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With her back against the wall, Kamala Harris surged. Will it last?

Within 24 hours of the debate, her team raised more than $2m in online donations, and she moved up in the polls

Kamala Harris is charming Iowa. She has more than doubled her campaign staff in New Hampshire and South Carolina. She enthused a crowd of black women at the Essence Festival with a multibillion-dollar plan to invest in black homeownership that matched concrete economic solutions with a fierce promise to right past wrongs.

It is the jolt of energy that Harris campaign needed after months of struggling to stand out in the polls.

Harris performance on 27 June, in the first round of debates of the 2020 presidential race, was a much-needed win. Harris walked on stage ranked fifth in the most crowded Democratic race in history. She left basking in attention, having metaphorically kneecapped the frontrunner.

Within 24 hours, her team raised more than $2m in online donations, from 63,277 people more than half of whom were donating for the first time. In the days that followed, polls put her among the group of top candidates in the race.

With more than a year to the Democratic National Convention and 481 daysuntil the 2020 presidential election, its still anybodys game. Harris debate performance didnt win her a domineering spot in the polls. It didnt drown out the criticism shes gone back and forth on key policy ideas. It didnt obfuscate some of her controversial decisions as a California prosecutor. But shes back in the race.

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Six months ago, for her campaign launch announcement in Oakland, 20,000 people swarmed downtown chanting, Ka-ma-la! Ka-ma-la! Local police estimated that Harris drew a crowd larger than Barack Obama did when he announced his run for president in Illinois in 2007.

Harris spoke of her upbringing as a child of Indian and Jamaican parents in California, and she raised the mantle of her experience: her steady climb from career prosecutor to district attorney of San Francisco, to attorney general of California and becoming one of the states senators.

Kamala Harris greets supporters in her kickoff rally for her 2020 presidential campaign at Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland, California. Photograph: UPI/Barcroft Images

She promised to prosecute the case against Donald Trump and fight for the one client she has fought for her entire life: the people. In her hometown of Oakland, deep in the heart of the self-fashioned resistance state, her message hit its target.

When she announced, it was life-changing, said Kasie Barnes, a lifelong Oakland resident and mother of four. Ive always been familiar with her, Ive always been proud of her successes, proud of her fight, proud of her voice. Because her voice is my voice and now that I have children, her voice is their voice.

Harris had a profile that spoke to the Democratic partys rapidly changing base: she was a woman with a diverse background, and unapologetically so. She was a trailblazer: the first woman of color to be elected district attorney of San Francisco and attorney general of California. She stood for all the things that the man in the White House did not, and against all the things that he did.

She raised a jaw-dropping $1.5m in her first day. But as more and more people jumped into the race, the sheer volume of candidates began to water down the excitement that came with her launch.

Until the end of June, even in her populous home state, Harris consistently polled behind the former vice-president Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders. A UC Berkeley poll had her at fourth in California in mid June, behind Senator Elizabeth Warren. Nationwide, Quinnipiac University and Politico had her polling at fifth, after Warren or the South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Warren had elbowed her way into the spotlight with her I have a plan for that attitude. Buttigieg was on magazine covers after clips of him speaking in Norwegian went viral. Yet six months into the campaign, Harris was fielding questions about whether shed want to be Bidens running mate.

Theres nothing Harris has done wrong. Its just that shes one of many, David Latterman, a San Francisco-based political consultant, said in early June. Shes up against heavyweights. Her whole career was in California. Shes well-known in California, but outside of California, shes only just begun to make a name for herself.

Kamala Harris talks during her first campaign organizing event at Los Angeles Southwest College 19 May 2019. Photograph: Richard Vogel/AP

Campaigns are not typically won in the spring of the off year one Harris adviser told the Guardian. He pointed out that even though she trailed behind Biden and Sanders, she remained in the top five in a race of more than two dozen. We have been putting the infrastructure in place for a push in the latter half of the year, he said.

To friends and supporters, Harris argued she has had her back against the wall before.

At a gala celebrating the Sun-Reporter, San Franciscos black community newspaper, around that time an event where most attendees had known each other for decades greeted each other with full-hearted hugs encompassing the entire body, and proudly donned Kamala pins Harris began her speech: When I pulled those papers in November of 2002 to run for district attorney of San Francisco, there were many, many, friends and those who were not friends, that said it cannot be done, no one like you has done this before, it will be difficult, it will be hard work, you should wait your turn.

