Wall or Shutdown?

Staff & Wire Reports

FILE - In this March 13, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a tour as he reviews border wall prototypes in San Diego. Trump said Sunday, July 29, 2018, that he would consider shutting down the government if Democrats refuse to vote for his immigration proposals, including building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

FILE - In this March 13, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a tour as he reviews border wall prototypes in San Diego. Trump said Sunday, July 29, 2018, that he would consider shutting down the government if Democrats refuse to vote for his immigration proposals, including building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)


Trump threatens government shut down over border security


Associated Press

Monday, July 30

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans anxious about keeping control of Congress think it’s a bad idea, but President Donald Trump still says he’s willing to close the government over border security issues, including money he wants to build a promised U.S.-Mexico border wall.

“I would be willing to ‘shut down’ government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall!” Trump tweeted Sunday. “Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc. and finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT!”

“We need great people coming into our Country!” Trump said.

Trump returned to the idea after a meeting at the White House last week with House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., where they were said to have agreed on the way forward on government funding for the budget year that starts Oct. 1.

McConnell told a radio interviewer last week that a shutdown so close to the Nov. 6 midterm elections won’t happen. McConnell acknowledged, however, that the border funding issue in particular was unlikely to be resolved before the balloting.

Ryan said on Capitol Hill after the meeting: “The president’s willing to be patient to make sure that we get what we need so that we can get that done.” He added that money for the wall was “not a question of if, it’s a question of when.”

The White House did not immediately respond to request for comment on what may have changed since the meeting.

Trump has pledged to campaign aggressively, starting after Labor Day, to help Republicans retain control of the House and Senate, but GOP lawmakers don’t appear to be rallying to his side on this not-so-new idea.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that it would be unhelpful to shut down the government just before elections “so let’s try and avoid it.”

Trump campaigned on the promise of building a wall to deter illegal immigration and making Mexico pay for it. Mexico has refused.

Trump has gotten some wall money from Congress, and likely will get more, though the total is short of the $25 billion he has requested.

He also wants changes to legal immigration, including scrapping a visa lottery program. In addition, Trump wants to end the practice of releasing immigrants caught entering the country illegally on the condition that they show up for court hearings, along with shifting the U.S. immigration system to one based more on individual merit and less on family ties. Democrats and some Republicans have objected to those proposals.

Both chambers will have a short window to act before government funding expires at midnight Sept. 30.

The House is in recess and won’t return until after Labor Day. The Senate will stay in session for most of August, except for a weeklong break scheduled to begin Aug. 6. McConnell canceled most of his chamber’s recess to give senators time to work on the annual spending bills.

Trump would be taking a political risk if he allows most government functions to lapse on Oct. 1 — the first day of the new budget year — roughly a month before the elections, when Republican control of both the House and Senate is at stake.

House Republicans released a spending bill this month that provides $5 billion next year to build Trump’s wall, a plan he supports.

Democrats have long opposed financing Trump’s wall but don’t have enough votes by themselves to block House approval of that amount, but they do have the strength to derail legislation in the closely divided Senate.

The $5 billion is well above the $1.6 billion in the Senate version of a bill funding the Department of Homeland Security. The higher amount matches what Trump has privately sought in conversations with Republican lawmakers, according to a GOP congressional aide who wasn’t authorized to publicly talk about private discussions and spoke on condition of anonymity.

At the White House meeting, Trump, Ryan and McConnell agreed that Congress is on track to enact more than half of federal spending before the new budget year begins Oct. 1, but that DHS funding, including the border wall money, doesn’t have to be settled before then, according to a person familiar with the meeting who was not authorized to discuss it publicly and insisted on condition of anonymity.

AP Congressional Correspondent Lisa Mascaro and Associated Press writer Alan Fram contributed to this report.

Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap


Let Me Tell You What Forced Separation Feels Like

Our country puts thousands upon thousands of U.S.-born kids behind bars, too. Mine was one of them.

By Nicole Braun | Jul 23, 2018

The recent images of immigrant children in cages are incredibly painful to digest.

Still, many people seem to forget that the U.S. has a long track record of forcibly separating families, whether it was African Americans during slavery, the Japanese during World War II, Native Americans during colonization, or poor children whose “unfit” single mothers have lost custody today.

Another common way families are forcibly separated? Juvenile detention.

Tens of thousands of teens and pre-teens — most often the poor and people of color — are locked up in substandard, often privatized penal facilities. Children who go through these forced family separations often wind up experiencing trauma, grief, shame, and dehumanization.

The sad reality is incarceration rates are on the rise alongside economic inequality, and children aren’t exempt. Quite often, the only crime these children have committed is that they’re from vulnerable families or suffering from mental health issues.

My son and I personally experienced this.

My son became severely depressed around the time he turned 13. I was a single mother teaching as an adjunct, making less than $20,000 a year, so the treatment he needed wasn’t available to us.

My son got into the criminal “justice” system for the initial petty crime of stealing a pair of sneakers, and he remained there for most of his high school years.

Like so many struggling kids, instead of getting the treatment he desperately needed, he was sent to subpar facilities that made his emotional pain worse. He received no real therapy, and they often refused to give him his required medication or messed it up.

He began to see himself as a number, as a terrible person. I saw myself the same way, because I knew how the court system saw me — as a poor single mother with no husband and a “criminal” son.

From the time he was 14 until he was 18, he was transferred to at least 10 different facilities. I often didn’t know where, because I wasn’t notified. Despite his chronic depression, he was also put in isolation a number of times — a tactic known to increase mental suffering among adult prisoners.

At one point, they put him into an adult jail in isolation for at least a month. He was 17 and had just been released from the psych ward that same day. During his once a week phone calls, I could hear the increasing desperation in his voice, as well as the screaming of other adult prisoners in the background.

As a parent, this experience was devastating and terrorizing. There’s no way to describe it. The trauma from that pain is still real now.

My son is older now, thankfully alive, and doing the hard work of putting his life back together. “Real therapy would have been so helpful,” he told me. “So much pain could have been spared.”

“It really desensitizes people all the way around,” he said of his experience. “It makes you value yourself less and others less, too, since other people see you as a nonhuman.”

No human should ever be treated this way. But while we are wounded, we are not broken.

Social movements are gaining momentum. For example, the immigrant rights movement is growing alongside the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign and other prison liberation movements.

Separating families due to incarceration, immigration status, mental health, and/or race and class is wrong. If the families impacted by incarceration and other traumas join together with advocates for immigrants, we can create a sea of social change.

As one of my students recently wrote, “There are more of us than them.”

Nicole Braun is an adjunct sociology professor in northern Michigan. Distributed by OtherWords.org.


Point: Weakening Anti-Poverty Programs Would Harm Millions, Threaten Progress

By Sharon Parrott


A new report from President Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers argues that U.S. anti-poverty programs have reduced poverty so dramatically that we should now take assistance like SNAP (previously food stamps), Medicaid, and rental assistance away from people who don’t work a certain number of hours each week.

Never mind that other proponents of cutting these programs used to advocate for cuts by arguing these programs had failed. Either way, weakening programs that have been central to our success in reducing poverty threatens to reverse our progress.

The Council of Economic Advisers is right that programs like Medicaid, SNAP, and rental assistance help tens of millions of low-income Americans make ends meet, though it significantly understates the number of individuals and families that still struggle to afford the basics. But, the proposals the council endorses would increase poverty and harm millions of vulnerable people, including children, low-wage workers, older people, and people with disabilities or serious health conditions.

Consider Medicaid. The administration has issued guidance that lets states, for the first time, require work or work-related activities as a condition of getting coverage. To date, the administration has approved such proposals in four states, although a federal court recently reversed the first approval, in Kentucky.

Taking Medicaid away from people who don’t meet a rigid work requirement will cause large numbers of people to lose their health coverage. In Kentucky alone, state officials estimate nearly 100,000 people will lose Medicaid due to the new work requirement and other policy changes.

That’s partly because many people with Medicaid work, but have low-wage jobs with few benefits, unsteady hours and high turnover. A working mother without sick leave could lose her job if she gets sick and misses work — and then could lose Medicaid when she needs it most. Also, these proposals define “disability” narrowly. Many people with disabilities or serious illnesses will fall through the cracks because they won’t qualify for an exemption or will struggle to overcome the red tape and paperwork to prove that they do.

