BESS LEVIN @ VANITY FAIR: CORPORATE AMERICA HELPED DIVVY UP THE SPOILS AFTER TRUMP & THE GOP LOOTED OUR TREASURY – THEY APPROPRIATED MOST OF THE LUCRE, LEAVING MERE CRUMBS FOR WORKERS – BUT, WHEN THEIR “USEFUL IDIOT” TURNED HIS IDOCY ON “DREAMERS,” THEREBY THREATENING OUR ECONOMIC WELL-BEING, THEY WERE VERY UNHAPPY!

Bess writes:

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT TWO STORIES FROM THAT “GREAT ERA OF AMERICA” THAT TRUMP, SESSIONS, MILLER, COTTON, AND THEIR WHITE NATIONALIST PALS LOVE SO MUCH – When White Men Were Supreme, The Law Was There To Keep African Americans in Their Place, Blacks Who Stood Up For Their Rights Were Murdered By The White Police, And Latinos & Women Were “Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind!”

From “John Kelly’s Washington” in the Washington Post:

Stuck on a shelf or locked in a safe, D.C.’s ‘Lost Laws’ still packed a punch

 
Before the Supreme Court upheld the District’s “Lost Laws” in 1953, activists such as Mary Church Terrell (center) picketed in front of segregated restaurants.

Columnist February 14

Martin Luther King Jr. said “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

He could have added: “eventually, and after plenty of detours.”

In 1872 and 1873, two laws were passed in Washington that forbade racial discrimination in the city’s restaurants. Then, somehow, the laws vanished.

Just imagine the reaction when they were “rediscovered” in the 1940s. It must have been as if someone had opened a vault sealed when Ulysses Grant was president and found an airplane inside, a television, penicillin … .

Could Washingtonians from 70 years ago really have been so advanced? What had happened to those people?

What amazed me when I looked into the events of the 1870s and 1880s was how similar things were to the Jim Crow era. Restaurateurs used some of the same excuses for refusing to serve African Americans: Black customers were “boisterous,” white patrons would stay away, the government shouldn’t meddle.

To fight discrimination, black activists used methods that are familiar to us now. Lawyer E.M. Hewlett deliberately visited restaurants to see if he would be served. Hewlett looked to see if owners had posted price lists, as required by law to prevent black customers from being gouged. When he spotted a violation, he took the establishment to court.

In the end, none of it did any good. Why?

“During Reconstruction, D.C. was really on the leading edge of racial change in America,” said Chris Myers Asch, co-author, with George Derek Musgrove, of “Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation’s Capital.”

Said Asch: “D.C. was a very progressive city. You had remarkable progress being made toward racial equality in a very brief space of time. Black men in D.C. were the first black men in the country to be granted the right to vote after the Civil War.”

Such efforts, Asch said, were a priority for radical Republicans in Congress.

“The backlash from white conservatives is really substantial,” Asch said. “First you eliminate self government all together in 1874. Then you slowly roll back those Reconstruction-era gains. This is part of a regionwide effort to enforce white supremacy. By 1901, when city commissioners decide to compile the D.C. Code, they simply don’t include those Reconstruction-era statutes.”

They didn’t include them, but they didn’t repeal them. The Lost Laws were not dead. They were like a long-dormant seed, ready to spring to life after a refreshing rain.

I don’t know who found them. Asch thinks it was A. Mercer Daniel, who oversaw the library at Howard University’s law school. They gained fame in 1948 with the publication of “Segregation in Washington,” a scathing report that mentioned the laws.

Civil rights activists wondered: Could the laws be used to fight segregation?

Annie Stein, a white woman from Southwest D.C. who was a member of the Progressive Party, invited Mary Church Terrell to chair the Coordinating Committee for the Enforcement of the D.C. Anti-Discrimination Laws of 1872 and 1873. When Terrell, the octogenarian co-founder of the NAACP, was denied service at a downtown cafeteria called Thompson’s in 1950, it set the stage for a test case.

District of Columbia vs. John R. Thompson Co. went first to the old Municipal Court, where Judge Frank Myers ruled that the Lost Laws had “been repealed by implication” and, thus, could no longer be enforced.

Terrell and company appealed. In May of 1951, the Municipal Court of Appeals ruled 2-to-1 that the anti-bias laws were still valid. Among the points raised by Judge Nathan Cayton was that another so-called lost law had been enforced in 1908, even though it, too, had been omitted from the 1901 D.C. Code.

It was an animal cruelty law. Animals, it seemed, had more rights than black Washingtonians.

The game of legal ping-pong continued. The next stop was the U.S. Court of Appeals. In a 5-to-4 decision, it ruled that the laws of 1872 and 1873 could not be enforced.

One judge, Barrett Prettyman, wrote the statutes were “neither mentioned again nor enforced for a period of 75 years.” Thus the laws “must be deemed by the courts to have been abandoned.”

If you’ve been reading my columns this week, you know that wasn’t true. African Americans did mention them and did try to get them enforced.

In April of 1953, the case finally reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Chester H. Gray of the District’s corporation counsel’s office asked the court not to blame his staff. They hadn’t known of the laws until someone found them in the corporation counsel’s safe.

“You mean you have to go to a locked safe to find laws of the District of Columbia?” Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson joked.

In June, the court ruled unanimously that the laws were still in effect. Laws passed by long-dead Washingtonians had helped their descendants.

Five days after the Supreme Court ruling, Terrell went to eat at Thompson’s with the mixed-race group who had been denied a meal three years earlier. They were treated, Terrell said, with courtesy.”

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Sound all too familiar? It should! The claptrap coming from yesterday’s racists is pretty much the same as the garbage coming out of the mouths of some GOP pols these days. Here’s my “rewrite” of a paragraph of Kelly’s account in “today’s context.”

The backlash from Sessions, Bannon, Kobach, Miller and their White Nationalist pals to the diversification of America and growing political power of African-Americans, Hispanics and other non-Whites was substantial. First, they used gerrymandering and intentional mis-constructions of Civil Rights and Voting Rights statutes intended to protect minorities to instead suppress and minimize the minority vote. This is part to a nationwide effort by the far right to restore White Supremacy and prevent African-Americans and Hispanics from eventually obtaining political power commensurate with their demographics and overwhelming contributions to America. Then, when supposedly in charge of administering the laws equally, they simply refuse to recognize the rights of African-Americans to be free from police violence and the rights of Hispanics and asylum seekers in the United States to be treated with respect and dignity and to be given full Due Process under our Constitution. They even invent false narratives, bogus statistics, and demonize hard-working law-abiding citizens, residents, and great and deserving young people known as “Dreamers” in a desperate effort to restore exclusive White (preferably “pseudo-Christian”) power. To add insult to injury, they carry out this anti-American, anti-Constitutional campaign under the boldly false rubric of “Restoring the Rule of Law.”

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Now let’s move over to the Post’s Sports Section. Here’s an account of what happened to courageous African-American athletes who stood up for their rights and the rights of others during the “glory days” of White Supremacy that Trump, Sessions, & Co. so cherish and honor.

Remembering the Orangeburg massacre, and the athlete-activists who took a stand 


Two black demonstrators killed in the Orangeburg Massacre lie on the ground at the edge of South Carolina State College in Orangeburg, S.C., on Feb. 8, 1968. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
February 13

Robert Lee Davis found himself lying in blood next to his teammate Sam Hammond. At least one bullet had struck Davis in the back. Another went in Hammond’s neck.

Davis recalled in an oral history that Hammond, a running back at South Carolina State, asked him, “Do you think I’m going to live?” Davis, a linebacker, said he answered, “Sam, you are going to be all right, buddy.”

Hammond was the first of three young black men to die that night 50 years ago in Orangeburg, S.C. Davis was one of several football players at historically black South Carolina State to survive a hail of police fire with injuries.

What brought them together that Feb. 8, 1968, evening was not a team meeting or the training table. Instead, it was a call to confront a wrong, an affront, an act of overt racial discrimination in Orangeburg at a bowling alley that refused would-be black bowlers just like the state was denying black citizens their human rights.

As a result, Davis and Hammond became athlete-activists long before we created the suddenly ubiquitous, if not trite, alliterative phrase these days to describe football and basketball players, almost all of color, who have, by comparison, merely sported sloganeering T-shirts, or employed histrionics, to demonstrate against racial injustice.

It is a noble and laudable effort, of course. But what we’ve come to champion of athletes today pales juxtaposed to what so many did in the cauldron of the late ’60s civil rights movement. Davis and Hammond, for example, dared to physically confront the very embodiment of the South’s recalcitrant racists — scores of carbine rifle-toting, all-white state troopers — for which Hammond forfeited not just his career but his life.

They were among at least 30 victims of what became known as the Orangeburg massacre.

