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Updated: 3 hours 52 min ago

Sen. Marco Rubio: Government has ‘no capacity’ to keep immigrant families together

5 hours 30 min ago

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is on record as having said that immigrant children and their parents should be housed under the same roof. But on Sunday, he said he believes that outcome is impossible to bring about.

Rubio told Face The Nation‘s that the government can’t hold immigrant families together because it doesn’t “have the capacity.”

After Trump administration’s zero tolerance immigration policy, which means anyone detained at the border is referred for criminal prosecution, received fierce public criticism, lawmakers and civil rights groups pressured the administration to do something about the separation of families that happened as a result.

The president signed an executive order to end his own policy in June. Then a federal judge gave the government a few weeks to reunite families. Officials already failed to meet the first deadline to reunite all of the children under the age of 5 with their families and now the government face the deadline of July 26 to reunite children between 5 and 17 with their families.

Rubio said the administration is “doing the best they can” to meet this deadline but added, “We don’t have hundreds of facilities designed to hold families, which is one of the challenges in doing this, and one of things I’ve pointed to. So I think they are doing the best they can with those limitations, and hopefully they’ll get as many of those families together as possible.”

When moderator Margaret Brennan asked what would happen if the administration doesn’t meet this deadline, Rubio said, “Obviously we’ve got that court mandate that would require them potentially to allow people to go free and as a result of it, but again my hope is to reunite as many of these families as possible because I do believe we need to enforce our laws. I also believe we need to do so in a way that is true to our values as a nation.”

On the same day the Trump administration missed its first deadline to reunite all of the children with their families, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar appeared on CNN and defended the policy. Azar said, “It is one of the great acts of American generosity and charity, what we are doing for these unaccompanied kids.”

Trump officials keep lying about the family separation policy. Here’s the truth.

The Department of Health and Human Services has also asked that immigrant parents pay for their own DNA tests, which are done by a private contractor on behalf of HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement, to be reunited with their children.

Immigration experts and lawyers say that the best solution is to keep immigrant families together and out of detention centers, where conditions are poor and people face subpar medical care.

“If we’re talking about getting these kids out of custody, the solution is not keeping them in custody with their parents,” Kara Lynum, immigration attorney and owner of Lynum Law Office told ThinkProgress in June, “The solution is saying both mom and dad and child can go fight their case in non-detention. The solution is not family detention. The solution is a notice to appear at a court date in the future and they’re on their way.”


Categories: SCCDP Allies

Hillary Clinton offers to help reunite families with the children Donald Trump abducted

5 hours 33 min ago

On Saturday evening, Hillary Clinton appeared on stage at an outdoor music and cultural festival in New York City and vowed to help reunite immigrant families with the children who were kidnapped by the Trump administration.

“I’m going to be tweeting about this in the days to come, but if any of you work for an airline please direct message me because these families will need vouchers and discounted tickets to be reunited over these thousands of miles,” she told a large crowd at New York City’s OZY Fest on Saturday evening.

She was referring to the children who were forcibly separated from their families on Donald Trump’s orderers earlier this summer. More than 3,000 kids — some younger than five years old — were kept in caged facilities by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. After widespread public outcry — and several court orders — Trump backtracked on the policy and his administration was forced to begin reuniting children with their parents.

HHS secretary: Separating immigrant families is ‘one of the great acts of American generosity’

But so far, the Department of Homeland Security — which oversees ICE — has willfully dragged their feet in reunited children. Despite a federal judge demanding that the youngest abductees be reunited by July 10, the administration took two more days to comply with the order. And even then, nearly half of the children in question — 46 of the 103 covered by the court order — remained separated, with the administration claiming they were ineligible for reunification for a myriad of different reasons.

The court also imposed a second deadline of July 26 by which time DHS must reunited roughly 2,500 other children aged 5 to 17 with their families. On Friday, the Department of Justice said it had already reunited 450 children, leaving more than 2,000 still awaiting reunification by Thursday’s deadline.

While the administration claims it is doing everything in its power to reunite the children they kidnapped, there is ample evidence they have made it as hard as possible for some parents to reunite with their children.

Families must pay thousands of dollars to be reunited with children taken from them

In many cases, children have been flown thousands of miles away to be held in detention facilities operated by the Department of Health and Human Services. The government has demanded that families pay hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars for plane tickets and in-flight escorts to send a child back to their home state.

And the government acknowledges that it has lost track of hundreds of parents they have either already deported or released back into the country. According to the Texas Tribune, the government has identified 222 parents who were detained, separated from their children, and then released without any way of getting in touch with them.

For weeks, Clinton — who easily won the popular vote in the last presidential election — has been urging Americans to provide support for a handful of organizations that are working with immigrant families, and particularly the youngest children who have been left traumatized and emotionally scarred by the Trump administration. Her work on behalf of young children long predates her political ambition.


Categories: SCCDP Allies

Pence stumps for Brian Kemp, who said he’d ’round up criminal illegals’ in his truck

7 hours 14 min ago

On Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence supported Georgia gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp in the GOP primary race. You may remember Kemp for his ad boasting that he had a big truck in case he had to “round up some criminal illegals and take ’em home myself.”

President Donald Trump took to Twitter last week to express his support for Kemp. He tweeted, “Brian is tough on crime, strong on the border and illegal immigration.”

Pence told the crowd in Macon, Georgia, on Saturday, “Brian Kemp will bring the kind of leadership to the Statehouse that President Donald Trump has brought to the White House.”

Kemp, Georgia’s secretary of state, is running against Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in the GOP primary. Cagle said, in a tape released by Kemp, “This primary felt like it was who had the biggest gun, who had the biggest truck, and who could be the craziest.” If Kemp wins, he would face Democrat Stacey Abrams.

Kemp released a “track and deport” plan in March. He would create a new database that would aggregate information from state, local, and federal enforcement. The database would track arrests and convictions of undocumented people, give it to local law enforcement, prosecutors, and the courts and publish it on the Georgia Crime Information Center website, according to the Atlanta-Journal-Constitution. His plan would also mandate that law enforcement take undocumented people to a federal detention center for deportation, since state law does not require that Georgia law enforcement do this.

On his website, Kemp published a statement on sanctuary cities, expressing support for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s bill that would impose penalties on law enforcement if they refuse to comply with federal detainer requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Detainer requests ask for local law enforcement to detain someone for 48 additional hours after their release from jail.

