July 9, 2019

Posted by orrinj at 6:24 PM


Jewish Youth Say "Never Again" As They Protest Trump's Concentration Camps (STEPHANIE RUSSELL-KRAFT, 7/09/19, In These Times)

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY--Planes on their way to the airport fly low over a crowd of young protesters chanting "Racist ICE has got to go!" More than 100 Jewish and immigrant activists have gathered outside the Elizabeth Contract Detention Center in New Jersey, where Immigration and Customs Enforcement holds approximately 300 detainees.

Rabbi Salem Pearce leads the protesters in the Mourner's Kaddish, a Jewish prayer of mourning, for six immigrant children who have died in U.S. government custody.

"There are more who are not named," she says. "There will be more."

Periodically, the sound of a shofar horn rises above the chanting. The bugle-like instrument, traditionally made of a ram's horn, is blown on Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), and Yom Kippur, the day of atonement that follows. By sounding it at the protest, "it's like we're collectively repenting for the sins of America," explains Julia Davidovitz, a 26-year-old preschool teacher from Boston and the descendent of Jewish refugees. Her grandfather was incarcerated by the Nazis in the Minsk Ghetto, where he lost his parents and two sisters.

Down the road, a group of activists with a banner that reads "Never Again Means Close the Camps" links arms across the gate to the employee parking lot, briefly blocking employees from leaving as they demand the facility be shut down. Later in the evening, 36 protesters are arrested. 

The protest marked the beginning of two weeks of action organized by an unofficial coalition of Jewish and immigrant activists demanding an end to the detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants in the United States. Their message: that "Never Again"--an expression used in remembrance of the Holocaust--means never again for anyone.

Posted by orrinj at 6:21 PM


Bible shortage warned if Trump tariffs on China paper happen (RACHEL LAYNE, JULY 9, 2019, CBS News)

Publishers of religious books are warning that President Donald Trump's latest proposed tariffs on Chinese imports could result in a Bible shortage in the U.S.

Tens of millions of bibles are printed in China each year, with some estimates as high as 150 million. Publishers large and small testified against the proposed tariff in hearings last month, saying it would make the Bible more expensive for consumers and Christian organizations that give away Bibles as part of their ministry. The proposed tariffs are currently on hold as trade negotiations resume following months of parrying by U.S. and China officials.   

Bibles are printed on "unusually thin paper" that requires specialized machines, Mark Schoenwald, president of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, said in testimony to the  U. S. Trade Representative. Up to 75% of what it costs a publisher to make a Bible, with its complex illustrations and ultra-thin pages that make it portable, is spent in China and can't be handled elsewhere, according to Schoenwald. 

Does that include the ones with The Book of Donald?

Posted by orrinj at 6:19 PM


U.S. judge denies Justice Dept. request to shake up legal team in census case (Sarah N. Lynch, 7/09/19, Reuters)

Adding yet another hurdle for the Justice Department as it struggles to find a new path forward to adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census, U.S. District Court Judge Jesse Furman said in a court order the department's 11th-hour request to change lawyers handling the case is "patently deficient" and provides no "satisfactory reasons."

Always bet on the Deep State.

Posted by orrinj at 6:14 PM


Education minister: Intermarriage among US Jews 'like a second Holocaust' (JTA and TOI, 9 July 2019, times of israel)

The rate of intermarriage among US Jews is "like a second Holocaust," Israel's new minister of education said.

Rafi Peretz made the statement at a cabinet meeting on July 1, Axios reported Tuesday, citing three people who were in the room.

Peretz, a former chief rabbi of the Israeli army, is the leader of the Union of Right Wing Parties bloc.

Peretz said the assimilation of Jews around the world and mostly in the US was "like a second Holocaust," and also said that, due to intermarriages in the last 70 years, the Jewish people "lost 6 million people," according to the report, which added that Peretz's spokesman confirmed the account.

In other words, our homes are like Death Camps.

Posted by orrinj at 5:55 PM


The First All-Electric Mini Cooper Is Radical in Its Simplicity (ALEX LAUER, JULY 9, 2019, Inside Hook)

If electric vehicles are indeed the future, we're on the brink of a major upheaval in car design. The necessary components for EVs are different enough (bye bye internal combustion engines) that they have the potential to take forms hitherto unseen on American roads. You've seen hints at these futuristic designs from Tesla, Rivian and even top brands like Toyota. 

Where you won't see quasi-sci-fi EV design: the 2020 Mini Cooper SE, the British brand's first all-electric car which was unveiled today. Instead of pushing the limit of what a Mini could look and feel like, the company chose to design it as close to the existing, gas-powered Minis as possible. And that makes it radical.

