Tag Archives: republican

These Republicans Want to Put Ankle Monitors on the Sponsors of Undocumented Children

Mother Jones

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Two top Texas Republican lawmakers have been working on a border security and immigration enforcement bill with input from the Trump administration, according to multiple reports—and it pulls few punches.

Most notably, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn and House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul’s bill would force the sponsors of undocumented immigrants between the ages of 15 to 17 who show up unaccompanied at the border to wear ankle monitors so that the teens don’t skip out on deportation hearings. The sponsors are typically parents or other family members—many of whom are legal residents or citizens.

The use of ankle monitors on migrants themselves is already controversial. Mother Jones has previously reported that through for-profit companies, and at the cost of thousands of dollars, ankle monitors are offered as alternatives to long-term detention for migrants who can’t afford the lump sum of their bail, even though the monthly payments can eventually overshadow the original bail amounts. Requiring the sponsors, instead of the migrants, to wear the ankle bracelets appears to be an unprecedented step further.

The early “discussion draft” of the bill also calls to increase criminal prosecutions for immigrants who cross the border illegally, including establishing a five-year minimum prison sentence for those who re-enter the country after being deported. It would expand the use of mandatory detention for immigrants arrested within 100 miles of a border who are from countries other than Mexico or Canada—the overwhelming majority of migrants entering the United States come from Central America. It seeks an increase in detention space, allows for financial reimbursement to states that deploy their National Guard to the border, and calls for more immigration judges to speed up deportations. It calls for various border wall upgrades, but stops short of providing for Trump’s long-promised “big, beautiful” border wall.

On Tuesday, a congressional aide told Politico that the bill circulating is “really old” and “nowhere near the current draft.” But it’s unclear what has changed. While the bill is aimed at avoiding the pitfalls of the far right, hardline anti-immigrant groups have come out against it, arguing that because it lacks imposing sanctions on businesses that hire undocumented immigrants and does not provide for Trump’s border wall, it is toothless. “There’s not a single thing about worksite enforcement or anything at all against employers,” Jessica Vaughan, the director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, told the Washington Post. “It’s tinkering around the margins.”

Both the offices of Cornyn and McCaul declined to comment on the bill, including whether the latest draft still includes a mandate forcing undocumented children’s sponsors to wear ankle monitors.

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These Republicans Want to Put Ankle Monitors on the Sponsors of Undocumented Children

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Trump Defends Decision to Fire Comey and Accuses Democrats of Hypocrisy

Mother Jones

In a series of early morning tweets Wednesday, President Donald Trump angrily defended his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, taking aim at Democrats for criticizing the stunning development.

Trump’s response comes hours after he similarly railed against Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), after the Senate Minority Leader appeared to suggest the White House was orchestrating a cover-up by firing the man charged with leading an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including possible collusion by Trump associates.

Trump’s stated justification for the firing, which cites Comey’s unfair treatment of Hillary Clinton, has been lambasted by Democrats. After all, Trump frequently praised Comey’s actions, saying it “took guts” to reopen the bureau’s probe into Clinton’s use of a private email server less than two weeks before the election. And as recently as last month, the president indicated he supported the former director.

According to reports, however, Trump had been increasingly furious over the ongoing investigations into possible ties between Trump associates and Russia and what he saw as Comey’s failure to defend him.

Dozens of lawmakers, including some Republicans, are now calling for an independent prosecutor to move forward with the probe.

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Trump Defends Decision to Fire Comey and Accuses Democrats of Hypocrisy

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Who’s begging Trump to stick with Paris? Ivanka and Exxon, for starters.

While running for the presidency, Donald Trump disparaged the Paris climate agreement as “one more bad trade deal” he would “cancel” once elected. But more than 100 days into his presidential term, Trump and his staff are still quibbling over whether to take the plunge. Many close to Trump — his daughter Ivanka and fossil fuel companies, for example — have pled for the country to stick with it.

So what’s an unsure president to do? Keep putting off the decision, apparently. On Tuesday, the administration postponed a scheduled meeting on the matter and pushed back the time frame on a verdict.

