The Damage Report (01/28/2017)

While collecting articles for a weekly news round-up on Tuesday, I realized that if the number of pages hits double-digits, then it is necessary to break it up into smaller bites. For that reason, I am introducing “The Damage Report” today. I will post this every Saturday, summarizing the developments under the Trump Administration and the new Republican-majority Congress. I am also going to keep a running archive of each bit of damage done, so that we can keep track of the results of President Donald’s actions and remind ourselves of what might need to be undone once we come out the other side of this disaster.

 

Updated on 1-29-2017 to add a few items that were missed in the initial post.

 

  • Four-month ban on refugees and travelers coming from 7 Muslim-majority countries
    • http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-refugees-idUSKBN15B2HL
      • President Donald signed an executive order initiating this ban, saying it is a temporary measure until the administration develops a more “stringent screening process” for not only refugees, but also immigrants and travelers. Due to the ambiguity of the order, green card residents are being advised to consult lawyers before traveling outside the country for fear they too may be barred re-entry.
      • This ban also includes Iraqis who are being targeted for working with the United States. These people served their country and the United States following the invasion of Iraq and President Donald has decided to betray promises to help protect them (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-immigration-iraq-idUSKBN15C036)
      • Separately, President Donald has said he wants the new process to prioritize Christians over Muslims for refugee status, a policy that would be in violation of Constitutional protections of the freedom of religion.
      • Countries who are having visas and entry denied:
        • Iran
        • Iraq
        • Libya
        • Somalia
        • Sudan
        • Syria
        • Yemen
      • It has been noted by many that the countries of origin for the majority of people who have committed terrorist acts in the United States are not included on this list, either because they were US Citizens themselves or their country of origin has business relations with President Donald (https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2017-trump-immigration-ban-conflict-of-interest/), such as Saudi Arabia.
  • 17 Federal Agencies to be eliminated or facing severely reduced funding
    • http://time.com/money/4639544/trump-nea-sesame-street-budget-cut/
      • This article details budget and purpose of agencies to be eliminated
    • https://mic.com/articles/165980/trump-plans-to-eliminate-25-violence-against-women-grant-programs-as-way-to-cut-spending#.BmKxQ1v3w
      • This article explains the damage that will be done to federal efforts to help women who are survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
    • http://thehill.com/policy/finance/314991-trump-team-prepares-dramatic-cuts
      • Proposed cuts are based upon the “skinny budget” blueprint designed by the conservative Heritage Foundation
        • Department of Commerce
          • Programs to be eliminated or transferred to other agencies
        • Department of Energy
          • Decreased Funding
            • Nuclear Physics Research
            • Advanced Computing Research
          • Programs to be eliminated
            • Office of Electricity
            • Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
            • Office of Fossil Energy
        • Department of Transportation
          • Significant budget cuts
        • Department of Justice Budget Cuts
          • Programs to be eliminated
            • Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services
            • Office of Violence Against Women
            • Legal Services Corporation
          • Programs with reduced funding:
            • Civil Rights Division
            • Environment and Natural Resources Division
        • Department of State
          • Funding to be eliminated
            • Overseas Private Investment Corporation
            • Paris Climate Change Agreement
            • United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
        • Corporation for Public Broadcasting
          • Privatized
        • National Endowment for the Arts
          • Eliminated
        • National Endowment for the Humanities
          • Eliminated
        • Minority Business Development Agency
          • Eliminated
        • Economic Development Administration
          • Eliminated
        • International Trade Administration
          • Eliminated
        • Manufacturing Extension Partnership
          • Eliminated
  • House rule change clears way to sell of federal lands to private businesses
    • https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/19/bureau-land-management-federal-lease
      • Republicans have made a single line change in the rules for the House of Representatives, which can be found on page 35 of the document (http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20170102/BILLS-115hres5-PIH-FINAL.pdf), allows for the transferring of federal lands to a state or local government without new budget authority, without demonstrating that this will not cause a financial loss, and without compensation. Previously, federal lands were considered to have monetary value as assets – like real estate does for an accountant. This line change basically declares they don’t, and thus removes one important obstacle to just giving away protected lands.
      • This change appears to be intended to make it easier for the House to give away federal lands to states, which are more likely to approve private use of these lands or other activities that are likely to damage them. This suggests a likely threat to conservation efforts throughout the country and may cause permanent damage to lands that represent the natural heritage of our nation. State and local officials, in Wyoming and elsewhere, are already discussing potential uses of this land.
  • “National Day of Patriotic Devotion”
  • Threats to have federal government intervene in Chicago if crime rates don’t decrease
    • http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-chicago-idUSKBN15907T
      • Via a tweet, President Donald declared he would “send in the feds” if the “carnage” in Chicago doesn’t decrease. He seems to be responding to a newspaper report about murder rates, not the advice of the FBI or the Department of Justice. Furthermore, no one has a clue what he means by “send in the feds.”
  • Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline given “green light” to proceed
  • Threats of military intervention and war over South China Sea
  • CIA Blacksites to be reinstated following a federal review
  • Incoming Attorney General will not recuse himself from investigations of the president, jeopardizing independent investigations of presidential misdeeds
    • http://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/jeff-sessions-trump-probes-234087?wpisrc=nl_daily202&wpmm=1
      • Our soon-to-be-appointed Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has refused to recuse himself from investigations related to President Donald, for whom Sessions was his supporter in the campaign. This means someone who is heavily invested in President Donald’s success, and has a history of choosing to not prosecute violations of civil liberties, will leave the window open to being involved or directing the “investigations” of Donald’s misdeeds.
  • The White House is no longer recognizing the role of Anti-Semitism in the Holocaust
  • The US Ambassador to the United Nations now threatens foreign nations and the US will be reducing UN contributions
    • http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-un-idUSKBN15B1NG
      • The new US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, threatened all the nations of the world that she will be “taking names” of countries that do not “have our back.” She also suggested there are plans to pressure the UN to eliminate programs, in conjunction with a recently drafted executive order that will initiate a review of UN funding with the goal of cutting the voluntary contribution of the US by half.
  • The Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security will withhold federal funds from “Sanctuary Cities” that do not voluntarily participate in immigration enforcement.
    • https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/sanctuary-cities/
      • This article by the Washinton Post does an excellent job explaining what “Sanctuary Cities” are, the role of county and municipal governments in immigration enforcement, and what the executive order may mean for these cities. It also reports that federal courts have found time and again that it is voluntary for local governments to participate in immigration enforcement, meaning this executive order likely violates constitutional law (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-legal-idUSKBN15B03H).
    • The Department of Homeland Security will publish a weekly “list of criminal actions committed by aliens” in sanctuary cities
      • https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/01/26/trumps-sanctuary-cities-plan-straight-out-breitbart-radical-right-playbook
        • Despite studies showing both documented and undocumented immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than US citizens, the executive order signed by President Donald that seeks to punish sanctuary cities included an order for the DHS to publish a weekly list of crimes committed by immigrants, documented or not. This tactic is something that has been proposed or even practiced previously by Brietbart News under Donald’s advisor Steve Bannon and other Radical Far Right groups.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture have been placed under “de facto gag orders.” The Department of Interior has also had temporary gag orders placed on social media accounts and other media relations.
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