Saturday, September 7, 2019

Last Call For Hurricane Donald

Donald Trump is such an unstable, insecure fool that he made sure NOAA was ordered not to contradict his tweet warning Alabama of Hurricane Dorian despite the fact current predictions had the path of the storm well away from the state.

Nearly a week before the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration publicly backed President Trump over its own scientists, a top NOAA official warned its staff against contradicting the president.

In an agencywide directive sent Sept. 1 to National Weather Service personnel, hours after Trump asserted, with no evidence, that Alabama “would most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated,” staff was told to “only stick with official National Hurricane Center forecasts if questions arise from some national level social media posts which hit the news this afternoon.”

They were also told not to “provide any opinion,” according to a copy of the email obtained by The Washington Post.

A NOAA meteorologist who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution said the note, understood internally to be referring to Trump, came after the National Weather Service office in Birmingham contradicted Trump by tweeting Alabama would “NOT see any impacts from the hurricane.”

The Birmingham office sent the tweet after receiving a flurry of phone calls from concerned residents following Trump’s message.

The agency sent a similar message warning scientists and meteorologists not to speak out on Sept. 4, after Trump showed a hurricane map from Aug. 29 modified with a hand-drawn, half-circle in black Sharpie around Alabama.

“This is the first time I’ve felt pressure from above to not say what truly is the forecast,” the meteorologist said. “It’s hard for me to wrap my head around. One of the things we train on is to dispel inaccurate rumors and ultimately that is what was occurring — ultimately what the Alabama office did is provide a forecast with their tweet, that is what they get paid to do.”
Late Friday afternoon, NOAA officials further angered scientists within and beyond the agency by releasing a statement, attributed to an unnamed agency spokesperson, supporting Trump’s claims on Alabama and chastising the agency’s Birmingham meteorologists for speaking in absolutes.

Pathetic.  Trump is such a pathetic man child that he can't take being corrected in public, that he has to spend a week whining like a toddler and ordering people to lie for him in order to assuage his bruised ego.  What a terrible mental and emotional infant.

We cannot be rid of him soon enough.

The Red Purge Meets The Blue Wave

Republicans are increasingly seeing the 2020 primary as the key to getting rid of some of their more troublesome racists, criminals, and crackpots...of course all while ignoring the largest of those problems in Donald Trump.  They're stuck with Donald, but Steve King and Duncan Hunter for example are both living on borrowed time.

While GOP leaders typically stay out of primary contests, these members are getting snubbed or facing outright opposition from the party establishment. At least one member of GOP leadership — retiring Rep. Paul Mitchell of Michigan — has decided to back a primary opponent to hard-line conservative Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who was kicked off his committees for making racist remarks earlier this year.

King’s comments “reflect negatively upon Republicans and, as a result, I will contribute to his primary opponent,” Mitchell, the sophomore class representative, said in a statement.

Mitchell’s stance underscores a broader feeling in the GOP conference, where many Republicans would be relieved to see fresh faces with less baggage emerge victorious in some of these primary races. Otherwise, the GOP will continue to take the reputational hit that comes with these lawmakers serving in office — or worse, the party could lose those seats in the general election.

“You have a lot of people who have been concerned for many, many months now about finding some way of getting rid of some of these guys,” said Liz Mair, a GOP strategist. “There is a sense that we either clean House, or Democrats take those seats.”

Freshman Rep. Steve Watkins of Kansas, who has recently faced rumors that he’s poised to resign amid scandal, became the latest Republican to draw a primary challenge this week. State Treasurer Jake LaTurner decided to jump into the race (and abandon his Senate bid) after receiving public encouragement from Republican former Gov. Jeff Colyer, a rare primary intervention that fueled buzz in GOP circles.

A pile of Republican candidates is also vying to take on King, who has continued to kick up controversy all year, as well as indicted Rep. Chris Collins of New York, who was arrested on insider trading charges in August 2018.

And last week, former Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) announced he was exploring whether to challenge his old colleague Rep. Duncan Hunter, who will go to trial early next year for allegedly misusing $250,000 in campaign funds to finance a lavish lifestyle.

Outside groups are also itching to get involved, hoping to better position the party as Republicans try to claw their way back to power next year. The conservative Club for Growth is actively interviewing primary candidates for the Collins and Hunter races and keeping an eye on King’s district as well.

“I’ve told Republican leaders: We reserve the right to be in primaries, including in challenger races,” David McIntosh, president of the Club for Growth, said in an interview. “There is a lot of tension. They don’t want us to do that.”

But, he added, “We also recognize that we need to make sure the Republican majority is sustained.”

Now, I know and you know that this is just replacing overtly awful racists and criminals who will support Trump 99% of the time with much better behaved monsters who will support Trump 99% of the time, so the practical upshot is that Dems need to make the GOP own these jerkbags and make it very clear that a personnel change needs to be from red to blue.

Kiev Caught In A Corner

We knew last month that Trump regime toady Rudy Giuliani went to the Ukraine to demand dirt on Joe Biden's son Hunter and his role while on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.  Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine's new president, made it pretty clear he wasn't taking order from Rudy and had continued his fight against Putin and the Russians.  

Now the other shoe has dropped, as we find out Zelensky's resistance comes with a $250 million price tag in lost US military aid to fight Putin's annexation of the Crimea unless he comes up with a scandal of some sort implicating the Bidens.

UKRAINE’S NEOPHYTE president, Volodymyr Zelensky, took a big step this week toward proving that he will be, as he promised, the most pro-reform president in Ukraine’s history. On Monday, he laid out a breathtakingly ambitious five-year plan including virtually every measure the International Monetary Fund and Western governments have urged on Ukraine in recent years, from land reform to the privatization of state companies to a cleansing of the judiciary.

