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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 131)

Mexico announces 56 percent drop in number of migrants arriving at US border

The Mexican government announced Friday that the number of migrants coming to its border with the U.S. had dropped by 56 percent over the past three months as the country tries to avert President Trump’s threatened tariffs on Mexico’s exports to its northern neighbor.

Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, citing data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said the number of migrants apprehended at the frontier in August was 63,989 in August, down from 146,266 in May. Those numbers included people who presented themselves at U.S. ports of entry and were deemed inadmissible.

The Mexican government has deployed more than 20,000 police officers and National Guard troops across the country as part of an aggressive campaign meant to deter Central American migrants from passing through its territory en route to the United States. Ebrard said there had been seven formal complaints of human rights violations involving the National Guard, a relatively low number which he saw as another sign of success.

CUCCINELLI CHALLENGES MARYLAND COUNTY EXEC TO SANCTUARY CITY DEBATE AMID SPATE OF SEX CRIMES 

The U.S. and Mexico agreed in June to a 90-day window to allow Mexico to reduce the flow of migrants from Central America to the U.S. The agreement averted plans by Trump to impose a five percent tariff on Mexican goods in the U.S. that would have increased every month until it hit 25 percent.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-7505acb09ccc403c802bdf3199a83755 Mexico announces 56 percent drop in number of migrants arriving at US border Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/world-regions/location-mexico fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox-news/us/immigration fox news fnc/world fnc ee0e6f15-77b9-571d-ad88-f9bd5a0db2f9 article

Ebrard, is scheduled to meet with U.S. officials at the White House Tuesday to review the Mexican government’s progress.

“We’re showing that the strategy that Mexico put forward has been successful,” Ebrard told reporters. “I don’t expect a tariff threat Tuesday because it wouldn’t make sense.”

While drops in migration are typical during the summer months, officials denied any link between the drops in migration and seasonal trends.

MARK MORGAN: TRUMP ‘DELIVERING’ ON BORDER WALL DESPITE DEMOCRATS’ OBJECTION TO PENTAGON FUNDING REALLOCATION

Despite the apparent progress in stopping illegal migration, Ebrard repeated his government’s refusal to become a so-called “third country,’ as Trump has proposed. That would require migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. to apply for such protections in Mexico instead.

“The Mexican strategy is working,” said Ebrard, according to Agence-France Press. “We will not agree to be a safe third country … because it goes against our interests. It is unfair to our country.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Trump has not yet responded to the latest figures, but on Wednesday he seemed very pleased by Mexican efforts. “I want to thank Mexico, the Mexican government, their great President of Mexico, for helping us,” he told reporters. “They’re helping us in a very big way. Far bigger than anybody thought even possible.”

In addition to stopping U.S.-bound migrants, Mexico said it has been targetting smuggling networks, which it blames for instigating large migrant caravans bound for the U.S. which popped up earlier this year. Authorities have raided freight trains that migrants ride north, and pulled thousands off buses and out of the freight compartments of trucks. The government has warned bus and taxi drivers they could lose their permits if they transport migrants.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP19156686609754 Mexico announces 56 percent drop in number of migrants arriving at US border Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/world-regions/location-mexico fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox-news/us/immigration fox news fnc/world fnc ee0e6f15-77b9-571d-ad88-f9bd5a0db2f9 article   Westlake Legal Group AP19156686609754 Mexico announces 56 percent drop in number of migrants arriving at US border Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/world-regions/location-mexico fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox-news/us/immigration fox news fnc/world fnc ee0e6f15-77b9-571d-ad88-f9bd5a0db2f9 article

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Air Force crew made an odd stop on a routine trip: Trump’s Scottish resort

Much bigger than that.

(EDIT: This is going to be a MAJOR scandal. A “partnership” with the failing airport and trump’s resort was struck in 2014. Now the airport has major government contracts until 2024. Revenue has soard more than 2000% since 2017. Read The Scotsman article linked at the bottom if you want the full scope.)

…the military has spent $11 million on fuel at the Prestwick Airport — the closest airport to Trump Turnberry — since October 2017, fuel that would be cheaper if purchased at a U.S. military base. The letter also cites a Guardian report that the airport provided cut-rate rooms and free rounds of golf at Turnberry for U.S. military members.

Taken together, the incidents raise the possibility that the military has helped keep Trump’s Turnberry resort afloat — the property lost $4.5 million in 2017, but revenue went up $3 million in 2018.

.

Several weeks after being alerted to the curious overnight stop, the Oversight Committee wrote a letter to acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan asking for documents related to Defense Department expenditures at Trump Turnberry and the nearby Glasgow Prestwick Airport.

I mean, it’s just par for the course with this administration. What I can’t figure out is how they’ve managed to get so many others in government to be complicit. We are going to need a thorough sterilization and complete overhaul of ethic standards and audits.

EDIT Here’s some interesting background on Doonbeg. WAPO, June 2019

(In June, 2014) Trump paid $11.9 million, according to Irish corporate records. After that, Trump put in an additional $30 million into renovating and operating the property, without taking a mortgage loan.

…one of 14 properties that Trump bought without loans between 2006 and 2014, an all-cash spending binge that topped $400 million — defying his history as the heavy-borrowing “King of Debt.”

And in this thread, Seth Abramson is claiming that trump actually paid $29M for Doonbeg, $13.2M over asking price. More:

  • trump knew he was going to run for potus in 2012, and immediately started getting financial assistance and business opportunities from the Emiratis and Russians.

  • When it was noticed that trump was paying cash for all these new investments, Eric Trump explained (2013) that the influx of cash was coming from Russian investors.

  • The above scenario tracks with Lawrence O’Donnell’s reporting that Russians “cosigned” Deutsche Bank loans for trump. (some sort of such money laundering/quid pro quo financing agreement)

  • Not surprising that he’s used military to prop up. But that is nowhere near the real issues with the 14 properties he bought with cash in the years 2012 to 2015/announced potus run.

SUPER EDIT: This story is wild. This report in The Scotsman, June 26:

The loss making state-owned hub, which was put up for sale earlier this month by the Scottish Government, has received close to 650 orders since October 2017 for jet fuel.

Contract details drawn up by a US Defence Department agency indicate the deal could ultimately secure Prestwick’s parent company an additional £8m, while a new contract is set to extend the arrangement until autumn 2024.

…The lucrative deal with the US military is now the beleaguered airport’s single biggest revenue stream by some considerable distance. In the first three months of 2019, for instance, the DLA authorised payments to Prestwick worth £1.4m. That is more than twice the revenue generated via passenger services in the entirety of 2017/18.

The ties between Mr Trump and the airport have been under scrutiny ever since the 73-year-old took over the Turnberry resort five years ago.

A joint press release issued by the two businesses in November 2014 to coincide with Mr Trump’s visit to Scotland referred to an “official partnership” and a “strategic alliance,” but the relationship has been drastically downplayed ever since Mr Trump embarked on a controversial career in politics.

…Representatives from Mr Trump’s loss making firm were asked to travel with airport and local authority staff to Denmark to “pitch” to the airline, with the Scottish Government was made aware of the arrangement.

This is a major scandal. Two businesses, losing $Ms per year, form “partnership”. trump becomes president, the airport, in danger of closing and making trump’s $60M golf mistake worth nothing, gets major government contracts and monthly profits soar by 2000%. Who’s running this shit show? Who’s making what? Fucking A, congress, do your job.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

'Abuse of trust': Trump administration blasted for illegally maintaining national parks during shutdown

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close 'Abuse of trust': Trump administration blasted for illegally maintaining national parks during shutdown

Three Zion National Park visitors were injured after a rockfall at the park’s Cable Mountain. Buzz60

WASHINGTON – A congressional watchdog agency has concluded the Trump administration broke federal law by shuffling around money to maintain some national parks during the partial government shutdown that ended in January.

The sharply worded finding issued late Thursday by the Government Accountability Office – which the administration dismissed by saying its actions were legal – centered on the Interior Department’s decision to divert money dedicated for big-ticket maintenance projects for day-to-day upkeep such as trash collection and bathroom sanitation at several high-profile national parks last winter.

The violation was made worse because Interior officials knew what they were doing as they discussed replenishing the maintenance account once Congress voted to fully reopen the government, GAO General Counsel Thomas H. Armstrong wrote in the 17-page letter to lawmakers who had asked for the inquiry.

Armstrong said the action by Interior officials “tears at the very fabric of Congress’s constitutional power of the purse,” calling it “an abuse of the trust Congress placed in Interior.”

“Congress has expressed its prerogatives through laws that it enacted through the process set forth in the Constitution,” Armstrong wrote. “Interior disregarded not only the laws themselves but also the congressional prerogatives that underlie them. Instead of carrying out the law, Interior improperly imposed its own will. Interior cannot select which restraints apply to its appropriations and when these restraints apply.”

Armstrong said Interior officials must officially report the violation, adjust its accounts to correct the problem, identify officials responsible, and explain how it will prevent future violations.

The decision to keep the parks clean and maintained came during a 35-day partial shutdown of the federal government which included the National Park Service. Some parks were completely closed but others remained accessible as states and local non-profit organizations stepped in to provide the services that the Park Service could not.

E-bikes: Access or accidents: National Park Service expansion of electric bikes draws criticism

But in early January, as the shutdown was entering its third week, some of the nation’s most visited parks were dealing with overflowing trash and human waste, vandalism and looting. At that point, then-Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, after consulting with department lawyers, decided to use revenues from entrance, camping, parking and other fees collected from park visitors for day-to-day upkeep.

