Wednesday, September 20, 2017

September 19, 2017
By Helen Davidson and Ben Doherty

A group of refugees (click here) detained in Manus Island and Nauru will soon be told they have been accepted for resettlement in the US, the Australian government has confirmed.



The cohort of about 50 people is the first to be accepted by the US government under a deal struck between the former president, Barack Obama, and Australia to take up to 1,250 people.
“Representatives from the United States Resettlement Support Centre have started to provide some refugees with a decision relating to their US refugee admissions program application,” read a sign at the immigration detention centre, which asked people to be patient.
“Every case is different and moves through the required steps of the process at different speeds. This is only the first group of decisions and only some who have expressed an interest in US resettlement will receive a decision at this time.”
A number of detainees have received appointment slips with the USRSC for Wednesday and Thursday. It is not yet clear whether the appointments are all to tell people they have been successful, but prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said at least 50 people would be going to the US.
Turnbull, said about 25 people from Nauru and 25 from Manus would be informed of their upcoming resettlement in the US soon....


...The deal with the US sought to end the indefinite situation for the hundreds of people sent to the offshore immigration detention centres after they attempted to seek asylum in Australia by boat.
Many refugees have spent years in the Australian-run centres, where they have been exposed to violence, death and high rates of mental illness and despair....

From Amnesty International:

September 19, 2017

...The New York Times today reported on a study (click here) – which the White House sought to block – showing that refugees contribute more to the U.S. economy than they cost. Despite this, Trump is still expected to announce his decision to reduce U.S. refugee admissions before the end of the month. Amnesty International is calling for the U.S. to accept at least 75,000 refugees in 2018.

“President Trump’s callous approach to refugees will cost people their lives,” said Naureen Shah, Amnesty International USA senior director of campaigns. “Refugees are ordinary people who have been forced to run for their lives. By turning its back on some of the world’s most vulnerable people, the U.S. is abandoning its rich tradition of welcoming people seeking safety. Not only that, with reports today that the White House is ignoring refugees’ positive contributions to the U.S. economy, it’s clear that the limits Trump is trying to set on resettlement are about politics and bigotry.”...

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

How does it feel to be used by slick Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy?

Jimmy Kimmel is not alone. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer fell for the manipulation by Mr. Trump that lead to this moment. When Bill Cassidy appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel Show his name was already affiliated with a bill that would cancel the health insurance of millions upon millions of Americans.

Graham - Cassidy (click here)

It is a lousy feeling to realize acting in good faith with a snake in the grass actually is a foolish thing to do.

This was a beautiful moment with Jimmy Kimmel. He is a wonderful father and obviously loves his son a great deal. I am glad it had a happy ending. It was generous of him to share his personal life with other Americans.

I understand he offered Cassidy a lie detector test for his announcement of the demise of necessary health care for Americans. The thing is, he is such a practiced evil man he might even pass a lie detector test.

This is also what is so astounding about Cassidy. He is from Louisiana. Louisiana is a debtor state. Louisiana receives a lot of federal monies for all federal programs including Medicaid. It sort of runs head to head with Mississippi. That has nothing to do with Katrina or any other major storm that rolled through Louisiana.

Remember how gay or bisexual members of the legislature always stated how much they oppose any law that would give civil rights to those minorities? They did that to hide reality. Same thing here. Cassidy is not gay, at least that we know of, but, he wants to hide the federal dependency of Louisiana behind such a law to prove he doesn't approve of lazy people living off federal money.

Cassidy deserves to lose his next election. The Democrats need to put forward a good campaign to replace him. He lied. Just that simple. Jimmy Kimmel does not have to travel to Louisana to help, this will happen by the sheer reality of what a liar Cassidy actually is to millions of people across the USA who believed him. Cassidy is slick and never does what is best for the country. No one can believe him. He has no honor.

I apologize to Jimmy Kimmel and his son for this terrible experience with a US Senator. No one warned him.


The West Pacific is not a welcoming place for the USA. I doubt Japan is happy tonight.

