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The Chumph and Puerto Rico

Can you imagine the response from the Federal Government if any major city in the US was hit by a natural disaster that as a result it would lose electricity for 3-6 months?

Well..That just happened to Puerto Rico.

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Houston Hurricane Harvey –

President Donald Trump has already made a $7.9 billion request to Congress for emergency funding, which the House passed Wednesday. It’s just a starting point for total Harvey recovery spending; the White House says it plans to request an additional $6.7 billion soon…

Trump promised last Monday “you’re going to see very rapid action from Congress” about approving recovery dollars. “We’re going to get your funding,” he told Texans.

Florida Hurricane Irma –

Trump approves greater FEMA aid for 37 Florida counties

HURRICANE IRMA AND HARVEY $15B DISASTER FUND WON’T LAST 30 DAYS, SAYS EX-FEMA CHIEF

Puerto Rico –

The tragedy has received relatively little media coverage compared to Harvey and Hurricane Irma, and President Donald Trump hasn’t brought much attention to it.

As Puerto Rico reels from hurricane, Trump focuses on football

Yeah …Puerto Rico has 4 things wrking against it

  1. Brown Skinned people
  2. Spanish Language
  3. Votes Democratic
  4. A Territory not a State

None of those things should count…But under the Chumph and the Reprobates they do.

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The U.S. Government Couldn’t Care Less About Helping Puerto Rico Right Now

In Puerto Rico, more than 3.3 million people—who are also U.S. citizens—are still without power, electricity, cellphone service, and, in many cases, the bare necessities for survival after Hurricane Maria pummeled the island nearly a week ago. And Congress doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to help them.

Jennifer Bendery, a HuffPost politics reporter, tweeted Monday that the White House was expected to send a disaster aid request to Congress sometime during the first or second week of October.

She went on to explain that FEMA and the Office of Management and Budget first need to assess the scope of the damage in Puerto Rico—where the governor said on Monday a “humanitarian crisis” is looming if help doesn’t arrive soon—then request money. Then Congress will act.

In a worst case scenario, that means Congress, a body not exactly know for its efficacy, could only start consideration of an aid bill for Puerto Rico sometime after October 10 (the legislature won’t meet on the 9th in observation of Columbus Day), nearly three weeks after the storm first made landfall on September 20.

For context, Hurricane Harvey—whose devastation, while significant, was nowhere near as horrific as what has happened in Puerto Rico—made landfall in Texas as a Category 4 storm on Friday, August 25. A massive aid bill easily passed through the House on September 6 and sped through a Senate vote the next day—pushing a significant aid package to start rebuilding parts of Texas and Louisiana decimated by Harvey onto the president’s desk less than two weeks after the storm hit.

So it’s hard not to read the somewhat lackadaisical approach Congress and President Trump are taking to helping Puerto Rico, an impoverished island that’s more than $74 billion in debt, as a cynical value judgement on what’s worth rebuilding. Trump’s Twitter page, his bullhorn of choice, makes the point even clearer. Since Maria, Trump has tweeted about the devastation in Puerto Rico twice. Just since Saturday, the president has tweeted (or retweeted) messages to stoke his ongoing war on the NFL over the national anthem protests 17 times.

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Houston – You Have a Problem

There are a series of manmade issues which have resulted in the massive damage we are seeing in the Houston region of Texas. The major contributor is the lack of Zoning Laws which would require developers to use certain standards in location and construction. Much like what happened in Florida during Hurricane Andrew some years back, there are no laws requiring builders not to build on floodplains, or to utilize special construction. As such a lot of the lessons from Andrew, and Katrina (I worked on parts of the Katrina recovery) were ignored.

The second problem is the US Government and FEMA. While FEMA is really strict on rules for coastal homes built along the ocean, and insurance rates are sky high (if you can get it at all) – they take a highly permissive approach to insuring homes and property a few miles inland – even when that property is located on a floodplain which repeatedly floods. I live in a coastal area, designated as a “flood zone”. I was required to utilize certain building methods. For instance the roof and siding are designed to survive a Category 5 hurricane – 140 MPH winds. The house is on “stilts” 13′ above the ground, which were driven 20′ or more into the earth. It has survived 4 Hurricanes, including a direct hit by a Cat 5 with no significant damage despite a 12′ Storm Surge and flooding. Indeed as I write this, my area is being pounded by a Tropical Storm moving up the East Coast, and we are expecting 60 MPH winds and 2-4 inches of rain.

