Army Reserve green card ban “sends chilling message” to immigrants, veterans group says

U.S. Army Reserve Lt. Krzysztof Misiura (left) and Army Reserve Specialist Christian Joy Tecson, formerly of the Philippines, are sworn in as U.S. citizens in 2008. Source: M. Spencer Green/AP
The head of a group supporting immigrant veterans is condemning the Army Reserve’s temporary ban on green card holders as a “chilling” signal to permanent residents that they are not welcome in the U.S. military.
“I think it’s inconsistent with our military values and inconsistent with what America stands for,” Nathan Fletcher, chairman of the Honorably Discharged, Dishonorably Deported Coalition, said in a phone interview Thursday.
Mic reported Wednesday that the U.S. Army Reserve will not allow green card holders to enlist “for the time being” because of new background screening measures announced Friday. Under the new policy, which is effective immediately, permanent residents must complete a background check before entering basic training.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called the move “ridiculous” in a recent interview with Mic. “It would cut down on a very valuable sector of men and women who are willing to serve our country,” he said.


New York Attorney General’s Lawsuits Against Trump

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According to The Observer, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been making waves in recent months for taking on President Trump with various lawsuits seeking to block the president’s moves in areas such as immigration, health care, education and LGBTQ rights, among other issues.
He has sued the president over everything from his executive orders barring entry to people from Muslim-majority countries, to his attempts to repeal former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, to his decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for undocumented youths brought to the United States in their early childhood and what he has described as Trump’s “campaign of climate change denial.”

Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for Schneiderman, said that it has always been “fundamental” to his job to protect New Yorkers when the federal government undermines their health and safety and New York State’s best interests — and that the courts agree.
“Under the Constitution, the states have broad powers to protect their residents and their best interests,” Spitalnick said. “This office did not hesitate to act under prior federal administrations to protect New Yorkers – such as challenging the Obama administration over greenhouse gas regulations, which ultimately led to the Clean Power Plan. Now, with New Yorkers’ health, safety, constitutional rights — and very lives — in the balance thanks to the many dangerous policies coming out of Washington, we’ll continue to do what’s necessary to protect New York’s families and our state.”
She added that they have seen “significant success,” noting that they beat back the travel bans, blocked the EPA’s rollback of methane regulations and forced the administration to reverse course on smog regulations and energy efficiency standards



McCain Unloads on Steve Doocy’s Son: ‘Why Would You Say Something That Stupid?’

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Sen. John McCain, never known to suffer foolish questions, unloaded on Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy after the young reporter asked a question the lawmaker deemed stupid.
“Has your relationship with the president frayed to the point that you are not going to support anything that he comes to you and asks for?” Steve Doocy’s son asked McCain in the halls of the Senate.
“Why would you say something that stupid?” McCain replied, staring intensely into Doocy’s eyes. “Why would you ask something that dumb? Huh?”
“My job as a United States senator, is a senator from Arizona which I was just re-elected to. You mean that I am somehow going to behave in a way that I’m going to block everything because of some personal disagreement?”
“That’s a dumb question,” he concluded.
The frayed relationship Doocy referred to between McCain and President Trump ratcheted up a notch this week, after the Arizona senator delivered a scathing rebuke of “half-baked nationalism” in a speech accepting the Liberty Medal Monday night.
In a radio interview on Tuesday, Trump replied ominously, “at some
point I fight back and it won’t be pretty.”

Is the GOP having A Identity Crises

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Politico reports, “Republicans’ unified control of Washington is triggering an identity crisis within the party over what it means to be a fiscal conservative in the age of Donald Trump: Do deficits even matter, or do tax cuts trump all?”
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) slammed budget director Mick Mulvaney for morphing into a fiscal Judas, telling Politico, “Our OMB guy, I say this with humor, what happened to him? Do you understand what I’m saying? He used to be the fiscal hawk.” Mulvaney responded in kind during an interview last week, accusing Corker of “ignoring reality.”
The war of words among GOP budget hawks and their deficit-loving counterparts is not rooted in whether they want more tax cuts for the rich, which is what the Trump plan is really all about, but whether it should be paid for by slashing spending on things like Social Security, Medicare, and any other We the People programs the GOP can rob from.
There is evidence to suggest that the whole conservative deficit hawk persona has always been a farce.
The Intercept reports,
The billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch spent much of the eight years of the Obama presidency stoking fears about the budget deficit… Now that Republicans control all levers of power in Washington and the Koch brothers are poised to reap a windfall of billions of dollars through tax cuts, they have a new message: Don’t worry about the deficit.
You don’t need a masters degree in economics to see what’s going on here. The donor class sees Trump as a senile puppet who will sign anything to claim a victory and complete Republican control as their route to bankrupt the country for personal profit.

