Monday, April 8, 2019

Last Call For Panhandle Mishandled

The Washington Post story headline this weekend is Survivors of Hurricane Michael in the Florida Panhandle fear they have been forgotten while the actual headline should be"Poor white Trump voters discover how inconvenient they are to regime that has abandoned them".

FEMA said it has poured $1.1 billion into Florida in Michael-related response and recovery efforts, the bulk of that in the form of low-interest Small Business Administration loans. It has approved $141 million in individual assistance to 31,000 households affected by Michael, numbers similar to disaster relief provided to North Carolina after Florence.

But Congress has failed to pass a major disaster-relief supplemental-funding bill to pay for long-term recovery from Michael and other disasters across the country. The 35-day government shutdown delayed action initially, and then President Trump and his Republican allies clashed with Democrats over funding for hurricane recovery in Puerto Rico.

The partisanship in Washington does not sit well here on the Panhandle.

“We have as many Democrats suffering as Republicans, and we need help. We’re all in the same boat,” said Philip Griffitts, chairman of the Bay County Commission and a Republican.

Al Cathey, the mayor of Mexico Beach, said it’s “beyond my comprehension” how the federal government has failed to pass a disaster bill. Sitting on a pile of drywall outside his hardware store, Cathey surveyed the ravaged landscape.

“That whole bill is being jeopardized because of pettiness,” he said.

Down a country road in Bay County, Sam Summers, a heavy-equipment operator, and his wife, Sherry Skinner-Summers, who works with the sheriff’s department, have opened their five-acre lot to people whose houses and trailers were destroyed in the storm.

The backyard population is down to six tents from 10, occupied by families and individuals who cannot find or afford hotel rooms or apartments and pass a background check. The Summers and their donors provide the tents.

One family of four, including a 6-month-old infant, is living with the Summers in their brick rambler. More families are expected to arrive in the coming days, Summers said, based on requests his wife has fielded on social media.

FEMA said agency representatives, as well as state and county officials, visited the Summers property in mid-March and were shunned by the campers.

“On this and previous visits, all but a couple of the people refused to speak with anyone,” a FEMA spokesman said in an email.

There remains a suspicion among those in the region that the federal, state and local governments are not doing everything they should to help the recovery.

Your federal, state, and local governments are controlled by Republicans.

This is what you voted for.

This is the result.

The Drums Of War, Con't

So, what happened in Venezuela?

Trump was all ready to go in and smack around Nicolas Maduro, you see.  A nationwide blackout caused by "sabotage" at the country's largest hydroelectric dam was the perfect cover to sneak in and pull a Noriega Special, bag Maduro, and triumphantly install Juan Guaido as President.  But something funny happened on the way to Caracas.

Vladimir Putin showed up.  Suddenly Russia was willing to do what the US wasn't able to (or was too slow to pull off.)  They dropped in a hundred or so special operator types as "mechanics" and "trainers" to repair Maduro's Russian SAM defenses, damaged by the blackout, as well as to train Maduro's forces on using and maintaining Russian helicopters.  The one person who actually could have stopped the US from invading Venezuela made his move.

Now Mike Pence is left holding the bag to try to clean this up on Wednesday, while both China and Russia are laughing all the way to Venezuela's massive oil reserve bank.

Pence’s address will shine a global spotlight on the issue, but action by the Security Council is unlikely. The United States and Russia both failed in rival bids to get the body to adopt resolutions on Venezuela in February. 
The United Nations estimates about a quarter of Venezuelans are in need of humanitarian assistance, according to an internal U.N. report seen by Reuters last week, that paints a dire picture of millions of people lacking food and basic services. 
Maduro has said there is no crisis and blames U.S. sanctions for the country’s economic problems. In February Venezuelan government troops blocked U.S.-backed aid convoys entering from Colombia and Brazil. Maduro has accepted aid from ally Russia.

Moscow has also provided military assistance to Maduro’s government. 
The White House warned Moscow and other countries backing Maduro against sending troops and military equipment, saying the United States would view such actions as a “direct threat” to the region’s security. 
Russia has dismissed U.S. criticism of its military cooperation with Caracas, saying it is not interfering in the Latin American country’s internal affairs and poses no threat to regional stability. 
Guaido invoked the Venezuelan constitution to assume an interim presidency in January, arguing that Maduro’s 2018 re-election was illegitimate.

What's Trump going to do, exactly?  At this point Trump has trashed NATO so hard that they're not going to lift a finger to help the US in Caracas.  No, Putin is holding all the cards here, and all of them have Donald Trump's big dumb orange face on them.

No, I was dead wrong about Trump and John Bolton invading Venezuela. I freely admit that.  That ship has sailed.

But brother, the reality is going to be much worse.

It's All About Revenge Now

The Trump regime wants blood, and its House GOP allies are going to work, with Rep. Devin Nunes leading the charge to lock up Mueller probe figures and Obama administration officials.

California Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday he was planning to send eight criminal referrals to Attorney General William Barr as soon as this week. 
Nunes, who investigated accusations of FBI and Department of Justice abuse while he was previously chairman of the intelligence panel, did not say who he would be referring in a Fox News interview on Sunday. 
Appearing on Fox's "Sunday Morning Futures," Nunes said five of the referrals are related to lying to Congress, misleading Congress and leaking classified information. 
The other referrals, Nunes said, are allegations of lying to the FISA court that approves foreign surveillance warrants, manipulating intelligence and what he described as a "global leak referral," which Nunes said wasn't tied to one individual. 
"We couldn't really send these criminal referrals over without an Attorney General in place, so we are prepared this week to notify the Attorney General that we are prepared to send those referrals over and brief him if he wishes to be briefed. We think they're pretty clear, but as of right now this is, this may not be all of them, but this cleans up quite a bit. We have eight referrals that we are prepared to send over to the Attorney General this week," Nunes said. 
Criminal referrals from Congress to the Justice Department are effectively requests for a criminal investigation from the Justice Department and the FBI. 
When Republicans controlled Congress, Nunes launched a committee investigation into allegations the FBI and Justice Department abused the FISA process, including the release of a classified memo detailing his accusations.

You'll see investigations announced against Democrats and the FBI before you'll read another word of the Mueller report.

Count on it.


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