Liberals’ worst nightmare: a second supreme court pick for Trump

A future conservative nominee could affect issues ranging from womens reproductive health to LGBT rights

When, merely weeks after taking office, Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to the supreme court, the freshly minted US president made good on a central promise of his campaign: to replace the late justice Antonin Scalia with a bona fide conservative.

That moment portended what is shaping up to be among the most indelible of Trump’s triumphs- the reshaping of the federal judiciary with the appointment of dozens of judges with an ideological bent toward the administration’s agenda.

Republicans are working with Trump to make a record-breaking number of appointments to federal tribunals. These new, largely young, white men will be in a position to rule on legislation that could change America for years.

But the most contentious appointment would be a second nomination to the highest court in the land. The supreme court has over decades delivered landmark decisions on issues from abortion to affirmative action and same-sex matrimony. The possibilities for Trump to install another justice on the nine-seat bench, some legal expert argue, could have profound repercussions on issues ranging from women’s reproductive health to LGBT rights.

With speculation mount over the possible retirement of supreme court justice Anthony Kennedy, Trump could have a lasting impact on reshaping America’s most important court.

” If President Trump fills another vacancy on the court it will have an enormous effect ,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of Berkeley School of Law at the University of California.

” It will create the most conservative court since the mid-1 930 s ,” he added.” It would entail a majority to overrule Roe v Wade and to allow states to prohibit abortions, to eliminate all manner of affirmative action, to eliminate constitutional limits on illegal police conduct .”

The president himself underscored the power of future vacancies earlier this year, where reference is tweeted that Republican” must ALWAYS hold the Supreme court !”.

Donald J. Trump (@ realDonaldTrump)

THE SECOND AMENDMENT WILL NEVER BE REPEALED! As much as Democrat would like to see this happen, and despite the words yesterday of former Supreme Court Justice Stevens, NO WAY. We need more Republicans in 2018 and must ALWAYS hold the Supreme court!

March 28, 2018

While it is not unusual for presidents to appoint supreme court justices with similar ideological tilts, Trump’s comments all but reinforced that he is unlikely to nominate a consensus pick if the opportunity. In November, the president updated his shortlist of nominees for a hypothetical vacancy, adding to a roster of proven judicial conservatives.

While the likelihood of a pending vacancy is far from corroborated, judicial watchers have set their sights on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a progressive icon who turned 85 this year, and Kennedy, a critical sway election who has been the subject of retirement rumors for the second straight year.

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the oldest sitting magistrate at age 85, was appointed by Bill Clinton in 1993. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/ AP

Any vacancy prior to 2020 would almost certainly be filled by Trump, and a rules change adopted by Republican during the Gorsuch nomination oppose enabled the Senate to confirm supreme court justices with a simple majority vote.

Under the current balance of the court, Kennedy and the chief justice, John Roberts, though conservative appointees, have at times sided with the bench’s liberal justices.

Kennedy was the architect of several major decisions on LGBT rights, most notably the supreme court’s milestone ruling in 2015 establishing same-sex wedding as the law of the land. He is being closely watched as the likely choosing vote on the court’s highly expected decision considering a example of a baker in the state of Colorado who refused to provide a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

Camilla Taylor, the director of constitutional litigation at Lambda Legal, their own nationals civil rights group focused on LGBT issues, said Kennedy’s previous decisions in the LGBT community’s favor” helped bring our relationships and our families out of the shadows and recognized the full human beings and citizenship of our community on the court “.

Taylor voiced concern thata second Trump supreme court nominee would present” an immediate and unambiguous threat to the LGBT community .”

” Another conservative Trump justice would jeopardize our right to marry who we love, and also our fundamental equality under the law including protections from discrimination in housing, public accommodations, employment and education .”

Some nonetheless argue that if the supposition around Kennedy’s departure proved true, it would not fundamentally alter the supreme court.

Brian Fitzpatrick, a professor of statute at Vanderbilt University, said Republican pledges to overrule Roe v Wade, the supreme court’s 1973 ruling that decriminalize abortion in the US, are more designed to energize conservative voters than they are grounded in reality.

” Even if we have a more conservative replacement for Kennedy, the conservatives are not going to overrule the human rights of an abortion, they’re not going to overrule lesbian wedding ,” Fitzpatrick said.

” The reality is the big cases where he goes with the liberals are cases that I doubt the conservatives have the belly to reverse, even if they had the votes next year.

” That would be too dramatic a change in national societies ,” he added.” It would cause all kinds of turmoil and backlash in the political system. People like Chief Justice Roberts, he’s a very institutionally minded person. He’s not going to risk the supreme court’s credibility and consistently by operating it like a weathervane .”

If Trump were to oversee a supreme court vacancy, a prevailing topic remains as to whether Democrat in the Senate would force a similar blockade of the seat as Republican did under former chairperson Obama – should they retake the Senate in November’s elections

Democratic wounds have yet to mend over the repudiation of Republican to grant Merrick Garland, Obama’s nominee to replace Scalia in 2016, a hearing or a election.

The Republican opposition went despite the fact that Garland held a reputation as a widely respected centrist judge on the US appeals court.

Progressives now believe Democrat should devote any future Trump nominee what has become known in Washington as” the Garland treatment “.

Prominent Democrat have signaled reservations about resorting to the same tactics, which they argue would risk further eroding institutional norms. But Senator Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, suggested an overtly partisan pick by Trump would not receive much of an audience with Democrats.

” The topic is who you put up ,” Warren said in an interview with Pod Save America, a political podcast hosted by former Obama aides.

” The people that George W Bush would put in wouldn’t be exactly the same as the people that Barack Obama would put in. But they’d be along the same road .”

Warren noted that the climate had changed, even as she conceded it was counterproductive to follow in McConnell’s footsteps and state from the outset that Democrats would block any Trump nominee regardless of background.

” I think that’s wrong ,” she said.” But I do think you send a Neil Gorsuch to us, and the answer is no. We do hearings, we do it substantively, but the answer would be no .”

McConnell, for his part, has said any supreme court vacancy this term would be dealt with expeditiously and before the midterm elections.

” It would be a top priority ,” he told NPR last week.

” If we get a vacancy on the supreme court this year, we’ll dealing with this problem .”

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US on brink of trade war with EU, Canada and Mexico as tit-for-tat tariffs begin

Jean-Claude Juncker pledges retaliation as EU companies face 25% tariffs on steel and 10% on aluminiumTrump imposes tariffs business live

The United States and its traditional allies are on the brink of a full-scale trade war after European and Canadian leaders reacted swiftly and angrily to Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium producers.

The president of the European commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, promised immediate reprisal after the US commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, told EU companies would face a 25% responsibility on steel and a 10% responsibility on aluminium from midnight on Thursday.

Europe, along with Canada and Mexico, had been granted a temporary reprieve from the tariffs after they were unveiled by Donald Trump two months ago.

However, Ross sent shudders through global financial markets when he said insufficient progression had been constructed in talks with three of the US’s traditional allies to reduce America’s trade deficit and that the waiver was being lifted.

Wall Street slumped as the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down more than 250 points as investors sold off shares in manufacturers and corporations with global reaching. Shares across Europe also declined.

The move from Washington- which comes at a time when Trump is also threatening protectionist action against China- triggered an immediate and angry response from Canada, Brussels and from individual European capitals.

Juncker “ve called the” US move ” unjustified” and said the EU had no choice but to hit back with tariffs on US goods and a case at the World Trade Organisation in Geneva.

” We will defend the Union’s interests, in full compliance with international trade statute ,” he added. Brussels has already announced that it would target Levi’s jeans, Harley-Davidson motorbikes and bourbon whiskey.

The UK, which has hopes of agreeing a trade liberalisation deal with the US after Brexit, carried alarm at Ross’s announcement.

Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, told Britain would not rule out countermeasures or taking Washington to the WTO, which arbitrates on global trade disputes.

Speaking to Sky News he attacked the tariffs as “patently absurd” and recommended the US to think again.” It would be a great pity if we ended up in a tit-for-tat trade dispute with our closest friends .”

A spokesman for Number 10 said the government was ” profoundly disillusioned” the US had decided to apply the tariffs and that Theresa May would raise the issue with Trump at next week’s meeting of the G7 industrial nations in Canada.

” The UK and other European Union countries are close allies of the US and should be permanently and fully exempted from the American measures on steel and aluminium .”

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, called the US tariffs illegal and a mistake, while the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, issued an immediate like-for-like reaction- announcing tariffs of up to 25% on US importations worth up to 16.6 bn Canadian dollars( PS9. 6bn ), which was the total value of Canadian steel exportations to the US last year. The tariffs will encompass steel and aluminium as well as orange juice, whiskey and other food products.

With the White House having used national security legislation to introduce the tariffs, Trudeau called the measures an “affront” to Canadians who had opposed alongside their American comrades in arms.” That Canada could be considered a national security threat to the US is inconceivable .”

Canada’s foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, went further calling her country’s $16.6 bn retaliatory tariffs” the strongest trade action Canada has taken in the postwar era. This is a very strong response. It is a proportionate reply, it is perfectly reciprocal … this is a very strong Canadian action in response to a very bad US decision .”

Mexico also denounced the move, saying it” deeply regrets and disapproves” the US decision.

The economics minstry said it would adopt equivalent measures on a variety of products, including flat steel, lamps, pork legs and shoulders, sausages and food preparations, apples, grapes, cranberries, various cheeses, and other products,” up to an amount comparable to damage caused by the United States’ action “.

It added:” This measure will be in force for as long as the US government preserves the imposed tariffs .”

Hopes remain that the fallout could be contained. Analysts at the research firm Oxford Economics said the economic hit for Europe would be well below 0.1% of GDP, as steel and aluminium merely make up a small part of the bloc’s overall exports around the world. However, they warned a tit-for-tat escalation leading to tariffs on other goods, such as vehicles, would have dire repercussions for global trade.

Last week, the Trump administration launched a national security investigated by car imports on national security grounds that could lead to tariffs on automobiles from Europe, Japan and South Korea, should trade tensions spiraling further out of control.

For the struggling UK steel industry, the news of US tariffs inspired fresh alarm. The director of UK Steel, Gareth Stace, told:” President Trump had already loaded the gun and today, we now know that the US administration has unfortunately fired it and potentially started a damaging trade war.

” Since President Trump stated his plans to impose blanket tariffs on steel imports nearly three months ago, the UK steel sector had hoped for the best but still dreaded the worst. With the expiration of the EU exemption now confirmed to take effect tomorrow[ Friday, 1 June ], unfortunately our cynicism was justified and we will now find damage not only to the UK steel sector but also the US economy .”

Representatives for the US metal industry also expressed disappointment.” Make no mistake: restricting the raw material render in the U.S. and imposing tariffs on imports from our closest trading partners places American producers directly in harm’s style ,” said Paul Nathanson of The Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers and Users.

The CBI cautioned the EU against overreacting to Washington’s move. Ben Digby, international director at the employers’ organisation, told:” The president’s measures are deeply concerning for firms in the UK, for close trading partners and across supplying chains .”

Trump announced his tariffs in March as a route of protecting US firms from inexpensive imports but Digby said the problem was caused by global overproduction of the metals and needed to be tackled jointly by Brussels and Washington.