Kemp in his statement called sanctuary cities “dangerous”:

“Sanctuary cities are dangerous, unlawful, and defy our Georgia values. As governor, our state will respect the rule of law and put the well being of Georgians – not illegal immigrants – first. Like Texas Governor Greg Abbott, I will fight radical, left-wing organizations and activists who are more concerned with advancing their agenda than keeping citizens and communities safe.”

In Clayton County, Georgia, the county sheriff’s office decided in 2014 that it wouldn’t honor ICE detainers unless ICE gives the office a judicially issued warrant that authorizes detention, according to the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a nonprofit organization which put together a map of sanctuary cities, counties, and states. That same year, in DeKalb County, Georgia, the sheriff’s department put a policy in place that would not honor a detainer unless it gives the office a warrant or “sufficient probable cause.” CIS last updated its map on May 30, 2018.

Kemp also supports strict voter ID laws that disenfranchise voters from marginalized groups.

Pence spent most of his speech talking about President Donald Trump rather than Brian Kemp, according to Mother Jones, but he did say Kemp was with Trump on gun rights, law enforcement, and the use of ICE, calling him “the real deal.”


Categories: SCCDP Allies

Donald Trump is reportedly fuming over North Korea’s failure to honor his handshake

7 hours 43 min ago

“Very disappointing.” “A joke.” “Pretty much meaningless.”

Among experts on North Korea, there was near universal agreement that Donald Trump’s much ballyhooed summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un was a colossal failure and an utter waste of time.

The joint statement signed by both leaders contained exactly zero new commitments, and in fact undercut previous negotiations by failing to provide any timeline for North Korea’s promised denuclearization efforts.

Suzanne DiMaggio, a senior fellow at New America, offered this sobering assessment: “The summit statement is big on hyperbole and short on substance – it reads like it was written by the North Korean negotiating team.”

Naturally, Donald Trump and his administration were quick to celebrate the Singapore summit as a resounding success, and dismissed the combined decades of experience telling him otherwise by pointing out he shook on it.

I have confidence that Kim Jong Un will honor the contract we signed &, even more importantly, our handshake. We agreed to the denuclearization of North Korea. China, on the other hand, may be exerting negative pressure on a deal because of our posture on Chinese Trade-Hope Not!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2018

On Sunday, the Washington Post published a lengthy story detailing some of the inner conversations within the White House about the fallout from the North Korea talks, and — surprise! — the North Korea experts were right.

Well over a month has passed since Trump handed a massive public relations victory to North Korea, and since then, officials in Pyongyang have done little else besides embarrass and humiliate their Washington, DC counterparts. Several follow-up meetings that were scheduled have been canceled or indefinitely postponed. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been stood up at least twice by North Korean officials, and when the Pentagon sent several officials to meet with representatives from North Korea last week at the demilitarized zone, they were left waiting for three hours before finally being told the meeting wouldn’t be happening at all.

Meanwhile, several of the promises Trump claimed to have extracted from North Korea have gone unfulfilled. A missile-testing facility that Trump said would be destroyed remains untouched. Not a single Korean War service member’s remains have been returned to the United States, despite Trump’s claim that 200 fallen soldiers have already been repatriated. And there is evidence that North Korea is working to conceal the true scope of its nuclear weapons program despite its purported commitment to denuclearization.

Donald Trump is a living embodiment of unpreparedness

All of which has led Trump to privately fume over being outmaneuvered and hustled by the world’s most notorious dictator, even as he continues to insist publicly that the negotiations were a resounding success. According to the Washington Post, Trump has requested daily briefings about the status of the ongoing discussions with North Korea, and is angry that the media’s assessment of his sham summit has largely come to pass. Perhaps next time he should insist upon a pinky promise.

Before agreeing to the summit, Trump spent weeks threatening Kim Jong Un with nuclear weapons. Experts now have begun to express concern that Trump’s notoriously short temper might jeopardize what little diplomacy actually exists between the two countries.

“I worry that Trump might lose patience with the length and complexities of negotiations that are common when dealing with North Korea and walk away and revert back to serious considerations of the military option,” Duyeon Kim, an expert on Korea from the Center for a New American Security, told the Washington Post.


Categories: SCCDP Allies

Accused Russian spy Maria Butina took meetings with top US Treasury officials

7 hours 58 min ago

Accused Russian spy Maria Butina had high-level meetings with US Treasury officials and received funding from a Russian billionaire invested in U.S. energy and technology, according to news reports on Sunday.

Fresh revelations shedding more light on her activities in the United States come after Butina — founder of what she considered the Russian equivalent of the National Rifle Association — was indicted Tuesday on conspiracy charges and for failing to register as a foreign agent. Butina has pleaded not guilty.

According to Reuters, Butina participated in meetings between her handler Alexander Torshin — then deputy governor of the Russian Central Bank and known to have close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin — and two senior officials at the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department in 2015.

As last week’s indictment details, Butina is accused of working with Torshin “for the purpose of developing and executing a plan to identify and exploit personal connections with U.S. persons having influence in American politics who were in positions to advance the interests of the Russian Federation.”

The reports lend credence to this accusation. Butina had “wider high-level contacts in Washington than previously known,” writes Reuters.

The news outlet says the meetings provide further insight into her efforts to “cultivate” relationships with American political leaders and special interest groups.

According to Reuters, Butina traveled to the U.S. with Torshin in April 2015  where the Washington D.C. foreign policy think tank Center for the National Interest — known for its pro-Russia stance — arranged meetings for the two Russians with then Federal Reserve chairman Stanley Fischer, and Treasury undersecretary for international affairs at the time Nathan Sheets.

The deep ties between the NRA and the Russian national just arrested on conspiracy charges

But that’s not all. As the Washington Post reported Sunday, Butina has received financial support from Russian Billionaire Konstantin Nikolaev, whose fortune has largely come from investments in port and railroads in Russia.

Nikolaev, however, also sits on the board of the Houston-based company, American Ethane. Last year in China, President Donald Trump showcased the company — it was one of 15 to sign massive trade deals between the U.S. and China. The billionaire is also an investor in a San Francisco start-up called Grabr that helps users buy “unusual products” from around the world, the Washington Post describes.