The anecdote centered on praising Amelia Ashley-Ward, the publisher of the Sun-Reporter, but the message behind it was clear: Weve polled third, or even last, before. And look how that turned out.

In her 2010 campaign for attorney general, in the primary, I was told personally, by very influential electeds, that they did not think she could win, said Brian Brokaw, a Sacramento-based Democratic consultant who managed Harris campaign during her 2010 run for California attorney general. She proved everybody wrong.

She thrives when her back is against the wall, Brokaw added. Its like fuel for her.

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Throughout the first six months of the campaign, Harris supporters had maintained: wait for the debates.

Shell take command of the stage in the same way she stole the spotlight while questioning Trump appointees, they promised. Shell display that keep-them-on-their-toes moxie that kept everyone listening on their toes.

When those debates come, she is going to kill it, her longtime friend Amelia Ashley-Ward said in May.

At the 27 June Democratic debate, Harrisbrought on the fire evenbefore the first commercial break. The stage had devolved into a chaos of candidates shouting at each other when Harris entered the fray: America does not want to witness a food fight, they want to know how were going to put food on their table.

Harris took Biden to task for his relationship with segregationist senators and his record of not supporting desegregation bussing efforts during the Democratic presidential debates. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

She was prosecuting, Latterman said. Of course the line was preplanned, but it was very well-played because she was literally standing between two men yelling at each other, right over her face.

And then Harris went for the jugular. As the only black person on this stage, I would like to speak on the issue of race, she said, before turning her attention to Biden.

I do not believe you are a racist, she continued, and then took him to task for his relationship with segregationist senators and his record of not supporting desegregation bussing efforts that directly benefited children like Harris.

There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bussed to school every day, Harris said to Biden. That little girl was me.

Within hours of that line, her website was selling T-shirts with the face of that little girl splashed on the front.

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Harris questions and interjections had been among her biggest strengths in her three years in the Senate. Her exchanges with the the supreme court justice Brett Kavanaugh over the Russia investigation and abortion rights led to memes of her skeptical face circulating around social media. Video of the 1 May Senate judiciary committee hearing in which she flusters attorney general William Barr over the Mueller report has notched millions of views.

Every time she has one of those judiciary committee moments, her social media and her donations spike, said Dan Schnur, a professor of political communications at UC Berkeley. Shes a very talented prosecutor, and a very tough questioner, and Democratic primary voters are going to cheer whenever they see someone beating up on a Trump appointee.

Kamala Harris, left, with her sister, Maya, and mother, Shyamala, in 1970. Photograph: AP

The context behind the cheers is clear: if this is what she can do to a Trump appointee, what could she do to Trump himself? And, for many Democratic voters, kicking Donald Trump out of the White House is ultimately what the election is about.

She is someone whose toughness cant ever be questioned, Brokaw said. People who are supporting her know she would not shy away from a fight against Trump, and I think a lot of people are picturing the two of them on a debate stage together.

At a Harris town hall viewing party in Rancho Cordova, California, earlier this year, the question of which candidate was most likely to beat Trump was on everyones mind.

Shes great in public hearings, said Etta, a retired singer and legal assistant who asked to be identified only by her first name, over iced tea and brownies. Trump will not be able to cut her in pieces. Theres no way.

In Oakland, the Harris town hall viewing parties fill to capacity within hours. But in the small, conservative town in central California, the five attendees, all but one of them of retirement age, were excited they had found other people who are interested in Kamala.

She is unflappable when shes speaking, added Barbara. Thats something that we really need. I always trust her that shes going to say the right thing, shes going to lay it out clearly, and not stumble on her words.

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The question now is if the anticipation of a Trump v Harris showdown will be enough to ease some of the criticism and overcome some of the challenges the California senator has faced in recent months.

She has a natural constituency among women of color, a crucial constituent in the Democratic race to the White House, but she needs to get better at telling her personal story to those voters, said Aimee Allison, the founder of She the People. Her attack at the debate and the Essence Conference was a start Talking about her own experiences was part of the most powerful part with her exchange with Biden, Allison said but she must do more.

