation…. The letter was also sent to the office of Senator Dianne Feinstein. As the ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Feinstein was preparing to lead Democratic questioning of Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing weeks later. The woman contacted Feinstein’s office directly, according to multiple sources…. Feinstein’s decision to handle the matter in her own office, without notifying other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, stirred concern among her Democratic colleagues. For several days, Feinstein declined requests from other Democrats on the Judiciary Committee to share the woman’s letter and other relevant communications. A source familiar with the committee’s activities said that Feinstein’s staff initially conveyed to other Democratic members’ offices that the incident was too distant in the past to merit public discussion, and that Feinstein had ‘taken care of it.’ On Wednesday, after media inquiries to the Democratic members multiplied, and concern among congressional colleagues increased, Feinstein agreed to brief the other Democrats on the committee, with no staff present.” See also, Letter Claims Attempted Sexual Assault by a Teenage Brett KavanaughThe New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Michael S. Schmidt, Friday, 14 September 2018.

Paul Manafort Agrees to Cooperate With Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Pleads Guilty to Reduced Charges, The New York Times, Sharon LaFraniere and Kenneth P. Vogel, Friday, 14 September 2018: “Paul Manafort agreed on Friday to tell all he knows to the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, as part of a plea deal that could shape the final stages of the inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The deal was a surrender by Mr. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, who had vowed for months to prove his innocence in a case stemming from his work as a political consultant in Ukraine. And it was a decisive triumph for Mr. Mueller, who now has a cooperating witness who was at the center of the Trump campaign during a crucial period in 2016 and has detailed insight into another target of federal prosecutors, the network of lobbyists and influence brokers seeking to help foreign interests in Washington. Mr. Manafort’s decision, announced at a federal court hearing in Washington in which he pleaded guilty to two conspiracy charges, was likely to unsettle Mr. Trump, who had praised Mr. Manafort for standing up to prosecutors’ pressure and had hinted that he might pardon him. [Read the court documents.] It is not clear what information Mr. Manafort offered prosecutors in three days of negotiations that led to the plea deal. But in court on Friday, Mr. Manafort agreed to an open-ended arrangement that requires him to answer ‘fully, truthfully, completely and forthrightly’ questions about ‘any and all matters’ the government wants to ask about.” See also, Paul Manafort will cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of guilty plea, prosecutor says, The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, Devlin Barrett, and Justin Jouvenal, Friday, 14 September 2018: “President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort agreed Friday to provide testimony to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III as part of a plea deal that could answer some of the most critical questions about whether any Americans conspired with Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election. The decision to cooperate with Mueller in hopes of a lesser prison sentence is a stunning development, signaling Manafort’s surrender to criminal charges that he cheated the Internal Revenue Service, violated foreign lobbying laws and tried to obstruct justice while opening a new potential legal vulnerability for Trump.” See also, Parsing Paul Manafort’s Plea Agreement for How Much Dirt He Has on Trump, The New Yorker, Adam Davidson, Friday, 14 September 2018: “On Friday morning, Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign manager, pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice. As part of the plea, he agreed to coöperate with the special counsel, Robert Mueller. Manafort will lose several properties, the money in several bank accounts, and a life-insurance policy, which appear to have value well in excess of ten million dollars. In exchange, Manafort was assured that he will spend no more than a decade in prison for the two charges, so long as he fully coöperates with Mueller. We don’t know much more.” See also, Paul Manafort becomes the fifth Trump campaign team member to plead guilty to criminal charges, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Friday, 14 September 2018.

U.S. Is Ending Final Source of Aid for Palestinian Civilians, The New York Times, Edward Wong, Friday, 14 September 2018: “As part of its policy to end all aid for Palestinian civilians, the United States is blocking millions of dollars to programs that build relationships between Israelis and Palestinians, according to current and former American officials briefed on the change. The move to prevent Palestinians — including, in many cases, children — from benefiting from the funds squeezes shut the last remaining channel of American aid to Palestinian civilians. The money had already been budgeted by Congress for allocation in fiscal year 2017, which ends this month. In the past, these designated funds went mostly to programs that organized people-to-people exchanges between Palestinians and Israelis, often for youth. Some went to programs for Israeli Jews and Arabs. Advocates had hoped this last $10 million pot of money would remain available to projects with Palestinians, even as the Trump administration cut all other aid.”

