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CBO projects $3T budget gap this year thanks to pandemic


The federal budget gap will widen to $3 trillion this year, nearly triple the shortfall recorded just two years ago as the pandemic continues to grow the deficit, the Congressional Budget Office said in its latest 10-year projections released Thursday.

The shortfall is significantly wider compared with earlier projections, due to enactment of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package which Democrats approved in March without Republican support.

The gap totals about 13.4 percent of GDP, making it the second-largest discrepancy relative to the size of the economy since World War II and exceeded only by the 14.9 percent shortfall logged last year. After this year, the deficit is expected to average about $1.2 trillion through 2031.

Federal debt held by the public will rise to $23 trillion by the end of this year, totaling 103 percent of GDP. CBO’s projections only account for legislation passed through May 18, excluding the president’s current infrastructure ambitions.

The independent budget agency expects inflation to rise “sharply” before subsiding in the second half of this year.

CBO also projects “stronger economic growth“ than it did in February, thanks to legislation Congress has since enacted and “a more rapid routine to normalcy” as social distancing practices decline while the pandemic wanes in the United States.

The unemployment rate will continue to decline, dropping to 3.8 percent next year and then hovering around 4 percent for several years, the agency said.

Read more: politico.com

Did Politifact Cave to VA Dems After Whining About McAuliffe Takedown? [UPDATED]


UPDATE, 9:51 p.m. Eastern: On Wednesday, Politifact affiliate Virginia Public Media finally posted their so-called follow-up story that largely turned out to be…the original story?!

Instead of the original story being completely (or mostly) erased, Politifact VA reposted it with more material towards the bottom and a correction at the top that revealed their supposedly grave error was “fail[ing] to reach out to the McAuliffe campaign” and include 2019 and 2020 comments Youngkin made about Virginia’s economy.

It added: “This goes against our reporting standards, which require us to contact political campaigns that we write about. We’ve corrected that omission in this report and apologize for the error.”

From there, fact-checker Warren Fiske’s original story continued before keeping the conclusion at the bottom but adding Youngkin’s 2019 comments about Virginia Tech’s planned Arlington hub and a 2020 interview with McKinsey.

This, however, seemed largely to placate the McAuliffe campaign and tracked with the Business Insider article that sure came off like it was spoon-fed by the former governor’s team.

Fiske’s new piece concluded with a comment from Youngkin communications director Matt Wolking and a revised “bottom line” (click “expand”):

Matt Wolking, communications director for Youngkin’s campaign, says Youngkin has been consistent. Youngkin’s detailed economic criticism of McAuliffe and Northam has focused on professionals leaving Northern Virginia for other Southern states because of the high cost of living.

“It’s not that good things aren’t happening in Virginia; it’s just that Virginia should be No. 1,” Woking said. “We shouldn’t be in the middle of the pack.”

The bottom  line: Contrary to McAuliffe’s ad assertion, Youngkin’s 2017 words do not prove he was a “big fan” of the former governor’s economic policies. But his 2019 words suggest some good things have happened in Virginia over the last eight years – although he did not credit McAuliffe or Northam.

The original post can be found below.


On Tuesday, we saw yet another example of the buddy-buddy relationship between the liberal media and those they want to help work to elect. A day after Virginia’s Politifact published a takedown of a misleading ad from former Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe’s campaign against Republican Glenn Youngkin, the outlet retracted it Tuesday under the auspices of “a substantial omission.”

As of this story’s publication, the Politifact-affiliate Virginia Public Media (VPM) had yet to publish “a retraction notice” about why they “missed some key details” despite having promised one in a tweet at 2:12 p.m. Eastern.

First, the now-retracted article. “Politifact VA: McAuliffe Misleadingly Claims Youngkin Praised Him” immediately spelled doom for McAuliffe with its lede noting that a 39-second ad claimed Youngkin “was a ‘big fan’ of McAuliffe’s governorship from 2014-2018.”

The ad focused on an April 7, 2017 U.S. Export-Import Bank conference panel Youngkin had moderated with McAuliffe as one of the panelists. Politifact even transcribed the ad (click “expand”):

Narrator: “Glenn Youngkin is relying on an old political playbook: trash your opponent and try to scare the public into liking you.”
Youngkin: “I’m having a Virginia crisis because our commonwealth is in the ditch.”
Narrator: “But before he ran for office, he was a big fan of Terry McAuliffe and his record as Governor. Here’s one example:”
Youngkin: “Here, we have one out of fifty states that’s doing very well, and particularly in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
Narrator: “Here’s another:”
Youngkin: “If you want to put a new plant down, that’s the place to put it.”
Narrator: “And one more time.”
Youngkin: “Governor, I’m going to come back to the role you played in developing Virginia’s economy. How do you do it?”
Narrator: “Come on, Glenn.”

Writer Warren Fiske then launched into a brutal evisceration of the fact that “[t]he ad edits and alters Youngkin’s sentences and, in instances, presents them out of context” and went line by line showing what Youngkin actually said.

Going to the first quote from the 2017 event (which was the second Youngkin quote in the transcript), Fiske pointed out that “Youngkin was not offering his personal opinion” but rather “summarizing remarks made by his four-member panel.”

Here was what Youngkin actually said:

What we’ve said, just to summarize a little bit, is while not 100% agreeing that we’re in a full recovery, I think there’s a general sense of the US economy doing okay, and particularly in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Here we have one out of 50 states that’s doing very well and has really shown great strides.

Again, not exactly fawning over McAuliffe.

In the second panel quote, Fiske argued the full remark showed “Youngkin was simply asking McAuliffe to explain how he goes about recruiting foreign businesses to Virginia,” which is something all governors should do.

