February 3rd, 2020


Today's News (2020/2/3) Late Edition

All of this is bad. The first most obviously immediately most bad. The second quite possibly worse, but maybe just issues with data collection.


“It’s Payback Time”: With Acquittal Certain, Trump Plots Revenge on Bolton, Impeachment Enemies

Trump, says a source, wants Bolton to be criminally investigated for possibly mishandling classified information. Romney, Schiff, and Nadler are also in West Wing crosshairs.


With Senate Republicans on track to acquit Donald Trump on Wednesday, Washington is bracing for what an unshackled Trump does next. Republicans briefed on Trump’s thinking believe that the president is out for revenge against his adversaries. “It’s payback time,” a prominent Republican told me last week. “He has an enemies list that is growing by the day,” another source said. Names that came up in my conversations with Republicans included Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, Mitt Romney, and John Bolton. “Trump’s playbook is simple: go after people who crossed him during impeachment.”

Several sources said Bolton is at the top of the list. Trump’s relationship with Bolton was badly damaged by the time Bolton left the White House in September. Trump has since blamed his former national security adviser for leaking details of his forthcoming memoir that nearly derailed the impeachment trial by pressuring Republicans to call witnesses. In the book Bolton reportedly alleges Trump told him directly that Ukraine aid was tied to Ukraine announcing investigations into the Bidens (Bolton has denied being a source of the leak).


Climate Models Are Running Red Hot, and Scientists Don’t Know Why

The simulators used to forecast warming have suddenly started giving us less time.


There are dozens of climate models, and for decades they’ve agreed on what it would take to heat the planet by about 3° Celsius. It’s an outcome that would be disastrous—flooded cities, agricultural failures, deadly heat—but there’s been a grim steadiness in the consensus among these complicated climate simulations.

Then last year, unnoticed in plain view, some of the models started running very hot. The scientists who hone these systems used the same assumptions about greenhouse-gas emissions as before and came back with far worse outcomes. Some produced projections in excess of 5°C, a nightmare scenario.


Seth Abramson


[Direct link to first tweet:

So @RepAdamSchiff now knows he's giving a closing argument in a fake trial. The jurors and defense attorneys are both fake (as many are defense witnesses) and the judge is an unstuffed scarecrow. I'd give a closing today that brings in *all* the evidence and allegations. Why not?

PS/ There are no rules in this trial besides how long you can speak for. So let's have a closing that gives America the full scope of the evidence. Let's talk Naftogaz, Mueller obstruction, secret Venezuela diplomacy, the interference invite to China, the Turkey quid pro quo...

PS2/ ...and I'm not talking about scurrilous allegations. I'm talking about truth. I'm saying America should know the House fought this battle with both hands tied behind their back, because they didn't talk about other items in public reporting and narrowly limited the evidence.

PS3/ We never heard about how Trump and Giuliani personally engineered the reporting on the Bidens by John Solomon of THE HILL. We never heard about how Yuri Lutsenko conducted a full Biden investigation in early 2019 at giuliani's request and then *recanted everything in June*.

PS4/ America never got a rundown of the lies Trump told about not knowing Parnas/Fruman, nor an accounting of all the times we know they interacted with Trump well beyond a photograph. No accounting of Trump's public Ukraine lies (which suggest consciousness of guilt) was given.

PS5/ Though the House had ample evidence of the modus operandi Trump used in this case, because he had done the same thing with Russia previously and was doing the same thing with China and Venezuela concurrently, those topics were wrongly deemed "outside the scope" of the trial.

PS6/ So many things were not stated as clearly as they could've been, e.g. whatever info Trump had suggesting Biden wrongdoing, he soon learned was false via Lutsenko. Trump's team never presented any evidence Trump cared about any Ukrainian company not tied to a political rival.

PS7/ By making their defense that Trump was an anti-corruption fighter, Trump's team opened the door to a catalog of every corrupt thing Trump has done and every corrupt person he has coddled, as a way of proving this is the *last man in the world* who'd *ever* fight corruption.

PS8/ Democrats have played nice for four years, under the assumption reasonable Republicans still existed in Washington. Now we know they don't, and that it's not just that they're unreasonable, it's that the whole party is irreparably corrupted. Maybe it's time to *act* like it?

PS9/ It's time for Democrats to let loose the dogs of war (rhetorically), and it seems to me the closing arguments in an impeachment trial, especially when media has already decided they won't be exciting or be worth much reporting on, is the perfect time to *release the hounds*.