A spokesperson for Nikolaev confirmed to the Washington Post that he was in contact with Butina between 2012 and 2014 while she was launching her pro-gun rights group in Russia. However, he declined to confirm whether Nikolaev provided any financial support. The spokesperson also added that Nikolaev has never met Trump.

Nikloaev’s son Andrey, however, volunteered for the 2016 campaign to elect Trump. And according to sources speaking with the Washington Post, Konstantin Nikolaev was spotted at the Trump International Hotel in D.C. during Trump’s inauguration in January 2017.

While it’s unclear whether Nikolaev attended any official inaugural events, according to the Post, Butina “made an appearance” at one of Trump’s inaugural balls.


Categories: SCCDP Allies

First he was wrongfully convicted. Then Chase Bank refused to take his restitution check.

8 hours 28 min ago

After spending 23 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Darryl Fulton went to Chase Bank to deposit his restitution check of more than $160,000 from the state of Illinois. But the bank turned him away twice, his lawyer said.

On two occasions, Fulton tried to deposit the check and was told he could not. His lawyer, Kathleen Zellner, questioned whether racism was a factor.

Zellner said she was told by the bank that she would have to endorse the check, even though Fulton’s name was printed on it as the payee, according to the Chicago Tribune. The bank claimed that she would have to endorse it because her law firm’s name was under Fulton’s.

The second time Fulton attempted to deposit the check, Zellner had to get on the phone with the bank because it said the check would have to be deposited into her account, not his.

Chase for its part, insists that it did not refuse to deposit the check the second time Fulton presented it, calling it a “misunderstanding.”

“We did offer to deposit the check on his return visit and have reached out to him to clear up any confusion. We regret the error and apologize for the inconvenience,” Chase Bank told the Tribune.

Fulton has decided to use another bank after Chase would not let him deposit a check meant to compensate him for two decades of imprisonment.

He was one of two men who were convicted of a 1994 rape and murder. But in 2017, DNA evidence allowed a judge to vacate their convictions. Fulton and the other man, Nevest Coleman, were both serving life sentences. This DNA evidence, which hadn’t been tested in the 1990s, established that the semen stains on the victim’s clothing matched up with a man who was convicted of three other rapes.

The financial industry is rife with racism, including discrimination in lending and targeting Black clients for subprime loans.

Exploitative Financial Scheme That Fueled America’s Racist Housing Legacy Makes A Modern Comeback

And there have been other recent t news report of Black people facing discrimination by banks. In 2016, Trish Doolan went to Key Bank to deposit her paycheck. Then the bank called her and asked her to come back to the bank to question her.

Doolin told BuzzFeed News at the time, “He asked my profession, and then asked why the company’s headquarters were in Philadelphia.” Key Bank then tried to reach her employer but was unable to, so they told Doolin that her paycheck could not be deposited for up to nine days. Following social media attention on the incident, the bank apologized to Doolin.

In 2015, a Black teenager, Jason Goolsby, said he was was standing in front of the ATM trying to decide whether to withdraw money when police approached. A white woman called 911 to report suspicious youths hanging out near the bank because the young men made her feel “uncomfortable.”

The 911 transcript showed that the woman said, “we just left but we felt like if we had taken money out we might’ve gotten robbed.” Goolsby was not arrested, but he was pursued by police who briefly detained him.


Categories: SCCDP Allies

The only thing the newly released FISA documents show is that Republicans have been lying for months

9 hours 15 min ago

On Saturday night, the New York Times published a report detailing the public disclosure of more than 400 pages of heavily redacted documents related to a FISA warrant filed in 2016 against Carter Page, an advisor for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Page has been a key focus of the intelligence community’s investigation into Russian interference from the very beginning. And as Saturday’s disclosure reveals, the FBI presented enough probable cause suggesting Page had been recruited by Russian officials that four separate Republican-appointed judges authorized still-undisclosed surveillance measures targeting Page.

Oddly, both Donald Trump and Carter Page tried to spin Saturday’s disclosure as some kind of victory. Several members of the far-right fringe in Congress — led by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) — lied to the public several months ago via a memo that falsely asserted the FBI sought the warrant on the sole basis of the infamous Steele dossier, a Republican-conceived memo written by a former British intelligence officer containing several salacious rumors about Donald Trump.

As Democrats and the FBI later disclosed — and as Saturday’s release makes clear — the dossier was far from the only evidence provided to the FISA court, and its inclusion contained a lengthy caveat noting the politicized nature and unsubstantiated claims contained within the document. Incidentally, several of the allegations contained in the dossier have since been verified. On Sunday, CNN’s Jake Tapper invited Page to respond to Saturday’s revelations, and it took exactly one question for him to trip over the facts of the case.

“The document accuses you of being an ‘agent of a foreign power.’ Were you?,” asked Tapper.

“Jake, this is so ridiculous, it’s just beyond words,” said Page. “You know, it’s — you’re talking about misleading the courts. It’s just so misleading, going through those 400-plus page documents, where do we even begin? It’s literally a complete joke, and it only continues. It’s just really sad.”

Tapper, who was still waiting for Page to answer his question, tried again. “Were you ever an agent of a foreign power? Did you ever advise the Kremlin or work with the Kremlin on anything?” 

After more stammering, Page finally got around to a “no,” before immediately admitting that he had, in fact, served as an advisor to the Kremlin and met several times with Russian officials during multiple trips to Russia over a period of years leading up to and including 2016.

Page went on to claim that the courts were misled by the FBI, alleging the agency knowingly relied on incorrect or incomplete information in seeking their warrant. He offered no basis for those allegations however, and the documents released on Saturday in fact make it clear that the FBI was very forthright about the sourcing of its information.

Of course, that didn’t stop Donald Trump from leveling the same false allegation. He tweeted about the release of the FISA documents early Sunday, lying about law enforcement agencies “misleading” the FISA court.

Congratulations to @JudicialWatch and @TomFitton on being successful in getting the Carter Page FISA documents. As usual they are ridiculously heavily redacted but confirm with little doubt that the Department of “Justice” and FBI misled the courts. Witch Hunt Rigged, a Scam!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2018

Because the FISA documents were heavily redacted, there isn’t very much new information the public learned on Saturday. One thing was made very clear though: the Trump administration and their extremist allies in Congress have been lying to the public for months.


Categories: SCCDP Allies

A neighbor complained about a black kid selling hot dogs. But this story has a happy ending.