After debunking the last quote, Fiske acknowledged “[m]oderators are typically neutral and polite to panelists” and “Youngkin’s 2017 words do not prove he was a ‘big fan’ of the former governor’s economic policies, or that his current criticism of McAuliffe’s stewardship is a flip flop.”

With no warning, the piece was retracted with rumors suggesting it was due to a Virginia Democratic Party press release masquerading as a Business Insider article (which the party gleefully promoted).

This raised a rather basic question: If the video showed what it showed and the full quotes were the full quotes, then why was there a problem?

But digging into the Business Insider story and we knew from the headline that it would be full of fluff: “Virginia’s GOP gubernatorial nominee praised the state’s economy when his Democratic opponent was in charge.”

This won’t come as a surprise, but the quotes Business Insider used were also taken out of context (including some the Politfifact piece had debunked) and the so-called reporting coming off like the work of a field staffer.

Following a lazy lede about how “[i]t’s an uncomfortable bit of reality” for Youngkin, reporters Adam Wren and Warren Rojas whined that Youngkin’s “quick to tarnish McAuliffe” before offering the same misleading quotes that were in the McAuliffe ad (and mocked Youngkin as “an eager student” of McAuliffe’s).

They also came armed with quotes from 2019 and 2020 (click “expand”):

Youngkin delivered praise for Virginia’s economy just last year too.

In an interview with McKinsey & Company, the businessman noted that the state then under the leadership of Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam had a “high growth tech industry, a growing health care sector, and an established manufacturing presence.” 


Back in 2019, when Virginia Polytechnic Institute announced it was building an innovation campus in Northern Virginia, Youngkin was equally enthused.

“What’s happening in Northern Virginia is truly transformational, and Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus will be right at the heart of it,” Youngkin said in a press release at the time. “Think of the possibilities — new technologies, new businesses, new markets, extraordinary new talent — all being created right here in Northern Virginia. And now, the scope of this ambition can be fully matched by this great location, which will be the home of the next global technology hub.”

But as Youngkin remade himself into a Republican politician in the Trump era — ultimately winning the gubernatorial nomination amid a crowded field of conservatives — his appraisal of the state’s economic climate changed, too. 

In more than 30 public interviews, Youngkin dinged McAuliffe and “leaders in Richmond.” The state’s economy — despite being rated as a “Top State for Business” in 2019 — was now in “the ditch,” he’s repeated over and over again. 

“For eight years, we all watched the McAuliffe Northam political machine drive Virginia into the ditch,” Youngkin said during a May 21 campaign rally, standing in front of an American flag and cardboard boxes. 

Unsurprisingly, there were problems with these quotes. In both cases, neither had anything to do with McAuliffe’s tenure and worse yet, both were butchered.

In the McKinsey interview, Youngkin took a big picture view of Virginia’s long-term economy. 

Here’s the full quote: “If you’d looked at the Virginia economy then, you’d have seen a number of elements: a high-growth tech industry, a growing healthcare sector, and an established manufacturing presence around the marine industry, particularly shipbuilding and ship repair.” 

And in the 2019 Virginia Tech comments, Youngkin was speaking about the state of one sector of the economy in Northern Virginia, not all sectors across the entire Commonwealth.

In other words, he was considered the benefits and pitfalls of the economy. Who knew one could think that way!

Nonetheless, Business Insider continued to simp for their preferred candidate with these embarrassing talking points that came off like a CNN monologue (click “expand”):

What’s apparent from an Insider review of the first-time politician’s press clips and social media feeds is that he is full of conservative outrage: denouncing critical race theory, blocking police reform, and shielding gun rights are all GOP go-tos on the culture war front. He’s otherwise pretty much a blank slate on the policy front. 


Youngkin routinely talks about “reigniting” Virginia’s “rip-roaring” economy without explaining how he’ll spark such a revitalization. 


Virginia Democrats took their own swing at Youngkin over his flip-flop on the state’s economy.

“Before pledging his complete allegiance to Donald Trump, Youngkin knew Terry McAuliffe was an excellent governor who oversaw record economic growth and created over 200,000 good-paying jobs,” Manuel Bonder, spokesman with Democratic Party of Virginia, told Insider.

“Now, Youngkin is a hypocritical, dishonest Republican politician who will say and do anything to get elected — just like Trump,” he added. “Virginia needs a governor who will work to lift up all Virginians — not one who will put GOP extremism over the truth every step of the way.”

Returning to the delay in a retraction and follow-up item, longtime Virginia Republican operative Garren Shipley said it best when he tweeted: “In all seriousness, the longer this statement from @myVPM takes, the worse it looks.”

Read more: newsbusters.org

Billionaire GOP donor is funding South Dakota National Guard border deployment


A wealthy Republican donor says he is funding up to 50 South Dakota National Guard troops whom Gov. Kristi Noem is sending to the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I’m trying to help out the governor and help America,” said Willis Johnson, the billionaire founder and chairman of a global company called Copart Inc., which auctions used, wholesale and wrecked cars.

Johnson, a Vietnam veteran who doesn’t live in South Dakota but rather in Tennessee, told POLITICO in a brief interview that he met the governor at a political fundraiser “a while back.”

“I believe in her state and Texas,” he said, calling himself “a hardcore Republican.”

According to FEC records, he has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republicans in recent years, including Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Noem’s spokesperson Ian Fury said the Willis and Reba Johnson’s Foundation was providing the financial support for the troops, but declined to give a dollar amount for security reasons.

Asked how a private citizen can pay for a National Guard mission, Fury said in a text message: “The Governor has authority under SDCL 5-24-12 to accept a donation if she determines doing so is in the best interest of the State. The Governor has additional authority to accept donated funds for emergency management under SDCL 34-48A-36.”

Johnson seems to have enough money to send some to pet causes like securing the border. In 2010, he bought a $28 million house from country music star Alan Jackson that features an 18,600-square-foot home, a gym and a garage that can fit 20 cars. (In 2016, he told The Tennessean: “I am really, really rich.”)

