“A Warning”: Anonymous Senior Official Slams Trump in New Book

download (2)NOV 08, 2019

A midnight self-massacre. That was the plan hatched by some senior Trump administration officials, who considered resigning en masse last year to sound the alarm about Trump’s conduct. They ultimately rejected the idea over concerns it would further destabilize the government.

The aborted warning is one of a series of revelations in a forthcoming book titled “A Warning.” Its author is an anonymous senior official within the Trump administration who published an anonymous op-ed in The New York Times last year titled “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration.”

In the book, the author describes senior officials waking up and trying to respond to Trump’s overnight Twitter announcements, writing, “It’s like showing up at the nursing home at daybreak to find your elderly uncle running pantsless across the courtyard and cursing loudly about the cafeteria food, as worried attendants tried to catch him. You’re stunned, amused, and embarrassed all at the same time. Only your uncle probably wouldn’t do it every single day, his words aren’t broadcast to the public, and he doesn’t have to lead the U.S. government once he puts his pants on.”

The author also claims Trump once asked White House lawyers to write a bill to send to Congress aimed at reducing the number of federal judges, after various judges had thwarted Trump’s policies. Trump reportedly said, “Can we just get rid of the judges? Let’s get rid of the [expletive] judges. There shouldn’t be any at all, really.” This according to the forthcoming book “A Warning.”

Report: US 2018 CO2 emissions saw biggest spike in years (is that what you want?)

A new report has found that US carbon dioxide emissions rose by 3.4% in 2018 after three years of decline.

The spike is the largest in eight years, according to Rhodium Group, an independent economic research firm.

The data shows the US is unlikely to meet its pledge to reduce emissions by 2025 under the Paris climate agreement.

Under President Donald Trump, the US is set to leave the Paris accord in 2020 while his administration has ended many existing environmental protections.

While the Rhodium report notes these figures – pulled from US Energy Information Administration data and other sources – are estimates, The Global Carbon Project, another research group, also reported a similar increase in US emissions for 2018.

The US is the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

Exhaust rises from the stacks of the Harrison Power Station in Haywood, West VirginiaExhaust rises from the stacks of the Harrison Power Station in Haywood, West Virginia

And last year’s spike comes despite a decline in coal-fired power plants; a record number were retired last year, according to the report.

The researchers note that 2019 will probably not repeat such an increase, but the findings underscore the country’s challenges in reducing greenhouse gas output.

In the 2015 climate accord, then President Barack Obama committed to reducing US emissions to at least 26% under 2005 levels by 2025.

Now, that means the US will need to drop “energy-related carbon missions by 2.6% on average over the next seven years” – and possibly even faster – to meet that goal.

“That’s more than twice the pace the US achieved between 2005 and 2017 and significantly faster than any seven-year average in US history,” the report states.

“It is certainly feasible, but will likely require a fairly significant change in policy in the very near future and/or extremely favourable market and technological conditions. ”

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What’s behind the rise?

Analysis by Matt McGrath, Environment correspondent, BBC News

There are a number of factors behind the rise in US emissions in 2018, some natural, mostly economic.

Prolonged cold spells in a number of regions drove up demand for energy in the winter, while a hot summer in many parts led to more air conditioning, again pushing up electricity use.

However economic activity is the key reason for the overall rise in CO2 emissions. Industries are moving more goods by trucks powered by diesel, while consumers are travelling more by air.

In the US this led to a 3% increase in diesel and jet fuel use last year, a similar rate of growth to that seen in the EU in the same period.

All this presents something of a problem for the Trump administration which has been happy to point to declining US emissions as a reason to roll back many of the environmental protection regulations put in place by his predecessor.

The figures also show that the President’s efforts to boost demand for coal have not succeeded yet, with electricity generated from this fossil fuel continuing to decline.

Despite this, there is little to cheer in the US data for those concerned with climate change on a global scale.

Many had hoped that carbon cutting actions at state or city level could in some way keep the US on track to meet its commitments made under the Paris climate agreement.

The latest emissions data indicate that this is unlikely to happen.

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US President Donald Trump holds up a "Trump Digs Coal" sign as he arrives to speak during a Make America Great Again Rally at Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington, West Virginia, August 3, 2017Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

What has changed in the US?

The last time the US saw such an increase in emissions was in 2010, as the country recovered from its longest recession in decades.

Part of last year’s spike is also the result of economic growth, but new policies have exacerbated the effects of increased industry production.

Mr Trump has rolled back a number of his predecessor’s environmental regulations since taking office, appointing climate change sceptics and industry leaders to head US environmental agencies.

As a part of undoing what he called a “war on coal”, in 2017, Mr Trump rescinded the Clean Power Plan, which required states to slash carbon emissions to meet US commitments under the Paris accord.

