Going Separate Ways

Grind for December 12th, 2018
“Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind – for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor.”
– Thomas Jefferson

Pure Politics

The Headline

John Kelly expected to leave White House

The Grind

Chief of Staff John Kelly will be following in the footsteps of Rex Tillerson and Jeff Sessions “toward the end of the year,” said President Trump.

Kelly is expected to be replaced by Nick Ayers – a longtime Republican political operative currently serving as top aide to Vice President Mike Pence.

His departure puts the turnover rate among Trump’s senior staff at 83% – higher than any of the past five presidents.

Nick Ayer’s ambition and fierce support for Pence’s interests have made him somewhat of a controversial figure in the White House, and his promotion could spur the departure of other officials.

Ayers has support from Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, but not from Sec. of State Mike Pompeo – who after working alongside him in North Korea has questioned his foreign policy abilities.

The Details

News of Kelly’s departure indicate a shake-up in the White House as Trump prepares to launch his 2020 re-election campaign and endure increased scrutiny over his business dealings and alleged collusion with Russia.

In recent weeks, Trump has nominated conservative lawyer and former AG William Barr to replace Jeff Sessions and selected State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert to replace outgoing UN ambassador Nikki Haley.

Ben Howard, former aide to GOP lawmaker Steve Scalise, will soon join Trump’s legislative team. And Pat Cipollone beings work as the new White House counsel on December 10th.

Trump also confirmed that White House officials Justin Clark and Bill Stephen would be leaving their posts to join his re-election campaign.

No Compromise

The Headline

Delegates at COP24 fail to discuss landmark climate report after opposition from the US, Russia

The Grind

Plans to discuss a landmark report on global temperatures at this month’s UN summit on climate change were derailed by objections from US, Saudi Arabia, and Russia – who wanted the conference to “take note” of the report rather than “welcome” it.

After failing to reach a compromise, negotiators were forced to drop the passage of text.

The Details

The report in question – which was commissioned by the IPCC in 2015 – predicts global temperatures will increase by 3° C over the next century.

Achieving the target increase of 1.5° C will require “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society,” reads the report, adding that global emissions of CO2 would need to be reduced by nearly 50% by 2030.

UK climate negotiator Yamide Dagnet said it was “atrocious” that some countries failed to accept the significance of the report.

“Climate science is not a political football,” argues Camilla Born, a member of the climate think tank E3G.

“All the world’s governments…agreed the 1.5° C report and we deserve the truth. Saudi can’t argue with physics, the climate will keep on changing.”

Did you know… Children grow faster in the springtime than any other season during the year.