Hurricane Florence coverage is dominating the news as the storm approaches the Carolinas. Will the storm live up to the hype? For the sake of the people in it’s path, I hope it continues to weaken.
Hurricane Florence is making its final approach to the Carolinas, with landfall possible either overnight tonight or Friday, kicking off an agonizing crawl through the Southeast into early next week, producing catastrophic inland rainfall flooding, life-threatening storm surge and destructive winds.
As of Thursday morning, Florence’s eye was located about 160 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving northwestward.
Outer rainbands are already pushing ashore in eastern North Carolina, only the beginning of what could be a record wet siege from a tropical cyclone in parts of the Tar Heel State….
The National Hurricane Center noted Wednesday evening that while Florence has weakened some, “the wind field of the hurricane continues to grow in size. This evolution will produce storm surges similar to that of a more intense, but smaller, hurricane, and thus the storm surge values seen in the previous advisory are still valid.” [….]
“This will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portions of the Carolina coast,” the National Weather Service in Wilmington, North Carolina, wrote in its Tuesday evening area forecast discussion. A Wednesday morning forecast discussion said flooding in southeast North Carolina and northeast South Carolina could be “unprecedented.”
The storm was about 145 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and 195 miles off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Thursday as of 8 a.m. EST. But with tropical force winds extending almost 200 miles from the center, Florence was a poised to bring havoc well before making landfall.
That could happen sometime Friday, probably somewhere near the states’ border. FEMA administrator Brock Long urged people in mandatory evacuation areas to get out. And he warned that the storm cleanup will take time and patience….
More than 1 million people were evacuated from coastal areas, and 10 million live within areas of hurricane or tropical storm warnings and watches. Storm surge of up to 13 feet will be “life threatening” and rainfall of up to 40 inches will mean “catastrophic” flooding, he National Hurricane Center said.
“We want to continue to send the message that this monster of a storm is not one to ride out,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said.
Some folks still plan stay put, according to the article.
Meanwhile, we learned a couple of days ago that the Trump regime stole money from FEMA to pay for it’s child separation policy and immigrant concentration camps. But it turns out the situation is even worse than we thought.
The Trump administration this summer quietly redirected $200 million from all over the Department of Homeland Security to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, despite repeated congressional warnings of ICE’s “lack of fiscal discipline” and “unsustainable” spending.
The Department of Homeland Security asked for the money, according to a document made public this week by Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley. Of the $200 million, the document says $93 million will go to immigrant detention, a 3% budget increase that will fund capacity for an additional 2,300 detainees; and $107 million for “transportation and removal,” or deportations, a 29% budget increase.
The additional $200 million would put ICE’s budget for detention and transportation at more than $3.6 billion.
The money came from different parts of DHS, including FEMA, the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office, Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers, Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration, cybersecurity office and Customs and Border Protection.
Read the rest at CNN.
The residents of the states in the Florence’s path should be very nervous. This morning Trump again attacked Puerto Rico on Twitter. CNN: Trump falsely claims nearly 3,000 Americans in Puerto Rico ‘did not die.’
Nearly 3,000 people died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. President Donald Trump denied this reality as a hurricane barrels toward the Carolinas.
“3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000,” he said in a tweet Thursday morning as Carolinians prepared to be pummeled by Hurricane Florence.
Earlier this month, the island’s governor formally raised the death toll from Hurricane Maria to an estimated 2,975 from 64 following a study conducted by researchers at The George Washington University. CNN’s own reporting reflects similar numbers. The university study accounted for Puerto Ricans who succumbed to the stifling heat and other aftereffects of the storm and had not been previously counted in official figures. Much of the US territory was without power for weeks.
Trump has consistently denied any fault for his administration in the aftermath of the storm. In fact, the President has instead sought praise for his handling of Hurricane Maria, saying earlier this week that it was “an incredible, unsung success.” [….]
“I think Puerto Rico was incredibly successful,” Trump said Tuesday in the Oval Office, noting that the island location is “tough” during a hurricane due to the inability to transport vital equipment and supplies by truck. “It was one of the best jobs that’s ever been done with respect to what this is all about.”
Whether or not FEMA is prepared and has the necessary funds, Trump will claim he did a fabulous job.