A similar proposal in SNAP would have similar effects. The House-passed farm bill, which the administration supports, would take SNAP away from people who don’t meet a rigid work requirement. As with Medicaid, most working-age SNAP participants are workers, but often have unstable jobs with unsteady hours. When parents lose food assistance, they can’t afford to buy food for the household. This hurts children in the short term and, research indicates, it could have negative long-term health and education effects too.

Helping people who can work find decent-paying jobs is a worthy goal. But proposals that take away a person’s health coverage, food assistance or rental assistance won’t achieve it; in fact, lacking health coverage, enough food to eat, or a roof over one’s head could make it harder to work and succeed in today’s economy.

Moreover, these proposals shouldn’t be viewed in isolation — they are part of a larger effort to take help away from many who need it:

Many lawmakers have continued their efforts — backed by the administration — to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would eliminate the ACA’s extension of Medicaid coverage to millions of low-income adults and its subsidies that help moderate-income consumers afford health coverage in the individual market — replacing both with an inadequate block grant to states. Millions of people would lose health coverage as a result.

The president also proposed to slash SNAP by nearly 30 percent by eliminating benefits for at least 4 million people; reducing benefits for many more, including some people with disabilities and elderly people; and expanding a rigid time limit of just three months of benefits out of every three years for many adults not raising minor children unless they work 20 hours every week.

The president also proposed to at least triple rents — or raise them by even more — for the lowest-income households that receive federal rental assistance. That would put low-income working families and others at risk of eviction and homelessness, including nearly 1 million children.

All told, these proposals would leave millions of Americans — including many struggling working families, children, people with disabilities and serious health conditions, and older people — without vital health coverage, food assistance, a place to live, or some combination of the three.

These proposals are harsh enough on their own. They come just months after the president and Congress enacted a tax bill that will lavish tax cuts on wealthy individuals and most profitable corporations and widen the nation’s economic divide, reflecting the seriously misguided priorities at play.


Sharon Parrott is senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan, non-profit research and policy institute in Washington. She wrote this for InsideSources.com.

Counterpoint: The Myth of a GOP ‘War on the Poor’

By Brian Riedl


Has the Republican Party declared “war on the poor”?

That is the recent accusation from New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, adding that Republicans “are fanatical about cutting off aid to the less fortunate” because “they hate the idea of government helping anyone.”

Krugman is a brilliant international trade economist, which makes it so disappointing that his columns are known less for any economic insight than for their hyper-partisanship, personal attacks, vitriol, hyperbole, straw men and accusations of bad faith. He has even shown a repeated willingness to reverse his own policy positions and contradict his own academic work if it helps him savage the latest GOP policy.

Rather than slander an entire party and its voters, let’s actually examine the data on the GOP and welfare policy.

Since the Republicans’ historic 1995 takeover of Congress (beginning an era in which they have typically controlled the House and Senate), federal antipoverty spending has soared from $334 billion to $779 billion, adjusted for inflation. Put differently, since 1995 federal antipoverty spending has increased from 2.9 percent to 3.9 percent of GDP, which now dwarfs the spending levels under Democratic presidents Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

This burst of antipoverty spending was no accident. Since 1995, Republicans have played a key role in creating the Children’s Health Insurance Program (1997), creating and expanding the child tax credit (1997, 2001, 2017), and substantially expanding food stamps (2000-2002). In addition to this direct antipoverty spending, Republicans also created an expensive new Medicare drug benefit in 2003, repeatedly extended unemployment benefits during and after the recessions of 2001 and 2007-2009, and saved the Social Security Disability Insurance program from bankruptcy in 2015. Under Republican control, Washington spends more on poor families than ever before.

Krugman ignores this GOP-led expansion of the welfare system and instead attacks a couple Republican governors for not expanding Medicaid to higher-income families as aggressively as he would prefer. To be sure, the Affordable Care Act allows states to expand Medicaid to higher incomes with Washington (i.e., your federal taxes) paying 90 percent of the cost. Several Republican-led states have accepted the deal. Many other state Republicans are concerned — with justification — that escalating federal debt will eventually force Washington to cut this 90 percent federal reimbursement rate back to the typical 60 percent rate that prevails for the rest of Medicaid. This would dump large new costs on these Medicaid expansion states, many of which are already drowning in unfunded pensions and surging health care costs.

