Tuesday Reads

Good Afternoon!!

As usual, there’s way too much important news to cover today. I long for the days when Obama was president and there weren’t scandals and outrages every single day including Saturdays and Sundays.

Overhead view of the shelter for migrant children in Clint, TX

After the public response to Trump’s concentration camps/torture chambers for children on border, NBC News reports: Almost 300 migrant children removed from Texas facility described as ‘appalling.’

Almost 300 migrant children have been removed from a border patrol facility in Texas after media reports of lawyers describing “appalling” and potentially dangerous conditions, Department of Homeland Security officials told NBC News….

The children who were removed were being held at a border station in Clint, Texas. Some were wearing dirty clothes covered in mucus or even urine, said Elora Mukherjee, the director of the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School. Teenage mothers wore clothing stained with breast milk. None of the children had access to soap or toothpaste, she said.

The children have been taken to a tent detention camp also in El Paso, Texas, where they will remain under the custody of Border Patrol until they can be placed with the Department of Health and Human Services, the DHS officials said. The Associated Press first reported on the conditions at the facility.

But will conditions be better in the tent camp? Who knows? Reporters aren’t allowed in to report on Trump’s concentration camps. The Washington Post: Migrant children are suffering at the border. But reporters are kept away from the story.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Clint, Texas is seen in this undated image from Google Maps.

News stories emerged last week about squalid conditions at a Border Patrol detention facility housing about 300 migrant children on the U.S.-Mexico border. The media accounts described the facility in Clint, Tex., near El Paso, that houses children separated from their parents by order of the Trump administration.

Apart from their appalling specifics, the stories were notable for one element: They were all based on secondhand accounts. Reporters were unable to see the facilities themselves or speak to any of the children. Instead, they relied on descriptions provided by lawyers and advocates who were granted access under a legal settlement with the Border Patrol.

The blackout on press access has left Americans largely in the dark about conditions in government facilities designed to handle migrants who have crossed the border. Photographs and TV images are both rare and often dated. Rarer still are interviews with federal agency managers and employees and with the children themselves.

Journalists, government officials and migrant advocates agree that permitting reporters to see the facilities firsthand would change public perceptions about the treatment of migrants. There’s disagreement, however, about how it would change.

“If journalists had access to the detention centers at the border where children are being held in filthy conditions, those centers would not exist,” said Elora Mukherjee, an attorney who interviewed children at the Texas facility and described them to reporters last week. “If videos were released there would be massive changes” because the public outcry would be enormous.

From left: Meagan O’Toole-Pitts, Ashley Cortez, Oliver Cortez, and his father, Mark Cortez, attempt to drop off diapers and toys for detained children at the immigration detention center in Clint. Courtesy of Armando Martinez Photography

The Boarder Patrol won’t even accept donations from people who want to help the children, according to The Texas Tribune.

Oh, and good old Melania chose yesterday to tweet about helping children. Raw Story: Melania Trump ripped for bragging about helping children while her husband runs concentration camps for kids. “Be best” like her husband the child abuser and rapist?

Two more important stories on this topic:

Damon Linker at The Week: Trump’s border policy: If cruelty isn’t the point, what is?

Dahlia Lithwick and Margo Schlanger at Slate: What You Need to Know About the Crisis at the Border.

Big media largely ignored or downplayed E. Jean Carroll’s rape allegation against Trump. Now multiple outlets are asking why it wasn’t treated as front page news.

Paul Waldman at The Washington Post: Have we become numb to Trump’s loathsomeness?

When we look back on June 2019, we’ll say that this was the time when a credible allegation of rape was made against the president of the United States, and he had already shown himself to be such a loathsome character that it was treated as a third-tier story, not worthy of much more than a passing mention here and there in the news.

After New York magazine published author and advice columnist E. Jean Carroll’s account last Friday of an encounter she says she had with Trump in a Bergdorf Goodman that ended with him raping her in a dressing room, many of our most important news outlets reacted with only minor interest. Most of the nation’s biggest newspapers — aside from The Post — left it off on their front page the next day. None of the five Sunday shows mentioned it at all.

There are many reasons to find Carroll’s allegation credible. She’s a fairly well-known public figure. Her description of what happened to her — him slamming her against a wall, mashing his face against hers, yanking down her tights, and penetrating her — accords not only with the allegations of multiple other women but Trump’s own words on that infamous “Access Hollywood” tape, in which he bragged that he can sexually assault any woman he pleases. “I just start kissing them, it’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

Yet Trump’s position on Carroll’s allegation is the same he has taken on all the others: She’s a liar. He doesn’t say it was a misunderstanding or it was consensual, just that she’s a liar.

