TIME

Morning Must Reads: July 28

Capitol
Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

In the latest indication in recent months of corporate America wading in to provoke social change, Facebook and other corporate bigwigs are backing new protections for LGBT Americans, TIME’s Philip Elliott reports. This comes after the business community played a major role in halting a proposed “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” in Indiana over concerns it would sanction discrimination and encouraging South Carolina to remove the Confederate battle flag from its capital grounds.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is fading in the polls and in his influence in the GOP race. Overshadowed by Donald Trump, and marginalized on national security issues by a Republican base that has grown more hawkish with the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, Paul is resorting to stunts, like taking a chainsaw to the tax code, in order to get attention.

President Obama took a swing at his would-be GOP successors’ inflammatory rhetoric on Monday, which only emboldened those he criticized. In his first extended Spanish-language interview of the campaign, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush spoke of the time his children were taunted for their skin tone. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is unveiling her climate change plan, but is remaining silent on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. And Obama, speaking at the African Union Tuesday morning, lamented not being able to run for another term. “I actually think I’m a pretty good president,” he said. “I think if I ran, I could win. But I can’t.”

Here are your must-reads:

Must Reads

Facebook, Corporate Giants Back New LGBT Protections
TIME’s Phil Elliott with the exclusive

President Obama Says GOP Criticism ‘Ridiculous’
Obama responds to Republican rhetoric [TIME]

U.S. Prepares to Fly Deeper into Syrian Civil War
TIME’s Mark Thompson on the latest anti-ISIS plan

‘The Most Interesting Man in Politics’ Isn’t Drawing Much Interest in New Hampshire
Rand Paul’s influence is waning [Washington Post]

Jabbing at Republican Rivals, Jeb Bush Calls for Civility
Having it both ways [New York Times]

Sound Off

“We are very Hispanic, in that we speak Spanish in the house. Columba is a good Mexican, proud of her citizenship of this country, of course, but we eat Mexican food in the home. My children are Hispanic in many aspects. We don’t talk about it, but the Hispanic influence is an important part of my life.” — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, speaking in Spanish in an interview with Telemundo

“I will refrain from commenting because I had a leading role in getting that process started and we have to let it run its course.” — Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline during remarks about climate change

Bits and Bites

Donald Trump Is Not as Aggressive on Immigration As He Sounds [TIME]

Jon Stewart’s Secret White House Visits [Politico]

N.S.A. Will Not Be Allowed to Keep Old Phone Records [New York Times]

Jewish Americans Support the Iran Nuclear Deal [Washington Post]

Bush, Cruz, Rubio and Walker to Court Koch Donors [Politico]

Arizona Senator May be Best Shot for Bipartisan Support of Iran Deal [Wall Street Journal]

Trump Slams Walker as Governor Leads in Early Voting Iowa [Associated Press]

 

 

TIME LGBT

Everything You Need to Know About the Debate Over Transgender People and Bathrooms

Peter Dazeley

This is the latest civil rights fight over America's restrooms

This week a judge in Virginia district court will consider a question coming before lawmakers and school principals across the country: should transgender Americans always be allowed to use the restrooms where they feel the most comfortable? And is it discrimination when they’re forced to do otherwise? Here is a primer on why the bathroom question is such a hot-button issue and why it’s likely to show up our newsfeeds in coming months.

Bathrooms and fights for civil rights go hand-in-hand. In the Jim Crow era, bathrooms—along with water fountains and lunch counters—were places that might be marked with “white only” signs. The bathroom has also been a battleground for women and handicapped workers fighting for equal treatment in the workplace. Because of the nature of things people do in the bathroom, it can be a space where they feel exposed or vulnerable and therefore resist change. It is also, as transgender icon Janet Mock says, “the great equalizer for all of us.”

Transgender people have to fight for authenticity as well as equality. The average person might have their age questioned when buying liquor or their ID checked at the airport, but people doubt transgender people’s true identity on a much more regular and deeper level. For transgender kids, that might take the form of parents insisting that they’re going through a phase or putting them in conversion therapy. For adults, that might be people questioning whether Caitlyn Jenner is really just doing it all for the publicity. “There is still this reluctance to accept trans people for who they are,” Mock says.

To opponents, “bathroom bills” suggest that what transgender people feel isn’t valid. So-called “bathroom bills” introduced by social conservatives in states such as Arizona, Maryland, Kentucky and Florida typically mandate that people use the bathroom that matches the sex on their birth certificate. That’s a marker that is difficult for most transgender people to change, as well as one that, for them, is a bureaucratic indicator decided by someone else that should not be weighed against their innate sense of self. Just a handful of states have “modernization” processes that make it easier for transgender people to change their birth certificates. Some in the community have protested by taking selfies in the bathrooms that they would have to use under such laws, highlighting how those spaces don’t jibe with their appearance or their feelings.

