The New York Times reports that the single most Republican corporation in America is Georgia-based Flowers Foods — the makers of Wonder Bread. "Flowers is the only food company with a PAC that consistently gives more than $100,000 per election cycle to Republicans and nothing to Democrats," the article said.
Since 1979, Flowers Foods' PAC has donated 99.5 percent of its contributions to Republicans, with not even one donation from the PAC to a Democratic candidate in the last 20 years. Moreover, the only currently serving Democrat in Congress who has even gotten an individual contribution from a Flowers employee is Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA), who received $500 from a Flowers executive during his first campaign way back in 1992.
By comparison, the Times says: "The PAC of Koch Industries, the well-known supporter of Republican candidates and conservative causes, has given nearly as much money to Democrats in the past 14 months as Flowers Foods has in more than 30 years." Eric Kleefeld
Nevada Republican Senate candidate Danny Tarkanian could not have picked a poorer time to potentially provoke President Trump. Tarkanian attacked his primary opponent, incumbent Sen. Dean Heller (R), on Nevada radio station KBET on Thursday, claiming Heller "talks to Ivanka Trump all the time. Well, Ivanka Trump was a Democrat, and she's very, very moderate to liberal, compared to the Republican base."
— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) February 22, 2018
Tarkanian, who is backed by Trump's former chief strategist Stephen Bannon, apparently miscalculated: "Ivanka Trump is viewed favorably by 81 percent of Republicans," CNN notes. Tarkanian's attack was apparently intended as an "effort to capture voters who bought into Trump's campaign pledges and are loyal to the president, but suspicious of those around him in Washington — particularly on Capitol Hill."
Heller is one of the most endangered Republicans in the 2018 midterm elections; if he wins the June 12 Republican primary, he will face off against Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen this fall. Trump has expressed his irritation with Heller, who voted against an ObamaCare repeal last year, threatening "he wants to remain a senator, doesn't he?" Still, the Las Vegas Review-Journal claimed earlier this month that whatever path to victory Tarkanian may have once had against Heller, it now "no longer exists."
In an email to CNN, Tarkanian clarified that he "did not say nor mean to infer a relationship with Ivanka is a bad thing. It is a good thing. She is the daughter of the president." Jeva Lange
President Trump on Thursday threatened to punish the entire state of California for not adhering to his preferred immigration policy.
Specifically, Trump said he was considering removing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers from the state because of its newly adopted statewide "sanctuary" status, which provides some protections for undocumented immigrants. His remarks came suddenly, The Washington Times reports, during a meeting on school safety at the White House and after he spent nearly a minute explaining why California so desperately needed a strong ICE presence.
"Frankly, if I wanted to pull our people from California, you would have a crime nest like you've never seen in California," Trump said, after complaining that the state was not doing enough to deport undocumented criminals in gangs like MS-13. "All I'd have to do is say: 'ICE and border patrol, let California alone.'"
"You'd see crime like nobody's ever seen crime in this country," he continued, calling the state's sanctuary status "a disgrace." He also predicted that if he did pull federal border enforcement agents, California would long desperately for their return: "In two months they'd be begging for us to come back. And you know what? I'm thinking about doing it."
Watch his remarks below. Kelly O'Meara Morales
— KION News 5 46 (@KION546) February 22, 2018
Democratic senators claim that border agents lack the software to detect whether a passport is forged
The U.S. may have a serious fake passport problem, two Democratic senators say.
In a letter Thursday to Kevin McAleenan, the acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, Sens. Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.) claim that the law enforcement agency lacks "the software necessary to authenticate the information stored on" newer passports, which have been outfitted with smart chips. These so-called e-Passports bear chips that store traveler data that has been locked with verified digital signatures. Border Patrol agents are supposed to be able to access the chips and verify their information through dedicated machines.
But while CBP agents at airports and border crossings can in fact download the data off of the smart chips, Wyden and McCaskill write that the agency's software actually "cannot verify the digital signatures stored on the e-Passport chips." Without signature verification, CBP is "unable to determine" whether an individual's passport may have been "tampered with or forged," the senators claim.
Wyden and McCaskill say that CBP has had this e-Passport verification problem since 2007 because of the software deficit. Moreover, the senators claim that the agency has known this security gap exists since 2010, when the government released a report on the matter. Roughly 60 countries issue e-Passports to their citizens, including Iran, the Philippines, Russia, Turkey, Sweden, and the U.S.
"It is past time for CBP to utilize the digital security features it required be built into e-Passports," the duo writes, calling for the agency to "develop and implement a plan to properly authenticate e-Passports by Jan. 1, 2019." Read the letter to CBP here. Kelly O'Meara Morales
President Trump announced his support of stricter gun laws Thursday morning, but during a meeting about school safety later in the afternoon, he suggested he might take it a step further and target violent media as well. "A lot of bad things are happening to young kids and young minds and their minds are being formed," Trump said. "We have to do something about maybe what they're seeing, and how they're seeing it."