” There are no winners in a trade war, which will damage prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic. These tariffs could lead to a protectionist domino effect, damaging firms, employees and consumers in the US, UK and many other trading partners. Now is not the time for any disproportionate escalation, and we urge the EU to consider this when initiating its response .”

But neither side showed any immediate sign of being willing to defuse the tension. Cecilia Malmstrom, the European trade commissioner, said the Brussels response would be proportionate and in accordance with WTO rules. Ross shrugged off the threat of EU retaliation, saying it would have little impact on the US economy.

Manfred Weber, the leader of the European People’s party, the largest group in the European parliament and a key ally of German chancellor Angela Merkel, warned that treating the EU as the “enemy” would damage US consumers.

” Europe does not want a trade conflict. We believe in a fair trade regime from which everybody benefits ,” he told.

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” We have tried everything to build dialogue and mutual understanding predominate. If President Trump decides to treat Europe as an adversary, we will have no choice but to defend European industry, European jobs, European interests .”

Ross blamed insufficient progress in talks with Mexico and Canada over changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement( Nafta) for the US’s decision to slap tariffs on its two neighbours.

Mexico’s under-secretary of foreign trade, Juan Carlos Baker, tweeted:” Mexico categorically rejects any unilateral, protectionist measures that distort trading in North America .”

China, too, warned that it would respond with tit-for-tat action of its own.

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Trevor Noah on Roseanne: ‘You know who I blame for this? Donald Trump’

Late-night comics discussed the cancellation of Roseanne after the stars racist tweet about a former Obama adviser

Late-night hosts on Tuesday discussed the cancellation of the hit sitcom Roseanne after its namesake star posted a racist tweet comparing Valerie Jarrett, the African American former adviser to Barack Obama, to an ape.

Trevor Noah

” We were off for a week and it is really absolutely amazing to be back on the air ,” Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah began.” We got the British remake of Get by. God himself got #MeToo’d. The North Korea summit crashed harder than Solo. Harvey Weinstein got to live out his handcuff fantasy. And the NFL announced that players are welcome to publicly protest, as long as they do it in private .”

” But let’s move on today’s big news breaking in Hollywood ,” he told, before depicting news segments encompassing ABC’s decision to cancel its highest-rated present after Roseanne Barr’s tweets.

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” That’s right, Roseanne’s show’s cancelled because she tweeted out racist stuff ,” Noah continued.” You know who I blame for this? Donald Trump, that’s who. He makes all of his supporters think they’re as impervious as he is .”

” Come on, everyone, you can tweet what it is you want ,” the host joked, imitating Trump.” Nothing happens !”

” But it’s not the same for everyone else ,” Noah added.” It’s like he’s superman telling normal people to follow his result .”

Jimmy Kimmel

Meanwhile, ABC’s own Jimmy Kimmel discussed Roseanne and his own network’s response to her behavior.

” While we’re on the subject of terrible things posted online today, the biggest narrative of the working day today was Roseanne ,” Kimmel said.

” You’re not going to believe this ,” the host added, sarcastically,” but she tweeted something outrageous. I know. The chairman did it, too. It’s crazy .”

Kimmel went on:” ABC decided to cancel their highest-rated prove, Roseanne, following a tweet in which Roseanne compared an African American woman, a former adviser to chairperson Obama, to an ape, which did not sit well with ABC management or anyone with a brain .”

The host then has pointed out that pulling the plug on Roseanne, which just recently finished the first season of its reboot, and its 10 th overall,” is a big blow to business “.

” We don’t have much on this network ,” Kimmel joked.” We’re hoping the NBA finals goes 11 games this year. We’re still airing America’s funniest home videos .”

” Roseanne was very bigly hit for ABC ,” he continued.” Hear me out: merely because Roseanne is gone, doesn’t mean the whole show has to go. The indicate must go on, that’s what we say in show business .”

” With that told, I have an idea that I think induces this work for everyone ,” the host concluded, before airing a taunt advertising for Dan, a sitcom featuring all the Roseanne characters, except Roseanne, and starring her husband Dan Connor, played by John Goodman.

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The rise and fall of Roseanne: how TV’s biggest show fell apart

The decision to axe the reach sitcom resurgence aims debates over the off-screen bigotry shown by its starring, Roseanne Barr

ABC’s decision to cancel Roseanne- after its eponymous superstar compared Valerie Jarrett, a black former adviser to Barack Obama, to an ape- send growls through the entertainment industry. Barr’s tweet, in which she also “joked” that Jarrett had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, caused a public outcry, resulting in swift condemnations of Barr from her own casting mates and, ultimately, the network’s unprecedented decision to pull the plug on its ratings juggernaut merely one week after its season finale.

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Roseanne Barr’s TV display cancelled after ‘abhorrent’ tweets- video

In a statement constructed hours after Barr’s tweets, which quickly prompted calls for the network to discipline her, ABC Entertainment chairwoman Channing Dungey called Roseanne’s post” abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values”, announcing the sitcom would be cancelled. In a tweet, Disney CEO Bob Iger echoed Dungey’s statement and told:” There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing .” Jarrett, who on Tuesday night will serendipitously appear in an MSNBC town hall called ” Everyday Racism in America”, called Barr’s comments a” teach moment “.

The network’s cancellation marks something of a denouement to Barr’s rapid return to the public eye and subsequent fall from grace. It was only a few months ago that Roseanne, which went on a two-decade hiatus before ABC resurrected the series for a 10 th season, earned Donald Trump’s seal of approval following its season premiere, which, with 18 m spectators, was television’s highest-rated comedy telecast in nearly four years.

Barr, a vocal supporter of Trump’s who in February told ABC” we’re lucky to have him as a chairperson “, reportedly even received a congratulatory call from him after the season premiere. Aside from its colossal viewership, critical honors followed the reboot, too. Roseanne was praised for having its finger on the political pulse and harnessing the appeal of the original series, which Barr herself once called” television’s first feminist and working-class sitcom “.

Indeed, the show’s espouse by the political right reflected just how radically its starring had changed her tune since the ninth season finale aired in 1997.” I wrote on the original Roseanne where we used to denounce nativism, racism& homophobia ,” Danny Zuker, the executive heads producer of ABC’s Modern Family, wrote on Twitter Tuesday.” Nauseating to assure what she’s become .”

Roseanne
Roseanne Barr and John Goodman. Photo: Moviestore Collection/ Rex

In spite of the revival’s popularity, accusations of combating racism and insensitivity continues to road Barr, whose on-screen alter ego Roseanne Connor plays a working-class Trump supporter (” He talked about tasks- he said he’d shake things up “) at odds with her liberal sister Jackie and struggling with an addiction to prescription drugs. In an episode that aired earlier this month, for instance, Roseanne suspects her Muslim neighbor is constructing a bomb, saying they’re probably from “Talibanjistan.” Predictably, the episode was roundly criticized as Islamophobic, a charge Barr responded to on her social media platform of choice.

” I like to do TV episodes about REAL ISSUES& REAL Person ,” she wrote.” That’s what I do. Next season will be even more current events-I will challenge every sacred cow in USA .”

There was also pushback to an apparent dig made by Roseanne’s character at two racially diverse ABC programs, black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat. In one episode Dan, Roseanne’s on-screen husband, says that the couple slept through” all the indicates about black and Asian households ,” to which Roseanne sarcastically replies,” They’re just like us !”

Although the prove rarely invoked Trump after its premiere, inducing only cursory references to contemporary hot-button topics like gender fluidity and national anthem protests, its erstwhile starring has a pattern of trafficking in the same kinds of culture wars and conspiracies as the president. Barr’s tweet about Jarrett was not even the first time she’d compared a black female Obama official to an ape: in a since-deleted tweet from 2013, she called former national security adviser Susan Rice a” man with big swinging ape balls “.

Barr’s also tweeted about “Pizzagate” and the assassination of DNC staffer Seth Rich; falsely claimed Chelsea Clinton was married to a nephew of George Soros; and called Hillary Clinton an “anti-Semite” and Huma Abedin a” filthy nazi whore “. In March, she said Trump” has freed so many children held in bondage to pimps all over this world”, parroting a rightwing conspiracy about pedophilic, Hollywood-controlled sexuality rings.

And when Barr ran for president as a representative of the Peace and Freedom party, she wrote a letter to Congress citing the Boston Marathon bombing as an example of the Obama administration” contriving false flag terror attacks to remove the second amendment “.

Laurie
Laurie Metcalf and Roseanne Barr in May. Photo: Stephen Lovekin/ Variety/ Rex/ Shutterstock

Barr’s history of rogue, racist or untrue statements meant that ABC was taking a risk developing a new season of Roseanne, a risk that, until Tuesday, had indisputably borne fruit. But while the sitcom was lauded for tapping into a demographic many considered underserved, constructing Barr a rightwing icon, there remained a drumbeat of trepidation about her incendiary social media presence.

When asked last August about the possibility that Barr’s tweets would stimulate the display “untenable,” ABC’s president Channing Dungey told:” I try to simply worry about the things that I can control .” And in an interview with the casting of Roseanne, co-showrunner Whitney Cummings said she” became the PC police” while working on the reveal:” I was the’ you can’t say that anymore’ and’ now this is the word we use’ one ,” she told the Hollywood Reporter.

Before ABC’s decision to cancel Roseanne, which had already been picked up for an 11 th season, some of Barr’s colleagues carried their objection to her posts on Twitter. Wanda Sykes, a consulting producer on the series, announced she’d be leaving the display, and Sara Gilbert, who plays Roseanne’s daughter Darlene, tweeted that” Roseanne’s recent comments about Valerie Jarrett, and so much more, are abhorrent and do not reflect the beliefs of our casting and crew or anyone associated with our present .” Emma Kenney, who plays Darlene’s daughter Harris, also chimed in:” I am hurt, embarrassed, and disappointed ,” she wrote.” The racist and distasteful commentaries from Roseanne are inexcusable .” Other performers, like Julianne Moore, Don Cheadle and Debra Messing, denounced Barr’s comments and called for her to be fired.

But the reaction to Barr’s racism was not entirely reproachful. Alex Jones, the alt-right radio host, expressed his support for Barr, writing” it’s time for you to strike back against these THOUGHT POLICE and really shake them up !” while English media personality Katie Hopkins added,” Never apologise @therealroseanne It merely promotes the bastards .”

Once the dust settles on the partisan combat provoked by ABC’s decision, though, Roseanne’s cancellation marks another example of a prominent celebrity falling on their own sword while many wait for those higher up in the government to be held to a similar standard.

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Training Starbucks staff wont fix racism but changing the rules will | Gaby Hinsliff

A day off learning about unconscious bias will have little impact. What will work is to allow anyone be left in its coffee shops without buying, writes Guardian columnist Gaby Hinsliff

How long does it take to change someone’s mind?

A lot longer than it takes to read a newspaper article, for a start. A lifetime isn’t enough, in some cases. And that’s why there has been some scepticism about Starbucks’ decision to close thousands of stores to give staff so-called ” unconscious bias” educate, or conferences in recognising and overcoming the ingrained prejudices most of us don’t even know we have.

