Trump, Week 78: Friday, 13 July – Thursday, 19 July 2018 (Days 540-546)

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

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

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, 13 July 2018, Day 540:

 

12 Russian Agents Indicted in Mueller Investigation, The New York Times, Mark Mazzetti and Katie Benner, Friday, 13 July 2018: “The special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election issued an indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers on Friday in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton presidential campaign. The indictment came only three days before President Trump was planning to meet with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in Helsinki, Finland. The 29-page indictment is the most detailed accusation by the American government to date of the Russian government’s interference in the 2016 election, and it includes a litany of brazen Russian subterfuge operations meant to foment chaos in the months before Election Day. From phishing attacks to gain access to Democratic operatives, to money laundering, to attempts to break into state elections boards, the indictment details a vigorous and complex effort by Russia’s top military intelligence service to sabotage the campaign of Mr. Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. The timing of the indictment, by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, added a jolt of tension to the already freighted atmosphere surrounding Mr. Trump’s meeting with Mr. Putin. It is all but certain to feed into the conspiratorial views held by the president and some of his allies that Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors are determined to undermine Mr. Trump’s designs for a rapprochement with Russia. The president has long expressed doubt that Russia was behind the 2016 attacks, and the 11-count indictment illustrates even more the distance between his skepticism and the nearly unanimous views of the intelligence and law enforcement agencies he leads.” See also, Mueller probe indicts 12 Russians with hacking of Democrats in 2016, The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky, Friday, 13 July 2018: “A dozen Russian military intelligence officers were indicted Friday on charges they hacked Democrats’ computers, stole their data and published those files to disrupt the 2016 election — the clearest connection to the Kremlin established so far by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of interference in the presidential campaign. The indictment against members of the Russian military agency known as the GRU marks the first time Mueller has taken direct aim at the Russian government, accusing specific military units and their named officers of a sophisticated, sustained effort to hack the computer networks of Democratic organizations and the Hillary Clinton campaign.” See also, Read Mueller probe indictment of 12 Russians for hacking Democrats, The Washington Post, Friday, 13 July 2018. See also, 12 Russians Charged: Major Highlights of the Indictment and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s Statement, The New York Times, Friday, 13 July 2018. See also, Timeline: How Russian agents allegedly hacked the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Friday, 13 July 2018. See also, Over 100 Charges, 32 People, and 3 Companies: The Mueller Inquiry, Explained, The New York Times, Emily Cochrane and Alicia Parlapiano, published on Friday, 23 February 2018 and updated when necessary. See also, Who has been charged in the Russia probe and why, The Washington Post, Jukie Vitkovskaya, Samuel Granados, and Aaron Williams, updated on Friday, 13 July 2018. See also, How the Russians hacked the DNC and passed its emails to WikiLeaks, The Washington Post, Ellen Nakashima and Shane Harris, Friday, 13 July 2018. See also, How Russian Intelligence Officers Hid Behind Bitcoin in Hacking Campaign, The New York Times, Nathaniel Popper and Matthew Rosenberg, Friday, 13 July 2018: “In early 2016, Russian intelligence officers obtained a new pool of the virtual currency Bitcoin. They quickly put the digital money to work. The Russian spies used some of the Bitcoins to pay for the registration of a website, dcleaks.com, where they would later post emails that had been stolen from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. When the operatives needed a computer server to host the dcleaks site, they paid for that with Bitcoins as well. The transactions were detailed in an indictment on Friday from the Justice Department, in which prosecutors accused 12 Russian operatives of interfering in the 2016 presidential campaign through a sophisticated hacking scheme. The indictment provided one of the clearest illustrations to date of the inner workings of the Russian operation that carried out the hacking of the Democratic Party and other targets. It also showed how cryptocurrencies — and the anonymity they provide — have become both a tool and a challenge for intelligence agencies in the battles between nation states.”

On 27 July 2016 Trump Invited the Russians to Hack Hillary Clinton’s Emails and to Make Them Public. On the Same Day Trump Encouraged Russians to Hack Clinton’s Emails, Russians Started Targeting Clinton’s Personal Servers for the First Time. Were They Listening? The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt, Friday, 13 July 2018: “It was one of the more outlandish statements in a campaign replete with them: In a news conference in July 2016, Donald J. Trump made a direct appeal to Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails and make them public. ‘Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,’ Mr. Trump said, referring to emails Mrs. Clinton had deleted from the private account she had used when she was secretary of state. ‘I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.’ As it turns out, that same day, the Russians — whether they had tuned in or not — made their first effort to break into the servers used by Mrs. Clinton’s personal office, according to a sweeping 29-page indictment unsealed Friday by the special counsel’s office that charged 12 Russians with election hacking. The indictment did not address the question of whether the Russians’ actions were actually in response to Mr. Trump. It said nothing at all about Mr. Trump’s request for help from Russia — a remark that had unnerved American intelligence and law enforcement officials who were closely monitoring Russia’s efforts to influence the election. But the indictment did offer some clues about what happened, implying that the hacking had occurred later on the day Mr. Trump issued his invitation. He made the statement around 10:30 a.m. July 27 at his golf course in Doral, Fla. It was late afternoon in Russia.” See also, On 27 July 2016 Trump publicly asked Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s emails. They acted within hours. Vox, Dylan Scott, Friday, 13 July 2018: “On the very same day in 2016 that Donald Trump urged Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s missing emails, Russian intelligence officers launched a new attack to hack his opponent’s personal emails, according to the latest indictments from special counsel Robert Mueller. It is maybe the most eyebrow-raising detail in an indictment filled with them.” See also, Why You Should Read the Latest Mueller Indictment Yourself, The New Yorker, Eric Lach, Friday, 13 July 2018: “The latest indictment produced by the special counsel Robert Mueller is a brisk read. ‘You can see, in detail, how the Russian spies operated,’ The New Yorker’s Adam Entous told me on Friday, a few hours after the document was made public. ‘You learn a ton.’ The indictment accuses twelve Russian military-intelligence officers of interfering in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election by hacking the computers of people working for the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party, releasing material stolen from those computers to the public, and then trying to cover their tracks. It details how the Russians used various means, including the hacker persona Guccifer 2.0, to communicate with journalists and other people in the U.S. And, in one notable paragraph, the document says that the Russians tried to hack e-mail accounts used by Clinton’s personal office on July 27, 2016—the same day that Donald Trump, at a rally, publicly asked Russia to try to find Clinton’s ‘missing’ e-mails. But in other ways the indictment is a limited document…. [T]hough, as Entous says, the indictment offers a ‘damning’ amount of detail about the methods the Russian officers used—computer programs, cryptocurrencies, aliases, and so on—it is completely silent on who ordered the Russian operation.”

