Trump Celebrates “Billions Of Dollars” In Infrastructure Spending He’s Raised For Puerto Rico


Immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico


Pooh-Poohs Body Count As Plot By Democrats To Make Him Look Bad


This is an update to a story we wrote earlier in the week: How Natural Disasters Quietly Benefit Trump’s Agenda.

While we alluded to Puerto Rico when we originally wrote that piece, we didn’t feel comfortable directly speculating about what Trump might’ve been referring to when he called his response to Hurricane Maria there an “unsung success.”

But now he’s made it crystal clear:

Understandably, most people today are focusing their reaction — and fury — on Trump’s attempt to pooh-pooh the body count and furiously characterize an independent report commissioned by Puerto Rico’s own government as yet another attempt by Democrats to victimize him.

And for those of you who have come to question why the researchers who did the report kept adding to their totals even months after the hurricane passed, the Washington Post’s Philip Bump has a pretty comprehensive and common sense explanation. In short: the way researchers at George Washington University compiled their numbers is they compared the number of deaths in Puerto Rico in the wake of the hurricane with the number of deaths that would normally be expected there. They planned to stop adding to their numbers as soon as deaths dropped back into a more normal range. Only — as the island struggled to recover—they never did.

Heck, even someone who typically frolics in Trump’s tentacles like a clown fish was quick to separate himself from the President on this. (Of course, Scott is running for Senate in Florida, where hundreds of thousands of Maria victims relocated, and some of whom have doubtlessly registered to vote.)

But there’s an angle to the story that’s by-and-large being lost, and that’s Trump’s celebrating that he got Congress to spend money on infrastructure that it otherwise never ever would have allocated, so was all worth it (which is what we suspected all along he meant when he said Puerto Rico was “unsung success”; now we know for sure). And Trump is actually kinda right about that.

But we can pretty easily assert that even “raising Billions of Dollars” is no compensation for lives lost.

And we will remind you, as we did in our original piece, of a quote from French economist Frédéric Bastiat (originally shared with us by the St. Louis Fed): “Destruction is not profit”.



Is A Sitting Member Of Congress Really This Naive?


Of course not! The Republican Representative from Michigan who often gives Trump a hard time knows darn well that in order for the President to pull off his promised “economic miracle” he’ll have to significantly increase–not decrease–arms sales to overseas allies. And that’ll invariably involve turning a blind eye to a lot of unsavory doings. (Of course Amash is also currently running for reelection, as are all Members of the House.)

As we’ve mentioned before, bolstering the “military industrial complex” is the easiest way to increase U.S. manufacturing jobs–far easier than talking corporations into moving a few hundred production jobs back to the U.S. here and there–because for reasons of national security, defense contractors have not been able to outsource much overseas. Arms are the most reliably “made in the U.S.A.” of any product this country produces.



Paul Manafort On The Verge Of Plea Deal To Avoid Second Trial


Paul Manafort during the 2016 Presidential campaign


According to ABC News, Manafort is opting not to go up against the Mueller team again in court, and instead plans to enter a guilty plea today. He’s already been found guilty of tax and bank fraud charges in his first trial. It’s not clear yet exactly which of a wide range of additional fraud charges he’s going to be pleading guilty to.

It’s not likely Manafort will now cooperate with the Mueller team and its Russia investigation. In fact, if for some reason he does, it’d be a gigantic bombshell. What wouldn’t be a bombshell is an eventual Presidential pardon. Trump, although he says he doesn’t know Manafort very well, has repeatedly contented his former Campaign Chairman’s been treated unfairly, seemingly on the grounds that rich people do the kinds of things Manafort did all the time and get away with it.



Rainfall Totals From Hurricane Florence Could Be So Great The National Weather Service Just Added Another Color To It’s Graphic: Pink


That indicates potential rainfall of 30 to 50 inches in the area of Wilmington, North Carolina, before the storm is over.

We wish everybody a safe weekend.