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Post by thelivyjr » Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:40 p


"Trial of former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig is abruptly postponed"

By Josh Gerstein

13 AUGUST 2019

The trial of former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig on a criminal false-statement charge was abruptly postponed Tuesday after prosecutors and the defense raised belated concerns about the jury selection process.

Opening statements in the case — which was investigated by former special counsel Robert Mueller’s office — were expected Tuesday morning, but U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson shocked many in the courtroom by announcing that limits she placed on public access to jury selection Monday may have violated Craig’s constitutional right to a public trial.

Craig’s defense told Jackson that they did not believe they could waive Craig’s rights on the point without bringing in other lawyers.

“Are you telling me we need to start over?” Jackson asked one of Craig’s attorneys, William Murphy, after some discussion about the access concerns and another defense objection to the process.

“Yes ... It’s unfortunate,” Murphy said.

Starting over may not be easy.

A total of 70 jurors were called specially for Craig’s trial and the judge said it was unclear how quickly another group adequate to undertake jury selection could be assembled.

Jackson said she thought it was unlikely the trial could proceed in the near future and might have to be postponed to November, but she called a short recess to check with the jury office.

While courtrooms are normally open as jurors are interviewed, with some private matters occasionally being discussed out of public earshot at the judge’s bench, Jackson used a different process, asking all 70 potential jurors questions as a group with the courtroom open to some members of the press, then excluding the public as jurors answered those questions.

“I did something I have never done before,” Jackson said of the procedure, although she appeared to be preparing to do it for the related Paul Manafort trial before her, which was scuttled after he agreed to a plea deal.

Craig, 74, faces a single felony false-statement charge over an alleged scheme to deceive Justice’s Foreign Agent Registration Act office when it sought information about work he and his former law firm, Skadden Arps, did in 2012 examining the politically charged trial of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

The criminal case against Craig is an outgrowth of Mueller’s now-closed investigation into Russian influence on President Donald Trump’s campaign.

Justice Department officials were initially satisfied with Craig’s answers and concluded that he did not need to register as an agent of Ukraine, something Craig was reportedly not eager to do because it might impact his chances of taking another high government post in a future Democratic administration.

Craig has the unwelcome distinction of being the most prominent Democrat snared in Mueller’s probe.

Craig’s Ukraine-related work apparently came under fresh scrutiny in 2017 by Mueller’s team as they examined the history of two top Trump campaign officials, Manafort and Rick Gates.

Both men spent years as highly-paid consultants to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and were involved in hiring Craig for the $4 million assignment to assess the fairness of Tymoshenko’s trial and in efforts to publicize the 186-page Skadden report released in December 2012.

Manafort, who served for a few months as Trump’s campaign chairman, is serving a seven-and-a-half-year prison sentence after being convicted at one trial of tax and bank fraud and pleading guilty to head off another trial more directly related to the Ukraine lobbying at the heart of the case against Craig.

Gates, who’s expected to be a key prosecution witness against Craig, is still actively cooperating with the government as he awaits sentencing on conspiracy and false-statement charges he pleaded guilty to relatively early in the Mueller investigation. ... P17#page=2

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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:40 p


"Senate Dems deliver stunning warning to Supreme Court: 'Heal' or face restructuring"

Ronn Blitzer

13 AUGUST 2019

Several high-profile Senate Democrats warned the Supreme Court in pointed terms this week that it could face a fundamental restructuring if justices do not take steps to "heal" the court in the near future.

The ominous and unusual warning was delivered as part of a brief filed Monday in a case related to a New York City gun law.

Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., referenced rulings by the court's conservative majority in claiming it is suffering from some sort of affliction that must be remedied.

"The Supreme Court is not well."

"And the people know it," the brief said.

"Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be 'restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.'"

The last part was quoting language from a Quinnipiac University poll, in which 51 percent favored such restructuring.

In the same poll, 55 percent believed the Supreme Court was "motivated by politics" more than by the law.

Dramatic changes to the Supreme Court have been proposed by several Democrats vying for their party's 2020 presidential nomination, with "court-packing" being a common — though highly controversial — suggestion.

Increasing the number of justices on the court would allow the president to shift the balance on the bench by loading up justices of his or her preference.

Democratic candidates including former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, and Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, and Gillibrand, all have signaled an openness to expanding the number of judges on the court should they reach the White House.

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg has also supported expanding the court, proposing a plan to have some justices appointed by the president and others selected by the other justices in order to "depoliticize" the court.

He's admitted that the only way he can think of to make this work would be to increase the size of the court from nine justices to 15, while stressing that simply "adding more justices onto the court who agree with you" would be a bad idea.

Yet other candidates such as former Vice President Joe Biden has come out against court-packing, as has Bernie Sanders, though the Vermont senator has suggested rotating judges to other courts.

Liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has also spoken out against court-packing, telling NPR in July, "Nine seems to be a good number."

The Democratic senators' brief was filed in the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. City of New York, which dealt with legal limitations on where gun owners could transport their licensed, locked, and unloaded firearms.

They are urging the court to stay out of the case brought by the NRA-backed group, claiming that because the city recently changed the law to ease restrictions, the push to the Supreme Court is part of an "industrial-strength influence campaign" to get the conservative majority to rule in favor of gun owners.

If the court still decides to hear the case, a ruling against New York City could prevent other cities and states from passing similar gun control laws.

Conservatives currently outnumber liberals on the Supreme Court 5-4, but the past year featured a multitude of cases where conservatives — including President Trump's picks Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — sided with the liberal bloc. ... P17#page=2

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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:40 p


"Eliot Engel warns foreign officials: Stop spending money at Trump properties"

By Andrew Desiderio

13 AUGUST 2019

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel directed his aides on Tuesday to warn foreign officials that they are “facilitating” President Donald Trump’s alleged emoluments violations by spending money at properties owned by Trump’s sprawling business empire.

In a new memorandum to his staff, Engel accused Trump of violating the foreign emoluments clause of the Constitution — which bars presidents from accepting funds from foreign governments — and the New York Democrat told his staff to ask foreign officials to stop spending money at Trump-owned properties.

“When meeting with officials from a foreign government, please inform them that by providing any form of payment or benefit to a Trump-owned property their government is facilitating the president’s apparent violation of the Foreign Emoluments Clause,” Engel wrote to aides.

“Please urge those foreign officials to transmit to their governments that the House Foreign Affairs Committee requests that they cease and desist payments to the Trump Organization unless and until Congress approves the emolument, as provided in the Constitution.”

Democrats have long raised concerns that foreign governments are trying to curry favor with the president by spending money at his hotels and golf clubs around the world.

Multiple House committees are investigating potential emoluments violations by the president, and the Foreign Affairs Committee has spearheaded efforts to look into whether Trump is improperly profiting from the presidency.

In April, a federal judge allowed an emoluments case brought by congressional Democrats to proceed.

Engel mentioned that litigation in his memorandum, noting that 30 senators and more than 150 House members have signed onto the suit.

Earlier this year, the General Services Administration’s internal watchdog said government lawyers ignored emoluments concerns when they re-approved the Trump Organization’s lease of the Old Post Office building in Washington, which is currently outfitted as a Trump International Hotel.

The agency’s inspector general said all of the lawyers acknowledged possible emoluments violations but failed to take them into account when moving to allow the Trump Organization to maintain its lease on the historic building. ... P17#page=2

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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:40 p


"Only bottled water for Newark residents, EPA says"

Georeen Tanner

13 AUGUST 2019

Just over a year ago, Newark officials declared the city's water was "absolutely safe to drink," but last week environmental officials called on the city to advise residents with known or suspected lead service lines that the filters they had been provided were not reliable after elevated lead levels were discovered in two Newark homes.

For three years the New Jersey city has been mired in a crisis caused by high levels of lead in the drinking water.

The water filter program meant to answer the call for safer water has failed to solve the problem.

Now, in a move that echoes Flint, Mich., the city is distributing bottled water.

Last fall, the city distributed water filters to residents to reduce lead levels in drinking water while it implemented new corrosion control methods.

According to the CDC's Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, lead exposure is devastating.

Lead serves no purpose in the human body and there is no safe level of lead in drinking water.

Children are especially at risk of its deadly effects.

Early exposure can have lifelong consequences, such as intellectual disabilities, the agency says.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) letter, the agency is “unable at this time to assure Newark residents that their health is fully protected when drinking tap water filtered through these devices.”

The EPA places the onus to provide bottled water to Newark residents on the city.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a joint statement with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka that he is prepared to make bottled water available to residents.

He further stated that Newark is expanding the testing of filtered drinking water to more Newark homes and that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is “working with the filter manufacturer to determine the scope of the situation.”

The city handed out nearly 40,000 PUR water filters, half of which were donated by the company.

In a statement, PUR said it has been “working diligently with the City of Newark to understand the situation, assist with the establishment of testing protocols for additional sampling, and help them determine next steps.”

PUR says its faucet filters are “independently tested and certified by NSF International (NSF) to remove 99 percent of lead at levels up to 10 times the applicable federal and state drinking water standard of 15 parts per billion (ppb).”

Erik Olson, senior director of health programs at Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), is “troubled” by these developments.

NRDC, an environmental group, sued Newark last year for failing to comply with regulations for the control of lead in drinking water.

“Everyone in Newark deserves safe drinking water,” Olson said, in a statement.

“We welcome EPA’s recent letter stating that Newark residents with lead service lines should be provided bottled water, though we do not understand why EPA does not insist on protecting other at-risk people such as those with lead plumbing and whose water tests high for lead."