Its not just that because youre a woman of color, youre going to appeal. Thats not the case for Tulsi Gabbard, for example, Allison said. But if youre a woman of color who can speak with vulnerability, authenticity and power, that will make you stand out.

In tapping into that vulnerability, however, her prosecutorial experience gets viewed through a different lens. In the age of Black Lives Matter and broadening support for criminal justice reform, someone who has worked within the system her entire career cant exactly reinvent herself as someone now fighting against it. Harris describes herself as a progressive prosecutor, but has a track record endorsing policies now considered racist and ineffective as district attorney and attorney general. Kamala Harris is a cop, some of her critics on the left have argued, pointing at some of her decisions on issues including sex work, police reform, prosecutors misconduct, prisoners rights and truancy.

Kamala Harris asks a question as the attorney general, William Barr, testifies before a Senate judiciary committee hearing on Capitol Hill. Photograph: Aaron P Bernstein/Reuters

Just last week, amid the celebrations over her debate performance, The Appeal, a not-for-profit media outlet focused on criminal justice reform, highlighted the wrongful conviction of Jamal Trulove under Harris tenure as district attorney. San Francisco ultimately agreed to pay Trulove $13.1m after a federal civil jury found that the police had coerced a witness into identifying him as the suspect. Trulove, an actor who is gaining recognition following his role in the film The Last Black Man in San Francisco, tweeted, That Black man was me! a glib reference to one of Harris one-liners in the debate.

Every candidates record is going to be scrutinized in this race, her campaign adviser shrugged. This is not a walk in the park. This is the competition to be leader of the free world. Everybodys record should be scrutinized.

Others have questioned Harris hesitancy to clarify her position on more divisive policy questions in the first months of the campaign. After the CNN town hall in April, political pundits pilloried Harris for continually answering, I think we should have that conversation. They criticized her for taking too cautious a stance, for being too deliberate, too guarded.

Even Etta, one of the women at the Rancho Cordova watch party, was quick to pipe in with a snarky aside. Oh, cop-out answer! she hollered, when Harris punted.

Harris faced a similar criticism last week, when her answers on whether shed support federally-mandated bussing appeared to change. Her team later explained that it was a question of nuance, not yes or no she supported the federally-mandated bussing that allowed that little girl to go to elementary school in 1970, but understands that times are different now.

She came out on the technical side of right in this fight, but dinged nonetheless. She was scathed even morefor her position on eliminating private health insurance, an issue she had already walked back but raised her hand in favor of during the debate. She later had to clarify that she misinterpreted the question.

Civil rights leader Al Sharpton escorts Kamala Harris past media and well wishers as they arrive at Sylvias Restaurant in the Harlem neighborhood of New York, 21 February 2019. Photograph: Bebeto Matthews/AP

Where is she politically?, asked Latterman, the San Francisco-based political consultant. She seems to be moving to the left. More exposure is going to expose more of what her politics are, and I think to some extent, shes still trying to figure that out on a national level.

She is not one to make rash or hasty decisions, conceded Brokaw, her former campaign manager. He sees that as working in her favor, however. Voters, having been through almost [three] years of a president who is beyond reckless, are looking for someone who is both bold and deliberate in her way of acting and thinking, he said.

Harris supporters in San Francisco argue that given the chance, she will beat Trump.

After all, this is the woman who faced off with an incumbent district attorney from a storied San Francisco family, and won. This is the woman who remained steadfast for three weeks after the 2010 attorney general election while the state tallied up mail-in and provisional ballots, and won by a margin of 50,000 votes.

I was for her from the very beginning and I will continue to support her because I know that her heart is right, Ashley-Ward said. People are drawn to her. When they see her on TV, taking on these powerful men who think they can do anything, say anything and get away with anything, people are impressed with that because I think 98% of Americans wouldnt take on these guys. Shes not afraid.

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Trump’s real 2020 weakness: healthcare | Lloyd Green

The Affordable Care Act AKA Obamacare is more popular than Trump and the Republican celebration recognize. Theyve opened themselves to an ambush

U nemployment and inflation are low. America grumbles, however its sword is sheathed. Donald Trump must be preaching peace and success. Rather, the president appears figured out to make his re-election quote about health care and relitigate the 2018 midterms. That tale does not come with a pleased ending for Trump or his celebration if past is start.

