Wednesday, June 20, 2018

November: Democrats Are Counting On A Wave, While Republicans Count On Gerrymandered Districts


Monday morning, the right-wing Washington Examiner tried painting a picture that the Blue Wave is no sure thing. I guess they hoped no one would dig down into their article-- which pretty much shows-- as far as anything 4 months away can do-- that it really is. They cite polling numbers that go up and down but end by admitting the Democrats are ahead in generic polling now by between 7.3 and 7.7%. And they don't talk much about independent votes who have turned against the GOP and who aren't affected by a gerrymandered map.

They then quote a former conservative Democratic hack who spends his time on Fox News, Pat Caddell, as though he were an actual Democrat. Caddell, a blowhard is always available to be the "Democrat" who proves whatever the GOP wants him to prove but even he couldn't say there was no wave coming. "I think the blue wave has receded somewhat," said Pat Caddell, a longtime Democratic pollster and consultant who is now a Fox News contributor. "I still think that as long as this election remains unclear about how it’s focused, there is an instinct in off years for anybody who disapproves of anything about the incumbent to vote no" on the presidential party.
Karl Rove dismisses the idea of a blue wave even in the House. “Instead, 2018 will be a brutal district-by-district battle,” he wrote in the Wall Street Journal. “Each outcome will be determined as much by the quality of candidates and their campaigns as by the national climate.”

That doesn’t mean all is well for the GOP, however. Republican strategists conceded to the Washington Examiner that there is still an “intensity gap” that favors the Democrats. “Voters are motivated by three things: greed, anger and fear,” said Brian O. Walsh, president of the pro-Trump outside group America First Action and a former NRCC political director.

Republicans aren’t greedy because they have just gotten a tax cut, they aren’t angry because they are in power in Washington and they aren’t afraid because they are not yet convinced those majorities are in jeopardy.

Republicans have underperformed in special elections dating to last year, even when they have won. And they have lost their share: a Senate seat in Alabama, where Trump won by 27.8 points; a Wisconsin state senate seat where Trump won by 17; a Pennsylvania congressional seat in a district Trump won by 20.

Pennsylvania is a problem because of court-imposed redistricting Democrats say reverses Republican gerrymandering and Republicans contend merely re-gerrymanders the state for the Democrats’ benefit. Either way, it is likely to lead to a net loss in Republican seats in a year where the party doesn’t have many to spare.

“With the majority of primary elections behind us, it’s clear that Democrats have nominated incredibly strong candidates who uniquely fit their districts and have built top-tier campaigns,” said Tyler Law, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “With a huge pickup in Pennsylvania, highly effective maneuvering of the California top-two system, and a historically unpopular House Republican agenda on healthcare and taxes, Democrats have all the momentum heading into the midterms. That said, we take nothing for granted given that Republicans will have a massive resource advantage with all of their dark money outside groups.”

California is a good example of the mixed signals this election cycle has sent. Democrats feared their overcrowded primary fields, riven by ideological divisions between factions loyal to 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton and her progressive challenger Bernie Sanders, would deprive them the opportunity to contest some Clinton-won districts in the state currently represented by GOP congressmen. Because California had adopted a top-two “jungle primary” system regardless of party affiliation, the concern was that Democratic votes would be so split in some of these districts that none of their candidates would make it to the general election ballot.

Instead Democrats advanced in all these districts. “First, we didn’t get locked out of anything,” said Brad Bannon, a Democratic strategist. “This gives Democrats an opportunity to play to November… Second, if you look at some the Republican incumbents, yeah they finished way ahead of their Democratic opponents, but they ended up in the high 40s. The reality is, they’re going to have to do better than that to win in November."

...Republicans also have a conflict in their messaging. Trump is an asset in the Senate races that will decide the majority but a liability in some of the at-risk congressional districts. That means different approaches to the president not only for each race, but arguably each legislative chamber.

Trump and congressional Republicans are also split on the winning formula. The latter would like to focus almost exclusively on the tax cut. Trump mentions taxes but also wants to talk tough on immigration, trade, MS-13 and national security, emphasizing his full agenda.

Caddell contended the tax cut is still “too controversial” and recommended “weaponizing the economy, impeachment, raising taxes and [the Democrats'] defense of many things that I think are indefensible. Otherwise, the natural structural tendency is to favor the Democrats.” He also suggested Republicans could sharpen their critique of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., by picking their own successor to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., before the election.

Pelosi has emerged as a powerful GOP counterweight to the Democrats’ use of Trump to motivate voters. Republicans credit anti-Pelosi ads with helping save a seat in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District last year. But some GOP operatives fear their base doesn’t take the threat of a second Pelosi speakership seriously enough to turn them out.

“The Democrats can’t have it two ways,” Caddell said. “They can’t say ‘I’m not for her, but I’ll see what happens. Uh-uh.” Pelosi’s grip on the caucus could be loosened if Democrats win a small majority, amplifying the influence of a small number of defectors, or a particularly large majority where the amount of new blood makes things unpredictable-- and she is certainly at risk if her party doesn’t capture the majority at all.

Democrats are going to force a similar choice on Republicans regarding Trump. In Virginia, where as many as three GOP-held House seats may be at risk, that will be magnified by the candidacy of Republican Senate nominee Corey Stewart, who is arguably more prone to controversy than the president. This isn’t good for vulnerable incumbents such as Rep. Barbara Comstock, who already faces criticism for being insufficiently pro-Trump-- an argument her primary challenger made on his way to winning 40 percent of the vote.
Maybe it would have been more important to mention that 53,843 Democrats voted in VA-10 on primary day compared to just 46,575 Republicans. Comstock should be looking for another job, because having neo-Nazi Corey Stewart at the top of the ticket she's running on isn't going to sit well with independent voters-- nor will it encourage mainstream Republican votes to go to the polls in November. And even if Caddell, Fox and the Washington Examiner don't get it, yesterday the Cook Report switched their rating in the VA-10 race from "toss-up" to leaning Democratic.

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When The Parties Undermine Their Own Candidates


Tony Cárdenas had no problem winning his heavily Democratic San Fernado Valley reelection bid, despite credible accusations that he he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl and threatened to fire her father if she squealed. Last month an L.A. Superior Court judge ruled that there is "a reasonable and meritorious basis" for the suit to go forward but Pelosi quashed it in Congress. He's definitely not getting the Al Franken treatment.

Cárdenas' district gave Trump a mere 16.8% of its vote in 2016 and the unassailable PVI is D+29. In the primary about 2 weeks ago, despite being a child molestor, Cárdenas scored 67% against Republican Benito Bernal (18%) and Democrat Joseph Shammas (8%). There wasn't a peep out of Pelosi or her DCCC. Funny, because when the decode to destroy a candidate, they certainly know how to do it. And not just Laura Moser.

In Orange County, the DCCC released all kinds of sex allegations against their own recruit, Hans Keirstead, who seems to have won the CA-48 race, leaving the DCCC in a really awkward position. And despite Archie Parnell handily winning his South Carolina primary, the DCCC is poisoning the atmosphere against him for allegations by his then-wife made in a 1973 divorce filing.

