White nationalists have planned marches in Shelbyville and Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on Saturday to protest refugee resettlement in their state, highlighting last month's lethal church shooting in Antioch, Tennessee, by a Sudanese suspect. The "White Lives Matter" events are organized by some of the same groups involved in the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this year, where an anti-racist demonstrator, Heather Heyer, was killed when a white supremacist rammed his car into a crowd.
A group of 172 Tennessee clergy issued a statement condemning Saturday's marches before they began. "These organizations are founded on the principles of white ethnonationalism," the statement says. "Our faiths call us to build bridges across racial and ethnic divides, not to dig deeper trenches. We stand as neighbors and as people of faith to proclaim that we are stronger as a community of love, faith, and peace."
Counter-protests are expected, and local law enforcement as well as demonstrators on both sides say they hope to avoid violence. "There is a threat level that didn't exist before," mused Brad Griffin, a "White Lives Matter" organizer. "It used to be just us and these peaceful liberals out there yelling at each other." Griffin told The Washington Post he urged Saturday's attendees to leave their guns at home. "Come to the White Lives Matter rallies to make a good impression," he wrote in a blog post promoting the event. Bonnie Kristian
When President Trump issued the third version of his travel ban in late September, the Supreme Court canceled oral arguments for two challenges to the policy's second iteration. But this week the ban is back in court as a federal judge in Maryland has held hearings to determine whether the new ban codifies religious discrimination against Muslims, as well as whether it exceeds Trump's executive authority to regulate immigration.
At the hearing Monday, U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang pressed the Justice Department attorney defending the ban about the contents of the classified report that informs the new rule. "How is this different than Korematsu?" Chuang asked, referring to inaccurate information presented by the federal government to the Supreme Court in 1944's Korematsu v. United States, in which SCOTUS approved the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
Chuang has yet to issue a ruling. The new ban is scheduled to take effect Wednesday, Oct. 18, which gives him a tight deadline to decide whether to suspend Trump's order. Bonnie Kristian
Boston city officials have announced a heavy police presence will be on hand to contain potential violence at competing protests scheduled Saturday in Boston Common, the city's most historic park.
What those officers — and protesters — will encounter is unclear. The event started with a permit for up to 100 people with the stated purpose of demonstrating for free speech, but counter-protests were planned when other local activist groups, including Black Lives Matter, noticed two of the scheduled speakers have ties to the alt-right, and one of those two attended the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.
"We're expecting about 20,000 to 30,000," said one counter-protest organizer, Monica Cannon. "We plan to send a really strong message that ... you don't get to come here and do this."
A previous demonstration by Boston Free Speech, the group that applied for the original permit, was organized in a different park in Boston earlier this year. Also billed as a pro-Constitution event, many attendees were affiliated with alt-right and white supremacist groups, and speakers included one Augustus Invictus, who told his audience to prepare themselves to fight a second Civil War. Boston Free Speech abridged Saturday's schedule in response to the planned counter-protests. Several of the more controversial speakers, including Invictus, are no longer on the docket. Bonnie Kristian
The Trump Department of Justice on Friday evening asked the Supreme Court to overturn a federal judge's ruling that the travel ban cannot be used to exclude grandparents of U.S. residents who hail from the six majority-Muslim nations the order targets.
U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson said in his decision Thursday that "common sense ... dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents. Indeed, grandparents are the epitome of close family members." The DOJ argues that Watson's ruling "empties the [Supreme] Court's [previous travel ban] decision of meaning, as it encompasses not just 'close' family members but virtually all family members."
Past immigration laws have excluded grandparents from the "close family" category, which is limited to "parent (including parent-in-law), spouse, fiancé, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling (whether whole or half), and step relationships." Bonnie Kristian
With the typing of a single tweet, President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday tipped the scales of yet another company's stocks, when he tweeted his disapproval of Toyota's plan to build a new plant in Baja, Mexico:
Toyota Motor said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for U.S. NO WAY! Build plant in U.S. or pay big border tax.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2017
Within minutes of Trump posting the tweet, this is what Toyota's stock looked like:
A less than 0.50 percent drop is not exactly a jump off the precipice, and Toyota's stocks quickly stabilized to be down just 0.39 percent. But this is not the first time Trump's Twitter page has dictated major market activity: The president-elect's tweets about Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and General Motors have previously sent the respective companies' stocks tumbling, even if only temporarily. Trump's tweeted remarks have also inspired companies to change their plans, with both Carrier and Ford deciding not to move forward with building plants in Mexico.
Opened in 2005, the Trump Institute charged people up to $2,000 to learn Trump's "wealth-creating secrets and strategies." While Trump didn't own the business, the institute allegedly lied about the extent of Trump's involvement despite Trump vowing that he was "teaching what I've learned." The program was actually run by a couple who had an extensive record of committing fraud, and the manual used to teach the students was largely plagiarized:
Unbeknownst to customers at the time, though, even the printed materials handed out to seminar attendees were based on a lie. The Trump Institute copyrighted its publication, each page emblazoned with "Billionaire's Road Map to Success," and it distributed the materials to those who attended the seminars.
Yet much of the handbook's contents were lifted without attribution from an obscure how-to guide published by Success magazine in 1995 called "Real Estate Mastery System."
At least 20 pages of the Trump Institute book were copied entirely or in large part from "Real Estate Mastery System." Even some of its hypothetical scenarios — "Seller A is asking $80,000 for a single-payer residence" — were repeated verbatim. [The New York Times]
Unsurprisingly, the Trump Institute eventually earned an F from the Better Business Bureau. "What criminals they are," one student said afterward. "They wanted to steal my money." Read the entire investigation at The New York Times. Jeva Lange
Today's presidential bid announcement comes from former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, who's decided to try his luck against Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O'Malley in seeking the Democratic nomination for president.
"Our country needs a fresh approach to solving the problems that confront us and too often unnecessarily divide us," Webb wrote in the full announcement on his website. A Vietnam veteran who also served as navy secretary under President Reagan, Webb's views can be unpredictable. After the allegedly racially motivated shooting at a historically black church in Charleston, for example, he defended the Confederate flag, instructing his followers on Facebook that they ought to "remember that honorable Americans fought on both sides of the Civil War."
Webb does, however, offer the most progressive stance on drug policies among his peers, having hinted at radical drug reforms when he spoke at the National Sheriffs' Association Conference in Baltimore on Tuesday. Jeva Lange
A little more than a year after ObamaCare's rocky rollout, the federal health insurance exchange website is open for its second sign-up season, and President Barack Obama used his weekly address to urge Americans to get covered, or re-enroll if they had already used HealthCare.gov.
"In part because this law is working, health care prices have grown at their slowest rate in nearly 50 years," Obama says in the video. "And this year, insurance premiums for families who are covered through an employer grew at a rate tied for the lowest on record."
Seven million paying customers entered new insurance markets, suggesting ObamaCare is working to lower the number of uninsured Americans. Still, an Associated Press poll found that 56 percent of Americans would repeal the law, while only 41 percent would implement it, if given a choice.
Watch Obama's full pitch for supporting the Affordable Care Act in his address, below. --Sarah Eberspacher