It begins again: North Carolina state Reps. John Torbett and John Faircloth have introduced HB 249, which would, dig this, create a brand new class of "violent terrorists" called "economic terrorists." And what is an "economic terrorist," according to HB 249? Someone who "willfully and maliciously or with reckless disregard commits a criminal offense that impedes or disrupts the regular course of business, the disruption results in damages of more than one thousand dollars." They want you to think that just means violent protestors who break windows, but really it could describe anyone who stands in the street in front of a business with a sign! Think an unscrupulous person couldn't concoct $1,000 in damages from that? Republicans control the Presidency, both houses of Congress, and almost two out of every three state legislatures, and they're still so afraid of the people that they're constantly trying to criminalize our protests! They'd have fewer protestors if they didn't do so much evil. Really, that's all it would take. Mr. Torbett's phone number is 919.733.5868, and Mr. Fairlcloth's number is 919.733.5877.
Meanwhile, the House has released its Obamacare repeal bill, and now we know why they put it together in secret. As I suspected, the bill gets rid of the individual mandate and all the taxes levied against the well-off while keeping the pre-existing ban around, while also fooling around with Obamacare subsidies so poor people have less access to insurance, repealing the Medicaid expansion and then capping total federal spending on Medicaid, and in place of the mandate's tax, we'll have 30% premium hikes for folks who have a gap in health insurance coverage, which essentially means you'll be paying the mandate to the insurance industry rather than our government. Ultimately, the bill represents a whole bunch of tax cuts for the rich -- and just guess which funding mechanism from Obamacare the Republican plan keeps? That's right, the "Cadillac" tax, the only one that might actually hurt working people! The bill would delay its implementation five more years, but where is their zeal to protect working families from TEH TAXEZ!!! Republicans will (surprise!) rush these votes through House Committees, so use the tools in the upper left-hand corner of this page to find phone numbers for your Reps and Senators.
Finally, the Trump Administration has issued a new immigration-related executive order, i.e., "Muslim Ban 2.0," and while you'll find some cosmetic changes from the ill-fated first order struck down by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, you'll still sniff that faint animus against Muslims that seems to animate every foreign policy decision Mr. Trump makes, as the 120-day ban on refugee resettlement is back, even if the "indefinite" ban on Syrian refugees is not. And now, instead of seven majority-Muslim nations on his little Enemies List, he's got six, having excised Iraq. Maybe Mr. Trump's exemption of current visa holders and his excision of parts prioritizing "refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution" will get him past the courts this time, but the court of public opinion, well-shaped by the President's own multitudinous pronouncements against races and religions he does not like, may not be so easily-swayed. In any case, the ACLU helps you tell your Senators to condemn this latest Muslim ban.