Brett Kavanaugh just got remarkably angry — and political — for a Supreme Court nominee

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Before delivering his opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh assured us that only one other person had seen it. But it was as if it had been approved by President Trump himself.

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No, Kavanaugh didn’t go as far as Trump has by calling his female accusers “liars,” but he did take an unusually fiery, partisan posture against Democrats seeking to thwart his nomination. While judicial nominees almost always strive to appear above the political fray and not favor one party over another, Kavanaugh made clear he was furious — and he was furious at Democrats.

“Since my nomination in July, there’s been a frenzy on the left to come up with something, anything to block my confirmation,” he said. He referred to Democrats calling him “evil.” Then he turned directly to Democratic senators on the committee. “You sowed the wind,” he said, and “the country will reap the whirlwind.”

But it was also more direct and more partisan than that. Kavanaugh wasn’t just decrying the process — which he called a “national disgrace.” He was pointing the finger directly at Democrats and saying they alone were responsible for it.

This was a particularly bold move from Kavanaugh, given his biography. One of the potential knocks against him was that, before he was a judge, he was a Republican political operative — a high-ranking official in the George W. Bush White House, in fact. That always cut against the idea that he would be your average fair-minded judge, just reviewing the facts and applying the law. Everything Kavanaugh said Thursday will only confirm such doubts.

More from Aaron Blake at The Washington Post

Related: Kavanaugh Gave a Messy, Angry Performance That Would Never Be Allowed From a Woman

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Yes, let’s wipe out Trump. But take neoliberal Democrats with him, too

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A new wave of left-leaning Democrats are waging a war on the party’s corporate wing

Amid an upsurge of populist energy that has alarmed the Democratic establishment, a new wave of left-leaning insurgents have been using Democratic primaries to wage a fierce war on the party’s corporate wing. And, as in past presidential primary battles, many Democratic consultants, politicians and pundits have insisted that the party must prioritize unity and resist grassroots pressure to support a more forceful progressive agenda.

Not surprisingly, much of that analysis comes from those with career stakes in the status quo. Their crude attempts to stamp out any dissent or intraparty discord negates a stark truth: liberal America’s pattern of electing corporate Democrats – rather than progressives – has been a big part of the problem that led to Trump and that continues to make America’s economic and political system a neo-feudal dystopia.

Dislodging those corporate Democrats, then, is not some counterproductive distraction – it is a critical front in the effort to actually make America great again.

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Now the Trump administration wants to limit citizenship for legal immigrants The most significant change to legal immigration in decades could affect millions of would-be citizens, say lawyers and advocates.

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Image: United States Citizenship Ceremony with Justice GinsbergNew citizens recite the Pledge of Allegiance during a naturalization ceremony in New York on April 10.Justin Lane / EPA file

The Trump administration is expected to issue a proposal in coming weeks that would make it harder for legal immigrants to become citizens or get green cards if they have ever used a range of popular public welfare programs, including Obamacare, four sources with knowledge of the plan told NBC News.

The move, which would not need congressional approval, is part of White House senior adviser Stephen Miller’s plan to limit the number of migrants who obtain legal status in the U.S. each year.

Details of the rulemaking proposal are still being finalized, but based on a recent draft seen last week and described to NBC News, immigrants living legally in the U.S. who have ever used or whose household members have ever used Obamacare, children’s health insurance, food stamps and other benefits could be hindered from obtaining legal status in the U.S.

Immigration lawyers and advocates and public health researchers say it would be the biggest change to the legal immigration system in decades and estimate that more than 20 million immigrants could be affected. They say it would fall particularly hard on immigrants working jobs that don’t pay enough to support their families.

Many are like Louis Charles, a Haitian green-card holder seeking citizenship who, despite working up to 80 hours a week as a nursing assistant, has had to use public programs to support his disabled adult daughter.

Using some public benefits like Social Security Insurance has already hindered immigrants from obtaining legal status in the past, but the programs included in the recent draft plan could mean that immigrant households earning as much as 250 percent of the poverty level could be rejected.