According to his foundation’s 2018 IRS form, the nonprofit gave $1.15 million to a Tennessee Baptist church; $10,000 to Hope Smiles, a Christian group that funds dental procedures for the needy; $509,000 to a nonprofit that work on congenital heart disease; as well as $25,000 to the National Rifle Association.

Noem announced in a statement on Tuesday that she was sending up to 50 National Guardsmen to Texas in response to that state’s governor, Greg Abbott, calling for help because of the number of migrant crossings. The Guardsmen will be there for a month to two months. Other states that are sending help to Texas include Iowa, Georgia, Nebraska and Florida.

“The Biden Administration has failed in the most basic duty of the federal government: keeping the American people safe,” Noem said in a statement. “The border is a national security crisis that requires the kind of sustained response only the National Guard can provide. We should not be making our own communities less safe by sending our police or Highway Patrol to fix a long-term problem President Biden’s Administration seems unable or unwilling to solve. My message to Texas is this: help is on the way.”

A White House spokesperson referred a request for comment to the Department of Homeland Security. A spokesperson for DHS had no immediate comment.

Noem, who is up for reelection next year, is seen as a likely 2024 Republican presidential candidate and last month started a federal PAC called Noem Victory Fund. She also attracted attention in late May for flying down a Trump ally, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, to the Republican Governors Association in Nashville, Tenn., where he was kicked out of the event.

The surge of migrants at the southern border has become a political football, with Republicans criticizing the administration for not declaring it a “crisis” and for being slow to send Vice President Kamala Harris to the border. Biden put Harris in charge of trying to find a diplomatic solution to address the root causes of migration to the U.S.

Read more: politico.com

Supreme Court allows eviction ban to remain in place


The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled to keep the federal eviction moratorium to in place, in a 5-4 decision in which Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined with liberals.

The decision is a blow for the National Association of Realtors, the powerful lobbying group that funded the challenge to the pandemic-related moratorium on behalf of two of its chapters.

The association had asked the court to act on an emergency basis to vacate a stay on a lower-court decision overturning the ban, saying the “stay will prolong the severe financial burdens borne by landlords under the moratorium for the past nine months.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s moratorium is currently set to expire July 31 after the Biden administration extended it last week, with the CDC saying it intended the move as the final extension. Some six million renter households are behind on rent, according to a recent Census survey.

Kavanaugh wrote in Tuesday’s decision that he agreed with the lower-court ruling that the CDC had exceeded its authority but that its pending expiration swayed his thinking.

"Because the CDC plans to end the moratorium in only a few weeks, on July 31, and because those few weeks will allow for additional and more orderly distribution of the congressionally appropriated rental assistance funds, I vote at this time to deny the application to vacate the District Court’s stay of its order," he wrote.

State and local officials are scrambling to disburse more than $46 billion in rental relief before the moratorium expires.

The CDC issued an order in September blocking evictions for the nonpayment of rent, citing a 1944 public health law that gives the agency certain powers to prevent the spread of disease across state lines. The agency said evictions would force people to either double up with friends and family or turn to homeless shelters just as health officials were encouraging social distancing to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

“Landlords have been losing over $13 billion every month under the moratorium, and the total effect of the CDC’s overreach may reach up to $200 billion if it remains in effect for a year,” NAR said in its application for Supreme Court intervention.

Landlords — who are still on the hook for operating costs, property taxes and mortgage payments, regardless of whether tenants are paying rent — have challenged the ban in courts around the country, arguing that the CDC overstepped its authority.

A federal judge agreed in May, ordering that the moratorium be vacated. Days later, she granted the Department of Health and Human Services’ request for a stay of the decision, which an appeals court upheld as it considers the case.

Read more: politico.com

HBO Drama Attacks Whites’ ‘Poisoned Perspective, Distorted by Centuries of Dominance’


The final episodes of season 4 of HBO’s In Treatment dropped on Sunday and Monday this week and the series laid the contempt for white males on thick.

Amazingly, patient Colin (John Benjamin Hickey) decides to come to another therapy session with Brooke (Uzo Aduba) after her speech last week about the problem of white straight cis men because he feels like it gave him a breakthrough.

“I rather inarticulately ran off at the mouth about white guys,” Brooke admits at their next meeting.

“Oh yes, right. The unbearable burden of whiteness,” Colin responds.

Brooke then goes into full critical race theory mode and attempts to help Colin with “extricating yourself from this oppressive mindset.”

Brooke: Before we move on, I need you to understand that in no way was I ever suggesting that the horrific inequality that exists in this country is a result of white people being more driven.

Colin: No, of course. But is our skewed perception of what success looks like responsible for some of that disparity? I don’t know.

Brooke: No. Your poisoned perspective, distorted by centuries of dominance, your insistence on centering yourselves and your comfort makes you capable of subjugating others for your own personal gain without even thinking twice about it. 

Colin: Hundred percent.

Brooke grows frustrated with Colin and Colin grows increasingly arrogant and even creepy as the session continues, eventually hitting on Brooke sexually. No anti-white man show would be complete without making the man a harasser, too.

After the episodes with Brooke and her patients, the season ends by implying that she also intends to break up with her white boyfriend. (Yes, this hater of white males has a white boyfriend.) Her boyfriend is an alcoholic who is less intelligent than her and brings her down. Once again, the show resists showing even one positive, intelligent white male character. (A previous episode of In Treatment also said white cops kill black people for fun).

Finally, In Treatment is over and the real therapy can begin for those driven insane from this drivel.

Read more: newsbusters.org

They Were Deported by Trump. Now Biden Wants to Bring Them Back.


Jason Rochester tried everything he could to persuade the Trump administration to allow his wife Cecilia, who is Mexican, to come back to their home in the United States.