All the generals within the Trump administration need to run a reality orientation to him when he returns to the White House if he can be pried away from his home in New York City.

I guarantee you as the sun crosses the Earth there are missile drills being run. There are missile hatches opening and being left open. Open missile silos are a warning. They are ready to launch. What threat level is the USA tonight? Defcon 3 or 4? 

I am quite confident when Trump returns to the Oval Office there will be very interesting pictures for him to see after his speech at the UN.

Trump will learn what an ally is, too. He won't scoff at NATO again.

32 years ago there was no major sister quake that preceded it.

1985 Mexico City earthquake (click here)

The idea this is still a unique event may seem frivolous to some, but, this quake was preceded by another major quake in the same area. That matters.

September 19, 2017
By Colin Dwyer

This picture reminds me of what occurs after these events in Pakistan. A community turns out to save lives that survived and retrieve the dead. It is amazing. I contributed that dedication to each other as characteristic to Muslim communities, but, here it is again. I think poverty brings a community together and every life is so precious. Maybe we all have just become closer and value life that much more in the years of social media. "Making a difference" is a priority. Perhaps that is the motivation to find every individual.

Updated at 6:49 p.m. ET (click here)

Thirty-two years to the day after an earthquake killed thousands of people in Mexico, a powerful quake rattled the country's central region Tuesday. Buildings shivered in Mexico City, shattering facades and sending clouds of dust skyward.

Residents who just hours before had taken part in large simulated earthquake drills to mark the anniversary emptied into the streets when the real quake struck.

In its preliminary assessment, the U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.1 earthquake's epicenter was just over 3 miles east-northeast of Raboso, in the state of Puebla, some 75 miles southeast of Mexico City.

At least 42 people were killed in the neighboring state of Morelos, according to a report issued by Gov. Graco Ramirez. Alfredo Del Mazo, governor of the state of Mexico, tweeted that at least nine people have died in his state. And Puebla Gov. Tony Gali told an emergency meeting of local officials that at least 26 people had died there, several of whom were children.

It is expected that the death toll will continue to rise....

This is the USGS quake map today. (click here) There were also earthquakes in Alaska and a 3.8 Albion, Illinois.



One of the nightmares of USA Geologists regards the New Madrid fault and the seismic quakes that were started in Oklahoma because of fracking. And then there is the issue of what effects Yellowstone.

September 19, 2017
By Diana Rieck

An earthquake (click here) early Tuesday morning was the strongest on record in Southern Illinois in the past several years.

United States Geological Survey officials reported the 3.8 magnitude earthquake was centered near the town of Albion. An earthquake of that magnitude is often felt by people, but causes little damage.

“Intensity is based on the observed effects of ground shaking on people, buildings, and natural features,” USGS officials wrote. “It varies from place to place within the disturbed region depending on the location of the observer with respect to the earthquake epicenter.”...

This was 2003. It is not a 7.1 that was experienced in Mexico. It is simply interesting. I don't believe in coincidence. I mean, get real. This is not coincidence.

A magnitude 4+ quake southeast of Cairo near Bardwell KY in 2003. USGS map from a PDF poster shows entire New Madrid region.

There needs to be some kind of relief effort for Mexico. This is two major earthquakes in a very short period of time. The UN is convened this week and I am sure the needs of the afflicted can be discussed in the hallways. 

Group therapy is the Trump speciality. First it was White Supremacists and now it is the UN General Assembly.

I am completely disgusted by what occurred at the UN today.

President Trump ran a group therapy session while Russia ran war games near Ukraine.

Israel bragged while thanking the new UN Secretary General for recognizing Israel. That is all fine and good, but, Israel won't recognize Palestine and criticizes every effort by Palestine to be recognized. Israel needs to reflect on what is occurring with Palestinian recognition and know it may be a weak effort, but, it is an international effort that cannot be ignored. Israel didn't ignore the fact Palestine had another World Heritage Site. That makes three now.

As of 2017, there are three World Heritage Sites in Palestine, all them cultural sites. Palestine's first site, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem, was inscribed on the list at the 36th session of the World Heritage Committee, held in Saint Petersburg, Russia in 2012.

