Fires in Australia, Bolton on Impeachment

Grind for January 9th

“I did not become a vegetarian for my health. I did it for the health of the chickens.”
– Isaac Bashevis Singer

Dark Roast

The Headline

Australia: Emergency department shuts down due to poor air quality

The Grind

The federal agency responsible for handling emergencies shut its office in the capital city of Canberra this week due to poor air quality from raging bushfires.

On Monday, the city reported a rating of 340+ on the Air Quality Index, a tool that calculates air quality based on ground-level ozone, particle pollution, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide.

Any rating higher than 100 is deemed “unhealthy for sensitive persons” (such as asthmas sufferers). Anything over 150 is deemed “unhealthy” and anything over 200 is deemed “very unhealthy.”

The Details

Australia’s bushfires, ignited by rising temperatures and strong winds, have devoured 15 million acres and can even be seen from space. At least 24 people have been killed and nearly 2,000 homes destroyed in three states.

Analysts predict 1 billion animals have been killed.

“Animals that make it through the fires will continue to die in the next weeks and months because of dehydration, starvation, disease, and being easier prey for feral cats and foxes,” explains Stuart Blanch of WWF Australia, who describes the catastrophe as “climate emergency-driven.”

The fires are so large they have affected air quality in Auckland, New Zealand – more than 1,200 miles from Australia.


The Headline

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton offers to testify in Senate impeachment trial

The Grind

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who left the White House on bad terms with President Trump four months ago, says he will testify in the Senate’s impeachment trial if subpoenaed.

Democrats consider Bolton a central witnesses regarding Trump’s efforts to convince Ukraine to investigate the Biden family, but did not subpoena him when drafting articles of impeachment.

At the time, Bolton said he would not appear voluntarily but would comply with a subpoena.

“Since my testimony is once again at issue, I have had to resolve the serious competing issues as best I could, based on careful consideration and study,” said Bolton this week. “I have concluded that, if the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify.”

The Details

Mr. Bolton “was personally involved in many of the events, meetings, and conversations” about Ukraine “as well as many relevant meetings and conversations that have not yet been discussed in the testimonies thus far,” wrote Bolton’s attorney.

According to Fiona Hill (Bolton’s former Eurasia specialist), Bolton was concerned by Trump and his lawyer’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and referred to the matter as a “drug deal.”

Several witnesses have described a plan by Administration officials to reward Ukraine for investigating the Bidens with US security aide and a personal meeting between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

House Democrats approved articles of impeachment in December, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to promise her a fair trial – with new witness testimony – before she sends the articles to the Senate.

In addition to Bolton, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wants to hear from acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Mulvaney’s aide Robert Blair, and Office of Management and Budget official Michael Duffey.

Any new witnesses will require a majority vote in the Senate.

I do not expect Bolton will intentionally aide Democrats in their efforts to remove Trump from office, but I do expect him to obey and respect US law at all times.

Did you know… Cranberries are sorted for ripeness by bouncing them; a fully ripened cranberry can be dribbled like a basketball.