Tuesday, December 18, 2018

DACA Recipients Claim Federal Housing Loans are Being Denied under Trump Administration Instructions

President Trump’s Move to Rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has been Blocked by the Courts, but the Administration is reportedly Continuing to Sabotage the Lives of Young Immigrants Protected by the Program in other ways.

Edith Aguirre Vazquez is just One of a Number of DACA Recipients “who have been denied government-insured home loans from lenders following unofficial instructions from Trump administration officials to shut them out,” Buzzfeed reports.

The Lender at USA Mortgage who was Working with Aguirre told BuzzFeed News Pinned the Blame on the Administration. “It was not USA Mortgage decision, it’s [Housing and Urban Development] HUD decision that [Federal Housing Administration] FHA loans can no longer be made to DACA. We are following HUD rules,” he said.

But Immigrant Youth Pay to be Enrolled in DACA, and Contribute Taxes through the Work Permits and Social Security Numbers they’re Issued by the Government. So when asked for comment on whether there’s been Official Policy Change, “HUD spokesperson Brian Sullivan pointed to an FAQ posted on the department’s online resource center, which does not specifically address DACA but says noncitizens are eligible for loans if they meet various criteria.”

That doesn’t Answer the Life-Changing Predicament some DACA Recipients are in right now.

Not Only are they having to Live their Lives from Court Decision to Court Decision, some who had been Expecting to Close on a Home, like Aguirre Vazquez, are having the Ground Ripped out from under them. “I’ve been here since I was 3 years old,” she said. “I feel as American as anybody else and I’m kind of getting doors shut, getting blamed for something that you had no choice of.”

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

D.C. Passed Historic Bill Mandating 100 Percent Renewable Power by 2032

The D.C. Lawmakers Unanimously Approved Legislation today that puts the Nation’s Capital at the Vanguard of Climate Policy, even as the Federal Government is going in Reverse. The Legislation Mandates 100% Renewable Electricity in the Capital by 2032.

The Clean Energy D.C. Omnibus Act of 2018 Doubles Washington’s Current Policy, which says that by 14 years from now, the Nation’s Capital must be getting Half its Electricity from Zero-Emissions Sources like Solar and Wind.

The Legislation, which is expected to become Law, Increases Fees on Electricity from Coal and Gas and establishes a Task Force to set some of the Nation’s most Aggressive Energy-Efficiency Standards for Existing Buildings.

It also goes Beyond the Utility Sector, requiring that All Public Transportation and Privately Owned Fleet Vehicles Emit Zero Carbon Dioxide by 2045, putting it in line with California’s Newly Adopted Auto Emissions Target. The Provision applies to Fleets with more than 50 Passengers, according to Utility Dive, meaning the Ride-Hailing Services Uber and Lyft are included.

“This bill should be a boost to advocates nationwide,” Camila Thorndike, D.C. Campaign Director for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network Action Fund, said in a Statement. “Finally some good news out of Washington. We did it.”

The Legislation, which would apply to Federal Government Buildings including the White House, comes as the Trump Administration is bolstering the Oil and Gas Industries and Rolling Back nearly every Major Policy aimed at Reducing Emissions.

“Even though by ourselves we are a small jurisdiction, we can serve and have served as a model for other jurisdictions,” Mary Cheh, the Democratic Councilwoman who Authored the Original Bill, said in a Statement. “More importantly, we are in a loose association with other local and state jurisdictions so that even though the federal government is in default of international climate accords, we will meet them.”

The City Generates Little of its Own Electricity, meaning it Buys Renewable Energy Credits to Meet its Power Goals. It’s made Significant Progress over the past few years. In 2015, the City’s Credits went mostly to Electricity Generated from Biomass, including Wood and the Pulp-based Substance called Black Liquor, the U.S. Energy Information Administration Reported in 2016. By last year, nearly 64% of those Credits went to Wind, according to a Public Service Commission Report from May.

Just as the City Council was Voting on the Bill, the District of Columbia announced Plans to Join Nine Northeastern States: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia, to Form a Regional Cap-and-Trade Market to Limit Vehicle Emissions early next year. The Bill’s Passage puts Washington at the Vanguard of Municipal Climate Policy, and Sets an Example other Large Cities are likely to follow.

Across the U.S., Two States and more than 90 Cities have Pledged to adopt 100% Renewable Electricity, according to the Sierra Club. Six Cities: Aspen, Colorado; Burlington, Vermont; Georgetown, Texas; Greensburg, Kansas; Kodiak Island, Alaska; and Rock Port, Missouri ― have already Hit their Targets. But No Major City has Adopted as Far-Reaching a Climate Policy as Washington.

