Darren Soto, Mike Bost Team Up on Soil Quality Bill

Darren Soto and Mike Bost
Darren Soto and Mike Bost

U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., is teaming up with U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., to allow more experts, including Certified Crop Advisors and Certified Agronomists, to act as Technical Service Providers for nutrient management.
Bost and Soto introduced the “Nutrient Management Technical Service Provider Certification Act” which gives more options for agriculture producers to access nutrient management technical assistance on Thursday.
“Our bipartisan bill cuts red tape and gives our farmers more resources to improve soil quality,” Bost said. “The Department of Agriculture has said that it lacks the manpower to provide technical assistance to farmers trying to implement nutrient management practices.  I appreciated working with Rep. Soto on a solution that expands options for farmers seeking technical assistance related to these practices.”
“I’m proud to work with Rep. Bost in support of our nation’s farmers,” Soto said before insisting his proposal will help the Sunshine State. “Currently, in Florida, we only have access to six USDA certified Technical Service Providers (TSPs) for nutrient management – with only four of them actually located in the state. This legislation will help to expand access for our Florida farmers who use fertilizers to obtain professional technical assistance.”
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), Agricultural Retailers Association, Land O’ Lakes, American Society of Agronomy and the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association announced their support of the bill.
“Agribusiness retailers’ commitment to professionalism is evidenced in their decision to employ agronomists who have achieved the CCA or CPA certification,” said Chris Jahn, the president of TFI. “USDA recognition of these agronomists as Technical Service Providers is a win-win for farm profitability and the environment.”
The bill was sent to the House Agriculture Committee on which both Bost and Soto sit. They have not reeled in any additional cosponsors of the legislation yet. So far, there is no counterpart to this bill over in the Senate.


Source Sunshinestatenres.com

Sen. Bill Nelson Enough Is Enough

Dear Friends,
I just left Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where I met with local officials and community leaders in the wake of this horrific tragedy.
I saw the blood on the ground and the bullet holes in the hurricane-proof windows. I talked to the investigators working to piece together what led to this terrible massacre.
Tragedies, such as this, should never happen. And, at some point, we as a society have got to say enough is enough.
Here's what I told the press gathered outside the school earlier today:

Sincerely,
Signature


Rep. Deutch Statement on FBI's Failure to Investigate Tip on Stoneman Douglas Shooter


 
 Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-22), representing the Parkland community and a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, released this statement following the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) announcement that a tip on the Stoneman Douglas shooter was not investigated:

“This has been an excruciating few days for the Parkland community. Now, it appears that this tragedy could have been prevented.

“The American people should be encouraged to say something if they see something. But we also must be assured that these tips will be processed swiftly and thoroughly so we can avoid future tragedies.

“I will be in close communication with the FBI so that we get to the bottom of this. The FBI and the U.S. Congress must conduct a full oversight investigation of the FBI’s internal processes, procedures, and, in this case, apparent failures.

“We need answers from the FBI to ensure that if people offer their assistance, the FBI will follow through. And we need action from Congress to enact meaningful legislation that will stop horrific gun violence and make our communities safer.

“Parkland deserves nothing less.”

Video Vault: 13-year-old Adam Rippon Eyes Olympics







This news clip has resurfaced of Rippon talking about his Olympic dreams – when he was 13.
He was fresh off a competition in Luxembourg, but the most adorable part is his excitement over taking his first plane and train rides.

