Thursday Reads

Good Morning!!

Here’s some good news for a change: a judge in the Southern District of California will allow a lawsuit by the ACLU challenging the Trump administration policy of separating parents and children at the border to go forward.

Bloomberg: Judge Calls Trump’s Border Separations of Children ‘Brutal.’

The Trump administration failed to kill a legal challenge to its practice of separating undocumented parents and children who seek to enter the U.S. to flee persecution at home, with a judge handing an early victory to civil rights activists who say the policy is unconstitutional and cruel.

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego on Wednesday denied a motion to dismiss the suit, in which the American Civil Liberties Union argues that splitting up families at the border violates their due process rights.

The practice, spearheaded by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, caused widespread outrage after images of children in detention centers circulated on social media. The government argues separations are necessary to properly prosecute adults who cross into the U.S. illegally, while activists say children are being used as pawns in an informal policy intended to deter migrants.

“These allegations sufficiently describe government conduct that arbitrarily tears at the sacred bond between parent and child,” the judge wrote. The conduct, if true, “is brutal, offensive, and fails to comport with traditional notions of fair play and decency.” [….]

Sabraw said the ACLU’s claims are particularly troubling because the plaintiffs in the case had allegedly come to the U.S. seeking asylum out of fear for their well-being in their home countries. The suit applies to migrants who formally present themselves at ports of entry as political refugees as well as those who seek asylum after they are apprehended during illegal border crossings.

“The government actors responsible for the ‘care and custody’ of migrant children have, in fact, become their persecutors,” the judge said.

Read more at the link. The entire filing can be read here.

More good news: a new NBC/WSJ poll found that voters are much more likely to support candidates who stand up to Trump.

NBC News: Poll: Economic satisfaction under Trump isn’t helping his party’s 2018 chances.

By a whopping 25-point margin, voters say they’re more likely to back a congressional candidate who promises to serve as a check on President Donald Trump, according to a new national poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal.

And by a similar margin, they say they’re less likely to vote for someone who has supported the president on most issues.

At the same time, six-in-10 are satisfied with the U.S. economy, and a plurality of voters give Trump credit for the economic improvement.

Despite that economic optimism, however, the poll shows that Democrats enjoy a 10-point advantage on congressional preference, with 50 percent of registered voters wanting a Democratic-controlled Congress, versus 40 percent who want a GOP-controlled one.

Now if national Democrats would just wake up and realize that standing up to Trump is the best mid-term strategy!

The summit with North Korea is coming up next week, but Trump isn’t listening to advice from experts on how to proceed, according to Politico: Trump and Bolton spurn top-level North Korea planning.

National Security Adviser John Bolton has yet to convene a Cabinet-level meeting to discuss President Donald Trump’s upcoming summit with North Korea next week, a striking break from past practice that suggests the Trump White House is largely improvising its approach to the unprecedented nuclear talks.

For decades, top presidential advisers have used a methodical process to hash out national security issues before offering the president a menu of options for key decisions. On an issue like North Korea, that would mean White House Situation Room gatherings of the secretaries of state and defense along with top intelligence officials, the United Nations ambassador, and even the treasury secretary, who oversees economic sanctions.

But since Trump agreed on a whim to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un on March 8, the White House’s summit planning has been unstructured, according to a half-dozen administration officials. Trump himself has driven the preparation almost exclusively on his own, consulting little with his national security team outside of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Senior officials from both the Barack Obama and George W. Bush administrations called the absence of a formal interagency process before such a consequential meeting troubling. Peter Feaver, a former National Security Council (NSC) official in the George W. Bush White House, said his colleagues would likely have held “quite a few” meetings of the so-called Principals Committee of Cabinet-level NSC members in a comparable situation. A former top Obama White House official echoed that point, calling the lack of top-level NSC meetings “shocking.”

Trump has also not presided personally over a meeting of those senior NSC officials, as a president typically does when making the most important decisions.

On the other hand, Trump has given serious thought to whether he should invite Kim Jong Un to play golf with him in Florida if the summit goes well. The Daily Beast reports:

Trump has floated hitting the links with his counterpart as he considers a secondary charm offensive to complement the diplomatic tête-à-tête. The president has already told those close to him and advisers that he is open to inviting Kim to a follow-up summit at Trump’s famous Mar-a-Lago estate and private club in Palm Beach, Florida, as Bloomberg first reported this week.

And, according to two administration officials, Trump has also raised the possibility of a leisurely activity and, perhaps, getting in 18 holes with Kim if the two end up getting along.

“He has also discussed [possibly] golfing with Kim,” a senior Trump administration official said.

It is unclear if such an outing would or could occur during a potential follow-up meeting or the one planned, then canceled, then planned again for Singapore. The site of the upcoming Singapore talks, a five-star hotel on Sentosa Island, is located near a theme park, resorts, and—as luck would have it—multiple golf courses.

The article says no one actually know if Kim even plays golf.

I suppose Kim would agree with Trump on this though. At The Washington Post, Josh Rogin writes that Trump still wants to pull U.S. troops out of South Korea.

