Friday, March 1, 2019

Last Call For Another Hat Lands In The Ring, Con't

As a new study is out this week tying climate change to a major loss of ocean fish worldwide, the governor of one of America's largest fishing states is entering the 2020 Democratic presidential race.

Fish populations are declining as oceans warm, putting a key source of food and income at risk for millions of people around the world, according to new research published Thursday.

The study found that the amount of seafood that humans could sustainably harvest from a wide range of species shrank by 4.1 percent from 1930 to 2010, a casualty of human-caused climate change.

“That 4 percent decline sounds small, but it’s 1.4 million metric tons of fish from 1930 to 2010,” said Chris Free, the lead author of the study, which appears in the journal Science.

Scientists have warned that global warming will put pressure on the world’s food supplies in coming decades. But the new findings — which separate the effects of warming waters from other factors, like overfishing — suggest that climate change is already having a serious impact on seafood.
Fish make up 17 percent of the global population’s intake of protein, and as much as 70 percent for people living in some coastal and island countries, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

“Fish provide a vital source of protein for over half of the global population, and some 56 million people worldwide are supported in some way by marine fisheries,” Dr. Free said.

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee announced he is entering the race this morning and is running on fighting climate change as the number one issue for America.

Inslee, who is the chief executive in Washington state, served as the chair of the Democratic Governors Association during the 2018 midterms. In a field where the biggest names are almost all US senators, Inslee is planning to lean heavily on his executive experience and talk about how progressive politics can turn states like his into economic juggernauts.

“We are, according to CNBC, the best place to do business this year. And the reasons for that in part are because of our progressive policies,” Inslee told Vox last year. “We welcome computer scientists and geneticists who are helping to cure cancer instead of denying them because they’re Muslim. We have policies that protect our environment so we have a great place to live, clean water and clean air; as a result, it’s a great way to recruit people to come here.”

Inslee is making climate change his No. 1 priority, but he doesn’t want to be a single-issue candidate. Instead, Inslee is treating climate change like an umbrella issue under which other issues like the economy, health care, and national security also fit.

The Washington state governor plans to tie each issue to the broader theme of using the power of the presidency to dramatically lower America’s carbon output and scale up renewable energy.

“He’s going to use the full power of the presidency to defeat climate change,” an Inslee aide told Vox. “This is different than saying you support the Green New Deal.

Inslee is originally from Seattle and has lived in Washington for much of his life. He’s held a number of roles in politics, serving in the Washington state legislature and a brief term in the US House in the early 1990s. After a failed run for governor in 1996, he served as a regional director for President Bill Clinton’s Department of Health and Human Services.

Inslee returned to the US House late in that decade, where he served until he was elected governor in 2012. He’s presided over a time of economic growth; Washington is consistently in the top 10 state economies, according to rankings from US News & World Report and USA Today.

Washington’s governor has argued the progressive policies he’s embraced have had a big hand in attracting people to his state. That’s been especially prescient during the Trump administration, where the federal government has made its opposition to transgender people, Latinos, and Muslim immigrants well-known. Inslee has made it a point to push back against Trump’s policies and underscore that his state is a welcoming place for all.

“A lot of people over the years have argued that environmental laws or laws involving equity and who you can marry are inimical,” Inslee said. “In fact, they’re actually crucial to economic development. Some of the hottest economies are places with these progressive policies.”

It's a good idea.  Inslee's argument is that climate change is so important that it affects every other major Democratic platform plank: racial equality, criminal justice reform, women's rights,  LGBTQ equality, national security, jobs and the economy, public infrastructure, universal health care, child care, affordable housing, sustainable agriculture, public education, you name it, and he's got a solid point.

Climate change is going to make all of these other issues more difficult and more expensive because it will be hurting everyone, adding a growing cost to everything the federal government tries to do. Therefore, Inslee argues, the federal government should be doing everything it can in a way to fight back as it's the only sensible and moral course of action.

It's a strong argument.  How well it will resonate with an American populace where half of us have been trained for decades to laugh at climate change, I don't know.

Jared, The Galleria Of Crime, Con't

So turns out Donald Trump's worthless son-in-law Jared Kushner only got a top-secret security clearance after Trump ordered by then White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to give him one, because Kushner essentially failed every single possible red flag check to get it.

President Trump ordered his chief of staff to grant his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, a top-secret security clearance last year, overruling concerns flagged by intelligence officials and the White House’s top lawyer, four people briefed on the matter said.

Mr. Trump’s decision in May so troubled senior administration officials that at least one, the White House chief of staff at the time, John F. Kelly, wrote a contemporaneous internal memo about how he had been “ordered” to give Mr. Kushner the top-secret clearance.

The White House counsel at the time, Donald F. McGahn II, also wrote an internal memo outlining the concerns that had been raised about Mr. Kushner — including by the C.I.A. — and how Mr. McGahn had recommended that he not be given a top-secret clearance.

The disclosure of the memos contradicts statements made by the president, who told The New York Times in January in an Oval Office interview that he had no role in his son-in-law receiving his clearance.

Mr. Kushner’s lawyer, Abbe D. Lowell, also said at the time the clearance was granted last year that his client went through a standard process. Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter and Mr. Kushner’s wife, said the same thing three weeks ago.