“We are taking this extraordinary step to ensure that parks are protected, and that visitors can continue to access parks with limited basic services,” read a National Park Service statement issued at the time.

Under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA), most of those revenues must be spent on deferred maintenance projects at the parks where the fees were collected, Armstrong wrote. The diversion of funds came as the park system is facing a maintenance backlog approaching $12 billion.

Lingering effects: Fed-up workers, repairs delayed, missed mortgage payments: Why the government shutdown never ended for some

The GAO letter does not mention specific parks or the amount of money involved. But the National Parks Conservation Association, a non-profit organization that supports park activities, said about $10 million of fee money was improperly diverted to pay for day-to-day maintenance.

The Park Service disputed the GAO’s finding in a statement it tweeted and shared with reporters.

“The National Park Service has reviewed the GAO opinion on the use of FLREA funds during the lapse in appropriations and disagrees with its analysis,” the statement read. “For many years FLREA funds have been used to keep parks accessible clean and safe. This was not only within our lawful authority, it was our responsibility.”

Democratic lawmakers, who had requested the GAO inquiry, said Bernhardt (who was confirmed in April as the full-time secretary) must comply with the finding.

Backlog: Crumbling national parks: Congress looks to hike funds for repairs after years of neglect

“Secretary Bernhardt owes Congress and the American people the legally-required plan for how they will remedy the damage caused by misappropriating funds,” read a statement from House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., and Minnesota Rep. Betty McCollum, who chairs the Appropriations subcommittee overseeing the Interior Department.

Theresa Pierno, president and CEO for the National Parks Conservation Association, said the agency’s misuse of funds was a “shell game” that not only broke federal law but also compromised the parks.

“This jeopardized the parks themselves, and all who visited them,” Pierno said  “The Department of Interior must right this wrong and put guidelines in place to ensure this never happens again. Our national parks, and all who visit them, deserve nothing less.”

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On Dorian-Battered Island, What’s Left? Virtually Nothing

MARSH HARBOUR, Bahamas — No schools. No banks. No gas stations. No supermarkets. No restaurants. No churches. No pharmacies. No hardware stores. No water, no electricity and no phone lines.

In this part of the Bahamas, nearly everything is gone.

Hurricane Dorian didn’t just upend life in Marsh Harbour, the biggest town in the Abaco Islands. Dorian crushed it, stripping all essentials, schedules and routines — everything residents and visitors had taken for granted.

And there’s no sense when those things might be restored.

Five days after the storm struck the northern end of the Bahamas, the total death toll remains unknown, but fears abound that it will be far higher than the 30 confirmed as of Friday. Many people were still missing. By some estimates Dorian did at least $7 billion in damage.

Tens of thousands of traumatized survivors, with nothing but wreckage encircling them and no way to communicate, do not even know where to begin. In the Abacos, they simply had to start by leaving.

“This ain’t no place for anyone at the moment,” said Durana Francis, 35, a cook who, like most other residents, was trying to flee.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160296945_8ce36157-e10b-433a-a03e-f580944235d3-articleLarge On Dorian-Battered Island, What’s Left? Virtually Nothing Hurricane Dorian (2019) Grand Bahama Island Evacuations and Evacuees Bahama Islands

Waiting for evacuation at an airport in Marsh Harbour.CreditDaniele Volpe for The New York Times

[The storm in photos: Devastation, fear and relief.]

The storm’s blast across the Abacos on Sunday damaged the vast majority of structures, erased entire neighborhoods and effectively rendered many residents homeless.

Hundreds of people swarmed Marsh Harbour’s wharf at the port on Friday after having heard rumors that ferry boats would arrive to evacuate people. Many others thronged the airport terminal, hoping to land a seat on private flights, which began arriving on Thursday after floodwaters had receded from the tarmac. As of Friday, commercial service in Marsh Harbour had not resumed, residents said.

Renaldo Bowleg, 37, who worked as a charter boat captain before the storm, passed by Marsh Harbour’s wharf after hearing about a possible humanitarian ferry to Nassau, capital of the Bahamas. He had his two pit bulls and was hoping to secure space for the three of them.

“I was going to stay and volunteer, but it doesn’t make sense,” he said. “I just feel it best to be closer to extraction points right now. People are becoming more desperate now.”

Mr. Bowleg was carrying an unlit cigar, a gift from a police officer he had encountered in the street a couple of days after the storm. Mr. Bowleg wasn’t a smoker but said the occasion would make him one.

McLean’s Town on Grand Bahama Island on Friday.CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times

“If I get on a boat I’m going to light this,” he said. “I’m going to enjoy it on my ride back to Nassau.”

The larger and more populated Grand Bahama Island also took a direct hit from Dorian, leaving some areas destroyed and survivors stupefied. Surrounded by wreckage, many wondered how they could meet their most basic needs.

