Saturday, May 4, 2019

Last Call For A Taxing Explanation

California will send legislation to Gov. Gavin Newsom's desk requiring presidential candidates to submit five years' worth of tax returns in order to appear on the ballot, joining 18 other states in a jab at President Donald Trump's refusal to release his tax returns. 
California joins New York, Illinois and Washington, among other states, that have introduced bills requiring all candidates to release their individual tax returns to qualify for the presidential primary ballot. Tax returns have become a key 2020 issue, with Trump refusing to surrender them and Democratic presidential candidates sharing their tax information with varying degrees of timeliness.

But it may not be a sure thing.  It's failed once before.

The state's Senate passed the measure by a 27-10 party line vote Thursday, but whether Newsom, a Democrat, will sign the bill remains unclear
Newsom spokesman Jesse Melgar told CNN, "with regard to this and all proposed legislation, should the bill reach the Governor's Desk it would be evaluated on its own merits." 
While former California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed similar legislation in 2017, Newsom has shown support for tax returns in his own political career, releasing his tax returns as a candidate and promising to continue releasing them every year as governor.

Unless Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado and/or Arizona pass legislation to do this, it's meaningless, and odds are extremely low any of those seven states would pass such legislation.

Besides, red states will almost certainly counter with things like, you know, requiring birth certificates and whatnot.  There's a serious chance this becomes a Jim Crow issue, even if the Supreme Court wasn't guaranteed to step in and overturn such legislation.

No, this is a waste of time in the end.  Do you think Trump cares if he's on the ballot in states he'll never win?  Ahh, but red states being able to block the Democratic candidate from getting on the ballot, especially Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, all with overwhelming GOP majorities in state?

It's just because they haven't figured out how to do it yet.  California making this law will make that a top priority.

Let's not go down this road.

Going After The Orange Bloc

Former VP Joe Biden is now comfortably ahead in early Democratic 2020 presidential polling, and he's beating Trump handily in head-to-head matchups.  The reason he's doing this is because he's playing to the middle, and that there's gettable white Trump voters who would vote for Biden over Trump...but tellingly, not for several other non-white, non-male Dems.

As Joseph R. Biden Jr. made his way across Iowa on his first trip as a 2020 presidential candidate, the former vice president repeatedly returned to one term — aberration — when he referred to the Trump presidency.

“Limit it to four years,” Mr. Biden pleaded with a ballroom crowd of 600 in the eastern Iowa city of Dubuque. “History will treat this administration’s time as an aberration.”

“This is not the Republican Party,” he added, citing his relationships with “my Republican friends in the House and Senate.”

There is no disagreement among Democrats about the urgency of defeating Mr. Trump. But Mr. Biden’s singular focus on the president as the source of the nation’s ills, while extending an olive branch to Republicans, has exposed a significant fault line in the Democratic primary.

Democrats, like Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, see the president as a symptom of something deeper, both in a Republican Party overtaken by Trumpism and a nation cleaved by partisanship. Simply ousting Mr. Trump, they tell voters, is not enough.

It’s a debate that goes beyond the policy differences separating a moderate like Mr. Biden from an insurgent like Mr. Sanders, elevating questions about whether the old rules of inside-the-Beltway governance still apply. And it has thrown into stark relief one of the fundamental questions facing the Democratic electorate: Do Democrats want a bipartisan deal-maker promising a return to normalcy, or a partisan warrior offering more transformative change?

It's a legitimate question.  The cynical calculus is that Biden can win and do what Obama or Hillary couldn't, because only swingable Obama-Trump voters matter, and they guide all of America.

I don't personally agree with that, but you know what?  I'm not arrogant enough to think my views on the Democratic primary are typical of America, either.  Biden is popular.  He's not my first choice for the Dems, but he's not my last choice either.

We'll see where he goes.  It enrages me that people OK with Trump are now cool with Biden, but I'm but one voter.

Most of all I want the GOP nightmare to end, but getting rid of Trump alone won't fix the problem.  I know that.  You know that.

Does Joe Biden?

Deportation Nation, Con't

Quite a bit on the immigration front this week, as former Trump White House "Adult in the Room ™" John Kelly has landed on his feet on the board of America's biggest supplier of private kiddie concentration camps.

