Headlines: April 15, 2019
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Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has reported a surge in death threats after President Donald Trump on Friday tweeted a video of her speech at a recent event discussing the impacts to Muslim civil rights after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Trump wrote the words “WE WILL NEVER FORGET” in capital letters alongside the video. The tweet, which was originally pinned to the top of his feed was eventually unpinned after he came under criticism for provoking violence against Omar. Also on Friday Trump re-tweeted a post from a right wing account calling Omar a “sick monster,” and asking the question, “How is this woman walking the halls of Congress.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi chastised the President saying, “This is endangering lives…It has to stop.” She has also taken steps to ensure that Omar’s security detail is adequate but critics have said it is not enough. The Women’s March and Code Pink have launched a petition calling on Facebook and Twitter to suspend the President’s social media accounts saying, “We don’t have to give hate a platform.” Last week a New York man was arrested for threatening Omar with violence.
In other news the Justice Department announced that the Special Counsel’s report would be released this Thursday. Attorney General William Barr will publish a redacted version of the report to the public and likely set off what is sure to be another legal battle over the hidden details of the report. The House Judiciary Committee has authorized a subpoena of the un-redacted report to be turned over to Committee chair Jerrold Nadler. The New York Times reported that Trump’s strategy appears to be elevating Barr’s 4-page summary of the report over the actual report itself. According to the paper, “Mr. Trump is purposefully escalating his language, people who know him said, expressly to enliven his base of supporters and to enrage his political rivals and the news media. He has revived an idea that his administration rejected — sending immigrant detainees to so-called sanctuary cities — in part, people close to him said, to distract from the report.” Meanwhile news emerged on Monday that Trump has raised a whopping $30 million for his 2020 reelection campaign in the first three months of this year alone – the largest of any Presidential contender.
CBS’s 60 Minutes interviewed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday during which Pelosi shared with interviewer Leslie Stahl her opinion on the power of her position. She was also asked about the internal divisions within the Democratic Party.
Reuters reported on Monday that immigrant visa applications are being denied, especially for Mexican nationals, based on their dependence on the US welfare system. Apparently, “One reason for the rise in refusals are little-known changes last year in the State Department’s foreign affairs manual that gave diplomats wider discretion in deciding visa denials on public-charge grounds.” The rule change was proposed last October and is supposed to go through a public comment process before formalizing the change. But according to one immigration attorney, “The State Department is trying to bypass public comment and implement changes to public-charge (policy) all on its own.”
A transgender woman was brutally beaten in broad daylight in Dallas, Texas last Friday. The beating was apparently videotaped and posted to Facebook. Dallas police said they were on the lookout for witnesses to the beating that resulted in the woman being hospitalized on Friday night. The attack apparently took place after a minor traffic incident in the southern part of the city. According to AP the video of the attack, “shows a man in a white shirt viciously beating the woman, apparently into unconsciousness, while the crowd looks on and homophobic slurs are shouted.” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings issued a statement saying he was, “extremely angry about what appears to be mob violence against this woman.”
Meanwhile in Louisiana, the white man accused of setting fires to three black churches in St. Landry Parish has been charged with hate crimes. The twenty-one year old was the son of a Sheriff’s Deputy and has pled not guilty. He has been denied bail and will face trial in September. Prosecutors on Monday said they felt the fires were racially motivated days after they had refrained from doing so.
Presidential contender Bernie Sanders traveled to Lordstown, Ohio, and Pittsburg, Pennsylvania over the weekend addressing workers who have been laid off by General Motors. Here’s part of what he said in Lordstown. The liberal thinktank Think Progress last week launched a hit piece video against Sanders accusing him of changing his tune against millionaires after he himself became a millionaire. Sanders has shot back with a letter to the Center for American Progress, which runs Think Progress, saying that their actions were “destructive.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday reported that confirmed cases of the Measles virus have jumped 20%. Federal officials at the agency called it the worst outbreak of the disease in nearly 20 years. The World Health Organization also reported on Monday that global cases of Measles have surged by nearly four times the average number in the first three months of the year. Reuters explained that, “A growing and vocal fringe of parents in the United States oppose measles vaccines believing, contrary to scientific evidence, that ingredients in the vaccines can cause autism or other disorders.” Over the weekend news emerged from Madagascar about the largest ever outbreak of Measles in the nation. So far 1,200 people have died from the disease on the impoverished island where less than 60% of people are vaccinated. But unlike in the US, residents of Madagascar face a lack of resources to afford vaccination.
Finally major storms plowed through the US’s Midwest and Mid-Atlantic region over the weekend killing at least 8 people. The states of Ohio and New Jersey were among the hardest hit with Ohio experiencing a tornado touchdown. Tens of thousands of residents lost power in New Jersey. The storm system also moved into Mississippi and Alabama.