Scam artist Trump and the Climate disaster will bankrupt the US

Climate crisis disasters are happening at the rate of one a week, the UN has warned. Seen here is the damage left by Cyclone Kenneth in a village north of Pemba, Mozambique: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

 

For decades Donald Trump has been losing millions and driving normally profitable businesses into the ground. Now, this idiot is poised to do this on an international scale.

Climate- and weather-related events have directly cost the US more than $500 billion over the past five years, according to a Federal Reserve official.

In addition to causing damage to natural resources and infrastructure, the Climate Crisis is expected to disrupt business operations and economic activity in the coming years.

In January, top economists from both sides of the aisle signed a letter that said climate change was “a serious problem calling for immediate national action.”

The Climate Crisis and its weather-related events have directly cost the US more than $500 billion over the past five years, according to Kevin Stiroh, an executive vice president at the New York Fed who is responsible for bank regulation.

“Climate change has significant consequences for the US economy and financial sector through slowing productivity growth, asset revaluations and sectoral reallocations of business activity,” Stiroh said at the GARP Global Risk Forum in New York on Thursday.

In addition to causing severe damage to natural resource and infrastructure damage, global warming is expected to disrupt business operations and economic activity in the coming years. Stiroh said climate-related changes raised the potential for losses related to policy changes, consumer sentiment, and how technological innovations affect the value of certain assets and liabilities.

“These effects will be felt across business sectors and asset classes, and on the strategies, operations and balance sheets of financial firms,” Stiroh said.

Fed Chairman Jay Powell told Congress this year that while addressing climate change fell under the direction of other agencies, the central bank would “use its authorities and tools to prepare financial institutions for severe weather events.” Others in Washington have issued similar warnings.

In a more than 1,500-page report released in late 2018, scientists from 13 federal agencies predicted that climate change would slash gross domestic product …..if steps weren’t taken to reduce the carbon emissions that warm the planet.

The scientists said extreme weather would wreak havoc on growth through adverse effects on the healthcare system, infrastructure, supply chains, labor productivity, agriculture, tourism, power generation, and electricity costs.

“With continued growth in emissions at historic rates, annual losses in some economic sectors are projected to reach hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century—more than the current gross domestic product of many US states,” the report said.

In January, top economists from both sides of the aisle signed a letter that said climate change was “a serious problem calling for immediate national action” and called for a national tax on carbon.

But Climate denying Trump has steadily taken steps in the opposite direction. Over the past several years, the White House has taken steps to loosen environmental rules and shrugged off a series of landmark reports on climate change.

Edited From a story in Business Insider

The real power behind Trump’s depraved “game of thrones”

Pastor Paula White delivers the benediction to Republicans

Trump’s personal spiritual adviser, wacky fringe televangelist Paula White, launched a prayer effort alongside other crazy evangelical Christian leaders last Tuesday, offering a prayer condemning the Trump’s critics, accusing them of being aligned with evil spirits and using sorcery.

The White House officially announced last week that White would spearhead the Trump’s “so-called” Faith and Opportunity Initiative. Trump and the wealthy televangelist have been friends for years, and she has been a key religious supporter, rallying her Christian base to back Trump.

Alongside her fellow Christian scam artists Cindy Jacobs, Dave Kabul, and Dutch Sheets, White has launched the highly partisan One Voice Prayer Movement, starting the initiative last Tuesday with a prayer for Trump. “Lord, we ask you to deliver (Trump) from any snare, any setup of the enemy, according to Ephesians 6:12. Any persons [or] entities that are aligned against (Trump) will be exposed and dealt with and overturned by the superior blood of Jesus,” she said during her prayer in a conference call with other Christian leaders.

“Whether it’s the spirit of Leviathan, a spirit of Jezebel, Abaddon, whether it’s the spirit of Belial, we come against the strongmen, especially Jezebel, that which would operate in sorcery and witchcraft, that which would operate in hidden things, veiled things, that which would operate in deception,” she continued. “We come against it according to your word.”

White’s prayer continued by saying that anyone who stands against Trump “would be exposed and dealt with and overturned in Jesus’ name.” She said that believers know that Trump and his Christian supporters “do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this age, hosts of wickedness in heavenly places.”

White went on: “Stretch out your arm and deliver (Trump) and rid him of any bondage the enemy would try to bring against him.”

