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‘Nine Justices Deciding Your Fate:’ Young Immigrants Face Uncertainty as the Supreme Court Considers Ending DACA episode download
14 novembre, par Katie Reilly[ —]

Karen Reyes found herself on Tuesday at the center of a raging national debate over immigration — sitting inside the U.S. Supreme Court, as nine justices weighed the fate of about 700,000 young immigrants like her.

“It was amazing to be in there, taking up space where historically, [there] probably have not been so many undocumented people of color,” says Reyes, 31. “But it is surreal to have nine justices deciding your fate and then having lawyers fight for you. And at the end of the day, a court isn’t going to tell us that we deserve basic human decency.”

The Supreme Court is set to decide whether the Trump administration can shut down the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), which protected certain young undocumented immigrants from deportation and allowed them to work legally, without providing them a pathway to citizenship. The program was meant to help immigrants under the age of 31 who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, below the age of 16.

Trump rescinded the program in 2017 and said it was an example of executive overreach, sparking lawsuits that have now reached the Supreme Court.

Courtesy of Karen ReyesKaren Reyes rallies outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 12, 2019.

Reyes—a DACA recipient and pre-kindergarten teacher from Austin, Texas—traveled to Washington, D.C, to witness the oral arguments in person on Tuesday. The court room was smaller than she expected for a building that’s so imposing from the outside. She was happy to see Justice Sonia Sotomayor in person, “another woman of color who isn’t afraid,” who questioned during the hearing why the Trump Administration had moved to rescind DACA after “telling DACA-eligible people that they were safe under him and that he would find a way to keep them here.” It was “surreal,” Reyes says, to hear attorneys and justices debate legal intricacies that will affect her future.

During Tuesday’s oral arguments, the Court’s conservative majority appeared poised to rule in Trump’s favor— a decision that would affect the ability of young undocumented immigrants to work legally and pursue higher education.

Attorneys for the Trump Administration argued that DACA was unlawful and that the Department of Homeland Security had a right to end it. “DACA was a temporary stopgap measure that, on its face, could be rescinded at any time. And the Department’s reasonable concerns about its legality and its general opposition to broad non-enforcement policies provided more than a reasonable basis for ending it,” Solicitor General Noel Francisco said Tuesday.

But attorneys on the opposing side argued the government had failed to adequately consider how ending DACA would negatively affect hundreds of thousands of people, and needed to present a better reason for ending the program.

When the arguments were over on Tuesday, Reyes and dozens of other DACA recipients and their lawyers walked out of the Supreme Court together and marched down the building’s marble steps as a crowd of immigrants and activists chanted, “home is here.”

Melanie Cruz, a 19-year-old DACA recipient who was in that crowd, says she started to cry.

Courtesy of Melanie CruzMelanie Cruz stands outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington D.C., on Nov. 12, 2019.

“That was very powerful. In the air, everyone could feel how heavy and how strong the community all felt together. We felt empowered. It was very emotional,” says Cruz, who came to the U.S. from Mexico with her family 15 years ago, when she was 4 years old.

“It was a moment where I felt like everybody kind of just stood paralyzed and we all kind of just cried and really felt each other’s pain, but we also felt a sense of community because we all know that we’re in this struggle together.”

Cruz traveled to Washington, D.C. from New Jersey this week to be outside the Supreme Court for a “moment that’s going to go down in American history.” A political science major at Bergen Community College in Paramus N.J., she emailed her professors to tell them she would miss her class on American government, called out of work and drove to the nation’s capital with her two siblings, who are also DACA recipients.

“These are the sacrifices we have to make in order to get our voices heard,” she says.

With DACA, both Reyes and Cruz have become used to planning their lives in two-year increments due to the timeline for DACA renewal.

Reyes, who was 2 years old when she came to the U.S. from Mexico in 1991 with her mother, received DACA status in 2012, when the program was announced by Obama. While her current work permit is set to expire in April, she just submitted her renewal form several months early, hoping it will extend her work eligibility to December 2021.

“I was trying to get it to expire around December, so if I’m unable to renew in the future, at least it’s a nice stopping point for my kids. Like ‘Oh, you know, Ms. Reyes won’t be back after Christmas holidays. Time to find a new teacher,'” she says. “You shouldn’t have to be in this position, planning your life two years at a time, and here I am planning the best way — in case I cannot renew — for my kids to not have a gap between teachers.”

If she loses her DACA status, Reyes expects she won’t be able to be a public school teacher anymore, but she plans to continue educating others, possibly through community organizing or know-your-rights trainings for immigrants. “Our undocumented community has been living here and thriving here for many, many years, and will continue to,” she says.

Cruz, who is on track to graduate with her associate’s degree in May, is currently applying to more than 10 four-year colleges, hoping to increase her chances of attending one where undocumented immigrants are eligible for financial aid. Cruz, who has had DACA status for three years, wants to become a lawyer to better advocate for her community, but if she loses her work permit, she doesn’t know how she would pay for law school or practice law someday. Those uncertainties make it difficult to study sometimes, she says.

“It’s very hard to plan for the future without knowing where we will be and where we will stand a year from now,” Cruz says. “What is my right if my working permit is removed? Why am I studying? Why am I doing all of this when, any time, that privilege can be taken away?”

If the Supreme Court allows the Trump administration to rescind DACA, it’s not clear how immediate the effects would be, says Jennifer Chacón, a professor focusing on immigration law at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. When the Trump Administration initially rescinded DACA, it included a six-month period to wind down the program.

“At a minimum, six months out, unless Congress acts … individuals who have their work authorization under DACA would lose those work authorizations and would not be able to work with legal authorization in the U.S.,” Chacón says. In some states, it will also affect DACA recipients’ ability to have a driver’s license or pursue an education, she says: “Whether people will be able to continue their studies without the realistic possibility of work is another question.”

In order to obtain DACA status, immigrants must pass a background check. And they’re not eligible for the program if they have committed a felony or significant misdemeanor, or if they’ve committed three misdemeanors of any kind. But President Trump criticized DACA recipients on Tuesday, falsely claiming that “some are very tough, hardened criminals,” and later falsely saying that “a very large proportion” of DACA recipients have arrest records. He appeared to be referring to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services statistics showing that, as of February 2018, 7.8% of immigrants approved for DACA had been arrested or apprehended. But the same federal statistics show that driving-related and immigration-related offenses account for 60% of those arrests.

“If Supreme Court remedies with overturn, a deal will be made with Dems for them to stay!” Trump tweeted Tuesday. But past efforts to reach a legislative agreement with members of Congress to protect young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children have been unsuccessful during the President’s term thus far.

Regardless of what the Supreme Court decides, Reyes says she intends to keep advocating for the rights of all undocumented immigrants, not just those who have been protected by DACA thus far.