10 hours 9 min ago

Somebody complained to city authorities when 13-year old Jaequan Faulkner opened a hot dog stand in front of his family’s Minneapolis home.

The complaint echoes a zillion stories seen this year when people — white folks, in many instances — expressed outrage over African-Americans doing run-of-the-mill things, and called the police or other government officials to shut them down.

But that’s not what happened, at least not this time.

The enterprising teen had opened his fledgling business, “Mr. Faulkner’s Old-Fashioned Hot Dogs,” looking for something to keep him occupied during the summer, and presumably to earn a little pocket money — the ordinary kind of thing that kids do in the summer.

It seems that city officials were able to figure that out and decided to help Jaequan, rather than being a hindrance.

Jaequan Faulkner set up a hot dog stand outside his Minnesota home, but someone reported the 13-year-old boy for operating without a license. That's when the state stepped in. https://t.co/iZWfOTPpIy

— AP Central U.S. (@APCentralRegion) July 19, 2018

After the Minneapolis Department of Health investigated the complaint, it not only allowed the hotdog stand to remain open, but inspectors decided to pitch in to help pay the $87 for the permit, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

Then the department’s environmental health director Daniel Huff got in touch with a local non-profit, Northside Economic Opportunity Network, which gave the teen instructions on running a business and keeping his food stand clean.

Jaequan began operating his hot dog business with all of the requisite licensing last week, selling hot dogs and bratwurst.

“I was actually kind of surprised, because usually I would have one person at a time help me, but then with so many people coming at once, I’m like, wow. I realized how much people enjoy it,”  he told Minnesota Public Radio (MPR).

Deandre Harrison of St. Cloud, who stopped by the hot dog stand, told MPR that he was kind of impressed with the kid’s business acumen.

“He has a cash register, he’s got receipts. He seems like a very intelligent kid with a bright future ahead of him,” he said. “You don’t see many of him at 13 years old with that mindset.”

All the good feels of this feel-good story are kept in check, though, when you do a quick mental inventory of all the other times — many of them just over the past several weeks — when the outcomes have not been so heartwarming.

Like the time a few days back, when a black San Francisco businessman who had just opened a fancy lemonade store was questioned by police in front of his own establishment as he was opening up for the day. It appears that someone in the neighborhood assumed he was a burglar trying to break into the store.

There have been a litany of other such incidents. Like the time the woman called police on a black girl selling water.

White woman who threatened to call cops on 8-year-old Black girl says she’s ‘discriminated against’

And the time another woman called police on a black man for wearing socks.

Woman calls the cops on black man for wearing socks at a pool, gets fired

And the time police responded to a neighbor’s complaints when a black lawmaker was canvassing her constituents door to door.

Woman calls police on black representative canvassing her own district

And so many other times.

Still, for now, let’s take heart about the kid in Minneapolis and his hot dog stand, and hope it’s a harbinger of better things.


Categories: SCCDP Allies

Steve Bannon wants to help Europe’s far-right with his new foundation

10 hours 13 min ago

Former Breitbart executive Steve Bannon is going to Europe.

Trump’s former White House chief advisor has announced he will be launching a new foundation called The Movement to help give a boost to the far-right. His foundation — which Bannon envisions as a rival to George Soros’ Open Society — will provide think tank research, polling services, advice on messaging, and data targeting.

Headquartered in Brussels, home of the European Parliament, Bannon told the Daily Beast he wants to unite the populists in a right-wing “supergroup” within the parliament. With Europe-wide elections to be held next May, Bannon predicts his group could bring together as many as a third of European lawmakers.

“A united populist bloc of that size would have the ability to seriously disrupt parliamentary proceedings, potentially granting Bannon huge power within the populist movement,” writes the Daily Beast. Bannon expects to spend about half his time in Europe following the United States’ midterm elections in November.

This isn’t the first time Bannon has shown interest in boosting Europe’s far-right. In March, he traveled to Rome to support candidate Matteo Salvini of La Lega party, who ran an anti-migrant, anti-EU “Italians First” campaign.

And following his trip to Italy, Bannon made a stop in France that same month to deliver a speech to far-right party the National Front lead by Marine Le Pen.

“Let them call you racists. Let them call you xenophobes. Let them call you nativists,” he told the party’s conference, the purpose of which was to discuss rebranding its image after it lost to Emmanuel Macron last year. His speech was met with mixed reviews.

Bannon has been credited, most notably, with influencing Britain’s vote to leave the European Union in 2016. In a video clip filmed in March 2017, Nigel Farage, former leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), is seen raising a pint to Bannon and Breitbart.

“Well done Bannon, well done Breitbart. You helped with this. Hugely,” Farage says following the triggering of Article 50 which officially began the Brexit process.

“Bannon hates the EU,” a former Breitbart writer Ben Shapiro who split with Bannon (but shares the sentiment) told Politico last year. “He figures it’s mainly an instrument for globalism — as opposed to an instrument for the bettering of Western civilization.”

President Trump’s recent visit to Europe this month provided a fresh opportunity for Bannon to promote his new plans. Setting up in a five-star hotel in central London’s wealthy Mayfair neighborhood, Bannon and Breitbart London editor Raheem Kassam made TV appearances as “Trump surrogates” as the Daily Beast described it. They also hosted a number of Europe’s far-right political leaders at the hotel.

“It was so successful that we’re going to start staffing up,” Bannon told the Daily Beast. “Everybody agrees that next May is hugely important, that this is the real first continent-wide face-off between populism and the party of Davos. This will be an enormously important moment for Europe.”

Bannon expects to have fewer than 10 full-time staff before the 2019 elections — this will include a polling expert, communications person, office manager, and researcher. Hiring will then increase after the May election if their work has been successful.

Paraphrasing John Milton’s Satan in Paradise Lost, Bannon said: “I’d rather reign in hell, than serve in heaven.”


Categories: SCCDP Allies

Waitress body-slams male patron who groped her, to the delight of women everywhere

Sat, 07/21/2018 - 12:37pm

Who among us has not fantasized of being that woman? The badass avenger who brutally — even savagely, if necessary — takes down that gnarly, obnoxious guy who invades your space and brazenly tries to take liberties with your body?

Emelia Holden got to live out all of our dreams.

For the 21-year old waitress and college student, it happened in a coffee shop, although some of us might have had a similar experience at school or on an escalator, or at the local mall.

Holden was on the job at the Vinnie Van Go-Go’s pizza restaurant in Savannah, Georgia, working her regular shift. She had just finished taking an order when she felt her backside being squeezed by a male patron as he passed behind her.

The restaurant’s surveillance footage captured the moment, and since has gone viral — not because of the butt-grab, but because of what happened next.

According to news reports No sooner had Ryan Cherwinski, 31, released Holden’s butt cheek than she grabbed him by the shirt collar and slammed him into a counter. He then fell to the ground and remained there, looking somewhat dazed.

GA waitress Emelia Holden is seen on camera being sexually violated by 31 yr old Ryan Cherwinksi. Holden slammed him into a chair She told said “I just did what I felt was best, I took the guy down and had my co-workers call the police.”
Cherwinksi was charged w/ sexual battery. pic.twitter.com/szGx25zgXr

— Atlanta Black Star (@ATLBlackStar) July 19, 2018

“I looked at him and I said, ‘You don’t touch me, motherf__!’ ” Holden told People magazine. “I didn’t even think, I just reacted. I don’t know how I reacted the way I did. I’ve never done that before.”

The diminutive Holden, who tips the scales at 115 pounds, said she surprised herself with her strength in taking down her assaulter.

“I didn’t even know I could do that!” she told People recounting the incident that occurred late last month.

“When I felt that happen, my first thought was that it was one of my friends … it was a really intimate touch,” she says. “His hand went further than it should have so I was thinking, ‘There’s no way a stranger just did that.’ ” she told the magazine,

News reports said Cherwinksi was arrested at the restaurant a short time later, in front of his wife and two kids. CBS reported that he was charged with misdemeanor count of sexual battery.

“To see them put him in handcuffs — that was nice,” Holden told Inside Edition.


Categories: SCCDP Allies

Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law claims another victim

Sat, 07/21/2018 - 12:25pm

An armed man in Florida allegedly provoked an argument over a parking spot before shooting and killing an unarmed man.

Michael Drejka, 47, will not face charges due to the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law after shooting dead 28-year-old Markeis McGlockton in front of his five-year-old son and girlfriend in Clearwater on Thursday. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced the decision during a news conference on Friday:

“I don’t make the law. I enforce the law. The law in the state of Florida today is that people have a right to stand their ground and have a right to defend themselves when they believe that they are in harm.”

According to the sheriff’s office, 24-year-old Britany Jacobs, McGlockton’s girlfriend, was parked in a handicapped spot when she was approached by Drejka. The sheriff’s office described what occurred next in a statement:

“According to witnesses, McGlockton exited the store and walked over to Drejka who was still arguing with Jacobs in the parking lot. Witnesses say McGlockton forcibly pushed Drejka causing Drejka to fall to the ground. Witnesses told detectives that Drejka was on the ground when he took out a handgun and fired one single round at McGlockton striking him in the chest.”

Store owner Ali Selous told WFTS-TV that McGlockton was buying candy for his son at the time of the incident:

“[It’s] sad to see [McGlockton] die in front of his son. … For a parking lot [space.] For a stupid reason. Just to argue, just to find someone to argue with.”

Social media users pointed out the absurdity of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which has been shown to increase homicides:

Armed man provokes altercation aggressively arguing with (apparently) unarmed man’s girlfriend over parking spot; unarmed man intervenes and eventually shoves him down; then, armed man from the ground pulls his concealed gun and fatally shoots unarmed man—not a crime in Florida. https://t.co/mpz47Xc1xU

— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) July 21, 2018

Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) signed a controversial update to the law, but it was ruled unconstitutional in July 2017. Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law gained notoriety after George Zimmerman shot and killed unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February 2012. The law was cited in Zimmerman’s defense during the trial that resulted in his acquittal. Zimmerman has since been involved in numerous violent incidents.


Categories: SCCDP Allies

Home Depot rehires black worker who defended himself against customer’s racist tirade

Sat, 07/21/2018 - 11:45am

Home Depot has reversed course and rehired Maurice Rucker. The Albany Times-Union reports that three days after firing him for verbally defending himself against racist taunts from a customer, they have offered him back his job amid a firestorm of public outrage.

The retailer had initially terminated Rucker, a black employee at its Albany, New York location, over his encounter with the racist customer. After Rucker asked the customer to put the dog he brought into the store on a leash, the customer went on a tirade.

The customer allegedly hurled racist insults his way, saying that Rucker was “from the ghetto.” The customer also apparently couldn’t help from bringing up the current president, reportedly saying, “if Trump wasn’t president, you wouldn’t even have a job” (Rucker, in fact, had been employed with Home Depot for a decade, far longer than Trump’s political career).

Home Depot fires black staffer for retort to racist customer

Rucker says he stood up for himself and gave a short, firm reply to the man, telling him “You’re lucky I’m at work, because if I wasn’t you wouldn’t be talking to me like this.”

Instead of defending their employee who endured racist abuse on the job, Home Depot decided that firing Rucker was the correct move.

An avalanche of criticism followed, with numerous media outlets across the country picking up the story. The public clearly sided with Rucker, and made their displeasure about his firing known. In addition, a crowdfunding campaign on his behalf has so far raised more than $2,000.

Seeing this, Home Depot quickly had a change of heart and realized that the firing was definitely the wrong move. A spokesman for the company said, “We’ve taken another look at this and we are offering Maurice his job back.”


Categories: SCCDP Allies

Missouri tragedy puts spotlight on danger of amphibious tour buses

Sat, 07/21/2018 - 11:05am

Four people were being treated at a hospital in Missouri on Saturday, after a tourist boat they were in capsized on a lake near Branson, Missouri, killing 17 people and injuring seven.

Two adults and two children remained at the Cox Medical Center Branson, according to ABC News. They were among 31 people, including two crew members, on the duck boat when it plunged into deep water in Table Rock Lake near Branson Thursday evening as severe thunderstorms struck the area. Duck boats are amphibious tour buses that travel on road and in water.

Nine people from one family — the Colemans, who were vacationing in Branson from Indiana — were among the 17 killed in the disaster. Two members of the family survived the accident and were taken to the hospital for treatment.

