Saturday, March 18, 2017

Bernie Sanders - Best Loved Politician

The "conservatives" are getting exactly what they claim to want. Practically the entire country is in their hands. They may learn that a government which ties a chord around its own throat and applies increasing pressure, while funneling off all the wealth to the top few percent cannot stand. If the opposing party only could present a viable option, it would soon be over for the Republicans. But mainstream Democrats seem not to be learning the proper lesson.

If you look at the numbers, Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in America – and it’s not even close. Yet bizarrely, the Democratic party – out of power across the country and increasingly irrelevant – still refuses to embrace him and his message. It’s increasingly clear they do so at their own peril.
A new Fox News poll out this week shows Sanders has a +28 net favorability rating among the US population, dwarfing all other elected politicians on both ends of the political spectrum. And he’s even more popular among the vaunted “independents”, where he is at a mind boggling +41.
This poll is not just an aberration. Look at this Huffington Post chart that has tracked Sanders’ favorability rating over time, ever since he gained national prominence in 2015 when he started running for the Democratic nomination. The more people got to know him, they more they liked him – the exact opposite of what his critics said would happen when he was running against Clinton.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Rep Joe Kennedy III and Health Care

By MARY CLARE JALONICK, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — A familiar name from Massachusetts, Rep. Joe Kennedy III, is carrying his family legacy into a new era, battling Republicans who want to undo Barack Obama's health care law.
Kennedy, the 36-year-old grandson of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and great-nephew of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and President John F. Kennedy, has been a low-key presence in the House since he was first elected in his Boston-area district in 2012. He emerged last week as a major Democratic voice against the Republican health care bill, delivering several speeches in a committee's all-night session that have been viewed millions of times on the internet
While the technology may be new, his support for the Obama-era health care law and more services for the poor are familiar Kennedy territory. Sen. Ted Kennedy was a fierce proponent of the law before his death from brain cancer in August 2009.
Now his great-nephew is fighting Republicans who are trying to unravel the 2010 law. Kennedy challenged House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who had called the GOP replacement bill an "act of mercy."
"With all due respect to our speaker, he and I must have read different scripture," Kennedy said. "The one that I read calls on us to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless, and to comfort the sick. It reminds us that we are judged not by how we treat the powerful, but how we care for the least among us."
He added: "This is not an act of mercy. It's an act of malice."
His office posted the video on Facebook, and as of Sunday, it had almost 10 million views and more than 225,000 shares.
Kennedy acknowledged his family legacy but stressed that he can't allow it to overwhelm his actions.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Unionizing in Mississippi - Bernie