The DCCC communications director, Meredith Kelly, who also led the charge against other Democrats the DCCC has trying to destroy told the media that "What Archie Parnell did is inexcusable and deeply disturbing, and he should drop out of this race immediately." So what Parnell is accused of doing to his wife in 1973 is "inexcusable" but Cárdenas raping a 16 year old child is... crickets. The whole DCCC crowd has ganged up on Parnell and keeps demanding he drop out of the race, reaffirming that they will not spend any money in SC-05-- the Charlotte exurbs plus Lancaster, York and Cherokee counties-- where he came close to beating Ralph Norman in a special election when Mick Mulvaney resigned in 2017.
Ralph Norman (R)- 45,076 (51%)
Archie Parnell (D)- 42,341 (47.9%)
Norman outspent Parnell $1,630,143 to $1,379,838. But his case isn't the only one where the establishment is trying to destroy politically. In fact, the Republicans so the exact same thing... and as bad or worse than the Democrats. (Surprise, surprise, both parties really suck.)

Last week James Arkin blew the whistle on McConnell for this newest interference-- the Arizona Senate contest. The Democratic establishment has chosen the worst-- literally, the worst Democrat in the House, Kyrsten Sinema, as the nominee. McConnell wants to do the same thing for the GOP-- and he wants it to be the mainstream conservative, Rep. Martha McSally, rather than one of the neo-fascists, Kelli Ward or Joe Arpaio.

The McConnell-controlled Pac, One Nation, is already run ads claiming that McSally is far more right-wing and extreme than her record indicates. "The ads," wrote Arkin, "from the McConnell-aligned nonprofit One Nation, don’t explicitly reference the Senate race. But they quote McSally saying, 'We’ve got to build the wall,' just as the two-term Republican has been tacking to the right on immigration. She recently pulled her support from legislation that would have offered a pathway to citizenship for young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally, instead backing a more conservative immigration bill, and McSally’s office also recently took down a video from last year that featured her defending DACA, the Obama-era program that protected young undocumented immigrants from deportation." Keep in mind that McConnell is the most disliked politician in America.
The TV ad marks the first move by a national group in Arizona’s Senate race, emphasizing the high stakes there as Republicans defend their 51-49 Senate majority. Democrats are confident in Rep. Kyrsten Sinema’s chances to flip the seat held by GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, who is retiring. McConnell has made clear his preference for McSally in the primary, and national Republicans fear the race will be unwinnable if former state legislator Kelli Ward or former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio wins the nomination in late August.

Still, McConnell’s involvement comes with its own risks. The majority leader is a controversial figure among GOP primary voters, and that unpopularity was weaponized against McConnell’s chosen candidate in Alabama’s special election last year, when pro-McConnell groups spent heavily to back former Sen. Luther Strange before he lost his primary. In Arizona, Ward has already attacked the Republican establishment for interfering in the race.

"The establishment and Never Trump forces know they have to prop up Martha McSally because her support is stalling with primary voters,” Zach Henry, a spokesman for Ward, wrote in an email. “McSally's record of personal attacks on President Trump, opposing the border wall, and her dozens of votes for amnesty and reckless Washington spending doesn't appeal to Arizonans."

McSally has faced criticism from both sides for her immigration positions, with Democrats criticizing her conservative shift since announcing her Senate campaign. But the Republican primary is the first hurdle for McSally, who has been labeled “McAmnesty” by Ward’s campaign.

"Martha began working on Securing America's Future Act last September-- long before a Senate run was even a consideration," said Torunn Sinclair, a spokeswoman for McSally's campaign. "This is political posturing coming from Democrats who are grasping at straws trying to poke holes in Martha's effective record fighting for Arizonans."

Eric Beach, a strategist for Ward, told Politico in May that Ward’s campaign would not simply be a referendum on McConnell. But the majority leader has played a role in the primary: A day after that article appeared, Ward wrote in a fundraising appeal that she was “the No. 1 target” of McConnell and that he had “thrown his weight” behind McSally in the race.

In another fundraising appeal late last month, Ward labeled McConnell a “major supporter” of McSally and compared that to endorsements she had received from conservative figures Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and Sebastian Gorka.

Steven Law, president of One Nation and its affiliated super PAC Senate Leadership Fund, said in an interview earlier this week he thought McSally is well-positioned to win the primary. He didn’t discuss his group’s plans to invest in the race, saying that was something “everyone is still evaluating.” But he praised McSally’s fundraising ability and said she’s “well-positioned to be able to win this in her own right.”

...Law wrote in a memo that in most GOP primaries, the relative strength of the candidate and their political operation are critical variables. In the interview this week, Law said he’s confident in McSally.

“The record-to-record comparison between her and her two competitors in the primary, I think, will be a deal closer for Republican primary voters,” he said.

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Has Anyone Ever Won A Trade War?


This morning the NY Times reported that Señor Trumpanzee seems somehow consoled that in a trade war the Chinese will lose more than we will. His "threat to impose tariffs on almost every Chinese product that comes into the United States intensified the possibility of a damaging trade war, sending stock markets tumbling on Tuesday and drawing a rebuke from retailers, tech companies and manufacturers" He and those around him "remained unmoved by those concerns, with a top trade adviser, Peter Navarro, insisting that China has more to lose from a trade fight than the United States. He also declared that Mr. Trump would not allow Beijing to simply buy its way out of an economic dispute by promising to import more American goods."

For whatever reason-- personal greed? stupidity?-- Señor T. threatened an all-out trade war against China on Monday. His latest is to babble more bullshit about levying tariffs on everything China exports to the U.S. "unless," reported the Washington Post "Beijing agrees to a host of sweeping trade concessions, a dramatic escalation that would enlist American consumers in the brewing U.S.-China commercial conflict." (China is more keenly aware of how the demands of the two Opium Wars-- 1839-1843 and 1856-1860-- impinged on its sovereignty and sent the country into a catastrophic downward spiral that took them over a century to come out of.
In a statement, Trump said he had ordered his chief negotiator, U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer, to draw up a list of $200 billion in Chinese products that will be hit with tariffs of 10 percent if China refuses his demands to narrow the yawning U.S. trade deficit and change its industrial policies.
When Trump started his tirades about trade wars there was a lot of talk about where they had led historically-- depressions and shooting wars. Let's start by taking a look at the Financial Times' Gideon Rachman's look at how trade wars turn into real wars. "The foundations of America's relationship with China crumbled last week," he wrote. The key developments were a lurch by the US towards protectionism and a swing by China towards one-man rule. For the past 40 years, the world's two largest economies have both embraced globalization, based on understandings about how the other would behave. The Chinese assumed that the US would continue to support free trade. The Americans believed that economic liberalization in China would eventually lead to political liberalization. Both of these assumptions are now shattered. On Sunday, China's National People's Congress rubber-stamped a constitutional change that would allow President Xi Jinping to rule for life. Three days earlier, President Donald Trump announced tariffs on steel and aluminium and tweeted that 'trade wars are good and easy to win'. But Mr Trump's breezy confidence ignores the dangers involved in unleashing a trade war. Those risks are not simply economic: a trade war makes it more likely that, one day, the US and China could slide into a real war."
As the two countries slide towards confrontation over trade, territory and ideology, so the sense of grievance on both sides is likely to increase. The Chinese and American presidents are both nationalists who frequently stoke feelings of wounded national pride. Mr Trump has claimed the world is laughing at America and that China has raped the US. Mr Xi has promised to preside over a "great rejuvenation" of the Chinese people-- that will finally bury the "century of humiliation" that began in 1839, when the country was invaded and partially colonized.