"We also continue to be concerned about risks to residents in the eastern part of the City, the Wanaque service area.”

The bottled water distribution targets families served by the Pequannock water system with lead service lines who have received filters.

Other Newark residents are served by the Wanaque water system, which was not prioritized for filters.

Newark does not know why the filters are failing, but one resident is not surprised by the turn of events.

“We’ve been telling them this for the last two years, but we were looked at as crazy,” said Debra Salters, a member of advocacy group Newark Water Coalition.

“We told [city officials] to give out bottled water and now they’re talking about they’re only giving out two cases."

"That’ll be gone by the end of the night," she said.

According to Salters, residents must show two forms of identification to collect water.

She believes that complicates an already alarming situation.

“You couldn’t listen to the residents who pay your salary."

"You had to wait until the federal government put their foot on your neck and made you do something,” Salters said.

“This is a life crisis.”

A reduction of lead levels is expected by the end of this year as stated in Murphy’s and Baraka’s statement.

They are “optimistic” that the new corrosion control treatment will “prevent leaching from lead pipes.” ... P17#page=2

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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:40 p


"Son of Albany mayor robbed and beaten while delivering pizzas: report"

By Jon Levine

August 3, 2019 | 9:53am

The son of Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan was beaten and robbed while delivering pizzas late Wednesday evening, the Times Union reported.

“Two black males in their 20s, both wearing dark-colored clothing, jumped out of bushes and began to punch and kick the pizza delivery driver,” Albany police officer Steven Smith told the paper.

“They stole two pizzas and his money."

"The driver had some injuries to his face as a result of being punched, and refused medical attention.”

Violent crime has surged in Albany in recent years, with the paper noting that 2018 “was one of the deadliest the city has seen in the last two decades.”

The attack on Sheehan’s son comes as the city also faces an acute shortage of police officers. ... as-report/







"White nationalists could have firearms taken under red flag law proposed by Kamala Harris"

Aamer Madhani

14 AUGUST 2019

Kamala Harris on Wednesday said if elected president she will press Congress to pass a red flag law that would allow law enforcement officials to temporarily seize the firearms of white nationalists that may be on the verge of carrying out a hate crime.

The Democratic presidential candidate's proposal calls for the creation of “domestic terrorism prevention orders” that would give law enforcement and family members of suspected white nationalists or domestic terrorists the ability to petition a federal court to temporarily restrict a person’s access to guns if the person exhibits clear evidence of being a danger.

“We need to take action to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and stop violent, hate-fueled attacks before they happen,” Harris said.

“By focusing on confronting these domestic terror threats, we can save lives.”

Harris' decision to focus on the risk of white nationalists comes at a moment when there's a growing push at the state level to enact red flag laws that allow law enforcement, or in some cases family members, to petition a judge to temporarily remove guns from a person determined to pose a danger to themselves or others.

Twelve states passed red flag laws — orders that typically are issued for two or three weeks — following last year’s school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 dead.

President Trump and Republican lawmakers, who in the past have been resistant to restricting gun owners’ rights, have embraced red flag laws in the aftermath of mass shootings this month in El Paso and Dayton.

Adam Skaggs, chief counsel to the gun control advocacy group Giffords, said that an individual making credible terrorist threats could be disarmed under statutes in existing red flag laws on the books in 17 states and the District of Columbia.

“It’s great that states are making progress on this on a state-by-state basis, but this is a nationwide problem and we need a nationwide solution and that is where a federal solution comes in handy,” said Skaggs, who was among gun control advocates briefed by the Harris campaign about the proposal.

“(Red flag laws) have been particularly effective in preventing suicide, but there is another problem that really needs attention and that is the rise of hate-fueled crime.”

The California senator said she would also look to use executive order, if Congress didn’t act within 100 days of her taking office, to require background checks on all online gun sales.

Currently, it’s possible to purchase a weapon online without a background check in 30 states.

“In America, loaded guns should not be a few clicks away for any domestic terrorist with a laptop or smartphone,” Harris said.

Harris rolled out the new policy ideas as many of the two dozen Democrats running for the 2020 presidential nomination try to stand out as gun control champions with the nation’s gun laws once again in the spotlight following this month’s mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has vowed to re-implement an assault weapons ban if he’s elected.

He helped pass a ten-year ban on military-style weapons in 1994 when he served in the Senate, but the ban expired as Congress failed to extend the law.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts said last week she’d set a goal of reducing gun violence deaths by 80% if she’s elected and offered a long list of proposals she would pursue.

Among her ideas are creating a federal gun licensing system; banning assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and other accessories that make weapons more deadly; increasing taxes on gun manufacturers by 20 percent, establishing a one-week waiting period for gun purchases and raising the minimum purchase age to 21.

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has called for a federal licensing system, and along with Warren and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has pushed for Walmart, one of the world’s biggest sellers of guns and ammunitions, to cease firearms sales.

In addition to closing the online background sale loophole and pressing for temporary weapons seizures, Harris said she wants to expand the purview of the National Counterterrorism Center, so it can address the domestic threat of white-nationalist terrorism.

The agency is currently prohibited by Congress from handling domestic terrorism cases.

Harris also knocked President Trump, claiming his Justice Department failed to prioritize domestic terrorism investigations.

She said under her administration federal authorities would more vigilantly monitor white nationalist websites and forums.

She vowed to commit $2 billion over 10 years to bolster federal law enforcement’s ability to combat and prosecute domestic extremists.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kamala Harris pitches gun control targeting white nationalists ... P17#page=2

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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:40 p













And so …


"Trump official: Statue of Liberty poem refers to Europeans"

By ZEKE MILLER and ASHLEY THOMAS, Associated Press

14 AUGUST 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — A top Trump administration official said Tuesday that the famous inscription on the Statue of Liberty welcoming immigrants into the country is about "people coming from Europe" and that America is looking to receive migrants "who can stand on their own two feet."

The comments from Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, came a day after the Trump administration announced it would seek to deny green cards to migrants who seek Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance.

The move — and Cuccinelli's defense — prompted an outcry from Democrats and immigration advocates who said the policy would favor wealthier immigrants and disadvantage those from poorer countries in Latin America and Africa.

"This administration finally admitted what we've known all along: They think the Statue of Liberty only applies to white people," tweeted former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, a Democratic presidential candidate.

The administration's proposed policy shift comes as President Donald Trump is leaning more heavily into the restrictive immigration policies that have energized his core supporters and were central to his 2016 victory.

He has also spoken disparagingly about immigration from majority black and Hispanic countries, including calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals when he launched his 2016 campaign.

Last year, he privately branded Central American and African nations as "shithole" countries and he suggested the U.S. take in more immigrants from European countries like predominantly white Norway.

Cuccinelli said in an interview with CNN on Tuesday night that the Emma Lazarus poem emblazoned on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty referred to "people coming from Europe where they had class based societies where people were considered wretched if they weren't in the right class."

Lazarus' poem, written in 1883 to raise money to construct the Statue of Liberty's pedestal and cast in bronze beneath the monument in 1903, served as a beacon to millions of immigrants who crossed past as they first entered the U.S. in New York Harbor.

It reads, "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore."

Cuccinelli was asked earlier Tuesday on NPR whether the words "give me your tired, your poor" were part of the American ethos.

Cuccinelli responded: "They certainly are."

"Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge."

A hard-line conservative from Virginia, Cuccinelli was a failed Republican candidate for governor in 2013 after serving as the state's attorney general.

He backed Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas for president in 2016 and for a time was a harsh critic of Trump.

He is one of a slew of immigration hardliners brought in by Trump to implement the president's policies.

He was appointed to the post in June in a temporary capacity, which doesn't require Senate confirmation.

Trump, asked Tuesday about Cuccinelli's comments on NPR, appeared to back him up.

"I don't think it's fair to have the American taxpayer paying for people to come into the United States," Trump told reporters before boarding Air Force One for Pennsylvania.

"I think we're doing it right."

Immigrant rights groups strongly criticized the Trump administration's new rules for immigrants receiving public assistance, warning that the changes would scare immigrants away from asking for needed help.

And they voiced concern that officials were being given too much authority to decide whether someone is likely to need public assistance in the future.

Another Democratic presidential candidate, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, also condemned Cuccinelli's comments.

"Our values are etched in stone on the Statue of Liberty."

"They will not be replaced," she tweeted.

"And I will fight for those values and for our immigrant communities." ... P17#page=2

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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:40 p


"Biden camp jumped into damage control after upsetting Latino leaders"

By Marc Caputo and Natasha Korecki

14 AUGUST 2019

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign is quietly playing cleanup with dozens of immigration activists and Latino leaders — weeks after upsetting them by using what they considered loaded language to describe his views on immigration policy.

Biden said at the July 31 Democratic debate that undocumented immigrants need to “get in line” and that the country has been right to “cherry-pick” high-skilled immigrants, notably those with advanced degrees.

That language, more commonly used by conservatives, triggered widespread criticism from immigrant rights activists, some of whom said the former vice president was echoing “Republican talking points” on how migrants are admitted to the United States.

The campaign quickly embarked on damage control.

Aides assuaged aggrieved activists, and Biden had a closed-door meeting with Latino leaders in San Diego before his speech at the UnidosUS conference last week.

“It is unacceptable for a candidate vying to be the Democratic nominee for POTUS to use language like that used by VP Biden when talking about immigration during the second debate,” said Mayra Macías, executive director of Latino Victory.

“We immediately reached out to the campaign and were told it was being addressed.”

