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Trump Rejects Science in Meeting With CA Leaders: “I don’t think science knows, actually”

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  • President Donald Trump visited California on Monday to meet with Governor Gavin Newsom and other state leaders dealing with the raging wildfires. 
  • Many scientists believe climate change has significantly exacerbated the severity of the fires. However, Trump said that “it will get cooler” and that he doesn’t “think science knows, actually” about climate change. 
  • His comment was met with backlash from those upset he could deny climate change as millions of Americans are currently living through its effects.
  • Climate change has also now become a focal point of the election. Biden condemned Trump’s denial and claimed that another four years of him in office would make the situation even worse.

Trump Visits California 

As the state of California deals with raging wildfires, many scientists believe that climate change has exacerbated their severity. While visiting the state on Monday, President Donald Trump said that he doesn’t “think science knows, actually” and insisted that the weather will just get cooler. 

Trump met with California Governor Gavin Newsom and other leaders in the state to discuss the fires, which have decimated millions of acres of land on the west coast. The fires are worst in California, Oregon, and Washington, where 35 people have died, hundreds of thousands have had to evacuate, and thousands of structures have been destroyed. Air quality is also unhealthy or hazardous in most areas of those states. 

Trump has frequently blamed California’s fires on leaders in the state and forest mismanagement. While state officials do agree that forest mismanagement does play a role, they also believe that climate change has significantly impacted the scale of the fires, as temperatures in the state are climbing and the fires are getting bigger. Trump has pushed this argument aside. 

While Newsom began some of his remarks by saying “there’s no question” that forest management has not been handled well, specifically noting that 57% of the state’s forest land is actually federally owned, he also asked the president to understand that he and others believe climate change should also be a top priority. 

Meeting With Gov. Newsom

“We come from a perspective, humbly, where we submit the science is in and observed evidence is self evident that climate change is real, and that is exacerbating,” Newsom said.  “And so i think there’s an area of at least commonality on vegetation and forest management but please respect, and I know you do, the difference of opinion out here as it relates to this fundamental issue, on the issue of climate change.”

Newsom’s delicate approach to the matter was different from that of California’s secretary for natural resources, Wade Crowfoot, who really pushed for the need to look at climate science.

“If we ignore that science and sort of put our head in the sand and think it’s all about vegetation management, we’re not going to succeed together protecting Californians,” Crowfoot said. 

“It’ll start getting cooler. You just watch,” Trump pushed back.

“I wish science agreed with you,” Crowfoot responded. 

“Well, I don’t think science knows, actually,” Trump said in a moment that went viral online, igniting backlash from those who see climate change as one of the planet’s biggest threats.

Crowfoot himself later tweeted a graph showing the increasing temperatures in his state, telling the president it “won’t get cooler.” Celebrities also responded to the clip, saying his comments were dangerous. 

Climate Change’s Impact

Scientists and experts believe that these fires should serve as a massive wake up call when it comes to climate change. Since the fires and smoke have started smothering the west coast, more and more articles have come out explaining the growing and present threat of climate change. Many climate scientists believe that now more than ever, we are able to see its clear effects just by looking out the window. 

Scientists have long warned that the world would see hotter temperatures, bigger wildfires, poorer air quality. Now that five of California’s biggest wildfires in recorded history happened within the last three years, many think we have reached that point. 

“What we’ve been seeing in California are some of the clearest events where we can say this is climate change — that climate change has clearly made this worse,” Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist at the Breakthrough Institute told the Los Angeles Times. “People who have lived in California for 30, 40 years are saying this is unprecedented, it has never been this hot, it has never been this smoky in all the years I’ve lived here.”

Many scientists also believe that some of the damage done by climate change has already become irreversible. They are trying to warn officials that action needs to be taken immediately to mitigate that damage, and to prevent more harmful side effects from becoming permanent.

“We have no more time to twiddle our collective thumbs. The bad news is that the long delay in tackling climate change means that some severe impacts, like the fires we’re seeing now, are no longer avoidable and we must begin the process of adapting to them,”  Peter Gleick, a hydroclimatologist, wrote for The Guardian.

“We must, at the same time, accelerate the complete elimination of fossil-fuel combustion to slow the rate of future climate changes and prevent even worse, potentially catastrophic impacts from occurring.”

Biden and 2020 Race

Trump’s remarks, combined with the fact that many Americans are now living in climate change’s effects, have made the issue a main focus in the 2020 presidential election. Trump’s opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, has insisted that climate change is real and something that must be met with swift action. 

“Donald Trump’s climate denial may not have caused these fires and record floods and record hurricanes, but if he gets a second term, these hellish events will continue to become more common, more devastating, and more deadly,” Biden said while speaking on Monday. He later referred to Trump as a “climate arsonist.”