New York City, the Nation’s Largest and most Economically influential Metropolis, is considering a Bill to Establish Strict New Energy-Efficiency Standards for Big Buildings, its Largest Source of Climate Pollution. The Real Estate Industry and its Allies are Fighting the Effort. New York also Sued Big Oil Companies last year, a Case now Pending Appeal, and is moving to Divest its $200 Billion Pension Funds of Oil and Gas Stocks.

In October, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the World’s Leading Climate Research Body, determined that World Governments must Halve Global Emissions in 12 years to Avoid Warming of 2.3 Degrees Fahrenheit above Pre-Industrial Temperatures. Beyond that Level of Warming, Climate Change is Forecast to be Catastrophic, particularly for Coastal Cities like Washington and New York.

The Congressionally Mandated National Climate Assessment, a Report Drafted by Scientists at 13 Federal Agencies, Confirmed Many of those Findings last month.

“This bill is among the most ambitious pieces of climate legislation in the country, and today it became law because the D.C. community demanded it,” Mary Anne Hitt, Director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, said Tuesday in a Statement. “The decisions made and policies discussed within the nation’s capital affect the country, and the world.”

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Trump Administration Moves to Ban Sale of Bump Stocks

The Trump Administration, on Tuesday, took the First Steps to Ban the sale of Bump Stocks on Semi-Automatic Weapons and has made them Illegal to Possess beginning in late March 2019.

Bump Stocks, allow Semi-Automatic Weapons to Fire Rapidly like Automatic Firearms, have come under Increasing Scrutiny after they were used, in October 2017, when a Man opened Fired from his Las Vegas Hotel Suite into a Crowd at a Country Music Concert below, killing 58 People and Injuring Hundreds more in the Deadliest Mass Shooting in Modern U.S. History.

“Following the mass shooting in Las Vegas, ATF received correspondence from members of the United States Congress, as well as nongovernmental organizations, requesting that ATF examine its past classifications and determine whether bump-stock type devices available on the market constitute machineguns under the statutory definition,” the Regulation, which was Signed by Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker on Tuesday morning, noted.

It continued: “The Department decided to move forward with the rulemaking process to clarify the meaning of these terms, which are used in the NFA's (National Firearms Act) statutory definition of ‘machinegun.’”

The New Regulation will go into effect 90 days after it is Formally Published in the Federal Register, which is expected to happen on Friday, a Justice Department Official said.

People who Own Bump Stocks will be Required to either Surrender them to the ATF or Destroy them by late March, the Official said.

The Change has Undergone a Legal Review and the Justice Department and ATF are ready to Fight any Legal Challenge that may be brought, the Official added.

In March, President Trump said his Administration would "Ban" the Devices, which he said "turn legal weapons into illegal machines."

Shortly after the President's Comments, the Justice Department announced that it had Started the Process to amend Federal Firearms Regulations to define Bump Stocks as Machine Guns.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) sought Public Comment on the Proposal, drawing more than 35,000 Comments.

The Amended Regulations reverse a 2010 ATF Decision that found Bmp Stocks did Not Amount to Machine Guns and could Not be Regulated unless Congress changed Existing Firearms Law or Passed a New one. In the Aftermath of the Las Vegas Shooting, there was a growing Push by some Members of Congress to Ban Bump Stocks, but No Legislation was Passed. At least 10 States have sought their Own Restrictions on the Devices.

Police said the Gunman in the Las Vegas Massacre, Stephen Paddock, Fired for more than 10 Minutes using Multiple Weapons Outfitted with Target Scopes and Bump Stocks. Paddock fatally Shot himself after the Shooting and there were 23 Assault-style Weapons, including 14 fitted with Rapid-Fire Bump Stock Devices, strewn about the Room near his Body on the Floor of his 32nd-floor Hotel Suite at the Mandalay Bay Casino-Hotel.

The Largest Manufacturer of Bump Stocks, Slide Fire Solutions, announced in April that it was going to Stop taking orders and Shutting down its Website. The Remaining Stock of the Devices is now being Sold by another Company, RW Arms, based in Fort Worth, Texas.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Trump Launches Unprecedented Reelection Machine

President Trump is Planning to roll out an Unprecedented Structure for his 2020 Reelection, a streamlined Organization that Incorporates the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the President’s Campaign into a Single Entity. It’s a Stark Expression of Trump’s Stranglehold over the Republican Party. Traditionally, a Presidential Reelection Committee has worked in Tandem with the National Party Committee, not Subsumed it.

Under the Plan, which has been in the works for several weeks, the Trump Reelection Campaign and the RNC will Merge their Field and Fundraising Programs into a Joint Outfit dubbed Trump Victory. The Two Teams will also Share Office Space rather than Operate out of Separate Buildings, as has been custom.

