Monday, January 27, 2020

Last Call For Deportation Nation, Con't

In a 5-4 decision, the US Supreme Court has cleared the decks for the Trump regime to start declaring green-card recipients as "public charges" and to begin deporting green card holders who live in households that receive any federal benefit programs.

The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Trump administration to begin implementing new rules making it easier to deny immigrants residency or admission to the country because they have or might use public-assistance programs.

The court lifted a nationwide injunction imposed by a district judge in New York. That means the administration can begin applying the new standards, which challengers say would place a burden on poor immigrants, while legal challenges continue.

All four of the court’s liberal justices disagreed with the action. Neither the majority of the five conservative justices nor the liberals explained their reasoning. Two justices said they were concerned about what they said was a growing number of nationwide injunctions imposed by lower courts.

The rules establish new criteria for who can be considered to be dependent on the U.S. government for benefits — “public charges,” in the words of the law — and thus ineligible for green cards and a path to U.S. citizenship. They were proposed to start in October but have never been implemented.

According to the new policy, immigrants who are in the United States legally and use public benefits -- such as Medicaid, food stamps or housing assistance — or have at one time used public benefits, or are deemed likely to someday rely on public benefits would be suspect. The new criteria provide “positive” and “negative” factors for immigration officials to weigh as they decide on green-card applications. Negative factors include whether a person is unemployed, dropped out of high school or is not fluent in English.

Opponents of the rule argue that punishing legal immigrants who need financial help endangers the health and safety of immigrant families — including U.S. citizen children — and will foist potentially millions of dollars in emergency health care and other costs onto local and state governments, businesses, hospitals and food banks.

Federal officials say the rule ensures that immigrants can cover their own expenses in the United States without burdening taxpayers for food, housing and other costs. U.S. officials note that the change is not retroactive and exempts refugees and asylees who fled persecution for safety in the United States.

I talked about what this meant back in August.

Understand that Stephen Miller's goal has two parts, one is to end immigration, legal and otherwise, for anyone who is not white.  The other half involves getting rid of as many non-white people already in the country as possible.

It's white supremacy as a national policy.  That's been the case for 400 years, on and off, but it's rarely been so blatant as this, at least in my lifetime.  And for tens of millions of our friends and neighbors and co-workers, that's exactly the policy they want and will vote for.

"But these are the same rules that plenty of other countries use to limit legal immigration."

Yeah, and those countries aren't America, a nation of immigrants.

We are a white supremacist nation ruled by a corrupt white supremacist government. 

The plan is nothing short of demographic reversal to a white ethno-state by ending nearly all immigration, legal and otherwise, and deporting those in the country already out.

That strategy just got a huge boost today.

The Return Of Trumpcare

The Trump regime is expected to announce on Thursday plans to shift Medicaid funding to block grants, which would allow states to cap Medicaid spending and basically throw millions of people off of coverage.

The Trump administration is finalizing a plan to let states convert a chunk of Medicaid funding to block grants, even as officials remain divided over how to sell the controversial change to the safety net health program.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma plans to issue a letter soon explaining how states could seek waivers to receive defined payments for adults covered by Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, according to seven people with knowledge of the closely guarded effort. An announcement is tentatively slated for the end of next week, more than one year after Verma and her team began developing the plan.

Capping Medicaid spending, even among just Obamacare's expansion population, would be a major transformation of how the federal government finances the safety net health care program that has grown to cover about 1 in 5 Americans. The plan is guaranteed to enrage critics and invite attacks from Democrats in an election year.

Republicans have long argued that states should receive defined funding for Medicaid, instead of the current open-ended structure in which the federal government matches state spending. Democrats, along with many hospital and physician groups, have fiercely opposed the idea, warning that strict funding constraints would result in cuts to enrollment and health care services.

Democratic lawmakers have promised to fight the administration on block grants, contending CMS doesn’t have the authority to restructure the program’s financing without congressional approval.

Even as Verma and her aides work to push through the block grant plan, Trump officials are still battling over its scope and how to best guard it from lawsuits the administration expects from Medicaid advocates. Even the terminology is in flux, as officials work to identify an alternative to the term “block grant,” which has negative connotations in the advocacy community. The plan still needs sign-off from health department lawyers.

Meanwhile, there is internal debate on how broadly to publicize the effort. Verma, who two sources said sees the plan as a legacy-defining achievement, is pushing for an in-person event to announce the policy. Other officials, however, argue a high-profile rollout is unnecessary and could bring more scrutiny on a controversial proposal.

The White House will have final say on whether to pursue or halt the plan, the officials said.

President Donald Trump, who last week lashed out as HHS Secretary Alex Azar over negative health care polling, recently voiced concerns about fueling perceptions that he's cutting Medicaid and other health care services during an election year, said two officials with knowledge of the president's comments. Trump's remarks Wednesday about his willingness to look at entitlement cuts quickly became fodder for Democrats, as they accused him of violating a campaign pledge to leave those programs alone.

Medicaid block grants are punishment for states with large populations, specifically California, New York, and Illinois, but also Florida and Texas, so I don't think those states are going to be lining up to take advantage of them. (Texas might out of spite but health care cuts in an election year are never popular, and cutting health care in Florida is a political non-starter.)

However smaller states like, say, Kentucky or Louisiana could rush to embrace block grants in order to "save money" and that's the real killer.  That would force states to cut Medicaid rolls, and there's plenty of state legislatures who would love to do just that.

Expect a lengthy court battle over this one...unless the Supreme Court makes it a moot point by killing the ACA in June.

Ukraine In The Membrane, Con't

As Republicans continue their defense of Trump, excerpts from former National Security Adviser John Bolton's mustache haven't just upset the apple cart on Trump's team, he's put the apple cart in a rocket and fired it into the sun.

Congressional Democrats called for former national security adviser John Bolton to testify in President Trump’s impeachment trial following a new report that the president told Bolton last August that he wanted to withhold military aid to Ukraine unless it aided investigations into the Bidens.

The New York Times reported Sunday evening that in last summer’s conversation, Trump directly tied the holdup of nearly $400 million in military assistance to the investigations of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. That is according to an unpublished manuscript of Bolton’s forthcoming book, the Times said.

The book, “The Room Where It Happened,” is scheduled for publication March 17 but the White House review could attempt to delay its publication or block some of its contents.

Two people familiar with the book, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the project, confirmed that it details Trump tying aid to the desire for Biden probes and details a number of conversations about Ukraine that he had with Trump and key advisers, such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. They said Bolton is ready to testify in the Senate impeachment trial. 
In a joint statement, the seven House impeachment managers called the report “explosive” and urged the Senate, controlled by Republicans, to agree to call Bolton as a witness in Trump’s trial, which kicks off its second full week on Monday. Bolton has said that he would testify before the Senate if subpoenaed.

“The Senate trial must seek the full truth and Mr. Bolton has vital information to provide,” the managers said in a statement Sunday. “There is no defensible reason to wait until his book is published, when the information he has to offer is critical to the most important decision senators must now make — whether to convict the president of impeachable offenses.”

Trump is on trial, facing two charges — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The assertion from Bolton could undermine one core defense that has repeatedly been laid out by Trump, his defenders and his legal team: that there was no explicit quid pro quo involved when the administration withheld the military assistance, as well as a White House visit coveted by Ukraine.

If Bolton's mustache just trying to sell his book, he's burning a lot of bridges in order to do it.  The NY Times story is pretty specific, which means it was leaked this on purpose.  The mustache's team is blaming...the White House.

The book presents an outline of what Mr. Bolton might testify to if he is called as a witness in the Senate impeachment trial, the people said. The White House could use the pre-publication review process, which has no set time frame, to delay or even kill the book’s publication or omit key passages.

Over dozens of pages, Mr. Bolton described how the Ukraine affair unfolded over several months until he departed the White House in September. He described not only the president’s private disparagement of Ukraine but also new details about senior cabinet officials who have publicly tried to sidestep involvement.

For example, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged privately that there was no basis to claims by the president’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani that the ambassador to Ukraine was corrupt and believed Mr. Giuliani may have been acting on behalf of other clients, Mr. Bolton wrote.

Mr. Bolton also said that after the president’s July phone call with the president of Ukraine, he raised with Attorney General William P. Barr his concerns about Mr. Giuliani, who was pursuing a shadow Ukraine policy encouraged by the president, and told Mr. Barr that the president had mentioned him on the call. A spokeswoman for Mr. Barr denied that he learned of the call from Mr. Bolton; the Justice Department has said he learned about it only in mid-August.

And the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, was present for at least one phone call where the president and Mr. Giuliani discussed the ambassador, Mr. Bolton wrote. Mr. Mulvaney has told associates he would always step away when the president spoke with his lawyer to protect their attorney-client privilege.

During a previously reported May 23 meeting where top advisers and Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, briefed him about their trip to Kyiv for the inauguration of President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mr. Trump railed about Ukraine trying to damage him and mentioned a conspiracy theory about a hacked Democratic server, according to Mr. Bolton.

The White House did not provide responses to questions about Mr. Bolton’s assertions, and representatives for Mr. Johnson, Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Mulvaney did not respond to emails and calls seeking comment on Sunday afternoon.

Mr. Bolton’s lawyer blamed the White House for the disclosure of the book’s contents. “It is clear, regrettably, from the New York Times article published today that the pre-publication review process has been corrupted and that information has been disclosed by persons other than those properly involved in reviewing the manuscript,” the lawyer, Charles J. Cooper, said Sunday night.

The White House did not have a good night last night.  Today's going to be much worse. If the Senate GOP allows witnesses to be buried, this trial is over by Friday.  That was the plan until today.

The question is whether or not the Senate GOP is willing to sacrifice themselves for Trump over Bolton.  The rest of his book is definitely going to come out.  It proves the case against Trump.

Bolton is getting out ahead of whatever worse is coming, because it's definitely coming.

Which is why the Senate GOP will hold hands and jump off the cliff together.  Don't ask if they are going to or not, ask why they have no choice.  Much, much worse things will come out about Trump but once he's acquitted, the fight moves to November and there are a number of things Trump can do to wreck the election if it actually looks like he's going to lose.

Ask Hillary Clinton.


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