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Trump’s Sham Committee On Voter Fraud Brings In The Secretary’s of State From NH And KS

The NH Young Democrats and The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law speak out against Trump’s new executive order to investigate unfounded claims of voter fraud.

Following the shocking news that President Trump signed an executive order establishing the “Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity” and that Secretary of State William Gardner will participate on the commission, House Election Law Committee member Representative Isaac Epstein released the following statement on behalf of the NHYD:

“Every voter in New Hampshire should be alarmed that President Trump has cooked up this sham commission. This is a clumsy distraction to justify the President’s ridiculous lies about fake voter fraud here in our own state. Serious leaders on both sides of the aisle, including Secretary of State Gardner, have all dismissed these absurd allegations.

We appreciate Secretary Gardner’s many years of service to the State of New Hampshire, but we have real concerns about his participation in this commission. Specifically, we are concerned by his outspoken support for Senate Bill 3 which was introduced to address the very perceptions of voter fraud that President Trump and Governor Sununu have fabricated.

If Secretary Gardner participates on this commission, we implore him to stand up for every Granite State voter and to reject the Trump administration’s lies about massive voter fraud. Further, we beg him to only support conclusions that are based in fact and reality. As a public servant, Secretary Gardner’s top priority should be to protect the most fundamental right of every American – the right to vote.”

Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, released the following statement Thursday in response to alarming reports that President Trump will launch a commission to review his unfounded claims of voter suppression.

According to reports, the commission will be co-led by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a partisan advocate for voter suppression laws:

“In no uncertain terms we condemn the launch of this so-called Presidential Commission on Election Integrity.  President Trump is trying to create a distraction from actual threats to our democracy, such as ongoing voter suppression and Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

“When Attorney General Jeff Sessions led a similar effort as a former prosecutor in Alabama, it had a chilling effect on the black vote.  Now, President Trump is seeking the counsel of Kansas Secretary of State Kobach, who has a proven record of advocating for discriminatory and burdensome policies that prevent members of minority communities from exercising their right to vote.”

Report after report has shown that there is no voter fraud in New Hampshire and that Trump’s accusations of voter fraud are completely unfounded.  What is real is the partisan attack on voting rights and access to the ballot as Republicans say they are “tightening up the laws.”  These new restrictions will block assess to the ballot and suppress the vote.

Leo W Gerard: Another GOP Tax Plan For Captains

Donald Trump
Image by DonkeyHotey CC FLIKR

It’s based on the same voodoo economics we’ve heard many times before.

As he ran for office, Donald Trump repeatedly reminded audiences that he was “really, really rich,” but assured voters that as president he would be a working man’s champion, a blue-collar Superman.

He said he would stop corporations from offshoring manufacturing jobs with a border adjustment tax on imports. He would end trade cheating and declare China a currency manipulator on his first day in office. He would launch within his first 100 days a $1 trillion infrastructure improvement program to create millions of jobs fixing the nation’s airports, bridges and roads.

Trump’s record of promise-keeping to America’s working men and women in his first 100 days is this: So far, no good. The tax plan, well, the one-page tax sketch that the administration released last week is symbolic. While it would slash federal levies on fat cats and corporations, administration officials refused to say it would help the middle class at all. And it contains no border adjustment tax.

The tax plan rewards the captains of industry, the captains of Wall Street, the captains of real estate, like, well, like Trump himself. But the middle class, not so fast. The poor, not at all. Someone needs to tell Donald Trump that banksters and real estate tycoons sporting navy golf polos aren’t blue-collar workers. The tax scheme, like so many of Trump’s other pledges to workers, is a stab in the back of that indigo shirt.

On the campaign trail, Trump said rich people like him should pay more in taxes. Yet, the tax plan he offered last week would cut his taxes – by tens of millions a year. That’s because it would eliminate the alternative minimum tax. This is a levy intended to require billionaires like Trump to pay at least something after subtracting their multitude of special-rich-people deductions.

Trump has refused to release his tax returns – the first American president to keep them secret since Gerald Ford, who provided summaries. But Trump’s 2005 return, uncovered in part by a newspaper, shows that he had to pay $31 million as a result of the alternative minimum tax.

