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 11 
 on: Yesterday at 02:30:44 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

What is really needed is for leaders of other western countries to grow some BALLS and refuse point-blank to have any interaction with Donald J. Trump due to the fact that he is a sexual predator & sicko. They need to completely turn their backs on him and ignore him at ALL world forums he attends and to loudly proclaim WHY they are doing it. Turn the bastard into the biggest pariah in the western world. Go all out to humiliate and belittle him. And that will also give the message firmly to the USA that the rest of the world will not stand by and tolerate them electing a sexual predator & sicko as their president and that America will be marginalised on the world stage until they see the error of their ways.

 12 
 on: Yesterday at 02:29:51 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The Washington Post....

‘My pain is everyday’: After Weinstein's fall,
Trump accusers wonder: Why not him?


The latest scandal has renewed the frustrations of women who claim
the man who now occupies the Oval Office harassed them.


By KAREN TUMULTY, MARK BERMAN and JENNA JOHNSON | 6:48PM EDT - Saturday, October 21, 2017

Jessica Leeds at her home in New York on October 20th, 2017. — Photograph: Celeste Sloman/The Washington Post.
Jessica Leeds at her home in New York on October 20th, 2017. — Photograph: Celeste Sloman/The Washington Post.

ALMOST A YEAR after New Yorker Jessica Leeds and other women stepped forward with harrowing accounts of being sexually assaulted by a powerful man, another scandal with similar elements exploded.

Only this time, the punishment was swift and devastating.

“It is hard to reconcile that Harvey Weinstein could be brought down with this, and [President] Trump just continues to be the Teflon Don,” said Leeds, who claims she was groped 30 years ago on a plane by the man whose presence she cannot escape now that he sits in the Oval Office.

In Florida, Melinda McGillivray was having much the same reaction.

“What pisses me off is that the guy is president,” McGillivray, who a year ago went public with allegations that Trump grabbed her at Mar-a-Lago in 2003 when she was 23. “It's that simple.”

Leeds and McGillivray were among the 11 women who came forward in the 2016 campaign to accuse the then-Republican presidential candidate of unwanted touching or kissing. Trump called the charges “pure fiction” and referred to the women as “horrible, horrible liars.”

Their claims did not stop the celebrity real estate titan on his climb to the most powerful office in the world.

Since then, numerous men in high places have been felled by charges of sexual misconduct. Most notable among them were Bill O'Reilly, the star Fox News anchor who was ousted less than a year after Roger Ailes, the network's co-founder; and Weinstein, once regarded as one of the most influential figures in the entertainment business.

The Weinstein scandal, which has featured graphic accounts of assault from a string of celebrity accusers, has sparked a national debate about sexual harassment. Many women, inspired by a #MeToo campaign, have taken to social media to tell their own stories, and calls to the National Sexual Assault Hotline have risen sharply.

But for Trump's accusers, the renewed debate offers a reminder that their allegations did not have the same effect.

Trump, unlike Weinstein, was able to deflect their claims — despite the disclosure of a video in which he was heard bragging about the kind of behavior some of the women had alleged. Trump has never followed through with his vow to sue his accusers or produce the “substantial evidence” he said would refute their claims.

So far, the allegations against the president have led to a single new lawsuit filed by a Trump accuser who argues that the president defamed her when he denied her allegations — a case that Trump's lawyer Marc Kasowitz called a “completely contrived, totally meritless lawsuit, which we expect to be summarily dismissed.”

Kasowitz did not respond to questions from The Washington Post about the other women's claims and why Trump has not produced the evidence he said would to disprove them.

The frustrations of some Trump accusers surfaced publicly in the days after The New York Times revealed the allegations against Weinstein.

“My pain is everyday with bastard Trump as President,” tweeted Jill Harth, who once worked with Trump on organizing beauty pageants and sued him in 1997, claiming he had repeatedly groped her breasts, tried to touch her genitals and kissed her against her will. “No one gets it unless it happens to them. NO one!”

Harth, who is now a makeup artist in New York and declined to be interviewed, also accused  Trump of getting into bed, uninvited, with one of the 22-year-old contestants in the early 1990s, according to allegations detailed in The Boston Globe.

