Federal judge blocks Trump’s third travel ban

The following article by Matt Zapotosky was posted on the Washington Post  website October 17, 2017:

Passengers come and go around airport gates at San Francisco International Airport. (John G. Mabanglo/EPA-EFE)

A federal judge on Tuesday largely blocked the Trump administration from implementing the latest version of the president’s controversial travel ban, setting up yet another legal showdown on the extent of the executive branch’s powers when it comes to setting immigration policy.

The decision from Judge Derrick K. Watson in Hawaii is sure to be appealed, but for now, it means that the administration cannot restrict the entry of travelers from six of the eight countries that officials said were either unable or unwilling to provide information that the United States wanted to vet their citizens.

The latest ban was set to fully go into effect in the early morning hours of Wednesday, barring various types of travelers from Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia, North Korea and Venezuela. Watson’s order stops it, at least temporarily, with respect to all the countries except North Korea and Venezuela. Read More

Senators Reach Bipartisan Deal on Health Care

The following article by Mary Ellen McIntire was posted on the Roll Call website October 17, 2017:

Alexander, Murray have an agreement on stabilizing insurance marketplaces

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander and ranking member Patty Murray have a tentative deal on legislation to stabilize the insurance marketplaces. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander said he has reached an agreement with Washington Sen. Patty Murray, the panel’s ranking Democrat, on a limited deal to stabilize the individual health insurance markets.

Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, briefed GOP senators on that deal during their weekly policy lunch Tuesday.

President Donald Trump said at an appearance at the White House on Tuesday that administration officials have been involved in the Alexander-Murray talks and signaled he supports what he described as a one- or two-year package.

He called it a “short-term deal” that is needed to “get us over this hump” until Republicans might find a way to send him a measure to partially or completely repeal the Obama-era law.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer spoke positively of the agreement, saying, “Two years of cost sharing provides real stability to the system and we want to make sure that happens.”  Read More

Trump Is the Reason the Constitution Has an Anti-Corruption Clause

The following article by Sam Berger was posted on the Center for American Progress website October 17, 2017:

President Donald Trump listens during a meeting, September 21, 2017. Credit: Evan Vucci, AP

The investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into the Trump campaign’s involvement in the Russian attack on the U.S. election system has garnered significant attention. But, more quietly, another effort to limit foreign influence over our government continues apace.

On Wednesday, a federal district court in New York will hear arguments in Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington v. Trump, in which the plaintiffs argue that President Donald Trump has violated the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause, an anti-corruption clause that prohibits government officials from receiving anything of value from foreign governments without the consent of Congress. While these cases are just beginning, the ongoing investigations into Trump’s ties to Russia have made clear that the problem of foreign influence in this administration is both very real and very dangerous. Read More

Trump Joked That Pence Wants To ‘Hang’ Gays

The following article by Chris Riotta of Newsweek was posted on the National Memo website October 17, 2017:

Donald Trump loves reminding his underlings who is in charge, and gets a kick out of joking about Mike Pence’s bigoted, anti-gay ideologies to his face.

Those are just two examples from an inside look at the pair’s relationship, as well as the vice president’s rise to the White House, published in a bombshell New Yorker article Monday morning. The report, written by Jane Mayer, suggests the president openly mocks Pence’s attitude toward the LGBT community ever since the 2016 presidential campaign and during briefings with legal experts.

Trump and Pence sat in on a meeting to discuss a range of issues, from abortion to gay rights. When the conversation moved to the latter, the president pointed toward Pence and said: “Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!” Read More

The White House Says It Doesn’t Keep A List Of Mar-a-Lago Visitors. Experts And Visitors Are Skeptical.

The following article by Leora Smith Derek Kravitz was posted on the ProPublica website October 16, 2017:

Credit: Don Emmert, AFP/Getty Images

Seven members and guests of Mar-a-Lago say the U.S. Secret Service checks names of visitors.

Last month, the Trump administration said it could not comply with a court order to disclose the names of people who met with the president at Mar-a-Lago in part because they do “not maintain any system for keeping track” of them.

Read More

HUMAN RIGHTS Trump Is Restoring the Darkest Elements of Bush’s War on Terror

The following article by Karen Greenberg was posted on the AlterNet website October 15, 2017:

The Trump administration just classified its first American prisoner from the battlefields of Syria an “enemy combatant.”

Credit: Ivo Antonie de Rooij / Shutterstock.com

Eight years ago, when I wrote a book on the first days of Guantanamo, The Least Worst Place: Guantánamo’s First 100 Days, I assumed that Gitmo would prove a grim anomaly in our history.  Today, it seems as if that “detention facility” will have a far longer life than I ever imagined and that it, and everything it represents, will become a true, if grim, legacy of twenty-first-century America.