In December, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pressed ahead with plans to lift restrictions for carbon emissions from new coal plants and asked for public comment on redefining the phrase “causes or contributes significantly to” air pollution.

Under Mr Trump’s administration, the federal government has also opened up once-protected lands for oil and gas drilling across the US and has proposed ending regulations on fuel standards for cars and trucks after 2021.

“The big takeaway for me is that we haven’t yet successfully decoupled US emissions growth from economic growth,” Rhodium climate and energy analyst Trevor Houser told the New York Times.

The US jump also marks a worldwide trend: 2018 saw an all-time high for global CO2 emissions and was the fourth warmest year on record.

Travelers arrive for TSA inspection as they make their way through Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New JerseyTransportation remains the top contributor to US CO2 emissions

What contributed the most?

Transportation remains the nation’s number one source of CO2 emissions for the third year in a row.

But the largest emissions growth came from two sectors “often ignored in clean energy and climate policymaking: buildings and industry”.

The report estimates emissions from residential and commercial buildings increased by 10% last year, reaching “their highest level since 2004”.

And without significant changes, industrial emissions will become bigger contributors to US CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions.

“We expect it to overtake power as the second leading source of emissions in California by 2020 and to become the leading source of emissions in Texas by 2022.”

But then, y’all wanted a king, right?  Well, you got it.  Explain your choice to your grandchildren when every day is cloudy with smog.

Ryan Zinke: US interior secretary to leave administration, and “the cabinet swamp will be a little less foul.”

Ryan Zinke testifies during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, on June 20, 2017

US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is leaving his post at the end of the year, President Donald Trump says, in the latest high profile departure from his administration.

In a tweet, President Trump thanked Mr Zinke for his service, saying he had “achieved much during his tenure”.

He said he would appoint a new interior secretary next week.

Mr Zinke, an ex-Navy Seal and a former Montana congressman, has been embroiled in allegations of ethics violations.

They include a land deal in Montana involving Mr Zinke and the chairman of oilfield services Halliburton, Politico reported.

The interior department oversees federal land, including national parks such as Yosemite and Yellowstone.

Mr Zinke has faced scrutiny over expensive trips in US Park Police helicopters and on private jets.

Costly alterations at his department also came in for criticism, including reports that three sets of double doors in his office were being upgraded at a cost of nearly $139,000 (£110,000). He later said he had negotiated the price down to $75,000.

The New York Times has also published a guide to the investigations into Mr Zinke.

According to the newspaper, he is facing scrutiny for blocking a Native American casino expansion after meetings with lobbyists opposing the plan, and for possible breaches of the Hatch Act – which stops federal employees from influencing elections by using their office.

What’s the reaction been?

Mr Zinke has promoted oil drilling and coal mining, and worked to roll back environmental protections brought in under President Obama.

Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s most senior Democrat, was blunt in his condemnation.

“The swamp cabinet will be a little less foul without him,” he tweeted.

Advocacy groups have accused Mr Zinke of being in hock to corporate polluters, and many welcomed his departure.

Jamie Williams, president of conservation group the Wilderness Society, said he feared what he called the “drill everywhere” policy would continue.

He said: “Unfortunately, even with Secretary Zinke out, the interior departmentremains disturbingly biased in favour of special interests over the health of American communities and the public lands that they love.”

It is not clear if Mr Zinke resigned, or was fired.

News of Mr Zinke’s departure comes just a week after the announcement that Mr Trump’s chief of staff, Gen John Kelly, is to leave the White House.

On Friday, Mr Trump named his successor, on an acting basis, as Mick Mulvaney, who is currently director of the office of management and budget.

However, video has emerged of Mr Mulvaney calling Mr Trump “a terrible human being” during the 2016 presidential campaign.

White House aide Mira Ricardel removed after row with First Lady (and Slovenian immigrant) Melania Trump 

Composite image of Mira Ricardel and Melania TrumpMira Ricardel (left) and Melania Trump, [the “Wicked Witch of the West Wing!] (right)

White House Deputy National Security Adviser Mira Ricardel has left her post, following a high-profile row with US First Lady Melania Trump.

A White House spokeswoman said Mrs Ricardel “departs the White House to transition to a new role within the administration”. She did not elaborate.

Mrs Trump this week said that Mrs Ricardel “no longer deserves the honour of serving in this White House”.

The two reportedly feuded during a tour of Africa in October.

The removal of Mrs Ricardel comes amid reports in US media that President Donald Trump is considering a shake-up in the White House West Wing.

Mr Trump may be preparing to remove White House Chief of Staff John Kelly or Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, the reports say.

What about the row with Melania Trump?

The announcement of the transfer of Mrs Ricardel was made in a statement by White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders on Wednesday.

The spokeswoman added that Mrs Ricardel “will continue to support the president”.

According to US media reports earlier this week, Mrs Trump and Mrs Ricardel quarrelled over seating arrangements on her plane.

