Author Archive | Partisan

The Thousands of Children Who Go to Immigration Court Alone

By Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou

Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series exploring the vast racial and economic inequality in Fresno, the poorest major city in California. These stories were reported by students at the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

A few times a month, San Francisco’s immigration court becomes a day-care center of sorts. Toys, stuffed animals, and coloring books decorate the waiting room. Children as young as four years old have come here not to play, but to stand in front of an immigration judge and defend themselves against deportation.

When I visited the court one afternoon this past March, about 20 kids had formed a single-file line as they waited to go through security. Wide-eyed boys in t-shirts and jeans cracked their knuckles. Many had never been to a courtroom before. Some were wearing suits in an attempt to make a good first impression. Some of them took a seat on the thinly padded metal chairs, crossing and recrossing their legs. Teenage girls with colorful ribbons in their hair studied their surroundings.

“It looks almost like you’re going into a pediatrician’s office,” said Katie Annand, the managing attorney with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), an organization that helps immigrant children find attorneys. “There are children lining the benches of the courtroom. Many of them … have no one to represent them.”

For immigrant children living in San Francisco, state funding, non-profit legal services, and volunteer attorneys mean that they have a better chance of having a lawyer stand by their side during deportation proceedings. That’s not the case for children who must find their way roughly 180 miles from Fresno County, in the heart of California’s Central Valley, where a sizable immigrant population lives.

On that day in …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



If Trump Said the N-Word

By Matt Thompson

In 2007, 13 years after the brutal murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, 12 years after a jury found O.J. Simpson innocent of those murders, 10 years after a civil jury found him liable for them, he published a book called If I Did It. Outrage ensued. To the many who needed no further evidence of Simpson’s guilt, the book was the horrific culmination of his long slide into desperation and depravity. Can a person not only get away with murder, they wondered, but profit from it in open daylight? Aren’t there any rules?

Last week’s Omarosa-driven frenzy of speculation over whether a tape exists of President Donald Trump using the “N word” brought the book back to mind. (Tellingly, this frenzy is also tinged with the question of what people with little credibility will do in the name of book profits, but that’s another story.) The conversation seemed to focus less on whether such a tape exists, than whether it would “matter” if it did.

The past two years have offered a master class in the construction and destruction of norms, yet people still, somehow, seem to find themselves asking versions of these neat little black-or-white questions: Does it matter? Can he do it? The recurrence of these questions speaks to a craving for binaries—for rules—even after such clarity has proven unattainable, again and again. Countless sacrosanct, “inviolable” boundaries have been flagrantly and repeatedly trespassed. As rules matter less, we must all become much more capable of navigating the blurrier universe of effects, outcomes, and consequences.

I know that when people talk about whether the president’s behavior “matters,” they are asking about consequences. They’re speculating about the answer to a meaningful question: If Trump were found to have violated America’s most potent verbal taboo, would he at last …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



The Dramatic Fall of Silent Sam, UNC’s Confederate Monument

By David A. Graham

DURHAM, N.C. — On June 2, 1913, Julian Shakespeare Carr spoke at the dedication of a statue at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, his alma mater. Carr had served in the Confederate Army as a lowly private, but upon returning from the war he had made several fortunes in tobacco, textiles, and banking, and affected the title “General” for his leadership in the United Confederate Veterans.

In addition to being an accomplished businessman, General Carr was a virulent racist. In his speech that day he recalled, “One hundred yards from where we stand, less than 90 days perhaps after my return from Appomattox, I horse-whipped a negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds, because upon the streets of this quiet village she had publicly insulted and maligned a Southern lady, and then rushed for protection to these University buildings where was stationed a garrison of 100 Federal soldiers.”

Carr rhapsodized that the statue of a rebel soldier kept alive the aims of the Confederacy. “The cause for which they fought is not lost, never can be, never will be lost while it is enshrined in the hearts of the people of the South, especially the hearts of the dear, loyal, patriotic women, who, like so many Vestal Virgins (God’s name be praised), keep the fires lighted upon the Altars,” Carr said.

