Posted on May 19, 2017 in Countdown

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Spiraling Out of Control

By now, you must’ve heard about the sensitive and highly classified information Donald Trump passed on to the Russians after reportedly receiving it from Israel, or was it from Jordan? Anyway, the intel is said to have “jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State”. Shortly after the story broke, White House staff had to turn up TVs to “drown out yelling between Spicer [and] Bannon,” which either means Bannon was cheating on a tic-tac-toe match up, or they were worked up about the PR mishandling of the news. After National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster denied Trump’s passing of sensitive intelligence to the Russians, Trump himself took to Twitter to contradict McMaster, confirming and justifying the passing of the intelligence.  But why are we talking about this scandal when a far bigger Trump scandal is in the news, namely the former FBI Director James Comey’s memo saying the president had asked him to drop the investigation against former national security advisor Michael Flynn’s ties to Russia. And who else to be appointed to investigate the Russia scandal other than a former FBI Director (no, not the same one just fired, though that would’ve been interesting). Robert Mueller is on the case, which Trump has called “the single greatest witch hunt” in US political history. I mean, the only thing that could distract from a scandal this big is… another scandal? At this rate, the next one can’t be too far off (hint: the next item might set the stage for one).

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A Fun Trip to the Middle East

So Trump is heading to the Middle East today, and his first stop will be Israel, where he will deliver a speech about Judaism, written by an anti-Semite. We’re totally kidding, that would be ridiculous! His first stop will actually be Saudi Arabia, where he will deliver a speech about Islam, written by Stephen Miller. Who is Stephen Miller, you ask? A former advocate for a campaign to stir anti-Muslim hysteria on campus, and the guy who co-authored Trump’s Muslim ban. Of course that’s the guy to write the Islam speech for Trump’s visit to the region! Come on, it’ll be thoughtful and enlightening (cough, cough). Up next: Trump will go to Israel, where Israeli-Palestinian peace will magically spread and it will be so great, like, the greatest peace you’ve ever seen. Of course, if the speech in Saudi Arabia is awesome and Israeli-Palestinian peace does come, blame only yourself for reading any sarcasm into anything we’ve said here.

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Homeland Insecurity

We live in dangerous times, and the only way to keep our country safe is to have smart, thoughtful, incisive leaders at the Department of Homeland Security. Of course, there are many qualified security experts, but a high level, assistant secretary position was, according to Sheriff David Clarke, just offered to him. He’s a man so perceptive that he was on to the joint ISIS/Black Lives Matter plot to destroy America before anyone else. From this day forth, DHS will no longer be held back by the shackles of “facts” and “commonsense”. If the terrorists are going to take their fight from the physical to the digital space, DHS will one-up them by taking our defenses from reality to imagination! Ok, but on a more serious note, do you know how frightening this is to the civil rights of... just about everyone? But hold your horses, DHS thinks Sheriff Clarke may have gotten ahead of himself a little, announcing that an official announcement about the Clarke announcement has yet to be announced (sorry, we over did that one).

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Are You With the Muslims or the Christians?

Here at AAI, we’ve always had this strange idea that we can stand in solidarity with all religious communities facing persecution or demonization. But a divisive effort is underway to pit religious communities against each other, and it’s closer to home than you think! Familiar with the Clarion Project? That’s the hate group responsible for several films fomenting anti-Muslim sentiment, at least one of which was called “wacky” and “objectionable” by the New York Police Department, and “Hate-filled” and “dangerous” by the New York Times. Well, they’re still at it, but they’ve gotten a little smarter. Their latest film ‘Faithkeepers,’ unlike their previous, more overtly bigoted ones, purports to address the absolutely legitimate fears of Christian communities in the Middle East, who face an alarming increase in violence and intimidation at the hands of extremists (which we’ve consistently spoken out about). But subtle and insidious messaging throughout the film clearly aims to demonize Muslims as inherently violent and intolerant. To explain what’s wrong with the film to audiences less familiar with the Clarion Project’s hate-filled agenda, we made this video on YouTubeFacebook, and Twitter. Feel free to share it with anyone who has seen or is considering seeing the film, and visit us here for more resources.

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400 A DAY

There has been a lot of talk about what Trump has accomplished in his first 100 days, but one stat in particular caught our attention: The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) announced 41,000 arrests of undocumented immigrants or suspected undocumented immigrants. That’s an average of 400 per day, and is nearly a 40% increase compared to pre-Trump levels. There have also been two deaths this week in ICE detention facilities, one of which is of suspected suicide after an inmate spent two weeks in solitary confinement. And more than10,000 undocumented immigrants detained by immigration authorities in California alone each year are the parents of US citizen children. Human Rights Watch has criticized immigration detention facilities for “punitive and often inhumane conditions, including subpar medical care, which has contributed to deaths in custody”. We have nothing to add on this subject at this time, this is just a reminder to keep the most vulnerable among us in your thoughts.