Duck boat tragedy in Missouri claims 9 members of Indiana family, officials say https://t.co/HqP6mCHjHZ pic.twitter.com/rNr3MysQC1

— IndyStar (@indystar) July 21, 2018

Investigators have suggested that the accident was caused by thunderstorms and high winds. The boat sank in 40 feet of water and then rolled on its wheels into a deeper area with 80 feet of water.

Duck boats are known for being susceptible to sinking quickly once they begin to take on water. The fixed steel and vinyl roofs of the vehicles make it difficult to escape. Life vests are not viewed as helpful because as a person with a life vest floats upward, they find themselves trapped against either the canopy or a capsized hull, according to a Buzzfeed report.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) sent investigators to the site. The agency urged witnesses to share any videos or photos to help with the investigation.

A preliminary report is expected to be released on accident in about a month. The NTSB then expects to complete its full investigation by this time next year, according to CNN.

The duck boat was operated by the Ride the Ducks, a company owned by Ripley Entertainment. On its website, Ride the Ducks said it “will be closed for business while we support the investigation.”

Witness video reveals moments before Branson, Missouri duck boat capsizes https://t.co/bvbeo2AeOt pic.twitter.com/xYbR4Nkvf1

— KREM 2 NEWS (@KREM2) July 21, 2018

Ripley Entertainment spokeswoman Suzanne Smagala told the Associated Press that this was the Branson company’s first accident in more than 40 years of operation.

In 2010, a Ride the Ducks boat was struck by a tugboat on the Delaware River in Philadelphia, causing the duck boat to sink. Two of the 35 passengers on board the Philadelphia duck boat were killed in the accident.

Thirteen people were killed when a duck boat with 21 people on board sank in Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Arkansas, in 1999. The boat plunged 60 feet to the bottom of the lake.

The NTSB determined the cause of the Arkansas accident to be inadequate maintenance of the vessel, which was built by the U.S. Army in 1944.


Categories: SCCDP Allies

Alabama sheriff who supported Roy Moore accused of sex with underage girls

Sat, 07/21/2018 - 10:38am

Failed Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore was endorsed by Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin despite numerous accusations of Moore’s inappropriate sexual behavior with minors. Now Entrekin has also been accused of having sex with underage girls.

AL.com, the publication that broke much of the news regarding Moore’s alleged sexual misconduct, reports Entrekin is under investigation after being accused of sexual misconduct at “drug-fueled parties he hosted for fellow law enforcement officers and other adult men in the early nineties.”

AL.com detailed the timeline of the accusations:

A 41-year-old woman first detailed the claims during several hours of in-person interviews with AL.com in May, during which she alleged that Entrekin had sex with her four times in the late summer of 1992, when he was 29 and she was 15 years old. In Alabama, the age of consent is 16.

Mary Elizabeth Cross said she also had sex with “two longtime Etowah County law enforcement officers who no longer work in the county” when she was a minor.

“I was 15. It was right before my 16th birthday, and I remember telling everyone I couldn’t wait to turn 16 so I could drive. We ended up at the lake house that night, and that’s where I had sex with Entrekin.”

Entrekin, who previously made headlines for pocketing $750,000 that was intended to feed inmates and buying a $740,000 beach house, denied the report on Friday:

“I’ve never had sex with any 15-year-old girl or had drugs around or anything. I have never done drugs in my life. That’s the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard of. Never, ever has anything like that happened before.”

Entrekin’s endorsement did not prevent Moore from losing an election in a state that President Donald Trump had won by nearly 30 percentage points in 2016. Following his upset loss, Moore lashed out at transgender people, liberal judges, and his opponent’s gay son. Even though Doug Jones (D-AL) is now a senator, Moore still hadn’t conceded as of February.


Categories: SCCDP Allies

The number of immigrant children being detained in Texas continues to rise

Sat, 07/21/2018 - 9:49am

A new report in The Texas Tribune found that despite a federal court order that immigrant children separated from their families be reunited with their parents, the number of of youngsters being detained in the state is on the rise.

According to The Tribune, the number of children housed in Texas shelters rose from 4,919 on June 21 to 5,024 on July 13. This includes both immigrant children who arrived at the border unaccompanied and children that were separated from their families by federal authorities.

The report says that there are applications for up to four additional shelters to be built in Texas. The shelters would be built to “care for unaccompanied boys and girls up to 17 years old or as young as infants.”

These findings come on the heels of the Trump administration’s claims that it has reunited hundreds of children with their families. The administration claims it currently has 2,551 immigrant children between the ages of 5 and 17 in its care who were separated from their parents under Trump’s zero-tolerance policy. So far, only 364 of those children have been reunited.

Trump administration says more than 900 immigrant parents are ineligible for reunification

Children currently being held also face extremely harsh living conditions. Previous reporting has found that some children are being housed in vacant warehouses, while others are being sent to unsafe homes.

New reports from Texas have also exposed the psychologically abusive treatment that children in the “Casa Padre” facility in Brownsville, Texas faced even after President Trump signed an order that supposedly halted his administration’s zero-tolerance approach.

‘This is it for you. You’re fu**ed.’: Inside Trump’s abuse of migrant kids at an old Walmart

A judge has given the Trump administration a July 26 deadline to reunite all of the children with their families, but the government claims that hundreds of parents are ineligible for reunification.


Categories: SCCDP Allies

Mueller probe targets Roger Stone with subpoena of ‘Manhattan Madam’

Sat, 07/21/2018 - 9:29am

Pretty much everyone assumes that Roger Stone, a longtime adviser to President Donald Trump, is a target of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election. Stone even admitted he was the unnamed “U.S. person” mentioned in last week’s indictments of 12 Russian intelligence agents for hacking into Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

Things appear to be getting worse for Stone, now that Mueller has subpoenaed Kristin Davis, the infamous “Manhattan Madam” who also is a former Stone aide. Davis’ lawyer is reportedly “negotiating the scope of the subpoena with Mueller’s team.”

Davis was jailed for running a prostitution ring that was used by New York governor Elliot Spitzer, who resigned in 2008 after he was caught admitting he was a client. Stone managed Davis’ short-lived 2010 gubernatorial campaign in New York.