The Goal is to create a Single, Seamless Organization that moves Quickly, Saves Resources, and perhaps most Crucially, Minimizes Staff Overlap and the kind of Infighting that marked the 2016 Relationship between the Trump Campaign and the Party. While a splintered Field of Democrats Fight for the Nomination, Republicans expect to Gain an Organizational Advantage.

There is another Benefit. With Talk of a Primary Challenge to Trump simmering, the act of Formally tying the President’s Reelection Campaign to the Resource-Rich National Party will make it only Harder for would-be Republican Opponents to mount a Bid. “We are going to streamline this presidential campaign like no presidential campaign has been streamlined before,” said Chris Carr, a Veteran Party Strategist who has been tapped to Serve as Political Director on the Trump Reelection effort.

RNC Chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, called it “the biggest, most efficient and unified campaign operation in American history.”

While many Senior Party Officials recognize the Potential upside of the Arrangement, they also Privately acknowledge the Political Risk of Linking the Party Apparatus so closely to the President at a time when he’s under Increasing Political and Legal Duress. “There are some people who choose for whatever reason to handcuff themselves to the Titanic,” said John Weaver, an Adviser to Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is considering Challenging Trump in the Republican Primary.

Planning has accelerated in the weeks following the Republican Party’s Midterm Shellacking, a Defeat, GOP Officials Concede, that Foreshadows a Treacherous Presidential Election ahead. Last Thursday, a Group of Top Trump Political Advisers huddled in a Nondescript Rosslyn, VA, Office Building where much of the 2020 Operation will be based. The Group, which included McDaniel and Campaign Manager, Brad Parscale, discussed how the Vehicle will be Organized and Financed, and how they Expect it to Function.

Deliberations about who will Oversee the Field Efforts in Key States are underway. During a recent Meeting of Senior Party Operatives at the GOP’s Capitol Hill Headquarters, Carr Projected the Names of 2016 Trump and RNC Swing State Staffers onto a Screen. The Group discussed which of those Former Aides could Return for the 2020 Campaign, and they tossed around the Names of Others who might be Worth reaching out to.

Last week, Carr holed up at a Courtyard Hotel in Washington’s Navy Yard Neighborhood for a series of One-on-One Meetings with the RNC’s 2018 Battleground State Directors, another Group of Potential Hires who could become the Nucleus of a 2020 Field Effort. Formal Interviews are expected to Begin in January 2019 and Initial Hires are Expected to be made Early next year.

By Melding the Trump Campaign and the RNC Field Programs, Party Officials hope to Avoid the Tensions that Hampered the 2016 Effort. In one Notable instance, Trump Organizers in Florida bitterly Clashed with Committee Officials who’d been Dispatched to the State, a Dispute that Led to a Late Personnel Shake-up in the All-Important Battleground. In other Key States like Michigan, Party Officials recalled Confusion between the Two Sides over how to Plan for Rallies and Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) Events.

Carr, who’s Convened a Working Group to Discuss how the “Field Program” should be Structured in each Target State and is Conducting an After-Action Report on the 2018 Midterms, said he was well Acquainted with Past Flare-Ups. The Problem has been, “you’re Hiring People to Lay the same Role and with the same Titles, and that a Lot of the time causes friction in the teams,” he said.

The Setup Contrasts Sharply with Past Republican Presidential Bids, which were Divided between Official Campaigns and the National Committee. Veterans of George W. Bush’s 2004 Effort, regarded as a Model for how Reelection Campaigns should Function.

Recalling isolated Instances of Tension with the RNC. “While we had good cohesion in my experience on the ground in three presidential campaigns, it’s always better when chains of command are unified,” said Scott Jennings, a Longtime Republican Strategist who Worked on the George W. Bush and Mitt Romney White House Bids. “It improves efficiency and heads off rivalries about who had what organization on their business card.”

Party Officials are in talks about how to Finance the Apparatus and who will Lead the Fundraising effort. Trump Aides are looking to Build out High and Low Dollar Fundraising and Bundling Programs, and they say the President may Return to the Donor Circuit in the coming months.

As he Faces Mounting Pressure from the Special Counsel and Braces for an Array of House Democrat-led Investigations, Trump has been getting Regular Updates on his Reelection Campaign. Parscale spent much of Friday in the White House. For all the Chaos Surrounding the Administration, those Involved in the Campaign insist they’re having No Problem finding People interested in Jobs. “I get inundated with résumés from not only operatives, but people who just want to volunteer,” Carr said. “We’re not going to have a shortage of people with good résumés, that’s for sure.”