Continue reading Week 87, Friday, 14 September – Thursday, 20 September 2018 (Days 603-609-602)

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Week 86: Friday, 7 September – Thursday, 13 September 2018 (Days 596-602)

Families Belong Together and Free: rally in Pittsfield, MA, Saturday, 30 June 2018

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 7 September 2018, Day 596:

 

As Trump Raged This Week, the Republicans Moved Toward an Ideological Shift That Will Last for Decades, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Friday, 7 September 2018: “On one end of Pennsylvania Avenue this week, President Trump and his closest advisers labored to beat back perceptions, fueled by an anonymous essay in The New York Times and a bruising new book by Bob Woodward, that he had all but lost control of the presidency from within. He lashed out anew at his attorney general, shouted ‘TREASON’ and demanded investigations of his detractors. But as he raged, Republicans in the Senate were pressing steadily through angry liberal protests and Democratic perjury traps toward perhaps the most lasting impact of the Trump era: a conservative shift in the balance of the Supreme Court capable of shaping the country for a generation. The dueling images of a president on the edge and a conservative Congress soldiering forward explain succinctly why almost all elected Republicans here have quietly supported Mr. Trump through his travails — or at least not chastised him too loudly. The payoffs for what Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, called the party’s ‘Faustian bargain’ have been rich and long awaited: deep cuts in corporate and personal tax rates, confirmation of a wave of conservative judges for the lower courts, and soon an ideological shift in the highest court of the land.”

Trump Wants Attorney General Jeff Sessions to Investigate Source of Anonymous Times Op-Ed, The New York Times, Mark Landler, Friday, 7 September 2018: “President Trump said on Friday that he wanted Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate the source of an anonymous Op-Ed essay published in The New York Times, intensifying his attack on an article he has characterized as an act of treason. Speaking to reporters on Air Force One as he traveled to Fargo, N.D., Mr. Trump said, ‘I would say Jeff should be investigating who the author of that piece was because I really believe it’s national security.’ Mr. Trump said he was also considering action against The Times, though he did not elaborate.” See also, Trump says Justice Department should investigate anonymous op-ed author, The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey, David Nakamura, and Philip Rucker, Friday, 7 September 2018.

As Confirmation Hearings End, Democrats Accuse Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh of Dissembling, The New York Times, Charlie Savage and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Friday, 7 September 2018: “Senate Democrats and their allies accused Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on Friday of misleading the Judiciary Committee, saying he dissembled in testimony about crucial issues ranging from his views on abortion rights to his involvement in several Bush-era controversies. But Republicans expressed confidence that none of the punches Democrats had thrown at the Supreme Court nominee had landed with sufficient force to jeopardize his confirmation. Four days of Supreme Court confirmation hearings ended on Friday the way they began, with sharply partisan charges and tension remarkable for normally staid proceedings. In one of the strongest statements on Friday, Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, accused Judge Kavanaugh on Twitter of lying about whether he had used ‘stolen documents’ pilfered from Democrats on the Judiciary Committee when he was a White House lawyer under President George W. Bush. ‘What else is he lying about?’ Mr. Wyden wrote. ‘His views on overturning #RoevWade? Whether he was involved in Bush-era torture programs? Whether he believes Trump can pardon himself?'” See also, Senator Patrick Leahy says Kavanaugh was ‘not truthful’ when he denied knowing he had received stolen Democratic documents, The Washington Post, Michael Kranish, Friday, 7 September 2018: “Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said Friday that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was ‘not truthful’ when he denied knowing that he had received documents that Leahy said had been ‘stolen’ from him and other Democrats. Leahy said that emails disclosed during Kavanaugh’s nomination hearing this week buttress his case that Kavanaugh knew, or should have known, that he had received documents that Republican staffers took from a computer jointly shared with Democrats. ‘There were numerous emails sent to him that made it very clear this was stolen information, including a draft letter from me,’ Leahy said in an interview.” See also, Confirmed: Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Can’t Be Trusted, The New York Times, Editorial Board, Friday, 7 September 2018: “In a more virtuous world, Judge Brett Kavanaugh would be deeply embarrassed by the manner in which he has arrived at the doorstep of a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. He was nominated by a president who undermines daily the nation’s democratic order and mocks the constitutional values that Judge Kavanaugh purports to hold dear. Now he’s being rammed through his confirmation process with an unprecedented degree of secrecy and partisan maneuvering by Republican senators who, despite their overflowing praise for his legal acumen and sterling credentials, appear terrified for the American people to find out much of anything about him beyond his penchant for coaching girls’ basketball.”

Continue reading Week 86, Friday, 7 September – Thursday, 13 September 2018 (Days 596-602)

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Week 85: Friday, 31 August – Thursday, 6 September 2018 (Days 589-595)

Families Belong Together and Free: rally in Pittsfield, MA, Saturday, 30 June 2018

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 31 August 2018, Day 589:

 

Federal Judge in Texas Delivers Unexpected Victory for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Friday, 31 August 2018: “A federal judge in Texas declined on Friday to halt an Obama-era program that protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation, handing a temporary victory to activists who are waging a legal fight against the Trump administration to save it. The judge, Andrew S. Hanen of the Federal District Court in Houston, said the program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, had been relied upon by hundreds of thousands of immigrants since it was established almost six years ago, and should not be abruptly ended. The ruling means that young immigrants who were brought illegally to the United States as small children can continue to apply for the program, which shields them from immediate deportation and provides a permit to work legally in the United States.”

Still separated: Nearly 500 migrant children taken from their parents remain in U.S. custodyThe Washington Post, Maria Sacchetti, Friday, 31 August 2018: “Lawyers are coldcalling phone numbers in far-flung Central American villages, and enlisting church pastors and schoolteachers to help. They are spreading the word on radio stations, putting up posters and setting up Spanish-language hotlines. They are trying to reach every parent separated from their children by the Trump administration. More than a month after a court deadline passed for the government to reunite families divided by President Trump’s border crackdown, nearly 500 children remain in U.S. government-funded shelters without their parents, according to court papers filed Thursday night. Advocates and government officials say it could be weeks, months or longer before they are together. Nearly two-thirds of the 497 minors still in custody — including 22 ‘tender-age’ children, who are younger than 5 — have parents who were deported, mostly in the first weeks of Trump’s ‘zero-tolerance’ policy. Their lawyers are locating parents in their home countries to ask whether they want their children sent back, or would rather have them remain in the United States to pursue their own immigration claims. At the same time, the lawyers are trying to bring some deported parents back to seek permission to live in the United States — a decision that might end up with U.S. District Judge Dana M. Sabraw, who issued the reunification order.”

Thousands of Vietnamese, including children of U.S. troops, could be deported under tough Trump policy, The Washington Post, Simon Denyer, Friday, 31 August 2018: “Nearly 1.3 million Vietnamese citizens have immigrated to the United States since the communist takeover of South Vietnam in 1975. Many came in the wave of ‘boat people’ who made headlines in the late 1970s as they fled Vietnam in overcrowded and unsafe vessels. The new arrivals were given green cards when they reached the United States, but many … lacked the education, language skills or legal help needed to negotiate the complex bureaucratic process of acquiring citizenship. Many came as children, attended schools and colleges in the United States, worked, paid taxes and raised families. Decades on, their lives and families could be ripped apart again. The Trump administration, in a policy shaped by senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, has reinterpreted a 2008 agreement reached with Vietnam by the George W. Bush administration — that Vietnamese citizens who arrived before the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1995 would not be ‘subject to return.’ Now, the White House says, there is no such immunity to deportation for any noncitizen found guilty of a crime.”