Some coal companies, along with advisers like Steve Bannon, have asked Trump to kick the Paris deal to the curb. But support for the pact comes from a broad set of groups, and it includes some surprises:

1. Huge fossil fuel companies

The country’s top oil, gas, and coal producers are standing up for Paris: Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, and Royal Dutch ShellCloud Peak Energy Inc., Arch Coal, and Peabody Energy Corp.

2. Jivanka

Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner — a top Trump adviser — are apparently pulling for the agreement behind the scenes. Based on the tug-of-war still underway, their sway may not be all it’s cracked up to be. (We’re waiting for the SNL parody on this one.)

3. Republican and Democratic politicians

Representatives from both parties have urged Trump to stay in the deal, including nine GOP reps who advised Trump stay in the pact but loosen U.S. commitments.

Twelve governors (all from blue states, mind you) wrote to the President last week, calling for global action on climate. Californian politicians are even considering whether the state could sign onto the agreement if the U.S. pulls out.

4. Techbros and big business

In full-page ads in some of the nation’s biggest newspapers, Apple, Adobe, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and other major companies asked Trump to consider the business risk presented by climate change. As tech-savvy countries like China and India forge ahead on climate action, businesses are worried the U.S. could lose its competitive edge if Paris progress stalls.

General Mills, DuPont, Unilever, and Walmart got in on the full-page ad, too. Even Tiffany & Co. defended the agreement on Facebook (much to the chagrin of some fans who would prefer the company “stick to creating beautiful, albeit ridiculously marked-up, jewelry”).

5. Environmentalists

Surprise! Green groups of all sizes are lobbying for Trump to reconsider his promise to “cancel” the agreement.

6. Lobbyists

In an interview with NPR, energy lobbyist Scott Segal took the same tack as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and said the U.S. should remain in the Paris Agreement to maintain better diplomatic relations. “The President is in a good position to exercise tremendous leverage from the United States to negotiate a better deal,” Segal told NPR.

7. Farmers

The National Farmers Union, an organization representing almost 200,000 farmers, ranchers, and fishermen, sent a letter to Trump in mid-April outlining the impacts of drought, flooding, and wildfires on agriculture.

Some environmental actions, like methane regulations on livestock, might be a challenge for farmers. But the union’s president, Roger Johnson, wrote that keeping the Paris commitments would “benefit rural economies and make American agriculture more resilient to extreme weather.”

8. Condoleezza Rice

The Wall Street Journal reports that Rice, who served as Secretary of State under George W. Bush, cautioned Trump about the “diplomatic backlash” that would occur if he bowed out.

9. Veterans

A group of former military officers sent letters to Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis imploring them to continue support for the agreement. The veterans cited concerns about national security and humanitarian disasters, such as dramatic flooding, pandemics, and increased risk of conflict.

10. The rest of the world (literally)

At the Bonn talks, where delegates from countries around the world are sorting out the rules on Paris, people are pretty peeved at Trump. China — which has newly donned the position of climate leader — implied the U.S. could expect more bad deals in its future if Trump pulls out. Emmanuel Macron, president-elect of France, reportedly told Trump he would defend the agreement during their first phone call.

The only other countries not in the agreement are Nicaragua and Syria. According to leaders across the globe, turning its back on Paris would put the U.S. in a very sticky diplomatic situation.

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Who’s begging Trump to stick with Paris? Ivanka and Exxon, for starters.

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Progressive Groups Are Basically Printing Money After the Health Care Vote

Mother Jones

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Progressives got a hard lesson in math on Thursday when the Obamacare repeal bill narrowly passed the House with 217 votes despite uniform Democratic opposition. But while the bill’s effect will be far-reaching if it eventually becomes law, in the short term it has become an almost unprecedented fundraising magnet for left-leaning grassroots groups.

In the 24 hours since the House vote, Daily Kos, the 15-year-old Netroots stalwart that has experienced a renaissance in the Trump era, raised $800,000 from 17,200 readers. That money will be split evenly among 24 Democratic candidates. (Daily Kos is specifically targeting the 24 Republican congressmen who voted for the bill but represent districts where President Donald Trump received less than 50 percent of the vote.) The group’s political director, David Nir, says the group previously raised $400,000 in one day for Jon Ossoff, the Democratic candidate in the special election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, and the same amount for Elizabeth Warren over the course of a year. But he couldn’t recall a $1 million haul.

