#FIVETHINGS — ISSUE NO. 13

1) DRACONIAN DEPORTATION RULES ANNOUNCED

The broad scope of the Trump Administration’s policies towards illegal immigrants was unveiled this week, with the Department of Homeland Security releasing memos directing the agency to expedite and expand deportations of anyone in the country illegally — not just those guilty of violent crimes. This is a stark change from the Obama and Bush administrations and will require the hiring of 10,000 additional ICE agents and 5,000 more Customs and Border Protection agents. While the administration couched the need for this expansion in the prevalence of crime among undocumented immigrants, research shows that this is false. This plan will increase fear and the targeting of minorities and it is in stark contrast to American values.

Read more about this at The Atlantic.

2) TRANSGENDER STUDENTS’ PROTECTIONS REVOKED

The Trump Administration has rolled back guidelines that protected transgender students nationwide from discrimination. While the issue is the subject of an upcoming Supreme Court case, the change in policy threatens to leave the right for trans youth to use the bathroom of their choice to the states — something that could create dangerously discriminatory situations in many parts of the country and promotes a culture of fear and ostracizing.

Read more about this at Buzzfeed.

3) MAR-A-LAGO BECOMES WEEKEND WHITE HOUSE

President Trump has spent the past three weekends at Mar-a-Lago, his members-only club in Palm Beach, FL, at an estimated cost of around $10 million to taxpayers. While Presidents often spend time at alternate residences, Mar-a-Lago is unique in that private citizens can purchase a membership to the club for $200,000 a year, giving them access to the President and enriching his family in the process. Trump has already discussed matters of national security with foreign heads of state in the crowded dining room, where onlookers can easily post photos to social media — something they have evidently paid for the right to do.

Read more about this at The Guardian.

4) PRUITT TAKES CONTROL OF EPA

Thousands of emails were released this week that depicted the cozy relationship between then Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and the fossil fuel industry. The relationship went so deep that representatives from Devon Energy in Oklahoma City even drafted letters for Pruitt to send to federal officials. Despite the fact that Senate Democrats tried to delay his confirmation until the release of the emails, the Republican Senate Majority moved forward with the confirmation knowing this would prevent any future need for a judicial order on the release of the emails. Pruitt is about to begin dismantling environmental protections and the Senate chose to willingly approve him without all the pertinent information.

Read more about this at The New York Times.

5) PRESIDENT DECLARES MEDIA THE ENEMY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

Last Friday, the President tweeted that The New York Times, NBC News, ABC, CBS and CNN were not only “fake news” but also the “enemies of the American people.” This isn’t Trump’s first show of skepticism of the mainstream media, but it is the boldest public proclamation an American President has ever made against the press, calling them “so dishonest” they are “out of control.” The 1st Amendment guarantees the right to free press, but the press can’t truly be free with interference from an overreaching state, as with our President. Proclamations made by this body of power are dangerous tests to our civil liberties and we cannot accept them.

Read more about this at The Washington Post.


While the resistance movement is strong, and many Americans attended Congressional Town Halls to express their views last week, there are a lot of events to keep track of. To help lead the organization, progressive filmmaker and commentator Michael Moore launchedThe Resistance Calendar as a place to keep track of events. Bookmark it and use it as a guide.
 
Read more about The Resistance Calendar at The Washington Post.

Last weekend the President chose a replacement for ousted National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, and all reports suggest the nation has received a much-needed upgrade in competence and character. While Flynn was an Islamaphobic conspiracy theorist, his replacement, HR McMaster, is an independent-minded rationalist — something that is much needed in the Trump administration.
 
Read more about HR McMaster at The New Yorker.
Read about McMaster’s place in the administration at The Intercept.

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