July 7, 2017
By Peter Beaumont

The UN’s world heritage body (click here) has recognised the old city of Hebron in the West Bank as a Palestinian world heritage site, sparking outrage from Israel.

Furious efforts by Israel failed to derail the Unesco ruling on the city, which includes a holy site known to Muslims as the Ibrahimi mosque and Jews as the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

Twelve countries on the world heritage committee voted in favour of the Palestinian request to name Hebron a heritage site, while only three voted against it. Six countries abstained.

The ruling also puts Hebron on Unesco’s ‘in danger’ list, which allows for the allocation of immediate World Heritage Fund assistance and is designed to alert the international community to endangered sites....

Israel has TEN World Heritage Sites (click here). But, according to Israel, Palestine should not have any. IF ISRAEL AND PALESTINE had a peace treaty and abided by it, there would be far less effort by any other entity to promote Palestine. Even the Qatar Emir brought forth the problem with Palestine as a major concern for his country. He also asked the countries involved in the trade blockade to bring forth evidence of whom in his country is a terrorist.

Trump also declared "Forever Wars" that serve USA purposes will be a reality. I'll get the exact words.

President Trump stated last year he addressed 50 Arab and Muslim nations in his campaign for President. He stated in his UN address today he had agreed to those countries to stop Radical Islamic Terrorism, loser terrorists and stop safe havens. Today he stated, "...security interest of the USA will dictate the LENGTH and SCOPE of the USA occupation...."

We are back to being the world's police ONLY WORSE. Trump sanctioned the forever war. I guess with three generals in the White House these ideas will result. No one learned from Vietnam yet.

I heard three other leaders in full and another two in part. I should make comment about all, but, I don't want to short change anyone.

Trump's speech was contradictory of each idea. He stated the USA would not be taken advantage of, but, he thinks forever war is fine. Go figure.

Trashing the Affordable Care Act is not the answer.

This was just published by Kaiser. It was published about an hour before this entry.

September 19, 2017
Even under the ACA, many uninsured people cite the high cost of insurance as the main reason they lack coverage. In 2016, 45% of uninsured adults said that they remained uninsured because the cost of coverage was too high. Many people do not have access to coverage through a job, and some people, particularly poor adults in states that did not expand Medicaid, remain ineligible for financial assistance for coverage. Some people who are eligible for financial assistance under the ACA may not know they can get help, and undocumented immigrants are ineligible for Medicaid or Marketplace coverage.
The uninsured that cannot afford health coverage are unemployed and/or in states without the Medicaid expansion. The Republicans are playing with the health insurance of the country because they are coming at this in a very slick manner to please the industry leaders. They are promising to eliminate the 15% cap on profits. Are you kidding me? This is corruption beyond corruption.

This is a crony bill and millions upon millions of Americans will lose coverage. In Massachusetts, the unemployed are provided an opportunity to obtain health insurance through the state's plan. 

The Republican bill is a slight of hand. There are answer for all these people, including the unemployed and the poor in states that have not accepted the Medicaid Expansion. We could be having a country with 100 percent coverage from sea to shining sea if the Affordable Care Act was amended to make it so. 

A federal law that demands every state to provide health care coverage opportunity for the unemployed would be trashed by the court, no different than the Medicaid expansion. States can now improve the ACA if they choose, no different than Massachusetts.

I might add, Massachusetts has high numbers of participants in health care. That only makes the health care insurance companies stronger and not weaker. What will happen with the Republican bill is abandonment of Americans to no insurance and a return to the Emergency Room. No one wants that.

The ACA has to be build upon, not trashed by a Republican dog and pony show.


Who remains uninsured?
Most uninsured people are in low-income families and have at least one worker in the family.  Reflecting the more limited availability of public coverage in some states, adults are more likely to be uninsured than children. People of color are at higher risk of being uninsured than non-Hispanic Whites.
Single parents and minority Americans are those that remain uninsured. We know that. Americans know that. We have seen adults die in states without Medicaid Expansion. We know who the uninsured are and the people that can't afford it. There are real reasons the Republicans see these people as disposable. These folks don't vote for them. 

