FBI Prevented from Seeing Controversial FISA Memo, Report Says

FBI Prevented from Seeing Controversial FISA Memo, Report Says

The FBI is being prevented from seeing a controversial memo that purports to show abuses committed by the Bureau and the Justice Department in obtaining FISA warrants.  “The FBI has requested to receive a copy of the memo in order to evaluate the information and take appropriate steps if necessary. To date, the request has been declined,” a spokesperson for the FBI said. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) called the memo, “worse than Watergate.”  Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) said from the…

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Opposed to the “Nuclear Option” Trump Suggests

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Opposed to the “Nuclear Option” Trump Suggests

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was opposed to revising the filibuster rule so that only a simple majority – fifty-one votes – would be necessary to pass legislation, such as the bill that’s responsible for the current government shutdown.  The current rule requires sixty votes to break a filibuster. President Trump had called for a change in the rule earlier in the day on Twitter.  “If stalemate continues, Republicans should go to 51%…and vote on…long term budget…”…

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Facebook to Begin Ranking News Outlets on Trustworthiness

Facebook to Begin Ranking News Outlets on Trustworthiness

Facebook has announced that it will begin ranking news outlets based on how trusted they are by its users.  Those outlets that rank higher will get priority in their positioning on users’ news feeds.  The move is meant to decrease the level of “sensationalism, misinformation and polarization” in the media, the company said. Facebook has already begun surveying its users on their familiarity with certain outlets and how trustworthy they find them.  Eventually the platform will expand its criteria to…

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Moderates in the Senate Making Progress on Shutdown Deal

Moderates in the Senate Making Progress on Shutdown Deal

A bipartisan group of about twenty senators are trying to find a solution to the shutdown mess.  Senators left a ninety-minute meeting this afternoon optimistic, but acknowledging the plan still needs the imprimatur of both of their senate leaders. The plan calls for a reopening of the government with a funding bill through February 8.  In exchange, there will be a commitment to holding an immigration vote before that date.  The moderates want assurances that the Senate will move to…

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Senator Duckworth calls President Trump “Draft Dodger,” “Cadet Bone Spurs”

Senator Duckworth calls President Trump “Draft Dodger,” “Cadet Bone Spurs”

Senator and veteran Tammy Duckworth took to the Senate floor yesterday to criticize President Trump for accusing Democrats of holding the U.S. Military hostage over illegal immigration.  “I will not be lectured about what our military needs by a five-deferment draft dodger,” Duckworth said. Duckworth is a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel.  She served in the Iraq War as a helicopter pilot and suffered severe injuries when a Blackhawk helicopter she was flying was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in…

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Turkey, Taking Advantage of the Shutdown, Begins Action Against U.S.-Backed Kurds

Turkey, Taking Advantage of the Shutdown, Begins Action Against U.S.-Backed Kurds

Turkey seems to have begun an operation against U.S.-backed Kurds in northern Syria.  Turkey has said the Kurdish militias are part of a terrorist group that threatens its national security.  But it has failed to win backing for a military operation against the group from the international community.  Syria has threatened to shoot down any Turkish planes that take part in an assault on the region. Many Turkey-watchers say the assault is almost entirely about domestic politics.  Turkey has complained…

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Is this the Right Time for Work Requirements?

Is this the Right Time for Work Requirements?

The Trump administration has recently allowed states to require able-bodied Medicaid recipients to work if they are receiving benefits.  The guidelines allow states to require Medicaid enrollees to work, volunteer or enroll in classes or work training.  The administration is classifying them as “community engagement.” Some studies have shown that work requirements are an effective way to move individuals out of dependency.  States that have implemented work requirements in other welfare programs have reportedly seen able-bodied adults leave welfare in…

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National Security Agency Deletes Data it was Ordered to Preserve

National Security Agency Deletes Data it was Ordered to Preserve

The National Security Agency (NSA) has apparently deleted surveillance data it was under court orders to preserve in relation to lawsuits filed against the agency during the George W. Bush presidency.  The lawsuits were in regard to data collected after it was revealed that President Bush ordered wireless wiretapping of international communications after the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. in 2011. The agency also revealed that backup tapes that may have provided a failsafe for the data were deleted in…

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Talks Break Down; Shutdown Enters Second Day

Talks Break Down; Shutdown Enters Second Day

Talks between party leaders have broken down as the government shutdown has entered its second day.  Senate leaders Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have not spoken since Saturday evening and neither side shows any signs of backing off their positions. Both sides believe they’re winning the blame game.  “I think our friends on the other side took some bad advice, really bad advice. I would hate to have to be trying to explain this myself,” McConnell said of Democrats…

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White House: No Deal on DACA Until Government Reopens

White House: No Deal on DACA Until Government Reopens

The White House issued perhaps their most clarifying statement yet regarding the government shutdown Saturday afternoon.  They said there will be no deal on DACA until the government reopens.  “We continue to remain anxious to reach a deal on DACA, and we look forward to resuming those negotiations as soon as the senate Democrats reopen the government,” said White House legislative affairs director Marc Short. Short also said that the White House is ready to sign a continuing resolution that…

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