On Saturday, workers at a Nissan plant in Canton, Miss., will stop to march for a union and hear from a special guest: Sen. Bernie Sanders. The onetime presidential candidate, now the Democratic caucus’s point man on political outreach, is coming to the “March on Mississippi” to send a message about how organizing can lift workers’ quality of life.
“What I’m going to be saying is that the facts are very clear, that workers in America who are members of unions earn substantially more, 27 percent more, than workers not in unions,” Sanders (I-Vt.) said in an interview. “They get pensions and better working conditions. I find it very remarkable that Nissan is allowing unions to form at its plants all over the world. Well, if they can be organized everywhere else, they can be organized in Mississippi.”
The Mississippi march, organized by the United Automobile Workers and joined by the NAACP and the Sierra Club, comes as Democrats are reintroducing themselves to voters who drifted toward Donald Trump’s populism last year. Reinvigorated by President Trump’s near-daily political problems and by an agenda that has drifted closer to traditional Republican economics, they’re identifying themselves more closely with liberal policies and labor organizers.
“Some of the poorest states in this country, where large numbers of people have no health insurance and have experienced stagnating wages, have not had the support from progressives that they need,” Sanders said. “It’s time we change that. It means standing up for working men and women.”
On Friday morning, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) delivered a speech at Ohio State University about the how “dignity comes from work,” arguing for an agenda that would boost wages and offer more family leave.
“Populism is for the people — not these people or those people but all people,” Brown said. “True populism is not about who it excludes but who it embraces. The value of work isn’t a black issue or a white issue. It’s not a blue-collar issue or a white-collar issue. It’s not a liberal or conservative issue.”
Brown’s ideas, packaged in a 77-page report titled “Working Too Hard for Too Little,” mirror much of what Sanders ran on in the 2016 presidential primary — and much of what Hillary Clinton adopted for the general election. Some ideas go further.
Like Sanders, Brown argues for a $15 minimum wage, in sync with the campaign waged by the Service Employees International Union. Like Clinton, he pitches 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. Brown, who was also one of the first senators to suggest expanding Social Security payments by raising Federal Insurance Contributions Act, or FICA, taxes, also suggests standardized overtime pay for workers making less than $47,476 and a crackdown on the process of paying workers as contractors to avoid giving them benefits packages.
“I can already hear the complaints coming from the corporate boardroom,” Brown said. “ ‘These ideas cost too much.’ ‘We’ll have to raise prices.’ Funny, you never hear those concerns raised over the cost of shareholder payouts or corporate bonuses. Corporations always want to talk about the cost of raising wages and benefits, but what about the cost of not raising them?”
Like Sanders, Brown is up for reelection in 2018. Unlike Sanders, he represents a state that broke solidly for Trump in 2016 after twice voting for Barack Obama, and he has already drawn an opponent in Josh Mandel, the Republican state treasurer seeking a rematch of their 2012 race.
The first step, as seen by Brown and other Democrats, is holding and winning back the blue-collar voters who rejected Clinton in 2016 after years of voting Democratic. They see appetite for the Trump-centric and personality-focused campaign that failed Clinton in the Midwest.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Bernie to work within party for now

(oops lost the link. But it's on Google News at this time)
On Sunday morning, the day after establishment pick Tom Perez was elected by party insiders to the position of DNC Chair, Senator Bernie Sanders appeared on CNN with Jake Tapper. During the course of the interview, something happened that will have those Democrats who are up for reelection in 2018, shaking: In a roundabout way, Sanders said he would not be providing the DNC with his email list, and would instead use it to help progressives running in Democratic primaries.

Sanders has long said he wants to transform the Democratic Party which has always been a game of paying dues and insider politics—and that position threatens the current leadership. If the events of the weekend prove anything, it has started a war. The establishment sent its message to Sanders, and Sanders fired back.

Many have long wondered how Sanders would keep his revolution alive after the election. Now it is becoming clear. It is to be his people powered weapon in a war on the Democratic leadership, with the ultimate purpose of presenting a genuine alternative to the Republican Party and Trump’s brand of corporate populism.

Establishment Democrats have no path to victory against the current administration because they do not have the tools. Trumpism cannot be defeated by corporate-friendly Republican lite.

Not only did 2016 prove the establishment had lost touch with the American people—after all, it had paved the way for a candidate all polling indicated was the weaker choice while touting as an endpoint the grossly incomplete legacy of the presidency of Barack Obama—it shook their donors’ confidence as well. Their candidate lost to Donald J. Trump, and the party suffered massive losses down ballot.

And yet, the leadership—like a corporation which has just had to do a massive recall—has been downplaying the problem and doubling down.

For progressives, this damage control has been taken as unwillingness on behalf of the party to “learn its lesson.” Frustrated, many have been flirting with the idea of changing their registrations. Some already have feeling that the only option left open to them is causing loss after loss.

However, this latest declaration from Sanders should make these voters reconsider. He’s raising an army because wars are often long, and filled with devastating losses. However, for the battles that are lost—this time an election where the voters are exclusively party insiders—there are battles won. Just last month, ‘Berniecrats’ swept California’s Democratic assembly district delegate elections, giving them effective control over the largest state Democratic Party in the country.

The left is finally waking up to its ability to affect change as millennials organize. Establishment Democrats like Sen. Claire McCaskill, one of Hillary Clinton’s most vocal allies during the primary, are starting to feel the pressure as they plan their reelection campaigns, and Republicans are refusing to do town halls thanks to protester interruptions. Every day there seems to be a protest.

