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Location: Douglas, Coffee Co., The Other Georgia, United States

Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Why former Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel’s coming out against the White House matters (Hagel also said he felt micro-managed — something that Gates, Panetta and other defense officials have all expressed.)

From The Washington Post:

When Chuck Hagel resigned as defense secretary last year, the narrative was clear: President Obama and he did not see eye-to-eye on how to prosecute the war against the Islamic State, so Hagel needed to go. White House officials, speaking anonymously, said at the time that the president had lost faith in Hagel’s ability to lead — a charge that Hagel’s advisers brushed aside.

Now, a little over a year later, Hagel is swinging back. In an interview with Foreign Policy magazine published Friday, he said he remains puzzled why White House officials tried to “destroy” him personally in his last days in office, adding that he was convinced the United States had no viable strategy in Syria and was particularly frustrated with National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who he said would hold meetings and focus on “nit-picky” details.

“I eventually got to the point where I told Susan Rice that I wasn’t going to spend more than two hours in these meetings,” Hagel told Foreign Policy. “Some of them would go four hours.”

Hagel said the administration struggled with how to handle Syria — hardly a surprise, given the way Obama said in August 2012 that it would be a “red line” for the United States if Syria moved or used its chemical weapons stockpiles, but did not intervene militarily the following year when Syria did so. Hagel said that hurt Obama’s credibility, even if declared stockpiles eventually were removed through an agreement reached with Damascus.

“Whether it was the right decision or not, history will determine that,” Hagel told Foreign Policy. “There’s no question in my mind that it hurt the credibility of the president’s word when this occurred.”

The White House declined to comment on the article. However, an administration official disagreed anonymously with many assertions in Hagel’s interview. Waiting before launching cruise missiles provided a window for the chemical weapons agreement reached, the official said.

Hagel is far from the first former Pentagon chief in Obama’s administration to later criticize the president and his staff. But he just might be the most unlikely. A former Republican senator from Nebraska, he saw eye-to-eye with Obama on many national security issues before he was nominated. Like Obama, he also was a strong critic of President George W. Bush’s war in Iraq — one of the first in the Republican Party.

The two men also still have a friendly relationship, Hagel told Foreign Policy. Nonetheless, he just took several large steps down the same road as Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, who preceded Hagel at the Pentagon and later laid out their grievances in memoirs written after they left office.

Gates, who served for both President George W. Bush and Obama, wrote in a book released early last year that he was “seething” and “running out of patience with on multiple fronts” with the administration. All too often, he wrote, “suspicion and distrust of senior military officers by senior White House officials — including the president and vice president — became a big problem for me as I tried to manage the relationship between the commander in chief and his military leaders.”

Panetta followed last fall with his own book, saying Obama had a “frustrating reticence to engage his opponents and rally support for his cause” and too frequently “relies on the logic of a law professor rather than the passion of a leader.” In an interview promoting the book, he added that the president had “kind of lost his way” and was partly to blame for the collapse of the Iraqi government last year because he didn’t press harder to keep American troops in the country in 2011, ahead of a complete military withdrawal.

Hagel, for his part, told Foreign Policy that he got “the hell beat out of him” figuratively at the White House for delaying in signing transfer orders to release detainees from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, when he had concerns about the individuals involved. He also said he felt micro-managed — something that Gates, Panetta and other defense officials have all expressed.

“There is a danger in all of this,” Hagel told Foreign Policy, referring to White House micromanagement and the administration’s expanding national security staff. “This is about governance; this isn’t about political optics. It’s about making the country run and function, and trying to stay ahead of the dangers and the threats you see coming.”

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Nonprofits and Governors Clash Over Syrian Refugees - As states push back, settlement groups say they plan to continue helping new arrivals find homes, jobs and assistance aid

From The Wall Street Journal:

The debate over Syrian refugees in the U.S. is stoking an unusual struggle between nonprofit groups helping people from broken lands and governors in about two dozen states who object to their arrivals.

Once the Department of Homeland Security clears refugees after reviews by multiple agencies, the heavy lifting falls to nine resettlement agencies, all nonprofits, and their hundreds of local offices and affiliates. The agencies, many with religious affiliations, perform a range of tasks, from meeting Syrian refugees at airports to helping them find jobs and apartments. They also aid families in navigating states’ public-assistance systems and enrolling children in schools.

