ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
80°
Rain
H 83° L 73°
  • cloudy-day
    80°
    Current Conditions
    Rain. H 83° L 73°
  • rain-day
    83°
    Today
    Rain. H 83° L 73°
  • clear-day
    85°
    Tomorrow
    Mostly Clear. H 85° L 66°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Georgia Politics

    Abortion rights activists and providers are asking a judge to stop Georgia’s new anti-abortion law from going into effect in January while a lawsuit makes its way through the court system. The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, on behalf of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice and several abortion providers, filed the request Tuesday - nearly a month after filing a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law. House Bill 481, scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, outlaws most abortions once a doctor can detect fetal cardiac activity — usually at about six weeks of pregnancy and before many women know they are pregnant. The law also includes what many supporters call “personhood” language, which extends legal rights to fertilized eggs. “First, banning abortion prior to the point of viability is blatantly unconstitutional under decades of (U.S.) Supreme Court precedent,” ACLU Legal Director Sean J. Young told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Second, the provision that purports to redefine personhood is so vague in its application that it is unconstitutional.” >> Related: Abortion foes have no claim to civil rights legacy, says Andrea Young >> Related: AJC poll: Strong support for Roe; opinion closer on ‘heartbeat bill’ >> Related: ‘Heartbeat’ law makes abortion a top issue for Georgia in 2020 The ACLU is asking the court for a preliminary injunction to stop the new law from going into effect while the June lawsuit works its way through the legal system. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones. Governors in Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio all have signed similar bills. Federal judges have already issued a preliminary injunction against laws in all three states, and similar laws enacted in recent years in Iowa and North Dakota have also been struck down in the courts. “It’s important for people to understand that the law is not in effect in Georgia, and this is to ensure that the law does not go into effect,” said ACLU of Georgia Executive Director Andrea Young, who is not related to Sean J. Young. Supporters of HB 481 hope the lawsuit sets Georgia’s law on a path to overturn Roe v. Wade. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that women nationwide have a right to access abortion up until about 24 weeks of pregnancy. Current Georgia law, passed by the Legislature in 2012, allows abortions through 20 weeks of pregnancy. >> Related: Who could be prosecuted under Georgia’s ‘heartbeat’ law? >> Related: Georgia abortion rights groups ask judge to block anti-abortion law In the motion, attorneys for SisterSong, the Feminist Women’s Health Center, Planned Parenthood Southeast and several private abortion clinics and providers said the new law violates a woman’s right to due process. “HB 481 imposes on plaintiffs’ patients and members a single and unbending vision of their reproductive trajectories, forcing them to define their lives according to the state’s prerogatives, rather than their own,” attorneys wrote in the motion. The ACLU is suing Gov. Brian Kemp, state Attorney General Chris Carr, Department of Public Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey, members of the Georgia Composite Medical Board and its executive director, and the six district attorneys responsible for prosecuting crimes where the plaintiffs reside or operate their businesses. Any ruling in the case would almost certainly be appealed and the case could take years to work its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Georgia recently finalized a plan to spend the public’s money on subsidies for high-speed internet lines, laying the foundation for broadband expansion in rural areas. Whether it will work remains to be seen. Representatives for some internet providers criticized the state’s subsidy rules as being overly burdensome, according to public comments obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution under the Georgia Open Records Act. They also worried that government funding might not go to areas where it’s most needed. In addition, the government will require internet providers to match state money with their own, a hefty private investment. Left unsaid in the public comments is that government funding for internet construction doesn’t exist yet. State lawmakers will consider appropriating money for subsidies during next year’s legislative session. Internet expansion is a priority among many of Georgia’s elected leaders who see it as a critical need for rural communities with dwindling populations and business opportunities. Hundreds of thousands of households can’t buy high-speed internet service in their areas, according to state estimates. It would likely cost more than $3 billion in public and private investment to wire areas without high-speed internet across the state. Legislators have yet to decide how much to spend or where the money would come from. The OneGeorgia Authority, a rural development fund that hands out millions of dollars annually, approved the broadband subsidy rules June 17 after reviewing public comments submitted by internet providers, trade associations and local governments. A key objection to the internet subsidy rules was that they call for a convoluted method of distributing government funds in order to avoid running afoul of the Georgia Constitution’s ban on direct public funding of private companies. Instead, internet companies will have to apply for money through quasi-governmental economic development boards in the same way other tax incentives are awarded to businesses. That requirement “could potentially add some unnecessary complexities” for internet companies seeking subsidies, said Cheryl McCollum, a spokeswoman for TDS Telecom, which serves areas including Ball Ground, Blue Ridge, Camden and St. Marys. Other states with internet grant programs don’t require companies to work through local development boards, a concern repeated by the Georgia Telecommunications Association, which represents 29 independent phone companies. The state’s broadband director, Deana Perry, said that while some companies might see Georgia’s subsidy rules as a barrier, many will welcome the opportunity to receive government funding. “There’s a large number of providers in the state that are well-equipped and well-positioned to take advantage of funding through this program,” Perry said. “This will be a multiresource effort, and of course, it will also require private investment. That’s really what all these programs are designed to do: incentivize private investment.” The Georgia Telecommunications Association said the requirement for companies to put up so much of their own money will prevent subsidies from reaching communities that lack internet access. “Rural areas that do not currently have broadband most likely haven’t built out the infrastructure due to financial limitations. And requiring a 50% contribution match would continue to leave areas that couldn’t produce the match without broadband service,” according to the association’s written comments. The River Valley Regional Commission, which promotes the economies of 35 local governments in southwest Georgia, said smaller companies in more rural communities might be left out. “The structure here will … spur investments and speed investments where they are going to happen anyway,” according to the unsigned written comment from the commission. “Protections to areas with momentum (growth corridors) will be at the expense, with limited dollars, of communities that are in decline or at risk of decline.” Projects will be approved based on a competitive bidding process that accounts for the number of locations, economic impact and cost per location. Subsidies would fund residential and commercial internet lines in areas that lack access to internet download speeds of at least 25 megabits per second. Subsidies for each approved internet construction project will be worth between $250,000 and $2 million. Internet providers will have to invest an equal amount of their own money. Along with the subsidies, the state government is creating a detailed map of every location in the state without high-speed internet. Only areas that lack adequate internet service would be eligible for government funding. House Rules Chairman Jay Powell said government funding is needed because internet service is essential to businesses, schools and hospitals. Without subsidies, internet companies often can’t justify spending money to build internet lines in rural areas with a small numbers of potential customers. Just as the government invested in electricity, phone and water services, it now must prioritize internet, said Powell, a Republican from Camilla. “The information highway is no less of a highway than the other highways we’re building throughout Georgia to facilitate rural development,” Powell said. “Internet is as much a necessity in rural Georgia now as all those other services were 100 years ago.” Stay on top of what’s happening in Georgia government and politics at www.ajc.com/politics.
  • The City of Atlanta has failed to spend $41 million meant to house people with AIDS and HIV as a crisis over unpaid contractors     threatens to leave 250 clients homeless , according to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development figures.     The unspent grant funding amounts to about 40 percent of the $101 million allotted by the federal government to the city-run Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program since about 2014, numbers from the Office of Grants Management show. Atlanta has consistently failed to spend its full share, all the while making chronically late reimbursements to agencies that provide the subsidized housing. Nonprofits that contract with the city are outraged over the spending holdups. The city owes Positive Impact Health Centers about $1 million, said CEO Larry Lehman. Although city Office of Grants Management Director Karen Carter said at a public meeting June 27 that her department had processed payments to Positive Impact, Lehman said it has yet to receive most of the promised funds. The nonprofit’s unpaid reimbursement requests continue to pile up. “This is absolute absurdity,” Lehman said. “Agencies cannot fund the city of Atlanta when they’re sitting on $41 million.” The $41 million in unspent money is current as of June 1, a HUD spokeswoman said Friday.According to the city’s tracking system, there is $31 million left to spend, city spokesman Michael Smith said in an email, but the city figures have yet to be reconciled with HUD’s. Carter previously said that all of the unspent money has been allocated and a mismatch in financial calendars between the city and HUD caused delays in spending approvals. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms proposed a long-term fix late Thursday that backers hope will end the funding problem. Under the proposal, Partners for HOME, a nonprofit the city created to provide homelessness services, will take over the program for the 2020 funding cycle, its executive director, Cathryn Marchman, said. The city administers the federal program for 28 counties in and around the metro area. But the implementation timetable remains unclear. Approval from the nonprofit’s board, the City Council and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are required. Also unclear is how long it will take to help people currently at risk of becoming homeless. The nonprofit is coordinating with city departments, current HOPWA providers and other agencies to ensure that clients currently at risk of homelessness continue to have housing, Marchman said. “Every individual has a different situation with different needs, so I don’t have an exact time table because there could be some clients that will need more long-term support and some clients who only need a little bit of support,” Marchman said. ‘People will die in the streets’ A coalition of reformers have requested HOPWA reforms for more than a year. The city has considered this reorganization in recent months because of long-planned planned federal funding cuts that will force the program to focus on HOPWA clients with the most urgent housing needs, Marchman said. Members of the mayor’s LGBTQ Advisory Board requested the reorganization earlier this month in a meeting with Bottoms’ top aides. The tardy payments threaten the financial health of agencies that provide HOPWA services, forcing some to turn away those seeking help when their funds run low. Certain providers said city payments have consistently been hundreds of thousands of dollars behind. Nonprofit agency Living Room furloughed employees and left its portion of subsidized rent unpaid in its ongoing feud over $500,000 in late payments. Landlords have started the eviction process for about 250 of its clients. The city accused Living Room of providing shoddy services and mismanaging finances. It terminated the agency’s contract July 3.     Living Room filed suit June 10 , saying it is a victim of retaliation because its Executive Director Jerome Brooks spurned the sexual advances of Preston Brant, the former head of the city office that oversees HOPWA. Brant denied the accusation.     The city’s history of late payments and poor mismanagement led providers to question a City Council proposal that the city provide     $1.5 million in emergency funding to keep clients housed. The draft legislation, submitted by Councilwoman Joyce Sheperd, would send funding originally planned for the Living Room to eight other agencies that currently contract with the city to offer HOPWA services.     A July 16 letter sent by 95 advocates for those with HIV requested that City Council return immediately from recess to legislate solutions to the crisis. Otherwise the proposal would not come up for a vote until Aug. 5, when the council returns. “To put it clearly — without council’s immediate and expansive intervention, people will die in the streets,” the letter says. Those who signed the letter included Nicole Roebuck,the head of AID Atlanta, which would receive funding under the proposal, Jeff Graham, the head of LGBTQ advocacy group Georgia Equality, and members of the mayor’s LGBTQ Advisory Board. Councilman Antonio Brown and other local leaders are trying to determine whether the money can be distributed earlier. “There’s a lot of innocent folks being impacted by way HOPWA has been and currently is being administered,” Brown said.
  • The girl came forward about what the preacher had done to her after her parents caught her trying to slit her wrists. In the years that followed, the family’s world unraveled in their rural community in the North Georgia mountains. The girl’s health deteriorated from a congenital heart defect, and many in their church shunned them and rallied around the traveling evangelist who she told police had raped and molested her in her home while her parents slept, the family told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News earlier this year. The truth might have come out in a trial, but that didn’t happen because of who Jason Brothers hired to defend him: attorney and state House Speaker David Ralston. At the time, state law allowed lawyers serving in the Georgia Legislature to put off any court proceeding by telling judges they had state-level duties to tend to, and Ralston was known to do that over and over again. An assistant district attorney broke the news to the family, telling them to get ready for a long, long wait. After almost six years and at least eight case delays filed by Ralston, the waiting finally came to an end in a Union County courtroom on Wednesday, with a negotiated plea that allowed Brothers to avoid prison and return home to Ohio. With a terse apology, the 40-year-old who preached sermons from a wheelchair admitted to touching the victim’s breast and vaginal area, pleading guilty to two counts of felony sexual battery on a minor. “Someone I knew and trusted invaded my body and soul,” the now-21-year-old victim said in court, “and in the process tearing me apart … Some days, I don’t even recognize myself or the person I have become as this trauma has shaped me into someone else.” Enotah Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jeff Langley said a plea deal for 10 years on probation was the best thing he could do for the victim after the repeated delays in the case. Those delays had so frustrated him that he once vented in open court when Ralston didn’t show up for a scheduled hearing, sending instead a law partner who said they’d forgotten to put the hearing on their calendars and that Ralston was in Atlanta on legislative business. Langley said the case against Brothers would have been much stronger had it been tried three years ago or more. “The jury sees a 21-year-old woman, not that 14-year-old victim,” Langley said. “We were relying on witnesses remembering something that happened in 2012. That makes it difficult on prosecutors. It raises all those questions about how clear are memories.” Asked to comment Wednesday, Ralston said in a statement emailed from his spokesman, “As is often the case in criminal proceedings, the Brothers case was resolved by a negotiated plea agreed to by the District Attorney and my client and accepted in open court.” Langley said the deal forced Brothers to admit wrongdoing in front of the community, while sparing the victim the physical and mental strain of a trial. It also puts Brothers on the sex offender registry, banishes him from the four-county Enotah circuit and bars him from interacting with any female child under the age of 16. Because Brothers got credit for the nearly six years he’s been under house arrest in Ohio, those conditions will only last four years. The victim’s mother, Laurie Wilson, said the family agreed with the plea deal because her daughter can’t handle a trial or a possible litany of appeals. Her daughter suffers seizures, uses oxygen and a feeding tube and has developed thyroid problems and an iron deficiency. “I feel like he got just a slap on the wrist,” Wilson told the AJC on Thursday. “I think that’s what all Ralston’s clients intend to get, which is why they hire him.” It’s only the latest example of the advantage Ralston’s clients may have gained by the years of delay. In May, Gilmer County prosecutors agreed to dismiss the last remaining charges against Derek J. Key, accused a decade ago of sexual misconduct with two 15-year-old boys. In dropping the case, the prosecutor said the victims weren’t cooperating. The Brothers case was also the last of four that Ralston said he would close out before taking on any more clients charged with crimes. He made the pledge in a speech from the House well after an AJC/Channel 2 investigation revealed he perpetually stalled cases for clients accused of such crimes as child abuse, rape, assault, terroristic threats and drunk driving, and for clients embroiled in lawsuits. The law that allowed attorney-lawmakers to delay court appearances has since been amended. The law now allows judges to deny legislative leave delays through a four-part test looking at the nature of the legislative duties and how much the delay would affect the case. Ralston noted that he triggered that change by appointing an advisory panel to examine whether the state law needed to be revised. “Throughout this process, I have honored the two promises I made in February,” Ralston’s emailed statement said. “First, that we would review the legislative leave law and make changes if necessary, and we did. Second, that I would not accept any new criminal cases until the four discussed in the media were resolved – the Brothers case being the last – and they have been.” Ralston has said previously that he broke no laws by delaying cases, that he doesn’t control case calendars and that the justice system moves slow in North Georgia courts anyway. Two complaints with the State Bar of Georgia filed by victims in other cases have accused him of campaigning and fundraising when he told judges he couldn’t come to court; Ralston has defended that practice, too, telling The Augusta Chronicle he’d think about stopping “if George Soros will promise that he will not send any more money into Georgia.” Brothers was indicted in 2013 on charges of rape, statutory rape, two counts of aggravated child molestation, three counts of child molestation and simple assault. The incident happened in October 2012, when he was staying at the family’s home while preaching at North Mt. Zion Church of God in Hiawassee. Brothers has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, court records show. The girl said she got up during the night for a glass of water, and he asked her for a hug, then grabbed her and sexually assaulted her. The victim said in court Wednesday she chooses to forgive Brothers and refuses to “let this person torment me any more with the flashbacks, restless nights and panic attacks. “I know in my heart that the charges on the paper will never compare to what he did to me that night,” she said, “but I hope after all this time I will finally be able to get some peace and move on with my life as a stronger person than I was before.” OUR REPORTING  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News reported in February that House Speaker David Ralston used the privileges of his office to delay court cases for clients of his private law practice. A state law dating back to 1905 allowed legislators to put off court dates if they notified a judge that their lawmaker duties required them to be elsewhere, and Ralston used the privilege repeatedly for years, keeping clients out of jail and civil complaints from moving forward in courts. An independent review of eight counties by a former FBI agent found that since Ralston became House speaker in 2010, he cited his legislative responsibilities to delay 226 cases a total of 966 times.   Further reporting by the AJC revealed Ralston played a part in expanding the law in 2006 so that legislative leave could be claimed year-round, not just during legislative sessions. The General Assembly amended the law again this year based on recommendations from a Ralston-appointed advisory panel, giving judges the power to overrule legislative leave through a four-part test.
  • A long-sought Democratic effort to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour could prove to be a major campaign issue in Georgia in the lead-up to next year’s elections.  Georgia’s 14 U.S. House members voted along strict party lines Thursday on the Raise the Wage Act, which would gradually raise the federal minimum wage over six years from its current $7.25 hourly rate.  The state’s five Democrats supported the proposal, which took months to finalize as party leaders looked to maintain the support of progressives and more centrist lawmakers who flipped districts previously won by President Donald Trump. Democrats said the bill would raise wages for more than 30 million workers and lift 1 million people out of poverty.  U.S. Rep. David Scott estimated the legislation would boost pay for nearly 21,000 workers in his Southwest Atlanta district alone. U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop said it would impact roughly 43% of workers in his sprawling district, which includes Albany, Columbus and the state’s Southwest corner.  “For 10 years, the federal minimum wage has not been increased to keep up with inflation—which means Americans are working just as hard but are earning less than their parents,” said Bishop, D-Albany.  All nine Georgia Republicans voted against the bill, which they warned would reverse the economic gains from their party’s 2017 tax overhaul and be particularly harmful to young people and rural Americans. They cited a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that estimated a $15 minimum wage could cause between 1.3 million and 3.7 million job losses.  'If you want to raise the minimum wage, that's a legitimate local decision.... but it's just nonsense to suggest that the starting wage in rural Georgia should be the same thing as the starting wage in Manhattan,” said U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Lawrenceville.  U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson of West Point described the bill as a “socialist one-size-fit-all approach.” Georgia is one of only two states with a minimum wage that’s lower than the federal floor of $7.25 an hour. The state’s $5.15 per hour rate, however, applies to relatively few employers that are not involved in interstate commerce.  The legislation is poised to go nowhere in the GOP-controlled Senate, but Democratic leaders wanted to fulfill a key campaign promise for the party’s base. Its passage ahead of Congress’ annual August recess gives lawmakers a major issue on which to campaign in the weeks ahead.  Polling conducted by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in August 2016 - before the suburban realignment prompted by Trump’s election - found that 55 percent of registered Georgia voters supported raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.  In metro Atlanta and Southeast Georgia, more than two-thirds of voters supported the proposal. But the idea faced resistance in exurban Atlanta, where 55 percent of registered voters opposed it.  That will present a key challenge for U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta, who is defending a congressional seat she flipped last fall in the 6th District, which includes suburban stretches of Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton counties.  McBath is a member of the New Democrat Coalition, a group of more centrist lawmakers that warned about the impact of a $15 wage on small businesses and areas with a lower cost of living. The group eventually won two major concessions from party leaders: a longer phase-in window and assurances that pay hikes could be paused if a federal study shows adverse economic impacts. and worried about the impact on  McBath ultimately backed the bill. At a recent town hall meeting, she said she was “very, very mindful about any implications any pay raise might have on our small businesses.” “Today, we took a big step towards an America where everyone can make a livable wage,” McBath tweeted Thursday. “The #FightFor15 started in 2012, and today's vote was another step towards that goal.” The issue could also be a factor in Georgia’s U.S. Senate race.  Former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson has advocated for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour with automatic cost-of-living adjustments. Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry, who is also vying for the Democratic nomination, led his DeKalb County city to become the first in Georgia to mandate a $15-per-hour wage back in 2016. He said Thursday that he supports the House-passed bill.  Increasing the minimum wage, he said in an interview, is “the best way to lift people out of poverty, to address the gap in housing access and (help people) afford health care premiums and higher deductibles.” 
  • As lies go, it wasn’t a very ambitious one.  But Avery Niles’ false claim, under oath, that he received an associate’s degree in criminal justice cost him his job on Wednesday.  Niles, who was the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice commissioner, offered to resign effective Sept. 1. He submitted his resignation to the DJJ board, which was meeting to deal with the brewing controversy stemming from Niles’ testimony in a 2017 lawsuit filed by a former department administrator.  In a letter to Gov. Brian Kemp announcing his resignation, Niles wrote, in part: “I am very proud of the work that was accomplished during my tenure and will forever be grateful for this tremendous opportunity.”  He continued, “I want to thank you for allowing me to serve in the capacity of Commissioner, and if there is any other opportunity for me to continue my service with your administration, please let me know.” But the DJJ board chose not to accept Niles’ resignation, voting instead to fire him immediately. Kemp approved the decision, the DJJ said in a statement.  Niles, one of the many Gainesville-based appointees of former Gov. Nathan Deal, had led the DJJ since 2012. He had previously served 25 years with the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.  RELATED: » Kemp promises to reform how GA treats sexual harassment victims » Tight job market leaves Georgia’s youth jails chronically understaffed Niles’ tenure at the DJJ was marked by problems often unrelated to the commissioner. Staff shortages at juvenile justice facilities nationwide are not uncommon, and that problem only grew worse in 2018, an investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found. The department’s own weekly staffing reports, obtained by the AJC, found that six of the state’s seven long-term youth detention centers, or YDCs, were dealing with greater shortages in juvenile corrections officers than experienced in 2017.  A spokesman for the DJJ has said Georgia would like to stop placing 17-year-olds in adult prisons for certain less serious crimes, but it lacks the staff to care for them. Georgia is among only a handful of states that still incarcerate juveniles in adult penitentiaries.  The DJJ has also dealt with accusations that it mishandled claims of sexual harassment by staff from other employees, a widespread problem in Georgia government agencies, according to a separate AJC investigation.  The DJJ wasted no time in erasing Niles from its website, removing his photo and a link to his bio within an hour of his dismissal. 
