Left Justified

News and Media

Unite the Right Rally Has Minuscule Participation

August 13, 2018 by Gail Nussbaum in News and Media

Unite the Right rally organizer Jason Kessler. Image cropped from original source. Courtesy Wikipedia.

As the first anniversary of the right supremacist rally that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia approached, law enforcement and counter-protestors prepared for the worst. Luckily, the day passed in relative peace, while a tiny number of white supremacists gathered across the street from the White House surrounded by dozens of police, many on horseback, as well as a “sea of counter protestors.”

Last year’s “Unite the Right” rally left one woman dead and several injured after a car rammed them during the riot, and two police officers who died when their helicopter crashed.

This year, the far-right group had a permit to protest in Lafayette Square on Sunday, until 7:30pm. They left a little bit after an hour together, at about 5pm, after it began to rain.

When asked about the sparse turnout, Jason Kessler, the organizer of the Unite the Right Event, said the small numbers were irrelevant.

“People were rightly scared of coming out,” Kessler said. “We had to prove the point we could do this rally and people would be safe.”

Last year Donald Trump was highly criticized for his response to the violence, saying that both sides had “good and bad people.” This year Trump tweeted his desire for Americans to “come together.”

“The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division,” Trump said. “We must come together as a nation.”

Trump Paper Tariff Harming Newspaper’s Bottom Line

August 5, 2018 by Gail Nussbaum in News and Media

The US newspaper industry has plenty on its plate to worry about: competition with the internet; competition with other media such as television and radio newscasts; the onslaught of criticism from government; and more. But now the price for newsprint production has skyrocketed, making an already shaky industry falter much more.

The Trump administration placed a tariff on groundwood paper, the kind of paper used to make newspapers, because of worry that the paper was subsidized by the Canadian government and sold at below-market prices. The majority of groundwood comes from Canada, and about 70% of newspapers in the US use it.

Vice president of production for the New York Times, Nick D’Andrea said that the tariff is causing significant harm to newspaper production.

“Newspapers have their own challenges already. Our job is to try to protect the revenue of the printed newspaper,” D’Andrea said.

According to news industry analyst Ken Doctor, the tariff is just one more stomach-punch for newspapers which have already been making hard choices between firing employees to reducing the size of the papers and how many pages long they are.

“This is the kind of unexpected event that happens….It takes an industry that may be hurting a little, and makes it far worse,” Doctor said. “Those tariffs have caused an increase in newsprint pricing of about 30 to 35 percent.”

During the last ten years readership declined by over 30 million across the country. In the last five years COO at the New York Times, Meredith Kopit Levien has seen a 40% loss in the number of subscribers to the Times’ daily print newspapers.

“We are in a scary time for local journalism and I think quality, original, independent journalism at the local level is, like, foundational to community, to society, and ultimately to democracy,” Levien said.

Rep. Lewis Leaves Hospital with “Clean Bill of Health”

July 30, 2018 by Gail Nussbaum in News and Media

Representative John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia, left an Atlanta hospital in apparent good health on Sunday. He was on his

“President Barack Obama awards the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom to Congressman John Lewis in a ceremony in the East Room of the White House February 15, 2011.”

way to an event from Detroit to Atlanta by airplane when he began to feel dizzy and sweaty and was brought to the hospital for tests and observation.

“All tests have been completed, and doctors have given him a ‘clean bill of health,'” Lewis’ spokeswoman Brenda Jones said in a statement Sunday night. “He thanks everyone who shared their thoughts, prayers and concerns during his stay.”

Lewis is well-known for his participation in the civil rights struggle of the 60s and 70s, and was the keynote speaker at the watershed March on Washington in the summer of 1963.

Lewis was one of the organizers of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, which joined with Martin Luther King Jr in March of 1965 to lead a voting rights march in Selma, Alabama. That event became known as “Bloody Sunday,” where many were beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, including Lewis, who sustained a fractured skull. The photograph of his beating made him an icon of the civil rights movement.

Lewis was born into poverty, the son of sharecroppers, outside Troy, Alabama in 1940. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1986, serving Georgia’s 5th Congressional District. He is the last of the “Big Six” of the civil rights movement still alive. President Barack Obama awarded Lewis with the Presidential Medal of Honor in 2011.

Attorney General Sessions Further Limits Who Will Receive Asylum in US

June 12, 2018 by Gail Nussbaum in Law, News and Media

Senator Jeff Sessions arrives before the 58th Presidential Inauguration Parade at the White House reviewing stand in Washington D.C., Jan. 20, 2017.

In a 31-page opinion issued by the office of the Attorney General, Jeff Sessions further limited who is qualified to receive asylum in the United States.

The decision disqualifies people fleeing from domestic violence or other “non-governmental” violent crimes from being eligible to be granted a refuge in the US. Women running away from abuse from Central America and other places will be cut off from the US as a place to find safety.

“Generally, claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence or gang violence perpetrated by non-governmental actors will not qualify for asylum,” Sessions said in the document.

This latest decision is just the latest move in an overall policy of limiting the immigration of undocumented people to the country. Just last month the Trump administration upped the ante by beginning to federally prosecute all people suspected of crossing the border illegally. This opened the door to the separation of families, especially children from their mothers or fathers, during the court proceedings.

People seeking refuge must prove they have a credible fear of persecution in their home country. In addition, that fear must be based on the grounds of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Four years ago, the Board of Immigration Appeals decided that “married women in Guatemala who are unable to leave their relationship” made up a social group under the standard. That helped women who were running away from domestic violence in Central America.

Sessions said the 2014 decision did not have the “rigorous analysis” needed to establish a precedent, enabling him to bypass the ruling.

“The mere fact that a country may have problems policing certain crimes effectively — such as domestic violence or gang violence — or that certain populations are more likely to be victims of crime, cannot itself establish an asylum claim,” Sessions wrote.