Asked on Thursday about the memos contradicting the president’s account, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said, “We don’t comment on security clearances.”

Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Mr. Lowell, said on Thursday, “In 2018, White House and security clearance officials affirmed that Mr. Kushner’s security clearance was handled in the regular process with no pressure from anyone. That was conveyed to the media at the time, and new stories, if accurate, do not change what was affirmed at the time.”

The decision last year to grant Mr. Kushner a top-secret clearance upgraded him from earlier temporary and interim status. He never received a higher-level designation that would have given him access to need-to-know intelligence known as sensitive compartmented information.

It is not known precisely what factors led to the problems with Mr. Kushner’s security clearance. Officials had raised questions about his own and his family’s real estate business’s ties to foreign governments and investors, and about initially unreported contacts he had with foreigners. The issue also generated criticism of Mr. Trump for having two family members serve in official capacities in the West Wing.

Bet it had everything to do with Kushner being in bed with Russian, Saudi, and Emirate real estate deals and owing these governments tens of millions, if not more.  That's leverage, leverage to be used against him, and all indications are that this has already happened, particularly the Saudis.

The Washington Post backs up the NY Times story, with the addition that House Democrats remain very interested in how Kushner got his clearance.

Congressional Democrats said Thursday that they plan to aggressively scrutinize the role Trump played in securing Kushner’s clearance. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, noted that his commitee has already launched an investigation into the White House security clearance process and has yet to receive a response to its request for documents.

“The Committee expects full compliance with its requests as soon as possible, or it may become necessary to consider alternative means to compel compliance,” Cummings said in a statement.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) said in a statement late Thursday that his panel, as well as the House Oversight Committee, will continue in their investigation of the White House’s security clearance process.

“The revelation that President Trump personally intervened to overrule White House security officials and the Intelligence Community to grant a Top Secret security clearance to his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is the latest indicator of the President’s utter disregard for our national security and for the men and women who sacrifice so much every day to keep us safe,” Schiff said. “There is no nepotism exception for background investigations.”

Sadly, I'm not sure how much Democrats can actually do here.  Presidents have full authority to grant clearances to whomever they wish.  That fact is being abused here, and Trump lied about it, even though it was legal.

That tells you everything you need to know about Trump and his son-in-law.

The Third Party Screw Job

With news that billionaire Michael Bloomberg is getting serious about entering the 2020 race as an independent, and with former Starbucks CEO and billionaire Howard Schultz still lurking in the shadows, it's time for a sobering reminder from my old friend Steve M that a Ross Perot-style independent run in 2020 would all but assure a second Trump term.

Dr. Rachel Bitecofer, a pollster and political science professor, published a New York Times op-ed last month called "Why Trump Will Lose in 2020" -- but that was before Howard Schultz began making noises about running as an independent. Dr. Bitecofer, who conducts polls for the Wason Center for Public Policy, alerts us to the results of Wason's latest survey, which suggests that a third-party run could turn a Democratic blowout into a Trump win.

The Wason Center survey of likely 2020 voters shows that, in a conventional two-party race, the Democratic Party nominee holds an 11-point advantage over Trump, 48%-37%, well outside the +/- 3.2 margin of error. However, when respondents are offered the option of an Independent candidate, a far different picture emerges. Under this scenario, the race becomes a statistical tie between Trump (34%) and the Democrat (32%). Fully 16% of likely voters indicate they would vote for the Independent candidate and another 16% report being undecided — up from 9% in the two-way contest.

... the Democrat loses five times more voters than Trump (16 points vs. 3 points). That is, for every voter who switches from Donald Trump to the Independent, five voters switch from the Democrat to the Independent.
It's just one poll, but the numbers are bad.

The dropoff is quite extraordinary. In a two-person race, Trump gets 86% of the Republican vote; with an independent in the race, he's down to 78% -- an 8-point drop. The drop among Democratic voters, by contrast, is 23 points -- the Democratic candidate goes from 95% to 72%.

With no independent in the race, men go for Trump 44%-38%; add an independent and the numbers are 44%-20% (with 23% going independent) -- Trump doesn't lose any men, while the Democrat loses nearly half of his or her male supporters. And oddly, this isn't primarily a white phenomenon -- non-white support for the Democrat drops from 70% to 43% with an independent in the race.

And why wouldn't this be the case? The Democratic Party has a terrible brand. For years, Republicans have nationalized every election, portraying each contest as a one between pure evil -- the Democrats, along with their putative support network of radical college professors, Hollyweird celebrities, and effete soy boys -- and pure good. Democrats, by contrast, run against their opponents, or against the president of the United States when he's a Republican, but they never run against the Republican Party. And they don't run with pride in being Democrats -- swing-district 2018 House candidates downplayed their party affiliation; Bernie Sanders allied himself with the Democrats in 2016 only long enough to run for president, and is doing the same thing agin this year. Even Democrats mock the Democrats. I mock the Democrats. So it makes sense that a significant percentage of anti-Trump voters would blow off the Democratic Party if given an alternative. 

Again, this is one poll, but it would be a disaster for Democrats if either Schultz or Bloomberg ran (or god help us, both).  Both men have to be aware.  Both men have to see that their stated goal of getting rid of Trump would only be destroyed by entering the race.

I expect ego will drive one of them, if not both, to enter anyway.


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