“A court isn’t going to tell us that we deserve to be here, a court isn’t going to tell us that we have power. We do. Walking out of that Supreme Court was very powerful,” she says. “We saw thousands of people cheering us on as we came down the steps. That’s what it’s all about. We have the power. We’re here fighting for not only DACA, but for pathways to citizenship.”

“It doesn’t matter which way the court goes,” she says. “We’re still going to be fighting for that.”

Germany, France and United Kingdom Condemn North Korean Missile Launches

14 novembre, par EDITH M. LEDERER / AP[ —]

UNITED NATIONS — Germany, France and Britain on Wednesday strongly condemned the dozen sets of ballistic missile launches by North Korea since May and urged Pyongyang to engage in “meaningful negotiations” with the United States on its nuclear and missile programs.

The three European countries said the tests, “including what appears to be a medium-range missile launched from underwater,” undermine regional security and violate unanimously adopted Security Council resolutions.

They issued a joint statement after Germany’s U.N. ambassador, Christoph Heusgen, briefed the council behind closed doors on implementation of sanctions against North Korea.

The three countries urged North Korea to take “concrete steps” in new talks with the U.S. “with a view to abandoning all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.”

North Korea has ramped up its missile tests in recent months, and experts say the launches are likely to continue as a way to pressure Washington into meeting Pyongyang’s demand for new proposals to revive nuclear diplomacy by the end of December. Diplomatic efforts have largely remained deadlocked since a second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un failed last February.

This week, North Korea protested planned U.S.-South Korean military drills, which Pyongyang calls rehearsals for an invasion.

The German, French and British statement also called on all U.N. member nations “to strictly enforce” sanctions against North Korea.

The Europeans stressed that this must include repatriating all North Koreans “earning income” abroad no later than Dec. 22, as required by a Security Council resolution adopted Dec. 22, 2017.

The joint statement reiterated that the humanitarian situation in North Korea “is the result of the misallocation of resources and restrictions” the government imposes on humanitarian workers and officials. It called on Kim’s government to address food shortages by “prioritizing the well-being of its own people” over the development of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles.

British Ambassador Karen Pierce, the current Security Council president, told reporters there was no statement from the full 15-member council because the consultations were informal. But she called it “a good discussion.”

She said council members are “going to track this important issue very closely.”

There are no plans now for a more formal council meeting or council action on the latest North Korean launches, Pierce said. “but as you know, things can change at short notice,” she added.

How Climate Change is Clobbering Kids’ Health

14 novembre, par Jeffrey Kluger[ —]

Let’s pretend the 195 nations that signed the 2016 Paris Climate Accord really do take all of the steps necessary to reach the agreement’s key goal: limiting the increase in global temperature to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

In that world, any children born today would grow up to witness some happy milestones. If they lived in the United Kingdom, they’d see their country phase out the use of coal by the time they turned six. If they lived in France, they would see gasoline-powered cars eliminated by their 21st birthday. And, as all of the 195 countries similarly reached their individual targets, all of the children born today would be 31 when the world reached net-zero greenhouse emissions.

But in the real world, the U.S. has already pulled out of the Paris agreement, other nations are observing it only spottily, global temperatures are continuing to rise—and the health of children is being clobbered in the process. In a sweeping study just published in The Lancet, investigators from 35 institutions—including the World Health Organization, Imperial College London, The University of York, Yale University and Iran University of Medical Sciences—analyzed the planet’s climatological health on 41 indices, such as the rising incidence of floods, wildfires and mosquito-borne diseases; adaptation and mitigation steps being taken to address the problems; and economic resources being devoted to that work. They found that while progress is being made, too many trend lines continue to point downward. We will all pay a price for that, but today’s children will pay the highest.

“With every degree of warming, we are committing a child born today to a future where their health and well-being will be increasingly threatened,” says Dr. Renee Salas of the Harvard University Global Health Institute, lead author of the Lancet policy brief that accompanied the study. “Climate change, and the air pollution from fossil fuels that are driving it, threaten a child’s health starting in their mother’s womb and only accumulate from there.”

One of the most damaging examples of that cumulative phenomenon is the microscopic particulate matter produced by burning fossil fuels. The study found that more than 90% of the world’s 2.2 billion children are exposed to particles at concentrations above the safe limit defined by the World Health Organization. Drawing their first breath in a world like that leaves them at a higher lifetime risk of developing asthma, pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. And while the air is, on average, cleaner in wealthy countries like the U.S. than it was 50 years ago, the world as a whole is becoming more urbanized, with 70% of the global population expected to be living in cities by 2050—precisely where the air is dirtiest.

Rising temperatures, the leading indicator of climate change, do their own brand of pediatric damage. Children’s bodies are less adept than adults at regulating temperature, and babies rely on caretakers to remove them from the heat and give them water when temperatures rise. This, the study explains, leaves them at significantly greater danger of heat-related electrolyte imbalance, high fever, and kidney and respiratory disease.

In this case, geography is a force multiplier. While the average global temperature has risen 0.2°C compared to a 1983-2005 baseline, the average heat in big cities and other population centers, where most people live—what researchers call the population-weighted temperature—has risen 0.8°C. And in the hottest places, the one great hedge against heat—air conditioning—is often not available.

In the U.S. and Japan, for example, 90% of homes are air conditioned. In India, it’s 4%. Worse, while 19% and 13% of the population of the U.S. and Japan respectively are in the 0-to-14 age group, fully 35% of India’s 1.3 billion population is 14 or younger. That means nearly 450 million overheated children in a country where record-high temperatures caused tens of thousands of people to flee their homes last summer and led to nearly 200 deaths in the first half of June alone—exactly the kind of first-line heat problems the Paris Accords were designed to address.

Childhood nutrition suffers too. Rising temperatures are reducing the duration of the growing season for three key staples—maize, rice and spring wheat—slashing harvests and increasing the risk of famine in vulnerable developing countries. At the same time, rising sea temperatures are leading to a decline in fish stocks, a source of 20% of the protein in the diet of 3.2 billion people. “Globally, children are overwhelmingly the victims of undernutrition,” says Salas, “and suffer a range of health harms, such as smaller growth in the womb, stunted development, and lack of critical micronutrients.”

Finally, there are the diseases that thrive in a warming world. The most troubling explored in the Lancet study are malaria and dengue fever—which, again, take particular aim at children. The investigators found that both diseases are on the rise, more or less in lockstep with climate. The incidence of dengue fever in particular is already as much as 9.8% above pre-2012 baselines.

Climate change is a perversely egalitarian scourge, sparing no one, affecting everyone. But the special toll it takes on children makes it perversely cruel too. In a world that ostensibly prizes justice, it is unjust in the extreme for the people who are the least responsible for causing a problem to suffer from it the most. The Paris Accord—honored instead of ignored—offers a way out.

