Soggy crisis after crisis

Well in a week where one hurricane devastated south central America and another hurricane expected to go straight through Florida, it was for the most part a quiet week with Donald Trump. But it wasn’t quiet!

Trump surprised the leaders of his own party in Congress when he backed a deal pushed by Democrats to attach hurricane relief money to a shorter-term bump in the debt ceiling as well as keeping the government open, cutting off his own Treasury secretary to strike a deal. Republican congressional leaders, in control of both chambers of the legislative branch, were “shell-shocked” and “visibly annoyed”. Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin was in the middle of arguing for a longer-term deal in the meeting when the President abruptly cut him off and sided with the Democrats. The House easily approved with the deal where all but 90 Republicans approved.

House Republicans unleashed their fury over Trump’s deal with the Democrats at Steve Mnuchin, with conservatives calling the treasury secretary’s appeal to them to “vote for it for me” insulting and inappropriate. Most rank-and-file House Republicans don’t know Mnuchin and more than one said they believed he was a Democrat, based on his previous donations to political candidates.

Republicans were hoping to get am 18 month extension of the debt ceiling. Do the math. The 18 months would expire after the mid-term elections. 18 months would of helped many Republicans up for mid-term elections tell their constituents that it would have been a big win – maybe [so far] the only big win in this session of Congress.

Trump will phase out Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals [or DACA] that has protected hundreds of thousands of young immigrants brought into the country illegally as children. Trump tweeted “Make no mistake, we are going to put the interest of AMERICAN CITIZENS FIRST!” Sure, but most of these people are taking courses in colleges and universities. Others have graduated. Microsoft has 27 of these “Dreamers” working for them.

Trump was expected to end the program with a potential six-month delay, during which Congress could potentially pass legislation protecting people who would otherwise lose their legal protection under DACA. Trump claims he is sympathetic to the plight of the immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children and in some cases have no memories of the countries they were born in. During the elections, his campaign rhetoric blasting DACA as illegal “amnesty”. Last week, Trump said, “We love the ‘Dreamers'”.

Javier Palomarez, the head of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said he plans to work until the “bloody end” to sway Trump to keep intact an Obama-era program extending legal protections to young undocumented immigrants. “If he gets rid of DACA, he’s showing that he is a liar.” He changed his mind as he announced he would step down from Trump’s National Diversity Coalition.

If the Dreamers left, it would cost the government $60 billion over 10 years and $400 billion in the economy over 10 years.

In 2011, Trump said that it would be very wrong to deport the Dreamers. They do a good job, good marks, etc.

A coalition of 16 Democratic and nonpartisan state attorneys general filed suit in New York federal court on Wednesday to stop Trump’s sunset of DACA and they say Trump’s comments about Mexicans should be used against him. The lawsuit also devotes a section to Texas, the state that pushed Trump to end the program, using a section to describe Texas as “a state found to have discriminated against Latinos/Hispanics nine times since 2012.”

Trump, who styles himself a master negotiator, threw himself into the middle of the fight between Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE by offering to mediate the dispute at the White House. You know they won’t take him seriously.

A watchdog group is looking into a trip that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin made recently with his wife, Louise Linton, aboard a government plane. He supposedly went there to discuss tax reform and later the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox. The group is investigating whether the purpose of the trip was actually to view the total solar eclipse. Has he visited anywhere else regarding the tax reform or is it a coincidence that he went to one of the best locations to see the eclipse at the same time?

Trump always boasted that his Mar-a-Lago mansion can withstand any storm. His boasting will get the big test this weekend with Hurricane Irma heading its way. Strikes by four major hurricanes have done little damage to Mar-a-Lago in the 90 years. The mansion’s walls are 1 meter thick, anchored by steel and concrete beams embedded into coral rock.

[While I think we hope there is no damage to the joint, I’m sure a few hope that the place does get hit a bit so it would put Trump in his place.]

An AP investigation last year showed Trump received a $17 million insurance payment for Mar-a-Lago damage in 2005 after hurricanes Frances, Jeanne and Wilma hit in two years, but he said in an unrelated lawsuit deposition in 2007 that he didn’t know how much was spent on repairs. He conceded to pocketing some of the money. Anthony Senecal, Trump’s longtime butler and Mar-a-Lago’s unofficial historian, told the AP the roof lost some tiles and some trees were flattened. Town of Palm Beach records showed no permits were issued for major repairs during that period.

Woops. White House aides reportedly refer to Ivanka Trump as “Princess Royal” behind her back, and it’s definitely not meant to be a compliment. Ivanka Trump has little to no political experience and was not elected to office, so many questioned what qualifications she had to act on the president’s behalf in such a formal, international setting at the G-20 summit, during which at one point she sat in for her father.

According to Vanity Fair, one former Trump adviser responded by stating, “Excuse me. This is not a royal family, and she’s not the princess royal,” which helps explain the nickname.