Posted by orrinj at 12:49 PM


The long, bipartisan history of dealing with immigrants harshly (Anthony W. Fontes, 7/09/19, the Conversation)

Following a long history of more open and welcoming immigration policies, in the first half of the 20th-century U.S. attitudes toward immigration became increasingly restrictionist. Racism against immigrants of color drove immigration legislation, especially during economic downturns and political turmoil.

Beginning in 1924, the government set national immigration quotas. Due to a belief in eugenics, a pseudo-science claiming that Nordic and Anglo-Saxon races are superior to all others, the authorities effectively cut off legal immigration from all but a few Western European nations.

Lawmakers claimed it was for the sake of preserving and improving upon the nation's ethno-linguistic heritage as recorded in the 1890 census. The count excluded most African Americans and all Chinese Americans.

There were no quotas for immigrants from neighboring countries, however. And so then, as now, Mexican migrants filled industrial and agricultural labor shortages, especially across the Southwest.

But once the Great Depression began and unemployment soared, President Herbert Hoover bowed to popular pressure to preserve "American jobs for real Americans" and approved the large-scale deportation of Mexican workers and their families.

Largely carried out by local law enforcement between 1929 and 1936, the deportation dragnets rounded up hundreds of thousands of people of Mexican descent - many of them U.S.-born citizens - and forced them onto trains bound for Mexico.

The advent of World War II reignited longstanding anti-Japanese attitudes. Franklin Delano Roosevelt's administration forced nearly 120,000 people of Japanese descent - most of them U.S. citizens - into remote internment camps between 1942 and 1945. His administration also deported thousands of Japanese Americans who had renounced their citizenship under duress. And the government turned away at least 200,000 Jewish refugees who were fleeing the Nazis despite the quotas for their countries not being filled.

World War II also revived the U.S. economy, suddenly creating labor shortages in jobs left by those who had joined the war effort. Looking south for a fix, lawmakers established the Bracero program. It encouraged and regulated the flow of Mexican migrants primarily employed as farm workers from 1942 until 1965 - when a landmark immigration law abolished national quotas.

Many employers preferred to hire undocumented workers to avoid the Bracero program's bureaucracy and wage restrictions. In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower initiated "Operation Wetback" to force hundreds of thousands of low-paid farm workers to leave the country.

Like Hoover's deportation spree, officials made little effort to differentiate between the U.S. citizens and noncitizens who got rounded up and deported. Historians have found that innumerable U.S.-born people were again among the hundreds of thousands supposedly repatriated to Mexico.

Since 2014, growing numbers of Central Americans have arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border seeking asylum. The Trump administration has gone out of its way to discourage these migrants by changing eligibility criteria, application procedures and detention practices.

Large numbers of Central Americans first began to arrive in the U.S. in the 1980s - in many cases fleeing U.S.-backed brutality. Rather than acknowledge its allies' human rights abuses, the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush labeled these asylum seekers "economic migrants." Less than 3% were granted asylum, a fraction of the approval rate for refugees fleeing communist regimes in Eastern Europe and oppression in Iran and Afghanistan.

Even so, Reagan also demonstrated generosity toward undocumented migrants. His administration's 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act provided amnesty for over 3 million undocumented immigrants - the vast majority of them from Mexico and Central America - letting them become permanent legal residents.

The 1986 law also took major steps to toughen border security to deter future undocumented migration. Combining legalization with deterrence, Reagan hoped, would fix the nation's immigration system once and for all.

However, the law created no means of regulating future migration to the U.S. Economic turmoil in Mexico during the 1980s and early 1990s - especially following the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement - pushed more migrants north. As a result, millions more people ended up living and working in the U.S. with few prospects for gaining legal status.

Aside from the complementary measures adopted during the the first Bush presidency, no president since Reagan has signed legislation for another expansive amnesty for the undocumented. With few exceptions, immigration policies have become increasingly punitive with the passage of time.

More than any other president, Bill Clinton paved the way for Trump's plans to deport millions of undocumented families, terrify others into voluntarily departing and slash legal migration. During his 1996 reelection campaign, Clinton signed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, one of the most draconian and far-reaching pieces of anti-immigration legislation in U.S. history.

The 1996 law eroded due process for many migrants seeking asylum. It created a program that enlists local law enforcement agencies into immigration enforcement. Critics of the program say it drives a wedge between the police and immigrant communities, interfering with law enforcement.

Following the law's passage, deportation numbers soared, setting new records for the numbers of immigrants detained during the Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama administrations.

Posted by orrinj at 12:41 PM


Exclusive: The true origins of the Seth Rich conspiracy theory. A Yahoo News investigation (Michael Isikoff, 7/09/19,Yahoo News)

 In the summer of 2016, Russian intelligence agents secretly planted a fake report claiming that Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was gunned down by a squad of assassins working for Hillary Clinton, giving rise to a notorious conspiracy theory that captivated conservative activists and was later promoted from inside President Trump's White House, a Yahoo News investigation has found.

Russia's foreign intelligence service, known as the SVR, first circulated a phony "bulletin" -- disguised to read as a real intelligence report --about the alleged murder of the former DNC staffer on July 13, 2016, according to the U.S. federal prosecutor who was in charge of the Rich case. That was just three days after Rich, 27, was killed in what police believed was a botched robbery while walking home to his group house in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, D.C., about 30 blocks north of the Capitol.

The purported details in the SVR account seemed improbable on their face: that Rich, a data director in the DNC's voter protection division, was on his way to alert the FBI to corrupt dealings by Clinton when he was slain in the early hours of a Sunday morning by the former secretary of state's hit squad.

Yet in a graphic example of how fake news infects the internet, those precise details popped up the same day on an obscure website, whatdoesitmean.com, that is a frequent vehicle for Russian propaganda. The website's article, which attributed its claims to "Russian intelligence," was the first known instance of Rich's murder being publicly linked to a political conspiracy.

"To me, having a foreign intelligence agency set up one of my decedents with lies and planting false stories, to me that's pretty outrageous," said Deborah Sines, the former assistant U.S. attorney in charge of the Rich case until her retirement last year. "Maybe other people don't think it's that outrageous. I did ... once it became clear to me that this was coming from the SVR, then that triggers a lot of very serious [questions about] 'What do I do with this?'"

The Trumpbots essentially replaced the Left as useful idiots.

Posted by orrinj at 12:39 PM


Russia's Stagnation Pushes Kremlin to Renew Pressure on Georgia (Pavel K. Baev, June 25, 2019, Eurasia Daily monitor)

 Russian President Vladimir Putin likely suspects that the real economic situation in his country is worse than the officially registered sluggish growth and that the erosion of his popularity goes deeper than the slight decline reported by semi-official pollsters (Carnegie.ru, June 20). During his annual televised question-and-answer show, which also aired on June 20, Putin tried to reassure the population that their social needs were being prioritized. And yet, Russians have few reasons to be satisfied with his performance, and viewership numbers of this tired show fell to a new low (Kommersant, June 21). The contraction in personal incomes continues despite his assertions to the contrary (Vedomosti, June 24). Moreover, stagnation is no longer comfortable for Russia's predatory elites, because it generates social discontent rather than apathy, and there is no way to quell such feelings among the populace by continuing to distribute only symbolic gifts (Rosbalt, June 21).

The sudden quarrel with Georgia thus provided the policy-manipulators in the Kremlin with a perfect opportunity to produce a distraction from these unhappy domestic developments. 

Posted by orrinj at 12:31 PM


Billionaire Ross Perot, former independent presidential candidate, dies at 89 (CASSANDRA POLLOCK JULY 9, 2019, Texas Tribune)

In 1992, Perot ran for president as a third-party candidate -- and his historic percentage of the vote prompted some Republicans to blame him for President George H.W. Bush's loss to Bill Clinton, a Democrat. During that 1992 campaign, Perot spent over $63 million of his own money, and used charts and graphs that included what became his soundbite: "It's just that simple."

In 1996, when Perot ran again for president, his bid was less successful. He received 8% of the vote.

The Nativist line runs straight through Perot, Buchanan, the Reform Party, the Tea Party, Donald.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


A woman's place--at the mosque: How American Muslim women are transcending barriers to leadership. (Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil, July 9, 2019, Christian Century)

When Zariah Horton stepped to the front of a mosque in Los Angeles last year and prepared to address a congregation of Muslim women, she was assuming a position she never imagined being in. She had attended jumu'ah, or Friday prayers, at mosques in the United States for decades, but the idea of leading prayers herself had never felt like an option, because she had only seen men in the role.

"It never occurred to me, I guess due to the gender factor," she said.

But when the Women's Mosque of America opened in Los Angeles in 2014, Horton's ideas began to change. The Women's Mosque is exclusively for women. Women lead all aspects of the Friday prayer service, including making the call to prayer, delivering the sermon, and leading the congregation in prayer--activities traditionally performed by men. (According to most Islamic scholars, women are not permitted to lead men in communal prayer, but they can lead other women.) The Women's Mosque meets at the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles, transforming a room in the church by putting up banners emblazoned with the names Muhammad and Allah in Arabic calligraphy.

Last September, Horton decided to lead the prayer, an experience she said was initially scary, but ultimately important for developing religious leadership skills. "It's important that women put ourselves out there," said Horton, a psychotherapist and life coach based in Los Angeles.

The Women's Mosque is one example of the ways Muslim women in the United States are taking on new positions of religious leadership.