This latest move by Sanders is a promise upheld to his supporters, and a warning to Washington elites: The revolution continues. Get on board or get voted out.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Plea to Bernie Sanders

Link to Huffington Post page

The Progressive Movement At The Crossroads: An Open Letter To Bernie Sanders

Dear Senator Bernie Sanders,
Prior to 2015, I was an Independent voter who had voted Democrat in every presidential election I had been old enough to participate in. I considered myself to be performing my civic duty by voting once every four years for the least-bad presidential candidate. I had never voted in a primary election nor a midterm election and I had never donated to nor volunteered for a political campaign. In my mind, there were no candidates worthy of that sort of support, none who represented my views on the issues facing our nation; so the lesser-evil became the only sensible option. In short, I was politically disillusioned and disengaged. 
All of that changed when you announced your candidacy in 2015.   
I was an early supporter of your campaign for the Democratic Party nomination and a founding member of your “Super Pack” of small-dollar donors, donating $10 a month starting in August 2015. During moments of the campaign when the odds seemed particularly stacked against you, your positive, progressive, politically revolutionary message shone through as a beacon of motivation and hope. In those moments, and there were more than a few, I would donate $50. I attended multiple rallies, voter registration drives and phone-bank sessions in the months leading up to the first primary contest. You inspired me, and millions of progressive Democrats and Independents alike, to stand and fight for a brighter political future. You showed us we are not alone in our values, that we can be a powerful force for change when we stand together. I cannot thank you enough for waking us up.
That being said, the chicanery of the Democratic National Committee leadership to subvert your campaign, as revealed in leaked DNC emails, combined with widespread voter suppression efforts by party officials and mainstream media outlets was, to say the least, hard to bear. For months, many millions of your supporters (the vast majority of whom followed your lead and voted for Hillary Clinton in the end) were crying out for the party elites to realize what was plain to see: You were the only candidate who could beat Donald Trump because of your strength with working class and Independent voters. National polling just days prior to the general election showed you crushing Trump by double-digits in a hypothetical matchup, whereas Clinton remained in a statistical tie. We are all now living with the results of the Democratic Party establishment’s colossal error in judgement.
Since the election, I’ve been searching for signs within the Democratic Party leadership indicating a lesson has been learned and the necessity for substantial reform is recognized. Unfortunately, those signs have been few and far between. The Democratic punditry is quick to place blame on any number of outside factors but loath to introspect. Due to seeming intransigence and lack of contrition by party leaders like Nancy Pelosi and others, party membership has reportedly dropped by 14 million in just over three months. 
The progressive movement you inspired, the “political revolution”, has thus reached the crossroads. The members of the Democratic National Committee must choose if they are willing to reform and be the vehicle for progressive change or not. That choice is fast approaching this week in the form of the DNC chair selection (February 23rd - 26th). 
You, of course, have been leading the push to reform the Democratic Party away from neoliberal corporatism and back into the party of working people. Your choice to implement that reform as the next DNC chair is Keith Ellison. Regardless of my own feelings about Congressman Ellison, he was an early supporter of your candidacy for president and was also a member of your platform delegation. He has clearly earned your trust and support. 
Ellison’s main opponent, Tom Perez, is a progressive the likes of Hillary Clinton. His recent admission at the DNC forum about the primaries being rigged along with the subsequent twitter retraction demonstrate both his blatant political opportunism and his quick capitulation to establishment elites in one fell swoop.
The selection of DNC chair is eerily echoing the Democratic primaries. The parallels are all present: progressivism vs neoliberalism, reform vs status quo, grassroots vs establishment. It even includes a premature, anonymous accounting of support, similar to the AP announcement of an inevitable Clinton nomination the day before the California primary.  
Many progressives, like myself, see this as the last chance for the Democratic Party to change its present course at the national level. For others, the last chance already came and went with the tainted primary race. Although their support may never return, ours can and will if real structural changes are implemented within the party. The first step toward that change, I think you would agree, is for DNC members to select Keith Ellison as chair. 
If Perez is selected, however, your brand of progressive reform will have been rejected once again by the Democratic Party establishment, proving that, even in the wake of a devastating election loss and a national repudiation of the status quo, they are incapable of reform. They would be demonstrating the definition of insanity by doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. 
The herculean goal of reforming the Democratic Party is commendable and I truly hope still achievable, but if it’s proven otherwise, I would implore you to reconsider the idea proposed by your former campaign staffer, Nick Brana, to form your own party. The integrity of your ideas and ideals which you’ve expressed long before, during, and since the 2016 campaign inspired and united so many of us, who had all but given up on the political process, to get involved and be the change we wish to see. A party with such a powerful message as yours, with your honest leadership and the enthusiasm of the nation’s young people and progressive Independents would be a formidable, viable electoral force, indeed.
Those of us who have followed your lead to this point are eager to see evidence of your message being heeded, but we will not support a party if it doesn’t support us or share our values. We cannot gain significant power within a party whose leaders actively sabotage progressive candidates. Although I know you will always stand up for us, I hope that you will also stand with us outside the Democratic Party if its establishment refuses to change. Whether or not that is the case will become clear this week in Atlanta as members of the DNC choose their next leader and thus the future of the progressive movement within the party.  
A Progressive Voter