Over 170 climate leaders have signed an open letter encouraging Americans to vote for Biden because climate change is such a pressing issue. As more Americans become concerned about the environment, many think it could become a deciding issue in November. 

See what others are saying: (New York Times) (Sacramento Bee) (KTLA)

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Donald Trump and Eldest Three Children Hit With Fraud Lawsuit From New York AG

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AG Letitia James says that the former president “falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself.” 


Lawsuit Filed Against Trump 

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced on Wednesday that she filed a civil lawsuit against former president Donald Trump and his three eldest children over allegations that they fraudulently inflated asset valuations within the Trump Organization.

Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump are all listed alongside their father in the lawsuit. Executives Jeffrey McConney and Allen Weisselberg, the latter of whom recently pled guilty to tax crimes, are also listed alongside other Trump businesses. 

“Donald Trump, with the help of his children…and senior executives at the Trump Organization, falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to induce banks to lend money to the Trump Organization on more favorable terms than would otherwise have been available to the company, to satisfy continuing loan covenants, to induce insurers to provide insurance coverage for higher limits and at lower premiums, and to gain tax benefits, among other things,”  a press release announcing the lawsuit claimed. 

The Attorney General’s office claims that between 2011 and 2021, Trump and the Trump Organization made 200 false and misleading claims about asset values on annual financial statements.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in a State Supreme Court in Manhattan. 

“The complaint demonstrates that Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself and to cheat the system, thereby cheating all of us,” James said while announcing the complaint. 

Her office is seeking to permanently ban Trump and his children from serving as an officer or director in any New York corporation and to bar Trump and his organization from entering into any New York real estate acquisitions for five years. The office is also seeking to recover $250 million in penalty payments, among other forms of relief. 

 The Office of the Attorney General has also referred the matter to the federal attorneys in New York and to the IRS for criminal investigation. 

“There aren’t two sets of laws for people in this nation: former presidents must be held to the same standards as everyday Americans,” James added in a statement on social media. 

“Trump’s crimes are not victimless,” she continued. “When the well-connected and powerful break the law to get more money than they are entitled to, it reduces resources available to working people, small businesses, and taxpayers.”

Trump Allegedly Inflated Key Assets

According to James’ release, Trump “made known through Mr. Weisselberg that he wanted his net worth on his statements to increase every year.”

“And the statements were the vehicle by which his net worth was fraudulently inflated by billions of dollars year after year,” the release continued. 

Among the assets Trump and his organization allegedly inflated was the Trump Tower Triplex, an apartment Trump allegedly claimed was 30,000 square feet when it is just around 11,000 square feet. Because of its ballooned size, the property was valued at $327 million in 2015, roughly three times as much as the sole apartment in New York City to ever sell for over $100 million at the time. 

For further comparison, the highest sale for a listing in Trump Tower at the time was only $16 million. 

Trump also allegedly claimed Mar-a-Lago was valued as high as $739 million based on the “false premise” that the property could be developed and sold for residential use. The lawsuit claims that Trump actually signed deeds donating those rights, limiting the property’s use to a social club. James and her office claim its value would fall closer to $75 million. 

Inflated Clauations Cannot Be “Excused”

“The inflated asset valuations in the Statements cannot be brushed aside or excused as merely the result of exaggeration or good faith estimation about which reasonable real estate professionals may differ,”  the lawsuit states, adding that instead, they are the result of improper methodology intentionally meant to falsely boost Trump’s net worth. 

The investigation into Trump’s alleged fraud began nearly three years ago, and the former president has repeatedly called it a politically motivated witch hunt. His attorney, Alina Habba, doubled down on that rhetoric in a statement Wednesday. 

“Today’s filing is neither focused on the facts nor the law – rather, it is solely focused on advancing the Attorney General’s political agenda,” Habba said. “We are confident that our judicial system will not stand for this unchecked abuse of authority, and we look forward to defending our client against each and every one of the Attorney General’s meritless claims.”

For his part, Trump has blasted the lawsuit on Truth Social, calling James a “fraud” and a “crime-fighting disaster.”

Trump previously tried to impede the probe but was ultimately ordered by a judge to sit for a deposition and turn over subpoenaed documents. Reports say he pled the fifth hundreds of times during his deposition. 

See what others are saying: (Bloomberg) (The Washington Post) (Reuters)

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Hurricane Fiona Causes “Catastrophic” Damage in Puerto Rico, Leaving Many Without Power

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While power has been restored to some, more than a million remain without it as continued rainfall, flooding, and landslides are expected to cause further damage across the island.


Hurricane Fiona Wreaks Havoc

Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico Sunday, bringing heavy rains, flooding, and landslides, while also knocking out power for the entire island and killing at least one person.

