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Eugene's Journal
Eugene's Journal
July 7, 2019

Hungry, Scared and Sick: Inside the Migrant Detention Center in Clint, Tex.

Source: New York Times

Hungry, Scared and Sick: Inside the Migrant Detention Center in Clint, Tex.

An out-of-the-way border station in the desert outside of El Paso has become the epicenter of outrage over the Trump administration’s policies on the southwest border.


CLINT, Tex. — Since the Border Patrol opened its station in Clint, Tex., in 2013, it was a fixture in this West Texas farm town. Separated from the surrounding cotton fields and cattle pastures by a razor-wire fence, the station stood on the town’s main road, near a feed store, the Good News Apostolic Church and La Indita Tortillería. Most people around Clint had little idea of what went on inside. Agents came and went in pickup trucks; buses pulled into the gates with the occasional load of children apprehended at the border, four miles south.

But inside the secretive site that is now on the front lines of the southwest border crisis, the men and women who work there were grappling with the stuff of nightmares.

Outbreaks of scabies, shingles and chickenpox were spreading among the hundreds of children who were being held in cramped cells, agents said. The stench of the children’s dirty clothing was so strong it spread to the agents’ own clothing — people in town would scrunch their noses when they left work. The children cried constantly. One girl seemed likely enough to try to kill herself that the agents made her sleep on a cot in front of them, so they could watch her as they were processing new arrivals.

“It gets to a point where you start to become a robot,” said a veteran Border Patrol agent who has worked at the Clint station since it was built. He described following orders to take beds away from children to make more space in holding cells, part of a daily routine that he said had become “heartbreaking.”


Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/07/06/us/migrants-border-patrol-clint.html

July 3, 2019

Social security workers call new Trump administration contract 'union-busting'

Source: The Guardian

Social security workers call new Trump administration contract ‘union-busting’

New contract will reduce the time allotted to employees for union activity from 250,000 hours annually to 50,000

Michael Sainato
Wed 3 Jul 2019 07.00 BST Last modified on Wed 3 Jul 2019 07.03 BST

Workers at the Social Security Administration (SSA) say that the Trump administration has imposed a new contract on their 45,000 workers that could effectively shut down their union and are warning that the same thing could be tried elsewhere in the federal government as part of a crackdown on the labor movement.

A federal panel, consisting mainly of Trump-appointed members, issued a decision in May to impose a new union contract for the 45,000 federal employees at the SSA. The move came despite a federal judge’s decision last year to strike down most provisions in similarly issued orders for violating collective bargaining rights for federal employees.

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), says the new contract the panel decided to impose chronically hampers its work at the agency, which mainly pays out retirement and disability benefits. The SSA is the first major federal agency up for a union contract renewal since Donald Trump’s executive orders were issued last year, and it is the AFGE’s second-largest bargaining unit.

“If the agency is successful in implementing this panel order, it will decimate our ability to represent workers all over the country,” said Rich Couture, an agency employee for more than 30 years and the union’s chief negotiator.

The provisions in the new contract will reduce the time allotted to SSA employees for union activity from 250,000 hours annually to 50,000 hours and ban all workers from using government property to conduct union activities, such as office spaces and government emails and holding files on government computers or in offices. It will also grant management the discretion to eliminate remote work.


Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jul/03/social-security-agency-union-contract-trump-administration
July 2, 2019

Ocasio-Cortez says dispute with Border Patrol agents started after one tried to take a 'stealth self

Source: Washington Post

Ocasio-Cortez says dispute with Border Patrol agents started after one tried to take a ‘stealth selfie’

By Katie Mettler July 2 at 10:42 AM

After a day spent tweeting about the behavior of Border Patrol agents and the facilities they manage, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) took to the platform again late Monday night to respond to accusations in a news report that she “screamed” at officers in a “threatening manner” while touring one Texas site with other members of Congress.

The report in the Washington Examiner quoted two unnamed witnesses who claimed that they, along with 40 other people, saw Ocasio-Cortez “crying and screaming and yelling” at a Border Patrol facility in El Paso. The report claimed that agents wanted to respond but were held back because she is a lawmaker.

“To these CBP officers saying they felt ‘threatened by me,’ ” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in response. “ .?.?. They confiscated my phone, and they were all armed. I’m 5’4”. They’re just upset I exposed their inhumane behavior.”

In a statement Tuesday, the congresswoman’s communications office called the Examiner’s report an “inaccurate depiction of events.”

“The Congresswoman spoke sternly to a CBP agent that tried to take a stealth selfie with the Congresswoman in a mocking manner, despite the gravity of the situation,” the statement said.


Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/07/02/ocasio-cortez-says-dispute-with-border-patrol-agents-started-after-one-tried-take-stealth-selfie/

June 30, 2019

Ocasio-Cortez leads critics of video showing Ivanka Trump G20 chat

Related thread in GD: AOC says Ivanka Trump not 'a qualified diplomat' in tweet about first daughter's involvement at G-20


Source: The Guardian

Ocasio-Cortez leads critics of video showing Ivanka Trump G20 chat

• First daughter attempts to talk with May, Macron and more
• New York Democrat laments damage to ‘diplomatic standing’

Martin Pengelly
Sun 30 Jun 2019 17.03 BST Last modified on Sun 30 Jun 2019 19.20 BST

The French government on Saturday released a brief clip of a discussion at the G20 summit in Osaka involving four world leaders – and Ivanka Trump.

In the 19 seconds of footage, Donald Trump’s daughter appears to attempt to join a conversation between French president Emmanuel Macron, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, International Monetary Fund director Christine Lagarde and British prime minister Theresa May.

Among widespread reaction on social media, most of it critical of the first daughter, the New York Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said such behaviour “hurts our diplomatic standing”.

Trump has been criticised before for appearing to stand in for her father at international summits, for example during a discussion on health and migration in Africa at the 2017 G20 in Hamburg.

In the video released by the Elysée Palace, Macron can be heard to make a point about “social justice”, to which Trump, standing to his right, says either “it’s on” or “it’s all”.


Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/30/ivanka-trump-g20-leaders-video-alexandria-ocasio-cortez


June 28, 2019

Sand dunes at Trump golf course set to lose protected status after Scottish government says resort '

Source: The Independent

Sand dunes at Trump golf course set to lose protected status after Scottish government says resort ‘destroyed’ ecosystem

US president's business claims move is 'politically motivated' and a 'stitch-up'

Tom Embury-Dennis @tomemburyd
4 hours ago

Sand dunes at Donald Trump's Aberdeenshire golf resort are set to lose their status as a protected wildlife site after experts said the course had "destroyed" the ecosystem, causing permanent habitat loss.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), a government watchdog, said there is no longer a reason to protect the dunes at Menie as they do not include enough of the special features for which they were designated a site of special scientific interest (SSSI).

The Trump Organisation, which was granted permission to build the course despite concerns over environmental damage, branded the move an "utter disgrace" and said it was "politically motivated".

he SSSI designation is given to areas with rare species of fauna or flora, or with important geological or physiological features.

Two years ago, SNH concluded Mr Trump's family business had partially destroyed the protected sand dunes by building the Trump International Golf Links, which opened in 2012.


Read more: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/trump-international-golf-links-sand-dunes-protected-status-scotland-aberdeenshire-a8978896.html

June 25, 2019

Despite new law, Trump administration has not given Puerto Rico emergency food stamp aid

Related GD thread: Trump administration has not given Puerto Rico emergency food stamp aid


Source: Washington Post

Despite new law, Trump administration has not given Puerto Rico emergency food stamp aid

By Jeff Stein and Arelis R. Hernández June 24 at 12:32 PM

The Trump administration has not yet given Puerto Rico $600 million in food stamp aid more than two weeks after the president signed the emergency funding into law, according to federal and territory officials.

Puerto Rico does not expect to be able to spend the emergency food stamp funding until September, most likely, six months after food stamp cuts began for the more than 1 million island residents who rely on the program, said Glorimar Andújar Matos, executive director of the Departamento de la Familia, the Puerto Rico government agency that administers the program.

While the reason for it was not immediately clear, the unexpected delay to Puerto Rico’s food stamp aid reflects the ongoing dysfunction in securing the release of federal funding for the U.S. territory that is still struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria in fall 2017.

Emergency food stamp money for Puerto Rico ran out in March, starting widespread reductions in benefits, and funding renewal was delayed by several months amid an impasse among federal lawmakers and opposition to additional funding for Puerto Rico from the Trump administration.

Puerto Rican officials said they have unsuccessfully sought clarity from the Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service for how to swiftly secure the food stamp funding.


Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/06/24/despite-new-law-trump-administration-has-not-given-puerto-rico-emergency-food-stamp-aid/
June 23, 2019

Migrants describe overcrowded Mexican detention centers as Trump ratchets up pressure

Source: Reuters


Migrants describe overcrowded Mexican detention centers as Trump ratchets up pressure

Delphine Schrank

TAPACHULA, Mexico (Reuters) - Mexico’s immigration centers are becoming increasingly squalid and overcrowded as authorities step up the detention of migrants headed for the United States, with inmates languishing for weeks amid medical neglect, according to detainees, lawyers and rights groups.

