The Monday Politics Thread is Feeling Groovy

With turmoil at home, more Nicaraguans flee to the U.S.

Alan Reyes Picado fled Nicaragua by bus in the middle of the night, haunted by memories of government officials harassing him, throwing him in jail and then leaving him half naked in a dumpster.

After crossing the Mexican-U.S. border in February and being detained for two months, the 20-year-old immigrant lives in San Francisco and hopes to receive a work permit soon.

“I lived in fear and decided to seek help in this country,” said Reyes Picado, who left his partner and an 8-month-old baby in his home country.

Reyes Picado is one of the thousands of Nicaraguans the U.S. government has encountered at the border in recent months. Customs and Border Protection data shows a big jump in arrivals from the Central American country, which is the focus of international criticism over arbitrary arrests and the restriction of fundamental rights.

AP News

Jamie Lee Curtis Proudly Shares That Her Daughter Is Transgender

Jamie Lee Curtis is joyfully announcing that her younger daughter is transgender. 

The screen legend, who shares two children with husband Christopher Guest, revealed in an interview with AARP on Wednesday that she has “watched in wonder and pride as our son became our daughter Ruby.”

Making sure to note that she received Ruby’s permission to share the news, Curtis said that the 25-year-old works as a computer gaming editor and is engaged to be married next year.

“I will officiate,” Curtis added about the upcoming nuptials.


Anger as Poland plans law that will stop Jews reclaiming wartime homes

Since the fall of communist Europe in 1989, most countries in the former Soviet bloc have taken steps to provide restitution and compensation to their pre-war Jewish citizens. Poland is the only major country that has not implemented such a programme – and now it is on the verge of making recompense even harder.

In the coming weeks, a new law is expected to pass its final stages in the Polish parliament that will set a 30-year time limit on legal challenges over confiscated properties, in effect axing thousnds of claims.

The Polish government has said the new regulations are aimed at preventing fraud and “irregularities”. It has also said it is “not responsible for the Holocaust, an atrocity committed by the German [occupiers]”. But many other countries – including the UK, Israel and the US – have sharply criticised the move.

The Guardian

The painful history of anti-Asian hate crimes in America

Hate crimes overall increased last year by two percent, but hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander population rose by 146 percent, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University.

For example, one man, recorded in Tustin, Calif., last December, told his victim, “Thanks for giving my country COVID.”

Many blame the previous administration’s use of racist rhetoric for the rise in violence, as when President Trump stated, “I would like to begin by announcing some important developments in our war against the Chinese virus.”

“What comes out of the mouth of the leaders, especially the president, matters,” said Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii.

She pointed out that we’re witnessing history sadly repeating itself: “[Trump] didn’t create this kind of discrimination and, indeed, hatred, but I think that he called to the fore the kind of thinking that some people in our country have. We have always been deemed ‘the other,’ the perpetual foreigners.”

CBS News

Texas Republicans Are Trying to Stop Nonprofits From Bailing People Out of Jail

Senate Bill 21, which was introduced as part of a special legislative session that began on July 8, seeks to prevent charitable organizations from providing bail funds to anyone who has been charged with or convicted of a violent crime. The bill would also prevent such individuals from utilizing a personal bond, which allows them to forgo paying cash upfront by promising to appear on their court date.

The legislation mandates that only those with enough money to pay the full cash bail amount, which can sometimes be thousands of dollars, will be granted release while awaiting trial.

Critics say the bill targets low-income people and leaves them at risk of waiting in jail for months — or even years — while they wait to stand trial. Robin Steinberg, CEO of The Bail Project, claimed the bill limits advocacy organizations like hers from helping people, but does nothing to stop those in the for-profit bail bond industry from intervening.


Some vaccinated Americans have lost their patience with those refusing the shot as Covid-19 cases surge and mandates return

But with Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations now surging again and officials across the US suddenly reimposing restrictions after a summer of semi normalcy, McCullough and many other vaccinated Americans are becoming increasingly angry at those who are refusing the shot.

“I did what I had to do,” McCullough told CNN. “Now, these people who are making this selfish decision are going to make me suffer the consequences.”


Anger mounts as Biden, Congress allow eviction ban to expire

Anger and frustration mounted in Congress over the weekend as a nationwide eviction moratorium expired during a surge in the COVID-19 pandemic. One Democratic lawmaker even camped outside the Capitol in protest as millions of Americans faced being forced from their homes.

Lawmakers said they were blindsided by President Joe Biden’s inaction as the midnight Saturday deadline neared, some furious that he called on Congress to provide a last-minute solution to protect renters. The rare division between the president and his party carried potential lasting political ramifications.

AP News

These Stunning Pictures Capture One Indigenous Group’s Fight For Their Land

The Latin American Foto Festival at the Bronx Documentary Center is always expertly curated, balancing the magic of the region with visual stories that explore various social issues. The projects highlighted this year are no exception, uncovering the connection between nature and people in Venezuela and Peru and shining a light on the impact of violence in Colombia, Mexico, and Chile.

Two stories in particular stood out this year. Both Cristóbal Olivares and Pablo Piovano have worked on projects documenting the struggle of the Indigenous Mapuche people against the Argentine and Chilean governments over land use. The Mapuche have lived in the area for thousands of years, initially resisting the colonization by the Spanish and now the development of lands they see as illegally acquired by state-owned forestry and mining companies.

Buzzfeed News

German demonstrators defy court order as thousands violently clash with police on lockdown

THOUSANDS of anti-lockdown protesters in Germany illegally descended on Berlin and fought with police officers despite German courts putting a ban on their gathering over fears it could become a super spreader event.


Wisconsin Judge Finds Probable Cause to Charge Officer For Shooting a Black Man to Death in 2016

Five years after a Wisconsin police officer shot and killed a Black man as he sat in a parked car, a judge declared he found probable cause to charge the officer for creating an “unreasonable and substantial risk of death” in the shooting.

According to USA Today, Milwaukee County Judge Glenn Yamahiro on Wednesday said former Wauwatosa police officer Joseph Mensah “operated a weapon in a matter constituting criminal negligence,” which led to the death of Jay Anderson, Jr. on June 23, 2016. A special prosecutor will be appointed to review the case and determine if Mensah, who is also Black, will be charged.

The Root

Surging cases and virus fatigue upend Suga bid to shift public’s focus

With just over a quarter of Japan fully vaccinated against COVID-19, some in the Suga administration have been hoping to turn the page in the fight against the virus by shifting attention away from daily case totals and recalibrating the public’s focus on fatalities and serious cases in a bid to restore some semblance of stability.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s apparent hopes, however, were crushed last week when the number of daily new cases rose to more than 4,000 in Tokyo and surged past 12,000 nationwide for the first time Saturday. Another coronavirus state of emergency, set to take effect Monday, has been announced for Chiba, Saitama, Kanagawa and Osaka prefectures to alleviate fears among a public shocked by the unprecedented jump in new cases.

Japan has appeared to narrow the gap with countries in the West in obtaining and administering vaccines, and has gained the upper hand in the race to beat back the virus. But a combination of the more contagious delta variant and foot traffic, which declined but not as much as previous occasions under the state of emergency, are outpacing the speed of vaccinations.

Japan Times

Don’t Let Anyone Normalize January 6

If you can shrug it off as just another incident of Trump talking too much, then you have already signed up for the next incident—and the one after that.

The Atlantic

“A Season of Action”: Women at Center of Fight to Protect Voting Rights Step Up to Save Democracy

The attack on democracy currently playing out in D.C. and in state legislatures like Texas is the worst we have seen since Reconstruction. At the center of this crisis are poor women—especially poor women of color.