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  1. #41
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    Donald Trump made 61 statements in his speech. 51 were false

    United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday delivered his first address to Congress, and event fact checkers were watching like hawks.


    Given the 45th President's well-documented and open attitude to proliferating myths and false statements, the stage was set for a night of disproving the President.

    Politifact listed a number of points of inaccuracy and contention - largely criticizing the president for not providing context to remarks or for taking credit for per-existing policy points.

    The Center for American Progress claimed that he made 51 incorrect statements
    , crowdsourcing factcheckers in a Google doc:

    The full document (which cannot be edited), a copy of which is embedded below, can be accessed here.

    Donald Trump also claimed during his address:
    Ninety-four million Americans are out of the labor force.

    As The New York Times noted, this is an incredibly misleading statement.

    As Donald Trump should know, this figure encompasses the number of Americans older than 15 who do not have jobs.

    It includes students in high school or college education, disabled people, stay-at-home parents and retirees and pensioners, all of whom are unlikely to be looking for immediate work.

    The number is a different statistic to the 7.6 million who were unemployed in January, yet Donald Trump used it in the following context:
    Tonight, as I outline the next steps we must take as a country, we must honestly acknowledge the circumstances we inherited.

    Ninety-four million Americans are out of the labor force.

    Over 43 million people are now living in poverty, and over 43 million Americans are on food stamps.

    Donald Trump takes credit for companies' investments that began before he became President

    He is clearly trying to paint the picture of a country with a poor employment record and with poor economic circumstances. To disregard the unemployment figures and use out of work figures instead, is misleading - unless of course his intention is to abolish higher education, the retirement age and force all heavily disabled people to work.

    We should remember, however - it is Donald Trump we're talking about.


  2. #42
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    Muhammad Ali's son reportedly detained under Trump's travel ban: 'Where did you get your name from? Are you Muslim?'

    Mr Ali was born in Philadelphia and holds a US passport.


    The son of boxing legend Muhammad Ali was detained by immigration staff at a Florida airport, who repeatedly asked him "Are you Muslim?", a lawyer has said.

    Chris Mancini told the Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky, that the incident happened as Muhammad Ali, 44, and his mother Khalilah Camacho-Ali, the second wife of the late Ali, were arriving at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on February 7 from Jamaica.

    Mr Mancini says officials questioned Mr Ali for nearly two hours, repeatedly asking him, "Where did you get your name from?" and "Are you Muslim?"

    The officials continued questioning Mr Ali after acknowledging that he was Muslim, Mr Mancini said.

    Mr Ali was born in Philadelphia and holds a US passport.

    US Customs and Border Protection said it "cannot discuss individual travellers; however, all international travellers arriving in the US are subject to CBP inspection".


  3. #43
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    Donald Trump's new 'Muslim ban' will have 'same outcome' as old one, says senior White House adviser

    The new plans only have 'minor technical differences' to the US leader's original executive order that was thrown out by the courts

    Donald Trump’s revised travel ban would “have the same basic policy outcome” as the initial version, according to a senior White House adviser.

    Stephen Miller said the new order would be “responsive to the judicial ruling” that blocked the original order, adding that it would contain “minor technical differences” to the original directive.

    “Fundamentally you’re going to have the same basic policy outcome for the country,” he told Fox News.

    His comments appear to indicate that the new order would once again bar travel to the US for citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya.

    The original order prompted widespread confusion and sparked mass protests.

    Mr Miller – who played a key role in the initial drafting of it – also insisted that US court rulings which halted the original order were “flawed” and “erroneous” and that Mr Trump's action was “clearly legal and constitutional.”

    The Court of Appeal suggested the order be redrafted so it did not risk violating the US constitution, which forbids discrimination on the grounds of religion.

    Mr Miller has previously said the President would not back down to the courts on his “extreme vetting” policy.

    The new executive order is reportedly expected to make clear that green card holders – immigrants with an indefinite right to live in the US – are exempt from the ban.

    "The President is contemplating releasing a tighter, more streamlined version of the first executive order," Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said at the Munich Security Conference at the weekend.

    He added that officials are working on a "phase in" period to help avoid confusion at airports seen after Mr Trump's first immigration directive.


    New Trump Deportation Rules Allow Far More Expulsions

    WASHINGTON — President Trump has directed his administration to enforce the nation’s immigration laws more aggressively, unleashing the full force of the federal government to find, arrest and deport those in the country illegally, regardless of whether they have committed serious crimes.

    Documents released on Tuesday by the Department of Homeland Security revealed the broad scope of the president’s ambitions: to publicize crimes by undocumented immigrants; strip such immigrants of privacy protections; enlist local police officers as enforcers; erect new detention facilities; discourage asylum seekers; and, ultimately, speed up deportations.

    The new enforcement policies put into practice language that Mr. Trump used on the campaign trail, vastly expanding the definition of “criminal aliens” and warning that such unauthorized immigrants “routinely victimize Americans,” disregard the “rule of law and pose a threat” to people in communities across the United States.

    Despite those assertions in the new documents, research shows lower levels of crime among immigrants than among native-born Americans.
    Continue reading the main story

    The president’s new immigration policies are likely to be welcomed by some law enforcement officials around the country, who have called for a tougher crackdown on unauthorized immigrants, and by some Republicans in Congress who have argued that lax enforcement encourages a never-ending flow of unauthorized immigrants.

    But taken together, the new policies are a rejection of the sometimes more restrained efforts by former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush and their predecessors, who sought to balance protecting the nation’s borders with fiscal, logistical and humanitarian limits on the exercise of laws passed by Congress.

    “The faithful execution of our immigration laws is best achieved by using all these statutory authorities to the greatest extent practicable,” John F. Kelly, the secretary of homeland security, wrote in one of two memorandums released on Tuesday. “Accordingly, department personnel shall make full use of these authorities.”

    The immediate impact of that shift is not yet fully known. Advocates for immigrants warned on Tuesday that the new border control and enforcement directives would create an atmosphere of fear that was likely to drive those in the country illegally deeper into the shadows.

    Administration officials said some of the new policies — like one seeking to send unauthorized border crossers from Central America to Mexico while they await deportation hearings — could take months to put in effect and might be limited in scope.

    For now, so-called Dreamers, who were brought to the United States as young children, will not be targeted unless they commit crimes, officials said on Tuesday.

    Mr. Trump has not yet said where he will get the billions of dollars needed to pay for thousands of new border control agents, a network of detention facilities to detain unauthorized immigrants and a wall along the entire southern border with Mexico.

    But politically, Mr. Kelly’s actions on Tuesday serve to reinforce the president’s standing among a core constituency — those who blame unauthorized immigrants for taking jobs away from citizens, committing heinous crimes and being a financial burden on federal, state and local governments.

    And because of the changes, millions of immigrants in the country illegally now face a far greater likelihood of being discovered, arrested and eventually deported.

    “The message is: The immigration law is back in business,” said Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which supports restricted immigration. “That violating immigration law is no longer a secondary offense.”

    Lawyers and advocates for immigrants said the new policies could still be challenged in court. Maricopa County in Arizona spent years defending its sheriff at the time, Joseph Arpaio, in federal court, where he was found to have discriminated against Latinos.

    And courts in Illinois, Oregon, Pennsylvania and several other states have rejected the power given to local and state law enforcement officers to hold immigrants for up to 48 hours beyond their scheduled release from detention at the request of federal authorities under a program known as Secure Communities, which Mr. Trump is reviving.