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Trump Agrees to Dissolve Charity Amid Allegations of Illegality

President Trump's Charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, has agreed to Dissolve amid Allegations from the New York Attorney General's Office that it Engaged in a "shocking pattern of illegality."

New York Attorney General, Barbara Underwood, announced Tuesday that her Office will continue to Pursue its Lawsuit against the Foundation.

Underwood's Lawsuit filed in June Alleged that Trump used the Charity for Political and Personal Gain.

“Today’s stipulation accomplishes a key piece of the relief sought in our lawsuit earlier this year," Underwood said in a Statement on Tuesday. "Under the terms, the Trump Foundation can only dissolve under judicial supervision – and it can only distribute its remaining charitable assets to reputable organizations approved by my office."

The Lawsuit is also seeking $2.8 Million from the Donald J. Trump Foundation for "persistently illegal conduct"

The Foundation is Accused of Engaging in Illegal Political Coordination with the 2016 Trump Campaign, Self-Dealing, and Violating Legal Obligations. The Trumps and the Foundation could face Millions of Dollars in Penalties as a result. They also would be Bared from holding Board Positions in a New York Foundation: President Trump for 10 years and the Adult Children for One year.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

White House Reportedly to Stand Up Space Command This Week

The White House this week will reportedly Order the Creation of U.S. Space Command as the Military’s 11th Combatant Command, another Step in the Progress toward a New Military Force for Space.

President Trump in the near future will Sign an Executive Order creating the Command, Vice President, Mike Pence, will Announce Tuesday during a Visit to Cape Canaveral AFS, FL.

The Creation of a New Combatant Command has been expected by the End of the year, according to Memos from the Pentagon and Statements from Officials such as Deputy Defense Secretary, Patrick Shanahan.

“In concert with President Trump's vision to ensure American national security is as dominant in space as it is on Earth and in cyberspace, the Department is developing plans for the establishment of a US Space Command and a US Space Force,” Pentagon Spokesman Lt. Col. Joseph Buccino said.

The Creation of the Command was Outlined in an August Defense Department Report to Congress, which stated that a Four-Star General or Flag Officer would Lead the Command. Initially, the Commander of Air Force Space Command, currently Gen. Jay Raymond, would be Dual-Hatted to Lead SPACECOM, though Future Commanders would be Single-Hatted.

The Command would be Responsible for Directing the Employment of the Space Force, and “lead the use of space assets in warfighting and accelerate integration of space capabilities into other warfighting forces,” the Memo states.

The Command’s Priorities will be to:

- Integrate Space Planning and Operations across the Military

- Align Operational Forces to the Commander Responsible for Joint Space Warfighting

- Develop Tactics

- Establish Space Standards for All Military Forces

- Utilize Best Commercial Practices

While the Memo and Deliberations have focused on SPACECOM’s Priorities, the Pentagon has Not determined a Headquarters Location yet for the Command.

Pence said in August the White House Expects to Stand-Up the separate Service by 2020, a Significant move that requires Congressional Approval.

The United States Space Command (USSPACECOM) was a Unified Combatant Command of the United States Department of Defense, created in 1985 and ended in 2002, to help Institutionalize the use of Outer Space by the United States Armed Forces. The Commander in Chief of U.S. Space Command (CINCUSSPACECOM), with Headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, also Functioned as the Commander in Chief of the Binational U.S.-Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (CINCNORAD), and for the Majority of time during USSPACECOM's Existence also as the Commander of the U.S. Air Force Major Command Air Force Space Command. Military Space-Operations coordinated by USSPACECOM proved to be very Valuable for the U.S.-led Coalition in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

WI’s Early Voting Limit Challenged in Federal Court

The Fight over Restricting Early Voting in Wisconsin returned to Federal Court Monday, Three days after Gov. Scott Walker Signed into Law a New Limit Passed during a Lame-Duck Legislative Session.

Walker and Republicans pushed for a Two-week Limit said the Time Frame for Voting Early should be Uniform across the State, Not left up to each Community to Determine. Walker argued it was an Issue of Fairness. Local Communities could Decide when within the Two-week Period to Offer Early Voting.

A Coalition of Liberal Groups, with the Support of former Democratic U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, asked a Federal Judge to Block Implementation of the Early Voting Restrictions.

The same Judge, in 2016, Struck Down a similar Two-week Early Voting Limitation as Unconstitutional.

Attorneys for the Groups argued that Republicans called the Lame-Duck Session “as part of a partisan attempt to retain and regain power” and the Early Voting Limitation was “in direct violation” of the Court’s 2016 Order.

Holder, in a Statement, said Walker and Republicans showed a “blatant disregard for a previous court ruling and refusal to listen to the will of the people.” He called it “another shameful mark on the legacy of Scott Walker and his allies in the Legislature.”

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker