You Can Check Out Any Time You Like, But You Can Never Leave –
Two Motel 6 locations in Phoenixhave been sharing guest information
every day with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). A front desk clerk told Think Progress, “Every morning at about 5 o’clock, we do the audit and we push a button and it sends it to ICE.” It’s just part of the morning routine, like rearranging the Svenhard’s danishes. Motel 6 has since said they have discontinued the practice. If you’re itching to start boycotting Motel 6, but are realizing that you’ve been boycotting Motel 6 since you were in your twenties, they are owned by the same group as La Quinta and Hilton hotels.
You’re So Vain, You Probably Think 9/11 Is About You – This past week, as we reflected on the events of 9/11, the White House thought the best way to honor those who died and salute those who ran to the aid of their fellow Americans would be with a video staring only Trump.
What Percent of the Population Could Women Be, Anyways? 5%? 7%? – Trump has nominated 42 U.S. attorneys so far. Care to guess how many are women? I’ll give you some hints. It’s less than then number of women who have accused Trump of sexual harassment (13). It’s less than the number of women who have agreed to marry Trump (3). It’s less than the number of women in the Hall of Justice on the Super Friends (2). Yep, it’s 1. Just 1 woman. The first name of the woman nominated is Jessie, so I’m assuming Trump thought she was a man too.
Did They Do Background Checks at the Manger? – Recognizing that there’s high demand for constitution-violating sheriffs like Joe Arpaio and David Clark in Trump’s America, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd decided to find his own silver lining in Florida’s storm clouds. He performed background checks on those seeking shelter from Hurricane Irma to see if they had outstanding warrants.
Two Tablets of Tylenol Instead, Please – In case you were hoping that the GOP’s fever was breaking and that a return to normalcy was around the corner, let me introduce you to the leader of the Alabama Republican primary for Senate, Roy Moore. Moore is a former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. By former, I mean really former. He was removed and suspended from his position on the court multiple times. He was removed in Alabama for being too extreme. His transgressions included defying a federal court order to remove two 5,280-pound granite tablets of the Ten Commandments that he had installed in the Alabama Supreme Court building and directing state probate judges to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court’s legalization of same sex marriage. When not disobeying court orders, he’s been busy calling Islam a “false religion” and writing legal opinions calling homosexuality “a crime against nature and a violation of the laws of nature and of nature’s God.” Yep, Alabama will likely elect a person even worse than Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III to the Senate.
Silence of the Blams – The Republicans are finally rallying around a solution to stop the tragic sounds of gunshots from ringing through our cities. They are pushing through legislation to roll back a law from 1934 in order to make it easier to buy silencers.
Cruz Has Problems with His Staff – I try to avoid playing blue here on The TrumpShaker, but if that’s where the news leads me, I shall follow. Anything for you, dear reader. This week, Son of JFK assassin/Zodiac Killer/Dildo ban defender Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) “liked” a porn video on Twitter. Cruz blamed a staffer for the boner. The only winner in this, besides the now famous porn star, is Cruz’s freshman college roommate Craig Mazin. Mazin, a screenwriter and producer, tweeted, “Now imagine Ted Cruz is doing this four feet below you in the bottom bunk bed. Yes, my misery very much appreciates your company.”
The (There is No Evidence That You Could Possibly) Show Me State – Protests are underway in St. Louis after the acquittal in a bench trial of former police officer Jason Stockley for the murder of Anthony Lamar Smith. The case against Stockley was first, that while in pursuit of Smith, Stockley fired from his car at Smith’s (against protocol). Second, Stockley was recorded on his car dash camera telling his partner, while in pursuit, that “I’m going to kill this motherfucker, don’t you know it.” Third, after ramming Smith’s car to get him to stop, Stockley walked up to Smith’s car and shot him five times, including once from six inches away. Stockley claimed that Smith had a gun, so he was acting in self-defense. However, prosecutors alleged that Stockley planted it since only Stockley’s DNA was found on the gun. The board of directors of the Ethical Society of Police, a union that represents police officers of color in St. Louis,made a statement that Stockley was guilty of murder. So, how did the judge find him not guilty? Well, he was kind enough to explain his evidence-based decision thusly, “Finally, the Court observes, based on its nearly thirty years on the bench, that an urban heroin dealer not in possession of a firearm would be an anomaly.” At least the judge had the self-control to not end his statement with “Amirite?”
