Protesters riot in Madrid’s Lavapiés after immigrant street vendor death

Protesters clashed with security forces in the multicultural Madrid neighbourhood of Lavapiés on Thursday following the death of a Senegalese man whom they said was chased through the streets by police.

Riot police and firefighters were deployed to Lavapiés, a district in the centre of the Spanish capital with a large immigrant population, as angry protesters set fire to dustbins and a motorbike, and threw stones at security forces.

Demonstrators told AFP they were protesting in support of Mmame Mbage, a street vendor in his mid-thirties from Senegal, who arrived in Spain by boat 12 years ago.

Emergency services said Mbage was found unconscious on a street in Lavapiés by police on patrol.

“They were busy trying to revive him” when emergency workers arrived, a spokeswoman said. However he died of cardiac arrest.

She did not know what had happened to Mbage before he collapsed, but several other street vendors who were with him said he had been chased by police from Puerta del Sol.

“Municipal police arrived and chased him from Sol to Lavapiés with a motorbike,” said Modou, a 25-year-old vendor from Senegal who refused to give his surname.

“At the end he died here,” Modou told AFP, with others confirming the account.

Mbage worked as an illegal vendor and sent some money back to his family, one of thousands of migrants who have reached Spain over the years in search of a better life.

Spain is the third busiest gateway for migrants coming to Europe, with close to 23,000 arrivals in 2017. Hundreds have died along the way.

Information from: thelocal.es

Run, Hide, Fight – Campañas para enfrentar tiroteos en Universidades Estadounidenses

A estas alturas es ridículo pensar que en las universidades de países latinoamericanos ocurran este tipo de tragedias. Sin embargo en los Estados Unidos los simulacros y practicas para enfrentar situaciones en las que se dan tiroteos al azar son algo común. En el fondo de todo esto hay un serio problema con la Segunda Enmienda de la Constitución de los EE.UU. la cual, como derecho de las personas, permite que los Estadounidenses tengan el derecho a portar armas para su protección.

Un tema debatible desde que un sector de la población señala que esta enmienda es pétrea y no debería modificarse o interpretarse, mientras que otro indica que los tiempos cambian y se necesita una acción madura y acorde con la actual situacion de la sociedad para limitar este derecho dados los trágicos eventos que se cuentan desde el tiroteo en Columbine, la tragedia de la escuela primaria Sandy Hook,  pasando por la masacre de Las Vegas en 2017, hasta el ultimo tiroteo en Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida este ultimo mes de febrero de 2018.

En serio, para que un civil necesitaría un arma semi-automática que dispara decenas de balas en solo segundos? Cual es la necesidad? Para que convertir un rifle normal en uno automático? Tiene sentido? Pues no. Ahora se indica que quieren armar a los profesores en escuelas y universidades para enfrentar este problema. Sin embargo esa no es la solución en la sociedad aunque tal vez sea la solución para las manufactureras de armas y la Asociación Nacional del Rifle (NRA) que financia las campañas políticas especialmente  de los representantes y senadores Republicanos para que estos, una vez en el poder, promuevan leyes que beneficien a este sector de la producción.  Armar a todo el mundo solo va a beneficiarlos a ellos, y eso es terrible.

Por otro lado, los Republicanos siempre que suceden estas desgracias tienden a ofrecer “prayers” u oraciones para las victimas: “My condolences and prayers for the victims and their families”. Siempre lo mismo. Nunca dicen: “My condolences to the victim’s families. This time I’ll make sure to take a quick action in both chambers of the Congress in order to strike this problem”. Jamas dirian eso! Lo que deberían hacer en lugar de ello es tomar acción de una buena vez para debatir el tema del control de armas en el pais de forma madura, reflexiva y autocritica.

Profesores, símbolo de autoridad en las escuelas, ahora estarán armados al mismo estilo de una cárcel. Si, las escuelas ahora parecerán cárceles. El Director sera el Alcaide, los profesores serán guardias de seguridad y los estudiantes asemejaran a reos o convictos. No es eso aterrador?