Activists view the “get in line” language as a dodge invoked by immigration hard-liners.

They argue that it's used to obscure that there really is no practical “line” for many hopeful migrants from Latin America to stand in if they don’t have an employer or family member sponsoring their immigration.

And Biden’s line about advanced degrees, they say, deemphasizes family reunification and has a racial component as well.

When Biden uttered the words “get in line,” Macías said, “my phone started blowing up” with messages and calls from other activists about his rhetoric.

On the receiving end of most of the calls and messages to the campaign — more than 100 — was Biden’s senior adviser, Cristóbal Alex, a well-respected operative in the immigrant rights community for his previous work at Latino Victory.

Alex quickly began clarifying Biden's remarks.

Immediately after, he briefed Biden about the nuances of the policy and pushed for the roundtable with Latino leaders in San Diego.

Though he acknowledged some people were upset or confused by Biden’s comments, Alex downplayed the extent of the controversy, pointing out that Biden has long been well-respected by Latino leaders and that he has impressed members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

“I wouldn’t say we’re putting out fires or dealing with fallout."

"We are taking in a lot of comments and suggestions from the community,” Alex said.

“It’s hard to convey his true grasp of this issue and it’s hard to convey how much he cares about immigrants in the community in a 15-second retort to someone attacking him,” he added.

Biden's campaign says he supports comprehensive changes to the immigration system that would increase immigration levels, provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who haven't committed crimes and are employed, and legalize the status of immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, known as Dreamers.

Biden has been viewed with suspicion at times by immigration activists.

They point to what they call his lack of outreach to Latino communities in the past and his time as vice president under Barack Obama, who was tagged by liberal-leaning activists as the “deporter in chief” because of his administration’s border enforcement policies.

Activists interrupted Biden’s remarks during last month’s debate in Detroit.

And in early July, six demonstrators were arrested during a sit-in at Biden’s Philadelphia campaign headquarters.

The tension between Biden’s campaign and the activist community has roots in his overall campaign strategy.

He's running as a centrist in a primary in which most of the other top-tier candidates are tilting left.

And many liberal activists aren't enthused about an old, white moderate leading the ticket.

“We’re only going to go as far left as we have to,” one top Latino supporter of Biden’s said.

“We’re looking at November 2020, but we know we have to deal with the primary."

"So it’s a tightrope for sure."

The criticism of Biden’s immigration policies, of course, comes as President Donald Trump is stretching the outer limits of U.S. policy and presidential rhetoric on immigrants.

Since taking office, Trump’s policies have spanned from separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border to imposing a ban on travel from several Muslim-majority countries to denying green cards to immigrants who have accessed welfare programs.

Biden’s camp argues his approach is not only an antidote to Trump’s extreme policies, but one that doesn’t move too far left, and is therefore in line with the majority of primary and general election voters.

It also thinks Trump's far-right policies and racist rhetoric will drive Latinos to the polls.

One top Biden surrogate, former Labor secretary and current Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, said his "get in line" remark was just a poor choice of words.

“I think he has to rephrase and pivot,” Solis said.

“I know the man is compassionate and, more importantly, he has a record."

She added that Hispanic voters care most about health care and greatly benefit from Obamacare, which Biden has pledged to protect and improve.

The importance of the Hispanic vote will come to bear Feb. 22, when Nevada, where about 15 percent of the Democratic voters are Hispanic, holds the third nominating contest in the nation.

Ten days later, California and Texas voters will cast ballots on Super Tuesday, after which 70 percent of the Latino vote will have weighed in.

Hispanic voters also will be crucial in swing states Florida and Nevada in November.

Jose Parra, who once advised former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Latino issues, said he wondered how Biden could have made the “get in line” comment if he truly had been involved in the bipartisan immigration reform effort in 2013.

Parra also noted that Biden, during the debate, refused to discuss where he differed with Obama on deportations.

“Many just don’t understand why he was onstage spewing Republican talking points,” Parra said.

Biden was on defense throughout the debate.

On immigration, he drew the most fire from the only Latino onstage, Julián Castro, who called for decriminalizing border crossings.

Biden disagreed, saying immigrants “have to wait in line.”

Moments later, Biden said, “When people cross the border illegally, it is illegal to do it unless they're seeking asylum."

"People should have to get in line."

"That's the problem."

"And the only reason this particular part of the law is being abused is because of Donald Trump."

"We should defeat Donald Trump and end this practice.”

People with doctorates “should get a green card for seven years," Biden also said.

"We should keep them here.”

Cory Booker criticized him for that.

“It really irks me because I heard the vice president say that if you got a Ph.D., you can come right into this country," the New Jersey senator said.

"Well that’s playing into what the Republicans want, to pit some immigrants against other immigrants.”