In Lady Lake, a ravaged neighborhood near Freeport, Grand Bahama’s largest city, the yard of Nicole Sweeting-Bain’s gutted, one-story home was littered with the shredded remnants of what had been inside. A large Bahamanian flag was the only recognizable object. Whether to salvage and rebuild was the last thing on her mind.

“I don’t even care about the house,” she said, scrambling through the rubble in an attempt to find anything still intact. “My kids don’t have underwear.”

Her brother, Sean, 51, who shared the house, said there was no option but to relocate. “Home is home,” he said, “but in this particular area, I don’t think so.”

Video

Westlake Legal Group CVR_V3-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 On Dorian-Battered Island, What’s Left? Virtually Nothing Hurricane Dorian (2019) Grand Bahama Island Evacuations and Evacuees Bahama Islands

Hurricane Dorian has wreaked havoc in the Bahamas. A new look from space reveals how extensive the devastation is.CreditCreditMaxar Technologies

Other Dorian victims, in Grand Bahama, said they would rebuild.

O’Neil Wildgoose, 43, said he, his wife and their dog spent two days on the roof of their home in Freeport’s Lincoln Green neighborhood, ravaged by a 12-foot storm surge that “came like a tsunami.”

“I watched every piece of my furniture float through the back door,” Mr. Wildgoose said. But he insisted he would not leave Grand Bahama, where he has lived since birth. “We have to be resilient. We can’t give up.”

In the Abacos, no area seemed to have been hit as ferociously as Marsh Harbour. It was as if someone had lifted up the entire town and dropped it.

Houses smashed to bits. Commercial buildings split open as if with a sledgehammer, their contents splayed on the sidewalk. Boats and cars tossed here and there like toys.

Some residents shared the food and water they had stockpiled, while others took whatever they could from wrecked food shops, offices and pharmacies.

Waiting for evacuation by a boat in Marsh Harbour.CreditDaniele Volpe for The New York Times

Hundreds of people, many from destroyed shantytowns that had been mostly populated by Haitian immigrants, fled to the main government complex in Marsh Harbour and took up residence in its damaged offices.

Maxine Duncombe, the administrator of the central Abaco district, said the government had admonished residents, particularly in low-lying areas, to evacuate to proper shelters before the storm. Officials had even gone door to door, broadcasting their warnings.

“We thought people would heed the warnings,” Ms. Duncombe said Friday at the government complex.

The first refugees started arriving at the complex as the hurricane’s eye passed over Marsh Harbour. “We saw this multitude and my first instinct was to save lives,” Ms. Duncombe said. “I pushed them into every office.”

At their peak, nearly 2,000 people were sleeping in the building’s courtyard, along its colonnaded balcony and walkways, and in its administrative offices. They dried their wet clothes on the branches of bushes in and around the building, and children played on the trunk of a palm tree felled in the storm.

Their numbers had ebbed considerably by Friday as they found other sanctuaries, or a way off the island.

Ebony Thomas and Phil Thomas Sr. cleaned the floors of their home in McLean’s Town. Four members of their family are missing.CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times

Andrew MacCalla, vice president of emergency response at Direct Relief, a humanitarian aid organization that was flying pallets of medical supplies to the Bahamas, said the evacuation was not a choice. He likened it to Hurricane Irma, which wiped out several Caribbean islands in 2017, including Barbuda where all 3,000 people had to be evacuated.

“There wasn’t anything there, no housing, no structure, no clean water,” he said of Barbuda. This is not a quick rebuild. In the short term, it’s moving them off.”

A post-apocalyptic sense of despair claws at Marsh Harbour. There are no public utilities, and no reliable sources of food or drinking water. Gasoline supplies are dwindling and are a black-market trade now — for those fortunate enough to have a functioning vehicle.

Only one of the Abacos’ two cellphone companies has restored partial service in Marsh Harbour, but the regular phone lines remain down, leaving most people without a way to make calls.

Verifiable information of any sort was in short supply, so people fell back on rumors.

Kenson Jean Louis, 25, a roofing company worker, was at the wharf, hoping to get on a rumored ferry. But the storm left him without identification papers, credit cards or other documentation, and he worried he would be unable to travel.

What little remains of the Mudd neighborhood of Marsh Harbour.CreditDaniele Volpe for The New York Times

The first step for recovering lost documents was to file a police report, he said, but the police department had been seriously damaged and there was nobody to file a report with.

Mr. Louis said he viewed the hurricane as a test of human will.

“This is what we made of,” he said. “We are men.”

Government emergency officials have been scarce, if not invisible, to residents, angering many.

“The government has to do better,” said Ms. Francis, 35, who was waiting at the wharf with her two sons, 4 and 7, and her boyfriend. The only belongings they salvaged from their destroyed home fit in a black duffel bag and small backpack at their feet.

“They need boats,” she said. “They need to bring all them things in here.”