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Slow Boiling Domestic Coup

With members of the CIA and NSA leaking materials on Michael Flynn’s communications with Russian officials, we are witnessing a slow boiling domestic coup that will transform American governance and the Executive Branch’s relationships with intelligence agencies. It remains to be seen whether these moves signal broader attacks on the Presidency by agencies long accustomed to taking out administrations threatening the Agency’s perceived interests.
This moment tells us more about the CIA revolting against a particular administration than it does about Trump’s people engaging in unusually diabolical-illegal activities designed to undermine an outgoing administration. We know enough about Reagan’s pre-election dealings with Iran to know that the CIA and NSA knew about these transactions, yet these agencies were content to remain silent; apparently glad to see Carter ousted and welcoming a new era of unparalleled “peace time” military and intelligence spending. Similarly, American intelligence agencies knew of Nixon’s efforts to sabotage the Paris peace talks before the 1968 election, and the CIA did nothing to undermine a new president who was going to give the agency the war it wanted. The leaking of Flynn’s information tells us little new about how incoming administrations act, but it suggests something new about US intelligence agencies willingness to take out an administration not to their liking.
To be clear: I see nothing wrong with the leaks themselves. I like intelligence leaks. I think they are generally good for democracy and reveal important truths about power. I am not worried about leaks, I am worried about the CIA and other intelligence agencies making a significant power grab that is not being critically considered. This is a move that no future president will soon forget, and that will make him or her think twice before crossing these agencies.
The left’s widely shared disdain for Donald Trump makes the current rushing national wave of schadenfreude understandable, yet there are few on the left who appear worried about what this domestic CIA coup portends for American democracy. Because of the long history of liberals’ attractions to using the CIA, perhaps we should not be too surprised at this elation, but we need to cautiously think beyond this moment.
It is no secret that many at the CIA hold disdain for Flynn. His years at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and in command of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) coincided with efforts to move many of what had been CIA operational activities and covert operations away from CIA to DIA. With the CIA attacking the Trump administration so soon after the election with leaks of the Russian hacking report there were clear public fissures appearing between the Agency and the new Executive.
I assume that there are lots of reasons why many at the CIA and NSA wish to undermine the Trump administration—I even assume I may share a few of these reasons with them. While the agency is comfortable with much of the corporate looting that Trump appears ready to unleash, few in the agency like the sort of instability that Trump generates—and I suppose some within may take his ongoing barbs and attacks on Agency incompetence seriously.
As it is to many of us on the left, it is obvious to me that Trump is the most dangerous, unqualified, and reckless US President I have ever seen—much less imagined. And while it seems as if he will soon enough seize some opportunity to declare a national security disaster granting himself new unlimited powers, I know no reason to trust the CIA and other intelligence agencies any more than we trust Trump.
This attack on the Executive Branch is like nothing we’ve ever seen before. The most historically interesting element of this moment is the rarity of seeing the CIA operating, in real time, not in its usual historical role as a covert arm of the presidency (which Congressman Otis Pike argued was its primary function), but as the sort of rogue elephant that Senator Frank Church and others long ago claimed it is. As members of the Republic, no matter what momentary joy we might feel watching this rogue elephant canter towards our incompetent Commander and Chief, we must not ignore the danger this beast presents to one and all.
We should welcome calls to investigate Trump, Flynn, Bannon, Pence and others within the administration, but we need to also investigate and monitor the CIA for this latest in its long history of attempted coups.
David Price a professor of anthropology at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington. He is the author of Weaponizing Anthropology: Social Science in Service of the Militarized State published by CounterPunch Books.
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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Where we stand, according to me