A liar and somehow not the sort of woman he would choose to rape, according to Trump.

The New York Times: ‘She’s Not My Type’: Accused Again of Sexual Assault, Trump Resorts to Old Insult.

Mr. Trump said that E. Jean Carroll, who wrote for years for Elle magazine, was “lying” when she said that he threw her up against a wall and forced himself on her in the mid-1990s, and he insisted that he did not know her.

“I’ll say it with great respect,” he said in an interview with The Hill, a Capitol Hill news organization. “No. 1, she’s not my type. No. 2, it never happened. It never happened, O.K.?” [….]

In the Hill interview, Mr. Trump said Ms. Carroll was making up the story. “Totally lying. I don’t know anything about her,” he said. “I know nothing about this woman. I know nothing about her. She is — it’s just a terrible thing that people can make statements like that.”

Mr. Trump in the past has rejected other sexual assault accusations by asserting that the women who accused him of taking advantage of them were not attractive enough to engage in such behavior.

“Believe me, she would not be my first choice, that I can tell you,” Trump told supporters at a campaign event in 2016 after a woman accused him of putting his hand up her skirt while on an airplane. “You don’t know. That would not be my first choice.” As the crowd laughed, he said, “Check out her Facebook, you’ll understand.”

Of course Carroll is very much his “type.” She was a blonde beauty queen and a cheerleader, for cripes sake.

Look at the photos. I’d say she fits the mold, wouldn’t you? Here’s another take on this story at The Atlantic: The Cruel Paradox at the Heart of E. Jean Carroll’s Allegation Against Trump.

Yesterday, the dotard in chief issued new sanctions against Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini, who has been dead for 20 years. Iran responded that the Trump administration is “afflicted with mental retardation.” CBS This Morning: Iran leaders lash out at White House over “idiotic” new sanctions.

Officials in Iran lashed out on Tuesday at the latest round of sanctions imposed by the Trump administration, casting doubt on any hope of an imminent diplomatic end to the standoff over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. President Hassan Rouhani called the new U.S. sanctions “outrageous and idiotic,” and suggested the Trump administration was “afflicted by mental retardation” for imposing them.

The country’s foreign ministry spokesman said the latest move by the U.S. brought a “permanent closure” to any hope of diplomacy between the two nations.

President Trump imposed the new sanctions on Monday. For the first time they target Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei directly, barring his access to the international financial system. The punitive measures — which add to a long list of financial sanctions already slapped on Tehran by Mr. Trump since he pulled the U.S. out of the nuclear deal with Iran last year — also target other officials.

Rouhani mocked Mr. Trump over the sanctions, saying: “You sanction the foreign minister simultaneously with a request for talks?”

CBS News White House correspondent Ben Tracy says the latest statements from Iran are further evidence that President Trump’s strategy, of forcing the Islamic Republic to change its behavior by strangling its economy, is not working.

Oh, and Trump is still thinking about cutting off military aid to Japan. Bloomberg: Trump Muses Privately About Ending Postwar Japan Defense Pact.

President Donald Trump has recently mused to confidants about withdrawing from a longstanding defense treaty with Japan, according to three people familiar with the matter, in his latest complaint about what he sees as unfair U.S. security pacts.

Trump regards the accord as too one-sided because it promises U.S. aid if Japan is ever attacked, but doesn’t oblige Japan’s military to come to America’s defense, the people said. The treaty, signed more than 60 years ago, forms the foundation of the alliance between the countries that emerged from World War II….

Exiting the pact would jeopardize a postwar alliance that has helped guarantee security in the Asia Pacific, laying the foundation for the region’s economic rise. Under the terms of its surrender in World War II, Japan agreed to a pacifist constitution in which it renounced the right to wage war….

Scrapping the treaty would risk ceding security of the Western Pacific to China and potentially spurring a fresh nuclear arms race, if Japan decided it needed to protect itself from nuclear-armed neighbors. It would also call into question the U.S.’s military commitments to Australia, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan and a host of other allies around the world.

This man is really really old.

Joe Biden is still leading in the polls as we approach the first Democratic primary debate on Wednesday and Thursday, so here are a couple of interesting pieces on Biden.

Michelle Goldberg at The New York Times: Joe Biden Doesn’t Look So Electable in Person.

On Saturday, Joe Biden was one of 20 presidential candidates to speak at a Planned Parenthood forum in Columbia, S.C., held right next door to the state’s Democratic convention. It was just a couple of weeks after he’d reversed his longtime support for the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortion. One of the moderators asked him what he’d say to pro-choice voters who have concerns about his mixed record on the issue.