FEMA has paid on properties which repeatedly flood – far in excess of the property values. Properties and localities with no storm mitigation systems.

The National Flood Insurance Program, established in 1968 was meant to protect and indemnify people without creating economic catastrophe. Instead of avoiding the floodplain, insurance allowed people to build within it, within management constraints recommended by FEMA. In theory, flood-hazard mitigation hoped to direct development away from flood-prone areas through the disincentives of risk insurance and regulatory complexity. It isn’t working – especially in areas where there was substantial construction before the law (NOLA), and in Texas where there is no Zoning.

In Houston’s case, catastrophic floods have been anticipated for some time. The combination of climate change, which produces more intense and unpredictable storms, and aggressive development made an event like this week’s almost inevitable. The Association of State Floodplain Managers has called for a national flood risk-management strategy, and the Houston Chronicle has called flood control the city’s “most pressing infrastructure need.” A lack of funding is often blamed, and relaxed FEMA regulations under the Trump Administration won’t help either.

The famously “un-zoned” city has allowed developers to pave over natural areas that provide resilience to floods, and build homes in the way of cataclysm. According to a 2016 analysis by ProPublica and the Texas Tribune, 166,000 acres of coastal prairies have been destroyed by development since 2001.“More people die here than anywhere else from floods,” Sam Brody, a Texas A&M University at Galveston researcher, told us last year. “More property per capita is lost here. And the problem’s getting worse.”

Not counting the Harvey’s devastation in Houston, in the past two years, 16,000 buildings have been flooded, and $1 billion in damage was caused by the so-called “Tax Day” and “Memorial Day” floods. In 2001, Tropical Storm Allison killed almost two dozen people and caused $5 billion in damage in Harris County, which includes Houston.

The next problem is Houston’s road system. Those giant highways are impervious surfaces which cause rapid rainfall runoff. In the case of the major superhighways in Houston, that runoff is along the road filling underpasses – making evacuation nearly impossible.

After Hurricane Sandy 36 Republican Senators refused to vote in favor of funding relief, including the two Senators from Texas. The political ramifications of that are floating around in the political miasma.

Maybe we need to take a different view of how to pay for this. The State, which is responsible for the laws leaving citizens defenseless – should bear a greater responsibility for its actions. Second – maybe we should put relocation on the table. Those buildings that have repeatedly flooded should be torn down, the owners should be provided FEMA Insurance money – but only to build elsewhere or to build with significant mitigation strategies. Ergo – the State, County, and City has to put a plan of mitigation on the table before a dime is spent for rebuilding.

 

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2017 in American Greed, Disaster Prep, News

 

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Republicans Cut Loose on Chumph Racism…The Party Wall Protecting Trump From Impeachment is Cracking

Mitt Romney

Arnold Schwarzenegger –

Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee

Senator Jeff Flake –

James Murdoch – President of 21st Century Fox and son of Rupert Murdoch –

Sen. John McCain, whom Trump called out at the news conference for not voting for the GOP health care bill, tweeted, “There’s no moral equivalency between racists & Americans standing up to defy hate& bigotry. The President of the United States should say so”
 

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Those Second Amendment Solutions to Trumpcare…

Seems tone deaf Republican efforts to push a massively unpopular bill through Congress at the expense of the public has led to some reminders of just whom they work for…

And the fact that if you screw over the public, the public’s reaction may not be kind.

Why exactly are these folks pushing legislation which is so massively unpopular? It isn’t for America.

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Break-in, ‘threatening note’ at office of GOP senator considered swing vote in health-care bill

Police said a “threatening note” was found over the weekend after a break-in at the Las Vegas office of Sen. Dean Heller, a Republican who could be a critical swing vote on the GOP health-care bill.

Las Vegas police said officers responded to a call about a burglary alarm Saturday morning at Heller’s office in southwest Las Vegas. There, they discovered what they described in a statement as a “threatening note” addressed to Heller (R-Nev.) near the door to his office.

