Thursday Reads: Hurricane Devastates Florida, Georgia, as Trump Holds Another Hitler-Style Rally

Carl Brandien, Hurricane at Tarpon Bend, September 15, 1945

Good Morning!!

Hurricane Michael has weakened to a tropical storm and is moving up the coast after devastating parts of Florida and Georgia. We’re already getting rain from it and it looks like we’ll be getting several inches over today and tomorrow. It has been raining steadily here for weeks.

My mom heard from her brother in Tallahassee this morning. He has no power, but otherwise things are ok there except for tree damage. I just hope J.J. is okay. I emailed her this morning, but she might not have power either.

The Washington Post: Hurricane Michael live updates: Deadly Category 4 storm pummels Florida, moves north.

Hurricane Michael roared ashore Wednesday near the Florida Panhandle, one of the most intense hurricanes to ever hit the United States. With winds as high as 155 mph, the Category 4 storm slammed coastal towns in the area, leveling buildings and structures, flooding streets and leaving a trail of destruction. One veteran storm chaser said that Panama City was so badly damaged it looked like it had been struck by a bomb.

The storm had moved toward Georgia and Alabama by the evening, the first Category 3 hurricane to hit Georgia since 1898. Though its strength had decreased, the risk of damage from high winds and heavy rains remained across wide swaths of the Southeast….

Images of the destruction in coastal Florida towns circulated widely Wednesday night, shocking even seasoned storm chasers and weather watchers. Smith, the sheriff of Franklin County, a coastal patch south of Tallahassee, told CNN that the county was nearly isolated after most of the main roads were rendered impassable from flooding and downed trees.

“It’s bad,” he said. “We’ve been through hurricanes but never where we were completely cut off like this.”

Linda Albrecht, a councilwoman in Mexico Beach, spoke to the network about leaving her home with only a few essential objects.

“It feels like a nightmare,” she said.“ Looking at the pictures, I’m thinking there is not a house left in that town.”

Click over to the WaPo to see stunning photos and videos.

While Michael was kicking Florida’s ass, Trump was at one of his Hitler-style rallies in Erie, Pennsylvania. CBS News:

President Trump met with supporters and held a “Make America Great Again” rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, Wednesday, hours after Hurricane Michael made landfall on the Florida Panhandle. This was Mr. Trump’s second rally this week, as he fulfills his promise to campaign for Republicans around the country ahead of the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

Mr. Trump had considered postponing his trip due to the hurricane, but told reporters that thousands were probably already lined up for the event in Pennsylvania, so he would go.

I’m sure no one would have minded much. I don’t know how those people aren’t bored out of their minds with Trump’s endless gloating over the 2016 election.

The president also recounted his 2016 in vivid detail, going through his wins state by state, including Pennsylvania. He said that Pennsylvania was like the “person who got away” for Republicans before he won the state.

Even Fox News is bored with the Hitler rallies. Politico: Trump, no longer ratings gold, loses his prime-time spot on Fox News.

President Donald Trump loves to brag about ratings, but he’s not getting them anymore.

As he’s ramped up his rally schedule ahead of the midterms, viewership numbers for the raucous prime-time events have been roughly similar to — sometimes dipping below — Fox News’ regular programming, and the network has recently stopped airing most evening events in full.

During three Trump rallies last week, Fox News showed clips and highlights from his speeches but stuck largely with its normal weekday prime-time programming. On Saturday, when “Fox Report Weekend” and “Justice with Judge Jeanine” would ordinarily air, the network showed Trump’s speech from Topeka, Kan., in full. But on Tuesday, a rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, was particularly hard to find — it was not aired live on any major network, and even C-SPAN cut away for other news. And on Wednesday night, as Trump took the stage in Erie, Pa., at 7 p.m., Fox News stuck with its coverage of Hurricane Michael.

An op-ed in The New York Times reports on a new study of Trump’s voters and discovers they didn’t support him out of economic anxiety. Surprise surprise!

The 2016 election is almost two years behind us, but arguments over why Donald Trump won haven’t stopped. Because Mr. Trump drew support from white voters with less formal education — the “white working class” — many attributed his victory to Americans’ economic anxiety.

But this narrative has obscured the true nature of Mr. Trump’s coalition. On the whole, Trump voters were never extraordinarily economically distressed. And now the economically distressed are actually less likely to approve of Mr. Trump’s performance as president.

Traditional ways of measuring people’s views of the economy often suffer from partisan bias: People are more likely to say that the economy is doing better when their party controls the White House. For example, immediately after Mr. Trump’s election, and well before he could do anything to affect the economy, the percentage of Republicans who said the economy was getting better increased from 15 percent in October 2016 to 80 percent in February 2017, according to Gallup polls. Over the same time period, Democrats became less favorable about the economy.

To avoid this issue, we asked a set of different questions in the May 2018 Views of the Electorate Research Survey, a project of the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group. A sample of 6,000 Americans told us whether they had experienced a variety of negative financial events over the last year — including a drop in income, a job loss, or difficulty paying monthly bills. They also reported whether they had savings and felt financially prepared for the unexpected, as well as their overall feelings about their finances, job, income, savings and debt. Answers to these questions were only weakly associated with people’s identity as Democrats or Republicans and therefore better captured their true economic situation.

The results showed that minorities of Americans reported an acute economic struggle in the previous year. Eight percent said they or their spouse had lost a job. The percentage who had difficulty making a payment for their mortgage or other major expenses ranged between 7 and 14 percent.

Guess who reported the most “economic anxiety?”

In reality, it is people of color who report the most distress — a fact that is not surprising but stands out clearly in the new data. Hispanic-Americans without a college degree averaged 37 on this index and African-Americans without a college degree averaged 32. In fact, African-Americans with a college degree reported slightly more distress (30, on average) than whites without a college degree.

Read more at the link. I know no one here is surprised.

The biggest political story right now is the disappearance of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi after he entered the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, Turkey. Last night, the Washington Post reported that U.S. intelligence sources had picked up conversations between Saudi officials discussing a plan by Jared Kushner’s best buddy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to eliminate Khashoggi.

The crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, ordered an operation to lure Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia from his home in Virginia and then detain him, according to U.S. intelligence intercepts of Saudi officials discussing the plan.

The intelligence, described by U.S. officials familiar with it, is another piece of evidence implicating the Saudi regime in Khashoggi’s disappearance last week after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Turkish officials say that a Saudi security team lay in wait for the journalist and killed him.

Khashoggi was a prominent critic of the Saudi government and Mohammed in particular.

Why wasn’t Khashoggi warned? Did Trump and Kushner prevent such a warning?

A bipartisan group of Senators is pressuring Trump to take action against Saudi Arabia. CBS News:

The letter, written by Republican Sens. Bob Corker and Lindsey Graham and Democratic Sens. Bob Menendez and Patrick Leahy, called for Mr. Trump to investigate Khashoggi’s disappearance under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, which allows the president to impose sanctions on a person or country that has engaged in a human rights violation. The investigation is triggered by a letter to the president from the chair and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Corker and Menendez, respectively.

Once Mr. Trump has determined “whether a foreign person is responsible for an extrajudicial killing, torture, or other gross violation of internationally recognized human rights against an individual exercising freedom of expression,” according to the letter, he must report to the committee within 120 days with a decision on the imposition of retaliatory sanctions.

Corker spoke with reporters after the letter was released, and he emphasized that senators “specifically said it included the highest members of the regime” and could “absolutely” lead to U.S. sanctions targeting the Saudi Crown Prince,  Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud.

According to James Hohmann at The Washington Post, Trump doesn’t want to restrict arms sales to the Saudis.

Trump suggested that he would oppose any push from Capitol Hill to restrict future arms sales to the longtime U.S. ally on the grounds it could cost Americans their jobs. “Well, I think that would be hurting us,” he told Fox. “We have jobs. We have a lot of things happening in this country. … Part of that is what we are doing with our defense systems and everybody is wanting them and, frankly, I think that would be a very, very tough pill to swallow for our country. … And, you know, they are always quick to jump that way.”

The president finished his answer by hedging, saying he wants to gather all the facts first. “The very talented people are involved. And we will get to the bottom of it,” Trump said. “I do hate to commit to what recourse we’d take … It’s just too early.”

— The exchange underscored the difficult balancing act facing Trump, as he struggles to navigate the fraught geopolitics of the Middle East while appearing responsive to growing bipartisan outrage about the possible murder of a 59-year-old dissident who has been living in Virginia on the eve of his planned wedding. Saudi Arabia is the largest oil exporter in the world, the biggest buyer of American weapons and the main counterweight to Iran. The Trump administration has built its entire strategy for the region, including a bid for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, around fostering close ties with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman.

We may not live in a dictatorship yet, but the “president” is acting like a tyrant anyway. Let’s hope the Democrats can at least take the House in the upcoming midterms so there will be some check on executive power.

What stories are you following today?


61 Comments on “Thursday Reads: Hurricane Devastates Florida, Georgia, as Trump Holds Another Hitler-Style Rally”

  1. bostonboomer says:

  2. bostonboomer says:

    How can this be legal? Shouldn’t he have to step down as SOS when he’s a candidate?

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    Nothing matters more to the Kushner family – besides money, of course – then Israel and Bibi.

    Jared sought the Saudi’s influence in the Israeli/Palestinian matter and “promises” were made to the newest tyrant to the throne. We promised to look away from the genocide in Yemen as long as the Saudi’s approved and guaranteed Israel’s interests. Quid pro quo

    The mideast situation was handed over to an inexperienced real estate developer and god only knows how this inept handling is going to turn out. A bunch of amateurs playing “diplomats” in a centuries old vendetta – what could possibly go wrong?

    Wit President Nincompoop at the helm we are watching a march to authoritarianism and the lack of intelligent thought and diplomacy has about disappeared. The Idiot in Chief is enthralled by Putin, Kim Jung Il, and now this murdering Saudi dictator all with blood on their hands.

    Meanwhile nothing is heard from in congress that would seek to steer the ship of state in the correct direction as they sit back and enable the Lunatic in Chief to play “footsies” with dictatorships.

    Where in hell is Mueller???

    • quixote says:

      Yes. He’s taken long enough that every check and balance is corrupted except *maybe* the voters. He’ll have a great case and no Supreme Court to enforce it.

  4. Old Guy says:

    According to climate scientists this storm is just a warm up for what we are in store for as the climate warms. We could have almost total devestation of our plant in the next century if our carbon build up does not get under control.

    I know a lot of republicans who have voted republican for decades. The don’t vote republican for racial reasons.

    • Enheduanna says:

      Florida panhandle is a deeply conservative area. I think Mother Nature just sent them a clue.

      At any rate – I don’t wish that kind of harm on anyone. I just wish they’d wake up.

      • Old Guy says:

        Do you think that is true of all areas that get storms, droughts and bad whether or just the Florida panhandle. I don’t like gheir politics either and am not defending them.

        • Enheduanna says:

          I’m 100% sure storms and acts of nature have no political agenda – lol.

          Florida is doomed. I grew up there in a beautifully idyllic setting on the Gulf coast in the late 1950’s up to 1967. It breaks my heart to see what is happening there.

    • quixote says:

      Hurricane Michael was this little nothing storm south of Cuba, spun up to a Cat 1 overnight, and then to a Cat 3 in another couple of days.

      That super-fast progression is another hallmark of warming: very warm water will have that effect.

      Was it one of JJ’s cartoons yesterday? The frogs are sitting in their two pots of warming water and the billionaire fossil fuel frog is gloating at the plain old frogs: My pot’s 24 karat!

    • Gregory P says:

      The models that climate scientists are using are way to conservative. We are going to blow by the 2 degree C threshold much sooner than expected. Ocean acidification has to be one of the gravest concerns we have along with extreme climate events. Some countries are actually actively working to solve these problems. China and some European nations are trying to reforest their countries by planting billions of trees. Unfortunately, with the traditional forests in the US depleted and the Amazon forest being decimated there isn’t much hope. If we planted 2 trillion trees, stopped using fossil fuels completely and lowered the birth rates of our species we might have a chance to prevent the extinction of our species and most everything else. But we have to do those things right now. There is no time to lose. The reality is that our species isn’t going to stop until all the resources on this planet are used up and everything is gone.

      • quixote says:

        I’d change that slightly: our species isn’t going to stop until it has no choice. I think that point will come well before extinction. I’ve seen what look like well-sourced estimates saying the likeliest outcome of business-as-usual is that the resulting environmental disasters, famines, wars, migrations put us back to 1850s-1910 level of technology.

        And some three to four billion dead….

        The tech part doesn’t sound too bad until you remember that most people didn’t have flush toilets or central heat or AC or any kind of personal transport at that time.

        But, yes, you’re right. People have to react like this is a bigger threat than WWII, because it is. And they’re not going to.

  5. NW Luna says:

    Ursula K. Le Guin, loved by millions for her fantasy and science-fiction novels, ponders life, death and the vast beyond in “So Far So Good” (Copper Canyon), an astute, charming collection finished weeks before her death in January. Fans will recognize some of the motifs here — cats, wind, strong women — as well as her exploration of the intersection between soul and body, the knowable and the unknown.

  6. quixote says:

    The racism was a huge factor. And the misogyny was a huge factor.

    Misogyny was a huge factor.

    It would be nice if articles stopped disappearing that issue, because if we don’t face it we (USians) will be just as susceptible to sexist social media and MSM trolling. We really need to be aware of how the buttons are being pushed.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Yeah, they never seem to mention that–just that people hate Hillary. It’s not just Hillary; it’s all women who seek power, advancement, control of our bodies and lives, and even justice for sexual predators.

    • Enheduanna says:

      It’s only very recently the press has noticed mass-killers are usually deeply disturbed about women.

      The problem is so much of the press themselves are misogynist aholes.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    • bostonboomer says:

      • bostonboomer says:

        Crooks and Liars:

        By his own admission, West is bipolar and stopped taking his medication recently.

        I will not exploit his mental illness, particularly in Mental Illness Awareness Week. As I write, MSNBC pundits are wondering aloud about the “bonkers” press conference, as if a mentally ill person rambling for 20 minutes from the White House is appropriate.

        Donald Trump used Kanye West and his illness for political expedience. That is sick, disgusting, and I will not exploit West further. I’m writing this post so you know why Crooks and Liars has no video clips, transcripts, or other coverage. If we take a hit on our traffic, so be it.

        • NW Luna says:

          “stopped taking his meds” Uh-oh.

          I recall when a patient called our clinic to say he’d stopped his meds and “felt great! I feel like I could do anything! I have no worries!” We all looked at each other and said “Oh, hell.”

  8. dakinikat says:

    Trump needs to stop fellating murderous dictators. We need to cut off arms to the Saudis between this and Yemen we’re doing much harm in the MENA region.

  9. NW Luna says:

  10. bostonboomer says:

  11. bostonboomer says:

  12. dakinikat says:

    Well, it’s looking a lot more like recession time!

    • NW Luna says:

      Lovely time for any of us inching closer to retirement (if we can afford to) and those already there, eh?

    • NW Luna says:

  13. bostonboomer says:

  14. dakinikat says:

  15. Sweet Sue says:

    Reporting from NE Ohio: this is the second year in a row that we have absolutely no fall color. Is that because of climate change. I do miss autumn.

    • quixote says:

      At least for maples, fall color requires a cold snap followed by more balmy weather. The cold snap is probably missing these days.

    • NW Luna says:

      In the Pacific NW, we need to have enough rain in late summer or most deciduous leaves dry up before turning color. This year is good. Lots of flaming red leaves on the blueberries in alpine meadows. We had a heavy snow winter over 2017/2018 and so there was good residual and underground snowmelt water through the summer.

  16. RonStill4Hills says:

    Trump and Kanye meeting is an Epic Fail…. Hmm two titanic assholes lacking in discipline and self control results in massive shitshow. Go figure.

  17. bostonboomer says:

  18. bostonboomer says:

    Check out this hostage video, the forced smile, the way he grips her shoulder and shakes her. This is an abused woman and her abuser.

  19. bostonboomer says: