The Miller Saturday Collection (Dec. 22 – 29, 2017)

New Saturday feature of collected news by Barb Miller of Indivisible Ventura

Civil Liberties

    • Two federal appeals courts, one in Washington and one in Virginia, last week rejected the administration’s request to put on hold orders by lower court judges requiring the military to begin accepting transgender recruits on Jan. 1. The U.S. military will start accepting transgender recruits on Monday unless President Donald Trump’s administration seeks a last-minute Supreme Court intervention to try to enforce his blocked transgender ban. Justice Department spokeswoman Lauren Ehrsam said on Friday there was no update on whether the administration would file an emergency application at the Supreme Court. The administration has appealed the previous three rulings.
    • Two Reuters journalists who have been detained in Myanmar for the past two weeks were remanded in custody for a further two weeks on Wednesday as a probe continues into allegations they breached the nation’s Official Secrets Act.  The two journalists had worked on Reuters coverage of a crisis in the western state of Rakhine, where – according to United Nations’ estimates – about 655,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled from a fierce military crackdown on militants.  They were detained on Dec 12 after they had been invited to meet police officials over dinner. The Ministry of Information has said they “illegally acquired information with the intention to share it with foreign media” and faced charges under the British colonial-era Official Secrets Act, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.  The two journalists said they had not been mistreated in custody. 


Press/Press Restrictions/Media 

  • GOP lawmaker rips Mueller: “If he were more biased, we’d have to give him credentials for mainstream media” said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) “It’s just outrageous to see this biased Mueller probe continue,” Gaetz, a frequent critic of Mueller, said during an interview on Fox News.
  • Trump asks supporters to help award ‘Fake News’ trophy.  “Americans are sick and tired of being lied to, insulted, and treated with outright condescension,” reads an email sent to supporters Thursday. “That’s why President Trump is crowning the 2017 KING OF FAKE NEWS before the end of the year.  “There’s no point in pretending that some journalists are anything more than peddlers of falsehoods and liberal propaganda,” it continues.  Trump has feuded with reporters and networks during his campaign and presidency, labeling unflattering coverage as “fake news.”  In November, he suggested that there should be a contest among the networks, excluding Fox News, for the “Fake News Trophy.” (Maybe the winner will get a framed copy of Trump’s fake Time Magazine cover…)
  • Obama Warns Social Media Risks Splintering Society.  “All of us in leadership have to find ways in which we can recreate a common space on the Internet,” Obama said in an interview conducted by Britain’s Prince Harry, broadcast on BBC radio on Wednesday.  “One of the dangers of the Internet is that people can have entirely different realities, they can be just cocooned in information that reinforces their current biases.”  Obama has previously warned that social media platforms can lead people to make snap judgments about complex decisions although he has refrained from criticizing his successor Donald Trump who regularly uses Twitter.
  • ‘Fake News’: Half of all Americans believe the media make up anti-Trump stories.   Nearly half of all Americans believe the media fabricate negative stories about President Trump, according to a new survey.  Forty-four percent of respondents in the 2017 Poynter Media Trust Survey say the media invent “fake news” to make the president look bad. Of that cohort, 24 percent say negative stories about Mr. Trump are made up “about half of the time”; 14 percent “most of the time”; and 6 percent “all of the time.” Seventy-seven percent are Trump supporters, and 74 percent are Republicans.  The survey found that a substantial minority of Americans, 31 percent, believe the media are the “enemy of the people,” a moniker Mr. Trump assigned to the national press in February. Among Trump supporters, that number is 63 percent.  Even more, 25 percent of Americans — and 42 percent of Trump supporters — say the government should “be able to stop a news media outlet from publishing a story that government officials say is biased or inaccurate.”
  • H.R. 4077 – Honest Ads Act.  To enhance transparency and accountability for online political advertisements by requiring those who purchase and publish such ads to disclose information about the advertisements to the public, and for other purposes. – 10/19/2017 Referred to the House Committee on House Administration.

  • S. 1989 – Honest Ads Act  The Honest Ads Act would mandate that internet companies reveal the identities and content of advertisements related to elections or campaigns. Introduced Oct 19, 2017 referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration
  • H.R.3989 – UDA Liberty Act.  To amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to clarify and improve the procedures and accountability for authorizing certain acquisitions of foreign intelligence, to extend title VII of such Act, to ensure that the barriers to sharing critical foreign intelligence among the intelligence community that existed before September 11, 2001, are not reimposed, and for other purposes. 10/06/2017  referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations. 10/20/2017 Referred to the Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency. 11/08/2017 Ordered to be Reported (Amended) by the Yeas and Nays: 27 – 8.

  • HR 4124 – USA Rights Act.  Amends foreign intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to protect privacy  10/25/2017  Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committees on Intelligence (Permanent Select), Oversight and Government Reform, and Homeland Security, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of. 11/01/2017 Referred to the Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency. 11/14/2017 Referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.


