Tag Archives: kelly

Trump Administration Launches Office Focused on Crimes by Immigrants

Mother Jones

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The Trump administration officially launched an office on Wednesday dedicated to the victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants—an effort that immigrant advocates say does not align with actual crime data and appears designed to demonize immigrants.

The Department of Homeland Security announced the creation of the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) office, which will provide aid to people affected by crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. According to DHS and officials with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement—which will house the office—this assistance will include a hotline to answer questions about the immigration enforcement process and a notification system to provide updates to registered victims about the custody status of immigrant perpetrators.

The services provide by VOICE are not new: Most are already offered by ICE’s community engagement office, and the office draws upon personnel and resources that the agency already has. But administration officials have shifted the tone of the conversation by focusing on victims of crimes committed by immigrants.

“All crime is terrible, but these victims are unique—and too often ignored,” Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said during the Wednesday launch event in Washington. “They are casualties of crimes that should never have taken place, because the people who victimized them oftentimes should not have been in the country in the first place.”

In reports and statements leading up to the launch, VOICE has been described as focusing exclusively on people affected by crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. But DHS officials on Wednesday said that the office would provide services to victims of “crimes with an immigration nexus,” suggesting that the scope of the agency could expand beyond the undocumented. DHS officials told reporters that VOICE will focus on crimes committed by anyone who could potentially face deportation, a grouping that could include immigrants with legal status.

The office has been in the works for several months and was developed with input from victims and their families, many of whom attended the launch event. It was first mentioned in the president’s January executive order addressing illegal immigration, and its purpose was further clarified in a memo published by Kelly in February. President Donald Trump first spoke publicly about it in his February address to Congress, when he said, “We are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media and silenced by special interests.”

The launch drew immediate criticism from immigration advocates. “The goal of this program is to instill fear of non-white immigrants,” the National Day Laborer Organizing Network said in a statement. “It is another deliberate step taken by the Trump administration towards creating institutions that legitimize racist propaganda. That’s what this is about, instilling fear in order to subject people to double suspicion, double punishment, and deprivation of due process.” Others have argued that while the administration focuses on crimes committed by immigrants, it has pulled back from assisting immigrant crime victims, leaving many immigrants fearful of reporting crimes to police.

“I think it is absurd to highlight the crimes committed by a small group of people without reporting on the crimes committed by everybody,” Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration policy analyst with the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, said in an interview before the Wednesday launch. With the establishment of VOICE, he added, the administration appears to be “trying to show how dangerous a group of people is when they have no statistical evidence towards that claim.” Crime data suggests that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born citizens.

At Wednesday’s event, DHS officials argued that VOICE is not about demonizing immigrants, but instead will focus on assisting victims and families who are confused about how immigration enforcement works. “The immigration system is so complicated, there wasn’t anyone there to tell victims what has been happening on the immigration side,” said DHS spokesman David Lapan. “This office can help victims’ families understand the immigration elements of the crimes committed.”

But that mission has been complicated by the president’s rhetoric on immigration and the undocumented. Trump has frequently highlighted the immigration records of violent offenders. One of his central campaign promises was to build a wall between Mexico and the United States, and he has pledged to ramp up deportations.

Launching just days before Trump’s 100th day in office, VOICE comes at a difficult moment for the administration. On Tuesday, a federal judge blocked part of the president’s order that would have withheld funding from so-called sanctuary cities, which refuse to comply with Trump’s call to detain and deport undocumented immigrants.

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Trump Administration Launches Office Focused on Crimes by Immigrants

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Immigration and the Economy

Mother Jones

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This post isn’t about immigration and the economy. It’s about immigration. And it’s about the economy. First up, here’s a survey from Pew Research about positive attitudes toward the economy:

Here’s the interesting part. It’s normal to assume that people think better of the economy when one of their own is president. But is it true? During the recovery from the Great Recession, Republicans consistently rated the economy worse than Democrats. When Trump took over, their views suddenly skyrocketed, with a full 61 percent now having a positive view of the economy. Apparently Republicans do indeed view the economy through a partisan lens.

