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By Robert A. Vella

It all began with an egomaniacal president interjecting himself into official weather forecasts for a powerful category 5 hurricane named Dorian.  Few people paid any attention to Donald Trump’s imbecilic prediction for the storm’s path, and rightly so;  except, however, for scientists at the National Weather Service who bear the responsibility of providing accurate information which everyone relies upon especially during extremely dangerous events such as this.  Many lives and livelihoods were at stake, so the NWS dutifully corrected the record after Trump’s foray into an issue he had neither the knowledge of nor the legal right to pursue.

Had it ended right there, Trump’s embarrassingly stupid “weather forecast” would have been quickly forgotten.  But, true to his megalomaniacal nature, he upped the ante.  Trump’s childish rage over being contradicted by his own administration spurred his loyal henchmen to attack the NWS and then coerce its overseeing bureaucracy – the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – into silencing those dedicated scientists who dared to tell the truth.  But, like a loony dictator who has little grasp on reality and no awareness of his own limitations, the ploy blew-up in his face.

Consequently, forecast-gate has now become a major political scandal implicating one of Trump’s cabinet members, an official investigation within the Department of Commerce, Congressional outrage including calls for resignations, and a news media chomping-at-the-bit to uncover more sordid details.  All this national turmoil has resulted from just one man’s perverse need to feed his own insatiable ego.

Last week in the U.K., another would-be dictator was slapped back down by his own political party acting in the best interests of their country.  This week in the U.S., the silence from Trump’s political party is deafening.  At the least, it’s cowardice.  At the worst, it’s treason.

From:  Commerce Chief Threatened Firings at NOAA After Trump’s Hurricane Tweets, Sources Say

WASHINGTON — The Secretary of Commerce threatened to fire top employees at the federal scientific agency responsible for weather forecasts last Friday after the agency’s Birmingham office contradicted President Trump’s claim that Hurricane Dorian might hit Alabama, according to three people familiar with the discussion.

That threat led to an unusual, unsigned statement later that Friday by the agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, disavowing the National Weather Service’s position that Alabama was not at risk. The reversal caused widespread anger within the agency and drew accusations from the scientific community that the National Weather Service, which is part of NOAA, had been bent to political purposes.

NOAA’s statement on Friday is now being examined by the Commerce Department’s Office of Inspector General, according to documents reviewed by The New York Times, and employees have been asked to preserve their files. NOAA is a division of the Commerce Department.

From:  Democrats call for Ross to resign for reportedly threatening to fire officials

Two Democratic lawmakers are calling for Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross‘s resignation following a report that he threatened top officials for contradicting President Trump‘s claims Hurricane Dorian might hit Alabama.

Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) each demanded the secretary step down in statements late Monday, saying that Ross’s reported threats were “an embarrassing new low.”

[…]

“Reporting now suggests that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross put the safety of countless Americans at risk by compromising America’s hurricane warning system just to protect the President’s ego. If these reports are true, Secretary Ross needs to take responsibility and resign,” Tonko wrote.

Today’s other news:

From:  One America News sues Rachel Maddow for $10 million

One America News filed the federal defamation suit in San Diego.

The small, family-owned network based in San Diego is challenging Fox News for conservative cable and satellite TV viewers and has received favorable tweets from President Donald Trump.

The lawsuit contends that Maddow’s comment on her July 22 MSNBC show were retaliation after OAN President Charles Herring accused cable television giant Comcast of censorship.

[…]

A week after Herring sent an email to a Comcast executive, Maddow opened her MSNBC show by referring to a report in the Daily Beast that said an OAN employee also worked for Sputnik News, which is linked to the Russian government.

From:  C.I.A. Informant Extracted From Russia Had Sent Secrets to U.S. for Decades

As American officials began to realize that Russia was trying to sabotage the 2016 presidential election, the informant became one of the C.I.A.’s most important — and highly protected — assets. But when intelligence officials revealed the severity of Russia’s election interference with unusual detail later that year, the news media picked up on details about the C.I.A.’s Kremlin sources.

C.I.A. officials worried about safety made the arduous decision in late 2016 to offer to extract the source from Russia.