At the minute, Trump might dominate in this most current skirmish over the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a minimum of in the courts. As far as winning the war for public viewpoint, that’s an entire other story.

Last November, Trump’s hostility towards the ACA eventually raised Nancy Pelosi to your home speakership. That exact same impulse might now cost him his view from the Oval Office. Come election day 2020, his most current dream might deteriorate into a problem .

On Tuesday, Trump assaulted the supreme court for formerly leaving the ACA in location. As he framed things , “Recent ‘strained’ choices by the United States supreme court … permitting the world’s most pitiful &costly health care (Obamacare) to remain in location, when it would have been changed by something far much better, demonstrates how exceptionally crucial our upcoming 2020 election is.”

Trump composed this regardless of his previous misadventures in health care. Back in his very first year in workplace, Trump was all set to sign anything so he might state a triumph. After holding a Rose Garden rally for passing one model of Trumpcare, Trump turned around and berated the House GOP’s costs as harsh.

Also on Tuesday, 18 Republican attorney generals of the United States waged wholesale war on the ACA, declaring that the existing version of the law is now unconstitutional as the outcome of modifications made in 2017 to the tax law. According to reports , 2 Republicans on a three-judge appellate panel were open to overruling a minimum of a part of the most remarkable piece of Barack Obama’s tradition.

The newest surveys inform us that half the nation views “Obamacare” as “mainly a good idea”, while less than 40% disagree with that proposal. Given that the ACA’s enactment in 2010, the hostility surrounding the law has actually noticeably eased off.

In reality, citizens have actually concerned especially value those ACA arrangements that mandate protection for pre-existing conditions, and protection for reliant kids as much as the age of 26. By the numbers, practically 7 in 10 Americans “do not wish to see” the supreme court reverse securities for pre-existing conditions.

On the other hand, if the ACA and its defenses were overruled, the effects might be serious. The Urban Institute reports that “the variety of uninsured individuals in the United States would increase by 19.9 million, or 65%”. The results in swing-state America might be even more disastrous, both on the political and individual aircrafts.

All things being equivalent, the ranks of uninsured would more than double in Michigan and Pennsylvania . Florida would most likely see a dive in uninsured by two-thirds. When it comes to Wisconsin and Texas, the figure would swell by one-third. To put it simply, ACA repeal would be a dagger in the chest of the most purple of states. Were Trump to lose any 3 of those states, he would be pushed into early and unexpected retirement.

Not remarkably, Republicans in states won by Hillary Clinton are running scared. Take Maine’s Senator Susan Collins.

Collins happily waits her elect Brett Kavanaugh, however health care is something else. Together with the late John McCain, Collins effectively opposed ACA repeal in the Senate back in the summertime of 2017. Now she’s voicing opposition to Trump’s legal technique.

“DOJ Should Defend ACA, Protections for Pre-Existing Conditions,” stated a current press release from Collins’ workplace . “133 million Americans– consisting of 590,000 Mainers– are coping with pre-existing conditions such as asthma, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and heart illness.” The Democratic congressional management could not make the argument for protecting the ACA anymore highly.

Trump’s identified efforts to reverse the ACA might likewise offer the Democratic governmental field with severely required cover versus charges of socialism and cultural detachment. Now, 3 of the 4 leading Democratic competitors– Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren– raised their hands when it came to ditching personal health insurance coverage. In some cases the “best” actually is the opponent of the great.

Only Joe Biden, Obama’s vice-president, hesitates to review a cliff, and sensibly so. While Medicare for All might delight the celebration faithful, parting with personal insurance coverage is an entire other story. Almost 70% of the United States rates their health care protection as either exceptional or excellent. To put it simply, the majority of the United States is not aiming to recreate the world once again.

What the electorate is starving for is peace of mind, not disturbance. With Trump once again waving his fist at the ACA, the Democrats would be a good idea to utilize this minute to their benefit. There is no reason that the 2018 playbook can’t work once again.

  • A lawyer in New York, Lloyd Green was opposition research study counsel to George HW Bush’s 1988 project and served in the Department of Justice from 1990 to 1992

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The gig is up: Americas booming economy is built on hollow promises | Robert Reich

Contract employees prop up huge earners however under Trumps anti-labor administration are ruthlessly exploited themselves

Uber simply submitted its very first quarterly report as an openly traded business. It lost $1bn, financiers might still do well since the losses appear to be decreasing.

Uber motorists, on the other hand, aren’t succeeding . According to a current research study, about half of New York’s Uber chauffeurs are supporting households with kids, yet 40% depend upon Medicaid and another 18% on food stamps.

It’s comparable somewhere else in the brand-new American economy. Recently, the New York Times reported that less than half of Google employees are full-time staff members. A lot of are specialists and temperatures getting a portion of the incomes and advantages of full-time Googlers, without any task security.

Across America, the fastest-growing classification of brand-new tasks is gig work– agreement, part-time, temperature, self-employed and freelance. And a growing variety of individuals work for staffing companies that discover them gig tasks.

Estimates differ however it’s safe to state nearly a quarter of American employees are now gig employees. Which assists discuss why the basic financial procedures– joblessness and earnings– look much better than Americans feel.

The tasks issue today isn’t simply stagnant incomes. It’s likewise unpredictable earnings. A slump in need, modification in customer choices, or an injury or illness, can trigger future incomes to vanish. Almost 80% of Americans live income to income.

According to surveys, about a quarter of American employees fret they will not be making enough in the future. That’s up from 15% a years back. Such worries are sustaining working-class complaints in America, and probably in other places around world where constant tasks are disappearing.

Gig work is likewise removing 85 years of hard-won labor securities.

At the rate gig work is growing, future generations will not have a base pay, joblessness insurance coverage, employee’s payment for injuries, employer-provided social security, overtime, household and medical leave, special needs insurance coverage, or the right to form unions and jointly deal.

Why is this taking place? Due to the fact that it’s so lucrative for corporations to utilize gig employees rather of full-time staff members.

Gig employees have to do with 30% less expensive due to the fact that business pay them just when they require them, and do not need to invest in those labor securities.

Increasingly, organisations require just a little swimming pool of “skill” anchored in the business– strategists and innovators accountable for the company’s competitive strength.

Other employees are ending up being fungible, looked for just for dependability and low expense. In result, financial threats are moving to them.

It’s a lot for business like Uber and Google . They set employees’ rates, terms, and working conditions, while at the exact same time treating them like arms-length professionals.

But for lots of employees it totals up to wage theft.

If America still had a Department of Labor, it would be setting nationwide requirements to stop this.

Yet Trump’s Anti-Labor Department is heading in opposite instructions. It just recently proposed a guideline making it simpler for huge corporations to contract out work to temperature and staffing companies, and leave liability if those contracting companies break the law, such as not paying employees for tasks finished.

On the other hand, California is countering Trump on this, as on other problems.

Last Wednesday, the California assembly passed legislation codifying a crucial California supreme court choice: in order for business to deal with employees as independent specialists, the employees should be devoid of business control, doing work that’s not main to the business’s company, and have an independent organisation because trade.

(The costs is not yet law. It still needs to pass the California Senate and be signed by the guv. And services are looking for a long list of exemptions– consisting of ride-share motorists and a lot of high-tech’s agreement employees.)

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The Capitol in Sacramento, California– where one state federal government is countering Trump on the gig economy. Photo: Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Whatever nationwide guideline ultimately emerges for specifying gig employees, they’ll require a various system of social insurance coverage than held true when constant full-time work was the standard.

For example, they require earnings insurance coverage instead of joblessness insurance coverage. One design: If somebody’s month-to-month earnings dips listed below their typical regular monthly earnings from all tasks over the preceding 5 years, they immediately get half the distinction for approximately a year.

They’ll likewise require an ensured minimum standard earnings– a subsistence-level cushion versus revenues slumps. And universal medical insurance and more generous social security, to offset the unpredictability of work.

All of this must be funded by greater business taxes, preferably in percentage to a corporation’s usage of gig employees.

Gig work is making commercialism harsher. Unless federal government specifies genuine gig work more directly and supplies more powerful safeguard for gig employees, gig commercialism can not sustain.

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Trump’s Twitter tantrum: Google may be controlling, but it’s not partisan

Donald Trumps declare that search engine result are rigged and managing disregards realities

Early on Tuesday early morning, Donald Trump lobbed the most recent stink bomb in a conservative project implicating Silicon Valley’s tech giants of anti-Republican predisposition.

