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Florida Democrats ask Merrick Garland to intervene on state election proposals

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Val Demings led a letter signed by every Democrat in Florida’s congressional delegation.

Democrats in Florida’s congressional delegation want Attorney General Merrick Garland to protect Florida voters from suppression efforts.

U.S. Rep. Val Demings, an Orlando Democrat, led a letter co-signed by all 10 members of Florida’s House contingent raising fears Florida plans to step up efforts to suppress votes in minority communities. That effort could take place even as several incidents of fraud are being uncovered in conservative areas of the state.

“Floridians deserve safe, secure, and fair elections. The Voting Rights Act, renewed on a bipartisan basis for 50 years, empowered the Department of Justice to protect ordinary Floridians like my parents from discriminatory election meddling,” said Demings, who has filed to challenge U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio this year.

“But today partisans in the Senate are blocking these protections for Florida voters while politicians in Florida are working to strip legal voters of their rights, efforts which call back to the darkest points of Florida’s history of voter suppression. The Florida legislature began its 60-day session this week with plans to introduce extreme and unprecedented attacks on our right to vote. The federal government must act to protect Floridians’ civil rights. The Department of Justice must take action.”

The request to the Justice Department went out the same day the Democrat-controlled U.S. House passed the For the People Act (HR 1), which would impose federal election rules countering many Florida proposals. That legislation, however, appears dead in the U.S. Senate.

The letter then itemizes concerns about proposals under consideration by state lawmakers, who entered Legislative Session this week.

“Florida has seen a disturbing rise in partisan efforts at voter suppression. Proposed legislation would further criminalize standard ‘get out the vote’ practices, making it a criminal act to, for example, notify a homebound voter of his or her option to request a mail-in ballot,” the letter stated. “In addition, there is a shameful attempt to reduce the number of drop boxes, particularly in certain precincts, and finally, the imposition of new deadlines on election supervisors to ‘clean voting rolls,’ an all too familiar strategy to purge voters of color throughout the country.”

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis last November unrolled a legislative proposal including many of the actions listed in the letter. In addition to requiring a timeline for cleaning rolls of ineligible voters, he wants to prohibit the use of drop boxes for mail-in ballots.

Most controversially, he has proposed a law enforcement office focused on ‘election integrity.’

“I am excited that with this legislation, our state will be able to enforce election violations, combat voter fraud and make sure violators are held accountable,” DeSantis said in a statement unveiling his priorities. “If potential violators know they will be held accountable, they will be much less likely to engage in improper conduct in the first place.”

While Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson and Speaker Chris Sprowls haven’t fully endorsed the Governor’s proposal, legislation is expected to address several items on DeSantis’ wish list, including ballot harvesting. While lawmakers have shown some hesitancy about a $5.7-million budget requirement for the dedicated law enforcement arm, the presiding officers in both chambers of the GOP-controlled state Legislature nodded to concerns about fraud.

“I think that in our case, Floridians — but Americans — should be very proud of the way our elections are run,” Simpson said. He also said, however, “There should not be the hesitancy in the notion there is fraud in our election process.”

Added Sprowls: “The Governor’s concerned that there’s not that level of sophistication out there of people who are working these kinds of cases. We’re going to look at it, we’ll evaluate it and see what happens.”

The letter from Democratic members of Congress notes many of the actions proposed would have been subject to pre-clearance before a 2013 Supreme Court ruling effectively gutted that practice, which had been implemented by the Voting Rights Act.

Demings, who is Black, cited the story of her own family to illustrate the importance of preserving every American’s right to vote.

“My parents, a maid and a janitor, knew that in the ballot box their vote counted the same as the President of the United States,” she said. “They always voted because they knew it was their chance to make their voices heard. But throughout Florida’s history, partisan politicians have tried to take away the voices of voters like my parents. To ensure liberty and justice for all, we must have fair election rules and nonpartisan investigations when wrongdoing occurs.”

The letter expressed concern about politicization of so-called voting integrity investigations. It noted a recent run of cases that surfaced in Florida. “While voter suppression efforts are ongoing, we are also extremely concerned that investigations into voting integrity are being politicized,” the letter reads.

It cited recent arrests of four residents in Sumter County for voting in Florida and another state, a Lake County woman sending in false voter registration applications, and two Duval men sending in fake voter registration forms. It also noted a case of a Miami-Dade resident’s voter registration unknowingly being changed from Democrat to Republican.

