January 25, 2017, John Hanno
“The Donald J. Trump Alternative Fact, Anti American Progress, Administration”
This new Trump “Alternative Fact” Administration, coupled with the 115th Republican controlled, “Roll Back,” United States Congress will no doubt go down in history as the most “Anti American Progress” administration in history. Everything the Obama Administration tried to accomplish in the last eight years will be under assault, including its progress on cleaning up the environment and reversing climate change and global warming, improving our health care system, putting folks back to work and finally improving their wages, supporting public education, making higher education more affordable, providing consumer protection, and of crafting dozens of bills and executive actions to help our disappearing middle class reverse income inequality and to curb the banksters who caused the 2008 financial collapse that took our middle class wealth.
Everyone’s trying to guess what Trump’s idea of a “Great America” really is. Some say he’s not an ideologue, and point to his many conflicted statements over the decades.
He was, throughout his adult life, at loggerheads with workers and unions, but now says he’s the only one who can bring back jobs and raise stagnant middle class wages. But where was he when Republican presidents going back to Regan, and most of the Republican party, were creating incentives and clearing the path for their corporate and manufacturing patrons to close down plants and export living wage American jobs? Were any of these Republi-con Johnnie come latelies standing with unions on the picket lines protesting the closing of 50 or 60 thousand manufacturing plants. I endured 4 plant closings and the only support and sympathy we got was from the democrats or from community activist folks like Barack Obama.
The Trumpster was pro-choice before he wasn’t. He apparently wasn’t religious until he decided to run for president. He was logically in favor of single payer health care; but now, who knows?
He repeated consistently during the campaign (the only thing he was steadfast on), that he would not attempt to destroy Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid; he said he was the only one of 17 Republicans running for president that firmly stated he would preserve those life saving programs for seniors, the poor and persons with disabilities. But cutting these programs is what they will use to pay for Paul Ryan’s and the Republi-cons tax cuts for the rich and corporations.
He said he would drain the swamp of corporate lobbyists in Washington but then hired 6 ex Goldman Sachs executives and banksters to pull the plug. Good luck with that!
He still claims he’s going to round up 11 million illegal immigrants and build a wall that could cost between, who knows, $15 to $30 billion, to keep them from returning; but there’s been a net loss of immigrants entering from Mexico since the 2008 financial collapse. Where was Trump and the Republi-cons for the last 60 years, when the American business community (including Trumps construction, real estate and entertainment businesses) held out the welcome mat for the cheap labor that drove down wages and crippled organized labor. The only ones who will benefit from this border wall boondoggle, are the construction companies and suppliers connected at the hip with the Republi-cons and Trump Inc.
Trump said he’s a great environmentalist, as if installing landscaping on golf courses somehow qualifies (watch the movie “You’ve Been Trumped.”) At a breakfast with business executives, he stated: “I’m a very big person when it comes to the environment. I have received awards on the environment.”
But one of the first executive orders he signed will attempt to overturn President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL and rerouting of the Dakota Access pipelines. President Obama said the pipelines would hamper U.S. efforts to close the global climate change deal that Trump now wants to withdraw from. Trump said not a word about the environmental impact of those pipelines and the risks to the drinking water of more than 40 million Americans; 17 million downstream of DAPL and more than 25 million who depend on the Ogallala aquifer for drinking water. Trump signed the order but somehow failed to mention the 2 year long protests by the Standing Rock Sioux Native Tribes courageous stand to protect their cultural sites and the reservations drinking water supplies. And Trump and his fossil fuel cabinet and friends don’t want us to remember the dozens of pipeline spills that contaminated folks drinking water just last year. That’s no doubt the reason the Republi-cons have put a muzzle on employees of the EPA talking to the media or to the Democrats in congress.
The AP Reported on January 25th that:
“The Trump administration has instituted a media blackout at the Environmental Protection Agency and barred staff from awarding any new contracts or grants. Emails sent to EPA staff since President Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday and reviewed by The Associated Press detailed the specific prohibitions banning press releases, blog updates or posts to the agency’s social media accounts. The Trump administration has also ordered a “temporary suspension” of all new business activities at the department, including issuing task orders or work assignments to EPA contractors. The orders are expected to have a significant and immediate impact on EPA activities nationwide.”
“Orthodoxy means not thinking–not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.” George Orwell
Trump’s list of executive orders looks like he’s checking off the pay back list of the Republi-con party contributors.
When elected officials ignore and try to circumvent or repeal 8 years of legislative and institutional research, problem solving and progress, just to pay back their political donors, they’re violating their oath of office and are committing treason. These Republi-cons have denigrated each and every department of the federal government and are poised to cripple as many as possible.
President Trump, his cabinet and the Republican controlled congress must serve all Americans, not just rich folks, corporations, wall street banksters, fossil fuel interests, Vladimir Putin and his Russian oligarchs and Trumps family businesses. They must serve and protect people of all races, ethnicity, religions, sexes, sexual preferences or political affiliation. President Obama took his oath of office seriously. He went out of his way to serve all Americans. Trump has already violated his oath in his first week in office.
President Obama and his administration worked and studied hard to dig up the facts to make informed decisions. There were times his own party didn’t agree with him but he still did what he thought was best for all Americans. Trump refuses to read and study facts; he listens to, embraces and retweets fake news and conspiracy theories; and he spews flat out lies at the drop of a Make America Great Again hat. Trump, who distanced himself from traditional Republi-con dogma during the primaries and election has done a 180 on most issues and forsaken all political courage. His handlers and spokespersons embrace the banal theory of “Alternative Facts.”
“For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable – what then?” George Orwell, 1984
Most Americans don’t have to do the research required for the important deliberations state and federal governments have to undertake. We generally elect and hire experienced and qualified folks to do that for us. Trump has so far hired the most inexperienced and hostile proponents for every one of the cabinet level positions.
But still, we have to make decisions in our own lives. Where we decide to live and in what kind of a home, where and how we chose to earn a living, which schools we or our children attend, how or with whom we invest savings or pensions, what mode of transportation we use and what vehicles to buy. A business owner might decide to expand or hire new employees. There are scores of decisions we have to make every day. If we’re smart and responsible, we make those decisions based on the best facts available at the time; we make decisions based on what’s best for us and our families. Trump makes decisions based on his late night twitter account musings and on theories from the farthest reaches of the newly discovered Ult Right Planet “Your anus”
In a rational manner, when we elect politicians or hire government employees to represent us, we want them to make decisions based on hard proven facts and on what’s best for all citizens, and not what’s best for the folks who provide campaign contributions or favors to these officials. Anything else undermines American Democracy.
An American President and White House that promotes “Alternative facts,” demonizes journalists and media who point out those easily proved lies and also occupies a bizarre alternative universe, can’t help but create bad decisions that undermine our democratic institutions. Trump world is driving people to the libraries and book stores to find a copy of the book “1984.” It was the biggest selling book on Amazon.com last week and the publisher Penguin, placed an order for a 75,000 book reprint. A quote highlighted by MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, The Cleveland Plain Dealer and others is: “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command” George Orwell. I would like to offer a few of my own.
“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.” George Orwell, 1984
Elected officials work for the American public. Is there any responsible American who would seriously hire someone for the most important job in the country, paying them $400,000 a year and outstanding benefits, without checking their tax returns? Folks hired at your local hardware store or retailer for minimum wages must undergo background and credit checks; and a majority of those jobs require physiological testing. I’m not sure Donald J. Trump could pass any one of those tests.
For most of the last century, Democrats have tried to use government leadership to do things for people, whereas the Republi-cons have spent most of their efforts on undermining good governance and doing things to people.
Republi-cons take great enjoyment in demonizing the Democrats and progressives for trying to help folks, especially the working poor. President Obama took a lot of flak for being a community activist helping steel workers on our Chicago South East side when the steel companies shut down. They treated him like a criminal for his conscientious public service.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was derided for his efforts to persuade New Yorker’s to cut back on super sized soft drinks and the high fructose corn sweetener they contain because he tried to do something about our obesity and diabetes problems. And they railed against him for his environmental activism.
Michelle Obama’s campaign to get school children to eat better and exercise more was successful in helping to plateau the incidence of obesity and diabetes problems in children but was roundly criticized by Republi-cons as a socialist food Nazi.
U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders and Debbie Stabenow were criticized as grandstanding, for driving seniors in buses to Canada to get cheaper prescription drugs so they could actually fill prescriptions and also afford to eat.
I believe America and the whole world is in for a long Trumpian campaign of having things done to them instead of for them. Nothing is safe, especially our environment.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow just reported a story about the extreme increase in earthquakes in Oklahoma. (http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/as-ok-frackquakes-spiked-trump-epa-pick-fought-the-epa-862159427646). The number of earthquakes went from 63 in 2011 to 644 in 2016. They had 103 earthquakes in just the last week. They recently suffered a record breaking 5.6 earthquake. Over this 5 year period, Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt didn’t try to prosecute fracking companies who caused these man-made earthquakes, but instead went after the EPA because the EPA tried to help the folks in that state who were suffering. He also eliminated all funding for Oklahoma’s Environmental Law Office. Trump rewarded Pruitt by nominated this fossil fuel panderer who sued the EPA, instead of the fracking companies who terrorized Oklahoman’s, to run the EPA. Again, these Republi-cons do things to people instead of for them.
Americans are hurting; half of us live on about $16,000 per year. That’s an obscenity, in the wealthiest country in the world, one filled with more and more millionaires and billionaires and such a disparity too broad to sustain a viable growing economy. The folks who voted for Trump enjoy a more generous average annual earnings of $75,000. Those Trump supporters claimed President Obama wasn’t tough enough, didn’t win enough. I believe they will be disappointed when they discover who really wins in a Trump Administration. These Republi-cons are definitely not compassionate conservatives.
This Trump crowd already made it harder for low income Americans to buy a home. They will reverse President Obama and give the student loans back to the banksters they serve. They will favor charter schools and Christian teachings over free public education.
Any federal income tax cuts proposed by the Republicans will undoubtedly favor rich folks and corporations; and those tax cuts will force the resultant tax burden onto the rest of us in higher discretionary taxes, fees and state taxes.
Any reduction in federal subsidies for health care for low income folks will push that burden off onto states, counties, cities, insurance policy holders and health providers; especially hospitals that provide emergency room and trauma services.
In spite of Trump’s promises, the Republi-cons will continue to attack Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and any entitlement programs that doesn’t involve crony capitalists.
“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power.” George Orwell
And their bombastic, misguided, go it alone approach to fighting terrorism will, like the catastrophic invasion into Iraq, certainly make things worse. And attempting to, overrule the Obama administration and the U.S. Congress ban on torture, re-institute the foreign black sites and stating that we should have, and might yet in the future, steal oil from Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries, will also jeopardize our military personal.
“Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power” George Orwell
This new administration will explore new frontiers of conflicts of interests. The Obama Administration went 8 years without a hint of scandal. Trumps is already embroiled in multiple scandals and conflicts, including their relationship to the kleptocrat Putin and the Russian oligarchs.
“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.” George Orwell
If there is any slim thread of hope for us in the next couple of years, it’s that the Democrats picked up 7 members of Congress and 2 Senators, and the new Congress that was sworn in on January 3rd, will be the most racially diverse in history.
Yes, the reality is, Trump does not have any mandate whatsoever. He lost by almost 3 million votes. He’s the biggest presidential “loser” in history. He has the lowest approval rating (32 to 34 %) in American presidential history. And if it wasn’t for the Russians and FBI director Comey, Hillary would already be healing our divided electorate instead of pitting us against each other like Trump. Almost 10 times as many Trump protestors demonstrated throughout the country and the world on January 21st, as attended his inauguration the day before.
Most representatives of this racial, religious and gender diversity will be Democratic lawmakers, even though the Democrats will be minorities in both the House and Senate. Fourteen new women were elected this month, although the total number (104) of women will stay the same in the new Congress. That’s only 19%, much less than the overall 50% American female population. A record number of 21 women will serve in the Senate.
Four women of color will serve in the Senate, Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and just elected Democrats Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), Kamala Harris (Calif.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), the first Latina to serve in the U.S. Senate.
A record number of Hispanics will serve in the next Congress, with 38 members in both chambers. Thirty-four Hispanics will serve in the House and four will serve in the Senate.
Seven Hispanic Democrats won election to the House: Nanette Barragán (Calif.), Salud Carbajal (Calif.), Lou Correa (Calif.), Adriano Espaillat (N.Y.), the first Dominican-American elected to Congress, Ruben Kihuen (Nev.), Darren Soto (Fla.) and Vicente Gonzalez (Texas).
There will be a record number of black lawmakers, increasing from 46 to 49. A record number (15) of Asian-Americans will be in the next Congress. Hirono, Harris and Duckworth, an incumbent House member, will make up the ranks of Asian-Americans in the Senate. Harris’ father is from Jamaica and her mother is from India.
Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.) was the only Indian American serving in Congress. He’s now joined by Harris and three new House members: Ro Khanna (Calif.), Pramila Jayapal (Wash.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (Ill.). Jayapal will be the first Indian-American woman to serve in the House and Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) will be the first Vietnamese-American woman elected to Congress.
The number of gay and lesbian members in Congress will stay the same. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) is the first openly gay or lesbian person to serve in the Senate. Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) will serve in the house.
Two Muslims, Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and André Carson (D-Ind.), were reelected. The number of Jewish lawmakers will go up from 28 to 30, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) and David Kustoff (R-Tenn.). Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) was the only Hindu in Congress but was joined by the three new Indian-American House members, who identify as Hindu. This Congress will have three Buddhists: Hirono in the Senate and Reps. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) and Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) in the House.
The Congress will still be overwhelmingly white and male compared to the overall American population and the overwhelming majority of lawmakers in Congress identify as Christians. It’s slow progress but the Congress is looking more like America.
The job of the progressives is to speed up that transformation. When all of these old, white, biased, knuckle dragging, climate deniers pass on to their here after, this will be a better country and a better world. In the meantime, vote progressive and stay vigilant
“Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.” George Orwell
Trump may be mean, but he’s definitely not green
By Chelsea Henderson April 15, 2016
Chelsea Henderson has worked on environmental policy for conservation organizations and three Republican senators.
Let’s tame at least one legend in Donald Trump’s mind — his self-proclaimed status as an environmental hero.
“I’ve won many environmental awards,” the Republican presidential front-runner said on CNN’s “New Day” on Sept. 24. He made the claim while criticizing Pope Francis’s call for action on climate change in an address to a joint meeting of Congress.
“I’ve gotten so many awards for the environment,” Trump said during a speech in Des Moines on Dec. 11. “I understand the environment; I’ve won many, many awards.”
“I think that climate change is just a very, very expensive form of tax. A lot of people are making a lot of money. I know much about climate change,” Trump said on Jan. 18, two days before NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that 2015 was the hottest year on record. “I’ve received many environmental awards.”
In my 18 years working on environmental policy on and off Capitol Hill, I never heard Trump’s green record lauded. So I decided to try to identify the “many, many environmental awards” he says he has won.
I looked first at his record on clean water and air, to which he often points in defending his outdated beliefs on climate change. Trump does not mince words on climate change, which he calls “a big scam for a lot of people to make a lot of money.” However, the candidate, who has called for eliminating the Environmental Protection Agency, has promised “we are going to work very, very hard on clean air and clean water.” Just what has he done? What would a Trump administration propose to advance the goals of clean air and clean water, aside from gutting the agency that oversees the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act? His campaign website does not note any accomplishments or policy proposals on the matter. An Internet search also turned up empty.
I looked next at his apparent strength: real estate development. Perhaps Trump builds green buildings? A Google search offered no such evidence. In 2012, Trump called green buildings “green because they don’t give you enough energy” and, in the bombastic style of his campaign speeches, referred to an unnamed friend of his, “a great environmental guy,” who expressed regret for moving into a green building. This is despite that the website for Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago touts the building’s sustainability measures.
I searched the database of the U.S. Green Building Council, standard-bearers in designation of sustainable buildings, to find out whether any buildings bearing the Trump name have Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. While certification for one unit of Trump’s Chicago condo-hotel is designated as “in progress,” no building with Trump’s name is identified as having completed LEED certification.
Then I turned to clean energy. I found that in Trump’s words, wind turbines are “ruining” our landscapes and “turning out to be a disaster.” In December, he lost a legal battle to stop an offshore wind farm erected in the panorama of a Trump golf course near Aberdeen, Scotland.
My continued search finally yielded a hit, an environmental protection award the Metropolitan Golf Association Foundation bestowed on Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., in 2007. Four years later, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection cited the course for environmental violations. Not surprising, given that golf courses are not known for being environmentally sound, though builders such as Trump like to site them in locations with sweeping views. The aforementioned golf course in Scotland sits on fragile sand dunes, a site Trump once called “ kind of disgusting.”
Perhaps I was overlooking something, so I contacted Trump’s campaign for confirmation of his green record. Although I received no response, it seems clear that a commitment to the environment of the scale that Trump wants you to imagine wouldn’t leave so little a trace.
Trump’s environmental heroism appears to be a legend in his own mind, a dangerous prospect given the monumental climate challenges facing our nation.
Donald Trump says he’s an environmentalist; others beg to differ
By Annie Gowen May 14, 2011
Call them Trump’s stumps.
Last spring and summer, workers at Trump National Golf Club in Loudoun County chopped down more than 400 trees along the Potomac River so their golfers could have a better view of the water.
Eight months later, the fate of the mile-long stretch of shoreline — where migratory birds once nested and bald eagles perched to fish — remains a source of conflict among the Trump Organization, local officials and environmentalists, who are dickering over how to stabilize the riverbank and what to do with the hundreds of stumps left behind.
“It’s kind of unbelievable,” said Mark Haynes, an Arlington energy consultant who sits on the board of the Potomac Conservancy. “They replaced the trees with a huge flagpole with the American flag flying up there. Which struck me as sad. It’s kind of in-your-face now.”
Over the years, Donald Trump — the “Celebrity Apprentice” star, real estate mogul and impossible-to-ignore presidential candidate— has developed 11 luxury golf courses around the world, leaving a trail of happy golfers but angry residents and environmentalists in his wake. He infuriated neighbors in California for trying to plant trees to shield pedestrians from flying golf balls and in Northern Virginia for taking them out.
His fight with five gritty Scots who refused to move from the stone cottages standing in the way of his $1.6 billion golf course in Scotland inspired a film, “You’ve Been Trumped,” that played to sold-out crowds at Toronto’s documentary film festival this month. (Choice scenes: Trump worrying over his hair at a press conference on a windswept bluff and accusing one of the holdouts of living “like a pig.”)
Such dramas will provide plenty of fodder for those seeking to delve into Trump’s past should he decide to run for president in the coming weeks.
“I have a great environmental record,” said Trump, who last month purchased one of Virginia’s best-known wineries at a foreclosure auction for $6.2 million. “I have a record that, in my opinion, everybody would love.”
Well, not everybody. Environmentalists note the tree cutting, the mogul’s affection for flying in private jets and his call for Al Gore to be stripped of his Nobel Peace Prize as evidence to the contrary.
“He likes to pretend he’s an environmentalist because of the landscaping on his golf courses, but at the end of the day, it seems he’s the only one that actually believes that,” said Heather Taylor-Miesle, the director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Action Fund. “His brand of environmentalism is only for the wealthy and elite.”
About a decade ago, Trump bought a bucolic estate about 45 miles from New York City that was once owned by the disgraced automaker John DeLorean. In 2004, he opened Trump National Golf Club at Bedminster, a place he feels is so lovely that he wants to be buried there (though plans to build a mausoleum on the first tee have been shelved.)
As the Trump Organization has expanded the Bedminster Club from 18 holes to 36, they have often touted their bird sanctuary — which won an environmental award — and network of nature trails as proof of their good stewardship of the property.
“It’s like eco-Disney up there,” said Cindy Ehrenclou, the executive director of the Upper Raritan Watershed Association, a watchdog group. But the 69 million gallons of water needed to maintain the course per year has strained the local aquifer, Ehrenclou said.
And, as in Loudoun, mature trees have quietly disappeared.
On May 6, New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection cited Trump National Golf in Bedminster for a string of violations, including cutting trees and brush and disturbing wetlands.
Most of the environmental work on Trump’s golf courses has been overseen by Ed Russo, 65, a Key West retiree who was once the Bedminster planning board chairman.
Russo, whom Trump calls a “highly respected environmentalist,” lived in an old Victorian farmhouse on the 500-acre Bedminster property when DeLorean owned it. During that time, he fell so in love with the land — 500 rolling acres of apple trees, hay fields and paddocks in the middle of New Jersey’s hunt country — that he buried a fire truck and several other used vehicles on it in the admittedly nutty hope it would make the parcel unappetizing to future investors.
“You know you live on a piece of property, you want to protect it,” Russo said. “Golf was something we didn’t want.”
Then, in 2002, Trump came calling, asking Russo to clean up the property he had once helped pollute, and Russo agreed.
Russo, who is every bit as blustery and outspoken as his boss, said that Trump has given him an “open checkbook” and “has supported every crazy environmental initiative I’ve ever advanced. He deserves a big pat on the back.”
Russo’s plans often go against the grain of conventional scientific wisdom and soil conservation practice. In Loudoun, for example, he said that the treeswere actually causing erosion, rather than preventing it.
And on the northeastern coast of Scotland, where Trump is building what he says is going to be “the greatest golf course in the world,” Russo has pushed for stabilizing sand dunes over the objections of Scottish scientists. They’ve called the moving sand dune ecosystem one of the country’s greatest natural treasures, akin to Scotland’s own Amazon rain forest.
Russo calls that “baloney.”
In Loudoun County, officials said they objected to the removal of the American elms, green ashes and black locusts when Trump’s people approached them with their plan last spring, according to Danny Davis, the county administrator’s chief of staff. But there was nothing they could do to prevent it.
Unlike Fairfax County and several other local jurisdictions, Loudoun’s shoreline is not protected by the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act. On Tuesday, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors is set to debate whether to create its own 75-foot buffer that would protect the county’s remaining stretches of shoreline.
In a telephone interview, Trump defended the removal of the trees, saying it was legal and that his organization spent “tens of thousands of dollars” cleaning up the trash and debris along the shoreline after he bought the 800-acre course in 2009.
And he doesn’t shy away from saying the motivating factor was the pretty view for his club’s members, who pay $75,000 to join.
“It was done so that people utilizing the services of the club — of which there are 1,000 members, it’s a very successful club — could have unobstructed views of the river, and because it was an environmental enhancement,” Trump said. “The trees that were taken down were in terrible condition.”
The two sides have talked for months and have yet to agree on a formal erosion control plan for the area. The county would like them to replant some of the trees or at least woody shrubs, but Russo has balked at doing so, saying he prefers to create a hardy grassland habitat for birds.
“At this point we would like to see trees, sure,” Davis said. “But we understand we may not get that in the end.”
Trump is not just a risk to the country. He is also a risk to the planet.
By Stephen Stromberg March 21, 2016
Republican front-runner Donald Trump spent an hour with The Post’s editorial board on Monday, and he made at least three points that show why he is not just a risk to the country — but also to the planet.
First was Trump’s astonishing position on free speech. He doubled down on the notion that he would “loosen” U.S. libel laws so that it would be easier to go after journalists and other writers. For example, he would weaken the requirement that aggrieved public figures must show “malice” when suing a journalist who “writes incorrectly.” He attacked stories that are “written badly” and argued that a newspaper that “writes something wrong” and fails to run a retraction should “have a form of a trial.”
He was serially unclear on what he meant by “bad,” “incorrect” and “wrong” — factually wrong? Simply unfair? When I asked him to clarify, he gave an example of television news broadcasts failing to give more details about an altercation at one of his rallies, which is not a matter of inaccuracy but of emphasis. He also kept making clear that he was concerned with all sorts of coverage he disliked. He brought up Post opinion writing to which he objected, calling it “so angry,” which suggests that purely factual issues are not motivating his concerns. After more pressure, he seemed to disclaim the notion that he would crack down on angry columnists, but he ended on this scary bottom line: “I want to make it more fair from the side where I am.”
Trump’s loose talk of loosening freedom of speech protections is not just chilling in this country. The United States is such an exemplar of liberal values, Trump would reset the global standard downward. He would enable dictators such as Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping to say, “I told you so.”
Second was Trump’s embarrassing nonsense on climate change, which he has previously called “bull____” On Monday, he said that “perhaps there’s a minor effect.” But, “if you look, they had global cooling in the 1920s, and now they have global warming, although now they don’t know if they have global warming. They call it all sorts of different things. Now they’re using ‘extreme weather’ I guess more than any other phrase.” See, climate scientists — who have consistently raised concerns about global warming, and called it that, for decades — are constantly changing their story.
“Don’t good businessmen hedge against risks, not ignore them?” I asked. In other words, why not pay something now to head off possibly much costlier outcomes later? “I just think we have much bigger risks,” Trump said, warning that the country is in “tremendous peril.”
“Our biggest form of climate change we should worry about is nuclear weapons,” he said. “To me the biggest risk is nuclear weapons. That is climate change. That is a disaster.” There are several ways to interpret some of this language. But what makes it classic Trump is its brazen lack of reason. Forget this issue I do not want to confront. You know what you really need to worry about? The nuclear apocalypse.
Admittedly, Trump’s irresponsibility on climate change is not much different from many other Republicans’. But his justification is nevertheless a masterpiece of Trumpian illogic.
Third was Trump’s approach to foreign affairs and trade. He insisted that, as president, he should be “unpredictable,” arguing that, “sitting at a meeting like this and explaining my views” is unwise because, “if I do become president, I have these views that are down for the other side to look at.” Then he said, “I hate being so open.” This telegraphs insincerity, making it seem as though he just wants to avoid answering the question, which concerned what he would do about China’s moves to take control of the South China Sea. Assuming he means unpredictability to be a real strategy, it is a risky one. It can help in certain negotiations. But, along with Trump’s more isolationist approach to foreign affairs, it can also encourage adversaries to act more aggressively.
Trump was clear about one thing: He might use trade to punish China for its geopolitical advances. “We have power over China and people don’t realize it. We have trade power over China,” he said. “You start making it tougher.” Tempting a trade war with China certainly would make it tougher — on American consumers and the global economy.
Hillary Clinton, the most recent former secretary of state, has said that foreign leaders are telling her that they are worried about Trump. They should be.
2015: A year of progress and buffoonery on climate change
By Editorial Board January 2, 2016
LAST WINTER, bitter cold on the East Coast prompted Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) to take a snowball onto the Senate floor in mockery of climate scientists. This winter, the weather is so warm that there are not two snowflakes in the Washington area for Mr. Inhofe to scrape together.
Just as last winter’s cold did not disprove global warming, this winter’s warmth does not, in itself, establish that humans are raising Earth’s average temperature. Rather, it is the long-term trend that matters — and that is concerning. The past decade was warmer than the previous one, which was warmer than the one before that, and so on. So far, this decade looks sure to fit into that trend.
We may, too, be getting a taste of what a warming world feels like. According to a 2014 paper, one potential effect is a doubling of the number of strong El Nino years. That’s the phenomenon that has perturbed the jet stream and pushed this winter’s temperatures up. Though the El Niño variation predated human influence, it, among many other natural cycles, probably will not be immune to it. And even if this year’s El Niño cannot be blamed squarely on climate change, it nevertheless feels like a fitting end to a remarkable year in the policy and politics of global warming.
For those following the climate debate, 2015 brought some inspiring highs — and disheartening lows. President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency finalized landmark carbon dioxide regulations that promise to slash greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants. This policy played a crucial role in galvanizing the international climate effort, which culminated last month in a huge international climate deal. The Paris agreement will not cut emissions enough to avoid serious risks. But it will get the world a good chunk of the way there, and it represents the beginning of a process in which all major emitters will be expected to step up.
The very same EPA rules also inspired a race among Republicans to embarrass themselves. A standard critique, such as that of Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), was to argue that climate regulations will uselessly harm the economy; that exaggerates the potential costs without acknowledging the unprecedented global agreement the measure helped to produce. Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) went further, holding a hearing on climate science with a witness list that was a funhouse-mirror image of the scientific community: short on those who accept mainstream climate science, packed with climate critics.
Mr. Cruz insisted that there has been a “pause” in global warming since 1998, a date critics choose as their starting point because it was another El Niño year marked by very high temperatures. Like Mr. Inhofe and his snowball, Mr. Cruz’s point ignored the long-term nature of the warming trend. It also might be flatly wrong: A June paper in the top-flight journal Science found that the warming “pause” reflected biases in temperature data rather than a significant plateau in real temperature rise.
Alas, this finding also led to a nasty GOP reaction. House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (Tex.) subpoenaed email relating to the study, which came from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Congressional oversight of federal spending is important. That’s no excuse to conduct fishing expeditions designed to personally discredit scientists and undermine peer-reviewed research with lines from informal emails.
With the events of the past year in mind, the presidential candidates — and American voters — must ask themselves: Do they want to build on 2015’s climate progress, or do they want more of last year’s climate buffoonery?