At the government center, Keven Pierre, 34, was charging his cellphone off a generator, one of the few available to the public in Marsh Harbour, and plotting his next move. He was trying to figure out a way to get himself and nine family members off Abaco Island. He had heard about the commercial flights on Bahamas Air leaving from Treasure Cay, but was angered at the idea that the airline might charge for the seats. (The airline said Friday that “all persons wishing to leave Abaco will be provided passage free of charge.”)

Without banks and ATMs in operation, many residents were left without cash.

At the Marsh Harbour airport, where part of the tarmac was still underwater, Lakeria Simms, 29, and her husband, David Gardiner, 31, and their three young children, had joined hundreds of others seeking a seat on a plane.

The hurricane, Ms. Simms said, had “put everybody on square zero.”

Her family had started the day at the wharf, arriving at 5 a.m. in pursuit of the rumored ferry. Late in the morning they took their chances at the airport. But they had little accurate information, and found themselves amid a cluster of storm refugees stuck outside the entrance. The police prevented them from entering.

“Sit and wait,” Mr. Gardiner said, describing their plans. “And hope.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Storm chaser describes being in Bahamas for Dorian

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6084186691001_6084184860001-vs Storm chaser describes being in Bahamas for Dorian Victor Garcia fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/science/planet-earth/natural-disasters/hurricane-dorian fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 36514fe7-5389-516d-a73c-22693d9a5557

Storm chaser Josh Morgerman appeared Friday on “The Story with Martha MacCallum” and spoke about the devastation Hurricane Dorian brought to the Bahamas.

“At the height of this storm you couldn’t see anything. Everything was white. All you heard is crashing. The windows were blowing and were holding furniture against the shutters to keep them from caving in,” Morgerman said.

“We barely made it to the eye, which is the calm center. And then when we came outside, the cars in the parking lot were just thrown every direction, mangled like they’d been in a blender.”

The comments came as the Bahamas death toll from Dorian, which struck the area as a fearsome Category 5 monster, was raised to 30. That figure was only expected to climb in the coming days.

HURRICANE DORIAN’S PATH: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The victims were from the Abaco and Grand Bahama islands, those hit hardest by the storm and its 185 mph sustained winds.

More from Fox News Media

Morgerman talked about how he and others survived the storm.

“I said get the kids away from windows. Wrap them in blankets and we put them under a table. So even if like all hell broke loose inside the room, kids would probably be safe,” Morgerman told MacCallum.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6084186691001_6084184860001-vs Storm chaser describes being in Bahamas for Dorian Victor Garcia fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/science/planet-earth/natural-disasters/hurricane-dorian fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 36514fe7-5389-516d-a73c-22693d9a5557   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6084186691001_6084184860001-vs Storm chaser describes being in Bahamas for Dorian Victor Garcia fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/science/planet-earth/natural-disasters/hurricane-dorian fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 36514fe7-5389-516d-a73c-22693d9a5557

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

'Abuse of trust': Trump administration blasted for illegally maintaining national parks during shutdown

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close 'Abuse of trust': Trump administration blasted for illegally maintaining national parks during shutdown

Three Zion National Park visitors were injured after a rockfall at the park’s Cable Mountain. Buzz60

WASHINGTON – A congressional watchdog agency has concluded the Trump administration broke federal law by shuffling around money to maintain some national parks during the partial government shutdown that ended in January.

The sharply worded finding issued late Thursday by the Government Accountability Office – which the administration dismissed by saying its actions were legal – centered on the Interior Department’s decision to divert money dedicated for big-ticket maintenance projects for day-to-day upkeep such as trash collection and bathroom sanitation at several high-profile national parks last winter.

The violation was made worse because Interior officials knew what they were doing as they discussed replenishing the maintenance account once Congress voted to fully reopen the government, GAO General Counsel Thomas H. Armstrong wrote in the 17-page letter to lawmakers who had asked for the inquiry.

Armstrong said the action by Interior officials “tears at the very fabric of Congress’s constitutional power of the purse,” calling it “an abuse of the trust Congress placed in Interior.”

“Congress has expressed its prerogatives through laws that it enacted through the process set forth in the Constitution,” Armstrong wrote. “Interior disregarded not only the laws themselves but also the congressional prerogatives that underlie them. Instead of carrying out the law, Interior improperly imposed its own will. Interior cannot select which restraints apply to its appropriations and when these restraints apply.”

Armstrong said Interior officials must officially report the violation, adjust its accounts to correct the problem, identify officials responsible, and explain how it will prevent future violations.

The decision to keep the parks clean and maintained came during a 35-day partial shutdown of the federal government which included the National Park Service. Some parks were completely closed but others remained accessible as states and local non-profit organizations stepped in to provide the services that the Park Service could not.

