October 23, 2018

Conspiracy-monger Alex Jones was on hand for the campaign rally with President Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in Houston Monday night, and he had a full conversation with a pile of horse poop.

Addressing the pile as "Beto" — as in, Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), Cruz's Democratic challenger — Jones screamed attacks at his silent foe, making sure to glance up at the Infowars camera every few seconds. The performance was caught by Reason editor Elizabeth Nolan Brown, who was covering the rally:

Jones' rant is difficult to decipher as he is at least 20 feet from Brown, but he seems to take issue with O'Rourke's nickname, which Cruz and his allies have suggested is an attempt to appeal to Hispanic voters. Beto is a childhood moniker based on O'Rourke's full name, Robert.

Unfortunately for Jones, his interviewee wasn't giving him the answers he wanted. "Talk to me!" he yelled at the poop. "Treat me like a human!" Bonnie Kristian

8:56 a.m.

Spanish police arrested an unidentified Brazilian air force officer who was traveling on one of Brazil's presidential planes headed to the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan, after finding 86 pounds of cocaine in the officer's carry-on bag during a layover in Seville, El Pais reports. Brazil's Defense Ministry confirmed the arrest, and in a tweet Wednesday, President Jair Bolsonaro vowed an "immediate investigation and severe punishment of the person responsible for the narcotic material found" on the plane.

"Bolsonaro was elected on a populist platform with a mandate to be tough on crime, vowing to take a hardline approach to drug traffickers," Axios notes. Bolsonaro was not on this presidential plane — it was headed to Osaka in advance, to be used as his reserve plane. Originally, Bolsonaro was supposed to also have a stopover in Saville en route to Osaka, but late Wednesday night his itinerary was changed and his layover was moved to Lisbon. "The president's press department did not explain the reason behind the change, or whether it was related to the discovery of the drugs being carried in the backup plane," El Pais reports. Peter Weber

8:47 a.m.

The Federal Aviation Administration said in a tweet Wednesday that it had found a new flaw in Boeing's grounded 737 Max jets that could delay the return of the once top-selling planes to the air.

The FAA said it discovered the "potential risk" in simulator tests. The regulator did not provide further specifics but said "Boeing must mitigate" the problem. The FAA previously said it could approve by late June changes Boeing made to fix problems suspected of contributing to two fatal crashes in recent months. Airlines once hoped they would be able to return the Boeing 737 Max airliners to service this summer, but the date has been pushed back to later in the year. Harold Maass

8:06 a.m.

President Trump arrived in Japan on Thursday evening, local time, for what is shaping up to be a high-stakes and contentious Group of 20 summit in Osaka. Trump is scheduled to meet one-on-one with nine world leaders, starting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, but observers are most interested in his meeting Saturday with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Trump insisted on the meeting and has said if he and Xi don't restart trade talks, he will levy tariffs on the remaining untaxed $300 billion in Chinese imports. China will ask that Trump drop its ban on telecom firm Huawei Technologies and scale back its demands for China to buy even more U.S. exports, The Wall Street Journal reports. The U.S. believes China scuttled the last round of talks in April and is expecting China to make the first move to restart them. Xi, under pressure from nationalists at home, is not expected to offer Trump any large concessions in Japan.

Trump will also meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in a new trade dispute with Trump's administration, and the president is expected to face pushback from European leaders over his skepticism of climate change. Trump demanded in a tweet that Modi remove reciprocal tariffs on 30 U.S. products, and in an interview with Fox Business on Wednesday, Trump confirmed a report that he is considering withdrawing the U.S. from its foundational treaty with Japan. "If Japan is attacked, we will fight World War III ... with our lives and with our treasure," Trump said. "If we're attacked, Japan doesn't have to help us at all" and "can watch it on the Sony television, okay, the attack." Peter Weber

7:01 a.m.

U.S. asylum officers asked the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday to block President Trump's "Remain in Mexico" asylum policy, arguing in a friend-of-the-court brief that Trump's policy of making asylum-seekers stay in Mexico while awaiting their immigration hearing puts migrants in mortal danger, is unnecessary, and is "fundamentally contrary to the moral fabric of our nation and our international and domestic legal obligations." A lower court put the policy on hold in April, saying it is probably illegal, but the appellate court allowed it to continue during litigation. Trump and Mexico expanded the policy earlier this month at Trump's insistence.

Since January, 12,000 asylum seekers have been returned to Mexico, The Washington Post reports. The 37-page brief, filed by American Federation of Government Employees Local 1924, a union representing 2,500 asylum officers and other federal workers, says that "asylum officers are duty-bound to protect vulnerable asylum seekers from persecution," that "Mexico is simply not safe for Central American asylum seekers," and that the U.S. asylum system is "not, as the administration has claimed, fundamentally broken," but instead "has the foundation and agility necessary to deal with the flow of migrants through our Southern Border."

