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Monday, November 11, 2019

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“By Eric LutzNovember 11, 2019

Last Friday, the New York Times dropped a story that instantly changed the conversation around the 2020 Democratic primary: Michael Bloomberg, the Times reported, was preparing to enter the race. His motive? Concerns that no one in the huge primary field can take out Donald Trump. But the wealthy ex-New York mayor may see his White House hopes thwarted by a minor problem: almost no Democratic voters want him to run.

According to a new Morning Consult poll, Bloomberg would be the first choice of just 4% of Democratic primary voters—a better position than novelty candidates like Andrew Yang and underperforming lawmakers like Cory Booker, but far from the immediate frontrunner status he might have expected. Indeed, the poll suggested that, at least for now, a late Bloomberg entry would do little to shake up a race that’s already been running full steam for the better part of a year, leaving Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg at the top of the field. While the poll also suggested that the billionaire could edge out Trump, a former golf buddy, in a general election matchup, it confirmed serious doubts about the former Republican’s ability to win over primary voters.

News last week that Bloomberg filed paperwork to run in the Alabama primary—while skipping the first four contests of the race—was met with a great deal of derision, from both commentators and some of his potential rivals. “Don’t think you can simply buy an election,” Sanders said of a Bloomberg candidacy. “People look at the White House and they see this multi-millionaire,” Amy Klobuchar added to CNN. “I don’t think they say, ‘Oh, we need somebody richer.’”

Sunday’s poll appears to reflect that distaste, with a quarter of Democrats holding unfavorable views of Bloomberg—the highest of any candidate in the field. With word that his entry might not cause what his supporters had predicted would be a major disruption, sources close to Bloomberg told Axios on Sunday that he might not run after all. Filing papers in Alabama was a “trial balloon to gauge interest,” sources told the outlet. That the balloon seems to have popped may lead him to stay on the sidelines, as he’d initially said he’d do. His prospects are subject to change, of course; the two moderates and two progressives at the top of the field are continuing to duke it out, and Democratic voters, still battered from a stunning loss in 2016, have continued to second-guess themselves in search of the right candidate to put up against Trump. “Just when they start to fall in love, they find something that gets them a little nervous,” Rahm Emanuel told the Times on Sunday. “They’re still searching for the horse that can win.”

Dreamers prepare for fight as Daca decision heads to supreme court 

Antonio Alarcón will be in the courtroom on Tuesday: ‘I’ll look in their eyes and let them know we are there and we are humans’

Published: 05:00 Monday, 11 November 2019
 Follow Amanda Holpuch

When Antonio Alarcón stood on the steps of the US supreme court for a group photo with the other plaintiffs suing Donald Trump in one of the biggest immigration lawsuits of his presidency, he was flooded with memories from his US history textbooks and government classes that explained the magnitude of the court.

The supreme court affirmed the right to same-sex marriage, protected a woman’s right to have an abortion, and ended bans on interracial marriage.

On Tuesday, it will consider whether Trump’s administration illegally ended a program that allowed people like Alarcón, undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children, to temporarily live and work in the US.

“I think for many of us, we don’t do this work because we are looking for money or for fame, we do this because we know it’s the right thing to do,” Alarcón told the Guardian, referring to his activism. “And we do it because we have seen the many sacrifices of our parents, and I think this is the least thing we can do for our communities to ensure that all immigrants are respected.”

The nation’s highest court is not actually tasked with reviewing the merits of the program that allows Alarcón, who moved from Mexico to the US when he was 10, and 689,800 others to get renewable, two-year authorizations to live and work in the US: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (commonly known by its acronym, Daca).

Instead, the court will tease out whether it has the jurisdiction to review the government’s decision to end Daca in September 2017 and, if so, whether the Trump administration ended it lawfully.

Mayra Joachin, a staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, is on the legal team challenging the government and litigated a Daca case in New York, which has been consolidated with two others for the supreme court. Joachin said despite the esoteric law central to this case, it was essential to remember the humans affected by the court’s decision.

“We are talking about a program whose position is going to have significant consequences on hundreds of thousands of individuals in the country – not just those who are Daca recipients, but also the family members, community members, teachers, supporters who will also suffer if there is no favorable decision,” Joachin said.

Polls have repeatedly shown that a majority of Americans support allowing people brought to the US as children to stay and eventually seek legal status. In June 2018, 79% of people supported this in a Quinnipiac University poll.

Even Donald Trump, who rescinded the program, has repeatedly said he wants Daca recipients, known as Dreamers, to stay in the country. “Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!” Trump tweeted, days after ending the program.

Trump said the decision to end the program was meant to put pressure on Congress to pass legislation to support this population. This, however, is not a priority for the hardline immigration restrictionists in the Trump administration and his government lawyers will be fighting to shut down the program in the supreme court.

There are many ways the court could rule, including to punt on the case by saying it is not in its jurisdiction. The best case for Dreamers is that the court decides the decision to end Daca was unlawful and the program can continue. The ruling will be handed down by the end of June.

Whatever happens, Alarcón is prepared to stay and fight.

At 25, he has spent seven years advocating for himself because his parents went back to Mexico in 2012, after Alarcón’s grandparents died and they needed to care for his brother, who was still there. Alarcón was an excellent student and decided to stay in New York City, fighting for Congress to create a path to citizenship for Dreamers and their families.

Months later, Obama announced Daca in the White House Rose Garden. Suddenly, Alarcón could attend university, work and travel to see his parents.

Since Trump rescinded Daca, uncertainty has trailed the program’s recipients. The recision was blocked by courts – allowing people in the program to renew their applications but not allowing new applications, though the Migration Policy Institute estimates 1.3 million people qualify under the strict criteria.

“For many of us it’s not the end. We will continue to fight for justice, continue to fight for bigger actual reform. We need to make sure we fight for immigration reform next year or the year after,” Alarcón said.

On Tuesday, Alarcón will be in the courtroom, demanding that the justices recognize the young undocumented immigrant, determined to remain in the US.

“[I’ll] just try to look in their eyes and let them know that we are there and we are humans and hopefully they will see the reality that we’re going through – the pain and suffering that we meet every single morning.”

You Must Never Vote for 


“With his filing of paperwork on Friday to put his name on the ballot for the Democratic primary in Alabama, the billionaire businessman and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg inched closer to declaring a run for the Democratic nomination for president.

According to The New York Times, his advisers say he hasn’t made up his mind yet. But I have.

Let me plant the stake now: No black person — or Hispanic person or ally of people of color — should ever even consider voting for Michael Bloomberg in the primary. His expansion of the notoriously racist stop-and-frisk program in New York, which swept up millions of innocent New Yorkers, primarily young black and Hispanic men, is a complete and nonnegotiable deal killer.

Stop-and-frisk, pushed as a way to get guns and other contraband off the streets, became nothing short of a massive, enduring, city-sanctioned system of racial terror.

This system of terror exploded under Bloomberg, with his full advocacy and support.

In 2002, the first year Bloomberg was mayor, 97,296 of these stops were recorded. They surged during Bloomberg’s tenure to a peak of 685,724 stops in 2011, near the end of his third term. Nearly 90 percent of the people who were stopped and frisked were innocent of any wrongdoing.

A New York Times analysis of stops on “eight odd blocks” in the overwhelmingly black neighborhood of Brownsville in Brooklyn found close to 52,000 stops over four years, which averaged out to “nearly one stop a year for every one of the 14,000 residents of these blocks.”

In 2009, there were more than 580,000 stop-and-frisks, a record at the time. Of those stopped, 55 percent were black, 32 percent Hispanic and only 10 percent white. Most were young, and almost all were male. Eighty-eight percent were innocent. For reference, according to the Census Bureau, there were about 300,000 black men between the ages of 13 and 34 living in the city that year.

Not only that, but those who were stopped had their names entered into a comprehensive police database, even if they were never accused of committing a crime. As Donna Lieberman, then the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said in 2010, the database became a place “where millions of completely innocent, predominantly black and Latinos have been turned into permanent police suspects.”

The state outlawed the keeping of these electronic records on the innocent, over the strong objections of Bloomberg and his police chief.

Bloomberg used the fear factor to keep white New Yorkers in his corner. He insisted that stop-and-frisk was keeping them safe and that without it crime would soar.

And his ruse worked. In eight separate surveys from 2012 to 2013, pollsters at Quinnipiac University asked New Yorkers if they approved of stop-and-frisk. Every single time, a majority of white New Yorkers said they approved.

But Bloomberg’s crime argument was dubious. The Columbia Law School professor Jeffrey Fagan produced a report that became part of a class-action lawsuit against the city in 2010. It found that: “[s]eizures of weapons or contraband are extremely rare. Overall, guns are seized in less than 1 percent of all stops: 0.15 percent … Contraband, which may include weapons but also includes drugs or stolen property, is seized in 1.75 percent of all stops.”

As Fagan wrote, “The N.Y.P.D. stop-and-frisk tactics produce rates of seizures of guns or other contraband that are no greater than would be produced simply by chance.”

And, as the New York Civil Liberties Union wrote this year:

“Since Mayor de Blasio came into office in January 2014, the N.Y.P.D. now reports about 10,000 stops per year. As stops have receded, crime in New York City has dropped significantly. In 2018, New York City recorded the lowest number of homicides in nearly 70 years.”

So Bloomberg’s fear mongering was all a lie.

A federal judge ruled in 2013 that New York’s stop-and-frisk tactics violated the constitutional rights of racial minorities, calling it a “policy of indirect racial profiling.”

Yet, a little over a month before that ruling, Bloomberg said on a radio show, “I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little.” As USA Todaypointed out at the time: “About 5 million stops have been made during the past decade. Eighty-seven percent of those stopped in the last two years were black or Hispanic.”

Not only has Bloomberg failed to express any regret for what he did, he has continuedto defend it.

It is worth noting that there is virtually no difference between Bloomberg cheerleading stop-and-frisk and Donald Trump musing during the last election about somehow instituting the program nationwide.

Just the idea of Bloomberg in the race is odious to me. And support for his candidacy incenses me. Anyone who would support Bloomberg is complicit in his terror campaign against those young black and Hispanic men — and dismissive of their pain. 

If you support Bloomberg, I want nothing to do with you. Nothing!“