A truck driver from Georgia, Rochester wanted to fix his wife’s undocumented immigration status and put her on track to become an American citizen, like him and their son Ashton, now 8. They even agreed that she would leave for Mexico voluntarily in 2018, expecting she would soon be permitted to re-enter the country with legal papers.

They were wrong. Even when Ashton went through a year of treatment for kidney cancer, Trump administration officials did not relent, finding no compelling reason to let his mother in. Rochester stopped pleading.

Now, based on encouraging moves by President Joe Biden in a handful of deportations, Rochester is preparing a new application to try again.

That’s because the Biden administration, with little public fanfare, is working on plans for an organized review of thousands of cases of people who say they were unjustly deported in recent years, senior officials in charge of immigration said.

The officials say that many deportations, especially under Trump, were unduly harsh, with little law enforcement benefit. They are working to devise a system to reconsider cases of immigrants who were removed despite strong ties to the United States.

Legal scholars said a process that resulted in returns of significant numbers of deported people would be highly unusual in American immigration law. Until now, undoing deportations has generally required arduous legal battles in exceptional cases, and returns have been infrequent.

The Department of Homeland Security “is committed to reviewing the cases of individuals whose removals under the prior administration failed to live up to our highest values,” said Marsha Espinosa, a spokeswoman for the agency. She confirmed officials are developing “a rigorous, systematic approach” to conduct the reviews and “an orderly process” for deported people to present their claims.

They would include military families and veterans — a few returns of military relatives have already been completed — and young immigrants who were excluded from protections under the program known as DACA as a result of Trump’s efforts to cancel it. Officials also plan to examine claims of people who say they were deported in retaliation for fighting their removals or publicly protesting immigration policies.

The administration may consider a much larger group of immigrants who — like Cecilia González Carmona, Rochester’s wife — have spouses, children or other close relatives who are American citizens and can show their families were severely harmed by the deportation of a parent or breadwinner.

The reviews will proceed on a painstaking case-by case basis, officials said. At least initially, only a very small fraction — perhaps thousands — of more than 900,000 formal deportations under Trump could be reversed. But eventually, if the review system is effective, many more people could apply.

Hints of the administration’s plans, which emerged as a few initial returns have been carried out, have mobilized Jason Rochester, who introduces himself as “A Desperate Father” in emails he sends to anyone who will listen. His family’s efforts to get his wife right with immigration law, he says, all went terribly wrong.

Rochester, who drives a tractor-trailer for UPS, had voted for Trump in 2016. He says he liked Trump’s law-and-order message, and he never imagined that his wife, a stay-at-home mother with no criminal record, would be treated as one of the bad immigrants Trump vowed to remove. But he and his wife grew increasingly wary as Trump decreed that any undocumented immigrant could be deported and immigration agents became more aggressive. González Carmona had crossed the border without papers nearly two decades earlier. Based on poor advice from a lawyer, Rochester said, she decided to stay ahead of the authorities by agreeing to leave for Mexico on her own, believing she would have a quick turnaround back to the United States.

Not long after she left, a new lawyer they hired to handle González Carmona’s return discovered an old record of a formal deportation she was unaware of, when she had been caught and expelled at the border 18 years earlier, at the peak of a huge migrant influx under President Clinton. By long-standing law, she was barred from entering the United States for 10 years.

Six months after she departed in 2018, 5-year-old Ashton was diagnosed with cancer. He had a kidney removed and underwent 10 months of radiation and chemotherapy. González Carmona was stranded in Mérida, in southeastern Mexico. The family photos from that time are of Ashton, bone-thin and attached to a tangle of tubes in a hospital bed, with Rochester holding up a mobile tablet and his wife watching their son from afar.

She asked the Trump administration for an emergency permission, known as a humanitarian parole, to return to care for Ashton. On Aug. 31, 2018, an immigration official informed her in writing that there were no “urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit” to grant her request.

“I can’t stand to think about the things Ashton used to ask me when he was sick, why she wasn’t there,” Rochester said.

Ashton’s cancer has not reappeared, and his father says he understands better now that González Carmona “made a mistake” that prevents her from being with them. As U.S. citizens, father and son can travel to Mexico, and have done so a few times a year to see her.

Yet Rochester says he and his son are the ones being punished. “We’re citizens,” he said, “and we have to choose between our wife and mother or our country.”

Rochester and his wife are preparing a new request for a humanitarian parole. Federal officials have broad powers to grant those paroles, which allow foreigners into the country for a short time, without providing any immigration status. A task force Biden set up to reunite families that were separated at the southwest border under Trump’s zero tolerance policy is issuing paroles to bring parents in to rejoin their children. Administration officials said the task force is a testing ground for a broader use of paroles to reunify more families of immigrants who were deported.

Since several federal agencies are involved, the work to organize the review process is slow going, officials said, and no deadline for announcements has been set. But the goal is clear: “We’re eager to bring people back in who shouldn’t have been removed in the first place,” said a senior immigration official involved in the planning, who was not authorized to speak publicly about ongoing discussions.

To date the administration’s highest priority have been military families and veterans, after Biden made promises to help them during his campaign last year. Espinosa, the Homeland Security spokeswoman, said her agency is also working to create easier pathways to naturalization — the process to gain U.S. citizenship — for those families. While estimates are inexact, officials say at least 11,800 active-duty service members have close relatives facing deportation, and hundreds of veterans have been expelled.

The administration already made good on Biden’s promise in one prominent case. On May 8, Alejandra Juarez, a Mexican woman who had been forced to leave in 2018, was reunited with her family near Orlando, Fla. Her husband, Temo Juarez, served in the Marines and is an Iraq combat veteran, and he and their two daughters are American citizens. Juarez benefited from years of advocacy by her congressman, Rep. Darren Soto of Florida, a Democrat, and a star turn by her daughter Estela, then 11, at the Democratic National Convention last year.