As for Trump’s claims that his massive tax cuts for corporations will be so ‘amazing’ that they’ll pay for themselves, there is zero historical evidence to support that. The 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts blew a hole in the deficit that America still hasn’t fully recovered from, and they did almost nothing to spur economic growth, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
If that were not enough proof that nothing trickles down in trickle-down economics, Kansas is a living laboratory of failure. As the New York Times points out, Republican Gov. Sam Brownback enacted a corporate tax cut scheme similar to Trump’s back in 2012, that quickly devolved into a fiscal disaster that had to be reversed by the Republican controlled state legislature. In just a few short years, the deficit skyrocketed and the state economy tanked, despite massive spending cuts in education and other essential programs.
This is not about fiscal responsibility – or doing anything else intended to help most Americans. It’s about an increasingly corrupt system devoid of any moral standards. As Charles P. Pierce put it in Esquire, “McConnell and his supporters among the country’s ownership classes don’t care if the president* turns up naked one day on the Truman balcony with his body painted blue. They can still get what they want while the madness unfolds. Nothing matters until they have re-established Gilded Age economics married to Jim Crow social policy.”
And we all know how that worked out.
Be part of the solution. Call Congress at (202) 224-3121, or contact your representative online at and


The Trump-Russia Probe Could Make Clinton President

Sure, it's been more than 340 days since Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton, but there's still one very narrow, highly unlikely and entirely unprecedented way that Clinton could become president. And it has some Democratic die-hards dreaming again. Harvard University professor Lawrence Lessig offered a Clinton path to the presidency on Medium, putting forward a series…

Astronomers for the first time have captured images of "the greatest fireworks show in the universe," the collision of two neutron stars

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This is the story of a gold rush in the sky.
Astronomers have now seen and heard a pair of dead stars collide, giving them the first glimpse of what they call a “cosmic forge,” where the world’s jewels were minted billions of years ago.


Russia Didn't need help hacking Election 2016

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U.S. investigators are probing whether Russia relied on clandestine American help to identify political soft spots and pressure points in its campaign to disrupt the 2016 election. But experts tell Axios Future editor Steve LeVine that, even without local assistance, Russia's own history of exploiting animosities and jealousies across its empire gave it unusual know-how to stir up existing American tensions:
  • What happened: Russia targeted America's soft underbelly. Data collated by Columbia University's Jonathan Albright shows a Russian social media campaign apparently designed to inflame some of America's greatest national sensitivities.
  • The hot buttons: Facebook pages that turned into hundreds of millions of interactions combined the subjects of nationalism, Trump, illegal immigration, and law.
  • See what Russia experts told Steve.
P.S. The Trump campaign "spent more than $1.1 million on legal fees over the last three months — a sharp increase that coincided with the escalation of investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election." (N.Y. Times)

Source Axios


The next CIA director?

Sen. Tom Cotton (R- Ark.) speaks in the Roosevelt Room on Aug. 2, during unveiling of immigration legislation. Trump is standing next to Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.). (AP's Evan Vucci)

Axios told us about internal administration conversations about sliding CIA Director Mike Pompeo over to replace SecState Rex Tillerson, whenever he heads back to Texas.
Now they're hearing about a top possibility for the next chess move: Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) was considered for CIA director (and SecDef) during the transition, and is a candidate for CIA again:
  • Why he's being considered: Cotton is one of the few senators with an easy relationship with Trump, talking to him a few times a week, giving him advice about top jobs (that Trump has taken), and planting the seed for the Iran policy announced Friday.
  • Who he is: Cotton, 40, is a "double Harvard" (undergraduate and law); served in the Army's 101st Airborne, with combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan (Bronze Star); then was a McKinsey & Co. consultant and served a term in the House.
Why it matters: MSNBC and conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt — who talks frequently to Cotton on and off the air, and first floated the idea of Cotton for CIA — told me that Pompeo, Cotton, SecDef Mattis and Chief of Staff Kelly would be "a quartet of serious intellectuals and warriors in the 'big four' jobs." And you could add National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster as a fifth.
  • Hewitt says both Cotton and Pompeo "like and listen to the president" and "accept his realism in foreign affairs."
  • A longtime friend of Cotton, asked if he'd take the CIA job, said: "This guy quit his fancy law firm to serve his country in the wake of 9/11. He does his duty when the country calls."
  • Fun fact: Cotton is interesting enough that Jeffrey Toobin has been working on a New Yorker profile, including D.C. interviews and a trip to Cotton's parents' cattle farm in Yell County, Ark.
Be smart: The Tillerson situation doesn't seem tenable to insiders: Pressed by CNN's Jake Tapper yesterday, he again refused to say he hadn't called Trump a moron. Trump treats people like comfort food — he likes advisers he's used to, and vice versa. Pompeo and Cotton fit the bill. 
P.S. Top of the new in-box ... Cyber-arms race with North Korea, per N.Y. Times lead story: "At a recent meeting of American strategists, ... some participants expressed concerns that the escalating cyberwar could actually tempt the North to use its weapons — both nuclear and cyber— very quickly in any conflict, for fear that the United States has secret ways to shut the country down."


White Supremacists From Charlottesville Chased Away

Charlottesville white nationalist -- via Twitter

White supremacists who attended the violent Charlottesville rally were chased out of a courthouse this week after being found guilty of failure to disperse from the demonstration. Counter-protesters charged Nathan Damigo, Evan McLaren and JonPaul Struys as they left Charlottesville General District Court on October 13, chasing them into a parking garage where the three men…

Undoing Obamacare

    President Trump signed an executive order on health care in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Thursday.
    President Trump signed an executive order on health care in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Thursday. Doug Mills/The New York Tim
  • In a pair of announcements, President Trump said that subsidies to health insurance companies that help pay out-of-pocket costs of low-income people will be cut, while sales of cheaper policies with fewer benefits and fewer protections for consumers will be permitted. A backlash against Mr. Trump — including from fellow Republicans — was brewing as lawmakers voiced concern over how ending the subsidies would affect their constituents.


Trump staff in crisis

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The biggest threat to the Trump presidency, the markets and our ability to deal with future crises is the coming staff exodus. We cannot stress enough how many essential staff and officials want out — if not this quarter, then soon after the new year:
  • Watch for Gary Cohn to bolt after tax reform, which we think slips into Q1 of 2018.
  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's situation is untenable: We hear he's likely to leave by the new year. Many insiders think U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley will replace him. Then Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell may take Haley's job in New York. Another possible successor in case of a Rexit: CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
  • Chief of Staff John Kelly is the one to watch closest. He doesn't get enough credit for the discipline he has enforced inside the White House. He bristles at the boss's loose, erratic ways, though. The average tenure of a COS who likes his job is roughly a year. A weak chief of staff replacing Kelly would be hugely problematic.

Source Axios

Republican Party in a Free fall

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Registered voters are increasingly turning away from the Republican Party and looking to the Democrats to solve America's biggest problems, according to a new poll.
Suffolk University-USA Today survey released Thursday shows that 62 percent of respondents now have an unfavorable view of the GOP, a 7-point jump in unpopularity for the party since the same poll in June. Just under half, 48 percent, feel the same way about the Democrats.
The poll found that 43 percent of voters look to congressional Democrats to protect families when it comes to health care, compared to 15 percent who trust President Trump on health care and less than 10 percent who say the Republican Party should lead the way.


House LGBT Caucus Denounces Department of Justice “License to Discriminate” Guidance

 The Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus expressed outrage over President Donald Trump's Department of Justice guidance declaring a policy that government agencies, private businesses, and other entities have a right to discriminate against LGBT people.

“This guidance is a clear attack on the rights of LGBT community and may allow federal employees, contractors, grantees and other businesses to deny employment or services to LGBT people,” said LGBT Equality Caucus Executive Director Roddy Flynn. “Though its obvious intent is obscured by flowery language of ‘religious liberty,’ this guidance is as broad as it is menacing.  It portends to give a widespread, state-sanctioned, tax-payer funded license to discriminate to anyone who claims a religious motivation for wanting to discriminate.”

“Yesterday, the Trump Administration falsely argued that civil rights laws do not protect transgender Americans from employment discrimination,” said Flynn.  “Today, they are attempting to undermine every pro-equality law on the books.  Any last vestiges of hope that this President would be any kind of protector or friend to the LGBT community are long gone.”


Welcome to Rex Tillerson's life. No wonder he doesn't feel very diplomatic

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You headed one of America's couple largest companies and the biggest of the energy "supermajors":
  • You were unusually imperious, even for a corporate big shot — waited on hand and foot by lackeys who stroked and coddled you for decades.
  • You had a corporate dining room, so you never had to see the rabble.
  • You presided over one of the most hierarchical of the world's corporate cultures, reflecting the tone set by John D. Rockefeller.
  • You flew private all over the globe. You got briefing books, had your own foreign policy, and a security detail.
You were Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon.
Now you're Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State to Donald Trump. Your life blows:
  • Your boss doesn't love you, and doesn't even think he needs someone in your job — he likes doing it himself and thinks he should.
  • You don't think much of your boss, and neither do your friends.
  • You're supposed to cut your budget: always a thankless job — but one that, in this case, may not even be a good idea.
  • Morale in your building is terrible, and no one thinks you have juice.
  • You treat everyone dismissively — media, colleagues, counterparts — with predictable results.
  • Yes, you called your boss a "moron" during a meeting at the Pentagon. It could have been worse.
  • You didn't even bother to deny it, although finally, your spokesperson did. Everyone in the West Wing thinks/knows you said it.
  • Some people who were in the room tattled to the press. So now you have to go out and say your boss is a genius — as if you were being forced to apologize to a sibling.
  • And now you're trapped. The new regime downtown wants stability. Expectations were that you'd be gone by Thanksgiving, but now that's stretched into 2018.
  • On top of it all, after a perfect career, your last public act is already an obvious failure — and you have to keep doing it.
Welcome to Rex Tillerson's life. No wonder he doesn't feel very diplomatic.

Source: Axios

Equality PAC Endorses Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-Sen.) and Angie Craig (MN-02)

 Equality PAC, the political action committee founded by leaders of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, announced the endorsement of Rep. Kyrsten Sinema in her campaign to represent Arizona in the U.S. Senate.

"Rep. Sinema has been a champion of equality in the U.S. House, and we need her voice in the Senate to ensure all Americans have equal protection under the law," said Equality PAC Chair Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA).  "All who have served with her have seen Kyrsten work across the aisle and develop common sense solutions for our nation.  Her leadership as a Co-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus will surely be missed, but our nation will have a safer and more secure future with Kyrsten Sinema in the United States Senate.

Equality PAC to also announced the endorsement of Angie Craig's congressional campaign to represent Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District. 

"Angie Craig is a fighter who will be a champion for working families in Minnesota," said Takano.  "Angie overcame hardship and economic challenges to become a successful business executive.  When anti-equality forces sought to tear her family apart, she fought in court for years to keep her son.  Angie's tireless energy and fighting spirit will make her a leader in Congress against the disastrous Trump agenda."


Report: Russian Facebook Ads Targeted Michigan, Wisconsin

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Facebook ads concocted by Russians reportedly targeted Michigan and Wisconsin during the 2016 election. President Trump unexpectedly—and narrowly—defeated Hillary Clinton in both states. According to CNN, the ads were “highly sophisticated in their targeting of key demographic groups,” and included anti-Muslim themes. Facebook turned over 3,000 Russian propaganda ads to the congressional committees investigating Russian election meddling. Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Mark Warner (D-VA), the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, are holding a press conference to give an update on the investigation.