We know the elderly receive Medicare and Medicaid and those people will be abandoned as well. The uninsured numbers will skyrocket and Americans will die and suffer. The Republicans are scared of displeasing their White House and are scrambling to gain clout rather than bipartisanship.

Why is everyone questioning the methods? They were legal. There was no forcible entry.

September 18, 2017
By Sharon LaFraniere, Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman

Washington — Paul J. Manafort (click here) was in bed early one morning in July when federal agents bearing a search warrant picked the lock on his front door and raided his Virginia home. They took binders stuffed with documents and copied his computer files, looking for evidence that Mr. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, set up secret offshore bank accounts. They even photographed the expensive suits in his closet....

Paul Manafort is a very wealthy man. I am quite sure there were guns in the house and/or live-in help. The scenario could have been very different and the outcomes adverse to the investigation if there wasn't a passive entry into the home.

Picking a lock is not necessarily passive in the legal sense, but, it is in the physical sense. It provided a lot of control in a home environment with potential dangers. It protected the agents as well. The knock on the bedroom door occurred, in most likelihood, to prevent any defensive stance Mr. Manafort and his wife could have taken should the agents simply walked into the bedroom.

I wouldn't appreciate anyone picking the lock to my home, but, this was thoroughly thought out and received permission from the FISA judge. I think the FBI and Mr. Mueller did the absolute best they could given all the unknowns they faced. 

Should Paul Manafort be viewed as a sympathetic figure? After all President Trump gave him a glowing review as a nice man, etc. Paul Manafort worked for a foreign government that is known to kill Ukrainians with changes to the map of that country. I don't think Paul Manafort is a sympathetic figure at all. He is a grown up and knew what he was doing.

Venezuela is having problems beyond it's control.

September 18, 2017
By Marianna Parraga

Shippers are sending oil cargoes (click here) originally bound for Venezuela to other spots in Latin America and the Caribbean, in advance of coming hurricanes that threaten to further disrupt oil flows in the region, according to traders and Reuters data.

After Hurricanes Harvey and Irma caused massive flooding and damage in Texas and Florida, fuel tankers floating off Venezuela's coast have been shifted elsewhere, largely because the cash-strapped state firm PDVSA (click here) [PDVSA.UL] cannot pay for the cargoes.

The latest threat for the Caribbean is Maria, now a Category 3 hurricane, which currently boasts wind speeds of 125 miles per hour (200 km per hour). The storm is expected to get stronger as it moves through the Leeward Islands later on Monday. Shippers have responded by moving supplies in the region around so they can discharge and supply key ports before it hits. [nL2N1LZ0UE]

Hurricane-related supply interruptions may limit exports to Latin America and the Caribbean, which imports 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of U.S. refined products, mostly from the Gulf coast....

President Trump held a dinner for Latin American leaders and the main topic was to be Venezuela. Who knows all that was discussed. President Trump promised to talk to each of the Latin American leaders personally after dinner.

September 18, 2017

Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro (click here) praised the U.S. administration's support for talks with the opposition to his government.

"I praise the President Donald Trump for his support to the national dialogue," the Venezuelan president said on Sunday during his television program with the Bolivian President Evo Morales.

"We are going to help in this battle. Venezuela is an oil power. How can it not be in the sights of the American empire?" Maduro said.

According to Maduro, talks are "already underway." Opposition leaders say that 'it is only an exploratory' process.

On Friday, the US State Department issued a statement announcing that "the United States reiterates its call for a complete restoration of democracy in Venezuela. We support serious negotiations that in good faith achieve this goal."...

President Maduro wants to have bilateral talks with the opposition to his government, however, there are already sanctions placed on him by the USA.

August 10, 2017
By Kenneth Rapoza

The U.S. has slapped individual sanctions (click here) on Venezuela's president, Nicolas Maduro, following his move to squash majority rule in that country's congress. Washington sanctioned eight more individuals on Wednesday. But if Washington took more serious steps and sanctioned Venezuela's cash cow, the PDVSA oil firm, it would push the country to bankruptcy. It's already on the edge.