A version of the plan has been sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget, the sources said, the final step before publishing a rule in the federal register. Reuters first reported that the White House was considering such a plan in February.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security said: “The administration is committed to enforcing existing immigration law, which is clearly intended to protect the American taxpayer by ensuring that foreign nationals seeking to enter or remain in the U.S are self-sufficient. Any proposed changes would ensure that the government takes the responsibility of being good stewards of taxpayer funds seriously and adjudicates immigration benefit requests in accordance with the law.”

Miller, along with several of his former congressional colleagues who now hold prominent positions in the Trump administration, have long sought to decrease the number of immigrants who obtain legal status in the U.S. each year. And even before the rule is in place, the administration has made it more difficult for immigrants to gain green cards and for green-card holders to gain citizenship.

In fiscal year 2016, the last full fiscal year under the Obama administration, 1.2 million immigrants became lawful permanent residents, or green-card holders, and 753,060 became naturalized U.S. citizens, according to data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Data from the first quarter of fiscal year 2018 indicates that the administration is on track for a decline in immigrants granted green cards by 20 percent. Data for the first two quarters of fiscal year 2018 for immigrants obtaining naturalized citizenship shows little change compared to the same period of 2016. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says they expect naturalization numbers to rise in the latter half of the year based on previous trends.

Four immigration lawyers practicing in Massachusetts, Virginia, Tennessee and California told NBC News they have noticed a spike in the number of their clients being rejected when seeking green cards and naturalized citizenship.

In a statement, agency spokesperson Michael Bars said, “USCIS evaluates all applications fairly, efficiently and effectively on a case-by-case basis.”

“Contrary to open borders advocates, immigration attorneys and activists,” said Bars, “USCIS has not changed the manner in which applications for naturalization have been adjudicated, as the law generally requires that an eligible applicant must have been properly admitted for permanent residence in order to become a U.S. citizen. … We reject the false and inaccurate claims of those who would rather the U.S. turn a blind eye to cases of illegal immigration, fraud, human trafficking, gang activity and drug proliferation at the expense of public safety, the integrity of our laws and their faithful execution.”

“I DID EVERYTHING THEY ASKED ME”

Charles, the Haitian green-card holder who works as a nursing assistant in a psychiatric hospital near Boston, said he was stunned to learn his application for citizenship had been denied. He had used a fake passport given to him by smugglers when he entered the U.S. from Haiti in 1989, but confessed to border officers and received a waiver from USCIS absolving him of his wrongdoing and allowing him to obtain a green card in 2011.

Now 55, Charles is a homeowner and a taxpayer and thought obtaining citizenship would be a smooth process. “I thought in this country everything was square and fair,” Charles said.

But when he went for his citizenship interview in August 2017, the USCIS officers told him they were going to revisit the decision to waive the fake passport incident, meaning he could potentially lose his green card as well

Then he received a letter in September telling him his request for citizenship had been denied.

“I was devastated. And I’m not sure exactly why they did it. I did everything they asked me to.”

He appealed the decision, but as he waits for a final verdict, his lawyer says his green-card status may also now be in question.

In late November, the Trump administration announced they would end temporary protected status for Haitians who came to the U.S. after the deadly 2010 earthquake. Charles’s wife was a recipient of that protection and without him becoming a citizen, he would be unable to vouch for her.

But Charles’s biggest concern is his daughter. Although she is in her 20s and a U.S. citizen, she has severe disabilities that make it impossible for her to live by herself.

Charles is unaware of Miller’s new plan to limit citizenship for immigrants who have used public assistance. But it is likely to affect him because he has used public assistance to help care for his daughter, so she could end up further hurting his chances for citizenship.

Though its effects could be far-reaching, the proposal to limit citizenship to immigrants who have not used public assistance does not appear to need congressional approval. As the Clinton administration did in 1999, the Trump administration would be redefining the term “public charge,” which first emerged in immigration law in the 1800s in order to shield the U.S. from burdening too many immigrants who could not contribute to society.

Rosemary Jenks, executive vice president of NumbersUSA, which promotes limited immigration, said the new rule and the increased scrutiny around green card and citizenship applications are all part of a new focus at DHS on enforcing the law and preventing fraud.

“Applications for renewal or adjustment of status that have been filed with the government before are being re-examined to look for fraud,” Jenks said.

In light of this, immigration attorneys are cautioning their clients before moving from green-card status to citizenship.