That ought to be cause for celebration in Washington, where successive Democratic and Republican administrations have tried to draw Ukraine away from Vladi­mir Putin’s Russia and into the ranks of Western democracies, only to be frustrated by the fecklessness and corruption of the country’s political leaders. Yet Mr. Zelensky has so far failed to win the backing of President Trump. Not only has Mr. Trump refused to grant the Ukrainian leader a White House visit, but also he has suspended the delivery of $250 million in U.S. military aid to a country still fighting Russian aggression in its eastern provinces.

Some suspect Mr. Trump is once again catering to Mr. Putin, who is dedicated to undermining Ukrainian democracy and independence. But we’re reliably told that the president has a second and more venal agenda: He is attempting to force Mr. Zelensky to intervene in the 2020 U.S. presidential election by launching an investigation of the leading Democratic candidate, Joe Biden. Mr. Trump is not just soliciting Ukraine’s help with his presidential campaign; he is using U.S. military aid the country desperately needs in an attempt to extort it.

The strong-arming of Mr. Zelensky was openly reported to the New York Times last month by Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, who said he had met in Madrid with a close associate of the Ukrainian leader and urged that the new government restart an investigation of Mr. Biden and his son. Hunter Biden served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, while Joe Biden, as vice president, urged the dismissal of Ukraine’s top prosecutor, who investigated the firm.

Mr. Giuliani also wants a probe of claims that revelations of payments by a Ukrainian political party to Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, were part of a plot to wreck Mr. Trump’s candidacy. In other words, Trump associates want the Ukrainian government to prove that Ukraine improperly acted against Mr. Trump in the 2016 election; but they also want it to meddle in his favor for 2020.

Mr. Zelensky is incapable of delivering on either demand. The revelations about Mr. Manafort came from a Ukrainian legislator who was fighting for domestic reform, not Hillary Clinton. And the Biden case, which has already been investigated by Ukrainian authorities, is bogus on its face. The former vice president was one of a host of senior Western officials who pressed for the dismissal of the prosecutor, who was accused of blocking anti-corruption measures.

The Pentagon has looked into the mess and has cleared the Ukrainians for the quarter-billion in aid as well.  But Trump has put it on hold because he's a petty tyrant, and resisting him comes with an often bloody price.

Bob Cesca had this story pegged back in May and why it was garbage from the get-go, but that hasn't stopped Trump from getting Ukrainian officials to retract their findings and start blaming Joe Biden.  It didn't go anywhere then because the real story became "What was Rudy Giuliani doing in Ukraine anyway?"

In the bigger picture though, if any Democrat had extorted aid to foreign country in order to get non-existent oppo research on a political opponent, their resignation would forced by articles of impeachment before the end of the week.  Trump does it, gets flat out caught, and it will be forgotten by Tuesday.

That's just pathetic.  It should be the end of this regime.  Hell, it never should have been congealed into being.

But here we are.

Deportation Nation, Con't

As I've been telling you, the Trump regime's "Muslim ban" and cuts in refugee acceptance has been all a test case for ending the vast majority of immigration into the US, and we have now reached that point.

The White House is considering a plan that would keep most refugees who are fleeing war, persecution and famine out of the United States, significantly cutting back a decades-old program, according to current and former administration officials. 
One option that top officials are weighing would cut refugee admissions by half or more, to 10,000 to 15,000 people, but reserve most of those spots for people from a few countries or from groups with special status, such as Iraqis and Afghans who work alongside American troops, diplomats and intelligence operatives abroad. Another option, proposed by a top administration official, would reduce refugee admissions to zero, while leaving the president with the ability to admit some in an emergency. 
Both options would all but end the United States’ status as a leader in accepting refugees from around the world. 
The issue is expected to come to a head on Tuesday, when White House officials plan to convene a high-level meeting to discuss the annual number of refugee admissions for the coming year, as determined by President Trump.

At a time when the number of refugees is at the highest level in recorded history, the United States has abandoned world leadership in resettling vulnerable people in need of protection,” said Eric Schwartz, the president of Refugees International. “The result is a world that is less compassionate and less able to deal with future humanitarian challenges.” 
For two years, Stephen Miller, Mr. Trump’s top immigration adviser, has used his considerable influence in the West Wing to reduce the refugee ceiling to its lowest levels in history, capping the program at 30,000 this year. That is a more than 70 percent cut from its level when President Barack Obama left office.

The move has been part of Mr. Trump’s broader effort to reduce the number of documented and undocumented immigrants entering the United States, including numerous restrictions on asylum seekers, who, like refugees, are fleeing persecution but cross into the United States over the border with Mexico or Canada. 
Now, Mr. Miller and allies from the White House whom he placed at the Departments of State and Homeland Security are pushing aggressively to shrink the program even further, according to one senior official involved in the discussions and several former officials briefed on them, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to detail the private deliberations. 
White House officials did not respond to a request for comment. 
John Zadrozny, a top official at United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, made the argument for simply lowering the ceiling to zero, a stance that was first reported by Politico. Others have suggested providing “carveouts” for certain countries or populations, such as the Iraqis and Afghans, whose work on behalf of the American government put both them and their families at risk, making them eligible for special status to come to the United States through the refugee program.

The article goes on to say that Trump's Defense Secretary, Mark Esper, might emerge as the voice of reason.  But former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was a major proponent of admitting refugees, and he's gone.  Stephen Miller is not.  I have little hope that Esper will raise a finger at this point.

The United States is shutting its doors to the world.  The next step will be mass removal of those Miller and his merry band of white supremacists want purged.
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