Republicanos, en una interpretación básica de la Constitución de los Estados Unidos, culpan al tirador; mientras que los Demócratas culpan a las políticas permisivas y laxas que permiten a cualquier persona adquirir un arma como si fuera a comprar una gaseosa o el pan de la mañana. Lo cierto es que tanta discusión va a caer en saco roto, se van a olvidar y hasta que ocurra otro nuevo incidente, el tema volverá a discutirse sin ningún viso de solución mas aun en pleno gobierno Republicano.

Estados Unidos anuncia su salida de la Unesco

Image: http://www.dw.com/image/16103251_303.jpg

Estados Unidos anunció su retiro de la Organización de Naciones Unidas para la Educación, la Ciencia y la Cultura (Unesco, por sus siglas en inglés).

La medida, que fue comunicada este jueves a la directora general de la organización, Irinia Bukova, se hará efectiva a partir del 31 de diciembre.

Según el Departamento de Estado estadounidense, la intención de EE.UU. es establecerse como “observador permanente” de Unesco.

Mayor información en: bbc

Read more at: reuters

Department of Homeland Security planning to collect social media info on all immigrants

The Department of Homeland Security has moved to collect social media information on all immigrants, including permanent residents and naturalized citizens.

new rule published in the Federal Register last week calls to include “social media handles and aliases, associated identifiable information and search results” in the department’s immigrant files.

BuzzFeed News first reported the new rule on Monday. It is set to go into effect on Oct. 18 after a public comment period.

According to BuzzFeed, the new rule could also affect U.S. citizens who communicate with immigrants on social media by making their conversations the subject of government surveillance.

Read more at: thehill

Trump Moves to End DACA and Calls on Congress to Act

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Tuesday ordered an end to the Obama-era program that shields young undocumented immigrants from deportation, calling it an “amnesty-first approach” and urging Congress to pass a replacement before he begins phasing out its protections in six months.

As early as March, officials said, some of the 800,000 young adults brought to the United States illegally as children who qualify for the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, will become eligible for deportation. The five-year-old policy allows them to remain without fear of immediate removal from the country and gives them the right to work legally.

Mr. Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who announced the change at the Justice Department, both used the aggrieved language of anti-immigrant activists, arguing that those in the country illegally are lawbreakers who hurt native-born Americans by usurping their jobs and pushing down wages.

Mr. Trump said in a statement that he was driven by a concern for “the millions of Americans victimized by this unfair system.” Mr. Sessions said the program had “denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same illegal aliens to take those jobs.”

Protests broke out in front of the White House and the Justice Department and in cities across the country soon after Mr. Sessions’s announcement. Democrats and some Republicans, business executives, college presidents and immigration activists condemned the move as a coldhearted and shortsighted effort that was unfair to the young immigrants and could harm the economy.

“This is a sad day for our country,” Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder, wrote on his personal page. “It is particularly cruel to offer young people the American dream, encourage them to come out of the shadows and trust our government, and then punish them for it.”

Former President Barack Obama, who had warned that any threat to the program would prompt him to speak out, called his successor’s decision “wrong,” “self-defeating” and “cruel.”

“Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us,” Mr. Obama wrote on Facebook.

Both he and Mr. Trump said the onus was now on lawmakers to protect the young immigrants as part of a broader overhaul of the immigration system that would also toughen enforcement.

But despite broad and longstanding bipartisan support for measures to legalize unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as children, the odds of a sweeping immigration deal in a deeply divided Congress appeared long. Legislation to protect the “dreamers” has also repeatedly died in Congress.

Just hours after the angry reaction to Mr. Trump’s decision, the president appeared to have second thoughts. In a late-evening tweet, Mr. Trump specifically called on Congress to “legalize DACA,” something his administration’s officials had declined to do earlier in the day.

