More trees are the answer to cool down our cities | Marco Amati and Lauren Rickards | Opinion | The Guardian

Urban life can be an insulated existence, consisting of circling between one temperature-controlled space after another. But cities are not invulnerable to climatic changes. Indeed, when it comes to heat, they can fare worse. They are also far from homogenous. Counter to the images of “domed cities” that Buckminster Fuller proposed for Manhattan in the 1960s and that Dubai is touted to be pursuing, cities do not have equally distributed temperatures. Even if they do, the risk those temperatures represent are far from equally perceived or experienced.

Australians typically pride themselves on being pretty sanguine about the nation’s extreme weather, at least when it comes to spectacular events like Dorothea Mackellar-esque “flooding rains” or disasters playing out elsewhere on our vast continent. But this week even our assumed role as the world’s most variable climate took a turn for the worse, as Australia hosted the planet’s 15 hottest sites. Many of these extreme temperatures were recorded inland in small settlements. Port Augusta, for example, with 15,000 residents, was number two on the list at 49C. Nonetheless, the heat wave rolled across the continent affecting major urban settlements such as Canberra and Western Sydney.


Source: More trees are the answer to cool down our cities | Marco Amati and Lauren Rickards | Opinion | The Guardian


Trump reportedly told Cohen to lie to Congress. Just days ago, William Barr said that’s a crime. – ThinkProgress

President Donald Trump directed his former fixer, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress about a real estate deal that the president’s company was pursuing in Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to a bombshell report published late Thursday by BuzzFeed News.

The revelation comes two days after William Barr, Trump’s nominee for attorney general, was grilled by the Senate Judiciary Committee about his views on whether the president can commit perjury and obstruction of justice while in office.

Barr’s views on the matter have taken on new weight as several members of Congress — including Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chair of the powerful House Intelligence Committee — called Thursday night for a new investigation into whether Trump suborned perjury (meaning to force another person to perjure himself).


Source: Trump reportedly told Cohen to lie to Congress. Just days ago, William Barr said that’s a crime. – ThinkProgress

White House announces second Trump-Kim summit – CNNPolitics

Washington (CNN)The White House announced Friday that a second summit will take place between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in February.

The announcement came after Trump met with Kim Yong Chol, North Korea’s lead negotiator on nuclear talks, for more than 90 minutes at the White House Friday “to discuss denuclearization and a second summit, which will take place near the end of February,” according to press secretary Sarah Sanders.
“The President looks forward to meeting with Chairman Kim at a place to be announced at a later date,” she added.


Source: White House announces second Trump-Kim summit – CNNPolitics

Trump intensifies feud with Pelosi by calling off her trip abroad | US news | The Guardian

Donald Trump has dramatically escalated his feud with House speaker Nancy Pelosi amid the US government shutdown by canceling her previously undisclosed trip abroad and denying her the use of a military aircraft to visit American troops in Afghanistan.

Hours after Pelosi said Trump had been “silent” in response to her request, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders posted a letter from Trump to the House speaker postponing her travel.

“Due to the shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan has been postponed,” the president wrote. “In light of the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay, I am sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate.”

He added: “It would be better if you were in Washington negotiating with me and joining the Strong Border Security movement. If you would like to make your journey flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative.”


Source: Trump intensifies feud with Pelosi by calling off her trip abroad | US news | The Guardian

Congress Vows To Investigate Evidence That Trump Told Cohen To Lie To Congress : Buzzfeed News

The House Intelligence Committee will investigate the revelation that President Donald Trump ordered his longtime personal attorney to lie to Congress about a potentially lucrative real estate project in Moscow.

On Thursday, BuzzFeed News reported that in 2017, Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about when negotiations to build a Trump Tower in the Russian capital ended and to obscure then-candidate Trump’s involvement in the discussions surrounding the project.

“The allegation that the President of the United States may have suborned perjury before our committee in an effort to curtail the investigation and cover up his business dealings with Russia is among the most serious to date,” committee chairman Adam Schiff said in a statement. “We will do what’s necessary to find out if it’s true.”

Cohen has pleaded guilty to lying to House and Senate Intelligence committees about the Trump Moscow deal, and Schiff has already said the committee would like to re-interview him when Democrats reopen the committee’s shuttered Russia probe. Cohen misled lawmakers to “minimize links between the Moscow Project and Individual 1,” an individual believed to be Trump, “in hopes of limiting the ongoing Russia investigations,” according to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Other Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee agreed that the new revelation about Trump’s involvement in the Moscow project and Cohen’s testimony should be investigated as part of the panel’s reinvigorated Russia inquiry. Democrats, who won control of the House and its committees in November, plan to restart the probe in the weeks ahead after Republicans shuttered it last year.


Source: Congress Vows To Investigate Evidence That Trump Told Cohen To Lie To Congress : Buzzfeed News

Thousands more migrant kids separated from parents under Trump than previously reported : NBC News

WASHINGTON — Thousands more immigrant children were separated from their parents under the Trump administration than previously reported and whether they have been reunified is unknown, according to a report released Thursday by the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services.

The report found a spike in immigrant family separations beginning in the summer of 2017, a year prior to the “zero tolerance” policy that prosecuted immigrant parents who crossed the border illegally while holding their children separately in HHS custody. The families separated under zero tolerance were represented in a class action lawsuit, where a federal judge ordered that the government reunify them.

However, the government had no such order to reunify children separated prior to “zero tolerance.” Some may have been released to family or nonrelative sponsors, but it is not known how many have been reunified.

HHS officials did not keep track of whether children they were releasing from their custody had been separated from their parents at the border or whether they crossed the border without a parent.


