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Illinois’ financial crisis could bring the state to a halt

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Trump Reacts To Firing Of Peter Strzok, FBI Agent Who Sent Anti-Trump Texts



The president wrote about “bad players in the FBI & DOJ” in his tweets about the dismissal.

FBI special agent Peter Strzok, who sent personal text messages critical of President Donald Trump and other politicians, including Democrats, has been fired ― and Trump is taking a victory lap of sorts on Twitter.

“Agent Peter Strzok was just fired from the FBI ― finally.” Trump tweeted. “The list of bad players in the FBI & DOJ gets longer & longer.”

The president also used Strzok’s firing to amplify his attempts to discredit the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, incorrectly describing Strzok as being “in charge” of the investigation. Robert Mueller removed Strzok from the special counsel shortly after the text messages were disclosed.

Trump seemingly also implied he was responsible for firing Strzok, though the decision was made by the FBI.

Strzok testified before congressional committees in July that some of the August 2016 texts he sent to former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he was having an affair, were in response to the “horrible, disgusting” comments then-candidate Trump made about the family of a fallen Muslim war hero.

Trump and his supporters, however, argued the texts were evidence of a “deep state” conspiracy to undermine Trump’s presidency.

This story has been updated with additional details.

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Stephen Miller’s Uncle Blasts Him As ‘Immigration Hypocrite’



Stephen Miller, senior policy adviser to President Donald Trump, was called out on his immigration “hypocrisy” by his uncle in a scathing op-ed published Monday on Politico.

David S. Glosser, a retired neuropsychologist, accused both his nephew and Trump of becoming “numb to the resultant human tragedy and blind to the hypocrisy of their policy decisions.”

“I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew, who is an educated man and well aware of his heritage, has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country,” Glosser wrote in his piece.

Miller is credited with crafting some of the Trump administration’s most controversial immigration policies, including family separation at the U.S.-Mexico border and the travel ban, which targets immigrants from five mostly Muslim countries.

Trump and my nephew both know their immigrant and refugee roots. Yet, they repeat the insults and false accusations of earlier generations against these refugees to make them seem less than human.David S. Glosser, uncle of Stephen Miller

Glosser pointed out that Miller’s family has benefited from American immigration policies the Trump administration is seeking to corrode. Miller’s relatives gained citizenship though family-based immigration, which the Trump administration pejoratively refers to as “chain migration,” according to Glosser. The policy also likely helped first lady Melania Trump’s parents become U.S. citizens last week.

“President Trump wants to make us believe that these desperate migrants are an existential threat to the United States; the most powerful nation in world history and a nation made strong by immigrants,” Glosser wrote.

He continued: “Trump and my nephew both know their immigrant and refugee roots. Yet, they repeat the insults and false accusations of earlier generations against these refugees to make them seem less than human.”

In June, Yahoo News reported that Miller’s great-grandfather flunked his naturalization test in 1932. The report found Miller’s maternal grandparents came to Ellis Island in 1903 to escape anti-Semitic pogroms in Belarus.

“Unless your ancestors came on a slave ship or you’re Native American,” you came here as an immigrant, Jennifer Mendelsohn, who created the #resistancegenealogy hashtag, told Yahoo News.

The White House did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

Read Glosser’s entire op-ed at Politico.

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Big Retailers Don’t Want You To Know How Much Their Stores Earn From Food Stamps



A local newspaper wants to know exactly how much money retail stores earn from food stamp transactions, and the retail food industry is fighting the disclosure all the way to the Supreme Court.

Last week, Justice Neil Gorsuch temporarily stayed a lower court’s order requiring the government to cough up the data. Now grocers have a chance to try to convince the Supreme Court to take the case.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is the federal government’s most responsive economic safety net, giving 40 million Americans a monthly food allowance that can only be spent at food stores and farmers markets. The program dishes out $60 billion in benefits annually, which amounts to a significant portion of retail stores’ income.

Throughout the program’s history, politicians and news reporters have obsessed over what people purchase with their benefits. In the 1970s, President Ronald Reagan speechified about “strapping young bucks” buying T-bone steaks, a fist-shaking tradition Republicans have continued to this day. The benefits used to be distributed on actual stamps but now go on debit cards that are still highly visible in checkout lines.

The legal case is more about who is selling the food than what the beneficiaries are buying. The Argus Leader, a newspaper in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, filed a records request for store-level SNAP spending data in 2011. When the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the program, didn’t hand over the details, the paper sued.

“Taxpayers need to know where their money is spent,” Cory Myers, the Argus Leader’s news director, said earlier this year. “This information has importance beyond South Dakota as SNAP is one of the nation’s biggest safety net programs.”

The USDA already provides some detail about where food stamps go. Half of all benefits were spent at superstores like Walmart in 2017. Nearly 30 percent were used at supermarkets like Safeway. More than 258,000 firms were authorized to accept SNAP benefits that year. The USDA has also put out detailed information about what people buy.

The Argus Leader wants to know exactly how much was spent and at exactly which stores. The government argued that disclosing dollar figures for individual firms would hurt their business and that the details should be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

Courts sided with the paper and the USDA gave up on the case, but then retail trade associations swooped in with additional appeals. Among other things, the Food Marketing Institute argued that negative attitudes toward food stamp recipients could cause landlords to increase rent when they learn their tenants process government benefits.

“The stigma might also cause non-SNAP recipients to avoid stores with high SNAP volume, either because of beliefs about the store or a fear of being perceived as SNAP customers,” the Food Marketing Institute told an appeals court in 2017.

Stewart Fried, an attorney for the National Grocers Association, argued in an August 2017 brief that retailers would stop accepting SNAP benefits. He said the disclosure “does not shed light on what the federal government is up to,” since so much detail is already available. Additionally, he said, “gaining access to a competitor’s store-level sales data is the holy grail of the retail food industry,” because the information can influence decisions about where to open new stores.

So far, courts have not agreed, calling the stigma argument “speculative” and saying releasing the data seems unlikely to hurt anyone’s business too much. Gorsuch has given retailers a chance to argue this month that the disclosure should be further delayed so the court can consider whether to take the case.

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