Family reunification task force says at least 3,900 kids were stolen from parents by previous admin

A progress report submitted by the Biden administration’s family reunification task force says that more than 2,100 children stolen from their families by the previous administration from July 2017 through the beginning of 2021 may still separated from their parents, CBS News reports. According to the report, officials think a number of these families may have been reunited, but can’t confirm it due to the previous administration’s sloppy record keeping. 

While separated families have been reunited by the administration since President Joe Biden took office in January, the report also reveals it has been happening at a frustratingly slow place. “So far, the task force has facilitated the reunification of seven families who had been separated under Mr. Trump,” CBS News reports. “DHS said it expects to facilitate the reunification of an additional 29 families in coming weeks.”

Lee Gelernt, leading attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), told NBC … Read the rest

Fox News 'cancels' advertisement featuring law enforcement testimony about Jan. 6 insurrection

On Sunday, Fox News decided not to take advertiser money in order to make a very principled point: The insurrection at the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021 wasn’t a big deal. That’s the basic position of both the GOP and conservative media writ large, at this point. Their end game is oligarchy and being the financial and power beneficiaries of that anti-democratic system.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Fox News higher-ups nixed airing a political commercial that highlighted law enforcement’s clashes with rioters and insurgents at the Capitol on that tragic day. Ben Meiselas, co-founder of the liberal MeidasTouch political action committee (PAC), told the Times, “We couldn’t have fathomed in our wildest imaginations that even a Fox News would reject an ad that simply condemns the insurrection, and condemns people who support the insurrection.” It’s hard to read tone and doubly hard to know whether Meiselas is being … Read the rest

Guam won’t give up more land to the U.S. military without a fight

This story was originally published at Prism. 

By Frances Nguyen
 

Guam is losing to the U.S. military. More than 1,000 acres of native limestone forests, which have been part of the island landscape for millennia, will soon be cleared to construct a massive firing range complex as part of a planned U.S. military buildup—an operation more than a decade in the making that will relocate some 5,000 Marines (and 1,500 of their family members) to the island from Okinawa and elsewhere beginning in 2025.

The site for the firing range complex sits next to Guam’s National Wildlife Refuge. Not only do these forests provide critical habitat to endangered endemic species of plants and animals, but it also hosts several thousand-year-old historically and culturally significant sites to Chamorros, the Indigenous people for whom the island is their ancient homeland.

In these same forests, yo’åmte (healers) harvest medicinal plants to treat a range … Read the rest

Republicans aren't just telling a Big Lie—they're a domestic terror threat to our democracy

If you want to feel an even greater sense of urgency about saving our democracy than you already do, listen to this Pod Save America episode with Obama foreign policy alum Ben Rhodes, who’s out with a new book about the decline of democracy around the world, called After The Fall: Being American In The World We’ve Made

In the podcast, Rhodes talks about the conversations he’s had with activists in Hungary, Hong Kong, Russia, and other places where democracy is either on life support or worse. But what’s so disturbing about those conversations—with people who live in countries that most of us consider far worse off than we are—is just how similar their descriptions are to what we are experiencing here in the United States. 

Rhodes recounted one of those conversations in an interview with NPR’s Ari Shapiro:

The starting point for this book is I talked to one of these

Read the rest

Opponents of a real crackdown on military sexual assault have help from a key Democratic senator

Here’s a headline for you. From the Associated Press: “Military leaders wary of changes in sexual assault policy.” 

You don’t say! After years and years of admitting under pressure that yes, they have a sexual assault problem, but insisting that no, the system does not need to change to respond to that problem, military leaders … still don’t want changes. Nobody could possibly have predicted this (total lack of) development!

Here’s what’s going on: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin created an independent review commission on military sexual assault, and that commission recommended moving decisions about sexual assault prosecutions out of the military chain of command and into the hands of a civilian-led Office of the Chief Special Victim Prosecutor—a similar policy to one advocates have pushed for for years, and as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has repeatedly introduced legislation to do—and some military leaders are pushing back by running to the AP to express their anonymous concern.

According to … Read the rest

Blustery insurrectionist Mo Brooks real quiet when private investigator tries to serve him papers

Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama has a lot of questions to answer. Brooks isn’t good at answering questions, but he is good at making wild and baseless statements, and weaving together conspiracy theories that QAnon types find titillating. During the Jan. 6. ‘Stop The Steal’ rally in Washington, D.C.—the one that led to an attempted coup d’etat at our nation’s Capitol building—Mo Brooks stood in front of the crowd and said, “Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass! Now, our ancestors sacrificed their blood, their sweat, their tears, their fortunes, and sometimes their lives, to give us, their descendants, an America that’s the greatest nation in world history. So I have a question for you: Are you willing to do the same? My answer is yes. Louder. Are you willing to do what it takes to fight for America? [cheers and applause] Louder! Will you fight … Read the rest

Texas governor uses state foster care crisis as excuse to abuse migrant children

 Just when we thought Texas Gov. Greg Abbott couldn’t get more racist—we spoke too soon. On Tuesday, the GOP governor ordered state child care regulators to revoke the licenses of facilities that foster undocumented minors who crossed the state’s southern border and were detained. According to The Morning Dallas News, at least 52 state-licensed residential operations and child-placing agencies in the state have contracts with the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement to care for these undocumented immigrant children. All are at risk of losing their license.

Abbott’s order comes under the guise of addressing the “border crisis” in Texas. He claims he’s protecting landowners in southern counties from “trespassers and the damage they cause to private property.” Abbott not only blamed the current administration for an “unabated influx” of immigrant children and claimed by taking the necessary steps to revoke licenses of facilities that house them he will be decreasing … Read the rest

Body-camera video shows cops strip search teen and brother after traffic stop. Case settled for $35K

The number the city of Baton Rouge put on a Black teen’s dignity was $35,000, the amount reached in a settlement after city police officers strip searched a 16-year-old boy and his older brother in broad daylight during a traffic stop investigated by local news station WAFB. The actual officers accused of violating the brothers’ rights, however, have yet to be held accountable for their actions. The settlement was reached in a federal civil suit, and the case was dismissed last week after body-camera footage showed police pulling up the teen’s shirt, taking his underwear down, and grabbing his genitals and doing the same to his 23-year-old brother Clarence Green. 

“In the course of about 90 minutes, these officers commit at least a half-dozen criminal offenses themselves,” Green’s family attorney Thomas Frampton told WAFB. Still, it was Green who sat in jail for five months before prosecutors dropped charges against him, claiming vaguely … Read the rest

Republicans have absolutely no idea what their supposed base supposedly wants heading into 2022

It’s entirely unclear whether Donald Trump’s voters will show up in the midterms, but congressional Republicans have bet the farm on them anyway. They’ve hyped fabricated cancel culture issues, threatened to go to war with corporate America, and adopted “Own the Libs!” as their central tenet for 2022.

But they also have zero policy positions that appeal to the very same voters they are trying to keep in the fold. GOP lawmakers in both chambers, for instance, uniformly rejected pandemic relief legislation that sent checks directly to the bank accounts of most Americans—a measure that some 55% of lower-income Republican voters ultimately supported.

In their infrastructure negotiations with the White House, Senate Republicans have proposed paying for President Joe Biden’s very popular American Jobs Plan with a regressive tax hike on the middle class and the working poor.

And House Republicans recently released an alternative budget that seeks to raise the … Read the rest

'The GOP is destroying democracy': Alabama GOP faces well-earned criticism after curbside voting ban

First, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey came after women, signing into law in 2019 a bill outlawing abortions, even for victims of rape and incest, except when medically necessary. Then, she targeted transgender youth and signed into law on April 23 a bill prohibiting the children from participating in public school sports. Now, Ivey’s targeting people with disabilities.

The Republican governor signed a bill into law on Wednesday to ban curbside voting and in effect make casting ballots more difficult for people with disabilities. The unfortunate law prohibits placing voting machines outside of voting places and prevents poll workers from taking ballots into or out of voting places except when done as part of the established process to transport ballots. The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Wes Allen was passed by the Alabama House of Representatives in a 74-to-25 vote on March 18 and pushed through by the Senate in a 25-to-6 vote on May … Read the rest