The Nevada Independent’s Jon Ralston reported that the note was related to the Senate’s upcoming vote on the GOP’s health-care bill:

A note taped to Sen. Dean Heller’s campaign office was from someone asserting that he would lose his health care if the key senator voted for the repeal bill and that he would die if that happened and would take Heller with him, a law enforcement source said.

Police said Monday that they would not disclose the contents of the note, citing an ongoing investigation. Megan Taylor, a spokeswoman for Heller, confirmed the break-in but said that she could not comment, because of the investigation.

Heller has been under pressure from the left and the right over his vote on the health-care bill. Republican lawmakers have been steadfast for years in their promise to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health-care measure — a pledge Donald Trump frequently invoked on the campaign trail.

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However, as The Washington Post’s David Weigel pointed out, Heller is the only Senate Republican facing reelection in 2018 in a state won by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton last year. His unique position has made him the focus of several advertising campaigns trying to lobby for his vote.

Last month, Heller came out against an earlier iteration of the GOP’s health-care bill, becoming the fifth Republican senator to do so at the time. At a June 23 news conference, Heller said he was particularly concerned about potential cuts to Medicaid, as well as the impending loss of insurance for those struggling with mental-health and substance-abuse issues.

“I’m telling you right now, I cannot support a piece of legislation that takes away insurance from tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Nevadans,” Heller said then….

The incident at Heller’s office follows similar incidents involving other GOP senators in recent weeks. Over the July Fourth recess, a protester was arrested outside the Tucson office of Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) after allegedly asking a staffer: “You know how liberals are going to solve the Republican problem? They are going to get better aim.” And an Omaha man was arrested this month after walking into an Iowa motorcycle shop and allegedly saying that he “could kill” Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who was scheduled to visit the shop the next day.

The break-in also came just three days after the Federal Election Commission ruled that House and Senate lawmakers may now use campaign funds to pay for security upgrades at their personal homes — a change from previous rulings that required lawmakers to petition the panel on a case-by-case basis. But after warnings from House and Senate security officials in the wake of the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), the FEC said that security upgrades now qualify as “ordinary and necessary expenses” lawmakers incur as part of official duties.

Security upgrades at congressional district offices are handled with taxpayer funding, and Congress is preparing to spend tens of millions more dollars to protect lawmakers and their staffs. All 435 House lawmakers are receiving $25,000 in emergency funding added to their annual office allowances to be used for any security purpose — a nearly $10.9 million expense that can be used to add bulletproof windows at district offices or to hire a private security guard for public events back home. And at least $5 million is earmarked for the House sergeant at arms to pay for security upgrades at House district offices that face threats or are considered vulnerable….

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Posted by on July 18, 2017 in Second American Revolution

 

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Stuck on Stupid – Republicans Think College Education is Bad

America has reached “peak stupid” with the “election” of Donald Trump”.

One of the reasons for this shift may well be the “r” word. White folks kids spent a lot of their college investment looking for business and financial degrees, which minorities, and immigrants increasingly shifted to  STEM. We have a situation now where native white Americans at the graduate level in some of the STEM fields are either a minority or rapidly becoming a minority. Asians have the highest level of STEM Field participation, while despite gain, held back by programs which intentionally disadvantage black and Hispanic Students, black and Hispanic students  make up only about 12% of those receiving STEM Degrees.

Which is why a growing number of colleges are dropping high-stakes testing as a make-or-break admission requirement. What this has caused is the number of black and Hispanics in the STEM fields to grow quickly.

So an American Education System which doesn’t support white supremacy is “bad” to Republicans.

 

 

Sharp Partisan Divisions in Views of National Institutions

Republicans increasingly say colleges have negative impact on U.S.

Republicans and Democrats offer starkly different assessments of the impact of several of the nation’s leading institutions – including the news media, colleges and universities and churches and religious organizations – and in some cases, the gap in these views is significantly wider today than it was just a year ago.

While a majority of the public (55%) continues to say that colleges and universities have a positive effect on the way things are going in the country these days, Republicans express increasingly negative views.

A majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (58%) now say that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country, up from 45% last year. By contrast, most Democrats and Democratic leaners (72%) say colleges and universities have a positive effect, which is little changed from recent years.