If Democrats followed that pattern, their view of the economy would have plummeted in 2017. But it didn’t. It went up again, at about the same rate as previous years. Democrats, it turns out, don’t view the economy solely through a partisan lens. If you’re looking for an explanation, my guess is Fox News and the rest of the conservative disinformation machine. You can take your own guess in comments.

And now for immigration. Last month, DHS Secretary John Kelly bragged that illegal border crossings were down. This month he crowed about it again. But a sharp-eyed reader pointed out that there’s really nothing unusual about the latest numbers:

Border apprehensions in March have been on a steady downward trend for nearly two decades. This year’s numbers are just following that trend. Last month I thought that President Trump’s fear campaign might be having a real impact, but now I doubt it. There’s no special reason at all to think that anything he’s doing is having much effect at all.

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Immigration and the Economy

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Inside Trump’s Border Crackdown on Women and Kids

Mother Jones

Despite President Donald Trump’s dire warnings of “bad hombres” and drugs flooding into the United States from Mexico, the most urgent issue along the border has been the influx of Central American families and unaccompanied children, many of whom are fleeing gang-fueled violence in their home countries. And the latest statistics from the border show that one of the main goals of the White House’s immigration crackdown is being realized: targeting and deterring these asylum seekers from heading to the United States in the first place.

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released new data on the number of migrants stopped at the US-Mexico border in February. Customs and Border Protection caught 18,762 people trying to enter the country, a 40 percent drop from January and the lowest monthly total since at least 2000 (the earliest year for which there are statistics). Of those migrants, just 27 percent were unaccompanied children or family groups, typically women traveling with kids—a huge dropoff from the last three months of 2016, when they made up 48 percent of apprehensions at the border.

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The administration was quick to celebrate the numbers. In a statement, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly crowed, “The early results show that enforcement matters, deterrence matters, and that comprehensive immigration enforcement can make an impact.” But immigration advocates caution that Trump’s border enforcement ramp-up—like earlier attempts by the Obama administration to stem the flow of Central American migrants—could be particularly devastating for thousands of women and children from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras hoping to claim asylum in the United States.

“I think what we’ve seen over the past three years is that you can’t enforce away a refugee crisis,” says Jen Podkul, the director of policy at Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), a legal aid nonprofit for unaccompanied child migrants and refugees. “Unfortunately, these executive orders and memos are going to push everybody underground.”

Katharina Obser, a senior program officer at the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC), says she’s interviewed countless women in family detention over the past few years. “When we ask them, ‘Knowing what you know and given what’s happened, would you make the decision to leave again?’ The answer is almost always, ‘Yes, I had no other choice…’ There continues to be a lack of recognition that these are asylum seekers who are fleeing very real harm and who should have access to a fair and just immigration system.”

Here are seven ways that the White House has gone about squeezing Central American refugees:

1. Shutting down a safe path for kids

In September 2014, after the huge numbers of Central Americans at the southern border became national news, the Obama administration approved a plan to allow a select group of kids from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras apply for refugee status from within their home countries. The initiative was meant to keep the most vulnerable people from embarking on the dangerous journey north. Though the Central American Minors Refugee/Parole Program was slow to get off the ground, the New York Times reported that 11,000-plus people have applied to the program, with a little more than 2,400 gaining admittance by late February—including 316 during Trump’s first month in office.

Trump’s revised travel ban, however, put the Central American Minors program on ice. In his March 6 executive order, the president suspended all refugee admissions for four months and cut the number of refugees the United States will admit annually to 50,000, down from 110,000 under Obama. And while a federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order on the ban, the CAM program’s future remains cloudy. In his February executive order on border security, Trump pointed a finger at “the abuse of parole and asylum provisions” that can allow immigrants without valid asylum claims into the United States.

