Analysis | The facts about Trump’s policy of separating families at the border

Administration officials have
pointed to “the law” as the reason why undocumented children are being
separated from their parents. But there’s no such law.

The president and top administration officials say
U.S. laws or court rulings are forcing them to separate families that
are caught trying to cross the southern border.

claims are false. Immigrant families are being separated primarily
because the Trump administration in April began to prosecute as many
border-crossing offenses as possible. This “zero-tolerance policy” applies to all adults, regardless of whether they cross alone or with their children.

The Justice Department can’t prosecute children
along with their parents, so the natural result of the zero-tolerance
policy has been a sharp rise in family separations. Nearly 2,000
immigrant children were separated from parents during six weeks in April
and May, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Trump administration implemented this policy by choice and could end it
by choice. No law or court ruling mandates family separations. In fact,
during its first 15 months, the Trump administration released nearly 100,000 immigrants
who were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border, a total that includes
more than 37,500 unaccompanied minors and more than 61,000 family

Analysis | The facts about Trump’s policy of separating families at the border

Black activist jailed for his Facebook posts speaks out about secret FBI surveillance

Balogun thought he was dreaming when armed agents in tactical gear
stormed his apartment. Startled awake by a large crash and officers
screaming commands, he soon realized his nightmare was real, and he and
his 15-year-old son were forced outside of their Dallas home, wearing
only underwear.

Handcuffed and shaking in the cold wind, Balogun thought a misunderstanding must have led the FBI
to his door on 12 December 2017. The father of three said he was
shocked to later learn that agents investigating “domestic terrorism”
had been monitoring him for years and were arresting him that day in
part because of his Facebook posts criticizing police.

“It’s tyranny at its finest,” said Balogun, 34. “I have not been
doing anything illegal for them to have surveillance on me. I have not
hurt anyone or threatened anyone.”       

Balogun spoke to the Guardian this week in his first interview since
he was released from prison after five months locked up and denied bail
while US attorneys tried and failed to prosecute him, accusing him of
being a threat to law enforcement and an illegal gun owner.

Balogun, who lost his home and more while incarcerated, is believed to be the first person targeted and prosecuted under a secretive US surveillance effort to track so-called “black identity extremists”. In a leaked August 2017 report
from the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Analysis Unit, officials claimed that
there had been a “resurgence in ideologically motivated, violent
criminal activity” stemming from African Americans’ “perceptions of
police brutality”.

The counter-terrorism assessment provided minimal data or evidence of
threats against police, but discussed a few isolated incidents, notably
the case of Micah Johnson who killed five officers in Texas. The report sparked backlash from civil rights groups and some Democrats, who feared the government would use the broad designation to prosecute activists and groups like Black Lives Matter.

Balogun, who was working full-time for an IT company when he was
arrested, has long been an activist, co-founding Guerrilla Mainframe and
the Huey P Newton Gun Club, two groups fighting police brutality and
advocating for the rights of black gun owners. Some of the work included
coordinating meals for the homeless, youth picnics and self-defense
classes – but that’s not what interested the FBI.

Black activist jailed for his Facebook posts speaks out about secret FBI surveillance

House Speaker Paul Ryan Won’t Run for Re-election

Brendan Buck, counselor to the Speaker, said Ryan will
“serve out his full term, run through the tape, and then retire in

Ryan, who was first elected to his Wisconsin seat in
1998 and became House Speaker in 2015, planned to announce his decision
at a closed door conference with other Republicans on Wednesday morning,
CNN reported.

House Speaker Paul Ryan Won’t Run for Re-election

Smoke and mirrors: how Trump manipulates the media and opponents

Donald Trump has been called a “master media manipulator” by the New York Times, a “genius” tactician by Kanye West and a “master wizard” of persuasion by the creator of Dilbert. Whether or not
that is the case, there are certain patterns of language and action the
president-elect uses to try to dominate the media, win political
debates, and intimidate enemies. Here the Guardian examines some of

Smoke and mirrors: how Trump manipulates the media and opponents







Flush them all


This is the election that counts. Start educating yourself now on who will be campaigning to be your congresspeople/governor/etc. 

Register to vote NOW. Don’t wait. You can do it any time.

This is the fight we need to win.  VOTE 



Also…reminder to pay attention to all local elections and VOTE. These elected officials are the people most likely to directly impact your life in the short term. 

This has to start now. Right now.

Get your birth certificates. There may be a fee or long wait times. Make sure you get a certified copy.

Make sure you have ID. Dig into your state’s laws and the whole Real ID thing, because (and sorry I can’t research this now, but pneumonia) I believe there are certain states whose driver’s licenses don’t qualify for Real ID.

Make sure you’re registered to vote. Google it. Follow the instructions for your state.

Know where your local polling place is or find out if you can vote by mail.

Vote in ALL your upcoming elections. Yes, that means the little ones for city council or dog catcher or whatever. Vote those racist, homophobic, bigots out at every level.

They’re like weeds. You can pull up every visible bit, but if you leave one tiny segment of root, they’ll just come back.

To quote Mira Grant, rise up while you can. Because the Republicans are way the hell worse than zombies.

Here’s how to check which district you’re in and who your rep is.

Here’s how to find out if you’re registered.

Here are the deadlines for when to register.

Here’s how to register, if it turns out you’re not.

Here’s how to find local polling places.

I doubt this will impeach him, but still, make sure you’re registered to vote by this time.

I definitely wouldn’t say that if Republicans lose the majority in Congress Trump will be impeached. That isn’t why you should care about this election.




Some of the worst things to come out of the Trump administration so far have only just barely passed the House or Senate by a few votes, with Democrats often unanimously voting against and most Republicans voting for. Don’t just vote in the midterms to get rid of Trump, vote to bring legislators into Congress who won’t let this shit fly.


Trump administration produces ‘bogus’ report blaming immigrants for terror

Last week, the DHS issued the 11-page report which claimed to have
examined the details of 549 individuals convicted of offences between
September 11 2001 and December 31 2016.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen called the findings of
the report “chilling”, while President Donald Trump tweeted about its

“New report from DOJ & DHS shows that nearly 3 in 4 individuals
convicted of terrorism-related charges are foreign-born,” he said.

“We have submitted to Congress a list of resources and reforms….we
need to keep America safe, including moving away from a random chain
migration and lottery system, to one that is merit-based.”

But a new media report
claims the analysis was not carried out by the DHS and its experts did
not contribute to the report. Rather, the material was collated under
the charge of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who then sent it to Ms
Nielsen for her sign-off after it was completed.

“The Trump administration is trying to turn counterterrorism into an
immigration issue,” said Charles Kurzman of the University of North
Carolina, where he tracks Muslim-American involvement in terrorism.The report by the Daily Beast said career analysts at the DHS told
the Department of Justice the data sought for the report simply did not
exist within their department. It said the DHS does not track or
correlate international terrorism data by citizenship or country of

Trump administration produces ‘bogus’ report blaming immigrants for terror

What exactly this shutdown means, agency by agency 

Early Saturday morning, Congress failed to meet its own deadline to
fund much of the federal government, sparking a shutdown. What does that
mean in specific, real terms?

A budget shutdown affects agencies which depend on discretionary
funds appropriated by Congress each year. Agencies which are
automatically funded  (“mandatory” spending), do not have to shut down.
That includes most of the Social Security Administration, Medicare and

We looked through the specific plans for a shutdown from more than a dozen key agencies. Here’s what we found. (And here is a Google document with links to the full plans for all of these agencies.)




Politically I agree with the Democrats not giving in to hostage negotiations and manufactured emergencies, but personally it’s going to mess up my month if the government shuts down for more than a couple days.


I’m German and my knowledge of US politics comes mostly from reddit and YouTube videos of Stephen Colbert monologues. My understanding is that a bipartisan agreement on a law for undocumented immigrants, who entered the US as children, is being used as a bargaining chip to force the Democrats to agree to funding for Trump’s border wall?
Which seems… kinda weird? And feels very inaccurate. Could somebody explain the actual situation in the house (or senate? Or all of congress?) that is the problem and how the Republicans (with their majority in / control of both legislative and executive branch) can’t just do what they want? And why this is pictured as the Democrats’ fault?

So here’s my understanding of what happened:

– Trump ended DACA, a program allowing 800,000 people who entered the US illegally as children to stay and work here if they meet certain requirements.  He’s been flip-flopping wildly between saying he wants Congress to work out a permanent solution for those people, and saying they should all be deported because they’re mostly not white of reasons.

– Congress failed to reauthorize spending for CHIP, the children’s health insurance program which insures 9 million children.

– (Note that before they became Designated Controversies, both of these programs had pretty broad bipartisan support.)

– Also, Trump wants to build a giant goddamn wall across the southern border because he wants a giant symbol of his racism thinks that immigrants are Lemmings and if they hit a wall they’ll just get confused and walk into it forever.

– Congress needed to pass a budget or at least a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government open.

– Congresspeople from both parties had a public meeting with Trump in which he basically said “just make an agreement and I’ll sign whatever you come up with.”

– Congresspeople from both parties came to Trump with a bipartisan budget agreement that could pass both houses and addressed both DACA and CHIP, and Trump went on his infamous “shithole” rant and rejected it.

– Republicans in the House of Representatives passed a CR that provides for CHIP but not DACA.  They’re trying to spin this into making Democrats choose between DACA and CHIP, so they can say “Democrats are hurting CHIP kids to protect DACA illegals!”, and hoping the public will forget that Republicans could easily have just done both.

– The Senate did not support this bill, so Chuck Schumer, Senate Democratic leader, went to Trump and offered him another deal that could keep the government open, and this one even included the freakin’ wall.  Trump turned it down because it included DACA.  It is not yet known which racial slurs he used this time.

– The Senate voted on the House bill because it was all they had, and it failed.  (This was mostly because Democrats refused to vote for a bill that didn’t support DACA, but there were some Republicans who voted against the bill as well.) So right now, we have no CHIP, no DACA, and no federal government funding.

– I think Democrats were right to vote against the bill, because the “CHIP or DACA, you can only have one” choice was bullshit, and because it’s worth some sacrifice to save 800,000 basically-American people from being deported to countries they haven’t seen since they were infants.

I hope that’s clear and more or less correct.