The kids are more than all right.
British high school students would very much like to have a human-friendly planet when they're older, thank you very much. So instead of just waiting for Parliament to finally get funkadelic with teaching about climate in the nation's schools, they've produced their own bill that would mandate a climate education program and other steps to make sure their voices are included in UK climate policy. Seems a reasonable demand, since they and their kids will be living with the consequences of decisions being made right now.
The "Teach the Future" campaign was launched by 17-year-old Joe Brindle, who the Guardian reports "is preparing for his A-levels in Devizes, Wiltshire" — which we believe has something to do with graduating from wizarding school. Brindle's motivation is pretty straightforward: He says he's "angry about the injustice that is allowing the most vulnerable people in the world to suffer from the actions of the richest and most powerful."
Isn't that just typical of the selfishness of youth? Not a single bit of empathy for investors in fossil fuel companies.
He's not setting a very good example for the other foreign ministers.
During a visit to Kazakhstan, one of the many nations Donald Trump can't find on a map or even pronounce, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explained to that plucky little former Soviet republic that a free press is probably a good thing, but that some journalists need to be punished for asking questions they shouldn't. Fine, not in those words, but he was pretty clear.
In an interview with by Kazakh journamalist Aigerim Toleukhan, Pompeo was asked what the USA plans to do to help improve human rights in Kazakhstan (its only post-Soviet president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, only left office last year and is still a powerful player in the government). Pompeo answered the US would "provide technical assistance," and added,
As a journalist, I'm sure you know the good work the State Department does to train journalists in press freedoms – all of those things that build out civil society inside of countries are things we're deeply committed to. We're here, we're here to help, and we'll continue to do that.
Commitments to press freedoms like banning an NPR reporter from the pool for the very trip Pompeo's on, because another NPR reporter asked Pompeo a tough but polite question about Pompeo's involvement in Trump's Ukrainian election fuckery, which prompted him to lose his shit and cuss her out for being uppity.
What tabs are open on Dok's computer? Wouldn't YOU like to know!
Rebecca is taking a personal technology fail day, so please keep her laptop keyboard in your thoughts, won't you?
And here comes Madam Guillotine!
Puerto Rico has suffered a lot in the last three years. Well ... a lot more than they have suffered since they became a US territory (a fancy way of saying colony) since the end of the Spanish-American War in 1898. But things are starting to get revolutionary in Puerto Rico.
After Puerto Rico was hit by a late December string of earthquakes ranging from 4.5 to 6.4 in magnitude, and as
thousands sleep outside, Puerto Rico was rocked by the discovery of a warehouse full of supplies by a citizen journalist in Ponce.
This discovery of much needed supplies collecting dust and expiring in a warehouse since Hurricane Maria in 2017 caused Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced to fire the emergency director and two other officials. But one of the fired officials, Puerto Rico's former Housing secretary Fernando Gil Enseñat, claims that Vázquez Garced knew about the unused aid, which prompted renewed calls for her resignation and protests not seen since the events leading to former governor Ricardo Rosselló's resignation. Now they've got a guillotine!
It's your Sunday show rundown!
We begin today's Sunday show roundup with Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma. Making appearances on both CNN's "State of The Union" and ABC's "This Week," Lankford did his best to be a one-man version of the "See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil" monkey.
On CNN, Lankford pretended to be offended that Adam Schiff referred to a report that Trump had threatened senators if they didn't stand with him while simultaneously "seeing no evil" by ignoring Trump's C-level gangster threats towards Schiff when pointed out to him. (We covered it here.) On ABC, Lankford decided to go with "hear no evil" as he told George Stephanopoulos why we shouldn't see new witnesses -- like saying that the House "rushed" impeachment by not waiting on courts to decide subpoenas. Stephanopoulos wasn't having it.
Look who's been doing hinky shit in Venezuela, ALLEGEDLY!
"Lev Parnas has no right to be talking about that meeting," Rudy Giuliani told Reuters yesterday. "It was a confidential meeting -- if it did happen." You don't even need the back story to know that this is comically, ridiculously not how law goes. If Rudy flapped his yap about confidential client matters to his chucklefuck buddy Lev, then Lev was under absolutely no legal obligation to keep quiet about it. Clearly, the person who breached his obligation of confidentiality is Rudy himself!
Yesterday North Korea announced that, in light of America's failure to lift "brutal and inhumane" sanctions, the country will no longer be bound by any previous commitments to reduce nuclear and missile testing. Two years into their torrid love affair, the Dotard and Little Rocket Man are back to square one. Except now we've legitimated the North Korean dictator with a visit by the US president and canceled joint military exercises with South Korea so ... square negative 38?
Hey, remember that har-har-hilarious time last February when Donald Trump lurched out to the Rose Garden to announce that he'd been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by his good friend Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister?