As it stands, PDVSA is both basket case and Venezuela's one saving grace. It has been relying on Chinese and Russian sources of funding now for at least two years, helping to keep the government afloat. Slapping them with sanctions is an idea that's been tossed around the foreign policy establishment in Washington for months. From a market perspective, it will be largely ineffective.

Sanctions by the USA? I doubt that means much to a president of Venezuela that receives his country's financing through China and Russia.

That's mainly because PDVSA doesn't have access to U.S. capital. Recent news of Goldman Sachs buying upwards of a billion bucks of PDVSA debt was a secondary market transaction and not a new issue. PDVSA bonds are being traded every day....

With all the Goldman personnel within the Trump administration I would expect the SEC to investigate any insider knowledge regarding Venezuela. I would expect no interference from the Trump White House to inhibit the SEC as well.

Purchasing Venezuela debt is more or less like buying Russian and Chinese interests in the country. With Paulson having a Chinese financial services firm in China the motivation for any of this is questionable. This is a curious move by Goldman with an administration that wants to distance itself from Russia.

This may be new debt, but, then again it may not. Paulson would be interested in China's loss with Venezuelan debt, too.

I find it really odd Goldman would make such a move with the US applying sanctions to Venezuela's leaders.

August 9, 2017
By David Mortlock and Francisco Monaldi

...Additional Targeted US Sanctions (click here)

To date, US efforts to pressure President Maduro’s government to respect civil and political rights have focused on individuals. In March 2015, President Barack Obama issued Executive Order 13692 (EO 13692)—renewed the following year—which adhered to and expanded on the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014. The order declared a national emergency based on the threat that the situation in Venezuela posed to the United States and imposed sanctions on seven government officials following the erosion of human rights and crackdown on the political opposition. Those sanctions were specific to individuals, blocking property held that was subject to US jurisdiction, and targeted neither the Venezuelan economy nor its people.

In February 2017, the US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami and an associate based on evidence of their prominent role in international drug trafficking. In May 2017, the Trump administration used EO 13692 to impose individual sanctions on eight members of the Venezuelan Supreme Court for annulling the opposition-led and democratically-elected National Assembly, and in July, this executive order was used to sanction thirteen government officials accused of undermining democracy, corruption, and leading acts of violence against protestors.

1. FAC could use the existing EO 13692 to designate additional current or former officials of the Venezuelan government or to designate entities close to the administration that are providing support or acting on behalf of those officials.

2. The United States, using a new executive order, could impose limitations on US persons dealing in new debt, including buying new bonds or providing credit to PDVSA and other major state-owned entities.

Goldman is making life easier for the leadership of Venezuela. It is supporting the debt rather than making life difficult. I think Goldman is floating the Chinese and Russian debt. Goldman lucked out at this point because those sanctions are not implemented yet, if ever.

3. The Trump administration could issue a new executive order to prohibit the export of certain goods and services to Venezuela.

4. The United States, through a new executive order, could prohibit the import of oil from Venezuela.

5. One of the most severe options for the United States would be to add PDVSA to the List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List).

There is a refugee population beginning in Brazil. (click here)

It is complicated. The Bolivarian Revolution is considered "life blood" of many South American leaders.

September 19, 2017

...Amupanda (click here) yesterday told New Era that one of his contributions upon arrival in Caracas was to call for an inward-looking declaration of the Third World, which continues to be at the mercy of neo-liberal foreign policies of powerful capitalist nations.

He observed that there were concerted efforts under way to roll back the gains of the Bolivarian Revolution – an ongoing leftist political process in Venezuela initiated by late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez.

The revolution is named after Simón Bolívar, an early 19th-century Venezuelan and Latin American revolutionary leader, prominent in the Spanish American wars of independence in achieving the independence of most of northern South America from Spanish rule.