Cathy Heller, who last year told The Guardian that Trump forcibly kissed the side of her mouth during a brunch at Mar-a-Lago in 1997, expressed dismay that “nothing stuck” against him.

Heller said she wondered whether the fame of Weinstein's accusers — who include Oscar winners such as Gwyneth Paltrow — played a role in how their claims were received.

“A lot of them were actresses we've all heard of,” said Heller, 64. “When it's a celebrity, it has more weight than just someone who he met at Mar-a-Lago or a beauty pageant contestant. They're not people we've heard of. And that, in our society, has much more weight because they're famous.”

Heller said Weinstein's removal from his production company made her glad that “finally something was really done and a guy finally got his dues, his just deserts,” she said. “We'll see about Trump. It's never too late.”

McGillivray, now 37, said she was initially afraid to speak out, calling it “petrifying”. But she said she felt driven by a patriotic duty — as well as a desire to do right by her teenage daughter.

“I wanted to be heard,” said McGillivray, who lives in Palm Springs, Florida, not far from Mar-a-Lago, the president's private club.

Allegations about Trump's behavior toward women became an issue early in his candidacy and lingered for months, exploding in early October when The Washington Post published the 2005 “Access Hollywood” video in which he boasted in vulgar terms about kissing women and grabbing them by the genitals. The then-GOP nominee called the remarks “locker-room banter,” adding: “I apologize if anyone was offended.”

That disclosure was followed by accusations concerning incidents alleged to have occurred over several decades, starting in the early 1980s and continuing until at least 2007. The accusers included several women whose careers depended on Trump, in addition to women he encountered by happenstance.

Polls showed that a clear majority of voters came to believe that Trump had committed the kind of behavior described by his accusers.

A Washington Post poll three weeks before the election found that more than two-thirds of registered voters — including almost half of Republicans — thought that Trump probably had made unwanted sexual advances toward women.

But the specific allegations did little to budge an electorate that had become almost tribal in its divisions.

“Sexual abuse should not be a partisan issue, but it frequently is,” said conservative commentator Amanda Carpenter. “That to me is maddening, just to watch women become fodder, to watch women become cannon fodder for these men. It's gut-wrenching.”

After the allegations against Weinstein were made public, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel argued on CNN that Trump's alleged offenses were “not even comparable” to Weinstein's, adding that “to even make that comparison is disrespectful to the president.”

McDaniel tried to turn the Weinstein case on the Democrats whose campaigns he had helped finance, tweeting on October 7th: “Whose side is Hillary Clinton on: Harvey Weinstein's or his victims?”

Unlike Weinstein, Trump responded to the accusations against him with vehement denials and fierce counterpunching. Although he apologized for his comments heard on the “Access Hollywood” tape, he attacked the credibility of the women making specific claims.

Trump deemed their accounts a “total fabrication”, “totally and absolutely false” and “pure fiction”. In the cases of two of the women, he urged the public to judge whether they were attractive enough for him to have assaulted them.

“Believe me: She would not be my first choice. That I can tell you,” he said of Leeds.

Trump's pushback led one of his accusers, Summer Zervos, a former contestant on Trump's reality television show, “The Apprentice”, to file a defamation lawsuit against him three days before he took the oath of office.

Zervos first appeared weeks before the election at a news conference with her attorney, Gloria Allred, and accused Trump of aggressively kissing her and groping her breasts during a 2007 meeting that took place when she was seeking a job at his company.

In court documents, Zervos's attorneys said Trump defamed her by labeling his accusers liars. They have sought to subpoena documents from Trump's campaign related to any of the women accusing him of inappropriate sexual contact. “Summer has really suffered, and she deserves to have her reputation restored,” said Allred, who also represents other women who have accused Trump.

Asked this week about the case, Trump called it “totally fake news”.

“It's just fake,” he said during a Rose Garden news conference. “It's fake. It's made-up stuff, and it's disgraceful, what happens, but that happens in the — that happens in the world of politics.”

Trump's lawyers are seeking to have the case dismissed.

The next brief is due on October 31st, and sometime after that, a judge in New York state, where the suit was filed, is expected to rule on whether the case will proceed.

History suggests that an ongoing court case could be perilous for a sitting president. The last deposition of one was in another sexual harassment case, when Bill Clinton was questioned for six hours in January 1998 by lawyers for former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones. She claimed that Clinton, while governor in 1991, had exposed his genitals to her in a Little Rock hotel room.

