Quick Takes: When It’s Not News That POTUS Is Ignorant About Climate Change

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* Here’s what Trump said about climate change during an interview with Piers Morgan:

There is a cooling and there’s a heating—I mean, look, it used to not be climate change. It used to be global warming. That wasn’t working too well because it was getting too cold all over the place. The ice caps were going to melt. They were going to be gone by now, but now they’re setting records, okay? They’re at a record level.

Meanwhile, back in the reality-based world

Data released this month from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show 2017 was the third hottest year on record. Seven of the 18 hottest years have been logged in the 21st century, and the planet hasn’t had a cooler than average year since 1976.

On ice caps specifically, NOAA, in its annual Arctic Report Card published in December, said the amount of the Arctic Ocean frozen over in the coldest points of winter set a record low in 2017 and is declining faster than at any time in the past 1,500 years.

Of course, none of this is news.

* You might have seen the headlines about FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe “stepping down.” That doesn’t seem to be the whole story.

* Oops!

* Elizabeth Warren gave a keynote address at Families USA’s annual Health Action conference. Andrew Sprung says she missed the mark.

…she also presented the unaffordability of healthcare in the U.S., and the huge out-of-pocket costs that many insured Americans face, as purely a product of insurance industry rapine. Not a word about pricing-gouging by hospitals and doctors; the fine science of upcoding; the loopholes allowing self-dealing; the privileging of expensive procedures; the outsourcing to hedge fund- and private equity-backed price maximizers; the predatory balance billing. Providers got a total pass. I sentence Senator Warren to read Elisabeth Rosenthal’s An American Sickness, which meticulously documents all these cost inflators and their evolution…

Insurers are not innocent parties in U.S. healthcare dysfunction. They have little incentive, or mixed and uncertain incentives, to hold down provider rates, as their fixed cut (fixed by the ACA’s requirement that loss ratios not go lower than 80% or 85%) grows as the overall cost of coverage grows. But the chief driver of unaffordable healthcare costs in the U.S. is the power of providers to price pretty nearly as they will. Warren won’t tell us that.

I highlight that because it fits a pattern with Sen. Warren. She tends to identify one group of villains that make a perfect target at which to shake your fist, while missing the bigger picture.

* This is very likely to be the biggest story of 2018:

No matter which party ultimately triumphs in the November midterm elections, here is one thing we know for sure about 2018: It will be the Year of the Woman — supercharged.

“As of last week, 325 women were non-incumbent candidates for the United States House, along with 72 female members seeking reelection, according to data compiled by [the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University]. Thirty-eight women not currently serving in the United States Senate are aiming for the upper chamber, along with 12 incumbents running again. And 75 women have set their sights on the nation’s governorships — plus four female incumbents fighting to keep their seats,” one of us wrote over the weekend.

By comparison: “In 2016, a high water mark for female candidates overall, there were 167 female major party nominees for the United States House and 16 for the Senate — well fewer than half the number of candidates vying for one of those spots now.”

* Jeffrey Toobin had the courage to take responsibility.

No question about the attack on Clinton, responded Toobin, citing “all that bogus stuff about the Clinton Foundation” — perhaps a reference to the Uranium One story or even to the pre-election reporting of Bret Baier — later withdrawn — that there would be an indictment relating to the foundation.

“And I hold myself somewhat responsible for that,” continued Toobin, a steady presence on CNN since 2002. “I think there was a lot of false equivalence in the 2016 campaign. That every time we said something, pointed out something about Donald Trump — whether it was his business interests, or grab ’em by the p–––y, we felt like, ‘Oh, we gotta, like, talk about — we gotta say something bad about Hillary.’ And I think it led to a sense of false equivalence that was misleading, and I regret my role in doing that.”

* Finally, Rep. Ted Lieu has a great analogy about that Nunes memo.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.