Swing Left, which grew out of the postelection “resistance,” has only been around for a few months and has a much shorter track record of big fundraising hauls. But it has raised $850,000 from more than 20,000 donations since the vote, for the purposes of boosting candidates challenging its target list of 35 Republicans who voted for the bill (there is some overlap between the two lists). Swing Left got a signal boost from Crooked Media, the podcast empire launched by a group of Obama White House veterans, which partnered with the group to raise money.

Notably, the money raised going to candidates Thursday and Friday won’t end up in the hands of a candidate for a long time. It’ll be held in escrow for the winners of Democratic contests in those House districts next spring and summer. Think of it as a small pot of gold at the end of the primary.

Update: Per a Swing Left spokesperson, the organization had raised $200,000 for those 35 districts since they launched the fundraising page April 13—so to put the haul in perspective, in one day the group raised more than four times what it had raised in the previous 20.

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Progressive Groups Are Basically Printing Money After the Health Care Vote

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Trump Budget Would Slash Funds for Office Fighting Opioid Epidemic

Mother Jones

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The White House is calling for a 95 percent funding cut for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the agency leading the charge against the country’s opioid epidemic, according to sources knowledgeable about the White House’s draft budget for the coming fiscal year. ONDCP is responsible for coordinating drug prevention programs across federal agencies and was slated to fund President Donald Trump’s much-lauded opioid commission.

The budget would slash ONDCP’s $380 million budget to $24 million. It would eliminate the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program, which coordinates local, state, and national efforts to reduce drug trafficking and has a $250 million annual budget. It would also cut the Drug-Free Communities Support Program, which funds community-based youth substance abuse prevention programs. The budget calls both programs “duplicative of other Federal programs.” The budget is a “passback” draft: it was cleared by the White House budget office last week, but will still need to be approved by Congress.

On the campaign trail, Trump promised to “spend the money” to address the opioid epidemic, but his proposed budgets and policies thus far would drastically cut federal funding to tackle the issue. The Republican health care bill passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday would cause an estimated 3 million Americans to lose some or all of their addiction treatment coverage.

The president tapped New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in March to lead an opioid commission, which reports to Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. The commission’s purpose is to draft priorities and recommendations for future policies, but critics say that it wastes precious time, given that the surgeon general’s office in the Obama administration published a similar report last November. As one Democratic congressional staffer said last month, “How many more people will die of opioid overdose while they’re pretending to care?”

In an email to his staff, acting ONDCP director Richard Baum wrote:

I have been encouraged by the Administration’s commitment to addressing the opioid epidemic, and the President’s personal engagement on the issue, both during the campaign and since he was sworn into office. However, OMB’s proposed cuts are also at odds with the fact that the President has tasked us with supporting his Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.

These drastic proposed cuts are frankly heartbreaking and, if carried out, would cause us to lose many good people who contribute greatly to ONDCP’s mission and core activities.

I don’t want to see this happen.

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Trump Budget Would Slash Funds for Office Fighting Opioid Epidemic

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To Understand the Cost of the War on Women, Look to Mississippi

Mother Jones

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Few policy areas have been so strongly affected by the first 100 days of the Donald Trump administration as women’s health care and access to reproductive services. Trump promised he would launch an all-out offensive against abortion access protections and organizations like Planned Parenthood, and the Republican Congress has begun the process. Across the country, emboldened anti-abortion state legislatures have tried to pass a new wave of abortion restrictions.

But in Mississippi, extensive abortion restrictions have been on the books for years. It’s one of a handful of states with only one operating abortion clinic—the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which Mississippi conservatives have fought to close—leaving thousands of women, particularly low-income women of color, with limited access to services. The state has poured resources into more than three dozen crisis pregnancy centers, which offer nonmedical services and counsel women against having an abortion. A new crisis pregnancy center opened right across the street from the clinic late last month.

There was a time when what was happening in Mississippi was seen as unique. Now women across the country fear their state could be next.

