Trump Seething Over Russia Indictments and Staffer Guilty Plea

Day 284 in the Trump administration was one to remember. After a year plus of repeated denials from President Trump, VP Mike Pence and their enablers that no member of the Trump campaign “ever” met with any Russians, reality crashed through as federal indictments were unsealed on October 30, charging two senior campaign officials with crimes related to their overseas dealings with businesses and individuals sympathetic to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A federal grand jury saw enough tangible evidence to establish a preponderance of guilt, and issued 12 count indictments against Paul Manafort, chief strategist and former chairman of the Trump campaign, and his longtime business associate Rick Gates, who also served as a Trump campaign adviser. The charges against both parties include money laundering, tax evasion and conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Manafort was freed on a $10 million bond and Gates on $5 million. Both were placed on electronically monitored home detention until their trials.

This was the first salvo of indictments born from the investigation of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, and punched significant holes in the flimsy denials Donald Trump has peddled of having no Russian contacts. The White House is spinning that none of these charges indicate the president is implicated in the suspected collusion, and that these are incidental allegations on the periphery of a lengthy investigation by Mueller, and that his inquiry will be concluding soon.

Trump took to Twitter proclaiming vindication as no collusion was shown between Russia and himself in these indictments, instead pushing the blame toward his defeated 2016 Democratic opponent, posting “Why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus????”

The tweeting quickly ceased after it was revealed that the expected indictments were not the only legal action up Mueller’s sleeve. George Papadopoulos, an unpaid foreign policy adviser on Trump’s campaign, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about making false statements to investigators about his efforts to collude on behalf of Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

This case provides the clearest evidence yet of links between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials who overtly interfered with the U.S. election process. Papadopoulos attempted to broker a meeting between Trump and Putin, and sought to acquire hacked information regarding Clinton with the oversight of senior Trump campaign staff.

Papadopoulos was arrested on July 27 and appeared secretly in federal court on October 5 to enter a guilty plea. Considering his lenient sentencing recommendation it’s surmised Papadopoulos cut a deal to work with prosecutors, and possibly was wearing a wire to record conversations between himself and Trump staff.

The Papadopoulos guilty plea is troubling for Trump on two fronts. One, that Mueller blatantly outmaneuvered the Trumpers and moved in stealth identifying this individual and locking down his guilty plea without anyone in the administration being the wiser. Who else in TrumpWorld might already be in Mueller’s pocket exchanging information to save their skin? Secondly, there is the possibility Papadopoulos was wearing a wire for nearly a month, conducting business with Trump associates and recording those conversations. It creates a whole new level of paranoia among an already exasperated White House facing daily scrutiny for potential illegal activities.

While the indictments of Manafort and Gates do not directly implicate Trump, it must be remembered that both held high level strategic positions on the campaign, and Manafort ran the show from the summer of 2016 through the Republican National Convention. If proven that Manafort accepted money to skew the Republican Party’s political platform toward preferential treatment of Russian and the Ukraine this would help explain the reasoning behind Trump’s insistence to never condemn Putin or accept the unanimous opinion from all U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

Particularly troubling for Trump is that these crimes are not ones that can be pardoned away. Mueller strategically set these indictments up so that if Trump issues pardons the crimes can be pursued in New York state courts.

Manafort could face 20 years at Rikers Island. That is not an atmosphere generally conducive to the survival of the country club set. Self preservation would dictate Manafort turn state’s evidence and roll on President Trump.

It should also be noted that Trump and all those orbiting his universe, especially family members have every reason to be concerned. The solicitation from Russians that Papadopoulos attempted to peddle and led to his guilty plea is the same crime that Donald Trump Jr. took the bait for and ran with. Don Jr. colluded with a bunch of Russians by setting up a meeting with them at Trump Tower that included Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and then campaign manager Paul Manafort. With Manafort in play to avoid a lengthy jail sentence, all attendees at that meeting look good to face indictment.

Certainly the White House dearly hopes Mueller is nearing the end of his investigation, but if anything the scope is widening, and odds are these first indictments are merely the jumping off point. The case against Manafort and Gates alone could take six months to reach trial. This guarantees headlines reaching well into 2018, a prospect no Republicans cherish as voters could use the mid-term elections to punish Trump for lying to the American people, as nearly all his upper level staff had dealings with Russians. By electing Democrats to a majority in either the House or Senate, a check would be put in place ending any Trump agenda.