In a series of tweets , the president stated that Google search engine result were “RIGGED” versus himself and other Republicans, asserting that 96% of the outcomes for “Trump News” originated from “National Left-Wing Media”. “Google &others are reducing voices of Conservatives and concealing info and news that readies,” he composed. “They are managing exactly what we can &can not see.”

August 28, 2018

It’s a suitable time for Trump and others such as Senator Ted Cruz to target business like Google, Facebook and Twitter. Non-stop debate, from phony news to Cambridge Analytica, has actually made them hassle-free political punching bags. And these web giants do have much to address for, whether it’s their sometimes inaccurate censorship choices or their promo of conspiracy theories .

Trump is not incorrect when he states that Google is”managing exactly what we can &can not see”. He is incorrect that the predispositions in Google’s search algorithms are partisan– or developed to hurt his and other Republicans’track records. And the persistence on seeing algorithmic predisposition as originating from partisan politics obscures the real nature of the different predispositions that form our digital truths.

An online search engine is essentially a huge predisposition maker that we utilize to arrange and rank the unfiltered web. No one would utilize it if Google returned an alphabetical list of every web page that consists of a particular search term. Rather, we ask Google to make judgment calls about whether any specific web page consists of details that concerns our requirements. To figure this out, Google utilizes a huge variety of signals to return a ranked list of pages that it computes to be most helpful to the searcher.

Although Google is not as transparent as much of us would like about how it makes these ranking choices, it has actually released its standards , which reveal, for instance, that it thinks about news sources to have high levels of”authoritativeness, credibility, and knowledge”if their posts”consist of factually precise material provided in such a way that assists users attain a much better understanding of occasions “and “have actually released recognized editorial policies and robust evaluation procedures”.

These are not partisan qualities. Right-leaning news outlets are simply as capable(and most of the times ready) to follow basic journalistic practices as left-leaning outlets are.

The presence of a partisan connection does not suggest partisan causation. Or, put more just, if a business that freely confesses to downranking non-factual news outlets winds up downranking a variety of non-factual outlets that typically take place to be rightwing, the most likely factor is that those outlets are non-factual, not that they are conservative.

This predisposition towards seeing the actions of tech business as mainly partisan was likewise on screen in the ” shadow prohibiting” fiasco , another Trump firestorm that took place after Vice News reported that Twitter was concealing the tweets and accounts of “popular Republicans”.

The Vice short article properly observed that a handful of Twitter accounts coming from Republican celebration authorities were being algorithmically downranked, however it ascribed that downranking to one quality of the accounts (the users were Republicans) with no proof. The a lot more most likely description for the downranking was a formerly revealed algorithm modification by which Twitter judges whether an account adds to so-called conversational”health”based upon how other users react to a user’s tweets.

The desire to see a provided phenomenon within the red/blue binary wound up blinding the press reporter– and Trump– to exactly what was actually occurring.

“It does muddy the waters since among the issues individuals like I have is that these platforms do focus on specific voices,” stated Safiya U Noble, a University of Southern California teacher whose current book, Algorithms of Oppression, files how online search engine like Google can strengthen structural inequalities and duplicate social predispositions, such as bigotry and sexism.

“The public connects to exactly what’s taking place on Google as if it’s a public info news website, instead of a marketing platform that can enhance material based upon the greatest bidder,” Noble stated.

Noble argues that the far more essential predisposition on web platforms is towards cash and power; those with both can pull any variety of levers to impact exactly what is being returned as a leading outcome on Google and exactly what is being blogged about by the mainstream news media.

She likewise mentioned the absurdity of the president grumbling about feeling helpless prior to a tech giant:”That’s not the like individuals who do not in fact have political power.”

As an example: at the break of day today, a specific billionaire was transferred to send out a mainly unreliable and intemperate tweet. Thanks to his choice, I am now composing this post. That’s power.

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The death of truth: how we gave up on facts and ended up with Trump

Truth decay has been spreading for decades. How can we stop alternative facts from bringing down democracy, asks Michiko Kakutani

Two of the most monstrous regimes in human history came to power in the 20th century, and both were predicated on the violation and despoiling of truth, on the knowledge that cynicism and weariness and fear can make people susceptible to the lies and false promises of leaders bent on unconditional power. As Hannah Arendt wrote in her 1951 book The Origins of Totalitarianism, The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (ie the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (ie the standards of thought) no longer exist.