I was reminded of it three years ago as a presenter at the annual Media and Civil Rights symposium at the University of South Carolina. It included a mesmerizing panel featuring a demonstrator that night, civil rights icon and scholar Cleveland Sellers, and a reporter who became legendary for his fearless coverage of the massacre and other civil rights movement era violence, Jack Bass. With Jack Nelson, awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the civil rights movement, Bass authored “The Orangeburg Massacre” in 1970.

And I took note that the panelists, particularly Oliver Francis, a one-time baseball player at Voorhees, another historically black South Carolina college, pointed out that black male athletes in particular stepped to the fore in Orangeburg’s deadly confrontation with white supremacy, and in others. Francis wound up convicted and sentenced to prison for 18 to 24 months as an organizer in an armed black student takeover in 1969 of the Voorhees administration building.

It all reminded that black athletes played not just pivotal roles in the civil rights movement, like the muscle North Carolina A&T football players provided for their classmates engaged in sit-ins to desegregate the Greensboro, N.C., Woolworth’s lunch counter. Or in Rock Hill, S.C., where 10 black Friendship College students were detained by police for trying to desegregate a town lunch counter in 1961 but became known as the Rock Hill Nine after one among them wasn’t booked so he could maintain his athletic scholarship. Chicago Bears running back Willie Galimore was the test black registrant at the Ponce de Leon Motor Lodge in St. Augustine, Fla., that became a flash point for desegregation fights in 1964.

And as was evidenced in Orangeburg, black athletes sometimes were even in the vanguard of protests. Samuel Freedman underscored as much in recounting the Orangeburg massacre in his 2014 book, “Breaking the Line: The Season in Black College Football That Transformed the Sport and Changed the Course of Civil Rights.”

Freedman wrote: “Shortly after the 1967 football season ended, many of the politically engaged members of the South Carolina State team joined in protests against a segregated bowling alley near the campus in Orangeburg.” On Feb. 6, 1968, Freedman reported, Davis and several of his teammates went on their own to the bowling alley and not only were denied admittance but were threatened with arrest by city police for disturbing the peace. Other students eventually joined the football players, objected to the police threats and wound up defending themselves from swinging billy clubs.

Two nights later, Freedman stated, “an all-white force of state troopers opened fire on the student demonstrators, killing three and wounding twenty-eight. Among the dead was one football player . . . Hammond. Several other players were injured by gunfire, one of them temporarily paralyzed.”

Davis was that temporarily paralyzed victim.

The student survivors of the massacre refused, however, to be deterred and allow the killings of Hammond, fellow student Henry Smith and high school football player Delano Middleton to be in vain. They organized a march from campus to the state capital 42 miles away to demand justice. Athletes decided to lead the march by running the distance.

“The four young men who approached me about the run were all track and field distance runners,” Willis Ham, a South Carolina State baseball player at the time, told the (Orangeburg, S.C.) Times and Democrat five years ago. “Three of the young men were not of American descent, and they simply wanted to express their disgust for the way Americans ‘treat their own,’ with the one tool that they had to their credit [the ability to run].

“We wanted our fellow students to know how deeply we felt about their determination to go to Columbia [S.C.], and express to state officials how they really felt about the lack of support in the days leading to the massacre.”

“It gave us a chance to say that our spirits and drive for freedom from depression would never be destroyed,” Ham explained.

The white troopers who fired on the students were exonerated in a trial a year later. The lone conviction from the incident was of Sellers for incitement. He spent seven months in prison. He was pardoned in 1993.

But what Hammond, the football player, first fell for is forever remembered on South Carolina State’s campus. Its basketball arena that opened that fateful day, Feb. 8, 1968, was renamed the Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center.

Kevin B. Blackistone, ESPN panelist and visiting professor at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, writes sports commentary for The Post.”

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We should all be appalled that in the 21st Century, folks like Trump, Sessions, Miller, Cotton, and others who think that it’s “OK” and “permissible” to whip up false anti-Hispanic fervor with bogus narratives about rampant crime, imaginary “stolen” jobs, and phantom “adverse effects” of legal immigration have weaseled their way into positions of national power and prominence.

They seek to take America backwards to a bygone era of racial injustice and manufactured hate. Don’t let them get away with it! Ballot boxes were made to “retire” the Trumps, Sessions, and Cottons of the world and send them off to try to make an honest living.

PWS

02-16-18

CRIME/NATIONAL SECURITY/TRUMP: “NO DOUBTER” – ANYONE WHO THINKS THAT VALDI PUTIN DIDN’T HELP ELECT TRUMP IS BADLY MISTAKEN – Just Read Mueller’s Latest Indictment! – I’ve Got It for You!

 

Russian Indictment

 

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So, now you know why:

  • Trump fears the truth;
  • Sessions runs around the country trashing Dreamers, asylum seekers, lawyers, empowering MS-13, and promoting his White Nationalist agenda while not lifting a finger to prevent Russian meddling in our elections;
  • DHS is headed by a lightweight sycophant who is more concerned about deporting gardeners and maids and “kissing up” to Trump’s racist agenda than about protecting our country from the active threat by Russia;
  • We’re standing by and letting Russia run all over us on the world stage;
  • Vladi is just delighted with the performance of his “Puppet President,” “Agent Devon,” and a host of GOP “Fellow Travelers;”
  • Trump and his cohorts are out to destroy the career civil service because career civil servants owe allegiance to our Constitution rather than to Trump and his corrupt minions.

Wake up, folks, and vote the GOP out of office, on all levels, before it’s too late for America!

PWS

02-15-18

MEET THE GOOD GUYS: NOVA SUPERSTAR IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY AVA BENACH HELPS “DREAMER TYPES” & THEY HELP AMERICA – THIS IS THE WAY THE SYSTEM CAN WORK WHEN YOU GET BEYOND THE WHITE NATIONALIST XENOPHOBIA OF TRUMP, SESSIONS, & MILLER & WHEN GREAT LAWYERS GET INVOLVED!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/she-was-almost-deported-as-a-teen-now-she-helps-frightened-versions-of-herself/2018/02/15/b39969a8-1245-11e8-9065-e55346f6de81_story.html

Petula Dvorak writes in the Washington Post:

“She was almost deported as a teen. Now she helps frightened versions of herself.


Liana Montecinos is a senior paralegal at Benach Collopy in Washington. She was 17 and about to be deported when lawyer Ava Benach helped her win asylum. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)

Columnist February 15 at 3:39 PM

On many days in the shiny, sleek law office — in her sharp suit and sweeping view of Washington — she revisits all the horrors most people would want to forget:

The drunk men bursting into her tiny, adobe home at night, terrorizing the 15 children who lived there.

The walk across three countries, fearing for her life the entire way.

The months of eating nothing but beans and rice.

These are the same stories Liana Montecinos hears just about every time the 29-year-old paralegal sits down with a client.

Ava Benach, from left, Satsita Muradova and Liana Montecinos chat at their law office. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)

She doesn’t have to go there. She’s an American citizen and a third-year law student with a great future in front of her. But instead of going into something lucrative — corporate law, for example — she’s sticking with the law firm that helped her get political asylum.

“Being an immigrant and serving immigrants, it’s a very special connection,” Montecinos said.

And by doing that, she spends her days with frightened versions of herself.

I wanted to tell Montecinos’s story as Congress grapples with the fate of 1.8 million “dreamers,” the undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country as children. They face deportation under President Trump unless Congress can find a way to reinstate the protection they were given by President Barack Obama.

Montecinos was brought across the border by a relative in 1999, when she was 11 years old, after walking — yes, actually walking — from Honduras, across Guatemala, then across Mexico, crossing the Rio Grande into the United States.

She joined her mother in Northern Virginia — they had been separated since she was an infant and she had been raised by her grandmother — and her life was transformed.

She played volleyball and basketball in her Falls Church high school. She was a cheerleader and soccer player. She took Advanced Placement classes.

But no matter how well she was doing in school and no matter how faint her accent became, she knew it could all fall apart any second.

And it nearly did when she was 17 and applied for legal status. Instead, the government began removal proceedings. She was going to be deported.

But it didn’t stop her from graduating from high school and enrolling at George Mason University, where she received a scholarship to cover the triple-tuition she had to pay as an undocumented student.

The scholarship’s donor — Helen Ackerman — introduced Montecinos to D.C. immigration attorney Ava Benach, who took on her complex case. What followed was a 10-year struggle.

“I met Liana when she was 17 years old,” Benach said. “And I knew she was special. She was out there, trying to figure out her own immigration status. I felt a very parental desire to help her.”

So they took on the case together, with Montecinos never giving up.

“I’d be doing an all-nighter, knowing I had a hearing the next day and the judge could send me away and it would all be for nothing,” she said.

