New Orleans and the Gulf Coast appear to have averted another catastrophe with Hurricane Nate, the fourth hurricane to make landfall in the US in the past six weeks, bringing heavy rains, but less damage than feared to the region. (Reminder: there are still two more months left in the official hurricane season!) But, millions are still struggling to rebuild from the recent storms Harvey, Irma and Maria, especially in Puerto Rico, where most of the power remains out over two weeks since Maria made landfall, despite Trump's rosy scenarios and the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offering a disturbing remark over the weekend.
Even as Nate dissipates, however, the US received yet another troubling reminder of the deadly perils of climate change over night Sunday and into Monday. As of air time, at least 1,500 homes and commercial building have been completely destroyed by wildfires that broke out late Sunday night across eight counties in Northern California wine country, sending tens of thousands of residents fleeing for their lives, many of them dodging flames and wildly gusting winds in the middle of the night. 10 have now been pronounced dead, in a toll that is expected to rise.
Another massive blaze erupted and is threatening homes and businesses in Southern California on Monday as well. All signs of a warming planet, not only being ignored but actively exacerbated by the Trump Administration which announced plans on Monday — even as all of this was going on — to reverse Barack Obama's 'Clean Power Plan', instituted to meet US commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement between some 200 nations. Trump announced the Administration's intention to drop out of the Paris accord to curb man-made greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, earlier this year.
So, even as the media, Congress, and the public remain continuously obsessed and distracted by Donald Trump's obnoxious Twitter feed, his radical hard-right Republican agenda stays on target on issues both foreign and domestic. We're joined to discuss that issue and more today by journalist JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation, author of the newly published Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse: A Field Guide to the Most Dangerous People in America and his new report for the non-profit Rosa Luxemburg foundation titled "Donald Trump's Dangerously Coherent Agenda".
"The greatest strength that Donald Trump has in American politics — his number one strength — is that he is not taken seriously. And, for so long as he is not taken seriously, he is able to continue to entertain, to control the discourse, because people are just looking for what more cute, adorable, horrifying, freakish thing that he does," Nichols tells me, explaining why, despite his low approval ratings, "he knows how to survive. And his survival instinct is locking in a very coherent agenda, which is the agenda of the hard, hard social right."
"I'll be blunt with ya," he adds, "I see very little evidence of Democrats figuring out the play, either."
Among topics of our conversation, in addition to his new book and disturbing new report, are the chilling recent comments from Trump regarding "the calm before the storm"; underwhelming responses to his Twitter attacks on members of his own party (and own Administration) in recent days; the temptation (and accompanying dangers) for Democrats in making deals with Trump as his approval ratings falls; and efforts by Bernie Sanders supporters in Texas toward flipping some of the most reportedly "conservative" Congressional districts in the state from "red" to "blue". Nichols checks in today from the Lone Star State, where he is currently reporting for his upcoming cover story at The Nation on what he describes as impressive organizational work in advance of 2018, now being carried out there by members of Sanders' Our Revolution group.
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