Most Powerful Atlantic Storm, Dream Ends
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Vol. 6, No. 236
A Mighty Wind: Hurricane Irma is now a Category 5, the most powerful Atlantic hurricane ever recorded, and it’s on a path to rip through the Caribbean islands including Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Cuba before possibly hitting Florida over the weekend.
The storm has maximum sustained winds of 185 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. “The dangerousness of this event is like nothing we’ve ever seen,” Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said. “A lot of infrastructure won’t be able to withstand this kind of force.”
Florida officials have begun ordering evacuations and Gov. Rick Scott has already declared a state of emergency for the entire state. The Keys are in the hurricane’s current path.
Irma has already hit Barbuda, where it ripped the roof off the island’s police station and knocked out communication between islands.
Dream On: Protests broke out almost immediately and former President Barack Obama ended his political silence to issue a denunciation after the Trump administration formally announced that it is stopping protections for illegal immigrants brought to the country when they were children. Religious and education leaders joined in voicing their objection.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), nicknamed the “Dream Act,” was created by Obama and protects about 800,000 people from deportation.
Trump, who promised in his campaign to kill DACA, said in a statement, “I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents.” But, he said, the United States is a “nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws.”
The President is delaying enforcement of his decision for six months to give Congress time to reform immigration laws, but President Obama called the decision “cruel.” He said, “We shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us. … Kicking them out won’t lower the unemployment rate, or lighten anyone’s taxes, or raise anybody’s wages.”
Trump left it to Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions to do the dirty work and make the on-camera announcement about this politically dangerous move. Sessions, who opposed DACA as a senator, accused Obama of an “open-ended circumvention of immigration law through unconstitutional authority by the executive branch.”
The White House Mess: In another sign that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has taken tight control, President Trump’s personal security man and 20-year associate Keith Schiller announced his resignation. Schiller was one of those people with walk-in privileges to the Oval office who has now had the door closed by Kelly. Schiller was so close, he was the guy who delivered the news to the FBI that Trump was firing Director James Comey.
Bloomberg News reports that Trump is crushed by Schiller’s exit. “Multiple people interviewed described Schiller as an emotional anchor for the president in a White House often marked by turmoil.” They report also that “Two people close to Trump said they worry that Schiller’s departure will leave the president and the West Wing off-balance,” as if they are not already.
Scandal: New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez goes on trial today in a case that could increase Republican power in the US Senate. If Menendez is found guilty and leaves office, his replacement would be named by the state’s Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who would appoint a member of his own party. If this had happened a few months ago, Obamacare might have been repealed.
Menendez is accused of using his official position to help his friend, wealthy eye doctor Salomon Melgen, to deal with Medicare disputes and get visas for his foreign girlfriends, among other favors. The indictment says Menendez accepted rides on Melgen’s jet to luxury resorts around the world, and campaign financing.
Meanwhile, over in Israel, multiple scandals are besetting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. First up, the attorney general is expected to bring fraud charges against Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, for illegally accepting $112,000 in goods, including champagne, cigars, and catered meals for the prime minister’s official residence.
An even more critical investigation is known as the “Submarine Affair,” which involves allegations of bribery in a billion-dollar submarine deal between Israel and Germany. On Sunday, Netanyahu’s former bureau chief David Sharan was detained on suspicions of taking bribes in the case. Netanyahu is not a suspect in the submarine affair, but close associates are potentially under water in this one.
Celebrity Blues: The New York Post reports that the divorced Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are having trouble being single. With five marriages between them, they have trouble being married too.