Mr. Trump also warned lawmakers that if they do not legislate a program similar to the one Mr. Obama created through executive authority, he will “revisit this issue!” — a statement sure to inject more uncertainty into the ultimate fate of the young, undocumented immigrants who have been benefiting from the program since 2012.

Conservatives praised Mr. Trump’s move, though some expressed frustration that he had taken so long to rescind the program and that the gradual phaseout could mean that some immigrants retained protection from deportation until October 2019.

The White House portrayed the decision as a matter of legal necessity, given that nine Republican state attorneys general had threatened to sue to halt the program immediately if Mr. Trump did not act.

Months of internal White House debate preceded the move, as did the president’s public display of his own conflicted feelings. He once referred to DACA recipients as “incredible kids.”

The president’s wavering was reflected in a day of conflicting messages from him and his team. Hours after his statement was released, Mr. Trump told reporters that he had “great love” for the beneficiaries of the program he had just ended.

“I have a love for these people, and hopefully now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly,” he said. But he notably did not endorse bipartisan legislation to codify the program’s protections, leaving it unclear whether he would back such a solution.

Mr. Trump’s aides were negotiating late into Monday evening with one another about precisely how the plan to wind down the program would be executed. Until Tuesday morning, some aides believed the president had settled on a plan that would be more generous, giving more of the program’s recipients the option to renew their protections.

But even taking into account Mr. Trump’s contradictory language, the rollout of his decision was smoother than his early moves to crack down on immigration, particularly the botched execution in January of his ban on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

In addition to the public statement from Mr. Sessions and a White House question-and-answer session, the president was ready on Tuesday with the lengthy written statement, and officials at the Justice and Homeland Security Departments provided detailed briefings and distributed information to reporters in advance.

Mr. Trump sought to portray his move as a compassionate effort to head off the expected legal challenge that White House officials said would have forced an immediate and highly disruptive end to the program. But he also denounced the policy, saying it helped spark a “massive surge” of immigrants from Central America, some of whom went on to become members of violent gangs like MS-13. Some immigration critics contend that programs like DACA, started under Mr. Obama, encouraged Central Americans to enter the United States, hoping to stay permanently. Tens of thousands of migrants surged across America’s southern border in the summer of 2014, many of them children fleeing dangerous gangs.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, indicated that Mr. Trump would support legislation to “fix” the DACA program, as long as Congress passed it as part of a broader immigration overhaul to strengthen the border, protect American jobs and enhance enforcement.

“The president wants to see responsible immigration reform, and he wants that to be part of it,” Ms. Sanders said, referring to a permanent solution for the young immigrants. “Something needs to be done. It’s Congress’s job to do that. And we want to be part of that process.”

Later on Tuesday, Marc Short, Mr. Trump’s top legislative official, told reporters on Capitol Hill that the White House would release principles for such a plan in the coming days, input that at least one key member of Congress indicated would be crucial.

“It is important that the White House clearly outline what kind of legislation the president is willing to sign,” Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, said in a statement. “We have no time to waste on ideas that do not have the votes to pass or that the president won’t sign.”

The announcement was an effort by Mr. Trump to honor the law-and-order message of his campaign, which included a repeated pledge to end Mr. Obama’s immigration policy, while seeking to avoid the emotionally charged and politically perilous consequences of targeting a sympathetic group of immigrants.

Mr. Trump’s decision came less than two weeks after he pardoned Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona sheriff who drew intense criticism for his aggressive pursuit of unauthorized immigrants, which earned him a criminal contempt conviction.

The blame-averse president told a confidante over the past few days that he realized that he had gotten himself into a politically untenable position. As late as one hour before the decision was to be announced, administration officials privately expressed concern that Mr. Trump might not fully grasp the details of the steps he was about to take, and when he discovered their full impact, would change his mind, according to a person familiar with their thinking who was not authorized to comment on it and spoke on condition of anonymity.

But ultimately, the president followed through on his campaign pledge at the urging of Mr. Sessions and other hard-line members inside his White House, including Stephen Miller, his top domestic policy adviser.