According to Chávez and other supporters, the Bolivarian Revolution seeks to build an inter-American coalition to implement Bolivarianism, nationalism, and a state-led economy.

Chávez, Amupanda observed, was trying to use the revolution to unite the Global South – as middle and lower-income countries are sometimes referred to as.

“Before he died, he wrote a letter to Africa not only tracing historical links between Africa and Latin America – biological and ancestral – but also calling for a new solidarity with and amongst nations of the Global South,” Amupanda explained.

He believes the Caracas Declaration, adopted at the 10th Inter-American Conference in Caracas, held from 1954, March 1 to 28, presents an opportunity for what he termed “diplomacy of the people”.

Maria was fueled to a Cat. 5 hurricane in less than 18 hours.

It is simply too hot. The air is hot and the ocean is hot, especially in the small seas such as the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. The seas won't cool down anytime soon. The hurricanes are sending heat into the water. Why would anyone think the water is going to become cooler with high amounts of greenhouse gases in the troposphere of Earth?

September 19, 2017
1304
Intellicast radar and satellite (click here for 2 hour loop - thank you)

Maria

14.20 -58.40 09/18/00Z 75 979 HURRICANE-1
14.60 -59.50 09/18/06Z 80 977 HURRICANE-1
14.70 -60.10 09/18/12Z 105 959 HURRICANE-3
15.10 -60.70 09/18/18Z 115 950 HURRICANE-4
15.30 -61.10 09/18/18Z 140 925 HURRICANE-5
15.50 -61.40 09/19/00Z 140 924 HURRICANE-5
16.00 -62.30 09/19/06Z 135 934 HURRICANE-4

Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Dominica with a population just under 75,000 people. That is a population about the size of Gary, Indiana or Camden, New Jersey.

September 19, 2017
By Alex Johnson, Yuliya Talmazan, Rima Abdelkader and Jason Cumming

Hurricane Maria (click here) left a trail of destruction as it hit the Caribbean island of Dominica as a Category 5 storm and then battered Guadeloupe with powerful winds early Tuesday.

Forecasters warned that the storm could leave some parts of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands uninhabitable for months.

Roosevelt Skerrit, the prime minister of Dominica, wrote on Facebook that his roof was gone, that his home was flooded and that he was "at the complete mercy of the hurricane" after Maria made landfall Monday night. A few minutes later, the politician reported that he had been rescued....

While there will be a death and missing population as these storms continue to rage in the Atlantic, the cost to rebuild will not be enormous compared to the costs in Texas and Florida.

These islands need BETTER solutions for the people. The homes and/or business buildings have to be rethought. Perhaps rather than many wood framed homes across the small island countries, there should be a better consolidated city made of brick and rebar with several stories of apartments/homes. The skyscrapers in Florida that withstood Irma are a good example of what may very well be far safer living options for these island communities. I think some research would be appropriate.

I don't have to address what is going to happen with Maria. It is another powerful storm in the Atlantic and that means something automatically these days.

The National Hurricane Center is no long tacking Lee.

Lee

13.00 -35.40 09/17/06Z 35 1007 TROPICAL STORM

13.00 -36.70 09/17/12Z 30 1007 TROPICAL DEPRESSION
13.20 -37.30 09/17/18Z 30 1007 TROPICAL DEPRESSION
13.60 -38.50 09/18/00Z 30 1007 TROPICAL DEPRESSION
14.10 -39.80 09/18/06Z 30 1007 TROPICAL DEPRESSION
14.10 -40.60 09/18/12Z 30 1007 TROPICAL DEPRESSION
15.00 -42.30 09/18/18Z 30 1007 TROPICAL DEPRESSION

My only thought about this Tropical Depression is that it occupies a space in the open ocean. It is still 'a thing' and it is a worry to me.

Harvey was once dropped from surveillance by the National Hurricane Center. I don't really blame them, they have limited resources and personnel. They attend to overt pending danger.