This was part of his answer: “The fact of the matter is that we’re in a situation where mortality rate for poor women and black women, here in this state, 26.5 percent of the, 24, 25.6 people, who of 100,000 who need, who end up dying as a consequence of birth, it’s absolutely absurd.” (He was referring to South Carolina’s maternal mortality rate, which is 26.5 maternal deaths per 100,000 births.)

Seeing Biden on the stump often feels like watching an actor who can’t quite remember his lines. Even if you don’t support him, it’s hard not to feel anxious on his behalf.

I had the chance to watch Biden campaign three times over the weekend, when almost the entire Democratic field descended on Columbia. On Friday he appeared at the famous fish fry held by Congressman Jim Clyburn. The next day he was at the Planned Parenthood event and at the state convention.

Biden speaks at James Clyburn’s fish fry.

His performance was unnerving. I don’t want Biden to be the nominee for ideological reasons, but polls show him far ahead, and if he’s going to be the Democratic Party’s standard-bearer against Donald Trump, I want him to be a strong one. He didn’t seem strong in South Carolina.

Donald Trump, of course, also speaks in gibberish, but with a bombastic unearned confidence; rather than flailing around for the right figure he makes one up. Biden, by contrast, was just shaky. And while there’s great affection for him on the ground, there’s little excitement. You can see why his campaign has been limiting his public events and why he’s been avoiding the press.

The Washington Post: Once the poorest senator, ‘Middle Class Joe’ Biden has reaped millions in income since leaving the vice presidency.

Biden points out on the presidential campaign trail that he was often the poorest member of the United States Senate, and for at least a decade has referred to himself as “Middle Class Joe.” But since leaving office he has enjoyed an explosion of wealth, making millions of dollars largely from book deals and speaking fees that ranged to as much as $200,000 per speech, public documents show.

As Biden traveled the country before announcing his presidential campaign this spring, his sponsors provided VIP hotel suites, town cars and professional drivers, chartered flights and travel expense reimbursements that for some of his appearances reached at least $10,000 per event, according to contracts obtained by The Post through public records requests.

The Washington Post found at least 65 instances in which Biden gave a speech or appeared at a book event; in at least 10 instances he did not take a fee, although in some of those cases he was reimbursed for travel expenses. Biden’s campaign said he has given less than 50 paid speeches, but declined to be more specific about exactly how many he delivered, or how much he earned in total.

I’d better wrap this up; this post is getting way too long. What stories are you following today?


56 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Read more in my post.

  2. bostonboomer says:

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Haaretz: Contradicting Trump, Top Putin Adviser Says U.S. Drone Downed in Iranian Airspace

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/at-israel-russia-meeting-bolton-says-u-s-awaits-real-negotiations-with-iran-1.7408293

    Russia has military intelligence that shows that a U.S. drone was in Iranian airspace when it was shot down by Iran last week, Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of Russia’s Security Council, said on Tuesday in his opening remarks at a first-ever trilateral meeting with American and Israeli national security advisers in Jerusalem.

    The U.S. claimed the drone was flying over international waters. Patrushev said evidence presented by the United States alleging Iran was behind attacks on ships in the Gulf of Oman was poor quality and unprofessional.

  4. dakinikat says:

  5. Pat Johnson says:

    I keep asking: can it get any worse? And lo and behold, it does!

    If it isn’t rape charges it’s broken treaties. If not actual bombing, the threat to obliterate. If not the latest administration official resigning, it’s the latest administration official being fired. If not Jared running around stuffing his own pockets, it’s a cabinet official doing the same.

    And through all this, through the demoralizing events happening at the southern border, the GOP leadership continues to look the other way.

    It is a triumvirate of Trump, McConnell, and Miller who are spiraling this nation into oblivion and there isn’t much we can do about it.

    Let’s hope that from the debates over the next few days a “winner” will emerge that will return our faith in government and allow us to lift our heads from the muck that is Trump.

    • quixote says:

      Yup. And to cap it all off, doing their damndest to make sure climate change is as big as possible so that billions die and the rest regress to 1850s technology (to match the 1850s bigotry they like so much).

  6. dakinikat says:

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  8. NW Luna says:

    I’ve been seeing more and more of this shit and the blindness really pisses me off.

    Protesting and ending the Vietnam war? Starting the environmental movement, eating organic food and being vegetarian back when that was weird? Fighting for women’s rights and gay rights?

    • Enheduanna says:

      Surprised the Atlantic did this. I’m not going to read it. I was briefly vegetarian in the 1970s and it was really hard then to even order at a restaurant.