The move follows an infamous incident in one of its Philadelphia stores where staff called police after noticing two black humen hanging out without buying anything; both were taken away in handcuffs even as fellow customers protested that they hadn’t done anything wrong. When it turned out the two men had just been innocently waiting for a friend, Starbucks observed itself branded racist overnight. Would a store manager actually call the cops on two white tycoons waiting for a colleague, or a bunch of giggly teenage daughters sharing one gingerbread latte? So why were black humen deemed uniquely threatening? The whole thing was particularly excruciating in a country where older people of colour still vividly recollect segregation in eateries, or being chased out of drugstores as children by white owners, but the backlash spread well beyond the US. And so Starbucks joined an increasing number of household names( including Guardian News and Media) and public sector organisations known to use unconscious bias training.

It’s not hard to see why it’s a growth industry; from the BBC’s gender pay scandal to the current furore over whether Oxbridge admits enough black students, the concealed premises most of us can’t even acknowledge we make are increasingly likely to land organisations in trouble. What is less clear is whether a morning of sitting through diversity videos can really achieve anything beyond some free publicity.

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Police policemen apprehending Rashon Nelson( pictured) and Donte Robinson

At best, the jury is out on whether unconscious bias training works. A recent report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission discovered” mixed outcomes” for conferences aimed at reducing bias and “limited” evidence that they change behaviour. One-off sessions conducted as a management exercise in box-ticking almost certainly don’t work; even if they briefly prick consciences, people soon forget and slide back into bad habits. Severely delivered train may even reinforce stereotypes by making people feel that bias is universal and therefore pretty much inevitable, or provoked a resentful backlash from staff who take umbrage at being deemed racist or sexist.

But if deep-seated positions don’t change overnight, employers are in an unusually good position to change behaviour. If nothing else, by provoking training Starbucks is signalling to its staff that racism is taken seriously and might cost you your job. But arguably the crucial thing it’s doing is to change the rules, dedicating personnel fewer opportunities to express any racism they might have. It’s now company policy that customers can sit in coffee stores or use their loos( one of the flashpoints in the Philadelphia case) without shelling out for a latte, so faculty no longer “re going to have to” induce potentially dodgy judgments about who seems as if they “shouldn’t” be there.

There’s a fine line between weeding out a chance for bias, and making your workforce feel like robots by removing all freedom to exert their discretion. But so-called ” bias mitigation strategies”- practical techniques to nudge people into more objective decisions, such as introducing more structured recruitment interviews that test what applicants can actually do rather than how much the interviewer instinctively warms to them- do at least recognise how social change actually happens. It doesn’t necessarily start with stances, but with behaviour. Humans are animals of habit, and if they can be persuaded to do the right thing for long enough then it eventually becomes second nature; the feeling follows the behaviour , not the other way round. Change what people do, and not only do fewer people get unnecessarily dragged out of coffee shops in handcuffs, but eventually, the very idea starts to seem bizarre.

So no, you can’t change hearts and intellects in an afternoon. But you can change the rules, and sometimes that’s what really matters.

* Gaby Hinsliff is a Guardian columnist

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Is Ivanka the worst Trump? Her tweeted portrait of perfect motherhood seals it for me | Arwa Mahdawi

Does anyone believe the media-savvy first daughter mistimed her tweet just as reports emerge of children being forcibly separated from their parents by US perimeters agents?

I‘m generally a big believer in Hanlon’s Razor: the idea that you should never ascribe to malice which can be explained by stupidity. But I’d like to put forward a somewhat different theorem to help explain these Trumpian days: Ivanka’s Razor. The principle that, when it comes to Ivanka Trump, you should never ascribe to folly or ignorance that which can be explained by malice.

Take, as a case in point, the photo Ivanka tweeted on Sunday, captioned” My <3! #sundaymorning" in which the first daughter is cuddling her two-year-old son. ivanka chose to post this snapshot of familial bliss at the same time as the news was full of reports of children being at the US-Mexico border; a component of a “zero tolerance” immigration policy the Trump administration is responsible for creating. While Ivanka’s photo received immediate backlash, I was struck by the fact that the tweet was largely characterised as being “tone-deaf”. The general consensus seemed to be that Ivanka hadn’t considered how the photo might look amid horrific headlines about separated families. That she had been thoughtless.

Ivanka may be a lot of things, but thoughtless is not one of them. Ivanka is no ingenue, who has reluctantly been thrust into public life and is now struggling to keep her personal life separate from the political. She grew up surrounded by paparazzi; she is nothing if not media-savvy. What’s more, despite memorably telling she tries “to stay out of politics”, she has enthusiastically hurled herself into her unelected role in the White House and is an integral part of the administration. Indeed, both she and her husband Jared Kushner received full security clearance earlier this month. She is not passively complicit in the Trump administration’s policies; she is an active architect.

So, when Ivanka tweeted that photo on Sunday, I don’t think it was a gaffe- I believe she knew exactly what she was doing. Which was playing to Trump’s specific base; reminding them that it’s white households like hers- like theirs- who are important , not the brown families who Trump is breaking up; utilizing the image of herself as a loving mother to provide a human face to Trump’s inhumane administration. Ivanka is an important complement to Trump’s messaging. He does all the crass dehumanisation of immigrants, lumping them together with the gang MS-1 3 and calling them dangerous “animals” the US needs to protect itself from; she provides the aspirational imagery of the US that it was necessary to protecting.

The events of this past weekend have served to bolster my long-standing faith that Ivanka is the most odious of all the Trumps. While the entire family is morally bankrupt, at least the rest of the clan don’t feign they are anything other than greedy narcissists. Her slimy brothers certainly attain no attempt to appeal to liberals. Ivanka, however, seems intent on maintaining up the charade that she is some sort of champion of women and households. It is becoming increasingly obvious, however, that the only family Ivanka cares about is her own and the only woman she has any interest in empowering is herself.

Indeed, hot on the heels of the controversy around her photo, it was reported that the Ivanka Trump brand received approval for a number of trademark applications from China which, experts and watchdogs say, raise significant concerns about corruption. It seems that Ivanka Trump’s business, from which she has not properly divested, received these acceptances just days before Trump announced he was reversing a US ban on ZTE, a Chinese telecom firm. It is possible, of course, that this timing was merely coincidence and not a shady deal. However, that brings me to the second part of Ivanka’s Razor: when it comes to the Trumps, never attribute to coincidence that which can be explained by corruption.

Austerity in Britain: the opinion from the US

It is hard to hear uncomfortable truths about the UK from Trump’s US, of all places, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important that we do. Indeed, sometimes the most clear-sighted critiques come from outsiders’ eyes, as a recent article about austerity in Britain, published by the New York Times, demonstrates.

” After eight years of budget trim, Britain is looking less like the rest of Europe and more like the United States ,” the piece states,” with a shrinking welfare state and spreading poverty .” It then fleshes out this thesis with a dismal tour of Prescot, painting a dystopian picture of a poor Merseyside town in a crippled country, whose outlook has only been rendered bleaker by Brexit.

Funnily enough, the New York Times’s perspective wasn’t much appreciated by the Brexit-loving Spectator- whose editor once suggested that austerity benefits poor people. Within a matter of hours of the piece running live, the Spectator published an indignant fact check and riposte.” It’s safe to say the New York Times doesn’t take a particularly fond view of Britain these days ,” the Spectator sneered. It then went on to try and discredit the article by quibbling with the least important aspects of it. One of their “gotchas!”, for example, was the fact that the US paper had said that Prescot’s old library building had been turned into a luxury home, but hadn’t mentioned that the town does still have a library. What the Spectator did not choose to fact check, however, was the litany of damning statistics included in the article. Take, for example, the fact that national is supportive of libraries has fallen by nearly a third and the number of elderly people getting government care has fallen by” roughly a quarter “. Presumably the Spectator chose not to examine these statistics too exhaustively because they knew them to be true.

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Headstands … 71 -year-old Anne Bruinooge did one in every nation of the US. Photograph: SrdjanPav/ Getty Images/ iStockphoto

A head of her time

Time for some feelgood news, don’t you think? So please meet 71 -year-old Anne Bruinooge who lately completed her quest to do a headstand in all 50 US states. Bruinooge has been travelling around the US for the past several decades, doing headstands in every country she visits; last week she ticked off her final state with a headstand in Alaska. Endearingly, these geographical gymnastics weren’t an attempt to get her name in the record books or run viral. Rather, Bruinooge says the motivation for her challenge was simply that she thinks headstands are fun. Let’s just hope her new-found notoriety doesn’t go to her head.

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‘I pray for Donald Trump, I do’: Bishop Michael Curry addresses US divisions

The preacher who glisten at the royal wedding has returned home to the progressive Reclaiming Jesus movement

Faith leaders working with Bishop Michael Curry to turn his sermons of love into a movement find his invitation to preach at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as a moment of divine intervention.

” God use a royal wedding to have the gospel preached probably to the largest audience at one time ,” said Jim Wallis, a progressive Christian leader and a founder of the Reclaiming Jesus motion.” My dear friend Bishop Curry was merely being himself in that pulpit. But God stimulated that happen in all kinds of humorous and miraculous ways .”

For 24 hours after the ceremony at Windsor Castle last week, Curry rivaled Pope Francis as the most recognizable faith leader in the world. He was interviewed by major networks on both sides of the Atlantic. Fans asked for selfies. He was even parodied on Saturday Night Live.

Then the first African American leader of the Episcopal Church returned home, to embark on a new mission. He wants to address what he and other clergy behind Reclaiming Jesus call” a dangerous crisis of moral and political leadership at the highest levels of our government and in our churches “.

” My hope and prayer is that what we’re really doing is helping the average Christian person of faith find their voice ,” Curry told the Guardian.” We’re trying to find a way to bring people together and the values that we share is our starting place for doing that .”

The 65 -year-old, who was born in Chicago and raised by his grandmother after his mother’s death, is the descendent of slaves and sharecroppers in North Carolina. His presence at Windsor Castle, a reflection of Markle’s African American ancestry, was a symbolic moment for two countries riven by race and class. In his speech, Curry invoked Martin Luther King Jr and bondage, telling the couple:” Make of this old world, a new world .”

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Bishop Michael Curry dedicates an address during the bridal of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Photo: WPA Pool/ Getty Images

That was the message he brought to Washington on Thursday, when he linked limbs with prominent progressive leaders and led hundreds of Christians in silent procession to the White House. On the sidewalk facing the seat of American power, the elders read from a declaration as hundreds raised votive candles.

The Reclaiming Jesus movement, like other progressive religion groups, is asking people of faith to reject public policies that banning refugees and immigrants from the US and equivocations on white ascendancy- without joining a political side.

” We don’t tell people how to vote ,” Curry said.” We don’t tell people exactly what policies they must stand for. We identify what are the values that will guide you in your life. But the rest? That’s between you and God .”

The lengthy founding document listings six core principles the co-signers hope will assist shift the conversation around what they believe are the core teaches of the Bible: a focus on the poor, the vulnerable and the disadvantaged. It does not mention Donald Trump by name but it does repudiate his policies and the forces unleashed by his election.

It bellows on Christians to denounce the” resurgence of white patriotism and racism in our nation on many fronts, including the highest levels of political leadership”, and repudiates Trump’s America First agenda.

The response from Trump’s most ardent evangelical supporters has underlined how deep divisions are carved- and how difficult it will be to find common ground.

” There is nothing incorrect with putting America first ,” Robert Jeffress, a clergyman at First Baptist Dallas and a prominent member of the president’s evangelical advisory board, told Fox News.” That is what a government is supposed to do. That is God’s responsibility for government. As individual Christians, yes, we set others before ourselves but government doesn’t do that .”

Jeffress told Curry was ” sincere” in his message but also” sincerely wrong” in his understanding of what the Bible tells about the role of government.

Curry said he had expected a strong reaction to the Reclaiming Jesus declaration.

” It’s a spiritual document and spiritual documents are moral and ethical statements so they have implications ,” he told.” We identify culture maladies- we’re not pointing the thumb at anybody. We’re not blaming anybody .”

Asked if he prays for the president, Curry responded without reservation:” I pray for Donald Trump, I do. He’s a child of God, just like the immigrant is a child of God .”

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Pastor Robert Jeffress with Donald Trump in Washington. Photo: Bloomberg/ Bloomberg via Getty Images

If Curry had an audience with the president, he said, he would tell him the same thing he tells himself and anybody else he prays for:” Live by the practice of love for your neighbor .”

” Selfish, self-centered living by any or all of us is what the Christian tradition has entailed by sin all along ,” he said.

Before the vigil, Curry returned to the pulpit to deliver a rising if brief sermon at the National City Christian Church.

” Love your neighbour ,” Curry said, in the magisterial cadence now distinguished around the world.” Love the neighbor you like and the neighbor you don’t like. Love the neighbours you agree with and the neighbor you don’t agree with. Love your Democrat neighbor, your Republican neighbour, your black neighbor, your white neighbor, your Anglo neighbor, your Latino neighbor and your LGBTQ neighbor. Love your neighbor! That’s why we’re here !”

Among those listening were John Carr, who runs the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University. He said what he saw on Thursday was not a political movement but the” rise of the religious middle “.

” In these incredibly polarizing and frankly demoralizing times ,” he said,” we need a moral message that’s anchored in religion not ideology and politics “.

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China protests ‘provocation’ after two US ships sail near disputed islands

Chinese ships and aircraft sent to warn US ships to leave after move made as White House seeks co-operation on North Korea

Two US warships sailed near South China Sea islands claimed by China on Sunday, two US officials told Reuters, in a move likely to anger Beijing as Donald Trump tries its continued cooperation on North Korea.

China’s defence ministry duly conveyed its opposition to what it called ” provocation “. The US action severely infringed upon Chinese sovereignty because the warships entered Chinese territorial waters without permission, the ministry said in a short statement.

Chinese ships and aircraft were sent to warn the US ships to leave, it said.

The operation was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic water. The operation was planned months in advance and such operations have become routine but it came at a particularly sensitive period, days after the Pentagon uninvited China from a major US-hosted naval drill.

The US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Higgins guided-missile destroyer and the Antietam, a guided-missile cruiser, came within 12 nautical miles of the Paracel Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals over which China has territorial disagreements with its neighbors. The US ships carried out maneuvering operations near Tree, Lincoln, Triton and Woody islands, one of the officials said.

Trump’s cancellation of a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has put further strain on US-China ties amid a trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies. Kim and South Korea president Moon Jae-in fulfilled on Saturday in an attempt to reinstate the summit. The Washington Post reported on Sunday that US officials had traversed into North Korean territory as preparations for Trump’s meeting with Kim continued.

Critics of the naval operations, known as a” freedom of navigation”, have said that they have little impact on Chinese behaviour and are largely symbolic. The US military has a long-standing position that its operations are carried out throughout the world, including in areas claimed by friends, and that they are separate from political considerations.

Satellite photographs taken on 12 May presented China appeared to have deployed truck-mounted surface-to-air missiles or anti-ship cruise missile at Woody Island. Earlier this month, China’s air force landed bombers on disputed islands and reefs in the South China Sea as part of a training exert of the states of the region, triggering fear from Vietnam and the Philippines.

The US military did not directly comment on Sunday’s operation, but said US forces-out operate in the region on a daily basis.

” We conduct routine and regular Freedom of Navigation Operations as we have done in the past and will continue to do in the future ,” the US Pacific fleet said in a statement.

Pentagon officials have long complained that China has not been candid enough about its rapid military build-up and using South China Sea islands to gather intelligence of the states of the region. In March, a US destroyer carried out a” freedom of navigation” operation close to Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands.

Chinese officials have accused Washington of viewing home countries in suspicious, “cold war” terms.

China’s claims in the South China Sea, through which about$ 5tn in shipborne trade pass each year, are contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. The US has said it would like to see more international participation in freedom-of-navigation operations.

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Hawaii volcano explosions shoot ash to 11,000ft as lava swamps road

Eruption of Kilauea into fourth week with 82 structures burned and thousands of residents under evacuation orders

A series of summit explosions on Saturday spewed ash from Kilauea volcano up to 11,000 ft and dusted communities to the south-west, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said.

The three explosions, which began around 12.42 am, went during the course of its fourth week of what geologists rank as one of the biggest eruption cycles from the Big Island volcano in a century.

Residents downwind of Kilauea were advised by County of Hawaii Civil Defense to avoid exposure to ash, which can cause eye irritation and breathing difficulties, particularly in people with respiratory problems.

Some 25 miles down Kilauea’s east flank, lava gushed from six giant cracks. Molten rock from two rifts advanced over a street of homes in the Leilani Estates housing development, the observatory said.

The number of houses and other structures destroyed by lava flows in the island’s lower Puna district leapt to 82 on Friday, from a previous count of 50 after fissures reactivated in Leilani Estates this week.

Another lava flowing near the rural housing development slackened and was 150 yards from Pohoiki Road where there are dozens more homes, the observatory said.

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Lava from Kilauea volcano oozes down Hawaii street- timelapse video

Around 2,000 residents of Leilani Estates and nearby Lanipuna Garden remained under evacuation orders due to lava flows and high levels of toxic sulfur dioxide gas from volcanic vents.

Contingency schemes have been constructed for a possible helicopter evacuation of up to 1,000 residents in a coastal regions south of the fissures should their last exit route be blocked by lava or become unsafe due to gaping cracks, officials said.

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North and South Korean leaders meet as US indicates summit may yet happen

Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in meet in perimeter village, days after Donald Trump told schemed summit in Singapore was cancelled

The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, gratified his South Korean equivalent on Saturday, two days after Donald Trump cancelled a planned summit with Kim.

Moon Jae-in traversed into the north at the border village of Panmunjom, where the two gratified for the first time in April, the South Korean president’s office told. The two leaders discussed the US-North Korea summit, as well as implementing the joint statement released at the end of their earlier meeting.

The surprise meeting highlighted Moon’s efforts to get the historic US-North Korea talks back on track, and depicted inter-Korea relations are in a far better nation than those between Washington and Pyongyang.

On Friday, Trump made a partial climbdown, saying the summit could still be held in Singapore on 12 June if conditions are right. On Saturday, press secretary Sarah Sanders told White House staffers and state department officials would still travel to Singapore for a logistics session,” in order to prepare should the summit take place “.

In a pair of angry tweets, Trump said there was ” ZERO discrepancy” within his administration about North Korea but” if there was it wouldn’t matter “. He also disputed a report in the New York Times about the issue, claiming the” senior White House official” citied in the narrative “doesn’t exist”.

Reporters from outlets including the Times pushed back , noting that the quote to which Trump appeared to be objecting was from a background briefing on North Korea that was fully sanctioned by the White House.

Trump has faced fierce criticism over his inconsistency as a partner in the high-stakes talks. Adam Mount, director of the Defense Posture Project at the Federation of American Scientists, said on Saturday Moon’s” bold but risky” meeting with Kim was a” clear demo of how dangerous Trump’s temper tantrum was “.

” When Kim Jong-un was allowed to split the negotiations into separate ways with Trump and Moon, he gained leverage over both ,” Mount wrote on Twitter.” Moon was sitting too alone at the table today, without the full weight of the United States.

” Trump says’ everybody plays games ‘,” Mount added, referring to Trump’s response when asked about North Korea’s posture on Friday.” Moon Jae-in is not playing a game: he must keep his people safe from war. Each of Trump’s whims shakes the walls of the Blue House .”

Photos released by the South Korean presidential office indicated the two leaders espousing, shaking hands and holding intimate talks, accompanied by a single aide each. Moon was expected to announce further details on Sunday.

In their first summit in April, Kim and Moon announced vague aspirations for a nuclear-free Korean peninsula and peace, which Seoul tried to sell as a breakthrough to set up the summit with Trump. But relations chilled as North Korea canceled a high-level meeting over South Korea’s military exercises with the US.

The South was caught off guard by Trump’s abrupt cancellation of the Singapore summit, quoting aggression in recent Northern korean comments. Moon said Trump’s decision left him “perplexed” and was ” very regrettable” and urged Washington and Pyongyang to establish” more direct and closer dialogue between their leaders “.

Trump’s behaviour has fanned anxieties in South Korea regarding a rival intent on driving a wedge between Washington and Seoul and a US president who believes less of a traditional confederation than his predecessors. The decision to pull out of the summit came just days after Trump hosted Moon in a White House meeting where he cast doubts on the Singapore summit and offered no support for inter-Korean progress.

In his letter to Kim cancelling the summit, Trump objected to a statement from senior envoy Choe Son Hui, who referred to vice-president Mike Pence as a” political dummy” and said it was up to the Americans whether they would” gratify us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown “.

North Korea issued an unusually restraint response, saying it was still willing to sit for talks with the US” at any time,( in) any format “.

” The first session would not solve all, but solving even one at a time in a phased style would induce the relations get better rather than attaining them get worse ,” vice-foreign minister Kim Kye Gwan said in a statement carried by Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency.

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A Tv screen proves Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un. Photograph: Ahn Young-joon/ AP

Notably, the statement did not appear in Saturday’s edition of Rodong Sinmun, the mouthpiece of the ruling party. The newspaper focused on Kim’s visit to Wonsan to inspect a beachfront tourist complex.

Analysts say Kim’s outreach after nuclear and missile exams in 2017 indicates he is eager for sanctions relief and international legitimacy. Earlier this month, Kim released three US citizens. This week, Pyongyang invited international journalists to find what it claim was the dismantling of its only known nuclear test site. The regime has also declared that it no longer needs to conduct tests.

There is also skepticism whether Kim will ever agree to relinquish his nuclear weapon, which analysts believe he sees as his only guaranty of survival. Remarks in nation media indicate Kim ensure any meeting with Trump as a negotiation between nuclear countries. The North has said it will not participate if it is pressured to give up its arsenal.

In Washington, a cadre of Trump’s most fervent Republican supporters in Congress have nominated the president for a Nobel peace prize. The Trump administration also issued an official but widely taunted summit commemorative coin, featuring profiles of Trump and Kim against the backdrop of their countries’ flags.

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