It appears that we just can’t escape the perpetual pendulum of the never-ending war on terror as it invariably swings away from the rule of law and the protections of the Constitution.  Last month, worries that had initially surfaced during the presidential campaign of 2016 over Donald Trump’s statements about restoring torture and expanding Guantanamo’s population took on a new urgency.  In mid-September, the administration acknowledgedthat it had captured an American in Syria.  Though no facts about the detained individual have been revealed, including his name or any allegations against him, the Pentagon did confirm that he has been classified as an “enemy combatant,” a vague and legally imprecise category. It was, however, one of the first building blocks that officials of George W. Bush’s administration used to establish the notoriously lawless policies of that era, including Guantanamo, the CIA’s “black sites,” and of course “enhanced interrogation techniques.“  Read More

This Is How Much Average Americans Will Pay for Trump’s Tax Cuts for the 1 Percent

The following article by Rachel West, Katherine Gallagher Robbins and Melissa Boteach was posted on the Center for American Progress website October 16, 2017:

CREDIT: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

On the heels of their humiliating health care debacle, President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are stepping up efforts to push a tax plan designed to benefit the wealthy. The plan makes vague and unspecific overtures when it comes to provisions that could benefit working- and middle-class taxpayers, but it is crystal clear about the benefits it would bestow on rich individuals and wealthy corporations.

For example, the plan removes taxes on extremely wealthy estates, slashes the top income tax rate from 39.6 percent to 35 percent, and abolishes the alternative minimum tax, which ensures that higher-income households—which are often able to take advantage of lucrative deductions and credits—contribute at least some modicum of taxes. It also gives a special low tax rate to owners of pass-through businesses, who are already able to avoid corporate taxes by instead paying personal tax rates on their portion of the businesses’ profits, allowing them a lower effective tax rate. All of these provisions would benefit the wealthiest Americans, including Trump himself.

Read More

Action Alerts

Concerned about the outcome of the last election?  Want to get involved and help defend progressive values? We will be making periodic postings of ways you can get involved in a range of projects with various non-DFL organizations.  (DFL events are listed on our DFL In the Know posts.)

 Here are some upcoming events:

  • Today through November 6 — Early No Excuse Voting in municipalities and school boards holding elections. Check those entities for locations and times.
  • October 18, 6:30 PM — DACA:  In Depth Discussion with Immigration Attorney Kara Lynum hosted by Indivisible MN03, Wayzata Public Library, 620 Rice St E, Wayzata, MN 55391. More information and RSVP here.
  • October 19, 7:00 PM — Indivisible Northwest Metro Meeting:  Twitter 102, Maple Grove Library, 8001 Main St, Maple Grove. More information and RSVP here.
  • October 21, 2:00 PM — League of Women Voters:  Bold Women of Medicine, Edina Senior Center, 5280 Grandview Sq, Edina, MN 55436
  • October 22, 12:30 PM — Sen. Elizabeth Warren:  The Democratic Party at a Crossroads — The Wellstone Way and Economic Populism, Ted Mann Concern Hall, 2128 4th St. S, Minneapolis, MN 55454. More information and RSVP
    here.
  • October 22, 1:00 PM — Swing Left Minnetonka Voter Canvassing and Get Out the Vote for City Council. More information and RSVP here.
  • October 22, 2:00 PM — Leader Melissa Hortman Tree Celebration FUndraiser, 8710 WIndsor Ter, Brooklyn Park, MN 55443. More information and tickets here.
  • October 23, 7:00 PM — Indivisible Plymouth Social Event with Adam Jennings, El Azteca Mexican Restaurant, 3500 Vicksburg Ln N, #500, Plymouth, MN 55447 Read More

Where’s Erik Paulsen?

Our Representative in Congress hasn’t held a public town hall since September 6, 2011. There’ve been last minute meetings announced on social media shortly before they happen, tele-town halls where questions can be vetted before being forwarded, appearances at local businesses and school, robocalls that come to you saying he’s sorry you weren’t there to take his invitation to the tele-townhalls — but no traditional town hall.

It’s been 2,236 days since Rep. Paulsen’s last public town hall.

Candidate Trump attacked Obama’s executive orders. President Trump loves executive orders.

The following article by Andrew Rudalevige was posted on the Washington Post website October 17, 2017:

President Trump signed an executive order on the Affordable Care Act on Oct. 12. With the order, he directed federal agencies to rewrite regulations on selling a certain type of health insurance across state lines. (Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

As he campaigned for the presidency, Donald Trump argued that Barack Obama’s frequent use of unilateral administrative tools made Obama a weak leader. “We have a president that can’t get anything done,” Trump told an interviewer in January 2016, “so he just keeps signing executive orders all over the place.”

That spring he added, Read More