Trump’s plan also calls for eliminating the estate tax. That is paid only by people who inherit more than $5.5 million – as Trump’s children will. And it calls for cutting by more than half, to 15 percent, the tax paid by entities called pass-through corporations. Trump’s attorneys indicated in his presidential financial disclosures that his approximately 500 businesses are almost all pass-throughs.

Trump will be hobnobbing with his country club buddies in benefitting from this break. A 2015 study by the nonpartisan National Bureau of Economic Research found that the top 1 percent gets 69 percent of pass-through income.

Right now, a worker can’t get in on that low 15 percent tax rate unless reporting income below $37,950. But doctors and lawyers and investment bankers would get that special discount rate, no matter how much they make, as long as they pay a few bucks to establish a pass-through corporation. Trump’s plan would allow a lawyer paid $1 million a year to cut his taxes by $180,000 by setting up a pass-through.

Certainly, with all of those perks going to the nation’s most wealthy, Trump’s tax men would assure workers that they will benefit too.

Not really. When asked on ABC’s “Good Morning America” last week whether the middle class would pay more under the plan, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said: “I can’t make any guarantees.”

And the director of Trump’s National Economic Council, Gary D. Cohn, could not say how much of a break – if any­ – a middle-income American would get under the plan.

If it’s not absolutely clear who Trump’s tax plan would benefit, there’s also this from George Callas, the senior tax counsel for the Speaker of the House. Callas wants a permanent break for corporations, saying of a temporary one:

“It would not alter business decisions. It would not cause anyone to build a factory. It would just be dropping cash out of helicopters on corporate headquarters for a couple of years.”

Lots of small towns in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania – towns that suffered when corporations offshored factories, towns that voted for Trump – would really benefit from cash dropping out of helicopters for a couple of years.

But that’s not Trump’s plan.

Trump’s money men, Mnuchin and Cohn, said slashing levies on the wealthy will pay for itself because giving the rich more cash will spur economic growth. So, no need to worry about Trump’s tax cuts ballooning the national debt, they assured.

This is called the Laffer Curve. Really.

Economist Arthur Laffer, an adviser to Trump, explained to the Washington Post last week that it works like this: “When you think about cutting that corporate rate, let’s say, from 35 to 15, that’s not going to cost you any money.”

He convinced the likes of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush this hocus-pocus would work. And now, he has bamboozled Trump.

Both Reagan and Bush cut taxes. Both also left the country with larger deficits and uneven economic growth. Reagan raised taxes several times after his initial 1981 cut. Bush gave the country the Great Recession.

Laffer still insists his curve works, contending, “It’s a no-brainer.”

No. It’s voodoo economics. That’s what George H.W. Bush called it.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan group that advocates fiscal restraint, estimated that Trump’s Laffer tax plan could reduce federal revenue by $3 trillion to $7 trillion over a decade. The economy would need to grow at a rate of 4.5 percent to make that proposal self-financing.

It grew at a pathetic 0.7 percent during Trump’s first quarter in office. In President Obama’s last quarter, the fourth of 2016, it increased at 2.1 percent. To rise at 4.5 percent would be phenomenal. Maybe paranormal.

Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, put it this way: “It seems the administration is using economic growth like magic beans: the cheap solution to all our problems.”

Ronald Reagan, who like Trump was adored by blue-collar workers, promised that benefits from his massive tax cuts for the rich would trickle down to the rest. That never worked. But now Trump is taking advice from the same Svengali and promoting the same flim-flam plan.

Those heartland workers can’t tolerate another hit. But it’s not just taxes. The health insurance proposal Trump is pushing would cost many low- and middle-income workers thousands of dollars more a year. Trump has proposed eliminating the Chemical Safety Board, which prevents workplace deaths. He delayed rules protecting workers from deadly silica and beryllium. He signed a law ending a requirement that large federal contractors disclose and correct serious safety violations. Trump has no federal infrastructure plan and reneged on naming China a currency manipulator.

These are all the actions of a president protecting the captains of commerce, not one championing blue-collar workers.

VA Executive Order Can Only Succeed if Workers’ Rights Are Preserved

AFGE supports new tools to reduce mismanagement and misconduct but cautions against law changes that silence frontline employees

WASHINGTON – In response to President Trump’s Executive Order on Improving Accountability and Whistleblower Protection at the Department of Veterans Affairs, American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. issued the following statement:

“We fully support and appreciate new tools to ensure the correct response to mismanagement, bad managers, and underperforming employees at the VA. When employees are found to have engaged in misconduct or performance that fails to meet the highest standards required by the VA, they should be terminated.

“Today’s order addresses the potential bad actors and chronically underperforming managers, reduces layers of management, and allocates new resources to protect employees who report mismanagement and other risks to veterans – all of which are supported by AFGE.

“But, we are concerned that so-called accountability legislation introduced by Sen. Rubio of Florida that is also supported by the administration will destroy the best accountability tools: the voices of frontline workers – and potentially turn the VA into an at-will workforce that could lead to the agency’s demise.

“Any new office created by this order must be staffed by individuals who are free of political affiliation and can render bias-free judgments, and can only be effective if the frontline employees who want to come forward with their concerns keep their due process rights and rights under their collective bargaining agreements.

“The VA – and all federal agencies – must present evidence that misconduct or performance failure has occurred. And those who judge that evidence must be an impartial third party. If those conditions are not met, we risk harming the innocent and encourage corruption and politicization of the agency – consciously or not.

“Time and again it’s the frontline employees who have come forward and spoken up against management covering up wait times. We cannot risk providing cover for incompetent or malicious managers.

“Veterans care is paramount to the focus of the VA – including the one-third of the workforce who are veterans themselves. All future actions must consider the needs of the veterans being cared for at the hospital, as well as those who work there. Although this is a positive step toward improving veterans’ care, there are still 45,000 vacancies that must be addressed.”

Shaheen, Hassan Join 30 Senators to Introduce Bill to Rescind President’s Anti-Climate Executive Order

**The Clean Air, Healthy Kids Act highlights potential threats that Trump’s executive action poses to the economy and environment** 

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined more than 30 U.S. Senators today to introduce legislation to rescind President Trump’s Executive Order that reverses several landmark U.S. initiatives to combat climate change.   

The bill, titled the Clean Air, Healthy Kids Act, would block federal agencies from implementing the actions outlined in the Executive Order signed Tuesday by President Trump. These actions include reevaluating the Clean Power Plan, which is currently on track to provide $54 billion in climate and health benefits each year, prevent thousands of premature deaths and asthma attacks in children, reduce electricity bills for homes and businesses, and create thousands of good-paying jobs. 

Yesterday, Senators Shaheen and Hassan released the following statements on President Trump’s Executive Order:

“President Trump is ignoring the mountain of evidence on climate change and plowing ahead with a dangerous agenda that threatens the health and well-being of New Hampshire,” said Shaheen. “Rolling back carbon emissions rules and clean energy initiatives is a shortsighted political move that prioritizes the interests of big oil and coal companies over every day Americans. In New Hampshire, we see the effects of climate change every day and it is a direct threat to our environment, economy and way of life. We owe it to future generations to build on the Clean Power Plan and the Paris Agreement in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.”

“From our White Mountains to our beautiful Seacoast, New Hampshire’s beautiful natural resources define us as a state and I am extremely concerned by President Trump’s efforts to roll back the Clean Power Plan’s common-sense environmental protections,” said Senator Hassan. “Granite Staters know that protecting our environment while building a stronger, more affordable energy future is critical for our families and our businesses. New Hampshire has been a leader in efforts to cut carbon emissions, conserve our natural resources, and combat climate change and we need to see similar efforts at the federal level. That’s why I have been a strong supporter of the Clean Power Plan, and I will continue fighting for a cleaner environment and stronger renewable energy future that reduces our dependence on fossil fuels and helps our citizens, businesses, and economy thrive.” 

A copy of the bill is available HERE.

Granite State Rumblings: Trump’s “Skinny Budget” Is Bad For Working Families

There is a lot happening politically in Washington and in Concord that will impact children and families. Every Child Matters in NH has been focused on advocating for the needs of family and children in both arenas. This week we will take a look at the implications for kids at the federal level. Next week we will focus on New Hampshire legislation and the NH budget.

The Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) have worked in unison to dramatically cut the ranks of uninsured children in New Hampshire and across the country. Because of the options available under the ACA the percentage of uninsured children has dropped from 14.9 percent in 1997 to just 4.8 percent in 2015 — a 68 percent reduction. That is impressive! 

And so are you!

