WTF Community

Day 740

Updated 1/29/2019 12:28 PM PST

1/ Trump dismissed climate change as a hoax, calling for "global warming" to "come back fast" as a dangerous deep freeze hits the Midwest where a polar vortex is expected to drop temperatures to negative 30F with the wind chill driving temperatures as low as negative 50F or 60F — the lowest in more than two decades. Roughly 83 million Americans – about 25% of the U.S. population – will experience temperatures below zero this week. Weather and climate are two different things: Weather is what you experience in the moment, while climate is the broader trend. Trump's tweet suggests he doesn't understand the difference. In 2017, Trump also tweeted that the U.S. could use some "good old Global Warming" right now while most of the Northeast was experiencing record-breaking cold weather. (Chicago Tribune / Vox / CNN)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

The bad smell emanating from the lifting of sanctions on Putin-connected Oleg Deripaska just keeps getting worse. The sanctions were put in place to inflict economic pain on Deripaska for the role he played in the attack on our electoral process in 2016. Steven Mnuchin, the Trump-appointed head of the Treasury Department (he’s the guy who likes to pose with piles of money), has lifted the sanctions. Now Mnuchin is being singled out for an investigation of possible motives he might have had for making the move.

House Rep. Jackie Speier wants answers about Mnuchin’s close ties to a Deripaska associate.

A House Democrat is demanding answers about an alleged business deal that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had with an associate of a Russian oligarch whose companies recently received US sanctions relief.

California Rep. Jackie Speier, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, sent a letter to Mnuchin last week seeking answers about a deal he reportedly made in 2017 with an associate of Oleg Deripaska’s, the billionaire aluminum magnate whose companies Treasury surprisingly announced it would be taking off the formal sanctions list in December. The letter, sent Wednesday, was obtained by BuzzFeed News. …

Speier said she wants to learn more about Mnuchin’s involvement with Leonid Blavatnik, a Ukrainian-born billionaire with whom he co-owned a Hollywood film company up until 2017. Mnuchin had to divest from RatPac-Dune Entertainment as part of his confirmation process and disclosed the sale of his shares, but the exact prices and purchasers are unknown. However, the Hollywood Reporter reported that Mnuchin sold the shares to Blavatnik for approximately $25 million.

:mag_right: :moneybag:


We, the world are well and truly *%^@#$fed. The various nations are all playing “After you, Gaston”, in implementing the necessary tough measures to avoid the terrible consequences of anthropogenic climate change. The Paris agreement is inadequate, but could have been a starting point. America, the second largest national polluter and China, the largest, are destroying the possibility of avoiding tipping points which will lead to large swathes of the Earth becoming uninhabitable and accelerating the inevitable demise of most of the current species, including our own. I am happy to be leaving this mortal coil in a decade or so, but grieve for my grandchildren, innocents that they are. Trump the Kochs and the media are but a small sample of the types who are ignorantly sealing the fate of humanity.

Nonetheless, we are installing solar PV on our new abode.


The various nations are all playing “After you, Gaston”, in implementing the necessary tough measures to avoid the terrible consequences of anthropogenic climate change. The Paris agreement is inadequate, but could have been a starting point. America, the second largest national polluter and China, the largest, are destroying the possibility of avoiding tipping points which will lead to large swathes of the Earth becoming uninhabitable and accelerating the inevitable demise of most of the current species, including our own.

Totally agree David. It is much of the reason I visit this excellent site, because I have been a climate warrior for some years now. True the Paris Accord was but the first baby step on a long, hard, path toward a united world dealing with curbing and eventually eliminating our dependency on burning fossil fuels. It was something that had taken 24 years of negotiations to achieve. 24 years in which the majority of Nations wished to advance but were held back by US politicians (mostly Republicans) who would never agree to give their President the authority to agree to work with others to fight rising GHG emissions. It was estimated at one point that there were 82 legislators in the US congress who were delaying any progress on the nations of the world committing themselves to direct action on dealing with AGW*. Somehow Pres. Obama (who did take AGW seriously) actually was able to make some progress and in 2015 we had a glimpse of what might be possible. And then along comes Trump and smashes it all with his ignorance.
I agree that China is a huge contributor - but Western Nations should not point the finger too much at this fact, because the emissions of developing nations are very much the result of us shipping our production off-shore to China, India, and other developing nations, and in doing so we also ship our production Carbon emissions off-shore as well.
Nevertheless, Western Nations are, by and large, ultimately responsible for the current Climate extremes which are being experienced around the globe right now. Take for instance the breakdown of the Polar Vortex (as the troposphere heats up, it heats up more rapidly over the poles - around 4x that of the equatorial regions). The expansion of the atmosphere over the poles causes the gradient at the top of the troposphere to decrease. The layer of atmosphere over the polar regions is thinner because the air is cooler. The polar jet streams usually meander in a sinusoidal path around the Arctic and Antarctic circles, but because the gradient is now less steep, these jet streams have begun to wander far more widely than in the past, and now over the Arctic they have broken down, creating blocking events of High and Low pressure systems. Blocking events are also causing the current heat waves in Australia,** where they are currently facing temperatures in some parts approaching 50 degrees C. Meanwhile the mid west of North America is experiencing severe cold for almost exactly the same reason.

Here in NZ we are awaiting a new Bill to go before our Parliament the “Zero Carbon Bill” . This Bill is being developed by our Green Party Co-leader James Shaw. James says that if everyone is equally unhappy with the final Bill then he will be happy. :slight_smile: because, of course, whatever is put in place to combat GHG emissions, it’s not going to be business as usual.