 

 

 

 

Goddess help us all

When you’re on the crazy Trump train… All roads really do lead to Putin

A completely deranged Donald Trump on Friday spoke in front of a gaggle of reporters and made a series of unhinged and outright false claims about his political opponents, the still-anonymous whistleblower, and the news media.

Below are the lowlights from Trump’s latest crazed rant.

1.) Trump says that the whistleblower should be exposed as the whistleblower’s lawyer “sued for treason.”

The president continued calling for the public release of the whistleblower’s name, which would be against the law, before serving up a particularly weird attack on Mark Zaid, the attorney representing the whistleblower.

According to PBS News’ Yamiche Alcindor, the president said Zaid should be sued “maybe for treason.”

2.) Trump says he might endorse Jeff Sessions after all because the former attorney general said “very nice things” about him in his campaign launch video.

Even though the president still reportedly loathes Sessions for not doing enough to block special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, he said on Friday that he might be open to endorsing him in the Alabama Senate race next year. (This after Sessions blatantly openly kissed Trump’s ass)

“I saw he said very nice things about me last night,” Trump said of Sessions. “But we’ll have to see.”

3.) Trump says he doesn’t know the man whom he appointed to be America’s ambassador to the European Union.

American EU ambassador Gordon Sondland testified this week that he told Ukrainian officials that military aid to their country would not be released unless they agreed to launch investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden.

When asked about this by a reporter, Trump began by saying, “I hardly know the gentleman.”

Other witnesses have testified that Sondland was regularly in contact with Trump this year, however, and Trump called Sondland “a really good man and great American” just one month ago.

On Twitter: Donald J. Trump✔@realDonaldTrump

“I would love to send Ambassador Sondland, a really good man and great American, to testify, but unfortunately he would be testifying before a totally compromised kangaroo court, where Republican’s rights have been taken away, and true facts are not allowed out for the public….”

4.) Trump melted down and kept yelling, “Quiet!” at a reporter.

While Trump was trying to accuse former Vice President Joe Biden of corruption, a reporter interrupted him with a question, which made Trump visibly angry.

“Be quiet,” Trump said. “Be quiet! Quiet! Quiet!”

5.) Trump stuns reporters by saying he might attend Russia’s May Day military parade.

Trump revealed that Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited him to attend next year’s May Day Parade in Moscow.

“President Putin invited me to the — it’s a very big deal!” he said. “Celebrating the end of the war, etc., etc. A very big deal. So I appreciate the invitation… I would love to go if I could.”

OMFG!

 

from Raw Story

Trump flunky Bill Barr hard at work trying to prove fantasy plots

Willaim Barr Trump’s “Roy Cohn”

As the impeachment noose gets tighter and more and more alarming for Donald Trump, with damning new evidence emerging every day, there is an increasing urgency in the parallel counteroffensives underway by Trump’s “Roy Cohn” team in an attempt to defend him.

There are attacks against the witnesses giving testimony by Trump and his supporters, including attempts to smear Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, Ukraine expert at the National Security Council who this week provided crucial testimony about Trump’s telephone call to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. And there have been the extraordinary scenes of congress Republicans breaking into the proceedings and disrupting them.

But going on relatively unreported at the same time is the ever-metastasizing investigation by William Barr, the “so-called” attorney general, which the White House fantasizes as a game-changer. A farfetched investigation which is seeking nothing less than to overturn the conclusion of the US intelligence services and special counsel Robert Mueller that Russia interfered in the last US presidential election.

To raise the ante this has actually now been designated a criminal investigation with the power of subpoenas and the possibility of prison sentences for those who have been (in Trump’s fantasy) allegedly involved in “criminal actions”, meaning not supporting Dear Leader.

It’s pretty odd that Trump has repeatedly claimed that the Mueller report was a “complete and total exoneration” of him over Russiagate, is now going to such lengths to try and discredit it.

Ukraine is a common factor in both the impeachment hearings and the Barr investigation. The House is looking into Trump withholding military aid to Ukraine to force the Zelensky government to reopen investigations into unproven allegations, with Trump’s own personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani playing a leading part in this subterfuge.

Bill Barr is focusing on the crazy theory, aired on far-right conspiracy sites, and raised by Trump and Giuliani, that Ukraine framed Vladimir Putin over the US election in a complex triple-cross operation by impersonating Russian hackers.