But lately, these groups have found themselves at odds with many governors, almost all Republicans, who are voicing concerns about Syrian refugees or actively trying to halt their settlement, citing possible security risks in the wake of the Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris. Perpetrators included Europeans radicalized after travel to Syria, and French officials said one attacker posed as a Syrian refugee in order to enter Europe.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, shortly after the attack, announced an executive order barring state agencies from any involvement in accepting Syrian refugees.

“Until the federal government and Congress conducts a thorough review of current screening procedures and background checks, we will take every measure available to us at the state level to ensure the safety of Georgians,” he said at the time.

That didn’t stop World Relief, an agency based in Baltimore, from placing a Syrian family in Atlanta. Joshua Sieweke, who heads World Relief’s Atlanta office, said Thursday the Syrian family is still waiting to hear if the state will grant basic benefits like food stamps and Medicaid. Mr. Deal is waiting for an opinion from the state attorney general, his spokeswoman said.
The Obama administration plans to bring in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the current fiscal year, part of an overall rise to 85,000 refugees from around the world, up from 70,000 the prior fiscal year. Proponents have said refugee screening, which can take years, is the most intensive vetting process for any travelers to the U.S.

Those reviews may include several hours of interviews with the U.N. refugee aid agency, which also collects personal documents and could take months to complete its security review. The U.N. agency also scans applicants’ irises. From there, the U.S. reviews include interviews and screening by multiple intelligence and security agencies. Syrians go through an added security layer with classified details, according to the State Department.

The State Department pays the resettlement agencies $2,025 per refugee to cover the cost of helping them for their initial 30 to 90 days in the U.S. After that, the Department of Health and Human Services offers support, though the amount differs from state to state.

A State Department representative said the agency gives state refugee coordinators detailed reports each month on recent and coming arrivals. Each quarter, the State Department provides lists of refugees who could be sent to given states because of family or personal contacts there. But personal details regarding individual refugees are considered confidential.

Although nonprofits have helped refugees for decades, the 1980 Refugee Act solidified the resettlement process, said Courtland Robinson, deputy director at the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Back then, the U.S. had an influx of refugees from Communist regimes in Southeast Asia.

Officials with resettlement groups said they were surprised by the states’ positions because they are accustomed to bipartisan support for their work. “We’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Mark Hetfield, the chief executive at HIAS Inc. Previously known as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the New York-based resettlement agency traces its roots to 134 years ago, when it helped Jews escape pogroms in Russia and what is now Eastern Europe. Today, it helps refugees from around the world, including Syria.

Catholic Charities in Indianapolis challenged Indiana by settling a Syrian refugee family there this month. The family, with two small children, had lived in a refugee camp in Jordan, according to Greg Otolski, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

A spokesman for Gov. Mike Pence said in a recent statement that Indiana would “continue to suspend its participation in the resettlement of Syrian refugees until the federal government takes action to address the concerns raised about this program.”

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission sought a temporary restraining order in federal court to block refugees. But a judge denied the latest request, ruling that concerns about terrorist infiltration are too speculative.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is supporting federal legislation introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) that would give governors the ability to reject refugeconcerns.es over security concerns.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

John Kasich vs. ‘Obscurity’ - The popular Ohio governor on his mix of social gospel and conservative economics and why he’ll eventually break out of the GOP presidential scrum.

From The Wall Street Journal:

Ohio hasn’t voted for a presidential loser since 1960 and it may decide the 2016 election, at least if the winner is a Republican: The GOP probably can’t make the Electoral College arithmetic work otherwise, and no Republican ever has won without carrying the swing state. The sitting two-term governor of Ohio also happens to be running for the White House—but he says, “You know what my rival is? Obscurity. Nobody knows me.” This is strange.

John Kasich is also the rare candidate-governor who remains popular among voters at home; Quinnipiac puts his job approval at 62%, his highest ever. He has a strong governing record, national experience and bipartisan appeal. On paper, he’s formidable. And yet Mr. Kasich is polling nationally in eighth place, at 2%, according to the Real Clear Politics average, and he’s fifth in New Hampshire at 7%, having slipped from 13% this summer. So why hasn’t he broken out of the Republican scrum?