  • Appeals court rules against Trump travel ban for third time.  9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued yet another ruling Friday blocking most of President Trump’s latest version of his travel ban, finding that the White House exceeded its powers.  The court said would-be visitors from six majority-Muslim countries can still travel to the U.S. despite the policy, as long as they have a pre-existing relationship with an American person or entity.  It’s the latest ruling out of this particular appeals court to challenge the president’s claims. Earlier this week the Supreme Court overturned another 9th Circuit ruling related to the president’s decision to end the Obama-era DACA deportation amnesty program.  In this latest ruling the judges said Mr. Trump’s repeated efforts to impose a travel ban are causing “psychological harm and distress” among Muslims, who feel targeted.  “It cannot be in the public interest that a portion of this country be made to live in fear,” the judges said in an unsigned opinion.
  • U.S. memo weakens guidelines for protecting immigrant children in court.  The U.S. Justice Department has issued new guidelines for immigration judges that remove some instructions for how to protect unaccompanied juveniles appearing in their courtrooms.  A Dec. 20 memo, issued by the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) replaces 2007 guidelines, spelling out policies and procedures judges should follow in dealing with children who crossed the border illegally alone and face possible deportation.  The new memo removes suggestions contained in the 2007 memo for how to conduct “child-sensitive questioning” and adds reminders to judges to maintain “impartiality” even though “juvenile cases may present sympathetic allegations.” The new document also changes the word “child” to “unmarried individual under the age of 18” in many instances.

  • Trump Reportedly Said Haitian Immigrants “All Have AIDS” And Talked Of Nigerian Immigrants Not Returning To Their “Huts” In Africa.  President Trump made multiple racist remarks in the Oval Office earlier this year about different immigrant groups, including those who come from Haiti, Nigeria, and Afghanistan.  Two sources told the Times that in June, during a meeting covering immigration, Trump said that Haitian immigrants “all have AIDS.” The comment came as he read aloud a list of how many immigrants had been approved visas to enter the U.S in 2017 — within it was the figure of 15,000 from Haiti.  Upon reading that 2,500 people from Afghanistan had obtained visas, he described the country as a “terrorist haven.”  When it came to Nigerian immigrants, Trump complained that they would never “go back to their huts” in Africa after setting foot in the U.S.  White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied the reports Saturday morning, though she didn’t deny how the Times described the the overall purpose of the meeting.
  • Trump’s administration’s top immigration priority has shifted from deporting “bad hombres” to stopping “chain-immigration” aka “Family-based Immigration”.  The use of “chain migration” in the current debate over DACA, to refer to DACA recipients allowing their parents to become legal immigrants, complicates the matter even further. Because the parents of DACA recipients have, by definition, lived in the US as unauthorized immigrants, this isn’t really about bringing new people into the US — it’s about legalizing people who are already here (or bringing people back who have been deported, something US policy already makes pretty hard).The insistence among some Republicans that “Dreamers” not be allowed to sponsor their parents, even after they become US citizens, is really about not wanting to “reward” unauthorized immigrants for living in the US without papers. They’re worried about losing “control” in a slightly different sense — worried that any “reward” for illegal behavior will incentivize a new wave of unauthorized migration to take advantage of potential rewards. This is pretty far afield from the way that “chain migration” is commonly understood — but that’s the word being used in the DACA debate anyway, not least because the president has helped turn it into a buzzword. Because these memes, and the fears that they provoke, are all so tightly connected, “chain migration” is both an ideological concern about America selecting immigrants based on their merit, and a racist smokescreen for fears of demographic change. It can be hard to separate the two. And it’s certainly not in the interests of the opponents of “chain migration” to try.”
  • Trump to Dems: “No DACA deal without the border wall”.  Democrats seeking a deal to protect so-called Dreamers from deportation must be prepared to agree to a package that includes several White House priorities, including a border wall and reforms to the U.S. immigration system, President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter Friday morning.  “The Democrats have been told, and fully understand, that there can be no DACA without the desperately needed WALL at the Southern Border and an END to the horrible Chain Migration & ridiculous Lottery System of Immigration etc. We must protect our Country at all cost!” Trump tweeted.  Democrats have said they will not sign on to a bill next month to keep the government funded without a deal to protect Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and in many cases have no relationship to their country of birth  House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her Senate counterpart, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), are set to meet next Wednesday with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at the White House, where the congressional leaders are expected to work on a DACA deal as part of negotiations to avert a government shutdown.

