Weekly Newsletter

Vol. 41: DACA-scuse Me?

Day 297 – September 2, 2017

The TrumpShaker Top Three
September 2, 2017 – National Blueberry Popsicle Day – Day 297 P.E
DACA-scuse Me?  
In his attempt to make our reality mirror reality TV, Trump announced he will make his decision whether to repeal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) on Tuesday. This leaves  an estimated 1,000,000 young people waiting to see if they get a rose on Tuesday or a ride in the back of an ICE wagon. All of Trump’s recent actions point to the latter. As a reminder, DACA recipients arrived in the United States as children; for most this is the only home they’ve ever known. To be eligible for DACA, you must have a squeaky clean record and either be a student or have graduated from high school or served in the military. These are exactly the people that we want and need in our country.
Repealing DACA serves no purpose at all except to placate extreme white nationalists and supremacists by kicking out brown people. It’s so cruel that even the Koch brothers are against it. You read that right.This is basically equivalent to when Darth Vader saw the Emperor shooting lighting bolts at Luke inReturn of the Jedi and said, “Whoa, that guy is taking it too far. I better jump in.” The Koch brothers are not lone voices on the right opposing Trump on DACA. Numerous Republicans, including wannabe Koch bro Speaker of the House Paul Rayn (R-WI), have spoken out against repealing DACA. Some such asCongressman Mike Coffman (R-CO) will introduce legislation to protect DACA recipients. There may actually be a chance for bipartisan action to protect these vulnerable Americans from Emperor Palpatine Trump.

If you’ve been waiting for a “First, they came for” moment before you took action against Trump, this is it.Contact your representatives and ask them to protect DACA. 

Start Getting Real – The Real World: Houston 
Houston is in the midst of a horrific natural disaster, that it will be recovering from for decades. Although natural, decisions were made along the way that have multiplied the destruction. While I’m not optimistic enough for Hurricane Harvey to be a Cornelius Fudge “He’s Back” moment for climate change deniers (that’s a deep Harry Potter cut for you), I am hopeful that, as Lauren Duca writes, Harvey must be a turning point in how we prepare for our new normal.

Houston is feeling the impact of our many collective failings.

We often ignore climate change in our planning. This article from 2016 sadly predicts what Houston is now experiencing. Despite its history of floods and hurricanes, Houston continued to build in all directions, boasting about its lack of government oversight of land use.

We don’t invest in “boring” infrastructure, like levees. Harvey has overpowered Houston’s decades old reservoirs and levees. In 2002, Houston provided $180,000,000 in public financing for . . . a baseball stadium.

We make public safety a minor policy consideration. Republicans delayed safety rules at chemical plants, such as Arkema’s, which is currently exploding in a Houston suburb. Arkema does not even have to disclose what chemicals it has that are now filling the neighborhood’s air.

We starve our government agencies that prepare for and respond to emergencies. Trump has proposed cutting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) by 16%. This agency provides weather forecasts and warnings. He has also failed to nominate a head of NOAA. Trump has also proposed significant cuts to those on the front lines of Harvey, the Coast Guard and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Unless we want to relive Houston again and again, we need to prepare for this new real world.

As The Tяump Turns
Everyone’s least favorite mini (hopefully) series is back after summer reruns. In the fall season premiere ofAs The Tяump Turns, we have four big revelations!

  • Remember in February when Trump said, “I don’t know Putin, have no deals in Russia”? Well, sit down, because he may not have been entirely truthful. The Washington Post reported that theTrump Organization sought to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the presidential campaign.
  • The New York Times obtained an email from Trump associate, Felix Sater, that the Trump Tower inMoscow “will get Donald elected.” Sater also said, “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putins [sic] team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.” Oh what an untangled web you weave . . .
  • While the Times and the Post were hot on Sater’s trail, special counsel Robert Mueller started closing in on former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. Like in an Avengers movie, Mueller joined forces with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (admittedly, not the toughest of Avenger names) to investigate Manafort’s financial dealings. This move by Mueller may block an escape route for Manafort as Trump cannot pardon someone for state crimes.
  • Lastly, Mueller found Donald’s “Are you there God, it’s me Donald. I want to fire Comey” draft letter. This draft is reportedly much longer, more meandering, and more damning than the final lawyer-scrubbed version Trump ended up delivering to then FBI Director James Comey. The draft, in which Trump expresses frustration with Comey not publicly saying that the Russia investigation had nothing to do with Trump, may be key in Mueller building an obstruction of justice case.

The season is off to fast start! Who knows what Mueller has up his sleeve for next week’s episode . . . maybe, dragons?

Seven Trumpets
Seven quotes from this week that signal the end of days:

“Good luck to everybody!” responded Trump when asked by reporters for his words to Houston before Harvey made landfall. 

“I assumed the ratings would be far higher than they would be normally,” said Trump as an explanation for why he timed his  pardon for former Sheriff Arpaio as Harvey hit Texas.

“We have a lot of blonde women in Finland,” explained a female Finnish reporter to Trump. After Trump questioned why Finnish President Sauli Niinisto was calling on the same reporter twice, Niinisto explained that it was indeed a different female reporter. The reporter then tried to explain to Trump why he’s a misogynist.