Trump and Barr have also been asking other foreign governments for help in investigating the FBI, CIA, and Mueller investigators. Trump has called on the Australian prime minister Scott Morrison for assistance, while his flunky attorney general has been on similar missions to the UK and Italy.

The information being requested has left our allies astonished. One British official with knowledge of Barr’s wish list presented to London commented that “it is like nothing we have come across before, they are basically asking, in quite robust terms, for help in doing a hatchet job on their own intelligence services”.

The UK, in particular, has been viewed by Trump followers, especially far-right conspiracy theorists, as a deep source of woes for Trump.

 

from a story in the Independent UK

Trump’s “insane” Ukraine Clown Posse

Conservative strategist Rick Wilson penned a scorchingly sardonic column in The Daily Beast, mocking Donald Trump and his “Ukraine Clown Posse” as an utter failure.

“Donald Trump is having the latest in a long run of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad weeks, and the strain is showing on his poxed, jowly face and in his raging, undifferentiated anger at everyone but himself and everything but his own increasingly evident instability, incompetence, and desperation,” wrote Wilson. “Trump’s simultaneously baroque and idiotic bank-shot plan to disqualify Joe Biden in the 2020 election is backfiring, his Senate shield wall is cracking, and his crew in the House is reduced to staging dumb, desperate panty-raids into classified facilities to try and protect him. After a bump, Biden’s numbers seem to be moving up, and Trump may have given him two of the most valuable gifts in politics; the right opponent and an inoculation on an issue that might have otherwise haunted him.”

Trump’s rabid supporters, Wilson went on, don’t even seem to realize how serious things have gotten for their hero.

“The gap between what’s happening to Trump in the real world and what happens inside the soft fantasy bubble of the Trump Matrix is vast and widening,” wrote Wilson. “It’s harder and harder to deny his peril. For a long time, Trump and his followers had a kind of fuck-you swagger, confident his Mighty Bullshit Wurlitzer would always overcome truth, decency, the law, and the rules of political physics. This week, they have abandoned that tone for one of screechy belligerence edged with Fuhrerbunker panic.”

Wilson also laid into Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and his cohorts for trying to seize control of the impeachment narrative by illegally raiding a Secure Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) where a witness interview was taking place.

“The purpose of Gaetz and his frat rats wasn’t to bring the facts to light, or to expose some nefarious behavior by the Democrats and Republicans on the three committees leading the impeachment inquiry, who were in the SCIF hearing the testimony of yet another fact witness in what is now absolutely established as a quid pro quo in Donald Trump’s attempt to extort the Ukrainian government,” wrote Wilson. “Their dumb stunt — ‘light treason,’ as my friend Molly Jong-Fast calls it — wasn’t to pin down imaginary Deep State liars. It was a pathetic distraction, the work of a few minutes to try to put a Band-Aid on the boo-boo of Donald Trump’s fragile, shaken ego and confidence, all while compromising national security and attempting to intimidate witnesses.”

Though Trump has weathered other theoretically career-ending scandals, Wilson wrote, this time he might not be so lucky.

“In the Senate, Mitt Romney is making trouble of the best kind, John Thune is signaling his unease, and Mitch McConnell refused to back Trump’s lie that he blessed the content of the infamous Zelensky call where the American tried to extort his Ukrainian counterpart,” he wrote. “The polling and fundraising collapse in key GOP Senate races for 2020 has McConnell pondering the ultimate triage: saving the majority by sacrificing the President .”(Trump)

“The panic in the Republican Party is palpable and delicious,” concluded Wilson. “Trump will grow more angry that the Senate isn’t immolating itself to support him. The House GOP and the Trump media apparatus will demand louder noises, more distractions, more Trump-hadi tactics in support of a Trump who has already poisoned their future. It’s going to be loud, and very, very ugly.”

All fascist are not the same

Frame from Trump’s MAGA murder video

Donald Trump is not a “friendly fascist.” Unlike Ronald Reagan, the prototype for that concept, Trump does not pretend to be harmless. He does not offer up fake smiles and a cheerful nature, or display empathy and human concern for others, feigned or otherwise.

Donald Trump is direct, obvious and public in his threats against democracy, the Constitution and the rule of law. Trump and his movement are working to destroy America’s multiracial democracy through appeals to a mythic past that will “Make America Great Again.” In practice, this means undoing all the social progress and democratic reforms of the last century or more and returning to a society where white people — rich white male Christians, in particular — are fully in control over all aspects of American society for all time.

And of course, Donald Trump — the not-so-friendly fascist — embraces violence as a means of achieving his goals. When Trump said famously during the 2016 presidential campaign that he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue without losing his voters, it was both a threat and a promise.

“Friendly fascism” and traditional fascism are more alike than they are different. Writing in his 1980 book “Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America” Bertram Gross explained this:

“In each, a powerful oligarchy operates outside of, as well as through, the state. Each subverts constitutional government. Each suppresses rising demands for wider participation in decision making, the enforcement, and enlargement of human rights, and genuine democracy. Each uses informational control and ideological flimflam to get lower and middle-class support for plans to expand the capital and power of the oligarchy and provide suitable rewards for political, professional, scientific, and cultural supporters.

A major difference is that under friendly fascism Big Government would do less pillaging of, and more pillaging for, Big Business.”

It is true that both Trump and Reagan are TV presidents: products of the worst aspects of American popular culture and its superficiality, the emphasis on the impulsive versus the meditative and contemplative. It is also true that the results of Trump’s and Reagan’s policies for the poor, the working class, the vulnerable and other marginalized groups are very similar. And it is true that Trumpism is like the venerable right-wing lie about “trickle-down economics,” dosed on meth, crack and steroids.

[T]he differences between Reagan and Trump were as important as their similarities. Reagan was an actor; Trump was a reality-TV star. Reagan came from the world of fiction; Trump came from nonfiction-based entertainment. Reagan played characters; Trump played an amplified version of himself. Reagan’s job was acting; Trump’s job was acting out.

Reagan’s preparation for being president, in other words, was years of imagining himself in the heads of other people …. Reality TV did not require you to do that. You needed to understand other people as obstacles, or as creatures who would react to stimuli, but not necessarily as full human beings with the same complexities as you. If anything, too much empathy was a liability. It was noise that kept you from being your fullest you …. This is a frightening attribute for a person who has power and responsibility for others.

Trump’s performance is seductive and beguiling for his audience. They don’t want friendly fascism — it does not satisfy their emotional needs. Trumpists want and need a “strongman,” a bully and political thug who “doesn’t take any crap.” This is projection and wish-fulfillment; Trump is their hero and an imagined cure for their own emotional ailments. In that way, Donald Trump the political cult leader is poison medicine for his followers.

Trump’s supporters are bound to him by violence, both real and imagined. This was shown yet again through the fantasy mass murder video that was shown last weekend at an event hosted by the pro-Trump group American Priority at the president’s resort in Miami. In the video, an edited scene from the 2014 movie “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” an imaginary Trump guns down numerous symbolic figures: Democratic politicians, the news media, the Black Lives Matter movement, and other perceived enemies. Donald Trump Jr. and former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders were featured speakers at the American Priority Conference.

Such fantasies of political violence are a defining feature of fascism and a sign of a failing democracy.

That video was shown at the American Priority conference as part of a presentation on political memes. A meme is a message that circulates rapidly, in an uncontrolled fashion, with the goal of changing how its targets think and behave. As such, the goal of the Trump mass-murder video is to encourage Trump supporters to support violence (literal or otherwise) against the president’s adversaries.

Trump himself has also shared videos and other messages on Twitter that encourage violence against the news media if they do not do his bidding.

Moreover, because violence is a core strategy and tactic of authoritarian leadership, he has suggested that Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and other leading Democrats — as well, again, members of the news media who dare to criticize him — should be executed for treason.

Trump is a racial authoritarian. Racism is a form of violence.

Trump and his allies obsessively direct their violent threats and other attacks against nonwhite people as a group — notably, but not exclusively, nonwhite immigrants and migrants from Latin and South America. Trump has focused many of his most toxic attacks on prominent nonwhite Democratic elected officials such as Maxine Waters, Elijah Cummings, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, all duly elected members of Congress.