The statue became known as Silent Sam, because he carried no ammunition box, and stood as a landmark on UNC’s campus, facing onto Franklin Street, Chapel Hill’s main drag. Silent Sam was occasionally the subject of controversy and protests, but he remained as imperturbably taciturn and unmoving as he had been while Carr spoke.

On Monday night, that changed. Sam is still silent, but he no longer stands sentinel, after a crowd of protestors pulled him from his …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Sue Me!

By Elaine Godfrey

Written by Elaine Godfrey (@elainejgodfrey), Madeleine Carlisle (@maddiecarlisle2), and Olivia Paschal (@oliviacpaschal)

Today in 5 Lines

  • Amid calls from Democrats to “abolish ICE,” the White House hosted an event honoring what it termed the “heroes” of Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

  • President Trump tweeted that he hopes former CIA Director John Brennan goes to court over the revocation of his security clearance, saying that it would make it easier to show “the poor job he did” as CIA director.

  • First Lady Melania Trump advocated against cyberbullying as part of her Be Best campaign, while Trump insulted Brennan on Twitter.

  • In an open letter, Pope Francis responded to last week’s Pennsylvania grand jury report concluding that more than 1,000 victims had been abused by 300 Catholic priests across the state. “We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them,” he wrote.

  • Jury deliberations continued for a third day in the fraud trial of former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

Today on The Atlantic

  • Addicted to Pot? As marijuana legalization rolls forward, some Americans are smoking pot daily—leading to addictive behavior and health problems that nobody seems to be talking about. (Annie Lowrey)

  • Multiple Messages: Democrats don’t need one united message; they need hundreds of messages tailored to each candidate, writes former New York Representative Steve Israel.

  • Concentrated Poverty: In Fresno, California’s poorest large city, a legacy of discrimination has lasting effects on its residents. (Reis Thebault)

  • Legal Challenges: President Trump’s biggest headache in the ongoing special counsel investigation might come from an unexpected source—his lawyers. (David A. Graham)


President Trump greets Customs and Border Patrol agent Adrian Anzaldua during an event to salute U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in the East Room …read more

Via:: <a href= class="colorbox" title="The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Sue Me!” rel=nofollow>The Atlantic



Are Trump’s Lawyers an Asset or a Liability?

By David A. Graham

It was like clockwork: On Sunday morning, Rudy Giuliani appeared on Meet the Press and, as he seems to do every time he gives a televised interview, delivered a head-slapping remark.

“Truth isn’t truth,” President Trump’s attorney told Chuck Todd in the midst of a heated back-and-forth. As Giuliani later explained, he wasn’t making a metaphysical point but simply saying sometimes the law hinges on he-said, she-said problems. One flaw is that in the example Giuliani cited, the president either spoke with former FBI Director James Comey about Michael Flynn or he didn’t. There is a reality, and if Trump is confident his is true, it’s remains unclear why Giuliani doesn’t want his client to say so in an interview with the special counsel.

Yet as problems with attorneys go, Giuliani’s cringeworthy soundbite is the least of the president’s troubles at the moment. Trump faces serious threats from testimony that two lawyers, Michael Cohen and Don McGahn, have given or might offer. The risks have been exacerbated or created by the haphazard maneuvering of the president’s own mercurial and often-changing legal defense team. For a man with nearly unparalleled experience in dealing with attorneys, it’s a strange predicament: Lawyers have long defended and aided Trump, but now they pose a potentially existential threat to his presidency.

In New York, prosecutors are reportedly investigating Trump’s former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen with tax and bank fraud in connection with $20 million in loans. According to The New York Times, charges could come as soon as this month. The fraud in question appears to deal with Cohen’s taxicab business, but it’s a big problem for Trump anyway, because Cohen has been all but shouting from Manhattan rooftops that he’s willing to testify against Trump in order to mitigate his own legal …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



The Sunday Shows Have a Renewed Sense of Purpose, Thanks to Trump

By Scott Nover

“I think, without any question, this is the biggest moment of the Trump presidency.”