Reports already leaked indicate sufficient evidence exists to indict Michael Flynn, an important confidant of Trump’s on the campaign trail and later selected by the president to serve as his National Security Advisor. Against the advice of the Obama administration and the intelligence community, who already knew Flynn was dirty, Trump nominated the disgraced general, only to see him fired after 24 days, the shortest tenure in the office’s history.

Flynn’s son also is implicated in wrongdoing, and the thinking is Mueller will pressure Gen. Flynn to turn evidence on his former boss to save his child from jail and decrease his own punishment.

Trump vehemently promised to get “the best people” to surround him if he won. We’re still waiting for those people to show up. The list only grows of fired staffers and disgraced appointments associated with the Trump administration: Manafort, Flynn, Reince Priebus (chief of staff), Sean Spicer (press secretary), Anthony Scaramucci (communications director), Steve Bannon (chief strategist), Sebastian Gorka (deputy assistant to the president), Tom Price (Secretary of Health and Human Services)…

Through these first 10 months it has become blatantly obvious that Trump has a poor sense of judgement and an even worse vetting process.

Now Trump finds himself a prisoner in a cage of his own creation. There is no firing Mueller without facing impeachment. For a man with a staggering lack of humility, who neither believes in facts, science, evidence or the truth, it must be frightening to see this investigation closing in around his web of deceit.

I wonder if the light bulb has gone off yet about the imprudence of Trump’s beleaguering of fellow Republicans, the appalling disrespect he’s demonstrated to the intelligence community, the haphazard firing of prudent FBI Director James Comey, and blatant disrespect shown to the court system and its judges with his insults and pardoning of racist former Sheriff Joe Arpaio. These are resources that could have been available to bolster and aid an embattled sitting president, but Trump torched them all for short-term political gain. A tweet here and some red meat headlines to appease a meager and deranged political base.

Trump’s lying, bullying, divisiveness, misogyny, violence, white supremacy, race baiting, greed – it’s all out there on full display. The world and the American electorate has seen it, and no one will through a lifeline to this president or his cronies. There is no blaming Obama or Clinton to explain him out of it. A hard rain is gonna fall and it’s going to be fascinating to watch these rats scurrying about trying to find shelter in the cold reality of truth.

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Trump Visits Puerto Rico – Chucks Paper Towels at Victims

Donald Trump made a regrettable trip to Puerto Rico on Tuesday, visiting the devastated island for the first time since Hurricane Maria made landfall on September 20. Instead of comforting beleaguered residents or its leaders, Trump sought adulation and self-praise from officials for his bungled handling of the storm recovery effort.

Gratitude was bestowed upon locals that groveled to Trump’s liking about the late and insufficient U.S. response. He added insult to the assembled gathering by informing the island nation that Hurricane Maria was not a “real catastrophe” when compared with the death toll from Hurricane Katrina, and joked about how Puerto Rico’s recovery was adversely impacting the U.S. budget.

“Every death is a horror, but if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina, and you look at the tremendous hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people who died, and you look at what happened here and what is your death count? Sixteen people, versus in the thousands,” Trump said. “You can be very proud. Sixteen versus literally thousands of people.”

It was cringe-worthy patter from the orange one, our Cheeto Benito, like some bad standup routine, with Trump’s thin skin for criticism on full display before a nation that lacks food, water and electricity. The petty nature of this president continues to find new lows as he spent last weekend personally attacking the mayor of San Juan after she made the case publicly that the U.S. response was insufficient and people were literally dying from the lack of resources reaching Puerto Rico’s inhabitants.

Trump readily praised FEMA and the military. Yet everyone on the island recognized the U.S. response was slow, disorganized and bordered on negligent considering the utter dismantling of the island’s infrastructure.

It took essential items like water, MREs and diapers days to arrive, but worse, once ships and planes showed up, there was no federal leadership to address logistics of transportation and distribution.

Part of the reasoning behind this poor effort was fatigue, as Maria was the third hurricane in quick succession to impact the Atlantic season.

Hurricane Harvey was a beast of a storm that ravaged the Houston metropolitan area and surrounding municipalities for more than a week, bringing catastrophic flooding that began on August 26. As the waters in Texas and Louisiana began to recede, Hurricane Irma blasted the U.S. Virgin Islands and caused trouble for Puerto Rico before coming ashore in the Florida Keys on September 10.

Irma hit Florida’s Gulf Coast as a Category 4 with 130-mph winds. This left 65 percent of the state without power and gushing flood waters paralyzed wide swaths across the state. Every county from Key West to the Georgia line was affected, and Irma continued causing havoc into Georgia and South Carolina.

Then came Hurricane Maria on September 20. It was a Cat-4 with maximum sustained winds of more than 150-mph, the tenth-most intense Atlantic hurricane on record, and strongest to make landfall in Puerto Rico in some 80-plus years.

Few roofs survived the fury. The fragile power grid failed, leaving the entire island of 3.5 million people without power. Cellphone towers toppled in the wind wiping out communication. Debris and rampant flooding locked rescuers in place for days, unable to render assistance.

One resident described Maria as if it were a 50-to-60 mile wide tornado that raged across Puerto Rico for some 30 hours.

Here’s the thing, Texas and Florida have dealt with destructive storms recently, and had  preparedness measures in place. They also are attached to a giant country, allowing folks to evacuate and for assisters to arrive quickly to impacted regions.

There is nothing easy about Puerto Rico. It’s a poverty-stricken nation that caters to wealthy world travelers. There is no evacuation option or money to construct buildings resistant to the deadly vengeance of a storm like Maria.

Trump chose to move on after his ego-stroking praise fest with officials Tuesday at Muñiz Air Force Base, to a church where the president chucked paper towels and toilet paper rolls at weary Puerto Rican residents who had lost their homes. He played like a spoiled boy prince offering moldy bread to hungry riffraff.

This was impressively tone-deaf even for Trump. He then met residents, but instead of traveling 10 minutes out of San Juan where the destruction was unavoidable, he went to a gated community that received minimal damage. He further embarrassed himself by refusing to look at the San Juan mayor as she gracefully offered an explanation for her impassioned plea for enhanced assistance. Trump concluded his trip by hopping back aboard Air Force One an hour ahead of schedule to escape an uncomfortable situation.

The more sinister explanation for Trump’s bungled handling of Puerto Rico is his prejudicial attitude toward those of color. Harvey hit Texas, which is a Republican stronghold and home to wealthy executives from the fossil fuel industry. Florida, where Irma landed, is a swing state, governed by a Republican, where the president spends considerable time at his luxury Mar-a-Lago resort. Both these states saw a rapid and robust storm recovery response, including a $15 billion aid package passed by Congress.

Whereas Puerto Rico is a poor country inhabited by people of color and weeks later the federal effort remains lackluster. We all saw how Trump handled Charlottesville, and likewise saw the spin he took on NFL players peacefully protesting the killing of African-Americans by law enforcement. There is a different metric in play by Trump depending upon the color, culture and nationality of those involved.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hit it right on the head when he called Donald Trump, the President of the United States, a moron.

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Trump Provides Aid & Comfort To White Supremacists in Wake of Charlottesville

I don’t get it. This isn’t hard. The Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white nationalists hold their largest rally in decades to “take America back” in the sleepy college town of Charlottesville, VA. It could have been anywhere really, but since it was Charlottesville, the location is poignant as that is home to the University of Virginia, a premier institution of higher education in America.

A torch-lit march is staged by white power organizers the night before through the UVA campus, where participants are visibly seething in hate, and loudly chant “Jews will not replace us” and “Blood and Soil,” a key slogan of Nazi ideology that is intertwined with racist and anti-Semitic ideals.

That following day white nationalists were to hold a “Unite the Right” rally at Emancipation Park, where sits a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that is scheduled for removal. That rally never took place, as chaos and violence erupted between white nationalists and counter protesters, culminating in the death of Heather Heyer, and the injury of 19 others, after a white nationalist sympathizer drove his vehicle into a crowd of counter protesters.

Another 14 people were injured in street clashes and two Virginia State Police officers were killed after their helicopter crashed while assisting police on the ground during the protest.

As President of the United States it’s incumbent upon the duties of that office holder, and as leader of the free world, to convey a resolute and unequivocal condemnation for such a despicable display of racial hated. This includes a blanket rebuke of the very existence of hate groups such as the KKK and any white power morons that choose to participate with them. There can be no moral equivalency about “both sides” being at fault.