The national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted June 8-18 among 2,504 adults, finds that partisan differences in views of the national news media, already wide, have grown even wider. Democrats’ views of the effect of the national news media have grown more positive over the past year, while Republicans remain overwhelmingly negative.

About as many Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents think the news media has a positive (44%) as negative (46%) impact on the way things are going in the country. The share of Democrats holding a positive view of the news media’s impact has increased 11 percentage points since last August (33%).

Republicans, by about eight-to-one (85% to 10%), say the news media has a negative effect. These views have changed little in the past few years…more

 

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Asking the Right – Why Are Republicans Hiding the Evidence of Trump Treason

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Been saying for a while that the Russian hacking and collusion treason went far beyond just the Chumph and his merry band of morons and nitwit children.

Here, Digby begins asking the right questions at least.

Russia scandal goes well beyond Trump: GOP leaders definitely knew about hacking — did they benefit too?

Leading Republicans knew about Russian hacking long before Trump’s nomination. They said nothing and did nothing

Despite Europe’s clear disdain for President Trump it seems as though he’s over there every other week. In fact he’s arriving in France on Thursday at the invitation of President Emmanuel Macron to help celebrate Bastille Day and have dinner at the Eiffel Tower. Considering that Trump has implied repeatedly that Paris is nothing but a hellhole these days, it’s a testament to just how desperate he is to get out of Washington. The heat is on and he wants out of the kitchen.

You have certainly heard that Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort met with a Russian lawyer to get some promised dirt on Hillary Clinton that was represented as being part of a Russian government program to help Trump get elected. Now we know their breathless protestations that they didn’t know nothin’ about no Russians were lies, and we also know that this particular tawdry scheme reached into the highest levels of the campaign. We’ll have to wait for the next shoe to drop. There is always another shoe.

There was one new story on Wednesday that added an interesting detail to the saga and points to a possible larger conspiracy. McClatchy reported that House and Senate investigators as well as the Justice Department are looking at the Trump campaign’s digital operation, one of Jared Kushner’s pet projects (financed by big-daddy benefactor Robert Mercer), to determine if it may have worked with Russia’s sophisticated micro-targeting and propaganda program during the 2016 campaign.

McClatchy also reported that the Justice Department is looking into “whether Trump’s campaign pointed Russian cyber operatives to certain voting jurisdictions in key states – areas where Trump’s digital team and Republican operatives were spotting unexpected weakness in voter support for Hillary Clinton.” That’s an issue I’ve written about previously here on Salonbased on some post-election investigative reporting by the New York Times.

This raises once again the question of just what was going on in the Republican Party during this period. After all, it wasn’t just Donald Trump who benefited from Russian hacking. The GOP-dominated House majority was a major beneficiary as well.

Remember, the congressional leadership knew in 2015 that it was happening. Reuters has reported that the so-called Gang of Eight (Republican leaders in Congress) was told that Russian hackers were attacking the Democratic Party but that the information was so top secret they could not share it. As we know, hackers attacked the Democratic National Committee and the personal email of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. But they also hacked the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and information gleaned from that hack was put to use in some 2016 campaigns for Congress.

Also recall that one month before Donald Trump Jr. took that meeting with the Russian lawyer, House Majority Leader Kevin “loose lips” McCarthy was talking about Trump’s connections to Vladimir Putin in a room full of Republicans:

A month before Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination, one of his closest allies in Congress — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — made a politically explosive assertion in a private conversation on Capitol Hill with his fellow GOP leaders: that Trump could be the beneficiary of payments from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) said, according to a recording of the June 15, 2016 exchange, which was listened to and verified by The Washington Post. […]

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.

This was the day after news had broken that the Russians had hacked the DNC and Ryan and McCarthy had just come from a meeting with the Ukrainian prime minister, who “had described a Kremlin tactic of financing populist politicians to undercut Eastern European democratic institutions.”

Republican leaders kept this from the public for a year, then lied repeatedly about it when confronted until someone produced an audiotape, at which point McCarthy, Ryan, et al., said it was just a joke. Maybe it was. But we know for sure that this idea about Trump being under Putin’s thumb was in the ether in GOP circles even as the party was getting ready to nominate him as its presidential candidate.