Broward teen charged with 17 murder counts in school attack

Image result for Nikolas Cruz,

An orphaned 19-year-old with a troubled past and an AR-15 rifle was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder Thursday morning after being questioned for hours by state and federal authorities following the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. in five years.
Fourteen wounded survivors were hospitalized as bodies were recovered from inside and around Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Nikolas Cruz, still wearing a hospital gown after being treated for labored breathing, and weighing in at 5-foot-7 and 131 pounds, was ordered held without bond and booked into jail.
His former classmates thought they were having another drill Wednesday afternoon when a fire alarm sounded, requiring them to file out of their classrooms.
That's when police say Cruz, equipped with a gas mask, smoke grenades and multiple magazines of ammunition, opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon, killing 17 people and sending hundreds of students fleeing into the streets. It was the nation's deadliest school shooting since a gunman attacked an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, more than five years ago.
"Our district is in a tremendous state of grief and sorrow," said Robert Runcie, superintendent of the school district in Parkland, about an hour's drive north of Miami. "It is a horrible day for us."
Authorities offered no immediate details about Cruz or his possible motive, except to say that he had been kicked out of the high school, which has about 3,000 students. Students who knew him described a volatile teenager whose strange behavior had caused others to end friendships with him.
Cruz's mother Lynda Cruz died of pneumonia on Nov. 1 neighbors, friends and family members said, according to the Sun Sentinel . Cruz and her husband, who died of a heart attack several years ago, adopted Nikolas and his biological brother, Zachary, after the couple moved from Long Island in New York to Broward County.
The boys were left in the care of a family friend after their mother died, family member Barbara Kumbatovich, of Long Island, said.
Unhappy there, Nikolas Cruz asked to move in with a friend's family in northwest Broward. The family agreed and Cruz moved in around Thanksgiving. According to the family's lawyer, who did not identify them, they knew that Cruz owned the AR-15 but made him keep it locked up in a cabinet. He did have the key, however.
Jim Lewis said the family is devastated and didn't see this coming. They are cooperating with authorities, he said.
Victoria Olvera, a 17-year-old junior at the school, said Cruz was expelled last school year because he got into a fight with his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend. She said he had been abusive to his girlfriend.
"I think everyone had in their minds if anybody was going to do it, it was going to be him," she said.
Cruz was taken into custody without a fight about an hour after the shooting in a residential neighborhood about a mile away. He had multiple magazines of ammunition, authorities said.
"It's catastrophic. There really are no words," said Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.
Frantic parents rushed to the school to find SWAT team members and ambulances surrounding the huge campus and emergency workers who appeared to be treating the wounded on sidewalks. Students who hadn't run began leaving in a single-file line with their hands over their heads as officers urged them to evacuate quickly.
Hearing loud bangs as the shooter fired, many of the students inside hid under desks or in closets, and barricaded doors.
"We were in the corner, away from the windows," said freshman Max Charles, who said he heard five gunshots. "The teacher locked the door and turned off the light. I thought maybe I could die or something."
As he was leaving the building, he saw four dead students and one dead teacher. He said he was relieved when he finally found his mother.
"I was happy that I was alive," Max said. "She was crying when she saw me."
Noah Parness, a 17-year-old junior, said he and the other students calmly went outside to their fire-drill areas when he suddenly heard popping sounds.
"We saw a bunch of teachers running down the stairway, and then everybody shifted and broke into a sprint," Parness said. "I hopped a fence."
Most of the fatalities were inside the building, though some victims were found fatally shot outside, the sheriff said.
Sen. Bill Nelson told CNN that Cruz had pulled the fire alarm "so the kids would come pouring out of the classrooms into the hall."
"And there the carnage began," said Nelson, who said he was briefed by the FBI.
The scene was reminiscent of the Newtown attack, which shocked even a country numbed by the regularity of school shootings. The Dec. 14, 2012, assault at Sandy Hook Elementary School killed 26 people: 20 first-graders and six staff members. The 20-year-old gunman, who also fatally shot his mother in her bed, then killed himself.
Not long after Wednesday's attack in Florida, Michael Nembhard was sitting in his garage on a cul-de-sac when he saw a young man in a burgundy shirt walking down the street. In an instant, a police cruiser pulled up, and officers jumped out with guns drawn.
"All I heard was 'Get on the ground! Get on the ground!'" Nembhard said. He said Cruz did as he was told.
The school was to be closed for the rest of the week.

Rep. Deutch Statement on Tragic Shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School

Rep. Deutch Statement on Tragic Shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School
 
(Washington) Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-22), representing the residents of Parkland and Coral Springs, Florida, issued this statement after today's tragic school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School:

"Today was a horrible day for Parkland, South Florida, and our nation. We are grateful for our first responders, local, state and federal law enforcement, and especially the teachers and staff who heroically fought to protect their students. We mourn the lives taken, and we will be here as a community for the families and for one another.

"Here were my thoughts from earlier today: https://youtu.be/veYl6g3kZOk."

Wasserman Schultz on the Broward County School Shooting

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) released the following statement on the Broward County school shooting:

“As a Broward County resident for nearly 30 years and an elected official for most of that time, my heart breaks for the victims, their families, friends, and loved ones. As a parent of a Broward County high school student, and as someone with friends whose children attend Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, it is gut wrenching that another senseless school shooting has occurred, this time in our community. 

In the United States of America, it is simply unacceptable that we allow children to run for their lives with their backpacks on. Unacceptable that we allow parents to fear for the worst while they wait to hear back from their kids, and unacceptable that we allow survivors of school shootings to live with a trauma that can never be explained away.