We live in a time where the American experiment is pretty much on life support. Both political parties have surrendered to big money interests and are fighting each other based on right or left ideology to control the social system, much like gangs in prisons. With decreasing resources. So long as they don't challenge their masters, they are allowed to do as they please. This keeps the populace distracted from the coup that's been enacted on our country and so far keeps them subservient. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Lady Gaga

I enjoyed the half time show. Lady Gaga began with "This Land is Your Land," written by Woody Guthrie. This morning I saw two articles describing the song as a "protest anthem." While it is so that Woody wrote some protest songs, I never considered this one to be among them. It celebrates this land and is all inclusive. Barry Goldwater, Mr Conservative, had it played at his rallies, in 1964. But, the original version goes like this, and I have to change my position. It is a protest song.

This Land Is Your Land
Words and Music by Woody Guthrie

This land is your land This land is my land
From California to the New York island; 
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters 
This land was made for you and Me.

As I was walking that ribbon of highway, 
I saw above me that endless skyway: 
I saw below me that golden valley: 
This land was made for you and me.

I've roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps 
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts; 
And all around me a voice was sounding: 
This land was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling, 
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling, 
As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting: 
This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking I saw a sign there 
And on the sign it said "No Trespassing." 
But on the other side it didn't say nothing, 
That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people, 
By the relief office I seen my people; 
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking 
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me, 
As I go walking that freedom highway; 
Nobody living can ever make me turn back 
This land was made for you and me.

© Copyright 1956 (renewed), 1958 (renewed), 1970 and 1972 by Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc. & TRO-Ludlow Music, Inc. (BMI)

It's usually sung with these lyrics:

Saturday, February 4, 2017

sunday's GAME

I grew up hating professional sports. The most agonizing afternoon I could imagine was to watch sports and football in particular. I saw it, from what little I paid attention to, as the quarterback giving a guy the ball; the guy would plow head on into a wall of players and be stopped in his tracks; repeat; repeat; kick. Then, the other team's turn. One day, in 1964, a shipmate offered to bet me five dollars some team would beat a team called The Steelers. I accepted and gladly won the five. So, I watched a game at the next opportunity. The Steelers looked beautiful out there, destroying some hapless opponent. The score was something like 50-14. I was hooked, from that day to this.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Tax Time

Trying to get worked up to do taxes. Not certain I will manage today. I do this online. Last year I used the HR Block app. Did it free and printed a copy to mail in. Reason I send paper is, they see your information as they receive the form, so they can sign off on it right away. Sent electronically, they have just your submission to view. A few years later they go through your information again, looking up W2 forms and such. If they find a mistake that costs you money, it has already racked up two years' interest. This happened to me for the 2015 return. I am super careful now, but taking no chances.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Online Surveys

Being old and out of most mainstream activities these days, most paid surveys I signed up to take for pay are closed to me. Some of these services send me emails every day, proclaiming new surveys, which I am invited to take. But they almost always reject me. So I bailed on all but one. YouGov gives me points until I achieve 100,000. Then it allows me to apply for and receive a gift card for a hundred bucks. I have gotten gift cards for $100, $100 and $25. It takes a lot of surveys, but I don't mind.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

President Donald Trump signed executive actions on Tuesday to advance the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, reversing decisions made by the Obama administration and setting off a clash with Democrats and environmental activists who vehemently oppose the projects.
Trump said that approving the cross-border oil line would be “subject to a renegotiation of terms by us,” comments that suggest that he plans to revive his campaign-trail bid to claim “a piece of the profits” from the pipeline for U.S. taxpayers — a legally and politically risky proposal.
Keystone XL, which was rejected by former President Barack Obama in 2015, has been at the center of one of the largest opposition campaigns in the history of the environmental movement, with activists conducting a years-long effort to kill the project. During the presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly promised to approve Keystone XL, which would carry Canadian oil sands crude from Alberta to Texas, and he said he wants the U.S. government to get 25 percent of the pipeline's profits.
Another of the executive actions signed on Tuesday was aimed at identifying high priority infrastructure projects and speeding the required environmental reviews that Trump blamed for slowing construction of important infrastructure projects.
"The regulatory process in this country has become a tangled up mess. And very unfair to people," Trump told reporters gathered in the Oval Office.
"We intend to fix our country, our bridges, our roadways. We can't be in an environmental process for 15 years if a bridge is going to be falling down or if a highway is crumbling. So we're expediting environmental reviews and approvals," he added.

And he said the materials used to build the pipelines in the U.S. should come from American companies — a move that would put "a lot of steelworkers" back to work, although the memo says only that the Commerce Secretary should submit a plan within 180 days use U.S. steel "the maxmum extent possible and to the extent permitted by law."
"We will build our own pipeline, we will build our own pipes. That's what it has to do with. Like we used to, in the old days," he said.
Building the Keystone XL pipeline would also be a boon for Trump's friend and early energy adviser Harold Hamm, the founder and CEO of Continental Resources, the oil company that is the biggest oil producer in North Dakota's Bakken field. The pipeline would help transport oil from those wells, which have relied in the past on trains to get the crude to customers.
"My goodness, that's a pipeline that is certainly needed. It brings the best, highest quality crude oil from the Bakken to the population centers," Hamm told an industry event in December.
TransCanada said the day after Trump’s election that it “remains fully committed to building Keystone XL” but has publicly offered no details since about when it would re-apply for the border-crossing permit that the new president invited on Tuesday. Keystone has come up during meetings between Trump aides and officials of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, a source told POLITICO.
Trump's memo invites TransCanada to "promptly" resubmit its Keystone XL application and it directs the State Department to make a decision on the project within 60 days.
It was not immediately clear if Trump was altering the 2004 George W. Bush administration order that requires a broad inter-agency review of cross-border pipeline projects led by the State Department, but simplifying that process move that would make it easier to approve Keystone.
While Trump has long been expected to take steps to approve Keystone, two people familiar with the issue said Trump administration officials have had little communication with the State Department in the runup to the executive actions. One of those people said State did not sign off on the executive actions.

Building Keystone XL faces a number of obstacles. The pipeline is still awaiting approval from Nebraska state regulators for its proposed route, and many landowners in the state are opposed to the project.
“There’s so many other things that come along with Keystone XL that Trump is going to have to deal with: that it’s foreign oil, that they’re using foreign steel and they’re using eminent domain to take land away from people who voted for him,” said Nebraska-based anti-Keystone activist Jane Kleeb. “I think Trump is not prepared for the amount of protests from Nebraska Republicans that are coming his way.”
The planned 1,100-mile Dakota Access pipeline, which would run from North Dakota to Illinois, has also become a focal point of progressive opposition to fossil fuel projects. Native American tribes joined with activists in protests that have occasionally turned violent and caught national attention over the last few months.
The Standing Rock Sioux, which has been at the center of the protests because of the threat the tribe says the pipeline poses to its water supply, said Trump's order violates previous agreements they had struck with the federal government.
“President Trump is legally required to honor our treaty rights and provide a fair and reasonable pipeline process,” Dave Archambault II, chairman of the tribe, said in a statement. “Americans know this pipeline was unfairly rerouted towards our nation and without our consent. The existing pipeline route risks infringing on our treaty rights, contaminating our water and the water of 17 million Americans downstream.”
Any move to approve the pipelines will face legal challenges from environmental groups, and Democrats and activists immediately bashed Trump over the pending actions.
Jamie Henn, co-founder of the environmental group, promised that greens will fight Trump.
"We're going to fight Keystone XL and Dakota Access along the route, but we're also going to jiu jitsu this attack into energy to take on fossil fuel infrastructure all across the country,” he said.

“While countries like China and Germany continue to make progress in their transition away from the dirty energy of the past, this action will roll back the progress we have made,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said in a statement. “Encouraging the production of this oil, which includes Canadian tar sands – one of the dirtiest fuels in the world -- is a huge step backward.”
Trump previously owned between between $15,000 and $50,000 of stock in Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the Dakota Access pipeline. A Trump spokeswoman told reporters last year that he sold his stake in the company. Rick Perry, Trump’s nominee for energy secretary, sat on Energy Transfer Partners’ board, but he resigned earlier this month.
Earlier Tuesday at a meeting with auto industry executives, Trump criticized the sometimes lengthy process required to secure environmental permits required to build infrastructure projects.
“Our friends that wanna build in the United States, they go many, many years and then they can’t get the environmental permit over something that nobody ever heard of before,” he said. “And it’s absolutely crazy. I am, to a large extent, an environmentalist. I believe in it. But it’s out of control.”
Shane Goldmacher, Isaac Arnsdorf, Elana Schor, Eric Wolff and Madeline Conway contributed to this report

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The First Press Release is Demonstrable Bullshit?

This is what a friend posted elsewhere. I fear they are correct:

" People have heard me voicing similar themes to these in shorter comments, but this gets to the heart of it. Trump and his press attach├ęs aren't being found out, caught in the act or making mistakes: it is quite deliberate strategy with historical precedents.

"If you are puzzled by the bizarre "press conference" put on by the White House press secretary this evening (angrily claiming that Trump's inauguration had the largest audience in history, accusing them of faking photos and lying about attendance), let me help explain it. This spectacle served three purposes:

1. Establishing a norm with the press: they will be told things that are obviously wrong and they will have no opportunity to ask questions. That way, they will be grateful if they get anything more at any press conference. This is the PR equivalent of "negging," the odious pick-up practice of a particular kind of horrible man (e.g., Donald Trump).

2. Increasing the separation between Trump's base (1/3 of the population) from everybody else (the remaining 2/3). By being told something that is obviously wrong—that there is no evidence for and all evidence against, that anybody with eyes can see is wrong—they are forced to pick whether they are going to believe Trump or their lying eyes. The gamble here—likely to pay off—is that they will believe Trump. This means that they will regard media outlets that report the truth as "fake news" (because otherwise they'd be forced to confront their cognitive dissonance.)

3. Creating a sense of uncertainty about whether facts are knowable, among a certain chunk of the population (which is a taking a page from the Kremlin, for whom this is their preferred disinformation tactic). A third of the population will say "clearly the White House is lying," a third will say "if Trump says it, it must be true," and the remaining third will say "gosh, I guess this is unknowable." The idea isn't to convince these people of untrue things, it's to fatigue them, so that they will stay out of the political process entirely, regarding the truth as just too difficult to determine.

This is laying important groundwork for the months ahead. If Trump's White House is willing to lie about something as obviously, unquestionably fake as this, just imagine what else they'll lie about. In particular, things that the public cannot possibly verify the truth of. It's gonna get real bad."

Added by another friend: Also they'll be counting on the media to follow its normal behaviors of covering he said/versus she said without attention to the actual facts.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Robert Reich on Donald Trump

I had breakfast recently with a friend who's a former Republican member of Congress. Here's what he said:
Him: Trump is no Republican. He’s just a big fat ego.
Me: Then why didn’t you speak out against him during the campaign?
Him: You kidding? I was surrounded by Trump voters. I’d have been shot.
Me: So what now? What are your former Republican colleagues going to do?
Him (smirking): They’ll play along for a while.
Me: A while?
Him: They’ll get as much as they want – tax cuts galore, deregulation, military buildup, slash all those poverty programs, and then get to work on Social Security and Medicare – and blame him. And he’s such a fool he’ll want to take credit for everything.
Me: And then what?
Him (laughing): They like Pence.
Me: What do you mean?
Him: Pence is their guy. They all think Trump is out of his mind.
Me: So what?
Him: So the moment Trump does something really dumb – steps over the line – violates the law in a big stupid clumsy way … and you know he will ...
Me: They impeach him?
Him: You bet. They pull the trigger.