Enter Jackson, an award-winning documentary highlighting the realities of living in a state seeking to eliminate abortion access. Released on the festival circuit last June and broadcast nationally on Showtime earlier this week (Showtime Showcase will rebroadcast the film on Friday, and it is now available on demand), the documentary offers an intimate look into the lives of three women: Shannon Brewer, the director of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization; April, a 24-year-old single mother of four who’s facing an unplanned pregnancy; and Barbara Beavers, the executive director of the pro-life Center for Pregnancy Choices, a Jackson-based crisis pregnancy center. In following the often intersecting lives of its subjects, Jackson not only highlights the struggles of operating Mississippi’s last clinic, but also explores what life can be like in a state with few options. Filmed over three years and drawing from more than 700 hours of footage, Crow deftly connects the women’s stories to one another and to developments at the state and national levels and gives viewers an opportunity to understand the people caught up in the fight for reproductive rights.

Mother Jones caught up with Crow shortly before Jackson‘s national broadcast premiere to discuss how audiences have reacted to the film, what it was like to spend years working with the documentary’s subjects, and what the film means at a time when access to abortion is under an increased threat.

Mother Jones: How would you describe this documentary to someone, and how did you decide you wanted to make it?

Maisie Crow: Jackson is a film about the anti-abortion movement’s efforts to dissemble and take apart access to abortion in Mississippi and really across the Deep South. And now it really rings true across the country. In 2012, I read an article about HB 1390, the admitting privileges law that had just been signed by Gov. Phil Bryant. I was shocked—I grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas, and at the time there was an abortion clinic there. For as much as I knew, there were abortion clinics in every city. To realize there was a state with one abortion clinic and there was a law that could close it down, I was totally shocked. I went down to Mississippi shortly after reading that article.

Over time, I built really strong connections with the clinic, including Shannon Brewer the director of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization and Dr. Willie Parker who was providing abortion care there at the time. I spent a lot of time getting to know them, and then I made a short film called The Last Clinic (released in 2013). And it was in making that film that I realized I wanted to tell a larger story and weave in the anti-abortion movement in Mississippi and what they were doing to block access for women.

MJ: Two of the women in this film—Shannon and April—are African American. I’ve done some writing about the unique complexities women of color, particularly black women, face when it comes to accessing abortion care. Its not just economics; there’s a very specific type of shame that black women can feel for even considering an abortion. How did you navigate telling those stories?

MC: Being a woman who is not from Mississippi, who did not grow up in those circumstances, and who is not a woman of color, I really relied on Shannon to help me understand what that experience was like. I paid careful and close attention to make sure that I was telling Shannon and April’s story in the best and most honest way possible because it was not my experience and so many problems can arise from that.

MJ: How did you first come in contact with April and begin working with her? She seems to be a remarkable example of an everyday woman’s experience in the state.

MC: I think it is risky to say that her experience is an everyday woman’s experience because we all have vastly different experiences in life and health care. But once I met Barbara and started filming Barbara, I knew I had to tell the story of a woman who sought care at Barbara’s crisis pregnancy center, and that is where I met April. The day or two after I met April—I was at her house doing an interview—she told me she had consumed Clorox to terminate a pregnancy. In the film, that’s revealed during a counseling session at the crisis pregnancy center. That was the moment where I was like, this is really scary—for women to feel like they have to resort to drinking bleach because they don’t want to be pregnant. That was something that couldn’t be left out of a film about access to abortion care.

Women’s choices should be their choices no matter what their situation in life. I want women to be educated on what their choices are. And to come to a place like Mississippi and meet women who don’t know what their options are, not because they’re not smart but because they haven’t been given that knowledge or they’ve been misled—that’s alarming to me.

I really felt April’s experience was vital in terms of understanding how these laws and these crisis pregnancy centers and the stigma, how those things work together to affect a woman. April’s story is unique to her, but there are certainly other women that have experienced similar things, whether it’s multiple unwanted pregnancies without access to contraceptives or accurate information about abortion. After the screening in Jackson, Mississippi, several women came up and said, “Thank you for making this. I’ve been to that same crisis pregnancy center and I felt the same shame that April felt.”

MJ: So, as you’re talking to one woman of color in charge of Mississippi’s only clinic with abortion services and another woman of color navigating a very difficult pregnancy, you are also interacting with Barbara, who comes from a strong anti-abortion perspective. How familiar were you with her side of the story going into this?