In April, protesters outside the nation's largest facility for unaccompanied migrant children noticed a familiar face enter the massive, fenced site in Homestead, Florida: former White House chief of staff John Kelly. Soon after, a local television station recorded footage of him riding on the back of a golf cart as he toured the grounds.

It wasn't clear why he was there, but Friday, Caliburn International confirmed to CBS News that Kelly had joined its board of directors. Caliburn is the parent company of Comprehensive Health Services, which operates Homestead and three other shelters for unaccompanied migrant children in Texas.

Prior to joining the Trump administration in January 2017, Kelly had been on the board of advisors of DC Capital Partners, an investment firm that now owns Caliburn.

The Caliburn board includes other former high-ranking military personnel, including retired General Anthony C. Zinni, Admiral James G. Stavridis and Rear Admiral Kathleen Martin. The company's portfolio includes work in a variety of defense sectors.

"With four decades of military and humanitarian leadership, in-depth understanding of international affairs and knowledge of current economic drivers around the world, General Kelly is a strong strategic addition to our team," said James Van Dusen, Caliburn's CEO. "Our board remains acutely focused on advising on the safety and welfare of unaccompanied minors who have been entrusted to our care and custody by the Department of Health and Human Services to address a very urgent need in caring for and helping to find appropriate sponsors for these unaccompanied minors."

Kelly joined DC Capital's board in February 2016 and stepped down in January 2017 when he was confirmed as Secretary of Homeland Security. Kelly switched jobs in July 2017 to become President Trump's chief of staff, a position he left at the end of 2018.

During Kelly's tenure, the administration pursued ambitious changes to immigration enforcement, and the average length of stay for an unaccompanied migrant child in U.S. custody skyrocketed.

In the past year, Comprehensive Health Services, the only private company operating shelters, became one of the most dominant players in the industry. Last August, it secured three licenses for facilities in Texas, totaling 500 beds, and in December, the Homestead facility began expanding from a capacity of 1,250 beds to 3,200.

Located on several acres of federal land adjacent to an Air Reserve Base, the facility is the nation's only site not subject to routine inspections by state child welfare experts

Kelly is giving the game away as to what's coming: a massive detention regime as ICE will be rounding up millions, and soon.  Concentration camps for kids is a growth industry, because the Trump regime knows full well these kids will never be reunited and taking kids to deport them is designed as punishment too cruel to imagine.

On the same day the Trump administration said it would reunite thousands of migrant families it had separated at the border with the help of a "central database," an official was admitting privately the government only had enough information to reconnect 60 parents with their kids, according to emails obtained by NBC News.

"[I]n short, no, we do not have any linkages from parents to [children], save for a handful," a Health and Human Services official told a top official at Immigration and Customs Enforcement on June 23, 2018. "We have a list of parent alien numbers but no way to link them to children."

In the absence of an effective database, the emails show, officials then began scrambling to fill out a simple spreadsheet with data in hopes of reuniting as many as families as they could.

The gaps in the system for tracking separations would result in a months-long effort to reunite nearly 3,000 families separated under the administration's "zero tolerance" policy. Officials had to review all the relevant records manually, a process that continues.

Meanwhile, Trump's constant refrain of "getting rid of immigration judges" is coming closer to reality.

The Department of Homeland Security is racing to implement a plan that would give federal law enforcement on the border the authority to conduct interviews with asylum seekers who fear returning to their home countries, according to two sources with firsthand knowledge of the plan.
Under the pending procedural change, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officers would train Border Patrol agents on the southern border how to conduct "credible fear interviews," which immigrants must pass to go on to claim asylum. Agents would conduct the interviews shortly after apprehending people who have illegally crossed from Mexico to the U.S.
The Trump administration is pushing to start agent training “ASAP,” according to one official.
The proposal has some downsides. For instance, there likely would be fewer Border Patrol agents performing law enforcement duties while undergoing training. But that would be offset by an overall decline of undocumented immigrants seeking refuge in the U.S.
“If that gets rolled out and we actually start deporting people within a timely manner, you’re going to see the numbers drop exponentially,” the official said.

This is flat out illegal, but again, we no longer live in a country where rule of law matters.  Trump does what he wants, and many of us go along.  With Border Patrol taking the place of immigration judges and making spot decisions to deny asylum and proceeding to immediate deportation, it's only a matter of time before the same power is used against undocumented already in the US.
And maybe some US citizens too.  Oops.
Serwer's Maxim applies: The cruelty is the point.
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