The emergence of leaders such as Mr Trump and Mr Xi is a reflection of broader ideological shifts in both countries. Thirty years of stagnant or declining real wages for most American workers have comprehensively undermined the belief in globalization and free trade in the US. Mr Trump was the loudest protectionist voice in the 2016 presidential field. But even his opponent, Hillary Clinton, was forced to repudiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement that she had once promoted.

This new combination of a protectionist and nationalist America, and an assertive and nationalist China, is potentially explosive. But there are also aspects of Mr Trump's ideology that may make conflict less likely. Unlike all his recent predecessors, the US president has little interest in promoting democracy abroad. He is likely to be unconcerned by Mr Xi's move towards one-man rule. Indeed, he may even envy it.
So what about a reprise of the Great Depression? Will that be the retribution Americans get for allowing Trump into the White House? CNN pointed out that no matter what you do for a living, a trade war Trump seems determined to start should scare you. "In a trade war, countries impose tariffs and other barriers on imported products, often in retaliation for actions taken by a trading partner." Trump-- filled with the ignorance of the uneducated-- claimed a trade war would be easy to win. As with most things, he's wrong. Trade wars "slow down business activity around the globe by crimping international trade." Had Trump ever gotten an actual education-- he didn't-- he would have learned that "in a worst case scenario, trade wars can lead to a global depression. Protectionist trade polices are one of the primary factors economists cite for deepening the Great Depression. So if there's one thing that most economists agree upon, it's no one wins a trade war."

Here's how US businesses and consumers stand to lose if President Trump gets his wish for a trade war:

Prices will go up

This much is certain. In a trade war, US consumers and businesses will be left with the bill.

President Trump says he's planning to impose a 25% tariff on imported steel and a 10% tariff on imported aluminum. That means the price of cars, appliances, packaged food and everything else that uses steel or aluminum is bound to go up.

Even the aluminum industry's trade group admits the smelters remaining in this country cannot make enough additional aluminum to replace the supply coming from overseas. When the tariffs are put in place, imported products will continue to come in-- at higher prices.

Since foreign steel and aluminum prices will be higher, domestic producers are likely to raise their prices as well.

American businesses will lose sales

Yes, America buys more from other countries than it sells to its trading partners. But don't discount the amount of goods and services the United States does export-- $2.3 trillion worth.

A trade war by definition means that other countries are going to slap tariffs and restrictions on those US goods and services, making them more expensive, and less competitive-- if they're allowed into those countries at all.

And once an American business loses a contract to sell its products overseas, it can take a long time to win that business back. Their customers will find other, perhaps more dependable suppliers while the trade war is waged.

Many well-paying jobs are at risk in a trade war. In 2017, the United States exported $60 billion worth of auto parts, $56 billion of civilian aircraft, $52 billion of new cars and trucks, and $51 billion of pharmaceuticals.

That's only goods. The United States has been primarily a service economy for decades now. Today about five times as many jobs are in the service sector, such as finance, media, transportation and retail, than are in goods producing sectors, such as manufacturing and mining.

The good news is that the United States had a $243 billion services trade surplus.

American trading partners are also among its biggest lenders

The federal deficit is big and getting bigger. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates the deficit could swell to $1 trillion by next year.

Wall Street worries that the rising amount of debt could drive up the interest rates on the government debt, since the Treasury Department will have to offer higher rates to borrow more money. That would increase the cost of borrowing for consumers and businesses, since many types of loans-- including mortgages-- track government bond rates.

One thing keeping rates in check so far is the demand for U.S. debt from overseas. America's foreign trading partners, including China, are among the largest buyers of that debt. It added $127 billion to its holdings last year and now owns more than $1 trillion in U.S. debt, making it the largest foreign holder of our debt.

The trade deficit that President Trump decries is one of the reasons for those holdings. It gives foreign countries a powerful incentive to buy that debt, since they have to do something with the dollars they get back on those sales.

If the trade gap shrinks, for whatever reason, China won't have as much incentive to buy U.S. debt, and interest rates could rise significantly.
We're not watching a TV show that will end for the season and start up again in a few months or next year. Trump is an existential danger to our country in the profoundest of ways-- and in ways that the next administration isn't going to wave a magic wand and fix. No one in their right mind or with a modicum of good sense thinks this is funny.

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How Dangerous Are Trump's Severe Mental Illnesses To America? Why Not Give Him The $25 Billion Hew Wants To Steal If He Promises To Resign?


They also have a problem with him overseas

Yeah, yeah, we all know Trump is a lying sack of shit. The idea that this man is president is more disgusting and unpalatable by the day. The idea that the latest job approval poll shows that 39% of Americans actually approve of the way he's doing his job-- and only a mere 54% disapprove-- makes me worry if my country can actually survive as a beacon of hope and a decent place to live. The Washington Post ran another Trump's the Biggest Liar in History piece yesterday. The compulsive liar-in-chief and the I-was-just-doing-what-I-was- told-Nazis who populate his ghastly regime "say U.S. laws or court rulings are forcing them to separate families that are caught trying to cross the southern border. These claims are false... It’s strange to behold Trump distancing himself from the zero-tolerance policy ('the Democrats gave us that law') while Nielsen claims it doesn’t exist ('it’s not a policy') and Sessions defends it in speech after speech."

For Trump, the family-separation policy is leverage as he seeks congressional funding for his promised border wall and other immigration priorities, according to reporting by the Washington Post. Top DHS officials have said that threatening adults with criminal charges and prison time would be the “most effective” way to reverse the rising number of illegal crossings.

The doublespeak coming from Trump and top administration officials on this issue is breathtaking, not only because of the sheer audacity of these claims but also because they keep being repeated without evidence. Immigrant families are being separated at the border not because of Democrats and not because some law forces this result, as Trump insists. They’re being separated because the Trump administration, under its zero-tolerance policy, is choosing to prosecute border-crossing adults for any offenses.
Meanwhile Eliana Johnson and Annie Karni have written a shocking report for Politico on how frustrating Trump's family separation agenda has become inside his own Regime. Towards the end of a long piece on how hapless Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is caught up in Trump's horrifying actions towards children, they mention that her sponsor, Chief of Staff John Kelly-- himself the former Homeland Security Secretary-- is flipping out entirely.

"Kelly’s status in the White House," they wrote, "has changed in recent months, and he and the president are now seen as barely tolerating one another. According to four people close to Kelly, the former Marine general has largely yielded his role as the enforcer in the West Wing as his relationship with Trump has soured. While Kelly himself once believed he stood between Trump and chaos, he has told at least one person close to him that he may as well let the president do what he wants, even if it leads to impeachment-- at least this chapter of American history would come to a close." (Trump's deputy chief of staff, Joe Hagin bailed yesterday afternoon. He had wanted to quit long ago but Kelly had persuaded him to stay on.)