“Let’s be clear: the crimes described above are examples of the system working because these individuals were caught and held accountable. These criminal acts were identified through the diligent work of local election officials with strong records of efficient, transparent, and lawful election facilitation,” the letter stated.

But the rush of cases, most of which appear to involve Republicans illegally influencing Florida’s elections and rolls, may be used as pretense for laws that target minority (and Democrat-leaning) communities, Demings argued.

“Unfortunately, state officials in Florida are instead working to politicize our elections, blur existing lines of authority, and hamper the ability of local election officials to properly administer elections. Harmful proposals to create new partisan bodies to oversee our voting process are exactly the kind of action that demand oversight as we work to ensure that our voting process is unquestionably trustworthy,” the letter stated.

“We believe that there must be a complete and thorough investigation by the Department of Justice to identify and stop any other patterns of voter suppression that threaten the integrity of our electoral process in the state of Florida. Our republic depends on the integrity of our electoral process and every American deserves to know that, regardless of election outcomes, the process was free and fair.”

FL Delegation Letter to DOJ by Jacob Ogles on Scribd


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Hollywood Producer Ryan Kavanaugh Fleeing L.A. over Crime, Homelessness, High Taxes: ‘It’s Not the Pandemic, It’s Policy’

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Hollywood producer Ryan Kavanaugh is fleeing Los Angeles, California, amid rising crime, homelessness, and higher taxes. Flight from the Democrat-run city is trending as “a growing chorus of Hollywood executives are talking about leaving the city,” one entertainment industry insider told The Wrap.

Ryan Kavanaugh, American film financier and founder and CEO of the video-sharing app Triller — who grew up in Los Angeles and has called it home for 47 years — is now getting ready to pick up and move his family and business headquarters to Florida.

Kavanaugh — who’s backed over 200 films, including Limitless, Hancock, Mamma Mia!, and The Social Network — told TheWrap that the main reason why he’s looking to flee L.A. is due to the city’s rising crime, homelessness, and California’s anti-business policies.

“I grew up here, I grew up in Brentwood, and I was allowed to be on the streets,” he said. “I would never let my kids walk (alone) in Brentwood — how many times do you have to be out in Los Angeles and see feces in the streets before you just don’t want to be here anymore?”

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – (David McNew/Getty Images)

A LAPD police officer stands at the corner of Fairfax Avenue and Sunset Boulevard where a body covered in a white sheet lies on the pavement in Los Angeles. (VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

Kavanaugh added that he doesn’t blame the Chinese coronavirus pandemic for what he sees transpiring throughout L.A., bur rather, city and state government regulations that he says have made it more difficult to prosecute criminals, and local leaders who have failed to address a homelessness crisis.

“It’s not the pandemic, it’s policy,” he said.

(Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Relativity Studios/AP Images)

Moreover, the murder of Jacqueline Avant — wife of famed music executive Clarence Avant and mother-in-law of Netflix’s Ted Sarandos — who was killed by an intruder in her Beverly Hills home last month, is contributing to a feeling of insecurity as crime hits closer to home for the elite, experts told The Wrap.

“A new tipping point emerged late last year with the murder of philanthropist Jacqueline Avant in her Beverly Hills home,” Gene Del Vecchio, adjunct professor of marketing at USC’s Marshall School of Business, said.

“It so shocked the protected community that even the liberal Beverly Hills city council voted to recall the liberal Los Angeles district attorney George Gascón,” Del Vecchio added. “When crime hits home, it becomes personal, and people act by either fighting, as with the Gascón recall, or by leaving.”

And Kavanaugh is not the only one among Hollywood’s wealthy residents who have recently decided to leave the city.

Veteran network TV executive Ted Harbert — most recently chairman of NBC Broadcasting — not only fled Los Angeles, but the United States altogether, telling The Wrap that he has moved to Portugal, where he is building a house because, “#americatoocrazy.”

UFC commentator and podcaster Joe Rogan also moved from California to Texas last year.

California has seen a surge in homicides in recent years as the state continues to buckle under high crime that has been allowed to fester under Democrat rule. In 2020, the state saw 2,202 homicides, up a colossal 31 percent from 2019, making it the deadliest year in the state since 2007, according to the California Department of Justice.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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EXCLUSIVE: Syrian, Russian Migrants Apprehended at West Texas Border

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EAGLE PASS, Texas — Border Patrol agents arrested two significant interest aliens at one of the busiest migrant crossing points on the southwest border Wednesday, along with hundreds of mostly Central and South American family units.