“If someone tries to deport you, I will represent you myself,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner defiantly, as he tried to calm nervous residents that the federal government would deport undocumented flood victims from shelters.

“Congress must govern with a president who has no experience of public office, is often poorly informed and can be impulsive in his speech and conduct,” wrote Senator John McCain (R-AZ) in his scathing op-ed in The Washington Post.

“It’s time to give the American worker a pay raise!” tweeted the Missouri GOP following Trump’s speech in the state. This summer, Republicans in the Missouri legislature overturned St. Louis’s higher minimum wage, lowering it by $2.30/hour. So much for local control. 

“What a crowd, what a turnout!” declared Trump to a group outside a fire station in Corpus Christi, Texas. In his remarks, Trump made no mention of those who died or are now homeless due to Harvey, but he sure was excited about the crowd size. Oh and he did get some product placement in as well, wearing his new “USA” hat that he’s been wearing in every Harvey related photo. This hat is available in his official campaign shop for $40. 

Quick TrumpShakes
Rabbit Season! No, Duck Season! No, Protester Season! – To follow up his praise for police roughing up suspects and his pardon of fourth amendment denier ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Trump repealed the ban on providing surplus military equipment to police departments. President Obama put the ban in place after many in the country saw the police in Ferguson dressed like extras from Judge Dredd.
Storm of Hypocrisy – Houston will be in desperate need of federal aid for years after Hurricane Harvey. Fortunately, it will likely be approved. Unfortunately, we’ll have to hold our nose as the Republicans will be piling up the b.s. deeper than the flood waters. When Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast in 2012, 20 Texas Republican Congressional representatives, including both current Senators, voted against aid for the affected states. Current Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, argued then as a South Carolina congressman, that any aid for Sandy should be offset by cuts for domestic programs. That was an argument that Vice President Mike Pence, then an Indiana congressman, made about Katrina aid. I have a sneaky suspicion that those once principled stands may be washed away.

When DJT Talks, Nobody Listens – When asked whether the President’s response to Charlottesville appropriately projects American values, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, “The President speaks for himself.” That may not sound like much, but in the diplomatic world that’s basically equivalent to Ronnie from Jersey Shore’s “one shot kid” taunting after a knockout.

Sooner or Later – The EPA Inspector General is investigating EPA Chief Scott Pruitt for two cases of extremely poor judgment: 1) That he is charging his personal travel to taxpayers, and 2) That the destination of that travel is Oklahoma. Zing!

But His Tan Suit – Three years ago, President Obama also found himself in the midst of a color-based national controversy. It wasn’t a preference for white supremacists or an aversion to brown people though. Rather it was Obama’s deeply troubling, unpresidential decision to wear a tan suit. Hard to imagine how we made it through those difficult times.

When You’re President, They Let You Do It – The White House very quietly this week removed a 2014 report, “Rape and Sexual Assault: Renewed Call to Action”, from its website. I’m not saying that there was incriminating information on accused serial harasser Donald Trump in it, but I can’t check the report to confirm that it doesn’t.

Trump May Abolish Abolitionist – Treasury Secretary Scrooge McMnuchin said he will not commit to honoring his predecessor’s decision to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.

Listen All of Y’All It’s a Sabotage – Unable to sleep at night knowing that poor people have health insurance, Trump is now actively trying to break the Affordable Care Act exchanges. Health and Human Services has cut Obamacare advertising by 90% and slashed the open enrollment period. The federal government will now spend on marketing less than 10% of what California alone will spend. This will not save taxpayers money as advertising funds come from the insurance companies. Trump’s purpose is to lower the number of participants, thus raising the rates for everyone else, and therefore making the Affordable Care Act less appealing and effective.

A Travesty of A Mockery of a Sham – The Trump administration appointed a former dean of DeVry University to investigate student aid fraud. In related news, DeVry recently settled with the FTC for $100 million for defrauding students. I’m shocked Trump chose this person, not because as Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), “this seems like a bad fit,” but rather because Trump hates it when someone outdoes him. Trump University only settled its fraud case for $25 million.

Words of the Suppressor Are Written on Breitbart’s Walls – The man who has spent his life trying to silence as many voters as possible, Kansas Secretary of State and Trump Election Commission Vice Chair Kris Kobach, confirmed this week he is also a paid columnist for Breitbart. He’s really rounding out his resume for an eternal placement in hell.

So Funny, I Forgot to Laugh – In July, a judge threw out the guilty verdict against Desiree Fairooz for laughing during Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III’s senate confirmation hearing when he said something ridiculous like “he would prevent hooligans from busting up chifforobes,” or, what he actually said, which was a complete lie, that he had a record of “treating all Americans equally under the law.” Rather than let this pathetic criminal case just go away, the Department of Justice announced it will retry Fairooz.

Featured Articles of the Week

This week, take a moment to read what it is like in the floodwaters of Houston.
Houston Mom Fights to Save Her Daughter From the Storm

Smithville Evacuees Recount Tropical Storm Harvey’s Fury

Action Center
Yes, those are whitecaps where a week ago a freeway stood in Houston. Here is a list of where you can donate to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
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