Feds Agree to Chill | These Latinos Could End Trump


1. Oregon: Feds to Begin Leaving Portland Today

Mission accomplished. President Donald Trump is declaring victory, while Oregon Gov. Kate Brown says federal paramilitary agents — the latest flashpoint in America’s civil rights struggle — will begin leaving Portland today. Though acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf wouldn’t say exactly when they’ll depart, he said he’d agreed to a joint plan with Brown to “end the violent activity,” as long as state and local police can protect federal buildings. After 62 days of demonstrations in Portland, Trump tweeted that without federal intervention the city “would be burned and beaten to the ground” by “Anarchists and Agitators.”

Sources: BBCFox NewsNYT

2. Trump Moving 12,000 Troops From Germany

It’s a “gift to Russia.” So said GOP Sen. Mitt Romney, echoing bipartisan criticism of President Trump’s order to pull 12,000 U.S. service members from Germany. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the drawdown would “enhance the deterrence of Russia” — though Trump previously linked it to Germany spending less than 2 percent of its GDP on defense, a NATO alliance 2024 target. Lawmakers and policy experts said it appeared to be punishment for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who’s openly criticized Trump. Esper said the move, which will cost billions of dollars, will begin within weeks.

Sources: CNNCBSStars and Stripes

3. Mask-Shunning Rep. Gohmert Tests Positive

As the U.S. death toll neared 150,000, a White House screening detected COVID-19 in Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican who’d planned to accompany President Trump on a visit to the state yesterday. The congressman is known for eschewing masks and his staff complained to Politico that they were chided for covering their faces and were visited by their boss after he tested positive. Now one of six infected congressional Republicans, Gohmert, 66, is still toeing the party line, suggesting that wearing a mask gave him coronavirus and announcing he’d take the president’s preferred prescription: hydroxychloroquine — now banned in Ohio as a coronavirus treatment.

Sources: YahooWashington PostPoliticoColumbus Dispatch

4. Big Four Tech Execs Get It From Both Sides

The likes just weren’t coming. The CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google got a barrage of hostile questions Wednesday — from Democrats about using their market clout to crush competition and from Republicans charging that social media is biased against conservatives. During five hours with some much-ridiculed technical glitches, one congressman said Americans shouldn’t “bow before the emperors of the online economy.” But Google’s Sundar Pichai, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Apple’s Tim Cook and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos came off as humble billionaires. One striking moment came when Bezos, pressed about whether his firm misused user data, said he couldn’t answer yes or no.

Sources: WSJ (sub)NYT

5. Also Important …

As augmented unemployment benefits are due to expire, Democrats, Republicans and the White House seem at an impasse over how much to extend them in talks over a new pandemic relief bill amid the worst quarterly GDP decline in U.S. history. Liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87, is recovering in a New York City hospital after bile duct surgery. And ByteDance investors who want to take over video app TikTok have valued it at $50 billion.

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1. The Frontier That Could Crush Trump

He’s thrived on border politics and may be doomed by them. President Trump is barely holding a polling lead across Texas. One trove of reluctant voters in the Rio Grande Valley has the potential to hand the state — and nation — to challenger Joe Biden, OZY reports. Fewer than half the voters in four counties at the state’s southern tip cast a ballot in 2016. The valley, hit hard by the pandemic, is heavily Latino and Democratic, so party operatives are hoping to find the spark that will wake voters up to their newfound clout.

Sources: OZY

2. Kiwi ‘Karen’ Free Pizza Canceled Amid Backlash

New Zealanders know how to take a joke — back. Domino’s Pizza thought it would be funny to offer women named Karen a free pizza this week. The catch: It was only for “mask wearing, law abiding” Karens who don’t report neighbors to the police. By yesterday, Domino’s was barraged with online criticism, some saying they would “like to speak to the manager,” Karen-style, and complaining that the tone-deaf promotion ignored the actual harm caused by those who use white privilege as a cudgel. Domino’s apologized and withdrew the promotion, saying, “When we get it wrong, we fix it.”

Sources: NewsweekNew Zealand Herald

3. Middle East Smashes Heat Records

Can people endure this? Middle Eastern nations have been baking under a “heat dome” created by circulating high pressure this week. Beirut and Damascus both hit new records, but the hottest place was Baghdad, with Tuesday’s sweltering temperature of 125.2 degrees Fahrenheit breaking the 2015 record of 123.8. That’s particularly dangerous with the city’s unreliable electricity to power fans and air conditioners. Somewhat farther north, Norway’s Svalbard islands recorded their highest temperature ever last weekend, hitting 71 degrees F. While experts say weather variability can spawn such records, climate change makes them more likely.

Sources: Washington PostAFP

4. Key Ruling for Ashley Judd’s #MeToo Case

With great power comes great liability. That’s what a federal appeals court ruled yesterday in Judd’s #MeToo case against Harvey Weinstein. A lower court had thrown out her claim — that he stifled her career after she rebuffed his sexual advances in 1998 — because he wasn’t her employer. Yesterday the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that, saying the power imbalance between the two gave her standing to sue. Judd’s attorneys called it a victory “for all victims of sexual harassment in professional relationships,” while Weinstein’s lawyer denied any retaliation.

Sources: VarietyCourthouse News

5. ESPN: China’s NBA Academies Abused Players

It was like “World War II in Germany.” That’s how an NBA employee described the atmosphere at a youth basketball academy in China’s Xinjiang region, according to an ESPN exposé Wednesday. It detailed the physical abuse of young players as well as inadequate schooling and overcrowded housing. The league, which already faced heat for tolerating Chinese efforts to censor Houston GM Daryl Morey’s pro-democracy tweet in October, has since closed the Xinjiang academy without mentioning the human rights issues. NBA officials are now “reevaluating” the program, saying they “need to have more direct oversight.”

Sources: ESPNNYT