Conservatives argue that such bills are necessary to protect people’s privacy and public safety. Some social conservatives will say that they think transgender people are deluded. “I don’t want men who think they are women in my bathrooms,” testified a Maryland woman in a 2014 hearing on an LGBT non-discrimination bill. But a more common argument is that allowing transgender women to use the women’s room would open the doors up for sexual predators or peeping teenage boys to use those protections as a dangerous ruse to get into female spaces. GOP politician Mike Huckabee made this point in a much-talked-about joke that made the rounds earlier this summer.

No evidence has been uncovered showing that such fears are warranted. Several states, school districts and corporations have adopted their own policies affirming transgender people’s right to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity and have not reported problems, opponents of bathroom bills say. Progressive media watchdog Media Matters called up the 17 largest school districts governed by such policies and asked them if they had experienced any incidents of harassment or inappropriate behavior; they reported none had. Liberal lawmakers and activists say such rhetoric is just fear-mongering cloaking LGBT phobias.

Bathroom policies affect transgender people in serious ways. Transgender students have reported being told that they needed to use a unisex nurse’s office or staff restroom—missing out on class time, being teased and feeling “quarantined.” More than a quarter of transgender adults say they’ve been denied access to “gender-appropriate facilities.” In a study from UCLA’s Williams Institute, nearly 70% of transgender people said they had experienced verbal harassment in a situation involving gender-segregated bathrooms, while nearly 10% reported physical assault. Transgender people will often seek out unisex bathrooms to avoid conflict that makes them feel like they don’t belong in one space or the other.

More political fights about this issue are coming. Members of Congress recently introduced the Equality Act, a non-discrimination bill that would help protect LGBT Americans in spheres from the workplace to the jury box to the bathroom. Currently, there is no federal law that explicitly prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Most states also lack such statutes. Social conservatives in California, meanwhile, have vowed to get a “Privacy For All” initiative on the ballot that would require people to use school and government facilities that correspond with the marker on their birth certificate.

In the meantime, courts will continue to help decide the issue. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Justice have found that discrimination against transgender people—including denying them bathroom access—is a form of sex discrimination covered under the Civil Rights Act. While some have said this proves that additional protections are not necessary, advocates for explicit non-discrimination laws say that they’re important for enforcement, educating the public and making sure a person doesn’t have to go to court to make their case. The decision from Virginia’s district court will add to the precedents, spurring on the debate as LGBT activists choose their next battles after marriage equality.

TIME LGBT

Exclusive: Facebook, Corporate Giants Back New LGBT Protections

The leading companies aim to expand LGBT rights and also their customer base

The makers of Cheerios cereals and Nike sneakers will join the makers of iPhones and Ziploc baggies Tuesday in supporting proposed sweeping legislation that would ban discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans at their jobs, homes and schools.

Food conglomerate General Mills, Nike, American Airlines and Facebook were set to sign onto anti-discrimination legislation known as the Equality Act, the companies said in statements obtained by TIME ahead of their release. The corporate giants, long supporters of gay rights, are joining peers Apple, Dow Chemicals and Levi Strauss in lobbying Congress for that legislation. It was the latest sign that opponents of gay rights are finding themselves standing opposed to business interests. And while the public messaging is clear — the makers of such everyday goods want LGBT Americans to have easier everyday lives — there is an admitted financial interests in adding loyal customers to these brands.

“At General Mills, we have a long history of supporting LGBT equality and the time has come in this country for full, federal equality for the LGBT community,” said the food-maker behind Cheerios, Haagen-Dazs ice creams and Progresso soups. “Ensuring fairness in our workplaces and communities is both the right thing to do and simply good business.”

Indeed, it is that business case that has begun to break through. When Indiana lawmakers moved forward with a bill earlier this year that would have made it more difficult for gay and lesbian employees of major corporations to go about their daily lives, industry worked with liberal activists to beat back the legislation. Apple, American Airlines, Salesforce and the NCAA college leagues all threatened action unless Indiana lawmakers reverse course.

It’s a model that organizers are hoping to replicate with Congress.