      There’s plenty of blame to go around. Young people don’t vote. Old people vote wrong. Young or old we can all be way too materialistic. I think broad trends do change for the better over time but blaming one generation for the problems of the world is pointless.

      If millennials want to be mad then fine – take over. Be our guest.

      • quixote says:

        To be precise, problems now are always the consequence of wrong or stupid actions in the past.

        Water is also wet.

        The question is are we all, collectively, at any age, continuing to do wrong and stupid things *now* that contribute to crisis?

        And the answer to that is, “Duh!”

        Just because younger people haven’t lived as long and haven’t had the time to commit as many sins, doesn’t make them innocent. What matters is which road you’re on, not how recently you started to walk it.

        • Enheduanna says:

          I did peek at the article and apparently this guy thinks Regulations = BAD or something. Maybe he’ll like the new Mad Max world when that arrives.

          • bostonboomer says:

            It’s just another method to divide and conquer. And I’m really tired of explaining that Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are too old to be baby boomers. Also Obama was one.

          • NW Luna says:

            Forgot about Obama. I’ll use that example when next trying futilely to change someone’s mind who’s ignorant of history.

            Regulations = Bad. How the hell can we change banking practices, loan shark rates, pollution etc. without regulations? Beats me.

          • quixote says:

            The definition of the baby boom, I thought, was the vast numbers born after the war in the gladness the nightmare was over.

            So Sanders, born 1941, is def not a postwar baby. But Obama, born almost a short generation after the war (1961) is too young to be a boomer. I know he’s been called that because the definition was expanded all the way to 1964, but the boom was long over by then. See for instance here, which shows the high number of births between about 1946-47 and 1957-58. Before everybody got called a boomer, it was pretty much used for those ten or so postwar years.

            Or do others here remember it differently?

          • bostonboomer says:

            Quixote, I kind of agree with you, but the technical definition of the baby boom is people born between 1946 and 1964. Twenty years is the definition of a generation. I was born in 1947 and my youngest brother was born in 1962. We are both considered baby boomers. Those of us born from 1946-1955 are called “leading edge baby boomers.”

            It’s all idiotic anyway. I can remember being irritated with all the focus on our generation when I was in high school. Now I’m so sick of hearing about it that I could scream.

            Pew Research Center defines baby boomers as being born between 1946 and 1964. … In the U.S., the generation can be segmented into two broadly defined cohorts: The Leading-Edge Baby Boomers are individuals born between 1946 and 1955, those who came of age during the Vietnam War era.

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_boomers

          • bostonboomer says:

            I think it did get expanded at some point. Again, the whole thing is idiotic. The Millennials are an even bigger generation, so someday they will be attacked by younger people just like we are being attacked now.

          • NW Luna says:

            Yep. I’ve told some of them that, but most of them are young enough to think they’ll never grow older.

          • NW Luna says:

            Sigh. Yes, they kept extending and extending the range for baby boomers. It’s all BS anyway.

  9. NW Luna says:

  10. NW Luna says:

    If you haven’t yet heard about this fantastic woman candidate, here’s her amazing campaign video.

  11. dakinikat says:

  12. NW Luna says:

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  14. dakinikat says:

  15. NW Luna says:

    Um … I don’t even know where to start with this, other than to say “Duh!” to the headline writer.

    As 20 candidates prepare to take the stage at the first Democratic debates, several believe they can draw the sharpest contrast with President Trump by simply telling the truth.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/a-fight-for-truth-to-criticize-trump-in-debates-democrats-must-be-scrupulously-honest/2019/06/25/5e63739e-96af-11e9-916d-9c61607d8190_story.html?utm_term=.658fc1d41f86

  16. Enheduanna says:

    Add Wayfair to the list of places you won’t shop:

    https://www.wonkette.com/jerry-falwell-wayfair-two-corporate-cretins-looking-out-for-the-bottom-line

    They are selling furniture to the concentration camps for a profit. At least their employees are making waves.

  17. NW Luna says:

  18. palhart says:

    I am preparing not to watch Trump’s politicizing July 4th with his “Salute to America”. I have a stash of old New Yorker magazines and will continue my dive into the magazines’ archives. I can work on completing their crossword and jigsaw puzzles, but I’m usually defeated within 10 minutes.

    Is there a book you’ve been meaning to read? I’ve been dancing around checking out Don.Quixote. I enjoyed Moby Dick some years ago, completely surprising myself. If only we could catch and throw out that big white whale in the WH.

    I could read the Mueller Report over the 4th week. Aha!

  19. NW Luna says:

    Should we have a debate open thread?