Btw, I'm surprised the elections are held on Tuesday. Over here, it's always on Sunday. It would be very controversial if it wasn't during the weekend !
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Sample Script wrote:Caller: Hi! I’m a constituent from [part of your state] I’m calling to urge [Name of your House of Representative or Name of your Senators] to act immediately because Trump just crossed a red line. The Acting Attorney General, Matthew Whitaker, has talked openly about ending the Mueller investigation and how he’d do it. Trump is obviously trying to interfere in the investigation and called it a “hoax.” I want to urge [name of either your House of Representative or name of your Senator] to publicly call for Whitaker to recuse himself and for a congressional investigation into Trump’s obstruction of justice.
Staffer: Thank you for your call. [Name of your Representative or Senator] is monitoring the various investigations closely and is letting them run their course.
Caller: That’s good, but it’s really important for Congress to assert its power now to protect the investigation and hold Trump accountable. Can I expect [Name of your U.S. House of Representative or name of your U.S. Senator] to issue this statement immediately?
Staffer: I’ll pass that along to him/her.
Caller: Great, I’ll be following to see if [Name of your House Representative or name of your Senator] speaks out on this.
Last edited by Poppy on Sat Nov 10, 2018 12:02 am; edited 1 time in total
Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/08/opinion/trump-attorney-general-sessions-unconstitutional.htmlNew York Times wrote:
Trump’s Appointment of the Acting Attorney General Is Unconstitutional
November 8, 2018
By Neal K. Katyal and George T. Conway III
It means that Mr. Trump’s installation of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general of the United States after forcing the resignation of Jeff Sessions is unconstitutional. It’s illegal. And it means that anything Mr. Whitaker does, or tries to do, in that position is invalid.
. . . The flaw in the appointment of Mr. Whitaker, who was Mr. Sessions’s chief of staff at the Justice Department, runs much deeper. It defies one of the explicit checks and balances set out in the Constitution, a provision designed to protect us all against the centralization of government power.
[ . . . ]
Because Mr. Whitaker has not undergone the process of Senate confirmation, there has been no mechanism for scrutinizing whether he has the character and ability to evenhandedly enforce the law in a position of such grave responsibility. The public is entitled to that assurance, especially since Mr. Whitaker’s only supervisor is Mr. Trump himself, and the president is hopelessly compromised by the Mueller investigation. That is why adherence to the requirements of the Appointments Clause is so important here, and always.
Source: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/mueller-protest-support-russia-probe-investigation-nobody-is-above-the-law-rallies-today-2018-11-08/CBS News wrote:
"Nobody is above the law" protests held nationwide to support Mueller's probe
November 8, 2018
Protests have sprung up across the country Thursday night calling for the protection of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into possible collusion between President Trump's campaign and Russia. Several hundred had gathered in New York's Times Square and other places like Washington, D.C., Boston, Chicago, North Carolina, Tennessee and Philadelphia.
[. . . ]
Organizers of the protest said the naming of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker was a "deliberate attempt to obstruct the special counsel's investigation," according to AP.
Thursday's show of disapproval came a day after President Trump asked Jeff Sessions to resign as the nation's top law enforcement official. He was then replaced by Whitaker, Sessions' chief of staff, who has been critical of Mueller's investigation.
The Washington Post wrote:
'These children are barefoot. In diapers. Choking on tear gas.’
A migrant girl from Honduras, part of a caravan of thousands traveling from Central America, cries after running away from tear gas thrown by U.S. border agents. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)
November 26, 2018
A little girl from Honduras stares into the camera, her young features contorted in anguish. She’s barefoot, dusty, and clad only in a diaper and T-shirt. And she’s just had to run from clouds of choking tear gas fired across the border by U.S. agents.
A second photograph, which also circulated widely and rapidly on social media, shows an equally anguished woman frantically trying to drag the same child and a second toddler away from the gas as it spreads.
The three were part of a much larger group, perhaps 70 or 80 men, women and children, pictured in a wider-angle photo fleeing the tear gas. Reuters photographer Kim Kyung-Hoon shot the images, which provoked outrage and seemed at odds with President Trump’s portrayal of the caravan migrants as “criminals” and “gang members.”