E-bikes: Access or accidents: National Park Service expansion of electric bikes draws criticism

But in early January, as the shutdown was entering its third week, some of the nation’s most visited parks were dealing with overflowing trash and human waste, vandalism and looting. At that point, then-Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, after consulting with department lawyers, decided to use revenues from entrance, camping, parking and other fees collected from park visitors for day-to-day upkeep.

“We are taking this extraordinary step to ensure that parks are protected, and that visitors can continue to access parks with limited basic services,” read a National Park Service statement issued at the time.

Under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA), most of those revenues must be spent on deferred maintenance projects at the parks where the fees were collected, Armstrong wrote. The diversion of funds came as the park system is facing a maintenance backlog approaching $12 billion.

Lingering effects: Fed-up workers, repairs delayed, missed mortgage payments: Why the government shutdown never ended for some

The GAO letter does not mention specific parks or the amount of money involved. But the National Parks Conservation Association, a non-profit organization that supports park activities, said about $10 million of fee money was improperly diverted to pay for day-to-day maintenance.

The Park Service disputed the GAO’s finding in a statement it tweeted and shared with reporters.

“The National Park Service has reviewed the GAO opinion on the use of FLREA funds during the lapse in appropriations and disagrees with its analysis,” the statement read. “For many years FLREA funds have been used to keep parks accessible clean and safe. This was not only within our lawful authority, it was our responsibility.”

Democratic lawmakers, who had requested the GAO inquiry, said Bernhardt (who was confirmed in April as the full-time secretary) must comply with the finding.

Backlog: Crumbling national parks: Congress looks to hike funds for repairs after years of neglect

“Secretary Bernhardt owes Congress and the American people the legally-required plan for how they will remedy the damage caused by misappropriating funds,” read a statement from House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., and Minnesota Rep. Betty McCollum, who chairs the Appropriations subcommittee overseeing the Interior Department.

Theresa Pierno, president and CEO for the National Parks Conservation Association, said the agency’s misuse of funds was a “shell game” that not only broke federal law but also compromised the parks.

“This jeopardized the parks themselves, and all who visited them,” Pierno said  “The Department of Interior must right this wrong and put guidelines in place to ensure this never happens again. Our national parks, and all who visit them, deserve nothing less.”

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Trump and Joe Walsh both fundraise off of #SharpieGate as NOAA issues statement

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Trump and Joe Walsh both fundraise off of #SharpieGate as NOAA issues statement

President Donald Trump was questioned by reporters Wednesday about an altered Hurricane Dorian map he displayed in the Oval Office. The map showed what looked to be a hand-drawn half-circle suggesting Alabama was in the path of the storm. (Sept. 4) AP, AP

WASHINGTON — Both the re-election campaign of President Donald Trump and the presidential campaign of former Rep. Joe Walsh, one of Trump’s GOP primary challengers, are fundraising off the controversy surrounding an altered mapof Hurricane Dorian’s path that Trump displayed in the Oval Office Wednesday.

As Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas and threatened parts of the United States, Trump has held firm on his Sept. 1 claim that the storm would threaten Alabama, despite being contradicted by the National Weather Service on Sunday soon after his original tweet.

After a week of Trump seeking to bolster his original assertion regarding Alabama, including the release Thursday of a statement by a homeland security adviser, “#SharpieGate” took another turn Friday when NOAA released a statement disavowing Sunday’s statement by a local station of the National Weather Service.

More: White House aide says he briefed Trump about Alabama and Hurricane Dorian

“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,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wrote in a statement Friday, that also pointed to a number of its advisories during that period

“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,” NOAA also said in the statement.

Even before the agency’s effort to substantiate Trump’s claim, the president’s campaign saw the value in keeping the controversy alive.

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale announced on Twitter earlier Friday that the campaign was offering “the official Trump marker.”

“Buy the official Trump marker, which is different than every other marker on the market, because this one has the special ability to drive @CNN  and the rest of the fake news crazy! #KeepMarkersGreat,” Parscale tweeted.

The markers are seemingly an effort by the Trump campaign to both capitalize on and simultaneously make light of what could have been a relatively minor controversy if not for the president doubling down on his remarks multiple times this week

A pack of five markers is $15, and the markers are emblazoned with the president’s “signature in gold” according to the campaign’s website.

Former Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., who is challenging Trump for the GOP nomination, is also selling markers on his campaign’s website where they are offered as part of making a contribution of $25 or more

“Sometimes the president needs to be reminded…so we used his favorite writing tool: a Sharpie!” his website reads. The Walsh sharpie is emblazoned with “DON’T LIE”

“Since the guy in the White House is a pathological liar, we customized his favorite marker to give him some advice: “DON’T LIE.” Walsh tweeted Friday.

Walsh, a onetime syndicated conservative talk show host said in August that he’s running a primary challenge against the president because Trump is “unfit” and “somebody needs to step up.”

Walsh, who was backed by the Tea Party during his time in Congress, wrote an op-ed in The New York Times in which he said a Republican should challenge Trump “from the right.” He also said Trump “can’t be trusted.” 

“The fact is, Mr. Trump is a racial arsonist who encourages bigotry and xenophobia to rouse his base and advance his electoral prospects,” Walsh wrote.

Trump hit back at Walsh late last month soon after Walsh announced his primary challenge, calling Walsh, among other things, “a one-time BAD Congressman from Illinois.”

The hashtag “#SharpieGate” trended on Twitter as users posted their own Sharpie illustrations after the president presented the altered hurricane forecast map on Wednesday.

Contributed: Courtney Subramanian.

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Air Force crew made an odd stop on a routine trip: Trump’s Scottish resort

Much bigger than that.

(EDIT: This is going to be a MAJOR scandal. A “partnership” with the failing airport and trump’s resort was struck in 2014. Now the airport has major government contracts until 2024. Revenue has soard more than 2000% since 2017. Read The Scotsman article linked at the bottom if you want the full scope.)

…the military has spent $11 million on fuel at the Prestwick Airport — the closest airport to Trump Turnberry — since October 2017, fuel that would be cheaper if purchased at a U.S. military base. The letter also cites a Guardian report that the airport provided cut-rate rooms and free rounds of golf at Turnberry for U.S. military members.

Taken together, the incidents raise the possibility that the military has helped keep Trump’s Turnberry resort afloat — the property lost $4.5 million in 2017, but revenue went up $3 million in 2018.

.

Several weeks after being alerted to the curious overnight stop, the Oversight Committee wrote a letter to acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan asking for documents related to Defense Department expenditures at Trump Turnberry and the nearby Glasgow Prestwick Airport.

I mean, it’s just par for the course with this administration. What I can’t figure out is how they’ve managed to get so many others in government to be complicit. We are going to need a thorough sterilization and complete overhaul of ethic standards and audits.

EDIT Here’s some interesting background on Doonbeg. WAPO, June 2019

(In June, 2014) Trump paid $11.9 million, according to Irish corporate records. After that, Trump put in an additional $30 million into renovating and operating the property, without taking a mortgage loan.

…one of 14 properties that Trump bought without loans between 2006 and 2014, an all-cash spending binge that topped $400 million — defying his history as the heavy-borrowing “King of Debt.”

And in this thread, Seth Abramson is claiming that trump actually paid $29M for Doonbeg, $13.2M over asking price. More:

  • trump knew he was going to run for potus in 2012, and immediately started getting financial assistance and business opportunities from the Emiratis and Russians.

  • When it was noticed that trump was paying cash for all these new investments, Eric Trump explained (2013) that the influx of cash was coming from Russian investors.

  • The above scenario tracks with Lawrence O’Donnell’s reporting that Russians “cosigned” Deutsche Bank loans for trump. (some sort of such money laundering/quid pro quo financing agreement)

  • Not surprising that he’s used military to prop up. But that is nowhere near the real issues with the 14 properties he bought with cash in the years 2012 to 2015/announced potus run.

SUPER EDIT: This story is wild. This report in The Scotsman, June 26:

The loss making state-owned hub, which was put up for sale earlier this month by the Scottish Government, has received close to 650 orders since October 2017 for jet fuel.

Contract details drawn up by a US Defence Department agency indicate the deal could ultimately secure Prestwick’s parent company an additional £8m, while a new contract is set to extend the arrangement until autumn 2024.

…The lucrative deal with the US military is now the beleaguered airport’s single biggest revenue stream by some considerable distance. In the first three months of 2019, for instance, the DLA authorised payments to Prestwick worth £1.4m. That is more than twice the revenue generated via passenger services in the entirety of 2017/18.

The ties between Mr Trump and the airport have been under scrutiny ever since the 73-year-old took over the Turnberry resort five years ago.

A joint press release issued by the two businesses in November 2014 to coincide with Mr Trump’s visit to Scotland referred to an “official partnership” and a “strategic alliance,” but the relationship has been drastically downplayed ever since Mr Trump embarked on a controversial career in politics.

…Representatives from Mr Trump’s loss making firm were asked to travel with airport and local authority staff to Denmark to “pitch” to the airline, with the Scottish Government was made aware of the arrangement.

This is a major scandal. Two businesses, losing $Ms per year, form “partnership”. trump becomes president, the airport, in danger of closing and making trump’s $60M golf mistake worth nothing, gets major government contracts and monthly profits soar by 2000%. Who’s running this shit show? Who’s making what? Fucking A, congress, do your job.

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Jason Riley: ‘SharpieGate’ shows press will stress any ‘petty’ controversy to hurt Trump

Westlake Legal Group Trump-map-AP3 Jason Riley: 'SharpieGate' shows press will stress any 'petty' controversy to hurt Trump fox-news/world/world-regions/caribbean-region fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/alabama fox-news/shows/special-report fox-news/science/planet-earth/natural-disasters/hurricane-dorian fox-news/science/planet-earth/natural-disasters fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article ada4dbda-f78c-5f23-a7ae-bd49587ca451

President Trump proved once again the press will attack him on even the smallest controversy — after what was dubbed, “SharpieGate” materialized, according to Jason Riley.

Nothing was gained from the dayslong back-and-forth between the president and the media over Trump’s claim that Hurricane Dorian could potentially affect Alabama, Riley said Friday on “Special Report.”

“We’ve learned nothing new here,” he said.

“We learned Trump won’t back down from a fight. We learned that there is no controversy that is too petty or stupid for the press to harp on that paints this president in a bad light.”

‘THERE IS NOTHING LEFT’: FOX NEWS’ STEVE HARRIGAN DESCRIBES DEATH, DEVASTATION FROM DORIAN IN BAHAMAS

Earlier on “Special Report,” anchor Bret Baier reported the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) put out a statement on the matter backing up Trump’s claim.

More from Media

“From Wednesday, Aug. 28, through Monday, Sept. 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,” the statement read.

Baier added NOAA said the Birmingham office of the National Weather Service put out a tweet contradicting the president that itself was not completely accurate.

The tweet — which said Alabama, “would NOT see any impacts from Dorian,” itself “spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time,” NOAA said.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Prior to the NOAA statement, a Maryland Democratic lawmaker compared Trump’s “SharpieGate” controversy to something seen on “SNL.”

“This is just ‘Saturday Night Live’-style cartoonish behavior by the president of the United States,” U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said in a CNN clip played by Baier.

Westlake Legal Group Trump-map-AP3 Jason Riley: 'SharpieGate' shows press will stress any 'petty' controversy to hurt Trump fox-news/world/world-regions/caribbean-region fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/alabama fox-news/shows/special-report fox-news/science/planet-earth/natural-disasters/hurricane-dorian fox-news/science/planet-earth/natural-disasters fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article ada4dbda-f78c-5f23-a7ae-bd49587ca451   Westlake Legal Group Trump-map-AP3 Jason Riley: 'SharpieGate' shows press will stress any 'petty' controversy to hurt Trump fox-news/world/world-regions/caribbean-region fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/alabama fox-news/shows/special-report fox-news/science/planet-earth/natural-disasters/hurricane-dorian fox-news/science/planet-earth/natural-disasters fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article ada4dbda-f78c-5f23-a7ae-bd49587ca451

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US Open: Daniil Medvedev advances to first Grand Slam final with win over Grigor Dimitrov

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close US Open: Daniil Medvedev advances to first Grand Slam final with win over Grigor Dimitrov

Sports Pulse: Serena Williams can tie the all-time record with a 24th Grand Slam title at the US Open, against Bianca Andreescu. USA TODAY

FLUSHING MEADOWS, N.Y. — With superb defense and clever shotmaking, No. 5 Daniil Medvedev of Russia advanced to his first Grand Slam final Saturday night, taking out Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov, 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-3 in the semifinals of the US Open.

Medvedev, who has more victories (50) this year than any other player, will take on the winner of Saturday night’s second semifinal between 18-time major champion Rafael Nadal, the No. 2 seed, and Italy’s Matteo Berrettini, who was looking to become the first Italian finalist in more than 40 years.

It was a heart-wrenching ending to the dream run of Dimitrov, who beat Roger Federer, a 20-time major champion, in the quarterfinals, an astonishing feat considering Dimitrov’s recent history. Formerly No. 3 in the world, Dimitrov’s ranking has slipped to No. 78, and he came into the Open having lost seven of eight matches. He rediscovered his confidence and game in Queens, though, piling up five straight victories.

The 6-6, 182-pound Medvedev, 23,  a man with a scraggly beard and the body of a corn stalk, was the tournament’s leading villain for a couple of rounds, when he was heartily booed for snatching a towel from the hands of a ball person, then flipped off the crowd with his middle finger pressed against his temple. Later he thanked the crowd for booing him, saying he never could’ve won without them, earning him more boos.

He owned his behavior, though –  calling himself “an idiot” – and comported himself well in taking down Stan Wawrinka in the quarters, and put on a dazzling show beneath the closed roof of Arthur Ashe Stadium – except from the service line, where he had 10 double faults, and somehow managed to survive them.

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Medvedev broke Dimitrov five times, applying constant pressure on Dimitrov’s service game from beginning to end.

A taut first set ended with the 28-year-old Dimitrov missing a couple of forehands in the tiebreaker. Dimitrov immediately left the court, presumably for a bathroom break, and started the second set much more auspiciously, breaking in Game 1, but Medvedev was undeterred, his diverse, well-angled arsenal proving too much for Dimitrov. 

Follow Wayne Coffey on Twitter @wr_coffey

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