Standing between Trump and chaos is not something Trump approves of or finds supportive of his ultimate ambitions. Trump is certifiably insane on several levels-- from Narcissistic Personality Disorder to traits that are far more dangerous to the country. On Tuesday he exploded during a private meeting with Senate Republicans over the one thing he's trying to accomplish that will outlast his miserable time in office: the Great Wall of Trump. He threatened to shut down the government in September-- so right before the midterms-- if they don't give him the $25 billion he wants to build the wall, much of which, no doubt, will line the pockets of his friends and family. This defines a kleptocracy. The senators fear that shutting down the government will shut down their careers.
In a private meeting regarding the wall Monday, Trump fumed to senators and his own staff about the $1.6 billion the Senate is planning to send him this fall, according to two people familiar with the meeting. Trump wants the full $25 billion upfront and doesn’t understand why Congress is going to supply him funds in a piecemeal fashion-- even though that’s how the spending process typically works.

...GOP lawmakers are loath to see a government shutdown on their watch just weeks before the midterm elections.

“It’s probably an overwhelming belief in the House and the Senate, especially the Senate, that government shutdowns aren’t good for anybody,"[Alabama Senator Richard] Shelby said.

The Appropriations Committee, which is led by Shelby, began working to pass its Homeland Security bill on Tuesday. Democrats seem unlikely to change course and agree to add more border security money for the president.

"We've got the bill and we're moving forward and I think we're going to get good bipartisan support for it. I think it's a good bill that will keep our borders safe," said Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), the ranking member of the Homeland Security appropriations committee.

On Monday, GOP Sens. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Shelby both tried to explain to Trump that the Senate is merely meeting Mulvaney’s request and has to cut a bipartisan deal with Democrats. The Senate needs 60 votes to pass a spending bill, so Republicans would have to find at least nine Democratic votes.

"We're going to do make a down payment on that working together," said Capito, chairwoman of Homeland Security spending panel.

But Trump has not been mollified. He raised his voice several times in Monday's meeting with Mulvaney, White House staffers and the senators, insisting he needs the full $25 billion-- an unlikely outcome in the narrowly divided Senate.

Shelby said he views $1.6 billion as a floor in negotiations, which could increase if Democrats want to do some horse-trading.
Horse-trading-- like in rescuing the children Trump has put in concentration camps?

This is a letter the American Psychological Association sent to Trump last week:
On behalf of the American Psychological Association (APA), we are writing to express our deep concern and strong opposition to the Administration’s new policy of separating immigrant parents and children who are detained while crossing the border. We previously wrote to then Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly on April 5, 2017, about this matter. Based on empirical evidence of the psychological harm that children and parents experience when separated, we implore you to reconsider this policy and commit to the more humane practice of housing families together pending immigration proceedings to protect them from further trauma.

APA is the leading scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. Our membership includes researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants, and students. APA works to advance the creation, communication, and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives. We have 115,700 members and affiliates across the United States and in many other countries, many of whom serve immigrant youth and adults in a wide range of settings, including schools, community centers, hospitals and refugee resettlement centers.

The current policy calls for children to be removed from their parents and placed for an often indeterminate period of time in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Decades of psychological research have determined that it is in the best interest of the child and the family to keep families together. Families fleeing their homes to seek sanctuary in the United States are already under a tremendous amount of stress. Sudden and unexpected family separation, such as separating families at the border, can add to that stress, leading to emotional trauma in children. Research also suggests that the longer that parents and children are separated, the greater the reported symptoms of anxiety and depression are for children. Adverse childhood experiences, such as parent-child separation, are important social determinants of mental disorders. For children, traumatic events can lead to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health disorders that can cause long lasting effects. Furthermore, immigration policies, such as separating families at the border, can also adversely impact those immigrants who are already in the United States. They can suffer from feelings of stigmatization, social exclusion, anger, and hopelessness, as well as fear for the future.

As a tragic example of the current policy’s serious potential for harm, a Honduran man who was separated from his wife and 3-year-old son after he crossed the border into Texas recently took his own life while detained in a holding cell, according to the Customs and Border Protection officials, public records, and media reports. There are also reports of detained immigrants foregoing legitimate claims for asylum by pleading guilty to expedite the return of their separated children and reports of parents being deported while their children, including infants, remain in custody. These incidents serve to highlight the mental health crisis for many families caused by the Administration’s policy.

Given these considerations, a change in immigration policy regarding the detention of immigrant families at the border is desperately needed-- from separating parents and children to housing them together and providing needed physical and mental health services. As psychologists, we have documented multiple harmful effects of parent-child separation on children’s emotional and psychological development and well-being and urge that the current policy of family separation be reversed. Should you have any questions regarding these comments, please contact Serena Dávila, J.D., with our Public Interest Directorate.

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!


by Noah

The Trump administration has introduced us to yet another name and face for evil. That name and face is the name and face of Kirstjen Nielsen. Nielsen is Herr Trump's Chief of Homeland Security, or "die Homeland" as they probably call it in the White House. When asked by the White House press corps why we were only seeing film and photos of male refugees in cages, she acted, and I mean acted, in her ice cold nazi-like contempt, like it was news to her. She even claimed that she didn't know what photos reporters were talking about even though they've been running like a loop on TV (Well, maybe not Rupert Murdoch's Republican channel or Alex Jones). She played her own loop of evilly disingenuous, smart ass word games about not knowing about the photos; "Photos? What photos? She took the attitude that she didn't understand what the fuss was about when reporters wanted to know the whereabouts of toddlers and young girls stolen from their parents by the Trump jackboots, the same jackboots that laugh and make jokes about the cries and terror of their captives. Either Nielsen doesn't care or she knows perfectly damn well what's happening with those kids in her Kiddie Internment Camps.

Kirstjen Nielsen. Remember that name. It's the kind of name that Republicans prefer our immigrants to have. Names don't get any whiter than that, but that's why she's got the job she has. You could look at her contempt for anyone who wanted to know the additional horrible details and see the result of decades of republican wet dreaming. Just how much further will they go, and how much further will we enable them, and their kind, to go?

When it comes to Kirstjen Nielsen, you could say, "Meet the new Sarah Huckabee Sanders." The job position is different but whereas Sanders only went as far as displaying the complete lack of empathy of an Ayn Randian psychopath, i.e. the apple of the eye of the current Republican Speaker of the House, Nielsen was put before the press and the nation Monday to take the White House theme of depraved indifference yet another step further into outright evil. Imagine being in charge of knowing where the babies and young girls are and how or if they are being properly cared for, and not even caring enough to know the details. If she does know, then that is even more evil. Either way, there's that contempt of that not caring and then going out before the entire world and just cavalierly saying you don't know, or, basically say "Is there a problem?" Some terrorists hide behind a mask. Some hide behind their smirk.