Top Democrats call on Trump to cancel Putin meeting following indictments of 12 Russian intelligence officers for engaging in a ‘sustained effort’ to hack Democrats’ emails and computer networks, CNN Politics, Lauren Fox, Manu Raju, and Jeremy Herb, Friday, 13 July 2018: “The top Democrats in Congress on Friday called for President Donald Trump to cancel his upcoming summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin after the Justice Department announced indictments against 12 Russian nationals, that accused them of engaging in a ‘sustained effort’ to hack Democrats’ emails and computer networks. ‘President Trump should cancel his meeting with Vladimir Putin until Russia takes demonstrable and transparent steps to prove that they won’t interfere in future elections. Glad-handing with Vladimir Putin on the heels of these indictments would be an insult to our democracy,’ Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement. The top Democrat in the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, tweeted, ‘@realDonaldTrump must immediately cancel his meeting with Putin.'”

Continue reading Week 78, Friday, 13 July – Thursday, 19 July 2018 (Days 540-546)

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Trump, Week 77: Friday, 6 July – Thursday, 12 July 2018 (Days 533-539)

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

 

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

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, 6 July 2018, Day 533:

 

76 Environmental Rules on the Way Out Under the Trump Administration, The New York Times, Nadja Popovich, Livia Albeck-Ripka, and Kendra Pierre-Louis, updated on Friday, 6 July 2018: “Since taking office last year, President Trump has made eliminating federal regulations a priority. His administration, with help from Republicans in Congress, has often targeted environmental rules it sees as overly burdensome to the fossil fuel industry, including major Obama-era policies aimed at fighting climate change. To date, the Trump administration has sought to reverse more than 70 environmental rules, according to a New York Times analysis, based on research from Harvard Law School’s Environmental Regulation Rollback Tracker, Columbia Law School’s Climate Tracker and other sources.”

Scott Pruitt Is Gone, but the Trump Administration’s Climate Negligence Remains, The New Yorker, Margaret Talbot, Friday, 6 July 2018: “Scott Pruitt’s resignation as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, on Thursday, offered reassurance—of the kind we could use right now—that certain forces of accountability are still in effect in Donald Trump’s Washington. True, it took months of revelations about Pruitt’s ethical blunders to push him out—the first-class travel at the taxpayers’ expense, the forty-three-thousand-dollar secured phone booth and the unprecedented twenty-four-hour security detail he demanded, the schedule dominated by meeting after meeting with fossil-fuel interests, the weird tasks given to his staff, such as driving him to secure his favored Ritz-Carlton moisturizer. And it’s not that Trump himself held Pruitt accountable, or that Pruitt admitted any wrongdoing as he gave up his job…. The accountability instead came from the journalists and environmentalists who have diligently reported on and monitored the E.P.A. in the face of increasing hostility (an E.P.A. spokesperson recently called a reporter looking into the resignation of a top Pruitt aide ‘a piece of trash’), and from the bureaucrats in the Government Accountability Office who have been investigating Pruitt. Without these watchdogs, we’d know very little about Pruitt’s misdeeds, and he would still be enjoying the blessing of working for Trump.” See also, Scott Pruitt is gone. But that doesn’t mean the environment is safer. The Washington Post, Editorial Board, Friday, 6 July 2018.

Trump administration says it needs more time to reunite families separated at the border, Los Angeles Times, Kristina Davis, Thursday, 6 July 2018: “The federal government, under orders from a San Diego federal judge to reunite families who have been separated at the border, is asking for more time. In a motion filed late Thursday night, the Department of Justice says it has dedicated “immense” resources to reunifying families since the June 26 order. But the process that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has put into place to match up family members will take some time if it is to comply with existing law meant to protect children from human trafficking, the DOJ argues. The order, filed last week, gives the government until July 10 to reunite children younger than 5 with their parents and until July 26 for older children. The motion will be discussed with U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw and attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union during a telephonic status conference at noon Friday.” See also, Trump administration seeks more time to reunite some migrant families split at the border, The Washington Post, Maria Sacchetti, Friday, 6 July 2018.

Continue reading Week 77, Friday, 6 July – Thursday, 12 July 2018 (Days 533-539)

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Trump, Week 76: Friday, 29 June – Thursday, 5 July 2018 (Days 526-532)

 

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

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

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, 29 June 2018, Day 526:

 

Trump administration may seek to detain migrant families longer than previously allowed, The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Friday, 29 June 2018: “The Trump administration plans to detain migrant families together in custody rather than release them, according to a new court filing that suggests such detentions could last longer than the 20 days envisioned by a court settlement. ‘The government will not separate families but detain families together during the pendency of immigration proceedings when they are apprehended at or between ports of entry,’ Justice Department lawyers wrote in a legal notice to a federal judge in California who has been overseeing long-running litigation about the detention of undocumented immigrants. The filing comes as the Justice Department seeks to navigate two different court edicts — an injunction issued this week by a federal judge in San Diego that required the government to begin reuniting the roughly 2,000 migrant children still separated from their families, and an older court settlement in federal court in Los Angeles that requires the immigration agencies to release minors in their custody if they are held for more than 20 days.”

Hundreds Arrested During Women’s Immigration Protest in Washington, The New York Times, Niraj Chokshi, Friday, 29 June 2018: “More than 500 people, including at least one member of Congress, were arrested and escorted from the Philip A. Hart Senate Office Building on Thursday after staging a sit-in during a women-led march against the Trump administration’s ‘zero-tolerance’ approach to illegal immigration. The United States Capitol Police charged approximately 575 people with unlawfully demonstrating, a misdemeanor punishable by a $50 fine, according to a police spokeswoman. Those arrested included Representative Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington, and the actress Susan Sarandon. Organizers said more than 2,500 women from 47 states participated in the protest. Senator Tammy Duckworth, Democrat of Illinois, spoke to the protesters with her 11-week-old daughter, Maile Pearl Bowlsbey, strapped to her chest. Other Democratic lawmakers also appeared with or spoke to the demonstrators, including Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, and the Representatives Nydia M. Velázquez of New York and Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas.”

