Thursday, August 31, 2017

Spiteful, Hateful Trump to End DACA

It was barely a thread of humanity to begin with.


Does Trump have any property or businesses in Houston?

Don't hold your breath until he actually ponies up. It's probably coming out of the Trump Foundation, which is other people's money. That's how he usually does it.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.



Huckabee Sanders says she "hasn't had a chance" to ask Dolt 45 where the money's coming from.

Yet ANOTHER Trump Admin Resignation

This one forced due to his own sleaze, not Trump's. The whole administration is full of rot.
William C. Bradford, a Trump administration appointee who heads the Energy Department's Office of Indian Energy, resigned Thursday.


CNN's KFile reported this week on evidence that suggested that Bradford made inflammatory comments through an account on the online commenting service Disqus. In response to the story, Bradford told CNN's KFile that he couldn't comment "on an ongoing federal investigation into multiple cyber attacks and Internet crimes committed against me over the past several years, to include email intrusions, hacking, and impostors in social media."

The account that appeared to be Bradford questioned Obama's birth certificate and called the former president's mother "a fourth-rate p&*n actress and w@!re."

Oh, come on, CNN. You can't spell out porn?
On Wednesday, Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden sent letters to the FBI and the DOE requesting more information about Bradford's claim that he was hacked.
And he resigns. "Appeared to be Bradford" IS Bradford, eh?
In 2015, Bradford resigned as a professor at West Point after penning an academic paper that argued the US military should target Islamic holy sites as part of the war on terror.
So the Trump administration looked at hiring him as a coup, I guess.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Like Whiney Father, Like Whiney Son

Eric Trump said Tuesday that the tenor of the media coverage of his father’s family and presidency was enough to make someone kill themselves out of depression.

“If they weren’t talking about you, you wouldn’t be doing something right and it’s important to keep it in context, otherwise quite frankly you’d probably end up killing yourself out of depression,” the 33-year-old told WOAI’s Joe Pags. “But he’s doing a great job.”

Trump — who in June said congressional Democrats were “not even people“ — told Pags that politics is “the nastiest business I’ve ever seen. The evilness and the hatred in that world is unlike anything I could have fathomed before.”

“It’s the media, it’s the mainstream media, who does not want him to succeed,” he added. “It’s government who does not want him to succeed.”

Cry babies every one.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

What's Coming Down the Pike?

Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. — the controversial, Stetson-wearing official who rose to national prominence with his no-holds-barred conservative rhetoric — resigned his office Thursday.


The sheriff was attending the convention of the National Fraternal Order of Police in Nashville and could not be reached for comment.

  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Is he expecting to be appointed to head DHS in John Kelly's place, or is something about to bite him in his fascist ass?
The Daily Beast has previously reported how Clarke—who was, at one point, under consideration for a Trump DHS gig—oversees a jail where at least four people, including a baby, have died. Seven jail staffers were indicted this year for an incident in which one inmate [with bipolar disorder] died after they allegedly shut off his access to water [for six days].

  Daily Beast
Saturday 17 June 2017 21.51 EDT Last modified on Friday 14 July 2017 12.58 EDT

David Clarke, the controversial sheriff and self-described “Trumpster”, has removed himself from consideration for a senior position at the department of homeland security.

Clarke, who is the Milwaukee, Wisconsin county sheriff, was expected to become assistant secretary at homeland security by the end of June.


At Trump’s inauguration celebrations in January, Clarke told a crowd the only time he would reach across the aisle to work with liberals would be to “grab one of them by the throat”.


Clarke strongly backed Donald Trump during the US presidential election and compared Black Lives Matter to the Ku Klux Klan. He said black Americans sell drugs “because they’re uneducated, they’re lazy, and they’re morally bankrupt”.

From what we've seen of General Kelly, I have a feeling Clarke "turned down" the job at DHS due to a suggestion from his would-be boss.  But now that Kelly is gone...

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Sheriff David Clarke referred to the Black Lives Matter movement as “black slime,” who were bound to “join forces with ISIS” — and “needed to be crushed.” He argued that when police confront anti-Trump protesters, they have a right “to hit first.” When it looked like Trump was going to lose the general election, Clarke tweeted, “our institutions of gov, WH, Congress, DOJ, and big media are corrupt & all we do is bitch. Pitchforks and torches time.” After Trump won, Clarke called on the commander-in-chief to round up the “hundreds of thousands” of Americans “that are suspected” of sympathizing with ISIS, and “hold them indefinitely under a suspension of habeas corpus [i.e. without trial].”


Four people have died of mistreatment and torture in his custody. One newborn baby died while its mother was shackled during childbirth; another prisoner died of dehydration, after the water in his cell was shut off for seven days. In 2013, one of his deputies ran a traffic light and T-boned the car of a civilian driver, who was badly injured. Clarke’s department charged the driver, who was actually sober, with drunk driving in order to cover up its own culpability.

Clarke also got embroiled in an ethics investigation, after siccing sheriff’s deputies on a man who looked at him funny, while the two men were on a plane.


Clarke initially accepted the appointment, but then backed out, ostensibly because he had trouble securing the approval of the Office of Personnel Management, and/or submitting his financial disclosure forms in a timely fashion.

Politico reported late on Thursday that Clarke is expected to take a job in the Trump administration, though he “likely won’t be offered a Senate-confirmed role because his nomination would face opposition from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.”


Clarke said in a text message to Politico, “Will talk about my future plans next week.”

Ah, the Trump method of political cliff-hanging.

Why Is Wells Fargo Still Permitted to Operate?

The scope of Wells Fargo’s fake accounts scandal grew significantly on Thursday, with the bank now saying that 3.5 million accounts were potentially opened without customers’ permission between 2009 and 2016.


Wells Fargo said last month that roughly 570,000 customers were signed up for and billed for car insurance that they didn’t need or necessarily know about. Many couldn’t afford the extra costs and fell behind in their payments, and in about 20,000 cases, cars were repossessed.


Wells Fargo said Thursday that of the 3.5 million accounts potentially opened without permission, 190,000 of those incurred fees and charges.


In addition, San Francisco-based Wells admitted that 528,000 customers were likely signed up for online bill payment without authorization.


The company ended up paying $185 million to regulators and settled a class-action suit for $142 million.

And what kind of profit does "the company" make?
The estimated net worth of Wells Fargo in 2016, even after these revelations first came to light, was nearly $90 billion.

  Charles P Pierce
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Things Are Going Swimmingly, Why Do You Ask?

Your'e Right - There Shouldn't Be a Major City in a Flood Plain, But...

...don't blame the homeowners.
Houston’s problem was runaway development in flood-prone areas, accelerated by heavily subsidized federal flood insurance. Now that Hurricane Harvey has turned Conrad’s warnings into reality, it’s worth noting that Houston’s problem was in part a Washington problem, a slow-motion disaster that was easy to predict but politically impossible to prevent. Congress often discusses fixing flood insurance to stop encouraging Americans to build in harm’s way, but the National Flood Insurance Program is still almost as dysfunctional as it was 19 years ago. It is now nearly $25 billion in the red, piling debt onto the national credit card. Meanwhile, cities like Houston—as well as New Orleans, which Higher Ground identified as the national leader in repetitive losses eight years before Hurricane Katrina—continue to sprawl into their vulnerable floodplains, aided by the availability of inexpensive federally supported insurance.

And this wouldn't be happening if people with political connections were not making oodles of money off the deal.
Hurricane Harvey is not the first costly flood to hit Houston since that 1998 report. In 2001, Tropical Storm Allison dumped more than two feet of rain on the city, causing about $5 billion in damages. Two relatively modest storms that hit Houston in 2015 and 2016—so small they didn't get names—did so much property damage they made the list of the 15 highest-priced floods in U.S. history.


Climate change almost certainly made Harvey marginally worse, giving the storm a boost through higher sea levels and warmer sea temperatures. And it’s true that federal flood policies have ignored climate. President Barack Obama tried to change that a bit, ordering federal agencies to account for rising seas and other flood risks when permitting infrastructure projects, but President Donald Trump revoked the order just last week.
Think about it. Trump's livelihood is in real estate. If you can get government insurance to cover ill-planned building projects, you can't lose. (Especially if you're only selling your name.)
An investigation last year by ProPublica and the Texas Tribune found that the Houston area’s impervious surfaces increased by 25 percent from 1996 to 2011, as thousands of new homes were built around its bayous. Houston is renowned for its anything-goes zoning rules, but the feds have also promoted those trends by providing extremely cheap insurance in high-risk areas.


One $69,000 home in Mississippi flooded 34 times in 32 years, producing $663,000 in payouts. The government routinely dishes out more in claims than it takes in through premiums, and the program has gradually drifted deeper and deeper into debt.


Environmentalists, taxpayer groups and other reformers across the political spectrum have tried to rein in the program, pushing to raise premiums to better reflect flood risks and limit repetitive loss payments. But they have encountered ferocious pushback in Washington from real estate agents, homebuilders and other development interests, as well as politicians representing areas that tend to go underwater.


In Hannibal, Missouri, the Mississippi River reached its 10-year flood stage in seven out of the eight years between 2008 and 2015, which would be a one-in-a-million coincidence if it were really a coincidence. Cities as diverse as Miami, St. Louis and Sacramento face a constant risk of becoming the next Houston or New Orleans.


“This isn’t the storm of the millennium,” Conrad says. “It’s going to happen again and again.”
And just to be complete, and fair, it's not just the housing/building market that's in this business. It's also big agriculture. Acres upon acres of farmland in California is in flood plains, with the same kind of federal bail-out insurance. Those guys are making boatloads (no pun intended) of money off that deal. Not to mention the fact that they can acutally collect federal money for NOT planting those acres.  At least, with agriculture, however, thousands of people aren't left homeless or dead.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.


Well, that sounds good, but it doesn't address the problem of paving over bayous and areas that would normally absorb or contain flood waters.  Once that's done, it just forces water out onto more acreage.  Building should be prohibited in those areas.  If that means building up in other areas instead of out, so be it.  It happens to cities like San Francisco where there simply isn't any more land on which to build out.  They have to go up.  Houston, for instance, is incredibly spread out, with very limited areas of high-rise building.

It also doesn't address having chemical plants and oil refineries in danger zones.


Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser, wakes up each morning to a growing problem that will not go away. His family’s real estate business, Kushner Cos., owes hundreds of millions of dollars on a 41-story office building on Fifth Avenue. It has failed to secure foreign investors, despite an extensive search, and its resources are more limited than generally understood.

Honestly, periodically I think the reason Trump ran for the presidency (and won't release his tax returns) is because he's seriously in debt and figured he could fix that problem by deregulations, tax cuts, emoluments and generally chicanery if he were president. This is one of those times.
Over the past two years, executives and family members have sought substantial overseas investment from previously undisclosed places: South Korea’s sovereign-wealth fund, France’s richest man, Israeli banks and insurance companies, and exploratory talks with a Saudi developer, according to former and current executives. These were in addition to previously reported attempts to raise money in China and Qatar.


[The family] are walking away from a Brooklyn hotel once considered central to their plans for an office hub. From other properties, they are extracting cash, including tens of millions in borrowed funds from the recently acquired former New York Times building.


The mortgage on their tower is due in 18 months. This has led to concerns that Kushner could use—or has perhaps already used—his official position to prop up the family business despite having divested to close relatives his ownership in many projects to conform with government ethics requirements. Federal investigators are examining Kushner’s finances and business dealings, along with those of other Trump associates.


It was 2006—the height of the real-estate market boom—when Kushner Cos. agreed to buy 666 Fifth Avenue for $1.8 billion, then a record for a Manhattan building. All of it was borrowed except for $50 million. The company still holds half of a $1.2 billion mortgage, on which it hasn’t paid a cent. The full amount is due in February 2019.


The mortgage will become even more of a burden after a scheduled jump in interest rates in December. Under some dire circumstances, guarantees in the refinancing agreement could even give lenders the ability to go after the family’s other assets—many of which are also underpinned by debt.


Federal investigators know that Kushner met with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in Trump Tower last December and later met with Sergey Gorkov, head of the Kremlin-controlled VEB bank in two meetings that he didn’t, at first, disclose publicly or on his application for his national-security clearance. After those meetings became public, Kushner and the White House said the contacts were made in his role as a Trump adviser and didn’t involve discussion of his family business. But VEB and a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin described the meetings quite differently, noted Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. They said that Kushner was there in his capacity as head of his family’s real estate business.
Which may be some explanation of why Kushner reportedly left the meeting after only ten minutes.
Investigators say they are studying those accounts with keen interest. “I think it is part of a pattern of outreach to Russian financial interests, which are essentially Vladimir Putin and his oligarch circle, by Trump family members,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, a Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. “The financial dealings are important because we know that the Russian playbook is to engage and compromise foreign leaders.”
A tangled web.

History of the Kushner troubles is in the rest of the article.

Wow, Missouri

"This is totally against the law," [State Rep. Warren] Love wrote in the post. "I hope they are found & hung from a tall tree with a long rope." Love faced criticism for his post Wednesday, with the chairman of the Missouri Democratic Party calling for him to resign.

“This is a call for lynching by a sitting State Representative,” Stephen Webber tweeted. "Calls for poltical violence are unacceptable. He needs to resign.”

Love denied he was calling for a lynching when contacted by the newspaper. “That was an exaggerated statement that, you know, a lot of times is used in the western world when somebody does a crime or commits theft," he said.

  The Hill
Really? I've never heard it before.

A man living up to the promise of his name.
"That’s just a western term and I’m very much a western man. … You know, I wear a coat. You know, I dress western. And, you know, I’m the cowboy of the Capitol."
Jesus Christ.

He wears a coat. That makes him western.  He apparently thinks "the western world" is the US wild west.  Maybe he should never have been elected in the first place?
He added that it's "disturbing" to see "that somebody would be a low-life enough to" desecrate the monument.
Or low-life enough to call for a lynching.

 Forget resigning, he needs to be recalled, and maybe locked up.

Understanding Dolt 45

Since US President Donald Trump certified that Iran was honoring the nuclear deal in July, he has sent strong signals that he does not plan to do the same again come October, leaving experts unsure of his endgame and warning that such a move could mushroom into the disintegration of the entire pact even if Tehran is holding up its end of the deal.


To do so, the administration will likely have to disregard the findings of inspectors with the International Atomic Energy Agency, who are expected to say Iran is respecting the landmark accord with minor lapses when they publish their latest report this week.


Decertifying Iran would have no tangible impact on the deal. The mandate is an agreement former president Barack Obama forged with Congress that is separate from the international accord forged between Iran and world powers.


“To my judgment, this is a willful effort, since most of what the president does is designed to reshape or overturn or undermine the policies of his predecessor, to begin the unraveling of this agreement,” [Aaron David Miller, a former State Department official] told The Times of Israel.

  Times of Israel
Bingo. Trump operates on purely emotional stimuli. He hates Obama so much, he's blind to the efficacy or appropriateness of anything Obama has done. He just wants to undo it.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

They're Getting Sick of Him - When Will They Kick Him Out?

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), a high-ranking Republican who sits on the House Budget and Appropriations committees, on Wednesday warned President Donald Trump against publicly attacking Republican senators.

“You’re not going to bully United States senators, this isn’t the Apprentice,” Cole told the Associated Press. “You can’t look at them and say you’re fired, you’re going to need their vote and you oughtta remember that they’re going to be at the table in every major deal you need for the next three years. So I just don’t think that’s a productive way to proceed.”

I don't think Dolt 45 thinks about productivity. Just ratings.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Hell in Texas

Damage from Hurricane Harvey may have released as much as 2 million pounds of potentially hazardous airborne pollutants from oil refineries and other facilities in the Houston area, according to regulatory filings submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

In some cases, the estimated amounts released vastly exceed legal limits — but the state agency can't confirm how many contaminants have been released because air-quality monitoring stations throughout the area were shut down prior to Harvey's landfall.

Why was that?
Oil refineries and other facilities are required to file emissions reports estimating the amount of contaminants released into the air as soon as an event occurs.
Of course, there's no chance they'll underestimate.
The initial estimates "tend to be high," a spokesman for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality told NBC News.
I bet.
In one of the largest accidental releases, Chevron Phillips Chemical reported that it may have released more than 745,000 pounds of contaminants into the air as it shut down its Cedar Bayou Plant in Baytown, Texas.


The roof of a tank at the massive Pasadena Terminal, which has 128 tanks holding petroleum products was partially submerged due to heavy rain on Sunday morning. Gasoline spilled out and more than 300,000 pounds of contaminants were released into the air, according to initial estimates by Kinder Morgan.


ExxonMobil disclosed that hurricane damage at two of its Houston-area refineries may have released 12,000 pounds of contaminants into the air.


"The extra pollution from the shutdowns and storm damage is a threat to the air we breathe," said Elena Craft, senior health scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund. "By industry's own estimates, we've seen months' worth of harmful pollution released in less than a week."
I'm going to assume airborn pollution will be taken inward with Gulf breezes, covering more area than flood waters.

I wonder what they're going to do to not only mitigate the damage, but to prevent it in the future.

 ...but hey, do what you will anyway.

A Small Bit of Good News

A federal judge in Texas temporarily blocked the nation’s most extreme anti–“sanctuary city” law on Wednesday, two days before it was set to take effect. The preliminary injunction is a setback for the state’s Republican leaders, as well as the Trump administration’s crackdown on sanctuary cities.

Senate Bill 4, which Texas governor Greg Abbott signed into law in May, requires local law enforcement officials to comply with federal requests to detain people suspected of being in the country illegally. Those who fail to comply could be fined $25,500 a day, ejected from office, or jailed for up to a year. The law also allows law enforcement officials to ask about the immigration status of anyone they detain.

Several Texas cities — including Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin — sued to stop the law, arguing that it could lead to racial profiling, make it difficult for local police to combat crime, and spark a backlash that would hurt the state’s economy. The Trump administration’s Justice Department has filed statements of interest siding with the state of Texas.

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled that several parts of the law are likely to be found unconstitutional.He said a provision saying local authorities may not “adopt, enforce, or endorse” policies limiting the enforcement of immigration laws violates the officials’ right to free speech.

  NY Magazine
That sounds like a long reach, but I'll take it.
According to the Texas Tribune, Garcia did allow the provision that permits police officers to question people they detain on their immigration status. However, he said they can’t use that information to arrest the person, they can only share it with the proper authorities.
Not much, but better than nothing.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

There Went the Arkema Plant

Two explosions have taken place at a chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, that lost power due to flooding caused by tropical storm Harvey.

A sheriff’s deputy was taken to hospital after inhaling chemical fumes, and nine others drove themselves to hospital as a precaution. The plant makes organic peroxides used in the production of plastic resins, polystyrene, paints and other products.


The plant was shut down on Friday in anticipation of the storm, though 11 employees stayed on site, tasked with trying to keep chemicals safe. Those workers were evacuated on Tuesday after the facility lost power from its primary supply and backup generators late on Monday night. Harris County ordered the evacuation of residents within a 1.5-mile (2.4km) radius.


“We want local residents to be aware that product is stored in multiple locations on the site, and a threat of additional explosion remains. Please do not return to the area within the evacuation zone.”


Six oil refineries have begun the process of assessing damage and restarting, while two refineries in the Gulf coast region are operating at reduced rates.


The Texas Department of Public Safety said 48,700 homes in the area had sustained flood damage, including 17,000 with major damage and 1,000 that were destroyed. The state estimated that 700 businesses had been damaged.


Many streets in Houston remain under water and some will be so for days, if not weeks. More shelters have opened to handle the swelling numbers of people seeking refuge and to ease the pressure on the biggest shelter, a downtown convention centre that was operating at double its intended 5,000 capacity. [ed: emphasis mine]


Sitting on a Time Bomb

In one of the biggest evacuations in Germany since World War II, 70,000 residents of the city of Frankfurt are to move out of their homes while a bomb is defused. It was found at a construction site in the city center.


The operation to defuse it is planned for Sunday.


The 4,000 pound (1,814 kilogram) 1.8-tonne or 2-ton device is believed to be a British bomb dating back to the Allies' raids on the city. The bomb was designed to damage buildings more than a kilometer from the center of the explosion.


The bomb, which may contain 1,400 kilograms of explosives, is one of many which have been uncovered in Germany in recent years.


US and British air forces dropped 2.7 million tons of bombs on Europe between 1940 and the end of the war in 1945, according to the Smithsonian US research group.

Half of the devices were dropped on Germany. An estimated 10 percent of the bombs had failed to explode.


In December last year, a British bomb identified as a 4,000 pound blockbuster was found in Augsburg. More than 54,000 people had to leave their homes on Christmas Day while it was defused. That to date was the largest evacuation since the end of World War II more than 70 years ago.

War, the gift that keeps on giving.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Speaking of Schneiderman

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is working with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on its investigation into Paul Manafort and his financial transactions, according to several people familiar with the matter.


Schneiderman has a contentious history with Trump. The president has mocked him relentlessly on social media and TV, denouncing him as a “hack” and “lightweight.”

The attorney general won a $25 million settlement last November after a lengthy investigation into fraudulent practices at Trump University. The president said he settled just to have the matter behind him, though his previous mantra was to never settle cases.

The New York prosecutor’s office also is looking into some of Trump’s business transactions and could potentially share those records with Mueller’s team.

Oh, I'm sure they will. And I bet it'll feel real good.  Lightweight.


Expressions of sympathy are completely foreign to Trump.

This from his speech in Missouri, he's just tweeted:

"Our hearts are joined with yours FOREVER"?  He's gone from someone who never even mentioned the people suffering in the disaster to three days later sounding like a Hallmark card.  He simply hasn't got it in him to be compassionate or sympathetic.

I wouldn't be surprised if, in light of the criticism he's been getting and the comparisons to previous presidents, he goes back (it's been proposed he may go back Saturday) and stages a hug with some Trump supporter.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Pardons Are Not on the Table for the Real Crimes

The presidential pardon only applies to federal crimes. As NBC reported last night, it is possible for state governments to press charges in some of the alleged crimes committed by Trump’s cronies. “You would have to find that one of those [election] crimes occurred in New York,” Jennifer Rodgers, a former federal prosecutor, told NBC. Of course, some of the alleged crimes almost certainly did take place in New York. And sure enough, Josh Dawsey reports, Mueller is teaming up with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “One of the people familiar with progress on the case said both Mueller’s and Schneiderman’s teams have collected evidence on financial crimes, including potential money laundering,” he notes.

Trump can pardon anybody facing charges from Mueller, but not from Schneiderman. It is probably significant that Mueller is letting this fact be known to Trump’s inner circle. Trump’s biggest source of leverage over Mueller just disappeared.

  NY Magazine
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

They Don't Care Enough to Care

Their supporters will believe whatever they say, no need to make sure it's correct. The rest of the world is just fake news.


She's getting to where I think she can compete on level ground with Kellyanne Conway.

Amazon Alert

Check your Amazon wish list.  It appears Amazon is creating them for us.  In at least one case, the person claims not to even have an Amazon account.

Maybe you want to check yours.  It's public.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Speaking of Disaster in Texas and the Border Wall

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday the state is accepting Mexico's offer to help get Texas back on its feet in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.


Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, the consul general in Austin, applauded the governor's decision. He said assistance of vehicles, boats and food will start arriving in Texas within days.


"Texas and Mexico share more than half the border," [Carlos Sada, Mexico's undersecretary for North American relations] said. "There are families, marriages, businesses that bind our two sides. This is about being good neighbors."


In Washington, following a meeting at the State Department, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson thanked Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray Caso for its "wide range of assistance."

"It was very generous of Mexico to offer their help at a very, very challenging time for our citizens back in Texas," he said.


Mexico, in a diplomatic note Tuesday, provided a long list of items that includes troops, convoys of food, medicine, portable showers and water.

  Dallas News
Will there be some crow for Trump?
President Donald Trump has not responded publicly to Mexico's aid, though on Tuesday he accepted an offer from Singapore to lend four of its CH-47 Chinook helicopters for rescue efforts.
On Sunday, as waters rose across southeast Texas, Mexico reached out to Texas. Trump, meanwhile, bullied Mexico on Twitter to pay for his promised border wall. On Monday, he repeated his threat the the U.S. would at some point kill NAFTA.


"Mexico's desire to be humane at a time of such great need contrasts the character and the churlishness coming out of Washington, D.C., and NAFTA," said Tony Garza, a prominent Republican and former U.S. ambassador and now legal counsel with White & Case in Mexico City.


The recently signed SB4 is scheduled to go into effect Friday, barring its possible overturning this week by a federal judge. SB4 effectively outlaws sanctuary cities — places where local law enforcement limits or refuses cooperation with federal immigration agents — and gives police the right to ask the immigration status of people they detain. Mexico's vast immigrant population would be affected.
And if they use Harvey as an excuse to entrap Mexicans displaced or stranded by the floods, there is going to be Hell to pay.
Texas's biggest cities — Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin — and other local entities have filed a lawsuit against SB4, and activists remain hopeful that U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia will rule the law unconstitutional this week in response.


Texas leads a group of 10 states pressuring the Trump administration to end DACA, and in recent days Trump has signaled he may do so.
Shame on Texas.  And shame on Trump.
"Yes, we know [...] , but our decision, our willingness to help Texas isn't based on politics," Sada said. "This is a spontaneous reaction to a neighbor in need, and we, based on our own experiences with natural disasters, know recovery periods can take months, years. So we're here with one message: Texas, Mexico is ready to help."
Just like they always do.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

The Latest in: Of Course They Did

The Interior Department inspector general’s office has dropped an investigation into whether the Trump administration pressured Alaska GOP Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan over their health care votes.


Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall wrote that her office “does not believe it could meaningfully investigate the matter further” because Murkowski and Sullivan declined to provide statements or be interviewed.

That would make it difficult.  And shame on them.
President Donald Trump is promising billions to help Texas rebuild from Hurricane Harvey, but his Republican allies in the House are looking at cutting almost $1 billion from disaster accounts to help finance the president’s border wall.

[T]here’s only $2.3 billion remaining in disaster coffers.


The pending reduction to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief account is part of a spending bill that the House is scheduled to consider next week when Congress returns from its August recess. The $876 million cut, part of the 1,305-page measure’s homeland security section, pays for roughly half the cost of Trump’s down payment on a U.S.-Mexico border wall.
Yeah, I'm guessing they'll pretend they never even considered doing that.
By late September, lawmakers will have to pass one bill preventing an unprecedented federal default and another averting a government shutdown.

Trump has belittled congressional Republicans in recent weeks, particularly Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, leaving relations with his own party dicey.
So, what I'd like to know is why the F has Congress not called itself back to work, considering all they have on their plate, and now this unprecedented disaster in the Gulf that needs immediate attention?

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Pursuing Peace

Tweety on May 24:

Tweety on August 30:

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

You Thought Maybe She Was Different?

Ivanka Trump, who came into her father’s administration vowing to fight for women in the workplace, has blessed a White House plan to roll back an Obama-era policy aimed at eliminating the gender pay gap.


“Ultimately, while I believe the intention was good and agree that pay transparency is important, the proposed policy would not yield the intended results,” Trump said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to work with EEOC, OMB, Congress and all relevant stakeholders on robust policies aimed at eliminating the gender wage gap.”


The initiative, which was unveiled by Barack Obama in January 2016, would have required employers to collect data on how much they pay their workers, broken down by gender, race and ethnicity.

The administration confirmed this week it would halt the implementation of the rule – with the backing of [Ivanka] Trump, a White House adviser who has hosted numerous roundtables on women’s economic issues.


“We don’t believe it would actually help us gather information about wage and employment discrimination,” said Neomi Rao, an administrator from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

Seriously? What, then, would?
Trump joined her father at a speech on tax reform in Missouri on Wednesday, in which the president said he hoped a tax reform package would address the costs of childcare.

“That’s so important to Ivanka Trump,” he said. “So important to my daughter, it’s one of her very big beliefs.”
Jesus. These people.

Great, But It's a Waste of Time

It will never pass. I might have tried to start with having Trump Org reimburse the SS for charges. Of course, that probably wouldn't pass, either.  The first thing you're going to have to do is find him in violation of the emoluments clause.  Then make some stronger laws against Presidents - and their families - profiting from the presidency in this way.

No, wait.  First thing:  get Trump out of that office.  That's going to take some serious Democrat re-evaluation of their own positions and outreach to voters in order to take the House and Senate in 2018.  I'm not picking up on any encouraging prospects for that.

Batshit, But Funny

[Presidential counselor Kellyanne] Conway, who has previously claimed that commentators who “talk smack” about Trump should be fired and journalists should be “forced” to report positively on the president, appeared on Pat Robertson’s “The 700 Club” on Tuesday to discuss how she views Trump. In her view, she said, the media should talk more about his “humility.”

CONWAY: The president understands the awesomeness of this job. He understands what a dangerous world in which we live. Look at what North Korea did just a few hours ago in threatening one of our greatest allies, Japan. And look at the devastation that many people are facing here, in Texas, and God forbid, perhaps in Louisiana next. And you have a president who understands that there are people in need, people who are suffering, people who are relying upon him to keep our country safe and prosperous. And there’s a great deal of humility that attaches to that.
What a crowd! What a turnout! Humbler words were never spoken.
In fact, one of Trump’s first comments during Hurricane Harvey was to boast about how he won Missouri. At no point during the first several days of the disaster did any of his tweets express sympathy for victims or provide information on emergency contacts or donations.

CONWAY: I think that what’s lost on many, many Americans, particularly the naysayers and the critics who seem to be working overtime these days, is that President Trump and his family have sacrificed mightily for him to vie for the presidency and indeed hold the presidency. Many people are motivated by power, by greed, by money, by influence, by status, by their future bankability when it comes to running for political office. But Donald Trump had all of that. He had the money. He had the status. He had the wealth. He had the bankability. He had the prestige. But he saw a greater calling. And he accepted that calling.

Trump has used his office for personal enrichment from day one, appointing his family members to government jobs, using government resources to advertise his private resorts, and pocketing money from the Secret Service budget until they ran out of money. Trump has never been motivated by the slightest apparent desire to help anybody except himself.


Throughout his career, he has faced blistering condemnation for his record of steamrollering less powerful people to get his way.

Indeed, in 2016, one former campaign strategist and pollster in particular made a notable criticism of Trump for his ego and disregard for others, saying he “built a lot of his business on the backs of the little guy.”

That strategist’s name? Kellyanne Conway.
Sometimes those types are called whores.


...but hey, do what you will anyway.

If You Really Want to Know the Dangers from Harvey...

Read Charles Pierce's article today.

If you'd rather not know how the rest of the US, and perhaps the rest of the world is teetering on disaster, do something else.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

By the way...The Huffington Post took down that article about Galveston and the bio lab.  No explanation.

It may be here:  Worries About a Galveston Bio Lab

Maybe what happened to the HuffPo piece - Pierce is running a check on his previous post.

Pentagon: Oh, By the Way, We've Been Lying

The Pentagon has acknowledged that the number of the US troops deployed in Afghanistan stands at 11,000, significantly higher than figures voiced previously.

The troop levels, aimed at “more transparency,” were revealed at a joint news briefing by the Pentagon’s Chief Spokesperson and Joint Staff Director Wednesday.

The new numbers add 2,600 to the previously voiced figure of 8,400.


“This is not a troop increase,” Pentagon Chief spokeswoman Dana White specifically said.

Instead, the latest voiced figure is a “reality over the past 6 months” the Joint Staff Director added.

The 8,400 troops cap for Afghanistan was imposed during the Obama administration.


“We had to change how they were accounting for them, because there were so many different pockets,” Mattis said earlier in August. “We in this building couldn’t figure it out. I had to change the accounting process because we couldn’t figure out how many troops we had there.”

On purpose, no doubt.
Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White declined to provide US troop numbers for Iraq and Syria.
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

He's Trying, But He Just Doesn't Get It


He's pathetic.  He put "Houston" in this note, no doubt because he got bad press for not going there yesterday.

Just doesn't get it.

Mad Dog Is Working Overtime

First he put Trump's transgender ban on hold. Now, he's got to rein in the tough talk on North Korea.
Donald Trump appeared to rule out contacts with the North Korean regime in the wake of its missile test over Japan on Wednesday, declaring: “Talking is not the answer.”

Minutes later, however, the defense secretary, James Mattis, flatly contradicted the president’s blanket statement, telling reporters: “We’re never out of diplomatic solutions.”


Trump’s declaration, delivered as usual in the form of a tweet, appeared to reflect frustration that his threats of “fire and fury” against North Korea earlier this month had failed to deter it from carrying out missile tests. He had recently claimed, after a lull of more than three weeks in such tests, that Kim Jong-un “is starting to respect us”.


Some speculated that Trump’s tweet could have been sparked by comments made on television overnight by the former US intelligence chief James Clapper, who said the US had “limited options” in dealing with a North Korean regime that has demonstrated its ability to build nuclear warheads and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

“We may have to hold our nose and we may have to consider some concessions,” Clapper told CNN. Days earlier, Trump responded angrily to Clapper openly questioning his mental fitness for office.

I'd say the speculators are on the right trail.
Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association. “Pyongyang could have aimed the missiles to splash near Guam [instead of overshooting Japan] as it was planning.

“The timing could be important. The US and South Korea are putting on military exercises and Japan just put on unilateral sanctions, and Pyongyang always responds to provocations and provocations.”
Can't wait to see Mad Dog Mattis' biography post-Trump administration.

On This Day in 1944 a Gem Was Born

Happy Birthday, Molly Ivins. 
We're missing you.

Aug 30, 1944 - Jan 31, 2007

There It Is

Just went to Texas to see himself on the TV. Didn't come out the way he was imagining it would.

The rich thing about it is that he is single-handedly keeping newspapers and magazines alive, and drastically increasing ratings for those he calls "Fake News" TV.

Reagonomics Was a Disaster the First Time Around

So, let's do it again.

Heads up, Missouri.
President Donald Trump will kick off his lobbying effort for a tax overhaul at an event with a Midwestern manufacturing backdrop and some economic tough talk.

The one thing missing? A detailed proposal.

Instead, in Springfield, Missouri, Wednesday, Trump will give remarks that the White House said will focus on his “vision” for spurring job creation and economic growth by cutting rates and revising the tax code. Details will come later, officials said, when lawmakers work them out.