Donald Trump, the Republican Party, conservatives and their media allies are masters of stochastic terrorism. This has resulted in lethal political violence in the form of mass shootings, white supremacist riots and attacks, bombings, and hundreds of other documented hate crimes and other attacks by Trump’s supporters and those others who share his beliefs, across the United States and the world.

Predictably, Trump and his enablers have officially “condemned” the (most recent) Trump mass murder video. This supposed “condemnation” is a function of the plausible deniability which is a feature of stochastic terrorism. Trump’s defenders, including the hosts of the American Priority event claim that the video is a “parody” and a “joke.” So-called humor has long been a way of encouraging violence against a perceived enemy group, because it dehumanizes the targeted individuals and groups in a supposedly harmless context, lowering the social inhibitions on committing violence against them.

Of course, there is the hypocrisy, which is always at the heart of fascism and authoritarianism.

Comedian Kathy Griffin was pilloried by conservatives when in 2017 she posed with a fake severed head of Donald Trump.

Republicans and other gun obsessives constantly claim that video games and other violent forms of popular culture lead to mass shootings. Yet somehow a video showing the president of the United States slaughtering his “enemies” is harmless fun.

If Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, as president, were featured in such a video at an event hosted by their supporters, at a property either of them owned, the right-wing news media would create an enormous public panic that might well end with their impeachment and removal from office.

Ultimately, the Donald Trump murder video is but another example of how fascism has been normalized in America. In total, Trump’s presidency has unleashed, encouraged, spawned and permitted a long, nasty smear of political scatology across American politics and American life.

It’s true that the Democrats and other decent Americans have finally become mobilized to remove Trump, either through impeachment or the ballot box. But we must not overlook the fact that Trump and his movement’s rise to power is both a problem in itself and also a symptom of a much deeper set of political and social crises.

What we are witnessing in the Age of Trump is a behemoth of broken democracy and governance in a society that has become much too rapidly accustomed to a state of malignant normality and moral inversion.

In his brilliant book “Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism,” political theorist Sheldon Wolin signaled to the rise of Trump and how that regime would wield power:

Anti democracy, executive predominance, and elite rule are basic elements of inverted totalitarianism. Anti democracy does not take the form of overt attacks upon the idea of government by the people. Instead, politically it means encouraging what I have earlier dubbed “civic demobilization,” conditioning an electorate to being aroused for a brief spell, controlling its attention span, and then encouraging distraction or apathy.

What comes next?

There will be (more) blood.

The Trump murder video is a script. When it is followed (again) will Donald Trump and his movement suffer any consequences? No. Instead, Trump and his mouthpieces will issue their obligatory “thoughts and prayers” and “concerns” about right-wing political violence. Trump’s supporters will understand the real message behind such false proclamations. Trump’s condemnations of violence by his supporters and others acting in his name are really not-so-subtle winks of encouragement toward even more heinous actions.

 

 

Salon by way of Raw Story

“Impeachment…I never thought I’d see or hear that word with regard to me.” WTF?

An unhinged and freaked out Trump threatened on Saturday night to sue top congressional Democrats Rep. Adam Schiff and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi amid the House impeachment inquiry into his crimes.

The bully blowhard has a long track record of calling for lawsuits against his critics and then doing nothing. Trump threatened, “We’re going to take a look at it. We’re going after these people. These are bad, bad people.”

Trump said he spoke to his lawyers about Schiff and told them, “Sue him anyway, even if we lose, the American public will understand.” “And sue Nancy Pelosi,” Trump continued. “Or maybe we should just impeach them because they’re lying and what they’re doing is a terrible thing for our country.”

Except Members of Congress cannot be impeached, according to the US Constitution.

The speech and debate clause in the US Constitution, which appears in Article 1, section 6, protects members of Congress from being sued over their statements made on the floor, which also would apply to committees.

Trump’s ignorant comments come as impeachment proceedings into his crimes deepen in Washington.

“Impeachment,” Trump said. “I never thought I’d see or hear that word with regard to me. Impeachment. I said the other day it’s an ugly word. To me, it’s an ugly word. Very ugly word. It means so much. It means horrible, horrible crimes and things, I can’t even believe it. It’s a witch hunt.”

Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow told CNN the President’s legal team is “looking at all options” after Trump floated the possibility of a lawsuit against Schiff and Pelosi.

“Nothing off the table,” We are “in the research stages,”. Sekulow said

News content from CNN