Progressive Briefing for Wednesday, September 19

Image credit: European Commission DG ECHO / Flickr

‘Unconscionable’ and ‘appalling’: In affront to those fleeing US-backed wars and persecution, Trump slams door on refugees

Launching yet another bigotry-driven attack on those fleeing wars and humanitarian crises in which the U.S. is playing an active and deadly role, the Trump administration announced late Monday that it is reducing America’s refugee admission limit for 2019 to a record-low 30,000.

Eric Schwartz, president of Refugees International, called it an “appalling” announcement.

“At a time when the world is facing the largest displacement crisis in recorded history, it is unconscionable that the Trump administration would further dismantle the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program by setting a cap of 30,000 refugee admissions for fiscal year 2019—the lowest resettlement cap in the program’s history,” Win Without War director Stephen Miles said in a statement slamming the White House’s decision.

China retaliates against Trump administration’s new tariffs; puts levies on $60 billion worth of US goods

As the Trump administration continued to impose tariffs on Chinese goods, China quickly retaliated with its own levies. More than 5,000 of United States’ products will face tariffs. The Chinese government announced its plan to “impose tariffs of 5 percent to 10 percent on $60 billion worth of U.S. products,” starting on Monday, NPR reported.

The tariffs imposed on Chinese goods caused an “economic emergency,” China’s Commerce Ministry announced on its website, and therefore, China had no other option, but to retaliate, it said.

While the Trump administration said it’s “not trying to constrain China’s growth. … We remain open to negotiations” and “hope that China will come to the table and address the concerns we have raised,” business officials tend to disagree with the government’s decision.

Enabling big oil to ‘pollute with impunity’ on public lands, Trump guts methane restrictions

Continuing its relentless “assault on clean air, public lands, our health, and our climate,” the Trump administration on Tuesday gutted a major Obama-era rule that required oil and gas companies to reduce methane emissions and take certain measures to prevent leaks on public lands.

Unveiled by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Trump administration’s revised rule (pdf) dramatically rolls back restrictions on methane emissions, which are a major driver of the climate crisis.

Supreme Court orders disclosure for dark money, as new report unveils some donors

The Supreme Court on Tuesday insisted that many donations to predominantly conservative political nonprofit groups – what’s often called dark money – be disclosed, seven weeks ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

The ruling closes, at least for now, a loophole that has allowed wealthy donors to finance aggressive ads while staying anonymous. Crafted by the Federal Election Commission nearly 40 years ago, the loophole flourished after the 2010 Citizens United ruling.

Kavanaugh accuser has reportedly received death threats and is in hiding

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who alleges Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party more than 30 years ago, has reportedly received death threats, hired private security, and had to move out of her home as a result of coming forward, according to The New York Times.

“From what I’ve heard you have 6 months to live, you disgusting slime,” one message to Ford reportedly said.


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