With the hard work and dedication of so many who made phone calls, wrote letters and e-mails, attended town hall meetings, visited with Congressional staff, wrote letters to the editor and took a stand, the Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land. Thank you!!

Here’s the skinny on the Skinny (Budget).

President Trump has released his “Skinny Budget” for fiscal year 2018, and the news is not good for families. It cuts funds from the programs that are essential to low-income children and families – education, housing, job training, nutrition for women, infants and children (WIC), energy assistance (LIHEAP), legal assistance, eliminates afterschool and summer care through the 21st Century Learning Centers program, and more. All of these cuts are being made to offset an increase in money for the Pentagon (defense spending). 

Click HERE for a more detailed list of Trump’s FY 2018 Budget cuts from our friends at the Coalition on Human Needs.

Why is the President’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, making these cuts to programs that help to warm homes in the winter, educate, feed, and house our children, and eliminate care for children, making it harder for working families to work? 

Watch this video to hear his claims.

So I ask you, why is it okay to tax the single mother of two in Detroit to feed the Pentagon budget but not to feed children and the elderly? When did we become so callous?

Oh! And by the way, high quality afterschool and summer programs DO work. There is a significant body of research demonstrating the positive outcomes associated with participation in quality afterschool programs overall.

  • An evaluation of high-quality afterschool programs (including 21st Century Community Learning Centers) serving 3,000 low-income elementary and middle school students found that regular participation in high-quality afterschool programs by low-income youth resulted in significant gains in math test scores and work habits and reductions in behavioral problems. (Vandell, et.al., 2007)
  • A meta-analysis by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) that examined 75 studies of 68 afterschool programs found that students who participated in an afterschool program exhibited improved behavior and performed better academically than students who did not participate in a program. (Durlak, et.al., 2010) ~Source: afterschoolalliance.org

Should the 21st Century Learning Centers funding be eliminated, the Afterschool Alliance estimates that 5,717 Granite State children would be impacted. Across the country nearly two million children and families would be left without reliable afterschool choices.

Let’s once again raise our voices, send the e-mails and make the calls to tell the Trump Administration that this budget is bad for kids – and bad for their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, friends……..

Join Every Child Matters today to take action in support of afterschool programs. 

Click here to send a brown bag message to Mick Mulvaney!

NH Congressional Representatives Speak Out After Trump’s Address

Last night, President Trump addressed a joint session of Congress. The address is the President’s opportunity to lay out his agenda for the next year.

Full Text of the speech here

After the speech concluded, New Hampshire Congressional representatives spoke out about Trump’s agenda.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen:

“This evening, President Trump addressed many issues important to Granite Staters and I am committed to working across the aisle on areas of common ground such as combatting the opioid epidemic, rebuilding our infrastructure, providing paid family leave, and lowering the cost of prescription drugs. However, I’m disappointed that many of his promises were significantly undermined by the policies he put forward.” 

“It’s time for President Trump and Republican leadership in Congress to move on from their reckless threats of repealing the Affordable Care Act and begin discussions about how we can work across the aisle to improve the law, lower costs and expand coverage. The healthcare proposals put forward by President Trump this evening will reduce coverage and affordability for thousands of Granite Staters.”

“In his speech, President Trump again promised to expand substance misuse treatment just one day after proposing a budget outline that would force severe cuts to domestic programs that are critical to supporting New Hampshire’s efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.  Doubling down on repeal of the Affordable Care Act and the drastic cuts to the Medicaid program ‎he promised will negate the progress we have made, setting us back in the fight against drug misuse. Once again, the policies put forward by President Trump don’t line up with his promises.”

“I was also troubled that the President passed up another opportunity to send a truly unifying message to the American people. It’s disheartening to again hear him advocate for his un-American Muslim ban executive order and malign immigrants who continue to enrich the fabric of our nation.”

Senator Maggie Hassan: 

“I attended tonight’s address listening intently for signs President Trump understands the challenges we face in New Hampshire, but what we heard reemphasized that this President will never acknowledge the true dangers of his agenda. I was disappointed that President Trump used tonight’s address to double down on backward policies that would harm our efforts to combat the heroin, fentanyl and opioid crisis, take away health insurance coverage from tens of thousands of Granite Staters, and make deep budget cuts that would hurt New Hampshire’s middle class families and economy.

