News & Analysis of Economic, Racial, Gender Justice and More

Republican lawmakers are warning President Donald Trump against imposing tariffs on Mexico – a 5% levy on imports that Trump announced last week in relation to migration from Central America through Mexico. The New York Times described how on Tuesday, “Republican senators emerged from a closed-door lunch at the Capitol angered by the briefing they received from a deputy White House counsel and an assistant attorney general on the legal basis for Mr. Trump to impose new tariffs by declaring a national emergency at the southern border.”  Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas was among those opposing Trump’s tariffs. He said, “I will yield to nobody in passion and seriousness and commitment for securing the border…But there’s no reason for Texas farmers and ranchers and manufacturers and small businesses to pay the price of massive new taxes.” Senators are considering overturning Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the border in order to counter the tariffs. Meanwhile Vice President Mike Pence and other Trump administration officials are scheduled to meet with Mexico’s foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard on Wednesday to discuss the tariffs.

Trump is still in Britain during a multi-day visit during which he gave an interview to Piers Morgan. Among the many issues discussed was Trump’s meeting with Prince Charles about climate change.  Trump during an interview with Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain showcased his ignorance on climate change. Meanwhile, here in the US, the Forest Service Chief announced on Wednesday that 1 billion acres of land across the US are at risk for wildfires. Vicki Christiansen warned during an interview of year-round fires saying, “there’s not any place that we’re really at a fire season. Fire season is not an appropriate term anymore.”

Mr. Morgan also asked Trump during his interview about his deferment of military service in the Vietnam War because of “bone spurs.” To that Trump responded that he didn’t like the war. He said, “I thought it was a terrible war, I thought it was very far away, and at that time nobody ever heard of the country — today they’re doing very well.” He also said he has made up for not serving in the military by appropriating massive funds for wars. “I think I make up for it right now. Look, $700 billion I gave last year, and this year $716 billion. And I think I’m making up for it rapidly because we’re rebuilding our military at a level it’s never seen before.” The interview aired just before Trump attended a memorial service along with other world leaders to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, or the Allied invasion of Normandy during World War II.

The Department of Health and Human Services this week was revealed to be  cutting funding for educational and recreational activities for migrant children that the federal government insists on detaining. An HHS spokesperson said that those programs, “not directly necessary for the protection of life and safety, including education services, legal services, and recreation,” would face cuts. A settlement in a 1997 lawsuit requires that the US provide educational and recreational services to children in custody. There have been more than 40,000 children in HHS custody this year alone. In other immigration news, the House on Tuesday passed a sweeping bill offering protections for the so-called Dreamers. With a vote of 237 to 187 – including 7 Republicans voting yes – the House passed the Dream and Promise Act. The bill will likely fail in the Senate.

Newly revealed documents show that Texas Governor Greg Abbott was responsible for a botched program to illegally purge voters off the rolls. The Texas Secretary of State David Whitley resigned last week in disgrace but now it appears that Abbott himself was behind the push to remove voters with the false claim that they were not citizens. The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) obtained the documents and LULAC general counsel Luis Vera told Think Progress, “This was Gov. Abbott’s program. He started it with [Attorney General] Ken Paxton, and he did this thinking they were going to pull off a stunt and they got caught with their pants down.” Vera added, “They are all a bunch of racist pigs. Greg Abbott wants a white America. End of story.”

A House Oversight Committee meeting on Tuesday examining the federal response to white supremacy got emotional after Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib read out a death threat she received. Tlaib demanded to know why anti-Muslim death threats are not considered domestic terrorism. Meanwhile YouTube on Wednesday announced that it would be cracking down more aggressively on hate speech removing thousands of video channels as per a new policy. The policy would remove any and all content, “alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation, or exclusion.” Just a day earlier, a Vox News journalist had called out YouTube for failing to remove a rightwing shock jock host who routinely referred to him using homophobic and racist language. Carlos Maza compiled a set of video clips of Steven Crowder to prove his point. But YouTube said Crowder’s content did not meet the criteria for removal.

A school resource officer who had refused to enter Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida as the 2018 Valentine’s Day massacre was taking place, has been arrested. After more than a year of investigation Scot Peterson was arrested and faces multiple charges including child neglect. Several parents of children who were killed expressed relief but made no mention of the easy availability of guns.

Los Angeles County has just released its latest figures on the issue of homelessness and the news is not good. A whopping 12% increase in homelessness from the previous year now means that nearly 59,000 people live on LA’s streets. Politicians are claiming shock at the figures despite millions of dollars in expenditures to tackle the situation. Across California, the numbers are even higher with a 35% percent increase since last year.

And finally Presidential candidate Joe Biden, who is being touted as the Democrats’ best hope to win against Trump in 2020, has admitted that his newly released climate plan was plagiarized from the work of a pro-fossil fuel organization named Carbon Capture Coalition.

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