[ . . . ]
The chaos erupted Sunday around the bustling San Ysidro border crossing, which Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said was closed “to ensure public safety in response to large numbers of migrants seeking to enter the U.S. illegally.”
But Democratic leaders, human rights advocates and others focused on the images of the two children in particular. Many pointed to the children left gagging from the gas attack as evidence that Trump’s push against a caravan of asylum seekers from Central America had gone too far.
Trump says tear gas fired at migrant caravan 'very safe'
“Shooting tear gas at children is not who we are as Americans,” tweeted Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee. “Seeking asylum is not a crime. We must be better than this.”
Gavin Newsom, the Democratic governor-elect of California, argued that images of kids sprinting from tear gas run counter to American ideals.
“These children are barefoot. In diapers. Choking on tear gas,” he tweeted. “Women and children who left their lives behind — seeking peace and asylum — were met with violence and fear. That’s not my America. We’re a land of refuge. Of hope. Of freedom. And we will not stand for this.”
[ . . . ]
" . . . What he [Trump] does not understand,” [Yale Law School’s Harold Hongju Koh, legal adviser to the State Department during the Obama administration. ] . . . said in an email, “is that everyone crossing our Southern border is not illegally present. Those with valid asylum claims have a legal right to assert those claims and remain.”
[ . . . ]
Had the migrants made it to the border and presented themselves as asylum seekers, U.S. officials would have been required by federal law to consider their claim before sending them back to Mexico. Indeed, they are required to do so whether the migrants cross at a designated point of entry or anywhere else.
U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar forcefully reminded Trump of that law last week when he issued a nationwide restraining order against the president’s plan to consider asylum requests only from migrants who cross at legal checkpoints. It was Tigar’s ruling that prompted Trump to lash out last week against the “Obama judge” and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which in turn brought a rare rebuke from Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.
Authorities closed off the busiest port of entry along the border with Mexico and fired tear gas at a Central American migrant caravan that had rushed the fencing separating the countries.
Source: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/11/cindy-hyde-smith-mississippi-gop-senator-sent-daughter-to-segregation-academy.htmlSlate wrote:
Mississippi GOP Senator Sent Daughter to “Segregation Academy” With Almost No Black Students
Nov 24, 2018
Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde Smith, who is facing a special election runoff in Mississippi Tuesday, hasn’t exactly been open about her high school experience. And today the Jackson Free Press* reveals why that might be, noting that the senator attended one of the “segregation academies” that were set up by white parents eager to avoid integration laws. Hyde-Smith, who was appointed to replace long-time Sen. Thad Cochran this past spring, is facing off aganist Democratic former congressman Mike Espy, who is seeking to become Mississippi’s first black senator since Reconstruction.
The paper got a hold of the 1975 yearbook of the Lawrence County Academy and identified “Cindy Hyde” posing with other cheerleaders next to the school’s mascot of a Confederate general holding up a large Confederate flag. Hyde-Smith didn’t just go to a school that seemed expressly designed to avoid integration, she also sent her daughter to one of them.
Brookhaven Academy, the school from which Hyde-Smith’s daughter graduated in 2017, is almost all white. In the 2015-2016 academic year, for example, the school had 386 white students, compared to five Asian students and one black student. Brookhaven is 55 percent black.
Don’t forget: open enrollment to sign up for health care under the Affordable Care Act ends on December 15. Californians, you have until January 15. Taking care of your health is so critical to leading a successful life. So make sure to visit https://t.co/xpFV3AWDwB & #GetCovered— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) November 30, 2018
Source: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-officials-plan-obamacare-site-maintenance-shutdowns-during-open-enrollment_us_5bbdb23de4b0876edaa39f1fHuffington Post wrote:
Trump Officials Plan Obamacare Site Shutdowns During Open Enrollment
The Trump administration is under scrutiny for shortening the enrollment period and scheduling lengthy maintenance downtime for the Healthcare.gov website.
The Trump administration plans to take the Healthcare.gov website offline for hours at a time for maintenance during the coming Obamacare enrollment season, The Hill reported on Tuesday.