“I brought Ashley Hurteau from Dover as my guest to tonight’s speech because I wanted to highlight our ongoing efforts to combat the substance abuse epidemic. Ashley is now in recovery from heroin addiction after she was able to access substance abuse treatment because of New Hampshire’s bipartisan Medicaid expansion plan. But President Trump has made clear that he supports efforts to eliminate this plan, undermining our efforts to stem the tide of this crisis. I will continue fighting for Ashley, and all Granite Staters, who are struggling with addiction and receiving treatment due to Medicaid expansion.

“While I remain willing to work with the Trump Administration when they are willing to be constructive on priorities that will drive our economy forward and keep our nation safe, it is troubling that President Trump is more focused on a partisan, anti-middle class agenda that would pull our country and economy backward.”

Congresswoman Annie Kuster:

“This evening, I listened as President Trump outlined his vision for America, and I hope he now moves away from the politics of division that have been a hallmark of his campaign and time in office. As we know the Devil is in the details, and I will carefully examine President Trump’s proposals as they are put forward. I stand ready to seek areas of common ground to advance policies shared by both Republicans and Democrats. We can address the opioid epidemic, we can fix our roads and bridges, we can improve care for our veterans, and we can support families with commonsense paid family leave. But we can only do these things if we sit down and work together. I’m ready to do so, I hope Republicans are too.

“However, I will not stand by quietly if the Administration puts the interests of the few ahead of the many. We must fully investigate Trump’s conflicts of interest to ensure our country is always put before business. We cannot turn back the clock on the progress we have made. We must defend the values of inclusivity and acceptance that make America truly great. We cannot jeopardize the healthcare of thousands of Granite Staters by recklessly repealing the Affordable Care Act. I’m committed to protecting the rights of women to make their own healthcare decisions. I’m committed to strengthening Social Security and Medicare for our seniors, and I’m committed to ensuring that members of the LGBTQ community are safe from discrimination.” 

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter:

“In his first forty days in office, President Trump has created deep divisions in our country. He has disregarded the fundamental values our nation was built on: tolerance for religious and ethnic diversity, freedom of the press, and the rule of law.

“President Trump spoke falsely tonight when he claimed we are experiencing the worst financial recovery in more than half a century. The fact is, when President Obama took office on January 20, 2009, we were losing 700,000 jobs a month, and at this point in his term we had already passed a bipartisan jobs bill that 9 out of 10 economists agree saved our country from a Great Depression. We have now had 76 straight months of private-sector job growth thanks to President Obama’s leadership.

“Tonight, President Trump mentioned economic priorities I strongly support – investing in infrastructure and enacting tax relief for the middle class – but the truth is that almost half of his first 100 days have passed with zero action on these priorities.

“There is no better example of words without action than his Affordable Care Act rhetoric, which is being confronted with the reality that tens of thousands in New Hampshire now have access to care, even if they have a pre-existing condition that would have excluded them from coverage before, and even if they need treatment for substance abuse or PTSD. Our health care system has changed for the better, and the people of this nation have said loud and clear: we’re not going back.

“The only actions Donald Trump has taken as President are dragging us backwards, not forwards. In his speech, President Trump boasted about his hiring freeze for ‘non-essential’ federal workers. But the truth is, the men and women at the Manchester VA Medical Center who work to ensure our veterans get the care they deserve, are essential. The workers who have made our Shipyard the best in the world, like Paul O’Connor, my guest for tonight’s speech, are essential. There are countless men and women working in New Hampshire and across the country who President Trump doesn’t see, but we know they are the key to our nation’s prosperity.

“President Trump’s vision of our country excludes so many of the people who make New Hampshire great. His speech propagated anti-immigrant sentiments that cannot coexist with our proud history as a nation of immigrants. Our immigrant neighbors in New Hampshire are not violent criminals; they are our doctors, our students, our small business owners. We must not allow his divisive rhetoric to obscure the principles on which our Founders built this nation.

“Finally, we must acknowledge what President Trump left unsaid tonight. The American people have unanswered questions about his financial holdings, and especially about his ties to Russia. The first forty days of his Presidency have been defined by chaos and resignations. Until President Trump discloses the information we the people demand about his conflicts of interest, we cannot trust anything he says, including his speech tonight.”

Congresswoman Shea-Porter’s guest, Paul O’Connor, former president of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard’s Metal Trades Council, who recently retired after 40 years of civilian service and now serves as an IBEW International Representative, said:

“The vision for America President Trump outlined tonight is wrong for the working men and women in New Hampshire. We need fair wages, good healthcare, fair immigration policies, and a government that works for people, not profits. The working men and women of New Hampshire will not be fooled by this President’s hollow promises, but will judge him by his actions, which so far have failed to reflect the values that make our country truly great.”

Mark Dobbins: “Dear Becky”

Singer and Songwriter Beyonce

Dear Becky:

I’ll wait while you put down your yoga mat.

You voted for Trump. After these past few weeks, I really have to ask, “What the hell were you thinking?” Seriously, Trump? The shouting guy on the TV?

I know, you were so concerned about those email servers. Do you even know what an email server looks like? And Benghazi! Find Benghazi on a map unassisted and I’ll eat a bug.

You overlooked the fact that he broke two marriage vows but somehow think he’ll keep his oath of office.

You overlooked his addiction to tweeting – and tweeting – and tweeting.

You overlooked a lot that would have set your hair on fire had President Obama done the same.

And because of you, every thinking person in this country is freaking out. But not you.

Because you are safe behind your yoga mat of white privilege.

You didn’t join the millions of people who crammed our streets to protest. Because you were busy. Because Emma had a lesson. Because Noah had a game. Because you had to get the oil changed on your SUV. Because you were busy being white. Because it doesn’t affect you – and it never has.

By now you’re sputtering, “But I have black friends,” “I’m not racist,” and my personal favorite, “I’m not privileged.”

Yes, you are. You’re privileged, and probably racist too. Most white people are and don’t even know it – or do, and don’t care.

Here’s a simple way I use to test white privilege. Can you go an entire day without interacting with a person of color if you tried? I’m betting the answer is yes. That’s the bubble of white privilege that you think will protect you. But it won’t. Not by a long shot.

So you want to keep those “nasty hombres” out of our country by building a wall? When the price of your food skyrockets because white folks won’t pick crops, you’ll care then. Because it affects you.

So you think by insulting foreign leaders our nation looks stronger? You equate shouting with strength – because you have always had the microphone and always think you will. How many times have you shouted “I want to see your manager,” when you didn’t get what you wanted, then, at that moment?Now Trump is the manager and there’s no one else to call.

So you think defunding Planned Parenthood will make abortions go away? When Emma comes home someday with bad news, you’ll always have a way to fix that problem. A poor woman’s abortion is Emma’s D&C. Most people won’t have those choices. But you will. That’s why it’s called “pro-choice.” Because we want the choices you have always had – and always will.

By now you’re probably angry and about to write something nasty in the comments section. I hope you do. I want you to be angry. As I promised in my first column, I’ll probably make you mad from time to time. This is one of those times.

But stop for a moment and think.

Could I be just a little bit right?

And could you be just a little bit white – and privileged?

Regards,

Mark

PS: We’ll talk more about this in the upcoming months. I’m just laying the groundwork for that conversation. I hope you’ll stick around.

(Featured Image: Katrina In Yoga Pose, by Earl McGee on Flikr CC)

ACLU of NH Files Demands for Documents on Implementation of Trump’s Immigration Ban

FOIA Filed As Part of Coordinated Campaign With 49 ACLU Affiliates

CONCORD— The American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire filed a Freedom of Information Act request today with its local U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in Boston to learn how Trump administration officials are interpreting and executing the president’s immigration ban, and whether they are acting in violation of federal courts that ordered a stay on the ban’s implementation. The filing today is part of a coordinated effort from 49 ACLU affiliates, which filed 18 FOIAs with CBP field offices and its headquarters spanning 55 international airports across the country. 

“The President’s Executive Order is a major step toward carrying out his campaign threat to ban the admission of Muslims into the United States,” states Devon Chaffee, the ACLU-NH’s Executive Director.  “This Order has already taken a terrible human toll and it should not be allowed to continue.  It separates American families and deprives our country of the contributions that these newcomers, and their children and grandchildren, will make as Americans.” 

Media reports indicate that CBP officials detained and deported individuals, even after federal courts ordered officials to stop enforcing the executive order following a court challenge from the ACLU and other organizations.