The press doesn't get off easy either. Yes, I'm glad that they are asking the questions about the whereabouts of the stolen children, but the reason we are only seeing pictures of the young males is beyond obvious. It's a marketing ploy and the press needs need to shout that fact from the rooftops. It's the kind of marketing ploy that Republicans are so extraordinarily adept at: marketing fear, not the fears of the children and their parents but the fears of reptilian Republican voters. The reason we are only seeing pictures of young males, some who look as old as 18 or 19 is that it plays into the Trumpist narrative that all young males of color are gang members, MS-13 and all that. It's the Republican politics of fear being played to the hilt as they use children as pawns and bargaining chips in furtherance of their white supremacist agenda. Stephen Miller, John Kelly, Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump. Add Kirstjen Nielsen to that list of racist horror. Add Kellyanne Conway who just defended their actions in the name of Catholicism. You might as well add the names of all who work in the Trump White House. With any luck and if we actually get out of this nightmare of neo-nazi Trumpism, all of the names of those who work in today's White House will be remembered by history. That's the wall we should build; a wall in Lafayette Park across the barricaded street in front of the White House, a wall with all of their names, every, single, one, of, them, a wall where future generations can all go a spit, while future republicans complain that we are spitting on their heritage. Think of the irony of a White House goon like Conway citing a religion that has its own issues of how children are treated. Maybe that's OK, too, if you're a republican. Just wait 'till we here about all sorts of abuse, sexual and otherwise, coming from these camps. You have to know that that is only a matter of time.

The reason we haven't seen the photos of toddlers and young women; the reason the press needs to name is that photos of toddlers and girls would engender sympathy. They would engender feelings of humanity, something Trump and those who work for him can't stand. They don't show the girls because just look at the reaction that picture of the sobbing two-year-old got. That picture will get a Pulitzer and go down in history as being as powerful as the Pulitzer-winning photo of the girlnaked and napalmed Vietnamese girl did decades ago, in Nixon's time. Those pictures are photo-journalism at its best, and they are why fascists hate journalists. Now it's up to the press to tell all, not just half. In the meanwhile, we will get some staged photos of happy, well-cared for toddlers and young girls in an attempt to quiet things and mollify us. How long before we see a photo op of Ivanka or some republican congresscretin like Rep. Marsha Blackburn or Sen. Joni Ernst, wearing new MAGA hats available at for the low, low price of $49.99, visiting a "cleaned up for presentation" detention center. I can just see Ivanka asking a little girl if she knows how to make shoes.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

How Much Did Self-Funding Help In The California Congressional Races?


Gil Cisneros, the DCCC's staff's idea of a candidate

There were a lot of candidates willing to spend over $500,000 of their own money to buy a place in the general election run-off. None of the big spenders came in first and most of them failed to come in second, which is what they would have needed to get into the general election. These are the 3 districts, all in Orange County, where multimillionaires spent over half a million in the effort. All but one of the big self-funders are Democrats, in part due to the DCCC's repulsive obsession with recruiting wealthy self-funders. In some cases they actually hurt themselves by recruiting more than one self funder in a single district. The DCCC recruited both Gil Cisneros and Mai Khanh Tran in the 39th and Harley Rouda and Hans Keirstea in the 48th, a race that still hasn't be called.

Worse yet, in the 39th, Cisneros is such an abysmal candidate that unless the blue wave is an absolute tsunami, he's unlikely to be able to win the general election. What the DCCC has done is cede the best target in Orange County to the Republicans just because Cisneros is such a big spender, his only "qualification" for office.

The vote counts are as of last Saturday, June 16 and the money totals are of May 16

Gil Cisneros (D)- 25, 291 (19.3%)- $3,552,762
Andy Thorburn (D)- 12,046 (9.2%)- $2,785,900
Herbert Lee (D)- 5,456 (4.2%)- $800,000
Mai Khanh Tran (D)- 6,793 (5.2%)- $730,000
Harley Rouda (D)- 29,178 (17.2%)- $1,130,500
Omar Siddiqui (D)- 8,384 (5%)- $764,820
Hans Keirstead (D)- 29,292 (17.3%)- $730,400
Paul Kerr (D)- 7,707 (4.5%)- $4,112,728
Sara Jacobs (D)- 27,154 (15.7%)- $1,587,831
Brian Maryott (R)- 5,133 (3.0%) $700,000

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Is Every Single Thing Just A Distraction For The Unprecedented Kleptocracy?


Today, Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, told a Bloomberg editor at the Economic Club of New York that he thinks Señor Trumpanzee is just bluffing about starting a trade war. "That’s what you’d do if it was a negotiating position and you wanted to remind your negotiating counterparty of how much firepower you have. I don’t think we’re in a suicide pact on this, so I suspect we’re not going to cause the economies to collapse... I do think-- as some people have commented-- that this is part of a negotiating pattern, that would be my best take." And no one knows what a gaslighting bullshit artist Trump is?

Jeremy Zipple is a film maker and Jesuit priest in San Antonio at Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine. He had a couple of powerful tweets over the weekend, aimed right at Señor Trumpanzee: "2600 years ago, one prophet named Isaiah said, 'Woe unto those who legislate evil'-- that’s actually scripture--'and rob the poor of their rights and make women and children their prey'" and "US Catholic bishops seem to be gearing up for a full on fight on this issue during an election year.

But suppose Trump feels enough pressure to finally give in on this, which I suspect will happen, maybe even fire far right racist neo-Nazi and crackpot Stephen Miller and make him the scapegoat. Although... Bannon doesn't agree that Trump is going to fold on this and that its core to his campaign promises and absolutely fabulous. Yesterday he told Jonathan Karl on This Week that listening to his inner voice Señor Trumpanzee "is going to lead-- write this down-- that’s going to lead to an astounding victory in November, where he’s going to run the tables in the House and he’s going to pick up a couple seats in the Senate... Trump is accomplishing everything he committed to the American people on the campaign that I stepped in as CEO. I couldn’t be prouder of the guy. All he has to do is continue to hit those marks on that whiteboard and he’s going to run the tables."

Yes, write this down. Or don't; write this down, an article by Francis Wilson for Bloomberg instead: New York’s Case Against Trump May Be Prophetic. But not prophetic in the same way Zipple talks about prophetic-- prophetic for the courts and for the members of Congress who have to vote on impeachment in 2019. It starts with Trump being an absolutely slimy crooked businessman, worst I've ever seen... and I've seen some bad ones.
The report released by the inspector general of the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Thursday painted a vivid picture of the past. It shows that in 2016, James Comey, then the FBI director, inexcusably broke the rules in advertising his department’s investigation into Hillary Clinton while simultaneously following the rules in keeping its investigation of Donald Trump under wraps.

Trump has already mischaracterized the report, in the way Trump routinely does. But it’s unclear, ultimately, how much all this history matters politically.

For a more prophetic vision of the future, you should read the complaint against Trump, his children and his foundation by New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood.

Why prophetic? Because it’s likely a preface to the report or complaint that special counsel Robert Mueller will bring. The alleged crimes described by Underwood are not similar to those being investigated by Mueller. But the behavior is.

One stumbling block to public understanding of the Mueller probe, in addition to a steady stream of propaganda and lies designed to undermine it, is that it’s hard for even a cynic to accept the premises of what is being investigated.

U.S. history simply doesn’t offer a lot of reference points for a major-party political candidate who so casually subverts the law and sells out the nation’s highest values. How many Richard Nixons are there?

Someone seems obsessed

To believe the accusations that Trump colluded with Russia, laundered vast amounts of money and/or put American foreign policy on the auction block in return for the enrichment of his family requires an awkward leap of faith. You have to believe this leader is both profoundly corrupt-- far more so than Nixon-- and staggeringly sloppy-- again more so than Nixon.

This is essentially the portrait that Underwood paints in the detailed accusations against the head of the Trump Foundation: that of a shady huckster who engages in “persistently illegal conduct” and is buffoonishly sloppy along the way.

To give credit where it’s due, the New York attorney general is building on the case built in 2016 by Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold, whose search for legitimate charitable activity by Trump’s foundation consistently left the reporter comically empty-handed.

What Fahrenthold detailed was Trump’s utter disregard for the law in taking in tax-deductible contributions to his foundation and proceeding to spend the money on his personal and business needs. 
New findings, for instance, show that the Trump Foundation’s largest-ever gift-- $264,631-- was used to renovate a fountain outside the windows of Trump’s Plaza Hotel.

Its smallest-ever gift, for $7, was paid to the Boy Scouts in 1989, at a time when it cost $7 to register a new Scout. Trump’s oldest son was 11 at the time. Trump did not respond to a question about whether the money was paid to register him.
Take a moment to savor that last detail. A man claiming to be worth billions of dollars-- and who certainly flaunted the lifestyle-- appears to have illegally diverted $7 from a charitable foundation to pay his son’s Boy Scouts registration fee.

Trump’s foundation is organized “exclusively for charitable, religious, scientific, literary or educational purposes either directly or by contributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code."

Instead, as Underwood’s complaint shows clearly, he used it to pay settlements incurred in business lawsuits and to advance his 2016 political campaign. The foundation took in millions in donations for veterans. His campaign then directed the foundation to issue checks to Iowa veterans groups in advance of the Iowa caucuses as he sought to curry political favor.

How does Underwood know campaign personnel were involved in spending decisions? Because the Trumpsters are so recklessly contemptuous of rules that they left a trail of this blatant violation of campaign-finance law on their emails. At least one email thread included Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski weighing in on where he wanted the foundation’s tax-deductible funds directed.

The foundation also made a $25,000 contribution to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who subsequently determined that fraud charges against Trump’s university were not a proper matter for her office. The foundation listed the contribution as going to a Kansas nonprofit with the same name as Bondi’s political committee.

“The Foundation has no credible explanation for the false reporting of grant recipients to the IRS and the State of New York,” Underwood concluded.

Trump will likely claim he was uninvolved and unaware. But Underwood’s complaint has that covered, too.
Mr. Trump, who was the sole signatory on the Foundation's bank accounts, approved all grants and other disbursements from the Foundation. Accounting staff for the Trump Organization had responsibility for issuing checks from the Foundation, and issued the checks based solely on Mr. Trump's approval before presenting the checks to Mr. Trump for signature.
Indeed, the foundation’s board didn’t provide much of a check on Trump’s personal whims, owing to the fact that, in violation of the law, it “has not met since 1999 and does not oversee the activities of the Foundation in any way.”

It took the attorney general’s office months to investigate this narrow corner of the Trump universe-- even though the evidence was lying around in plain sight. Mueller’s investigation is far broader and more consequential. His complaint may yet take a while. But it should be a doozy.

Trump's rotten regime seems to have lost close to 6,000 children, after telling Congress last month that they "only" lost 1,500. "To the extent that there are problems for protection of unaccompanied children, this will only become worse as they put more kids in the unaccompanied category by ripping them away from their families," said Clara Long, U.S. researcher at Human Rights Watch. This isn't just on Trump and the people that work in his fetid swamp. Every Republican enabler in Congress who hasn't spoken up with rot in Hell with them.
The reality is the Trump administration-— and the Obama administration beforehand-- has lost track and continues to lose track of thousands of unaccompanied minors while ORR does not appear to be trying to keep track of the children once they’re placed with sponsors.

...A 2008 law signed by President George W. Bush placed all children who arrive at U.S. borders and ports of entry without a parent or guardian under the care and custody of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Under President Barack Obama this issue grabbed national attention when, in 2015, it was discovered that HHS did not require any meaningful proof that the people who presented themselves as family friends really were who they said they were.

In one high-profile case, HHS allowed six migrant children from Guatemala to be turned over to traffickers who forced them to work in grueling conditions on an Ohio egg farm.
Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice: "What’s happened is that ICE has a new policy of going after sponsors. The bigger story if not that they are losing people-- it's that ICE is terrorizing people."

Think of the basement of the Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg on July 16, 1918

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Well-Deserved Set Back For Kris Kobach In Kansas


Kris Kobach is one of the poster children for voter disenfranchisement and xenophobia. He's currently Kansas secretary of state running for governor. According to the Wichita Eagle, a federal judge struck down his discriminatory voter law and has ordered him to take legal/civics classes

Judge Julie Robinson, in an 118-page ruling Monday, ordered a halt to the state’s requirement that people provide proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. The decision will probably mae it easier to register for the August primaries.
Judge Julie Robinson also ordered Kobach, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, to take more hours of continuing legal education after he was found in contempt and was frequently chided during the trial over missteps.

In an 118-page ruling Monday, Robinson ordered a halt to the state’s requirement that people provide proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. The decision holds the potential to make registration easier as the August and November elections approach.

Robinson’s ruling amounted to a takedown of the law that Kobach had championed and lawmakers approved several years ago. She found that it “disproportionately impacts duly qualified registration applicants, while only nominally preventing noncitizen voter registration.” 
“If eligible Kansans’ votes are not counted despite believing they are registered to vote, it erodes confidence in the electoral system,” Robinson wrote.

She ordered Kobach not to enforce the proof of citizenship law and its accompanying regulations.

Kobach's office said he will appeal the ruling. "Judge Robinson is the first judge in the country to come to the extreme conclusion that requiring a voter to prove his citizenship is unconstitutional. Her conclusion is incorrect, and it is inconsistent with precedents of the U.S. Supreme Court," his office said in a statement.

At trial, Kobach said the law was working. Since 2000, 129 non-citizens have either registered or attempted to register. Many of them were blocked from registering by the proof of citizenship law, he said.

"The 129 is just the tip of the iceberg…we know the iceberg is much larger," he said.

The ruling is the culmination of a federal lawsuit filed in 2016. At a bench trial earlier this year, the American Civil Liberties Union and attorney Mark Johnson represented voters who said they had been impeded from registering by the law.

“This decision is a stinging rebuke of Kris Kobach, and the centerpiece of his voter suppression efforts: a show-me-your-papers law that has disenfranchised tens of thousands of Kansans. That law was based on a xenophobic lie that noncitizens are engaged in rampant elections fraud," said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project.

...Under the ruling, Kobach must instruct all state and county election officers that voter registration applicants do not need to provide proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. Registrants who have not provided proof of citizenship must be listed the same as all other registrants.

Robinson rejected Kobach’s argument that the law was needed to prohibit voter fraud. She said of the tens of thousands of people whose voter registrations have been canceled or suspended because of a lack of proof of citizenship, less than 1 percent have been confirmed to be non-citizens.

Instead of helping to block voter fraud, the law “acted as a deterrent to registration and voting for substantially more eligible Kansans than it has prevented ineligible voters from registering to vote,” she wrote.

The ruling was also a slap against Kobach as an attorney. Robinson wrote Kobach had a “well-documented history of avoiding this Court’s orders.” She repeatedly criticized Kobach’s conduct in court, noting that at least once he tried to introduce evidence despite Robinson having excluded it.

She also wrote that Kobach failed to disclose documents, and she faulted misleading testimony by one of his witnesses.

Kobach was previously fined $1,000 in the case and held in contempt.

“I have a very difficult understanding why someone with Kris Kobach’s educational pedigree can make such poor judgments repeatedly,” Rep. John Carmichael, D-Wichita, said after Monday’s ruling.

...Robinson concluded her ruling by ordering Kobach to take six additional hours of continuing legal education in addition to any other hours required for a law license.
Aside from Kobach, there are half a dozen other Republicans competing in the August 7th primary, including incumbent Jeff Colyer. The latest polling shows Colyer narrowly ahead of Kobach.

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Blue Wave Headed Toward Florida?


The last attempt to fix some of Florida's severe gerrymandering problems created a new district up north, the fifth, that connects most of Tallahassee with most of Jacksonville and goes as far west into the panhandle as Chattahoochee. The PVI is D+12. Hillary eviscerated Trump here, 61.3% to 35.9%, Trump's worst performance in northern Florida. The first congressman elected from the new district was conservative Democrat Al Lawson, former "dean" of the state Senate.

ProgressivePunch, which grades him "F" shows that he, Blue Dogs Stephanie Murphy and Charlie Crist has the worst voting records of any Florida Democrats. A New Dem, he has the 9th worst voting record among House Democrats, made worse by the fact that he represents a deep blue Democratic district.

Normally we would over the moon that anyone as far to the right as Lawson has a primary challenge. Unfortunately his challenger, Alvin Brown, is another conservative Democrat. When Brown was elected mayor of Jacksonville in 2011 he became the first African-American mayor in Jacksonville's history and the first Democrat to be elected to the position since 1991. He was so conserative that many Democrats didn't bother coming out to the polls in 2015 and he was defeated for re-election by Republican Lenny Curry. So... yes, Al Lawson is absolutely terrible. But is it worth replacing him with someone likely to be almost as bad (if not just as bad)? Especially when a new Gravis poll showed much better news coming out of Florida this week.

The much better news is that the progressive running for governor, Andrew Gillum, is now leading in the primary and leading any Republican running for the nomination! Polling was conducted between May 31 and June 15. It found that "Florida voters are to the left of center. Voters oppose a complete abortion ban 53%-29%, a twenty-week ban 42%-39% and support LGBTQ protection from discrimination 55%-22%. They are, however, tightly split over support for sending the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexican border 45%-44%. Uncertainty remains among three issue that will be put before voters in November. Support for the citizen initiative process being the exclusive method for authorizing casinos in Florida is split at 26%-25%. Restoring voting rights for felons sits just over the required 60% threshold at 61%-30%. Finally, voters support an initiative to ban all offshore drilling 52%-29%... Voters have soured on the Republican tax reform law. In March, support was 36%-37% and has now fallen to 38%-47%. Voters indicate that they are less likely to support a candidate that supported the bill by a 42%-36% spread.

Goal ThermometerAt the same time, incongruously, Trump's approval rating has gone up-- from 41%-48% in March to 48%-52% today. "Voters are split over the performance of their other elected officials. Governor Rick Scott is slightly below water at 48%-50% while Rubio is farther in the red at 39%-56%. Voters are mixed on incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson at 47%-44%." And here's where it gets exciting. Gillum, the progressive in the gubernatorial race is now leading his conservative rivals. Blue America has endorsed Andrew and you can contribute to his campaign by clicking on the 2018 gubernatorial thermometer on the right. Gillum is the most viably progressive candidate for governor in Florida’s history. He has plans to make healthcare more affordable through Medicare for All, increase spending on education and workforce training through a corporate tax adjustment and marijuana legalization, and raise the minimum wage in Florida to $15 an hour. He has helped high school students get registered to vote in the aftermath of the Parkland tragedy and, as mayor of Tallahassee, has been sued by the gun lobby twice and won both times.
Voters are beginning to decide on choices for the August Gubernatorial primaries. Undecided levels fell from 60% to 43% on the GOP side and 64% to 27% on the Democratic side. The previous poll showed Philip Levine ahead in the Democratic field 13%-11% for Andrew Gillum and 9% for Gwen Graham. The new poll shows Gillum taking the lead at 29% with Philip Levine falling to third place at 17% and Gwen Graham rebounding to 24% in second place. Gillum appears to have weathered some damaging news cycles and is now leading the pack as voters are possibly responding well to his recent debate performance, though the June 9th debate was towards the end of the field period for this poll.

“Gillum is clearly performing well in the debates and Democratic primary voters are taking notice” said Gravis Marketing Managing Partner Doug Kaplan. “The progressive wing of the party is behind him in this very close race between Gillum, Graham and Levine. Billionaire Jeff Greene is about to shakeup the race with his campaign launch.”

In the Republican field, Adam Putnam has reclaimed the lead over Ron DeSantis 29%-19%. Richard Corcoran (4%) and Bob White (5%) are currently well behind the top-two. Kaplan remarked that “The attacks on DeSantis are obviously working. Opponents have poured in money to convince Republicans that DeSantis is weak on immigration and somewhat liberal.” Kaplan concluded that “We predicted that the attacks on DeSantis were underreported and he was being damaged. One question that is up in the air is whether Trump’s endorsement will be enough to overcome those attacks.”

Moving to the general election, Democrats appear to be gaining ground on retaking the Florida Governor’s Mansion for the first time since Lawton Chiles defeated Jeb Bush in 1994. While Gwen Graham is currently performing the best in general election match-ups, both Gillum and Levine hold leads as well. Graham leads Putnam 45%-39% and DeSantis 44%-34%. Gillum beats out Putnam 42%-39% and 38%-35% over DeSantis. Levine holds leads almost identical to Graham over Putnam 43%-39% and 43%-33% over DeSantis.

The best news for Democrats in this new poll comes from the Senate race where Bill Nelson now holds a 50%-40% lead over Rick Scott. This margin was a narrower 44%-40% in March. Nelson is winning 81%-12% among Democrats and 49%-32% among independents while Scott has winning Republicans 73%-21%. Florida’s Hispanic electorate is less liberal than the nation electorate. Scott leads Nelson 40%-32% among Hispanics despite trailing Nelson 73%-20% with African Americans and 49%-43% among Caucasians. Nelson does best among women (51%-39%), but still holds a lead among men (49%-41%).

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Are Trump's Concentration Camps For Immigrant Children Going To Further Damage The GOP Brand?


Meet Jesuit priest, James Martin author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage and Building a Bridge. He's also an editor of the Jesuit magazine America. You may know him for his appearances on Colbert's show. He has a lot of influence in the Vatican and it's worth reading between the lines in the tweet storm above. It's also worth reading Barbara Bush's Washington Post OpEd from Sunday night, Laura Bush: Separating children from their parents at the border ‘breaks my heart’. "I live in a border state," she wrote. "I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart. Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso. These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history... "Americans pride ourselves on being a moral nation, on being the nation that sends humanitarian relief to places devastated by natural disasters or famine or war. We pride ourselves on believing that people should be seen for the content of their character, not the color of their skin. We pride ourselves on acceptance. If we are truly that country, then it is our obligation to reunite these detained children with their parents-- and to stop separating parents and children in the first place."

A few hours earlier White House communications director Stephanie Grisham announced that Melania "hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform. She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart." Both sides of the aisle? Really. Her husband, Señor Trumpanzee, keeps asserting the child stealing and incarceration was forced on him by some imaginary Democratic law, instead of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions' "zero tolerance" policy meant to "send a message."
[O]ver the weekend his secretary of homeland security, Kirstjen Nielsen, flat-out denied that such a policy existed.

"We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period," Nielsen tweeted.
But the Department of Homeland Security does separate children from their parents at the border, and it just put out a press release about it on Friday, explaining its new "zero tolerance" policy for border crossers. And why have they been building concentration camps (that are now filled with children)? And why is Trump's policy tearing his own party apart?

Yesterday AP reported that Trump's ugly and inhumane policy "is also starting to divide Republicans and their allies as Democrats turn up the pressure." Susan Collins (R-ME) has signaled she won't work with the Democrats to fix anything but-- always trying to have it both ways-- said "What the administration has decided to do is to separate children from their parents to try to send a message that if you cross the border with children, your children are going to be ripped away from you. That’s traumatizing to the children who are innocent victims, and it is contrary to our values in this country."
Former Trump adviser Anthony Scaramucci said in a weekend interview that the child separation interview could be dangerous for Trump. He said the president “should be immediately fixing this problem.”

“This is a fuse that has been lit,” he said. “The president is going to get hurt by this issue if it stays out there very, very long.”

The signs of splintering of GOP support come after longtime Trump ally, the Rev. Franklin Graham, called the policy “disgraceful.” Several religious groups, including some conservative ones, have pushed to stop the practice of separating immigrant children from their parents.
Trumpanzee is meeting with House Republicans today and said he'll sign whichever bill Ryan gets through Congress, a vaguely conservative bill or the one the neo-Nazis from the Freedom Caucus and the crackpot Trumpists are pushing.

The Republicans are in a bit of a pickle here. A new poll from Ipsos shows that most Americans oppose Trump's policy, the Republican base are just fine with it. 27% of Americans-- normal people plus Republicans-- like the child grabbing policy. 46% of Republicans favor and just 32% disagree. Among normal people, there's a very different story. Just 14% of Democrats and 29% of Independents support support what Trump is doing. Congressional Republicans are feeling the pressure-- especially from independent voters who they have to win over to be reelected.

As Caitlin Owens explained at Axios, Ryan is allowing a vote on 2 different immigration bills this week: one written by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte that the neo-Nazis and other Trumpists favor and a sort of compromise bill that's still hideous but that mainstream conservatives like a little more than what Goodlatte came up with. It's not likely either will pass. Ryan "agreed to do this to avoid the worst-case scenario of moderates filing a discharge petition-- a way of forcing votes on bills they don’t like-- which could have resulted in passage of the Democrats’ preferred immigration bill... Even the optimists say that the compromise bill’s chance of passage is probably in Trump’s hands: He alone has the power to pressure reluctant House Republicans into voting for it. (Democrats are unlikely to support it.)"

Today the Economist suggested that people who really want to raise the stakes in this scriptural to-and-fro might consider turning to a verse in Matthew’s Gospel which warns of the dire consequences that may befall anybody who does spiritual harm to children: "If anyone causes one of these little ones…to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea."

Paul Clements, the progressive running for the southwest Michigan congressional seat occupied by Trump enabler Fred Upton, put it like this: "We are a nation of immigrants. So why are we watching ICE separate families and detain human beings in inhumane conditions? Why are we watching them put frightened children in mass detention for months at a time?

This isn't how we ought to respond to immigrants and refugees. Regardless of your political leanings, human beings shouldn't be treated this way--especially when there's a better way:
A pathway to citizenship for immigrants who have not committed crimes after entering the United States
Permanent DACA protections
Compassionate and sound refugee policies following international human rights standards and emphasizing cooperation with other nations
We need elected leaders in Congress who will stand up and say no to this inhumanity, and demand accountability and decency."

I wonder how long it's going to take Republican rubber stamps too scared of Trump to do their jobs to get this message. American voters sure have. Now it's just a matter of how many Republican congressmen are going to be looking for jobs on K Street in 2019. Lobbyists already love old-timers like Upton but what are Trump enablers like Steve Russell in Oklahoma, Ron Estes in Kansas, Don Bacon in Nebraska and Dan Donovan in New York going to do to make a living?

This reporting won't make Trumpanzee happy if someone reads it to him: GOP Governor Charlie Baker said Monday that "members of the Massachusetts National Guard will not be sent to the Mexican border to assist the Trump administration in what the Republican called its 'cruel and inhumane' policy separating migrant children from their families."

A few Republicans are starting to criticize Trump. Florida governor Rick Scott, in a tough Senate race, told the Tampa Bay Times on Monday that "What the country is witnessing right now is the byproduct of the many years of bi-partisan inaction and failure from our federal government. Let me be clear-- I do not favor separating families. Washington is to blame for this by being all talk and no action, and the solution is to secure the border. Anyone seeking to enter our country illegally needs to be sent back, with the exception of those who are truly seeking asylum from an oppressive regime." A Miami area Republican congressman, Mario Diaz-Balart, went a little further, though, like Scott, was too frightened to mention Señor T: "It is totally unacceptable, for any reason, to purposely separate minor children from their parents. Any and every other option should be implemented in order to not separate minors from their parents, which I believe is unconscionable. We cannot allow for this to continue happening, and it must stop. I continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that the provision included in this week's immigration bill puts an end to this cruel practice."

Lindsey Graham (R-SC) did mention Trump by name though: "President Trump could stop this policy with a phone call." Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse (R): "Family separation is wicked. It is harmful to kids and absolutely should NOT be the default U.S. policy. Americans are better than this... The administration’s decision to separate families is a new, discretionary choice. Anyone saying that their hands are tied or that the only conceivable way to fix the problem of catch-and-release is to rip families apart is flat wrong. There are other options available to them. The other options are all messy (given that some overly prescriptive judges have limited their administrative options), but there are ways to address this that are less bad than the policy of family separation they’ve chosen. There are many senior folks in the administration who hate this policy, and who want to do something better. But some in the administration have decided that this cruel policy increases their legislative leverage. This is wrong. Americans do not take children hostage, period... The President should immediately end this family separation policy."

UPDATE: Who's Taking Care Of The Kidnapped Kids?

Guys like Deputy Sheriff Jose Nunez, a 10-year veteran of the Bexar County Sheriff's Department. According to the Dallas Morning News Nunez (not Devin Nunes this time) sexually assaulted a 4-year-old girl and threatened the victim's mother into staying quiet about the assaults.

Sheriff Javier Salazar said the girl had been assaulted multiple times over the course of several months. The mother is an undocumented immigrants and Nunez said she'd be deported if she told anyone.

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