Clinton paid Jones $800,000 to settle the case without admitting guilt, but during that deposition, he was asked about his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky and gave false statements that led to his impeachment.

The same factor that helped Clinton survive impeachment and remain in office helped Trump overcome the accusations of misconduct against him, said Elaine Kamarck, a former Clinton White House official who is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

“The fact is, there were bigger issues at play,” Kamarck said. “Nobody expected him to be a good guy. People knew what kind of guy he was.”

Leeds, now 75, said the furor over her decision to come forward last year in The New York Times lasted several months, “longer than I imagined.” In the aftermath, she said, younger women approached her to thank her for her bravery. Many told her they have agonized over whether to do the same.

“I thought things were better in that area, with more women in the workplace,” Leeds said. But she has come to the conclusion that the culture that fostered experiences like the one she claims to have had with Trump “is still very strong and very prevalent, and that was discouraging.”


Scott Clement, Alice Crites and Julie Tate contributed to this report.

• Karen Tumulty is a national political correspondent for The Washington Post.

• Mark Berman covers national news for The Washington Post and anchors Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and stories from around the country.

• Jenna Johnson is a political reporter who covers the White House for The Washington Post. She spent more than a year writing about Donald Trump's presidential campaign, traveling to 35 states to attend more than 170 political rallies and interview hundreds of Trump supporters.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: ‘Trump just keeps merrily going along’: For Trump accusers, nothing has changed

 • #MeToo made the scale of sexual abuse go viral. But is it asking too much of survivors?

 • In ‘Apprentice’ defamation case, Trump will argue he is immune from lawsuits in state courts until he leaves office


https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/my-pain-is-everyday-after-weinsteins-fall-trump-accusers-wonder-why-not-him/2017/10/21/bce67720-b585-11e7-be94-fabb0f1e9ffb_story.html

 13 
 on: Yesterday at 01:46:41 pm 
Started by aDjUsToR - Last post by Im2Sexy4MyPants
she has the same birthday as me but different year lol Grin

 14 
 on: Yesterday at 01:40:12 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Im2Sexy4MyPants
As first reported on alex jones by roger stone a good friend of trump
The jfk killing was definitely a conspiracy  Grin

 15 
 on: Yesterday at 01:33:57 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Im2Sexy4MyPants
Time to nuke china

 16 
 on: Yesterday at 01:00:34 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by aDjUsToR
Hmm. Uneducated white trash sound a lot like uneducated black trash. Would there possibly be a common thread between these groups of messed up people?

 17 
 on: Yesterday at 12:05:33 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by aDjUsToR
In a sane world, supplies would simply be transported in from elsewhere.
Criminalising softer drugs is just dumb. The cost of doing so far outweighs the harms of these drugs.

 18 
 on: Yesterday at 11:46:49 am 
Started by aDjUsToR - Last post by aDjUsToR
No, she is there by the grace of King Winston😁 A minority of NZers voted loony left. Don't forget that.

 19 
 on: Yesterday at 01:33:54 am 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from the Los Angeles Times....

Trump wants to take on Iran but has no idea how to do that

“U.S. officials charge that most of the troops fighting for Assad in the Syrian civil war
are Iranian-led proxy forces, not Syrian Army units.”


By DOYLE McMANUS | 4:00AM PDT - Sunday, October 22, 2017

President Trump makes a statement on Iran policy in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington on October 13th. — Photograph: Evan Vucci/Associated Press.
President Trump makes a statement on Iran policy in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington on October 13th.
 — Photograph: Evan Vucci/Associated Press.


LAST WEEK, U.S.-backed forces in Syria expelled Islamic State from its self-proclaimed capital of Raqqah, a major victory after three years of fighting against the “caliphate” that once terrified much of the West. But there was strikingly little celebration. President Trump made no formal announcement of success. There was no banner declaring “Mission Accomplished”.

That was partly because the struggle against Islamic State is no longer the main event. The Trump administration has already declared a broader war in the Middle East, this time against Iran.