But she kept studying, striving and working. You know how folks are always saying “Why don’t they just get legal?” It’s not that easy.

It took 10 years of hearings and arguments to convince a judge that she faced threats and violence in Honduras, in that tiny, adobe house, and that her hard work in school, model citizenship and potential were enough to grant her a place in American society.

Asylum is granted only to someone who faces persecution in their home country. And that persecution has to be for one of five reasons: your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or your political opinion.

“It has to fit in one of five boxes,” Benach said. And her life’s work is helping her frightened clients qualify.

Montecinos was granted asylum and citizenship on June 29, 2016.

“For many, becoming a U.S. citizen is the last part of the process,” Montecinos wrote on her Facebook page that day. “For others, like myself, it is the beginning to end 16 plus years of uncertainty and of fear of a forceful return to imminent harm.”

She called herself “extremely blessed and thankful for such a privilege, which is denied to many,” she said. “This path, however, was not easy. It was not short. It was not cheap.”

She is in her third year of law school at the University of the District of Columbia, where she received a Student Humanitarian and Civic Engagement award on Thursday.

In her spare time, you see, she runs a nonprofit group she founded, United for Social Justice, which helps low-income, first-generation Americans get access to higher education. Oh, and she coaches and plays on a bunch of soccer teams.

When she meets with the undocumented children who are like her, the ones she is fighting for, it reminds her of her struggle.

Though her own story is horrible — think of being 11 and scared, hiding your face with blankets as you cross strange villages where people are yelling “pollos mojados” (wet chickens) at you, not knowing where you’re going — her clients recount even more heart-stopping stories.

She hears from children who were kidnapped, who rode for days on top of speeding trains, afraid to fall asleep because they’d fall off, from a little girl who was gang-raped in front of her father.”

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Ava has a “Major League” legal mind to go with a “heart of gold!” She and her colleagues from her firm appeared on many occasions before me at the Arlington Immigration Court.

This article aptly illustrates one of the points I often make.  Asylum law has intentionally been “jacked” against Central Americans by a non-independent BIA working under pressure from politicos to limit protections to large groups. Nevertheless, with a good lawyer (e.g., one who isn’t afraid to argue the BIA’s — often otherwise ignored — favorable precedents back to them and to take wrong BIA denials to the Court of Appeals if necessary), resources to build and document a case, and persistence, most of the “Dreamers” probably could win some type of relief in Immigration Court if not at the Asylum Office or elsewhere at USCIS.

But, what rational reason could there be for forcing folks like Liana Montecinos who are already here, part of our society, and just want to become taxpaying citizens and REALLY “Make America Great” (not to be confused with the disingenuous racist slogan of Trump and his White Nationalist “base”) go through such a laborious process? And what possible rationale could there be for wasting the time of an already overburdened Immigration Court system with cases of individuals who clearly should be welcomed and accepted into American society without being placed in “Removal Proceedings?” Also, what would be the rationale for trying to artificially “speed up” complex cases like Liana’s and trying to make life difficult for talented lawyers like Ava?

The answer is clear: there is NO rationale for the “Gonzo” Immigration enforcement and “designed chaos and attack on Due Process in Immigration Court” that Trump, Miller, Sessions, Nielsen, Tom Homan and their ilk are trying to ram down our throats. Sessions is the problem for justice in our Immigration Courts; lawyers like Ava are a key part of the solution! Clearly, the U.S. Immigration Courts are too important to our system of justice to be left in the clutches of a biased, “enforcement only,” White Nationalist, xenophobic opponent of individual due process like Jeff Sessions! American needs an independent Article I U.S. Immigration Court! Harm to the least and most vulnerable among us is harm to all!

The good news is that folks like Ava and her fellow “Generals” of the “New Due Process Army” are out there to fight Trump, Sessions & Company and their White Nationalist, anti-American actions every step of the way and to vindicate the Constitutional and legal rights of great American migrants like Liliana and millions of others similarly situated. They are “American’s future!” Trump, Sessions, Miller, et al., are the ugly past of America that all decent Americans should be committed to “putting in the rear-view mirror” where the “Trumpsters” live and belong! And, it won’t be long before Liliana becomes an attorney and a “full-fledged member” of the “New Due Process Army!”

Go Ava! Go Liliana! Due Process Forever! 

PWS

02-16-18

 

SENATORS REACH BIPARTISAN AGREEMENT, BUT TRUMP APPEARS TO HAVE KILLED ANY REALISTIC CHANCE OF DREAMER LEGISLATION FOR THE FORSEEABLE FUTURE – DREAMERS FUTURE LIKELY TO BE LEFT IN HANDS OF COURTS, LAWYERS, & THEIR OWN SURVIVAL SKILLS! – Tal Kopan & Daniella Diaz Report for CNN!

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/15/politics/immigration-bipartisan-plan-congress-daca/index.html

 

“Washington (CNN)A group of bipartisan senators struck a deal on an immigration compromise, but it’s unclear whether it will garner the 60 votes it needs to advance the legislation in the Senate.

The bill would offer nearly 2 million young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children before 2012 a path to citizenship over 10 to 12 years.
The plan would also place $25 billion in a guarded trust for border security, would cut a small number of green cards each year for adult children current US green card holders, and would prevent parents from being sponsored for citizenship by their US citizen children if the children gained citizenship through the pathway created in the bill or if the parents brought the children to the US illegally.
Even with the fanfare of its release, the prospects of the bipartisan bill, with the lead sponsors being Sens. Mike Rounds, R-South Dakota, and Angus King, I-Maine, looked dim on Thursday.
To get 60 votes, the bill would need all 49 Democratic votes and 11 Republicans — plus more Republicans for any Democratic defections.
At its release, the bill had eight Republican co-sponsors, but among the small handful of remaining Republicans who had voted for immigration reform compromises in the past, some were already skeptical on the bill or outright no votes.
Democrats on the left were still reviewing the bill, with some vote counters believing at least a few would defect. California Democrat Kamala Harris, a 2020 prospect, was still reviewing the bill, her office said. New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, a key member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in the Senate, was likely to support this bill, his office said.
Here’s a look at the breakdown for the votes on the bill:

Republicans voting no

Sen. Bob Corker (Tennessee) — “Senator Corker does not plan to support Rounds-King,” according to his spokesperson.
Sen. James Lankford (Oklahoma) — Will not support the bill.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa) — Will not support the bill.
Sen. Thom Tillis (North Carolina) — Told supporters he will not support the bill.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia) — Will not support the bill.

Republicans voting yes

Sen. Mike Rounds (South Dakota) — Will support the bill.
Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) — Will support the bill.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) — Will support the bill.
Sen. Jeff Flake (Arizona) — Will support the bill.
Sen. Cory Gardner (Colorado) — Will support the bill.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) — Will support the bill.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tennessee) — Will support the bill.
Sen. Johnny Isakson (Georgia) — Will support the bill.

Republicans leaning no

Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah) — “Senator Hatch has spoken extensively about what he believes needs to be part of the path forward on immigration and is reviewing the current proposals. He wants to support a proposal that not only can pass the House, but that can be signed into law by the President,” his spokesperson said.

Republicans on the fence

Sen. Marco Rubio (Florida) — Said on Fox News he’s “open” to voting for the bill.
This story will be updated.

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White House interference appears to have “tanked” the “great Senate debate” before it even began. Actually, pretty predictable.

PWS

02-15-18

SLAMMED AGAIN! — 4TH CIR. FINDS CLEAR ANTI-MUSLIM BIAS IN AGAIN REJECTING TRUMP’S BOGUS TRAVEL BAN! — SUPREMES WILL HAVE LAST WORD!

https://www.buzzfeed.com/zoetillman/a-federal-appeals-court-ruled-that-trumps-third-travel-ban

Zoe Tillman reports for BuzzFeed News:

“A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled that President Donald Trump’s third attempt at a travel ban is likely unconstitutional, writing that it “continues to exhibit a primarily religious anti-Muslim objective.”

The US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit upheld a lower court injunction that blocked the Trump administration from enforcing key parts of the travel ban, but put its order on hold while the US Supreme Court takes up the issue of the ban.

The president’s third travel ban is already before the Supreme Court, after the 9th Circuit ruled in December that it violated federal law. The 9th Circuit did not rule on the issue addressed by the 4th Circuit — whether the ban amounts to religious discrimination in violation of the US Constitution’s Establishment Clause — but the justices asked for briefing on the constitutional question as well.

The 4th Circuit sided in favor of the groups challenging the ban in a 9–4 decision. Chief Judge Roger Gregory wrote in the majority opinion that the government’s “proffered rationale for the Proclamation lies at odds with the statements of the President himself.”

“Plaintiffs here do not just plausibly allege with particularity that the Proclamation’s purpose is driven by anti-Muslim bias, they offer undisputed evidence of such bias: the words of the President,” Gregory wrote.

Gregory cited Trump’s “disparaging comments and tweets regarding Muslims,” the president’s repeated references to a Muslim ban, the fact that Trump’s previous travel bans were focused on majority-Muslim countries, and statements by Trump and his advisers that the latest order has the same goals as the previous ones.

A Justice Department spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.

Cecillia Wang, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, who argued the case for the travel ban challengers in the 4th Circuit, said in a statement, that, “President Trump’s third illegal attempt to denigrate and discriminate against Muslims through an immigration ban has failed in court yet again. It’s no surprise. The Constitution prohibits government actions hostile to a religion.”

After federal courts struck down the president’s first two attempts at a travel ban, Trump on Sept. 24 signed the latest set of travel restrictions. It in large part suspended travel to the US by nationals of five majority-Muslim countries covered under the previous travel bans — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen — as well as two new countries, Chad and North Korea. The presidential proclamation also placed travel restrictions on certain government officials in Venezuela and their family members.

In October, federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland issued injunctions blocking enforcement of the ban, which the Trump administration appealed. The Supreme Court issued an order on Dec. 4 allowing the ban to go fully into effect while the appeals in the 9th Circuit and the 4th Circuit went forward. The justices wrote at the time that it expected that the appeals courts would rule “with appropriate dispatch.”

The 9th Circuit, which heard arguments on Dec. 6, issued its opinion on Dec. 20. But the 4th Circuit, which heard arguments two days later, did not rule until Thursday.

Gregory wrote in the main opinion that even if the proclamation was “facially legitimate” — that the text on its face didn’t run afoul of the constitution — it failed the test of whether the government had a “bona fide” reason for adopting it. The administration argued that the proclamation was rooted in national security concerns, but Gregory wrote that Trump’s statements undermined that.

Gregory said that even setting aside Trump’s statements during the campaign calling for a Muslim ban, the president had continued to make statements that “convey the primary purpose of the Proclamation—to exclude Muslims from the United States.” He quoted Trump’s tweets supporting his original travel ban executive order, which multiple courts determined was likely unconstitutional, as well as a tweet expressing support for an unverified story about a general who killed Muslims using bullets dipped in pig’s blood and his retweets of anti-Muslim videos.

“Plaintiffs offer undisputed evidence that the President of the United States has openly and often expressed his desire to ban those of Islamic faith from entering the United States. The Proclamation is thus not only a likely Establishment Clause violation, but also strikes at the basic notion that the government may not act based on ‘religious animosity,'” Gregory wrote.

The court upheld US District Judge Theodore Chuang’s preliminary injunction, which blocked enforcement of the proclamation’s travel restrictions with respect to nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen who have a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

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The Administration continues to trip over the out of court statements by Trump and his sleazy subordinates which reveal the real agenda of bias and  hate beneath his actions.

No matter how the Supremes come out (and Trump could win the cherished right to discriminate and carry out his bogus hate agenda) the stain on America being caused by Trump, Sessions, Miller, the other White Nationalists, and their supporters and enablers will take a long time to wash away!

PWS

02-15-15

DREAMERS: THE UGLY TRUTH COMES OUT — ADMINISTRATION UNLEASHES AN ALL-OUT XENOPHOBIC, WHITE NATIONALIST, “GONZO” “FACT-FREE” ATTACK ON DREAMERS, IMMIGRANTS, AND AMERICA’S FUTURE IN A DESPERATE ATTEMPT TO UNDERMINE BIPARTISAN IMMIGRATION REFORM! – Tal @ CNN Reports!

“White House goes all out to stop bipartisan immigration deal

By Tal Kopan, CNN

The Trump administration is working Thursday to kill a bipartisan deal on immigration that could be the best chance to get a bill through the Senate.

The White House is “actively considering issuing a veto threat” against the bipartisan immigration bill Thursday morning, a senior administration official said.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions derided the legislation in remarks to a national sheriff’s association.

“This is open borders and mass amnesty and the opposite of what the American people support,” Sessions claimed about the bill, according to prepared remarks. “This amendment — plain as day — will invite a mad rush of illegality across our borders.”

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is also making calls to lawmakers to urge them to reject the bill, or potentially even revoke their sponsorship of it, according to an administration official.

And in a statement released late Wednesday night, the Department of Homeland Security had tough words for the plan, calling it “the end of immigration enforcement in America.”

The legislation from a group of 16 bipartisan senators would offer nearly 2 million young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children before 2012 a path to citizenship over 10 to 12 years.

The plan would also place $25 billion in a guarded trust for border security, would cut a small number of green cards each year for adult children of current green card holders, and would prevent parents from being sponsored for citizenship by their US citizen children if that child gained citizenship through the pathway created in the bill or if they brought the child to the US illegally.

The administration statements riled up co-sponsors of the bill, who said the White House and allies have “lost credibility” by criticizing a bipartisan agreement.

“With their press release this morning, it seems as if DHS is intent on acting less like a partner and more like an adversary,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina. “Instead of offering thoughts and advice — or even constructive criticism — they are acting more like a political organization intent on poisoning the well. From the tone of this morning’s document, it appears as if DHS hopes all border security proposals fail. That would be the worst outcome of all.”

One provision the Department of Homeland Security particularly objected to would direct it to focus its arrests and deportations on criminals and newly arrived immigrants. The Trump administration has virtually removed all prioritization of arresting and deporting immigrants. It has targeted individuals with final deportation orders, some years and decades old, drawing criticism for deporting longtime members of communities with US citizen families.

“The Schumer-Rounds-Collins proposal destroys the ability of the men and women from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to remove millions of illegal aliens,” DHS said in a statement. “It would be the end of immigration enforcement in America and only serve to draw millions more illegal aliens with no way to remove them.

“The changes proposed by Senators Schumer-Rounds-Collins would effectively make the United States a Sanctuary Nation where ignoring the rule of law is encouraged,” the agency added.

President Donald Trump has backed a plan to give 1.8 million undocumented people who came to the US as children citizenship with $25 billion in border security, host of hardline enforcement power requests, substantially cutting family-based migration and ending the diversity visa lottery.

DHS called the bipartisan proposal an “egregious violation” of what the President has wanted.

The White House proposal has been introduced by Republican senators and is expected to be well below the 60 votes needed to advance.

Both proposals are expected to get a vote in the Senate on Thursday.”

************************************

Hang tough, Dems! Don’t sell out to outrageous lies, racism, and xenophobia!

PWS

02-15-18

REP. LLOYD DOGGERT (D-TX) SUCCINCTLY EXPLAINS HOW ICE “GONZO ENFORCEMENT” DESTROYS AMERICAN FAMILIES, SPREADS TERROR – AND ICE ALSO LIES! — “We are all made less safe . . . .”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/austin-reveals-how-ice-raids-are-tearing-apart-families/2018/02/14/e953ea68-10cf-11e8-a68c-e9374188170e_story.html?utm_term=.f5a47bbd1b3d

Doggert writes in a letter to the Washington Post:

“Regarding the Feb. 12 front-page article “ICE’s wide net boosts arrests”:

During four days last February, Immigration and Customs Enforcement targeted Austin, apparently in retaliation for Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez’s justified refusal to honor some warrantless detainers. Despite claims by ICE that its operation targeted “public safety threats,” most of those arrested had no criminal background and most of those who did committed only relatively minor offenses.

ICE was not straightforward about its operation. Only through Gus Bova’s Texas Observer Freedom of Information Act request did I learn that ICE had apprehended almost three times the number initially disclosed to me. And, of those, many were also law-abiding residents. I still await answers from ICE concerning whether its deceit extended beyond Austin and has continued.

One “dreamer” reported that for weeks following these raids, her parents would leave home only one at a time for fear of leaving their children without any caregiver.

Indiscriminate raids make immigrants fearful of assisting local law enforcement. ” but the Trump administration does not conduct these for safety. Its objective is to instill fear and to intimidate immigrants into leaving. And this is the same treatment that dreamers could receive beginning next month if House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) continues to block a vote to secure their status.

ICE raids on the innocent rip apart families, devastate communities and satisfy only President Trump’s anti-immigrant hysteria.

Lloyd Doggett, Washington

The writer, a Democrat, represents Texas’s
35th District in the House.”

*****************************

“Right on,” Lloyd!

Almost every day, America’s most despised and least trusted police force “earns their chops” with cruel, inhumane, dishonest, and ultimately senseless acts of “Gonzo ” enforcement.

“We can diminish ourselves as a Nation, but it won’t stop human migration!”