Stone suggested Mueller’s subpoena of Davis could be payback for his reporting on Infowars during an appearance on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 Friday night:

“In my view, in all honesty, this is a fishing expedition. Perhaps it is the payback for the fact that I broke the story yesterday on Infowars that Tony Podesta has been, that the special counsel has asked for immunity for him in the Manafort investigation, or the Manafort prosecution. I know that has not yet been reported on CNN, but I reported it yesterday at Infowars. I have multiple sources. Fox has also reported it. I believe it to be true. Perhaps this is payback for that.”

A former Fox News reporter told ThinkProgress that Trump’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russia through Stone. In an August 2016 email exchange that was published in April, Stone admitted to meeting recently with WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange. Stone also tweeted about the release of stolen documents from the Clinton campaign before WikiLeaks posted them. Trump’s Justice Department has linked WikiLeaks to Russian intelligence.

Davis is at least the sixth former employee of Stone, who has contradicted himself several times about his suspected role in Russian election interference, to be connected with Mueller’s investigation.


Categories: SCCDP Allies

Trump complains Michael Cohen’s alleged secret recording may have been ‘illegal’

Sat, 07/21/2018 - 8:39am

Donald Trump complained on Twitter Saturday that his onetime attorney and fixer Michael Cohen secretly recorded their phone calls — an act the president called “inconceivable” one day after a bombshell news report detailed the contents of one of the alleged conversations.

But the president assured his 53 million Twitter followers that they have no need to worry about the conversation that Cohen allegedly secretly recorded with him in 2016 because he “did nothing wrong.”

In the conversation taped about two months before the presidential election, Trump and Cohen reportedly discussed hush money payment linked to the then-candidate’s alleged affair with a former Playboy model.

In the tweet, Trump said it’s “totally unheard of & perhaps illegal” that a lawyer would tape a client. “The good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!” Trump added.

Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer’s office (early in the morning) – almost unheard of. Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client – totally unheard of & perhaps illegal. The good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 21, 2018

The New York Times broke the news on Friday that in September 2016, Cohen allegedly secretly recorded a conversation with Trump in which they discussed payments to American Media Inc. (AMI), which had purchased  the rights to the story about the alleged affair from Playboy model Karen McDougal.

The Washington Post later Friday also reported that Cohen and Trump discussed purchasing the rights to McDougal’s story of the alleged affair from AMI, the parent company of the National Enquirer. AMI’s CEO, David Pecker, describes himself as a close friend of Trump.

Cohen recording revelation catches Trump in a lie about McDougal payment

Despite purchasing the rights, the Enquirer never published anything about McDougal’s alleged affair with Trump.

A person who has reviewed the transcript of the alleged in-person conversation between Trump and Cohen said the recording was among the materials seized during an April 2018 FBI raid.

In the tweet, Trump reiterated his concerns about the FBI raid on Cohen’s office, home, and hotel room.

“Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer’s office (early in the morning) — almost unheard of. Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client,” Trump tweeted.

CNN reported that the FBI is in possession of additional recordings Cohen made of conversations involving Trump. “I can’t believe Michael would do this to me,” Trump remarked in response to the Times’ report, according to CNN.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether there was collusion between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia ahead of the 2016 election.


Categories: SCCDP Allies

Native American pipeline protesters enter plea agreements to avoid long prison terms

Sat, 07/21/2018 - 7:40am

State and federal prosecutions of Native Americans and their allies who protested the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline are drawing closer to an end, as two more protesters agreed to plea deals.

After investigations that included a review of photographs and video footage, Native Americans were the only protesters targeted by federal prosecutors. The hundreds of other protesters who were arrested faced charges in North Dakota state court.

Dion Ortiz and James “Angry Bird” White chose to enter plea deals instead of going to trial, and they face the possibility of much harsher punishment for their opposition to the pipeline project. Three other Native American protesters also have entered plea agreements in federal court, and two of them were recently sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

Ortiz on Wednesday agreed to plead guilty to the charge of committing “civil disorder” and in return, the second charge of using “fire to commit a federal felony offense” was dropped. Had he been convicted of that offense, Ortiz would have faced a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.

On July 12, Angry Bird entered into a plea agreement in which prosecutors will recommend time served plus 12 months of home confinement for the charge of civil disorder.

Federal prosecutors accused Ortiz and Angry Bird of setting three highway barricades on fire, which obstructed police during a highly-militarized October 27 raid of a camp set up just north of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

The Water Protector Legal Collective, a group that has provided legal support for people opposed to the Dakota Access pipeline, hired an expert in late 2016 to poll potential jurors to determine the extent of local bias against the protesters.

The expert found that 77 percent of potential jurors in Morton County, North Dakota and 85 percent in neighboring Burleigh County, North Dakota had already decided the defendants were guilty and that many potential jurors have close connections to law enforcement and the oil industry.

Plea agreements, particularly for Native Americans, can reduce the opportunity for further discrimination in the legal system, Moira Meltzer-Cohen, staff attorney for the Water Protective Legal Collective, said in an email to ThinkProgress.

Meltzer-Cohen said indigenous people should not be expected to trust the federal government. After stealing their land, the government imposed a “colonial system of punishment” that disproportionately impacts them, she said.

“So it is both heinous and unrealistic to expect that anyone of native ancestry will have faith in getting a fair trial against the office of the U.S. Attorney, or a just sentence from a federal judge, when these institutions represent power writ large in an ongoing history of profound and literally genocidal injustice,” she said.

Native Americans who protested Dakota Access get handed the longest prison sentences

The $3.7 billion Dakota Access Pipeline is now fully built, following President Trump’s January 2017 order to expedite its completion, which reversed President Obama’s block on the project.

The pipeline extends 1,168 miles from North Dakota to Illinois and is capable of transporting 570,000 barrels of crude oil a day from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota to a distribution hub in Illinois. From there, the oil is transported via separate pipelines to refineries along the Gulf coast.

Prosecutors agreed to recommend up to three years in prison for Ortiz, although the judge has the authority to go as high as five years. Ortiz, a member of the San Felipe Pueblo in New Mexico, is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court in Bismarck, North Dakota on October 22.

These states want to make planning a pipeline protest a crime

Angry Bird, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, was prepared to go to trial, but when the prosecutors offered a deal that required no prison time, he decided to accept the plea agreement, said Daphne Silverman, Angry Bird’s defense attorney.

“I made it clear that we were not pleading guilty. We were going to trial,” Silverman said in an interview with ThinkProgress. “But when they call you and say, ‘Will you take house arrest?’ and house arrest in North Dakota is essentially like probation, I had to recommend that to him.”