Federal lawmakers now are considering a sweeping non-discrimination law that would bar individuals from being denied services — including housing and jobs but also mortgages and education — based on their sexuality or gender identity. Although the Supreme Court ruled that all Americans have the right to wed, regardless of whether the couple is heterosexual or homosexual, many gays and lesbians still face discrimination in their everyday lives.

More than 206 million Americans — nearly two thirds of the country — live in states where employers can fire someone for being gay. Only 18 states and the District of Columbia prohibit housing discrimination based on a tenant’s sexuality or sexual identity. Three others prohibit discrimination based on sexuality. The remaining 166 million Americans live in states where landlords can evict someone for their sexuality.

Polls find most Americans think these rights are already protected for LGBT residents. Activists and businesses are counting on that false but widespread belief to minimize political opposition that is fading in numbers but not in intensity for those who remain. Social conservatives are willing to buck the Wall Street wing of the Republican Party on this issue, and it is likely to be a driving factor as a crowded field of hopefuls vies for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

In crafting the bill, lawmakers consulted a coalition that included the NAACP, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and National Council on La Raza in the hopes of pitching the new legislation as a civil rights bill for the 21st Century. The American Civil Liberties Union, the National Women’s Law Center and the Human Rights Campaign also offered their advice.

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest civil rights group for LGBT Americans, has been aggressively lining up corporate backing, too. The lobbying group already scores major corporations on how well they serve their gay and lesbian employees and is enjoying momentum after a rapid expansion of public support for same-sex marriage. The group helped General Mills, Nike, American Airlines and Facebook come out in support of the proposals.

Nike, a global brand of sporting gear headquartered in Oregon, explained why it was backing the bill, co-authored by its home-state Sen. Jeff Merkley. “We believe that diversity drives innovation and allows us to attract and retain world class talent. We need fair and equitable laws that prevent discrimination,” the company said in a statement.

The nation’s largest airline in passenger traffic said it was good for morals as well as the bottom line. “We at American Airlines are proud of our long history of supporting LGBT equality,” the airline said in a statement. “Now is the time for full equality for the LGBT community in the United States.”

At the same time, Facebook said in a statement of its own: “Ensuring fairness in the workplace is a fundamental principle at Facebook and we support legal protections for LGBT Americans as outlined in the Equality Act.”

For the Human Rights Campaign, a million-dollar lobbying organization with a shining headquarters in Dupont Circle, the new allies were merely the most recent additions to its victories. Yet the group has shown no signs of receding after the marriage victory and is expanding its efforts to states to end their laws that sanction discrimination against LGBT neighbors.

“We are tremendously grateful to these corporate leaders for their support of the Equality Act and the basic principle that all Americans should be able to live their lives free of discrimination,” Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said. “These companies agree: equality is good for business and the time for full federal equality is now.”

TIME Malaysia

5 Reasons Why Obama Should Steer Clear of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak

U.S. President Barack Obama and Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak walk off 18th hole while playing a round of golf at the Clipper Golf course in Hawaii
Hugh Gentry—Reuters U.S. President Barack Obama and Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak walk off 18th hole while playing a round of golf at the Clipper Golf course on Marine Corps Base Hawaii during Obama's Christmas holiday vacation in Kaneohe, Hawaii, on Dec. 24, 2014

Washington is having serious trouble finding dependable allies in Southeast Asia

The U.S.’s “rebalancing” toward Asia has two main pillars: being a counterweight to China and securing a free-trade deal called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. If Washington is to succeed on both fronts, it needs as many friends in the region as it can win. The U.S.’s newest ally is Malaysia, this year’s chair of the 10-member Association of Southeast Nation, collectively a growing market, and, on the surface, a modern, democratic, Muslim country. In April 2014 U.S. President Barack Obama paid an official visit to Malaysia, the first sitting President to do so in decades, and, later in the year, played golf with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak when both were on holiday in Honolulu. This November, Kuala Lumpur will host the next East Asia Summit and Obama is due to attend.

But recently, all the news coming out of Malaysia is negative. After becoming embroiled in a corruption scandal, Najib on Tuesday sacked his deputy and Malaysia’s attorney general in an apparent purge of critics. British Prime Minister David Cameron is facing a domestic backlash for pushing forward with a visit to Kuala Lumpur this week despite the snowballing controversy. Here are five reasons why Obama might want to break from Cameron by giving Najib a wide berth.