"He said: 'I have nominated you, respectfully, on behalf of Japan. I am asking them to give you the Nobel Peace Prize.' I said, 'Thank you,'" Trump bragged. But he seems to have left out one teeny, tiny detail. He must have forgotten to mention that the White House asked the Japanese government to nominate Trump after President Arty McDeals "successfully" managed to convince North Korea to give up its nukes. (Spoiler Alert ...)
Trump is his very own Baghdad Bob.
When Donald Trump did his presser the morning following Iran's missile attack on American air bases in Iraq (we stole 'em fair and square and they belong to us) on January 8, he was very clear that both the Americans and the Iraqis at the bases were completely unscathed, HOORAY.
Here, we've cued the video up for you:
Since he was reading from a teleprompter, Trump delivered the news in a relatively straightforward declaration:
I'm pleased to inform you, the American people [sniffsnort] should be extremely [audible exhale] grateful and happy [sniff!] no Americans were harmed in last night's attack by the Iranian regime. [sniff] We suffered no casualties [snort], all of our soldiers are safe, and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases.
He went on to add that "No American or Iraqi lives were lost," which to our knowledge still appears to be true. But the stuff about no Americans being harmed is, we learned yesterday, pure uncut Trumpian bullshit. Turns out that in mere reality, 11 American troops were wounded in the attack, and were evacuated to American military hospitals in Kuwait and Germany. Defense One reports the injured US personnel will
be treated for traumatic brain injury and to undergo further evaluation, several U.S. defense and military officials have confirmed[.]
The news of 11 casualties is rather different not only from what Trump said, but also from what Pentagon and White House sources said immediately after the attack, when they insisted the Iranian missile strikes had resulted in "no casualties, no friendly casualties, whether they are U.S., coalition, contractor, et cetera."
And now the administration is spinning furiously to explain there's no contradiction at all between the initial "no casualties" declarations and the inconveniently brain-injured soldiers being treated at military hospitals.
IT'S THE CLIMATE, STUPID.
Australia's record-setting bushfires are still burning, and there are months remaining in the fire season. The fires are known to have killed 28 people so far, as well as over a billion animals, with a B. The smoke has reached South America. The EU's climate agency estimates the fires have released "400 megatonnes of carbon dioxide" into the atmosphere so far, and notes satellite data showing the planet's highest concentration of CO2 on January 2 was found over the normally "clean" South Pacific, generated by the fires in New South Wales.
The Australian government, led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Liberal party, which in Australia is actually very conservative, possibly because of the Coriolis effect, seems stuck in George-Bush-After-Katrina mode, blandly insisting that everything will be fine and there's no need to get all upset about climate, because what even is that?
We all know it.
Shoulda known it would all come back to John Bolton! After a weekend where Donald Trump dispatched defense secretary Mark Esper to twist in the wind on national television trying to justify the attack on Qassim Soleimani as arising from some "imminent" threat, NBC reports that we actually planned the hit on the Iranian general a full seven months ago when John Bolton was still the national security advisor.
After Iran shot down a U.S. drone in June, John Bolton, Trump's national security adviser at the time, urged Trump to retaliate by signing off on an operation to kill Soleimani, officials said. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also wanted Trump to authorize the assassination, officials said.
But Trump rejected the idea, saying he'd take that step only if Iran crossed his red line: killing an American. The president's message was "that's only on the table if they hit Americans," according to a person briefed on the discussion.
So that would be a targeted killing in response to retrospective Iranian action, not an action to prevent a prospective plot to kill Americans. And perhaps it was the right choice. But who can form a rational opinion when everything that comes out of the administration is a distortion to conform to the president's most recent lie?
Amazon gazillionaire Jeff Bezos is having his company give ONE MILLION DOLLARS to help fight the bushfires in Australia, but is he getting the love and gratitude he so clearly deserves? Heck nah! For one thing, it's a million Australian dollars, which comes to far less in money money, about $690,00 US. And then there's the amount of the donation compared to where it's coming from, as Vice explains:
To put this number in perspective, Bezos is worth $116,000,000,000; the figure is equal to .00059 percent of his net worth. It is the equivalent of someone worth $50,000 donating 29 cents. Of course, it's not even Bezos's money. It's Amazon's money. Amazon's current market cap is $933,670,000,000. $690,000 is .000073 percent of $933.67 billion, which means that the donation hurts Amazon's bottom line as much as it would hurt a person worth $50,000 to donate three cents.
So yes, it's a big donation that dwarfs the annual income of most people But for Bezos and Amazon, it's the change that fell down behind the couch cushions while they were looking for the bigger change that had already fallen there. Also too, Amazon's webpage about the donation notes that the donation is only partly in cash; some of it comes from Bezos's biggest profit source, "in-kind technical support for many of the government agencies dealing with the response and recovery efforts." [Editrix: This is sort of like the local grocery store owner -- and state politician -- who gives the food bank Shy volunteers at a store credit every year as his donation, while all his employees are food bank clients. JUST SAYING.]
Reactions have been mixed. Many people are pointing out that Bezos is giving away roughly three to five minutes' worth of the money he makes daily. Others point out that merely very rich celebrities have actually given more money -- including an Instagram lady who, like Jeff Bezos, has nekkid pictures. But there are also some billionaire-lovers (who are certain they're just a few tax cuts away from vast riches themselves) who can't believe you socialists would criticize Bezos.
It's getting to where the richest guy in the world can't do a nice thing that hardly costs him anything at all without people pointing out he's the richest guy in the world and it's costing him hardly anything at all.
Defense Sec Mark Esper, welcome to the Sunday Show rundown!
A lot has happened since last week! After the
assassination targeted killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the Trump administration has been working real hard to justify having done so without consulting Congress. So much so we've had to recap it every few days to ensure everyone keeps up with the new lies.
Last week it was Secretary of State and least popular Pompeo, Mike, lying his ass off on the Sunday shows. This week it's Defense Secretary Mark Esper's turn. Esper began by trying to push the talking points at the top of his dual appearances on CNN's "State Of The Union" and CBS's "Face The Nation." It did not go well!
Yes, it was probably an accident, no, Russia probably wasn't behind it, yes, these facts are subject to change at a moment's notice.
We had a damn feeling.
The oddest thing about Iran's retaliatory strikes on bases housing US troops in Iraq was that just after that, a Ukrainian flight took off from the Tehran airport and proceeded to violently crash just minutes later, killing all 176 people on board, including 63 Canadian citizens who were set to change planes in Kyiv. WT-everloving-FUCK?
Needless to say, it set our spidey senses humming, which tends to happen when a flight that's either Ukrainian or in Ukrainian airspace all of a sudden goes down.
CBS broke news a few minutes ago that "US officials" are now pretty sure Iran shot down that flight. We do not know if these are the same "US officials" who swear up and down that Donald Trump just had to assassinate Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani to prevent an imminent attack, but then could neither shit nor get off the pot when they had to actually present that intel to members of Congress.
Also, people are already dying. But you haven't met them, so no big.
As seemed likely last summer when July became the hottest month in human history and the glaciers in Greenland were gushing melt water into the ocean, scientists have confirmed that 2019 was among the hottest years on record. A team of European climate scientists at the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service announced exactly that Wednesday, noting that 2019 was the second-warmest year on record, and that's only by a hair, because "the global average surface air temperature was 0.04 °C lower than in 2016, the warmest year on record." As the New York Times explains for USA people who use real non-socialist temperatures, that difference was "less than one-tenth of a degree Fahrenheit."
Pretty sure I wouldn't be able to feel the difference sitting in my 1973 Chevy, Vlad the Impala, even with the broken AC (it's parked and my daily drive is a hybrid, shut up).
Also, the death toll from the Australian wildfires is now up to 27 humans and over a billion animals. One billion.
And other fun with Trump Iran war polls!
In the time between Donald Trump dumbassedly ordering the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani and this morning, when he folded like a common folder (WHICH IS GOOD), a meme proliferated on Facebook, something along the lines of "I will listen to your thoughts on why we should war at Iran just as soon as you identify Iran on this map." It was a good meme! It didn't include any Russian disinformation, the map didn't have any fake hurricane dicks on it, it didn't ask for the name of your first grade teacher or your mother's maiden name, and it made its point succinctly. Most Americans had never heard of Soleimani before last week -- which is actually fine, most Americans have better things to do and aren't Iran experts -- but after the strike, all these MAGA dipshits started acting like he was their age-long sworn arch-nemesis, whose crimes only their orange God could avenge.
Well, some polling has finally come out on the Soleimani strike, and on warring Iran in general, and it's a good thing Trump caved like a common caver (WHICH IS GOOD) because if he thought a war was going to be good for pulling his approval ratings out of the shitter and making a majority of Americans not despise him, hahahahahahahahahahahahaha fuck off. (More on that in a second!)
The survey, from Politico/Morning Consult, also says how many Americans know where Iran is, on maps. It is 28 percent, or a little over one out of four. Or should we say, it's 28 percent when you show a regional map. When you show a map of the whole entire world, it's only 23 percent. (Hint: Iran is the great big one sandwiched between the other two countries we've been warring since 9/11, pop quiz NAME THOSE COUNTRIES!)
Iran shot missiles at American troops last night. Thank goodness Dear Leader is so ... oh fuck.
Tuesday night, or in the wee hours of Wednesday morning if you happen to be in the Middle East right now, Iran began its retaliation for Donald Trump's targeted killing of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani. And maybe Iran also finished its retaliation for the killing. The Iranian military targeted two Iraqi military bases that house American troops, but so far, we haven't heard that there were casualties, and we hope it stays that way.
Anyway, it's fine.
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