Saturday, October 5, 2019

Last Call For Not-So-Slick Rick

Trump Energy Secretary Rick Perry is resigning by the end of next month and naturally, people are asking what role he played in the Ukraine/Biden mess, considering Hunter Biden was on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.  While the focus has rightfully been on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Perry played a role in Trump's efforts to fabricate evidence against the Bidens to use in 2020 too, and that certainly explains his sudden exit.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry urged Ukraine's president to root out corruption and pushed the new government for changes at its state-run oil and gas company, people familiar with his work said Friday — indications that he was more deeply involved than previously known in President Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure officials in Kiev.

The people said they have no indication that Perry explicitly called on Ukrainian officials to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, the issue that has spawned a House impeachment inquiry into Trump. But at the very least, they said, Perry played an active role in the Trump administration's efforts to shape decisions by the newly elected government of President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Among other changes, Perry pushed for Ukraine’s state-owned natural gas company Naftogaz to expand its board to include Americans, two people familiar with the matter said. Two long-time energy executives based in Perry’s home state of Texas were among those under consideration for that role, one source familiar with the administration’s dealings with the company said.

Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said Perry had advised that the board be expanded. She was not immediately able to comment on whether Perry had suggested names to fill new seats.

A White House spokesman referred questions to DOE.

So just to be clear, Perry's job was to use his influence to get Americans on to a board of an Ukrainian energy company, exactly what Trump is accusing Joe Biden of doing, only this was Perry's stated goal as Energy Secretary.

It gets worse, of course.

Trump has defended his calls for Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, maintaining he has an “obligation to look at corruption.” Text messages released on Thursday showed U.S. diplomats discussing how a potential summit between Zelensky and Trump would depend on Ukraine “getting to the bottom of what happened” in the 2016 U.S. election, which Trump maintains was marred by an unproven conspiracy against him by Democrats and foreign allies.

Perry, who POLITICO reported is expected to resign next month, attended Zelensky's May inauguration in Kiev in place of Vice President Mike Pence. In addition, he was one of the administration’s "three amigos" on Ukrainian policy, along with Kurt Volker, the U.S. special representative for the Ukraine conflict, and Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, as Sondland described their relationship in a July broadcast interview.

And keep in mind Volker has already talked, his damning text messages showing a delightful little quid pro quo game in the works, implicating Sondland, who is expected to talk Tuesday.

Now do you see why the "third amigo" is planning his resignation?  He's up to his neck in this, and he wants out.

Democrats need to get him in front of a committee under oath.


The Reach To Impeach, Con't

It seems House Democratic legal deadlines still mean nothing to the Trump regime, and they mean nothing to House Democrats, either.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday failed to meet a subpoena deadline from the House to produce Ukraine-related documents. 
A House Foreign Affairs Committee aide told CNN that "Secretary Pompeo has failed to meet the deadline to produce documents required by the subpoena. However, the State Department has contacted the Committees on this matter and we hope the Department will cooperate in full promptly. Apart from the outstanding subpoena, we look forward to hearing from Ambassadors Sondland and Yovanovitch next week." 
CNN has reached out to the State Department for comment. 
On Saturday, Pompeo told reporters that the US State Department had sent a letter to Congress Friday night with its "initial response" to the document request. 
"We'll obviously do all the things we are required to do by law," Pompeo said, during a press conference in Athens, without elaborating on what the department's response said. 
The lapse comes after the chairmen of three House committees subpoenaed Pompeo last week over his failure to produce documents related to Ukraine, and following his admission on Wednesday that he had been on the controversial July call when Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden -- Trump's potential Democratic rival -- and Biden's son Hunter. There is no evidence of wrongdoing in Ukraine by Joe or Hunter Biden. 
House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel of New York said Friday that despite no indication that the State Department would meet the deadline, the committee is "hopeful that we will get things that we need." 
"Maybe not in the next two hours, but we're hoping we're going to get some answers," Engel told CNN's Chris Cuomo just before the deadline.

Or maybe...nothing.  Pompeo's initial response, as we well know, is that he's already refused depositions, but then again people have come forward anyway, namely Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker this week and EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland is scheduled to testify on Tuesday.

But the documents are a different story.  It's already been a month-long fight to get those, and Pompeo has ignored a subpoena already.  Unless the Dems are willing to put some muscle behind the threat on Monday, Pompeo will continue to refuse, and Trump will laugh at them.

The Coup-Coup Birds

FOX News State TV is doing everything it can to rile up real and lasting violence in the United States by constantly referring to the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump as a "coup" and quite often "illegal", and nobody is doing more to create a climate rife with stochastic terrorism than Trump himself.

Considering removing a president from office via procedures outlined in the Constitution is not the same as a coup, defined as a violent overthrow of the government. That hasn’t stopped at least 15 Fox News personalities and guests from calling the House impeachment inquiry a coup since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced that an impeachment inquiry would move forward.

President Trump himself has been known to engage in rhetoric about uprisings before. As The Fix’s Eugene Scott wrote, Trump’s Sunday tweet quoting a Fox guest who said impeachment would create a “Civil War like fracture” in the country was a significant escalation of that tendency. By Tuesday, Trump had called the inquiry a “coup” on Twitter.

On his favorite network, the term “coup” has been used with increased frequency. An analysis by the Fix found that Fox News has aired segments of hosts and guests calling the impeachment inquiry of Trump an attempted “coup” each of the 11 days since Pelosi’s announcement.


The goal here is to make impeachment so bloody that it's never attempted. This is Trump's defense to remain in office: the very real threat of retaliatory violence against Democrats and their voters.

Kentucky Cookin'

The first half of 2019 saw remarkably wet conditions that put Kentucky on track to have a record year for rainfall. But now, the state is facing one of the worst droughts since records began in 1895.

All 120 counties in Kentucky have issued drought declarations as unprecedented hot and dry conditions pummel the state and much of the Southeast. Persistent drought conditions are already affecting this year’s farmers and cattle producers and could impact the state’s drinking water if they last much longer.

Last month will likely go down as the driest September on record with an average of 0.28 inches of rainfall across the state. At the same time, it’s likely to be among the hottest ever Septembers on record, State Climatologist Stuart Foster.

“In a very real sense what we are seeing now has never happened before in our recorded record,” Foster said. “Almost any way you look at it this is an unprecedented situation for us here in Kentucky.”

While every drought is unique, this year’s weather pattern is consistent with climate change models in national and regional climate assessments, Foster said. Climate scientists say the frequency of extreme weather including heavy downpours, droughts and heatwaves will become more common as average temperatures rise.
Across the Commonwealth, the drought is having cascading impacts. Low-flow conditions on the Ohio River are encouraging the growth of toxic blue-green algae. Meanwhile, the dry weather has sapped forests of their moisture, just as leaves begin to fall and fire season starts.

The state’s Energy and Environment Cabinet says if the drought gets much worse, it could start to affect local drinking water systems.

“If conditions persist some water utilities could have difficulty treating water and may begin issuing conservation advisories,” said spokesman John Mura.

We saw four straight days of record high temps this week by the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport.  It only gets worse from here, folks.

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