That’s the one question that defines this anti-orthodox primary season—and not merely for Mr. Kasich. “I do think that the electorate, no question, is extremely frustrated, and they don’t want the same old, same old,” says the governor, who dropped by the Journal this week. “But if you get on an airplane, do you want somebody that’s never flown a plane before?”

So what to make of the Donald J. Trump phenomenon? “I don’t think it has any depth to it,” Mr. Kasich says. “It’s sort of like if your football team hasn’t won a game, they’re 0 and 6 or they’re 1 and 7, and you go to the game, and you’re sitting there with your buddy, and you say, ‘I think they ought to just pick that guy out of the stands. Our quarterback is a bum.’ ” He could be talking about the Cleveland Browns.

“I think, I believe, maybe I’m wrong, that experience and a record are going to matter at the end,” he continues. “Maybe it won’t. Maybe we’ll change 100 years of American politics. I don’t know.”
By the way, Mr. Kasich adds, “I am just talking to you realistically about how you win. You come into Ohio yelling and screaming, you can’t win. You will not win Ohio. I mean, I know Ohio. I won 86 out of 88 counties. I had 26% of the African-American vote, 51% of union households—and I started off in a war with the unions, right?”


Mr. Kasich served in the House for 18 years, six as chairman of the Budget Committee, where he was the architect of the 1997 balanced-budget agreement between Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich. “We would not have balanced the budget without his leadership,” the former speaker writes in an email. Mr. Gingrich adds that he regards Mr. Kasich as one of the four “Republican visionaries” of the 20th century, in the company of Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp and Mr. Gingrich.

Since he re-emerged as governor in 2010, Mr. Kasich is one of the livelier characters of American politics, and one of the few who retains the capacity to surprise. His far-ranging, free associative and sometimes undisciplined talk often doesn’t stop until he’s interrupted.

When Mr. Kasich announced his presidential candidacy in July, he began by joking about the delivery of his twin daughters: He said the obstetrician told him: “Can you shut up? I’m a little busy right now.”

He then riffed—this is a partial list—on “this whole business of the American dream,” Iwo Jima, his father “John the Mailman,” a boat trip to England from Belgium, Islamic State, coal mining, “the Civil War—you remember reading about it?,” recreational narcotics (opposed), John Sununu, Ohio Stadium, a balanced-budget amendment and “the power of very big ideas”—as well as “two wonderful African-American fellows” he met at a Wendy’s, something called the Common Sense Initiative and, finally, “the Lord,” who “will record what you’ve done for another in the book of life.”

This manic energy is physical as well as intellectual. Mr. Kasich’s personal-space perimeter requires four or five extra feet than normal to accommodate the gestures, the sweeps, the waves, the pirouettes. He’s a human windmill.

Mr. Kasich is trying to merge traditional conservative economics with his social gospel. “I’m the hardest person to beat,” he says, “because I’m the hardest person to label.” He frequently speaks of the homeless, the mentally ill and the sick, of drug addicts and ex-cons, of “people living in the shadows.” He challenges Republicans to show sympathy for Americans who aren’t like them, especially the poor and minorities. “If you look at the record,” he says, “the record is loud and clear about who I am, and what I believe, and what my values are, and the conservative nature of how I’ve solved problems.”

As Mr. Kasich tells it, “because I care about these programs”—to combat substance abuse, for instance—“it just sends a message, and it’s inadvertent. I didn’t do this to do this, because I’ve taken a lot of grief on all this stuff. It’s giving people a sense that maybe this guy cares a little bit about me, maybe he understands some of my problems.”

Mr. Kasich first visited the Journal as governor in July 2011, six months after being inaugurated along with a crop of reform-minded executives across the Midwest. He complained that he wasn’t getting Scott Walker-style media credit for his budget, which curbed collective-bargaining and the power of state and local public-employee unions—a program he said was much stronger than Wisconsin’s. Even for Mr. Kasich, the hyperbole was operatic.

He had sensed, wrongly, that union trustbusting was as much in demand among the buckeyes as the badgers. Mr. Kasich’s approval rating dipped as low as 35%, and that fall a ballot question repealing the union reforms passed 62% to 38%.

