The Birth of American Empire

Read more of this story here from Truthdig RSS by H. Patricia Hynes.

“The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire”

A book by Stephen Kinzer

By the final decade of the 19th century, the American project sanctified as Manifest Destiny was complete. The western boundary of the United States now stretched to the Pacific Ocean, leaving in its wake the genocide of Native Americans, the purchase of Louisiana without the consent of the governed, and a war of aggression against Mexico. What next? Pursue the colonialist mandate beyond continental borders—or not?

Stephen Kinzer’s “The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of the Empire” is a compact, bracing history of the answer to What next? It features the drama and decisions of four years—1898-1902—that, in Kinzer’s thesis, set the course of American wars, military expansion and overthrow of governments throughout the 20th and into the 21st century, interrupted with brief, impermanent periods of “isolationism.”  

Click here to read long excerpts from “The True Flag” at Google Books.

The author collates the eloquent rhetoric and caustic debates between expansionist members of Congress, including alpha male Theodore Roosevelt, aristocrat Henry Cabot Lodge, media giant William Randolph Hearst, and prominent anti-empire social critics and populist orators, including Mark Twain, William Jennings Bryan, and steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie to capture vividly the divided political passions and high stakes of the day.   

The empire builders used robust, positively coded terms like “the large policy” to label their aspirations for America’s pre-eminence among world powers and for the aggressive market ambitions of America’s capitalists. The anti-imperialists warned of the erosion of democracy at home, the rise of plutocracy, and the blowback from military subordination of other peoples against their will, forecasting what, a century later, Chalmers Johnson incisively named the “sorrows of empire.”

The Spanish-American War of 1898 was the spark that inflamed the U.S. quest for overseas colonies. It began with Cuba and quickly stolen Puerto Rico, then the Philippines, Guam (seized en route to the Philippines) and Hawaii—all in nine months. In public, expansionists framed these takeovers as beneficent: rescuing oppressed and backward people to catechize and civilize them.  

Independence movements in Cuba, the Philippines and Hawaii were brutally suppressed. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed, particularly in the Philippines, which waged guerrilla warfare until defeated in 1902. While American soldiers tortured and assassinated prisoners, burned villages and killed farm animals (a precursor to the later American War in Vietnam), a pliant press followed military orders and carried no unfavorable coverage.

The war in the Philippines was intensely terrorizing for women in particular. The Anti-Imperialist journal reported “American soldiers had turned Manila into a world center of prostitution.” Amplifying this too brief reference to the extreme toll of U.S. militarism on women, Janice Raymond writes in “Not a Choice, Not a Job,” that “U.S. prostitution colonialism, especially during the Philippine-American War, created the model for the U.S. military–prostitution complex in all parts of the world.” The system “assured U.S. soldiers certified sexual access to Filipinas and … became an intrinsic part of colonial practice in Cuba and Puerto Rico.”

Meanwhile, the empire seekers rubbed their covetous hands over the prospect of new customers for manufactured goods, and, in the case of the Philippines, a springboard to the Chinese and Japanese markets. Military bases in the Philippines and Guam would follow to protect and project U.S. economic and military power in East Asia.

Kinzer’s considerable talent joins meticulous research and engaging stories with a canine ability to sniff out the lies beneath the platitudes that sold the public on war. What he foregrounds so credibly are the oversized male egos of “large policy” politicians with more morally grounded and prescient anti-imperialist crusaders. Among these are Booker T. Washington who, in speaking against U.S. imperialism abroad, warned that the cancer in our midst—racism, the legacy of slavery—will prove to be as dangerous to the country’s well-being as an attack from without. Many African-American anti-imperialist groups emerged and assailed U.S. imperialism for its intrinsic white racist arrogance.

With much detail and nuance, Kinzer tracks the fatal flaws of the immensely talented and populist orator William Jennings Bryan who, for his contrarian vote that sealed the doom of the Philippines, helped determine the fate of our country’s future as an empire. Likewise, the seemingly passive aggressive William McKinley, elected in 1896 and again in 1900, is unmasked as the imperialist he grew to be over the course of his presidency.  