Rose Hernandez is the supervising attorney at the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition’s naturalization clinic. She said the clinic’s model has completely changed in light of the crackdown. She now sends six information requests to government agencies to check on green-card holders’ backgrounds before she advises them to file for citizenship. If the government finds something she doesn’t, the fear is the applicants could lose their green cards and be sent home.

And other immigration attorneys are preparing to push back fiercely against the public charge rule.

“Any policy forcing millions of families to choose between the denial of status and food or health care would exacerbate serious problems such as hunger, unmet health needs, child poverty and homelessness, with lasting consequences for families’ wellbeing and long-term success and community prosperity,” said the National Immigration Law Center in a statement.

By Julia Ainsley/NBC
Posted by The NON-Conformist

Donald Trump’s feud with Charles Koch widens as GOP chair joins fray

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The Republican National Committee is diving into President Trump’s battle with Charles Koch, warning GOP donors to stay away from the billionaire.

It’s official: With less than 100 days to go before the November midterms, the war within the Republican party just got a lot bigger.

The Republican National Committee is diving into President Donald Trump’s battle with Charles Koch, warning GOP donors to stay away from the conservative billionaire.

“Some groups who claim to support conservatives forgo their commitment when they decide their business interests are more important than those of the country or Party,” RNC chair Ronna Romney McDaniel wrote in a Thursday afternoon email to contributors. “This is unacceptable.”

The letter also made a point to underscore that the GOP is the president’s party, in a potential warning shot to other conservatives who might be considering publicly distancing themselves from Trump during the midterms

The implied threat to GOP candidates – the RNC “is the only entity which can be trusted with the data” needed to win, Romney wrote – follows a week-long exchange of critical comments between Trump and Koch officials.

Posted by Libergirl

In Latest Attempt to Harm Struggling Families, Trump Urges Lawmakers to Push One Million Americans Off Food Stamp Program

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With both houses of Congress preparing to merge their two versions of the farm bill, President Donald Trump announced his hope on Thursday that lawmakers will reach an agreement that kicks one million Americans off the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps.

In the House’s version of the farm bill, adults between the ages of 19 and 59 would be required to either work or be enrolled in a job training program 20 hours per week to qualify for assistance.

The Senate did not include work requirements in its bill. Trump’s declaration that the Senate “should go to 51 votes” signaled the White House’s hope that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will abandon the filibuster, making it easier for Republicans to pass a farm bill that would cut down on food stamp recipients.

Work requirements for SNAP benefits are expected to reduce government spending by $20 billion over the next decade. Trump is pushing Congress to pass the measure seven months after passing the GOP tax law, which the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects will add nearly $2 trillion to the federal deficit within 10 years.

The Republican Party is currently working to expand on its tax legislation, with the Trump administration willing to bypass Congress in order to cut taxes on capital gains, according to the New York Times.

More from Common Dreams

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Huckabee Sanders Defends Ripping Children From Parents, Because It’s “Very Biblical to Enforce the Law”

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Asked to comment on remarks made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier in the day about how the Trump administration’s policy of ripping children out of the arms of their immigrant parents is somehow justified by the Christian Bible, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday afternoon said she could not respond specifically to the AG’s claims but said “it is very biblical to enforce the law.”

“That is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible,” Huckabee Sanders said in response to the question by CNN’s Jim Acosta as she appeared to glance at notes on her podium.

More from Common Dreams

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Wisconsin is the GOP model for ‘welfare reform.’ But as work requirements grow, so does one family’s desperation.

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The Trump administration is using Wisconsin as a model, but hopeful statistics belie the continuing struggles of low-income families trying to meet increasing standards for public assistance.

Image: Washington Post

The shock absorbers in James Howlett’s Ford Fusion were busted, but he and his partner, Nadine, packed their two children inside anyway. They were already homeless, and their time on food stamps was running out. They needed to fix the car and dig up documents to try to get back on welfare.

The suburban homeless shelter where they slept the night before was now in the distance as they made their way through the familiar blight of the city neighborhood that was once home. Howlett dropped Kayden, 5, at kindergarten and Cali, 3, at day care in a community center that stood amid the boarded-up houses and vacant fields surrounded by barbed wire that dot Milwaukee’s north side.

That’s when he found himself gripped by a new worry: His run-down Ford might be another barrier to government assistance.

More from The Washington Post

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