Culture

‘I’ll Tell You One Goddamned Thing for Sure. I’m Not Staying at a Motel 6 From Now On.’

by Katherine Mangu-Ward – Is the discount hotel chain ratting out undocumented immigrants to ICE? Are two Motel 6 locations in Phoenix routinely sending in leads to immigration agents when they suspect guests of being undocumented? While an investigation by the Phoenix New Times was unable to get confirmation from Motel 6 headquarters, employees at the motels in question said that collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is standard practice: “We send a report every morning to ICE—all the names of everybody that comes in,” a front-desk clerk told the New Times. “Every morning at about 5 o’clock, we do the audit and we push a button and it sends it to ICE.” What’s more, court documents show that “between February and August, ICE agents made at least 20 arrests at Motel 6s, showing up roughly every two weeks” while there was a distinct lack of “records indicating that ICE conducted arrests at other...

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The Trump Administration Plans to End a Refugee Program for Children

by Marcelo Rochabrun – Minors from violence-plagued El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala will no longer be permitted to reunite with their parents in the United States. The Trump administration plans to stop accepting refugee applications from children with U.S.-based parents from three violence-riddled Central American countries — El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala — according to the summary of a presentation the State Department made recently to refugee organizations. The decision to end the Central American Minors program, which began in 2014 and is the only refugee program aimed at helping people from that region, could put hundreds of families split between two countries in a delicate situation. The children will no longer be able to come legally to the U.S. Of course, they can still attempt to cross without authorization and then either request asylum or try to navigate the border region without being detained or injured — just the kind...

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New Survey Shows a Disturbing Trend: Most Americans Have No Clue What is in the Constitution

by Jen Hayden – The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania have released the downright disturbing results of a recent survey that shows a majority of Americans don’t know anything about their rights or the rights of others according to our own Constitution. Read it and weep: More than half of Americans (53 percent) incorrectly think it is accurate to say that immigrants who are here illegally do not have any rights under the U.S. Constitution; More than a third of those surveyed (37 percent) can’t name any of the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment; Only a quarter of Americans (26 percent) can name all three branches of government. The responses to the First Amendment are downright depressing: Nearly half of those surveyed (48 percent) say that freedom of speech is a right guaranteed by the First Amendment. But, unprompted, 37 percent could not name any First Amendment rights....

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House Passes Spending Bill ‘full of giveaways to polluters’ and Big Cuts to EPA and NPS

by Samantha Page – The National Park Service was cut 30 percent — even more than Trump had asked. The House of Representatives voted Thursday in favor of an omnibus spending bill that environmental organizations say will help polluters and reduce the country’s air and water quality. The bill also cuts a number of programs intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or streamline the transition to clean energy. The bill cuts funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by more than $500 million — another blow to an agency that will now have to operate on less than 75 percent of its 2010 funding levels. The National Park Service received a 30 percent cut — a greater cut than even the White House suggested earlier this year in its infamously skeletal budget proposal. Prior to the vote, a group of dozens of environmental groups wrote to representatives, begging them not to...

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A Month After Trump Declared Opioids a ‘national emergency,’ His Team still Has no Plan

by Hunter – As it turns out, a presidential declaration of national emergency doesn’t amount to much. When President Trump announced in early August, following a presidential commission’s recommendations, that the opioid crisis was a “national emergency,” he called it “a serious problem the likes of which we have never had.”A month has now passed, and that urgent talk has yet to translate into urgent action. While the president’s aides say they are pursuing an expedited process, it remains to be seen how and by what mechanism Mr. Trump plans to direct government resources. Just to expand a bit on that point there, it’s not just that Donald Trump somehow surprised his staff with his declaration that the opioid crisis was a “national emergency”—his own presidential commission recommended that he do so. No, he shocked everyone by actually saying it, and then … doing nothing. Nobody was prepared for the obvious question: “So, um, now what?” His...