In a letter on June 9, more than 80 immigrants’ rights organizations urged Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to create a centralized review office for veterans and other groups. Advocates have likened their proposal to the recent efforts to overturn and make amends for wrongful convictions in the criminal justice system.

“We are not asking for special treatment,” said Nayna Gupta, a lawyer at the National Immigrant Justice Center who is leading the push for deportation reviews. “It’s just making the law do what it was intended to do.”

In addition to paroles, officials are looking at reopening deportation cases in court to give immigrants another chance and offering waivers to remove obstacles blocking immigrants from obtaining legal green cards through family members. With Biden already facing accusations from Republicans that he is letting in swarms of criminals at the southwest border, senior officials are anticipating intense opposition, and they are working to armor the review process, which they say draws on well-established executive branch authorities, against legal challenges.

Mayorkas has directed officials to closely examine claims of immigrants who said they were deported as punishment for political activity. “Retaliation in response to the constitutionally protected right of speech, that is just unacceptable,” Mayorkas said at a conference at the University of California, Los Angeles law school in April.

Claudio Rojas, who is from Argentina, was deported by immigration agents under Trump in 2019 shortly after a film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival that depicted the audacious resistance he had helped to organize years earlier inside an immigration detention center in south Florida. Filmmakers have rallied to press for Rojas’s return.

A question for Biden administration officials is whether they will also extend opportunities for return to people who were deported under Obama, when Biden was vice-president and Obama was lambasted by activists as “the deporter-in-chief.”

Maria Paz Perez wants to find out. Her husband, Brigido Isidro Acosta, was deported in 2013, rousted by immigration agents from their living room in a Chicago suburb while he was carving a Halloween pumpkin with their 3-year-old son.

Acosta’s immigration problems dated back to an encounter 11 years earlier in Dallas-Fort Worth airport with a customs official who, suspicious at seeing a young Mexican man traveling alone, decided to keep him out of the United States. Acosta had a valid tourist visa and was coming to visit his mother in Illinois.

After he was strip-searched and subjected to hours of interrogation, he says, Acosta agreed to go back to Mexico. Apparently out of spite, the official stamped a deportation record into his passport, making it impossible for Acosta to return legally for 10 years.

Five years later Acosta came back illegally, settling near his mother in Illinois. Together with Perez, an American citizen, he started a family, with two American children, and a car insurance business. But in one of Obama’s frequent immigration dragnets, agents tracked him down.

After her husband’s deportation their business failed, and Perez lost her home and was forced to move in with her parents. Their son Xavier, now 11, has not stopped longing for his father. “He’s never really understood,” Perez said, “because how do you understand that your father was there one day and gone the next?”

Then came cascading medical crises that Perez has confronted without her husband at hand. In January 2020, she had surgery to remove a brain tumor, uncertain if she would emerge alive to care for their children. The tumor was benign. Then, Perez’s father passed away of Covid-19 in October. In February, Acosta’s mother was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer. In May, Perez had another surgery, this time to correct an agonizing spinal condition.

The family is weighing a new appeal to the Biden administration for fast-track permission to let Acosta back in.

“With my heart in my hand, I can tell you that if I could make it back before my mom passes away, that would be the best,” Acosta said by phone from Mexico. “I would just like to do our family’s life together on a daily basis, the same way we had before. Because we had a team back then.”

Read more: politico.com

‘It is not over’: New York’s mayoral frontrunner forced into waiting game


NEW YORK — At most other times in New York City history, the Democratic nominee for mayor could spend this post-primary period basking in the glow of victory and an almost guaranteed path to City Hall.

But this is like no other time in city history and the next few weeks will be a complicated and potentially messy time for mayoral politics.

“This is new territory for all of us,” leading candidate Eric Adams acknowledged Friday.

He is nine points ahead in first-choice ballots for New York’s first-ever ranked-choice election. If other ranked-choice elections in the U.S. are any guide, Adams has a 96 percent chance of emerging as the victor.

But unlike other such contests, this one took place as the city was still emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic and more than 120,000 absentee ballots have yet to be counted. With about 800,000 ballots cast on election night, that could potentially sway the outcome, and runners-up Maya Wiley and Kathryn Garcia are arguing the race is far from over.

The ranked-choice tallies won’t be run until this Tuesday, and that means the margins between Adams, Wiley and Garcia could get even closer.

“We’re all acting as if it’s done,” Garcia pollster Adam Rosenblatt said. “The most important piece is still missing.”

That leaves Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, in an electoral no-man’s land: preparing to become the next mayor after what many see as a pro-forma general election against Republican candidate Curtis Sliwa, while also leaving open the possibility he may not be the nominee.

“We know the votes must be counted. We know there’s a process. We’re going to follow that process,” Adams said. “But while that process is playing out, we’re going to send a signal to New Yorkers: believe.”

For the next few weeks, Adams will be simultaneously counting votes in the race he just ran, shifting his campaign to general election mode and preparing to hire a new administration. If he becomes mayor, replacing the term-limited Bill de Blasio, Adams will be immediately tasked with quieting a surge in violence, getting 1 million public school students caught up from more than a year of remote learning and trying to get the city‘s economy back on its feet after the devastation wrought by Covid-19.

He made a push Friday to start the transition as soon as possible. Typically, a mayor-elect might wait until the general election to start planning his or her administration. Adams argued that, because of the weight of the issues facing the next mayor — and with the primary now in June instead of September — the new administration should start meeting with the old administration as soon as the Democratic nominee emerges.

“We need to engage in a conversation. We can’t say, ‘Let’s start from scratch on Jan. 1.’ That’s unfair to New Yorkers,” Adams said Friday, while acknowledging other candidates should be part of that conversation with de Blasio. “I’m going to encourage him to make his commissioners available to whomever would like to sit down with them and get a real briefing on what is happening in our agencies.”