For almost two years, President Trump has been talking about withdrawing large numbers of U.S. troops from South Korea, where there are currently around 28,000 stationed. The president’s advisers have repeatedly argued against a large-scale reduction, but he remains unpersuaded. And after his upcoming meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump will have another big chance to push the issue.

Less publicly, but still privately, Trump continues to say he doesn’t agree with the argument that U.S. troops in South Korea are strategically necessary, and he thinks the United States gets nothing back from paying to keep them there, according to administration officials and people who have spoken to Trump directly about the issue. He often asks his generals to explain the rationale for America’s deployments in Asia and expresses dissatisfaction with their answers.

At Trump’s direction, the Pentagon has taken a hard line in ongoing negotiations with the South Korean government over a new cost-sharing agreement for U.S. troops there. If those negotiations fail, Trump could have another excuse to move forward with large reductions….

Inside the administration, top officials have been trying — and failing — to convince the president of the strategic value of the South Korea-based troops since the beginning of his administration. In February, Chief of Staff John F. Kelly reportedly talked Trump down from starting a withdrawal.

Trump has picked fights with most of our allies at this point. Now he’s whining about having to to the Canada on Friday because he’s mad at Justin Trudeau.

The president has vented privately about Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as their trade tensions have spilled into public view. He has mused about finding new ways to punish the United States’ northern neighbor in recent days, frustrated with the country’s retaliatory trade moves.

And Trump has complained to aides about spending two days in Canada for a summit of world leaders, believing the trip is a distraction from his upcoming Singapore summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, according to three people familiar with Trump’s views.

In particular, the president said Tuesday to several advisers that he fears attending the Group of Seven summit in rural Charlevoix, Quebec, may not be a good use of his time because he is diametrically opposed on many key issues with his counterparts — and does not want to be lectured by them.

Additionally, Trump has griped periodically both about German Chancellor Angela Merkel — largely because they disagree on many issues and have had an uneasy rapport — as well as British Prime Minister Theresa May, whom he sees as too politically correct, advisers say.

Awwww . . . poor baby. BTW, have you heard that State Department spokesperson and former Fox and Friends host Heather Nauert thinks Germany was our ally during World War II? Rachel Maddow discussed this at the beginning of her show last night.

Please watch the video–even if you already saw it last night. These are the people who are running our foreign policy!

Politico reports that many foreign leaders are beginning to wake up to Trump’s insanity: Foreign leaders who embraced Trump now feel burned.

Trump calls Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, who visits the White House Thursday, his “good friend.” French president Emmanuel Macron is a “great friend.” And Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a “great friend, neighbor, and ally.” All have sought to butter up Trump through friendly face time, recognizing that the quickest way to the president’s heart is through his ego.

But all, to varying degrees, are exasperated with Trump.

The president is moving ahead with a June 12 summit with North Korea despite Abe’s grave concerns about its wisdom. He has also threatened to slap tariffs on imported Japanese cars and metals. It’s hardly what Abe expected when he became the first foreign leader to meet with Trump after the November election or when he flew with Trump on Air Force One in February 2017 for golfing at his Mar a Lago resort.

Macron treated Trump to a military parade in Paris last summer. He and Trump also exchanged hugs and handshakes during an April visit by the French leader, during which Trump said of his guest: “He is perfect.” But a few weeks later, Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal despite French pleas, and shows no sign of heeding Macron’s request that he rejoin the Paris climate accords, which Trump rejected last year.

Trump has also threatened trade sanctions on the European Union, and is already slapping them on Canada — prompting Trudeau to call Trump’s tariffs on steel imports “insulting and unacceptable.” That’s a change of tune from the early months of Trump’s presidency, when Trudeau avoided criticizing Trump, and even took Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner to a Broadway play in March 2017.

All have paid a domestic political price back home for their efforts to make nice with a highly divisive U.S. president. One French parliamentarian fumed after Macron’s visit that France had “prostituted” and “humiliated” itself.

Angela Merkel knew who she was dealing with from day one, evidence that we need more women in leadership positions around the world.

That’s it for me today. What stories have you been following?

42 Comments on “Thursday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Have a nice day everyone!!

  2. mjcp2664 says:

    You too BB!

  3. dakinikat says:

  4. dakinikat says:

    Add this to the list of history morons:

    GOP lawmaker tweets, deletes D-Day tribute featuring Nazi soldiers

    In a post commemorating the 74th anniversary of D-Day, Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.) appears to have tweeted — and then deleted — a photo of Nazi troops.

    The campaign Twitter account for Ferguson, who is running for reelection in Georgia’s 3rd District, posted a black-and-white photo on Wednesday of troops wearing curved helmets featuring Nazi decals.

  5. dakinikat says:

    Coal executive Bob Murray last year presented Trump administration officials with half a dozen draft executive orders aimed at exiting the Paris climate accord and peeling back coal regulations.

    All President Trump had to do was sign them.

    The documents, released this afternoon under the Freedom of Information Act to E&E News, reveal new details about a secretive meeting in March of last year among Murray, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and other top agency officials.