The announcement started the clock on revoking legal status from those protected under the program.

Officials said DACA recipients whose legal status expires on or before March 5 would be able to renew their two-year period of legal status as long as they apply by Oct. 5. But the announcement means that if Congress fails to act, immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children could face deportation as early as March 6 to countries where many left at such young ages that they have no memory of them.

Immigration officials said they did not intend to actively target the young immigrants as priorities for deportation, though without the program’s protection, they would be considered subject to removal from the United States and would no longer be able to work legally.

Officials said some of the young immigrants could be prevented from returning to the United States if they traveled abroad.

Immigration advocates took little comfort from the administration’s assurances, describing the president’s decision as deeply disturbing and vowing to shift their demands for protections to Capitol Hill.

Marielena Hincapié, the executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, called Mr. Trump’s decision “nothing short of hypocrisy, cruelty and cowardice.” Maria Praeli, a recipient of protection under the program, criticized Mr. Sessions and Mr. Trump for talking “about us as if we don’t matter and as if this isn’t our home.”

The Mexican foreign ministry issued a statement saying the “Mexican government deeply regrets” Mr. Trump’s decision.

As recently as July, Mr. Trump expressed skepticism about the prospect of a broad legislative deal.

“What I’d like to do is a comprehensive immigration plan,” he told reporters. “But our country and political forces are not ready yet.”

As for DACA, he said: “There are two sides of a story. It’s always tough.”

In: nytimes

Contra el ecumenismo del odio

El Vaticano critica a los fundamentalistas xenófobos e islamófobos en un artículo de la revista de los jesuitas visado por el propio Papa y por el secretario de Estado

El papa Francisco, entre Ivanka (izquierda) y Melania Trump (derecha), en una audiencia en el Vaticano el 24 de mayo pasado. ALESSANDRA TARANTINO (REUTERS)

¿Quién se acuerda de Charles Maurras? Murió hace más de 60 años mientras cumplía cadena perpetua por complicidad con el enemigo alemán durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Fue extraordinaria su influencia intelectual sobre las derechas más extremas europeas, incluidas las españolas, a través de su partido antisemita, ultra y monárquico, Action Française, sobre todo entre las dos guerras mundiales. Igual de extraordinaria fue su tormentosa relación con la Santa Sede, que terminó con su excomunión y las de su seguidores y con la inclusión de un puñado de sus escritos y de la propia revista que dirigía en el Índice de Libros Prohibidos.

El tiempo de las excomuniones y del Índice de los Libros Prohibidos queda lejos, olvidado ya. Roma ya no hace cosas así, al menos desde el Concilio Vaticano II. Pero si las hiciera, no hay duda de que ahora tendríamos algo parecido a un caso Maurras a propósito de las turbulentas ideas y propuestas políticas del presidente Trump y más concretamente de su consejero estratégico Steve Bannon,un príncipe de las tinieblas que inspira las políticas más extremistas de la actual Casa Blanca, como el muro con México y el muslim ban o prohibición de entrada en EE UU a ciudadanos de seis países musulmanes.

Steve Bannon es católico, mientras que Donald Trump nació en una familia presbiteriana. La religiosidad personal de ambos es más que dudosa, como le sucedía a Maurras, hasta el punto de que fue el agnosticismo del escritor francés el que le condujo a la condena eclesial. Bannon se ha divorciado dos veces a pesar de la indisolubilidad del matrimonio católico, y de Trump se desconoce si practica o si tiene siquiera alguna idea religiosa. Pero en ambos cuenta la religión como visión política del mundo, y ahí es donde el Vaticano tiene algo que decir y lo ha dicho, uniendo además en una misma crítica al catolicismo integrista y al fundamentalismo evangelista que tan buen servicio les ha rendido al Partido Republicano para ganar en las elecciones presidenciales.