Adams‘ campaign says the candidate is trying to prepare for the litany of crises that may be waiting on the next mayor’s desk.

“The responsible thing to do for Eric now is to think ahead to the general election and how he would govern as mayor,” Adams adviser Evan Thies said. “While awaiting the process and acknowledging it’s not over, he’s still making sure he is prepared to hit the ground running.”

Adams hit the streets the day after Election Day saying his commanding lead translated into a mandate for his campaign message; one that focused heavily on reducing gun violence in low-income communities of color, where the surge in shootings has been the worst.

Adams, a Black former police captain who was beaten by cops as a teenager in Queens, was especially well suited to deliver that message while also promising to curb aggressive and abusive policing. Opponent Andrew Yang, an early front-runner who ended up conceding on primary night, tried to take a similar tough-on-crime approach but was unable to break through in the way Adams did.

Adams is now making the case that his moderate message is one other Democrats across the country should embrace before 2022.

“Look at me and you’re seeing the future of the Democratic Party,” he said Wednesday. “If the Democratic Party fails to recognize what we did here in New York, they’re going to have a problem in the midterm elections and they’re going to have a problem in the presidential election.”

The strident message, however, may be a little premature.

Wiley, former counsel to de Blasio counsel, and Garcia, the former sanitation commissioner, are publicly arguing they might prevail after the ranked-choice tallies are run Tuesday and the absentee ballots are counted in July.

Wiley, who is Black, ran as a progressive who would be the first woman to become mayor. She promised some funding cuts to the police department and more investment in mental health and supportive housing, avoiding the same aggressive messaging about a crime wave that needs to be stopped. Wiley, currently in second place, is about 75,000 votes behind Adams and is sure to pick up more after the ranked-choice votes are counted Tuesday. So are Adams and Garcia.

“We have every reason to believe we can win this race,” Wiley said on Wednesday. “It is not over.”

The Garcia team released a memo Thursday outlining why the former city officials may actually pull ahead of Adams in first-place ballots, and ultimately prevail in ranked-choice tallies when all is said and done.

“In a lot of the districts where [absentee] ballots have been returned — these are vote-rich areas; these are areas where Kathryn is winning handily,” Rosenblatt said in an interview. “There are certainly Manhattan districts. There are Queens and Brooklyn districts in the mix as well.”

The city Board of Elections won’t count the absentees until July. But close to 200,000 absentee ballots were requested and as many as 124,000 had been returned as of Sunday.

Garcia ran as a moderate, like Adams, promising to bolster police presence and have a friendlier relationship with the business community than de Blasio, her former boss. Garcia, who is white, also could be the first woman elected mayor in New York.

She is the only candidate still in contention to run a ranked-choice strategy in the final days of her campaign, making a play for the second- and third-place ballots that will be counted Tuesday. Her team-up with Yang drew recriminations from Adams and his supporters that the pair was trying to disenfranchise Black and Latino voters, even though their cooperative approach is one of the intended goals of ranked-choice voting.

Adams has since dropped that rhetoric and said multiple times he will support whichever Democratic candidate emerges when the numbers are tallied. But should Wiley or Garcia pull ahead through a combination of ranked-choice tallies and absentee ballots, there will almost certainly be a fight.

“I don’t see him going quietly into the night,” said Christina Greer, a political science professor at Fordham University who hosts a podcast about New York. “Not after the victory laps he’s taken these last few days.“

Adams’ voters represented a somewhat unusual coalition in city electoral politics, Greer added. He dominated in working-class and lower-income outer borough areas, while more gentrified parts of Brooklyn and Queens went to Wiley, and Garcia cleaned up in Manhattan, where more white, affluent voters live.

“There’s a certain type of New Yorker who’s had a permanent seat at the table. That New Yorker didn’t vote for Eric Adams,” Greer said. “If you look at his map, it’s largely people who are ignored in these larger political discussions.”

Adams’ message sought to appeal to people who are both disproportionately targeted by police as well as disproportionately the victims of gun violence and other crimes.

“Eric Adams has been around here since I’ve been around here,” said Ken Carlton, 64, who voted for Adams in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights on Election Day. The former corrections worker, who now works for the U.S. Postal Service, ranked crime as his number one issue.

“He seems genuine,” Carlton said of Adams. “He can identify with some of the things the neighborhood is going through.”

Carlton also said he didn’t care for the new ranked-choice system: “It should be you elect one, that’s it.”

Greer echoed concerns that have been bubbling up in political conversations around the city since this past week, should Garcia prevail and those communities where Adams prevailed are left in the cold.

“The visual looks really bad that Eric Adams gets 100,000 more votes than Garcia“ on election night, she said, “and this white woman rolls into Gracie Mansion.“

Janaki Chadha and Sally Goldenberg contributed to this report.

Read more: politico.com

New border fight pits Texas against Biden over care for 4,500 migrant kids


The Biden administration is in an escalating battle with Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott over a state plan to close shelters housing roughly 4,500 unaccompanied immigrant children.

Abbott, who has positioned himself as a chief Biden antagonist on immigration ahead of a potential 2024 presidential bid, plans to revoke the licenses of any shelter that continues to serve migrant kids beginning Aug. 31 — a move that threatens to upend the refugee resettlement effort and has left federal health officials threatening to sue.

Yet a series of tense letters between the Department of Health and Human Services and the state this month obtained by POLITICO show Abbott striking a defiant tone amid the GOP’s broader campaign to hammer President Joe Biden over immigration and border security. The showdown is likely to intensify in the coming days, when Abbott is due to accompany former President Donald Trump on a trip to the border.

