October 14, 2018

Sunday School 10/14/18

One classroom only again today -- this time, it's Jake Tapper and the gang on CNN's State of the Union, which Tapper said was "in crisis."

Part of that crisis is Hurricane Michael, the strongest storm to hit the mainland US in a quarter century; the other is the alleged murder of WaPo columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey on October 2nd. It is believed that he was murdered that day, by the Saudis, but there is no confirmation yet of that, even though Turkish authorities say they have audio and video proof. The president noted that we are investigating this seriously and there will be serious consequences if the allegations are true.

Tapper talked with Marco Rubio about both Michael and Khashoggi. On the storm, Rubio indicated that things obviously are difficult but that he's not been asked to intervene to make sure the federal government is doing for Florida what it needs to. He did remind everyone that there are lots of folks in rural inland areas where the folks might be completely cut off and in dire need, so he's keeping his focus on those parts of the state.

The discussion turned to the impact of climate change on these storms:
The Union of Concerned Scientists said Florida could lose more than one million homes by the end of the century due to rising sea levels because of climate change, which they say is man made. What do you say to constituents who..ask, why are you not one of the leaders in Congress on this issue?
Rubio begged to differ.
Well, I would say that that's not true. We are. We - for example, we have funded this study in Congress that I have pushed for to better understand exactly what you have just said, primarily on the Atlantic side. Sea level rise and changes in the climate...I don't think there's a debate about whether that is happening, because you can measure that. The secondary aspect is, how much of that is due to human activity? And from a  policy-maker, the question is, what policies can we change to deal with that human activity?
Rubio indicated that he's pushed to get some kind of mitigation in place,
primarily because the insurance marketplace is going to start...pricing this in. So we better have answers on places like Miami Beach here in South Florida and the like. The second question about how much is human activity contributing towards that, what percentage of that is due to human activity, and the third question, what laws can we change, that's the more complicated one, especially the third one, because some of the things they're asking for is already happening. If you look at the US today, we're cleaner than we used to be. Natural gas is a clean source. Nuclear energy  is very clean. But you have to fight the same people to approve of that. 
Tapper asked if Rubio thought climate change was man-made, or at least in part man-made.
Yes, look, scientists are saying that humanity and it's behavior is contributing towards that. I can't tell you what percentage of that is due to human activity. And I think many scientists would debate the percentage of what is attributable to man vs. normal fluctuations. But that there's actually a rise in sea level, that temperatures are warmer in the water than they were 50, 80, 100-some years ago, that's measurable. There's no - I don't think there is (an) honest debate about that. The core response to me, though, is what can we do about it?
Then, Tapper asked
And in 20 years, are you going to be able to say to your children and my children, these are the three or four things I pushed for in Congress to help mitigate this factor? 
Rubio answered confidently. Sort of. 
Sure. Well, certainly, mitigating sea level rise, because no matter what we do -- no matter what we do with laws -- if, tomorrow, we stopped all carbon -- let's say we went to all solar panels and did all that stuff, which is not realistic, there would still be - this still - this trend would still continue. And so we're going to have to do something about the impact that it's having on low-level coastal areas. And that means mitigation, hardening, lifting - how we manage water. We're all over that. We have been working on that very hard and continue to, strategies to mitigate against those factors that are going to be in place no matter what happens with our energy policy.
But I'm also not going to destroy our economy. There's a reality here and there's a balance on that end of it that we need to be focused on.
That's quite a #MAGA thing right there, putting "the economy" first, wouldn't you agree?

And no explanation for the comment. Was he talking about the tourist economy? The snowbird economy? The oil, gas and coal industries? The construction industry, which rebuilds coastal communities in the same place, over and over and over again, with a ton of taxpayer dollars in the mix?

On Khashoggi, Rubio was clear and consistent. America needs to take some kind of action against the Saudis if the allegations are true.
...there needs to be a strong response if, in fact, this proves to be true. If they lured this man into that consulate, they went medieval on him, and he was killed and he was chopped up and they sent a death crew down there to kill him and do all this, that would be an outrage. 
I don't think we should continue as 'business as usual' (with the Saudis) until we know exactly what happened here, because what we do know is this: he walked into that consulate, and he never came out.
So the only two things that could have happened is, he's alive and somehow still in there, or he's dead and the Saudis are the ones who did it. There's no other explanation for it, because there was video of him leaving, they would have shown it by now. 
But here's the bottom line. I believe the Trump administration will do something. The president has said that. but, if he doesn't, Congress will. That, I can tell you with 100% certainty. With almost full unanimity, across the board, Republicans and Democrats, there will be a very strong congressional response if, in fact, the Saudis lured him into that consulate, murdered him, cut up his body and disposed of it. 
There is going to be a very strong congressional response.  
Let's hope the serious investigation happens quickly - dare I say 'Kavanaugh quickly'? - and that our response is what this situation demands.

See you around campus.

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