Aunque el mensaje es bien claro, en cuanto a quien lo emite y a lo que dice, la vía escogida por el Vaticano es sutil e indirecta. Ha sido la revista de los jesuitas Civiltà Cattolica la que lo ha transmitido, a través de un artículo, titulado ‘Fundamentalismo evangélico e integrismo católico en Estados Unidos, un ecumenismo sorprendente’, firmado por su director, el italiano Antonio Spadaro, y por el protestante argentino Marcelo Figueroa. Un católico y un protestante denuncian precisamente la colusión de católicos y protestantes extremistas estadounidenses en un mismo pensamiento al que califican de “ecumenismo del odio”. Según el diario italiano La Repubblica, el papa Francisco en persona, el secretario de Estado Pietro Parolin y el secretario para las Relaciones con Estados Unidos, Paul Richard Gallagher, han corregido y visado el artículo.

El papa Francisco rechaza la narrativa del miedo y de la inseguridad, sobre la que Trump y su derecha alternativa construyen muros ideológicos

La primera característica de esta desviación teológica es el maniqueísmo, un “lenguaje que divide la realidad entre el Bien absoluto y el Mal absoluto”, cuestión en la que los autores citan al propio presidente Trump y que sitúa a los inmigrantes y a los musulmanes entre las amenazas al sistema de vida de Estados Unidos.Una segunda característica que denuncian Spadaro y Figueroa es el carácter de Teología de la Prosperidad que comparten los dos extremismos católico y evangelista. Su evangelio para ricos, difundido por organizaciones y pastores multimillonarios, predica una idea autojustificativa de que “Dios desea que sus seguidores tengan salud física, sean prósperos y personalmente felices”. La tercera característica es una defensa muy peculiar de la libertad religiosa, en la que extremistas católicos y protestantes se unen en cuestiones como la oposición al aborto y al matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo o la educación religiosa en la escuela, y propugnan un sometimiento de las instituciones del Estado a las ideas religiosas e incluso a la Biblia muy similar al que inspira al fundamentalismo islámico.

Esta visión del mundo proporciona una justificación teológica a la guerra y alienta la esperanza religiosa con la expectativa de un enfrentamiento apocalíptico y definitivo entre el Bien y el Mal. Las afinidades con la idea islamista radical de la yihad son bien claras. El artículo denuncia la web de extrema derecha Church Militant, que atribuye la victoria de Trump a las oraciones de los estadounidenses, propugna la guerra de religiones y profesa el llamado dominionismo, que es una lectura literalista del Genésis en la que el hombre es el centro de un universo a su entero servicio. Los dominionistas consideran anticristianos a los ecologistas y observan los desastres naturales y el cambio climático como irremediables signos escatológicos de un final de los tiempos apocalíptico, que no hay que obstaculizar, sino todo lo contrario.

No es posible comprender esta fuerte arremetida del Vaticano contra la extrema derecha estadounidense sin recordar la intervención de Steve Bannon en una conferencia celebrada en el Vaticano en 2014, en la que denunció la secularización excesiva de Occidente y anunció “la proximidad de un conflicto brutal y sangriento, (…) una guerra global contra el fascismo islámico”, en la que “esta nueva barbarie que ahora empieza erradicará todo lo que nos ha sido legado en los últimos dos mil o dos mil quinientos años”. También hay que situarlo en el marco de tensiones entre la Casa Blanca y el Vaticano a propósito de Oriente Próximo, especialmente tras el primer viaje de Trump en el que pretendió conectar con las tres religiones, islam, judaísmo y catolicismo, pero terminó convirtiéndose en un reforzamiento de la alianza con Arabia Saudí y un estímulo al enfrentamiento con Teherán, con consecuencias inmediatas en el bloqueo a Qatar.