Nuevo Teléfono, Que Este? – Following Hurricane Harvey, our neighbors to the South took the very high road over Trump’s wall and offered to provide assistance to the United States. Mexico later rescinded the offer after Trump never responded and after he failed to offer any condolences or support to Mexico after its 8.2 earthquake. Trump later explained his delay in offering condolences in a tweet: “Spoke to President of Mexico to give condolences on terrible earthquake. Unable to reach for 3 days b/c of his cell phone reception at site.” Trump has said a lot of unbelievable things, but that the head of the United States government cannot reach the head of the Mexican government for days because of bad cell coverage may be the hardest to believe. I don’t think my daughter’s kindergarten teacher would accept that excuse for turning in her homework late.
Maimonides’ Third Level of Bribery – Yep, I’m trying to make my 80’s references feel more current by making a 900-year-old one. You may recall that the director of the Office of Government Ethics resigned in July, exhausted from fighting against Trump’s “departure from existing ethical norms.” The new director seems to a bit more inclined to acquiesce to Trump’s request. The Office of Government Ethics now says that White House staffers can accept donations directly from lobbyists to pay for their legal fees for the Russia investigation . . . as long as the donations are anonymous. The twisted logic is that the bribe can’t really be a bribe if the recipients don’t know where the money came from. You might be thinking, “Hey, couldn’t a Putin-affiliated lobbyist now pay all the legal fees for Trump’s people and the public wouldn’t know?” Hmm, I suggest you stop thinking about that. You won’t like the answer.
Abomination Junction, What’s Your Function? – As we continue to sift through the ashes of the 2016 election to find out how we ended up in the Upside Down, Facebook’s ability to allow anyone to target specific groups with specific messages have emerged as a prime suspect. ProPublica decided to investigate how this works and found out something really disturbing. Facebook will allow anyone to send targeted ads to people based on their hatred. For example, for just $30 you can make a pitch to people who list their field of study as “Jew hater” or “History of why Jews ruin the world.” Sounds like a fun group to invite to a Bar Mitzvah.
You Said You Wanted Government Run Like a Business – We’re finally getting America to be run like a business – senior executives are living luxuriously on the shareholders’ dimes. Multi-millionaire Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin requested a government jet, which costs taxpayers’ $25,000/hr, for his European honeymoon. Even though he did not end up using the jet, he still felt entitled to do so. This news comes on the heels of a report that he and his wife took a government plane to Fort Knox to watch the solar eclipse. He has since explained that trip away as just a coincidence, because “being a New Yorker, I don’t have any interest in watching the eclipse.” I have absolutely no idea what that means.
In case you’re wondering where Mnuchin got the idea that it may be okay to rip off Americans, The Washington Post reported that an unnamed federal official paid $546/night to stay at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago hotel. In case you were wondering, the federal employee limit for a hotel in Palm Beach is $182/night. If a government official cannot find a hotel at that rate, in very rare circumstances (of which this was certainly not one), an approval can be made for up to 300% of the limit. Anyone want to guess what 300% of $182 is? Hold on to your calculators (and your ethics), it’s . . . $546. Trump is taking every last penny from us.
A Hill to Die On – ESPN host, Jemele Hill, tweeted this week that Trump was “a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.” A statement that has been made by countless people and one that a preponderance of the evidence would support. Normally, her comments would have passed without notice, but the right-wing media echo chamber grabbed hold and we have our latest manufactured controversy. There are a lot of angles to this story. We could look at why, say, a host of a network show could say much worse, patently false statements about President Obama and then be elected president a few years later. Also, we could explore why Hill is getting the Kaepernick treatment, while this past week Miss Texas became America’s sweetheart by criticizing Trump’s handling of Charlottesvile. However, the most troubling and dangerous issue is that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said from her podium that Hill’s statement was a “fireable offense by ESPN.” The President’s spokesperson called for retaliation against a private citizen for criticizing the President. Besides a chilling reminder of what we’ve become used to, Sanders’s action is also illegal and she’s been hit with an ethics complaint. For much better and deeper thoughts on this, read Charles Pierce’s article “White House’s Call for Jemele Hill’s Firing Is Trip to Edges of Crazytown”.