Source: Thousands more migrant kids separated from parents under Trump than previously reported : NBC News

Thinking the unthinkable about Donald Trump |

According to reports last weekend, the FBI first began to suspect Trump was working for Russia when he fired FBI Director James Comey in May of 2017. “Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security,” The New York Times reported. “Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.”

Let’s stop right there and have a look at the operative words in the Times report, “working for Russia.” People who have been following the Trump-Russia story, now more than two years old, have considered a lot of possibilities with Trump and Russia, but it seems from the reaction the Times story produced, whether Trump was actually “working for Russia” hasn’t been one of them for many. The subject of this particular corner of the FBI investigation raises a couple of interesting questions. What did the “work” Trump may have been doing for Russia consist of? Why would an independently wealthy businessman like Trump “work” for a country which has opposed us around the world for so long?

From Trump’s reaction to the Times report over the weekend, he appeared to have been unaware that the FBI was exploring the question of whether he worked for Russia. But if you look back at what we might call Trump’s “Russia denials,” especially those he made during the campaign — which were often spontaneous and unprompted by allegations by Democrats or questions from the press — it seems that at least working with Russia was constantly on his mind.

As early as July 26, 2016, during his campaign for president, Trump woke up and tweeted, “For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia.” He wasn’t even the Republican nominee yet.

Donald J. Trump


For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia.

21.8K people are talking about this
On October 10, 2016, during the second presidential debate, Clinton speculated that Trump was always praising Putin “maybe because he wants to do business in Moscow, I don’t know the reasons.”  Trump quickly fired back: “I have no businesses there. I have no loans from Russia.” Clinton had not raised the question of “loans from Russia.” Trump did.

In the third debate on October 20, when Trump said Putin had “no respect” for her or President Obama, Clinton shot back, “Well, that’s because he’d rather have a puppet as president of the United States.” Trump seemed threatened by the charge. “No puppet. No puppet,” he cried defensively. “You’re the puppet! No, you’re the puppet!”


Source: Thinking the unthinkable about Donald Trump |

Mitch McConnell begins to feel the heat for government shutdown at home |

Federal workers’ protests outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office in Lexington, Ky. are raising questions about how long the Republican leader can continue his support of President Trump in the face of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

Government workers from the Federal Medical Center, U.S. Penitentiary in Lexington and the Federal Correctional Institution of Manchester assembled outside McConnell’s office this week to protest the shutdown, according to local CBS affiliate WKYT. The protesters made it clear that their objective was for McConnell, and Congress overall, to vote to re-open the government.

“They don’t even know if they can make it to work, yet they’re required to work,” Jerry Jackson Jr, a union president in Big Sandy, told the network.

“What do we pay now? Do we pay the mortgage, do we save gas money to get to work, what do we do? Do we buy the groceries? So now the times are starting to get tough,” Stephen Creech, a union president in Manchester, also observed.

Joseph Gerth of the Louisville Courier-Journal made it clear in a recent editorialthat he viewed McConnell’s support for Trump as a capitulation.

What is outrageous is McConnell won’t put any pressure on Trump to sign the bill that he voted for in December and that Trump supported before radio talk show hosts howled about it.

God forbid the Republican McConnell even consider overriding the veto of a president of his own party.

While there is little question that many Kentuckians are outraged about the shutdown, that won’t necessarily hurt McConnell’s political career in the state.


Source: Mitch McConnell begins to feel the heat for government shutdown at home |

Former Bush official Richard Painter: ‘Substantial chance’ Trump is being blackmailed by Putin |

President Donald Trump has fulfilled almost all of Vladimir Putin’s dreams and plans to expand the global power of Russia by diminishing the power, respect and influence of the United States.

The New York Times reported this week that during the past year Donald Trump repeatedly and in private expressed the desire to withdraw the United States from the NATO alliance. Beyond an almost heretofore unthinkable betrayal of one of the most successful alliances in modern history — and one founded by the United States after World War II to counter the influence and power of the former Soviet Union in a war — such a move could be seen as surrendering Europe to Vladimir Putin and Russia.

This is one more example of Donald Trump’s behavior that validates the logic and reasoning behind the counterintelligence investigation opened by the FBI in 2017, in order to determine whether the president of the United States, is actually a Russian asset.

This may all seem unimaginable. However, a nightmare scenario where a foreign country could buy (or otherwise install) an American president to do its bidding was anticipated by the framers of the Constitution.

Is Donald Trump an agent of Russia? What impact is the revelation that Donald Trump may be a foreign asset having on members of the FBI and those others charged with protecting the United States from foreign threats? How was the “emoluments clause” and the Constitution’s requirement that the president be a “natural-born citizen intended as a protection against foreign control of the United States government? With the mountains of public evidence that Donald Trump is doing the bidding of Putin, why are both Democrats and Republicans reluctant to remove him from office?

In an effort to answer these questions I recently spoke with Richard Painter. A longtime Republican until his recent decision to quit the party, Painter was White House chief ethics counsel under George W. Bush and is a frequent political commentator and analyst on CNN, MSNBC and other news networks. He is also a professor of corporate law at the University of Minnesota and the author of several books, including “Getting the Government America Deserves.


Source: Former Bush official Richard Painter: ‘Substantial chance’ Trump is being blackmailed by Putin |

THIS is the funniest result of Theresa May’s disastrous Brexit vote | Vox Political

A motorist told Devon and Cornwall police officers the “meaningful vote” on Brexit that led to a resounding defeat for Theresa May was the reason they caught him driving at 86mph.

According to The Independent, when officers asked him why he had been travelling so fast, he replied: “I was listening to the results of the Brexit vote.”


Source: THIS is the funniest result of Theresa May’s disastrous Brexit vote | Vox Political