President Obama’s foreign policy speech to West Point graduates Wednesday leveled a serious charge against Republicans who deny human-induced climate change: You’re threatening national security.
Check out the progression of the few climate sentences in Obama’s wide-ranging remarks. He starts by telling the grads that battling global warming requires global cooperation. Then he says climate change is “a creeping national security crisis that will help shape your time in uniform, as we’re called on to respond to refugee flows, natural disasters, and conflicts over water and food.”
OK, that’s worrisome, and that security message sets up Obama’s pitch for trying to reach a United Nations-brokered climate accord at a make-or-break 2015 meeting in Paris: “That’s why, next year, I intend to make sure America is out front in a global framework to preserve our planet.”
Then Obama looks at the U.S. role, and here’s where the speech includes what looks like a subtle pitch for imminent EPA regulations to cut power plants’ carbon emissions: “You see, American influence is always stronger when we lead by example. We cannot exempt ourselves from the rules that apply to everyone else,” Obama says.
The remarks arrive just a few days before EPA (and maybe Obama himself) unveils first-time carbon-pollution standards for existing power plants. Obama’s “influence” line is another version of what Obama told The New Yorker months ago about domestic action giving the U.S. leverage with China and India, the world’s largest and third-largest emitters (the U.S. is No. 2).
Finally, we get to a thinly veiled jab at the GOP: “We can’t call on others to make commitments to combat climate change if so many of our political leaders deny that it is taking place.”
Run it backwards: GOP climate skepticism is a roadblock to global cooperation on the “creeping” national security crisis that these graduates will face.
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When it comes to name-calling among America's upper echelon of politicians, there may be perhaps no greater spat than the one currently going on between Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Donald Trump. While receiving an award Tuesday night, she continued a months-long feud with the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. Calling him a "small, insecure moneygrubber" who probably doesn't know three things about Dodd-Frank, she said he "will NEVER be president of the United States," according to her prepared remarks."We don't know what Trump pays in taxes because he is the first presidential nominee in 40 years to refuse to disclose his tax returns. Maybe he’s just a lousy businessman who doesn’t want you to find out that he’s worth a lot less money than he claims." It follows a long-line of Warren attacks over Twitter, Facebook and in interviews that Trump is a sexist, racist, narcissistic loser. In reply, Trump has called Warren either "goofy" or "the Indian"—referring to her controversial assertion of her Native American heritage.
The House on Tuesday voted 403-12 "to pass an overhaul to the nation’s chemical safety standards for the first time in four decades. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act aims to answer years of complaints that the Environmental Protection Agency lacks the necessary authority to oversee and control the thousands of chemicals being produced and sold in the United States. It also significantly clamps down on states’ authorities, in an effort to stop a nationwide patchwork of chemical laws that industry says is difficult to deal with."
"Leaders of the Republican Party have begun internal deliberations over making fundamental changes to the way its presidential nominees are chosen, a recognition that the chaotic process that played out this year is seriously flawed and helped exacerbate tensions within the party." Among the possible changes: forbidding independent voters to cast ballots in Republican primaries, and "doubling the number of early states to eight."
Citing the unpredictable nature of this primary season and the possible leverage they could bring at the convention, John Kasich is hanging onto his 161 delegates. "Kasich sent personal letters Monday to Republican officials in the 16 states and the District of Columbia where he won delegates, requesting that they stay bound to him in accordance with party rules."
"Speaker Paul Ryan is changing the rules of how the House will consider spending measures to try to prevent Democrats from offering surprise amendments that have recently put the GOP on defense. ... Ryan announced at a House GOP conference meeting Tuesday morning that members will now have to submit their amendments ahead of time so that they are pre-printed in the Congressional Record, according to leadership aides." The change will take effect after the Memorial Day recess.