Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Drunken ravings on the latest Shonda Rhimes' SCANDAL: TRUMP EDITION

On the latest episode of Shonda Rhimes' SCANDAL: TRUMP EDITION, we learned that indicted or not, booked or not, former U.S. President Donald Trump was not going to be ignored and planned to lash out as often as possible:

In a post to Truth Social this Monday, former President Donald Trump took aim at GOP presidential candidate Christ Christie, saying he should drop out of the race, purportedly for the good of the Republican party.
"Sloppy Chris Christie, who was rated the Worst Governor in the History of New Jersey, had the lowest approval rating, 8%, had 11 straight downgrades of New Jersey Bonds, a record, was thrown out of New Hampshire after his last debate, and endlessly suffered from the horrible and never ending Bridgegate scandal, SHOULD DROP OUT OF THE RACE. HE IS GOING NOWHERE AND IS VERY BAD FOR THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!" Trump wrote.

Christie is ramping up his public statements criticizing Trump. Duringan appearance on MSNBC this Tuesday, Christie warned that Trump legal troubles are jeopardizing the GOP's chances in 2024.

A conservative group opposed to Donald Trump is putting the former president on blast in a new ad demanding “consequences” for his misdeeds in the White House. 

The spot from the Republican Accountability Project, which will run on Fox News in several markets, points out that Trump’s constant lies had many people saying in frustration that “nothing matters.” 

Trump told more than 30,000 of them during his four years in office, according to a Washington Post tally.

But the voiceover states it’s not true that nothing matters.

“Because in America, the rule of law still matters,” the voice states. “And that’s why Donald Trump has been charged with 91 felonies in four separate cases for attempting to steal an election, falsifying business records and mishandling classified information.” 

Mr. Trump appears to think he can bully Mr. Christie into shutting up.  Even if he could, the criticism from within the Republican Party is coming from much more than just Mr. Christie. So, so many more:

Earlier this month, a pair of law professors with solid conservative credentials authored a paper arguing that, due to his participation in an insurrection, Donald Trump should not be eligible for the presidency. 

William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen made that argument in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, in a paper called “The Sweep and Force of Section Three.” 

“Trump’s deliberate inaction renders his January 6 speech much more incriminating in hindsight, because it makes it even less plausible (if it was ever plausible) that the crowd’s reaction was all a big mistake or misunderstanding,” Baude and Paulsen write, arguing that Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment, passed after the Civil War, should apply to January 6 and disqualify Trump from the ballot. 

Like former President Richard Nixon, Mr. Trump was shown nude, in a lazy boy chair, smoking a cigar and intoxicated as he raged about those who were against him and wondering if it was smart for him to have skipped the debate last week:

The poll showed that following the debate, which the ex-president blew off, Trump’s lead fell from 56 percent to 50 percent of the vote. The new number marked the lowest “support to date for” Trump in Emerson national polls.

All the candidates who took the debate stage saw their numbers increase — except one.

The survey showed that Ron DeSantis went from 10 percent to 12 percent while Mike Pence moved up from 3 percent to 7 percent. Nikki Haley jumped from 2 percent to 7 percent and Chris Christie jumped from 2 percent to 5 percent. Vivek Ramaswamy dropped from 10 percent to 9 percent.

Trump refuted the new polling. He told his followers, “My Poll numbers are UP since the very boring, record setting low (ratings!), Debate. Leading by BIG numbers. I made the right decision, and broke all records with the Tucker Carlson Interview!”

He kept muttering "My poll numbers are up" over and over to himself until he dropped his glass, fell out of his chair and passed out as he hit the ground.  It was both an exercise in good drama and a cautionary tale regarding alcoholism. 

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Tuesday, August 29, 2023.  A third French soldier dies in Iraq this month, climate change impacts are felt around the world, Ronal DeSantis climate of hate results in more hate and violence, and much more.

As the month of August winds down, a third French solider is killed in Iraq.  AFP reports:

A member of an elite French commando unit was killed Monday in Iraq while "supporting an Iraqi unit in an anti-terrorist operation", French President Emmanuel Macron's office said Tuesday.

Sergeant Nicolas Mazier, an air force paratrooper, "fell in combat while carrying out his mission", the Elysee Palace said in a statement, expressing Macron's "profound respect" for his "sacrifice".

THE NEW ARAB adds, "It said other soldiers from the unit were also wounded."  KURDISTAN 24 reminds, "Mazier is the latest French causality in Iraq following two other deaths among the troops in August."

Iraq, the cradle of civilisation, is facing an existential challenge: Drought and severe water shortage that threaten to turn the “land of the two rivers” into a parched desert.

Climate change and regional politics are turning this once fertile country, fed by two great rivers, into a desolate and arid land where the fate of over 43 million inhabitants hangs in the balance.

Time is not on Iraq’s side. Failing crops, drying rivers, poor rainfall rates, weather extremes, and political squabbling are playing havoc with the country.

Never before have the residents of Baghdad seen the water level in the Tigris and the Euphrates so depleted. People now cross the dry river bed of both rivers on foot. This is how catastrophic the current crisis has become.

On the topic of climate change, Brett Wilkins (COMMON DREAMS) reports:

  Climate campaigners on Friday condemned the violent takedown of activists during a demonstration at the annual Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium in Wyoming, an elite gathering where U.S. Federal Reserve officials, central bankers from around the world, economists, and policymakers meet, mingle, and craft financial policies that critics say are exacerbating the planetary emergency.

Multiple videos posted on social media by the direct action group Climate Defiance show law enforcement officers slamming a pair of activists on a hard floor as they chant, "End fossil finance" at the conference, which is hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. This year's theme is "Structural Shifts in the Global Economy."

One activist—25-year-old Teddy Ogborn of the group Planet Over Profit—was arrested, while other demonstrators were cited for criminal trespass, according to Eren Can Ileri, a policy advocate at the Stop the Money Pipeline coalition.

"I'm feeling a little sore but in pretty high spirits just thinking about the fact that someone has to be confronting these financial regulators who are actively choosing to fuel the climate crisis and burning the Rocky Mountains, where I'm from," Ogborn told Common Dreams.

"I am part of a global movement of young activists who see the world around us and know that progress is not being made fast enough on climate change," he continued. "People are climate laggards, they are climate delayists, they're climate deniers, and all that together means death in the near term for our futures and society as we know it."

"People want to do business as usual," Ogborn added. "Financial regulators have billionaire friends who want to watch the world burn from space. And so we have no choice but to take direct action to put our bodies on the line because petitions, sign-waving, and chanting—we tried that for the past 50 years and it hasn't worked, and we're out of time."

Ileri, who was also at the protest, told Common Dreams: "We tried to exert our democratic rights today. We tried to peacefully, nonviolently, and constructively engage the Federal Reserve on policy positions we believe are needed to save our futures. They showed us they were not open to conversation through their violence toward our activists but also by whisking the Fed chair away when we tried to approach him conversationally."

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell once again took a hawkish stance during a speech in which he said that "although inflation has moved down from its peak—a welcome development—it remains too high," and that the Fed is "prepared to raise rates further if appropriate."

Powell did not address the climate emergency or the role central banks play in fueling it. Ileri asserted that "by isolating themselves from communities facing the real economy impacts of the climate crisis," Powell and other central bankers "are allowing themselves to define risk in a way that doesn't match the risks that normal Americans face on a day-to-day basis due to the climate breakdown."

Stop the Money Pipeline co-director and San Francisco Board of Supervisors candidate Jackie Fielder responded to the heavy-handed police tactics by telling Common Dreams that "it's absolutely horrendous how security and law enforcement would assault young climate activists who are simply calling out climate denialism at the Fed." 

J L'Heureau (WSWS) zooms in on the state of Louisiana:

As part of the ongoing global trend of worsening environmental conditions as a result of capitalist-induced climate change, the state of Louisiana has experienced highly abnormal weather patterns throughout the summer. Typically recognized as the wettest state in the contiguous US, it is witnessing an unusually prolonged period of drought and wildfire activity, fueled by extreme heat.

Multiple high temperature records, some of which date back to the nineteenth century, have been broken throughout the state. The month of July, while being the hottest recorded month globally thus far in human history, was also the hottest for the capital city, Baton Rouge. Triple-digit temperatures have been the norm, not the exception throughout the state, with heat advisories issued around the clock by the National Weather Service (NWS).

In conjunction with the effects of the current El Niño weather pattern, a persistent heat dome has been one of the factors exacerbating temperatures. Caused by a stationary area of high atmospheric pressure trapping in warm air blown from the Gulf of Mexico and other large bodies of water—where surface temperatures have been 90-or-more degrees Fahrenheit (32-plus-degrees Celsius)—and preventing the formation of rain clouds, large swathes of the US have endured this phenomenon throughout the summer, as have parts of Mexico, Europe, North Africa and South Asia.

Meteorologist-in-charge for the NWS in New Orleans, Benjamin Schott, told local news, “No person alive in the city has ever experienced a summer like this.”

Children, the elderly, the homeless population (including those on the verge of homelessness) and workers that have to work outside are the most vulnerable to extreme heat.

Ben Broussard of the Catholic Charities of Acadiana described the impact the heat is having on the homeless, saying, “It is, at the best, uncomfortable. At the worst, is dangerous, depending on available shade and hydration.” He revealed, “We’ve had folks coming in with third-degree burns. It’s seriously dangerous outside for folks who don’t have any way of getting out of it.”

The Louisiana Department of Health has recorded 16 heat-related deaths since the month of June. Addie Duval, vice president of the Greater Baton Rouge chapter of the non-profit Start Corporation, said, “We’re definitely aware of at least a couple of heat-related deaths.”

At FAIR, Robin Anderson analyzes how the press divorces realities and cause when covering the clear effects of climate change:

When wildfires tore across Maui on August 9, devastating the Hawaiian island gem, media covered the disaster extensively. Broadcast news featured dramatic photographs that showed the horrors of the island’s destruction, with online videos shared everywhere from the Weather Channel to Inside Edition. Reporting carried testimonial descriptions like “war zone” and “apocalyptic.” On Twitter, before-and-after pictures of Lahaina confirmed that the town, home to Indigenous communities and historic sites, no longer existed.

Most of the corporate press focused on the island’s sensational visual destruction, official responses, body counts and destroyed structures. Meanwhile, news reports largely confused or denied the climate crisis’s contribution to the fire, and ignored the connections between fossil fuel use, increased CO2 levels and planetary heating.

A long Washington Post piece (8/9/23) described Maui’s power outages, cell phone blackout, clogged roads and evacuations. It made no mention of the climate crisis.

The following day, the Post (8/10/23) reported that “the fires left 89 people dead and damaged or destroyed more than 2,200 structures and buildings.” Headlining the article, “What We Know About the Cause of the Maui Wildfires,” the paper didn’t include “climate change” or its synonyms in the text. Instead, the Post identified three “risk” factors: “months of drought, low humidity and high winds.” What caused the months of drought on a tropical island not previously prone to wildfires? The Post didn’t seem interested in pursuing the question.

The piece also offered no information for understanding the similarities to the fires that had raged across Canada and turned the skies of the Northeast an eerie color of orange only two months earlier (FAIR.org, 7/18/23). The only reference point the Post gave for comparison was Hurricane Lane, which hit the Hawaiian Islands in 2018, causing heavy rains and later burning 3,000 acres of land—yet the reporters made no connection between climate instability and stronger, more intense storms.

The San Francisco Chronicle (8/10/23) published a stand-alone photo essay with captions, many taken with drones or aerial photography, that included a series of before-and-after images of Lahaina and the loss of historic sites, including the scorching of the banyan tree planted in 1870 to mark the 50th anniversary of the arrival of missionaries on the island. Though under the heading of “Climate,” no mention was made of the changing climate.

Some in the press did draw connections to the climate crisis. For instance, Axios (8/10/23), in a piece headlined, “The Climate Link to Maui’s Wildfire Tragedy,” framed the disaster within a climate discourse: “Researchers say climate change has likely been a contributing factor to the deadly wildfires in Hawaii.” Axios also drew correlations to the “summer of blistering, record-breaking heat, that puts climate in focus,” referencing the wildfires destroying Canadian forests and creating a health hazard across the US.

Importantly, Axios went further, admitting that climate change is a consequence of human activity: “Increased wildfire risk is also a symptom of human-caused climate change, scientists say.” A link took readers to previous Axios reporting (5/16/22) on research that tracks wildfire risks to the built environment, writing, “Climate change will cause a steep increase in the exposure of US properties to wildfire risks during the next 30 years.” Yet even while making these connections, Axios failed to include fossil fuels and CO2 in the text.

A New York Times piece headlined “How Climate Change Turned Lush Hawaii into a Tinder Box” (8/10/23) seemed focused on climate disruption: “As the planet heats up, no place is protected from disasters.” It documented the “long-term decline” in annual rainfall,” matter-of-factly citing multiple causes such as El Niño fluctuations, storms moving north and less cloud cover. But like Axios, the Times remained silent on what’s at the root of all this: fossil fuel combustion, and the gas and oil industries.

Meanwhile in Florida where Governor Ronald DeSantis and his goons have fostered a climate of hate, Greg Owen (LGBTQ NATION) reports:

Murals at the Orlando, Florida LGBTQ Center were defaced on Friday night with Nazi and Christian Nationalist hate speech including, a swastika, “Gay is not okay,” and the infamous Bible verse about homosexuality being an “abominiation” punishable by death. A police investigation is underway.

The LGBTQ+ youth organization Zebra Youth created the colorful artworks celebrating gay Pride and transgender joy.

“The Center’s beautiful murals were vandalized with hateful homophobic and transphobic messages and n*zi symbols,” the group said in a statement. “We appreciate all of the community support and are doing everything to ensure the safety of our youth and staff. We will not allow hate to win.”

Volunteers worked Saturday morning to clean up the damage.

State Rep. Anna V. Eskamani (D-Orlando) shared pictures of the defaced murals on Twitter along with her resolve to track down the vandals: “These were shared by the ED (executive director) of our LGBTQ+ Center — absolutely disgusting. Will do what we can to identify who did this and hold them accountable.”

The hate being stoked -- and sold by hate merchants like Ronald -- saw its intended outcome over the weekend with the deaths of three African-Americans.

In Jacksonville, Florida, a gunman shot and killed three Black people Saturday in a racist attack which the U.S. Justice Department is investigating as a hate crime. The three victims, who were killed in front of and inside a Dollar General store, were identified as 52-year-old Angela Michelle Carr, 19-year-old Anolt Joseph “AJ” Laguerre Jr. and 29-year-old Jerrald De’Shaun Gallion. The shooter was identified as Ryan Palmeter, a 21-year-old white man, who died by suicide after his rampage. This is Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters.

Sheriff T.K. Waters: “The shooter had authored several manifestos: one to his parents, one to the media and one to federal agents. Portions of these manifestos detailed the shooter’s disgusting ideology of hate. Plainly put, this shooting was racially motivated, and he hated Black people.”

The gunman had no criminal history and legally purchased the two weapons he used earlier this year: a Glock handgun and an AR-15-style rifle. The guns had swastikas drawn on them. Before the attack, the shooter was seen at Edward Waters University, a historically Black college. He drove away after a security guard saw him.

On Sunday, Governor Ron DeSantis spoke at a vigil, where he was booed by the crowds. One attendee shouted out, “Your policies caused this!” DeSantis and Florida Republicans have imposed racist laws including rolling back diversity and inclusion policies and attacking African American studies. DeSantis also opposes gun law reform.

Attendees of a vigil for the Black victims of a white supremacist shooting in Jacksonville, Florida booed Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Sunday as he tried speaking. DeSantis signed laws loosening gun laws and blocking anti-racist education from schools, leading at least one state legislator to blame him for the shooting.

On Saturday, a self-avowed 21-year-old white supremacist killed three Black patrons of a local Dollar General store before killing himself. The victims were 52-year-old Angela Carr, 19-year-old Anolt Laguerre, Jr., and 29-year-old Jerrald De’Shaun Gallion. The shooter had published racist manifestos online.

The gunman wore a mask and tactical vest and carried a semi-automatic Glock pistol and an AR-15-style assault rifle with swastikas drawn upon it, Jacksonville Sheriff TK Waters said, according to CBS News. The gunman initially appeared at the historically Black college, Edward Waters University, before beginning his shooting elsewhere.

[. . .]

DeSantis has signed laws seeking to ban racially inclusive diversity training and anti-racist “critical race theory” from schools, businesses, and government. In April, he signed a law allowing Floridians to carry guns without a permit or training even though local police officers and anti-violence activists opposed it. In May, he signed a law making it more difficult to track firearm purchases.

Racial justice broadcaster Reecie Colbert commented via Twitter about DeSantis’ heckling. She wrote, “I need Black folks to stop being more worried about offending company than about speaking truth to power. To placate DeSantis in a moment like this after he has targeted Black folks with his zealous [white-colored circle emoji] supremacist agenda is gross. Let him hear every boo and jeer he deserves!”

We'll note this Tweet from Paul Rudnick.

New content at THIRD:

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