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Americans are Buying Fewer Guns, and the NRA is Getting Desperate to Change That

by Melanie Schmitz – The organization has conjured up threats from leftist groups to justify its rhetoric. A report by the Guardian on Friday showed a $100 million drop in firearm revenue for one of the country’s biggest gun makers, American Outdoor Brands, previously known as Smith & Wesson. Specifically, the company reported an overall drop of 40 percent in general revenue from the same quarter last year, CFO Jeff Buchanan said in an earnings call. The company also experienced a 57 percent drop in long gun shipments; handgun shipments were down some 35 percent. Given that gun sales tend to drop under Republican administrations, the decline wasn’t entirely unprecedented. Typically, gun manufacturers tend to see higher numbers under Democratic administrations and ahead of elections like 2016, when Hillary Clinton was predicted to win. Gun advocates often believe that Democrats are more likely to come after their Second Amendment rights than their conservative counterparts, which generally...

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Delaware AG Pushes for Recovery High Schools to Help Fight Opioid Epidemic

by Teresa Wiltz – In the wake of a new federal report that found Delaware has the fastest-growing rate of drug overdose rates in the country, Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn is calling for the development of a recovery high school in the state. Meanwhile, a report commissioned by the state Department of Justice found that Delaware was treating just over half the people in need of treatment for opioid addiction. As the nation struggles with an opioid epidemic, a growing number of states are experimenting with recovery high schools, which enroll kids with drug addiction and alcoholism. In addition to academics, the schools provide treatment and support, and proponents say they reduce the chances of a relapse and help divert teens from the criminal justice system. Nationwide, an estimated 1.3 million 12- to 17-year-olds have a substance abuse disorder. People who are 12 to 19 years old account for nearly 12 percent of all admissions to publicly funded rehab...

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Anxious in the Trump Era? You’re Not Alone

by David H. Rosmarin – A clinical psychologist on the anxiety our politics appears to be causing. It’s no surprise that our office phone at the Center for Anxiety has been ringing off the hook since January 2017. From immigration and health care concerns to white supremacy — and let’s not forget the threat of nuclear war — there is plenty to be anxious about today. Many of our patients have shared with us that the greatest concern is simply the fact that Donald Trump is president. They are worried because he seems like a loose cannon and they don’t feel they can trust him. These concerns are reflected in a recent survey of Americans by George Washington University, on President Trump’s public discourse and behavior. The poll, taken in mid-August, found that 71 percent of voters agreed that Trump’s “behavior is not what I expect from a president” (27 percent disagreed), and 68 percent...

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The NFL Has Failed Domestic Violence Victims

by Lindsay Gibbs – The Ezekiel Elliott case proves the NFL doesn’t care about solutions for domestic violence; it only cares about power.   On Sunday night in Dallas, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott quite literally carried his team to an opening-week victory — running for 104 yards on 24 carries, and catching five passes for 36 yards — in a 19-3 win over the New York Giants. There was no way to ignore the impact he made on the field, which led to some awkward moments. “I know we’ve got a lot to talk about off the field with Ezekiel Elliott,” NBC announcer Chris Collinsworth said during the first half, after Elliott picked up a first down. “You’ll forgive us tonight if we just talk about him as a football player.” Oh, if only it were so easy. One year ago, Elliott’s ex-girlfriend, Tiffany Thompson, accused him of multiple counts...

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How Bad Could Things Get?

by Todd Gitlin – The late ‘60s and early ‘70s were crazy, but we’re looking wilder. “This country is going so far to the right you’re not going to recognize it.” Those memorable words were uttered by Richard Nixon’s Attorney General, John Mitchell, who proved to be off by almost 50 years. But he and other Nixon cronies, however premature in their timetables, were establishing precedents for today’s worst case scenarios. We have to ask: Which elements of the state-sponsored violence of the ’60s and early ’70s are ready for revival and renewal? What new wrinkles in constitutional crisis might be in the works? Just how far to the right — or the left — will we go? RELATED: DEMOCRACY & GOVERNMENT On taking office in 1969, Mitchell had declared that he was “first and foremost a law-enforcement officer.” The extent of the law-breaking — including murders — that that he and...