Harvey was a monster and it reminded me of a tornado without debris. Tornadoes can be invisible except for it's disruption of whatever is in it's path. The only reason most tornadoes are visible is because of the debris it pulls into it's circulation. I think of Harvey out of surveillance by the National Weather Service as a hurricane without visible water vapor in it's content. The turbulence never left and the size was unimaginable and it became a monster. The reason Harvey was not populated with water vapor is because the surface of Earth is dry. I know that sounds like a ridiculous statement given the perdicament of the USA this hurricane season, but, there is still drought in areas of the country.


Drought Monitor September 14, 2017 (click here)




Current Large Incident Fire Map (click here)

Additionally, there are significant fires in the northwest and California

September 4, 2017

Acrid yellow smoke (click here) clogs the skies of major Western U.S. cities, a human-caused fire races down the Columbia River Gorge toward Portland, Oregon, and a century-old backcountry chalet burns to the ground in Montana's Glacier National Park.

Wildfires are chewing across dried-out Western forests and grassland, putting 2017 on track to be among the worst fire seasons in a decade.

A snowy winter across much of the West raised hopes that 2017 wouldn't be a dried-out, fire-prone year, but a hot, dry summer spoiled that....

...By Thursday, more than 76 large fires were burning in nine Western states — including 21 in Montana and 18 in Oregon, according to the interagency fire center.

And as a reminder about the cost of the climate crisis:

September 14, 2017
By Laura Zukerman

Salmon, Idaho (Reuters) - The costs of fighting U.S. wildfires (click here) topped $2 billion in 2017, breaking records and underscoring the need to address a U.S. Forest Service budget that mostly goes to fires, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Thursday.

“Forest Service spending on fire suppression in recent years has gone from 15 percent of the budget to 55 percent – or maybe even more – which means we have to keep borrowing from funds that are intended for forest management,” Perdue said in a written statement.

The Forest Service, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, could be spending that money on logging, prescribed burns or insect treatments, measures designed to reduce the fuel load of forests primed to burn, he said....

There was some movement in the US Congress under President Obama to set up an autonomous budget for fighting wildfires so preventive measures could go forward. The autonomous budget is still very necessary.

Jose

This hurricane season will begin to define "resident storm." The entire USA east coast is receiving increased tides, that includes Bermuda. There has to be some rain as well. Jose is still a Cat. 1 hurricane with wind speeds of 65 knots per hour. It's central pressure MAINTAINS at 971 which is a drop in millibars from six hours ago. This storm is not finished.

September 19, 2017
1030.18z
UNISYS Water Vapor Satellite of north and east hemisphere (click here for 12 hour loop - thank you)


Jose

12.30 -39.10 09/05/12Z 35 1008 TROPICAL STORM

32.20 -71.60 09/18/00Z 80 972 HURRICANE-1
33.00 -71.40 09/18/06Z 75 974 HURRICANE-1
33.90 -71.10 09/18/12Z 65 977 HURRICANE-1
34.80 -71.10 09/18/18Z 65 977 HURRICANE-1
35.20 -71.30 09/19/00Z 65 975 HURRICANE-1
36.00 -71.30 09/19/06Z 65 971 HURRICANE-1

The RAF is using Bermuda to refuel (click here) and hold their planes for clearance to fly to the Leeward islands. I don't know where the RAF is going now as even Puerto Rico is under sincere danger from a Cat. 5 hurricane Maria in the Caribbean.

September 18, 2017

Hurricane Jose (click here) has brought strong winds and a risk of thunder as it heads away from Bermuda, the Bermuda Weather Service said.
The storm, which has winds of about 75mph and higher gusts, passed its closest point of approach within three days this morning but remains a potential threat to the island.

At noon, Jose was 331 nautical miles west-northwest of Bermuda and heading north at about 9mph.

It is forecast to stay off the United States’ East Coast, but could bring tropical storm conditions to some areas, according to the National Hurricane Centre....

Increased wave height with longevity will erode coastlines. The erosion when over an extended period of time will include rock, which is prevalent in Maine.

I don't want to know what the private owner fishing fleet looks like right now. They may need emergency coverage for loss of income this season. The USDA needs to pay a visit to the fishermen along the Atlantic coast. Send them a survey and realize the extent of their losses while offering forms to file for help.