During her trip there, Mrs Trump told ABC in a rare interview that there were people in the White House who she does not trust.

She said she gave the president “my honest advice and honest opinions and then he does what he wants to do”.

The Wall Street Journal had earlier reported that Mrs Trump’s team believed Mrs Ricardel was behind some of the “negative stories” about Mrs Trump and her staff.

The newspaper also reported that she repeatedly clashed with US Secretary of Defense James Mattis over “staffing decisions and policy differences”.

Mrs Ricardel was hired away from the Department of Commerce by National Security Advisor John Bolton, and has decades of experience working in the US government.

She had earlier worked in the defence department under former President George W Bush as well as under Republican Senator Bob Dole when he served as the Senate Majority Leader.

NYTimes: Trump May Expand Afghanistan War to Exploit Mineral Wealth

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The New York Times reports that President Trump is being pressured by a billionaire financier and a chemical executive to escalate the U.S. war in Afghanistan in a bid to exploit the country’s mineral wealth. The Times reports Trump discussed Afghanistan’s vast deposits of metals and rare earth elements with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and is reportedly considering sending an envoy to Afghanistan to meet with mining officials. A 2010 U.S. estimate found Afghanistan has mineral deposits worth nearly $1 trillion.

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GOP Unveils Revised Health Bill to Gut Medicaid While Cutting Taxes: “YOU REALLY WANT TO CALL GOD: CAPITALISM.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled a revised plan Thursday to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and is once again facing opposition from within his own party. On Thursday, Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky said they would oppose even putting the new bill to a vote. The measure would gut Medicaid by over $700 billion through 2026, while providing massive tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. Republicans are facing sustained grassroots resistance to their plans. On Thursday, 11 interfaith leaders, including the North Carolina NAACPpresident, Reverend William Barber, were arrested outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office protesting the latest version of the Republican healthcare plan. This is Traci Blackmon, executive minister of justice and witness ministries for the United Church of Christ.

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Rev. Traci Blackmon: “I happen to know that the people of Kentucky will suffer if this healthcare bill passes. You may be OK. Your friends may be OK. But the people who put you in office will suffer because of this bill. It is time to stop calling God by other names when you really want to call God capitalism.”

Comrade Trump, in bed with Putin. Does Amerika give a fuck?

The New York Times is reporting Donald Trump Jr. agreed to meet with a Kremlin-linked lawyer during the 2016 campaign after being promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Trump Jr. and Trump’s then-campaign chair, Paul Manafort, attended the meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower two weeks after Trump won the Republican nomination. Since the news broke, Donald Trump Jr. has given at least two conflicting explanations for the meeting. On Saturday, he first issued a statement that made no mention of being promised information on Clinton, saying only that the meeting was about the U.S. adoption of Russian children. Then, on Sunday, Trump Jr. issued another statement about his meeting with the Kremlin-linked lawyer, saying, “I was asked to have a meeting by an acquaintance I knew from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant with an individual who I was told might have information helpful to the campaign.” The New York Times’s revelations come as President Trump is facing multiple investigations into his ties to Russia and whether members of his campaign colluded with the Russians to interfere in the U.S. election. Donald Trump Jr. also faced criticism on Saturday for retweeting a doctored clip of the movie “Top Gun,” edited so it appears that President Trump is a fighter pilot shooting down a jet with the CNN logo. This comes less than a week after President Trump faced criticism for tweeting a doctored video of himself body-slamming and punching a figure whose head has been replaced by the CNN logo. The Trump White House is also considering blocking a pending merger between Time Warner—CNN’s parent company—and AT&T, amid Trump’s escalating feud with the network. Meanwhile, another one of Trump’s children, Ivanka Trump, also sparked criticism when she took her father’s seat briefly at the G20 summit, sitting between British Prime Minister Theresa May and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The move was widely criticized back in the United States, given that Ivanka Trump is a businesswoman with no diplomatic experience and no elected position in the administration. Both Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner serve as senior advisers to Trump. We’ll have more on the Trump family, including Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner, later in the broadcast.

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Following theG20 meeting with Trump, Russian President Putin said Trump had accepted his denial of election interference.

President Vladimir Putin: “Our position is well known. I’ve spoken about it. There are no grounds to believe that Russia interfered in the election process in the United States. He asked a lot of questions about this issue. I answered these questions as well as I could. It seems to me he accepted it and agreed. But you are better off asking him what he thought about it.”

Trump is now backpedaling on the plan to form a joint cybersecurity unit with Russia, after facing widespread backlash over the weekend, including from South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.

Sen. Lindsey Graham: “And he had what I think is a disastrous meeting with President Putin. Two hours and 15 minutes of meetings, Tillerson and Trump are ready to forgive and forget when it comes to cyberattacks on the American election of 2016.