Arendts words increasingly sound less like a dispatch from another century than a chilling description of the political and cultural landscape we inhabit today a world in which fake news and lies are pumped out in industrial volume by Russian troll factories, emitted in an endless stream from the mouth and Twitter feed of the president of the United States, and sent flying across the world through social media accounts at lightning speed. Nationalism, tribalism, dislocation, fear of social change and the hatred of outsiders are on the rise again as people, locked in their partisan silos and filter bubbles, are losing a sense of shared reality and the ability to communicate across social and sectarian lines.

This is not to draw a direct analogy between todays circumstances and the overwhelming horrors of the second world war era, but to look at some of the conditions and attitudes what Margaret Atwood has called the danger flags in George Orwells Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm that make a people susceptible to demagoguery and political manipulation, and nations easy prey for would-be autocrats. To examine how a disregard for facts, the displacement of reason by emotion, and the corrosion of language are diminishing the value of truth, and what that means for the world.

The term truth decay has joined the post-truth lexicon that includes such now familiar phrases as fake news and alternative facts. And its not just fake news either: its also fake science (manufactured by climate change deniers and anti-vaxxers, who oppose vaccination), fake history (promoted by Holocaust revisionists and white supremacists), fake Americans on Facebook (created by Russian trolls), and fake followers and likes on social media (generated by bots).

Donald Trump, the 45th president of the US, lies so prolifically and with such velocity that the Washington Post calculated hed made 2,140 false or misleading claims during his first year in office an average of 5.9 a day. His lies about everything from the investigations into Russian interference in the election, to his popularity and achievements, to how much TV he watches are only the brightest blinking red light among many warnings of his assault on democratic institutions and norms. He routinely assails the press, the justice system, the intelligence agencies, the electoral system and the civil servants who make the US government tick.

Nor is the assault on truth confined to America. Around the world, waves of populism and fundamentalism are elevating appeals to fear and anger over reasoned debate, eroding democratic institutions, and replacing expertise with the wisdom of the crowd. False claims about the UKs financial relationship with the EU helped swing the vote in favour of Brexit, and Russia ramped up its sowing of dezinformatsiya in the runup to elections in France, Germany, the Netherlands and other countries in concerted propaganda efforts to discredit and destabilise democracies.

How did this happen? How did truth and reason become such endangered species, and what does the threat to them portend for our public discourse and the future of our politics and governance?

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Sanders uses Bible to defend Trump’s separation of children from families at border

Press secretary turns down criticism of Jeff Sessions pointing out Romans 13 to validate policy and states it is really scriptural to implement the law

Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, conjured up the Bible to safeguard the Trump administration’s migration policy of separating moms from their kids.

She was speaking at Thursday’s White House rundown, in reaction to a concern about remarks made by the chief law officer Jeff Sessions , where he mentioned a passage in the Bible to validate the policy.

“I would mention you to the Apostle Paul and his sensible and clear command in Romans 13 to follow the laws of the federal government due to the fact that God has actually ordained them for the function of order,” stated Sessions.

He included: “Orderly and legal procedures ready in themselves and safeguard the legal and weak.”

Sanders was inquired about Sessions’ declaration, and was challenged: “Where does it state in the Bible that’s ethical to take kids far from moms?”

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Why are kids being separated from their households?

In April 2018, the United States attorney general of the United States, Jeff Sessions, revealed a”no tolerance”policy under which anybody who crossed the border without legal status would be prosecuted by the justice department. This consists of some, however not all, asylum candidates. They are being separated from their moms and dads since kids cannot be held in adult detention centers.

Immigrant advocacy groups, nevertheless, state numerous households have actually been separated considering that a minimum of July 2017 .

More than 200 kid well-being groups, consisting of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the United Nations , stated they opposed the practice.

What occurs to the kids?

They are expected to get in the system for processing”unaccompanied alien kids” , which exists mostly to serve kids who willingly get to the verge on their own. Unaccompanied alien kids are put in health department custody within 72 hours of being collared by border representatives. They then wait in shelters for weeks or months at a time as the federal government look for moms and dads, loved ones or household buddies to put them with in the United States.