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Kris Kobach Watches His Voter Fraud Lie Get Fact-checked. It Didn’t go Well

by Kira Lerner – The Kansas secretary of state was rebutted during the voting commission’s second meeting. Several Democratic voting experts including New Hampshire’s secretary of state on Tuesday repudiated White House voting commission co-chair Kris Kobach’s claim that thousands of out-of-state voters in New Hampshire likely tipped the Senate race to Democrats. Kobach acknowledged he should have hedged his wording, but did not admit he was wrong. In a Breitbart column last week, Kobach claimed that he had definitive proof that more than 5,000 out-of-state voters cast fraudulent ballots in 2016, tipping the Senate and potentially presidential race to Democrats. During the second meeting of his voting commission in New Hampshire Tuesday, Kobach called his evidence “anecdotal” and said he’s not sure he used the right word when he wrote that it “appears” there was fraud. “Maybe the right words were ‘does not appear,’” Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights...

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White House Won’t Commit to Signing Joint Congressional Resolution Condemning White Supremacists

by Rebekah Entralgo – It passed unanimously in Congress. Just a day after the Senate unanimously passed a joint resolution condemning the acts violence and domestic terrorism by white supremacists and neo-Nazis over the weekend of August 11 in Charlottesville, Virginia, the House of Representatives unanimously passed it by a voice vote Tuesday evening. Mark Warner   ✔@MarkWarner Tonight the House passed my resolution condemning hate groups & the Charlottesville attack. POTUS should send a clear message & sign it ASAP 6:56 PM – Sep 12, 2017 Now it is up to President Donald Trump to officially condemn the actions of white supremacists by signing the joint resolution when it reaches his desk. The White House, however, will not immediately commit to signing it. Kyle Cheney   ✔@kyledcheney Asked whether president will sign, WH spox says “No announcements at this time.” https://twitter.com/kyledcheney/status/907743307115241472 … 7:22 PM – Sep 12, 2017 The joint resolution was introduced last week by...

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How Segregated America Made Trump Inevitable

by Donald Earl Collins – Racial and social segregation has built Trump’s electorate and the dominant white narrative it subscribes to. Let there be no doubt. US President Donald Trump is a mercurial, inept, me-first racist. In recent weeks, Trump has thrown in with Charlottesville’s white supremacists and pardoned known anti-immigrant xenophobe Joe Arpaio. Trump has pursued an agenda of rescinding more and more of President Barack Obama’s executive orders, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), potentially leading to the deportation of undocumented immigrants who were children when they came to the US. Trump’s behaviour isn’t unprecedented. His racist, incompetent, and callously narcissistic performance as president shares similarities with that of Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson, James Buchanan, Woodrow Wilson, and Richard Nixon. And although he continues to follow the lead of some of America’s most racist and inept presidents, he continues to retain many of his supporters. WATCH: Trump’s DACA decision leaves many dreams in limbo (2:26) Millions of supposedly...

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Will the Courts Save the Dreamers?

by Marjorie Cohn, Truthout | News Analysis – The Trump administration’s rescission of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has been met with widespread resistance by people across the political spectrum. Thousands have marched in the streets to save the “Dreamers” from deportation. Human rights and civil liberties organizations as well as legislators on both sides of the aisle condemned the ending of DACA. Donald Trump’s attorney general Jeff Sessions announced the impending termination of DACA on September 5, 2017, disingenuously claiming it was necessary to forestall a looming legal challenge by 10 state attorneys general. Sessions cited no legal authority for his assertion that DACA was unconstitutional. In fact, no court has ever found DACA to be unlawful. Lawsuits were immediately filed against Trump’s cruel targeting of the “Dreamers.” Apparently surprised at the level of opposition to his action, Trump tried to reassure the public that he might save DACA if...

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Trump Returns to Supreme Court to Block Muslim Ban Exemptions for Refugees

by Kerry Eleveld – Donald Trump’s Justice Department is headed back to the Supreme Court in an effort to piece back together more of Trump’s tattered Muslim ban. Specifically, government lawyers asked the high court Monday to block a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling set to take effect Tuesday that exempted certain refugees with resettlement assurances from the ban. Politico writes: The Trump administration is returning to the Supreme Court in an effort to overturn lower court rulings crimping the application of President Donald Trump’s travel ban executive order. Justice Department lawyers asked the high court Monday to allow authorities to keep up a block on many refugees covered by Trump’s ban. While the administration continues its effort to curtail refugee resettlements, government lawyers did not re-up requests that the ban cover what the court has defined as “close familial relationships” such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins of U.S. citizens. The two issues—refugees with resettlement assurances from U.S. organizations and who...

