Weekly Newsletter

Vol. 40: Every Now and Then I Fall Apart

Day 291 Post Election – August 27, 2017

The TrumpShaker Top One
August 27, 2017 – Help Houston Day – Day 291 P.E
Trump began last week with his first prime time speech. The subject was the new U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, which sounds like it will look much like the old U.S. strategy. Trump gave this speech just a week removed from the turmoil in Charlottesville and his subsequent equivocations about the motivations and actions of supremacists. He ended his Afghanistan speech with a call to unity, “As we send our bravest to defeat our enemies . . . let us find the courage to heal our divisions within . . . [W]hen they return home from battle, they will find a country that has renewed the sacred bonds of love and loyalty that unite us together as one.”
That was Monday. Let’s see what Trump did with the rest of his week to unite us together as one.
Phoenix Rising 
On Tuesday, Trump had yet another campaign rally – three years before the next presidential election – in Phoenix. In his speech, he didn’t mention Heather Heyer, the woman murdered in Charlottesville. He failed to offer good wishes to Arizona Senator John McCain (R) in his battle against brain cancer or the sailors who were lost in an accident aboard the Navy ship that bears McCain’s name. Trump did fine time though to defend Jeffrey Lord, who was fired from CNN for giving a Nazi salute, to praise convicted racist ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio (more on him in a moment), and to threaten to shut down the government if Congress won’t pay for his wall. 
In his Phoenix speech, Trump claimed the media is causing “divisions.” “These are sick people . . . It’s time to expose the crooked media deceptions and to challenge the media for their role in fomenting divisions and yes, by the way, they are trying to take away our history and our heritage.” He then accused the media of not accurately sharing what he said about Charlottesville. He supported this accusation by then misquoting himself, leaving out any mention of the controversial phrases “blame on both sides” or “fine people” marching with white supremacists. Lastly, he riled up the crowd by telling them the media had turned off the cameras. How do we know he said this? We watched him say it live on television. 
Friday Night Massacre
On Friday evening, as Houston girded itself for a natural disaster, Trump signed off on three human rights disasters.

  • Without the support of military leadership, five-time deferment recipient Trump directed the Pentagon to deny admittance to transgender individuals and to stop paying for medical treatments of those currently serving our country.
  • The White House leaked that Trump is likely to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA, founded by President Obama in 2012, allows undocumented people who arrived as minors prior to 2012, have earned a high school diploma or GED, and do not have a criminal record to receive deferrals from deportation for renewable two-year periods. Despite in April telling DACA recipients to “rest easy”, Trump now seems prepared to throw the lives of up to 1 million people, most of whom are already productive Americans, into turmoil. To understand what I mean by turmoil, read this story about a 22-year-old mother of two in Kentucky with a DACA permit to work at Amazon in Kentucky, who is now caught in ICE’s web.
  • Trump issued his first presidential pardon to ex-Maricopa County Sherriff Joe Arpaio. A week after white supremacy rocked the country, Trump pardoned perhaps the most mainstream hero of white nationalism. Arpaio had been convicted of criminal contempt of court for defying a federal court order to stop racially profiling Latinos and detaining them as undocumented immigrants. Besides inflaming racial tensions, this pardon is a deeply troubling use of presidential power. If the President can pardon a law enforcement officer who is held in contempt for refusing to stop violating constitutional rights, then the judicial branch’s ability to restrain the executive branch is great diminished. Arizona Senator McCain said the pardon, “undermines [Trump’s] claim for the respect of rule of law.” The Arizona Republic called it “a sign of pure contempt for every American who believes in justice, human dignity and the rule of law.”

Mind you, refusing to stop racial profiling is just one of Arpaio many horrific acts in his 23-year career as the self-proclaimed, “America’s Toughest Sheriff.” As you read this, bear in mind that the majority of people in his jails were awaiting trial, therefore presumed innocent. Arpaio ran an outdoor tent jail, which he referred to as a concentration camp, where temperatures could exceed 115 degrees and would be freezing in the winter (read this first-hand account). He marched Latino prisoners into a segregated area as a PR stunt. He put a webcam up in the women’s bathroom in the jail that was accessible to anyone online. He had an online “mugshot of the day” contest. He made women give birth in full restraints. Hefailed to investigate numerous sex abuse cases. He arrested, on made up charges, the owners of an alternative newspaper that was investigating him (tax payers paid $3.75 million to settle that). He made up his own assassination attempt and framed someone for it (tax payers paid $1 million to settle that one). And if you’re wondering why Trump and Arpaio are such good friends, Arpaio spent tax-payer dollars to send a deputy to Hawaii to look for President Obama’s birth certificate.