I stand with my community and our families and ask all Americans to keep the parents, siblings, spouses and loved ones in their prayers this evening. No American anywhere should have to feel the pain that Broward County feels today, and too many communities have felt across our country countless times before. We must do something about this senseless epidemic of gun violence and we must do it now.”

Shooting at high school in Parkland,fatalities reported

Parents wait for news after reports of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Joel Auerbach / AP


Image: BSO: Suspect in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School started shooting students at random, took Uber to campus

BSO: Suspect in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School started shooting students at random, took Uber to campus


Shooting at high school in Parkland, Fla.; at least 17 reported dead

Updated 2-15-08



A gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday, killing 17 people and injuring at least a dozen others, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said. The shooting suspect, a former student identified by police as Nikolaus Cruz, was taken into custody in nearby Coral Springs.




A shooting occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., 50 miles north of Miami. It has an enrollment of approximately 3,000.
•  At least 14 people were injured and transported to local hospitals, according to police. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told reporters there were "multiple fatalities."
• The suspected shooter, identified as Nicolas Cruz, was taken into custody in nearby Coral Springs. According to officials, Cruz was a former student at the school.

Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie said there are “numerous fatalities” after a gunman opened fired at a high school in Parkland, Florida, adding “It is a horrible day for us.” President Trump spoke with Florida Governor Rick Scott about the shooting and offered condolences to the families of the victims

Rep. Deutch on CNN's Situation Room Discusses Rob Porter & Administration's Failure to Impose Russia Sanctions

Rep. Deutch on CNN's Situation Room Discusses Rob Porter & Administration's Failure to Impose Russia Sanctions
 
(Washington) Yesterday, Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-22), Ranking Democrat on the House Ethics Committee and a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, joined Wolf Blitzer on CNN's Situation Room to express his outrage at the White House's handling of Rob Porter, a senior aide accused of abuse. He also slammed the Administration's failure to both punish Russia for interfering in our elections and to prepare our country's defences for future electoral attacks.

You can view clips of the interview here and here, or click the image below to watch the full interview.

What the 2019 Budget Proposal really means


Image result for chopping block gif

Presidents’ budgets are not legislative documents. They’re wish lists. So it’s easy to make too much of them — there’s really no penalty for swinging for the fences, nor is there much incentive to try to craft a budget that would please a lot of people.
But with the caveat that the budget is just a statement of priorities, here’s what we can glean from the choices the Trump administration announced yesterday:
  • Public health is out. President Trump’s budget proposed some steep cuts to public-health agencies and programs, including significant reductions at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
  • Medicaid is a prime target. The budget calls for steep, blunt cuts to Medicaid — cuts that would total more than $1 trillion over a decade, by the White House’s math. Those include the dramatic cuts from last year’s repeal-and-replace bills, which are obviously not going to happen. But the budget also calls for tighter eligibility rules, fewer benefit mandates and more rigorous screening for things like immigration status.
  • ACA stabilization is in? Trump’s budget called for fully repealing the Affordable Care Act. But it also says Congress should fund the law’s cost-sharing subsidies — funds Trump cut off last year. And it calls for fully funding the law’s “risk corridors” program, which helps soften the blow for insurers who have had a rough time in the exchanges.
  • Medicare is somewhere in the middle. The budget would significantly reduce Medicare spending, but a lot of those savings are pretty technical, and some are reruns from President Obama’s budgets.
  • Pharma is not completely safe. No, Trump hasn’t formally proposed Medicare price negotiations, and he probably won’t. But his budget does still call for several steps that would lower seniors’ drug costs, including creating a new cap on seniors’ out-of-pocket costs.
The bottom line: A lot of these proposals would need congressional approval, and that’s why a great many of them will never see the light of day. But this is a pretty good roadmap to the administration’s priorities — one that should make Medicaid advocates, including hospitals, especially nervous.


















Source Axios.com

Victory Fund, Dolphin Democrats, Dean Trantalis For Mayor Event

The Victory Fund is helping Dean Trantalis r campaign for mayor with back-to-back fund-raisers in Fort Lauderdale and South Beach on Feb. 22 and 23.
The CEO of the Victory Fund, Annise Parker, will be a special guest at both. She is the former mayor of Houston, which became the most populous city in America with an openly LGBT mayor when she was elected.
The Victory Fund is co-hosting the Feb. 22 event with the Dolphin Democrats, and we expect other groups may join soon as well. The Feb. 23 event is co-hosted by SAVE and is being organized by state Rep. David Richardson.
The Feb. 22 event is at Milk Money, 815 NE 13 St. in Fort Lauderdale from 7-9 p.m. The Feb. 23 event is from 6-8 p.m. at the Gaythering Hotel, 1409 Lincoln Road in Miami Beach.
Please RSVP to campaign@trantalis.com to let us know if you will attend either event. Please specify which one.

Wasserman Schultz Statement on Trump Budget



U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) released the following statement on President Trump's 2019 budget:

“The Trump budget dumps the costs of his tax cuts for giant corporations squarely on the middle class and those still struggling to get there, while continuing to leave much of the tab for the next generation. This cruel proposal threatens the health care of seniors, children, people with disabilities, and low-income families. Millions of Americans would be stripped of food on their tables, heat and air conditioning in their homes, and educational opportunities for their futures. At the same time, the President’s infrastructure plan falls drastically short of the promises he has made to create jobs and boost the economy. This budget is a wish list for Wall Street and the wealthy. Instead, as a member of both the Appropriations and Budget Committees, I will work with my colleagues to enact responsible investments which meet the true needs and adhere to the true values of all Americans.”

What Agenies and Programs does Trump plan to eliminate




Trump budget proposal eliminates 22 agencies, programs
President Trump on Monday unveiled his budget proposal for the 2019 fiscal year, which makes significant cuts to some federal agencies and projects as part of an effort to slash the federal deficit by $3 trillion over the next 10 years.

As part of that effort, Trump has proposed eliminating funding for several agencies, grant programs and institutes.

1. The McGovern-Dole International Food for Education, which donates agricultural commodities and financial assistance to carry out school feeding programs in foreign countries.
2. The Rural Business and Cooperative Service, which provides loans, grants and payments intended to increase opportunities in rural communities.
3. The Economic Development Administration, which provides federal grants to communities in support of locally-developed economic plans.
4. The Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which subsidizes advisory and consulting services for small and medium-size manufacturers.
5. 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which helps communities establish or expand centers to provide before- and after-school programs and summer school programs.
6. Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, an Education Department program that provides grants to support college preparation for low-income students.
7. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which researches ways to enhance the effectiveness of health services.
8. The Advanced Research Projects Agency, which provides support for Energy Department projects.
9. The National Wildlife Refuge Fund, which compensates communities for lost tax revenue when the federal government acquires their land.
10. The Global Climate Change Initiative, a proposal that reflects Trump’s decision last year to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.
11. The NASA Office of Education, which provides grants to colleges and universities, museums and science centers. The funding would be redirected within NASA.
12. The Chemical Safety Board, which is tasked with investigating accidents at chemical facilities.
13. The Corporation for National and Community Service, which funds service opportunities, promotes volunteering and helps nonprofit organizations find volunteers.
14. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds public television and radio stations including Public Broadcasting Service  and NPR.
15. The Institute of Museum and Library Services, which funds museums and libraries nationwide with grants.
16. The Legal Services Corporation, a nonprofit that provides civil legal assistance for low-income individuals.
17. The National Endowment for the Arts, which funds American artists and projects with grants.
18. The National Endowment for the Humanities, which provides grants to American humanities scholars.
19. The Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, which funds community development projects nationwide.
20. The Denali Commission, the Delta Regional Authority and the Northern Border Regional Commission, which fund infrastructure and economic projects in specified areas.
21. The U.S. Trade and Development Agency, which provides U.S. goods and services for foreign projects.
22. The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a think tank focused on international affairs and foreign policy.