    “When you tell state and local police that their job is to do immigration enforcement,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, “it translates into the unwarranted and illegal targeting of people because of their race, because of their language, because of the color of their skin.”

    Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, said on Tuesday that the president wanted to “take the shackles off” of the nation’s immigration enforcers. He insisted that the new policies made it clear that “the No. 1 priority is that people who pose a threat to our country are immediately dealt with.”

    In fact, that was already the policy under the Obama administration, which instructed agents that undocumented immigrants convicted of serious crimes were the priority for deportation. Now, enforcement officials have been directed to seek the deportation of anyone in the country illegally.

    “Under this executive order, ICE will not exempt classes or categories of removal aliens from potential enforcement,” a fact sheet released by the Department of Homeland Security said, using the acronym for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “All of those present in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention, and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.”

    That includes people convicted of fraud in any official matter before a governmental agency and people who “have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits.”

    The policy also expands a program that lets officials bypass due process protections such as court hearings in some deportation cases.

    Under the Obama administration, the program, known as “expedited removal,” was used only when an immigrant was arrested within 100 miles of the border and had been in the country no more than 14 days. Now it will include all those who have been in the country for up to two years, no matter where they are caught.

    “The administration seems to be putting its foot down as far as the gas pedal will go,” said Heidi Altman, policy director for the National Immigrant Justice Center, a Chicago-based group that offers legal services to immigrants.

    In the documents released on Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security is directed to begin the process of hiring 10,000 immigration and customs agents, expanding the number of detention facilities and creating an office within Immigration and Customs Enforcement to help families of those killed by undocumented immigrants.

    The directives would also revive a program that recruits local police officers and sheriff’s deputies to help with deportation, effectively making them de facto immigration agents. The effort, called the 287(g) program, was scaled back during the Obama administration.

    The program faces resistance from many states and dozens of so-called sanctuary cities, which have refused to allow their law enforcement workers to help round up undocumented individuals. In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement on Tuesday pledged the city’s cooperation in cases involving “proven public safety threats,” but vowed that “what we will not do is turn our N.Y.P.D. officers into immigration agents.”

    Under the new directives, the agency would no longer provide privacy protections to people who are not American citizens or green card holders. A policy established in the last days of the Bush administration in January 2009 provided some legal protection for information collected by the Department of Homeland Security on nonresidents.

    The new policies also target unauthorized immigrants who smuggle their children into the country, as happened with Central American children seeking to reunite with parents living in the United States. Under the new directives, such parents could face deportation or prosecution for smuggling or human trafficking.

    Officials said that returning Central American refugees to Mexico to await hearings would be done only in a limited fashion, and only after discussions with the government of Mexico.

    Mexican officials said on Tuesday that such a move could violate Mexican law and international accords governing repatriation, and immigrants’ advocates questioned Mexico’s ability to absorb thousands of Central Americans in detention centers and shelters.


  4. #44
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    Indian-Americans Must Realize That Their Complacency Will Not Save Them From Hate In America Any More

    They must push back against divisive forces now.

    It is not fair to lay the blame for the death of Srinivas Kuchibhotla at Donald Trump's door.

    The Indian American engineer in Kansas city was enjoying his Jameson whisky with his colleague Alok Madasani when alleged attacker Adam Purinton fired at them yelling "get out of my country". Ian Grillot, also a white American, was injured trying to protect them. Purinton was nabbed later having a drink at another bar to unwind from the shooting. He is a navy veteran with an inactive pilot license and an air traffic controller certificate. He lives alone and had once worked for the Federal Aviation Administration.

    It might emerge that the man had mental problems. There are reports that he was alcoholic. There's no direct line connecting him with the ascension of Trump or his rhetoric. But there is a dotted line.

    In the name of making America great again, Trump has enabled the bullies. The fulminations about terrorists, rapists, murderers, all brown, all the other, leave no one in doubt that this election was about white America taking back the country, taking a stand against the browning of America. Thankfully not everyone subscribed to this as Grillot's courage showed.

    Kuchibhotla paid with his life but there have been many incidents of garden variety bullying and "go back to your country"-type harassment. And Trump's response has been tepid, delayed and deliberately measured. He takes his time to condemn anti-Semitic hate crime threats and bristles when asked about it at a press conference.

    Trump will no doubt condemn Kuchibhotla's death. Republican senator from Kansas, Jerry Moran, has already said "I strongly condemn violence of any kind especially if it is motivated by prejudice and xenophobia." Trump will surely echo him as well.

    There are reports that Purinton thought Kuchibhotla and Madasani were Middle Eastern. Indian Americans would do well not to think that this was a freak case of mistaken identity. After 9/11 the first casualty was Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh gas station owner "mistaken" as an Arab because of his beard and turban. In 2012 a peaceful gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, became the scene of a bloodbath when Wade Michael Page opened his semiautomatic on its congregation.

    This violence was not freak or unprecedented. Page was involved with a white supremacist group and was an active member of a skinhead group called the Northern Hammerskins.

    As Deepa Iyer writes in her timely book We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim and Sikh Immigrants Shape our Multiracial Future, "America is a racial state. We are the inheritors of systems and institutions that enable the denial of basic human rights to indigenous and Black and Brown communities, from colonization to slavery, from Jim Crow segregation to the Japanese American internment. The post-9/11 treatment of South Asian, Arab and Muslim communities by the US government continues this shameful legacy."

    This violence is not isolated, no matter how much authorities will try to "lone wolf" it. It exists in a continuum. It exists within the racial anxiety of the US which is projected to become a "majority-minority" nation by 2043 which means that no one ethnic group will be the majority any more. Many of those who voted for Trump did so believing that Trump would reverse or at least slow the demographic march towards that date. The wall, the extreme vetting, the employment visa rules are all part of that project even if they are presented as measures against crime and terrorism.

    Iyer writes that it's more accurate to think of America transforming into a multiracial nation with no single racial group occupying a majority, but conservative forces will see more potency in the term "majority-minority" which carries with it a sense of an old white majority under siege in their own homeland. As Iyer writes, majority-minority does not mean minority populations "will gain power and influence due to their numbers", that sheer numbers will "drive racial equality, economic equity, or political power."

    The vulnerability of the minority will only increase as it is perceived as a threat to some people's idea of America, as we found in Kansas City.

    What will happen now is predictable. There will be condemnation. There will be an attempt to frame this story as a lone wolf story. There will be promises of strict action. The Indian government will rush to render all assistance to the affected families. There might be a marked slowness, even reluctance to call this a hate crime in sharp contrast to the alacrity with which an attack that never happened in Sweden will be described as terror. All of that is utterly predictable.

    What Indian-Americans will do well to take away from the Kansas city attack is that their complacency about being the model minority will not save them from the hate. Trump may personally bear no ill-will against them, he may have even made ads saying "Ab ki baar, Trump sarkar" and his daughter-in-law might wear a bindi and go to a temple, but for many of his angry buzzing supporters, Indian-Americans are just part of the browning of America that they resent.

    All the money that the Republican Hindu Coalition raised for Trump will not be able to protect the likes of Kuchibhotla from that hate when it spills over onto Main Street America. The hate graffiti on the wall does not check visa status.

