Things That Matter

Donald Trump Threatening To Imprison His Political Opponent Should Terrify You

The second presidential debate was a whirlwind. Not only did Donald Trump invite Bill Clinton’s accusers to attend the debate, he even said he would send Hillary Clinton to jail. Send. Her. To. Jail. The threat was over the emails for which the FBI has already cleared her of wrongdoing. Threatening to send your political prisons to jail is not what a democracy is built on. That’s called a dictatorship.

This is the moment Donald Trump threatened to send Hillary Clinton to jail if he wins the presidency.


Clinton: “It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law of our country.”

Trump: “Because you’d be in jail.”

America: “Wait…what?” ?

People wasted no time calling out the threat to democracy that response is.


Imagine if any other president had threatened to put their political opponents in jail. Their career would be over.

People are not mincing words here: That is dictatorship.


This is truly a weird and incomprehensible time in American politics.

Violent dictatorship at that.

And, FYI, that’s a pretty sensitive topics for Latinos who have experienced or whose families have experienced such regimes.


Speaking of violent dictatorship, here are just five Latin American dictators that arrested their political opponents.

1. Nicaragua’s Anastasio Somoza Debayle


Anastasio Somoza Debayle was one of the infamous Somoza dynasty, started by his father Anastasio Somoza García, that devastated the country of Nicaragua. According to Encyclopedia.com, Somoza Debayle was educated in the United States, graduating from West Point in 1946, under the urging of his father. Upon the completion of his education, he was appointed as a high-ranking official in the Nicaraguan National Guard. Over time, Somoza Debayle was able to use his power to make himself the president of Nicaragua in 1967. Part of Somoza Debayle’s plan to keep total control of Nicaragua hinged on the imprisonment and stripping of power of his political opponents. A rigged election guaranteed him a six-year presidency starting in 1974, which he did not finish. Somoza Debayle was forced to flee from Nicaragua as his government crumbled, eventually being assassinated in Paraguay.

2. Chile’s Augusto Pinochet


Augusto Pinochet was the brutal Chilean dictator who lead a coup against President Salvador Allende in 1973. After toppling the government that had helped him rise politically, Pinochet led the country into great economic growth, according to The New York Times. However, the short gains were marred by the death of more than 3,000 prisoners and the countless thousands more Chileans who went missing, were tortured and were exiled. People who disagreed with Pinochet were the ones jailed and their jailing was used to motivate towns and villages to submit to the military’s rule.

3. Cuba’s Fidel Castro


Fidel Castro rose to power in the 1950s by overthrowing the dictator Fulgencio Batista and set about nationalizing all U.S.-owned business on the island, prompting the embargo. Under Castro, political dissent was treated as treason, with thousands of Cuban being jailed for decades for expressing political ideologies that did not align with Castro’s Cuba. According to History.com, Castro’s government jailed all political dissidents, abolished private businesses and got rid of newspapers that printed stories opposing the Castro regime. According to a personal essay in The Washington Post, Cubans faced prisons sentences for “fidelity of our conscience” for things as small as not having a “I’m with Fidel” sign on desks.

4. Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro


Nicolás Maduro is the leader of the economically crumbling Venezuela. Maduro has been rejecting any foreign assistance as the world watches the South American country fall apart as food and basic medicine becomes scarce. The governmental system of Venezuela that has led to this severe economic problem was started by Hugo Chavez. Since Maduro’s presidency began, it has gotten worse. According to The New York Times, Chavez had about a dozen political prisoners during his rule and that number has now risen to 100. The New York Times also reports that another 2,000 Venezuelans are still at risk of being imprisoned as political prisoners.

5. Panama’s Manuel Noriega


Manuel Noriega started his rise to power when he helped General Omar Torrijos take control of the Panamanian government in 1968. His loyalty to Torrijos helped for him to gain more notoriety and clout in the National Guard, eventually landing him on the CIA payroll for intelligence. But it wasn’t long until things took a brutal turn, with political opponents being imprisoned and, in one extreme case, decapitated. When Torrijos suddenly died in a plane crash, Noriega took power of Panama and continued to be a brutal dictator. Eventually, Noriega was arrested by U.S. officials for drug trafficking in the U.S.