2. Turning away asylum seekers at the border

In mid-January, eight immigrant rights organizations sent a complaint to DHS claiming that Border Patrol agents were turning away immigrants seeking asylum at the US-Mexico border. Under federal and international law, the United States must screen people asking for asylum to see if they have a credible fear of persecution in their home countries. If they do, they can get a full hearing in front of an immigration judge. (If they don’t, they can be summarily deported.) According to the complaint, Border Patrol agents in Texas and California had told migrants that they weren’t accepting more people and wouldn’t allow them to meet with asylum officers to file claims.

The incidents mentioned in the complaint began last summer. In one case, a Mexican police officer in a wheelchair was allegedly denied entry several times near San Diego, despite claiming he had been targeted and beaten by a drug cartel. Advocates say the situation could become untenable. “These northern Mexican border towns are so dangerous as it is,” Podkul says. “If there are just vulnerable migrants sitting around, they’re just waiting for something to happen to them.”

3. Threatening to separate moms and children

Earlier this month, Reuters reported that the Trump administration was considering separating migrant mothers from their children upon entry into the United States. Instead of detaining them together, or letting them go while they await a hearing in immigration court, federal agents could split them up—sending moms to detention and kids to government-run shelters.

Following the border crisis in 2014, women traveling with children were detained in special family detention centers that were criticized by attorneys and immigrant rights groups for their poor conditions. Last December, around 400 women and children were released from family detention facilities in Texas after a judge denied the centers the necessary state licenses for detaining kids. Separating moms from their children could get around the problem of holding kids in substandard centers and needing to build more facilities to accommodate families.

In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on March 7, DHS Secretary Kelly confirmed the Reuters report: “Yes, I am considering it, in order to deter more movement along this terribly dangerous network.” Kelly later said he thought parents who brought their children across the border are manipulating the system “because they know up till this point we will keep the families together.” “As this word gets out that we’re considering it and maybe we’ll implement it,” he said, “that will add again to this factor of people not coming.”

4. Making asylum screenings more difficult

Refugees who do manage to meet with an asylum officer may now face a tougher screening than they would have in the recent past. In mid-February, DHS updated the lesson plans it uses to train asylum officers on handling “credible-fear” interviews. According to the Tahirih Justice Center, a nonprofit group that provides legal services for women and girls fleeing gender-based violence, the changes include increasing the burden of proof on asylum seekers at a very early stage in the process—when many are particularly vulnerable and often do not have a lawyer.

The lesson plans have also dropped language emphasizing the low threshold for passing the credible-fear interview. For example, earlier lesson plans included passages reminding officers that when there was a reasonable doubt regarding an asylum seeker’s fear of persecution in her home country, “the applicant likely merits” a full hearing before a judge. “The credible-fear process was always intended to be an intentionally low threshold,” the WRC’s Obser says. “It was not meant to be a full-blown asylum hearing.”

5. Detaining asylum seekers awaiting their day in court

The feds used to have several options for dealing with asylum seekers who have passed their credible-fear interviews. They could release them on a written promise to appear at an immigration hearing, they could let them go with an ankle monitor, or they could detain them. Over the last several years, many immigrant families with pending asylum claims were set free, a policy that immigration hardliners have derisively called “catch and release.” During his campaign, Trump promised to end this practice, and his executive order on border security called for detaining every immigrant caught at the border.

To that end, ICE has suggested doubling the number of immigrants it can detain on a daily basis to 80,000. With detention facilities already near capacity, that could mean working with local governments to reopen empty state prisons or even renting beds in local jails. Meanwhile, a February memo from DHS Secretary Kelly says that asylum seekers may be released if they pass their credible-fear interviews and prove to ICE who they are and that they’re not a security risk. If not, they face prolonged detention—and, because it’s especially hard for them to find lawyers and make their cases while held by ICE, likely deportation.

6. Getting tough on unaccompanied kids

According to Kelly’s memo, some 155,000 unaccompanied child migrants have been apprehended at the border in the past three years. Those kids pass through shelters run by the Department of Health and Human Services and are often then reunited with relatives living in the United States. Kelly wrote that 60 percent of them have been placed in the care of one or more undocumented parents. The memo suggests that the government will be taking a closer look at these cases and reclassifying unaccompanied kids as simply undocumented immigrants—and deporting them.

