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426 posts
  • Opinion
  • We're All Doomed
Inmates watch TV in the converted day room at the California Institution for Women in Chino–Corona.
Inmates watch TV in the converted day room at the California Institution for Women in Chino–Corona. (Los Angeles Times)

The scenes of parents being separated from their children at the border are shocking and shameful. But taking children from their mothers is not a new practice nor is it inflicted only on border-crossers. It is the way the American penal system regularly treats women in the criminal justice system, whose children often suffer lives of deprivation, stigma, loneliness and trauma as a result.

There are currently about 219,000 women behind bars in the United States, according to a study by the American Civil Liberties Union last year, about eight times as many as were incarcerated in 1970.

Of those, 80% are mothers, and most are the primary caretakers of their children — or were, before they were separated.

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  • Opinion
Mexico fans brought an unsavory tradition to the World Cup: chanting an anti-gay slur at opposing players.
Mexico fans brought an unsavory tradition to the World Cup: chanting an anti-gay slur at opposing players. (Jorge Nunez / EPA/Shutterstock)

Here’s a reason not to root for Mexico in the World Cup soccer tournament: fans of El Tri chanting anti-gay slurs at players on the field.

FIFA, the troubled organization that oversees world soccer, opened an investigation into reports that Mexico fans chanted the insult Sunday as German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer got ready for a goal kick (putting the ball back in play after it went out of bounds).

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  • Trump
  • Opinion
Workers transfer soybeans at a port in eastern China in April. The U.S. and China are slapping escalating tariffs on each other's goods.
Workers transfer soybeans at a port in eastern China in April. The U.S. and China are slapping escalating tariffs on each other's goods. (AFP/Getty Images)

Chances are pretty good that you haven’t felt the sting of President Trump’s punitive tariff policies. But you will.

The president announced late Monday that China had (unsurprisingly) refused to buckle in the face of his decision to slap tariffs on $50 billion worth of goods imported into the United States. Instead, China had retaliated with tariffs on $50 billion worth of U.S. exports, “threatening United States companies, workers, and farmers who have done nothing wrong,” the administration said in a statement.

Therefore, Trump said, the administration will identify $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to be hit with an additional 10% tariff. “If China increases its tariffs yet again, we will meet that action by pursuing additional tariffs on another $200 billion of goods,” Trump declared, adding, “The trade relationship between the United States and China must be much more equitable.”

Migrant families wait to be processed at the United States Border Patrol Processing Center in McAllen, Texas.
Migrant families wait to be processed at the United States Border Patrol Processing Center in McAllen, Texas. (U.S. Customs and Border Patrol)

As condemnations grow over President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy toward illegal border crossings, under which 2,000 children have been separated from their parents, President Trump on Monday morning took aim at … Germany.

“The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition,” the president tweeted. “Crime in Germany is way up. Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!” He followed that with: “We don’t want what is happening with immigration in Europe to happen with us!”

Somebody get that man an atlas. The migration problems confronting Germany and its neighbors arose directly from war in the Middle East (a war in which the U.S. is an active participant) and instability in sub-Saharan Africa, which together have sent more than a million refugees to the nearest stable destination: Europe.

  • Opinion
  • The Swamp
White House senior advisor Stephen Miller, third from right, listens to President Trump discuss immigration policy on May 16.
White House senior advisor Stephen Miller, third from right, listens to President Trump discuss immigration policy on May 16. (Evan Vucci)

It has happened to all of us. Here you are, innocently cruising the Web for sports highlights or something similarly benign when you stumble across a story on Yahoo. “Sure,” you think, “I would like to see Steph Curry’s game-winning shot from Pluto and some attached commentary.”

So you click.

Everything starts off OK. But then, one thing leads to another, and you wade into the comment section — where things immediately become awful.

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  • Opinion
  • Living While Black
Posted by Carle Wheeler on Wednesday, June 13, 2018

So, now we have #SwimmingWhileBlack. 

In the latest episode of white people calling out black people for going about their everyday lives, a white man approached an African American woman and her 5-year-old daughter while they were swimming in the pool of the Westin Pasadena, where they were staying, and asked them if they had showered before they got into the pool.

The man asked “because people carry diseases into the pools and he doesn't want the health department to shut the pool down,” according to the woman, Carle Wheeler, who posted an account of the incident, along with a video, on her Facebook page on Wednesday. (The incident happened Monday.) The mother and daughter kept swimming — but the man approached them again on the opposite end of the pool, claiming he worked for the health department.

  • Trump
  • Opinion
  • We're All Doomed
Global warming, if unchecked, will affect everything from sea levels to agriculture.
Global warming, if unchecked, will affect everything from sea levels to agriculture. (David McNew / AFP/Getty Images)

A forthcoming international report says global temperatures are on pace to rise by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2040, pushing steadily toward a level that scientists believe will have profound effects on life on the planet.

Worse, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report affirms that current national pledges under the 2015 Paris agreement for reducing emissions won’t resolve the problem, according to Reuters, which obtained a copy of the draft.

  • Opinion
  • The Witch Hunt
A federal judge ordered former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort jailed after allegations of witness tampering.
A federal judge ordered former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort jailed after allegations of witness tampering. (Matt Rourke / Associated Press)

Whoa, there, let’s not get too excited.

A lot of anti-Trumpists are likely taking pleasure in the notion of Paul Manafort getting sent to jail today after a judge revoked his bail over allegations of witness tampering. But it’s unclear whether this will have much impact on the investigation by Robert S. Mueller III into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election.

Remember, the case against Manafort deals primarily with action taken before he became Trump’s campaign manager. The array of federal money laundering and conspiracy charges against Manafort are serious, especially with this new set of witness-tampering charges.

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  • Opinion
  • The Witch Hunt
Paul Manafort arrives for Friday's hearing in U.S. District Court in Washington.
Paul Manafort arrives for Friday's hearing in U.S. District Court in Washington. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

If you’re Paul Manafort, and a judge has just thrown you into jail for alleged witness tampering, and you have already been indicted on several counts of money laundering, fraud and tax evasion, there’s an awful lot of pressure on you to make your prosecutors happy. Clearly they’re not messing around anymore and are perfectly willing to destroy your life if you don’t give them what they want: testimony about what really happened during the Trump campaign, when you were campaign chairman.

Given the possibility of spending your life in prison if you’re convicted on all charges, it would not be at all stupid to start thinking, as you waste away in your cell, about how you can save yourself, even if it means throwing some old buddies and colleagues under the bus.

In any case, that’s what special counsel Robert S. Mueller III hopes you’re thinking. He hopes that, like many jailed witnesses before you, you’re thinking about a negotiated plea agreement and a reduced sentence in return for an offer to cooperate.

A member of the Central American migrant caravan, holding a child, looks through the border wall in Tijuana in April.
A member of the Central American migrant caravan, holding a child, looks through the border wall in Tijuana in April. (Hans-Maximo Musielik/Associated Press)

In the name of the law, the Bible and, when they’re being honest, deterring future immigrants from coming, the Trump administration has been ripping children from their parents when the families try to cross the border illegally —even when they have arrived seeking asylum. 

This is heartless and inhumane. It’s also, potentially, causing irreparable physical and mental harm to children, who are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of trauma.

Two months after the Trump administration began its new “zero-tolerance” policy, which requires the criminal prosecution of adults arriving illegally at the border, youth detention centers are now packed with children. The Department of Homeland Security will soon build a “tent city” in Texas to handle the growing number of kids in government custody.