Mr. Kasich dismissed this rout as a nonevent when he returned to the Journal in May 2012. He spent his first 20 minutes chronicling, in minute detail, his “exotic animal reform”: A suicide in Zanesville had recently let loose dozens of lions, Bengal tigers and bears, plus a baboon, from a private zoo. Mr. Kasich was trying to pass the state’s first pet species ownership restriction law. The distance from pushing major labor reforms to pacifying the Ohio veld seemed to indicate the evanescence of his ambitions.

Then again, Mr. Kasich went on to be re-elected by a two-to-one margin. The Democrats couldn’t field a credible candidate, but as he sees it, voters rewarded him for results.

In his first term, despite the labor defeat, he closed an $8 billion budget deficit, repealed the estate tax, cut income-tax rates, tightened welfare requirements and deregulated. He closed the Ohio corporate-welfare bureaucracy and replaced it with a public-private corporation that is “the best economic development entity, I believe, in the country.” The Ohio economy, a basket case under his predecessors, is creating more jobs than the average for Great Lakes states and has diversified into shale energy, aerospace, advanced manufacturing, biotech and logistics.

He says the credit raters once told him, “There’s no way you can fix Ohio. It’s dead.” The governor’s response? “I said, ‘No, no, no, no, no! Think of us as a basketball player who’s 7 feet tall but doesn’t know how to dribble.’ ” As president, Mr. Kasich says he’d start conducting ball-handling drills. Invoking his 1990s and Ohio experiences, he explains that “if it’s worked twice, it ought to work thrice, and I think the plan is very reasonable.”

Mr. Kasich is proposing what he calls a “shock and awe” economic package: tax reform to lower the top individual income rate to 28%, the corporate rate to 25% and capital gains to 15%; reform of entitlements and the bureaucracy to cut the growth of spending and balance the budget in eight years; deregulation; and control of the border. “The No. 1 thing,” he says, “is economic growth.”

In an era of polarization, Mr. Kasich says he’d revive a prelapsarian state of comity. “My program wouldn’t be just partisan. I know I could get some Democrats to vote for this kind of stuff,” he says. “I don’t think we’ve had a president in a very, very long time, since Clinton, that actually knew how to deal with a legislature.” The governor then tells a story about dealing with Democrats in Ohio, detours into human trafficking, highway funds and the gas tax. Then, back on subject: “This president doesn’t know how to do it and I’m not sure Bush did it. He really had a great personality, but I am not convinced he really knew how. There’s a certain technique: it’s calling their mom; it’s calling their kids; it’s bringing them into your office; it’s letting them ride in the car.”

“I’ll tell you one thing,” he adds. “There ain’t anybody else running that knows how to do this.”


Perhaps Mr. Kasich’s candidacy is under-kindled because he is identified with the “Republican Establishment,” or what’s left of it, in an outsider’s year. “When anybody ever says, ‘Well, you seem more moderate,’ ” the governor observes, “I go, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! Wait a minute here, let’s talk about—do you think cutting taxes is conservative? Do you think balancing budgets is conservative? Do you think school choice is conservative? Do you think welfare reform is conservative? You just kind of don’t like my tone, don’t you?’ ”

Mr. Kasich’s tone won’t satisfy modern hyperpartisans who favor politics red in tooth and claw. But what’s notable is how sui generis—and occasionally, how liberal—his conservatism is. Mr. Kasich isn’t the kind of Republican who wants to retreat on social issues like abortion, climate change or child tax credits. Instead, he has philosophically inconsistent positions, all equally strongly held.

Speaking of tone, Mr. Kasich can be self-righteous. He dismisses arguments he finds uncongenial with phrases like “Are you kidding me?” and “Come on,” and he’s quick to impugn the motives of critics. He also tends to weaponize his Christian convictions, as if those critics are blaspheming.

These two weaknesses, if that’s what they are—his policy schisms and instinct for moral censure—combined in his 2013 decision to have Ohio join the new Medicaid expansion of the Affordable Care Act. Other Republican governors did too, but Mr. Kasich bypassed opposition in the state legislature by using an arcane outside board, and he then toured the country insulting anyone who dissented.

The sentimental narrative that the apostle John Kasich rolls out is that when you get to the pearly gates, St. Peter isn’t going to ask what you did to keep the government small. But he will ask what you did for the poor. The governor instructs his critics to consult Matthew 25, where Jesus tells his followers to help “the least of these brothers.” As recently as January, in an address before Montana legislators who opposed Medicaid expansion, he insinuated that they were responsible for killing “a guy who froze to death.”

Mr. Kasich opened Medicaid to able-bodied working-age adults with no dependent children. We wondered, given that resources are scarce, why not instead use taxpayer dollars to help the more than 40,000 Ohioans with developmental disabilities on Medicaid waiting lists—22,000 with immediate needs? The average wait time for these extra “waiver” services is about six years.

“As a result of having expanded it, I now have the resources to treat mental health and drug addiction,” Mr. Kasich replies, before noting that “we now have a program where if you’re developmentally disabled, we can try to get you as mainstreamed as possible. So I’m not so sure that your numbers are right but I’d be glad to check.”

When we follow up, Mr. Kasich says his expansion is “providing resources dramatically for everybody, for the mentally ill, for the drug addicted, for the working poor and probably for the developmentally disabled. And like I say, our biggest increase in our budget this year was for the developmentally disabled.”

Afterward a spokesman sends an email suggesting that the Ohio waiting lists aren’t “the best measure,” because parents pre-emptively add their children to get a jump on wait times. “Part of the reason the list is what it is,” he adds, “is because the previous governors did such a poor job.”

To his credit, Mr. Kasich has worked to make Medicaid less dysfunctional. The point is that rather than make holier-than-thou lectures, Mr. Kasich might find more traction among Republicans if he assumed that most Americans are arguing in good faith, even those who disagree with him—or Him.

Mr. Kasich’s chance is due north. “If I get destroyed in New Hampshire, then that’s the end of the game. But I don’t think that’s going to happen, ’cause I have too good of ground game up there. That’s how you win elections, with the ground game. I’ve got the best ground game in the state,” he says. “So the question is do they identify our voters and deliver them. That’s how you win elections.”

The author Mr. Rago is a member of the Journal’s editorial board.

Amen!: Can Washington Unite on Fighting Islamic State? - Can Washington Unite on Fighting Islamic State?

Gerald Seib writes in The Wall Street Journal:

President Barack Obama clearly intended his Sunday night address from the Oval Office to pull the nation together behind his strategy for fighting Islamic State. But in the narrower political world around him, it actually seems to have had the opposite effect: It appears to have widened, or at least cast in sharper relief, deep divides over the nation’s strategy for dealing with the group and the terror threat it has spawned.

Even accounting for the fact that we are in a political season, that is a striking disconnect on a subject on which the country has in the past been able to come together. The San Bernardino terror attacks—and terrorism is what they were, all now agree—weren’t nearly of the magnitude of the 9/11 attacks, but it may be time for national leaders to come together to forge the kind of unified response seen then.

It’s hard to imagine a less unified national front that than the one that emerged Monday, when, a day after Mr. Obama urged Americans not to turn against Muslims in the wake of recent terror attacks, leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump proposed a flat ban on all Muslims entering America.

That radical proposal seemed only to underscore Mr. Obama’s warning against irrational hatred, and was immediately denounced by many other Republicans. But more substantively, there remains a real philosophical divide between the president and his critics on the parallel question of how to fight ISIS directly. Mr. Obama is prescribing more of a slow-but-steady approach to dealing with ISIS. His critics are advocating more of a fast-and-furious attempt to knock out ISIS and, by extension, its terror threat.

Mr. Obama thinks the rush-to-action approach carries more risk than reward. In particular, he worries about the danger of America being sucked into another large and open-ended ground commitment in the Middle East. And that, he fears, would create anew the appearance of the West imposing its will on the region, feeding the ISIS narrative of infidels versus Islam and generating new recruits among angry young Muslims.

The president’s critics consider him complacent amid a real and growing danger. They think he’s unwilling either to admit that his reluctance to engage in the Syrian civil war created the chaos in which ISIS has flourished, or to make the kind of military commitment that could correct that error and extinguish the self-proclaimed Islamic State caliphate. The president spoke Sunday night about a plan to “destroy” ISIS, but his previous talk about containing the group led critics to doubt his resolve.

Any quest to bridge these divides is complicated by the fact that the ISIS fight now has become entangled with even more divisive topics: immigration, refugee policy and gun control.

On this front, the president didn’t do himself any favors with his initial response to those wanting to stop the plan to absorb a few thousand of the hundreds of thousands of Syrians fleeing the horror of the multisided civil war in their country. He appeared to belittle more than acknowledge the terror concerns of those who called for a halt to the refugee acceptance process.

Mr. Obama had a good argument for moving ahead with the plan: that resettling refugees already requires a vigorous screening process that can last up to two years. But that point was largely lost in the president’s portrayal of opposition to resettlement as a reversal of American values of openness and compassion.

Similarly, Mr. Obama’s Sunday-night attempt to argue the merits of new gun control at the same time he was explaining his strategy for dealing with ISIS won’t do much to help the effort to build consensus on other elements of the fight against ISIS.

Meantime, Republicans running to take Mr. Obama’s job are showing more interest in highlighting divisions than bridging them. Responses to Mr. Obama’s address were almost vitriolic—and masked the fact that the GOP candidates themselves are deeply divided on an approach to the ISIS threat. Some—Sen. Marco Rubio, Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in particular—want a more aggressive military response to ending the civil war in Syria, which has created the vacuum into which ISIS has stepped, while Sen. Ted Cruz argued just last week that the U.S. has “no dog” in that fight.

Some Republican presidential candidates want to arm Syrian rebels and restore National Security Agency powers to conduct anti-terror surveillance at home; Mr. Cruz and his colleague, Sen. Rand Paul, have opposed those steps.

Yet there is more unity within and across party divides than this political rhetoric suggests. Mr. Obama actually has significantly stepped up the pace of military action in Syria in recent weeks, particularly in aerial attacks on its oil-smuggling financial lifeline. And all sides agree that inserting a giant American ground force isn’t the way to win the ISIS fight.

It may be time for a bipartisan summit meeting to build those areas of agreement into a unified, bipartisan approach like the kind forged—for a time—after the 9/11 attacks. As Mr. Obama said Sunday night, “we have always met challenges…by coming together around our common ideals as one nation, as one people.” Right now, that seems a long ways off.

TThe Republican Party faces this problem, that they don’t want Trump, but the alternative might be Cruz, and they don’t want that either.

From the PBS Newshour:

MARK SHIELDS:  Ted Cruz has just been right up to Donald Trump’s left shoulder. Donald Trump insinuates, as David puts it, that Barack Obama may not be a total American because he won’t say radical Muslim terrorist, or extremist, and he won’t use that term, he won’t, in other words, give it the religious component, and he says, there is something going on there, he says.

Well, Ted Cruz calls him an apologist for radical Islam instead. Now, it’s one thing, Judy, if I disagree with you and say you’re mistaken or you’re ill-informed. When I start demonizing your motives — and he does that. He does that in speech. He’s sort of Donald Trump with better academic credentials, a better haircut and probably 60 I.Q. points.


JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, other than that, what would you add about Ted Cruz?

DAVID BROOKS: Well, Cruz is interesting because he’s universally unpopular.

MARK SHIELDS: Universally.

DAVID BROOKS: In the law firm, at school, among the Republicans — when he was working with George W. Bush’s campaign, he could not get a serious job after that, because everyone said, I will not work with that guy.

He comes to the Senate, Republican senators, if they had a vote between some Democrat to be majority leader and Ted Cruz, they would vote for the Democrat. He is just unpopular. And he’s used that unpopularity to his benefit in this campaign. Look, they all hate me.

And so, if you’re running an anti-Washington campaign, the fact that everyone who works with you hates you suddenly becomes a plus.

The other interesting is, for a guy who runs on principle, he’s extremely tactical. He’s very deft at moving this way and that. And so the Republican Party faces this problem, that they don’t want Trump, but the alternative might be Cruz, and they don’t want that either.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Another Syrian refugee family has arrived in the Atlanta area

From the AJC's Political Insider:

Another Syrian refugee family has arrived in the Atlanta area, becoming the first to relocate to Georgia from their war-torn nation since Gov. Nathan Deal joined more than two dozen of his counterparts in vowing to halt their resettlement.

Their arrival also raises the possibility of a legal showdown. The Deal administration has ordered state employees not to process applications for benefits — including food stamps — for new Syrian refugees coming to Georgia. That has triggered a sharp warning from the Obama administration, which told Georgia it must rescind its order to comply with federal law.

Mohammad and Ebtesam, who asked that their full names not be published to protect relatives still living in Syria, applied to the state Thursday for food stamps and Medicaid.