By Robert A. Vella
We kickoff this week with two simultaneously developing stories – fallout from President Trump’s whistleblower scandal, and the United Nations summit meeting to address accelerating climate change.
A hemorrhaging megalomaniac
Since the first day of Donald Trump’s presidency, many observers – including myself – asserted that his megalomania was insatiable and that sooner or later his demented self-perceived omnipotence would exceed the tolerance of the nation. Early in 2019, if not before, the institutional apparatuses of the U.S. government had an opportunity remove this categorically unfit president from office. Unfortunately, that opportunity depended entirely on the courage of a single official which – as Special Counsel – Robert Mueller either couldn’t or wouldn’t demonstrate. Consequently, Trump felt invigorated and immune from opposition. His egomania ran even wilder than before. He purged everyone in his administration who didn’t blindly obey him. He attacked fellow Republicans for being “disloyal.” He escalated his xenophobic anti-immigration campaign to the point of inhumanity. He vetoed bipartisan congressional resolutions which were critical of his reckless foreign policy. He pushed America to the brink of war with Iran. He stubbornly denied legitimate concerns about the economy and his own reelection chances. He impertinently revoked states’ ability to regulate their own air quality, and he exacted retribution upon federal scientists who contradicted his most bizarre “weather forecast” for a very dangerous hurricane.
This is why comparisons to Adolf Hitler are ever-present. Trump is undeniably a madman.
Although the GOP establishment, the conservative U.S. Supreme Court, self-serving corporations, religious fanatics, whites fearful of cultural diversity, and even misguided “centrists” have all enabled Trump, consternation among them is palpable and it is growing. Trump respects no boundaries, not even those of his supporters. He keeps pushing and pushing until the anxiety he causes becomes unbearable. While few Republican politicians are willing to openly defy him, many more are expressing their displeasure by resigning from Congress or trying to rhetorically distance themselves from his actions. For Democrats in the House of Representatives who have been resisting calls for impeachment, the situation is now acute. Trump’s latest transgression is so egregious that further inaction by Dems would amount to political suicide.
WASHINGTON — President Trump acknowledged on Sunday that he raised corruption accusations against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. during a phone call with Ukraine’s leader, a stunning admission as pressure mounted on Democrats to impeach Mr. Trump over allegations he leaned on a foreign government to help damage a political rival.
In public and in private, many Democrats said the evidence that has emerged in recent days indicating that Mr. Trump pushed the Ukrainian government to investigate Mr. Biden, and his administration’s stonewalling of attempts by Congress to learn more, were changing their calculations about whether to charge him with articles of impeachment.
[Paul] Mitchell is among a growing list of House Republicans — 18 to date — who have announced plans to resign, retire or run for another office, part of a snowballing exodus that many Republicans fear is imperiling their chances of regaining control of the House in the 2020 elections.
And the problem for the GOP is bigger than retirements. Since Trump’s inauguration, a Washington Post analysis shows that nearly 40 percent of the 241 Republicans who were in office in January 2017 are gone or leaving because of election losses, retirements including former House speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.), and some such as Mitchell who are simply quitting in disgust.
The vast turnover is a reminder of just how much Trump has remade the GOP — and of the purge of those who dare to oppose him.
Related story: Trump campaign pessimistic about winning Michigan again
A dying planet
Sea-level rise has accelerated significantly over the same period, as CO2 emissions have hit new highs.
The report also highlights the threats to the oceans, with more than 90% of the excess heat caused by climate change ending up in the waters. The WMO analysis says 2018 had the highest ocean heat content values on record.
The WMO report is meant to inform the special UN summit on climate change taking place in New York on Monday.
While China, India, France, Germany and the UK will speak at the meeting, there is no place on the podium for Japan or Australia.
Mr Guterres has asked that as well as committing to net-zero emissions by 2050, countries should reduce subsidies for fossil fuels and stop building new coal-fired power stations. The question of coal has led to the barring of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Australia’s Scott Morrison.
The US, Brazil and Saudi Arabia will also not be taking part.