Also see Our Post, What the Budget Really Means 

#AltRight becoming more dangerous and stronger under Trump

Image result for kkk neo nazi rally

A new study from the Southern Poverty Law Center finds there have been more than “100 people killed or injured by alleged perpetrators influenced by the so-called ‘alt-right’—a movement that continues to access the mainstream and reach young recruits.” The SPLC report tracks the rise in alt-right related violence beginning in 2014, when 22-year-old Elliot Rodger murdered six people and injured 14 others in Isla Vista, California. Like many alt-right adherents, Rodger’s radicalization began in men’s rights forums, which helped stoke his racism, misogyny and self-loathing. The study identifies 13 killers who have collectively killed 43 people and injured 67 others. “While some certainly displayed signs of mental illness,” the media tendency to depict these violent right-wing extremists as troubled loners is conveniently misguided. The SPLC notes that the most conspicuous unifying background trait among these individuals is a “history of consuming and/or participating in the type of far-right ecosystem that defines the alt-right.”
A healthy number of those identified in the report are outspoken fans of Donald Trump, the report notes. Nicholas Giampa, who in December murdered his ex-girlfriend’s parents before killing himself, was an “enthusiastic supporter of then-candidate Donald Trump [who] often used racist slurs to attack Trump’s critics.” Charlottesville killer James Alex Fields’ social media pages were reportedly filled with Trump and Pepe memes. A Daily Beast report found Sean Urbanski, the alleged killer of U.S. Army Lieutenant Richard Collins III, “apparently liked memes about Donald Trump, white supremacy, and the alt-right.” Alexandre Bissonnette, the Quebec mosque murderer and the lone Canadian in the group, was reportedly an avid supporter of both Trump and Marine Le Pen. In July 2017, former Breitbart intern Lane Davis stabbed his father to death; a little over a year before, he wrote a rap ode to Trump he posted on YouTube. (Choice lyrics: “Finger on the trigger/Trump might use a nuke, boy/But he'd rather use a tariff/And that’s superb.”)
The alt-right’s visibility has grown alongside Trump’s political career, and the two appear inextricably linked. Nine of the attacks catalogued by the SPLC occurred in the shadow of the Trump presidency, leading the organization to cite 2017 as the most violent year of the alt-right’s existence thus far. Overall, the mean age of far-right killers is 26, with the youngest just 17. Members of the alt-right have been open about their efforts to appeal to young, impressionable minds. An Anti-Defamation League report released late last month noted that there has been a drastic increase in the amount of “white supremacist propaganda—flyers, stickers, banners, and posters—appearing on college and university campuses.” Racism and misogyny have also been allowed to grow unchecked online in spaces such as 4chan and Reddit, and more recently, “alt-tech” sites such as Gab and WASP.love (a racist dating site).  
Back in 2009, the Department of Homeland Security published a report on right-wing extremism that warned of increasing violence from militias, hate groups and other right-wing terrorists. Following pushback from GOP lawmakers who leaked the report, as well as their conservative reporters, the document was officially retracted by DHS and “the Extremism and Radicalization Branch was quietly dismantled,” according to the New York Times. Yet multiple recent studies have shown that white nationalists now pose a far greater terroristthreat to the U.S. than ISIL. The Trump administration’s sympathy for the alt-right and other white supremacists and its refusal to counter their terror, means these fanatics will likely only grow more dangerous. Daryl Johnson, the counterintelligence analyst pushed out of the DHS for his prescient report, wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post just after the Charlottesville tragedy, again attempting to offer a warning.
“Neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members, militia extremists, and other radical right-wing zealots march side-by-side at pro-Trump rallies across the country,” Johnson wrote. “Trump’s endorsement of the border wall, the travel ban, mass deportations of illegal immigrants—these ideas were touted on white supremacist message boards merely 10 years ago. Now they’re being put forth as official U.S. policy...Extremists no longer hide anymore. They number in the hundreds of thousands and are extremely well-armed. The political apparatus and the news media appears confused in their reporting of the scope of the domestic terrorist threat — some ignoring it completely. When 9/11 happened, the government made an effort to connect the dots beforehand but failed because of a lack of communication among agencies. In this case, the government isn’t even trying—and worse, it appears to be enabling the threat to flourish.”








Source Alternet.com

Giuliani Son Is The Trump Administration's Idea Of A Drug Policy Expert


Bratty Giuliani Son Is The Trump Administration's Idea Of A Drug Policy Expert

This Politico story is getting a lot of attention: White House counselor Kellyanne Conway has taken control of the opioids agenda, quietly freezing out drug policy professionals and relying instead on political staff to address a lethal crisis claiming about 175 lives a day.... Trump is expected to propose massive cuts this month to the "drug…

Wasserman Schultz Statement on Government Funding Bill

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) released the following statement in response to the funding bill and Republican-controlled government shutdown:

“Because Democrats stood united in support of vital investments in our people, this bill is a step in the right direction toward providing adequate resources for our nation’s vast domestic and defense needs. Because the Florida delegation stood united in support of essential disaster recovery funding for our constituents, this bill includes far more aid than the Administration’s initial request. But unfortunately, this bill also adds an additional $500 billion to the deficit, after Republicans increased the deficit by $1.5 trillion in their unconscionable tax reform bill that gave billions in tax breaks to the extremely wealthy and giant corporations. Adding insult to injury, it unnecessarily expands means testing for Medicare beneficiaries. Finally, because House Republican leaders cruelly stand united with President Trump, refusing to even allow a vote on bipartisan legislation to protect DREAMers—legislation supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans to ensure that courageous young people can continue to contribute to our nation—this bill is one that I regret that I cannot support. That we find ourselves voting on such a funding bill, amid a second Republican-controlled government shutdown and as nearly all of America sleeps, sadly reveals just how inadequate and incomplete this legislative response is to our nation’s true needs.”