Reuters spoke to more than a dozen recent detainees at the Siglo XXI detention center, the country’s largest. They described being held in the facility in Chiapas state on Mexico’s southern border for long periods without information about their cases.

The detainees reported severe overcrowding, sparse water and food, and limited healthcare.

Their accounts were supported by two lawyers representing 26 other inmates, as well as the migration ombudsman at Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission and reports from two migrant rights groups: Fray Matias de Cordova and the Human Rights Observation Mission for the Refugee and Humanitarian Crisis in Southeast Mexico, a collective of 24 aid groups.

Twelve of the detainees told Reuters they were held for at least three weeks in the center, meant to hold people for a maximum of 15 days until their cases are processed.


Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mexico-immigration/migrants-describe-overcrowded-mexican-detention-centers-as-trump-ratchets-up-pressure-idUSKCN1TO0DF

June 21, 2019

Trump Takes 'VA Choice' Lie To Next Level With Bonus Lie That McCain Failed To Pass It

Source: Huffington Post

POLITICS 06/20/2019 06:31 pm ET Updated 1 hour ago

Trump Takes ‘VA Choice’ Lie To Next Level With Bonus Lie That McCain Failed To Pass It

In fact, McCain was a sponsor of the legislation and successfully pushed for the one feature Trump constantly takes credit for. Obama signed it into law in 2014.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump often fabricates accomplishments for himself and at times falsely strips them from others, but a new lie manages both: Claiming credit for a veterans program that his late nemesis Sen. John McCain actually did help create.

“The vets — the VA was in horrible shape. Now, they have choice. And nobody could get choice,” he told ABC News recently. “John McCain couldn’t get it. Nobody could get it. They tried for years. They couldn’t get it. I got choice for the vets.”

In fact, the provision of the law that Trump touts most often — the ability of veterans to get private medical care if VA waitlists were too long — was something that McCain specifically pushed for and eventually won in his negotiations with then-Veterans’ Affairs Committee chairman, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

“He has no ethics of any kind,” said Mark Salter, a former speechwriter to McCain, the longtime Republican senator from Arizona who died last year of brain cancer. “Nothing is too outlandish or dishonest.”


Read more: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/trump-mccain-lie_n_5d0bf70ce4b0aa375f49d27c

June 21, 2019

Britain broke law in allowing arms exports to Saudis: court

Source: Reuters


Britain broke law in allowing arms exports to Saudis: court

Paul Sandle, Guy Faulconbridge

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain broke the law by allowing arms sales to Saudi Arabia that might have been deployed in the war in Yemen, an English court ruled on Thursday after activists said there was evidence the weapons had been used in violation of human rights statutes.

While the court’s decision does not mean Britain must immediately halt arms exports to Saudi Arabia, it does mean that there is a stay on the granting of new export licenses to sell arms to the kingdom - Britain’s biggest weapons purchaser.

The United Nations has described the conflict in Yemen, which has killed tens of thousands of people including thousands of civilians, as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

“The Court of Appeal has concluded that the process of decision-making by the government was wrong in law in one significant respect,” said Terence Etherton, England’s second most senior judge.


Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-britain/britain-broke-law-in-allowing-arms-exports-to-saudis-court-idUSKCN1TL0YP
June 20, 2019

'Joints will be separated': Jamal Khashoggi's murder, retold

Source: Associated Press

‘Joints will be separated’: Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, retold

June 19, 2019

GENEVA (AP) — The gathering on the second floor of the Saudi consulate featured an unlikely collection: a forensic doctor, intelligence and security officers, agents of the crown prince’s office. As they waited for their target to arrive, one asked how they would carry out the body.

Not to worry, the doctor said: “Joints will be separated. It is not a problem,” he assured. “If we take plastic bags and cut it into pieces, it will be finished. We will wrap each of them.”

Their prey, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, would not leave the consulate in Istanbul alive. And on Wednesday, more than eight months after his death, a U.N. special rapporteur revealed new details of the slaying — part of a report that insisted there was “credible evidence” to warrant further investigation and financial sanctions against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The report brought the grisly case back into the spotlight just as the prince and his country appeared to be emerging from the stain of the scandal. But it contained no smoking gun likely to cause President Donald Trump to abandon one of his closest allies — and none likely to send the crown prince before a tribunal.

And yet the details of the Oct. 2 killing were so chilling, and now so public, that it’s hard to fathom that there won’t be repercussions.


Read more: https://apnews.com/fb852a09bc8f46b0b591dc615530b399

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