MC: I was probably most familiar with Barbara’s perspective. I grew up in South Texas. I grew up more in the pro-life movement and the conservative mindset than the liberal community that I am part of now. So that gave me unique insight into Barbara’s world, and I think that helped me understand her and get good access.

MJ: A typical documentary about abortion access often follows a woman who is certain she wants an abortion through the gauntlet she has to go through—from the informed-consent information many states require doctors to distribute, to the often required ultrasound and the mandatory waiting period—before she can get the procedure. Why isn’t that the main story in Jackson?

MC: It is important for that voice to be portrayed, but what I felt was missing in the overall discussion was the complexity, the nuance, the gray areas that exist in places, especially in the Deep South, where there is a layer of stigma and shame associated with abortion. That tends to influence some of the decision-making. So you might have a woman that doesn’t want to be pregnant, who is not being given access to contraceptives, who has not been advised properly on contraceptive use. She doesn’t want to be pregnant, but she feels like she has no options. What is that experience like? That is what I was trying to understand because when I got down to Mississippi I realized that it was not cut and dry.

Photo Courtesy of Maisie Crow

MJ: What was it like for you to film both sides of this issue?

MC: It was weird. You’re filming both sides of this super contentious issue and there are a lot of emotions and passions in it. As a woman I have my own beliefs, I certainly don’t try to set those aside or remove them because it has to do with my health care as well. But I worked to not necessarily let that get in my way or allow myself to get angry or frustrated.

MJ: This film is having its national broadcast premiere during a very intense political moment when it comes to reproductive rights and abortion access. How does your film fit into all that?

MC: I am glad that the film exists at this point in time because I think it is a really scary moment for reproductive rights and access to reproductive health care. I think that this film helps people understand the different issues that are woven into a women’s ability to access reproductive health care. I hope it really sparks some discussions. We’ve seen at festivals that audiences are really engaged and want to talk about these issues. There is so much to say and so much to talk about and it is my hope that the film sparks these discussions and people can continue them in their communities.

MJ: Jackson has been on the festival circuit for several months now, and it was screened both before and after the Supreme Court’s decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, as well as before and after the presidential election. Have reactions to the film changed in the months since its first screening?

MC: Of course! Prior to the election, I think there was a sense of confidence that things were changing and that this country was becoming more progressive and that women’s rights were being treated more fairly in regards to health care. The reaction used to be, “Oh, look at what’s happening in Mississippi.” Or “Oh, it’s too bad that’s happening in Mississippi.” Or “What can we do to change what is happening in Mississippi?” Now it’s “Oh my God, this is happening in my backyard.” People are really alarmed.

There’s a moment in the film where Dr. Parker is standing in front of the Supreme Court steps and he says, “In November, vote as if women’s lives depended on it because they will.” We partnered with Planned Parenthood for a screening that had been planned before the election but didn’t happen until a week or two after it. And in that screening, you could hear people crying at that part. The screenings have changed drastically. It’s no longer “What’s happening to the women in Mississippi?” It’s “What’s happening to the women across this country?”


To Understand the Cost of the War on Women, Look to Mississippi

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Voting for Obamacare Cost Him His Job. Now It Might Be His Ticket Back.

Mother Jones

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At the People’s Climate March in Washington, there were old ladies dressed as beekeepers, vegetarians in full-body carrot suits, and a clean-energy marching band in matching green hard hats, but Tom Perriello was the only person I saw wearing a tie. It was probably a bad idea. Saturday was one of those steamy afternoons in DC, more August than April, that leaves you with the sensation of being inside the mouth of a dog—a good day to make the case for catastrophic global warming, but a bad one to walk outside in a pressed blue shirt and dress shoes. The 42-year-old former congressman, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor of Virginia, was running a few minutes late after a morning event in the suburbs and was undeterred. Clutching a bottle of water and an apple his sister had handed him, he wanted to explain to me what people had gotten wrong when he ran for reelection to Congress in 2010.