September 17, 2017
By Dan Zarrow

...As Jose (click here) churns up the ocean and throws water toward the Jersey Shore, I’m still thinking we’ll see waves up to 6 feet breaking along the coast. A High Risk for dangerous rip currents has been posted along all New Jersey beaches. Red flags will be flying through at least the middle of the week....

The tidal surge is estimated to be 1 to 2 feet. That is a lot even if reduced from 3 to 4 feet. This surge is continual and damaging. The rainfall was estimated in a total of 1 to 3 inches. Okay. But. This is now continuing. The coastal communities must be having issues. Maybe the strategies since Sandy work and that would be a good model for everyone else, too. 

...The latest models suggest gusts to 40 mph for inland New Jersey and 50 mph along the coast. Technically, a “severe wind” is 58+ mph. But I think Jose’s wind will be high enough to blow around patio furniture, bring down some vulnerable trees and power lines, and cause sporadic power outages. High-profile vehicles (like trucks and vans) may also be difficult to control with such gusts...

New York City is already dealing with sea level rise; Jose only complicates that picture.

September 19, 2017
By Nicole Brown and Lisa Colangelo

...The city's Office of Emergency Management (click here) said residents should be prepared for moderate coastal flooding. 

“We are closely monitoring Hurricane Jose and the potential impacts it may have to New York City,” said OEM Commissioner Joseph Esposito. “If you live in vulnerable coastal neighborhoods, take steps to protect your property. Prepare your Go Bags, charge your cell phone batteries, and don’t forget to check in on relatives, friends, and neighbors.”...

Robert Mueller didn't have to look far for material to indict Paul Manafort.

Paul Manafort has had risky relationships for decades. The latest was Ukraine and Viktor Yanukovich. There is no excuse for Trump. Evidently, Mr. Manafort's spokesperson had enough to say to the Grand Jury to convince them of the grounds for indictment. Sorry to hear this is a bad day for Paul Manafort, but, better him than the country.

When it comes to the Trump Campaign, this was not a miss when vetting Manafort. They ignored it.

September 5, 2017
By Maryam Salah

...In the early 1990s, (click here) Manafort’s lobbying firm, Black, Manafort, Stone, and Kelly, worked for the Kashmiri American Council, a group that tried to influence U.S. policy toward the disputed territory of Kashmir. Later, the group, led by Kashmiri native Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, was proven to be a front for Pakistan’s intelligence agency in Washington. The KAC hired Manafort in October 1990, just months after its founding.

Two decades later, the Department of Justice charged and convicted Fai of conspiring to secretly act as an agent of the Pakistani government in the U.S., the result of a long-running investigation. The reason: Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s intelligence agency, had been secretly funding and directing the KAC’s work in violation of federal law since its inception.

Over the course of five years, Manafort’s lobbying firm took in $700,000 from the KAC to set up the operation. It was just a fraction of the $3.5 million Fai admitted the KAC received from the Pakistani government between 1990 and 2011, but it came at a crucial time for the organization....

Monday, September 18, 2017

What does indictment do?

The Former Director of the FBI would find it necessary to alert people they were going to be under indictment, primarily to prevent anyone from leaving the country.

Indictments mean bail will be set, passports confiscated and people ordered to remain in the country.

I found it strange that Paul Manafort sent a spokesperson to the grand jury. I am sure Robert Mueller found it odd as well.

Special Council Mueller knows this is about the country. People with means and power acted counter to the best interest of the USA. It is a big deal. It is our country.

What his name? The general that went to Putin to finance his anticipated billionaire status? Oh, heck. Oh, Michael Flynn. He is opening up a fundraiser for his defense. Really? Who is going to donate to a person basically viewed as a traitor? People he could blackmail, maybe. But, seriously, who is going to donate to the wannabee billionaire Flynn? 

I think this is a very strange group of folks and it has been strange. The players are not mainstream with this administration. I think Robert Mueller is doing the right thing and he is doing it well.