Left Justified

News and Media

Puerto Rico Urges US to Send More Help After Maria’s Devastation

September 25, 2017 by Dan Kazan in News and Media

Location map of Puerto Rico, USA. Courtesy of Courtesy of NordNordWest and derivative work by Kmusser.

After Hurricane Maria swept through the unincorporated US territory island of Puerto Rico, “complete devastation” remained behind. In response to the destruction, Governor Ricardo Rossello requested more aid from the Pentagon in particular to provide more search-and-rescue support and other humanitarian help.

Rossello said, “We need more resources from the Department of Defense so we can get helicopters and resources. We know that there are capabilities in the surrounding areas, helicopters, planes and so forth. And our petition is for us to be able to use them.”

The Defense Department said that there are six Navy helicopters and three Osprey planes from the Marines that are working on search-and-rescue now, as well as assessing the overall damage to the island.

Several days after the hurricane pummeled the island there were still many areas without communication to either the capital city of San Juan, or the outside world. Because roads are destroyed, the commonwealth government sent out people by foot to find out what the situation is in other parts of Puerto Rico.

Rosello also urged President Trump to lower the amount spent on disaster relief that would need to be paid back to the US government by Puerto Rico, which has been suffering a severe economic crisis in recent years. Rossello also requested that Congress treat his island just like any other US state when deciding on a broad and inclusive emergency aid package.

“Whatever relief package we have, whatever impact we have, we are U.S. citizens,” Rossello said. “We shouldn’t be the lesser for it.”

Trump Considering Ending DACA Program

September 4, 2017 by Gail Nussbaum in News and Media

Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services León Rodríguez and Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas deliver remarks during the four-year anniversary of President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals initiative. Under DACA, eligible individuals who pass a background check and meet specific age, education, and U.S. residency requirements, are granted a temporary reprieve from deportation and are eligible to receive a renewable two-year work permit. Official DHS photo by Jetta Disco.

It seems likely that President Trump will announce a roll back of the President Obama era DACA program, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that was enacted by executive order in June 2012.

A rescinding of the program is in keeping with Trump’s campaign promises of cracking down on illegal immigration, and is expected to meet with support from his most loyal supporters. An outcry, however, is expected, as DACA is considered a good solution for people, known as ‘dreamers,’ to continue contributing to society and not punishing them for being brought to the US illegally as young children.

It is expected that there will be at least a six-month lag time between the announcement of DACA’s nullification and the actual expiration of the program, a period of time that many supporters of the program hope congress will take advantage of to enact legislation achieving the same goals as DACA.

It is estimated that 800,000 undocumented immigrants are benefiting from DACA, which has been a popular program among Democrats, with most Republicans accepting it as a compromise between a humanitarian response to the predicament of innocent people who were brought to the US against their will, and a strict rendering of immigration laws. Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah and Republican Congressman and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan of Wisconsin both warned not to nix DACA.

Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, would like to see Congress pass a law which will protect the “Dreamers.”

“My hope is that as part of this process we can work on a way to deal with this issue and solve it through legislation, which is the right way to do it and the constitutional way to do it,” Rubio said to CNN last June.

No Tit for Tat Say Northeastern Lawmakers

August 30, 2017 by Dan Kazan in News and Media

NJ Gov Chris Christie

Despite Texas lawmaker’s negative response to giving aid to the northeastern states hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy in the fall of 2012, northeastern representatives will vote for aid to Texas after the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey.

During the days after the destruction of Superstorm Sandy, Texas Republicans were almost completely united in their stand to vote against a funding bill for billions of dollars in aid to those hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy, one of the worst storms in US history, in terms of damage caused. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas claimed the funding was “a Christmas tree” which included billions of dollars in “extraneous goodies.”

Republicans from New Jersey and New York still remember the pain the disapproval caused, but have decided to vote for a massive aid package anyway, possible embarrassing Texas lawmakers.

“The congressional members in Texas are hypocrites, and I said back in 2012 they’d be proven to be hypocrites. It was just a matter of time,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said on Monday. “We were the disaster that was the longest in waiting in terms of federal aid, and I hope that’s not what happens to the folks in Texas.”

This is a clear example of why disaster relief has traditionally been a bi-partisan issue. No one knows when his district will be the one needing the aid, so how can a lawmaker vote against aid for anyone else, when next time it can easily be you?

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, New Jersey Representative Frank LoBiondo, New York Representative Peter King, and Representative Jim Himes of Connecticut, all expressed their intention to vote for aid to Texas even though Ted Cruz and others from Texas were willing to withhold aid from them in 2012.

Its still too early to know what Texas and surrounding areas will need to help recover from the unprecedented flooding caused by Harvey. But it is clear the bill will pass with votes from those who say they do not hold a grudge.

Trump Calls CNN Reporter “Fake News”

August 15, 2017 by Dan Kazan in News and Media

Jim Acosta speaking at a campaign rally for Donald Trump at the South Point Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore.

Last week President Donald Trump promised reporters that he would hold a “pretty big” news conference when he returned to Washington, DC after his “working vacation” at a golf course in New Jersey.

Trump made the promise last Friday, saying that he would hold the news conference when he announced a call for an investigation into China’s questionable practices towards intellectual property rights. Instead of the announcement and the conference Trump condemned violence from the White House in the wake of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that resulted in the death of three people.

During a different event on Monday in which Trump signed a memorandum which launched the trade investigation, there was still no sign of a news conference.

Jim Acosta, a reporter for CNN, asked President Trump why he did not mention the hate groups by name in his condemnation over the weekend. Trump’s answer was:

“They’ve been condemned. They have been condemned.”

Acosta then asked the President why no press conference had taken place as had been promised at the end of last week. Trump’s answer: “We had a press conference. We just had a press conference.”

Not letting Trump off so easily, Acosta asked another question: whether the press corps could ask him more questions. Trump replied that more questions would not bother him “at all.”

“But, you know, I like real news, not fake news,” Trump told Acosta as the president pointed toward the CNN reporter. “You’re fake news.”