Trump’s crackdown focuses on people in the U.S. illegally – but not on the businesses that hire them

The following article by Cindy Carcamo was posted on the L.A. Times website March 20, 2017:

Nearly 20 years ago, Mark Reed, then a top boss for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, sent agents into Nebraska to crack down on meatpackers hiring immigrants who were in the country illegally.

Agents pored over records to ferret out forged documents or fake Social Security numbers, and thousands of workers, fearful of being caught without papers, fled the state.

Reed thought the effort, Operation Vanguard, could become a national model to shut down a magnet for illegal immigration, and he said as much to Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) during a congressional hearing on immigration while Vanguard was underway. (more…)

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White House installs political aides at Cabinet agencies to be Trump’s eyes and ears

The following article by Lisa Rein and Juliet Eilperin was posted on the Washington Post website March 19, 2017:

The political appointee charged with keeping watch over Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and his aides has offered unsolicited advice so often that after just four weeks on the job, Pruitt has shut him out of many staff meetings, according to two senior administration officials.

At the Pentagon, they’re privately calling the former Marine officer and fighter pilot who’s supposed to keep his eye on Defense Secretary Jim Mattis “the commissar,” according to a high-ranking defense official with knowledge of the situation. It’s a reference to Soviet-era Communist Party officials who were assigned to military units to ensure their commanders remained loyal. (more…)

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Trump adviser Flynn paid by multiple Russia-related entities, new records show

The following article by Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger was posted on the Washington Post website March 16, 2017:

Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign as national security adviser amid controversy over his contacts with Russia’s ambassador, collected nearly $68,000 in fees and expenses from Russia-related entities in 2015, a higher amount than was previously known, according to newly released documents.

The records show that the bulk of the money, more than $45,000, came from the Russian government-backed television network RT, in connection to a December 2015 trip Flynn took to Moscow. Flynn has acknowledged that RT sponsored his trip, during which he attended a gala celebrating the network’s 10th anniversary and was seated near Russian President Vladi­mir Putin. His speakers bureau took a cut of the fee. (more…)

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Trump Takes a Gamble in Cutting Programs His Base Relies On

The following article by Michael D. Shear was posted on the New York Times website March 16, 2017:

Copies of President Trump’s budget at the Government Publishing Office bookstore in Washington on Thursday. Credit Shawn Thew/European Pressphoto Agency

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s proposal on Thursday for deep cuts to the budgets of a broad part of the federal bureaucracy was billed as a tough-minded and necessary corrective to the growth of the government’s power. But even members of his own party questioned some of the cuts — and what was not being cut.

The harshest criticism of Mr. Trump’s budget came from Democrats and liberal organizations. But in a city where many federal programs enjoy longstanding bipartisan support, some Republicans also assailed the president’s judgment.

“While we have a responsibility to reduce our federal deficit, I am disappointed that many of the reductions and eliminations proposed in the president’s skinny budget are draconian, careless and counterproductive,” said Representative Harold Rogers, Republican of Kentucky and a former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. “We will certainly review this budget proposal, but Congress ultimately has the power of the purse.” (more…)

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Can President Trump Handle the Truth?

The following article by Michael Scherer was posted on the Time Magazine website March 23, 2017:

Generations of American children have learned the apocryphal tale of young George Washington, bravely admitting to his father that he chopped down the cherry tree. The story sprang from a culture that wanted even its fables to serve the ideal of truth. By that standard, the House Intelligence Committee hearing on March 20 should have been a massive humiliation for the President, who followed Washington 228 years later. It is rare for such hearings to be unclassified–and thus televised–but FBI Director James Comey found the largest possible audience for his rebuke of the sitting President.

He had given Donald Trump nearly three weeks to walk back his incendiary tweets accusing President Obama of “wire tapping” Trump Tower during the campaign. If such surveillance had been done through legal channels, the FBI would have known; if done illegally, it was a scandal of historic proportions and the FBI should be digging into it. Either way, Trump’s accusation implicated the integrity of Comey’s bureau, which is why the former prosecutor felt compelled to push back as the cameras rolled. “I have no information that supports those tweets,” Comey said. “We have looked carefully inside the FBI. The Department of Justice has asked me to share with you that the answer is the same.” (more…)

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$2,183,552: Donald Trump’s Annual Tax Cut from ACA Repeal

The following article by Harold Stein was posted on the Center for American Progress website March 22, 2017:

The House of Representatives is preparing to vote on a health care bill that would take away insurance from 24 million Americans in 2025—the same year that it would give a tax cut of $57,570 to the average household making more than $1 million per year. The personal benefit to President Donald Trump appears to be even larger: more than $2 million, based on recently leaked partial tax returns from 2005.

If the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, had been law in 2005, then President Trump could have paid $2,183,552 under two taxes on the wealthiest Americans that help pay for expanding health insurance coverage. This includes $589,080 in Additional Medicare Tax on President Trump’s wages and self-employment income, along with $1,594,473 in Net Investment Income Tax on his interest, dividends, and capital gains. (more…)

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Dump The Myth That Obamacare Froze Out Republicans

The following article by Froma Harrop was posted on the National Memo website March 21, 2017:

It’s true. The Affordable Care Act was passed without a single Republican vote. Republicans repeatedly cite this fact as Obamacare’s original sin, a fatal flaw that justifies their efforts to dismantle the ACA.

But let’s set that record straight. Obamacare was a bipartisan plan. It just didn’t get a bipartisan vote. (more…)

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Conservative women’s group knocked for giving ‘Working for Women’ award to Pence

The following article by Vanessa Williams was posted on the Washington Post website March 22, 2017:

Vice President Pence will be honored by the Independent Women’s Forum at a reception in Washington. (David Swanson/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

This post has been updated.

The Independent Women’s Forum, a conservative think tank, has drawn fire on social media and from some progressive commentators for its decision to give its inaugural “Working for Women” award to Vice President Pence.

Pence was scheduled to receive the award at a reception Wednesday, but the forum issued an advisory Wednesday afternoon saying that it had “just been informed by the office of the Vice President that due to current events and scheduling the Vice President will no longer be able to attend the reception.” The group said it would find a later date to give Pence the award. The advisory said that Kelleyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump and a member of the organization’s board of directors, might attend. (more…)

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