KIND’s Podkul argues this will simply keep parents from collecting their children from government shelters, which could put kids in precarious situations—and could keep the federal government from being able to know where kids are and make sure they’re living in safe environments. “You’re either going to have kids lingering in detention,” she says, “or you’re going to have a stranger or a family friend or a neighbor who comes forward to get the kid.”

7. Charging parents with human trafficking

Many of the unaccompanied children reuniting with their families in the United States arrive at the border with the help of smugglers hired by their parents or relatives. “Regardless of the desires for family reunion, or conditions in other countries,” Kelly wrote in his memo, “the smuggling or trafficking of alien children is intolerable.” To that end, Kelly states that anyone who contributes “directly or indirectly” to the smuggling of a child could face deportation or criminal prosecution.

To advocates, this move seems especially punitive. “No person is more concerned about the safety of a child than a parent,” Podkul says. “They’re doing the only thing they know how to do to save their child’s life. By going after them, that’s not going to stop any sort of problem. It’s not going to stop the problem in the home country. It’s not going to stop kids from needing to flee.”

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Inside Trump’s Border Crackdown on Women and Kids

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Two Former Chris Christie Aides Found Guilty of All Charges in Bridgegate Scandal

Mother Jones

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Two former aides to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie were found guilty of all charges in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing trial.

Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni were charged with organizing a plan that included shutting down the highly trafficked lanes as an act of political revenge against a Democratic mayor who did not endorse Christie during his re-election bid.

The verdict on Friday comes as Christie prepares to make a public appearance this weekend in New Hampshire in support of Donald Trump. In September, federal prosecutors accused the embattled governor of knowing about the lane closings—an allegation Christie has vehemently denied.

“Let me be clear once again, I had no knowledge prior or during these lane realignments, and had no role authorizing them,” he said in a statement reacting to Friday’s verdict. “No believable evidence was presented to contradict that fact. Anything said to the contrary over the past six weeks in court is simply untrue.”

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Two Former Chris Christie Aides Found Guilty of All Charges in Bridgegate Scandal

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It Looks like Roger Ailes Will Be Leaving Fox News

Mother Jones

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Update 5:09 p.m. EDT: The Daily Beast reports that Fox News walked back on its statement that Ailes had left the company. 21st Century Fox just released this statement following recent reports:

Fox News CEO Roger Ailes will reportedly be leaving the company and various outlets suggest that he may receive a $40 million buyout, according to the Drudge Report and the Daily Beast. Ailes had been under an internal investigation by 21st Century Fox after a sexual harassment and wrongful termination lawsuit by former anchor Gretchen Carlson. The Daily Beast says that it later confirmed with Fox News that Ailes had been fired.

Earlier today, New York magazine reported that anchor Megyn Kelly had told investigators that she had also been sexually harassed by Ailes.

This is a breaking news post and will be updated as we receive more information.

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It Looks like Roger Ailes Will Be Leaving Fox News

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Megyn Kelly says Roger Ailes Propositioned Her

Mother Jones

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Oh my. Megyn Kelly has joined the brigade of Fox News anchors saying that Roger Ailes sexually harassed them:

According to two sources…Kelly has told investigators that Ailes made unwanted sexual advances toward her about ten years ago when she was a young correspondent at Fox. Kelly, according to the sources, has described her harassment by Ailes in detail.

Kelly’s comments to investigators might explain why the Murdochs are moving so quickly to oust Ailes….According to two sources, Monday afternoon lawyers for 21st Century Fox gave Ailes a deadline of August 1 to resign or face being fired for cause. Ailes’s legal team — which now includes Susan Estrich, former campaign manager for Michael Dukakis — has yet to respond to the offer. Ailes has also received advice on strategy from Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani, sources say.

Advice from Donald Trump! That’s sure who I’d go to if I were on the cusp of a humiliating, career-ending sexual harassment scandal.