  1. 1MDB — A Wall Street Journal report has alleged that Najib’s personal bank accounts received nearly $700 million in March 2013 from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a government-owned development fund. Najib has protested his innocence and threatened legal action against the Journal. “I am not a thief,” Najib told Malaysian media on July 5. “I am not a traitor and will not betray Malaysians.” The police, the local anticorruption agency, the attorney general’s office and the central bank are investigating the allegations. On July 8, the police raided 1MDB’s office in Kuala Lumpur and took away documents. Even before the latest news, 1MDB was an embarrassment for Najib, who chaired the fund’s advisory board as debts of $11.6 billion were accrued. Such are the suspicions of malfeasance that former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who ran the country from 1981 to 2003 and has long been considered Najib’s mentor, has repeatedly called for his protégé’s resignation over 1MDB’s alleged mishandling.
  1. Anwar Ibrahim — Najib’s main political rival is once again in prison for a sodomy conviction. Human Rights Watch deemed his five-year sentence handed down Feb. 10 to be “politically motivated proceedings under an abusive and archaic law.” This is the second time Anwar has been jailed for sodomy.
  1. Hudud — Stoning for adultery and amputation for theft are not the kind of punishments meted out by the progressive state that Malaysia purports to be. Yet Najib’s United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) is supporting attempts to introduce hudud Islamic law in the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party’s (PAS) heartland state of Kelantan, where nightclubs are forbidden and men and women are designated separate public benches. Why is UMNO supportive of recognizing hudud under federal law? Largely because PAS is part of a three-party Pakatan Rakyat coalition that is UNMO’s chief challenger. The other partners — Anwar’s Keadilan, or People’s Justice Party, supported by middle-class, urban Malays, and the Chinese Malaysian–backed Democratic Action Party (DAP) — are strongly against hudud. Many analysts accuse UMNO of cynically fostering a radical Islamic bent to widen rifts in its political opponents.
  1. Shaariibuugiin Altantuyaa — In 2002, when Najib was Defense Minister, a $1.25 billion contract was signed to purchase two Scorpène submarines from French firm DCNS. Altantuyaa was a Mongolian woman who, knowing French, facilitated negotiations as a translator, and then allegedly attempted to blackmail Abdul Razak Baginda, one of Najib’s aides with whom she was also having an affair, for $500,000 over “commission” payments he had allegedly received. Two policemen posted to Najib’s bodyguard detail were convicted of murdering Altantuyaa on Oct. 18, 2006. Najib denies any involvement.
  1. Prevention of Terrorism Act — Najib campaigned on scrapping the controversial Internal Security Act (ISA) but then immediately replaced it with the equally sweeping Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) and Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, or SOSMA. The POTA includes practically the same powers as ISA, including two-year detention without trial, and was dubbed a “legal zombie arising from the grave of the abusive [ISA]” by Human Rights Watch. Najib also vowed to repeal the similarly maligned Sedition Act but reneged after his election in 2013. In fact, in April his government extended the maximum jail term under the Sedition Act from three to 20 years.
TIME Military

U.S. Prepares to Fly Deeper into Syrian Civil War

Operation Northern Watch Enforces No-Fly Zone
Air Force / Getty Images A U.S. Air Force F-16 leaves a Turkish base in 2002 for a mission over Iraq. Soon they are likely to be flying similar assignments over Syria.

ISIS is the target, but U.S. pilots could also be at risk

The U.S. flew “no-fly zones” over northern and southern Iraq for more than a decade before the 2003 U.S. invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. U.S. warplanes kept Iraqi aircraft out of the sky, and targeted Iraqi air-defense systems that threatened to shoot. Now, along with neighboring Turkey, the U.S. is planning to launch something similar over a stretch of northern Syria.

Eliminating Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria along a strip of the Syrian-Turkish border is the key goal, opening up a safe haven for tens of thousands of Syrians displaced by the country’s four-year-old civil war that has killed more than 200,000. Whether the move hastens the ouster of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad—or leads to the shootdown and possible capture or death of an American pilot—remains unknowable.

Institute for the Study of WarThe striped section of the map is the proposed “no-ISIS zone.”

U.S. officials stressed Monday that Washington and Ankara are planning to step up bombing of ISIS targets on the ground, and not create a formal no-fly zone, which would bar Syrian warplanes from bombing runs. “It’s not a no-fly zone—it’s a bombing campaign,” says retired Marine general Anthony Zinni, who oversaw the Iraqi no-fly zones as chief of U.S. Central Command from 1997 to 2000. He doesn’t think such a bombing campaign will have much effect. “We see how well a year of bombing has worked in Iraq,” where ISIS remains in control of much of the western part of the nation.

The chance of clashes between Syria and U.S. and Turkish aircraft will be more likely once details of the new zone are hammered out and stepped-up U.S.-Turkish attacks on ISIS targets begin. “I think they’ll tell the Syrians to just stay out of the air space,” Zinni says of U.S. and Turkish commanders. “They’ll issue a demarche: ‘If you shoot any air defense weapons at us, we’ll nail you.’ That’s what we did to the Iraqis.”

State Department spokesman John Kirby said Monday that the Syrians aren’t challenging U.S. warplanes. “There is no opposition in the air when coalition aircraft are flying in that part of Syria,” he said. “The Assad regime is not challenging us; [ISIS] doesn’t have airplanes … they’re not being shot at.”

But that’s hardly a guarantee. U.S. commanders will ensure their flight crew fly high and well clear of any known Syrian air-defense threats to minimize the chance of a U.S. pilot being shot down and—in the worst case—falling into ISIS’s hands and murdered. But accidents and snafus can occasionally happen. “We never even had a plane scratched,” Zinni says of the more than 200,000 U.S. flights in the Iraqi no-fly zones from 1992 to 2003. “It was absolutely remarkable.” (Unfortunately, this record was marred by the 1994 shootdown of two U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopters, killing all 26 aboard, by a pair of U.S. Air Force F-15s.)

Conflicting loyalties and priorities complicate the more aggressive campaign. Last week, after a suicide bombing blamed on ISIS killed 30 in a Turkish border town, Turkey began flying air strikes against ISIS targets in Syria, and gave the U.S. long-sought permission to launch air strikes from Turkish bases. Turkey, a NATO ally, is growing increasingly concerned with ISIS on its doorstep, the growing refugee problem, and military successes by its Kurdish minority, some elements of which are seeking their own state.

Kurdish forces control most of the Syrian-Turkish frontier, and the Turkish government views them as a threat much like ISIS. Ankara is also more interested in toppling Assad than battling ISIS. “If there is one person who is responsible for all these terrorist crimes and humanitarian tragedies in Syria, it is Assad’s approach, using chemical weapons, barrel bombs against civilians,” Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told CNN. His government has called for a NATO meeting Tuesday to discuss the ISIS fight.

U.S. and Turkish air power are expected to be used to reinforce Syrian rebels on the ground who are battling ISIS, creating a 68-mile “no-ISIS zone” along the Syrian-Turkish border. “Moderate forces like the Free Syrian Army will be strengthened…so they can take control of areas freed from [ISIS], air cover will be provided,” Davutoglu told Turkey’s A Haber television news channel.. “It would be impossible for them to take control of the area without it.”

U.S. officials have been complaining since the Pentagon began bombing ISIS targets a year ago of a dearth of reliable partners on the ground, in both Iraq and Syria. ISIS drove the U.S.-trained Iraqi army out of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, a year ago, and the U.S. has trained only about 60 Syrian rebels to fight ISIS’s 30,000-strong force.

TIME Campaign Finance

Why Some Donors Gave to Multiple Republican Candidates

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks with reporters as he emerges from the Senate chamber following a series or rare Sunday votes on July 26, 2015.
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks with reporters as he emerges from the Senate chamber following a series or rare Sunday votes on July 26, 2015.

Houston entrepreneur Michael Rydin has contributed to five Republican presidential candidates so far: Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry and Carly Fiorina. But he’s not done. The software developer is now considering giving money to Donald Trump as well.

“I want to get a discussion going. Controversy gets people talking,” he said. “I know Trump is unlikely to become the president, but he gets other candidates talking on issues that they would otherwise avoid.”

Rydin is part of a select group of Republican donors who have given to more than one candidate in the crowded 2016 presidential primary. A TIME analysis of first-quarter campaign financial reports showed at least 971 people have given to two or more Republican candidates.

With an unprecedented 16 candidates running for office, donors who might support more than one candidate have more options than ever. And some are taking advantage of the opportunity to endorse more than one campaign.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has received the most donations from people who also gave to a rival candidate. The most popular combination of donations was Cruz and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, with at least 206 people giving to both, followed by Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, with at least 183 contributing to both.

Kenneth Abramowitz, a financial analyst in Connecticut, argues that “the more Republican voices, the better.” Abramowitz gave a total of $10,400 to the four Republican candidates who held breakfast and lunch events in his area: Jeb Bush, Carson, Rubio and Cruz.

Shelley Payer, a retired Florida banker who has given to three campaigns, says she gave to the candidates who interested her: Rubio, Paul and Carson.

“Everybody has something to say,” she said.

TIME

Big Soda Sues San Francisco Over Beverage Warnings

<> on June 10, 2015 in San Francisco, California.
Justin Sullivan—2015 Getty Images Bottles of soda are displayed in a cooler at a convenience store on June 10, 2015 in San Francisco, California.

The soda industry’s largest trade body is suing the city of San Francisco over rules that would require mandatory warning labels on soda advertisements and ban their display on city property.

The lawsuit, filed by the American Beverage Association on Friday, claims the regulations due to come into force July 2016 are unconstitutional. The city, the complaint said, “is trying to ensure that there is no free marketplace of ideas, but instead only a government-imposed, one-sided public ‘dialogue’ on the topic—in violation of the First Amendment.”

The legislation was passed unanimously by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in June and stands among the strongest laws in the country relating to sugary beverages. The label, which must be affixed to all soda advertisements, would read: “WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.”

The plaintiffs in the complaint say forcing signs to carry that label “violates core First Amendment principles.”

Other parties to the suit also include the California Retailers Association and the California State Outdoor Advertising Association.

TIME privacy

Activists Flood Congress With Faxes to Protest Cybersecurity Bill

"We figured we’d use some 80s technology to try to get our point across"

Internet activists opposed to a controversial cybersecurity bill are trying to get Congress’ attention the old-fashioned way: by flooding its fax machines.

The nonprofit group Fight For the Future has set up eight phone lines to convert emails and tweets protesting the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) into faxes that will be sent to all 100 U.S. senators. Supporters can fax their own messages via FaxBigBrother.com or with the hashtag #faxbigbrother.

The legislation, first introduced last year by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), would give tech companies more freedom to collect user data and share it with federal agencies in the name of cybersecurity; the data they share would then be exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests.

“Groups like Fight for the Future have sent millions of emails [about the issue], and they still don’t seem to get it,” campaign manager Evan Greer told the Guardian on Monday. “Maybe they don’t get it because they’re stuck in 1984, and we figured we’d use some 80s technology to try to get our point across.”

 

 

 

TIME Donald Trump

Donald Trump Is Not as Aggressive on Immigration As He Sounds

Among the Republican presidential field, Donald Trump has had some of the harshest words for undocumented immigrants. But when it comes to the actual policies he supports, he’s much less aggressive than he appears.

The New York real estate mogul kicked off his campaign with some sharp words about undocumented immigrants from Mexico: “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

He then doubled down, arguing that as President he would make Mexico build a wall along the border. “You force them because we give them a fortune,” he said in an interview with CNN. “Mexico makes a fortune because of us. A wall is a tiny little peanut compared to that. I would do something very severe unless they contributed or gave us the money to build the wall.”

Those comments drew criticism from parts of the Republican establishment as well as many Hispanics, but they were part of an overall sales pitch that helped push Trump toward the head of the pack. A Fox News poll at the end of June showed Trump in second place behind Jeb Bush, with his support more than doubling since those controversial statements.

But when it came time to discuss the actual policies he’d support, Trump was not nearly as harsh.

On July 23, he told CNN that he would not actually build a wall the entire length of the border with Mexico. “In certain sections, you have to have a wall,” he said.

On MSNBC the next day, Trump endorsed a “merit system” for the millions of undocumented immigrants already in the country—something that sounds a lot like a path to some sort of legal status, if not citizenship.

“I have to tell you, some of these people have been here; they’ve done a good job; in some cases sadly they’ve been living under the shadows,” he said. “We have to do something. … Somebody’s been outstanding, we (ought to) try to work something out.”

That puts Trump to the left of, say, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, whose campaign told TIME in May that he would not support a pathway to legal status or citizenship under any circumstances. And it puts him in line with other Republican candidates, such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who have endorsed some kind of legal status but not citizenship.

Trump was never as aggressive on the issue as his campaign launch made it seem. In the past, he’d even gone after Republicans for taking too harsh a tack against immigrants.

In the wake of Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s defeat in 2012, Trump blasted him for a “mean-spirited” policy suggestion during the GOP primary that the U.S. should make daily life uncomfortable enough for undocumented immigrants that they would simply leave.

“He had a crazy policy of self-deportation which was maniacal,” Trump told Newsmax at the time. “It sounded as bad as it was, and he lost all of the Latino vote.”

Read Next: Republican Candidates Dodge Immigration Questions

TIME Barack Obama

See Scenes From Obama’s Trip to Africa

President Obama spoke proudly of his Kenyan heritage on his third trip to sub-Saharan Africa, visiting Kenya before traveling to Ethiopia

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