    Indian Americans would do well to realise that they occupy no special place despite their median income. In fact Trump's campaign against "illegal immigrants" will also singe South Asian Americans though no one thinks of desis when they think about immigrants slipping across the US-Mexico border. But the fact is, thanks to visa overstays, South Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing "illegal" groups in the US.

    The Times of India reports that some 300,000 Indians could be affected by the administration's plans to deport first and ask questions later. A Pew Center report says there were nearly half a million unauthorised Indian immigrants in the US in 2014, a 43% spike since 2009.

    It just goes to show that Indian Americans do not exist in a vacuum. They are part of the immigrant story, and when the backlash happens, they will be part of that story too, as the Kansas incident tragically illustrates. Indian-Americans must be a part of the movement to resist the forces unleashed in America today, they cannot set themselves apart from it.

    The tragedy in Kansas City was a reality check towards that end.


  5. #45
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    Sikh Man Shot At Home By White Man After 'Go Back To Your Own Country' Comment

    by Cristina Silva - March 4, 2017

    A 39-year-old homeowner in Washington said he was shot by an unknown man in his own neighborhood Friday because he is a Sikh man. The victim said the shooter told him to “go back to your own country,” the Seattle Times reported.

    Kent police said they were searching for the gunman, described as a white man wearing a mask to cover his face, and were working with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. The shooting was being investigated as a possible hate crime.

    The victim was shot in the arm and was being treated for non-fatal injuries. He was tending to his car in his driveway around 8 p.m. when the gunman approached him.

    The shooting came a week after a similar shooting in Kansas that left an Indian man dead and another wounded. Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, an Indian immigrant, was shot and killed by Adam Purinton, 51, at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe, a city outside of Kansas City. Alok Madasani, 32, and bar patron Ian Grillot, 24, were injured in the shooting. Purinton apparently told the two Indian men to “get out of my country.”

    The Southern Poverty Law Center has sought to link a rise in hate crimes to President Donald Trump. There were 1,094 bias incidents reported in the first 34 days after the election, according to a count by the Southern Poverty Law Center. "The hate was clearly tied directly to Trump’s victory. The highest count came on the first day after the election, with the numbers diminishing steadily after that. And more than a third of the incidents directly referenced either Trump," the center said in a report in February.

    But race attacks are far from new in the U.S. Two men in California were charged with hate crimes last year after attacking a Sikh man and cutting off his hair, which was kept long by religious mandate. The attack occurred in September in Richmond.


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    ‘Shoot The B*tch!’ ‘Hang The N*gger!’: Unfiltered Rally Videos Show Trump’s America

    The fact that the press is not reporting on the continuing violent rhetoric at Donald Trump’s rallies reflects an acceptance that is deeply troubling.

    Thankfully, today the New York Times posted a video “Unfiltered: Voices from Trump’s Crowds,” that captures the tone of the language used at Trump rallies, language that often revolves around hatred and violence, and is filled with crude slurs.

    What we seem to have here is a case of the normalization of the deplorable. It is a sinister sight to watch. Masses of people shout racial slurs against Hispanics and our black President, they call for the lynching of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and they hurl anti-LGBTQ epithets.

    It’s disturbing that Trump’s outrages are so frequent that the mob atmosphere at his rallies is evidently no longer terribly “newsworthy.” While Benghazi and emails remain part of everyday reporting over the months, journalists don’t remind us of Trump’s earlier incitements.

    The mob outbursts and the incitements have become routine, part of the furniture — sort of like Trump’s remarkable 70-year-old hair, no longer worthy of comment. Another day, another deplorable outburst, either from the candidate or his deplorables or both.

    The media has to stop taking mob violence for granted. Trump has styled himself as the only viable outlet for hatred that has been teeming under the surface for years. And the danger for the republic is evident. If outbursts of violence, as of venom, fade into the hush of background noise, the deplorables have won.

    Watch the full video here (this footage includes vulgarities and racial and ethnic slurs.)


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    Trump’s Biggest Supporters are Uneducated White Men

    International Business Times INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES

    by Chris Riotta - 14 MAR 2017

    PresidentDonald Trump’s biggest supporting bloc in the country since winning the presidency last year are the same people who voted him into the Oval Office: white Americans. Meanwhile, minority demographics trailed in their approval ratings of the president, a Gallup poll released Tuesday revealed.

    Above all, it was uneducated white men, usually above the age of 50, who were most likely to support Trump in his first seven weeks in Washington, D.C. Trump's overall approval rating stood at 42 percent on Wednesday since his first day in the White House, Jan. 20, according to Gallup's latest poll.

    While just 13 percent of black voters supported Trump, the lowest approval of any demographic accounted for in Tuesday’s poll, a majority of white men approved of the president, with 60 percent of support among the voting group also most likely to support Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

    Whites’ approval twice as high as other major racial, ethnic groups… http://on.gallup.com/2nlohBt #GallupDaily

    Other variables, including college education and gender, have historically played important roles in determining a president’s approval across the country as well. For example, the poll showed Trump was not so well-liked among women, minorities and college-educated voters.

    #Trump #GallupPoll Ratings 3/12/17 42% Approval 51% Disapproval

    Though 67 percent of white, non-college-graduate men approved of Trump’s first months as president, just 15 percent of nonwhite female college graduates said they supported the work Trump had accomplished so far. That number dipped to 14 percent for non-graduates in the same voting bloc.

    Trump’s first weeks in office have been largely mired in controversy, with a focus on the new White House administration’s ties to the Russians overtaking most of the daily news Trump would prefer the media to report on instead. Meanwhile, his approval rating was on its way to breaking a record for the lowest of any American president in modern history.

    Posted with permission from International Business Times


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    Federal Judge in Hawaii Puts Trump's New Travel Ban on Hold; Trump Blasts 'Judicial Overreach'

    Trump strongly criticized the ruling at a rally in Nashville

    By Ben Nuckols and Gene Johnson - 3/15/2017
    Hours before it was to take effect, President Donald Trump's revised travel ban was put on hold Wednesday by a federal judge in Hawaii who questioned whether the administration was motivated by national security concerns.

    U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson also said Hawaii would suffer financially if the executive order blocked the flow of students and tourists to the state, and he concluded that Hawaii was likely to succeed on a claim that the ban violates First Amendment protections against religious discrimination.

    "The illogic of the government's contentions is palpable," Watson wrote. "The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed."

    The judge issued his 43-page ruling less than two hours after hearing Hawaii's request for a temporary restraining order to stop the ban from being put into practice.

    Trump, at a rally in Nashville Wednesday night, strongly criticized the ruling, calling it "unprecedented judicial overreach."

    "This ruling makes us look weak, which by the way we no longer are, believe me, just look at our borders," he said. "We're going to take our case as far as it needs to go including all the way up to the Supreme Court."

    The ruling came as opponents renewed their legal challenges across the country, asking judges in three states to block the executive order that targets people from six predominantly Muslim countries. Federal courts in Maryland, Washington state and Hawaii heard arguments about whether it should be allowed to take effect early Thursday as scheduled.

    In all, more than half a dozen states are trying to stop the ban.

    Watson made it clear that his decision applied nationwide, ruling that the ban could not be enforced at any U.S. borders or ports of entry or in the issuance of visas.

    Nominated to the federal bench by President Barack Obama in 2012, he is currently the only Native Hawaiian judge serving on the federal bench and the fourth in U.S. history. He received his law degree from Harvard in 1991.