PWS

02-15-18

ENJOINED AGAIN: US DISTRICT JUDGE IN EDNY ALSO TEMPORARILY HALTS DACA REPEAL — FINDS GONZO’s “LEGAL” RATIONALE “PLAINLY INCORRECT!”

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/13/politics/federal-judge-daca/index.html

Ariane de Vogue Reports for CNN:

(CNN)A second federal judge Tuesday has temporarily blocked the Trump administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Success for Harvard medical students in DACA could mean their parents are deported
Success for Harvard medical students in DACA could mean their parents are deported
Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York ruled that DACA participants and states are likely to succeed in their challenge that the way President Donald Trump terminated the Obama-era program was arbitrary and capricious.
Trump last year announced his plan to end DACA, the policy that allowed undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children to stay in the country, effective March 5. That deadline has become central in the congressional debate over immigration, but Democrats and Republicans are nowhere near a breakthrough.
Tuesday’s ruling, combined with a ruling from a California judge last month, means the program could end up going beyond the March 5 date. The ruling means DACA recipients can renew their status, but the administration will not have to hold the program open to those who never applied.
“Defendants indisputably can end the DACA program,” Garaufis wrote, referring to the Trump administration. “The question before the court is thus not whether defendants could end the DACA program, but whether they offered legally adequate reasons for doing so. Based on its review of the record before it, the court concludes that defendants have not done so.”
The judge said that the decision to end the program was based in part on the “plainly incorrect factual premise” that the program was illegal.
“Today’s ruling shows that courts across the country agree that Trump’s termination of DACA was not just immoral, but unlawful as well,” said Karen Tumlin of the National Immigration Law Center.
This week the Supreme Court is set to meet behind closed doors to discuss whether to take up the Trump administration’s appeal of the related case.
The Justice Department said it maintains that the administration acted “within its lawful authority” in deciding to end DACA and will “vigorously defend this position.”
“DACA was implemented unilaterally after Congress declined to extend these benefits to this same group of illegal aliens. As such, it was an unlawful circumvention of Congress,” the Justice Department said in a statement. “Promoting and enforcing the rule of law is vital to protecting a nation, its borders, and its citizens.”
Impact on immigration negotiations
Sen. Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina, urged lawmakers to “focus” on March 5, despite the two district court rulings blocking the DACA drawdown, but acknowledged there will be more time.
“We should still focus on the March 5 date,” Tillis said on Fox News Tuesday afternoon. “The reality is, unless there’s any action by the Supreme Court, looks like we have some number of weeks following March 5 to solve the problem.”
Judge brought up “Norway” comments
In fiery oral arguments last month, Garaufis gave a blistering critique of what he called the President’s “recurring, redundant drumbeat of anti-Latino commentary.”
“It’s not just an ad hoc comment that was overheard on an open mic,” the judge said. “It’s not just that somebody at INS said something derogatory about Mexicans. This came from the top.”
Garaufis was responding to a question regarding Trump’s comments in a closed-door meeting with senators in which the President asked why people from Haiti and more Africans were wanted in the US and added that the US should get more people from countries like Norway.
CNN’s Laura Jarrett contributed to this report.

*******************************

Who knows how this eventually will end if Congress doesn’t solve the problem? I certainly can imagine a conservative majority of the Supremes cooking up a way to empower Trump and dump on the Dreamers.

But, no matter how this comes out, it’s never been about the “rule of law,” border security, or protecting Americans. Indeed, every commentator who isn’t Jeff Sessions or one of his White Nationalist xenophobic buddies agrees that ending DACA and removing “Dreamers” would make America a worse place in every possible way.

No, it’s always been about White Nationalism, racism, xenophobia, dividing America, and the general alt right “agenda of hate and intolerance” which has been what Sessions and those like him are all about. And, he’s not even a very good lawyer, taking most of his bogus so-called “legal arguments” off of “cue cards” prepared  for him by restrictionist interest groups.

And racist, xenophobic statements by Trump himself continue to undermine the DOJ attorneys’ arguments that there is some type of “rational basis” for Trump immigration policies.

PWS

02-13-17

RICHARD L. HASEN IN WASHPOST: THE ORIGINAL DISRUPTER – THE LATE JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2018/02/13/antonin-scalias-disruption-of-the-supreme-courts-ways-is-here-to-stay/

Hasen writes:

“A few years ago, a populist disrupter of the established political order said that Arizona was right to try to take immigration enforcement into its own hands when the Obama administration was not aggressive enough. Its “citizens feel themselves under siege by large numbers of illegal immigrants who invade their property, strain their social services, and even place their lives in jeopardy.” He similarly expressedsympathy for the “Polish factory workers’ kid” who was going to be out of a job because of affirmative action and lamented that the Supreme Court’s giving too many constitutional rights to Guantanamo detainees “will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed.”

Who made the statements? Donald Trump? Newt Gingrich? No, those were the words of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died two years ago Tuesday. Scalia disrupted business as usual on the court just like Gingrich disrupted the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1990s and Trump is now disrupting the presidency. Scalia changed the way the Supreme Court writes and analyzes its cases and the tone judges and lawyers use to disagree with each other, evincing a pungent anti-elitist populism that, aside from some criminal procedure cases, mostly served his conservative values. Now the judiciary is being filled at a frenetic pace by Trump and Senate Republicans with Scalian acolytes like Supreme Court Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, who will use Scalia’s tools to further delegitimize their liberal opponents and continue to polarize the federal courts.

Scalia joined the Supreme Court in 1986 after a stint as a law professor, a government official and a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He arrived at a court in which justices used an eclectic mix of criteria, from text to history and purpose to pragmatism and personal values, to decide the meaning of the Constitution and federal statutes. Justices disagreed with one another, but for the most part, they were polite in their written dissents.

Scalia came in with different ideas, which he said were compelled by the limited grant of judicial power in the Constitution and would increase the legitimacy of judicial decision-making. He offered revamped, supposedly neutral jurisprudential theories. Yet, as I argue in my upcoming book, “The Justice of Contradictions: Antonin Scalia and the Politics of Disruption,” his doctrines were usually flexible enough to deliver opinions consistent with his conservative libertarian ideology.

He was an “originalist” who believed that constitutional provisions should be interpreted in line with their public meaning at the time of enactment, as when he argued that the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause did not apply to sex discrimination — except when he wasn’t, as when in affirmative action cases, he consistently ignored evidence that at the time the equal protection clause was ratified, Congress enacted preferences specifically intending to help African Americans.”

. . . .

Scalia, the Harvard law graduate, frequently cast his fellow justices as out-of-touch Ivy League elitists sticking it to the little guy. Yet he often sided with big business over consumers and environmental groups, deciding cases on issues related to standing and arbitration law that made it harder for people to have their rights protected and vindicated in court.

He disagreed with others using a tone like no other justice. The day after it decided King v. Burwell in June 2015, the court recognized a right of same-sex couples to marry in Obergefell v. Hodges. Scalia, applying his originalist understanding of the 14th Amendment, unsurprisingly rejected the majority’s approach. But he leveled his harshest words at Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s majority opinion, which he described as “couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic.” He added that “if, even as the price to be paid for a fifth vote, I ever joined an opinion for the Court that began: ‘The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity,’ I would hide my head in a bag.” He compared the opinion to an aphorism in a fortune cookie.

The combination of Scalia’s view that textualism and originalism were the only legitimate way to decide cases and his caustic dismissal of anyone who dared to disagree with him led to a much coarser, polarized court after his tenure on the bench. He gave the Supreme Court’s imprimatur to the practice of delegitimizing one’s ideological opponents rather than simply disagreeing with them.

Most important, he gave key conservative acolytes tools to advance an ideological agenda — tools that he presented as politically neutral. The most important of these acolytes is Gorsuch, the newest Supreme Court justice (and, thanks to the refusal of Senate Republicans to consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland after Scalia died, also the justice who replaced his ideological role model). While not quite a Scalia clone, he is fully following in Scalia’s tradition. Not long after joining the court, Gorsuch admonished his colleagues in a statutory interpretation case that “if a statute needs repair, there’s a constitutionally prescribed way to do it. It’s called legislation.” And at oral argument in the 2017 Wisconsin partisan gerrymandering case, he dismissively interjected that “maybe we can just for a second talk about the arcane matter, the Constitution.” Think Scalia, but without the spontaneous wit and charm. Without Scalia, Gorsuch would have been just as conservative, but he would not have been packaging his jurisprudence in Scalian terms. And he perhaps would not have been as aggressive out of the box.

According to Time magazine, Trump wants to appoint more “originalists” and “textualists” on the court — flamethrowers who will disrupt things even more, following Scalia’s model. Gorsuch’s early record and the posthumous deification of Scalia by Federalist Society members and others on the right since his death show that Scalia’s pugnacious populism is the wave of the future for court appointees by Republican presidents and that the bitter partisan polarization we’ve seen in the political branches is in danger of becoming fixed as a permanent feature of the Supreme Court. Indeed, the main criticism of Scalia’s followers is that he was not consistent enough in insisting that originalism and textualism are the only right way to decide cases, consequences be damned.

Thanks to Scalia’s disruption, the Supreme Court may never be the same.

 

Richard L. Hasen is the chancellor’s professor of law and political science at the University of California at Irvine and the author of “The Justice of Contradictions: Antonin Scalia and the Politics of Disruption.”

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Read the complete article at the link.

Yes, I always thought that beneath all the “origionalist” BS, Justice Scalia was pretty much just another jurist with a peculiar right-wing agenda. He rewrote history to match his own preconceived worldview. Additionally, he detested equality, social justice, and common sense in equal proportions. But, occasionally his intellectual machinations led him to side with the “good guys.”

He might not have been a “stable genius,” but he was a heck of a lot smarter than Trump and much funnier. And, while there are indications in his jurisprudence that he was a “racist at heart” (who despised Hispanics as much as African-Americans) he was somewhat less overt about his White Christian Nationalism than guys like Trump, Sessions, Miller, Bannon, Steve King, etc.

PWS

02-14-18

 

TRUMP BUDGET: VLADI’S PUPPET WOULD LITERALLY SELL OUT AND SELL OFF AMERICA, MUSHROOM DEFICIT TO LINE THE POCKETS OF THE RICH, BUILD BOMBS (BUT WITH NOBODY TO DROP THEM ON, ONCE THE RUSSIANS TAKE OVER), WHILE THOROUGHLY SCREWING THE POOR, THE VULNERABLE, AND THE VAST MAJORTY OF AMERICANS – No, It Won’t Pass, But It Stands As A Monument To The Corrupt & Perverted “Values” Of Trump and The GOP & Their Stunning Contempt For The Shortsighted Voters Who Put Them In Power!

Here’s what James Hohmann of the Washington Post has to say about the “Grifter-In-Chief” in his “Daily 202:”

THE BIG IDEA: President Trump campaigned like a populist, but the budget he proposed Monday underscores the degree to which he’s governing as a plutocrat.

Many of his proposals are dead on arrival in Congress, but the blueprintnonetheless speaks volumes about the president’s values – and contradicts many promises he made as a candidate.

“This is a messaging document,” Trump budget director Mick Mulvaney told reporters at the White House.

Here are eight messages that the White House sends with its wish list:

1. Touching third rails he said he wouldn’t:

As a candidate, Trump repeatedly said he would never cut Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security.

Now he proposes cutting Medicare by $554 billion and Medicaid by around $250 billion over the next decade.

His plan includes new per-person limits on the amount of health care each Medicaid enrollee can use and a dramatic shift toward block grants, which would allow states to tighten eligibility requirements and institute work requirements that would kick some off public assistance.

Impacting the middle class, Trump also calls for cutting the subsidies that allow more than four in five people with marketplace health plans to afford their insurance premiums under the Affordable Care Act.

2. Scaling back support for the forgotten man:

Many displaced blue-collar workers in the Rust Belt took the president at his word when he promised to bring back their manufacturing jobs. But Trump’s budget calls for cutting funding for National Dislocated Worker Grants – which provides support to those who lose their jobs because of factory closures or natural disasters — from $219.5 million in 2017 to $51 million in 2019.

Also at the Labor Department, the president wants to slash support for the Adult Employment and Training Activities initiative, which serves high school dropouts and veterans, from $810 million last year to $490 million in 2019.

3. Giving up on a balanced budget:

Trump repeatedly promised that he would balance the budget “very quickly.” It turns out that a guy who has often described himself as the “king of debt” didn’t feel that passionately about deficits. Last year, he laid out a plan to balance the budget in 10 years. This year he didn’t even try. Trump now accepts annual deficits that will run over $1 trillion as the new normal.

Going further, the president also promised on the campaign trail that he’d get rid of the national debt altogether by the end of his second term. But his White House now projects that the national debt, which is already over $20 trillion, will grow more than $2 trillion over the next two years and by at least $7 trillion over the next decade. The administration repeatedly denied this in December as officials pushed to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion.

“After Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts in the 1980s, deficits exploded in the same range as Trump’s now, when calculated as a percentage of the economy, or gross domestic product. But Reagan’s famous ‘riverboat’ gamble came when the total national debt was a fraction of what it is today. Trump is pushing the envelope when debt is already near 80 percent of GDP, leaving far less room to maneuver if the economy turns downward,” David Rogers writes in Politico. “Economists and politicians alike don’t know what happens next. There’s all the edginess of breaking new ground. But also, as with Faulkner’s famous line, there is a sense that the past ‘is not even past.’ … Nothing now seems obvious, except red ink.”

Trump blames state of U.S. infrastructure on ‘laziness’ after WWII

4. Relying on fuzzy math:

Trump’s team knows full well that they’ll never get most of the spending cuts they’re proposing, but they’re using them to make the deficit look less bad than it really is. Just last Friday, the president signed into law an authorization bill that blows up the sequester and increases spending by more than $500 billion.

The White House also makes the unrealistic assumption that the economy will grow by more than 3 percent every year between now and 2024, which makes its projections for revenue growth rosier than they should be. No serious economist thinks that level of growth can be sustained. A recession seems probable in the next decade.

Senate Democrats noticed that Trump’s budget plan, if it was enacted, would actually result in a net decrease in federal spending on infrastructure. Chuck Schumer’s office identified more than $240 billion in proposed cuts over the coming decade to existing infrastructure programs, which is higher than the $200 billion Trump simultaneously proposed in new spending. “The cuts identified by Schumer’s office include a $122 billion reduction in outlays over the coming decade to the Highway Trust Fund, which pays for road projects and mass transit,” John Wagner reports. “Other proposed reductions would target an array of programs that fund rail, aviation [and] wastewater…”

5. Paying for tax cuts that mostly benefit the rich by cutting holes in the safety net for the poor:

In 1999, then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush denounced a House Republican plan to save $8 billion by deferring tax credit payments for low-income people. “I don’t think they ought to balance their budget on the backs of the poor,” he said at a campaign stop. “I’m concerned for someone who is moving from near-poverty to middle class.”

That sentiment seems quaint now. While Trump has never claimed the mantle of “compassionate conservatism,” his budget validates several of the negative stereotypes that Bush tried to shed.

This is a budget for the haves. The have-nots get left behind.

Trump wants to cut $214 billion from the food stamp program in the next decade, a reduction of nearly 30 percent.

The budget shows Ben Carson has no suction at the White House. Despite his efforts, the secretary of housing and urban development was unable to stop Trump from reducing Section 8 federal housing subsidies by more than $1 billion, zeroing out community development block grants and eliminating a $1.9 billion fund to cover public housing capital repairs. The 14 percent cut at HUD is even deeper than what Trump proposed last year.

The budget cuts 29 programs at the Education Department, many of which are designed to help needy children – including after-school activities to keep kids off the street and a grant program for college students with “exceptional financial need.” Trump’s plan also gets rid of a tuition initiative that makes college affordable for underprivileged D.C. residents, who don’t have access to strong in-state universities.

6. Deconstructing the administrative state:

Trump wants to neuter the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by starving it of resources, limiting its enforcement power and changing its funding stream so that it’s more vulnerable to pressure from Wall Street.

He seeks to cut more than $2.5 billion from the annual budget of the Environmental Protection Agency, which is about a quarter of its spending. He’d eliminate funding for state radon-detection programs and end partnerships to monitor and restore water quality in the Gulf of Mexico, Puget Sound and other large bodies of water.

“Funding for the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay would fall from $72 million to $7 million, and a similar program for the Great Lakes would be cut from $300 million to $30 million — although neither would be wiped out,” Brady Dennis reports. “In addition, the Trump budget would eliminate — or very nearly eliminate — the agency’s programs related to climate change. Funding for the agency’s Office of Science and Technology would drop by more than a third, from $762 million to $489 million. And funding for prosecuting environmental crimes and for certain clean air and water programs would drop significantly.”

7. More guns, less butter:

Make no mistake, Trump is not calling for a reduction in the size of government. He seeks to spend $4.4 trillion next year, up 10 percent from last year. He’s calling for spending less on the homefront to cover a massive military buildup.

Trump asks for $716 billion in defense spending in 2019, a 13 percent increase. “The Trump plan provides more money for just about everything a general or admiral might desire,” Greg Jaffe notes. “The United States already spends more on its military than the next eight nations combined.”

Meanwhile, Trump proposes slashing the State Department’s budget by 23 percent. As Secretary of Defense James Mattis told Congress in 2013, when he was a Marine general leading Central Command: “If you don’t fully fund the State Department, then I need to buy more ammunition.”

Another campaign promise Trump is making good on: building his “Deportation Force.” The budget allocates $2.8 billion to expand immigration detention facilities so that 52,000 beds are always available, $782 million to hire 2,750 additional border agents, and $1.6 billion for the construction of 65 miles of border wall in Texas. (Whatever happened to Mexico paying?) He also adds $2.2 billion for the Secret Service to hire 450 more people.

Trump claims that U.S. has spent $7 trillion in the Middle East

8. Leaning in on privatization:

Trump wants to outsource as many public functions as possible to private, for-profit companies.

His budget calls for selling off scores of prized federal assets, from Reagan National and Dulles Airports to the George Washington Memorial Parkway and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. “Power transmission assets from the Tennessee Valley Authority; the Southwestern Power Administration, which sells power in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas; the Western Area Power Administration; and the Bonneville Power Administration, covering the Pacific northwest, were cited for potential divestiture,” Michael Laris reports. “It was not immediately clear what public or private entity might buy those roads, whether they might be tolled, or other details. Some state officials said they were uncertain about how their residents would benefit from such a proposal.”

The White House is re-upping its plan to shift the nation’s air traffic control system out of government hands, even though it went nowhere in Congress last year.

Trump proposes to end funding for the International Space Station after 2024 by privatizing the orbiting laboratory.

Finally, he wants to increase spending by more than $1 billion on privateschool vouchers and other school choice plans while slashing the Education Department’s budget by $3.6 billion and devoting more resources to career training, at the expense of four-year universities.

*************************************

Don’t be fooled by the “paper money” you might be making in the stock market (if you are one of the fortunate minority of Americans with money to invest). 2017 was one of the worst years in the history of American democracy, and 2018 promises to be even worse. Indeed, while American democracy has been resilient enough to stand up to Trump and the utterly corrupt GOP to date, they are now upping their attack. There is absolutely no guarantee that their plan to destroy our country and hand it over to an unholy mixture of Russian Oligarchs, Chinese Government Corporations, and greedy Capitalist plutocrats won’t succeed.

Donald Trump and today’s GOP are a clear and present danger to our national security and the future of our democracy!

 

PWS

02-13-18

 

TAL & CO @ CNN: SENATE IMMIGRATION DEBATE KICKS OFF

http://www.cnn.com/2018/02/12/politics/immigration-debate-advances-one-week/index.html

Republican leaders say Senate immigration debate may end Thursday
By Tal Kopan, Ted Barrett and Lauren Fox, CNN
Senate Republicans on Monday night declared they would only allow immigration to be on the Senate floor for one week — pressuring Democrats to show their hand as the Senate inched closer to opening its debate.
Senators took a key step toward opening debate on immigration Monday evening, kicking off an exercise with little modern precedent that could affect millions of lawful and undocumented immigrants. The procedural vote, which passed 97-1, allows the Senate to next vote to officially open debate — a vote expected on Tuesday.
But Senate Republican leadership said Democrats would have to act fast if they wanted to offer proposals.
“This is Sen. (Dick) Durbin and Democrats’ opportunity and so far they kind of seem to be a little confused about what they’re planning on doing — but they better get it done quick because it’s this week or not at all,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn.
“We need to get it wrapped up by Thursday,” Cornyn said.
Just an hour previous, Cornyn had told reporters the opposite, saying: “We could do it this week if there is cooperation. If there is not, it might take longer.”
A GOP leadership aide said Republicans want to light a fire under Democrats and get them to release their amendments. GOP leaders are worried Democrats want to drag out the debate for “weeks and weeks.”
“That’s the plan,” said GOP leadership member Sen. John Barrasso when asked if this would be finished this week. He added that “Democrats have been waiting for this for a long time. They were promised we’d go to the floor with this and it’s now on the floor.”
Aides and lawmakers were unsure of any agreements on proceeding expeditiously. Without unanimous agreement from all senators, each amendment could take hours to consider. It was also unclear how far afield amendments would get, and if senators would be able to offer proposals on any provision of immigration or just the four pillars being proposed by President Donald Trump: border security, broadly defined to included physical security and enforcement powers; ending the diversity visa lottery; curtailing family-based migration; and a permanent solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the policy that allowed undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children to stay in the country and that Trump has decided to end.
Negotiators hope to have plan Tuesday
Democrats and moderate Republicans negotiating with them, meanwhile, said they have nothing finalized — yet. But the goal, they said, is to have something by Tuesday.
“We are continuing to really talk turkey, legislative language etc,” said Democrat Sen. Tim Kaine, who is part of a bipartisan group negotiating on the topic. “We’re making progress, but,” he added, trailing off. “It may be (ready Tuesday), not for sure.”
“We’re close but we’re not ready right yet,” said Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins, who co-leads the group.
“No, that’s being worked on,” Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake said when asked if he was concerned about the lack of an offer. “We’ll have that by tomorrow.”
What’s next
The Senate is stepping into uncharted waters for recent history. Different amendments will be offered that will compete for 60 votes, the threshold to advance legislation in the Senate. If a proposal can reach that number, it will likely pass the upper chamber — but face an uncertain future in a House and White House that has not made any commitments to the eventual result.
The No. 2 Senate Democrat and longtime immigration reform advocate, Durbin said the only path forward he could see was getting at least 11 Republicans to join the 49 Democrats in the Senate.
“I’d feel much more optimistic and if I knew … 11 Republican names,” Durbin told reporters Monday afternoon. “We believe we have five or six strongly moving in our direction, and I feel that are another five are within reach, and I’m constantly talking to every Republican privately.”
On Monday afternoon, senators took to the floor of the upper chamber to speak on the upcoming debate, with a group of Republicans supporting a version of the White House framework that they introduced Sunday night.
That proposal got the support of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, though he did not indicate that he would tip the scales in its favor procedurally.
“It’s our best chance to producing a solution that can actually resolve these matters,” McConnell said.
Democrats say the White House framework supported only by Republicans couldn’t pass.
“The only enemy to this process is overreach,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. “Now is not the time nor the place to reform the entire legal immigration system.”
Monday afternoon, Durbin said he had faith in McConnell to keep his promise to be neutral in the process.
“I told Mitch McConnell looking him in the eye and said, ‘I trust you … and I defended you among some Democrats who were skeptical,'” Durbin said. “I was skeptical. I’m defending him now — I think he’s going to play it straight.”

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Stay tuned!

PWS

02-12-18

AGENDA OF HATE AND INTOLERANCE: USDOE SCOFFS AT LAW, MOVES TO TRASH THE RIGHTS OF TRANSGENDER STUDENTS WHO WANT TO USE THE BATHROOM!

https://www.buzzfeed.com/dominicholden/edu-dept-trans-student-bathrooms?utm_term=.mlEGELBLKo#.mlEGELBLKo

Dominic Holden reports for Buzzfeed News:

“The Education Department has told BuzzFeed News it won’t investigate or take action on any complaints filed by transgender students who are banned from restrooms that match their gender identity, charting new ground in the Trump administration’s year-long broadside against LGBT rights.

It’s the first time officials have asserted this position publicly as an interpretation of law. No formal announcement has been made.

For nearly a year, the Trump administration took a less clear stance, with officials saying they were studying the issue. When the Education Department and Justice Department withdrew Obama-era guidance on transgender restroom access in February 2017, Trump’s officials said in a memo and court filings that they would “consider the legal issues involved.” Then last June, the Education Department issued another memo saying it was “permissible” for its civil rights division to dismiss a trans student’s restroom case. However, in those statements, officials never cemented their intent to reject all restroom complaints issued by trans students.

For the past three weeks, BuzzFeed News called and emailed Education Department officials attempting to pinpoint the agency’s position.

Finally on Thursday, Liz Hill, a spokesperson for the agency, responded “yes, that’s what the law says” when asked again if the Education Department holds a current position that restroom complaints from transgender students are not covered by a 1972 federal civil rights law called Title IX.

Asked for further explanation on the department’s position, Hill said Friday, “Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, not gender identity.”

She added that certain types of transgender complaints may be investigated — but not bathroom complaints.

“Where students, including transgender students, are penalized or harassed for failing to conform to sex-based stereotypes, that is sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX,” Hill said. “In the case of bathrooms, however, long-standing regulations provide that separating facilities on the basis of sex is not a form of discrimination prohibited by Title IX.”

The bathroom rule is the Trump administration’s latest step to rescind and undermine LGBT protections. Attorney General Jeff Sessions withdrew a policy protecting transgender workers, while he took the unusual step of jumping into a private lawsuit arguing that anti-gay discrimination was permissible in employment under federal law. Sessions has also argued religious business owners can refuse service to gay customers, even when anti-gay discrimination is banned by state law, and Trump has attempted to ban transgender people from all military service.”

