1/ The Trump administration is considering a drastic reduction in refugee admissions for next year. One plan would zero out the refugee program altogether, while another would cut refugee admissions by half or more, to 10,000 to 15,000 people. Senior officials plan to discuss what Trump should set the refugee admissions at for the coming year in a meeting next week. (New York Times)
A former employer said on Twitter Mr Berkowitz was “not very impressive and needed significant hand-holding to handle even simple assignments. But Mideast peace? I’m sure he’s got this!” Another Arab states expert described him as “a glorified intern”.
The appointment “demonstrates a lack of seriousness” in the administration’s approach to the peace plan and Mr Kushner’s complete dominance over the process, former Middle East advisor to the US defence department Jasmine El-Gamal told The Telegraph. “They are not even pretending otherwise by hiring a qualified person as an envoy.”
Others have raised concerns that Mr Berkowitz, like Mr Greenblatt before him and Mr Kushner, is a Zionist Jew, which may lead to a perception of bias in any peace negotiations with Palestinian officials. Upon Mr Greenblatt’s announcement of his departure, Mr Trump thanked him for his “dedication to Israel.”
And on top of this, Trump directed a Rear Admiral to put out a statement supporting his delusional version of events.
But there’s more… NOAA has now come out with a laughably misleading statement supporting Trump. No one in the agency is owning up to making this statement – it has no one’s name on it. And it is wrong, wrong, wrong as I explain below. I can only assume that, just as Trump directed Brown to make a deceitful statement, he also ordered NOAA to do the same (let’s look out for that as the news cycle progresses) – NOAA complied, but evidently Trump couldn’t persuade any individual there to sacrifice their career by supporting his lies, hence the lack of attribution.
From Wednesday, August 28, through Monday, September 2, the information provided by NOAA and the National Hurricane Center to President Trump and the wider public demonstrated that tropical-storm-force winds from Hurricane Dorian could impact Alabama. This is clearly demonstrated in Hurricane Advisories #15 through #41, which can be viewed at the following link.
The Birmingham National Weather Service’s Sunday morning tweet spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.
This statement does NOT, I repeat does NOT support Trump’s claims. Why? Because they are referring to tropical storm winds, NOT hurricane winds. The deception is that the statement claims to point you to “Hurricane Advisories,” but the maps linked to are actually for tropical storm winds, NOT hurricane winds. There is a universe of difference between the two. If you go to the link they provided, you will see that the Tropical Storm Winds map released on Sept. 1 at 8 AM (just before Trump’s false announcement that “Alabama will most likely be hit much harder than anticipated”) shows that only one tiny sliver of Alabama had a mere 5% chance of being hit by tropical storm level winds, NOT hurricane winds – as described right on the map at the bottom.
Here are the maps NOAA should have linked to when talking about hurricane forecasts. And below is a screen shot from that series of maps showing Sept. 1 at 8 AM (just before Trump’s statement). There it is in living color. Alabama is nowhere near a forecasted hurricane path. (Highlighting of Alabama is mine.)
The National Weather Service was right; Trump was wrong – and NOAA was wrong to support Trump’s lies as proved by its own maps.
It’s very suspicious that the NOAA statement falsely supporting Trump is unsigned. (I say “falsely” because there’s no other way to describe it – see above.) Evidently, whoever wrote it is too embarrassed to have their name associated with it.
As @Windthin pointed out here, the person picked to head NOAA in the future, Barry Meyers, (nominated by Trump’s Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, but still unconfirmed) is not a scientist as previous heads of the agency were. He’s a former CEO of a private weather company and has lobbied to privatize NOAA – something that would be a disaster and something, of course, that Trump wants to do. In other words, Meyers is yet another Trump pick who will be dedicated to sabotaging the very agency he should be stewarding. From the looks of how NOAA’s reputation is being tainted by this scandal, they’ve already started down that path.
Here’s more from the WaPo on Meyers’ lack of qualifications and conflicts of interest:
It should also be noted that any statement from NOAA would have to cross the desk of Julie Kay Roberts, NOAA’s Director of Communications. And who was writing Ms. Robert’s pay checks before she came to work for NOAA? Donald J. Trump’s Inaugural Committee. It’s not like she owes the President any favors.
Correction: In a previous version of this post, I wrongly said Barry Meyers was head of NOAA. He’s not; he’s nominated for the post, but not yet confirmed. Shoutout to @Windthin for keeping me honest.
I am not certain he actually is in charge. Neil Jacobs is current acting head. But NOAA is part of the Department of Commerce, answering to Wilbur Ross, and we saw how willing he was to lie to get a gerrymandering, racist question on the 2020 census.
By my research, he’s been submitted as the nominee THREE times. First on October 12, 2017. His nomination was returned to Trump by the Senate on January 3, 2018, resubmitted on January 8, returned on January 3, 2019, and resubmitted on January 16.
He’s been involved in both a massive sexual harassment scandal at AccuWeather AND a coverup of AccuWeather accidentally releasing a tsunami warning.
I did a little mini-thread here:
Incidentally, is it me or does the NOAA logo look a LOT like the bottom of a Q here? They might as well change it, if they’re going to endorse more Trumpian conspiracies.