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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 20th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Pence met with open skepticism in Brussels

By Kevin Liptak, CNN White House Producer

February 20, 2017

Mike Pence made a joint statement with European Council head Donald Tusk on Monday 2/20/17.

Story highlights

Tusk: “Too much has happened … to pretend everything is as it used to be”

Pence: US will “search in new ways for new common ground with Russia”

Brussels (CNN)Even as he worked to assure European leaders that the Trump administration isn’t looking to scrap longstanding transatlantic ties, Vice President Mike Pence was met with outward skepticism from the bloc’s top leaders on Monday.

Speaking after talks with European Council President Donald Tusk, Pence offered a conciliatory tone, insisting that bonds between the United States and Europe would endure.

Pence: US will hold Russia accountable

But Tusk himself was more blunt. Even while expressing an optimistic outlook, he acknowledged the bilateral ties had entered new, uncertain territory.

“Thank you for this meeting. We all truly needed it,” Tusk said after he walked on stage with Pence. “Too much has happened over the past months in your country, and in the EU; too many new and sometimes surprising opinions have been voiced over this time about our relations — and our common security — for us to pretend that everything is as it used to be.”

It was a pointed display of honesty for a formal joint statement in front of reporters. Tusk said he’d secured commitments from Pence on key areas — international order, security, and the US stance toward the EU — but was cautious in declaring the relationship on firm ground.
“In reply to these three matters, I heard today from Vice President Pence three times ‘yes,'” Tusk said. “After such a positive declaration, both Europeans and Americans must simply practice what they preach.”


Pence was more guarded in his remarks, repeating his commitment to NATO and vowing to counter Russian aggression. But, as he did earlier this week, Pence advised that Trump was looking for ways to refresh ties to Moscow.

“While the United States will continue to hold Russia accountable, at President Trump’s direction we will also search in new ways for new common ground with Russia, which President Trump believes can be found,” Pence said.

Pence is aiming to reassure European leaders of continued US commitment to the continent after Trump disparaged longstanding aspects of transatlantic ties during the presidential campaign.

He told Federica Mogherini, the European Union High Representative, that he was eager to identify areas for greater cooperation.

“I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to visit with you and explore ways that we can deepen our relationship with the European Union,” he said over breakfast at the residence of the US Ambassador to the EU, a post that’s currently unfilled.
Pence reassures NATO allies in Munich speech

Trump’s rumored choice for the job, Ted Malloch, has caused unease among the diplomatic classes in Brussels for his vocal support of Britain’s exit from the EU and his overall dismissal of the bloc. Malloch told the BBC recently he would work to rein in the EU if he was named to the ambassador post.

“I had in a previous career a diplomatic post where I helped bring down the Soviet Union. So maybe there’s another union that needs a little taming,” he said.

It’s sentiments like that which have worried Europeans, who regard Trump as an advocate for Brexit-like splits within their union. Trump, at one point during his run for president, termed himself “Mr. Brexit” — referencing both his support for the referendum and his conviction that polls showing him losing to Hillary Clinton would be proven wrong.

Vice President Pence visits former Nazi concentration camp

Pence, during closely watched remarks in Germany on Saturday, didn’t mention the EU at all, a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by the collection of national security professionals, foreign leaders, and diplomats who were attending the Munich Security Conference.
Instead, Pence chose during his remarks to project robust US support for NATO, despite Trump’s claims that the defense alliance is “obsolete.”

Pence was insistent that support for the alliance was a bedrock of US policy. But he demanded that other member nations scale up their defense spending to meet NATO’s requirements, a longstanding request of US presidents that Trump has amplified.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 20th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Pence seeks to reassure European allies unnerved by Trump

He tried to reinforce the U.S. commitment to the security of Europe and the historic transatlantic partnership. But though Pence stressed that he was speaking on behalf of the president, it was clear to al that Trump offered very different views an ocean away – the real Trump speaking to his burly followers at Melbourne, Florida.

The Washington Post asks about Pence: “Shadow president or mere shadow?”

The Swedes asked what did Trump smoke? He plainly invented a set of “Pseudo-facts” about Sweden, well beyond his proven fall by “Alternate-Facts” – does Trump hallucinate or is he making up lies. Fox News never said what he contends to have picked up there. This is clearly psychopathic behavior – unsustainable and the talk all over is that while celebrating his first month in power, he has collected enough bad points to see his presidency end before his first year in office at the seat of power.

Trump called NATO “obsolete” and rose to electoral victory on the promise of a more isolationist “America First” set of populist policies. Pence stressed repeatedly that the USA continues to be committed to NATO even though it would like to see higher military expenditures by the Europeans.

In Vienna it is not accepted that Trump represents populism, they rather think he dreams up a new form of dictatorship – very different from Italian fascism and somewhat different from Nazism. He just does not accept any form of Socialism.

Pence’s inner-circle credibility took a dive last week when news emerged that former national security Michael Flynn had misled the vice president about conversations he had had with the Russian ambassador to the United States — claims the vice president repeated on the Sunday shows. Although Trump ultimately demanded Flynn’s resignation, Pence was in the dark for two full weeks and only learned he had been lied to from news reports.