Continue reading Week 85, Friday, 31 August – Thursday, 6 September 2018 (Days 589-595)

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Week 84: Friday, 24 August – Thursday, 30 August 2018 (Days 582-588)

Families Belong Together and Free: rally in Pittsfield, MA, Saturday, 30 June 2018

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 24 August 2018, Day 582:

 

Allen Weisselberg, Top Trump Organization Official, Was Granted Immunity for Testimony by Federal Prosecutors in Manhattan for His Grand Jury Testimony about Michael Cohen, The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt and Steve Eder, Friday, 24 August 2018: “Federal prosecutors in Manhattan struck a deal earlier this summer with Allen Weisselberg, the longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, granting him immunity for his grand jury testimony about Michael D. Cohen, a person briefed on the arrangement said Friday. News of Mr. Weisselberg’s testimony came days after Mr. Cohen said Mr. Trump had directed him to commit campaign finance crimes and one day after another Trump loyalist, the tabloid executive David Pecker, was revealed to have agreed to help prosecutors in their case. The person briefed on the deal said that it was narrow in scope, protecting Mr. Weisselberg from self-incrimination in sharing information with prosecutors about Mr. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer, who pleaded guilty on Tuesday to tax and campaign finance charges. The latter charges stemmed from payments during the campaign to two women who said they had affairs with Mr. Trump. It was not, the person said, a blanket immunity extending beyond the information he shared, and Mr. Weisselberg remains in his job at the Trump Organization.” See also, Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg, who allegedly helped arrange hush-money reimbursement to Cohen, received immunity from federal prosecutors in New York, The Washington Post, Carol D. Leonnig, Devlin Barrett, and Rosalind S. Helderman, Friday, 24 August 2018: “A federal investigation that led President Trump’s longtime lawyer to implicate Trump in two campaign finance crimes this week also secured the cooperation of one of the top-ranking executives at Trump’s private company. Allen Weisselberg, chief financial officer for the Trump Organization, was granted immunity by federal prosecutors in New York who were investigating Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen, according to people familiar with the probe…. The decision to grant Weisselberg immunity gave prosecutors access to one of the highest-ranking figures inside the president’s private company, an executive who is considered practically part of Trump’s family…. The Wall Street Journal first reported Weisselberg’s immunity deal.” See also, Allen Weisselberg, Longtime Trump Organization CFO, Testified and Was Granted Immunity in the Michael Cohen Probe, The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus and Nicole Hong, Friday, 24 August 2018: “President Trump’s financial gatekeeper was granted immunity by federal authorities in New York and testified before a grand jury, the third longtime confidant of Mr. Trump known to have provided information in an illegal hush-money investigation that has implicated the president. Allen Weisselberg, who has served for decades as chief financial officer and executive vice president of the Trump Organization, testified several weeks ago in the criminal investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan into Michael Cohen….” See also, Allen Weisselberg, the Man Who Knows Donald Trump’s Financial Secrets, Has Agreed to Become a Coöperating Witness, The New Yorker, Adam Davidson, Friday, 24 August 2018.

Kremlin Sources Go Quiet, Leaving C.I.A. in the Dark About Putin’s Plans for Midterm Elections in the U.S., The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes and Matthew Rosenberg, Friday, 24 August 2018: “In 2016, American intelligence agencies delivered urgent and explicit warnings about Russia’s intentions to try to tip the American presidential election — and a detailed assessment of the operation afterward — thanks in large part to informants close to President Vladimir V. Putin and in the Kremlin who provided crucial details. But two years later, the vital Kremlin informants have largely gone silent, leaving the C.I.A. and other spy agencies in the dark about precisely what Mr. Putin’s intentions are for November’s midterm elections, according to American officials familiar with the intelligence. The officials do not believe the sources have been compromised or killed. Instead, they have concluded they have gone to ground amid more aggressive counterintelligence by Moscow, including efforts to kill spies, like the poisoning in March in Britain of a former Russian intelligence officer that utilized a rare Russian-made nerve agent.”

No One Is Safer. No One Is Served. An immigrant family hides from Donald Trump in a Connecticut church. The New Yorker, Dave Eggers, Friday, 24 August 2018: “The legendary Chicago oral historian and moral force Studs Terkel once said, ‘There is a decency in the American people and a native intelligence—providing they have the facts, providing they have the information.’ During a lifetime of listening to Americans, Terkel came to believe that, when Americans have the information, they do the right thing. So here is the information: For a hundred and fifty-eight days, Malik Naveed bin Rehman, Zahida Altaf, and their five-year-old daughter, Roniya, have been living in the basement of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, Connecticut…. Malik and Zahida are a middle-aged couple, originally from Pakistan, who have been in the United States for almost twenty years…. In 2014, Malik and Zahida gained protection under an executive action concerning enforcement priorities signed by President Obama. Immigrants who had committed no crimes and who had played by the rules—working and paying taxes, for example—were not prioritized for deportation. Then, in 2017, the Trump Administration reversed the executive action, and deportation proceedings were started against Malik and Zahida…. There are at least forty-two families or individuals facing deportation who are now living in churches across the United States. It is only a form of courtesy that prevents ICE from entering sensitive areas such as schools and places of worship; if they choose to, they can go anywhere they please. The forty-two cases are those that have been publicized in some way, but because more than a thousand churches have signed on to participate in the sanctuary movement, and because many more churches are providing sanctuary in secret, the total number of humans hiding in American houses of faith is not known…. [H]ow is the United States made better or more secure by throwing away this family’s eighteen years of law-abiding life in Connecticut? The answer is that we will be no better and no more secure. We will only be more callous, less compassionate, less fair, and we will continue to spin so far from the moral center that we may never find our way back.”

Continue reading Week 84, Friday, 24 August – Thursday, 30 August 2018 (Days 582-588)

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Trump, Week 83: Friday, 17 August – Thursday, 23 August 2018 (Days 575-581)

Families Belong Together and Free: rally in Pittsfield, MA, Saturday, 30 June 2018

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 17 August 2018, Day 575:

 

Bomb that killed 40 children in Yemen was supplied by the United States, CNN, Nima Elbagir, Salma Abdelaziz, Ryan Browne, Barbara Arvanitidis, and Laura Smith-Spark, Friday, 17 August 2018: “The bomb used by the [US-backed] Saudi-led coalition in a devastating attack on a school bus in Yemen was sold as part of a US State Department-sanctioned arms deal with Saudi Arabia, munitions experts told CNN. Working with local Yemeni journalists and munitions experts, CNN has established that the weapon that left dozens of children dead on August 9 was a 500-pound (227 kilogram) laser-guided MK 82 bomb made by Lockheed Martin, one of the top US defense contractors…. As the US-backed Saudi-led coalition scrambles to investigate the strike on the school bus, questions are growing from observers and rights groups about whether the US bears any moral culpability. The US says it does not make targeting decisions for the coalition, which is fighting a Houthi rebel insurgency in Yemen. But it does support its operations through billions of dollars in arms sales, the refueling of Saudi combat aircraft and some sharing of intelligence. ‘I will tell you that we do help them plan what we call, kind of targeting,’ said US Secretary of Defense James Mattis. ‘We do not do dynamic targeting for them.'”

Citing Costs, Trump Retreats From Massive Military Parade in Capital, The New York Times, Eileen Sullivan, Helene Cooper, and Michael D. Shear, Friday, 17 August 2018: “President Trump on Friday officially surrendered his order for a massive military parade in the nation’s capital, as spiraling costs rendered his vision of a Veterans Day extravaganza too expensive to justify. Mr. Trump sought to blame local government officials in Washington for inflating the price of the parade ‘so ridiculously high that I cancelled it’ — a charge they swiftly rejected. ‘Maybe we will do something next year in D.C. when the cost comes WAY DOWN,’ Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. ‘Now we can buy some more jet fighters!’ Several administration officials described a sort of sticker shock after seeing a Pentagon estimate that soared as high as $92 million to pay for the troops, fighter jets, armored vehicles and other military hardware that would be mustered to satisfy the president’s dream of displaying American might…. By Friday morning, Mr. Trump essentially accused the capital city’s government of price gouging. Local officials, he said on Twitter, ‘know a windfall when they see it.’ Responding in a tweet of her own, Washington’s mayor, Muriel E. Bowser, said she was ‘the local politician who finally got thru to the reality star in the White House’ so that he would understand the ‘realities’ of the expense of the kind of parade he wanted. She estimated it at $21.6 million in city spending alone.” See also, Trump cancels military parade he longed to hold as concern over costs grow, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Peter Jamison, Josh Dawsey, Dan Lamothe, Friday, 17 August 2018.

Trump’s Plan for Coal Emissions: Let Coal States Regulate Them, The New York Times, Lisa Friedman, Friday, 17 August 2018: “The Trump administration next week plans to formally propose a vast overhaul of climate change regulations that would allow individual states to decide how, or even whether, to curb carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants, according to a summary of the plan and details provided by three people who have seen the full proposal. The plan would also relax pollution rules for power plants that need upgrades. That, combined with allowing states to set their own rules, creates a serious risk that emissions, which had been falling, could start to rise again, according to environmentalists. The proposal, which President Trump is expected to highlight Tuesday at a rally in West Virginia, amounts to the administration’s strongest and broadest effort yet to address what the president has long described as a regulatory ‘war on coal.’ It would considerably weaken what is known as the Clean Power Plan, former President Barack Obama’s signature regulation for cutting planet-warming emissions at coal-fired plants. That rule, crafted as the United States prepared to enter into the 2015 Paris Agreement on global warming, was the first federal carbon-pollution restriction for power plants. In 2016, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked the regulation from taking effect while a federal court heard arguments from a coalition of coal states that sued to block the rule. It remains suspended. Now, the Trump administration wants to defang the Obama-era rule. The move follows a separate decision this month to freeze Obama-era fuel efficiency standards that were also aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” See also, New Trump power plant plan would release hundreds of millions of tons of CO2 into the air, The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin, published on Saturday, 18 August 2018: “President Trump plans this week to unveil a proposal that would empower states to establish emission standards for coal-fired power plants rather than speeding their retirement — a major overhaul of the Obama administration’s signature climate policy. The plan, which is projected to release at least 12 times the amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere compared with the Obama rule over the next decade, comes as scientists have warned that the world will experience increasingly dire climate effects absent a major cut in carbon emissions.”

Continue reading Week 83, Friday, 17 August – Thursday, 23 August 2018 (Days 575-581)

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Trump, Week 82: Friday, 10 August – Thursday, 16 August 2018 (Days 568-574)

Families Belong Together and Free: rally in Pittsfield, MA, Saturday, 30 June 2018

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 10 August 2018, Day 568:

 

