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Trump takes another crack at travel ban after alleging Obama wiretap conspiracy

The country's institutional apparatus is in flipmode: We are officially in the Upside-Down.

Today President Trump signed a revised version of last month's executive order banning travel for migrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries in an effort to enact something that will withstand judicial scrutiny. Trump's last attempt at this ban was overruled by federal courts for being overbroad and unconstitutional. The timing of this announcement coincides with the White House's need to shift the conversation after a chaotic week which began with an acclaimed speech to Congress, but quickly devolved with Attorney General Sessions under fire for undisclosed communications with Russian officials, and President Trump levying the unsupported claim that President Obama had wiretapped Trump Towers during the campaign -- an unsupported claim which Obama and the director of the FBI has rejected.

Trump's new travel ban has key revisions which the administration hopes courts will deem fitting. These include dropping Iraq from the list, excluding the preferential treatment for Christian refugees (which courts seized upon as evidence that this was a de facto "religious test"), and reducing the ban on Syrian migration from "indefinitely" to "requiring review after 120 days." Unlike last time, existing visa holders are exempted. Also unlike last time, the administration tried to offer evidence that this ban was relevant to its stated purpose of curbing terrorism by stating that 300 refugees admitted into the U.S. had entered "with hostile intent." However officials did not identify those 300 people, nor how many of them came from the six countries detailed in the executive order. The order is set to be phased in over two weeks, instead of the tumultuous instantaneous enactment last month which sparked massive protests at airports nationwide.

Also today, Trump has asked Planned Parenthood to stop providing abortions under threat of cut federal funding, setting up a culture wars fight along feminist and religious lines. (Planned Parenthood has already denied the administration's request.) At present, Planned Parenthood receives $500 million in federal funds, though the entity claims that money is entirely used to provide women with essential health services, and that abortions are funded entirely by donations.

Between the Trump administration, the intelligence community, the Department of Justice, the previous administration, the media, the courts, and the Church, it appears the entire institutional apparatus of the Untied States is in flipmode: In the words of Stranger Things, we're officially in the Upside-Down.

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