Guest: Emily Atkin of New Republic; Also: Inslee jumps into 2020 race to battle climate change; Repub trouble defending Trump against Cohen charges; Cummings' 'righteous rant' to save democracy...
By Brad Friedman on 3/1/2019, 6:38pm PT  

As usual, there is no shortage of insane Trump news at the end of another insane week. But we also find time on today's BradCast to focus on Democrats plans for 2020 and the internecine battle over how to take on the existential and urgent threat of climate change. [Audio link to show follows below.]

On Friday, Washington state Governor Jay Inslee became the latest Democratic to announce his intention to seek the 2020 nomination for President amidst an already very crowded field. He's the first Governor to jump into the fray, as we're now just months away from the start of Democratic Party Primary Debates beginning in June. He's also the first Dem to make it his "number one priority" to "rise up to the most urgent challenge of our time: defeating climate change."

Even so, Inslee, unlike many of the other announced hopefuls, has yet to fully endorse the Green New Deal resolution [PDF] recently introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), preferring instead a more piece-meal approach. The GND is a sweeping, ten-year blueprint for a wartime-like push to transition the American economy and power-grid to 100% carbon-neutrality by 2030, while providing millions of public works jobs to upgrade U.S. infrastructure, clean up legacy pollution, and ensure that vulnerable communities, including coal miners, survive and thrive the crucial transition.

Last week, a group of children from the Sunrise Movement visited the office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to urge her support for the GND. The 85-year old Senator appeared to speak down to the kids, explaining that she had her own version [PDF] of a Green New Deal that, she believed, unlike the AOC/Markey proposal, could gain Republican support while also including a mechanism to fund itself. While a viral edited video of the encounter between the Senator and the children makes it look worse than it really was, even the full length version (which is marginally better, if still not great) reveals the long-serving California Democrat doesn't truly seem to grasp the urgency of the moment that scientists have now been warning about for decades.

We're joined to discuss all of this today by environmental reporter EMILY ATKIN who received some push-back recently from Democrats after arguing at The New Republic that Dems like Feinstein present a "bigger threat to the left's goal of slowing climate change before it's too late" than even out-and-out climate science deniers like Donald Trump. At the same time, she makes the case in a separate article this week that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi --- who has taken some heat herself for appearing to dismiss the GND as a "green dream" --- is actually a valuable ally who hopes to see advocates rally public support for the program.

"What I mean is that [Feinstein] is a bigger threat [than Trump] to our one opportunity that we have to make a dent in climate change, to make a significant dent," Atkin explains, detailing the urgency of the next twelve years that world scientists find to be the last chance to avoid the worst impacts of global warming. "Feinstein has a preoccupation at this moment with what's passable with Republicans in charge. She's focusing on this in a moment when they're not going to pass anything either way, because Republicans are in charge. Right now is the time to mobilize on the idea of the most aggressive, most exciting climate plan possible. And use that to take control of the House and the Senate and the Presidency in 2020 --- and then you talk about what is passable."

Atkins says the DiFi legislation is "mostly a reinstatement of the status quo during the Obama Administration. So, putting back all of the regulations for the climate that Trump is attempting and has repealed. Getting back into the Paris Climate Agreement. Putting forth another big money mobilization in new technologies. It doesn't call for any of the social reforms that Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal resolution calls for."

"The path forward is to support something exciting, demonstrate that you know, as a Democrat, what it means when you say climate change is the biggest crisis of our time. Which is what Dianne Feinstein said, but doesn't demonstrate it with the type of plan she put forward," she tells me. "The path forward right now is to demonstrate to voters that you truly understand the magnitude of this crisis. That you're willing to support societal change to get there. Excite people, make them hopeful for the future, instead of saying well, we're going to support this lukewarm thing that's not going to do anything. And then people are just drawn back into apathy." We've got lots to discuss on all of those fronts today as Atkin details her arguments and offers her thoughts on Inslee's candidacy as well.

Also today, Congressional Republicans are still having a very difficult time constructing a defense for the indefensible Donald Trump following Michael Cohen's stunning U.S. House Oversight Committee testimony on Wednesday, when he detailed [PDF], with documentation, at least five felonies that Trump appears to have committed both before and after becoming President. But Trump's former nemesis-turned-lapdog Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) managed to cobble together a defense --- if a pretty thin one --- for one of the most serious alleged felonies detailed by Cohen. For his part, the President himself sputtered out another unhinged attempt at defending himself by attacking Cohen as a liar in a Twitter rant this morning.

Finally, as we wrap up another extraordinary week, NBC News reports that Congressional Dems in the Ways and Means Committee now plan to request 10 years of Trump's tax returns from the IRS, following on information provided by Cohen.

And we close with a couple more must-listen clips from the Cohen hearing that you may not have heard. One is the closing remarks from Cohen, who served as Trump's personal lawyer and fixer for about a decade, making the chilling case that Trump may not leave office peacefully if he's defeated in 2020. The closing comments include a direct, personal appeal to Trump himself. And then, one "righteous rant" from Committee chair Elijah Cummings (D-MD) as he closed the proceedings on Wednesday, appealing to all of us to somehow leave this democracy in better shape than we found it and to fight like hell in the meantime to "get back to normal" someday soon in the midst of this very dark chapter in American history...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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