Plan? Who needs a plan? He just wants adulation. Maybe if I sound like Reagan, people will adore me some more and say nice things about me.  "Vision."
After failing to deliver on seven years of promises to repeal and replace Obamacare, many Republicans believe they must produce on taxes or face a reckoning in next year’s congressional midterm elections. If they don’t have something to show for full control of Congress and the White House, voters could try to take it all away, beginning with the GOP’s House majority.
One can only hope.
Trump is kicking the effort off in Springfield, considered the birthplace of the historic Route 66 highway, known as “America’s Main Street.” Emphasizing domestic jobs, he’s appearing at the Loren Cook Company, which manufactures fans, gravity vents, laboratory exhaust systems and energy recovery ventilators.
Perfect. All things windy.
Trump is expected to continue his sales pitch and Republicans are hoping the president commits in a way he never did for health care.
I wouldn't be a bit surprised. He actually cares about tax cuts for corporations, because he has one. He doesn't care about health care, because he doesn't need more.
“He’s a liability,” said Republican consultant Rick Tyler. “He proved that in the whole health care repeal and replace. He just can’t stay focused on one thing.”
Yes, there is THAT issue.
[Economic adviser Gary] Cohn said the White House and GOP leaders have agreed on a “good skeleton” for a tax overhaul, and said the House tax-writing committee would be drafting legislation while the White House tries to sell the plan.
And that skeleton is you miserable Trumpettes who are barely scraping by as it is.  Is this going to be like the health care legislation with Republicans? We don't get to see what they're working on, and they won't tell anyone what they're voting on?
White House officials declined to discuss details Tuesday. Trump has promised the largest tax cut ever, saying he’d like to see the corporate tax rate drop from a top tax rate of 35 percent to a top rate of 15 percent.
Jesus Christ. They already pay pretty much nothing. Get ready to be even more seriously screwed, Trumpettes.  What's YOUR tax rate, eh?
A key challenge is to frame a tax plan that could include cuts for corporations and top earners as a boon for the middle class.
Because it worked so well under Reagan. Trickle down, indeed. Down your leg.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.


After watching this morning's cable news reports that he didn't even spare a word for the victims of Harvey.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

UPDATE - fifteen minutes later...

Yep, he just went to Texas to see himself on the TV. Didn't come out the way he was imagining it would.

What's funny is that he's single-handedly keeping newspapers and magazines alive, and drastically increasing ratings for those he calls "Fake News" TV.


Let's Have Another Nuclear Holocaust!

He wants a war so badly he can taste it. Nothing else will get the media on his side.

Interesting that Japan is so eager to align with us against North Korea.  Sure, North Korea CAN hurt them.  But we have already proven that we WILL.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.


Mad Dog Mattis blocks Dolt 45 for the second time in two days.
[D]efense secretary, James Mattis, flatly contradicted the president’s blanket statement, telling reporters: “We’re never out of diplomatic solutions.”



The deportation of a young Afghan man refused asylum by the [UK] Government has been dramatically stayed after the pilot of the plane he was supposed to be removed on refused to take off.

Samim Bigzad’s friends and family feared their efforts to prevent him being forced back to Kabul had failed when he was detained and booked on commercial flight to Afghanistan via Istanbul.


Mr Bigzad was repeatedly threatened by the Taliban because of his work for a construction company that had contracts with the Afghan government and American firms – both regarded as enemies by the Islamist insurgents.

After receiving phone calls telling him he would be beheaded by militants who knew where he lived and worked, he risked his life to reach the UK via Turkey, Greece and France, almost suffocating in a lorry from Calais.

He arrived in Britain in November 2015, moving to Kent to join relatives and care for his father, a British citizen and former Afghan national who suffers from mental illness after being imprisoned and tortured by the Taliban in the 1990s.

But Mr Bigzad was refused asylum and denied permission to appeal.


Campaigners travelled to Heathrow Airport to talk to unwitting passengers due to be on the same Turkish Airlines flight, in the hope they would raise objections to crew members.


Bridget Chapman, who organised the trip, said activists “very quietly” approached tourists at the check-in gate to explain their flight was being used to forcibly deport Mr Bigzad.

“We asked people to do whatever they were comfortable with raising it with airline staff,” she told The Independent.


[C]ampaigners “genuinely thought they had failed” when the flight eventually took off 45 minutes late.

But later that evening she received a message from a British woman who had been hosting Mr Bigzad in Margate saying he was back in a UK detention centre.


“We don’t know the name of the pilot but there are so many people who would like to thank him.”


Regulations issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency state that a pilot is responsible for the “safety of the aircraft and of all crew members, passengers and cargo on board”, giving them power over who boards the plane and when or if it takes off.


“Samim said they were in the tunnel by the door when the pilot came out and said: ‘You’re not going to take him, I’m not flying. Someone’s life is at risk.’

“The guards took him back to Brook House – I really don’t know what will happen next.”

  UK Independent
Assume it was a Turkish pilot. I don't know.

The Free Market at Work

Best Buy doesn't normally sell water. They would have bought this water just for this purpose - to gouge customers in need.

"Unpopular", Kurt?

It's ignorant.

Kurt needs to get out of his books and into life a little bit. There's no getting more water into a disaster area by the market route.  And even if there were, water is an absolute necessity.  If people can't get it from their taps, are they to go without if they don't have enough money?  "Would you rather" implies a choice.  Capitalism at its most inhumane.

I bet they do.
"This was a big mistake on the part of a few employees at one store on Friday," a Best Buy spokesperson told CNBC. "As a company we are focused on helping, not hurting affected people. We're sorry and it won't happen again. Not as an excuse but as an explanation, we don't typically sell cases of water. The mistake was made when employees priced a case of water using the single-bottle price for each bottle in the case."

Which is why they added the "limited supply" note.

