Democrats demand help for Puerto Rico, join the protest at Trump's hotel, and President Obama


News you need to know and what you can do about it.

Welcome to a new daily series at Shareblue Media, providing you with links to important news, interesting stories, useful information about actions of resistance — and a picture of President Barack Obama to keep you motivated.

  • While Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress are focusing on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, Senate Democrats are calling on GOP leadership to hurry up and get help to the people devastated by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Duckworth, Richard Blumenthal, Sherrod Brown, Cory Booker, Robert Menendez, Dick Durbin, Bob Casey, and Edward Markey ask that Congress begin "immediate consideration" of a bill to provide relief:

    The American citizens who reside in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have served in our military and fought for our country since its inception. They answered the call every time their country needed them — and now, it is our obligation to be there for them.

  • New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan used her time during a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee to read a letter from the former governor of Puerto Rico, desperately calling for help for his devastated island, and to ask acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke exactly what the Trump administration is doing to help.
  • Many members of the House have also blasted the Trump administration's slow response tohelp Puerto Rico.
    Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM) and Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus:

    The Trump Administration's response to the disaster in Puerto Rico is unacceptable. One of the strongest and most devastating storms to hit Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands requires a rapid, coordinated and comprehensive disaster recovery response from the federal government and Congress. The full breadth of our nation's available resources and attention need to be focused on helping American citizens get the food, water and medical supplies they need to survive and recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria. This was one of the most powerful storms to hit Puerto Rico in nearly a century. The lives of Americans are on the line with every passing second.

    Rep. José E. Serrano (NY-15):

    Puerto Rico is going through an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, that combined with the fiscal crisis it was already going through, has caused the island to essentially hit rock bottom. The 3.4 million American citizens residing on the island—many of whom live in poverty—are desperate for help. The federal government needs to take forceful and comprehensive action, including providing immediate, robust assistance to Puerto Rico. There is much to be done, and the federal government needs to step up to prevent this crisis from getting worse.

    Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (IL-04):

    Puerto Rico has been in economic crisis for years. Five thousand people flee Puerto Rico every month, before two hurricanes hit, leaving behind many old, many young, the very sick, the very poor, and the very vulnerable. There is no food in supermarkets. We need an airlift. We need an effort the scale of Dunkirk. We know the U.S. is capable. We can invade foreign countries with hundreds of thousands of troops, flawless communications, food and security. We need the same effort now.

    Rep. Nydia Velázquez (NY-07):

    In nearly every major conflict, Puerto Ricans have put their lives on the line for our country. They have shed blood in our wars—they are American citizens. If Congress and the Trump Administration fail to deploy every possible resource to help the people of Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria, history will judge our nation harshly. Millions of people lack electricity, shelter, food and water—the stakes could not be higher. I will continue to press for immediate and comprehensive relief across relevant federal agencies.

    Rep. Darren Soto (FL-09):

    A humanitarian crisis is affecting 3.4 million fellow Americans in Puerto Rico. The island just faced a deadly Category 4 hurricane which caused massive flooding and crumbled infrastructure, making it difficult to deliver essential supplies to those in desperate need. Damage to the already sensitive infrastructure lead to a complete blackout on the island and left no cell service for families to check in on their loved ones. Reports estimate it could take months to get power back. This is unacceptable. Our American citizens are suffering and there is little sense of urgency coming from our government. We must stand with our brothers and sisters on the island during this extremely tragic moment. In Central Florida, we welcome all our fellow Boricuas in need with open arms. Estamos contigo, Puerto Rico.

  • Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is turning down an invitation to the White House because of — what else? — Trump's recent attacks on athletes' right to protest:

    The Democratic mayor accompanied the NHL team when they met with President Barack Obama following last year’s Stanley Cup championship.

    But he Peduto says he’s not going this year because of Trump’s tweets criticizing NFL players for kneeling or otherwise protesting during the national anthem.

    Peduto says the visit could bring negative attention to the city so he’ll “take a knee on this one and stay home.”

  • Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond, who heads the Congressional Black Congress, sent a very fiery letter to Trump to express his "utter disgust" at Trump's "handling of race relations in America." The whole letter is worth a read, but here's a righteous taste:

    As President of the United States, your use of profane, sexually derogatory language in addressing American citizens, or anyone for that matter, is unbecoming of the office you now hold. Moreover, your complete lack of understanding of or empathy for the very painful history and substantive policy concerns that move people like Colin Kaepernick to take a stand, or a knee, in the first place is a reminder of all the African Americans community has to lose under your Administration.

    Seriously, read the whole thing. At least once.

  • If you're in Washington, D.C., on Thursday morning, you are cordially invited to join Planned Parenthood, NARAL, People for the American Way, Alliance for Justice, and other progressive groups in a protest of Neil Gorsuch, the Supreme Court justice who occupies the seat Republicans stole from President Obama. Gorsuch is giving a speech at Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, just down the street from the White House:

    The invite-only event celebrates the 50th anniversary of The Fund for American Studies, a conservative group, which said the venue was booked before Trump was President and Gorsuch was nominated.

    The groups sent a letter to Chief Justice John Roberts about the obvious problems and conflicts of interest in Gorsuch's appearance:

    Justice Gorsuch’s appearance at the Trump Hotel broadcasts a clear indifference to the emoluments argument to be heard in federal court two weeks later, in a case that many expect the Supreme Court to eventually decide. While an educated legal professional could provide a precise distinction between patronage from foreign governments and patronage from domestic partisan entities, to the public the Trump Hotel appears simply as what it is: a paid gateway to presidential influence that operates under the color of presidential approval. Justice Gorsuch, in accepting an invitation to keynote an event, shows disregard for the Court’s ethical standards and traditions, for its sacred reputation, and, bluntly, for basic common-sense. [...]

    In accepting an invitation to speak to a conservative group at the Trump Hotel, Justice Gorsuch may have violated both the letter and spirit of judicial ethics, and threatened the democratic legitimacy of the Supreme Court.

  • Confused about how the GOP's new scheme to give tax cuts to the rich hurts you? This makes it pretty easy to understand:

  • Still confused?