  • Several Georgia Republican lawmakers bristled late Monday at a series of tweets from President Donald Trump that urged four Democratic congresswomen of color to “go back” to where they came from, even as they defended his border policies and declined to call for an apology.  Others sought to steer clear of Trump’s controversial remarks, which were directed at U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, progressive freshmen who have been highly critical of the president and his policies.  No Georgia Republicans publicly joined their African-American colleague Will Hurd, R-Texas, who called Trump’s tweets “racist and xenophobic.”  Instead, many were critical of Trump’s words but agreed with the sentiment that Democrats’ shift to the left was hurting the country.  “I’m not as concerned about where people are from as I am about the radical agenda of the socialist wing of the Democratic party in Congress,” said U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler. “The very public infighting among Democrats continues to escalate and it’s happening at the detriment of the American people.”  >> Related: In suburban Atlanta, Donald Trump’s ‘go back’ rant could be costly for GOP in 2020 U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, said Trump is “frustrated that Congress has not acted to solve the crisis at our border, and he expressed his frustrations in a way that didn’t promote reconciliation across the aisle and across our country.”  Without a unified directive from the party, the president’s Capitol Hill allies were left scrambling to formulate a response to the remarks, which began on social media Sunday. Trump is broadly popular among GOP base voters, and in general the party’s elected officials have avoided criticizing the president directly. However, the sentiment behind Trump's 'go home' comments is one that has deep, painful roots in American history. It’s been hurled at most immigrant groups at one point or another.  U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Atlanta, emphasized the point during an appearance on MSNBC.  “We heard this during the ’60s when little children were trying to desegregate schools, when we were trying to desegregate lunch counters and restaurants, when were trying to get the right to vote, to go back,” Lewis said. “We’re not going back. we’re here to stay.  “What he said and what he continues to say is racist. It is racism. You cannot hide it, you cannot sweep it under the American rug.” Of the four congresswomen targeted by Trump, three were born in the U.S., and the Somalia-born Omar is a naturalized U.S. citizen.  The president doubled down on his remarks on Monday and Tuesday, saying that the four Democratic lawmakers hate America, and “if you’re not happy here, then you can leave.”  House Democratic leaders teed up a vote on a resolution condemning the president’s comments for Tuesday, and local Democratic candidates were quick to pounce on social media.  Trump’s “xenophobic comments further fan the flames of his hateful rhetoric towards our black and brown communities and places them in harm’s way,” said Nabilah Islam, a Democrat running in Georgia’ 7th Congressional District.  Carolyn Bourdeaux, one of Islam’s primary opponents, said Trump was trying to distract from “human rights abuses at the border and the corruption of his administration.”   Congressman Jody Hice, R-Monroe, who has been an ardent supporter of the president through his leadership role in the House Freedom Caucus, said “I don’t believe the president is a racist.”  “Although I wish he had been more diplomatic, I share his frustrations in regard to Members of Congress making repeated derogatory statements about the Nation we love, serve, and defend,” he said.  Two Georgia Republicans, U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall and U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, more directly condemned Trump’s remarks, with the former saying “there is not a debate about whether or not it’s acceptable.” Isakson said Trump’s comments were “totally inappropriate.” 'I wasn't elected to make excuses or explain the statements of somebody else, and so I'm just not going to do that,” said Isakson, a three-term Republican who sharply criticized the president for dishonoring the late John McCain earlier this year.  Isakson’s Senate colleague, David Perdue, said it was “outrageous” to consider Trump’s comments racist.  The Republican golfed with his White House ally in Virginia on Saturday and said he was focused on funding the federal government and recent hostilities with Iran rather than Trump’s tweets.   
  • The potential for tampering in Georgia’s elections last fall prompted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to warn election officials to be on guard against foreign interference. A recently released DHS memo, titled “A Georgia Perspective on Threats to the 2018 U.S. Elections,” listed concerns about hacking, misinformation spread through social media and disruptions to election infrastructure. The federal advice came as attorneys for state election officials argued in court documents that fears of hacking and vote miscounting were little more than “a theoretical possibility.” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office said Monday that cybersecurity has been an ongoing priority since well before the 2018 elections. “This memo is standard information sharing and shows what all levels of government are doing to protect our elections,” said spokeswoman Tess Hammock. “DHS prepared a similar memo for every state. There is no evidence of any successful attempts to interfere in Georgia's elections.” The unclassified DHS document became public Wednesday when it was included as an exhibit in an ongoing lawsuit seeking to prevent the continued use of electronic voting machines. “Foreign governments may engage in cyber operations targeting the election infrastructure and political organization in Georgia and engage in influence operations that aim to interfere with the 2018 U.S. elections,” according to the Oct. 2, 2018, document prepared by the DHS Office of Intelligence & Analysis Field Operations Division for the Southeast Region. The two-page memo didn't specify who might have attempted to tamper with Georgia's elections, but it said their goals could have been “to disrupt political processes, sway public opinion, or to undermine certain political organizations.” In July 2016, a Russian agent visited election websites in Cobb and Fulton counties but didn't gain access to election systems, according to the Secretary of State's Office. The DHS said in a statement Monday that it’s not aware of any specific targeting of Georgia’s election infrastructure in 2018 by a foreign government. The department shared information with state officials across the country before last year’s election. “These potential tactics are not specific to Georgia systems and could be applicable to elections across the United States,” said spokesman Scott McConnell. “Election security is national security, and we are continuing to engage our election partners as part of a collaborative effort to protect the 2020 election.” Jeanne Dufort, a voter worried about election security, said Georgia election officials should do more to ensure safe elections. “Our election officials said, ‘There’s nothing to see here, there’s nothing to worry about,’ ” said Dufort, a real estate agent in Madison. “I wish they would treat election safety the way most of us treat our personal home safety. We take reasonable precautions, we listen to experts and we try to protect ourselves rather than saying there’s no problem unless someone can prove there’s a problem.” Potential threats identified by DHS included: Unauthorized entry into polling places or voting facilities used to store election equipment. Emails sent to government agencies, including the state's department of motor vehicles, that include malicious links that could be used to hack voter registration systems. Attempts to hack or disrupt the processing of absentee ballots sent through the U.S. Postal Service. Social media messages or robocalls falsely reporting changed or closed polling locations. Disruptions to polling places such as power failures or internet, cellphone and traffic control outages.
  • No place stands to benefit more than Georgia if the Trump administration succeeds in its effort to transform kidney health in the United States. Millions in the state live with conditions that can lead to kidney disease and death. Advocates were thrilled when President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that would, among other things, promote organ donations and reshape kidney care. They said the disease has gone ignored too long. The question remains how much concrete change the administration’s actions this week represent, and how much they will move the needle going forward on public kidney health. “I’m excited about it,” said Dr. Stephen Pastan, the medical director of kidney and pancreas transplant at the Emory Transplant Center. “I think it’s going to give a lot of publicity and shine a lot of light on the problems kidney patients are having” as well as on the struggle to treat them, Pastan said. “I think if they follow through on them they will have a major impact. There were not a lot of specifics about how they were going to carry out the goals.” The goals are ambitious. They include reducing the number of Americans developing end-stage renal disease by 25% by 2030, and by 2025 to have 80% of all newly diagnosed patients either receiving a transplanted kidney or getting dialysis at home. That has huge implications for Georgia and other Southern states, which are the nation’s worst-ranked in important kidney health factors. More than 1 million Georgians live with diabetes, one of the two top conditions that lead to kidney disease. The other is hypertension, or high blood pressure, which afflicts more than one-third of Georgians, according to the American Kidney Fund. As a result, the state has a thriving dialysis business, with more than 21,000 people in end-stage kidney disease receiving the treatment. “It’s a big deal,” Trump said at the ceremony where he signed the order. ‘Paying for sickness’ The proposal contains a raft of ideas. Some can be implemented immediately, some not. One would use federal money to incentivize organ donation by live donors. One would promote invention of an implantable artificial kidney; others would revamp the system to take better care of the organs that are already donated or shake up the regions that do a poor job of encouraging donation. Of the 5,000 Georgians waiting for an organ transplant, more than 90% need a kidney. Reforming the organ procurement regions that aren’t up to snuff could help Georgia, which is in danger of losing more organs to areas where donation rates are lower. The proposal that drew the most attention in news accounts would seek to shift dialysis from clinics to homes, and take aim at the archaic system that has given rise to the hundreds of dialysis clinics across Georgia. That proposal may have the most concrete impact, testing out new incentive plans for half of the nation’s dialysis patients. If it works, those patients at home will have a more comfortable dialysis experience and are likely to spend hours longer on the procedure, which is more natural for the body. If they can do dialysis while they sleep, they also have a better chance of keeping a job. In the 1970s, Congress simply agreed that Medicare would pay for dialysis for anyone who needs it. The problem is, that created an incentive for health care providers to invest in treatment of the worst stage of the disease — but it created nothing comparable for the earlier stages, much less for preventing it altogether. Alex Azar, Trump’s health secretary, in announcing the changes, said: “For decades, across all of American healthcare, and kidney care in particular, the focus has been on paying for procedures, rather than paying for good outcomes. We need to flip that around.” Praise has been virtually universal for the goals, for the intention to take a new look at kidney disease, and for the proposals outlined so far. Where critics find fault is in the modest plans for the first goal: to prevent, detect and slow the progression of kidney disease in the first place. The administration plans an education campaign, as well as some pilot programs testing incentive programs for better care. The key to significant impact on that goal doesn’t require reinventing the wheel, critics counter, but simply ensuring access to basic health care, especially among the poor. “Are all admirable goals, and the federal government should be working toward that,” said Laura Colbert, the director of Georigans for a Healthy Future, which has advocated for coverage of poor Georgians through Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. “When you contrast those goals with the other actions the federal government is taking around health care they don’t necessarily line up,” she said, specifically citing the administration’s legal arguments that same week against the Affordable Care Act. Georgia’s GOP leaders declined to expand Medicaid to all of Georgia’s poor, citing the cost to the state and to the federal government. Gov. Brian Kemp is currently developing a more limited plan for Medicaid coverage. ‘The Diabetes Belt’ Dr. Karen Kinsell is often sought out as an expert on rural Georgia health care because she is the only medical provider in Clay County. She said she’s watched about three dialysis clinics spring up in her area, one of them smack across from the local fast-food restaurants whose popularity contributes to kidney disease. Part of the problem is patients’ own choices in whether to take care of their health, she said. But not all. “Yesterday I had a patient come in with blood sugar of 589,” she said. Normal is in the low 100s. “He realized he hadn’t taken his (diabetes medications) for six months because he couldn’t afford them. He is going to end up in the emergency room.” That patient can’t get funding for pills or for insulin — whose price is soaring — or help with his diet, and he’s afraid of being evicted to boot, she said, which complicates everything including keeping up with health care. But if he got end-stage renal disease, he’d receive dialysis paid for by Medicare. “If he had Medicaid, he wouldn’t be in quite this fix,” Kinsell said. “We know all these poor sick people are out there with diabetes and blood pressure out of control,” she said. “That is a crisis; why are we not addressing that now? … We know how to do this. Get the medicines and work with them to make sure they’re doing it correctly. Then addressing the complications as they come up.” Mike Spigler, the American Kidney Fund’s vice president of patient services and kidney disease education, finds himself seeing both sides. “To us in the kidney community, this was huge,” he said. He was in the room as Trump signed the order. He’s also been in Georgia, doing kidney screening events at Stonecrest Mall and other sites. “We frequently find people with uncontrolled diabetes and high blood pressure — blood glucose in the 300, 400, 500, 600 range, blood pressure 200 — not taking their meds,” he said. “Not only Georgia but the whole South, what they call ‘The Diabetes Belt,’ is disproportionately affected by kidney disease. Having this focus and attention from the federal government is a good thing,” he said. And noting the transplant and dialysis initiatives, he said: “All those things are very, very good things. All extremely good things.” However, he added “Without question that is the most important to us: preventing kidney disease in the first place.”
  • The email warned that the legislator was in the crosshairs of Republicans for opposing the anti-abortion bill that has rocked Georgia politics, and it invited donors to a fundraiser to give $481 contributions “in honor of our fight against” House Bill 481. Several of Democratic state Rep. Mike Wilensky’s supporters came to a Sandy Springs mansion with donations in hand, and a message to send, as they listened to actor Ric Reitz outline his fears that the new abortion restrictions will gut Georgia’s film industry. That kind of fundraising has spilled over into conservative coffers, too, though some Republicans are deliberately not raising money on the issue. Joshua Edmonds of the Georgia Life Alliance said that anti-abortion causes are enjoying unprecedented interest from donors and volunteers that will pay dividends in 2020, when every legislative seat will be up for election. “It speaks volumes that the pro-life community overwhelmingly supports this bill and the lawmakers who voted for it,” he said, “and they’re mobilized to defend it.” It’s impossible to pinpoint how the new law, which seeks to ban most abortions as early as six weeks, will influence next year’s election. But an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of the most recent fundraising figures offers a glimpse of the issue’s political potency. Some donors dipped deeper into their wallets in support or defiance of lawmakers who embraced the bill. Anti-abortion groups report an uptick in contributions and volunteers. Abortion rights supporters touted donations from megawatt stars. Candidates in competitive districts reported big hauls. “It’s going to be absolutely helpful to fundraising,” said state Sen. Elena Parent, an Atlanta Democrat and outspoken opponent of the measure. “People see how important it is to have a strong voice represent their values in the state Legislature. And they see how extreme the legislation is.” The amount of energy and enthusiasm surrounding the law, which is now tied up in what could be a lengthy court battle, has also sparked a backlash. Some candidates are taking pains to avoid appearing like they’re cashing in on the issue. Democratic state Sen. Zahra Karinshak, who raised $75,000 over the past three months in her Gwinnett County-based district, said her vote against the abortion law “certainly didn’t hurt” her fundraising, but that she also earned contributions for her positions on health care and veterans’ rights. And state Sen. Renee Unterman, the Republican sponsor of the measure in the state’s upper chamber, is not highlighting her stewardship of the anti-abortion law as she runs for one of the most competitive U.S. House seats in the nation. “I’ve watched Democrats be very crass about raising money off the bill, and Republicans haven’t been as aggressive,” said Unterman, one of several contenders competing for the 7th District GOP nomination. “I’m a multidimensional candidate, and the heartbeat bill is one part of my record. My donors aren’t giving to me based off one issue.” ‘Speaks volumes’ Whatever the reason, they are giving. The AJC review of thousands of financial records found that the amount of donations to state politicians and political action committees shot up by $200,000 the week after the bill was signed into law compared with the previous seven days. Some of the most prominent figures in the clash over the bill had the strongest fundraising quarters. State Sen. Jen Jordan, whose speech opposing the measure went viral on social media, took in about $74,000 since the legislative session ended — including about $4,500 the day HB 481 was signed. Other Democrats used their campaign accounts in symbolic fashion: Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson didn’t collect a single dime — he recently announced he would not seek another term — but gave thousands of dollars of his campaign funds to abortion rights organizations. Those groups are also netting bigger fish. Planned Parenthood, the reproductive health organization, received a $250,000 contribution from Ariana Grande after a June concert in Atlanta. Hollywood producers J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele both wrote hefty checks to the Georgia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which is leading the legal fight against the law. And the Fair Fight Action voting rights group founded by Stacey Abrams, the runner-up in last year’s gubernatorial race, sent a flurry of fundraising emails that quickly amassed $110,000. That money was divvied up in $10,000 increments to 11 abortion rights organizations. Anti-abortion causes say they welcome the celebrity attention, hopeful that it will backfire by energizing more Georgia Republicans. Gov. Brian Kemp raised more than $200,000 the week before he signed the law. Much of the money came from corporate lobbyists and business boosters, but some came from small-dollar donors. “I’ve got no problem with him on abortion, and our views are very close on social issues,” said Russell Wilder, the owner of a tobacco store in Martinez who stroked Kemp a $100 check. “He’s a regular guy even though he’s the governor — he gets us. We’re from Georgia, not Atlanta.” There’s more where that came from, said Cole Muzio, an anti-abortion activist. He said the “radical, pro-abortion forces from California and New York” will spur more donations through November 2020 — and he scattered a few hundred dollars to several Republicans over the past few weeks to emphasize his point. ‘Sickened’ One of the contributions went to state Rep. Ed Setzler, the Acworth Republican who authored the measure and made it a point not to seek donations over the past three months. It’s not that he doesn’t need them: After running unopposed for three consecutive races, Setzler narrowly won another term last year and is preparing for a tough race next year. But Setzler wore the $265 he received since April as a badge of honor, writing in a campaign filing that he was “sickened” to see efforts to raise campaign cash on the issue. “This is such a serious issue, and the other side was so engaged in national fundraising that I am willing to spot them 90 days in fundraising,” Setzler said in an interview. “I want folks to understand the substance of this issue and the dignity of the children we’re seeking to protect. It’s not only what we do, but the way we do it, that matters.” The people gathered at Wilensky’s fundraiser would have a different take. They mingled in a two-story living room ringed by delicate antiques and family portraits before Reitz, the veteran actor, stood before a marble fireplace to urge the crowd to pull out their checkbooks. The room around him nodded in agreement. “Nothing is more fundamental to our individual right to freedom than the right to bodily autonomy,” said Valerie Habif, a retired psychologist and Democratic donor. “Now is the time for women to exercise our very hard-won right to vote.”

News

  • Hours after saying he wouldn't leave his own daughter with accused pedophile R. Kelly, the musician's crisis manager stepped down. USA Today reported that Darrell Johnson resigned after walking back comments he made Monday on 'CBS This Morning.' >> Read more trending news  On the morning show, when asked by Gayle King if he would allow his 20-year-old daughter to be alone with Kelly, Johnson said, 'I wouldn’t leave my daughter with anybody that’s accused of pedophilia. Period.' Johnson later told USA Today he spoke poorly. 'I should have worded it better,' Johnson said, adding he also meant to say, 'I would leave my daughter with Kelly because I do not believe he is a pedophile.' In a statement to the publication, Johnson confirmed he was no longer working for Kelly. 'This has nothing to do with Mr. Kelly it's for my (own) person(al) reasons,' he said. It's not clear what exactly Johnson's role with Kelly's team was. He was initially referred to as a publicist or spokesman for the singer, but several of Kelly's attorneys have told USA Today Johnson was not a part of Kelly's defense team. Steve Greenberg, one of Kelly's attorneys, told the publication Johnson was 'acting as a PR person.' But in a since-deleted tweet posted Monday, Greenberg said, 'Darryl Johnson is a crisis manager who has been assisting us and will continue to assist us. He is not a PR person, he is not a spiritual advisor. He has the full confidence of the defense team.' Greenburg later issued a formal statement on Johnson's exit, saying he 'decided to take some time off.' 'As has been reported, Darrel Johnson has decided to take some time off, for personal reasons, from his efforts on behalf of R. Kelly,' Greenberg said in a statement. 'The defense wants to thank Mr. Johnson for his tireless assistance and looks forward to his return. He shares our confidence that this is an unprecedented assault against R. Kelly by others, for their own personal gain, and the innocence of R. Kelly. 'There will be no further comment.
  • Drivers on I-35 in Dallas were surprised Monday morning to see a man driving a Lime scooter with the rest of traffic, cutting through five lanes in a seemingly nonchalant manner. >> Read more trending news  Driver Josh Weatherl captured the scooter rider on video with his dashboard camera just before 9 a.m. The unidentified man, wearing a backpack and headphones -- but no helmet -- checks over his shoulder before he crosses five lanes of traffic in about 15 seconds. Weatherl can be heard in the recording laughing and expressing his disbelief. 'Bro, what are you doing?' Weatherl exclaimed in the recording. 'Oh, my gosh. That is the most wild thing I've ever seen.' The man was probably going about 15 mph in a 60 mph zone, WFAA-TV reported. Weatherl told WFAA-TV he thought the man looked like he knew what he was doing. 'I think he’s done it before based on how calm he was, I don’t think this was his first rodeo,' Weatherl said. A Lime spokesman called the man's actions unsafe and said riders should not take the scooters onto highways, The Dallas Morning News reported.
  • A Denver man accused of murdering his wife can legally use the money from her life insurance policy to pay his defense attorney, KDVR reported. >> Read more trending news  Robert Feldman, 55, officially fired his public defender Monday and rehired a private attorney after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled last month he could use the funds he collected from Stacy Feldman's policy, according to The Denver Post. The court ruled the law firm was an independent third party that was given the money legally, even though the guardian of his two children argued they should receive the funds, the newspaper reported. Robert Feldman was charged with first-degree murder in February 2018 in connection with the strangulation death of Stacy Feldman in 2015, the Post reported. Stacy Feldman was found dead in the couple's shower, but prosecutors said Robert Feldman staged his wife's death to appear she had slipped and fallen, KDVR reported. After he was charged, Robert Feldman paid David Kaplan's law firm $550,000 to defend him, using money from his wife's $751,000 life insurance policy, the television station reported. The family of Stacy Feldman sued in Colorado Probate Court and won. According to court documents, the attorneys for the Feldmans' children argued that allowing Robert Feldman to use the policy money was a violation of Colorado's 'slayer statute,' the Post reported. The law prevents someone from feloniously killed another person from benefiting from their estate, the newspaper reported. The Probate Court ruled in favor of Robert Feldman's children and ordered the law firm to put the money into a court registry until the criminal trial ended, the Post reported. Robert Feldman appealed the decision and the Colorado Supreme Court reversed it, ruling Stacy Feldman's family acted too late to prevent her husband from using the money, KDVR reported. 'The Probate Court, according to the Supreme Court, can’t freeze the money already given to a third party. If Robert Feldman had the money in his account,' criminal defense attorney Dan Recht told the television station. 'Probate Court did have jurisdiction to freeze that money but it was already with the law firm. Kaplan was rehired as Robert Feldman's attorney Monday. Feldman will be arraigned in October, and a judge scheduled a trial to begin next April, KDVR reported.
  • Attorneys for Jeffrey Epstein have appealed a judge's decision last week to hold the wealthy financier and accused child predator in jail pending his trial on allegations of sex trafficking. >> Read more trending news  Epstein's attorneys filed a notice of appeal Monday after U.S. District Court Judge Richard Berman denied their client bail last week. In his decision, Berman cited the potential danger Epstein poses to others and the community. The appeal was made public Tuesday, according to Reuters. Prosecutors last week asked Berman to hold Epstein, 66, without bail, arguing that he is a flight risk and danger to the community. Attorneys for Epstein denied that their client posed a flight risk and asked Berman to allow Epstein to be held under house arrest at his Manhattan mansion. Epstein is accused of sexually exploiting and abusing dozens of girls between 2002 and 2005 at his homes in New York and Florida, allegedly heading a sex trafficking scheme that saw his victims recruiting other girls to be abused.  He has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy charges. Epstein avoided significant jail time and prosecution in 2008 after he was accused of molesting girls in Palm Beach County, Florida. As part of a plea deal reached with federal prosecutors in Florida, Epstein pleaded guilty to two lesser counts of soliciting a minor for prostitution and agreed to register as a sex offender. He served 13 months in jail as part of the deal.
  • A Florida woman suffered a minor injury Monday after she was hit by a train in Tampa, WFLA reported. >> Read more trending news  Police said Anna C. Jenkins, 34, was walking along the railroad tracks shortly after 9 p.m. and was wearing headphones, which prevented her from hearing the approaching train, the television station reported. The train conductor told police he blew the train's horn when he saw a woman on the tracks and tried to the stop, the Tampa Bay Times reported. The conductor said the train was traveling about 17 mph, the newspaper reported. Jenkins suffered a laceration on her forehead and was taken to an area hospital, WFLA reported. She was listed in stable condition.
  • A Louisiana police officer who suggested in a Facebook post that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, should be shot, and another officer who “liked” the post were both fired Monday. Gretna, Louisiana, police officer Charlie Rispoli posted an entry Friday on Facebook suggesting that Ocasio-Cortez “needs a round.” “This vile idiot needs a round........and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve.”Ocasio-Cortez was once a bartender in New York City. The story, first reported by Nola.com, included an image of the Facebook post that has since been deleted. Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson said at a press conference that Rispoli had been fired along with officer Angelo Varisco who “liked” Rispoli’s Facebook post. The post, Lawson said, reflected poorly on his department.  >> Read more trending news  “This incident, we feel, has been an embarrassment to our department,” Lawson said. “These officers have certainly acted in a manner which was unprofessional, alluding to a violent act be conducted against a sitting U.S. [congresswoman], a member of our government [and] we are not going to tolerate that.” The two officers were fired for violating the department’s social media policy, Lawson said. Rispoli had served in the department for 14 years while Varisco had been with the Gretna police for less than three years. It is unclear if Rispoli knew he was sharing and commenting on a post from a website that publishes satire on current events. Ocasio-Cortez responded to Rispoli’s firing on Twitter saying, “This is Trump’s goal when he uses targeted language & threatens elected officials who don’t agree w/ his political agenda. It’s authoritarian behavior. The President is sowing violence. He’s creating an environment where people can get hurt & he claims plausible deniability.” President Donald Trump has been feuding via Twitter with Ocasio-Cortez and three other Democratic U.S. congresswomen, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. The four women have been dubbed “The Squad.” On Monday, Trump tweeted, 'The 'Squad' is a very Racist group of troublemakers who are young, inexperienced, and not very smart. They are pulling the once great Democrat Party far left, and were against humanitarian aid at the Border...And are now against ICE and Homeland Security. So bad for our Country!