“It is imperative that the public learn if federal immigration officials are blatantly defying nationwide federal court orders that block President Trump’s unconstitutional immigration ban,” said Mitra Ebadolahi, Border Litigation Project Staff Attorney with the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties. “To shed light on this critical issue of pressing public concern, 49 ACLU affiliates are using the Freedom of Information Act to expose Customs and Border Protection’s abuse of power.” 

The Trump administration has yet to inform the public of how many refugees, visa holders, and legal permanent residents have been affected by this action. 

The FOIA request was joined by the ACLUs of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The request can be found here: https://www.aclumaine.org/sites/default/files/cbp_foia_new_england.pdf

cbp_foia_new_england
 

Trump Reneges On Promise To Reduce Prescription Drug Prices, Retirees Respond

Today, President Trump met with Big Pharma lobbyists and executives. After the meeting Trump was singing a new tune about Medicare negotiating drug prices with Pharmaceutical companies.

“I’ll oppose anything that makes it harder for smaller, younger companies to take the risk of bringing their product to a vibrantly competitive market. That includes price-fixing by the biggest dog in the market, Medicare, which is what’s happening. But we can increase competition and bidding wars, big time.

So what I want, we have to get lower prices, we have to get even better innovation and I want you to move your companies back into the United States. And I want you to manufacture in the United States. We’re going to be lowering taxes, we’re going to be getting rid of regulations that are unnecessary,” wrote Herb Jackson, the designated pool reporter for the day.

In typical GOP fashion, Trump plans to cut taxes and reduce regulations on drug manufactures which through some form of GOP magic will mean lower drug prices for seniors.

Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, called Trumps move an act of “betrayal.” 

“During his campaign Donald Trump promised that if elected, Medicare would negotiate bulk discounts and reduce the prices Americans pay for prescription drugs. 

“Donald Trump is now accusing Medicare of ‘price-fixing.’ It took just one meeting with global pharmaceutical corporation executives and his promise to older Americans is out the window. Welcome to the chameleon presidency. 

“Americans pay the highest prescription drug prices in the world. President Trump’s reversal will drive those prices even higher. He has sided with drug corporations against older Americans who have to choose between putting food on their table and paying for life-saving medicines. 

“On behalf of the 4.4 million members of the Alliance for Retired Americans, we are outraged but not surprised. We challenge him to meet with retirees who struggle daily to pay for medicine that too many times they can’t afford – and not just listen to multi-millionaire drug corporation executives. The Trump Administration will not be able to use its ‘alternative facts’ to wiggle out of this betrayal.”

This betrayal by President Trump added with the fact that the GOP led Congress is pushing a Medicare voucher plan means that many seniors may not be able to afford their life saving medications any longer.

Trump Attempts To Ban Muslims, People And Leaders React, And The ACLU Hails Victory

With the stroke of his pen, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to ban refugees and citizens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. The order also prevents Iraqis who supported the U.S. mission and face threats as a result, from coming to the United States.

This order was the fulfillment of one of Trump’s most divisive campaign promises blocking all “Muslims” from entering the United States as Trump portrayed all Muslims as terrorists.  Many fear that this ban is only the first step in the Trump administration agenda against Muslims as he repeatedly called for a national registry of Muslim’s living in the US.

“This executive order is un-American and grossly inhumane,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). “We are a nation of immigrants and should remain welcoming to all nations and faiths, particularly those who are fleeing violence and oppression. Refugees, from Syria in particular, are fleeing unspeakable terror and hunger, and it’s unconscionable that the United States will no longer provide any of these refugees a safe haven.

“This order also endangers our troops and diplomats. Discriminating based on religion and nationality severely undermines the local alliances and trust established by our troops and diplomats in the field. This order is so ill-considered that it is even barring Iraqi civilians who have provided essential assistance to the U.S. mission. We owe a tremendous debt to the brave Iraqis who have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Americans in the field, putting themselves and their families at risk to help our soldiers and diplomats accomplish their mission and return home safely. To abandon them now would be a stain on our national honor,” Shaheen concluded. 

Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) also spoke out against Trump’s “religious test” saying it goes against “the fundamental values that makes America the greatest country on earth”.

“President Trump’s executive action imposing a religious test on entry into the United States runs counter to the fundamental values that make America the greatest country on earth. It will also make us less safe. We must always be working to strengthen the vetting process for all entryways into the United States, but discriminating against individuals on the basis of their religion will only harm our national security interests.” 

“It is also disgraceful that these executive actions would turn away the brave men and women who have risked their lives to serve as interpreters for our military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is both our moral obligation and a national security imperative to assist those who have helped us, and I will support efforts by Senators Shaheen and McCain to authorize visas for these interpreters,” Hassan added. 

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH01) also condemned Trump’s executive order.

“I condemn President Trump’s decision to reject fundamental American values. Our nation’s founders built this nation on dreams of a better, more tolerant society, and now we must stand together and defend and preserve those ideals. I call on President Trump to immediately reverse his actions, and I invite all Granite Staters to join me in letting our refugee and immigrant neighbors know that we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them as one community.”

Ray Buckley, Chair of the NH Democratic Party, and candidate for Chair of the Democratic National Committee, called Trump’s move, “un-American”.

“President Trump may have set a record today in receiving a stunning blowback to his latest executive order restricting travel from Muslim countries. As a candidate for Chair, a member of the Democratic Party, and a patriotic American I condemn this disgrace in the strongest possible terms. It is illegal, reprehensible, and the very definition of un-American. I call upon President Trump to rescind this order, and I call upon lawmakers of both parties to resist this atrocity and remind the President of just what it means to be an American.”

Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, takes pride in the fact that Planned Parenthood offers “high-quality care to everyone regardless of faith, country of origin, immigrant or refugee status,” lashed out at President Trump decision.  

“President Trump’s executive order signed today effectively restricts the ability of immigrants and refugees to enter this country based on their country of origin and religious background. This is an appalling attack on refugees and Muslims, designed to sow fear. The Planned Parenthood community is made up of people from all walks of life — including immigrants and refugees of all backgrounds and faith communities, including Muslims.

“Refugees, who have left everything behind and are forced to negotiate their safety in unfamiliar countries and language, also face unique barriers to care. We’ve seen this firsthand through our health centers in the U.S. – many of which proudly serve refugee communities – as well as through Planned Parenthood Global’s community-based partners in Africa and Latin America, who help so many women and families overcome unimaginable barriers to health including poverty, conflict and violence. These policies single out and target those most in need of access to care, and will only make it more difficult for these communities to access the health care they need.

“At Planned Parenthood we believe that health has no borders: the ability to live and thrive without fear of deportation, surveillance, or having your family torn apart, and the ability to access health care, are basic human rights. Planned Parenthood health centers are proud to provide high-quality care to everyone regardless of faith, country of origin, immigrant or refugee status, or to those who may otherwise have nowhere else to turn for health care. We are committed to standing with immigrants and refugees, in the U.S. and in many of their countries of origin, through our global partnerships.  

“These policies hurt the most vulnerable in the world, people fleeing in terror for their lives, or people simply coming from a different faith, just when they need our help the most. The United States was founded on values of refuge and compassion, which is why we are prepared to stand alongside our partners to fight back against this hate and discrimination,” Richards concluded. 

Immediately after the order was signed, outraged Americans took to the streets in protests.  They packed into airports across the country as immigrants were detained and refused entrance into the US even though they had legal visa’s.

The same thing spontaneously happened in Houston, Texas.

By far the largest was in New York and JFK’s international terminal where thousands showed up to protest. Protesters were joined by the NY Taxi Cab Alliance, a union of taxi drivers, who refused to pick up anyone at the airport during the protest.

AND IT WORKED! Last night, a federal judge granted the American Civil Liberties Union’s request for a nationwide temporary injunction that will block the deportation of all people stranded in U.S. airports under President Trump’s new Muslim ban. The ACLU and other legal organizations filed a lawsuit on behalf of individuals who were subject to the ban.  The lead plaintiffs have been detained by the U.S. government and threatened with deportation even though they have valid visas to enter the United States.

Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project who argued the case, said:

“This ruling preserves the status quo and ensures that people who have been granted permission to be in this country are not illegally removed off U.S. soil.”

ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero, had this reaction to the ruling:

“Clearly the judge understood the possibility for irreparable harm to hundreds of immigrants and lawful visitors to this country. Our courts today worked as they should as bulwarks against government abuse or unconstitutional policies and orders. On week one, Donald Trump suffered his first loss in court.”

(The stay order is at: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/darweesh-v-trump-order)

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