Photos and videos posted on social media show floodwaters consuming major streets and engulfing cars. Some pictures show an entire bridge flooded, making it impassible. Other footage shows a different bridge entirely uprooted and a metal barrier ripped away from the road and floating down a river of floodwater.

Officials have said conditions are still too dangerous to fully evaluate the extent of the crisis. In remarks to the public, Puerto Rico’s governor, Pedro Pierluisi, described the damage as “catastrophic.”

He asserted that the storm has been one of the most significant since Hurricane Maria — which hit the island almost exactly 5 years ago to the day — killing more than 3,000 people, leaving many without power for months, and causing destruction that the island is still recovering from.

Pierluisi noted that Puerto Rico has received over 30 inches of rain and that some areas have even gotten more rain than during Hurricane Maria. As of Monday afternoon, the National Gaurd has led 30 rescue operations so far, saving more than 1,000 stranded residents in 25 municipalities, according to the governor.

Pierluisi also added that more than 2,000 people were in the island’s 128 shelters, with officials further saying there is plenty of shelter space for those who need it. On Sunday, President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for Puerto Rico, which will allow federal agencies to coordinate disaster relief.

Continued Issues As Storm Rages On

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico’s water authority has confirmed that just over 70% of the island is still without water. According to poweroutage.us, more than 1.3 million customers were still without power as of Monday morning.

The power company LUMA also stated that electricity had been restored to around 100,000 customers over the course of Sunday night, though it previously warned that the full restoration of power could take several days as the storm has created “incredibly challenging” conditions.

While Hurricane Fiona has passed through Puerto Rico, having now made landfall in the Dominican Republic, officials and experts say that heavy rains and further flooding are still to be expected for the next few days.

The National Weather Service has warned that “life-threatening and catastrophic flooding” as well as mudslides and landslides are expected to continue across the island. As a result, Pierluisi has urged Puerto Ricans Monday to remain home and in shelters so that officials can continue to respond to others in need.

He also noted that the areas most impacted by the hurricane include the southern part of the island, the southwest, and the mountains.

After moving through the Dominican Republic, Hurricane Fiona is expected to head towards Turks and Caicos Tuesday. The National Hurricane Center has said that the storm will continue to grow and by Wednesday, it is set to become a major hurricane — which means a Category 3 or higher.

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (The Washington Post) (CNN

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Government Aid Cut Child Poverty in Half During Pandemic, Data Shows

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The reduction occurred similarly across geography, race, family type, and citizenship status.


Largest Drop in Half a Century

The United States’s child poverty rate sank to the lowest level on record last year, primarily thanks to pandemic relief measures and other government programs, according to an analysis of census data released Tuesday.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analyzed data from the Census Bureau’s supplementary poverty measure, which accounts for safety net programs and tax credits as well as regional differences in the cost of living.

From around 11% in 2019, the percentage of kids living below the poverty line fell to 9.7% in 2020 and 5.2% the year after that.

In just two years, nearly 5.5 million kids were lifted from poverty, marking an almost 60% drop in the child poverty rate.

The Center’s researchers gave most credit to the federal government’s numerous interventions in the economy, from stimulus payments and the expanded child tax credit to eviction moratoriums and expanded unemployment insurance.

Without government intervention, poverty in 2020 would have experienced its second-largest recorded increase, the Center claimed, but instead, it underwent the largest single-year decline in over half a century.

Especially impactful was the expanded child tax credit, which sent up to $300 per child to households with children every month between July and December 2021.

According to the analysis, this policy alone pulled nearly three million kids out of poverty.

But the tax credit’s expansion expired at the end of the year despite Democrats’ efforts to prolong it with Biden’s signature Build Back Better bill, which was blocked by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who reportedly told colleagues he was concerned that families might use the payments to buy drugs.

Poverty Before COVID

Child poverty has fallen by 59% since 1993, when it sat at around 28%, according to another analysis published Sunday by The New York Times and the nonpartisan group Child Trends.

They found that the decline occurred across all 50 states and D.C., as well as in different levels of poverty.

It similarly affected nearly all subgroups of children, — white, Black, Asian and Hispanic, single-parent and two-parent, immigrant and non-immigrant.

The causes driving the pre-pandemic decline included general economic improvement — low unemployment, a higher labor force participation rate among single mothers, and growing state minimum wages — but the researchers pinned government welfare programs as the dominant factor.

They specifically mentioned the earned income tax credit, social security, unemployment insurance, and nutrition and housing assistance.

Despite the positive trend, more than eight million children still live below the poverty line, and that number excludes those who live just above it but still struggle to meet basic needs.

The current poverty line sits around $29,000 for a family of four in a location with typical living costs.

Moreover, disparities still persist, with Black and Latino children about three times as likely as their white peers to be poor.

See what others are saying: (Vox) (The New York Times) (The Washington Post)

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