“The [Iranian] regime remains the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism,” Trump said on October 13th. “The longer we ignore a threat, the more dangerous that threat becomes.” He said the United States will escalate its efforts — political, economic and military — to prevent Iran from expanding its influence across the Middle East.

Here's the problem: The Trump administration doesn't actually know how to accomplish that goal. Or if it does, it's not telling anyone.

Although the White House released a “New Strategy on Iran” this month, the four-page document was mostly a laundry list of grievances against Tehran, with no clear description of consequences for alleged misbehavior.

“There is no strategic plan,” complained James F. Jeffrey, a former senior official in the George W. Bush administration, who has advised Trump aides. “There's no organizing principle.”

“He's challenged Iran to a duel, but he hasn't gotten any pistols out,” he said.

In Syria, Iran is projecting its power already. The Damascus government of Bashar Assad depends heavily on Iran for military and economic aid. And U.S. officials charge that most of the troops fighting for Assad in the Syrian civil war are Iranian-led proxy forces, not Syrian Army units.

Worse, Assad and his Iranian allies appear to be winning. The regime has gradually consolidated its control over most of western Syria, and now — amid the collapse of Islamic State — it's moving into eastern Syria, too.

Last week, Iranian-backed government forces moved into Mayadeen, a town southeast of Raqqah that U.S.-backed rebels had hoped to seize. The area is important for two reasons: It's a crossing point on the Iraqi border, and it's near an oil and gas field that is a major prize in the war.

At this point the Trump administration faces a dilemma: Should it continue to supply training, weapons and air support to the Syrian rebels who took Raqqah, at the risk of clashes with government forces who not only have a friend in Iran, but also Russia?

It also needs to decide if it will keep hundreds of U.S. advisors inside Syria. The rebels, unsurprisingly, have said they hope the Americans will stay — “for decades to come,” one spokesman said recently.

Pulling them out would mean withdrawing help from a force the United States organized, trained and — last week — praised for its valor in battle. And it would deprive the United States of a tool to help prevent the Assad regime and its Iranian allies from taking over the territory that the rebels now hold.

“If you're serious about pushing back against Iran, you have to stay involved,” said Frederic C. Hof, a former State Department official who now heads the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. “Otherwise, you're just standing by as the Assad regime, the people who created the vacuum that allowed IS to grow, come back.”

But the advisors were deployed to help Syrian rebels in their fight against Islamic State, not in the civil war against the Assad regime.

Jeffrey, now at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, suggested another alternative: a stronger U.S. alliance with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel and other regional powers to bolster the Syrian rebels and keep Iran out.

“What we need to do is form an alliance to keep Iran from projecting its power further,” he said. “That's not happening.”

As before, Syria offers only unappetizing choices. The United States can keep its troops in the country, at the risk of enmeshing them in Syria's civil war. Or it can pull them out, which could mean acceding to increased Iranian influence — the problem Trump has promised to address.

The administration hasn't chosen its course. That may be the worst alternative of all: drifting ahead without a clear plan.

That, after all, is what happened in Iraq after an earlier military success, the U.S. conquest of Baghdad in 2003. Military officials coined a bittersweet term to describe the results. It was, they said, a “catastrophic success!”


• Doyle McManus is Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times. He has been a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, a White House correspondent and a presidential campaign reporter, and was the paper's Washington bureau chief from 1996 to 2008. McManus, a native of San Francisco, has lived in Washington, D.C., since 1983 but still considers Hermosa Beach his spiritual home.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-mcmanus-syria-iran-20171022-story.html

 20 
 on: October 22, 2017, 11:03:50 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The Washington Post....

In the shadows of Refinery Row, a parable of redevelopment and race.

As industry ensnares Corpus Christi's minority Hillcrest neighborhood, homeowners are being offered
several times the depressed value of their homes to move out. Can that offer serve as a model for a
president who has vowed to slash the red tape of projects to prod development? Or will it stand as
an uncommon example of progress on civil rights, housing and the environment?


By MICHAEL LARIS | Saturday, October 21, 2017

Oil refineries spit out smoke near houses in the Hillcrest neighborhood in Corpus Christi, Texas. — Photograph: Sarah L. Voisin.
Oil refineries spit out smoke near houses in the Hillcrest neighborhood in Corpus Christi, Texas. — Photograph: Sarah L. Voisin.

CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS — THE CRANES are in place to build a mammoth new bridge over the shipping channel here. The span will be anchored by two Washington Monument-size spires that will be taller than the nearby flame-tipped refinery towers.

The $500 million bridge, with a higher clearance and a deeper channel, will let supersize oil tankers push into the inner harbor, spurring industrial growth and uncorking the port's potential as a petrochemical trading hub.

Add in new pipelines nearby, and crude-oil exports are projected to triple by 2024, an increase worth at least $36 billion a year for a port that already provides more than 13,000 jobs.

In the shadow of all that economic progress, however, is the poor and polluted neighborhood of Hillcrest. It is squeezed between the port and the interstate, hemmed in by oil tanks on one side and miles of refineries on another.

The bridge, as designed, would complete the isolation of the neighborhood, which is predominantly Hispanic and African American. And that, two residents argued in a complaint filed with the federal Transportation Department, would be a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Massive infrastructure projects inevitably present challenges to adjoining communities that historically have taken years, and even decades, to sort out. In Hillcrest, however, homeowners are being offered two or three times the depressed value of their homes to move out, a remarkably generous deal — and a surprisingly quick resolution.

Can that agreement serve as a model for a new president who has vowed to slash through the red tape of big projects to prod economic development? Or will it stand as an uncommon example of progress on civil rights, housing and the environment?


“This was a beautiful neighborhood when we moved in here,” said Janie M. Chinn Mumphord, 85. — Photograph: Sarah L. Voisin.
“This was a beautiful neighborhood when we moved in here,” said Janie M. Chinn Mumphord, 85. — Photograph: Sarah L. Voisin.

Rosie Ann Porter, 56, said she thinks the refineries at the end of her street in Hillcrest have “gotten away with murder”. Two and a half years ago, she and a neighbor filed a civil rights complaint with the Federal Highway Administration and won major concessions for the community. — Photograph: Sarah L. Voisin.
Rosie Ann Porter, 56, said she thinks the refineries at the end of her street in Hillcrest have “gotten away with murder”. Two and a half years ago,
she and a neighbor filed a civil rights complaint with the Federal Highway Administration and won major concessions for the community.
 — Photograph: Sarah L. Voisin.


JUST BESIDE THE PORT, Rosie Ann Porter stood on the back deck of a house that will soon be gone from a neighborhood that is dying. Her sturdy home, with its 17 windows and airy rooms, is one of fewer than 500 residences left in impoverished Hillcrest.

The blocks of once-neat houses, with the good candy on Halloween and the grapefruit trees in the yards, gave a couple of generations of oil workers a place to live close to work — and exposure to carcinogens for decades.

“Murder,” Porter said, referring to the refineries at the end of her street. “They've gotten away with murder. That's what I think.”

From a boat in the shipping channel, in the warm sunset glow, there's a certain imposing beauty to Refinery Row. It looks like a chemistry set left out by giants.

The Koch brothers' Flint Hills Resources operation supplies most of the jet fuel used by Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Citgo gasoline goes to its network of thousands of service stations.

But decades of emissions, leaks and explosions have left Hillcrest's residents distrustful and complaining of serious health problems.

“You can't let your windows up and enjoy a fresh breeze coming through the house,” said Porter, a retired helicopter parts supplier. “When they're up and the refinery's spilling out those fumes, it's nothing nice.” She stopped eating her grapefruit years ago.

Her daughter grew up with severe asthma, which Porter blames on refinery emissions. As a girl, Therri Alexandria Usher assumed that her frequent nosebleeds and near-yearly bouts of bronchitis were routine parts of growing up, just like the towering stacks a few blocks away.

“I thought that was where God made clouds, because I would see the smoke coming out of the big poles,” said Usher, 28, a statistician for the federal government who lives in Columbia, Maryland. “When you're growing up there, you think of it as normal, really.”

A federal jury found Citgo guilty of criminal violations of the Clean Air Act in 2007 and fined the company $2 million, but an appeals court overturned the verdict in 2015, citing a botched jury instruction.

That left the people of Hillcrest with no compensation — and still “breathing a mixture of chemicals found in Refinery Row outdoor air” that over many years “increases the risk of a cancer,” as the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry put it in a 456-page public health assessment last year.

Then came what residents thought was the final blow: the big bridge project. Its design included a new section of highway that would box in Hillcrest on all four sides.




Residents were used to losing against powerful oil interests. But a civil rights lawyer urged Porter and an elderly neighbor, Jean Salone, now deceased, to file a complaint with the Federal Highway Administration that argued that the bridge plan violated the Civil Rights Act.

Lawyers Erin Gaines of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid and Kelly Haragan at the University of Texas School of Law wrote in the 2015 filing that the state “continues to perpetuate past discrimination against African Americans in the historically segregated Hillcrest neighborhood,” a community that “has already borne disproportionate environmental and health impacts” from building Interstate 37 in the 1960s and decades of encroaching industry.

They wagered that their legal argument would help persuade President Barack Obama's transportation secretary, Anthony Foxx. The Charlotte native often recalled how the new interstates had destroyed “the connective tissue” of his grandparents' neighborhood, just as infrastructure projects had marginalized poor and minority neighborhoods in Baltimore, Miami and Los Angeles.

Texas's effort to tap $686 million in federal funding for the $1 billion project came as Foxx and other officials were trying to make amends for that history using civil rights law. The future of the bridge and port was put on hold until the complaint was resolved.

“That was the big leverage,” Gaines said, given that the port touts itself as the fourth-largest in the United States by tonnage and the top exporter of crude oil.

The complaint was filed in March, and by Christmas 2015 a deal had been struck in near-record time: Texas transportation officials agreed to offer Porter and her neighbors voluntary buyouts to vacate the polluted industrial zone they call home. And they would subsidize rent for a few years for tenants, who make up more than half of Hillcrest's population, who chose to move out.

The terms were far more favorable to residents than in a typical project, where the government might seize land and homes through eminent domain. In Hillcrest, officials offered to relocate much of the neighborhood. Hundreds of families were eligible.

Owners essentially would be able to trade in their homes for comparably sized ones in nicer neighborhoods, even if the homes cost several times more.

Washington signed off on the bridge. The relocation program would cost $45 million if 70 percent of those eligible were to take part, Texas transportation officials said. Funding would come from the state, a regional planning organization and the port authority, a Texas entity supported by industry.

The milestone agreement was to begin within months.

Instead, a sticking point emerged that stalled progress for another year: Should Hillcrest's undocumented immigrants receive the same generous terms as legal residents?


An abandoned building in downtown Corpus Christi with refinery row looming behind it. — Photograph: Sarah L. Voisin.
An abandoned building in downtown Corpus Christi with refinery row looming behind it. — Photograph: Sarah L. Voisin.

A decaying building that once housed the Ebony Recreation Spot in the historically segregated Washington-Coles neighborhood is close to the Harbor Bridge, left, which will be torn down when a new bridge is built. The area was nicknamed “The Cuts” because dock workers used to cut through to get down to the port. The community was a social center for African Americans during segregation, and had many African American-owned businesses: a drug store, barbershop, market and a famous club, the Savoy. — Photograph: Sarah L. Voisin.
A decaying building that once housed the Ebony Recreation Spot in the historically segregated Washington-Coles neighborhood is close to the Harbor
Bridge, left, which will be torn down when a new bridge is built. The area was nicknamed “The Cuts” because dock workers used to cut through to
get down to the port. The community was a social center for African Americans during segregation, and had many African American-owned
businesses: a drug store, barbershop, market and a famous club, the Savoy. — Photograph: Sarah L. Voisin.


AS THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN rolled on, with its passionate and polarizing debate over immigration, federal and state officials sparred over the rights of the undocumented people living in Hillcrest.

Those residents were included in the deal, argued federal officials who cited Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin in any program receiving federal funding.

No, argued state officials, they were barred from the deal by the federal Uniform Act, which specifically excludes “an alien not lawfully present” from receiving relocation assistance.

On January 18th, two days before the end of the Obama presidency, the Federal Highway Administration declared that Texas was not in compliance — and threatened to withhold the $686 million from the project.

“For the Obama Administration to go back on their approval agreement and try to force TxDOT to break the law by paying benefits to illegal aliens is unconscionable,” Representative Blake Farenthold (Republican-Texas), who represents Corpus Christi, said in a statement.