In Iowa last week, Biden cited the 2008 economic meltdown as an explanation for Obama-era deportations, saying the administration was consumed by keeping the country from “going over the cliff” financially and didn’t turn to deportations until after that crisis.

“We were losing 800,000 jobs a month when we started,” Biden said.

“By the time we were able to get things moving and focused on this, we did not send anybody back who had in fact not committed a felony.”

Speaking at length before the Asian and Latino Coalition in Des Moines, Iowa, Biden said he would give Dreamers legal status and promised to end Trump's zero tolerance policy that led to widespread family separation at the border.

“If you’re coming here and you're making the case — you should be able to come to the country and have your case adjudicated."

"So I would flood the zone with officers who can make the initial determination of whether or not you qualify, immediately,” he said.

"And you don’t have to lock a single person up."

“There is no rationale whatsoever to separate families — zero rationale,” Biden added to applause.

“We did not do that.”

Asked earlier in the day while at the Iowa State Fair if he thought he adequately addressed deportations under Obama, Biden told POLITICO, “Yes, I do.”

For Angelica Salas, executive director for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, Biden’s effort to explain his debate comment was welcome.

At the San Diego meeting with the candidate, she spoke her mind and said she appreciated that he listened when she discussed the “fallacy” of immigration lines for Mexican and Central American migrants.

“The big problem is the belief that the system is working for people of color."

"It is not,” Salas said.

“People talk about how this is a ‘broken system’ and that’s not the case."

"It is designed to be like this and the idea of, ‘Oh, just get in line like everyone else,’ is just a falsehood.”

Astrid Silva, a Nevada immigration activist and Dreamer who arranged a private meeting in May with Biden and undocumented immigrants, said there was a disconnect between the Biden she has engaged with and the one she saw at the debate.

“The way the vice president has come across in the meetings we have had isn’t necessarily coming across on the stage," Silva said.

“Can I say I liked his answer onstage?"


"I didn’t appreciate it."

"But I’ve had the opportunity to speak to him and watch him with these families and the way he spoke to them.” ... P17#page=2

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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:40 p



"Dow tumbles 800 points in biggest one day fall of year on global economic growth slowdown"

By Clive McKeef

Published: Aug 14, 2019 4:25 p.m. ET

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 800 points on Wednesday, its biggest one-day fall this year, after data showed world economic growth slowing further, undermined by President Trump’s trade protectionism, leading the U.S. Treasury yield curve to invert and flash a recession warning signal.

All 30 stocks in Dow Jones Industrial Average closed lower for only the third time this year, and all eleven sector indexes in the S&P 500 ended lower, reversing gains notched Tuesday when the Trump administration said it would delay the imposition of some new tariffs on Chinese goods.

But there are still “structural issues” the U.S. needs to settle with China through negotiations, White House trade advisor Peter Navarro told Fox Newson Wednesday.

These issues include cyber intrusion into U.S. business networks, forced technology transfer, intellectual property theft and currency manipulation, he added.

Navarro and Trump both blamed the Federal Reserve for slowing economic growth and the fall in stocks.

“This is basically the Federal Reserve’s problem,” Navarro said.

“They are causing this because when Jay Powell got in as chairman he proceeded to rein in interest rates by 100 points, too far too fast."

"Even though the Trump economy is rock solid, it slowed us down a bit because of those higher interest rates.”

How are the major benchmarks faring?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 800.49 points, or 3.05%, to 25,479.42, while the S&P 500 index shed 85.72 points, or 2.93%, to 2,840.60 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 242.42 points, or 3.02%, to 7,773.94.

The 3.05% fall in the Dow was the largest one day fall since December 4th last year.

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 372.54 points, or 1.4%, to end at 26,279.91, for the biggest one-day gain in two months.

The S&P 500 index added 42.57 points, or 1.5%, to close at 2,926.32.

The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 152.95 points, or 2%, to 8,016.36.

What’s driving the market?

Bank stocks led the decline Wednesday as the inversion of the yield curve is seen making it harder for banks traditional business model to work when short term borrowing costs are higher than longer term lending rates.

Bank of America, Citigroup and J.P. Morgan all ended sharply lower.

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell below that of the 2-year U.S. Treasury note for the first time in more than a decade briefly Wednesday as investors digested weak economic data out of China and Germany.

The spread between 3-month Treasury bills and the 10-year Treasury note has been negative since March but the 2-year Treasury/10-year note spread went negative for the first time since 2007.

An inverted yield curve is widely seen as a recession indicator, as it signals that investors believe the economy will slow significantly or contract in the near future.

There have been five inversions of the 2-year and 10-year yield curve since 1978, though stocks often rallied for some time afterwards until a recession occurred within a couple of years.

The action in the bond market followed data showing that Chinese industrial production growth in the world’s second-largest economy slowed to 4.8% year-over-year, its lowest level since 2002, while retail sales growth came in at 7.6%, down from 9.8% the month prior and well below the 8.6% consensus, according to FactSet.

