You’ll be shocked to learn the president sometimes says untrue things.
President Trump decided this morning to take a very odd step of sounding off about the domestic politics of a major ally, Germany. His core factual assertion that “crime in Germany is way up” is the opposite of true.
The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition. Crime in Germany is way up. Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!
On the contrary, in May, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer — who is actually the leader of the immigration-skeptical forces inside Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet — released new data indicating that Germany’s crime rate had fallen to its lowest level since 1992.
Immigration is a difficult issue for the so-called “grand coalition” between the main German center-right and center-left parties Merkel oversees. This is because Merkel’s policies are unpopular with the right wing of her own party, and especially with its Bavarian affiliate that, for various historical reasons, has a good measure of institutional autonomy. But it’s just not true that crime is up.
Trump and his team seem really excited to talk about pardons lately.
Hours after former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort was sent to jail, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani suggested that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation could get “cleaned up” with “some presidential pardons” when all is said and done.
“When the whole thing is over, things might get cleaned up with some presidential pardons,” the former New York City mayor told the New York Daily News on Friday.
Earlier in the day, a judge in Washington, DC, ruled that Manafort, who served as the chair of Donald Trump’s campaign for part of 2016, had violated his conditions for release on house arrest and would be jailed as he awaits trial.
Giuliani said he didn’t “understand the justification” for putting Manafort in jail. “You put a guy in jail if he’s trying to kill witnesses, not just talking to witnesses,” he said.
Manafort has been a primary focus of charges in the special counsel’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. Mueller first indicted Manafort in October of last year and has added multiple other charges since. Just last week, he was charged with witness tampering, which ultimately led to Friday’s decision by Judge Amy Berman Jackson that he should be in jail.
NEW: Rudy Giuliani tells @NYDailyNews "things might get cleaned up with some presidential pardons" when the "whole thing is over" in light of Paul Manafort being sent to jail.
Giuliani also renewed calls to shut down the Mueller investigation. “That kind of investigation should not go forward,” he said. “It’s time for Justice to investigate the investigators.”
President Trump was asked by reporters about potentially pardoning former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and others caught up in the Russia probe. “I don’t want to talk about that,” he said, adding he wants to “see people treated fairly.”
He reacted to Manafort’s jailing on Twitter later in the day, calling it “very unfair.”
Wow, what a tough sentence for Paul Manafort, who has represented Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other top political people and campaigns. Didn’t know Manafort was the head of the Mob. What about Comey and Crooked Hillary and all of the others? Very unfair!
President Trump has gotten a taste for his presidential pardon powers. He has pardoned multiple individuals since taking office, publicly toyed with pardoning himself, and seems to broadcast his ability to pardon people pretty regularly.
He has floated other potential pardons, including former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Martha Stewart. He’s also said he wants protesting NFL players to offer up ideas for whom he should pardon next.
The president’s pardon powers are vast and essentially unlimited, meaning Trump has a lot of leeway to act. His list could certainly include Manafort or anyone else charged and convicted with crimes as part of the Russia investigation, as Vox’s Dylan Matthews recently pointed out:
He could pardon any indicted aides after they’re convicted, as a reward for loyalty, or he could pardon them now before any trial. He could even deliver a blanket pardon for Jared Kushner, Michael Cohen, Donald Trump Jr., and any other people he worries could be charged in the future but have not been yet.
The energy giant BP’s annual Statistical Review of World Energy is a compendium of facts, figures, charts, and graphs on global energy use. This year’s edition is out, and it contains one of the more alarming, not to mention depressing, charts I’ve seen in a long while.
It’s not the chart most of the media coverage has focused on, which shows coal having a sharp reversal of fortune after several years of decline.
Nor is it this one, which shows the rate of growth in energy productivity — the amount of GDP the economy extracts from a unit of energy — slowing all over the world, and the growth in primary energy consumption rising sharply in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries:
Both those graphs are disheartening, I grant you, and they help explain why global carbon dioxide emissions, after holding roughly steady for three years, started edging back up in 2017.
As BP chief economist Spencer Dale explains in an analysis that accompanies the report, this is is evidence that some of the short-term, cyclical trends that were helping drive the happy results of the past few years (energy demand growth slowing, energy productivity increasing, carbon emissions holding steady) have played themselves out. Heavy industry is picking up again in China; coal is growing quickly in India and ticked up again in China after years of decline.
Most of all, economic growth accelerated. Renewables continued their gangbusters growth, but as long as the majority of the world economy is powered by fossil fuels, a macro trend like economic growth is going to overwhelm the rise of clean energy on the margins.
That’s what happened in 2017: Growth, which had slowed for a few years, serving to highlight the rise of clean energy, cranked up again. The connection between economic growth and growth in carbon emissions is not quite “decoupled,” it seems.
But Dale warns against overreacting to these short-term swings. He writes that “many of the structural forces shaping the energy transition continued, particularly robust growth in renewables and natural gas.” Year-to-year fluctuations are less important than those bigger trends.
Coal has the same share of global power generation it had 20 years ago
No, those aren’t the most depressing graphs. The one that spooked me (and Dale, who calls it “the most striking — and worrying — chart in the whole of this Statistical Review”) is this one:
In 1998, coal represented 38 percent of global power generation. In 2017, it represented ... 38 percent of global power generation.
In electricity, a sector that absorbs 40 percent of the world’s primary energy and produces more than a third of its emissions, the past 20 years have been running to stay still. No net decarbonization progress has been made.
Coal grew like crazy starting in 2000, so all the progress in renewable energy over the past decade has just scarcely served to bring coal back to where it was in 1998.
Nuclear has declined, renewables have risen, and the overall proportion of global electricity coming from non-fossil sources has remained roughly the same.
That’s not going to cut it to avoid catastrophic climate change. Scenarios that show us hitting the climate targets agreed to in Paris involve OECD countries completely decarbonizing the electricity sector by 2030 or so, and other countries not long after.
For all the bad news it has received lately, coal remains the greatest threat to a stable climate and the logical first target for a world serious about decarbonizing. It has got to go.
"I can say that it is very biblical to enforce the law. That is repeated throughout the Bible."
Again, my years as a Biblical scholar are preventing me from ignoring that Joseph and Mary violated the King's royal decree seeking to separate children from their parents, and fled to another country to seek asylum from the King's deadly violence.
I'm not sure how much more on the nose you can get, except to point out how the Parable of the Good Samaritan demands that we take care of travelers in distress, even to the point of feeding, clothing, housing and providing health care.
Or, indeed, that Jesus himself was eventually murdered by the lawful government of the day.
I swear, the gross, willful obtuseness about some of the most fundamental teachings and themes of Scripture makes me so angry at the Evangelical Christian movement and their eagerness to embrace authoritarianism and hatred when it suits them. It's why I eventually had to give up the ministry — I just couldn't remain a part of such hypocrisy and wickedness.