Republicans looking to take him down spent a lot of time and money talking about climate change. Perriello, a first-term Democrat in a rural, red, New Jersey-sized patch of “Southside” Virginia, had cast a key vote for Waxman-Markey, the House’s cap-and-trade bill that would go on to die in the Senate. Ads by the National Republican Congressional Committee, which supported his challenger Robert Hurt to the tune of $1.1 million, dubbed it an “energy tax.” The US Chamber of Commerce piled on too. When Perriello eventually lost by 4 points, the NRCC claimed his climate advocacy, along with his vote for the Affordable Care Act, was a big reason why.

But unlike a lot of other Democrats who were swept out to sea in that 2010 wave, Perriello had run on, not from, his support for the Obama agenda. “I think we convert more people by being bolder on climate instead of soft on climate,” he said as we moved toward the sound of drumming and tambourines along the parade route. “People thought that was a bad vote for me, but we didn’t just vote for it; we went out and made the case to farmers and small-business owners—literally got down to the level of cow manure and capturing methane off of cow manure for farmers to be able to power their own farms.” He cited an election-eve poll that showed voters trusted him by 24 points on energy issues.

Democrats have been winning big races in the Old Dominion for more than a decade, and they currently hold every statewide elected position, from the two US Senate seats to the state attorney general, but it has never been easy. Gov. Terry McAuliffe, an ur-Clinton loyalist and former Democratic National Committee chair, will be term-limited this fall, and the Democratic nominee will likely face well-funded Republican Ed Gillespie, a Trump-backing former lobbyist and Republican National Committee chair, who narrowly lost a US Senate bid in 2014. The race, an expensive fight in the shadow of the Capitol, will be the most serious test yet of the Democratic Party’s resiliency in the age of Trump. But somewhat unexpectedly, the primary has also become an early referendum on where the Democratic Party is heading.

Perriello’s opponent, Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, was also elected to a red-leaning seat in 2007, held onto it, and moved up the ladder in 2013. Northam, a 57-year-old former Army doctor with a genteel Southern cadence, looked like the de facto nominee last year, but Perriello announced his candidacy in January—amid a period of postelection soul-searching—and has made a race of it. He has pulled together a coalition that includes Bernie Sanders supporters and Obama loyalists, who appreciated his tough votes. Polling has been limited and all over the place; the only sure thing is that with a little more than a month to go before the June election, a large chunk of Virginia’s Democrats are still undecided.

Comparisons to Sanders don’t quite hold water, but in a few key ways Perriello’s message tracks closely with that of the Vermont senator. Perriello is pushing for a $15 minimum wage (which Northam also supports) and free community college, and he’s campaigning hard in rural areas of the state, such as the southwestern coal country and farm belt of Southside Virginia (his old district) that have booted out Democrats in recent years and swung hard toward Trump. And like Sanders, he’s going all-in on fracking, promising to block two natural gas pipelines from being constructed, if elected, and rejecting donations from Dominion Power, which has proposed the pipeline.

Perriello believes that conservatives, and many Democrats, have long talked about environmental regulations in a way that elides the real impediments to economic growth in those areas. “People know I’m a climate hawk, but it’s also worth knowing the two biggest killers of coal jobs have been automation and natural gas,” he said. He described spending time in Virginia’s struggling coal country trying to engage voters by pointing to new economic drivers. He insists the state needs “to get beyond looking at just distributed energy—though that can be a part of it. We need to actually be looking at how to relocalize some percent of food production, both because it’s more sustainable but also creates greater economic resiliency in communities that feel a real loss of sovereignty.”

As an example of what he means by “relocalizing,” Perriello points to a favorite example of his: the beer industry. “A decade ago, two companies controlled 96 percent of the beer market,” he said. Now, because of the growth of microbreweries, that figure is down to 84 percent. “We’re still talking about an industry that’s overwhelmingly dominated by two companies, but just that 10 percent delta of relocalizing beer production has had massive implications for jobs and economic renewal on main streets like Winchester and rural counties like Nelson County,” he said, referring to Shenandoah Valley communities that have embraced the “brew ridge” economy.

“So,” he continued, “we’re not talking about that going back to being 80 or 90 percent of the economy—but even if it’s a 10 percent plus-up, there are huge implications for jobs and sustainability.”