Death Row Inmate Rodney Reed Is Scheduled to Be Executed on Nov. 20. Amid a Movement Advocating for an Execution Stay, and Re-Trial, Here’s What to Know

14 novembre, par Josiah Bates[ —]

Rodney Reed, a death row inmate in Livingston, Texas, is currently scheduled to be executed on Nov. 20. But in recent weeks, his case has received widespread attention and a wave of support from celebrities, activists and lawmakers who are calling on the state to stop the execution.

In 1996, Reed, 51, was found guilty of the abduction, rape and murder of 19-year-old Stacey Stites in Bastrop, Texas. He has always maintained his innocence. And according to his lawyer Bryce Benjet, who has been working on Reed’s case for 18 years, there’s evidence and witness statements that clear Reed.

Reed, who is black, was found guilty by an all-white jury.

“I don’t think you can ignore the role that racism plays in our criminal justice system,” Benjet tells TIME. “In a rural part of Texas the accusation of a black man raping a white woman is essentially a charge,” he argues.

A petition on has over 2 million signatures, while another 300,000 people have signed a petition in support of Reed. “We need to persuade Governor Greg Abbott, the Board of Pardons and Paroles, the Bastrop County District Attorney Bryan Goertz, and other conservative elected officials to stay this execution,” a statement on reads, “[and to] review all of the evidence that exonerates Rodney, and eventually grant him a new trial.”

What happened in Rodney Reed’s case?

In 1996, Stacey Stites was living with her fiance Jimmy Fennell, a Bastrop police officer. Stites was working at a grocery store thirty miles away from her home; she was scheduled to work a 3:30 a.m. shift on April 22. When she did not show up, a co-worker alerted the police.

Her body was found later that same day on the side of a road. She had been raped and strangled.

Reed did not become a person of interest in the investigation until the following year, when police identified DNA found on Stites’ body as his. At this time, he had been arrested and charged with the kidnapping, beating and attempted rape and murder of another woman, Linda Schlueter. (This attack happened about six months after Stites was killed.)

Because of the similarities between Schlueter’s and Stites’ cases, the police began investigating Reed in the latter. Police already had Reed’s DNA on file from another alleged rape, and matched it to DNA found on Stites’ body. Reed was not prosecuted in either of these other two attempted rape cases.

Reed has maintained that he and Stites had a consensual sexual relationship, and that they were together the day before she went missing.

During his trial, prosecutors used the DNA match as evidence against Reed. They also portrayed Stites and Fennell as a happy couple getting ready to be married.

Reed’s defense team attempted to draw the jury’s attention to other potential suspects, including Fennell (who police had originally focused on as a person of interest) and noted that hair found on Stites’ body did not match Reed’s.

Still, the jury found him guilty.

The State’s call for capital punishment was due to past allegations against Reed, who had been considered a suspect in attacks on six women (including Schlueter). But he was only charged in one of those cases — and was later acquitted. Having heard those allegations, though unconfirmed, the jury also approved Reed’s death sentence.

Benjet says that Reed continues to deny all the sexual assault and rape allegations made against him.

What new evidence has been found in the case?

According to Reed’s legal team, the prosecution’s case was flawed. Problematic examples they cite in the evidence compiled against Reed include that the murder weapon — a belt used to strangle Stites — has never been tested for DNA evidence. According to the Innocence Project, an organization that works to exonerate wrongly convicted felons through DNA testing and criminal justice reforms, repeated requests for DNA testing of the murder weapon have been denied by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals did not respond to TIME’s request for comment.

Forensic scientists on Reed’s legal team also dispute the timeline prosecutors laid out for Stites’ murder. They argue Stites was killed hours before authorities were notified of her disappearance, and not in the two-hour window that the prosecution alleged — a discrepancy which could mean Stites was actually killed before she had left for work.

Forensic experts called upon during Reed’s original trial have since admitted in affidavits that the original time of death recorded for Stites is not necessarily accurate.

“[These] state’s witnesses have retracted all of their positions,” Benjet says.

Rodney Reed Hearing
Ralph Barrera—APSandra Reed, the mother of death row inmate Rodney Reed, shows her continued support by carrying this placard around the parking lot during a break in a hearing in Bastrop County District Court on Oct. 10. 2017.

In 2007, Jimmy Fennell was accused of rape by a woman he detained while working as a police officer in Georgetown, Texas. According to his attorney, Robert Phillips, Fennell pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of kidnapping and improper sexual activity with the woman, while she was in police custody. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was released in March 2018.

It was during this prison sentence that Fennell allegedly confessed to killing Stites. According to an affidavit filed by Arthur Snow, a member of the Aryan Brotherhood who was in prison with Fennell, he confessed to murdering his fiancee because of her alleged affair with Reed.

According to Snow’s affidavit, Fennell said, “I had to kill my n****r-loving fiance.”

Other witnesses have given signed affidavits implicating Fennell in the murder. One is from a former Sheriff’s Deputy, Jim Clampit, who attended Stites’ funeral. During the funeral, Clampit said that Fennell allegedly looked at Stites’ body and said “you got what you deserved.”

And Charles Fletcher, who was at the time an officer with the Bastrop County police and a friend of both Fennell and Stites, said that before her murder, Fennell had told him that he believed Stites was having an affair with a black man.

“These are people who have no incentive to lie,” Benjet argues.

Phillips, however, says that his client is innocent and that these new claims from witnesses are “utterly laughable.”

“The evidence [provided at Reed’s trial was] as overwhelming as you could ever want it to be if you were a prosecutor,” Phillips tells TIME.

He questions why people are deciding to come forward now. “If you look carefully at each one of the witnesses, you’ll find reasons to doubt the veracity of each story,” Phillips says. “Where has their tender consciousness been for the past 20 years?”

How have people tried to stop Reed’s execution?

Benjet and the rest of Reed’s legal team filed their latest appeal on Nov. 12 to the Texas Court of Appeals, with the aforementioned affidavits as well as witnesses who refute the prior portrayal of Stites and Fennell as a “happy couple.” One of the witnesses also recalls Stites telling her that she and Reed were having an affair.

Phillips dismisses the idea that Reed and Stites had an affair, as prosecutors did during Reed’s trial.

On Nov. 6, 26 lawmakers in Texas had written a letter to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles asking them to put a hold on Reed’s execution so that the new evidence and witness statements could be reviewed. “We appreciate how difficult decisions like this are and know how seriously you take them, but this is also an opportunity for you to prevent a rush to execution before these new leads are properly explored,” the letter says.

As of Nov. 13, Gov. Abbott has not spoken publicly about the case.

Celebrities like Beyonce, Rihanna, Busta Rhymes, Meek Mill, T.I. and Questlove have been among those lending Reed their support.

Back in October, Kim Kardashian West tweeted at Gov. Abbott asking him to review the “substantial evidence” that suggests Reed he is innocent.

And on Nov. 13, GOP Congressman Michael McCaul sent a letter to Governor Abbott and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles asking them to postpone Reed’s execution of Reed until all the evidence is fully evaluated.

“A death sentence is final, and given the doubt surrounding his innocence at this time, I believe our state cannot execute Mr. Reed in good conscience,” the letter said.

Benjet says that the support has really helped Reed. “We have hard evidence, scientific evidence and credible people who are all under oath exonerating Rodney,” Benjet says.

“I am innocent in this case. Absolutely innocent,” Reed told NBC Nightly News in a Nov. 6 interview. “I am cautiously optimistic that something good has got to happen.”

Grand Rapids to Pay $190,000 Settlement to War Veteran Detained by ICE

13 novembre, par Associated Press[ —]

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids will pay a $190,000 settlement to a Latino American war veteran who was wrongfully detained by federal immigration officials.

The City Commission unanimously approved the payment to Jilmar Ramos-Gomez on Tuesday to resolve a Michigan Department of Civil Rights complaint.

Customs Enforcement held Ramos-Gomez for three days last December before releasing the Michigan-born U.S. citizen. Police Capt. Curtis VanderKooi served a 20-hour, unpaid suspension for violating department policy after he alerted the federal agency about Ramos-Gomez’ arrest at a hospital.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and Michigan Immigrant Rights Center filed the complaint on Ramos-Gomez’s behalf in April, saying VanderKooi discriminated against him based on his race, violating the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.

Former Gov. Deval Patrick Tells Allies He Plans to Enter 2020 Presidential Race: AP Source

13 novembre, par Julie Pace / AP[ —]

(WASHINGTON) — Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is telling allies that he will join the 2020 presidential race, according to two people familiar with his plans. An official announcement is expected before Friday, the filing deadline for the New Hampshire primary.

His move injects a new layer of uncertainty into the contest less than three months before the first votes. Patrick, a popular two-term Democratic governor with a moderate bearing and close ties to former President Barack Obama, is starting late but with a compelling life story and political resume.

The two people with knowledge of Patrick’s plans spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

In addition to Patrick, Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City has taken steps toward launching a last-minute presidential campaign, filing candidate papers in Alabama and Arkansas.

The moves reflect uncertainty about the direction of the Democratic contest. Joe Biden entered the race as the front-runner and maintains significant support from black voters, whose backing is critical in a Democratic primary. But he’s facing spirited challenges from Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, progressives whose calls for fundamental economic change have alarmed moderates and wealthy donors.

Patrick’s candidacy faces a significant hurdle to raise enormous amounts of money quickly and to build an organization in the traditional early voting states that most of his rivals have focused on for the past year. And he’ll have to pivot to the expensive and logistically daunting Super Tuesday contests, when voters in more than a dozen states and territories head to the polls.

Bloomberg’s team has said they will skip the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina to focus on the Super Tuesday roster.

If he gains traction, Patrick could pull together multiple Democratic constituencies. A former managing director for Bain Capital, he has close ties to Wall Street donors. And as the first black governor of Massachusetts, Patrick could present himself as a historic boundary breaker who could dent Biden’s support among African Americans.

Patrick has remained active in politics since his term as governor ended in 2015.

During the 2018 midterm elections, he traveled across the country in support of Democratic candidates, a move that helped raise his national profile. He also campaigned for Doug Jones during Alabama’s contentious 2017 special election for U.S. Senate.

By December, however, Patrick cooled to the idea of a White House campaign.

“After a lot of conversation, reflection and prayer, I’ve decided that a 2020 campaign for president is not for me,” Patrick posted on his Facebook page at the time. Patrick said he and his wife worried that the “cruelty of our elections process would ultimately splash back on people whom Diane and I love, but who hadn’t signed up for the journey.”

For years, Patrick had been on an upward swing in Democratic politics, having served two terms as governor. He was only the country’s second black elected governor since Reconstruction.

In 2012, he gave a rousing speech in defense of Obama at the National Democratic Convention, urging fellow party members to “grow a backbone” and fight for their ideals. Obama at the time was being challenged by former Republican Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney — Patrick’s predecessor in the governor’s office.

Patrick grew up in Chicago, Obama’s adopted home. Both men have campaigned for each other.

Patrick has also tried to position himself over the years as slightly more moderate than some on the Democratic left.

After Donald Trump’s election, Patrick’s initial criticism of the Republican president was somewhat less pointed than others in his party. He said he was “old-fashioned in the sense that I think nobody should cheer for failure. We need our presidents to succeed,” but said he was particularly concerned about what he described as Trump’s belittling of those with opposing points of view.

Patrick also urged the party at the time to look in the mirror, saying “the outcome of the 2016 election was less about Donald Trump winning than Democrats and our nominee letting him do so.”

Last year, some of Patrick’s supporters and close advisers launched the Reason to Believe political action committee, “a grassroots organization dedicated to advancing a positive, progressive vision for our nation in 2018 and 2020.”

The PAC held meetups across the country, including in early presidential primary states, and was seen as a possible vehicle to help support a Patrick candidacy. It was formally dissolved earlier this year.

Early in his career, Patrick served as assistant attorney general for civil rights in the Clinton administration and later worked as an executive at Texaco and Coca-Cola. Since leaving the governor’s office, Patrick has worked as a managing director for Bain Capital — a company co-founded by Romney.

Patrick’s record as governor is mixed. His successes include helping oversee the 2006 health care law signed by Romney that would go on to serve as a blueprint for Obama’s 2010 health law.

Also considered a success was a 2008 initiative pushed by Patrick that committed Massachusetts to spending $1 billion over 10 years to jump-start the state’s life sciences sector.

There were also rough patches, including turmoil at the state Department of Children and Families following the deaths of three children.

Patrick was also forced to publicly apologize for a disastrous effort to transition to the federal health care law during which the state’s website performed so poorly it created a backlog of more than 50,000 paper applications.

The 10 Best Movies of the 2010s

13 novembre, par Stephanie Zacharek[ —]

Drawing up a best movies list every year is one thing. But looking back on a whole decade demands a different lens. One method is to strive for some allegedly objective collection of movie greats, high points that most people might agree on without too much thought. But often the movies lauded as “great” upon their release—even some that are truly terrific pieces of work—don’t linger in the memory as much as others. Sometimes it’s the imperfect movies that stick with us. To that end, here is a list of movies I’ve found myself thinking about long after seeing them, in some cases for years. Greatness, of course, lies in the eye of the beholder—your own personal list will and should be different. But don’t be afraid to include the movies that have reached you most deeply, regardless of their pedigree or reputation.

Here are TIME’s picks for the best movies of the 2010s, in order of release year. Also read TIME’s list of the best nonfiction books and best fiction books of the decade.

Somewhere (2010)

SOMEWHERE, from left: Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning, Chris Pontius, 2010. Ph: Franco Biciocchi/©Focus
Focus Features/Everett Collection(L-R) Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning, Chris Pontius in Somewhere.

Sometime in the latter half of this decade, those who care about the cultural landscape began clamoring for more stories told by women, about women’s experience. Earlier in this decade, when Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere was released, I recall hearing far too many people characterize it as “slight,” which seemed to me just another way of dismissing stories about women’s experience—the same way 1950s movie melodramas were often decried as trifles by people who couldn’t grasp their greater significance. Somewhere traces the strands of a strained but affectionate relationship between a father, Stephen Dorff’s Johnny Marco, a self-absorbed actor, and his preteen daughter, Elle Fanning’s Cleo, a self-possessed woman-in-the-making. When left alone in a suite at the Chateau Marmont, Cleo rings up room service to ask for the ingredients to make macaroni and cheese, rather than the finished dish. She takes pleasure in the moment, and in pulling together her own meal; she’s more capable of taking care of herself than her father is of himself. Like all of Coppola’s movies, Somewhere is beautifully observed, and there are long stretches where, it may seem, nothing is happening. But in life, it’s so often the spaces that count; why can’t it be the same in movies? Somewhere takes place in the days, maybe even the moments, before a very young person folds up her girl self forever and becomes a woman. Blink and you’ll miss it.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2011)

CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS, from left: W. Hein, director Werner Herzog, on set, 2010. Ph: Mark Valesel
IFC Films/Everett CollectionW. Hein and director Werner Herzog on the set of Cave of Forgotten Dreams.

Werner Herzog, what a weirdo! But he’s our weirdo. In his gorgeous, searching documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams, he brings cameras into France’s Chauvet Cave, examining Paleolithic drawings of trotting rhinos and horses running wild and free as a way of binding us with a long and winding thread of humanity. (The film was originally released in 3-D, which gave the images a subtly beautiful dimension, but you needn’t watch it that way to appreciate its gifts.) Herzog keeps a running patter over all of it, in a kind of existential stand-up routine. At one point he startles a sweet, serious French archaeologist by earnestly posing unanswerable questions about the artists who made these drawings so long ago: “Do they dream? Do they cry at night?” Of course, Herzog already knows the answer. Sleep connects us all, but sometimes it takes an ancient etched figure to bring our ancestors’ dreams back to us.

Melancholia (2011)

Kirsten Dunst in Melancholia.
Mary Evans Picture LibraryKirsten Dunst in Melancholia.

Lars Von Trier is a director who can’t help making enemies. But Melancholia may be his most inviting film; it’s certainly one of the most beautiful. Two sisters, Justine (Kirsten Dunst), a new but inexplicably unhappy bride, and Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a wife and mother who seemingly has it all together, face the end of the world. When we first meet Justine, the dull blankness of her face suggests she’s fighting her own dark, interior self. Claire gets along in the outer world just fine, though she fears that a planet called Melancholia, quickly approaching the Earth, will end everything. She can’t bear that thought, but Justine welcomes it. The end of everything we know also means we no longer have to worry about any of it: it’s kind of like the maid’s day off, except it lasts an eternity. Melancholia is a heavy sigh of a movie, a gasp at the horrible wonder of it all—yet it’s so beautiful to look at that it feels decadent, almost luxurious. Von Trier himself calls it a comedy, and he’s including himself in the joke. If it’s true that misery loves company, this must be von Trier’s way of reaching out, of telling us it will all be OK. Maybe.

Before Midnight (2013)

Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke in 'Before Midnight.'
Sony Pictures/Everett CollectionJulie Delpy and Ethan Hawke in Before Midnight.

Richard Linklater’s 1995 Before Sunrise captured the seedling thrill of spending just one night with a new acquaintance and believing you’ll never see him or her again. Before Midnight is the bittersweet fruit of the happily-ever-after tree, a searching look at what can happen when you not only do see that person again, but end up in a committed partnership, with kids, and find yourself tackling all the adult problems that come along with it. In Before Midnight, the lovers we met in Before Sunrise, Julie Delpy’s Celine and Ethan Hawke’s Jesse, are trying to have a holiday in Greece. But Celine, stressed out from motherhood and just everyday living, lashes out at Jesse for failing to truly see her. Bewildered, he listens—but there seems to be a chance he can’t break out of his own helplessness. Few movies capture so beautifully—with a few laughs, no less—what happens when communication between two people who love each other becomes dangerously fractured.

Phoenix (2014)

Ronald Zehrfeld and Nina Hoss in 'Phoenix.'
Schramm Film Koerner Weber/Wdr/Arte/Tempus/KobalRonald Zehrfeld and Nina Hoss in Phoenix.

German director Christian Petzold specializes in complex movies about human expectations, desires and longing, and the most beautiful of these is Phoenix, a near-perfect movie that explores the vast possibilities of traditional melodrama while also finding new riches. Adapted from French crime writer Hubert Monteilhet’s 1963 novel Return from the Ashes, but also a riff on Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, Phoenix tells the story of Nelly Lenz (played by the extraordinary German actress Nina Hoss), a woman who has survived Auschwitz but whose face has been disfigured. A plastic surgeon reconstructs it, though it still isn’t exactly the face she had before, the one she longs for. Feeling like a stranger to everyone including herself, Nelly drifts through half-demolished postwar Berlin, searching for her lost husband, Johnny (Ronald Zehrfeld). When she finds him, he doesn’t recognize her—he sees only what he wants to see, and it has nothing to do with Nelly’s desperate hopes. Phoenix is a mystery with a warning built in: people aren’t always what we want them to be. It’s also an entreaty to trust what our eyes tell us—even when it’s not what our heart wants to hear.

John Wick (2014)

Keanu Reeves in 'John Wick.'
Summit EntertainmentKeanu Reeves in John Wick.

John Wick, directed by Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, begins with a horrific puppy murder (which at least happens off-screen) and ends with a kind of benediction. In between, its star, Keanu Reeves, moves through an undulating revenge plot that involves smoking a whole bunch of Russian baddies. And oh, how he moves! Reeves is one of our finest action stars, perhaps among the best of all time, in a line tracing back at least to Douglas Fairbanks. Much of that has to do with his lithe physicality, his way of working through a routine of kicks and punches with grace and vigor. Reeves’ subdued wit, the way his ultra-serious façade barely masks a sly wink, is part of the package, too. It doesn’t hurt that the fight scenes in John Wick are beautifully orchestrated: Stahelski and Leitch are both veteran stuntpeople themselves, so they shoot the action to showcase the glory of human movement. There’s no muddy fast cutting, no excessive CGI to “improve” on what mere bodies can do. Action films, done right, are one of the great pleasures of moviegoing, and John Wick—violent, sick as hell, and often terrifically funny—has it all.

Selma (2014)

David Oyelowo (center), as Martin Luther King Jr., in 'Selma.'
Paramount/Everett CollectionDavid Oyelowo (center), as Martin Luther King Jr., in Selma.

Ava DuVernay’s Selma arrived in 2014 without a lot of advance buzz or chatter. Yet it came along when it was sorely needed, in the wake of the killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice at the hands of police officers, not to mention the June 2013 dismantling of the Voting Rights Act, the landmark 1965 ruling prohibiting racial discrimination in voting. Fast-forward just a few years: Selma, a passionate and meticulously detailed historical drama, has only become more relevant, and more urgent. Selma tells the story of the three 1965 marches, from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, led by Martin Luther King, Jr. (played, with deeply human gravitas, by David Oyelowo) as a protest against restrictions preventing African Americans from registering to vote. DuVernay uses that framework to dramatize some of the most significant moments in the history of the Civil Rights Movement, including the murder, at the hands of white supremacists, of four little girls in a Birmingham church in 1963. Nothing about Selma is gratuitously graphic, but you feel the weight of every act. It’s a film for then, for now, for tomorrow.

Moonlight (2016)

Mahershala Ali, holding Alex R. Hibbert, in 'Moonlight.'
Everett CollectionMahershala Ali, holding Alex R. Hibbert, in Moonlight.

Barry JenkinsMoonlight—adapted from a short play by Tarell Alvin McCraney—is a coming-of-age movie, a love story and an exploration of the ways humans protect themselves. It’s also about how those barriers can be brought down in ways we least expect. The story follows one character from boyhood to adulthood: he’s played by three actors, Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes, as he grows from a scrawny, insecure kid with problems at home to a beefed-up, closed-off adult who’s physically robust but still emotionally fragile. This is such a calm yet precise piece of filmmaking that you’re barely prepared for its quietly sensational ending. Moonlight leaves you feeling both stripped bare and restored, slightly better prepared to step out and face the world of people around you, with all the confounding challenges they present. There’s not much more you can ask from a movie.

The Lost City of Z (2017)

Charlie Hunnam in 'The Lost City of Z.'
Everett CollectionCharlie Hunnam in The Lost City of Z.

Director James Gray is an old-style craftsman: he’s unafraid of intense emotions, written out in a filmmaking language that’s bold yet fine-grained. In this adaptation of David Grann’s 2009 book, Charlie Hunnam stars as real-life British explorer Percy Fawcett, who, in 1925, disappeared in the Amazonian jungle while seeking a long-lost civilization. Others doubted its existence, but Fawcett was sure in his bones, and in his heart, that it was real. He devoted his life to locating it—though if this is a story of obsession, it’s not one of folly. Gray seduces us with beauty and visual grandeur, showing us squeaky bats flapping through tree boughs for their nighttime flight, or a sacred hillside ritual illuminated by the grace of flickering torches: we see what Fawcett sees, and like him, we reach out to the mysteries of this half-natural, half-mythical world. Pictures with the grand sweep and dreamy energy of The Lost City of Z don’t come along every year—they barely come along at all. This is itself a message in a bottle, a missive from a lost city of movies.

Roma (2018)

Yalitza Aparicio (left) as Cleo in 'Roma.'
NetflixYalitza Aparicio (left) as Cleo in Roma.

Alfonso Cuarón is meticulous about every film he makes, but his real gift is that he puts human nature above filmmaking, following in the tradition of neorealist filmmakers like Vittorio De Sica and Satyajit Ray. His extraordinary film-as-remembrance Roma is drawn from his own upper-middle-class upbringing in Mexico City in the 1970s, but it’s hardly about him at all: His focus is on the women who raised him, particularly a servant named Cleo, played with incandescent grace by first-time actor Yalitza Aparicio. Cleo is half visible and half not: In some ways, she’s part of the family. But she’s also called upon to do menial tasks, like cleaning up after the family dog. We see what her life is like in her off-duty hours: she has a boyfriend who seems to care for her, but that love has its limits. When she’s betrayed, her suffering pierces us as well. Roma is a film of such delicate power that it feels strangely wrong to characterize it as “great,” though that’s probably what it is. Glorious and tender, it’s a movie that invites us into a specific world of memory—and although these memories belong to someone else, by the end of the film, they somehow belong to us too.

Over 300 Killed as Hundreds of Thousands Take Part in Iraqi Protests. What’s Behind the Violent Demonstrations? episode download
13 novembre, par Rachael Bunyan[ —]

Iraqi protesters draped in their country’s flag have been taking part in demonstrations since Oct. 1 that have left at least 319 people dead and at least 8,000 injured according to the U.N.

Many of the protesters wear face masks and helmets in the hope that this will protect them from security forces’ use of live bullets, tear gas, stun grenades and sound bombs to disperse the crowds of mostly young protesters. But many have been injured and hundreds of families are left searching for their injured loved ones in hospitals. Activists and physicians have been killed or kidnapped while giving aid to the demonstrators in Baghdad, Iraq’s capital.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators have marched over the past six weeks and the protests have spread across the country. Dr Renad Mansour, a Middle East and North Africa Research Fellow at London-based think tank Chatham House describes the protests as “one of the largest grassroots political mobilizations.” Many Iraqis are frustrated that they are without clean water and electricity, despite the country having large oil reserves. Angered by the lack of jobs and basic public services, many protesters say corruption is to blame; money is being placed in the hands of the few, rather than the many, according to Mansour. Violence quickly became part of the equation, as protesters were met with lethal force by security forces.

Apparently leaderless, the protesters have organized themselves using Whatsapp and Facebook. In response, Iraq’s Ministry of Communications repeatedly disconnected the Internet and blocked social media platforms for periods of time.

Here’s what to know about the protests in Iraq.


AFP) (Photo by -\/AFP via Getty Images)","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"TOPSHOT-IRAQ-POLITICS-DEMO","orientation":"0"}" data-image-title="TOPSHOT-IRAQ-POLITICS-DEMO" data-image-description="pAn aerial view shows Iraqi protesters gathering at Baghdad’s Tahrir square on Nov. 2, 2019. /p " data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="TOPSHOT-IRAQ-POLITICS-DEMO" height="315">
AFP—Getty ImagesAn aerial view shows Iraqi protesters gathering at Baghdad’s Tahrir square on Nov. 2, 2019.

How did the protests start?

On Oct. 1, protests over unemployment, poor public services and corruption erupted in Baghdad, Iraq. As a result of the force used by security forces, the protests escalated and spread across Iraq to major cities including Karbala, Maysan and Basra.

For years, Iraq has been preoccupied in its fight against ISIS. Now that the battle has ended, and a new Iraqi government is in place since May 2018, citizens have looked to the government to deliver their basic needs. But Iraqis have left feeling frustrated about the country’s economic crisis. Many live in poverty, and unemployment levels reaching 8% in 2018 according to the World Bank, and the country is plagued by poor services, including a lack of clean water and electricity outages.

Iraq is the 12th most corrupt country in the world according to NGO Transparency International in 2018. According to Transparency International, since the overthrow of dictator Saddam Hussein regime in 2003, Iraq has faced “significant corruption challenges”. These include a weak capacity to absorb the influx of aid money and a lack of political will for anti-corruption efforts.

Anger has grown with the levels of corruption; protesters believe that money is not going to where it should. For example, despite sitting on a healthy current account surplus, and earning $65 billion in oil export revenue in 2018, Iraq’s government doesn’t provide clean drinking water to the oil-rich region of Basra.

Another factor in triggering the protests, Mansour says, was Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi’s decision to remove the commander of the country’s counterterrorism service from his post. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi was popular among Iraqis because of his role in the fight against ISIS, and his removal from his post sparked outrage among his many supporters. “It was largely believed that he was demoted because he was refusing to allow corruption to happen, explains Mansour.

What do the protesters want?

Whilst the protesters initially called for more jobs and basic services including clean water and electricity, the demands quickly became bigger in outlook. They now want to see their leaders held to account for corruption, as well as new electoral laws. Protesters have not only called for the resignation of the country’s political leadership, including the Prime Minister, but also for the entire political system of sectarianism to be overthrown. “It became about ending the system,” says Mansour. “They want a system of government that represents them.”

Tension has been rising between ordinary citizens and the political elite in Iraq. Reform was promised by the new government in 2018, but the same corruption has festered. The overriding feeling among Iraqis is of frustration and disillusionment — they believe the government doesn’t represent them or respond to their basic needs. “Iraqis have realized that all they are getting are new faces that just do the same thing as previous faces,” Dr Lina Khatib, a Middle East and North Africa expert from Chatham House, tells TIME.

“This disappointment is why, very quickly, demands for economic rights escalated into demands for fundamental changes in the political system,” Khatib added.


Iraqis Demand Reform During Deadly Weekslong Protests
Laurent Van Der Stockt—Getty ImagesHundreds of protesters protesting in Baghdad, Iraq, on Nov. 7, 2019.


How many people have died and been injured?

At least 319 people have been killed and at least 8,000 injured since the demonstrations began on Oct. 1, according to details released by the Iraqi Human Rights Commission on Nov. 10. Videos circulating on social media have highlighted how deadly the security forces’ response has been. “All the evidence points to Iraqi security forces deploying these military-grade grenades against protesters in Baghdad, apparently aiming for their heads or bodies at point-blank range,” Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International on Oct. 31 said in a statement.

Anti government protests continue in Iraq
Murtadha Sudani/Anadolu Agency—Getty ImagesIraqi security forces intervene during the ongoing anti-government protests at Khallani Square in central Baghdad on Nov. 12, 2019.

Speaking of the people he’s met in Iraq, Mansour says that they feel “depressed and scared”.

“They are in disbelief,” says Mansour. “They didn’t think that the government would shoot gas canisters directly into their heads or bring snipers to kill them and to injure thousands and thousands.”

Anti government protests continue in Iraq
Anadolu Agency—Getty ImagesDemonstrators clash with Iraqi security forces during the ongoing anti-government protests in Baghdad on Nov. 12, 2019.

There are reports that Iran have been involved in direct violence against the protesters in Iraq. “[Iran] have been supporting the security forces. And their loyalist militias in Iraq have infiltrated protests to try and crack down on them and force the demonstrators to go home,” says Khatib.

Protesters have since been protesting about the power Iran holds in Iraq. “Iran is the most powerful external actor in Iraq today. Iran is effectively the power broker,” says Khatib. “It is not in Iran’s interests for the protests to succeed, because it sees them as a threat to its own influence in Iraq.”

How has the government responded?

The Iraqi President Barham Salih has said he will draft a new electoral law designed to reduce some of the power of political factions, and when passed, Salih will call new elections. He has also said that Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi has expressed a willingness to resign once political leaders agree on a replacement, but it remains uncertain as to whether this will happen.

Iraqi President Barham Salih
Ameer Al Mohmmedaw—spa Picture-Alliance/Getty ImagesIraqi President Barham Salih speaks during a press conference with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (not pictured) at As-Salam Presidential Palace on March. 11, 2019.

But protesters continue to spill out onto the streets because they are no longer convinced by concessions from government. In 2016, protesters stormed the Parliament and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi promised reform and that he would change his cabinet. “In the past, concessions were only cosmetic in nature and did not lead to a real solution to the problems that the protesters were demonstrating against,” says Khatib.

How has the international community responded?

The U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq called on Iraqi politicians to take a series of measures to help end the crisis on Nov. 10. Among the measures were for the politicians to prosecute those responsible for the use of excessive force, to call on all regional and international parties not to interfere with Iraq’s internal affairs, as well as to submit a new electoral law to Parliament.

The U.S. has stressed its concerns over the deaths of protesters in Iraq on Nov. 10 in a statement. Iraqis won’t stand by as the Iranian regime drains their resources and uses armed groups and political allies to stop them from peacefully expressing their views,” the statement read. “Despite being targeted with lethal violence and denied access to the Internet, the Iraqi people have made their voices heard, calling for elections and election reforms.

The U.S. also called for the Iraqi government to fulfil President Salih’s promise to pass electoral reform and hold early elections.

How does this demonstration fit in with Iraq’s history of protests?

Iraq has seen several waves of protest movements over the past decade, but the current protests are the largest in Iraq since dictator Saddam Hussein fell in 2003. The level of grassroots activism involved in the current protests is what makes it different, say experts. Instead of traditional forces, whether it’s a political party or leaders of groups, being behind the mobilization, this time it was the citizens of Iraq who made this happen. “It was sporadic,” says Mansour.

They are more widespread than the previous protest movement in August of 2018, which had the same demands but now there are calls not just for the resignation of the current government but protesters want to overthrow and change the entire political system.


Iraqis Demand Reform During Deadly Weekslong Protests
Laurent Van Der Stockt—Getty ImagesAnti-government protesters in Baghdad, Iraq, on Nov. 6.

What next for Iraq?

The protests will continue, experts argue. “As long as the ruling elites of Iraq do not seriously address the real issues that the protesters are driven by, Iraq is going to continue to see waves of street mobilization,” argues Khatib. She believes that even if the protests are eventually crushed by Iraqi security forces, the protests will erupt again. “This could threaten the stability of the country,” she added.

Across the Middle East region, citizens now believe that they are living under systems of government which don’t represent them, or respond to their basic needs. Instead, the system represents the interests of a small elite. In Lebanon, as in Iraq, leaderless protests are rising up to achieve their goal—to bring down the government and change the system. “So you’re seeing more protests and more contentious politics throughout the region,” argues Mansour.

Here’s What Iowa Republicans Think of the Impeachment Inquiry in Washington

13 novembre, par Lissandra Villa / Council Bluffs, Iowa[ —]

There’s not a lot that President Donald Trump could do to lose Marlen Justesen’s support.

The 100-year-old veteran from Council Bluffs, Iowa appreciates what he sees as the President’s candor and honesty, believes the House’s impeachment inquiry is “terrible,” and says top Democrat and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff is “as crooked as a dog’s hind legs.” Justesen voted for President Donald Trump in 2016, and “if the Lord keeps me alive long enough, I’ll vote for him again.” While not everyone at the early morning Hy-Vee Veterans Day breakfast on Monday in Council Bluffs was as adamant as Justesen, many said they remained solidly in the President’s camp.

With the weeks-long impeachment inquiry moving to public testimony today, House Democrats are hoping that they will be able to change some of those voters’ minds. They face an uphill battle. In dozens of conversations with TIME over the course of five days leading up to Wednesday’s hearing, Iowa Republican voters consistently told me that the impeachment proceedings barely registered as anything more than Washington noise. While they didn’t always agree with the President—several said they were not thrilled with his personality—they were skeptical that Democrats would present enough evidence to raise serious doubts about his reelection next year. In Iowa, a swing state that voted for Trump in 2016, Republican voters’ support for Trump appeared strong.

“I don’t see it actually penetrating to an average, Iowa household,” said an Iowa Republican strategist not authorized to speak on the record of news coming out of Washington. “It’s so much to track, and so much information constantly changing…the things that are coming out of DC are just so quick and so much info that people are just like, whatever. Obviously I don’t think [2020] is going to be a breeze, but I think that the way [Trump] has talked to Iowans really resonates with them.”

Of all the Republican voters I spoke with throughout a five-day reporting trip to Iowa, I did not come across a single person who told me that it was specifically the impeachment inquiry that had changed their mind on whether they would support the President. Most Republican voters told me they did not think Trump had done anything wrong, and those who said that perhaps he had made some missteps (mostly with regard to his tweets) were quick to defend him. They also often argued that if Congress poked around in anyone’s history, they would always find something to criticize because no one is perfect.

Republican voters, strategists, party officials and veterans in Council Bluffs, Clarinda, Mt. Ayr, and Des Moines consistently told me that low unemployment rate and the strong economy were reasons enough to continue to support Trump. A growing economy affects them much more directly than any call Trump had with the president of the Ukraine.

Many voters told me that they saw the impeachment inquiry as just the latest in a long string of unfair attacks against the administration. They lumped together Democrats’ disapproval of Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court who was credibly accused of sexual assault during his confirmation process, and the long, secretive investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which, in their eyes, did not amount to much.

I asked Nick Van Patten, the chair of the Iowa Polk County Republicans, if there was any evidence Democrats could discover in the impeachment probe that would make him change his mind about supporting Trump. “[With] everything that’s been going on, I would have to say no, I don’t see anything out there at all,” he told me at the Republican Party of Iowa’s annual Lincoln-Reagan dinner in Des Moines on Friday night, adding that “everybody’s just tired of it.”

I asked him if he thought this week’s hearings—with the American public hearing career diplomats and government officials directly criticize Trump—would resonate among Iowa voters. “I think it’s too late,” he told me. “Ever since this man has gotten elected, even before, they were saying we’re going to impeach. And you know what? The guy has done nothing but work hard for the American people.” (No lawmaker explicitly called for Trump’s impeachment before he was in office.)

At the same dinner, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who was the guest speaker, also cited now-Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings as a fury-inducing touchstone to fellow Republicans. He says Trump got people in Iowa “excited” about a Republican, and that he’d rather deal with Trump as “a handful” than to have Democrats running the country. He also cast the impeachment inquiry as a culture war.

“What’s going on in the House today is a joke. How many of you think Adam Schiff is looking for the truth?” he said, as the audience booed Schiff over a candlelit dinner. “You should not be allowed to drive if you said yes. From the time Donald Trump gets up to the time he goes to bed, they’ve been trying to destroy his presidency. They don’t accept that he won, they hate what you stand for, and this is a war. This is a war, and it’s a war we’ll fight. So here’s what I think: I think impeachment is going to blow up in their face.”

Though polls indicate that support for impeachment is rising nationally, among Republicans, it remains very low. And while Trump has low national favorability, some swing-state polls indicate he’s still competitive, depending on which 2020 Democratic primary contender he eventually faces. Iowa is in many ways a bellwether: Republicans performed well in 2016 and won the state-wide governor’s race in 2018, but Democrats made gains in the House.

“[Impeachment] is energizing our base. I would rather it not be happening, but it’s made my job of unification easy,” Jeff Kaufmann, the chair of the Iowa Republican Party, told TIME. “Every single entity in this state, the [Joni] Ernst campaign, the four congressional campaigns, even our legislative campaigns— we are all staunchly together, number one, and, number two, supporting the President. So the fact that impeachment is not a political liability in the eyes of most Iowans— we’ve been able to still embrace the President and actually go to a situation where we’ve got his back.”

Why the Home Depot Theme Song Is the Unifying Masterpiece Taking Over the Internet

13 novembre, par Melissa Locker[ —]

Before we start, do you know the Home Depot theme song? If you were under duress in some sort of Saw situation, could you sing along? Did you even know that the appliance and lumber store had a theme song? Well, at least some people on the internet knew the song existed and have been using it to soundtrack their TikToks so frequently that the song has topped the app’s charts.

As New York Times’ reporter Taylor Lorenz noted on Twitter yesterday, “#homedepot” has consistently trended on the app for about three weeks straight and the hashtag has racked up over 61.3 views. The song, which hasn’t been released in any formal capacity (yet), appears to have been ripped from Home Depot’s commercials and used as a soundtrack for a startling number of TikToks. “Despite sounding as if Trent Reznor scored a 1990s wrestler intro, the song is primarily only used as background filler for the chain’s commercials,” writes Magdalene Taylor at Mel Magazine, who wrote about the song’s surprising popularity.

The song is definitely popular on the app:

Some TikTok creators aren’t content with co-opting the store’s theme song, but are adding the company’s motto— “More savings. More doing.”—to their posts, too.

Some users are even remixing the tune, creating a new jam:

Others are hoping that Home Depot’s theme song is just a teaser and the home improvement store will eventually release an entire album.

Taylor at Mel Magazine suggests that the use of the song is helping to connect Gen Z and Baby Boomers, serving as a needed salve in the age of “ok boomer” tension.

Whatever the reason for the rise in popularity, one thing is for certain: Lowe’s and Ace Hardware should hire songwriters to give Home Depot a little competition online and in their home improvement stores.


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