Rep. Deutch Statement on House Passage of Spending Bill

Rep. Deutch Statement on House Passage of Spending Bill
 
(Washington) Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-22) issued this statement following passage of the latest spending bill that funds the federal government through March 23:

"Tonight, I voted for a compromise budget deal because it will allow us to keep the government running, finally beyond just weeks. This bill helps the millions of Americans in Florida and Puerto Rico, Texas, California and the Virgin Islands whose lives were turned upside down by natural disasters. It provides a potential lifeline to families struggling with opioid addiction.

"This spending plan includes critical funding that will save lives, accelerate disaster recovery, honor our commitment to our veterans, ensure the continuation of vital medical research, keep community health centers open, and provide critical support to our troops.

"Unfortunately, Republicans continue to ignore the moral call to find a legislative solution to the President's termination of DACA. It’s been five months since the President put DREAMers at risk. They were brought here as children and this is their country. They are American in their hearts and in their minds. America is as much their home as it is our home, and if Speaker Ryan brought the DREAM Act before Congress, I am confident it would pass. We would protect DREAMers and pursue much-needed comprehensive immigration reform.

"We’ve got just weeks to get this done. We must fight for DREAMers with everything we’ve got. With tonight’s vote behind us, the House agenda should focus on dignity, decency, and American values in this land of immigrants. The DREAM Act must now be the singular focus until we do the right thing for DREAMers. A promise from the Speaker is not enough. We need action."

House Passes Rep. Deutch's Bill to Strengthen Sexual Harassment Protections in Congress


 
The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the bipartisan "Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act" (H.R. 4924) introduced by Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-22), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Ethics. This legislation will improve workplace protections in Congress and strengthen responses to sexual harassment cases. The House also unanimously passed House Resolution 724, which requires every Congressional office to adopt an anti-harassment policy.

Upon passage, Congressman Deutch issued the following statement:

The halls of Congress are not absent from sexual harassment. Just like every other workplace in America, we need to strengthen our anti-harassment policies for Congressional offices to create a safe environment for all employees. We are sending an important message to the entire country that perpetrators - even Members of Congress - will be held accountable. With unanimous passage of this bill in the House, we are starting to change the culture by preventing future abuse and empowering victims to seek justice without fear of retribution.

The legislation was introduced by a bipartisan group of Members including Committee on Ethics Chairwoman Susan Brooks (R-IN), Committee on House Administration Chairman Gregg Harper (R-MS) and Ranking Member Bob Brady (D-PA), and Representatives Jackie Speier (D-CA), Bradley Byrne (R-AL), and others.

A fact sheet on the bill can be accessed here. Video of Congressman Deutch's remarks can be viewed here.

Wasserman Schultz on Polish President Duda's Intent to Sign Holocaust Bill



Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) released the following statement on Polish President Andrzej Duda’s stated intent to sign a bill that would make it illegal to accuse his nation of complicity in crimes committed by Nazi Germany, including the Holocaust:

“I am deeply disappointed and dismayed by Polish President Duda’s announcement that he will sign a bill that seeks to bury the truth about the horrors of the Holocaust in Poland. When we say “Never Again,” we must know precisely what we seek to prevent from happening ever again. For that reason, it is absolutely essential that we remember every horrific aspect of the Holocaust - even if it is uncomfortable - and acknowledge the full weight of responsibility. This reckoning is essential not to condemn anyone for the actions of their parents and grandparents, but to prevent the reoccurrence of atrocities by future generations who may be distant from the horrific actions of their ancestors. I sincerely hope that the Polish government, and all those tempted to shirk and ignore the burdens of the past, will reflect and reconsider this misguided and dangerous rewrite of our shared history.”

Conservatives have a loose relationship with facts


Thanks To Trump TV AKA Fox News, 12 Million viewers have zero facts given to them daily
Orginal Post on Slate 
Conservatives have a loose relationship with facts. The right-wing denial of what most people think of as accepted reality starts with political issues: As recently as 2016, 45 percent of Republicans still believed that the Affordable Care Act included “death panels” (it doesn’t). A 2015 poll found that 54 percent of GOP primary voters believed then-President Obama to be a Muslim (…he isn’t).

Then there are the false beliefs about generally accepted science. Only 25 percent of self-proclaimed Trump voters agree that climate change is caused by human activities. Only 43 percent of Republicans overall believe that humans have evolved over time.
And then it gets really crazy. Almost 1 in 6 Trump voters, while simultaneously viewing photographs of the crowds at the 2016 inauguration of Donald Trump and at the 2012 inauguration of Barack Obama , insisted that the former were larger. Sixty-six percent of self-described “very conservative” Americans seriously believe that “Muslims are covertly implementing Sharia law in American courts.” Forty-six percent of Trump voters polled just after the 2016 election either thought that Hillary Clinton was connected to a child sex trafficking ring run out of the basement of a pizzeria in Washington, D.C., or weren’t sure if it was true.
If “truth” is judged on the basis of Enlightenment ideas of reason and more or less objective “evidence,” many of the substantive positions common on the right seem to border on delusional. The left is certainly not immune to credulity (most commonly about the safety of vaccines, GMO foods, and fracking), but the right seems to specialize in it. “Misinformation is currently predominantly a pathology of the right,” concluded a team of scholars from the Harvard Kennedy School and Northeastern University at a February 2017 conference. ABuzzFeed analysis found that three main hyperconservative Facebook pages were roughly twice as likely as three leading ultraliberal Facebook pages to publish fake or misleading information.
Why are conservatives so susceptible to misinformation? The right wing’s disregard for facts and reasoning is not a matter of stupidity or lack of education. College-educated Republicans are actually more likely than less-educated Republicans to have believed that Barack Obama was a Muslim and that “death panels” were part of the ACA. And for political conservatives, but not for liberals, greater knowledge of science and math is associated with a greater likelihood of dismissing what almost all scientists believe about the human causation of global warming.
It’s also not just misinformation gained from too many hours listening to Fox News, either, because correcting the falsehoods doesn’t change their opinions. For example, nine months following the release of President Obama’s long-form birth certificate, the percentage of Republicans who believed that he was not American-born was actually higher than before the release. Similarly, during the 2012 presidential campaign, Democrats corrected their previous overestimates of the unemployment rate after the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the actual data. Republicans’ overestimated even more than before.
Part of the problem is widespread suspicion of facts—any facts. Both mistrust of scientists and other “experts” and mistrust of the mass media that reports what scientists and experts believe have increased among conservatives (but not among liberals) since the early ’80s. The mistrust has in part, at least, been deliberately inculcated. The fossil fuel industry publicizes studies to confuse the climate change debate; Big Pharma hides unfavorable information on drug safety and efficacy; and many schools in conservative areas teach students that evolution is “just a theory.” The public is understandably confused about both the findings and methods of science. “Fake news” deliberately created for political or economic gain and Donald Trump’s claims that media sites that disagree with him are “fake news” add to the mistrust.
But, the gullibility of many on the right seems to have deeper roots even than this. That may be because at the most basic level, conservatives and liberals seem to hold different beliefs about what constitutes “truth.” Finding facts and pursuing evidence and trusting science is part of liberal ideology itself. For many conservatives, faith and intuition and trust in revealed truth appear as equally valid sources of truth.
To understand how these differences manifest and what we might do about them, it helps to understand how all humans reason and rationalize: In other words, let’s take a detour into psychology. Freud distinguished between“errors” on the one hand, “illusions” and “delusions” on the other. Errors, he argued, simply reflect lack of knowledge or poor logic; Aristotle’s belief that vermin form out of dung was an error. But illusions and delusions are based on conscious or unconscious wishes; Columbus’s belief that he had found a new route to the Indies was a delusion based on his wish that he had done so.
Although Freud is out of favor with many contemporary psychologists, modern cognitive psychology suggests that he was on the right track. The tenacity of many of the right’s beliefs in the face of evidence, rational arguments, and common sense suggest that these beliefs are not merely alternate interpretations of facts but are instead illusions rooted in unconscious wishes. 

This is a very human thing to do. As popular writers such as Daniel KahnemanCass Sunstein, and Richard Thaler have pointed out, we often use shortcuts when we reason, shortcuts that enable us to make decisions quickly and with little expenditure of mental energy. But they also often lead us astray—we underestimate the risks of events that unfold slowly and whose consequences are felt only over the long term (think global warming) and overestimate the likelihood of events that unfold rapidly and have immediate consequences (think terrorist attacks).
Our reasoning is also influenced(motivated, psychologists would say) by our emotions and instincts. This manifests in all kinds of ways: We need to maintain a positive self-image, to stave off anxiety and guilt, and to preserve social relationships. We also seek to maintain consistency in our beliefs, meaning that when people simultaneously hold two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values, one or the other must go. And so we pay more attention and give more credence to information and assertions that confirm what we already believe: Liberals enthusiastically recount even the most tenuous circumstantial evidence of Trump campaign collusion with the Russians, and dyed-in-the-wool Trump supporters happily believe that the crowd really was bigger at his candidate’s inauguration.
These limits to “objective” reasoning apply to everyone, of course—left and right. Why is it that conservatives have taken the lead in falling off the deep edge?
The answer, I think, lies in the interaction between reasoning processes and personality. It’s each person’s particular motivations and particular psychological makeup that affects how they search for information, what information they pay attention to, how they assess the accuracy and meaning of the information, what information they retain, and what conclusions they draw. But conservatives and liberals typically differ in their particular psychological makeups. And if you add up all of these particular differences, you get two groups that are systematically motivated to believe different things.
Psychologists have repeatedly reported that self-described conservatives tend to place a higher value than those to their left on deference to tradition and authority. They are more likely to value stability, conformity, and order, and have more difficulty tolerating novelty and ambiguity and uncertainty. They are more sensitive than liberals to information suggesting the possibility of danger than to information suggesting benefits. And they are more moralistic and more likely to repress unconscious drives towards unconventional sexuality.
Fairness and kindness place lower on the list of moral priorities for conservatives than for liberals. Conservatives show a stronger preference for higher status groups, are more accepting of inequality and injustice, and are less empathic (at least towards those outside their immediate family). As one Tea Party member told University of California sociologist Arlie Hochschild, “People think we are not good people if we don’t feel sorry for blacks and immigrants and Syrian refugees. But I am a good person and I don’t feel sorry for them.”
Baptist minister and former Republican congressman J.C. Watts put it succinctly. Campaigning for Sen. Rand Paul in Iowa in 2015 he observed, “The difference between Republicans and Democrats is that Republicans believe people are fundamentally bad, while Democrats see people as fundamentally good.”
These conservative traits lead directly to conservative views on many issues, just as liberal traits tend to lead to liberal views on many issues. But when you consider how these conservative traits and these conservative views interact with commonly shared patterns of motivated reasoning, it becomes clearer why conservatives may be more likely to run into errors in reasoning and into difficulty judging accurately what is true and what is false.
It’s not just that Trump is “their” president, so they want to defend him. Conservatives’ greater acceptance of hierarchy and trust in authority may lead to greater faith that what the president says must be true, even when the “facts” would seem to indicate otherwise. The New York Times cataloged no less than 117 clearly false statements proclaimed publicly by Trump in the first six months of his presidency, with no evident loss in his supporters’ faith in him. In the same way, greater faith in the legitimacy of the decisions of corporate CEOs may strengthen the tendency to deny evidence that there are any potential benefits from regulation of industry.
Similarly, greater valuation of stability, greater sensitivity to the possibility of danger, and greater difficulty tolerating difference and change lead to greater anxiety about social change and so support greater credulity with respect to lurid tales of the dangers posed by immigrants. And higher levels of repression and greater adherence to tradition and traditional sources of moral judgment increase the credibility of claims that gay marriage is a threat to the “traditional” family.
Conservatives are also less introspective, less attentive to their inner feelings, and less likely to override their “gut” reactions and engage in further reflection to find a correct answer. As a result, they may be more likely to rely on error-prone cognitive shortcuts, less aware of their own unconscious biases, and less likely to respond to factual corrections to previously held beliefs.
The differences in how conservatives and liberals process information are augmented by an asymmetry in group psychological processes. Yes, we all seek to keep our social environment stable and predictable. Beliefs that might threaten relationships with family, neighbors, and friends (e.g., for a fundamentalist evangelical to believe that humans are the result of Darwinian evolution or for a coal miner to believe that climate change is real and human-made) must be ignored or denied, at peril of disrupting the relationships. But among all Americans, the intensity of social networks has declined in recent years. Church attendance and union membership, participation in community organizations, and direct political involvement have flagged. Conservatives come disproportionately from rural areas and small towns, where social networks remain smaller, but denser and more homogeneous than in the big cities that liberals dominate. As a result, the opinions of family, friends, and community may be more potent in conservative hotbeds than in the more anonymous big cities where Democrats dominate.
The lack of shared reality between left and right in America today has contributed greatly to our current political polarization. Despite occasional left forays into reality denial, conservatives are far more likely to accept misinformation and outright lies. Deliberate campaigns of misinformation and conservative preferences for information that fits in with their pre-existing ideology provide only a partial explanation. Faulty reasoning and judgment, rooted in the interactions between modes of reasoning and judgment shared by all with the specific personality patterns found disproportionately among conservatives may also play a central role.