Fast forward to late August when the intelligence community was becoming frantic over the evidence of Russian interference and Director of National Intelligence John Brennan held private classified briefings with eight top congressional leaders, telling then that there was evidence the Russians were helping Donald Trump and that unnamed advisers to the Republican nominee might be working with them. In September, intelligence officials convened a big meeting with the Gang of 12, meaning the House and Senate leadership along with chairmen and ranking members of committees on intelligence and homeland security. It was assumed this would result in a “show of solidarity and bipartisan unity” to protest this threat to the integrity of the American democratic process.

That was an erroneous assumption. The Republicans refused to sign anything that implicated the Russian government, only agreeing to tell state elections officials to beware of “malefactors” attempting to hack election software. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly said he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly “an act of partisan politics.” That was that.

Since the election, when Republican officials aren’t actively helping the White House cover up and misdirect, as House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes did, with a few exceptions they still dismiss the scandal, even in the face of documentary evidence like the Donald Trump Jr. emails.

There’s a lot of punditry every day bemoaning the fact that President Trump refuses to admit that the Russian interference in the campaign happened, seeing it as a stubborn (and insulting) rejection of the U.S. intelligence community and a dangerous unwillingness to take needed action to prevent it happening again. But really, why is Trump the only one on the hook? The Republican leadership has turned a blind eye to what was happening since 2015. They knew. They may have even known more about it than Trump did, at least in the beginning. They did nothing about it then and have shown no signs that they plan to do anything in the future.

It’s not all on Donald Trump. He may been the principal beneficiary but the leaders of his party aided and abetted the crime. We may just learn that they benefited from it too. 

 

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Repealing Obamacare…DOA

Seems that even the die-hards are recognizing the very large writing on the wall…Even the Chumph realizes his stupidity.

Now that even Republicans are beginning to realize that gutting healthcare “means you too, stupid” support is dropping like a rock.

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Donald Trump, Republicans are ready to give up on Obamacare repeal

The reality that the GOP can’t overturn Obamacare is beginning to set in

Inside Congress and the White House, Republicans are beginning to admit that they’re not likely to be able to pass even a pared-down repeal of the Affordable Care Act, despite months of trying. The conclusion is one that many Republicans in Washington have long privately realized but not publicly discussed much.

As the prospects for the Senate GOP’s Better Care Reconciliation Act have continued to worsen, however, Republicans are openly discussing the idea that they may never be able to agree on a repeal of Obamcare. And it’s an idea that even President Donald Trump is considering.

Trump seemed to play good cop in a Monday morning tweet urging the congressional GOP to do something — anything, really — about health care.

Trump’s statement comes after Congressional leaders had all but given up on the idea that the Affordable Care Act would be repealed and replaced — or even just repealed.

“Clearly, the draft plan is dead,”Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La, said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Is the serious rewrite plan dead? I don’t know.” He added, “we don’t know what the plan is” in terms of what comes next for the Senate Republicans.

Cassidy’s morbid terminology was echoed by Arizona Sen. John McCain as he pronounced the bill’s prospects terminal during an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“I think my view is it’s probably going to be dead,” McCain said.

The Trump White House also appears to be coming to this realization as well. During a Sunday interview with ABC’s “This Week,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin explicitly stated that the administration is getting ready to focus attention on something else.

“If we don’t get this passed then the president as he said will go to the next plan,” he told host George Stephanopoulos.

Mnuchin even appeared to endorse a proposed modification to the bill sponsored by Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz that would allow insurance companies to offer plans for sale that are not compliant with Affordable Care Act regulations, provided they also offer at least one plan that is.

“I’m very hopeful that his plan and his changes will get supported. And I think we’d like to get health care done,” Mnuchin said.

Cruz’s idea has come under criticism from more moderate Republicans because they believe it will lead to many companies pricing out older and sicker customers.

Should Republicans decide to punt on health care or work with Democrats (as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been repeatedly threatening his caucus), it may not matter much with their core base of voters.

In a poll released last month by the Kaiser Family Foundation, just 8 percent of self-identified Republicans said that repealing Obamacare should be elected officials’ top priority. Support for the GOP health care bill had fallen to just 55 percent among Republicans in the survey.

 

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