We will be fighing these…

  • HR 3003 – No Sanctuary for Criminals Act (Passed House) H.R. 3003 is a proposed counterproductive law that targets sanctuary policies that supposedly shield “unlawful and criminal” immigrants from federal immigration enforcement. The bill clarifies ICE’s detainer authority – the tool used to pick up aliens from local jails and withholds certain federal grants from jurisdictions that prohibit their officers from cooperating with ICE. Jurisdictions that comply with detainers are protected from being sued and victims of certain crimes are allowed to sue jurisdictions that refuse to comply and subsequently release “criminal aliens” onto the streets.  Passed house 6/29  motion to reconsider tabled, 7/10/2017 Received in Senate, 8/1/2017 Referred to the Subcommittee on Labor Standards.
  • HR 361 – Kate’s Law  (Passed House) One of a number of fear-mongering bills from the GOP,  the bill requires that an alien who has been excluded, deported, removed, or denied admission, or who has departed the United States while under an outstanding order of exclusion, deportation, or removal, and who subsequently crosses or attempts to cross the border into the United States, shall be fined, imprisoned not more than two years, or both. Passed house 6/29 Motion to reconsider tabled, 7/10/2017 received in the Senate, 1/22/1992 Unfavorable Executive Comment Received from Treasury.

  • S.87 – Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act. Another GOP fear-mongering anti-immigrant bill to ensure that State and local law enforcement cooperate with Federal officials to “protect our communities from violent criminals and suspected terrorists who are illegally present in the United States” . 12/10/2017 referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
  • H.R.400 – Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act. Another GOP fear-mongering anti-immigrant bill to ensure that State and local law enforcement cooperate with Federal officials to “protect our communities from violent criminals and suspected terrorists who are illegally present in the United States.

         We will be fighing for this…

  • S.1615Dream Act of 2017  A bill to authorize the cancellation of removal and adjustment of status of certain individuals who are long-term United States residents and who entered the United States as children, and for other purposes.  7/20/2017 Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. 10/31/2017 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration.
  • S. 2145  – No Ban on Refugees Act. A bill to prohibit the United States Government from barring refugees from entering the United States based on their country of origin   Murphy 12/1 2% to hold the Trump administration accountable for its un-American attempts to ban refugees base 11/16/2017  referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

Legislation Watch

  • HR 2581 – the Verify First Act. This anti-Affordable Care Act (ACA) and an anti-immigrant bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to prohibit advance payments of the premium assistance tax credit from being made to an individual unless the Department of the Treasury has received confirmation from the Department of Health and Human Services that the Social Security Administration or the Department of Homeland Security has verified the individual’s status as a citizen or national of the United States or an alien lawfully present in the United States. 6/13/2017 Passed house, 06/14/2017 Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.
  • HR 2093 –  Strengthening and Clarifying the 25th Amendment Act of 2017.   To provide for an alternative body to transmit a written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office in accordance with the provisions of the 25th Amendment of the Constitution. 5/1/2017 Referred to the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice
  • S. 1916 and H.R. 3999 – Automatic Gun fire Prevention Act. Semi-automatic weapons are legal in America. Automatic weapons are illegal. But what about a device that converts a semi-automatic weapon into an automatic-like firearm?  Such a device, called a bump stock, was used in the Las Vegas massacre last week. The Automatic Gun Fire Prevention Act, labelled S. 1916 and H.R. 3999, was introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL26) within days and would ban bump stock devices12/06/2017 Committee on the Judiciary. Hearings held. 10/19/2017   Referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations
  • H.R. 3771 – Special Counsel Integrity Act  Conyers  12/01 7%  bipartisan legislation which protects the Russia collusion investigation by taking away Donald Trumps ability to fire special counsel Robert Mueller. House -9 /14/2017 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary. (All Actions)
  • S. 2047 – Preventing Preemptive War in  North Korea Act of 2017.  NO WAR IN NORTH KOREA WITHOUT CONGRESSIONAL AUTHORIZATION  
  • S. 2016  – No Unconstitutional Strike Against North Korea Act of 2017.  Deeming that insufficient protection against global catastrophe, Senator Ed Markey advocated for his bill, which points out that the Constitution forbids presidents from launching wars that have not been declared by Congress, and which includes a ban on using any funds to violate the law by nuking North Korea.  The hearing’s witnesses, and Senators from both major parties, made clear that they did not trust the president to obey laws. In fact, in launching a war, nuclear or otherwise, Trump would violate not only the Constitution but also the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the United Nations Charter. The latter also bans threatening war, which Trump does on a regular basis.  Introduced 10/26/2017
  • S 2148 – Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2017  Durbin. A bill to authorize dedicated domestic terrorism offices within the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to analyze and monitor domestic terrorist activity and require the Federal Government to take steps to prevent domestic terrorism. 11/16/2017  referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
  • H. Res 184  Of inquiry requesting the President and directing the Attorney General to transmit, respectively, certain documents to the House of Representatives relating to communications with the government of Russia. (Jeffries, 150 Co Sponsors)  March 31, 2017  A committee has voted to issue a report to the full chamber recommending that the bill be considered further. Only about 1 in 4 bills are reported out of committee.


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