Trump Says He Has Narrowed List of Possible Supreme Court Picks to Five, The Wall Street Journal, Louise Radnofsky and Peter Nicholas, Friday, 29 June 2018: “President Donald Trump said on Friday that he planned to interview one or two candidates this weekend at his Bedminster, N.J., resort to fill Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat, and plans to announce his final pick on July 9. ‘I’ve got it narrowed to about five,’ he said, including two women. The president also said he wouldn’t specifically ask candidates about Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling making abortion legal. However, a potential nominee’s approach to the issue has been a factor in creating Mr. Trump’s list of 25 conservative candidates. The president didn’t say if all of his five finalists were from that list, but he had earlier pledged to pick exclusively from it. Late Thursday, the president met with a bipartisan group of six senators who will play a pivotal role in selecting Mr. Kennedy’s successor because they have deviated from their party on key votes in the past. The lawmakers signaled they want an ideological centrist, complicating Mr. Trump’s decision. Among them were Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, both of whom back abortion rights. Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), and Democratic Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia also met with the president, the White House said. ‘At the end of the day, this is where confirmation is made or broken,’ a White House official said, referring to the senators who visited Thursday night.”

Continue reading Week 76, Friday, 29 June – Thursday, 5 July 2018 (Days 526-532)

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Trump, Week 75: Friday, 22 June – Thursday, 28 June 2018 (Days 519-525)

March for Our Lives, Pittsfield, MA, Saturday, 24 March 2018

 

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

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, 22 June 2018, Day 519:

 

In Ruling on Cellphone Location Data, Supreme Court Makes Statement on Digital Privacy, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Friday, 22 June 2018: “In a major statement on privacy in the digital age, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the government generally needs a warrant to collect troves of location data about the customers of cellphone companies. ‘We decline to grant the state unrestricted access to a wireless carrier’s database of physical location information,’ Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority. The 5-to-4 ruling will protect ‘deeply revealing’ records associated with 400 million devices, the chief justice wrote. It did not matter, he wrote, that the records were in the hands of a third party. That aspect of the ruling was a significant break from earlier decisions. The Constitution must take account of vast technological changes, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, noting that digital data can provide a comprehensive, detailed — and intrusive — overview of private affairs that would have been impossible to imagine not long ago. The decision made exceptions for emergencies like bomb threats and child abductions. ‘Such exigencies,’ he wrote, ‘include the need to pursue a fleeing suspect, protect individuals who are threatened with imminent harm or prevent the imminent destruction of evidence.’ In general, though, the authorities must now seek a warrant for cell tower location information and, the logic of the decision suggests, other kinds of digital data that provide a detailed look at a person’s private life. The decision thus has implications for all kinds of personal information held by third parties, including email and text messages, internet searches, and bank and credit card records. But Chief Justice Roberts said the ruling had limits.” See also, The Supreme Court Takes On the Police Use of Cellphone Records, The New York Times, Alex Abdo and Kate Klonick, Friday, 22 June 2018: “The Supreme Court has handed down what may be the most important privacy case of the digital era, ruling on Friday that the government cannot force cellphone service providers to hand over their users’ locations over significant periods of time without first getting a warrant. The decision, United States v. Carpenter, is the latest in a steady drip of rulings by the Supreme Court over the past two decades that are gradually defining the Fourth Amendment right to privacy in a world of ever-evolving technology…. The question the case presented was deceptively simple: Can the police collect your cellphone location data for days on end without a warrant? A 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court said no. But even in reaching what it characterized as a ‘narrow’ conclusion, the court took a significant step that will shape the constitutional right to privacy in the modern age. Specifically, the court cut back on the scope and reach of the ‘third-party doctrine’ — a legal presumption, embraced by the Supreme Court in the 1970s and ’80s, that if you share information with a third party, you have forfeited your right to privacy regarding that information. It’s the rationale used to justify the police’s warrantless access to the garbage you place out on the street, to your call records and to your bank statements.” See also, In Carpenter v. United States, the Supreme Court Rules, Narrowly, For Digital Privacy, The New Yorker, Amy Davidson Sorkin, Friday, 22 June 2018: “Everyone—or almost everyone—in America has a cell phone, but, in a 5–4 decision on Friday, the Supreme Court decided that this does not mean that all Americans are subject to close surveillance of their movements, conducted without a warrant, stretching back in time, in some cases, for years. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the decision in Timothy Ivory Carpenter v. United States; he was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. One of the strengths of the decision is that it recognizes its own complexity—placing the imperfection of precedents that deal with things called ‘phones,’ which are far from smartphones, alongside the enduring power of the Founders’ belief in the right to be secure in one’s papers and effects—and doesn’t back away. Carpenter is not quite a full manifesto for digital privacy, but it insists that there is a new discussion to be had, and it tries to set the terms. It almost certainly marks the beginning of a series of cases on the private data held by cell-phone-service providers, social-media companies, and app makers. And it is a pretty good start.” See also, Supreme Court Rules That the U.S. Government Must Get a Warrant Before Accessing Cellphone Location Data, The Intercept, Alex Emmons, Friday, 22 June 2018: “In a landmark privacy decision, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Friday that police must get a warrant in order to obtain your cellphone’s location data over an extended period of time. The decision is a major victory for privacy advocates, who have long argued that the law has failed to keep pace with the amount of intrusive data we voluntarily hand over to private companies. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the liberal justices on the court, declaring that even though the data is held by a third party, the government still needs a warrant to obtain it.”

Why the United States Needs More Immigrants. The Census Bureau published new data that show why the United States will need more immigrants, not fewer, in the coming decades. The New Yorker, John Cassidy, Friday, 22 June 2018: “As controversy continued to rage on Thursday about the Trump Administration’s policy of separating migrant families at the southern border, the Census Bureau published new data that show why the United States will need more immigrants, not fewer, in the coming decades. Demographers and economists have been warning that the aging baby-boomer population presents a serious challenge to the nation’s finances, as the ratio of seniors to working-age adults—the age-dependency ratio—rises. The reason is straightforward: Social Security and Medicare are largely financed on a pay-as-you-go basis, which means that some of the taxes paid by current workers are transferred to current retirees. If the dependency ratio rises, the financial burden on the working-age population also increases…. In the long run, welcoming immigrants is a good investment for the United States. The entire history of the country demonstrates this fact. But the current President wants to go in the opposite direction. Along with introducing draconian measures to curb the influx of undocumented migrants, he wants to slash legal immigration. At the moment, the United States grants permanent-resident status to about a million people a year, and many of these folks go on to become U.S. citizens. Trump wants to cut this number in half, roughly speaking. His policy isn’t driven by economics, of course. As he more or less admitted earlier this year, with his derisive comments about immigrants from ‘shithole countries,’ it is driven by racism and a desire to resist the emergence of a nonwhite majority in the United States—a transformation that is inevitable and necessary.”

In Tense White House Meetings, Trump Officials Debate How to Process Migrant Families, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Ron Nixon, and Katie Benner, Friday, 22 June 2018: “Tense arguments broke out at the White House over the past two days as top government officials clashed over how to carry out President Trump’s executive order on keeping together immigrant families at the Mexican border, according to four people familiar with the meetings. The disputes started Thursday night. They continued Friday as Kevin K. McAleenan, the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, returned to the White House to question how his agency was supposed to detain parents and children together when the law requires that children not be held indefinitely in jail. The bureaucratic battles threatened to undermine Mr. Trump as his administration tries to counter a political crisis driven by heartbreaking images and recordings of crying migrant children separated from their parents and sent off to shelters. On Friday, the president was defiant. ‘We cannot allow our Country to be overrun by illegal immigrants as the Democrats tell their phony stories of sadness and grief,’ Mr. Trump said on Twitter. But inside the White House, the arguments echoed the chaos at American airports after Mr. Trump’s ban on travel from predominantly Muslim countries. The ban, issued days after he took office, surprised Border Patrol agents and State Department consular officials. Officials at the southwestern border are struggling to obey Mr. Trump’s demand to prosecute people who illegally enter the United States — ending what the president has reviled as a ‘catch and release’ policy — while also following an executive order he issued Wednesday to keep migrant families together as they are processed in courts. But as with the case of the travel ban, the reality of a vastly complicated bureaucratic system is colliding head-on with Mr. Trump’s shoot-from-the-hip use of executive power.”

Continue reading Week 75, Friday, 22 June – Thursday, 28 June 2018 (Days 512-518)

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Trump, Week 74: Friday, 15 June – Thursday, 21 June 2018 (Days 512-518)

Greylock Together Rally to End Family Separation, Field Park, Williamstown, MA, Thursday, 31 May 2018

 

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

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, 15 June 2018, Day 512:

 

The Trump Administration Separated 1,995 Children From Their Parents at the Border in the Six Weeks Between April 19th and May 31st, The New York Times, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Friday, 15 June 2018: “The Trump administration said on Friday that it had separated 1,995 children from parents facing criminal prosecution for unlawfully crossing the border over a six-week period that ended last month, as President Trump sought to shift blame for the widely criticized practice that has become the signature policy of his aggressive immigration agenda. From April 19 to May 31, the children were separated from 1,940 adults, according to a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, who spoke during a conference call with reporters that had been described as an effort to correct the record about immigrant families being split up at the border. Administration officials insisted on anonymity to explain the president’s policy and deny many of the damaging stories that have appeared about it in recent days…. ‘I hate the children being taken away,’ Mr. Trump told reporters on Friday morning in front of the White House. ‘The Democrats have to change their law — that’s their law.’… But Mr. Trump was misrepresenting his own policy. There is no law that says children must be taken from their parents if they cross the border unlawfully, and previous administrations have made exceptions for those traveling with minor children when prosecuting immigrants for illegal entry. A ‘zero tolerance’ policy created by the president in April and put into effect last month by the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, allows no such exceptions, Mr. Trump’s advisers say.” See also, Trump cites his policy of separating immigrant children from their parents as a negotiating tool to give him leverage in immigration talks with Congress, The Washington Post, Michael Scherer and Josh Dawsey, Friday, 15 June 2018: “President Trump has calculated that he will gain political leverage in congressional negotiations by continuing to enforce a policy he claims to hate — separating immigrant parents from their young children at the southern border, according to White House officials. On Friday, Trump suggested he would not change the policy unless Democrats agreed to his other immigration demands, which include funding a border wall, tightening the rules for border enforcement and curbing legal entry. He also is intent on pushing members of his party to vote for a compromise measure that would achieve those long-standing priorities. Trump’s public acknowledgment that he was willing to let the policy continue as he pursued his political goals came as the president once again blamed Democrats for a policy enacted and touted by his own administration…. The attempt to gain advantage from a practice the American Academy of Pediatrics describes as causing children ‘irreparable harm’ sets up a high-stakes gambit for Trump, whose political career has long benefited from harsh rhetoric on immigration.” See also, Why the Trump administration bears the blame for separating children from their families at the border, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Friday, 15 June 2018: “President Trump seems to recognize that news reports about children being separated from their parents at the border don’t reflect well on his administration. He has called the separations ‘horrible’ on Twitter and, as recently as Friday morning during an interview with ‘Fox and Friends,’ blamed the political opposition…. This has been debunked repeatedly, including by The Washington Post. There is no ‘Democrats’ law’ that necessitates separating children from their parents. As people familiar with the rules regarding the handling of young people at the border made clear in interviews on Friday, the separation policy is a function of decisions made by Trump and his team. What’s more, the administration specifically implemented the policy to serve as a deterrent for those thinking about seeking entry to the United States.” See also, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s Use of Bible Passage to Defend Immigration Policy Draws Fire. The Passage Has Been Commonly Used to Defend Slavery and to Oppose the American Revolution. The New York Times, Julia Jacobs, Friday, 15 June 2018: “Attorney General Jeff Sessions turned to the Bible this week to defend the Trump administration’s immigration policy. His use of religious text to justify a federal policy drew some fire; the text itself drew more. Many were concerned that Mr. Sessions’s chosen chapter, Romans 13, had been commonly used to defend slavery and oppose the American Revolution. Speaking to law enforcement officers in Fort Wayne, Ind., Mr. Sessions used a passage on Thursday to defend the right of the federal government to enforce a directive to prosecute everyone who crosses the border illegally. The directive has led to the fracturing of hundreds of migrant families, funneling children into shelters and foster homes.”

Judge Amy Berman Jackson of United States District Court for the District of Columbia Orders Trump’s Former Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort Jailed Before Trial, Citing New Obstruction of Justice Charges, The New York Times, Sharon LaFraniere, Friday, 15 June 2018: “A federal judge revoked Paul Manafort’s bail and sent him to jail on Friday to await trial, citing new charges that Mr. Manafort had tried to influence the testimony of two government witnesses after he had been granted a temporary release. Mr. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, had posted a $10 million bond and was under house arrest while awaiting his September trial on a host of charges, including money laundering and making false statements. But Mr. Manafort cannot remain free, even under stricter conditions, in the face of new felony charges that he had engaged in witness tampering while out on bail, said Judge Amy Berman Jackson of United States District Court for the District of Columbia. ‘This is not middle school,’ she said during a 90-minute court hearing. ‘I can’t take away his cellphone.’ The judge’s order was the latest in eight months of legal setbacks for Mr. Manafort, as prosecutors have steadily added new charges since he was first indicted in October. Mr. Trump and members of his team lashed out against the judge’s move, an attack that renewed talk about whether the president might issue pardons to curb a prosecutorial process in the special counsel’s Russia inquiry that he describes as stacked against him.” See also, Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, is ordered to jail after witness-tampering charges, The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, Ellen Nakashima, and Devlin Barrett, Friday, 15 June 2018: “A federal judge ordered Paul Manafort to jail Friday over charges he tampered with witnesses while out on bail — a major blow for President Trump’s former campaign chairman as he awaits trial on federal conspiracy and money-laundering charges next month. ‘You have abused the trust placed in you six months ago,’ U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson told Manafort. ‘The government motion will be granted, and the defendant will be detained.'”

Rudy Giuliani says special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe ‘might get cleaned up’ with ‘presidential pardons’ in light of Paul Manafort going to jail, New York Daily News, Chris Sommerfeldt, Friday, 15 June 2018: “Rudy Giuliani wants to mop the floor with Robert Mueller. In one of his most forceful attacks on the special counsel yet, Giuliani on Friday said the Russia investigation could get ‘cleaned up’ with pardons from President Trump in light of Paul Manafort being sent to jail. ‘When the whole thing is over, things might get cleaned up with some presidential pardons,’ the former New York mayor told the Daily News. Giuliani’s stunning remark came hours after a Washington, D.C., judge revoked Manafort’s bail and ordered him to remain behind bars while awaiting his September trial on charges relating to his shady pro-Russian business dealings in Ukraine. The ruling came after Mueller’s investigators alleged the ex-Trump campaign chairman had attempted to secure false testimony from potential witnesses in the Russia probe.” See also, Giuliani’s Call for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to Be Suspended Is a Moment of Truth for the Republican Party, The New Yorker, John Cassidy, Friday, 15 June 2018: “During an appearance on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show on Thursday night, Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s legal adviser and cable-news frontman, called on the Justice Department to suspend the special counsel, Robert Mueller, as early as Friday. Giuliani didn’t say whether he had cleared this demand with Trump, but it seems unlikely that he would say such a thing without getting at least some direction, or encouragement, from the President. In any case, Giuliani’s statement indicates that a moment of crisis may be at hand. For months now, Trump’s closest allies on Capitol Hill and in the news media have been preparing to use a report by Michael Horowitz, the inspector general of the Justice Department, about the F.B.I.’s handling of the 2016 Hillary Clinton e-mail inquiry, as a pretext to go after, and, if possible, derail the Mueller investigation. Just hours after the report was released, Giuliani went on the attack. ‘I believe Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein have a chance to redeem themselves, and that chance comes about tomorrow,’ he told Hannity. ‘Tomorrow, Mueller should be suspended and honest people should be brought in, impartial people, to investigate these people like Strzok. Strzok should be in jail by the end of next week.'”

Continue reading Week 74, Friday, 15 June – Thursday, 21 June 2018 (Days 512-518)

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Trump, Week 73: Friday, 8 June – Thursday, 14 June 2018 (Days 505-511)

Greylock Together Rally to End Family Separation, Field Park, Williamstown, MA, Thursday, 31 May 2018

 

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

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, 8 June 2018, Day 505:

 

1,358 Children and Counting–Trump’s ‘Zero Tolerance’ Border Policy Is Separating Families at Staggering Rates, The Intercept, Ryan Devereaux, Friday, 8 June 2018: “The Trump administration’s intensifying border crackdown has seen as many as 2,000 cases involving children separated from their parents, according to an estimate by a lead attorney litigating a high-profile class-action lawsuit challenging the practice. Hundreds of new incidents of children being separated from their parents have emerged in the last month alone. ‘I think it’s between 1,500 and 2,000,’ Lee Gelernt, a veteran attorney with American Civil Liberties Union, told The Intercept on Thursday, referring to the ballooning total of separation cases. Gelernt based the figure on recent testimony from U.S. officials and government disclosures, arguing that the total reflects the emerging scale of a practice that will have lasting impacts on a generation of kids who happened to arrive in the U.S. at this particular moment…. A senior Department of Homeland Security immigration official, speaking to The Intercept on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the press, said that the rising total of family separations sounded accurate…. The official added, ‘Family separation is not only a cruel and barbaric practice meant to deter asylum-seekers from exercising their legal right to seek protection in the United States, but it is also an abrogation of our responsibilities under international law.’ Noting that the U.S. has signed on to both the U.N. Convention of the Rights of the Child and the Hague Convention on Parental Responsibility and Protection of Children, which expressly stipulate that ‘the best interests of the child should be paramount in any consideration of policy or law affecting children or families,’ the official said, ‘In no way can anyone argue that tearing a screaming child from the arms of their parent is in that child’s best interests.'”

Special counsel Robert Mueller indicts former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his longtime business associate Konstantin Kilimnik on obstruction of justice charges, The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Spencer S. Hsu, and Rosalind S. Helderman, Friday, 8 June 2018: “Paul Manafort and his longtime business associate were indicted Friday on new charges that they conspired to obstruct justice — ratcheting up the pressure on President Trump’s former campaign chairman as he tries to stay out of jail while awaiting trial. The indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Washington marked the first such charges for Manafort’s associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, who is believed to be in Moscow — and therefore probably safe from arrest because Russia does not extradite its citizens. Prosecutors have previously said Kilimnik has ties to Russian intelligence, which he denies.” See also, Special Counsel Robert Mueller Adds Obstruction of Justice Charge on Paul Manafort and Indicts His Right-Hand Man, Konstantin Kilimnik, The New York Times, Kenneth P. Vogel, Friday, 8 June 2018. See also, Who has been charged in the Russia probe and why, The Washington Post, Julie Vitkovskaya, Samuel Granados, and Aaron Williams, updated on Friday, 8 June 2018.

Donald Trump’s Surveillance of New York Times Reporter Ali Watkins Is a True Declaration of War Against the Press, The Intercept, James Risen, Friday, 8 June 2018: “Donald Trump’s Real War on the press has finally begun. Ever since he began his campaign for president, Trump has engaged in a largely rhetorical battle against the press, casting the reporters who cover him as the enemy of the average American and as disseminators of what he calls ‘fake news.’ But for the most part, Trump’s bark has been worse than his bite. Unlike his predecessor, Barack Obama, Trump was not known to have spied on journalists or tried to jail them – as Obama did with me – for refusing to reveal their sources. Until now. Now we know that the Justice Department secretly seized the phone and email records of Ali Watkins, a New York Times reporter, in a leak investigation involving a former Senate staffer. It is the first time the Trump administration is known to have engaged in such an aggressive tactic against a reporter, and it is exactly the kind of press surveillance at which the Obama administration excelled. For years, conservatives attacked Obama for using such tactics to spy on reporters. Of course, there was no outcry from the right on Friday over Trump’s willingness to do the same thing. To be sure, Trump has previously gone after the alleged sources of stories in the press, including former National Security Agency contractor Reality Winner and FBI agent Terry Albury, both of whom have been accused of providing classified information to The Intercept. The Intercept does not comment on its sources. But the targeting of Watkins shows that the Trump administration is willing to attack the press directly.”

Continue reading Week 73, Friday, 8 June – Thursday, 14 June 2018 (Days 505-511)

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Trump, Week 72: Friday, 1 June – Thursday, 7 June 2018 (Days 498-504)

Greylock Together Rally to End Family Separation, Field Park, Thursday, 31 May 2018

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

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, 1 June 2018, Day 498:

 

Trump Announces Summit Meeting with North Korea’s Leader Kim Jong-un Is Back On, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Friday, 1 June 2018: “President Trump will fly to Singapore this month after all for a landmark summit meeting with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, but he now anticipates a more drawn-out negotiation than once envisioned and indicated that he will stop increasing pressure on the regime while talks proceed. Eight days after abruptly canceling the June 12 meeting citing North Korea’s ‘open hostility,’ Mr. Trump just as abruptly announced on Friday that it was back on, the latest head-spinning twist in a diplomatic drama that has captivated and confused much of the world. After complaining of North Korean bad faith, he said, in effect, never mind.” See also, Trump reinstates summit with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un for June 12 in Singapore, The Washington Post, David Nakamura, Friday, 1 June 2018. See also, The North Korea Summit Is Back On–But Don’t Expect Miracles, The New Yorker, Robin Wright, Friday, 1 June 2018: “Trump appears to have finally recognized that the art of diplomacy is more complex, more nuanced, and potentially takes much longer than the art of the business deal. As he has been hinting over the past week, the President acknowledged on Friday that Singapore will be only ‘a beginning’ after decades of hostility.”

The United States Vetoes a U. N. Resolution to Protect Palestinians and Condemn Israel, The New York Times, Rick Gladstone, Friday, 1 June 2018: “A bitter divide over who is to blame for scores of Palestinian deaths from Israeli fire at protests near Gaza’s border shifted Friday to the United Nations, where the United States vetoed a measure backed by Arab countries to protect Palestinians and condemn Israel. Nikki R. Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, described the measure, a United Nations Security Council resolution drafted by Kuwait, as one-sided. She accused the measure’s authors of inexplicably absolving Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza and organized the protests. The United States, a permanent Security Council member with veto power, was the sole no vote on the measure, which was enough to defeat it. Ten members voted in favor and four abstained. A separate American resolution proposed by Ms. Haley, which would have condemned Hamas for the Gaza violence, failed to gain any support from fellow Council members…. Kuwait’s draft resolution condemned the use of ‘excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force by the Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians’ and demanded a halt to such actions.”

Fred Fleitz, John Bolton’s Deputy, Draws Ire of Jewish and Muslim Groups, The Wall Street Journal, Dion Nissenbaum, Friday, 1 June 2018: “Jewish and Muslim groups are objecting to the appointment of a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst to a top White House post because of his controversial views of Islam. The Anti-Defamation League, Council on American-Islamic Relations and other groups said Fred Fleitz shouldn’t serve as chief of staff to national security adviser John Bolton because he has advanced what they call Islamophobic views. As a conservative analyst, Mr. Fleitz has called for the U.S. to formally declare war on a broadly defined Global Jihad Movement; suggested that most mosques in America are incubators for subversion or violence; and denounced some interfaith dialogue efforts in America as a move by “stealth jihadists” to undermine the country’s democratic values. Mr. Bolton’s decision to bring Mr. Fleitz into the key White House role suggests that the new national security adviser might be moving back toward a more confrontational approach to Islam such as that favored by President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser, Mike Flynn, critics said. ‘The appointment of Fred Fleitz speaks volumes about the administration’s prioritization of fearmongering and racism over actual national security issues,’ said Scott Simpson, public advocacy director for Muslim Advocates, a Washington-based group.”

Continue reading Week 72, Friday, 1 June – Thursday, 7 June 2018 (Days 498-504)

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Trump, Week 71: Friday, 25 May – Thursday, 31 May 2018 (Days 491-497)

 

March for Our Lives, Pittsfield, MA, Saturday, 24 March 2018

 

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

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, 25 May 2018, Day 491:

 

At Trump Tower, Michael Cohen and Russian Billionaire Viktor Vekselberg Discussed Russian Relations With the U.S., The New York Times, William K. Rashbaum, Ben Protess, and Mike McIntire, Friday, 25 May 2018: “Eleven days before the presidential inauguration last year, a billionaire Russian businessman with ties to the Kremlin visited Trump Tower in Manhattan to meet with Donald J. Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, according to video footage and another person who attended the meeting. In Mr. Cohen’s office on the 26th floor, he and the oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg, discussed a mutual desire to strengthen Russia’s relations with the United States under President Trump, according to Andrew Intrater, an American businessman who attended the meeting and invests money for Mr. Vekselberg. The men also arranged to see one another during the inauguration festivities, the second of their three meetings, Mr. Intrater said. Days after the inauguration, Mr. Intrater’s private equity firm, Columbus Nova, awarded Mr. Cohen a $1 million consulting contract, a deal that has drawn the attention of federal authorities investigating Mr. Cohen, according to people briefed on the inquiry.” See also, Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg met with Trump lawyer Michael Cohen days before the inauguration, The Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman, Friday, 25 May 2018.

Trump Moves to Make It Easier to Fire Federal Workers, The New York Times, Noam Scheiber, Friday, 25 May 2018: “President Trump on Friday signed a series of executive orders making it easier to fire federal government workers and to curb the workplace role of unions that represent them. Andrew Bremberg, the head of the White House Domestic Policy Council, said the president was ‘fulfilling his promise to promote more efficient government by reforming our Civil Service rules.’ But the push also reflects conservatives’ long-running suspicion of the federal bureaucracy, one reflected in pronouncements by the president’s advisers. Shortly after Mr. Trump took office, Stephen K. Bannon, then his chief strategist, called for ‘the deconstruction of the administrative state.’ Unions representing government workers were quick to denounce the actions, calling them an ‘assault on democracy,’ in the words of the American Federation of Government Employees, the largest federal employee union, which represents 700,000 workers. Experts on the Civil Service said the moves represented the next stage of an effort that Republican politicians and conservative activists had led in states like Wisconsin and Michigan throughout this decade.” See also, Trump takes aim at federal bureaucracy with new executive orders altering civil service protections, The Washington Post, Lisa Rein, Friday, 25b May 2018.

The Unbearable Whiteness of National Football League Ownership, The Intercept, Shaun King, Friday, 25 May 2018: “On Wednesday, 31 out of 32 NFL team owners voted to appease President Donald Trump by banning any form of on-field protest or demonstration during the pregame singing of the national anthem. One team owner abstained: Jed York of the San Francisco 49ers, the former home of Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid, two players who’ve effectively accused the league of banning them in part because of their involvement in on-field protests. At the root of all this is race and culture. At least 70 percent of NFL players are black, according to the latest information available from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, or TIDES, at University of Central Florida. Yet ownership of the league is much less diverse, according to TIDES: Only two teams, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills, have people of color in majority ownership — a Pakistani-born American and an Asian-American, respectively. What’s more, the entire league doesn’t have a single African-American team owner — not one. And it is the team owners who are making the executive decisions in this case. The NFL players union announced that they weren’t even consulted before the team owners voted and made their announcement about the ban of any on-field demonstrations during the national anthem.” See also, ‘You can’t win this one,’ Trump told NFL owners about national anthem protests. They believed him. The Washington Post, Eli Rosenberg, published on Thursday, 31 May 2018.

Continue reading Week 71, Friday, 25 May – Thursday, 31 May 2018 (Days 491-497)

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Trump, Week 70: Friday, 18 May – Thursday, 24 May 2018 (Days 484-490)

 

March for Our Lives, Pittsfield, MA, Saturday, 24 March 2018

 

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

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, 18 May 2018, Day 484:

 

In Texas School Shooting, 10 Dead, 10 Hurt, and Many Unsurprised, The New York Times, Manny Fernandez, Richard Fausset, and Jess Bidgood, Friday, 18 May 2018: “A nation plagued by a wrenching loop of mass school shootings watched the latest horror play out in this small Southeast Texas town Friday morning, as a young man armed with a shotgun and a .38 revolver smuggled under his coat opened fire on his high school campus, killing 10 people, many of them his fellow students, and wounding 10 more, the authorities said. By the end of the day, a 17-year-old suspect, Dimitrios Pagourtzis — an introvert who had given off few warning signs — had surrendered and been taken into custody. Law enforcement officials said they found two homemade explosive devices left at the school during the rampage. It was the worst school shooting since the February assault on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where a young man with an AR-15 rifle left 17 people dead and prompted a wave of nationwide, student-led protests calling on lawmakers to tighten gun laws. It was barely after 7:30 a.m. at Santa Fe High School, about 35 miles southeast of Houston, when gunfire first resounded through the halls, the opening volley of yet another massacre at an American high school that would leave students, teachers and staff members shocked, and in some cases bloodied. But they were not necessarily surprised.” See also, 2018 has been deadlier for schoolchildren than for military service members, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Friday, 18 May 2018: “The school shooting near Houston on Friday bolstered a stunning statistic: More people have been killed at schools this year than have been killed while serving in the military.” See also, Ten Killed in Texas high school shooting include 8 students and 2 teachers; police say suspect confessed, The Washington Post, Brittney Martin, Mark Berman, Joel Achenbach, and Amy B. Wang, published on Saturday, 19 May 2018. See also, Who Is Dimitrios Pagourtzis, the Texas Shooting Suspect? The New York Times, Julie Turkewitz and Jess Bidgood, Friday, 18 May 2018. See also, Everything About the Texas School Shooting Seems Horribly Familiar, The New Yorker, John Cassidy, published on Saturday, 19 May 2018: “The United States has eight times more gun deaths, relative to its population, than Canada, twenty-seven times more than Denmark, and is almost on a par with Iraq.”