    In Maryland, attorneys told a federal judge that the measure still discriminates against Muslims.

    Government attorneys argued that the ban was revised substantially to address legal concerns, including the removal of an exemption for religious minorities from the affected countries.

    "It doesn't say anything about religion. It doesn't draw any religious distinctions," said Jeffrey Wall, who argued for the Justice Department.

    Attorneys for the ACLU and other groups said that Trump's statements on the campaign trail and statements from his advisers since he took office make clear that the intent of the ban is to ban Muslims.
    Trump policy adviser Stephen Miller has said the revised order was designed to have "the same basic policy outcome" as the first.

    The new version of the ban details more of a national security rationale. It is narrower and eases some concerns about violating the due-process rights of travelers.

    It applies only to new visas from Somalia, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Yemen and temporarily shuts down the U.S. refugee program. It does not apply to travelers who already have visas.

    Facing Defiance, GOP Leaders Press Ahead on Health Bill

    "Generally, courts defer on national security to the government," said U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang. "Do I need to conclude that the national security purpose is a sham and false?"

    In response, ACLU attorney Omar Jadwat pointed to Miller's statement and said the government had put out misleading and contradictory information about whether banning travel from six specific countries would make the nation safer.

    The Maryland lawsuit also argues that it's against federal law for the Trump administration to reduce the number of refugees allowed into the United States this year by more than half, from 110,000 to 50,000. Attorneys argued that if that aspect of the ban takes effect, 60,000 people would be stranded in war-torn countries with nowhere else to go.

    Chuang made no immediate ruling.

    In the Hawaii case, the federal government said there was no need to issue an emergency restraining order because Hawaii officials offered only "generalized allegations" of harm.

    Jeffrey Wall of the Office of the Solicitor General challenged Hawaii's claim that the order violates due-process rights of Ismail Elshikh as a U.S. citizen who wants his mother-in-law to visit his family from Syria. He says courts have not extended due-process rights outside of a spousal relationship.

    Neal Katyal, a Washington, D.C., attorney representing Hawaii, called the story of Elshiskh, an Egyptian immigrant and naturalized U.S. citizen, "the story of America."

    In Washington state, U.S. District Judge James Robart - who halted the original ban last month - heard arguments in a lawsuit brought by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, which is making arguments similar to the ACLU's in the Maryland case.

    Robart said he is most interested in two questions presented by the group's challenge to the ban: whether the ban violates federal immigration law, and whether the affected immigrants would be "irreparably harmed" should the ban go into effect.

    He spent much of Wednesday's hearing grilling the lawyers about two seeming conflicting federal laws on immigration - one that gives the president the authority to keep "any class of aliens" out of the country, and another that forbids the government from discriminating on the basis of nationality when it comes to issuing immigrant visas.

    Robart said he would issue a written order, but he did not say when. He is also overseeing the challenge brought by Washington state.

    Attorney General Bob Ferguson argues that the new order harms residents, universities and businesses, especially tech companies such as Washington state-based Microsoft and Amazon, which rely on foreign workers. California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Oregon have joined the claim.


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    Kids on winning robotics team told, 'Go back to Mexico'

    March 17, 2017

    The day should have been one of glory and celebration for five fourth-graders.

    The Pleasant Run Elementary students had just won a robotics challenge at Plainfield High School, and the students - new to bot competition this year - were one step closer to the Vex IQ State Championship.

    The team is made up of 9- and 10-year-olds. Two are African American and three are Latino.

    As the group, called the Pleasant Run PantherBots, and their parents left the challenge last month in Plainfield, Ind., competing students from other Indianapolis-area schools and their parents were waiting for them in the parking lot.

    "Go back to Mexico!" two or three kids screamed
    at their brown-skin peers and their parents, according to some who were there.

    This verbal attack had spilled over from the gymnasium. While the children were competing, one or two parents disparaged the Pleasant Run kids with racist comments - and loud enough for the Pleasant Run families to hear.

    "They were pointing at us and saying that 'Oh my God, they are champions of the city all because they are Mexican. They are Mexican, and they are ruining our country,' " said Diocelina Herrera, the mother of PantherBot Angel Herrera-Sanchez.

    These are minority students from the east side of the city, poor kids from a Title I school.

    "For the most part, the robotics world is kind of a white world," said Lisa Hopper, the team's coach and a Pleasant Run second-grade teacher. "They're just not used to seeing a team like our kids.

    "And they see us and they think we're not going to be competition. Then we're in first place the whole day, and they can't take it,"
    she said.

    Nearly 35 schools competed in the Feb. 2 robotics challenge. Plainfield High School was the host, but the participating elementary school teams came from more than 20 communities in and around Indianapolis.

    Hopper said her team and their parents were unable to identify the competing students and the parent who made the comments.

    Plainfield officials condemned the hurtful comments. A district spokeswoman did not know about the incident until she was contacted but said a letter would be sent to every participating school to reiterate district policies.

    "We don't condone that behavior; we don't tolerate it in our schools," said Sabrina Kapp, director of communications for Plainfield Community School Corp. "We talk a lot about community values here. That is simply not something that anybody associated with Plainfield schools would put up with."

    On Wednesday, Superintendent Scott Olinger of Plainfield Community Schools, released a statement:

    The Plainfield Community School Corp. does not condone or tolerate language or behaviors that degrade others. Had our organizing team been made aware of the alleged behaviors by unknown adults on Feb. 2, we would have taken immediate action.

    We were pleased to host such an impressive array of young students, and we were equally proud of the teamwork, camaraderie, knowledge and fun that these children displayed. To learn now that adults may have acted in a way that distracted from the success of the day is disheartening. In the Plainfield schools, such behavior is unacceptable, regardless of whether it comes from adults or students.

    Three weeks after the incident, the PantherBots won the Create Award - for best robot design and engineering - at the state championships, which qualified them for the Vex IQ World Championship next month in Louisville. They will compete there with students from all over the world.

    And they say they'll walk in with confidence.

    "They yelled out rude comments, and I think that they can talk all they want because at the end we're still going to Worlds," said team leader Elijah Goodwin, 10. "It's not going to affect us at all. I'm not surprised because I'm used to this kind of behavior.

    "When you have a really good team, people will treat you this way," he said. "And we do have a pretty good team."

    Hopper said she and her co-coach, after learning of the incident in Plainfield, gathered the team to see how they were handling it.

    "I was afraid they would let it get in their heads and wig them out," Hopper said. "We sat down and talked to our kids, and obviously we let them share their feelings.

    "They were on top of it already," she said. "They said: 'We know they are mean. We know they were jealous. We're not going to let it bother us.' One of our guys said 'to take stuff like that and let it make you stronger.' "

    Just a few months ago, the PantherBots knew nothing about robotics.

    The low-income school was given a grant to develop a robotics program. Fourth-grade teachers were asked to identify 10 students who had potential and exhibited leadership qualities.

    As a tryout, the students were asked to build something with Legos.

    Elijah Goodwin, 10; Angel Herrera-Sanchez, 9; Jose Verastegui, 10; Manuel Mendez, 9; and Devilyn Bolyard, 9, were selected.

    "I'm just so proud of them," Hopper said. "The great thing about these five kids is they all ended up having strengths that elevated the team. They are dynamic individuals."