It’s a softball issue. Any sensible politician with a moral compass makes that call and hits the delivery out of the park. But not Trump. He says nothing Friday night, then takes the heat for David Duke and the KKK for days – as several who marched on Charlottesville wore Trump’s bright red “Make America Great Again” hats.

Finally the president made a respectable statement, if unconvincing, on the Monday after the violence, but it was easy by then. Duke recognized Trump bought him the time he needed, and with a wink and a nod, had to come down on the white supremacists to get the press off his ass.

One of the Trump supporters primary damage control arguments after his election was that the president would surround himself with qualified individuals to help guide him. That didn’t happen. Instead only family members, self-absorbed elitists and right-wing conspiracists were brought in. These individuals are systematically augmenting a change in our government, from lower court appointees that serve for life, to reorganizing cabinet agencies under the strangulation of internal gag orders that hide the true damage.

Trump and his henchmen are dismantling America from the inside. Their idea of making America great again is to bring back the Klan and institutionalize racism as they all make a buck off this boondoggle. It’s the great swindle of our time.

Trump’s appeasement and cajoling of racial intolerance and inciting violence against any who criticize him has given rise to an uncomfortable truth in America. There remains a considerable white population in this country that harbors prejudice against those of a different color, sexual orientation or cultural background.

For decades globalism has squeezed those making a living off manufacturing jobs, as employers exported them to countries where labor is cheaper. Extremists want to conveniently try and make the argument that an ever-growing presence of what they feel are non-Americans are taking the remaining blue-collar jobs.

In actuality, these are simply non-white immigrants who contribute legitimately to the economy, and often accept work that many whites and blacks refuse to take. But perception is hard to break when Fox News spreads its lies.

This confused white constituency feels its politicians have failed them, and for this reason they voted Trump. He spewed hateful language and sentiments that prior to his candidacy wasn’t allowed to be said in polite company much less in public from any politician. This constituency may not wear hoods, but they fear for their future, and fear easily turns to hatred. Trump has capitalized on their fear and manipulated it to his gain in the form of white nationalism and nativism.

My fear is other politicians, not just in the South, but especially in current and former manufacturing states will suffer from an inability to do what is right because Trump has emboldened this population. Nativism has become a voting constituency or “base” for rank and file Republicans.

Trump routinely firebombs his own party instead of actually getting any work accomplished. There is no dignity in denigrating a decorated war hero like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Worse is people in a crowd anonymously cheering along with him for the senator’s demise.

Politics is based upon agreements and disagreements, with differing people arguing over an issue’s merits, then finding common ground to make progress. But with a president who possesses no leadership skills, that cannot get over any criticism and only seeks to help those that match his color and socio-economic background – the majority of patchwork nationalities making up America stands to be neglected, if not persecuted.

Whether Donald Trump wants to recognize it or not, his actions thus far are of a man whose heart is filled with hate. He is a divisive force interested only in himself and leaves a trail of devastation in his wake. Trump indicated there were some good white supremacists, some good Nazis in Charlottesville, and sadly that is because some of them are his buddies and supporters.

I found it telling that after Trump showed his true colors about those fine racist supporters, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a Trump supporter, said the following, “The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful.”

“He also recently has not demonstrated that he understands the character of this nation. He has not demonstrated that he understands what has made this nation great and what it is today, and he’s got to demonstrate the characteristics of a president who understands that, and without the things that I just mentioned happening, our nation is going to go through great peril.”

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Slow Cooked Boston Butt Pork Roast

Recently I was cruising through the grocery in the meat department and came across a sizable selection of Boston Butt pork roasts priced at $1 a pound. Being that I cook for five on a nightly basis this was right in my wheelhouse as an attractive dinner option to feed my hungry posse. The question that jumped to mind was what exactly is a Boston Butt and what could I do with it?

I’ve trucked through the supermarket several times this year and seen similar pricing on this cut or pork shoulders. Aside from dropping either into a crock pot, nothing immediately came to mind to concoct with these large hunks of meat, or at least few that my crew readily digs.

As I learned a Boston Butt or pork butt is a cut of pork that comes from a hog’s upper shoulder of the front leg and may contain the blade bone. In pre-revolutionary New England, butchers from that region placed less prized cuts of pork like hams and shoulders into barrels for storage and transport, known as a butt. This particular cut became known around the country as a Boston specialty, and hence the name “Boston Butt.”