Kelly is the network’s biggest female star. If she’s turned against Ailes, it’s all over for him. This just goes to show the power of a single person coming forward. Nobody said anything until Gretchen Carlson had the courage to speak up. Then we started hearing from seemingly half the women who had ever worked for Ailes. One person really can make a difference.

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Megyn Kelly says Roger Ailes Propositioned Her

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Will the British Government Ban Donald Trump from the UK?

Mother Jones

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These days Donald Trump has his eye on acquiring a certain high-end and unique property in Washington, DC. But should he want to take a break from the campaign trail for a quick jaunt across the pond to visit his luxury golf resort in the Aberdeen area of Scotland, he might encounter a problem. At least, that’s what one British anti-Trump activist is hoping to engineer.

Suzanne Kelly, an Aberdeen local who has opposed the development of Trump’s golf course (which was built atop environmentally sensitive dunes), recently cooked up a plan to tar the globe-trotting tycoon who now leads the GOP presidential race. She submitted a petition to the British government requesting that it block Trump from entering the UK due to his harsh campaign rhetoric—deriding Mexican immigrants as rapists, talking about tracking Muslims—which she equates with hate speech. Her petition reads:

The signatories believe Donald J Trump should be banned from UK entry for his continued, unrepentant hate speech and unacceptable behaviour. His unacceptable behaviour is well documented, and we feel it foments racial, religious and nationalistic intolerance which should not be welcome in the UK.

The UK has banned entry to many individuals for hate speech. This same principle should apply to Donald J Trump. We cannot see how the United Kingdom can condone his entry to the country when many people have been barred for less.

Kelly may be more than tilting at Trump’s windmill, for under the British system of interactive government, any citizen or resident can go to the Parliament’s website and submit a petition. If five other people support a submitted petition, the government’s petitions committee will review the petition and decide whether to publish it. If the petition goes up and draws 10,000 signatures, the government will respond. If 100,000 people sign, the measure will be considered for debate in Parliament.

There are potential obstacles to the Trump petition.The Parliament’s petition committee can reject a petition at the start. The guidelines for that are spelled out on the government’s petitions website. Here’s a partial list of the reasons for saying no:

We’ll only reject your petition if it’s:

not clear what you’re asking for
about something that the UK Government or Parliament is not responsible for
about a purely personal issue
confidential, libellous, false or defamatory
contains language that may cause offence, or is provocative or extreme in its views deceptive or misleading
nonsensical, or a joke

Is this a joke? Kelly says, of course not. She certainly is clear on what she is requesting, and the British government has in the past blocked the entry of persons deemed purveyors of hate. For instance, in 2009, the UK barred an anti-Islamic Dutch lawmaker from entering the country to screen his film that called the Koran a “fascist book.” (This move was denounced by free speech advocates.) But there may be some wiggle room for the petitions committee to tell Kelly to take a hike, especially if the British government does not want to embarrass Trump.

If the petition goes forward, is it hard to imagine 10,000 or 100,000 signers? As of Tuesday afternoon, a petition calling for the UK to accept more asylum seekers and increase support for refugee migrants in the country had 445,000 signatures. Another to stop all immigration and close the UK borders until ISIS is defeated had 440,000 signatures. Meanwhile, Kelly’s petition is now undergoing the committee’s review. She hopes it will be live within a few days.

At the same time, Kelly is pushing another petition calling on the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen to strip Trump of the honorary degree it granted him. This petition, which has only been posted on a site for activists, reads:

We feel that Donald Trump’s unrepentant, persistent verbal attacks on various groups of people based on nationality, religion, race and physical abilities are a huge detriment to RGU. Hate speech must not have a place in academia, in politics or on the world stage. We are confident RGU will agree with the petitioners, and act swiftly.

So far it has drawn 1,200 signatures.

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Will the British Government Ban Donald Trump from the UK?

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Book Review: A Carlin Home Companion by Kelly Carlin

Mother Jones

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Courtesy of St. Martin’s Press

A Carlin Home Companion

By Kelly Carlin

ST. MARTIN’S PRESS

The late George Carlin was among the world’s most revered and subversive comedians, but in this memoir, daughter Kelly Carlin offers a look at a side of her dad we’ve never seen, from his earliest stand-up routines (on Manhattan stoops at age 11) to his cocaine abuse in the 1970s. She recalls baking “special” spice cake with her dad, and the drug trip that convinced him the sun had exploded, but there are tender bits too—like the time he woke her up to watch the Apollo moon landing or sent her a series of postcards from the road with a single word on each so she could string together the sentences. A Carlin Home Companion, which simultaneously documents Kelly’s own attempts at self-discovery, is a must for fans who want to understand the legend behind the mic.

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Book Review: A Carlin Home Companion by Kelly Carlin

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Will Wherevergate Finally Sink Donald Trump?

Mother Jones

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Our story so far: In Thursday’s debate, Fox host Megyn Kelly asked Donald Trump why he was so fond of insulting women. Trump answered that he had just been kidding around. “I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness,” he said. “And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time either.”

That didn’t go over too well, but Trump seemed like he’d probably survive it. Unfortunately, Trump being Trump, he couldn’t leave bad enough alone. In the spin room after the debate he started attacking Kelly and boo-hooing about how she had treated him worse than the other candidates. Then, showing the restraint he’s famous for, he followed this up with a series of increasingly unhinged tweets about Kelly throughout the night and into the early morning. Finally, during a CNN interview on Friday night, he said this:

You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her….wherever.

Let’s call it Wherevergate. This was a pretty obvious allusion to Kelly being unable to control her anger because she was having her period. Then things got weird.

(That’s right. Things weren’t really weird yet. So far this is all pretty normal in Trumpland.)

Anyway, Erick Erickson—tea party activist extraordinaire and founder of the influential RedState blog—got wind of Trump’s “wherever” comment and decided he was unhappy about it. Now, this is weird, because Erickson is not exactly famous for either his restraint or his sympathy for women’s tender feelings. He once called retiring Supreme Court justice David Souter a “goat fucking child molester”; called Michelle Obama a “Marxist harpy wife”; and lashed out at feminists during the 2008 campaign by calling a statement from the New York chapter of NOW the “latest salvo fired from the thighs of ugly nags.”

In other words, Erickson is not the shy and retiring type. But he eventually apologized for those comments and apparently decided to turn over a new leaf. “I’ve definitely had to grow up over time,” he told Howard Kurtz in 2010. So when he heard Trump’s remark about Kelly, he decided enough was enough. If he was going to grow up, then by God, everyone had to grow up. Trump hadn’t, so Erickson called up Trump’s campaign manager late on Friday and disinvited Trump from this weekend’s big RedState shindig in Atlanta. “I think there is a line of decency that even a non-professional politician can cross,” he told the Washington Post. “Suggesting that a female journalist asking you a hostile question is hormone related, I think, is one of those lines.”

Needless to say, The Donald didn’t take this lying down. Erickson’s decision, he said, was “another example of weakness through being politically correct….Blame Erick Erickson, your weak and pathetic leader.” Was that enough? Of course not. “Not only is Erick a total loser,” he said in a statement released Saturday, “he has a history of supporting establishment losers in failed campaigns so it is an honor to be disinvited from his event.”

Oh, and his “wherever” comment? Trump said he was referring to Kelly’s nose. “Only a deviant would think anything else.”

Roger that. So far, Erickson’s acolytes are apparently divided about the whole thing. Some are glad to see Trump’s back, others think Erickson has fallen into the pit of lefty political correctness. Stay tuned for more.

In any case, after all the inflammatory stuff Trump has said over the past couple of months, this appears to be the comment that’s finally going to cause him some real trouble. Go figure. Carly Fiorina immediately tweeted, “Mr Trump: There. Is. No. Excuse.” Lindsey Graham criticized Trump too, while other Republican candidates were more circumspect. So far, anyway. But I suspect this will turn into a feeding frenzy before long. Republicans are still spooked about the whole War on Women thing, and they’re none too happy about Trump taking on a Fox News host either. I think we can expect the Sunday talk shows this week to be all Trump all the time.

So that’s that, though I’m sure this post will be out of date almost as soon as I publish it. I just thought you’d all like to know what had happened while you were snoozing away the weekend.

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Will Wherevergate Finally Sink Donald Trump?

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Here’s What the Presidential Candidates Had to Say About Reproductive Rights in the First GOP Debate

Mother Jones

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On Thursday night, the ten front-runners in the race for the GOP presidential nomination gathered in Cleveland for the first debate of the primaries and naturally the discussion included women’s health issues. Fox News hosts grilled Florida Sen. Marco Rubio on his opposition to exceptions to abortion laws for victims of rape and incest and Gov. Scott Walker over his support for a ban on abortion that doesn’t make an exception for the life of the mother. They pressed former Gov. Jeb Bush over his ties to a pro-abortion rights group, and Donald Trump on his onetime support of reproductive rights.

Here’s what they had to say:

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida — Kelly asked Rubio about his record of opposing exceptions to abortion restrictions for victims of rape or incest. “I’m not sure that’s a correct assessment of my record,” Rubio shot back. “I have never advocated that.” Kelly may have been referring to the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act. This was a bill Rubio sponsored in 2011 that would make it a crime for anyone—except for the parents— to take a girl across state lines for an abortion with no exception for victims of rape or incest. Rubio was also a sponsor, in 2011, of a controversial 20-week ban on abortion that only made exceptions for victims of rape if they reported the crime to the police.

Rubio added he felt that the Constitution bans abortion: “I believe that every single human being is entitled to the protection of our laws whether they…have their birth certificate or not.”

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin — Kelly pressed Walker on his across-the-board opposition to abortion, even in to save the life of the mother: “Would you really let a mother die rather than let her have an abortion?” she asked, wondering if his position put him too far out of the mainstream to win the general election.

Walker answered, “There are many other alternatives that can also protect the life of that mother. That’s been consistently proven.” Walker was alluding to a popular pro-life myth that abortion is never necessary to save the life of the mother, an opinion rejected by mainstream medical practitioners.

Walker also noted that he defunded Planned Parenthood as governor; he signed several budgets that stripped of all funding for the women’s healthcare network.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida — Fox News host Megyn Kelly asked Bush about his seat on the board of the Bloomberg Family Foundation when the group is “so openly in support of abortion.” Bush denied knowing about the organization’s support of abortion. He also pointed to a number of actions he has taken to limit abortion rights when he was governor of Florida. He cut funding for Planned Parenthood from the state budget, directed state funds toward crisis pregnancy centers—pro-life alternatives to abortion clinics which often spread misinformation about the negative effects of abortion—and signed laws requiring parents to be informed before a minor has an abortion.

Donald Trump — The moderators asked Trump about his declaration, many years ago, that he was “very pro choice.”

“I’ve evolved on many issues over the years,” Trump replied. “And you know who else has evolved, is Ronald Reagan.” Trump then told the story of a pair of friends who decided against abortion. “And that child today is a total superstar.”

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas — Chris Wallace of Fox News asked Huckabee about his support for a constitutional amendment banning abortion, and whether it would work against him among moderate voters. In response, Huckabee came out swinging for personhood: “I think the next president ought to invoke the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution, now that we clearly know that that baby inside the mother’s womb is a person at the moment of conception,” he said. “This notion that we just continue to ignore the personhood of the individual is a violation of that unborn child’s Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. It’s time that we recognize the Supreme Court is not the Supreme Being.”

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas — In his closing statement, Cruz promised that “on my first day in office” he would prosecute Planned Parenthood over the sting videos dominating the headlines.

Originally posted here:

Here’s What the Presidential Candidates Had to Say About Reproductive Rights in the First GOP Debate

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