    Now they'll be traveling 125 miles south to a world championship April 23 to 25 that is aimed at middle school students. Their GoFundMe page already has raised $4,000 more than their $8,000 goal to get there and has stopped accepting donations.

    "We are truly overwhelmed with all of the support we have received," Hopper wrote on the page. "Any additional funds will be used to help with our robotics program next year."



    The can't compete intellectually or in hard work against all of these people, and so that's why they tell everyone to "go back home". It's these people who need to "go back home" to their European country they came from.

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    'Muslim-Free' Gun Stores Perfectly Exemplify Trump's America

    As anti-Muslim bias rises across the country, business owners that ban Muslims feel emboldened

    By Harmon Leon - Apr 26, 2017

    In his radio ad, Crockett Keller sounds like a kindly sheriff in a Western film. Keller is promoting a concealed-carry course he offers at his Mason, Texas, gun range. It’s family friendly, he says, and notes that all are welcome.

    Well, not exactly all. “If you are a non-Christian Arab or Muslim,” he clarifies, “I will not teach you the class.”

    Keller, whose radio advertisements air in this predominantly white town of 2,134 people, believes he’s devised a foolproof method to ensure Muslims don’t attend his course: “We will offer a prayer for our country and a safe class along with reciting the Pledge of Allegiance,” he says, going on to note that he does not believe in so-called political correctness. “If you don’t love and respect the United States of America, you’re in the wrong place!”

    Keller’s belief — that Islam is fundamentally un-American — runs counter to the core American principle of freedom of religion. But his conception of American-ness as something white and Christian aligns with a long, shameful narrative. From the internment of Japanese-Americans during the Second World War to the “Whites only” lunch counters of the Jim Crow-era South, racial and religious exclusion has always been a part of how some Americans define themselves.

    Now, in the nascent presidency of Donald Trump — a leader who’s made Islam a focal point of his stark “us vs. them” worldview — this mindset is thriving in some corners of society, including establishments like Crockett’s. “There is sort of a disturbing trend of businesses declaring themselves to be a Muslim-free zone – or declaring that they are going to decline services to people who are Muslim,” says Veronica Laizure, Civil Rights Director of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

    Muslim bans are most frequently found in gun stores
    — “you don’t really hear of many Muslim-free bake shops or florists,” Laizure said. But anti-Muslim bias is on the rise throughout American society under Trump, she said. “Normalizing discrimination against American Muslims results in concrete acts of discrimination,” Laizure said. “We have seen increases in [discrimination] both here and nationally as a trend since the last presidential campaign.”

    Gun store owners who ban Muslims typically say they do so for security reasons. (Despite the fact that you’re about six times more likely to be killed by lightning than by an Islamic [a Muslim] terrorist on American soil.) Take Jan Morgan, owner of the Gun Cave in Hot Springs, Arkansas, who insists on her website that she bans Muslims from her store for her own safety. “The Koran (which I have read and studied thoroughly) and (which muslims align themselves with), contains 109 verses commanding hate, murder and terror against all human beings who refuse to submit or convert to Islam,” she wrote. She does not mention the abundance of passages in the Koran that call for peace, and the similar excess of violence in the Bible and other religious texts.

    How do store owners like Morgan figure out which customers are Muslim? Unsurprisingly, one way is racial stereotyping. When a father and son of South Asian descent entered the Gun Cave, they were told by Morgan that it was a Muslim-free shooting range, and that if they were Muslim they should leave. When the father informed Morgan that they weren’t Muslims, the woman reportedly kicked them out anyway and threatened to call the police.

    So far, most store owners who refuse to serve Muslims (or anyone they believe are Muslims) haven’t faced many legal consequences. But later this year, “Muslim-free zones” — which predate the Trump era — will face a test in court. Laizure is one of the attorneys working on a federal lawsuit against Save Yourself Survival and Tactical Gun Range, a gun store in Oktaha, Oklahoma, that posted a sign declaring itself a “Muslim free establishment.” In October 2015, Muslim-American U.S. army reservist Raja’ee Fatihah visited the range and planned to use the facility. At first, the staff was friendly to Fatihah, but after he identified himself as Muslim, the gun store owners picked up handguns and asked whether he was there to “commit an act of violence or as part of a ‘jihad,’” according to a statement by the American Civil Liberties Union, which is also representing Fatihah.

    “There is no justification for a business denying people service based on religion,” Fatihah said. “I am a servant of my community in every respect and as a proud American I have enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve to protect this country. I should be afforded the same rights and privileges as anyone else.” His case goes to trial this summer.

    In 2015, CAIR filed a similar lawsuit against Andy Hallinan, owner of Florida Gun Supply in Inverness, Florida, who also declared his gun store a “Muslim-free zone,” posting the proclamation in his store window.

    “I care about my community. I care about my family. I want to make sure who I put a gun in front of, are not going to use it to harm somebody in my community,” Hallinan said in an interview. “Here in America we have the right to refuse business to anyone we deem a threat for any reason.”

    Hallinan became notorious nationwide for his headline-making sign — as well as the Confederate flag art fundraiser he organized with another infamous Floridian, George Zimmerman. “In my opinion, how the terrorists win is they get people like me to shut up. To sit down, get afraid of lawsuits – and shut up,” Hallinan said.

    The Florida chapter of CAIR argued in its federal lawsuit that Hallinan’s store policy amounted to religious discrimination and violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But the claim was later dismissed by a U.S. district judge because there wasn’t a specific plaintiff in the case; CAIR had filed the suit on behalf of its members.

    As Fatihah’s day in court nears, Laizure is feeling optimistic about CAIR’s case against the Oklahoma gun range. Unlike the case against Hallinan, CAIR has a plaintiff in Fatihah “who did suffer injury from being denied the services of the establishment,” she said.

    Further, Laizure says, the law is clear: While freedom of speech allows businesses to post “No Muslims” signs, these stores cross the line when they deny services. “Under Title II of the Civil Rights Act, it’s illegal to discriminate against who can use your service if you’re a place of business, based on religion or race or national origin,” she said. “That is where they violate the law.”

    “It’s unfortunately similar to what we’ve historically seen with public business accommodations in the South during the 1960s that literally advertised black people weren’t allowed,” she added.

    The Oklahoma gun range is being represented by the same legal counsel that represented Hallinan, the American Freedom Law Center. The firm is run by David Yerushalmi, who has made the watch list of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy group that monitors hate groups. His legal credentials include defending such notables as Quran-burning pastor Terry Jones. Yerushalmi once stated that “the mythical ‘moderate’ Muslim who embraces traditional Islam but wants a peaceful coexistence with the West – is effectively non-existent’ and ‘most of the fundamental differences between the races are genetic.’”

    Laizure and her colleagues believe they have the law on their side in the Oklahoma case — and hope the suit will send a message to any other store owners who feel emboldened under Trump to institute their own Muslim bans.

    “We’re hoping [Fatihah’s case] will show American Muslims that they have the right to be served at businesses and not to be denied service because of their religion,” Laizure said. “We’re hoping that this case will establish more religious protection for Muslim Americans under Title II. And we’re hoping that this will have implications for other establishments that have decided to declare themselves to be Muslim–free in violation of federal civil rights law.”



    This is the result of U.S. politicians and Islamophobia network spreading lies about “Muslims’ no go areas” in England and France where supposedly non-Muslims aren’t allowed to go because of large Muslim population who don’t allow them there. The mayor of Paris called the US politician an idiot and even threatened to sue for the lie.

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    Donald Trump Ends Decades-Long White House Tradition of Celebrating Ramadan With Iftar Dinner

    After first iftar dinner in 1805, the White House started yearly ritual in 1996, under former First Lady Hillary Clinton

    By Rachael Revesz - 6/26/2017

    Donald Trump's government has not held an iftar dinner for the end of Ramadan, breaking a Muslim tradition held at the White House for more than two centuries.

    The iftar dinner occurs at sunset at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islam lunar calendar and a time of prayer, reflection and fasting.

    White House officials reportedly spend months planning the event, which has been held every year under the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations, but 2017 took a different path.

    The White House issued a statement on late Saturday evening.

    "Muslims in the United States joined those around the world during the holy month of Ramadan to focus on acts of faith and charity," the statement read. "Now, as they commemorate Eid with family and friends, they carry on the tradition of helping neighbours and breaking bread with people from all walks of life.

    "During this holiday, we are reminded of the importance of mercy, compassion, and goodwill. With Muslims around the world, the United States renews our commitment to honour these values. Eid Mubarak."

    Earlier this year Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly said the government would not host the dinner. He also issued a statement on Saturday, which read, "This holiday marks the culmination of Ramadan, a month in which many experience meaning and inspiration in acts of fasting, prayer, and charity.

    "This day offers an opportunity to reflect on our shared commitment to building peaceful and prosperous communities. Eid Mubarak."

    The brief statements provide a stark contrast to the holiday message issued by former President Barack Obama, who warned against the "rise in attacks against Muslim Americans". "Muslim Americans have been part of our American family since its founding," he added.

    Former President Thomas Jefferson, a staunch advocate of religious freedom, famously hosted a White House iftar in December 1805 in honour of Tunisian ambassador Sidi Soliman Mellimelli during the American conflict with what were known as the Barbary States.

    "Dinner will be on the table precisely at sun-set - " the invitation read. "The favour of an answer is asked."

    John Quincy Adams noted in his diaries that the dinner was served late in the evening as it was "in the midst of Ramadan".

    The nature of the dinner has divided opinion over the last two centuries, with far-right critics insisting the dinner was only moved back as a "courtesy" and that the menu was not changed for the guests.

    Regardless of what is served at the meal, anyone present at the dinner who is breaking their fast means an iftar is being held.

    The White House tradition started with earnest in 1996, when First Lady Hillary Clinton hosted 150 people after learning more about the ritual from her daughter Chelsea, who had reportedly studied Islamic history in school
    , as reported by Muslim Voices.

    President George W Bush hosted the dinner every year for his two terms, including just after the 9/11 attacks. He said at the dinner that the fight was against terrorism, not Islam.

    American Muslims might have been hoping for the dinner to be held at the White House this year as a symbol of unity after a spike in hate crimes against the community, the highest level since 2001. Mr Trump has been strongly criticised for his proposal in December 2015 to ban Muslims from entering the US and also for his executive order as President to temporarily ban all immigration and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries. The order, later revised, was knocked down by federal courts.


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    The state of hate in America

    Analysis: In an America deeply divided, hate incidents appear to be increasing and growing more brutal.

    It feels like nearly every week, America is rattled by a new incident of hate.

    In June, a white man in a Chicago Starbucks was filmed calling a black man a slave, and a white woman in a New Jersey Sears was videotaped making bigoted comments against a family she believed was Indian (they were not). In May, two men on a Portland train were stabbed to death trying to stop a white supremacist's anti-Muslim tirade against two teenagers.

    Hate symbols are showing up around the country: nooses in the nation's capital, racist graffiti on the front gate of LeBron James' Los Angeles home, a banner with an anti-Semitic slur over a Holocaust memorial in Lakewood, N.J. On Saturday, the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan rallied in Charlottesville, Va., less than two months after white supremacist Richard Spencer — who coined the term "alt-right" — led a similar protest in the city against the removal of a Confederate monument. Several white nationalist groups are planning another rally for Aug. 12.

    In an America where deep divisions exposed in the presidential election have only intensified in the past eight months, these incidents take on new meaning as they become more widespread.

    "They're increasing not only in number but in terms of their ferocity," said Chip Berlet, a scholar of the far right.

    Groups that track these incidents — including the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the non-profit news organization ProPublica, which is creating a national database of hate crimes and bias — say hate incidents are a national problem whose scope we don't fully grasp. Tracking them is notoriously difficult:

    While a patchwork of data means we don't have a complete picture of the problem, the SPLC and the ADL say available numbers show disturbing trends. In its most recent hate crimes report, the FBI tracked a total of 5,818 hate crimes in 2015, a rise of about 6.5% from the previous year, and showed that attacks against Muslims surged. The SPLC documented an uptick of hate and bias incidents after the presidential election, tracking 1,094 in the first month alone. The organization also says the number of hate groups in the U.S. increased for a second year in a row in 2016. In April, the ADL reported anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. rose 86% in the first quarter of 2017.

    "Even though the data is incomplete, we still think it's statistically significant, and in that it's troubling to see more manifestations of prejudice than we've seen in the past," said Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the ADL.
    Minorities feel less safe

    By 2055, the U.S. will not have a single racial or ethnic majority, a change driven by immigration, according to the Pew Research Center. An analysis conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and The Atlantic — based on surveys taken before and after the election — reveals that members of the white working class concerned about immigration were more than 3.5 times more likely to vote for President Trump. Nearly half of white working-class Americans said, “things have changed so much that I often feel like a stranger in my own country.”

    Heidi Beirich, leader of the SPLC's Intelligence Project — which publishes the organization's Hatewatch blog — said right now minorities feel less safe, particularly Muslim and immigrant communities. According to the Pew Research Center, 41% of Hispanics say they have serious concerns about their place in America since the presidential election.

    "People feel like they could be attacked at any moment," she said. "Often, they also don’t trust the police to help them."

    While the FBI's data typically show 5,000 to 6,000 hate crimes a year, the Department of Justice's estimates are much higher. A report out this month from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, based on data from the National Crime Victimization Survey, show Americans experienced an average of 250,000 hate crime victimizations each year from 2004 to 2015. About a quarter of hate crime victims who didn't report said they feared police wouldn't be able to help them.

    Us vs. Them

    For years before he ran for president, Trump roused the “birther” movement that falsely questioned the legitimacy of Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president. During the presidential campaign, Trump said an Indiana-born federal judge was biased because of his "Mexican heritage." Since becoming president, Trump has taken a hard stance on immigration, instituting a travel ban on immigrants from six Muslim-majority countries, which the Supreme Court partially reinstated in late June.

    Trump's ascendance, Berlet said, was built upon a narrative of "us vs. them," language that resonates with many Americans who fear cultural shifts brought on by changing demographics.

    After the deadly shooting at Pulse nightclub in June 2016, then-candidate Trump said, "The Muslims have to work with us. They have to work with us. They know what's going on. They know that he was bad. They knew the people in San Bernardino were bad. But you know what? They didn't turn them in. And we had death and destruction."

    "When a public figure with a high status identifies a group that is described as threatening to the stability of the community or the nation, in certain conditions this can lead people to conclude that they have to defend their way of life from these 'others,'" Berlet said. "These scapegoated or demonized others have to be either silenced or eradicated."

    Trump has been repeatedly asked to do more to denounce hate associated with his name. Expressions of bigotry among his supporters were well-documented during his campaign and Trump himself has been accused by civil rights groups of using hateful and violent rhetoric, as well as being too reticent in condemning it. Just this month, Trump posted a CNN smackdown clip on Twitter that was taken from a Reddit troll who the ADL says has “a consistent record of racism, anti-Semitism and bigotry."

    Of the 1,094 hate and bias incidents the SPLC counted in the month after the election, 37% of them directly referenced either Trump, his campaign slogans or his remarks about sexual assault.

    White House press secretary Sean Spicer has denied that such hate incidents have increased since Trump’s election victory. And many Americans who support Trump — though they admire his bluntness and tendency to eschew political correctness — say they don't condone racism or violence either.

    "It doesn’t make one racist to have voted for Trump, and I’m sure many didn’t pay that much attention to the campaign," Beirich said. "That said, Trump’s rants against Mexicans, Muslims and women were widely reported. So clearly Trump’s views on these matters weren’t disqualifying for many Trump voters. For those Trump voters bothered by this racism, I hope they will speak out against it. It could help increase civility in the U.S."

    A nation divided

    Increased political polarization is part of what moves hate from the margins to the mainstream, Greenblatt said. Sentiments once considered extreme become validated and "people feel the pain of prejudice in a manner that is really beneath our values as a country," he said.

    The Pew Research Center found about half of Democrats and Republicans say the other party makes them feel “afraid." More than 40% of Democrats and Republicans say the opposite party’s "policies are so misguided that they threaten the nation’s well-being.”

    "I don't think either side of the ideological spectrum is exempt from intolerance," Greenblatt said. "Whether it's the U.S. president, or a university president ... I think we should expect our leaders to stand up and speak out against manifestations of hate."

    And the rest of us? We remain where we always have, Greenblatt said, capable of moving the country away from cruelty and toward greater justice.

    When the approximately 50 KKK members converged on Charlottesville this weekend to protest what Klan member James Moore called “the ongoing cultural genocide ... of white Americans," more than a thousand counterprotesters showed up to decry hate in their city. The Klan members were heavily outnumbered, chants of "white power" drowned out by "racists go home."

    "I think all of us have an obligation to interrupt intolerance when it happens and to be an ally when we see others being subjected to harassment and hate," Greenblatt said. "We owe it to ourselves to make sure we call upon our better angels when we see people that we know, or don't know, who are being treated unfairly because of how they look or how they pray or who they love. Every one of us is capable of rising to that occasion."

    videos: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/...rne/418100001/

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    Official in northern Michigan stands by call to kill all Muslims

    July 12, 2017

    KALKASKA, Mich. — A village president in northern Michigan is refusing to apologize for sharing Facebook posts denouncing Islam and calling for the killing of “every last Muslim.”

    The Record-Eagle of Traverse City reports that Kalkaska Village President Jeff Sieting said Monday that he doesn’t owe anyone an apology over his Facebook posts. Kalkaska is about 230 miles northwest of Detroit.

    The posts were discovered by area native Cindy Anderson, who along with others unsuccessfully sought an apology last month. They’re now looking to remove Sieting from office.

    One post Sieting shared said Muslims are destructive and “there is simply no place for them in our world.”

    Sieting says his comments are protected by the First Amendment and that those trying to oust him from office are only doing so because they oppose President Donald Trump.


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    Donald Trump Endorses Police Brutality In Speech To Cops


    The president said law enforcement officers shouldn't protect suspects' heads when putting them into police cars.

    WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump received applause on Friday when he endorsed police brutality while delivering a speech to law enforcement officers on Long Island, New York.

    The president suggested that officers should hit suspects’ heads on the doors of their police cars.

    “When you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, and I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice,’” Trump said.

    “Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over, like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody, don’t hit their head, I said, ‘You can take the hand away, OK?’” he added.

    Trump also made the dubious claim that laws were “horrendously stacked” against police officers and said he wants to change those laws.

    “For years and years, [laws have] been made to protect the criminal,” Trump said. “Totally protect the criminal, not the officers. You do something wrong, you’re in more jeopardy than they are. These laws are stacked against you. We’re changing those laws.”

    In his speech, Trump also said that police officers in many parts of the country couldn’t do their jobs because they had a “pathetic mayor” or a mayor “who doesn’t know what’s going on.” Those comments also received a lengthy applause.

    “It’s sad, it’s sad. You look at what’s happening, and it’s sad,” Trump said. “We’re going to support you like you’ve never been supported before.”

    Trump also spoke about violence in Chicago, which was a consistent theme of his speeches throughout the campaign and is a topic he has continued to reference during his presidency. Trump recalled speaking to an “impressive” and “rough cookie” police officer from Chicago, and said the officer had told him he could straighten out the city’s violence problem in a “couple of days” if he was given the authority.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Trump may not be getting along these days, but the two are on the same page when it comes to policing. Sessions has had the Justice Department pull back from “pattern or practice” investigations that look into widespread constitutional abuses in police departments.

    Zeke Johnson, senior director of programs at Amnesty International USA, said Trump’s “inflammatory and hateful speech will only escalate tensions between police and communities,” putting both officers and civilians at risk.

    “Police cannot treat every community like an invading army, and encouraging violence by police is irresponsible and reprehensible,” he said.

    Vanita Gupta, who headed the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division under former President Barack Obama, said Trump’s remarks were “unconscionable” and undermined the positive efforts of local law enforcement to build up community trust.

    “The president of the United States, standing before an audience of law enforcement officials, actively encouraged police violence,” Gupta said. “We call on the president to immediately and unequivocally condemn police brutality. We can all respect our law enforcement officers without sanctioning unjust and illegal behavior.”

    Robert Driscoll, a former Justice Department Civil Rights Division official under the President George W. Bush administration, was also critical.


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    New Report Reveals Over Half Of Hate Crimes In US Go Unreported

    The report comes as the Justice Department officials gathered with advocacy groups and experts on Thursday to discuss hate crimes, including ways to better document them.

    By Russell Contreras and Sadie Gurman | July 4, 2017

    Most victims of hate crimes don’t report them to police, according to a new study that advocates say reinforces their fears that the Trump administration’s tough rhetoric and policies will make more people afraid to come forward.

    More than half the 250,000 hate crimes that took place each year between 2004 and 2015 went unreported to law enforcement for a variety of reasons
    , according to a special report on the issue from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

    Hate crimes were most often not reported because they were handled some other way
    , the report said. But people also did not come forward because they didn’t feel it was important or that police would help, according to the report.

    “I think this report shows the kind of fear that is going on in our communities,” said Patricia Montes, executive director of the Boston-based immigrant advocacy group Centro Presente. She and other advocates are concerned that Latino immigrants, in particular, may be reluctant to call police to report a hate crime for fear of being deported, particularly since the Trump administration is ramping up immigration enforcement across the country.

    “Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric also will prevent more immigrants from reporting crimes to police,” Montes said.

    The report comes as the Justice Department officials gathered with advocacy groups and experts on Thursday to discuss hate crimes, including ways to better document them. Officials have long lamented a lack of solid data on the problem.

    But Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the group his department remains committed to investigating and prosecuting such offenses as part of his larger priority of helping cities fight violence.”Hate crimes are violent crimes,” Sessions told the group. “No person should have to fear being violently attacked because of who they are, what they believe or how they worship.”

    The report released Thursday is based on a survey of households and is one of several studies that aim to quantify hate crimes.

    It cites racial bias as the top motivation, representing more than 48 percent of the cases between 2011 and 2015. Hate crimes motivated by ethnicity accounted for about 35 percent of those cases, and sexual orientation represented about 22 percent. Almost all of those surveyed said they felt they were experiencing a hate crime because of something the perpetrator said.

    Hispanics were victimized at the highest rate, followed by blacks.

    The new survey shows the limits of hate crime reporting, said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, California State University.

    “Many victims don’t report hate crimes because of personal and institutional reasons,” Levin said. While some victims’ distrust of police keeps them from coming forward, Levin said, some LGBT victims may opt not to report a hate crime for fear of losing a job or being outed to family.

    Members of the Muslim community are reluctant to come forward for fear of retaliation and because police don’t always classify their experiences as hate crimes
    , said Ibrahim Hooper, of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

    That’s because law enforcement officials still grappled with what constitutes a hate crime.

    Levin said many large cities are claiming they had no hate crimes — calling into question the reliability of federal hate crimes data that are based on voluntary submissions from police departments. “We have Columbus, Ohio, reporting more hate crimes than the state of Florida,” he said.

    Eric Treene, the Justice Department’s special counsel for religious discrimination, told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in May that incomplete numbers stymie officials’ ability to fully understand the problem.

    But he said the department is committed to prosecuting hate crimes, even as critics have blamed the Trump administration’s tough rhetoric and policies for a spike in such offenses. Civil rights groups said investigating and prosecuting hate crimes alone would be insufficient.

    The Trump administration must show “through action and its megaphone, its full and unflagging commitment to preventing hate-based violence and harassment that hurts our communities and destroys the fabric of our nation,” said Vanita Gupta, former head of the Civil Rights Division and president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

    Read a summary of the hate crimes report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics:


    More Than 100 Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Fail to Report Hate Crimes to the FBI

    There was a 67 percent surge in hate crimes targeting Muslims in 2015—and that’s just what was reported.

    Ken Schwencke and A.C. Thompson, ProPublicaJun. 27, 2017

    In violation of a long-standing legal mandate, scores of federal law enforcement agencies are failing to submit statistics to the FBI’s national hate crimes database, ProPublica has learned.

    The lack of participation by federal law enforcement represents a significant and largely unknown flaw in the database, which is supposed to be the nation’s most comprehensive source of information on hate crimes. The database is maintained by the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, which uses it to tabulate the number of alleged hate crimes occurring around the nation each year.

    The FBI has identified at least 120 federal agencies that aren’t uploading information to the database, according to Amy Blasher, a unit chief at the CJIS division, an arm of the bureau that is overseeing the modernization of its information systems.

    The federal government operates a vast array of law enforcement agencies—ranging from Customs and Border Protection to the Drug Enforcement Administration to the Amtrak Police—employing more than 120,000 law enforcement officers with arrest powers. The FBI would not say which agencies have declined to participate in the program, but the bureau’s annual tally of hate crimes statistics does not include any offenses handled by federal law enforcement. Indeed, the problem is so widespread that the FBI itself isn’t submitting the hate crimes it investigates to its own database.

    “We truly don’t understand what’s happening with crime in the US without the federal component,” Blasher said in an interview.

    But it’s long been clear that hundreds of local police departments don’t send data to the FBI,
    and so given the added lack of participation by federal law enforcement, the true numbers for 2015 are likely to be significantly higher.

    At present, the bulk of the information in the database is supplied by state and local police departments. In 2015, the database tracked more than 5,580 alleged hate crime incidents, including 257 targeting Muslims, an upward surge of 67 percent from the previous year. (The bureau hasn’t released 2016 or 2017 statistics yet.)

    The federal agencies that are not submitting data are violating the law, Blasher told us. She said she’s in contact with about 20 agencies and is hopeful that some will start participating, but added that there is no firm timeline for that to happen.A federal law, the 1988 Uniform Federal Crime Reporting Act, requires all US government law enforcement agencies to send a wide variety of crime data to the FBI. Two years later, after the passage of another law, the bureau began collecting data about “crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.” That was later expanded to include gender and gender identity.

    “Honestly, we don’t know how long it will take,”Blasher said of the effort to get federal agencies on board.

    The issue goes far beyond hate crimes—federal agencies are failing to report a whole range of crime statistics, Blasher conceded. But hate crimes, and the lack of reliable data concerning them, have been of intense interest amid the country’s highly polarized and volatile political environment.

    ProPublica contacted several federal agencies seeking an explanation. A spokesperson for the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command, which handles close to 50,000 offenses annually, said the service is adhering to Defense Department rules regarding crime data and is using a digital crime tracking system linked to the FBI’s database. But the Army declined to say whether its statistics are actually being sent to the FBI, referring that question up the chain of command to the Department of Defense.

    In 2014, an internal probe conducted by Defense Department investigators found that the “DoD is not reporting criminal incident data to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for inclusion in the annual Uniform Crime Reports.”

    ProPublica contacted the Defense Department for clarification, and shared with a department spokesman a copy of the 2014 reports acknowledging the failure to send data to the FBI.

    “We have no additional information at this time,” said Christopher Sherwood, the spokesman.

    Federal agencies are hardly the only ones to skip out on reporting hate crimes. An Associated Press investigation last year found at least 2,700 city police and county sheriff’s departments that repeatedly failed to report hate crimes to the FBI.

    In the case of the FBI itself, Blasher said the issue is largely technological: Agents have long collected huge amounts of information about alleged hate crimes but don’t have a digital system to easily input that information to the database, which is administered by staff at an FBI complex in Clarksburg, West Virginia.

    Since Blasher began pushing to modernize the FBI’s data systems, the bureau has made some progress. It began compiling some limited hate crimes statistics for 2014 and 2015, though that information didn’t go into the national hate crimes database.

    “It’s fascinating and very disturbing,” said Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., who said he wanted to speak about the matter with the FBI’s government affairs team. He wants to see federal agencies “reporting hate crimes as soon as possible.”In Washington, lawmakers were surprised to learn about the failure by federal agencies to abide by the law.

    Beyer and other lawmakers have been working in recent years to improve the numbers of local police agencies participating in voluntary hate crime reporting efforts. Bills pending in Congress would give out grants to police forces to upgrade their computer systems; in exchange, the departments would begin uploading hate crime data to the FBI.

    Beyer, who is sponsoring the House bill, titled the National Opposition to Hate, Assault, and Threats to Equality Act, said he would consider drafting new legislation to improve hate crimes reporting by federal agencies, or try to build such a provision into the appropriations bill.

    “The federal government needs to lead by example. It’s not easy to ask local and state governments to submit their data if these 120 federal agencies aren’t even submitting hate crimes data to the database,” Beyer said.

    In the Senate, Democrat Al Franken of Minnesota said the federal agencies need to do better. “I’ve long urged the FBI and the Department of Justice to improve the tracking and reporting of hate crimes by state and local law enforcement agencies,” Franken told ProPublica. “But in order to make sure we understand the full scope of the problem, the federal government must also do its part to ensure that we have accurate and trustworthy data.”

    Virginia’s Barbara Comstock, a House Republican who authored a resolution in April urging the “Department of Justice (DOJ) and other federal agencies to work to improve the reporting of hate crimes,” did not respond to requests for comment.



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