These roasts are a tougher cut of meat and need to be cooked at a low temp for several hours – slow and low is key. The great thing about a Boston Butt is it contains plenty of natural fats that create internal moisture from its juices while roasting. This is a built-in safety net in case one cooks the meat at too high a temp or for too long, as the moisture prevents this cut from burning or drying out easily, and preserves the meat’s tenderness.

A Boston Butt is popular with barbecue enthusiasts for all the above reasons. Slow and low is the only way to properly infuse a hickory smoke flavor into meat. It works best with a larger roast, say 8-to-10 pounds, but keep in mind it will require around 12 hours of attending and attention to cook it right for delicious pulled pork sandwiches. A smaller roast can work, but the flavors balance out better with the larger size.

I wanted to try something less labor intensive and not barbecue oriented. After acquiring a 5 pound roast for $5 at my local Pic Pac grocery I was ready to get cooking. Word to the wise, plan ahead for this recipe. It takes time to do it right, and will cause stress if attempting to throw this together at 5PM for a dinner the same night. It will end badly.

INGREDIENTS:

One 4-to-5 pound Boston Butt roast; one head of fresh garlic; 1/3 cup Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce; 1/2 to 3/4 cup light brown sugar; 1 1/4 cups unsweetened apple juice; 1/2 teaspoon salt; and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

DIRECTIONS:

Take the head of garlic and strip away the outer covering from all the cloves; with a sharp knife make small cuts in the surface of the meat. These need to be maybe an inch deep, sufficient to insert a whole garlic clove into each. Spread these out across the meat’s surface.

Place the roast in a greased casserole dish, preferably use butter; sprinkle the roast on all sides with Worcestershire Sauce, and cover with a lid, or aluminum foil works fine.

Let this sit at room temperature for 90 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

After 90 minutes has passed spoon any Worcestershire Sauce that has accumulated on the bottom of the dish back on the roast (a barbecue brush is good for this task).

Using hands press the brown sugar well into the meat on all sides, making sure to adhere the sugar to the meat. It should absorb into the Worcestershire Sauce and cake thinly to the sides. It doesn’t hurt to get some down into the slits with the garlic cloves.

Pour the apple juice into the bottom of the casserole dish around the meat. The only unsweetened apple juice I could find was an organic brand. I don’t recommend using sweetened or semi-sweetened apple juice considering the brown sugar involved in this recipe. It will end up too sweet.

Place the roast in the oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature down to 250 degrees.

Cook the Boston Butt for approximately one hour per pound or until the meat reaches a juicy tenderness and slices easily. I wouldn’t call this falling apart tender, but it should slice like butter. (HINT: All ovens are a little different, and there is no harm in kicking the temp up to 275 or so if it doesn’t seem like the roast is getting done.)

Once the roast comes out of the oven, sprinkle salt and pepper into the juices collected in the bottom of the casserole dish, and serve with wild rice or mashed potatoes, and a favorite vegetable.

BONUS: If there is any meat left over, it works great in a Jambalaya-type rice dish the following day. The garlic and Worcestershire flavors really sink in with just a hint of apple, and offers a rich taste after a night or two in the refrigerator. Include some sliced Andouille sausage to add a spicy pop, with diced onion, celery, and green pepper, and voila you have a whole new dish for later in the week.

Bon Appétit!

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Fun Times in TrumpTown

As SE Texas continues to recover from Hurricane Harvey, TrumpTown also is getting its first true taste of turbulent weather. For seven months now our esteemed President Cheeto Benito has primarily manufactured turmoil of his own creation, like falsely claiming his inauguration had the largest crowd size ever, and firing the FBI director. Now incidences are arising from outside Trump’s personal orbit that require actual leadership.

As we’ve seen from a recent focus group that included Trump voters, the president’s shtick is wearing thin. He’s seen as not professional, much less presidential. As his job approval numbers continue to fall, even among Republicans, Trump inches closer to the American people losing faith in his ability to carry out the basic aspects of his office.

The president ended August with a job approval rating of 34 percent, and a disapproval at 60 percent, according to Gallup. Those are historically poor numbers for a president in office such a short time.

When you look at Trump’s handling of Charlottesville, pardoning Sheriff Joe, and now invalidating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), he’s shooting himself in the foot. These were easy wins for this administration, but instead Trump sided with white nationalists and the KKK. That is the kind of decision making that will see Trump’s approval drop into the 20s.

Congress returns this week from its August recess, where its primary focus will be hurricane relief for Texas. It was cute to see Trump and his super model trophy wife dishing out free meals over the weekend, but his sludgy approval ratings and chaos presidency make no Congressional members fear or respect his office.

Hurricane Harvey continues to unfold. Some 43 people are confirmed dead, more than 30,000 remain in shelters, 436,000 have requested FEMA assistance, and an estimated 200,000 homes were destroyed. Water remains high in many areas and a fight is brewing over how to fund relief, and make whole those without flood insurance.

As Harvey plays out and Hurricane Irma barrels toward the U.S., Trump has several legislative items in addition to hurricane relief that are mandatory to accomplish by month’s end. On September 29 the United States will hit its debt limit and raising it requires 60 votes to move forward. Then on October 1 government funding runs out and a new budget is required.

A continuing budget resolution will work until the end of the year, but either this month or in December, Trump and his ludicrous border wall funding will become a serious debate topic. It’s inconceivable yet possible that Trump would shut down the Republican-controlled government over Congress rightfully not providing taxpayer money for a wall we were promised Mexico would pay for. Throw into the mix a tax cut bill for the richest one percent, and this becomes a rather congested legislative calendar.

One of Trump’s chief positives was the idea he could broker deals between divisive parties. This has never come to fruition. The supposed dealmaker has alienated himself from the people, moderates, business leaders, and driven a wedge between his own party in Congress. He wants to blame Ryan and McConnell for health care, and for nothing getting done, but it’s all Trump.

The president likes to tweet about how his administration is running smoothly, but reports from inside the White House depict angry outbursts and dark moods by the would be king.

Apparently Trump is tiring of the controls put in place by Gen. John Kelly, his latest Chief of Staff. Evidently this is cutting into the chaos president’s “love of spontaneity and brashness.” His henchmen and hangers-on have taken to referring to Kelly as ‘the Church Lady’ because they consider him overly strict and morally superior. Yes kids, that is exactly the job Kelly was hired to serve in hopes of bringing some order to this presidency.

Trump’s pissed at Sec. of State Rex Tillerson for his criticism, and characterized his top diplomat’s approach to world affairs as “totally establishment.” The translation for that would be Tillerson is acting as an adult and behaving responsibly.

Don’t forget Trump’s simmering over what is perceived as disloyalty from National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, who publicly criticized Trump’s responses to Charlottesville.

Do you see a theme here? It’s always someone else’s fault. It’s getting harder and harder to find anyone of substance and character that agrees with Trump, because he lacks empathy, discipline, and even a semblance of moral values.

As Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) put it recently, Trump is “a president who has no experience of public office, is often poorly informed and can be impulsive in his speech and conduct.”

Meanwhile Charlottesville is not going away, the drip, drip, drip of the Russia probe keeps coming, and North Korea is firing missiles left and right.

Yes, the real fun is just getting started in TrumpTown.

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Top Trump Executive Sought Putin Aid on Russian Business Deal

It has become impossible not to call bullshit on Donald Trump after he and his dirty henchmen categorically denied any contact with Russian officials in any way, shape, or form – when in reality Trump was involved in a business project with the Kremlin during the 2016 presidential campaign. Shocking? No. Trump would steal candy from babies and lie about it to your face while sucking on a lollypop.

It’s being reported by The Washington Post that Michael Cohen, chief counsel and a top executive from Trump’s real estate company, asked Dmitry Peskov, the Russian president’s press secretary, for help brokering a business deal with Vladimir Putin to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

Cohen’s contact with the Russian government occurred during Trump’s campaign for the White House, and Cohen admits that he updated Trump on several occasions about progress on the Russian real estate deal. This directly contradicts every denial given by the White House about the campaign’s involvement with Russian officials.

“Cohen’s email marks the most direct outreach documented by a top Trump aide to a similarly senior member of Putin’s government,” according to The Washington Post.

The email exchange between Cohen and Peskov, “provides an example of a Trump business official directly seeking Kremlin assistance in advancing Trump’s business interests.”

Trump even went so far as to sign a non-binding letter of intent in 2015, according to a statement issued by Cohen.

Trump is like Putin’s piss-boy. He hovers around with a bucket waiting to serve his dark lord master for the prospect of some crumbs to be paid later. This revelation also proves Kellyanne Conway, VP Mike Pence, Mike Flynn, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Sean Spicer, Stephen Miller, Katrina Pierson, Carter Page, Paul Manafort, Corey Lewandowski, and all Trump’s surrogate attorneys are lying through their teeth to cover President Trump’s unlawful misdeeds, those of his sinister adult children, and for some, their own illegalities.

The New York Times reported about another Trump business associate, Felix Sater, and his emails with Michael Cohen to help broker the Moscow tower deal.

In one email dated Nov. 3, 2015, Sater writes, “Michael I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putins private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin. I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected. We both know no one else knows how to pull this off without stupidity or greed getting in the way. I know how to play it and we will get this done. Buddy our boy can become President of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all Putins team to buy in on this.”

I’m no lawyer, but that sure sounds damning. And Ivanka Trump can take her supposed swanky ideals and childish attempts at advocating for women’s rights and go piss up a tree. She is complicit with this joke of an administration. Ivanka and Kushner are now getting some of the Trump stink on them of being racists, bigots, liars, and abusers of human rights. The list grows daily.

Who here believes Ivanka simply took a whimsical vacation to Russia and just happened to visit the Kremlin, where she was allowed access to Putin’s office and got to sit in the Russian president’s chair. No my precious that access and privilege is not the normal tourist experience and a price must be paid.

Trump and his sons have been trying to build in Russia for decades with no success. Meanwhile all the other American luxury hotel chains, i.e. Ritz-Carlton, Hyatt Regency, Marriott, have locations in Russia going up like gangbusters. Trump’s sons have admitted previously that they get most of their money from Russians, yet they still have no juice with Putin.

The president refuses to say anything contradictory about Russia or its leaders. Even though it has been verified that Russia attacked the U.S. election system, funds Taliban efforts that fire on American troops, provides safe haven to N. Korea, not to mention Putin assassinates his business competitors, and murders journalists critical of his authoritarian regime.

Not one critical word has Trump uttered about Putin or Russia pitting their interests against American ideals.

Trump was so fond of picking on Crooked Hillary during the campaign. Who is looking crooked now? I don’t know what Putin has on Trump, but it must be good.

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Hurricane Harvey Sets Record for Rainfall – Swamps SE Texas

Rains continued to plague SE Texas along the Gulf Coast Tuesday, as flood waters climbed to historic levels and reservoirs overtopped, inundating neighborhoods, requiring thousands to be rescued and transported to temporary shelters.

Ironically, Tuesday marked the 12th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a storm that devastated New Orleans and the Mississippi coastal region, areas still recovering, and foreshadowed the uphill challenges faced by those in Harvey’s path.

But Tuesday was not the time to contemplate the future. This was a day of action, a day to respond. Water-filled streets and expressways were hubs of activity as police and military boats mixed with civilian volunteers who brought personal watercraft, rafts, and other flotation devices, to help rescue Houstonians from homes and submerged vehicles.

After hundreds of water rescues, informal logistics organized by good samaritans ensured people were waiting to aid those just plucked from their homes, to get them out of boats, and transported to the nearest shelters.

The National Weather Service estimated some 6 million people in SE Texas were impacted by water depths of 30 inches or more, and at 3PM Tuesday a new rainfall record was set for a single event in the continental United States, as 51.88″ of precipitation was measured in Highlands, Texas.

Most eyes were on Houston’s Addicks and Barker Reservoirs yesterday, as these two repositories reached capacity. Floodgates on both were open to discharge 60,000 gallons of water per second, but with persistent rainfall this failed to bleed off sufficient amounts to prevent the Addicks Reservoir from overtopping.

This sent rapidly rising water levels into neighborhoods that were not in flood plains. As water reached the second floor stubborn residents hung out windows to draw attention of passing boaters.

Rescuers pleaded with residents to hang white sheets out windows, so they could more easily identify those needing help. Boat drivers suggested evacuees be prepared to leave, have belongings already bagged and be ready to step on the boats, because there was no shortage of people needing rescue, but space was limited, and sundown was coming too fast.

A huge help in meeting the need of the more than 19,000 water rescues in the Houston area was the Cajun Navy, a group of volunteers from Louisiana that know a lot about severe weather, and bring their boats en-masse to save lives.

Without groups like the Cajun Navy, and all the locals putting in their boats, the elderly and infirm, the young and the weak, would be forced to climb onto their roofs, or wade into the chest-high water. There was a nasty current evident in the spill-off from the reservoir and overtopped runoff, and reports that snakes, alligators and spiders were present in the water.