Good excuse.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Lordy! Jim Bakker Is Out and Loud

No, not gay. Although he could be, I don't know. He's out of prison and mouthing off. And he has another TV show! You can't keep a good God botherer down.
Televangelist Jim Bakker is predicting that Christians would begin a second civil war in the U.S. if President Trump were impeached. "If it happens, there will be a civil war in the United States of America. The Christians will finally come out of the shadows, because we are going to be shut up permanently if we're not careful," he said on "The Jim Bakker Show" in a clip highlighted by Right Wing Watch.


"God says faith without works is dead. We have to do things, God has been standing with me, and I don't know about you, it's time for preachers like you, you've been doing it, to stand up and shout out," Bakker told a pastor on the show.


Bakker served nearly five years in prison for fraud and conspiracy connected to his original television program, "The PTL Club." The former "prosperity gospel" preacher resigned from the ministry in 1987 after he was accused of rape by Jessica Hahn.

  The Hill
"The Christians will finally come out of the shadows."  If only they were actually in them.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

UN Human Rights Chief: Trump Media Attacks Could "Trigger Violence"

The UN human rights chief said Wednesday that President Donald Trump's relentless attacks on the media could trigger violence against journalists, suggesting the US leader would be responsible.

"I believe it could amount to incitement," Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said, referring to Trump's verbal attacks on major US news outlets like the New York Times and CNN.

  New India Express
So far all it's incited is sneers, jeers and shouted epithets. He's playing with fire, though.  And it's no doubt that what he's doing creates an atmosphere of fear and self-censorship amongst reporters.  That's a win for him.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Typical Trump Appointment

What an unfortunate Twitter handle:  usedgov

...but hey, do what you will anyway.


It was a presidential trip to a deluged state where the president didn’t meet a single storm victim, see an inch of rain or get near a flooded street.

But the daylong visit, during which President Donald Trump spent far more time in the air than on the ground, gave the optics-obsessed president some of the visuals he wanted, as he checked in on the government apparatus working on relief efforts and was buoyed by a roaring crowd of locals.

And it showed that the president, who often obsesses about crowd size and fame while speaking in hyperbolic superlatives, would not drop those traits even amid hurricane cleanup. He praised his Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator, Brock Long, for becoming “famous” during his frequent TV appearances, talked repeatedly about the historic nature of the storm and marveled at adoring Texas residents who greeted him.

“What a crowd, what a turnout,” Trump said, wearing khakis and a storm jacket — an unusual look for him — while waving a Texas state flag before about 1,000 people gathered across a rural Texas highway.

Hmmm. I wonder how 1,000 people knew where he was going to be for this little event.

Praise for becoming "famous."
There were few interactions with people who hadn’t been screened, and the president spent far more time flying Tuesday — at least eight hours — than on the ground, where he spent about three hours. Reporters traveling with Trump saw little more than he did, often quickly whisked from rooms or away from survivors or volunteers.


Advisers saw the storm as a way for Trump to show decisive leadership. While the famed germophobe has never shown a streak of being the consoler-in-chief, these people said the hurricane gives his government a chance to show competency — and him as the chief executive of the response.


In typical hyperbolic fashion, Trump continually heaped adjectives on the storm. Over and over, he said the country had never seen rain like this — or for so long — or so much damage.

“Probably there has never been anything so expensive in our country’s history; we’ve never done anything so historic in terms of damage and in terms of ferocity as what we’ve witnessed with Harvey,” Trump said.
Super Fail.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

"Mattress Mack" - Capitalist, "Social Worker at Heart"

He's Getting a Second Chance

Donald Trump will return to Texas on Saturday, the White House confirmed, following a trip with first lady Melania Trump on Tuesday at which the president met local residents with the greeting: “What a crowd, what a turnout.”

Any bets on whether he'll read scripted speeches or double down on his failure from Tuesday's trip?

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

ACLU Sues Trump Over Transgender Policy

Along with Mattis' halt of the order, the ACLU is suing on behalf of several transgender military officers and enlisted.
Our lawsuit argues that the ban violates the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and substantive due process by singling out transgender individuals for unequal and discriminatory treatment.


Military, medical and legal experts have concluded that allowing open service by transgender individuals, many of whom have been serving in silence for years, does not disrupt military readiness or unit cohesion and imposes negligible costs. By contrast, barring transgender individuals from joining the military and discharging those who are already serving is exceedingly costly and undermines national security and military readiness.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Other Nazis Among Us

This is crazy. ICE is asking for permission to destroy records of agent assaults (up to and including death) on people in their detention facilities. And it looks like they may get it. That's Nazi concentration camp stuff.

Mattis Brakes Trump

This is truly remarkable.

I didn't know he could.

Kudos to Mattis. Watch your back, sir.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis late Tuesday announced that transgender troops will be allowed to continue serving in the military pending the results of a study by experts.

The announcement follows an order from President Trump — first announced in a tweet — declaring that transgender service members can no longer serve in the military, effectively reversing an Obama administration policy.


[Trump] directed Mattis to study the issue and determine how to implement Trump's [order].


"Once the panel reports its recommendations and following my consultation with the secretary of Homeland Security, I will provide my advice to the president concerning implementation of his policy direction," Mattis said in the statement. "In the interim, current policy with respect to currently serving members will remain in place."


As Defense Secretary, Mattis has emphasized that he has little tolerance for policies that detract from military readiness or the Pentagon's effectiveness on the battlefield. At the last moment in June, he delayed the Pentagon's plan to accept new transgender troops. His reasoning: He demanded more study to determine the effect of recruiting them on the Pentagon's ability to fight and win wars.


Last year, the Pentagon commissioned a study by the non-partisan RAND Corp. to examine the effects on military readiness of allowing transgender troops to serve openly and the cost of providing them medical treatment. The study estimated that a few to several thousand transgender troops are on the active duty force of 1.3 million. Researchers found that paying for their health care needs would amount to about $8 million per year and their effect on readiness would be negligible.


A new study indicates that the cost of discharging and replacing transgender people in the U.S. military will be steep. At a total cost of around $960 million dollars.

  USA Today

I guess he missed a general.