The Senate Intelligence Committee met this morning, and they decided to postpone the vote on Brett Kavanaugh until next Thursday, Sept. 20 at 1:45PM after Democrats successfully pushed for the
delay. CBS News:
Under the committee rules, any member can ask for a one-week delay on the vote of a nominee. After numerous Democrats deployed a strategy of holding up hearing business, citing lack of access to documents pertaining to Kavanaugh’s record, the minority pushed for another delay in the confirmation process.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, began the committee’s business by motioning to adjourn “to make sure we have the time and information we need, the documents, the facts, the witnesses in order to proceed on the Kavanaugh nomination.”
“This nomination is going to be tainted, it will be stained by process…broken the traditions of this committee.” He added the nomination was rushed through to judgement in a “highly partisan and unfortunately failed way.”
Blumenthal argued that there’s an “even more urgent and pressing duty to get those documents and having witnesses to enable us to evaluate serious concerns raised as a result of evasive and seemingly misleading answers given to us at the hearing.”
Read more at the link. At least they bought time for more public opposition to Kavanaugh. Susan Collins of Maine has been subjected to sustained pressure, and she hasn’t handled it well at all.
On Monday, Sen. Susan Collins accused political opponents of Judge Brett Kavanaugh of attempted “bribery.” The charge itself is without any legal merit whatsoever. That complaints about the campaign finance effort came from Collins, Republican election lawyer Cleta Mitchell, and an aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell make the episode almost too rich to be believed. Their cries of bribery, illegality, and lack of principle lay bare the bankrupt campaign finance system that Mitchell and McConnell helped create and that Collins has contributed to with previous Supreme Court votes and will supersize with her likely vote to confirm Kavanaugh.
Collins labeled as a “bribe” a fundraising plan by two progressive Maine groups, aided by the company Crowdpac, to raise funds for Collins’ eventual opponent in 2020. People are pledging to give money via Crowdpac to that unknown future opponent, but donors will only be charged for the donation if Collins votes “yes” on Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. As of Tuesday night, the groups reported pledged donations of more than $1 million, with a $1.3 million goal. There were more than 39,000 individual pledges ranging from $1 to the maximum allowable donation to a candidate of $2,700.
Now we can argue about whether the political threat to Collins funded by tens of thousands of small donations should be illegal. But claims by Mitchell and others that the fundraising effort is illegal are wrong, in part thanks to the deregulated campaign finance system that Mitchell and others have helped to create through litigation and a sympathetic Supreme Court.
Read more at Slate.
For the past couple of days we’ve been hearing that Paul Manafort is negotiating for a plea deal to avoid having to go through a second trial. But it looks like he is still counting on a pardon from Trump once he’s finished with the legal process.
Today Politico reports that Trump and his legal team aren’t the least bit concerned.
At any time, Trump could wipe out Manafort’s earlier convictions and eliminate the need for the D.C. trial or a plea deal by pardoning Manafort. The president has sounded open to the idea, expressing deep sympathy for his former campaign chief….
Several aides and advisers have told POLITICO they believe Trump will grant clemency to Manafort, but Giuliani has said the president has agreed to put off any consideration of the issue until the Mueller probe concludes.
Asked Wednesday whether a plea deal would close the door on Manafort getting a Trump pardon, Giuliani replied, “No, it doesn’t. I can’t speak for his exercising discretion on a pardon. But I don’t see why it would foreclose it, no.”
Isn’t dangling a pardon obstruction and/or witness tampering? Giuiliani also revealed that Trump’s and Manafort’s attorneys are still in a joint defense agreement, so Trump is privy to everything Manafort is doing and vice versa.
Giuliani also confirmed that Trump’s lawyers and Manafort’s have been in regular contact and that they are part of a joint defense agreement that allows confidential information sharing.
“All during the investigation we have an open communication with them,” he said. “Defense lawyers talk to each other all the time where as long as our clients authorize it therefore we have a better idea of what’s going to happen. That’s very common.”
Giuliani confirmed he spoke with Manafort’s lead defense lawyer Kevin Downing shortly before and after the verdicts were returned in the Virginia trial, but the former mayor wouldn’t say what he discusses with the Manafort team. “It’d all be attorney-client privilege not just from our point of view but from theirs,” he said.
It appears the fix is in. For all we know the attorneys already could have worked out how they will handle the pardon. Of courses that still would not get Manafort off the hook for state charges or for being forced by Mueller to testify before the grand jury. But Giuliani says they won’t act on a pardon until the investigation is over, so I guess until it happens, Manafort could still take the fifth and refuse to answer questions. I hope Mueller refuses any plea that doesn’t include cooperation from Manafort.
