Sunday, November 17, 2019

Last Call For I Want My Trump TV

Shepard Smith has already been booted from Trump State TV, Chris Wallace is most likely next.

Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace repeatedly confronted House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) on Sunday over the top Republican’s characterization of last week’s impeachment testimony, accusing the congressman of “very badly” misrepresenting the witnesses’ positions.

Wallace pressed the Trump-boosting Louisiana lawmaker on the upcoming testimony of U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sonldand, asking Scalise if it was possible Sondland could “blow a hole in the president’s defense” if he testifies that the president told him Ukraine aid was being held up unless the Ukrainian president publicly announced an investigation into the Bidens.

“Well, the president’s defense is that those things didn't happen,” Scalise responded. “And it’s not just the president's word. President Zelensky himself said that the aid wasn’t conditioned and there was no pressure.”

“The real bottom line is he got the money,” the GOP representative added, reiterating a key party talking point. “Ukraine got the money.”

Wallace, however, pointed out that a dozen people listened in on the now-infamous July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky, noting that many of them became immediately upset that Trump pressed Zelensky on investigating a Ukrainian gas firm that Vice President’s Joe Biden’s son worked for.

“Those were [House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam] Schiff's witnesses,” Scalise insisted.

“No, sir, they are career foreign service officers and these are people who worked in the Trump administration,” Wallace retorted, adding that an aide to Vice President Mike Pence recently testified that Trump’s call was “inappropriate.”

“You had Tim Morrison, who was on the NSC staff, who said that he—alarm bells immediately went off for him,” the Fox News host continued. “Alexander Vindman immediately went to see—these are all people, you say they are Schiff's witnesses—they all were working in the Trump administration.”

Scalise attempted to pivot to the whistleblower at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, claiming the Intelligence Community inspector general said the whistleblower had political motivations. Wallace, meanwhile, snapped back: “We are not talking about the whistleblower!

Wallace isn't going to last must longer at Trump State TV is my guess.  Maybe he'll leave on his own accord, but actually calling out Republicans on air is going to piss off his real boss, Donald Trump.

And speaking of Fox News State TV, Sean Hannity wants Trump to pardon Roger Stone.  Considering Hannity likely runs domestic policy because Trump watches his White Supremacy Hour™ religiously, it's very possible Hannity's audience of one may hold sway...

Trump's Race To The Bottom, Con't

The reason white supremacist Stephen Miller has been employed by the White House is because Donald Trump is a white supremacists too, and calls for Miller's firing are going nowhere precisely due to that fact.

In a statement obtained by The Hill Saturday, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley defended Miller and argued that the report demonstrates an anti-Semitic attack by the left.

“I work with Stephen. I know Stephen. He loves this country and hates bigotry in all forms – and it deeply concerns me as to why so many on the left consistently attack Jewish members of this Administration,” Gidley said in a statement obtained by The Hill.

Gidley’s statement comes amid calls from Democratic lawmakers such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) calling for Miller to resign.

Soon after the SPLC’s report broke on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham attacked the SPLC, saying that the organization is “beneath public discussion.”

“We have not seen the report,” she said in a Tuesday statement. “The SPLC, however, is an utterly-discredited, long-debunked far-left smear organization that has recently been forced – to its great humiliation – to issue a major retraction for other wholly fabricated accusations.”

That's right, if you point out Stephen Miller is a racist, according to the White House, not only are you the real racist, you're also antisemitic. Miller's too valuable to Trump to ever get rid of because he's Jewish, and using that fact solely for political cover is...yeah, you get the picture.

But remember Stephen Miller's goal is to end immigration, both illegal and legal, and start reducing America's population of "non-desirables" through mass incarceration and deportation.  More and more, it looks like the Trump regime is going to start testing this process in California as anyone in the regime who objects is being purged by Miller.

A top federal homelessness official announced Friday that he has left his post at the Trump administration’s request, an unexpected move that comes as the White House plans a sweeping crackdown aimed at homelessness in California.

Matthew Doherty, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, wrote in an email to colleagues that the administration “no longer wishes to have me” in the position. Doherty also announced on Twitter that he was leaving at the administration’s request.

“It has been an incredible honor to serve at USICH, and I do feel like I am leaving on my own terms,” Doherty said in an email obtained by The Washington Post. “I believe that I have been able to keep my integrity intact; but, they have now told me to pack my things up and go.”

The Trump administration is still actively exploring options for a crackdown on homelessness aimed at California, a process that has been ongoing for months, according to one person with knowledge of the planning who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share internal information.

Doherty was appointed in 2015 under the Obama administration to lead the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which is tasked with coordinating the federal response to homelessness across 19 agencies, including the Departments of Housing and Urban Development; Education; Labor and Commerce.

The council is chaired by Frank Brogan, an assistant secretary at the Education Department. For a while in the Obama administration, the council was chaired by the labor secretary, which suggests that the Trump administration has lowered its status.

The council so far has not been involved in planning the administration’s executive actions on homelessness, according to a separate person with knowledge of the administration’s planning who also spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters. The council was created in 1987 and is supposed to coordinate the government’s approach to tackling homelessness. It is unclear who will lead the organization now. Doherty is still listed on its website as the executive director.

The infrastructure put in place to make the federal government more responsive to homelessness is being dismantled for a reason, and that reason is to leave individual states overwhelmed by the problem, declare and emergency, and then implement draconian measures to "fix it".

California indeed has a growing homelessness problem, and years of awful zoning laws and NIMBY liberals are to blame, but don't forget that the Trump regime is now making it worse on purpose.

Sunday Long Read: Who Rescues The Rescuers?

Disaster search-and-rescue teams are becoming even more vital in a world under increasing effects of extreme weather events due to climate change, and as hundred-year events become annual hells to survive, America's first responders are struggling with the ever-growing physical, mental, and emotional toll.

Jack Thomas was home in time for dinner, but he wasn’t really home. His head was still in the fire, gnawing on the details of what his strike team had accomplished, hazards they’d found, a care facility they’d partially saved from the flames. For 19 hours of their nine-day deployment, his team had fought to save those 25 senior apartments, which had somehow been spared when the wildfire tore through town. Thomas knew that if they could stop the fire at the building’s central atrium, these homes would stay standing. And they did.

Walking through his front door, in a suburban Santa Rosa, California, neighborhood the weekend before Thanksgiving, Thomas still smelled of smoke.

He had dinner with his wife, shared photos from the fire, and talked through their holiday plans. Afterward, he unfurled parcel maps across the table while his bags waited, packed, on the couch. After more than a week fighting the most destructive wildfire in California history, the Santa Rosa fire captain had just a few hours to study the maps and get some rest: His deployment on a fire crew was over, but hundreds of people were missing, and FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue Task Force #4 needed someone to help manage the search.

Thomas set his alarm for 3 a.m. He was going back to Paradise.

That night, the next morning, and for many days after, trained search and rescue professionals and volunteers from across California and beyond drove into the smoldering heart of catastrophe. The Camp fire, which started the morning of November 8, 2018, and within hours had overtaken the town of Paradise, was unprecedented: in size, pattern, intensity, damage, and number of people missing, which climbed as high as 1,300. It required the largest search in state history — in conditions few of the searchers were trained for. But to leaders like Thomas, it seemed a portent of things to come: Wildfires are becoming more common and worse. And other disasters are, too.

Rachel Allen got to Paradise two days before Thomas, after dark on Friday, November 16, joining the first wave of volunteer searchers responding to the call for mutual aid. It was the earliest she could arrive, leaving her postdoc research behind for the weekend. A member of the Bay Area Mountain Rescue (BAMRU) team since 2012, she has deployed to dozens of searches across the state, usually for one person missing in the wilderness: a snowshoer lost in a storm, a hiker injured and stuck off-trail, or a person with Alzheimer’s who wandered away from home.

She and her team spend hundreds of unpaid hours each year practicing specialized search and rescue skills. But in Paradise, little of their training in snow conditions, rope systems, or tracking was relevant. Allen wore a white Tyvek suit over her hiking boots and learned how to identify what was typically the only trace of people who hadn’t escaped the blaze: small fragments of bone.

When Thomas arrived Sunday morning, just in time for the morning briefing, searchers in a rainbow of red, orange, and hi-viz agency-branded jackets filled the Tall Pines Entertainment Center parking lot: county search teams, mountain rescue teams, law enforcement, the National Guard, all ready for the day’s assignments.

Thomas joined the fray with USAR Task Force #4 — one of 28 teams in the nation equipped for large-scale disaster relief. Most USAR members, like Thomas, are professional firefighters. On top of a grueling season fighting record-setting wildfires, this was his team’s third urban search deployment in as many months. They’d been to the sites where Hurricane Florence made landfall that September. Where Michael had hit in October. And now this.

