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Today: Border Security or Political Ploy?

Today: Border Security or Political Ploy?
President Trump speaks during a rally on Oct. 27. (Associated Press)

The Pentagon is sending thousands of troops to the border, while illegal immigration this year is on pace to be lower than in all but four of the previous 45 years.

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Border Security or Political Ploy?

The Trump administration has ordered 5,200 additional troops — more than double the deployment in Syria — to the Southwest border in response to a caravan of Central American migrants who may seek to enter the U.S. through Mexico. Though the group is about 900 miles away, Operation Faithful Patriot aims to have the troops in place by the end of the week and would widen the Pentagon’s role in domestic policing operations. President Trump has portrayed the caravan as an “invasion” and falsely claimed it includes terrorists and is organized by Democrats handing out money. Critics of the president say the operation is a political ploy to stir his base before next Tuesday’s midterm election.

A Nation in Need of Healing

In times of tragedy and turmoil, Americans have long turned to their president as a source of empathy and unity. That’s the idea today as President Trump plans to visit the site of the deadly synagogue attack in Pittsburgh. But so far, Trump’s continued demonization of his political opponents, the “fake news media” and the migrant caravan has only intensified the criticism in many quarters. Holding a political rally the same day as the shooting didn’t help. (Trump has 11 more rallies scheduled before next week’s election.) A Gallup poll released Monday showed Trump’s approval had dropped 4 percentage points in the last week, to 40%.

More From a Week of Turmoil

-- The Florida man accused of sending bombs to top Democrats, Trump administration critics and the media kept lists and other information that suggest he had more than 100 potential targets for his campaign of terror, including at least 15 in the Los Angeles region.

-- The Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect appeared in court after being released from the hospital and is being held in custody without bond.

-- Anti-Semitism has always been present in American society, but in the last two years it has been especially visible. Data show the problem is getting worse.

(Los Angeles TImes)

Rocking the Vote Once Again

As big as California is, the state hasn’t been at the center of a election fight with national implications for a while now. Next Tuesday’s midterm election will be different. With at least half a dozen seats up for grabs, or more than a quarter of the 23 that Democrats need to take back the House of Representatives, the spotlight will return to the Golden State. To help you make sense of it all, we’ve put together a voter guide that includes a look at the key House races, the candidates running for statewide office, the 11 propositions on the ballot — and the Orange County moms who’ve become a major political force.

Beware of Headhunters

India has the world’s fastest-growing major economy, but finding a job isn’t easy. Surveys show unemployment is rising, wages remain low and the most educated are the least likely to find work. That’s made it easier for con men posing as recruiters to prey on job-seekers, especially fresh graduates willing to pay thousands of dollars to land a government position.

Predator and Prey

In Modoc National Forest, in the upper reaches of Northern California, ranchers and advocates for animals have been arguing over how to best manage the wild horse population. A program to remove the horses has led to multiple lawsuits. But out on the range, a mountain lion known as M166 has been doing what comes naturally: killing wild horses, more than 30 since June 2017. Some people wish there were more like him.

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MUST-WATCH VIDEO

-- What brought more than 1,000 octopuses to nurse their eggs in Monterey Bay?

CALIFORNIA

-- On the eve of a civil court trial, the Los Angeles Unified School District has agreed to pay $5 million to a young woman who was sexually abused as a teen by a middle school teacher.

-- A mistrial has been declared in the case of two Pomona police officers charged in a violent encounter with an unarmed teenager during an incident that a bystander captured on video.

-- Authorities have identified a man and woman who died last week after falling from Taft Point in Yosemite National Park as a married couple from India who ran a travel blog.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- NBC gambled on Megyn Kelly becoming television news’ next hybrid star, and as TV critic Lorraine Ali lays it out, last week was like watching a replay of the “Roseanne” debacle.

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-- An attorney for pop star Pharrell Williams sent a cease-and-desist letter to Trump for playing Williams’ song “Happy” at a political rally on the same day as the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

-- The director of “Suspiria” explains how the art house horror film has a lot to say about nationalism in the time of Trump.

-- How the World Series and L.A.’s orchestras became a soundtrack for the city.

NATION-WORLD

-- Trump said in a taped TV interview that he plans to sign an executive order that would seek to end the right to U.S. citizenship for children of unauthorized residents born on U.S. soil.

-- A surge in donations to Democrats has driven spending on the Nov. 6 election to nearly $5 billion across the nation, shattering the record for a congressional midterm, according to a nonpartisan research group.

-- German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Europe’s most powerful leader and a force for centrist stability, says she won’t seek reelection as chancellor in 2021.

-- Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says he’ll cancel construction of a partially completed, $13-billion international airport northeast of Mexico City and build a less expensive alternative.

-- Off the coast of Indonesia, rescuers retrieved human remains and pieces of aircraft after a new-generation Boeing jet crashed and killed all 189 people on board.

BUSINESS

-- An animated TV show based on “The Fast and the Furious” franchise? It’s just one of the ways DreamWorks Animation is looking to television for fun and profit.

-- How much does a cable box really cost? Consumer columnist David Lazarus says the industry would prefer you didn’t ask.

SPORTS

-- The Dodgers want manager Dave Roberts to return next season, but what about pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu or infielder Manny Machado?

-- What’s up with NBA scoring? Everything. This season is the highest it’s been than in any year since 1970.

OPINION

-- The president refuses to take responsibility for his dangerous rhetoric. Instead, Trump continues to deflect blame to one of his usual targets: the news media.

-- If other countries can balance human rights and border security, so can the United States.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- Medical officials say the Pittsburgh shooting suspect arrived at the hospital shouting, “I want to kill all the Jews.” Three of the staff treating him were Jewish. (Washington Post)

-- “Is it really funny?” On Twitter, Matt Drudge bashed Fox News for its coverage of political violence in America. (The Daily Beast)

-- The first Harry Potter book came out in the U.S. 20 years ago. A look inside “the ever-expanding wizarding world.” (NPR)

ONLY IN CALIFORNIA

In the weeks before Halloween, theme parks all over Southern California move their focus from rides to “scare zones” and haunted mazes. But Cars Land at Disney’s California Adventure has taken the route less traveled: into the weird zone. How, um, goofy is its Haul-O-Ween celebration? Read on.

If you like this newsletter, please share it with friends. Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.

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