The Freshet Collective reached out to Silverman, an attorney in Austin, Texas, who specializes in federal criminal cases, to represent Angry Bird. The Freshet Collective has worked on arrestee support for Dakota Access protesters, such paying cash bail and coordinating legal defense.

A specific date for Angry Bird’s sentencing has not been scheduled, but Silverman expects it will occur no sooner than November. If the judge chooses not to accept the plea agreement, Angry Bird would then go on trial for the two charges of committing “civil disorder” and using “fire to commit a federal felony offense,”she said.

“The prosecutor has been very kind and generous in making this offer to us,” Silverman said. “I am very pleased he made us an offer that doesn’t include prison.”

Pipeline exec says whoever vandalized Dakota Access Pipeline should be ‘removed from the gene pool’

If Angry Bird’s case had gone to trial, Silverman said she would not have sought a change in venue. “I spent time in Bismarck [North Dakota] and I questioned people there. I found the people of North Dakota to be honest, good people who would have judged this case fairly. I believe that they were equally interested in protecting their water and, at the same time, thought there would be some investment for the industry. They would have been prepared to listen to the issues in trial.”

People who may have a slant toward law enforcement or industry often “go overboard” in making sure their views don’t prejudice how they judge a person if they do get to sit on a jury, she added.

Native American protester, Michael “Rattler” Markus is scheduled for sentencing on September 27. Similar to the others facing serious charges, Rattler also accepted a plea deal. He will likely receive a sentence of three years in prison, although the judge has the authority to sentence him to as much as five years at his sentencing next month.

On July 11, Red Fawn Fallis was sentenced to 57 months, to be followed by three years of federal supervision, the longest sentence handed so far to a Dakota Access protester.

The only other protester to receive a lengthy prison sentence is Michael “Little Feather” Giron. In late May, he was sentenced to three years in prison. He had already spent 15 months in jail, time for which he was credited. His lawyers believe he could be released to a halfway house by next spring.


Categories: SCCDP Allies

‘Crying Nazi’ Christopher Cantwell banned from Virginia

Sat, 07/21/2018 - 7:38am

A white supremacist who took part in last year’s deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia has been banned from the state.

Christopher Cantwell, a 37-year-old man from New Hampshire, grabbed headlines after posting a teary video in response to an arrest warrant issued over his actions at the violent rally.

The latest news for Cantwell is unlikely to dry his tears. The Washington Post reports that he has pleaded guilty to assaulting anti-racist protesters. For his actions, he was sentenced to “two concurrent terms of 12 months, with all but seven months suspended.” He will not serve jail time, but was ordered to leave the state of Virginia within eight hours. He will not be allowed to re-enter the state for five years.

Albemarle Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Tracci said the sentencing would bring a “measure of finality to the defendant’s dispersal of pepper spray nearly a year ago. This agreement was supported by the victims in this case, who have been consulted at each stage of the criminal process.”

The violent rally Cantwell was part of last year garnered national attention. More than a dozen people sustained injuries, and anti-racist activist Heather Heyer was killed when a white supremacist plowed a car into a crowd of counter-protesters.

The demonstration was widely denounced, but President Donald Trump infamously blamed the violence on “many sides.” And even though he eventually gave a belated and rather half-hearted condemnation of rally organizers, his administration to this day still conflates white supremacists who incite violence with the anti-racist protesters who oppose them.

A repeat of last year’s violence threatens to hit the nation’s capital next month. Organizers plan to hold a “white civil rights” rally in Washington, D.C. on August 11th and 12th, the one year anniversary of the Charottesville rally. Local anti-racist groups have promised “mass mobilization” against it.

As for Cantwell, have the legal consequences of his actions caused him to reconsider his racist ways? Unfortunately, it would appear not. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that he went straight to a car after his sentencing, only stopping to call members of the media “Jews.”


Categories: SCCDP Allies

Home Depot fires black staffer for retort to racist customer

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 1:23pm

The sentence that got Maurice Rucker fired from an Albany, New York Home Depot was mild and coherent compared to the bizarre and vulgar rant he says a customer dropped on him last week.

“‘You’re lucky I’m at work, because if I wasn’t, this wouldn’t be happening, or you wouldn’t be talking to me like this,'” Rucker, 60, remembers saying to the man during a shift last Thursday. Rucker says the customer had just finished calling him an “asshole” and a “piece of shit” for daring to inform the customer that the store didn’t mind having dogs inside but preferred they were leashed while indoors.

“‘If Trump wasn’t president, you wouldn’t even have a job,'” Rucker says the man told him. “He said, ‘You’re from the ghetto, what do you know?'”

Rucker’s managers didn’t appreciate their employee standing up for himself in even the mild-mannered fashion implied by reminding a belligerent person they’re only able to abuse you because you’re on the clock. He was fired Thursday, according to a report in the Albany Times-Union.

“The problem here is that he had several opportunities to disengage and contact management to deal with the customer,” a store manager told the local NBC affiliate. “We’re appalled by this customer’s behavior, but we also must require associates to follow proper protocol to defuse a situation for the sake of their safety and the safety of other associates and customers.”

Rucker had been with the company for a decade but earned just $13 an hour when he was told to hit the bricks, the station reported.

Customer service work has always been a frontline in America’s persistent war against the dignity of working-class people and people of color. Anyone who has worked retail, whether short-term to pay for college or as their primary means of making rent and keeping the fridge stocked, has likely experienced disrespect at the hands or tongues of a customer.

But such incidents — and the race-panicky character that so often attends an industry that is now the primary forum for economic opportunity for men and women of color — have gained new media attention over the past few years. A determined optimist might look at a rash of stories from coffee shops, picnic areas, grad school dorms, suburban cul-de-sacs, golf courses, and public pools, and say that at least nobody called the cops on Rucker.

Many demographers and sociologists point to racial segregation as a driving force for these episodes of snarling harassment. While almost no city in the U.S. performs particularly well on measures of residential or educational integration, Albany exemplifies the kind of modern pulling-apart that exacerbates centuries-old historical patterns in the modern age. A study measuring how residential segregation — and the wealth inequality and immobility associated with it — had changed from 2011 to 2016, a group of academics found Albany had the seventh-largest increase in its racial divides of any metropolitan area in the country.


Categories: SCCDP Allies

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