    It does not appear that Trump signed the orders.

    But the documents provide a further glimpse into the Murray Energy Corp. CEO’s efforts to persuade the federal government to repeal environmental regulations he deemed a burden to his industry. Parts of the coal executive’s proposed action plan have been previously reported, but other elements — like the executive orders — have not.

    In a series of letters dated March 28, 2017, Murray laid out the orders for Perry and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to review and consider, including language to exit the Paris Agreement.

  6. dakinikat says:

    Some beauty for y’all

    • NW Luna says:

      Would love to visit there. Then I could try out one of the iconic Mackintosh chairs to see if they’re as uncomfortable as they look.

      I found it amusing that the writer said Mackintosh was an Art Deco designer before there was Art Deco. Well of course! That’s how these schools and movements start.

  7. dakinikat says:

  8. dakinikat says:

    He was a Fox News military analyst for many years. Now he says Fox is doing a “great deal of damage” to the United States.
    Ralph Peters left the network in March after sending a blistering farewell note to some of his colleagues. The note shocked the TV news industry because he accused Fox of “assaulting our constitutional order and the rule of law.”

    He sounded like one of Fox’s most vociferous liberal critics. But Peters is a staunch conservative who feels the network has lost its way.

    On Wednesday he gave his first TV interview since leaving Fox. He told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that some of Fox’s hosts are doing “a great grave disservice to our country.”

    Peters was sometimes very critical of President Trump during his appearances on Fox. And he repeated that criticism on Wednesday, telling Cooper he believes that Trump is “frightened” of Vladimir Putin.

    He said, “I am convinced that Vladimir Putin has a grip on President Trump,” adding, “I hope I’m wrong.”

  9. NW Luna says:

    BB, I love the RFK quote and illustration up top. Nearly makes me cry to see the altruism expressed so eloquently in that quote (from a speech he wrote himself only a few hours before he gave it) and then to see what we endure now.

    If you haven’t yet seen it, here’s a really good — and poignant — article about RFK, with focus on John Lewis’s recollections and commentary:

  10. NW Luna says:

    Trump unites our allies … against the U.S.

    Macron calls on G7 members to confront Trump over trade

    French president warned G7 members to resist a potential US drift toward ‘crude hegemony’ following Trump’s tariffs on allies

    • quixote says:

      Ah. I didn’t know they’d said this. Throws some light on the Dump whining about “not going” because he “doesn’t want to be lectured.”

      What a dogpile.

  11. bostonboomer says:

    Rudy Giuliani’s disgusting comments about Stormy Daniels.

    • bostonboomer says:

  12. dakinikat says:

  13. dakinikat says:

    A French official told Bloomberg that French President Emmanuel Macron wants to make progress with President Trump on smoothing tensions over trade, the US’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, and climate policy — and if that doesn’t happen, France may refuse to sign.

    Then there’s the fact that Trump himself is reportedly contemplating not signing the joint statement to show that the US is perfectly happy to go its own way if the other members give it too much trouble during talks. The divide has become so stark that staffers and observers of the G7 have started to call it the “G6 plus one.”

    “What this G7 is going to show is that the United States are alone against everyone, and especially alone against their allies,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told reporters last week.

    Really a sad day

  14. dakinikat says:

    This is a next level dad right here:

    • bostonboomer says:

      And he’s carrying an infant through the whole thing!

    • quixote says:

      Seeing this makes me think maybe there really is hope for the future after all.

      (I mean it! This is “the new world is happening right now” stuff.)

  15. Pilgrim says:

    BBoomer: I like the last sentence of your post. Perceptive.

  16. bostonboomer says:

    • NW Luna says:

      Suicide rates rise sharply across the United States, new report shows

      Suicide rates rose in all but one state between 1999 and 2016, with increases seen across age, gender, race and ethnicity, according to a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In more than half of all deaths in 27 states, the people had no known mental health condition when they ended their lives.

      In North Dakota, the rate jumped more than 57 percent. In the most recent period studied (2014 to 2016), the rate was highest in Montana, at 29.2 per 100,000 residents, compared with the national average of 13.4 per 100,000.

      “Historically, men had higher death rates than women,” Kaslow noted. “That’s equalizing not because men are [committing suicide] less but women are doing it more. That is very, very troublesome.”

  17. NW Luna says:

    “No puppet, no puppet” screams Putin’s useful fool.

    Donald Trump calls for Russia to be reinstated into G7

    The US president argued that country’s suspension, imposed in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea, should be reversed for pragmatic reasons.

    It marks a dramatic break from the position of Washington’s main European allies, and other parts of Trump administration, who insist that Moscow abides by a peace accord in Ukraine before normal relations are resumed.

    However, it contradicts the tougher policies advocated by the UK, Germany and France, and in particular cuts across Theresa May’s initiative at the G7 summit to create a rapid response unit to combat state-sponsored aggressive acts like cyber-attacks and poisoning of dissidents, a proposal with Russia principally in mind.

  18. NW Luna says:

  19. NW Luna says:

    Apparently they haven’t reached the full depth of cruelty yet.