Trump specifically singled out video games — "I am hearing more and more people say the level of violence in video games is really shaping young people's thoughts" — as well as movies. "A kid is able to see the movie if sex isn't involved but killing is involved," the president claimed.
Violent movies and video games have long been a topic of intense debate. Studies, though, have inconclusively linked violent media to real world aggression: "Research done by the U.S. Secret Service and our laboratories have both found that less than 20 percent of school shooters played violent video games with any amount of regularity," writes Rolling Stone. "Not only is interest in violent video games rare among school shooters, these perpetrators express much less interest in this violent medium than most other individuals."
Trump concluded cryptically: "The fact is, you are having movies come out that are so violent, with the killing and everything else, that maybe that's another thing that we're going to have to discuss." Watch his comments below. Jeva Lange
In a meeting that was theoretically about school safety, Trump brought up MS-13 and how they like to use knives (not guns), he threatened to pull ICE from California, and he said we "have to talk about" the internet, video games and movies because they're violent pic.twitter.com/4JXqHEzdhK
— Lis Power (@LisPower1) February 22, 2018
Haitian and Salvadoran immigrants are suing Trump over his 'racially discriminatory immigration agenda'
A lawsuit filed to a federal court Thursday on behalf of Haitian and Salvadoran immigrants claims that the Trump administration ended Temporary Protected Status — a program that shielded them from deportation on the grounds that conditions in their home country are unsafe — because the president is prejudiced against black and Latino immigrants. Trump announced in November that he would end TPS for Haitians and followed up in January with an end to the program for Salvadorans, claiming that both countries have recovered sufficiently from the natural disasters that had justified the TPS protections.
But removing the protections is "nothing but a thin pretextual smoke screen for a racially discriminatory immigration agenda," the lawsuit claims. AP says that the suit specifically notes remarks that Trump made during his presidential campaign disparaging immigrants, including when he called Mexicans "rapists." The suit also cites reports that Trump said that Haitians who came to the U.S. in 2017 "all have AIDS," as well as the reports that Trump referred to African nations as "s--tholes" last month.
The goal of the lawsuit, which was filed by Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, is to prevent the Trump administration from removing the TPS protections. If the lawsuit does not succeed, Haitian immigrants living in the U.S. under TPS would have to leave the country July 22, 2019. Salvadorans would have to leave by Sept. 9, 2019.
Salvadorans were granted TPS after devastating earthquakes in 2001, while Haitians were included in 2010 after a massive quake struck the island. There are reportedly almost 200,000 Salvadorans and close to 59,000 Haitians who are currently in the U.S. under TPS. Kelly O'Meara Morales
Not everyone could cause Snap to lose $1.5 billion in market value with a single tweet, but then again, not everyone is Kylie Jenner. The 20-year-old's declaration Wednesday that she does not open Snapchat anymore potentially caused a slide Thursday that found shares tumbling more than 7 percent, ZeroHedge reports, effectively erasing "most" of the social media company's "post-earnings climb."
sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me... ugh this is so sad.
— Kylie Jenner (@KylieJenner) February 21, 2018
Snapchat infuriated users with an update earlier this month, which prompted more than a million people to sign a petition called "Remove the new Snapchat update."
— Joe Easton (@marketsjoe) February 22, 2018
"While the recent redesign of [Snap's] flagship app could produce positive long-term benefits, [there is a] significant jump in negative app reviews since the redesign was pushed out a few weeks ago, which could result in a decline in users and user engagement, and could negatively impact financial results," Citigroup analysts Mark May and Hao Yan wrote, as reported by Markets Insider. Jeva Lange
The NRA's Dana Loesch claims that 'many in legacy media love mass shootings' because 'crying white mothers' are good for ratings
NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch on Thursday attacked the "legacy media" for supposedly profiting off of mass shootings.
Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland, Loesch warned her crowd she was going to make "controversial" remarks. She then stooped over the microphone and spoke slowly, pausing in between each word: "Many in legacy media love mass shootings." As the crowd applauded, Loesch looked directly at the journalists in the back of the room and said, "You guys love it."
"Now I'm not saying that you love the tragedy," she continued, "but I am saying you love the ratings." She added: "Crying white mothers are ratings gold to you." Loesch noted that her choice to highlight "crying white mothers" was intentional, because "there are thousands of grieving black mothers in Chicago every weekend and you don't see town halls for them, do you?" Loesch on Wednesday night attended a CNN town hall with the survivors of the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed by a teenager with a semiautomatic rifle.
"Where's the CNN town hall for Chicago? Where's the CNN town hall for sanctuary cities?" she asked. Watch her remarks (which start at 0:20) below. Kelly O'Meara Morales