This currently overstretched system has actually been tossed into mayhem by the brand-new increase of kids.

Can these kids be reunited with their moms and dads?

Immigration advocacy groups and lawyers have actually alerted that there is not a clear system in location to reunite households. In one case, lawyers in Texas stated they had actually been offered a telephone number to assist moms and dads find their kids, however it wound up being the number for an migration enforcement idea line .

On the other side, supporters for kids have actually stated they do unknown ways to discover moms and dads, who are most likely to have crucial details about why the household is leaving its house nation. And if, for example, a moms and dad is deported, there is no clear method for them to guarantee their kid is deported with them.

What took place to households prior to?

When an increase of households and reached the border in 2014 , Barack Obama’s administration apprehended households.

This was roughly slammed and a federal court in 2015 stopped the federal government from holding households for months without description. Rather, they were launched while they awaited their migration cases to be heard in court. Not everybody appears for those court dates, leading the Trump administration to condemn exactly what it calls a”catch and release “program.

Photograph: Robyn Beck/AFP
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Pushing back, Sanders stated: “I’m not familiar with the chief law officer’s remarks or exactly what he would be referencing, [] I can state that it is really scriptural to impose the law. That is duplicated throughout the Bible.”

The policy of separating undocumented moms and dads from their kids at the border was revealed by Sessions in May as part of a “zero-tolerance policy”.

He stated at the time: “If you are smuggling a kid then we will prosecute you, which kid will be separated from you as needed by law. If you do not like that, then do not smuggle kids over our border.”

It has actually given that satisfied a wide variety of criticism consisting of from the United Nations human rights workplace in addition to from popular evangelical groups.

Sanders blamed congressional Democrats for the circumstance, a view shared by Trump on Twitter .

Earlier today, Trump stated: “Separating households at the Border is the fault of bad legislation gone by the Democrats. Border Security laws need to be altered however the Dems cannot get their act together! Began the Wall.”

The choice to different minors from their moms and dads was a policy choice and not a matter of law. Formerly, moms and dads and kids had actually typically been kept together in shelters as they waited for hearings on their asylum status or possible deportation.

Heartrending stories about kids being separated from their moms and dads at the border and put in detention hit settlements on Capitol Hill over a compromise migration expense.

In a draft proposition, released by a number of news outlets on Thursday, the Republican strategy would end the policy of separating immigrant kids from their moms and dads in addition to supplying legal securities for young undocumented immigrants referred to as Dreamers.

The Republican expense would likewise make sure more than $23bn in border security, a bulk which would be utilized to develop a wall along the border with Mexico. Your home is anticipated to vote on an option and the costs, more conservative strategy next week.

The White House defence came as it emerged that the United States federal government will open a momentary shelter for unaccompanied immigrant kids in far west Texas, as existing centers for kids reach capability under the zero-tolerance policy.

A representative for the United States Department of Health and Human Services stated on Thursday that the department had actually chosen the Tornillo port of entry as a momentary shelter place, 40 miles south-east of El Paso, in a location of desert where temperature levels regularly approach 100F (37C).

The center will have the ability to accommodate as much as 360 kids in “the next couple of days,” stated the spokesperson, Kenneth Wolfe.

Asked if kids will be kept in camping tents, Wolfe stated the center would have “soft-sided structures,” however didn’t instantly clarify exactly what those structures would be.

The varieties of kids in existing centers have actually risen as the Trump administration institutes a policy of attempting to prosecute all individuals who cross the southern United States border without legal approval.

Hundreds of households have actually been separated, with moms and dads apprehended and their kids positioned in federal government shelters.

On Wednesday, federal government authorities provided a securely managed trip of a shelter in Brownsville, Texas, at the other end of the state. Found inside a previous Walmart, the shelter is real estate almost 1,500 kids.

Many other centers in the United States federal government network are at or near to capability.

State agent Mary Gonzalez, whose district consists of the port of entry, stated federal government authorities had actually called her about 2 weeks ago to provide a trip of the port of entry, however consisted of couple of other information.

“It’s type of in the middle of no place,” she stated. “It’s in the desert. There is no place to go outside, truly.”

She included: “I do not comprehend where they’re going to put these kids.”

The Associated Press added to this report

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