Cables Detail C.I.A. Waterboarding at Secret Prison in Thailand Run by Gina Haspel, The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes and Scott Shane, Friday, 10 August 2018: “In late November 2002, C.I.A. interrogators at a secret prison in Thailand warned a Qaeda suspect that he had to ‘suffer the consequences of his deception.’ As interrogators splashed water on the chest of the man, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, he pleaded that he was trying to recall more information, according to a newly released C.I.A. cable. As he cried, the cable reports, the ‘water treatment was applied.’ The ‘water treatment’ was bureaucratic jargon for waterboarding, and 11 newly released top-secret cables from the time that Gina Haspel, now the C.I.A. director, oversaw the base provide at times graphic detail on the techniques the agency used to brutally interrogate [i.e., torture] Qaeda captives. Agency leaders and officers were racing to uncover what they feared were large-scale plots against the United States in the chaotic months and years after the Sept. 11 attacks. As the chief of the base, Ms. Haspel would have written or authorized the cables, according to Tom Blanton, the director of the National Security Archive, a research organization at George Washington University. The cables, obtained by the archive in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, were redacted to eliminate the names of interrogators and C.I.A. officers involved. ProPublica previously reported on cables from the Thailand black site, which also offered details of the C.I.A.’s methods. Like those documents, the new cables describe the waterboarding of Mr. Nashiri as well as the use of other torture techniques.” See also, Torture of al-Qaeda suspect described in 2002 cables sent by CIA Director Gina Haspel, The Washington Post, Karen DeYoung, Friday, 10 April 2018: “The torture of a suspected al-Qaeda terrorist, including waterboarding, is described in meticulous detail in newly-declassified cables that CIA Director Gina Haspel sent to agency headquarters in late 2002, when she headed a secret U.S. detention facility in Thailand. The suspect, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, was believed to have been involved in planning the USS Cole bombing in Yemen in 2000, and the CIA was convinced that he knew about other attacks being planned. Nashiri’s treatment during interrogation — forced nudity, shackling, being slammed against walls, being confined in a small box and mock executions, as well as waterboarding — has been previously mentioned in broad terms in official reports, hearings, court cases and news reports. But many specifics about what happened to Nashiri during his several-week stay at the Thailand facility, while Haspel was briefly in charge, have not been made public. They are contained in 11 cables obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the National Security Archive, a private research institute, which plans to release them early Friday.”

Trump blasts National Football League (NFL) players for kneeling at preseason games, Politico, Stephanie Murray, Friday, 10 August 2018: “President Donald Trump blasted NFL players on Friday morning for protesting during the national anthem at preseason games, accusing them of being ‘unable to define’ what they are protesting and suggesting the athletes should instead ‘be happy’ and ‘be cool.’ ‘The NFL players are at it again – taking a knee when they should be standing proudly for the national anthem. Numerous players, from different teams, wanted to show their “outrage” at something that most of them are unable to define. They make a fortune doing what they love,’ Trump said in a tweet…. Contrary to the president’s claim, the NFL players who kneel for the national anthem have been vocal and specific about their protests, which began two seasons ago in opposition to racial injustice and police brutality. Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and some of his teammates wore t-shirts Thursday that said ‘more than 60% of prison populations are people of color’ on the front and ‘nearly 5,000 kids are in adults prisons and jails’ on the back, according to NBC Sports.” See also, Trump Blasts N.F.L. Players as Protests Resume During Anthem, The New York Times, Ken Belson and Benjamin Hoffman, published on Thursday, 9 August 2018: “The morning after a handful of N.F.L. players renewed their protests against social inequality and police brutality by raising fists or kneeling during the playing of the national anthem, President Trump renewed his criticism of their actions.”

Trump’s New War on Immigrants, The New Yorker, Masha Gessen, Friday, 10 August 2018: “The Trump Administration is about to change the rules of naturalization in a way intended to drastically cut the number of immigrants who become U.S. citizens. According to NBC News, the White House’s plan is to make immigrants who have received any public assistance ineligible to become citizens. (The Department of Homeland Security did not deny the plan’s existence to NBC.) It is impossible to predict exactly how many people will be affected, but immigration experts think the impact will be enormous. The new rules appear to use the broadest possible definition of public assistance—one that includes Obamacare and children’s health insurance—meaning that most potential new citizens will be ineligible for naturalization. In 2016, the last year for which statistics are available, more than seven hundred and fifty thousand immigrants became American citizens. In order to apply for naturalization, an immigrant has to have lived in the United States as a legal permanent resident for thirty months out of a consecutive five years, depending on the reason she gained permanent-resident status. Because a green card often takes a number of years to obtain, most new citizens have been living in the United States for well more than five years. During that time, the chances are good that the immigrants have benefited from the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (either through the Medicaid expansion or by enrolling in an Obamacare marketplace plan) or used a program such as CHIP, which provides low-cost health insurance for children; in New York State, children in families of four earning up to $97,200 are eligible for CHIP. With an approach this broad, it seems likely that hundreds of thousands of people a year will be affected by the rules change.”

Continue reading Week 82, Friday, 10 August – Thursday, 16 August 2018 (Days 568-574)

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