All weekend, the air was thick with smoke and a pervasive otherworldliness. “If you had told me I was on Mars, I’d be like, ‘OK, right,’” Allen told me. She searched for two days, mostly in silence, wearing a mask she had to remove to speak. Her hiking boots sank with every step into ash up to eight inches deep. The sky was a murky orange. Trees were still green. Everything else was gray. It was a town like any other. But everything had changed.

In 2018, wildfires swept not only California, Australia, and Greece, but also the colder, wetter landscapes of England, Ireland, and Sweden. Kerala, India, was hit by one of the worst floods ever recorded, killing more than 500 people; a heat wave hospitalized 22,000 in Japan; and a series of tropical storms and typhoons affected more than 10 million across the Philippines. A bomb cyclone slammed the U.S. Northeast. Avalanches crushed Colorado. Mudslides buried Montecito, California. Record-breaking hurricanes battered the Southeast. As of this writing, what has come to be known as “fire season” is well underway in California, and fires blaze in New South Wales and Queensland, Australia.

To climate scientists, the pattern of increasing extremes comes as no surprise — it’s in line with projections for life on a warming planet. And at 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit above average, according to NASA, 2018 was one of the hottest years on record. 2019 is on track to be hotter.

When disaster strikes, rescuers like Thomas and Allen drive toward the danger the rest of us are desperate to escape. They’re trained to find us when we’re stuck somewhere — lost, injured, or worse. But a changing planet has raised the stakes: Avalanches, tornadoes, fires, and floods fill news cycles with counts of the missing and cell phone footage of neighborhoods turned to wilderness. The U.N. warns that climate catastrophes are now happening once a week across the globe. And unpredictable shoulder seasons — the busiest months for search and rescue calls — are getting longer. New kinds of disasters require new response plans and training, and bigger ones need more people who know what to do.

Search and rescue teams train for the worst conditions. But the worst conditions are getting worse. Search teams are stretched. Rescuers are burning out. We are all less safe.

Republicans ignoring climate change on behalf of their rapid base and dee-pocketed donors is literally killing us one disaster at a time.  And it's killing the people who are supposed to save us in disasters because they are being burned out.

Down Loserana Way

Louisiana's Democratic Governor, John Bel Edwards, won a close re-election bid on Saturday, knocking back Republican challenger Eddie Rispone and handing Donald Trump another giant L for his growing pile of loser trophies.

In Louisiana, Mr. Trump had wagered significant political capital to try to lift Eddie Rispone, a businessman who ran against Mr. Edwards in large part by embracing the president and his agenda. Mr. Trump campaigned for Mr. Rispone twice in the final two weeks of the race, warning Louisiana voters that a loss would reflect poorly on his presidency — the same appeal he made in Kentucky earlier this month to try to help Gov. Matt Bevin, who ultimately lost.

Of the three governor’s races this year, all in deep red states, Republicans won only one, in Mississippi. Republicans also lost control of both chambers of the state legislature in Virginia, where many Democratic candidates were sharply critical of Mr. Trump.
The victory was a deeply personal one for Mr. Edwards, a conservative Democrat in a state and region where his party can often be a disqualifier in statewide races. He campaigned on his accomplishments in office, like balancing the budget, increasing education spending and expanding Medicaid. He also highlighted his conservative stances on abortion and guns and showcased his background as a West Point graduate and son of a sheriff, to appeal to right-leaning voters. 
In his victory speech, Mr. Edwards said, “Our shared love for Louisiana is always more important than the partisan differences that sometimes divide us. And as for the president: God bless his heart.” 
Before the election, Mr. Rispone, a construction magnate from Baton Rouge, had never before run for political office. He vaulted ahead after more prominent Republicans decided against running and became competitive against the governor after cloaking himself in Mr. Trump’s popularity. 
The results indicated that many voters here were happy with the incumbent. 
And on a night when the attention of many Louisianans was split between the election and the football game between top-ranked Louisiana State and the University of Mississippi, Mr. Edwards ventured an explanation for why voters were comfortable re-electing him. 
“It is an easier state to govern when the Saints and LSU are winning,” he said in an interview. “People are just in a better mood.”

Rispone ran the Trump playbook to a T: wealthy businessman, never held office, ran as an outsider, savaged his Democratic opponent, fully embraced Trump and Trumpism.

He lost anyway.  The story was the suburbs, where Bel Edwards outperformed and countered Rispone's advantage in the rural parts of the state.  Just like in Kentucky and in Virginia, just like in 2018, suburban voters have turned on Trump and the GOP.

Trump couldn't save Matt Bevin.  He couldn't help Eddie Rispone.  And soon, he won't be able to save himself.
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