Monday, September 16, 2019

Lat Call For Courting Disaster, Con't

As Greg Sargent points out, the damage Trump has done through the courts will be with us for decades, if not the rest of our lifetimes, and we have to face the very real possibility that the Roberts Court will destroy the remaining paths to fixing climate change and doom all of us, no matter who wins in 2020, according to a new study.

Imagine that a Democratic president and Congress were to enact some sort of Green New Deal-oriented program that includes extensive investments in green energy technologies, and new regulations on greenhouse gas emissions by both industry and the agricultural sector.

Such efforts would be implemented by agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Agriculture Department. No matter how clearly the statutory commands to these agencies are written, the study argues, “a determined Court can undermine attempts to realize the legislation by reading agencies’ statutory authority extremely narrowly.”  
The study posits that the conservative justices could invalidate climate legislation through a creative reading of the Fifth Amendment’s prohibition against taking private property for “public use” without “just compensation.”

For instance, the study notes, the court might narrowly construe what counts as a “public purpose,” as previous conservative justices have suggested in dissents. In this scenario, the court might strike down legislation dramatically restricting oil drilling as an unconstitutional “taking” from a corporation engaged in it.

“Though oil companies arguably are implicated in wreaking affirmative harm on society,” the study concludes, the court might simply deny that the policy in question would actually serve a public purpose. How? By concluding that it “would not remedy the affirmative harm that climate change poses to society,” or worse, that “climate change does not pose a sufficient harm in the first place.”

Another possibility is that the conservative justices might be animated by a newly emerging doctrine called “regulatory takings.” This doctrine reads not just eminent domain but also certain regulatory acts as “takings” requiring compensation.

Imagine a law that requires new levels of monitoring on fossil-fuel drilling sites to keep extractions below a certain threshold. The study posits that the justices might allow that the regulation does serve a public purpose, so it can stand, but also that it’s still a “taking” and thus requires compensation.

“Requiring the government to pay to regulate could pose problems for the fiscal feasibility of climate change legislation,” the study concludes.

Other possibilities suggested by the study: Congress’s authority to regulate interstate commerce underpins many environmental laws, but the conservative court could invalidate, say, new regulations affecting natural resources by arguing that the commerce clause does not authorize intrusions into regulatory authority typically reserved to the states.

Or the conservative court could invalidate, for instance, new regulatory standards created for states by concluding that the mechanism to do so runs afoul of an “anti-commandeering doctrine” developed by conservatives to limit the federal government’s ability to exert influence over state governments.

The bottom line subtext of the study: In response to the climate crisis, the federal government is going to have to exercise its powers to a much greater degree — and a major collision between this and the conservative court majority is inevitable.

Once again, you can thank the third party purity scolds, the misogynists, and the "LOL Trump would be a funny president!" idiots for this.  The damage is already done, and putting the ideas of Medicaid for All and a Green New Deal out there to be crushed by the courts will just be a recipe for more disaster, and more Trump.

We're in triage mode now.  Survival is all that matters. 

The Saudis And The Houthis, Con't

In the last 18-24 hours or so, the US and Saudi position on Saturday's attack on the Saudi oilfields of Abqaiq has gone from "Yemeni Houthi rebels made a successful drone attack" to "It was Iranian cruise missiles the whole time" and the Trump regime is all but promising a new shooting war in the Middle East against Iran.

Iran launched nearly a dozen cruise missiles and over 20 drones from its territory in the attack on a key Saudi oil facility Saturday, a senior Trump administration official told ABC News Sunday.

It is an extraordinary charge to make, that Iran used missiles and drones to attack its neighbor and rival Saudi Arabia, as the region teeters on the edge of high tensions.

President Donald Trump warned the U.S. was "locked and loaded" to respond to the attack on Sunday, waiting for verification of who was responsible and for word from Saudi Arabia on how to proceed.

The Trump administration, in particular Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, has blamed Iran for the attack since Saturday, but so far, there's been no public accusation that Iran launched missiles.

The Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen claimed responsibility for the assault, which hit one of the world's largest oil processing facilities, hundreds of miles from the Yemen-Saudi border, and sharply impacted global oil supplies.

But a senior U.S. official told ABC News Saturday that was false: "It was Iran. The Houthis are claiming credit for something they did not do."

Pompeo tweeted that there was "no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.

The Saudis are going along with this too.

The Saudi-led military coalition battling Yemen’s Houthi movement said on Monday that the attack on Saudi Arabian oil plants was carried out with Iranian weapons and was not launched from Yemen according to preliminary findings.

Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said that an investigation into Saturday’s strikes, which had been claimed by the Iran-aligned Houthi group, was still going on to determine the launch location.

“The preliminary results show that the weapons are Iranian and we are currently working to determine the location ... The terrorist attack did not originate from Yemen as the Houthi militia claimed,” Malki told a press conference in Riyadh.

He said authorities would reveal the location from where drones were launched at a future press briefing.

Iran has dismissed as “unacceptable” U.S. accusations that Tehran was responsible for the assault on Saudi oil facilities that cut almost half of the kingdom’s production, or 5% of global oil supply.

Malki said the Gulf Arab state, the world’s top oil exporter, was capable of protecting vital energy and economic sites. “This cowardly act largely targets the global economy and not Saudi Arabia.”

Cool, so we just had our selling point for another two decades of war in the Middle East.  The drums of war are the loudest they've been since 2002.  The governments of Israel, the US, and Saudi Arabia all desperately want a war with Iran to maintain their current political and economic power.

This is bad, folks.  Real bad.

It's All About Revenge Now, Con't

House GOP minority leader Kevin McCarthy is apparently on FOX News promising indictments not only against former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, but against former FBI DIrector James Comey as well. (Gross FOX News link through Do Not Link)

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., promised that guilty parties will be held accountable after Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz releases his report on the FBI's alleged abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in the Russia investigation, and predicted that former bureau leaders James Comey and Andrew McCabe will face criminal charges after what he described as an attempted "coup" to take down President Trump. 
The report will address concerns with whether or not the FBI acted improperly in obtaining a FISA warrant to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in the early stages of their investigation of Russian election interference and possible Trump campaign connections. The Inspector General's office has already turned over a draft of its findings to Attorney General Bill Barr, and a final report is expected in the near future.
"We came the closest ever to this country having a coup, and now we need accountability," McCarthy told Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures." "I respect this attorney general so greatly, that the way he has handled this, he believes in accountability, but more importantly, he believes in the rule of law." 
When asked if there will really be accountability, McCarthy promised, "Yes."
James Comey and Andrew McCabe, who were the director and deputy director of the FBI when the Russia probe began, have been the subjects of separate IG investigations, and McCarthy believes they will both face consequences. 
"We will see an indictment," he said of McCabe, who is facing the prospect of federal charges after Horowitz faulted him in a separate inquiry over statements he made during a Hillary Clinton-related investigation. The review found that McCabe "lacked candor" when talking with investigators, but the former FBI official has denied wrongdoing. Washington, D.C., U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu recommended charges against McCabe after the DOJ rejected his appeal. 
Comey was chastised in a recent report from Horowitz that discussed how Comey improperly maintained records of his conversations with President Trump, and leaked sensitive information about the investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. While the report found that Comey violated department policy, the DOJ opted not to press charges. McCarthy believes that there will be more to come for Comey. 
"In the end, I do not believe that Jim Comey will get off," McCarthy predicted, adding, “Anyone that has had any association with trying to create this coup should be held accountable.”

Of course, as we discussed over the weekend, to get an indictment, you need convince a grand jury.  So far, that hasn't happened, at least not yet.  It could happen of course, and probably will, but unless McCarthy is giving away the scam he's not supposed to know about, he's lying.

Still, this is FOX News feeding red meat of locking up Trump's political enemies.  Everyone should be against this.


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