Former Trump Chief Strategist Steve Bannon claims that illegal aliens are filling the churches of America. The church “have an economic interest”. James Rogers, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’s chief spokesman, called Bannon’s comments “preposterous” and accused the conservative agitator of presenting a false choice between compassion and security. “Our pro-immigration stance is based on fidelity to God’s word and honors the American dream. For anyone to suggest that it is out of sordid motives of statistics or financial gain is outrageous and insulting.”

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, more than a quarter of American Catholics (27%) were born outside the country, mostly from the Americas; and one out of three American Catholics now identify as Latino or Hispanic. Of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States in 2011, for example, 82% were Christian, mostly from Latin America.

Trump the “Comforter in Chief”? Nah

Trump went to Corpus Christi to view the damage and to meet state, federal and local officials. At one point said “What a crowd, what a turnout” as he remarked on the crowd size gathered to hear him speak. Does he think this was a rally? He’ll probably inflate the amount who turned out there. Corpus Christi itself had minimal damage and power has been mostly restored. He should of gone to hard hit Rockport or maybe flooded Houston.

Trump’s vow of swift action on billions of dollars in disaster aid is at odds with his proposed budget, which would eliminate the program that helps Americans without flood insurance rebuild their homes and cuts grants to states that would allow them to take long-term steps to reduce the risk of flooding before disaster strikes.

Trump’s budget for 2018 zeroes out the Community Development Block Grants. Among other things, the grants help people without flood insurance coverage rebuild their homes. In the 2017 budget, the Republican-led Congress restored some of the block grant money.

The budget proposed cutting several grant programs to states to help them reduce flood risks before a disaster strikes, as well as improve outdated flood maps to help communities plan for floods and take steps to better manage development in flood zones. All told, Trump proposed cutting such grant programs by about $900 million.

Trump pledges storm recovery “better than ever before”. Isn’t it still a rescue? Recovery is when the areas affected start rebuilding.

Trump has a history of overblowing his Twitter comments – call it sensationalism. Among his comments [where no verification of who are the “expert” or “people”, Trump tweeted “Wow – Now experts are calling Harvey a once in 500 year flood!” and “Many people are now saying that this is the worst storm/hurricane they have ever seen.” And “Even experts have said they’ve never seen one like this!”

Trump’s tweets were proclaiming success before the worst of the storm had passed.

Following Hurricane Harvey, the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, commended Trump for being “extremely professional”. Hmmmm.

On the first morning after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, Trump’s first message of the day did not address the rising waters threatening the nation’s fourth-largest city. Instead, he pitched a book written by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, another supporter and controversial figure.

Later he went after Sen. Claire McCaskill instead of looking into Texas.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott praised the federal government’s efforts to aid his state. Abbott endorsed Trump in the presidential campaign and urged fellow Republicans to do the same. Campaigning during a disaster?

The Trumps have promised to cut a $1 million check to Texas recovery efforts, has not yet determined which group or groups will receive the donation – or even if it was donated yet.

Wow. Who would of thought: Trump and FLOTUS were serving food [I wonder how long that was for] and greeting “victims” in Houston.

This could be interesting. After Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey and New York in 2012, a $50.5 billion aid package was approved without the approval for any Texas Republicans [let alone any Republicans].

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie slammed Sen. Ted Cruz morning over what he said was the Texas Republican’s double standard in opposing Superstorm Sandy relief but requesting federal aid for Texas after Hurricane Harvey.

When Trump has problems getting aid to Texas [a Republican state] he will blame the Democrats even though it won’t be just Democrats who voted against it for whatever reason.

Trump sought to reassert an American military threat against North Korea, saying that “all options are on the table” in response to its launch of a missile over close U.S. ally Japan. “Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world,” Trump said. “All options are on the table.”

Trump and his top diplomat, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, went out of their way last week to credit the North’s leader for days of relative restraint. Noting that no missiles had been launched for three weeks.

Trump’s decision to pardon controversial former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio – quietly and maybe cowardly, on a Friday night, with Hurricane Harvey set to make landfall in Texas as a Category 4 storm – handed Democrats such a potent tool to turn out Latino votes that it might not matter who the GOP puts on the ballot.

He was convicted of criminal contempt last year for defying a 2011 court order to stop detaining people based on suspicion of their immigration status with no evidence those people had committed another crime.

Arizona’s senior senator, Republican John McCain, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan as well as other Republicans plus Democrats came out against the pardon.

CNN had on this idiot Latino state senator on Saturday rooting for Trump, blaming everything on “the left”. What a joke! He claimed the convict [Arpaio, not Trump] did nothing wrong. Sure. You hold one specific ethnic group without charges and then defy a judge’s order. That state senator should be tossed.

Transgender service members filed suit in federal courts challenging Trump’s memorandum directing the secretary of defense to bar transgender Americans from military service and to halt the use of resources to fund “sex-reassignment” surgical procedures.

Jennifer Detlefsen, the daughter of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, is speaking out against the President’s policy banning transgender people from serving in any capacity in the military. “This man is a disgrace. I’ve tried to keep politics out of my social media feed as much as possible, but this is inexcusable.” And then “This veteran says sit down and shut the f*** up, you know-nothing, never-served piece of s***. #itmfa #wtf,” she added. ITMFA stands for “Impeach the mother f***** already.”

Trump again suggested the North American Free Trade Agreement be terminated, tweeting Sunday that both Canada and Mexico are being “very difficult and may have to terminate.” But no one really is believing him. Canadian and Mexican political leaders are shrugging it off. First round of talks completed and the delegations didn’t have any comments like this. Trumps hopes to renegotiate [or terminate] before the mid-term elections to show he has done something.

Raise your hand if you knew this was coming: The Justice Department said in a court filing that it has no evidence to support Trump’s assertion in March that his predecessor, Barack Obama, wiretapped the phones in Trump Tower before last year’s election. “Both FBI and NSD confirm that they have no records related to wiretaps as described by the March 4, 2017 tweets,” the department’s motion reads. NSD refers to the department’s national security division.

President Obama issued an executive order in 2015 prohibiting the transfer of a host of equipment, including armored vehicles, grenade launchers, high-caliber weapons and camouflage uniforms following controversy over the “militarization” of the police response to unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. Not really surprising, Trump will reverse this in another executive order.

In a bit of GOP infighting, in the Alabama’s Republican Senate race a primary runoff, it is pitting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Trump’s choice, Sen. Luther Strange, against Breitbart’s Steve Bannon who with other conservatives are backing another individual and to server a blow against the GOP establishment and McConnell. Could embarrass Trump if Bannon’s pick gets in.

800,000 people who could face deportation if Trump pulls the plug on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protects undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. The program gives Dreamers temporary work permits and protects them from deportation if they submit biometric data to the government, pass a background check and maintain a clean record.

The Department of Homeland Security will announce which vendors have been selected to build prototypes for President Donald Trump’s promised US-Mexico border wall, a step forward for the project after months of delays. This is for prototypes – there is still the time it will take to actually choose a design/structure and then years and billions to actually build – assuming they can get funding. DHS had originally targeted June for the beginning of construction, but the process had dragged further into the summer as the contracts were decided.

McCain issued a plea for bipartisan cooperation as Congress returns from its extended summer recess. “That has never been truer than today, when Congress must govern with a president who has no experience of public office, is often poorly informed and can be impulsive in his speech and conduct,” McCain wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.

The Trump administration has announced that it is ending an Obama-era rule on gender gap wage data collection, a move supported by Ivanka Trump. For a woman trying to help other women…..

Trump took the stage in Missouri to sell a tax reform plan that’s not yet complete and still lacking in detail. The bill is still in the drafting process.

Event organizer George Gigicos was told Trump no longer wanted him to work his rallies after the Trump was unhappy with his crowd size in Arizona.

Trump’s cybersecurity advisors resigned. The White House acknowledged that one quarter of the members of the National Infrastructure advisory council quit. In a group letter, they listed a broad range of reasons – from Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, to his remarks following the Charlottesville protests. It also said it wasn’t paying enough attention to cybersecurity of America’s critical systems.

In his first post-Trump administration interview, former White House counterterrorism adviser Sebastian Gorka said former chief strategist Steve Bannon and others in their camp have been “systematically undermined” in the White House.

Gorka claimed he resigned. The White House claims he was dismissed. In any case, it was announced that he was out of the White House while Hurricane Harvey was pounding Texas [at the same time of the Arpaio pardon]. Seems the White House was trying to bury the news.

“Strange statement by Bob Corker considering that he is constantly asking me whether or not he should run again in ’18. Tennessee not happy!” tweeted Trump. Corker has questioned Trump’s fitness for office.

A new poll by Pew Research shows a majority of those critics literally can’t think of one positive thing to say about what he’s doing as president so far. A broad 58% of people who disapprove of Trump’s job performance said there’s nothing they like about what he’s doing, named specific things they didn’t like instead, or, getting a little snarky, said they liked that his presidency has been ineffective so far. Another 23% didn’t answer the question.

People who approve of Trump are more willing to name concerns they have with what he’s doing. Only 11% of them say they have no concerns about what he’s doing, while another 16% say obstruction from other people concerns them. Trump’s use of Twitter tops the list of concerns among people who approve of him at 17%.

A Monmouth University poll that said six in 10 people who disapprove of Trump couldn’t imagine anything he could do to make them change their minds. For the record, six in 10 people who approved said the same thing.