PS10/ There's middle ground between safe DNC messaging that seems like it hails from last century and the no-holds-barred deep-fake route Bill Maher advocates. You can destroy a man on the internet and do it without telling a lie. Democrats need young folks who know how to do it.


The Downfall of the Republican Party

To see men and women who had a positive vision beaten down and broken by Trump is a poignant thing.


On Friday, Republicans in the United States Senate—with the exception of Mitt Romney and Susan Collins—voted to prevent John Bolton, Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, from testifying in the impeachment trial of the president.

The reason they did so is undeniable: They did not want to hear from the most credible fact witness of all, one whose account would further implicate the president in his corrupt scheme—his “drug deal,” in Bolton’s words—to pressure the Ukrainian government to open an investigation to harm Trump’s main political opponent.

Republicans, from beginning to end, sought not to ensure that justice be done or truth be revealed. Instead, they sought to ensure that Trump not be removed from office under any circumstances, defending him at all costs. The job of Senate Republicans was to make their acquittal of the president as quick and painless for them as possible. In this particular case, facts and evidence—reality—were viewed as grave threats, which is why they had to be buried.

This is simply the latest act in an unfolding political drama, one in which the party of Lincoln and Reagan has now become, in every meaningful sense, the party of Trump.

I have written before about the massive moral and ethical defects of the president; there’s no need to rehearse them here. The point I want to make is a somewhat different one, which is that Trump’s takeover of the GOP has happened not because he is widely loved or admired by Republican lawmakers but because he is feared; not because most of the people in the Republican Senate Conference aspire to be like him, but because they are too timid to challenge him.


Billings legislator insists Constitution says it’s OK to shoot socialists


HELENA — A Billings Republican legislator said Saturday he believes the U.S. Constitution calls for the shooting or jailing of those who identify as socialists.

State Rep. Rodney Garcia, from House District 52 on the South Side, first made a statement in the form of an unprompted question at a state party gathering in Helena Friday meant to kick off election season and offer training for party members and candidates.

In his question after a speech by former Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, who was Montana’s representative in the U.S. House for two years, Garcia said he was concerned about socialists “entering our government” and socialists “everywhere” in Billings, before saying the Constitution says to either shoot socialists or put them in jail.


Does It Matter Who the Democrats Choose?
In terms of actual policy, probably not very much.


At this point, the Democratic presidential nomination is very much up in the air. Not only is it unclear who will be the nominee; it’s unclear whether the nominee will be a centrist like Joe Biden or Amy Klobuchar, or a representative of the party’s left like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. Whoever wins, there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth from the other side.

So I’d like to offer an opinion that will probably anger everyone: In terms of actual policy, it probably doesn’t matter much who the Democrats nominate — as long as he or she wins, and Democrats take the Senate too.


In 2016 Trump ran as a different kind of Republican, promising that unlike other candidates, he wouldn’t slash social programs and cut taxes on the rich. But it was all a lie. Aside from his trade war, Trump’s economic policies have been straight right-wing orthodoxy: huge tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, attempts to take health care away from tens of millions of Americans. And lately he has been talking about possible cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

The point is that even though Trump commands humiliating personal subservience from his party, he hasn’t caused any significant shift in its policy priorities.

Now, the Democratic Party is very different from the G.O.P. — it’s a loose coalition of interest groups, not a monolithic entity answering to a handful of billionaires allied with white nationalists. But this if anything makes it even harder for a Democratic president to lead his or her party very far from its political center of gravity, which is currently one of moderate progressivism.


Hannity’s ugly meltdown at Romney: Wanting the truth is ‘Trump hatred’


It was inevitable that the Cult of Trump would ultimately settle here. Any Republican who dares to acknowledge the relevance of facts outside the disinformation bubble that President Trump and his propagandists have constructed in his defense — facts they are unable to control — can be driven only by Trump “hatred.”

Fox News’s Sean Hannity staged a spectacular meltdown at Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Tuesday night, over Romney’s desire to hear testimony from John Bolton, the former national security adviser whose forthcoming book relates that Trump didn’t want to release nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine until its president carried out Trump’s political bidding.

Hannity’s performance illustrates how preposterously weak Trump’s defenses have become, and how heavily they depend on insulating Trump’s extraordinary corruption, and the lies justifying it, from contrary facts and legitimate outside scrutiny.

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