So . . . what else is happening? Let us know your thoughts in the comment thread below.
So, here is the latest on Florence:
The 11am advisory:
SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT: A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for... * South Santee River South Carolina to Duck North Carolina * Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for... * Edisto Beach South Carolina to South Santee River South Carolina * North of Duck North Carolina to the North Carolina/Virginia border A Hurricane Warning is in effect for... * South Santee River South Carolina to Duck North Carolina * Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds A Hurricane Watch is in effect for... * Edisto Beach South Carolina to South Santee River South Carolina A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for... * North of Duck North Carolina to the North Carolina/Virginia border A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for... * North of the North Carolina/Virginia border to Cape Charles Light Virginia * Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort Interests elsewhere in the southeastern and mid-Atlantic states should monitor the progress of Florence.
If you want to keep track, just keep looking at the National Hurricane Center website.
Cartoons, if you please:
The asshole could not even do that….
Is that “!” really necessary? What the fuck?
It was a signal of what was to come:
Of course he is spewing today…
I hate tRump. He is such a fucking asshole.
And on that pleasant note…this is an open thread.
Today is the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
There’s a memorial ceremony going on in New York City, but Trump is in Shanksville, Pennsylvania for a Flight 93 event. I suppose he figured he wouldn’t be welcome in New York and he might get more votes out Pennsylvania. Anyway, this is a photo of his embarrassing behavior on arrival there.
This buffoon is not capable of acting appropriately in any situation. Remember when we had a dignified president?
Trump started the day with a series of tweets about his obsession with the Russia investigation and his campaign to destroy his own Department of Justice. NBC News:
President Donald Trump began the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by tweeting about the FBI, claims of possible collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia, and former Attorney General Eric Holder.
The tweets, apparently rehashing reports on Fox Business Network and Fox News, came as the president was traveling to a scheduled appearance at the Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania — the site where one of the planes hijacked on Sept. 11, 2001, crashed into a field.First, right after 7:00 a.m., Trump, appearing to quote from a Fox Business Network segment, tweeted, “‘We have found nothing to show collusion between President Trump & Russia, absolutely zero, but every day we get more documentation showing collusion between the FBI & DOJ, the Hillary campaign, foreign spies & Russians, incredible.’ @SaraCarterDC @LouDobbs.”
Lou Dobbs is a Fox Business anchor, while Sara Carter is a Fox News contributor. She posted an article Monday night alleging that officials from the FBI and Justice Department leaked information to the media.
The “leak strategy” That the moron in chief and other idiots complained about was an effort by Peter Strzok to stop leaks from the FBI.
“The term ‘media leak strategy’ in Mr. Strzok’s text refers to a Department-wide initiative to detect and stop leaks to the media. The President and his enablers are once again peddling unfounded conspiracy theories to mislead the American people,” Goelman said.
Read the tweets and more at the link. This is the “president.” he spends most of his time sitting around watching TV and tweeting ignorant nonsense and the rest ranting at his staff or at paid audiences at his Hitler-style rallies.
Seventeen years out from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the nation comes together Tuesday to mourn and remember a day that changed history.
The country watched in horror as hijacked airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The attack killed 2,996 people, making it the deadliest foreign attack ever on U.S. soil.
Ceremonies begin in New York City on the 9/11 Memorial plaza at the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. Family members of victims of the 2001 and 1993 attacks, and they have been invited to participate in this year’s reading of the names.
President Donald Trump will pay tribute to the victims at a ceremony in western Pennsylvania. First lady Melania Trump will accompany her husband to the event.
The Shanksville ceremony will include the sounds of the Tower of Voices, a 93-foot-tall concrete and steel structure featuring a wind chime for each person on board with its own distinctive sound. The tower is the final phase of the 2,200-acre Flight 93 National Memorial.
The site is live streaming both events.
In other news, a powerful category 4 hurricane is bearing down on the mid-Atlantic coast and and another is bearing down on the Trump White House in the form of Bob Woodward’s book, which was released today.
From the ABC News 11 (Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, NC area): Hurricane Florence remains dangerous Cat 4 storm as it heads toward the Carolinas.
Hurricane Florence continues to be a dangerous Category 4 storm as it steams toward the U.S. East Coast, but a new wrinkle in the Gulf could affect its path.