[ . . . ]
The Trump administration was criticized last year for scheduling almost-weekly maintenance of the Healthcare.gov site during the Obamacare enrollment period.
“I could see this really impacting the ability of people to complete an application sign-up in a single sitting, which is so important,” Jason Stevenson of the Utah Health Policy Project, an Obamacare navigator group, told CNN at the time.
Lori Lodes, who served as a communications director of CMS during the Obama administration, also expressed concern at the large chunks of downtime being scheduled.
[ . . . ]
Fact-checking site Snopes.com pointed out last year that the Trump administration slashed the Obamacare open enrollment period by more than half, from three months to six weeks, so the downtime consumes more of the enrollment period.
This year’s maintenance outage schedule is reportedly the same as last year’s: 12 a.m. to 12 p.m. every Sunday, except for the last Sunday, during the sign-up period. The total scheduled downtime this year ― as it was last year ― is 60 hours.
The enrollment window for 2019 coverage will run from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15.
Mark your calendars! Open enrollment for 2019 Marketplace coverage opens on November 1st, and runs through December 15th of this year. #ACA #OpenEnrollment #HealthyFLA— Florida Voices For Health (@HealthyInFla) October 6, 2018
To read more about this and other important dates, visit: https://t.co/AQ6XxRFIbK pic.twitter.com/v7hjnrOFHa
Source: https://www.rgj.com/story/news/2018/12/05/aca-obamacare-enrollment-down-amid-trump-funding-cuts-rule-changes/2209337002/Reno Gazette Journal wrote:
ACA: Obamacare enrollment down amid Trump funding cuts, rule changes and immigration fears
December 5, 2018
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that nearly 60 percent of likely voters across the nation want the Affordable Care Act to remain in place.
Obamacare enrollment is down nationwide as funding cuts, shorter deadlines and immigration fears conjure a perfect storm that is adversely impacting the program. . .
“We are 13 percent below where we were at the same time last year so we’re hoping to close that gap,” said Heather Korbulic, executive director of Nevada’s Silver State Health Insurance Exchange. “We are really hoping to push the pedal to the metal in the next couple of weeks by increasing our planned advertising and marketing.”
. . . The Dec. 15 [is] deadline looming for health insurance exchanges across the country . . .
Like Nevada, the number represents a 13 percent drop from the 2.8 million enrollees that were signed up during the same period the year before. The totals comprise enrollees from 39 states that use the Healthcare.gov exchange platform.
Despite the decline in enrollees, Korbulic noted that healthcare remains an important subject for Americans. Even Nevadans who do not support the Affordable Care Act considered healthcare a key topic and wanted lawmakers to address it, according to several polls conducted before the last election.
Despite failing to repeal the healthcare law, GOP lawmakers were still successful in getting rid of its individual mandate, which required most Americans to carry insurance or face tax penalties. The mandate is a key cog of the Affordable Care Act that not only helped the exchanges get a bigger and more diverse pool of enrollees but kept costs down by adding younger, healthier individuals to the marketplace.
The Trump Administration also decreased funding for health insurance exchange navigators who help people enroll in the program. Last year, navigator funding was cut by 43 percent from $63 million in 2016 to $36.1 million in 2017, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The grants saw even steeper cuts this year. On September, CMS awarded only $10 million in grants for navigators — an 84 percent decrease from two years ago.
[Note: Some states do their own marketing.]
Another change implemented by the Trump Administration is to shorten the enrollment period to just 45 days. Starting last year, the enrollment period is scheduled from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15., which is half as long as before.
n response to the shorter window, several states that ran their own program, including California and New York, decided to extend their deadlines during last year’s enrollment period. Nevada, which switched to the Healthcare.gov platform after issues with original health exchange contractor Xerox, is not able to extend its deadlines. The state, however, will start running its own exchange next year, which should give it added flexibility, Korbulic said.
Meanwhile, proposed changes issued by the Department of Homeland Security to the country’s public charge rule is also discouraging some immigrants from enrolling in the health insurance exchanges.
The rule is used by immigration officials to identify which people have a high probability of becoming dependent on the government, which is then used to reject applicants either seeking legal entry into the United States or applying for permanent residency through regular channels. The Trump Administration is proposing that use of programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Medicaid be added to the list of factors that can lead to a person being considered a public charge and having their application rejected.
[. . . ]
The repeal of the individual mandate, which takes effect in the upcoming 2019 plan year, could also adversely impact the stability of the health insurance exchanges. The concern is that healthier individuals between ages 26 and 30 will opt not to get insurance, causing older or less healthy individuals to account for a larger share of the insurance pool.
“Insurance is all about having a healthy, diverse risk pool,” Korbulic said. “If people who are healthy leave the market, what’s left is a more sick population, which means more risk and higher premiums for everybody.”
Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/7-year-old-migrant-girl-taken-into-border-patrol-custody-dies-of-dehydration-exhaustion/2018/12/13/8909e356-ff03-11e8-862a-b6a6f3ce8199_story.html?utm_term=.9afb89c15e35Washington Post wrote:
7-year-old migrant girl taken into Border Patrol custody dies of dehydration, exhaustion
December 13, 2018
A 7-year-old girl from Guatemala died of dehydration and shock after she was taken into Border Patrol custody last week for crossing from Mexico into the United States illegally with her father and a large group of migrants along a remote span of New Mexico desert, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Thursday.
The child’s death is likely to intensify scrutiny of detention conditions at Border Patrol stations and CBP facilities that are increasingly overwhelmed by large numbers of families seeking asylum in the United States.
According to CBP records, the girl and her father were taken into custody about 10 p.m. Dec. 6 south of Lordsburg, N.M., as part of a group of 163 people who approached U.S. agents to turn themselves in.
More than eight hours later, the child began having seizures at 6:25 a.m., CBP records show. Emergency responders, who arrived soon after, measured her body temperature at 105.7 degrees, and according to a statement from CBP, she “reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days.”
After a helicopter flight to Providence Children’s Hospital in El Paso, the child went into cardiac arrest and “was revived,” according to the agency. “However, the child did not recover and died at the hospital less than 24 hours after being transported,” CBP said.
[ . . . ]
Food and water are typically provided to migrants in Border Patrol custody, and it wasn’t immediately clear Thursday if the girl received provisions and a medical exam before the onset of seizures.
[. . . ]
The ACLU blamed “lack of accountability, and a culture of cruelty within CBP” for the girl’s death. “The fact that it took a week for this to come to light shows the need for transparency for CBP. We call for a rigorous investigation into how this tragedy happened and serious reforms to prevent future deaths,” Cynthia Pompa, advocacy manager for the ACLU Border Rights Center, said in a statement.
[ . . . ]
Arrests of migrants traveling as family groups have skyrocketed this year, and Homeland Security officials say court rulings that limit their ability to keep families in detention have produced a “catch and release” system that encourages migrants to bring children as a shield against detention and deportation.
[ . . .]
Migrants traveling as part of a family group accounted for 58 percent of those taken into custody last month by the Border Patrol.
On Tuesday, CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said during testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee that the agency’s holding cells are “incompatible” with the new reality of parents with children coming across the border to surrender to agents en masse, requesting asylum.
“Our Border Patrol stations were built decades ago to handle mostly male single adults in custody, not families and children,” McAleenan told lawmakers.
The small Border Patrol station in Lordsburg received a group of 227 migrants on Thursday, according to CBP, after taking in a group of 123 on Wednesday. Both groups — extremely large by CBP standards — mostly consisted of families and children, according to the agency.
The agency said it was expecting an autopsy on the child, but results would not likely be available for several weeks. An initial diagnosis by physicians at Providence hospital listed the cause of death as septic shock, fever and dehydration, CBP said.
Source: https://www.vox.com/2018/10/11/17963380/family-separation-news-still-childrenVox wrote:
Trump is separating an unknown number of families at the border for “fraud”
October 12, 2018
Now, though, we have a slightly more complete count of the families separated as a direct consequence of Trump’s policies. Customs and Border Protection officials told Amnesty researchers that from April 19 (when DHS started implementing “zero tolerance”) to August 15,  6,022 “family units” were separated.
Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/17/us/family-separation-trump-administration-migrants.htmlNew York Times wrote:
Family Separation May Have Hit Thousands More Migrant Children Than Reported
Jan. 17, 2019
HOUSTON — The Trump administration most likely separated thousands more children from their parents at the Southern border than was previously believed, according to a report by government inspectors released on Thursday.
[ . . .]
As of December , the [United States Department of Health and Human Services] department had identified 2,737 children who were separated from their parents under the ["zero tolerance" family separation] policy and required to be reunified by a federal court order issued in June 2018.
But that number does not represent the full scope of family separations. Thousands of children may have been separated during an influx that began in 2017, before the accounting required by the court, the report said.
Thus, the total number of children separated from a parent or guardian by immigration authorities is “unknown,” because of the lack of a coordinated formal tracking system between the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the arm of Health and Human Services that takes in the children, and the Department of Homeland Security, which separated them from their parents.
“This report confirms what we suspected: This cruel family separation practice was way bigger than the administration let on,” said Lee Gelernt, who challenged the policy in court on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union. “We will be back in court and ask the judge to order the government to explain these numbers,” he said.
[ . . . ]
. . . The ["zero tolerance" family separation] policy . .. resulted in thousands of migrant parents spending months in agonized uncertainty, unable to communicate with their children and in many cases not knowing even where the children were.
Infants and toddlers were among the children who were put into foster homes or migrant children shelters, often hundreds or thousands of miles away from where their parents were detained. Under separate policies, the administration also made it difficult for relatives other than the children’s parents to take the children into their own homes.
[ . . .]
On June 26, 2018, a federal judge in San Diego, in response to the A.C.L.U. lawsuit, directed the federal government to halt the separations at the border and to reunite children with their parents. President Trump rescinded the policy that same month.
However, the federal inspectors found that separations have continued to occur: As of November, the report found, Health and Human Services had received at least 118 children who had been separated from their families since the court order.
[. . . ]
[In addition,] “The total number [of children separated from their parents before the "zero tolerance" family separation policy became public in April 2018 and before the court order in June 2018] is unknown,” she [Ann Maxwell, the Health and Human Services Department’s assistant inspector general for evaluation and inspections] said. “It is certainly more than 2,737, but how many more, precisely, is unknown.” Moreover, that number may never be known: Department officials, she said, had told her office that there were “no efforts underway to identify that.
[. . . ]
Family separations have occurred for years, but they had previously been “fairly rare,” Ms. Maxwell said, occurring only in cases where there were concerns about child welfare. That changed in 2017, she said.
Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/17/opinion/family-separation-border-trump.htmlThe New York Times wrote:
The Lost Children of the Trump Administration
Jan. 17, 2019
A woman wearing an ankle monitor and her 3-year-old daughter, reunited after four months apart, waited for a bus in Phoenix last July.CreditCreditVictor J. Blue for The New York Times
Last summer, a federal judge in San Diego said the Trump administration treated immigrant children detained at the border worse than chattel.
“The unfortunate reality,” wrote Judge Dana Sabraw in ordering a halt to President Trump’s policy of separating the children from their parents, “is that under the present system, migrant children are not accounted for with the same efficiency and accuracy as property.”
That was underscored on Thursday when the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services released a report revealing that thousands more children than previously disclosed may have been torn from their parents for months before the policy was even announced.
[ . . . ]
Over all, the total number of children separated at the border is “unknown,” according to the report. Nor was it clear how many of these children had yet to be reunited with their families.
[ . . .]
Such dysfunction goes beyond mere incompetence. To have so little regard for the damage done to so many children, for the heartache caused to so many parents, is to indulge in callousness, if not deliberate cruelty. President Trump doesn’t need a wall. He needs a heart.
Source: https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/22/politics/scotus-transgender-ban/index.htmlCNN wrote:
Supreme Court allows transgender military ban to go into effect
January 22, 2019
The Supreme Court allowed President Donald Trump's transgender military ban to go into effect on Tuesday, dealing a blow to LGBT activists who call the ban cruel and irrational.
[ . . . ]
The four liberal justices objected to allowing the administration's policy banning most transgender people from serving in the military to go into effect.
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