It was the day in June when Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court, and Chris Wallace was on Fox News explaining to viewers the gravity of the Court’s swing vote stepping down.

I’d been interviewing Wallace when the Kennedy news broke, and he’d politely excused himself from our call and hopped on the air. Within a few moments after he finished up his five-minute spot, he called me back.

It’s moments like this Wallace credits for reinforcing the importance of his primary news format: the political talk show broadcast from Washington, D.C., every Sunday morning. A stalwart of network television since the late 1970s, Wallace has hosted Fox News Sunday since 2003 and is the face of Fox’s hard-news division. “I think that the Sunday shows are more relevant and more important than ever in the Trump era,” Wallace explained during our interview. “And the reason I say that is because the velocity of news and the amount of news in a week is so much greater than we’ve ever seen before, and I’ve been doing Sunday talk shows since Reagan was president.” (Wallace also hosted Meet the Press from 1987 to 1988.)

Wallace’s superlatives are the subject of much debate among the chattering class in Washington. While there’s no question that Sunday morning retains an important place in the spin cycle, these iconic shows are fast evolving—as is just about everything else—in Donald Trump’s Washington. An important new focus: helping viewers fight through the partisan noise and tell truth from lies.

The Sunday shows also often now help define the news of the week—and set the next week’s agenda—when the velocity of breaking events and controversy threatens to spin out of control. Part …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



Senator Burr’s Shortcomings Are Showing

By Conor Friedersdorf

Senator Richard Burr, the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, leads the only credible congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

It is getting harder to have confidence in his leadership.

Last week, The New York Times published an op-ed by John Brennan, the Obama administration national-security official who presided over extrajudicial drone killings and made false statements to Congress about CIA spying on its congressional overseers during his tenure.

Lately, he has been criticizing President Trump, who decided to revoke his ability to view classified information. Brennan claimed that the decision to do so was politically motivated. But that wasn’t the focus of his op-ed.

Mostly, he criticizes Donald Trump for the July 2016 news conference where he encouraged Russia to find the emails of his opponent Hillary Clinton.

Candidate Trump’s exact words:

“I will tell you this: Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let’s see if that happens. That’ll be next.”

In Brennan’s telling, “Mr. Trump was not only encouraging a foreign nation to collect intelligence against a United States citizen,”—so far, so good—“but also openly authorizing his followers to work with our primary global adversary against his political opponent.” Does that follow?  

I don’t think so.

“Such a public clarion call certainly makes one wonder what Mr. Trump privately encouraged his advisers to do—and what they actually did—to win the election,” Brennan continues, returning to sound argument.

Finally, Brennan says that he follows the news, and that there are many suspicious interactions between Trump’s associates and Russians. He questions whether or not “the collusion”—that is, Team Trump’s known attempts to benefit from Russian help on campaign matters—ever crossed the line into not just immoral, but illegal, behavior:

While I had deep …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



Fresno’s Mason-Dixon Line

By Reis Thebault

Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series exploring the vast racial and economic inequality in Fresno, the poorest major city in California. These stories were reported by students at the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

James Helming knew every corner in Fresno. He knew which roads were paved and he knew which way the smoke from nearby factories blew. He knew the houses, and he knew who lived in them. It was his job, after all, to assess every neighborhood in the city for “desirability.” The year was 1936, and Helming, a junior field agent from a federal agency formed under the New Deal, was charged with making sense of Fresno’s shifting demographics.

Armenian, Russian, and Italian residents were moving north, and the black and Hispanic populations were growing and expanding in their place. And Helming’s agency, the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation, drew color-coded maps to determine who would get the credit necessary to buy houses.