According to a source within Customs and Border Protection, the Syrian and Russian migrants are single adult males and their purpose for entering is still under investigation. The source says the Syrian adds to the nearly 50 special interest aliens apprehended in the area since October 2021.

Although not a country on the Department of Homeland Security’s list of special interest countries, Russia is designated as a Country of Particular Concern by the Department of State. Under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998,  the President is required to annually review the status of religious freedom in every country and designate those engaged in or tolerating “particularly severe violations of religious freedom.”

The law defines particularly severe violations as “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom,” including violations such as: torture, prolonged detention without charges, forced disappearance, or other flagrant denial of life, liberty, or security of persons.

Russia was designated by the State Department in November 2021. The source says the increase in apprehension of Special Interest Aliens (SIA) and those from CPC countries is cause for concern. The intent of such migrants, according to the source, is more difficult to determine than those who enter for mostly economic reasons.

The designation of SIA is related to the travel pattern and conditions within the home country, rather than specific threats. According to DHS, the designation of SIA is different than the designation of an individual migrant known or suspected of terrorism. The terms “Special Interest Alien” and “Known or Suspected Terrorist” (KST) are not interchangeable.

This fiscal year, the source says migrants from Eritrea, Uzbekistan, Iran, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Syria, and Russia have been encountered crossing the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass. The source says the migrants within this grouping usually attempt to elude apprehension as the Border Patrol contends with processing, transportation, and caring for nearly a thousand migrants who chose to surrender daily within the sector.

As reported by Breitbart Texas, the Del Rio Sector has led the eight other southwest sectors in migrant apprehensions in January.

Until recently, the Rio Grande Valley Sector held the top position in migrant apprehensions since 2013.

Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol.  Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.

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Poll: Just 33.7 Percent of Georgians Approve of Joe Biden 

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Just 33.7 percent of Georgians approved of Joe Biden, a Thursday Atlanta Journal-Constitution/University poll revealed.

As 33.7 percent approved and 61.5 percent disapproved of Biden, in May, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll showed Biden with a 51 percent approval rating among Georgians, a 17.3 drop in eight months.

In 2020, Biden won the state of Georgia by less than one percent or 12,670 votes.

Broken down demographically, only 28 percent of men approved of Biden, and 66 percent disapproved. Among women, 38 percent approved, while 58 percent disapproved.

(AJC – Georgia) Do you approve/disapprove of Biden?

Overall: 34/62

Men: 28/66

Women: 38/58

White: 20/76

Black: 59/36

Other: 33/51

18-29 yrs old: 36/56

65+ yrs old: 40/57

GOP: 2/96

Dems: 74/21

Indies: 33/60

— Ryan James Girdusky (@RyanGirdusky) January 27, 2022

Black individuals also gave Biden poor marks.

Just 59 percent approved of Biden and 36 percent disapproved. Only eight percent of black voters in May disapproved of Biden, a 28 point increase. Historically, Democrat presidents after Lyndon Johnson have polled significantly better.

Among independents, 33 percent approved of Biden. Sixty percent disapproved.

Georgians’ opinion of Biden is similar to nationwide polling. In mid-January, Biden’s overall approval rating was pegged at 33 percent, while 53 percent disapproved.

President Joe Biden speaks to a crowd at the Atlanta University Center Consortium, part of both Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University on January 11, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Megan Varner/Getty Images)

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution/University poll, a majority of Georgians also believe Biden’s 40 year high inflation and sagging economy are issues resulting from “government policies and won’t change until we change the political leadership.”

Biden’s term ends in 2024 and has stated he intends to campaign for reelection.

The polling for Biden comes as radical activist and failed gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams did not attend Biden’s visit to Georgia in January due to a “scheduling mix up.”

According to a new AJC poll, only 33.7% of Georgians approve of Biden while 61.5% disapprove.

No wonder Stacey Abrams had a “scheduling mix up” when Biden went to Atlanta.

— Tommy Pigott (@TommyPigott) January 27, 2022

When Biden was asked if he was insulted by Abrams’ absence, Biden told reporters he was “insulted that you asked the question.”

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter and Gettr @WendellHusebø

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