Data out of Germany showed its economy contracting by 0.1% in the second quarter of 2019, the first time since the third quarter of 2018, with weakness in the global manufacturing sector and uncertainty over Britain’s planned exit from the European Union pointed to as reasons for the slowdown in Europe’s largest economy.

“The global economy would likely see a recession if the US escalates tariffs on China to 25% for an extended period,” Morgan Stanley equity analyst, Michael Wilson wrote in a note.

President Trump imposed tariffs on about $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from June 1 and has threatened tariffs of 10% on the remaining $300 billion worth of imports from China.

“Small and mid-cap companies are seeing an earnings growth problem - their first quarter year over year earnings growth fell by double digits."

"Earnings held up better among large caps (roughly flat for the S&P 500 in the first half) but we think second half 2019 and 2020 consensus numbers need to come down substantially,” he said.

In company news, WeWork parent We Co. publicly filed for an initial public offering of common stock, but hasn’t provided details on the number of shares it will offer or the expected pricing.

The company had confidentially filed for an IPO in April, when it was valued at about $47 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time.

Which stocks are in focus?

Shares of Macy’s Inc. tumbled Wednesday morning, after the department-store retailer reported second-quarter earnings that badly missed expectations after heavy spring discounting failed to clear inventories and it lowered its outlook.

CBS Corp. and Viacom both fell sharply after the merger of the two media companies announced Tuesday prompted downgrades from Wall Street analysts.

Wayfair Inc. proposed a new $750 million debt offering after the close of trade Tuesday, after which the home-furnishings retailer’s stock fell.

Shares of Canada Goose Holdings Inc. fell, after the luxury apparel maker reported deeper losses during the fiscal first quarter, though it surpassed expectations for revenue growth.

Shares of Cisco Systems Inc. could be in focus Wednesday, ahead of the company’s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report, due to be released after the close.

How are other markets trading?

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell 8 basis points to 1.60%, its lowest level since late 2016 after weak economic data from China and Germany.

The 30-year bond yield tumbled 9.3 basis points to 2.038%, an all-time closing low.

Crude oil futures traded lower after a U.S. government report showed domestic crude inventories rose for a second week in row, and as the risks of an economic recession fed worries about energy demand.

West Texas Intermediate fell 4.2% to $54.70 a barrel.

Gold rose 0.7% to roughly $1,513 per ounce.

The U.S. dollar, meanwhile, was little changed trading little changed, not far from a two year high.

Asian stocks closed higher overnight Tuesday, with the China CSI 300 rising 0.5%, Japan’s Nikkei 225 adding 1% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index edging 0.1% higher. ... latestnews

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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:40 p


"U.S. Treasury yields fall sharply, 2-year/10-year yield curve inverts, triggering recession indicator"

By Sunny Oh

Published: Aug 14, 2019 3:24 p.m. ET

U.S. Treasury yields fell sharply on Wednesday after a raft of weak economic data from China and Germany underlined a slowdown in global growth, offsetting hopes that U.S.-China trade talks were making progress.

The sharp rally in long-term government bonds briefly inverted a key measure of the yield curve’s slope for the first time since June 2007.

How are Treasurys doing?

The 10-year Treasury note yield plunged 8.2 basis points to 1.596%, its lowest since September 2016.

The 2-year note rate retreated 7.5 basis points to 1.592%, while the 30-year bond yield tumbled 9.3 basis points to 2.038%, an all-time closing low.

The spread between the 2-year note and the 10-year note temporarily fell to a negative 1 basis point.

An inversion of this measure has often preceded an economic downturn.

Investors say its powers as a recession indicator comes from its ability to reflect when tight monetary policy is capping growth and inflationary pressures.

What’s driving Treasurys?

The slowdown in China’s economy was highlighted by a rise in industrial production at its slowest pace since Jan. 2002, increasing 4.8% in July from a year earlier versus a 6.3% increase in June.

Germany’s economy shrank 0.1% in the second quarter of 2019 as the U.S - China trade war hit global manufacturing supply lines and the country’s export-dependent industries.

The raft of anemic data and the inversion of the U.S. yield curve weighed on investor sentiment, stirring demand for safe haven assets like Treasurys.

U.S. stocks saw a sharp selloff on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average on track to end lower by more than 2%.

The surge of economic pessimism comes only a day after the U.S. Trade Representative announced it would winnow down the list of goods that are set to incur a 10% tariff on additional $300 billion of Chinese imports, measures which were publicized earlier in August 1.

What did market participants’ say?

“When I look at the data from today, there’s nothing that justifies the [flight to safety] we are having."

"Perhaps it’s the cumulative effect of a lot of issues the market has been grappling with."

"We keep piling on more issues."