[…]

The Moscow informant was instrumental to the C.I.A.’s most explosive conclusion about Russia’s interference campaign: that President Vladimir V. Putin ordered and orchestrated it himself. As the American government’s best insight into the thinking of and orders from Mr. Putin, the source was also key to the C.I.A.’s assessment that he affirmatively favored Donald J. Trump’s election and personally ordered the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.

[…]

Some former intelligence officials said the president’s closed-door meetings with Mr. Putin and other Russian officials, along with Twitter posts about delicate intelligence matters, have sown concern among overseas sources.

From:  NRA is suing after San Francisco labels it a terror group

The National Rifle Association is suing after the San Francisco Board of Supervisors labeled it a “domestic terrorist organization,” according to the complaint.

Last week, the board passed a resolution calling for the city and county to “take every reasonable step to limit” San Francisco’s “financial and contractual relationships” with vendors who do business with the NRA.

The resolution says the NRA “spreads propaganda that misinforms and aims to deceive the public about the dangers of gun violence.”

From:  Japan will have to dump radioactive Fukushima water into Pacific, minister says

TOKYO (Reuters) – Tokyo Electric Power will have to dump radioactive water from its destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant directly into the Pacific Ocean, Japan’s environment minister said on Tuesday.

After the plant was crippled by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011, Tokyo Electric, or Tepco, has collected in tanks at the wrecked sites more than 1 million tons of contaminated water from the cooling pipes used to keep fuel cores from melting.

The utility says it will run out of space by 2022.

[…]

A final government decision on disposing of the tainted water awaits a report from an expert panel.

From:  Trump Admin Leading ‘Brazen’ Public Land Liquidation In Alaska, Analysis Finds [spelling notation by The Secular Jurist]

If the Trump administration gets its way, approximately 28.3 millibraon [sic] acres of federal land across Alaska could be transferred, sold or opened up to extractive development, according to a new Center for American Progress analysis of the federal government’s land management actions in the state.

The administration’s agenda in Alaska amounts to “one of the most brazen public land liquidation efforts in U.S. history,” the left-leaning think tank writes in its report.

The analysis highlights nine separate actions that put protected public land on the chopping block. Those include President Donald Trump’s well-documented rush to open the 1.5 million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling and his directive last month to allow logging and other potential development in more than 9 million acres of Tongass National Forest, the largest remaining intact temperate rainforest on the planet.

From:  ‘Brazen act of lawlessness’: Inside Education Department’s effort to ‘obstruct’ student loan probes

The Education Department is intervening on behalf of student loan servicers, some accused of illegally exploiting borrowers, by declining to turn over information to law enforcement agencies in multiple states investigating the businesses, some consumer advocates say.

The department’s reluctance to share data from or about student loan servicers was revealed in documents and correspondence to the Senate education subcommittee recently obtained by NBC News.

From:  Ford cut to junk as Moody’s doubts Hackett’s turnaround bid

Ford Motor Co. was dealt a blow by Moody’s Investors Service, which cut the carmaker’s credit rating to junk on doubts that a turnaround plan by Chief Executive Officer Jim Hackett will generate earnings and cash quickly enough.

Moody’s downgraded Ford to the highest junk rating, Ba1, saying the automaker’s cash flow and profit margins are below expectations and likely to remain weak over the next two years. The descent to junk status affects one of the largest corporate bond issuers in the U.S. outside the financial sector.

Investors have traded Ford’s debt for roughly the past year at levels that implied the company was headed for junk. Hackett has struggled to win over Wall Street with an overhaul that includes cutting thousands of jobs, reviving an aging line of SUVs and ditching slow-selling sedans.

Related stories:

Deficit surpasses $1 trillion: CBO

Six in 10 Americans expect a recession and higher prices as Trump’s approval rating slips, Washington Post-ABC News poll finds

From:  Penn. fire company closed over Proud Boys ties set to reopen

A Pennsylvania fire company that was closed after its leadership refused to address that one of its volunteer members had been affiliated with the “Proud Boys” group has apologized and accepted the member’s resignation.

21 thoughts on “How a stupid ‘weather forecast’ turned into a full-blown political scandal, plus today’s other news

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