F.B.I. Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims, The New York Times, Adam Goldman, Mark Mazzetti, and Matthew Rosenberg, Friday, 18 May 2018: “President Trump accused the F.B.I. on Friday, without evidence, of sending a spy to secretly infiltrate his 2016 campaign ‘for political purposes’ even before the bureau had any inkling of the ‘phony Russia hoax.’ In fact, F.B.I. agents sent an informant to talk to two campaign advisers only after they received evidence that the pair had suspicious contacts linked to Russia during the campaign. The informant, an American academic who teaches in Britain, made contact late that summer with one campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, according to people familiar with the matter. He also met repeatedly in the ensuing months with the other aide, Carter Page, who was also under F.B.I. scrutiny for his ties to Russia. The role of the informant is at the heart of the newest battle between top law enforcement officials and Mr. Trump’s congressional allies over the F.B.I.’s most politically charged investigations in decades. The lawmakers, who say they are concerned that federal investigators are abusing their authority, have demanded documents from the Justice Department about the informant. Law enforcement officials have refused, saying that handing over the documents would imperil both the source’s anonymity and safety. The New York Times has learned the source’s identity but typically does not name informants to preserve their safety. Democrats say the Republicans’ real aim is to undermine the special counsel investigation. Senior law enforcement officials have also privately expressed concern that the Republicans are digging into F.B.I. files for information they can weaponize against the Russia inquiry. Over the past two days, Mr. Trump has used speculative news reports about the informant, mostly from conservative media, to repeatedly assail the Russia investigation.” See also, Secret FBI source for Russia investigation met with three Trump advisers during 2016 presidential campaign, The Washington Post, Robert Costa, Carol D. Leonnig, Tom Hamburger, and Devlin Barrett, Friday, 18 May 2018. See also, The FBI Informant Who Monitored the Trump Campaign, Stefan Halper, Oversaw a CIA Spying Operation in the 1980 Presidential Election, The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald, published on Saturday, 19 May 2018. See also, Giuliani says Trump doesn’t know ‘for sure’ that there was an FBI informant in his campaign, The Washington Post, Jenna Johnson, Friday, 18 May 2018. See also, Rudy Giuliani makes a big, new concession: A president can commit obstruction of justice, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Friday, 18 May 2018.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s ‘Leadership Summit’ on PFOA Pollution Will Exclude Victims and Community Groups, but the Manufacturers of the Chemicals Will Be Well Represented, The Intercept, Sharon Lerner, Friday, 18 May 2018: “Kristen Mello wasn’t invited to the Environmental Protection Agency’s upcoming ‘National Leadership Summit’ on PFOA, PFOS, and other PFAS chemicals. For most of her life, Mello, a member of Westfield Residents Advocating For Themselves, drank water contaminated with the chemicals that are going to be discussed at the meeting. At least six compounds in this class seeped into local drinking water from firefighting foam used at the Air National Guard base in her hometown of Westfield, Massachusetts. Mello and several of her immediate family members have developed some of the health problems associated with the chemicals, including thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, and liver problems. While most people in the United States have been exposed to PFAS, Westfield is one of the growing number of communities to learn they’ve had an especially high dose of the chemicals as the result of living near a military installation or manufacturing site that used them. But when Mello sent the EPA a request to attend the PFAS summit, which will be held May 22-23 at EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C., the agency said she wasn’t welcome…. Although the summit is intended to identify actions ‘needed to address challenges currently facing states and local communities,’ according to the agency’s website, the people in these communities who are directly affected by the chemicals will be strikingly absent from the meeting…. While the people suffering from this contamination will not be at the meeting, the manufacturers of the chemicals used in the production of Teflon and other nonstick, water-resistant, and stain-resistant products will be well represented.”

Continue reading Week 70, Friday, 18 May – Thursday, 24 May 2018 (Days 484-490)

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Trump, Week 69: Friday, 11 May – Thursday, 17 May 2018 (Days 477-483)

 

March for Our Lives, Pittsfield, MA, Saturday, 24 March 2018

 

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

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, 11 May 2018, Day 477:

 

Trump’s plan to Lower Drug Prices Diverges From Campaign PromiseThe New York Times, Robert Pear, Friday, 11 May 2018: “President Trump vowed on Friday to ‘bring soaring drug prices back down to earth’ by promoting competition among pharmaceutical companies, and he suggested that the government could require drugmakers to disclose prices in their ubiquitous television advertising. But he dropped the popular and populist proposals of his presidential campaign, opting not to have the federal government directly negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare. And he chose not to allow American consumers to import low-cost medicines from abroad. He would instead give private entities more tools to negotiate better deals on behalf of consumers, insurers and employers.” See also, 6 Takeaways From Trump’s Plans to Try to Lower Drug PricesThe New York Times, Katie Thomas, Friday, 11 May 2018.

The Trump Administration Just Rolled Back Rules That Protect Transgender PrisonersBuzzFeed News, Dominic Holden, Friday, 11 May 2018: “The Trump administration on Friday rolled back rules that allowed transgender inmates to use facilities that match their gender identity, including cell blocks and bathrooms, thereby reversing course on an Obama administration effort to protect transgender prisoners from sexual abuse and assault. The Bureau of Prisons now ‘will use biological sex’ to make initial determinations in the type of housing transgender inmates are assigned, according to a notice posted Friday evening that modifies the previous policy.”

Trump, Softening His Tone, Calls for More Talks on Car EmissionsThe New York Times, Hiroko Tabuchi, Friday, 11 May 2018: “President Trump on Friday directed his administration to negotiate with California over a proposed rollback of fuel economy and tailpipe emissions standards, a move that could avert a damaging court battle with the potential to sow chaos in the auto industry. California has vowed to disregard any rollbacks and stick to its own stricter emissions standards. Nonetheless, the state must be invited to the negotiating table as the administration moves forward with its plan to relax the fuel economy rules, Mr. Trump said at a White House meeting between top administration officials and major auto executives, according to three people briefed on the closed-door discussions. Mr. Trump’s directive at the meeting grants a reprieve to automakers, who lobbied for a relaxation of rules aimed at cutting tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide — a major contributor to global warming — but in recent weeks became increasingly nervous that the zealousness of the proposed rollbacks would provoke a battle with California. It remains unclear whether administration officials and California can hope to reach a compromise.”

Continue reading Week 69, Friday, 11 May – Thursday, 17 May 2018 (Days 477-483)

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