READ: Here Is Yet Another Example Of Donald Trump Being A Garbage Person

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Here’s What The Candidates Had To Say About The Billionaires And Their Responsibilities To Pay Taxes

Things That Matter

Here’s What The Candidates Had To Say About The Billionaires And Their Responsibilities To Pay Taxes

elizabethwarren / juliancastrotx / Instagram

Democrats have officially wrapped their third round of Democratic debates. Last night, 12 candidates for the Democratic nomination went head to head on the debate stage in Ohio. The biggest topics of the night were President Trump’s sudden withdrawal of troops in Syria leaving the Kurds vulnerable to Turkey’s attacks and what to do with billionaires. There were some clear winners and losers from the debate. Here is your quick breakdown from the candidates trying to be the Democratic nominee for president.

Elizabeth Warren delivered a powerful message on the inequalities of the abortion debate.

“I think there are a number of options. I think as Mayor Buttigieg said, there are many different ways that people are talking about different options and I think we may have to talk about them,” Sen. Warren said when asked if she’d add justices to the Supreme Court to protect reproductive rights. “But, on Roe v. Wade, can we just pause for a minute here. I lived in an America where abortion was illegal and rich women still got abortions because they could travel. They could go to places where it was legal. What we’re talking about now, is that the people who are denied access to abortion are the poor, are the young, are 14-year-olds who were molested by a family member. We now have support across this country. Three out of 4 Americans believe in the rule of Roe v. Wade. When you’ve got three out of four Americans supporting it, we should be able to get that passed through Congress. We should not leave this up to the Supreme Court. We should do it through democracy because we can.”

The U.S. has seen a series of laws passed on the state level aiming to limit access to abortion. The laws have attempted to shutter Planned Parenthood clinics, which offer many more services than abortions, and Alabama’s law sought to put physicians in prison for 99 years for performing abortions. Louisiana has a law that is being heard by the Supreme Court this session that could force all but one doctor in the state to stop performing abortions.

Julián Castro spoke out about increasing police brutality and deaths at the hands of law enforcement.

“I grew up in neighborhoods where it wasn’t uncommon to hear gunshots at night,” former HUD Secretary Castro said when asked about preventing handgun homicides. “I can remember ducking into the backseat of a car when I was a freshman in high school across the street from my school, my public school because folks were shooting at each other.”

Castro continued by speaking about a topic that has been frequently discussed among the candidates, government buybacks of guns. Castro pointed out that he doesn’t like the idea of a mandatory buyback program since some people have not been able to define it. Furthermore, Castro states that if authorities are not going door-to-door then it isn’t going to be effective.

According to a Pew Research Center study conducted using data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 39,773 people died from gun-related incidents in the U.S. in 2017. The deaths came from suicides, murder, law enforcement, accidents, and undetermined circumstances.

Castro also made a point to name the latest victim of deadly police violence.

Atatiana Jefferson was home in Fort Worth, Texas with her nephew playing video games when neighbors called the police to check up on Jefferson. The officer who killed Jefferson, Aaron Y. Dean, resigned before he could be fired, according to The New York Times and has been charged with murder in the death. It is also reported that there have been six police-involved killings in the Fort Worth area this year.

Beto O’Rourke doubled down on his plan to create a mandatory buyback program of assault rifles.

If someone does not turn in an AR-15 or an AK-47, one of these weapons of war, or brings it out in public and brandishes it in an attempt to intimidate, which we saw when we were at Kent State [University] recently, then that weapon will be taken from them,” former Congressman O’Rourke told the audience when asked about finding the weapons and taking them away. “If they persist, there will be other consequences from law enforcement. But the expectation is that Americans will follow the law.”

Bernie Sanders, fresh from a health scare, let the billionaires have it.

“When you have a half-million Americans sleeping out on the streets today; when you have 87 million people uninsured or under-insured; when you have hundreds of thousands of kids who cannot afford to go to college and millions struggling with the oppressive burden of student debt,” Sanders said. “Then you also have three people owning more wealth than the bottom half of American society, that is a moral and economic outrage and that truth is we cannot afford to continue this level of income and wealth inequality and we cannot afford a billionaire class whose greed and corruption has been at war for 45 years.”

The night was filled with other candidates bringing up issues of the opiate crisis, Russian meddling in American democracy, the need to bring dignity back to jobs, and Biden was confronted about the Ukrainian scandal his son is involved in.

READ: From Gun Reform To Immigration, Here Are The Highlights Of Last Night’s #DemDebate

Immigration Advocates Are Sounding The Alarm Over Trump’s Decision To Collect DNA Samples From Asylum Seekers

Things That Matter

Immigration Advocates Are Sounding The Alarm Over Trump’s Decision To Collect DNA Samples From Asylum Seekers

Tom Pennington / Getty Images

In 2005, the DNA Fingerprint Act updated a former law‚ the DNA Identification Act of 1994, which denied authorities to obtain DNA from “arrestees who have not been charged in an indictment or information with a crime, and DNA samples that are voluntarily submitted solely for elimination purposes, from being included in the National DNA Index System.” In other words, the DNA Fingerprint Act was revised to protect the privacy rights of immigrantsIn 2010, the DNA Fingerprint Act was again revised because of then-Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, who said government agencies didn’t have the resources back then to gather DNA from “migrants in custody who weren’t facing criminal charges or those pending deportation proceedings,” so another clause was put in place for them. Now, in another move in the attack on migrants, the Trump Administration wants to change that. 

The Trump Administration is continuing forward with its push to collect DNA samples from every migrant person that enters the U.S.

Credit: @nytimes / Twitter

According to the New York Times, “a homeland security official said in a call with reporters on Wednesday that the exemption [put in place in 2010] was outdated, and that it was time to eliminate it.” That statement means the government now has resources to sort through and gather DNA, which it didn’t have in 2010. But that assumption is a stark contradiction since border agents, and immigration officials are severely understaffed

Immigration advocates are calling foul on this tactic by the Trump Administration who continues to criminalize migrants who are seeking asylum. Once their DNA is in the system, they will forever be recorded as felons.

Credit: @jherrerx / Twitter

“That kind of mass collection alters the purpose of DNA collection from one of criminal investigation basically to population surveillance, which is basically contrary to our basic notions of a free, trusting, autonomous society,” Vera Eidelman, a staff lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, told The New York Times

The government began collecting DNA from migrants starting this summer.

Credit: @CREWcrew / Twitter

At some point, this summer border agents began collecting DNA from migrants in order to verify whether or not they were related to the people they were traveling with. Agents were trying to prove whether family units entering the country together were actually related or traveling under false information. The DNA they gathered at the point was just to show family DNA. 

“This was really an investigative tool in attacking the fraudulent family phenomenon,” an ICE official said to CNN about the operation that began this summer. “We’re interested in using this as a tactical law enforcement tool, one of many, to be deployed when looking at a potential fraudulent family scenario.”

This new type of DNA that the administration is aiming to get would provide more extensive information and also would not be shared with other law enforcement agencies.

Credit: @YouGovUS / Twitter

The problem here lies with privacy concerns. For example, if an immigration official gathers DNA information from a migrant who entered the country illegally only to be given asylum later — because the court process takes a very long time — that person, who has the option of becoming a U.S. citizen at some point now has a criminal stain on their record for the rest of their life. 

Writer Kelly Hayes wrote an extensive Twitter thread that exposes the extensive damage and intrusion this form of DNA gathering will have for years to come. 

Credit: @kejames / Twitter

“A DNA registry for migrants,” Hayes tweeted. “Imagine the ugly possibilities of having a marginalized group of people that large cataloged according to their DNA, and that catalog being in the hands of the state. I know folks are focused on Ukraine, but this is a whole thing. We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of people, including children. With evolving technologies, the potential surveillance applications of a massive DNA registry are ominous AF.”

It’s unclear when this DNA collection will officially begin, even though the New York Times reports that Homeland Security officials have already said they have the right to get DNA from migrants. However, the Supreme Court has already ruled undocumented people have rights just as U.S. citizens do. 

“Though the Supreme Court has found that the constitutional right to privacy applies to everyone within the United States, regardless of their immigration status, a more restrictive interpretation of the Fourth Amendment has been applied within a 100-mile zone of the border, where suspicionless searches are allowed, even of American citizens,” the Times reports. And yet we already know some attorneys are trying to fight that the Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply to undocumented people

READ: A City Claims A Family Can’t Sue Over A Wrongful Death Because Undocumented People Don’t Have Rights Under Constitution