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New Data Reveals Thousands of Cops Have Been Arrested for Assault and Corruption

by Alan Pyke – Assault, lying, rape, and DUI rank among the most common police crimes. Police officers were arrested 1,695 times for violations of their oaths to the public, messing with evidence, or lying in official statements from 2005 to 2012, according to a vast new data set on criminals in uniform released Tuesday. The numbers, compiled by Bowling Green State University professor and former cop Phil Stinson, are likely a low-end estimate. As with police killings, there is no reliable centralized data on police crime. Stinson has sought to address both of those gaps by compiling his own numbers, using a combination of local news reports and court records. Stinson’s new database found more than 8,000 total criminal arrests of law enforcement officers in the United States in the 8-year period his team has thus far finished analyzing. Official misconduct of the corrupt kind — planted evidence, dishonest police...

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What Does an Innocent Man Have to Do to Go Free? Plead Guilty

by Megan Rose – A case in Baltimore — in which two men were convicted of the same murder and cleared by DNA 20 years later — shows how far prosecutors will go to preserve a conviction. On Oct. 15, 2008, James Owens shuffled, head high despite his shackles, into a Baltimore courtroom, eager for his new trial to begin. Two decades into a life sentence, he would finally have his chance to prove what he’d been saying all along: The state had the wrong man. Owens had been convicted of murdering a 24-year-old college student, who was found raped and stabbed in her home. Then he’d been shunted off to state prison until DNA testing — the scientific marvel that he’d watched for years free other men — finally caught up with his case in 2006. The semen that had been found inside the victim wasn’t his. A Maryland court...

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‘Legitimately Insane’: To Scare Leakers, Sessions Wants White House Staff Polygraphed

by Jake Johnson – “A crackdown on leaks is a crackdown on the free press and on democracy as a whole.” Amid a furious and “chilling” push by the Trump Justice Department to root out leakers—which has included suggestions that even journalists could be targeted—Axios reported Sunday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has floated the idea of putting White House officials through a polygraph test, a proposal that was quickly denounced as “legitimately insane.” “A crackdown on leaks is a crackdown on the free press and on democracy as a whole.” —Ben Wizner, ACLU “Sessions’ idea is to do a one-time, one-issue, polygraph test of everyone on the staff,” writes Axios‘s Jonathan Swan. “Interrogators would sit down with every single NSC staffer (there’s more than 100 of them), and ask them, individually, what they know about the leaks of transcripts of the president’s phone calls with foreign leaders. Sessions suspects those leaks...

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Conservative Groups Launch New Attack on SPLC to Circumvent ‘hate’ Label

by Zack Ford – They take no accountability for their own rhetoric. A coalition of conservative groups has launched yet another attack on the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in an attempt to discredit the organization’s “hate group” labels. Despite the SPLC’s long history of tracking and documenting extremism, the groups contend, in a new open letter issued to the media Wednesday, that it is actually the SPLC that is stoking violence. The letter, organized by the Family Research Council (FRC) and Media Research Center, was signed by nearly 50 right-wing leaders, many of whom are either affiliated with groups the SPLC has designated as hate groups or have been personally identified as extremists themselves. The signers are predominantly aligned with evangelical Christianity and are known for advocating anti-LGBTQ and/or Islamophobic positions, including Michael Farris (Alliance Defending Freedom), Sandy Rios and Tim Wildmon (American Family Association), Frank Gaffney (Center for Security Policy), and...

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NFL’s Michael Bennett on Police Arrest: ‘My life flashed before my eyes as I thought of my girls’

by Walter Einenkel – On September 6th, Seattle Seahawks defensive end and Super Bowl champion Michael Bennett released a statement onto social media concerning a police action that took place outside of a club in Las Vegas on August 26 after the Mayweather-McGregor boxing match:  Michael Bennett   ✔@mosesbread72 Equality. 10:01 AM – Sep 6, 2017 Dear World, On Saturday, august 26, 2017 I was in Las Vegas to attend the Mayweather-McGregor fight on my day off. After the fight while heading back to my hotel several hundred people heard what sounded like gun shots. Like many of the people in the area I ran away from the sound, looking for safety. Las Vegas police officers singled me out and pointed their guns at me for doing nothing more than simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time. A police officer ordered me to get on the ground....

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