Either way, it is simply dishonest to call a refusal to expand a program to higher-income populations “fanatical(ly) cutting off aid.”

Krugman also attacks the Republican push to extend basic work requirements to more antipoverty programs. Yet he does not even speak for his own party, as a strong majority of both Democrats and Republicans support introducing modest work requirements into programs like Medicaid. Importantly, the work requirements would apply only to non-disabled, working-age adults who also have access to affordable childcare if needed.

And modest work requirements have already proven successful in raising incomes and reducing poverty. In 1996, the Republican Congress drafted ambitious welfare reform legislation to replace a New Deal-era welfare program called AFDC with a new program encouraging work and self-sufficiency, called TANF. When President Clinton reluctantly signed the bill, several top aides at the Department of Health and Human Services resigned in protest. Democratic senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York predicted “children sleeping on grates, picked up in the morning frozen,” while think tank allies warned that 2.6 million more people will fall into poverty.

These doomsday predictions turned out spectacularly wrong. Millions of welfare recipients moved into steady work and their earnings soared. This contributed to the caseloads of AFDC and its successor TANF falling from 13.4 million in 1995 to 3.8 million in 2017. The overall child poverty rate fell at the fastest rate in decades, while the poverty rate for African-American children quickly collapsed by one-quarter and remained below pre-1996 levels even through the Great Recession.

Overall, the 1996 Republican welfare reforms lifted millions out of poverty by promoting work and self-sufficiency — providing a successful model for today’s proposals.

Much more can be done to combat poverty. This will require the best ideas from both parties. Columnists like Paul Krugman poison this conversation when they choose demonization over data.


Brian Riedl is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.

Tickets for Disney’s ALADDIN

Performances Begin October 24 and Run for Two Weeks at the Ohio Theatre

Disney Theatrical Productions, Broadway in Columbus, and CAPA today announced that tickets for the long-awaited Columbus premiere of Disney’s Aladdin will go on sale to the public on Thursday, August 16, at 10 am. The hit Broadway musical will begin performances at the Ohio Theatre on Wednesday, October 24, for a limited engagement of two weeks through Sunday, November 4.

The performance schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, October 24, 7:30 pm

Thursday, October 25, 2 pm & 7:30 pm

Friday, October 26, 8 pm

Saturday, October 27, 2 pm & 8 pm

Sunday, October 28, 1 pm & 6:30 pm

Monday, October 29, 7:30 pm

Tuesday, October 30, 7:30 pm

Thursday, November 1, 7:30 pm

Friday, November 2, 8 pm

Saturday, November 3, 2 pm & 8 pm

Sunday, November 4, 1 pm & 6:30 pm

Tickets start at $34, and VIP ticket packages, which include a prime seat location, a commemorative souvenir program, and an exclusive merchandise item, are also available.

Beginning at 10am on Thursday, August 16, tickets can be purchased at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), all Ticketmaster outlets, and online at www.ticketmaster.com. To purchase by phone, please call (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000. Orders for groups of 20 or more may be placed by calling (614) 719-6900.

Ticket buyers are reminded that these are the only official retail ticket outlets for all performances at the Ohio Theatre. Ticket buyers should also be aware that any tickets purchased through a ticket broker or third party are not able to be reprinted or replaced in the event they are lost or stolen. In addition, tickets purchased from a ticket broker or third party do not enable the presenter to contact patrons with information in the event of a time change or other pertinent updates regarding the performance.

Aladdin opened on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre to critical acclaim on March 20, 2014, and quickly established itself as one of the biggest new blockbusters in recent years, breaking 13 New Amsterdam Theatre house records and welcoming more than seven million people worldwide. Its global footprint has expanded to include productions in Tokyo, Hamburg, London, and Australia, in addition to the two US productions.

About Aladdin

Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, under the direction of Thomas Schumacher, the show features music by Tony Award and eight-time Oscar® winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Sister Act), lyrics by two-time Oscar winner Howard Ashman (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid), three-time Tony Award and three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice (Evita, Aida), and four-time Tony Award nominee Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer), with a book by Beguelin, and is directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon).

Aladdin, adapted from the Academy Award®-winning animated Disney film and centuries-old folktales including “One Thousand and One Nights,” is brought to fresh theatrical life in this bold new musical. Aladdin’s journey sweeps audiences into an exotic world of daring adventure, classic comedy, and timeless romance. This new production features a full score, including the five cherished songs from the Academy Award-winning soundtrack and more written especially for the stage.

The animated film Aladdin was released by Disney in 1992, and was a critical and box office smash, becoming the highest-grossing film of the year.

The film won the Oscar for Best Original Score and introduced the hit song “A Whole New World,” which won the second of the film’s two Academy Awards as Best Original Song. The Peabo Bryson/Regina Belle recording of the tune soared to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Aladdin is designed by seven-time Tony-winning scenic designer Bob Crowley, six-time Tony-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz, two-time Tony-winning costume designer Gregg Barnes, and sound designer Ken Travis.

The production team also includes illusion designer Jim Steinmeyer, hair designer Josh Marquette, and makeup designer Milagros Medina-Cerdeira. The music team is headed by music supervisor and music director Michael Kosarin, who also created the vocal and incidental music arrangements, joined by orchestrator Danny Troob and dance music arranger Glen Kelly.

For more information, visit AladdinTheMusical.com/tour, Facebook.com/Aladdin, and Twitter.com/Aladdin.


CAPA and Broadway in Columbus present Disney’s ALADDIN

October 24-November 4

Ohio Theatre (39 E. State St.)

Discover a whole new world at Disney’s ALADDIN, the hit Broadway musical. From the producer of The Lion King comes the timeless story of Aladdin, a thrilling new production filled with unforgettable beauty, magic, comedy, and breathtaking spectacle. It’s an extraordinary theatrical event where one lamp and three wishes make the possibilities infinite. See why audiences and critics agree, ALADDIN is “Exactly What You Wish For!” (NBC-TV). Tickets start at $34 at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), all Ticketmaster outlets, and www.ticketmaster.com. To purchase tickets by phone, please call (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000. www.capa.com

The Ohio Arts Council helped fund this program with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, education excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. CAPA also appreciates the generous support of The National Endowment for the Arts, the Barbara B. Coons and Robert Bartels Funds of The Columbus Foundation, and the Greater Columbus Arts Council.

About CAPA

Owner/operator of downtown Columbus’ magnificent historic theatres (Ohio Theatre, Palace Theatre, Southern Theatre) and manager of the Riffe Center Theatre Complex, Lincoln Theatre, Drexel Theatre (Bexley, OH), Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts (New Albany, OH), and the Shubert Theater (New Haven, CT), CAPA is a non-profit, award-winning presenter of national and international performing arts and entertainment. For more information, visit www.capa.com.

About Broadway Across America

BROADWAY ACROSS AMERICA is part of The John Gore Organization family of companies, which includes Broadway.com and The Broadway Channel. Led by nine-time Tony-winning producer John Gore (Owner & CEO), BAA is the foremost presenter of first-class touring productions in North America, operating in 41 markets with over 270,000 subscribers. Current and past productions include Beautiful, Cats, Chicago, Dear Evan Hansen, Fiddler on the Roof, Finding Neverland, Million Dollar Quartet, Hairspray, On Your Feet!, School of Rock, and The Producers. Broadway.com is the premier theatre website for news, exclusive content, and ticket sales. For more information, please visit BroadwayAcrossAmerica.com and Broadway.com.

FILE – In this March 13, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a tour as he reviews border wall prototypes in San Diego. Trump said Sunday, July 29, 2018, that he would consider shutting down the government if Democrats refuse to vote for his immigration proposals, including building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/08/web1_121040443-02b0c59cb27149549d02bb3190883774.jpgFILE – In this March 13, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a tour as he reviews border wall prototypes in San Diego. Trump said Sunday, July 29, 2018, that he would consider shutting down the government if Democrats refuse to vote for his immigration proposals, including building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Staff & Wire Reports