El pontífice no solo discrepa de sus propuestas sobre ecología, inmigración o impuestos, sino que rechaza su estrategia en favor de Riad

Curiosamente, Spadaro y Figueroa defienden las raíces cristianas de Europa, pero con una argumentación inversa a la que se escuchaba en tiempos de Ratzinger, de la que ha desaparecido el supremacismo cristiano y blanco. “El triunfalismo, la arrogancia y el etnicismo vengativo son exactamente lo contrario del cristianismo”, aseguran. El artículo termina recordando que el papa Francisco combate la narrativa del miedo y la manipulación de la inseguridad y de la ansiedad de la gente, evita la reducción del Islam al terrorismo islamista y rechaza la idea de una guerra santa contra el islam o la construcción de muros físicos e ideológicos. Con la denuncia del ecumenismo del odio, el Vaticano sitúa a Steve Bannon y Donald Trump en un infierno ideológico análogo al que abrió las puertas a Maurras en 1927, ahora hace justo 90 años, en el que se encuentran condenados los políticos que utilizan la religión para dividir en vez de unir a los seres humanos.

En: elpais

 

The night John McCain killed the GOP’s health-care fight

It was the most dramatic night in the United States Senate in recent history. Just ask the senators who witnessed it.

A seven-year quest to undo the Affordable Care Act collapsed — at least for now — as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) kept his colleagues and the press corps in suspense over a little more than two hours late Thursday into early Friday.

Not since September 2008, when the House of Representatives rejected the Troubled Asset Relief Program — causing the Dow Jones industrial average to plunge nearly 800 points in a single afternoon — had such an unexpected vote caused such a striking twist.

The bold move by the nation’s most famous senator stunned his colleagues and possibly put the Senate on the verge of protracted bipartisan talks that McCain is unlikely to witness as he begins treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer.

“I’ve stated time and time again that one of the major failures of Obamacare was that it was rammed through Congress by Democrats on a strict party-line basis without a single Republican vote,” he said in a statement explaining his vote. “We should not make the mistakes of the past.”

Rumors swirled late Thursday that the Arizona Republican, who had captured the nation’s sympathy this week after delaying his cancer treatment in order to return to Washington, might vote against the GOP’s “skinny repeal” plan — a watered-down version of earlier Republican proposals to repeal the 2010 health-care law.

McCain warned at a hastily arranged news conference Thursday afternoon that he was leaning against supporting the legislation unless House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) assured GOP senators that the House would not move to quickly approve the bill in its current form. McCain and Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) wanted Ryan to launch broad House-Senate negotiations for a wider rollback of the law. Two hours later, Ryan issued a statement signaling he would launch negotiations, and Graham and Johnson announced their support.

But not McCain.

Reporters spotted him around 11 p.m.

“Have you decided how you’ll vote?” they asked.

“Yes,” McCain replied.

“How?”

“Wait for the show,” he said.

McCain headed for the stage — the Senate floor — around midnight, emerging from his office in the Russell Senate Office Building for the subway ride to the U.S. Capitol.

When he arrived, he held a brief conversation with Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer ( D-N.Y.), an exchange that left the New Yorker smiling.

“I knew it when he walked on the floor,” Schumer later recounted, explaining that McCain had already called to share his plans.

But few, if any, of his Republican colleagues realized what was about to transpire.

Two votes were called just after midnight. The first was on a Democratic proposal to refer the “skinny repeal” bill back to a committee. The second vote was to pass “skinny repeal,” which would have repealed the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate and rolled back a tax on medical devices.

“Let’s vote against skinny repeal,” Schumer told his colleagues before the votes as he once again derided the rushed nature of the health-care debate.

McCain stood on the Republican side of the room nodding in agreement.

With Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) already planning to vote against the plan, Republicans could not afford to lose McCain. Vice President Pence was already at the Capitol prepared to break a tie. Instead, he launched a last-ditch effort to win McCain’s support.

As the first vote began, McCain took his seat next to Graham, his closest friend in the Senate. The South Carolinian mostly nodded as McCain gesticulated, and signaled — through his body language — that he was likely to vote no. When Murkowski walked over to join the conversation, McCain winked and gave her a thumbs down — signaling his intentions.