Every Now and Then I Fall Apart
Faithful to his life philosophy, Trump ignores scientific advice and common sense to stare directly into the solar eclipse.
Quick TrumpShakes
Let Them Wear Ivanka – Louise Linton, the wife of Treasure Secretary Steve Mnuchin, made quite a stir this week when she posted on Instagram a photo of herself getting out of a government jet and bragging about her Valentino and Hermes outfit. She then proceeded to mock those who objected to her flaunting what she got by agreeing to sleep with Steve Mnuchin. Linton also inadvertently shined a light on the fact that the couple went full Scrooge McMnuchin and flew a government plane, at the public’s expense, to Kentucky to watch the solar eclipse from the roof of Fort Knox!

Who Would (Gor)Such A Thing? – Newest Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch apparently does not see a conflict in speaking at an event which puts money directly into the pockets of Donald Trump. He’ll be speaking to a conservative group at the Trump International Hotel in D.C. Challenges to the constitutionality of payments to Trump companies are currently being made in lower courts.

Money Not Well Spent – The Secret Service is requesting an additional $60 million in funding to protect Trump and his family for the remainder of the year. Trump’s penchant for going on vacation every weekend, maintaining a private residence in New York, and sending his children on boondoggles across the globe has blown through the Secret Service’s budget.

A Poll from the Upside Down – A new poll from Public Policy Polling, shows what a different view of reality Trump supporters have. When asked which racial group faces the most discrimination in America, 45% of Trump supporters said Whites, followed by 17% for Native Americans, 16% for African Americans, and 5% Latinos. Based on the White House intern class photo, I can see how they fear Whites losing power. When asked the same question about religion, 54% said Christians faced the most discrimination, followed by Muslims (22%) and Jews (12%). Another finding in the poll was that 89% of Americans have a negative opinion of neo-Nazis. That’s a very beer stein half-full way of looking at it. Another way would be that 11% of Americans don’t have a negative opinion of neo-Nazis.

How Do You Spell Relief? – The science envoy to the State Department, Daniel Kammen, submitted his resignation letter this week. The first letter of each paragraph spells “Impeach.”

Old Faithful Crystal Geyser – I think we can all agree that the one thing that National Parks really lack is massive amounts of garbage. The Trump Administration will fix that! It has overturned the ban on plastic water bottles in National Parks.  Before the ban, plastic bottles accounted for 20% of Grand Canyon National Park’s total waste.

It’s One, Two, Eight Strikes Your Out – For the eighth time since 2011, federal courts have found the state of Texas to be intentionally discriminating against minority voters. This past week alone, courts threw out Texas’s redistricting maps, restrictions on assistance to non-English-speaking voters, and voter ID law. Voter suppression and redistricting is where the battlefield for 2018 and 2020 will be drawn. Right now, Republicans are very far ahead. The first projections from Decision Desk HQ for 2018 shows that Democrats will win 54% of the vote (!), but only 47% of the House seats.

The 18th Hole -The Florida Hospital Foundation canceled its luncheon at Mar-a-Lago this week, becoming the 18th charity to cancel its function at Mar-a-Lago since Charlottesville. David Fahrenthold ofThe Washington Post reports that in 2015-16, Mar-a-Lago hosted 43 charity events, in 2016-17, 38 events, but in 2017-18, there are now only 6 scheduled.

Whatever The Opposite of a Death Spiral Is – It’s official, people in every U.S. county will have at least one ACA health insurance option for 2018.

Save Confederate Monuments; Decapitate National Monuments – Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has recommended reducing the size of three national monuments, Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments as well as Oregon’s Cascade Siskiyou National Monument. Should Trump follow through on the recommendations expect legal challenges on his authority to do so.

I Object – An Ohio Supreme Court Justice lashed out at the Cleveland Browns players who took a knee during the national anthem, calling them “draft dodging millionaire athletes.” Two holes in that argument, your honor. One is that the last military draft was in 1973, before even some NFL head coaches were born. Another is that athletes are the only people in America who are actually still drafted into their jobs.

Another Nazi Bites the Dust – Likely after a meeting with the two Bobs, Trump deputy assistant Sebastian Gorka, who had no expertise and an affinity for Nazi-friendly organizations, was fired (or resigned, if you ask him) on Friday.

Featured Articles of the Week

New York magazine takes a deep dive into the malpractice that Dr. Ben Carson is engaging in as the head of HUD.

Melissa Byrne describes her experience of being detained by the Secret Service after she released an anti-Trump banner in Trump Tower.

Erica Harris DeValve, the wife of one of the Cleveland Browns players who kneeled, penned “I’m Proud of My Husband for Kneeling During the Anthem, but Don’t Make Him a White Savior“.

Action Center
There will be plenty of time to discuss what our government must do to prepare for and limit the damage of future natural disasters like the horrific flooding in Houston. At this moment though, thousands are suffering and need your help. Here is a link to different ways you can contributeto the relief efforts.
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