The Home Owners’ Loan Corporation used this redlining map to preserve segregation in Fresno. The areas shaded red were home to an “undesirable” population. (Courtesy of T-RACES, University of Maryland)

White neighborhoods were shaded green, and white buyers in these areas were generally approved  for loans. Neighborhoods with large minority populations were shaded red, denied mortgages, and labeled undesirable. Fresno’s west side was red, and in his report, Helming noted the “almost exclusive concentration of colored races” present there. He noted that in more affluent neighborhoods, like Fig Garden, “residence lots were sold under careful deed restrictions as to race.” If a neighborhood didn’t have these restrictions, Helming noted they were at risk of an “infiltration of a lower grade population.” These deed restrictions, known as racially restrictive covenants, were another mechanism that prevented people of …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



America’s Invisible Pot Addicts

By Annie Lowrey

The proliferation of retail boutiques in California did not really bother him, Evan told me, but the billboards did. Advertisements for delivery, advertisements promoting the substance for relaxation, for fun, for health. “Shop. It’s legal.” “Hello marijuana, goodbye hangover.” “It’s not a trigger,” he told me. “But it is in your face.”

When we spoke, he had been sober for a hard-fought seven weeks: seven weeks of sleepless nights, intermittent nausea, irritability, trouble focusing, and psychological turmoil. There were upsides, he said, in terms of reduced mental fog, a fatter wallet, and a growing sense of confidence that he could quit. “I don’t think it’s a ‘can’ as much as a ‘must,’” he said.

Evan, asked that his full name not be used for fear of the professional repercussions, has a self-described cannabis-use disorder. If not necessarily because of legalization, but alongside legalization, such problems are becoming more common: The share of adults with one has doubled since the early aughts, as the share of cannabis users who consume it daily or near-daily has jumped nearly 50 percent—all “in the context of increasingly permissive cannabis legislation, attitudes, and lower risk perception,” as the National Institutes of Health put it.

Public-health experts worry about the increasingly potent options available, and the striking number of constant users. “Cannabis is potentially a real public-health problem,” said Mark A. R. Kleiman, a professor of public policy at New York University. “It wasn’t obvious to me 25 years ago, when 9 percent of self-reported cannabis users over the last month reported daily or near-daily use. I always was prepared to say, ‘No, it’s not a very abusable drug. Nine percent of anybody will do something stupid.’ But that number is now [something like] 40 percent.” They argue that state and …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



The New Enemies List

By Julian E. Zelizer

Reacting to The New York Times story that White House Counsel Don McGahn has been speaking with Robert Mueller’s team, President Trump tweeted out that McGahn is not a “John Dean type ‘RAT,’” and that the story was fake news.

It’s odd that Trump should bring up John Dean this weekend, for it was just this week that we also learned Trump has an Enemies List, just like Richard Nixon. Unlike Nixon, though, the president is hiding nothing—using security clearances and his Twitter account as the chief weapons to go after his opponents.

This is a dangerous move.

Nixon’s Enemies List, officially called his “Opponents List,” was a document that was initially compiled by presidential advisor George T. Bell for Charles Colson, the infamous “hatchet man.” Colson turned over the list to White House Counsel John Dean on September 9, 1971. The list, which at first included 20 names, was a compilation of figures from all walks of life, ranging from the actor Paul Newman (“Radic-Lib causes . . . Heavy McCarthy involvement ‘68”) to journalists such as Mary McGrory and Daniel Schorr (a “real media enemy”) to politicians like the African American legislators Ron Dellums and John Conyers (“a leading black anti-Nixon spokesman”), to the labor leader Leonard Woodstock, president of the United Auto Workers. The New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath even made the made it onto the document.

The goal of the Enemies List was to highlight and target some of the president’s most pesky critics. The document described “how we can use the available federal machinery to screw our political opponents.” The White House attempted to use numerous tactics to go after these figures. The Internal Revenue Service turned to audits as a method of harassment while federal contracts became a tool to punish other perceived enemies of the state. …read more

Via:: The Atlantic