“The federal government must solve the federal problem caused by the Biden administration’s disastrous open-border policies,” Abbott wrote in a recent letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Texas will not be commandeered into federal government service.”

Officials in several other GOP-led states have declined to aid HHS’ months-long effort to arrange housing and services for tens of thousands of migrant children in federal care, privately rejecting the government’s appeals for help and in some cases publicly criticizing the possibility of unaccompanied children entering their states.

But Texas’s order represents the most drastic attempt by a state to decouple itself from a long-running federal program that relies on state-licensed organizations to shelter migrant children until they can be placed with guardians. HHS has accused Abbott of launching a “direct attack” on the administration’s effort to care for record numbers of unaccompanied children crossing the southern border and said it’s consulting with the Justice Department on necessary legal action.

Under Abbott’s plan, 52 shelters across the state would be forced to halt care for unaccompanied minors or be stripped of the licenses currently needed to remain open.

That would leave more than a quarter of the nation’s entire population of migrant kids without anywhere to stay. Texas hasn’t offered any housing alternatives, with Abbott insisting that it’s HHS’ responsibility.

He has also vowed to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall, boasting earlier this month that Texas is “doing more than any other state has ever done to respond to these challenges along the border.”

HHS said it is still awaiting a response to more than two dozen questions that Deputy General Counsel Paul Rodriguez sent to Abbott and other Texas officials seeking specifics on how they planned to implement the order.

“We are exploring our options, for the sake of protecting the safety and well-being of unaccompanied children at licensed facilities in Texas,” a spokesperson said.

Abbott’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Thousands of children could be scattered to shelters around the country if the Texas order were to take effect, former officials and advocates for the unaccompanied minors said. And with the administration already struggling to manage an influx of kids, those destinations would likely be emergency facilities constructed on military bases and in convention centers that have faced scrutiny from both Republicans and Democrats over their conditions.

“It’s very hard to see what’s accomplished,” said Mark Greenberg, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute who led HHS’ Administration for Children and Families during the Obama administration. “There’s been broad agreement that it’s a good thing for children to be in licensed facilities — which are regulated and monitored — and this effort just makes that harder.”

Abbott previously criticized the emergency sites that HHS rushed to open in response to the sharp rise of border arrivals, calling one shelter in Texas “a health and safety nightmare” just two-and-a-half months ago.

But in his most recent letter to Becerra, Abbott cited the emergency facilities as justification for withdrawing all state-level support, arguing that Texas shouldn’t also have to offer up its own licensed facilities.

“The federal government cannot force a state to do the federal government’s job,” he wrote.

HHS has warned Abbott that his order appears to violate various federal laws, a view shared by legal experts who said it’s guaranteed to be challenged in court as soon as it takes effect.

“At the most basic level, states aren’t allowed to discriminate against federal contractors,” said Spencer Amdur, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. “They also can’t obstruct in any way the federal government’s ability to work with private entities.”

Still, the Texas order has sown confusion among the organizations running shelters that rely solely on contracts with the federal government to care for unaccompanied children and now must devise a fallback plan within weeks.

State officials have also struggled with how to enforce Abbott’s order, which offered no specific guidance on how it should be implemented and little justification beyond criticizing the Biden administration for its “failure to secure the border.”

Abbott in a June 11 letter to Becerra denied that the order would result in facilities being shut down altogether, saying only that they would no longer be licensed by the state. But a notice sent nine days earlier by Texas’ health agency to shelter organizations instructed them to wind down all activities tied to unaccompanied minors.

One major shelter operator, BCFS, was separately warned by a state health official that it would be fined if it continued to house migrant children beyond Aug. 31, the organization told POLITICO.

A spokesperson for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission declined to offer details on how it planned to enforce Abbott’s order, saying the agency is still working on an implementation process.

Democrats, meanwhile, have blasted Abbott over what they argue is a political ploy to fortify his standing with the Republican base at the expense of vulnerable children — a move made more evident by Trump’s planned return to the border this week.

“It’s obviously very alarming, destructive and very harmful for children in need,” said Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas), who on Friday hosted Vice President Kamala Harris’ own border visit. “The governor long ago abandoned governing, and he is focused solely on fighting the culture wars.”

Some Republicans on Capitol Hill have also distanced themselves from Abbott’s plan, even as they’ve enthusiastically embraced broader criticisms of the administration’s border policy.

Asked about the prospect of yanking facilities’ licenses, Texas GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw told POLITICO he hadn’t looked into it and wasn’t a “state rep[resentative].” Sen. Ted Cruz also said he’d hadn’t talked with Abbott about the order and declined to say whether he supported it.

Nevertheless, the confrontation risks pulling the administration into a drawn-out fight over an immigration challenge that it has worked hard to tamp down across the first months of Biden’s presidency.

After hitting a record high of almost 23,000 unaccompanied children in federal custody in April, the health department has winnowed the population down below 15,000. That’s a level that remains significantly higher than normal, but has allowed it to move more children out of emergency facilities and into higher-quality licensed facilities.

Yet even as it lays the groundwork for a swift legal challenge, officials conceded that there’s little HHS can do to head off Abbott’s order now before it takes effect — setting the stage for a protracted clash over the border that could carry well into the fall.

“The politics is everything,” Amdur said. “I think, basically, they’re doing this to make the administration look bad.”

Read more: politico.com

MSNBC Is Sick: Guest Blames Crime Surge on ‘Cowardly, Butt-Hurt’ Police


If you’re a self-styled “social advocate,” the last thing you’re going to do is blame the current crime surge on the criminals. Instead, appearing on Tiffany Cross’s MSNBC show this morning, former LAPD cop Cheryl Dorsey blamed . . . the police, calling them “butt-hurt” and “cowardly.”

Why, in Dorsey’s view, are police “butt-hurt?” Because, she claimed, “they can’t run willy-nilly through a police department and abuse with reckless abandon.” 

