Things That Matter

From Joe Biden’s Bloody Eye To Beto O’Rourke’s Plea For Puerto Rico, Here’s What Happened At The CNN Climate Change Town Hall

Last night, the top ten ranking Democratic presidential candidates participated in a seven-hour marathon discussing the impacts of climate change. The candidates were each given 40 minutes to discuss their plans for combatting the ever-growing threat of climate change and fielded questions from audience members. Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the event.

Julián Castro framed the fight to combat climate change as a fight for civil rights.

“We know that this climate crisis is going to affect all Americans and all the folks around the world, but, as I mentioned a little bit earlier, we also know that it’s going to hit some people particularly hard,” Castro said when asked about racial environmental injustice. “After I announced my campaign, the first visit that I made was not to Iowa or New Hampshire. It was to San Juan, Puerto Rico to tell the people of the island there that we were with them and that we would make sure that they could recover from Hurricane Maria.”

Castro continued to reference an older man he met in Puerto Rico who was still trying to rebuild and fix his home that had been devastated by the hurricane two years ago. He then used the moment to talk about the overall environmental injustices plaguing poor communities, like Flint, Michigan.

“I know that too oftentimes, it’s people who are poor, communities of color, who take the brunt of storms that are getting more frequent and more powerful.,” Castro said. “So my plan actually calls for new civil rights legislation to address environmental injustice, including to make sure that there is a private right of action to file lawsuits against polluters.”

Beto O’Rourke was asked directly about the treatment of Puerto Rico.

“It makes me angry as well,” O’Rourke said about the response to Hurricane Maria. “I hope it makes everybody angry, the way we’ve treated the people of Puerto Rico, our fellow Americans, who were left in harms way without the necessary investment in infrastructure to mitigate the storms that we knew were going to hit them that are only more severe, more frequent, more devastating thanks to our excesses, our emissions, our inaction in the face of climate change.”

O’Rourke continued by calling out President Trump and his decision to move funds from FEMA and diverting them to the U.S.-Mexico border to detain more children.

Cory Booker pledged to create an administration where every agency works within the confines of fighting climate change.

“Climate is not a separate issue,” Booker told the audience. “It is the issue, the lens through which we must do everything that we do. It is an everyday mission. That means every one of my departments, every one of my agencies, every one of my cabinet members from the Secretary of Defense to the Secretary of Agriculture, has to be coming up with an aggressive climate change plan.”

Bernie Sanders is calling for a global effort to mitigate the devastating impact of climate change.

“I think we need a president, hopefully Bernie Sanders, that reaches out to the world, to Russia and China and India, Pakistan, all the countries of the world and say guess what? Whether you like it or not we are all in this together,” Sanders told the crowd. “If you are concerned about the children in your country and future generations, we’re gonna have to work together.

The Vermont senator went further and called out the money spent on arming countries and called for that money to be used to save the environment before it is too late.

Elizabeth Warren is tying the greed of corporations and their devastating impact on the environment to Washington.

“How is it, in a democracy, that we have a handful of corporations, that year after year keep dragging in bigger and bigger profits are the oceans keep rising, while your home disappears, while your children have asthma, while people die? That’s not right,” Warren said. “And the reason it is happening is Washington. Washington could have put a stop to this decades ago but they didn’t. Washington is corrupt.”

And, of course, people are pretty concerned that Joe Biden had one eye turn bloody during his time on that stage.

When asked about China’s CO2 emissions, Biden appeared to have had a blood vessel burst in his eye. He spoke about how China is one country that needs to make real changes to make sure they adhere to the Paris Climate Agreement that they had signed onto. In response, Biden called on sanctions to be levied against China if they continue to export coal technology.

Who was your favorite during the Climate Change Town Hall?

READ: Julián Castro Is Rolling Out A $10 Trillion Plan To Fight Climate Change

ICE Tried To Celebrate Human Rights Day, Julian Castro Was Not Having It

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ICE Tried To Celebrate Human Rights Day, Julian Castro Was Not Having It

Al Dia News

Human Rights Day commemorates the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. Immigration Customs and Enforcement’s (ICE) official account tweeted the agency was recognizing Human Rights Day by using a photo of multicultural children locking hands.

ICE, who has repeatedly been criticized during the Trump administration for several human rights violations including denying children flu vaccinations, separating families, and detaining migrants in inhumane and overcrowded living conditions often compared to concentration camps, received a huge backlash on Twitter – including a clapback from former HUD secretary Julian Castro.

ICE tweeted about Human Rights Day, and Twitter implodes at the audacity. 

ICE’s tweet to honor Human Rights Day included a link to a press release congratulating themselves for being such great big champions of human rights. 

“The women and men of ICE dedicate themselves every day to protecting the dignity and human rights of people around the world. Through our work investigating perpetrators of genocide, torture, war crimes and other violations of human rights, they are committed to seeking the prosecution and removal of human rights violators seeking refuge here.” Assistant Director for National Security David Shaw said in a press release, unironically. “We will not allow the United States to be a safe haven for those who violate human rights.”

In October, Castro visited a migrant detention center in Mexico to see what the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy really looked like. 

 “A lot of families along the border who are part of this MPP program have been subjected to violence, some have been kidnapped, some have been extorted, some have been treated a lot worse than what they were fleeing from,” Castro told BuzzFeed News

Under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) policy, migrants must wait in Mexican detention centers while their cases are processed in the U.S. 

“I don’t see humanitarian shelter,” Castro said of the detention center. “I see a lot of desperate parents, a lot of desperate children, sick children. I see a polluted river… It’s a disaster. People should not live like this.”

Julian Castro had a few choice words for ICE’s tweet. 

“Delete your account,” was Castro’s simple suggestion to the agency, adding, “we need to break up ICE and build a more humane immigration system.” 

The former HUD secretary advocates for largely redistributing ICE’s duties into other departments. Senator Bernie Sanders is the only candidate that has called for abolishing ICE, according to the Washington Post

“ICE needs to be overhauled,” Castro told The Post. “My immigration policy would transfer the enforcement responsibilities of the agency to other departments such as the DOJ to guarantee higher standards of conduct and more focused prosecutorial discretion — ensuring resources are focused on targeting criminals and national security threats.”

Castro was the first candidate to unveil an immigration plan calling for a complete reformation of our immigration system. He would end migrant detention except in serious cases, create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented families who don’t currently have one, decriminalize illegal border crossings, and establish a Marshall Plan for Central America. 

“I’ve been clear that I’m not going to criminalize desperation. We need to understand that these are human beings. They’re not a criminal record or an invader or an other. They’re human beings that are simply coming — like generations have before — in search of a better life,” Castro told Vox of his plan

Unlike the other candidates, in Castro’s “People First” plan he calls for a complete investigation into the Trump administration’s immigration policies. It states, “there must be a thorough investigation of ICE, Customs and Border Protection, and the Department of  Justice’s role in family separation policies instituted by the Trump administration.”

Critics did not miss the irony of ICE’s tweet.

“Satire is dead when the authoritarian gov’t agency that violently rounds up immigrants and throws them into privatized for-profit concentration camps where parents are separated from their children also pretends to honor Human Rights Day with a stock photo,” reporter Ben Norton tweeted. 

The Interfaith Immigration Coalition released a statement criticizing the agency wherein it calls out several ICE controversies including deporting cancer patients, military veterans, and taking asylum seeker Nebane Abienwi off life support against their family’s wishes. They called ICE’s tweet gaslighting given the agency’s track record. 

“ICE is one of the principal abusers of human rights in the United States,” said Katie Adams, Domestic Policy Advocate with the United Church of Christ and Co-Chair of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition“This is gaslighting in its purest form. December 10th is about holding ICE, and others like them across the globe, accountable for crimes against humanity. Pretending ICE is somehow part of the solution is outrageous.” 

Pete Buttigieg Supporter Wields Cane At Latino Black Lives Matter Protester During Event

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Pete Buttigieg Supporter Wields Cane At Latino Black Lives Matter Protester During Event

@MaxLewisTV / Twitter

After a Black Lives Matter (BLM) Latino activist disrupted a Pete Buttigieg event led by South Bend’s black leaders, an elderly woman attempted to end the interruption with her cane. Reporter Max Lewis captured BLM activist Igor Rodríguez interrupting councilwoman Sharon McBride to demand, “Who are these black leaders?” Democratic hopeful and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is polling at 0% with black South Carolina Democrats, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released last week. Buttigieg has received just six endorsements from current or former black or Latino elected officials compared to Biden’s 154 endorsements, according to a The New York Times report last month. Buttigieg has come under fire for his response to the death of Eric Logan, a black man, by white police officer Ryan O’Neill, and for the racial makeup of his police force.

With a crowd of protesters holding up BLM signs in the back of a room full of black Buttigieg supporters, Rodríguez stole the microphone from McBride and started to chant, “This is a farce. This is a farce.”

Soon after Black Lives Matter activist Igor Rodríguez started to question the political machination of the present leadership, an elderly woman stood up to hit him with her cane.

CREDIT: @MAXLEWISTV / TWITTER

“Who organized this?” Rodríguez shouted while McBride stood at the podium. “Let her talk!” shouted one audience member repeatedly. “These black leaders are here to talk about Pete Buttigieg when people are having a crisis because of police violence,” Rodríguez continued on. Then, an elderly woman suddenly stood up in an attempt to attack Rodríguez with her cane. Several people crowded around her to block her advances, granting Rodríguez an opportunity to swiftly grab the microphone off McBride’s podium. Without missing a beat, he went on to demand into the microphone, “Who chose these people as the black leaders? Who organized this? We have a police crisis in this town. Why are we talking about Pete Buttigieg?”

“What kind of nonsense is this? What kind of nonsense is this?,” Rodríguez repeats, going on to begin a chant that would be echoed by the BLM protesters in the back of the room. “This is a farce! This is a farce!”

Black voters have spoken out against Buttigieg for his response to the fatal police shooting of Eric Logan, 54.

CREDIT: @JOSHUASHORTWNDU / TWITTER

Officials say that South Bend Police Department Sgt. Ryan O’Neill was responding to reports of a car break-in on June 16 when he encountered Logan. O’Neill maintains that Logan approached him with a knife and refused to drop it, prompting O’Neill to shoot Logan, but there is no video surveillance of the incident. O’Neill did not turn on his siren lights, which are connected to body cam footage. O’Neill told the dispatcher that the “guy threw a knife at me,” but Logan’s family is suspect to believe that Logan would ever attack a police officer with a knife. The family also wants to know why Logan was taken to the hospital, with a bullet to the abdomen, in a police cruiser instead of an ambulance. O’Neill resigned after weeks of protest.

Buttigieg left the campaign trail to discuss race and public safety in the days following Logan’s death. He met with BLM activists and took calls with them, but the activists didn’t leave the conversation feeling heard. “I remember he felt very rushed as if he wanted to check it off a box as something that he did,” Melina Abdullah, the co-founder of the BLM Los Angeles chapter told NBC.

Rodríguez’s comments have sparked mixed reactions.

CREDIT: @MAXLEWISTV / TWITTER

The interaction between Rodríguez and the cane-wielding woman has been cited as “the perfect encapsulation of white liberals who try and tell black people how they should think,” according to one Twitter user. “A white man stealing a mic from a black woman and telling her what to think? I don’t know how BLM thinks that was a good publicity for them,” tweeted one black woman. “He’s Latino… and was standing proudly with and for his black brothers and sisters who were also there making their voices heard. Don’t discount them… Pete already does not.” Rodríguez considers himself a “Bernie bro”, according to his social media. 

Though people are universally united in support of #GrandmaWithCane.

CREDIT: @MAXLEWISTV / TWITTER

I don’t care who you are and what you represent, but don’t be out here disrespecting our elders. They should of let grandma swing that cane just once,” tweeted @__Tiffany__84. “But #GrandmaWithCane is bringing me Joy tonight! Warms my heart!  #Respect!” replied @mcfetsch. “The cane wielder is 100% tired grandparent energy,” another commenter announced. Others are flocking to #GrandmaWithCane as representative of “every fed-up voter.”

READ: Pete Buttigieg Faces Backlash After 2011 Video Claiming Minority Children Don’t Know Anyone Who ‘Values Education’ Resurfaces