  • That was a few years ago now and I’m sorry I can’t find the link to that assertion. It was before the time when Sen J Inhofe was bringing snowballs into Senate. :roll_eyes:

** The southern Annular Mode is the name given down here.


Outrageous behavior yet again. How does Trump get away with this over and over? When is enough enough?! :exploding_head:

According to the Financial Times, Trump spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin during last November’s G20 summit in Argentina without a US official present to take notes. First lady Melania Trump was by the president’s side during the chat, but no staff joined them.

The White House had previously acknowledged that both leaders met for an “informal” talk but didn’t disclose that Trump had no official member of his team present. Putin did have someone, though: his translator, although it’s unclear if that person wrote anything down.


The potential for another government shutdown is there, but Republican Senators are wavering. It will never be a solution to get the other side’s vote, Pelosi proved that. But with significant number of R senators facing a 2020 bid, they might let T fall on his own gambit - treat the ‘crisis’ as a national emergency, which will get stopped in the courts and the court of public opinion.

Among hard-line conservative Republicans who urged Trump to use a shutdown to pressure Democrats, there is no doubt what the president should do: keep the pressure on Democrats to deal. And if they don’t, then Trump can consider declaring a national emergency or some other option.

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), who was among the few Republicans to support Democratic funding bills to reopen the government this month, acknowledged that nobody wants another shutdown. But he said Democrats — specifically, Pelosi — would take the heat this time if the border security talks collapsed, despite polls consistently showing the public sided with Democrats.

“It’s on them. They’re the ones who said reopen the government because we’ll come and tell you what we want,” Davis said. “Republicans and the president moved. They did what Speaker Pelosi asked."

McHenry warned not to read too much into polls showing Trump was hurt by the shutdown: “So to say that is going to have some lasting impact is not commensurate with the last two years of experience.”

Senate Republicans would disagree. They face a more difficult Senate map in 2020 than they did last year and could be dragged into the minority if Trump’s popularity collapses. And if in two weeks the conference committee isn’t going anywhere, they’re the ones that will have to put a bill on the floor to fund the government — and potentially shirk Trump’s demands for the wall.


Some new polling by Washington Post and ABC, more than 56 % of adults would not vote for T.

and all candidates

Amid new signs of danger for President Trump’s reelection hopes, the opposition race to replace him is wide open, with most Democratic voters not able to name their favorite candidate, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

When asked whom they would support today for the Democratic presidential nomination, 56 percent of self-identified Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents did not offer a name. No candidate received double-digit support, with former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) leading the pack.


What Michael Cohen’s testimony could tell us regarding Trump Russia, and reveal to Congress where he lied, and by doing that he’ll reveal the other lies. Key to getting any legal leverage for Mueller would be seeing the revised testimony and measure it against other’s testimony (See Junior, Kushner, etc) from both Senate and Congressional Intelligence committees. That can be done when Republicans get their Intelligence committee members into the committee, and submit the previous testimonies from the above. But this looks like a deliberate stall on the R’s part. (Maddow spoke of this on MSNBC last night) *

The Senate panel, which subpoenaed Cohen earlier this month, and its House counterpart declined to preview what questions they intend to ask. But the central purpose of the interviews is for Cohen to correct the record on his previous false statements to the committees about the timing of the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations—and, crucially, whether Trump or anyone in the White House directed him to lie in the first place. BuzzFeed News reported earlier this month that Mueller had evidence that Trump had asked Cohen to lie about the timing of the real-estate deal, prompting the special counsel’s office to release a rare statement contradicting aspects of the story. But House Democrats made it clear that, if it were confirmed that the president had tried to obstruct justice in order to hide his involvement in business negotiations with the Kremlin during the election—while Russia waged a hacking and disinformation campaign to undermine Trump’s opponent—it would be cause for impeachment.

Democratic Representative Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told MSNBC on Wednesday morning that the panel expects Cohen to address the Moscow real-estate deal, which was also a potential source of leverage for Russia throughout 2016 as Trump—and his family—kept the negotiations a secret from voters. Cohen admitted late last year to discussing the Moscow deal with Trump’s family members “within” the Trump Organization.

Donald Trump Jr., an executive vice president of the Trump Organization, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he was only “peripherally aware” of the Moscow deal in 2016. It is not clear what he told the House Intelligence Committee, which has not yet released the transcripts of the closed-door interview. But Cohen’s corrected testimony could illuminate whether other witnesses have been honest during congressional testimony about their role in, or knowledge of, the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations in 2016 and Russia’s interference more broadly.

Some tactics to delay some of the testimonies…


There…Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell said it…making election day a national holiday is a Democratic ‘power grab’ to win the election.


Good news, the House Intelligence Committee can convene as early as next week.

Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) will join the House Intelligence Committee as the panel’s lone Republican addition.

Ratcliffe’s appointment was announced on the House floor Wednesday, along with the other GOP members of the committee. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had been expected to make the announcement Wednesday or Thursday, according to sources familiar with the decision.

The announcement comes two weeks after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi named four new Democrats to the high-profile committee, which hasn’t been able to formally meet since the Republican leadership hadn’t announced its roster.

Now that the Republican slate is set, the full committee with 13 Democrats and nine Republicans can convene and will likely do so as soon as next week. One of its first priorities may be restarting its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, which new Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) has vowed to reopen.


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