Dorsey then described police leaving specialized units as “cowardly.” In doing so, she ignored the fact that police, as in the case of the Portland, Oregon rapid response unit, have resigned in protest over what they see as lack of support by city leaders and unjustified prosecutions of fellow cops doing their jobs in extreme conditions.



Host Cross tried to downplay the seriousness of the surge, framing it as a mere “uptick,” and even doubting that it exists at all! She asked Dorsey whether “you really think there is an uptick in crime?”  Dorsey was glad to agree: “I don’t necessarily think that there is an uptick in crime.”

Here’s that exchange: 

CROSS: What’s your take on — I mean, do you really think there is an uptick in crime, the way that Republicans are framing it?

DORSEY: I don’t necessarily think that there’s an uptick in crime. And I can tell you that I know firsthand, you know, statistics can be manipulated. 

And so I think that this is, again, what officers, police departments, police chiefs, those who are savvy, try to do is pull back, make communities suffer just a little bit so you’ll miss that heavy-handedness, those overzealous cops who are abusing their authority in your communities, and then when you cry uncle they come back times ten with more militarization, more heavy-handed elephant hunters who are now preying on an unsuspecting public.

Cross also dabbled in conspiracy-mongering. Without spelling out her accusation, she said, “it’s interesting that this is happening at the time of de-fund the police.” She seemed to imply that crime statistics are being inflated to ward off the defunding of police that her fellow left-wingers are advocating. 

Dorsey again came forward to support Cross, spelling out the conspiracy theory: “I can tell you that I know firsthand, you know, statistics can be manipulated.” Dorsey claimed that savvy police chiefs are intentionally pulling back to make communities “suffer a little bit,” and that “when they cry uncle,” the police will return with heavy-handed tactics “times ten,” describing police as “heavy-handed elephant hunters who are now preying on an unsuspecting public.”

An MSNBC guest blaming the crime surge on “butt-hurt, cowardly” police, and buying into the conspiracy theory that police departments are inflating crime statistics, was sponsored in part by CITI, OnStar, a subsidiary of General Motors, and Jeep. 

Here’s the transcript. Click “expand” to read more. 

The Cross Connection
10:05 am EDT

TIFFANY CROSS: We’re talking about the uptick in crime. You just heard the rhetoric circa 1983 that’s being repeated now. Cheryl, I am a little concerned because, look, I know there are people in neighborhoods who have concerns about the violence they’ve seen. It’s interesting that this is happening at the time of de-fund the police. We have to get to the root of the problem. Why do you think we’re seeing an uptick in crime happening right now?

CHERYL DORSEY: I think it’s a combination of things, and we have to understand that police officers are the backbone, particularly are the backbone of any police department. And this reminds me of back in the day when I was on LAPD, when officers’ feelings were hurt and they had the term “blue flu,” where officers openly talked about slow response to radio calls. You can break a police chief if response time is low, if you’re not clearing crimes, if you’re not responding to high-priority calls: shootings in progress, murder, robbery. 

And so officers, now we see across these 18,000 police departments, are butt-hurt because, you know, they can’t run willy-nilly through a police department and abuse with reckless abandon. So they’re stepping away from specialized units. Too cowardly to quit outright the department, but they’re stepping away from units. On the Columbus police department, the rapid response team. An entire platoon of SWAT officers walked away in Miami. So I don’t think it’s a coincidence. And listen, bad guys know the cops aren’t responding, that they’re not coming out when they are capering. And so I think it’s a combination of things.

. . . 

CROSS: What’s your take on — I mean, do you really think there is an uptick in crime, the way that Republicans are framing it?

DORSEY: I don’t necessarily think that there’s an uptick in crime. And I can tell you that I know firsthand, you know, statistics can be manipulated. 

And so I think that this is, again, what officers, police departments, police chiefs, those who are savvy, try to do is pull back, make communities suffer just a little bit so you’ll miss that heavy-handedness, those overzealous cops who are abusing their authority in your communities, and then when you cry uncle they come back times ten with more militarization, more heavy-handed elephant hunters who are now preying on an unsuspecting public.

Read more: newsbusters.org

Contemptible: U.S. Olympic Athlete Turns Away From Flag During Anthem


Gwendolyn Berry hates America. Unfortunately, she doesn’t hate it enough to try hammer throwing for some other nation. 

On June 26 she came in third in the hammer throw at the U.S. track and field Olympic trials. That means she’s going to represent her nation at the Tokyo Olympics. Lucky us. 

But Berry couldn’t manage the podium ceremony without petulance. According to USA Today, “As the national anthem played, she turned away from the American flag, toward the southern seats at Hayward Field. Then she draped a T-shirt that read ‘Activist Athlete’ over her head.” Charming.

She later explained that she didn’t expect them to play the anthem and “‘I feel like it was a setup. I feel like they did that on purpose,’ Berry said. “‘And I was pissed, to be honest.’” 

Huh? Ambushed by the anthem? Well, apparently she’s a well-known “activist athlete.” USA Today says she works to “draw attention to racial inequality and police brutality in America, while also pushing for athletes to have the right to speak up for issues that are important to them while at competition.”

She was reprimanded for disrespecting the U.S. at the 2019 Panamerican games. She believes she shouldn’t be subjected to “The Star- Spangled Banner.”

USA Today appeared to take her seriously, and questioned USA Track & Field, which replied in effect that the anthem is played according to a daily schedule

Afterward, having drawn all kinds of attention to herself and her reaction to the anthem, she said, “So, you know, it’s OK. I really don’t want to talk about the anthem because that’s not important.”

Gotcha, Gwendolyn. 

 “The anthem don’t speak for me,” she said. “It never has.” One more reason to love that darn song.


Read more: newsbusters.org


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