"There’s only so much markets can bear,” said Gautam Khanna, senior portfolio manager at Insight Investment.

“At the moment, investors think bonds are the safest way to protect their portfolio."

"And some think there’s another shoe to drop and a bigger correction in equities must be waiting around the corner,” Robert Robis, chief fixed income strategist at BCA Research, told MarketWatch.

What else is on investors’ radar?

In the U.K., the spread between the 2-year yield and the 10-year yield for British government debt, or gilts, also inverted alongside the U.S. Treasurys market. ... od=markets

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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:40 p


"Trump painting the Fed as scapegoat if the economy tanks as trade fight wreaks havoc?

By Jeffry Bartash

Published: Aug 14, 2019 3:48 p.m. ET

It’s all the Fed’s fault.

If anything goes wrong with the economy, President Trump and his advisers have already decided who the villains are: The Federal Reserve and its chairman, Jerome Powell.

Trump has been bashing the central bank for months, demanding lower interest rates to juice the economy.

The president blamed the Fed again this week for making it harder for the U.S. to compete with other countries whose rates are lower.

In recent days top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow and Peter Navarro have also blamed economic weakness on the Fed, referring to three increases in interest rates the Fed imposed in 2018.

The Fed is not blameless.

The central bank misdiagnosed the threat of inflation last year.

And the last interest rate hike in December — when stock markets were tanking and recession worries abounded — is now widely seen as overkill.

The series of rate hikes made it more expensive to buy a car, take out a mortgage or obtain a business loan.

The rate hikes also contributed to a strengthening in the U.S. dollar that made U.S. exports more expensive, curbing sales in other countries.

Yet most of the problems in the economy now are unrelated to the Fed’s actions, economists assert.

They point to the fading effects of the Trump tax cuts in 2017, a dropoff in government spending and a cooling global economy.

Indeed, most forecasters had predicted before 2019 began that the U.S. economy would slow this year.

“To simply say the Fed is responsible for the economy right now is a huge overstatement,” said Robert Dye, chief economist at Comerica bank in Dallas, the epicenter of the rapidly growing U.S. energy industry.

What can’t be understated, analysts say, is the damage done to the economy by the president himself through his constantly shifting strategy on trade.

U.S. stock markets were also rocked this week after Trump announced new tariff on China.

White House fights over trade with China, Mexico and other countries have made business leaders around the world anxious, disrupted tightly connected global supply chains and hurt the world economy.

Even though the U.S. economy is more insulated than other rich nations, slower global economic growth was bound to hit home sooner or later.

Exports have declined, business investment has dried up and American manufacturers are expanding at the slowest pace in more than two years.

“The slower growth we are seeing now was anticipated to some extent to due to the Fed tightening,’ said chief U.S. economist Gus Faucher of PNC Financial Services in Pittsburgh.

“But most of it is due to trade.”

What if the president got his way?

Trump has repeatedly claimed the economy would take off like a rocket ship if the Fed cut rates, but there’s little evidence to support that view.

Even before the Fed cut interest rates last month, other rates in the U.S. were falling.

And yet, “ongoing weakness in housing, autos and business investment suggest lower rates are not yet offering any stimulus, said Stephen Gallagher, chief U.S. economist at Societe Generale.

It’s hard to overstate just how easy it is for most businesses, if not consumers, to borrow money cheaply.

The central bank’s benchmark short-term rate sits in a range of 2% to 2.25%.

Other rates such as the 10-year U.S. Treasury are even lower.

“The cost of money is low on the list of concerns,” Faucher said.

“Businesses are flush with cash."

"They just don't see investment opportunities out there.”

Consider recent history.

The Fed kept its benchmark interest rate near zero through most of Barack Obama’s presidency — a policy then private-citizen Trump criticized relentlessly — and the economy still failed to generate rapid growth.

The U.S. has failed to top 3% annual growth since 2005 — the worst stretch in history.

The economy expanded an average of 3.2% a year through most of the post World War Two era.

Going back to those near-zero interest rate days is unlikely to produce a different outcome, economists say. “Lower interest rates aren’t necessarily going to turn the economy around,” Dye said.

So what can be done to shore up the U.S. economy?


Trump and his advisers can resolve or tamp down trade tensions with China, economists say.

Or at the very least clearly explain the administration’s goals to businesses leaders confused by an erratic White House approach.

What the Fed can’t do, analysts say, is give in to the White House or be seen as doing the president’s bidding in the trade war with China.

The central bank would end up squandering the hard-won independence it earned in the decades after squelching double-digit inflation in the late 1970s.

But don’t expect Trump to let it go.

The president on Wednesday accused his Powell of being “clueless” and said the Fed is “holding us back.”

“Buckle up, a struggle for control of monetary policy is coming, and it could get pretty difficult,” said Stephen Stanley, the longtime Fed watcher and chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities. ... latestnews

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