"The legal filing is an unusual public rebuke of a sitting president by his own employees, and it plunges a highly trained officer corps that typically operates under secrecy into a public legal battle over one of Trump's most prized immigration policies," the Post reports. "Under Trump, the asylum division has become a target of internal ire, often assailed for approving most initial asylum screenings and sending migrants to immigration court for a full hearing." Last week, new acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services chief Ken Cuccinelli implicitly rebuked the asylum officers in an internal email for being overly generous with asylum screenings. Peter Weber

6:05 a.m.

Marshae Jones, 27, was taken into custody in the Birmingham, Alabama, area on Wednesday after a Jefferson Country grand jury indicted her on manslaughter charges over the death of her unborn child after a December 2018 incident where another woman shot her in the stomach. The woman who had the gun and pulled the trigger, 23-year-old Ebony Jemison, also faced manslaughter charges, but the grand jury declined to indict her so the charges were dismissed, AL.com reports.

Police argued that Jones, five months pregnant, started the fight and was ultimately responsible for the death of her fetus. The altercation was over the father, according to Pleasant Grove police Lt. Danny Reid. "The investigation showed that the only true victim in this was the unborn baby," Reid said after the Dec. 4 shooting, outside a Dollar Store. "It was the mother of the child who initiated and continued the fight which resulted in the death of her own unborn baby."

Not everyone agreed with Reid. "The state of Alabama has proven yet again that the moment a person becomes pregnant their sole responsibility is to produce a live, healthy baby and that it considers any action a pregnant person takes that might impede in that live birth to be a criminal act,'' said Amanda Reyes, executive director of the Yellowhammer Fund. "Today, Marshae Jones is being charged with manslaughter for being pregnant and getting shot while engaging in an altercation with a person who had a gun. Tomorrow, it will be another black woman, maybe for having a drink while pregnant. And after that, another, for not obtaining adequate prenatal care." Read more at AL.com. Peter Weber

5:17 a.m.

Ten Democratic presidential hopefuls took the stage in Miami on Wednesday night, and The Late Show thinks you can catch 'em all.

"We are live after the first of two Democratic presidential debates," and "I'm going to tell you all about it — if Bill de Blasio doesn't interrupt me," Stephen Colbert said in his monologue. This debate pitted "Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Beto O'Rourke against seven people angling for MSNBC shows." NBC had some technical difficulties, he added, "but it was an excellent dress rehearsal for tomorrow actual debate."

"The biggest early moment was a linguistic surprise from Beto O'Rourke," Colbert said. "He's either trying to lock up the Hispanic vote, or he's running for embarrassing dad at a Mexican restaurant." He suggested John Delaney was just doing this as a dare from his brother-in-law, Jay Inslee had never set foot in a McDonalds, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) made up her "all foam and no beer" zinger: "If that's a metaphor you frequently use, senator, then, as we say back in South Carolina, 'I'm a shrimp sandwich in a thunder storm.'" Colbert mocked Booker's Spanish, and Beto's, again, and stepped into the fight between Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) and Tim Ryan (Ohio): "Tulsi! Tim! Please don't fight — you're both not going to be president."

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was kinder about all the Spanish spoken onstage. "I loved it because I represent the Bronx, there was a lot of Spanglish in the building," she told Colbert. "I thought it was humorous sometimes," but also "a good gesture to the fact that we are a diverse country." As for the candidates, Ocasio-Cortez said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) "knocked it out of the park," Julián Castro "did a phenomenal job tonight," and "Cory Booker did a great job in talking about criminal justice," and "there were some surprises, too," though she didn't name them. She also explained her skepticism of Joe Biden's electability. Watch below. Peter Weber

4:08 a.m.

This past week has shone a spotlight on the deplorable conditions at facilities where the U.S. is holding children seeking asylum in the U.S. "Most of the kids in those overcrowded facilities come from Central America's Northern Triangle countries: Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador," Samatha Bee said on Wednesday's Full Frontal. President "Trump and his supporters claim it's fine warehouse them like pallets of generic peanut butter because it's their fault for coming to America. But the truth is, the U.S. is a huge reason they were forced to flee here in the first place."

Bee's history lesson began in Ronald Reagan's 1980s and America's Cold War in Central America, and she focused on El Salvador. "When we stomped out communism, we also stomped out pretty much every thing else. For many civilians, getting the hell out of El Salvador became a matter of life or death," she said. "Many of the migrants ended up in Los Angeles, where some younger Salvadorans would wind up in street gangs," which over time became MS-13. "That's right, President Trump's favorite foreign threat was made in the U.S.A. — unlike his ties and two-thirds of his wives," she said.

And MS-13 didn't didn't turn into today's machete-wielding killers until "the American prison system helped transform them from the juvenile delinquents of the '80s to the violent gang we know today," Bee said. Then, starting in the '90s, the U.S. deported tens of thousands of gang members, "brutalized by American prisons," back to Central America, where they took root and made the Northern Triangle one of the most violent regions in the world, sending civilians feeling north for safety, she said. "It's the circle of life, except death."

"All refugees deserve basic compassion, but we owe a special debt to Central American refugees," Bee said. "At the very least, we own their kids some f---ing toothpaste." There is some NSFW language. Peter Weber

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