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Homophobia, hate, White Nationalism, scoffing at the rule of law: that’s Jeff “Gonzo Apocalypto” Sessions and the rest of the alt-rightists (like DeVoss) who now represent the GOP. No wonder that these evil clowns were neck and neck in the balloting for the Worst Cabinet Member. Indeed, Gonzo is neck and neck with “John the Con” Mitchell for the worst AG of the “modern era.” And Gonzo hasn’t even been indicted (yet).

I just hope that decent folks will remember who’s pushing this agenda of hate and intolerance.

PWS

02-12-18

 

 

A WASHINGTON ANOMOLY – THE SENATE IS ABOUT TO EMBARK ON AN “IMMIGRATON DEBATE” WHERE THE OUTCOME HASN’T ACTUALLY BEEN “COOKED” IN ADVANCE! — Tal Tells All @CNN!

“Open-ended immigration debate to grip Senate

By Tal Kopan, CNN

The Senate is set to begin debating immigration Monday evening, and in a rare occurrence for the upper chamber of Congress, no one is quite sure how that will go.

Late Sunday, a group of Republicans introduced a version of President Donald Trump’s proposal on how to handle the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protected young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children from deportation before Trump decided to terminate it. That is expected to be one of the amendments that will compete for votes this week.

Some things are known: McConnell teed up the debate early Friday morning, as he had pledged, immediately after the Senate voted to end a government shutdown. The bill McConnell chose was entirely unrelated to immigration, which he said he planned to do to allow a blank slate for proposals to compete for votes.

Let the debate begin

At 5:30 p.m. Monday, senators will vote on whether to open debate on the bill, a vote that is largely expected to succeed.

From there, a lot will be up to senators. Both sides will be able to offer amendments that will compete for 60 votes — the threshold to advance legislation in the Senate. It’s expected that amendments will be subject to that threshold and will require consent agreements from senators for votes, opening up the process to negotiations.

If a proposal can garner 60 votes, it will likely pass the Senate, but it will still face an uncertain fate. The House Republican leadership has made no commitment to consider the Senate bill or hold a debate of its own, and House Speaker Paul Ryan has pledged repeatedly to consider a bill only if President Donald Trump will sign it.

Different groups have been working to prepare legislation for the immigration effort, including the conservatives who worked off the White House framework and a group of bipartisan senators who have been meeting nearly daily to try to reach agreement on the issue. Trump has proposed giving 1.8 million young undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship in exchange for $25 billion for his long-promised border wall and a host of other strict immigration reforms.

The bill from GOP senators largely sticks to those bullet points, including sharp cuts to family-based migration, ending the diversity lottery and giving federal authorities enhanced deportation and detention powers.

Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of about 20 senators was drafting legislation over the weekend to offer perhaps multiple amendments and potentially keep the debate focused on a narrow DACA-border security bill. Multiple members of the group have expressed confidence that only such a narrow approach could pass the Senate — and hope that a strong vote could move Trump to endorse the approach and pave the way for passage in the House.

Advocates on the left may offer a clean DACA fix, like the DREAM Act, as well as the conservative White House proposal — though neither is expected to have 60 votes.

The move to hold an unpredictable Senate debate next week fulfills the promise McConnell made on the Senate floor to end the last government shutdown in mid-January, when he pledged to hold a neutral debate on the immigration issue that was “fair to all sides.”

Even Sunday, leadership aides weren’t able to say entirely how the week would go. The debate could easily go beyond one week, and with a scheduled recess coming next week, it could stretch on through February or even longer.

One Democratic aide said there will likely be an effort to reach an agreement between Republicans and Democrats on timing so that amendments can be dealt with efficiently, and, absent that, alternating proposals may be considered under time-consuming procedural steps.

“We just have to see how the week goes and how high the level of cooperation is,” the aide said.

Many Democrats and moderate Republicans were placing hope in the bipartisan group’s progress.

“We’re waiting for the moderates to see if they can produce a bill,” said the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, Dick Durbin, on Thursday. “And considering options, there are lots of them, on the Democratic side. There’s no understanding now about the first Democratic amendment.”

Durbin said traditionally both sides have shared a few amendments with each other to begin to figure out the process’ structure. He also said the bipartisan group could be an influential voting bloc, if they can work together.

“They could be the deciding factor, and I’ve been hopeful that they would be, because I’ve had friends in those Common Sense (Coalition), whatever they call themselves, and reported back the conversations, and I think they’re on the right track.”

As she was leaving the Senate floor Friday night after the Senate voted to pass a budget deal and fund government into March, Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins was optimistic about the preparedness of the bipartisan group she has been leading for the all-Senate debate.

“We’ll be ready,” she told reporters.

Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Lankford, who has been working both with the group introducing the White House proposal and the bipartisan group, said late Friday night that his plan is “to get things done.”

“It’s no grand secret that I have no problem with the President’s proposal; the challenge is going to be trying to get 60 votes,” Lankford said. “So I would have no issue with what (Sens. John) Cornyn and (Chuck) Grassley are working on and with the President supporting that, but I also want to continue to try finding out and see, if that doesn’t get 60 votes, what could.”

He said everyone is waiting to find out what happens next.

“Everybody’s trying to figure out the chaos of next week, and I’m with you,” Lankford said. “I don’t know yet how open the process is going to be. I hope it’s very open.”

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Fortunately, we can rely on Tal’s amazing up to the minute reporting and analysis to keep us abreast of what’s happening on the Senate floor and in the cloakrooms!

Stay tuned!

PWS

02-12-18

ON SATURDAY, “COURTSIDE” & SLATE’S JEREMY STAHL GAVE YOU THE “REAL LOWDOWN” ON AAG RACHEL BRAND’S “FLIGHT FROM JUSTICE!” — Two Days Later, NBC News Confirms What We Already Said!

Here’s a link to the prior blog on immigrationcourtside.com:

https://wp.me/p8eeJm-26R

Here’s the NBC report by one of my favorite Washington reporters, Julia Edwards Ainsley:

http://nbcnews.to/2CfKuHi

Julia reports:

“WASHINGTON — The Justice Department’s No. 3 attorney had been unhappy with her job for months before the department announced her departure on Friday, according to multiple sources close to Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand.

Brand grew frustrated by vacancies at the department and feared she would be asked to oversee the Russia investigation, the sources said.

She will be leaving the Justice Department in the coming weeks to take a position with Walmart as the company’s executive vice president of global governance and corporate secretary, a job change that had been in the works for some time, the sources said.

Sources: Brand left DOJ over fear of overseeing Russia probe 3:40

As far back as last fall, Brand had expressed to friends that she felt overwhelmed and unsupported in her job, especially as many key positions under her jurisdiction had still not been filled with permanent, Senate-confirmed officials.

Four of the 13 divisions overseen by the associate attorney general remain unfilled, including the civil rights division and the civil division, over one year into the Trump administration.

While Brand has largely stayed out of the spotlight, public criticism of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein by President Donald Trump worried Brand that Rosenstein’s job could be in danger.

Should Rosenstein be fired, Brand would be next in line to oversee Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, thrusting her into a political spotlight that Brand told friends she did not want to enter.

The Justice Department pushed back on NBC’s report.

“It is clear these anonymous sources have never met Rachel Brand let alone know her thinking. All of this is false and frankly ridiculous,” said Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Flores.

Brand has had a long legal career that has spanned several administrations, including under Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican George W. Bush.

In announcing her departure, Attorney General Jeff Sessions described Brand as “a lawyer’s lawyer,” noting that she graduated from Harvard Law School and clerked at the Supreme Court.

In the same statement, Brand said, “I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish over my time here.”

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Undoubtedly, the DOJ under Trump and Sessions has made some great strides in attacking the rule of law, undermining social justice, mal-administering the Immigration Courts, eroding the credibility of DOJ attorneys in court, and generally diminishing the quality and fairness of the justice system in the United States.

While those might give Rachel “bragging rights” over at Wal-Mart or in right-wing legal circles, I don’t see that they are anything to “write home about.”  Hopefully, at some point in the future, having served as a politico in the Trump/Sessions DOJ will become a “career killer” for any future Government appointments.

But, in today’s topsy-turvy legal-political climate, it’s still a shrewd “self-preservation” move on Brand’s part. And, she’s somewhat less likely to be stomping on anyone’s civil rights over at Wal-Mart (although you never know when an opportunity to dump on the civil rights of the  LGBTQ community, African-Americans, Latinos, immigrants, women, the poor, or to promote religious intelerance might present itself in a corporate setting).

Looking forward to more DOJ reporting from the super-talented Julia! I’ve missed her on the “immigration beat!”

PWS

02-12-18