Collins joined the group as another clutch of Republican senators formed in the well of the Senate Chamber. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who operates in McCain’s long shadow, stood next to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), who counts GOP votes, and Pence. Eventually, Flake was dispatched to talk to McCain.

He obliged, walked over to McCain and asked Graham to move over one seat. But McCain did not acknowledge Flake, focusing instead on Murkowski and Collins.

That left Flake, one of the most polite members of the Senate, leaning into the conversation uncomfortably with a pained look on his face, as if he had to tell his father that he had run over the family dog with his car.

Seeing that Flake was not making progress, Pence walked over at 12:44 a.m. McCain smiled, pointed at Collins and Murkowski, said something about “marching orders,” and stood up.

“Mr. Vice President,” he said, greeting Pence. For the next 21 minutes, the vice president cajoled McCain, Collins and Murkowski. Twice during the conversation, a Pence aide came to whisper in the vice president’s ear — other reporters learned it was the White House calling. Pence finally left to take a call, but later returned to speak with McCain.

By then, other senators around the room realized what was happening.

“You could see the body language in the entire chamber change in two hours,” Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) recalled. “One side was kind of ebullient, moving around and talking and the other side was subdued, and all of a sudden it began to change. There was an instinctive reaction that maybe this thing wasn’t going to pass. Nobody knew for sure.”

“It was pretty somber,” added Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

At 1:10 a.m., McCain crossed the Senate Chamber to talk to Schumer, Klobuchar and other Democrats, including Sens. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.). As he approached, McCain told them he worried that reporters watching from the gallery above could read his lips. When he realized that the press was indeed watching, he looked up at the ceiling and shouted, “No!” as senators and reporters laughed. Then, Democrats beamed when McCain shared his news. Feinstein gave him a hug.

Walking back to the Republican side of the room, McCain was stopped by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) who also offered a hug.

“I love John McCain. He’s one of the great heroes of this country,” Hatch explained later. “Whether we agree or not, I still love the guy.”

The vote on “skinny repeal” began at 1:24 a.m., but McCain was out in the lobby once again conferring with Pence. In his absence, Collins and Murkowski cast their “no” votes along with the 48 members of the Democratic caucus.

McCain returned at 1:29 a.m. without Pence, approached the Senate clerk and gave a thumbs down — the third “no” vote.

Several people gasped. Others applauded. Reporters dashed out to report the news.

McCain returned to his seat, walking past Cornyn and Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who stood grim-faced and despondent. Cassidy rubbed his face several times with his hands. Thune’s face contorted. The color in Cornyn’s face seemed to drain.

“Certainly Senator McCain knows how to improve the drama,” Cassidy recalled later.

The vote concluded, and the results were announced — the bill was voted down, 51 to 49. Just days before, McCain had fired a warning shot with a lengthy floor speech that criticized the rushed, secretive process that led to “skinny repeal.” Early Friday morning, McCain, Collins and Murkowski delivered the fatal blow.

McConnell, humiliated by the results, stood to address his colleagues. The color of his face now matched the pink in his necktie.

“This is clearly a disappointing moment,” he said.

In: thewashingtonpost

Pentagon spends 10 times more on erectile disfunction meds than transgender services

The Pentagon spent $84 million on erectile disfunction medications in 2014, 10 times the estimated annual medical costs for transgender services.

Military Times reported in 2015 that the military spent $84 million on erectile disfunction medications such as Viagra and Cialis the year before. Meanwhile, a 2016 Rand Corporation study estimated that the maximum annual medical costs for transgender military members would be around $8.4 million, Business Insider reports.

“You’re talking about .000001% of the military budget,” being spent on transgender services, Navy SEAL veteran Kristin Beck, who is transgender, told Business Insider.

President Trump announced Wednesday on Twitter his decision to ban transgender people from serving in the military “in any capacity.” He cited the “tremendous” costs for providing medical services for transgender troops.

“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you,” Trump tweeted.

His announcement sparked widespread condemnation from members of both parties, including Republicans who broke with the president to speak out against the ban.

Image: Facebook

In: thehill

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