It’s too early to know for sure, but a disturbance in the Gulf could form into Tropical Storm Joyce and potentially push Florence’s track northward — good news for many parts of North Carolina.
That’s just a possibility at this point, according to Chief Meteorologist Chris Hohmann.
So the situation is still fluid.
The Washington Post: Hurricane Florence: Watches posted as “extremely dangerous” storm churns toward Carolinas.
Large and violent Florence is continuing on a beeline toward the East Coast as an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 hurricane. Catastrophic flooding and destructive winds are becoming very likely in the eastern Carolinas.
Forecasts generally project the storm to make landfall between northern South Carolina and North Carolina’s Outer Banks as a strong Category 3 on Thursday, although shifts in the track are possible and storm impacts will expand great distances beyond where landfall occurs.
The National Hurricane Center is warning of an “extremely dangerous” triple threat in the Carolinas and Virginia:
1) A “life-threatening storm surge” at the coast — a rise in ocean water over normally dry land.
2) “Life-threatening freshwater flooding from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event” from the coast to interior sections.
3) “Damaging hurricane-force winds” at the coast and some distance inland.
Like Hurricane Harvey, which stalled over Texas in 2017, Florence could linger over the Southeast for several days after landfall unloading 15 to 20 inches of rain and isolated amounts to 30 inches. The Hurricane Center said this “could produce catastrophic flash flooding.” […..]
More than 1.5 million people have already been ordered to evacuate coastal areas ahead of the storm, due to both destructive winds and storm surge which could place normally dry land under at least 10 feet of water.
Read more at the WaPo.
On the Woodward book, I highly recommend this review at Slate by Isaac Chotiner: Nobody’s Heroes: Bob Woodward’s new book presents Trump staffers as our last line of defense. We’re doomed.
Nearly 300 pages into Bob Woodward’s new book, Fear: Trump in the White House, a West Wing aide named Zach Fuentes cautions fellow staffers. With depressingly familiar words, Fuentes informs his colleagues, “He’s not a detail guy. Never put more than one page in front of him. Even if he’ll glance at it, he’s not going to read the whole thing. Make sure you underline or put in bold the main points … you’ll have 30 seconds to talk to him. If you haven’t grabbed his attention, he won’t focus.” Some subjects, such as the military, do engage him, but the overwhelming picture is worrying and dire. Still, one could finish this passage and feel at least slightly relieved that people like Fuentes are aware of the reigning deficiencies in the White House, and doing their best to mitigate them.
Fuentes is merely an assistant to John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, but Kelly and James Mattis, the secretary of defense, are presented throughout Woodward’s book as being cognizant of the president’s extreme limitations and authoritarian instincts, and rather boldly willing to push back against their boss. This is why it’s probably worth mentioning that Fuentes wasn’t talking about Donald Trump; no, he was talking about John Kelly. And Woodward’s book—which arrived at around the same time as the already infamous, still-currently anonymous New York Times op-ed about the men and women in the executive branch supposedly working to protect America from Donald Trump—is as much a portrait of the craven, ineffective, and counterproductive group of “adults” surrounding Trump as it is a more predictable look into the president’s shortcomings. It’s not entirely clear how aware Woodward is of what he has revealed about the people he’s quoting at length. (Sources tend to come off well in his books.) But intentionally or not, Fear will make plain to the last optimist that, just as Republicans in Congress are unlikely to save us, neither are the relative grown-ups in the Trump administration.
(Emphasis added.) It’s a frightening but important read.
One more on Trump’s reactions to the book from Politico’s Annie Karni: Trump’s assault on Woodward riddled with contradictions.
President Donald Trump has called journalist Bob Woodward’s book on his administration a work of “fiction” and a “scam,” claiming that quotes in the book are “made up” and that the author is a “liar.”
At the same time, sources familiar with his thinking said he is livid at his former economic adviser, Gary Cohn, and his former staff secretary, Rob Porter, for “leaking” to Woodward.
It’s difficult to rationally argue that the book could be both: fiction dreamed up by Woodward, and a betrayal by former top stewards of the administration, who shared with the famed journalist alarming details about how the White House functions.
But it’s not hard for Trump, who often spouts two opposing views intended for different audiences. And his supporters often soak up the contradictory claims just as readily as he spits them out, taking it all in stride.
More Trump insanity at the link.I’ll add a few more links in the comment thread. What stories are you following today?