Relocalizing? Distributed energy? Delta? Perriello can sound like either an economic populist who speaks like a think-tanker, or the other way around. His ability to move between those two identities has been a key factor in his rise. A Yale-educated native of Ivy, Virginia, just outside Charlottesville, Perriello worked as a war crimes prosecutor in West Africa after college before returning at the end of the Bush administration to run against six-term incumbent Virgil Goode, an archconservative Republican and an occasional embarrassment who had once raised a ruckus about the first Muslim member of Congress, Rep. Keith Ellison, being sworn in on a Koran. After his stint on the Hill was up, Perriello took a post as CEO of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the DC-based progressive think thank, only to return to Africa a few years later for a series of State Department postings.

Outside the Canadian embassy, a leader of a local Indivisible chapter, in a pink “Resist” hat and clutching half a dozen signs that say “Protect the Sacred,” approaches Perriello to tell him he has her group’s full support. As he speaks with another voter, a sign from a passing marcher, with a long quote from Ansel Adams, blows away onto the ground and Perriello stops to pick it up. He asks his young staffers if he should do a Facebook Live from the march, and one of them whips out a smartphone and starts filming. A few minutes later, he recognizes a sixtysomething man in crocs and a bucket hat wearing a blue T-shirt that says “no pipeline,” and they talk shop for a few minutes about the fracking fight. The man’s friend tells Perriello that some of the land that will be seized for pipeline construction through eminent domain has been in the same family since Emancipation. Perriello nods, concerned.

Northam, who has already been elected statewide and enjoys the backing of the entire state Democratic establishment, has campaigned hard on gun control and reproductive rights, two issues where Perriello holds different positions now than when he entered Congress. Perriello received donations (and an A rating) from the National Rifle Association during his single term, and he supported the failed Stupak amendment to the Affordable Care Act, which would have prohibited the law from subsidizing insurance plans that cover abortion. He now condemns the NRA as an organization “for gunmakers and survivalists,” and has said he regretted the Stupak vote.

Democrats have sparred in recent weeks over the role of abortion within the party’s coalition, after Sanders endorsed Omaha mayoral candidate Heath Mello, a former backer of a bill requiring doctors performing abortions to first offer women ultrasounds. When I ask Perriello if it’s possible to be progressive and pro-life, he chooses his words very carefully. “We’re running a campaign here that is focused on advancing reproductive justice, where we’re not just looking at the right to choose, but the right to affordable and dignified access to that choice,” he says. “I believe that we can’t separate issues of economic fairness and justice from issues of reproductive access. So I believe that those are fights that can and should be integrated, and that’s certainly what we’re gonna do here in Virginia.” Abortion, in other words, is an economic populist issue.

On combating climate change and protecting the environment, though, there is only so much the next governor of Virginia can do with Trump in the White House. Perriello would be able to stop those pipelines, of course, and he can push to lower the amount of money utilities are able to spend on state elections. But he has no delusions about the impact of the federal government on climate, and no inhibitions about turning his race in Virginia into a national one. “One of the things we’re seeing this year is the potential for a wave election that could set the trend for a wave election next year,” he says.

He’s banking on it; immediately following the passage of the Obamacare repeal in the House of Representatives on Thursday, Perriello put out a new ad, pegged to the vote, in which he stands in front of an ambulance being crushed in a junkyard:

First he has to win his primary. That evening, a few hours after the march, Perriello and Northam met up for their first debate of the campaign, at an elementary school in Fairfax sandwiched between NRA headquarters and H Mart, the Asian grocery superstore. The event was co-sponsored by EMERGE USA, an organization that aims to boost the political clout of Muslim, South Asian, and Arab-Americans. Both candidates mostly kept their powder dry, save for a brief dust-up over gun control when Northam brought up the NRA backing. Trump was a recurring villain, but Gillespie was hardly mentioned; when voters are mad at Washington, you don’t mess with a good thing.

Outside, evenly matched groups of young volunteers formed a gauntlet along the approach to the venue and exchanged rudimentary chants— “I say Ralph, you say Northam!”; “Go Tom Go!” A few supporters of the Atlantic pipeline gripped posters calling Perriello a “job killer” for his environmentalist objections—just like the old times—but no one paid them much attention. A few feet away, behind the scrum of shouting youths, a supporter clutched a sign that said “Perriello ♥’s Obamacare.” In a time when everything seems upside-down, it was a simple image of how Tom Perriello landed on his feet.

Continued here: 

Voting for Obamacare Cost Him His Job. Now It Might Be His Ticket Back.

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Democrats are proposing a bill to keep farm laborers from being deported.

Politico reports that senators from California, Vermont, Colorado, and Hawaii came out with legislation to give undocumented agricultural laborers a “blue card” — a sort of talisman to ward off deportation.

To qualify, immigrants would need to have worked at least 100 days on farms in each of the previous two years. They would have the opportunity to convert their blue cards to some form of legal residency later on.

This would come as welcome relief to workers who produce labor-intensive products like milk, fruit, and vegetables. On the other hand, it’s an example of government trying to keep farm labor semi-legal and cheap. Because most farmworkers live in a legal gray zone, they have little bargaining power and few options, which keeps wages from rising.

It’s a tough deal: We’d be asking immigrants to keep our food prices down by taking hard, low-paying jobs, and in exchange they’d get an anti-deportation card.

On yet another hand — we need at least three hands to juggle this one! — that kind of tradeoff is inevitable. For now, Congress is unlikely pass any immigrant protections unless the farm lobby can pull in Republican votes.

Excerpt from – 

Democrats are proposing a bill to keep farm laborers from being deported.

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Health Care Vote Likely to Happen on Thursday

Mother Jones

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It’s been literally hours since I last updated you on the Republican health care bill, so let’s catch up. Twitter is our friend:

What’s the rush?

Roger that. TrumpCare 1.0 arguably failed because of that hideous CBO score saying that 24 million people would lose coverage—a truly remarkable achievement since Obamacare only covers 20 million people in the first place. TrumpCare 3.0 is even worse, so God only knows what the CBO would say about it. Anyway, how bad can it be? I mean really?

Urk. Pretty bad. Even the AMA gets it:

Good for them. What’s remarkable, though, is how lonely their position is:

I don’t really get this either. Maybe they’ve just given up? Maybe they figure that as part of the hated establishment, their opposition is just more likely to make Republicans vote yes? Beats me.

This bill needs to be decisively put out of its misery. Yes, I suppose Democrats might benefit by forcing vulnerable House members to vote for it, and then killing it in the Senate, but that’s not worth the risk that, somehow, it might actually pass if it gets through the House. You never know. Best to make it crystal clear that there’s simply no needle Republicans can thread on this subject.

Then we get to wait and see if President Trump kills Obamacare anyway in a fit of pique by cutting off the CSR subsidies. This is really shaping up to be a great year.

Original link – 

Health Care Vote Likely to Happen on Thursday

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The Conservative Beef With ESPN Is All About Curt Schilling

Mother Jones

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ESPN has been losing viewers for a while now, and there are various theories to account for it. Maybe millennials just aren’t into sports that much. Or maybe cord cutting of all types is the culprit. Or maybe ESPN has gotten too liberal.

That last one is a favorite among conservatives, and I don’t really get it. I’m not a heavy ESPN viewer, but I watch enough to have some sense of its political leanings. And I haven’t really discerned much. Mostly they seem to call games and then argue about whether Tom Brady can play football into his fifties. You know, sports stuff.

But today, Paul Hiebert at the polling firm YouGov presents this chart:

First off, I’m impressed that YouGov has been polling this question since 2013. I wonder why?

In any case, this chart suggests that the problem isn’t liberalism in general, but the fact that ESPN fired Curt Schilling. The Caitlyn Jenner thing hurt for a few months, but by April of 2016 all was forgiven and Republican support of ESPN was back to normal. It was the Curt Schilling affair that killed them. Just to refresh your memory, here’s the Facebook meme he shared that was the final straw:

This was after Schilling “shared a meme that compared extremism in today’s Muslim world to Nazi Germany in 1940 and told a radio station that Hillary Clinton ‘should be buried under a jail somewhere,’ in apparent violation of an ESPN policy on commentary relating to the presidential election.”

So politics is part of the answer after all. But not a slide into liberal politics. Conservatives were mad because Schilling engaged in venomous conservative politics, and eventually ESPN fired him before he did something that could get them sued. Conservatives are always the victims, aren’t they?

Read this article: 

The Conservative Beef With ESPN Is All About Curt Schilling

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