Thursday Reads: Hurricane Devastates Florida, Georgia, as Trump Holds Another Hitler-Style RallyPosted: October 11, 2018
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.
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?