Local officials in Texas have reported at least 30 confirmed and suspected flood-related deaths. Included in that total is Houston police sergeant, Steve Perez, who was missing since early Sunday morning. A tearful Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo stated Perez spent 2 1/2 hours trying to find his way into work before driving his vehicle into an underpass flooded with 16 1/2 feet of water. He drowned as a result. His body was recovered by divers early Tuesday morning.

As Tropical Storm Harvey shifted east, making landfall today in Cameron, LA, skies cleared in Houston only to find torrential downpours moved in on the Beaumont/Port Arthur region of Texas. Unlike Houston, where it was large enough to have some amount of passable roads, Beaumont is submerged, with no way in or out.

The focus of first responders shifted to the Beaumont area, where 26.44″ of rain fell in a 24-hour period. With roads impassable, the burden fell to the National Guard and Coast Guard to airlift stranded residents. Officials there are requesting anyone with available boats to help with search and rescue.

With waterways filled beyond capacity across SE Texas and major roads, bridges and buildings inundated by many feet of water for days, officials warned of compromised infrastructure. Levee failures were expected, and have begun in the Beaumont area.

To gain a full appreciation of the disaster, President Trump flew to Corpus Christi for an official update. His visit could have gone better. There was no stopping by flooded homes, no looking at devastated downtowns, no visiting of relief shelters, no reassurance to displaced residents, or messages of faith. He and the First Lady did a quick storm update with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, FEMA, the Coast Guard, and several other agency heads before flying to Austin to view a command center.

Trump looked more interested in soaking up platitudes and demonstrating he knew officials’ names to match with faces around the table than offer any constructive contribution to his visit. A brief impromptu speech was delivered by Trump to the outside crowd assembled, where the president held up the Texas flag to appreciative cheers.

I give the guy credit for coming down there. Texas is hurting and they need a hug. We’ll see if the Trumpster has the patience and attention span to handle the enormity of Harvey. There was an empathy and understanding absent from Trump’s remarks. He recognized the important people around the table, cabinet secretaries, congressmen, senators; there were promises of monetary relief – but nothing, not one word about the dead or those displaced – not one “Thank You” to first responders.

I could see him looking around, with Melania in her faux-aviator fashion outfit (and perfect makeup), assessing the possibility of securing a “victory” out of handling this disaster.

After considerable criticism yesterday into this afternoon, Trump had remarks drafted that hit the missing high marks he could read off a teleprompter at a Missouri rally.

Next week the fun really begins. The Texas congressional delegation will need to request tens of billions of dollars for recovery. Problem is many of these same politicians balked at passing funding for SuperStorm Sandy victims. Texas took a hard stance at demanding offsetting cuts for any money designated to Sandy relief.

Trump warmed that he would not sign a budget, which must be passed in September to keep the government open, if there was not border wall money included. A government shutdown would be devastating to Texas and Louisiana a month from now. Yet some version of a budget must be passed, and the increase of America’s debt ceiling requires confirmation. Currently $667 million is proposed to be cut from FEMA’s budget. That is a hard argument to make when FEMA is on the ground responding to Harvey.

It took 10 months to pass a funding package for SuperStorm Sandy. Texas is a Republican stronghold, it better come quicker for Trump.

Playing out at the same time will be residents coming to the realization that their homeowner’s insurance policies DO NOT cover floods. For those not residing in flood plains, and never considered getting flood insurance, this will be a problem. One-in-six living in the Houston have flood insurance.

I must say the overwhelming response by Texans, first responders, Gov. Abbott, and the military to name a few, has been remarkable. The selfless display of heroism, courage and kindness was inspirational during a time in America when there is so much divisiveness. The American spirit and the morals this country was built upon remain intact. It may take a hurricane to clear away the political antagonism, but our fabric is strong.

A big shout out to the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and all the church groups who have mobilized to accomplish their roles and bring an incredible amount of aid and comfort to an exasperated Texas population.

The recovery from Hurricane Harvey will take months and years. It will take a village to make it happen. But perhaps this is a rallying point for citizens across the country to come together and remember the values that make America great.

For assistance or to make donations:

DisasterAssistance.gov

Red Cross: 1-800-Red Cross (733-2767) | Text HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 Donation

The Salvation Army: 1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769)

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