The final chapter, “The Deep Hurt,” traces the arc of U.S. militarism across the 20th century and into the 21st—a long and unfinished arc that is neither moral nor does it bend toward justice. At each end of this ongoing arc, the words of two military veterans of U.S. foreign wars distill and corroborate Kinzer’s stateside exposé in “The True Flag.” Brig. Gen. Smedley Butler, born in 1881, began his career as a teenage Marine combat soldier assigned to Cuba and Puerto Rico during the U.S. invasion of those islands. He fought next in the U.S. war in the Philippines, ostensibly against Spanish imperialism but ultimately against the Philippine revolution for independence. Next he was assigned to fight against China during the Boxer Rebellion and was also stationed in Guam. He gained the highest rank and a host of medals during subsequent U.S. occupations and military interventions in Central America and the Caribbean, popularly known as the Banana Wars.

As Butler confessed in his iconoclastic book, “War Is a Racket,” he was “a bully boy for American corporations,” making countries safe for U.S. capitalism. More an isolationist than anti-war, he nonetheless nailed the war profiteers—racketeers, in his unsparing lexicon—or the blood on their hands, as bracingly as any pacifist. War is the oldest, most profitable racket, he wrote—one in which billions of dollars are made for millions of lives destroyed.  

Making the world “safe for democracy” was, at its core, making the world safe for war profits. Of diplomacy Butler wrote, “The State Department…is always talking about peace but thinking about war.” He proposed an “Amendment for Peace”: In essence, keep military (Army, Navy, Air Force) on the continental U.S. for purpose of defense against military invasions here.   

And in the 21st century, Maj. Danny Sjursen, who served tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan, proposes that the Department of Defense should be renamed the Department of Offense. His reasons: American troops are deployed in 70 percent of the world’s countries; American pilots are currently bombing seven countries; and the U.S., alone among nations, has divided the six inhabited continents into six military commands. Our military operations exceed U.S. national interests and are “unmoored” from reasoned strategy and our society’s needs, Sjursen concludes.

For all of this book’s strengths, one glaring lacuna is the minimalist presence of women in Kinzer’s depiction of the early anti-imperialist movement. “The True Flag” is premised on history as made by ”great men”—good and bad. A “great woman” of this era, Jane Addams, elected vice-president of the Anti-Imperialist League after a brilliant speech, has only a bit part. Addams was renowned not only for her settlement house work at Hull House in Chicago, but also for speaking out unceasingly against imperialism and war. The FBI kept a file on her, and she was labeled among the most dangerous women in America. The author overlooked her influence in this era.

A second lacuna is omitting the original sins of imperial America: the genocide of Native Americans for their land, and the enslavement of Africans, which ultimately became the combustion engine of U.S. capitalism. Ironically, it was the pro-empire exhorters of 1898 who used the exploitative expansion within the early U.S. to defend extending Manifest Destiny to the Pacific region. “If we should not do this in the Philippines, why was it acceptable to do here?” challenged Henry Cabot Lodge, the imperialist senator from Massachusetts.  

The Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran could have penned these words from 1933 for our national dilemma today:

Pity the nation that acclaims the bully as hero and that deems the glittering conqueror bountiful. …

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The Birth of American Empire

Read more of this story here from Truthdig RSS by H. Patricia Hynes.

“The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire”

A book by Stephen Kinzer

By the final decade of the 19th century, the American project sanctified as Manifest Destiny was complete. The western boundary of the United States now stretched to the Pacific Ocean, leaving in its wake the genocide of Native Americans, the purchase of Louisiana without the consent of the governed, and a war of aggression against Mexico. What next? Pursue the colonialist mandate beyond continental borders—or not?

Stephen Kinzer’s “The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of the Empire” is a compact, bracing history of the answer to What next? It features the drama and decisions of four years—1898-1902—that, in Kinzer’s thesis, set the course of American wars, military expansion and overthrow of governments throughout the 20th and into the 21st century, interrupted with brief, impermanent periods of “isolationism.”  

Click here to read long excerpts from “The True Flag” at Google Books.

The author collates the eloquent rhetoric and caustic debates between expansionist members of Congress, including alpha male Theodore Roosevelt, aristocrat Henry Cabot Lodge, media giant William Randolph Hearst, and prominent anti-empire social critics and populist orators, including Mark Twain, William Jennings Bryan, and steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie to capture vividly the divided political passions and high stakes of the day.   

The empire builders used robust, positively coded terms like “the large policy” to label their aspirations for America’s pre-eminence among world powers and for the aggressive market ambitions of America’s capitalists. The anti-imperialists warned of the erosion of democracy at home, the rise of plutocracy, and the blowback from military subordination of other peoples against their will, forecasting what, a century later, Chalmers Johnson incisively named the “sorrows of empire.”

The Spanish-American War of 1898 was the spark that inflamed the U.S. quest for overseas colonies. It began with Cuba and quickly stolen Puerto Rico, then the Philippines, Guam (seized en route to the Philippines) and Hawaii—all in nine months. In public, expansionists framed these takeovers as beneficent: rescuing oppressed and backward people to catechize and civilize them.  

Independence movements in Cuba, the Philippines and Hawaii were brutally suppressed. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed, particularly in the Philippines, which waged guerrilla warfare until defeated in 1902. While American soldiers tortured and assassinated prisoners, burned villages and killed farm animals (a precursor to the later American War in Vietnam), a pliant press followed military orders and carried no unfavorable coverage.

The war in the Philippines was intensely terrorizing for women in particular. The Anti-Imperialist journal reported “American soldiers had turned Manila into a world center of prostitution.” Amplifying this too brief reference to the extreme toll of U.S. militarism on women, Janice Raymond writes in “Not a Choice, Not a Job,” that “U.S. prostitution colonialism, especially during the Philippine-American War, created the model for the U.S. military–prostitution complex in all parts of the world.” The system “assured U.S. soldiers certified sexual access to Filipinas and … became an intrinsic part of colonial practice in Cuba and Puerto Rico.”

Meanwhile, the empire seekers rubbed their covetous hands over the prospect of new customers for manufactured goods, and, in the case of the Philippines, a springboard to the Chinese and Japanese markets. Military bases in the Philippines and Guam would follow to protect and project U.S. economic and military power in East Asia.

Kinzer’s considerable talent joins meticulous research and engaging stories with a canine ability to sniff out the lies beneath the platitudes that sold the public on war. What he foregrounds so credibly are the oversized male egos of “large policy” politicians with more morally grounded and prescient anti-imperialist crusaders. Among these are Booker T. Washington who, in speaking against U.S. imperialism abroad, warned that the cancer in our midst—racism, the legacy of slavery—will prove to be as dangerous to the country’s well-being as an attack from without. Many African-American anti-imperialist groups emerged and assailed U.S. imperialism for its intrinsic white racist arrogance.

With much detail and nuance, Kinzer tracks the fatal flaws of the immensely talented and populist orator William Jennings Bryan who, for his contrarian vote that sealed the doom of the Philippines, helped determine the fate of our country’s future as an empire. Likewise, the seemingly passive aggressive William McKinley, elected in 1896 and again in 1900, is unmasked as the imperialist he grew to be over the course of his presidency.  

The final chapter, “The Deep Hurt,” traces the arc of U.S. militarism across the 20th century and into the 21st—a long and unfinished arc that is neither moral nor does it bend toward justice. At each end of this ongoing arc, the words of two military veterans of U.S. foreign wars distill and corroborate Kinzer’s stateside exposé in “The True Flag.” Brig. Gen. Smedley Butler, born in 1881, began his career as a teenage Marine combat soldier assigned to Cuba and Puerto Rico during the U.S. invasion of those islands. He fought next in the U.S. war in the Philippines, ostensibly against Spanish imperialism but ultimately against the Philippine revolution for independence. Next he was assigned to fight against China during the Boxer Rebellion and was also stationed in Guam. He gained the highest rank and a host of medals during subsequent U.S. occupations and military interventions in Central America and the Caribbean, popularly known as the Banana Wars.

As Butler confessed in his iconoclastic book, “War Is a Racket,” he was “a bully boy for American corporations,” making countries safe for U.S. capitalism. More an isolationist than anti-war, he nonetheless nailed the war profiteers—racketeers, in his unsparing lexicon—or the blood on their hands, as bracingly as any pacifist. War is the oldest, most profitable racket, he wrote—one in which billions of dollars are made for millions of lives destroyed.  

Making the world “safe for democracy” was, at its core, making the world safe for war profits. Of diplomacy Butler wrote, “The State Department…is always talking about peace but thinking about war.” He proposed an “Amendment for Peace”: In essence, keep military (Army, Navy, Air Force) on the continental U.S. for purpose of defense against military invasions here.   

And in the 21st century, Maj. Danny Sjursen, who served tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan, proposes that the Department of Defense should be renamed the Department of Offense. His reasons: American troops are deployed in 70 percent of the world’s countries; American pilots are currently bombing seven countries; and the U.S., alone among nations, has divided the six inhabited continents into six military commands. Our military operations exceed U.S. national interests and are “unmoored” from reasoned strategy and our society’s needs, Sjursen concludes.

For all of this book’s strengths, one glaring lacuna is the minimalist presence of women in Kinzer’s depiction of the early anti-imperialist movement. “The True Flag” is premised on history as made by ”great men”—good and bad. A “great woman” of this era, Jane Addams, elected vice-president of the Anti-Imperialist League after a brilliant speech, has only a bit part. Addams was renowned not only for her settlement house work at Hull House in Chicago, but also for speaking out unceasingly against imperialism and war. The FBI kept a file on her, and she was labeled among the most dangerous women in America. The author overlooked her influence in this era.

A second lacuna is omitting the original sins of imperial America: the genocide of Native Americans for their land, and the enslavement of Africans, which ultimately became the combustion engine of U.S. capitalism. Ironically, it was the pro-empire exhorters of 1898 who used the exploitative expansion within the early U.S. to defend extending Manifest Destiny to the Pacific region. “If we should not do this in the Philippines, why was it acceptable to do here?” challenged Henry Cabot Lodge, the imperialist senator from Massachusetts.  

The Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran could have penned these words from 1933 for our national dilemma today:

Pity the nation that acclaims the bully as hero and that deems the glittering conqueror bountiful. …

Read more

Cohen Secretly Taped Trump Discussing Payment To Playboy Model

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According to several reports out Friday, Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen secretly recorded a conversation he had with Trump two months before the presidential election. 

During that conversation, the two men reportedly discussed payments to a former Playboy model who claimed to have had an affair with Trump. 

The New York Times was the first to report the news, and outlets including CNN and ABC later confirmed with sources familiar with the matter.

Sources say the recordings were discovered during FBI raids on Cohen's office, hotel room and home earlier this year.

Federal prosecutors have been looking into Cohen's efforts to keep potentially damaging information about Trump under wraps ahead of the 2016 election. They're trying to determine whether those actions violated campaign-finance laws. And, as the Times notes, a recording like this "would be of keen interest" to investigators.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

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Ky. Medicaid Recipients Will Get Vision And Dental Benefits Back

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The state of Kentucky is reinstating vision and dental benefits for its hundreds of thousands of residents enrolled in Medicaid.

The coverage was cut on July 1 after a federal judge blocked Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin's plan to overhaul the state's Medicaid system, called Kentucky HEALTH. The cuts drew criticism from some Democratic lawmakers and others who advocate for public health. 

On Thursday, Kentucky's Cabinet for Health and Family Services announced the renewed benefits, saying the move is meant to "avoid a prolonged coverage gap" while the federal Medicaid agency reviews the state's program. Kentucky will cover eligible claims that were incurred after the court action, including those for non-emergency transportation services.  

The ruling is considered a snag in the Trump administration's plan encouraging states to implement Medicaid work requirements.  

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Trump on Tape About Paying Off Playboy Model, Report Says

Read more of this story here from Truthdig RSS by ERIC TUCKER and JENNIFER PELTZ / The Associated Press.

NEW YORK—President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer secretly recorded Trump discussing a possible payment to a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with him, a person familiar with an investigation into the attorney told The Associated Press on Friday.

The president’s current personal lawyer confirmed the conversation and said it showed Trump did nothing wrong, according to The New York Times, which first reported on the recording.

The FBI has the recording, which lawyer Michael Cohen made two months before Trump’s 2016 election, according to the person who spoke to the AP. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing inquiry, said the payment was never made.

The FBI raided Cohen’s office, home and hotel room in April amid an investigation into his business dealings, including any information on payments made in 2016 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal. She says she had an affair with Trump in 2006. He denies it.

The Wall Street Journal revealed, days before the election, that the National Enquirer — run by Trump supporter David Pecker — had paid $150,000 to silence McDougal. At the time, Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said, “We have no knowledge of any of this.”

The Washington Post, citing a person familiar with the recording, said Friday the recording captured Trump and Cohen discussing an effort the attorney planned to make to buy the rights to McDougal’s story for roughly $150,000 from the Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc.

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani told the Times the Republican president did discuss the payments to McDougal with Cohen on the less than two-minute-long recording, but that the payment was never made.

Giuliani says Trump told Cohen that if he did make a payment, to do it by check so it could be documented.

“Nothing in that conversation suggests that he had any knowledge of it in advance,” Giuliani told the newspaper. “In the big scheme of things, it’s powerful exculpatory evidence.”

Giuliani and Cohen haven’t immediately responded to messages from The Associated Press. Cohen lawyer Lanny Davis declined to comment to the Times.

McDougal’s lawyer, Peter Stris, did not immediately respond to a message.

Cohen, a self-described fixer for Trump for more than a decade, said last year that he “would take a bullet” for Trump. But Cohen told an interviewer earlier this month that he now puts “family and country first” and won’t let anyone paint him as “a villain of this story.”

Hours before the Times published its story, Cohen met in New York Friday morning with the Rev. Al Sharpton, a frequent critic of Trump.

Cohen and Sharpton said in tweets they have known each other for 20 years. Cohen contacted the civil rights activist in recent weeks, longtime Sharpton spokeswoman Rachel Noerdlinger said.

She said the two revisited conversations they’d had over the years when Cohen was Sharpton’s conduit to Trump during clashes over race issues and over Trump’s years of questioning the authenticity of former President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

Cohen tweeted there’s “no one better to talk to!” than Sharpton, who used his own Twitter account to advise readers: “Stay tuned.”

___

Tucker reported from Washington.

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Trump on Tape About Paying Off Playboy Model, Report Says

Read more of this story here from Truthdig RSS by ERIC TUCKER and JENNIFER PELTZ / The Associated Press.

NEW YORK—President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer secretly recorded Trump discussing a possible payment to a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with him, a person familiar with an investigation into the attorney told The Associated Press on Friday.

The president’s current personal lawyer confirmed the conversation and said it showed Trump did nothing wrong, according to The New York Times, which first reported on the recording.

The FBI has the recording, which lawyer Michael Cohen made two months before Trump’s 2016 election, according to the person who spoke to the AP. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing inquiry, said the payment was never made.

The FBI raided Cohen’s office, home and hotel room in April amid an investigation into his business dealings, including any information on payments made in 2016 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal. She says she had an affair with Trump in 2006. He denies it.

The Wall Street Journal revealed, days before the election, that the National Enquirer — run by Trump supporter David Pecker — had paid $150,000 to silence McDougal. At the time, Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said, “We have no knowledge of any of this.”

The Washington Post, citing a person familiar with the recording, said Friday the recording captured Trump and Cohen discussing an effort the attorney planned to make to buy the rights to McDougal’s story for roughly $150,000 from the Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc.

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani told the Times the Republican president did discuss the payments to McDougal with Cohen on the less than two-minute-long recording, but that the payment was never made.

Giuliani says Trump told Cohen that if he did make a payment, to do it by check so it could be documented.

“Nothing in that conversation suggests that he had any knowledge of it in advance,” Giuliani told the newspaper. “In the big scheme of things, it’s powerful exculpatory evidence.”

Giuliani and Cohen haven’t immediately responded to messages from The Associated Press. Cohen lawyer Lanny Davis declined to comment to the Times.

McDougal’s lawyer, Peter Stris, did not immediately respond to a message.

Cohen, a self-described fixer for Trump for more than a decade, said last year that he “would take a bullet” for Trump. But Cohen told an interviewer earlier this month that he now puts “family and country first” and won’t let anyone paint him as “a villain of this story.”

Hours before the Times published its story, Cohen met in New York Friday morning with the Rev. Al Sharpton, a frequent critic of Trump.

Cohen and Sharpton said in tweets they have known each other for 20 years. Cohen contacted the civil rights activist in recent weeks, longtime Sharpton spokeswoman Rachel Noerdlinger said.

She said the two revisited conversations they’d had over the years when Cohen was Sharpton’s conduit to Trump during clashes over race issues and over Trump’s years of questioning the authenticity of former President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

Cohen tweeted there’s “no one better to talk to!” than Sharpton, who used his own Twitter account to advise readers: “Stay tuned.”

___

Tucker reported from Washington.

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Asylum Case Wins Vary Greatly By City, But It’s Unclear Why

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While Attorney General Jeff Sessions is raising the asylum eligibility bar, the fates of hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers still rest in the hands of 334 immigration judges in 60 courts across the nation

The odds of winning asylum — or receiving a deportation order — seems to depend on who hears the case and where, as well as what country the applicant is fromAccording to Reuters, Charlotte, North Carolina, deports 84 percent of immigrants who come to court. That number jumps to 89 percent in Atlanta. But in San Francisco, the deportation order rate is only 36 percent. In New York City? Only 24 percent. Immigrant rights advocates have long argued that this disparity between courts proves how arbitrary the system is.

But the head of the union that represents immigration judges told Newsy that drawing conclusions from those numbers is misleading and simplistic. 

"Judges are not given the exact same combination of cases. So it's kind of like trying to compare apples and oranges. You can't do that — each case is really fundamentally different," said Ashley Tabaddor, the president of the National Association of Immigration Judges. "I keep coming back and saying the judge has to make a decision based on the facts of the case, based on the law of the case." 

SEE MORE: How To Reduce The Immigration Case Backlog? Depends Who You Ask

"From our perspective, we look to see, 'Is there a reason to question whether that decision or whether that judge mishandled that case?' So if it turns out that a particular case was incorrectly decided, the parties can take up an appeal and, you know, get it reversed. So unless and until you can really demonstrate that there's been an error made, then I'm not comfortable with drawing any sort of conclusion about any particular geographic location or judges," she added. 

Besides where and by whom a case is heard, asylum outcomes can vary based on other factors, like whether someone is a convicted criminal when they apply or whether they have a lawyer. To get a better sense of how the asylum system truly works, Tabaddor welcomes anyone to observe her court and those of her colleagues.

"A lot of the misconception is washed away when you come in and you see the challenges, as well as what the judges are doing every day for the public, and how they are delivering and protecting our American judicial system," Tabaddor said.

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Trump Administration Extends Protection For Somali Immigrants

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The Trump Administration is extending the Temporary Protected Status designation for Somalia.

TPS was created to protect immigrants that fled to the U.S. due to an environmental disaster, ongoing armed conflict or other extraordinary circumstance back home. Those under the designation are granted temporary protection from deportation and allowed work permits.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, there are around 500 Somalis currently in the U.S. under that protection, but their status was set to expire in September.

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said the decision was made after reviewing the "ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions"in Somalia.

Somalis in the war torn country are facing religious persecution, targeted attacks on civilians and famine.

Somalis that already have the status can now re-register for an additional 18 months of protection. 

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Judge Dismisses Climate Change Lawsuit Against Major Oil Companies

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A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against five major oil companies for their role in climate change.

The lawsuit was brought by New York City against Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, BP and Shell. The New York Times reports the city's case was considered a long shot and hinged on a state law allowing courts to hold certain parties responsible for interfering with property use.

New York City said the companies needed to pay for damage done by flooding, extreme weather and other effects of climate change.

The judge dismissed the case Thursday, saying the issue of climate change wasn't one for the courts and should be left up to Congress and the executive branch to deal with.

A similar case brought by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, California, was dismissed last month. The judge in that case also said the issue of climate change was for the other branches of government to deal with.

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