Farenthold had been scrambling behind the scenes. In an interview, he said his office sought help from President Trump's team.

“We just made a couple of calls,” he said. The gist was: “Hey, this is hung up. What do we need to do to get it moving again?”

“It worked,” he said.

The Obama-era legal interpretation was jettisoned. Undocumented immigrants would not receive the relocation buyout or other benefits. A top federal highway official signed Texas's write-up of the renegotiated agreement on February 3rd.

How was a new solution negotiated less than two weeks after Trump's inauguration?

A Farenthold aide pointed to conversations between the congressman's office and transition officials, including those with the Justice Department, which provides guidance on civil rights issues to other agencies. The White House referred questions to a Justice spokeswoman, who did not provide answers.

In response to questions, the Transportation Department said in a statement, “We believe this case demonstrates the [Federal Highway Administration's] commitment to ensuring that civil rights protections are enforced.” The statement continued: “Secretary [Elaine] Chao did not play a role in this matter.”

No undocumented immigrants have been publicly vocal about being excluded. One homeowner who is here illegally declined to discuss the policy when a reporter visited Hillcrest.

Port officials said their research indicated that only a handful of undocumented immigrants would be affected by the carve-out. Community organizers and Texas lawyers, including those who filed the civil rights complaint, said they had not received requests for help.

That may indicate that people have gone underground. The Trump administration's tougher immigration enforcement and the state's new law permitting local police to inquire about immigration status have had a chilling effect across the board, said Justin Tullius, a lawyer for the Texas immigrant rights group Raices. The message being received, he said, is: “Come forward at your own risk.”


Oil refineries line the port channel, where oil exports are expected to jump by $36 billion a year by 2024. In Hillcrest, home values are stuck in the $50,000 range, sometimes lower. Therri Alexandria Usher grew up there with asthma, bronchitis and nose bleeds. “I thought that was where God made clouds, because I would see the smoke coming out of the big poles,” Usher says. — Photograph: Sarah L. Voisin.
Oil refineries line the port channel, where oil exports are expected to jump by $36 billion a year by 2024. In Hillcrest, home values are stuck in
the $50,000 range, sometimes lower. Therri Alexandria Usher grew up there with asthma, bronchitis and nose bleeds. “I thought that was
where God made clouds, because I would see the smoke coming out of the big poles,” Usher says. — Photograph: Sarah L. Voisin.


FARENTHOLD PRAISED THE NEW APPROACH. “Trump has a huge commitment to infrastructure,” the congressman said in the interview, “and doesn't hate Texas.”

Transportation projects are about more than transportation. They're about jobs, communities and people, and how they all get stitched together — or pulled apart.

The president has proposed overhauling how the nation weighs competing interests in building its infrastructure and argues that permitting requirements are shackling ingenuity and growth. The plodding and expensive process is “a massive self-inflicted wound on our country,” he said in August at Trump Tower in New York.

Trump has proposed cutting the Environmental Protection Agency's budget by 31 percent, targeting environmental justice, enforcement and other areas, and he says studies on the impact of projects can be reduced to “a few simple pages”.

But without those protections, advocates argue, the poor and disenfranchised may lose rights in the name of progress.


• Mike Laris came to The Washington Post by way of Los Angeles and Beijing. He's written about the world's greatest holstein bull, earth's biggest pork producer, home builders, the homeless, steel workers and Italian tumors. In China, he reported on floods, riots, cave dwellers, dissidents, fat kids and an Olympic mountain biker.

• Sarah L. Voisin has been a staff photographer at The Washington Post since 1998. She is co-founder of Women Photojournalists of Washington and has won numerous awards from the White House News Photographers Association, the National Press Photographers Association, the Best of Photojournalism contest and the Pictures of the Year contest. She was awarded Cliff Edom’s “New America Award” for her coverage of Latino immigration. Her work on the war on drugs in Mexico has been widely recognized including the Robert F. Kennedy Award for International Photography, the John Faber Award by the Overseas Press Club and a special mention by the Hillman Prize for Photojournalism. She became the proud parent of Isabel Rebekah Funez in 2010.

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 • Perspective Five myths about infrastructure


http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/local/2017/10/21/in-the-shadows-of-refinery-row-a-parable-of-redevelopment-and-race

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