An Israeli Former Mossad head said that Flynn was the fall guy to save Trump. The obvious question is if Trump will yet throw up Pence as well?

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 18th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Antarctic Sea Ice Shrinks to Smallest Ever Extent.

By Reuters
17 February 17


Data contradicts climate change skeptics, who have pointed to earlier increases in areas of sea ice to support their views.

Ice around Antarctica has shrunk to the smallest annual extent on record after years of resisting a trend of manmade global warming, preliminary US satellite data has shown.

Ice floating around the frozen continent usually melts to its smallest for the year towards the end of February, the southern hemisphere summer, before expanding again as the autumn chill sets in.


This year, sea ice extent contracted to 883,015 sq miles (2.28m sq km) on 13 February, according to daily data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).


That extent is a fraction smaller than a previous low of 884,173 sq miles recorded on 27 February 1997 in satellite records dating back to 1979. Mark Serreze, director of the NSIDC, said he would wait for a few days’ more measurements to confirm the record low.

“But, unless something funny happens, we’re looking at a record minimum in Antarctica,” he told Reuters. “Some people say it’s already happened. We tend to be conservative by looking at five-day running averages.”

In many recent years, the average extent of sea ice around Antarctica has tended to expand despite the overall trend of global warming, blamed on a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, mainly from burning fossil fuels.

People sceptical of mainstream findings by climate scientists have often pointed to Antarctic sea ice as evidence against global warming.

Some climate scientists have linked the paradoxical expansion to shifts in winds and ocean currents.

“We’ve always thought of the Antarctic as the sleeping elephant starting to stir,” Serreze said. “Well, maybe it’s starting to stir now.”

World average temperatures climbed to a record high in 2016 for the third year in a row. Climate scientists say warming is causing more extreme days of heat, downpours and is nudging up global sea levels.

At the other end of the planet, ice covering the Arctic Ocean has been at repeated lows in recent years.

In the northern winter, sea ice expands and is at its smallest extent for mid-February, at 5.38m sq miles.

A Comment:

+1 # mashiguo 2017-02-17 15:21
it’s already too late.
the sleep walkers can take a load off and go back to watching ‘dancing with the stars’

those who are awake can buy up some soon-to-be-beach front-property in Kansas.

=======================================

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 16th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Damning Reports Emerge of Trump Campaign’s Frequent Talks With Russian Intelligence

By Julian Borger, Guardian UK
15 February 17


Campaign aides said to have been in regular contact, despite repeated insistence there had been no pre-election talks between Trump team and Russia.

he Russian influence scandal engulfing the White House deepened dramatically on Tuesday night with reports that some of Donald Trump’s campaign aides had frequent contact with Russian intelligence officials over the course of last year.

A report in the New York Times came nearly 24 hours after the national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was forced to resign over conversations with the Russian ambassador to Washington and misleading statements about them to the press and the vice-president, Mike Pence.

The New York Times report cites four current and former US intelligence officials who are unnamed and who conceded they had “so far” seen no evidence in the intercepted phone communications that Trump campaign officials had cooperated with Russian intelligence in Moscow’s efforts to skew the election in Trump’s favour. The officials do not explain what, in that case, the contacts were about.

A CNN report said “high-level advisers close to then-presidential nominee Donald Trump were in constant communication during the campaign with Russians known to US intelligence”.

Despite the uncertainties, the reports are threatening to the Trump administration on a number of levels.

They flatly contradict the White House spokesman, Sean Spicer, who on Tuesday repeated his earlier assertions that there had been no pre-election contacts between the Trump team and Russian officials. Last month, Trump himself also denied any such contacts.

They pile further pressure on the Republican congressional leadership to launch committee hearings on Russian election interference that were promised, but have so far failed to materialise.

They are a further sign that intelligence officials are willing to leak extensively against the Trump administration, making it extremely risky for the White House to try to shut down investigations into collusion with Moscow that are reportedly being carried out by several intelligence agencies.

They add circumstantial weight to the reports on the Trump campaign’s Kremlin links compiled last year and passed to the FBI by a former MI6 officer, Christopher Steele. His reports alleged active, sustained and covert collusion to subvert the election which, if confirmed, could constitute treason.

Trump fired off an angry series of tweets on Wednesday morning, claiming: “This Russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton’s losing campaign.”

He attacked the intelligence community for what he saw as “unAmerican” leaks to newspapers that have written anonymously sourced stories about his and his advisers’ alleged links to Russia in recent days. “Information is being illegally given to the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost by the intelligence community (NSA and FBI?),” he wrote. “Just like Russia.” That was the “real scandal”, he said.

Trump also complained that the “fake news media is going crazy with their conspiracy theories and blind hatred”, echoing the language of the Kremlin reaction to the latest reports.

The only Trump associate named in the New York Times report as having participated in the contacts was Paul Manafort, who was the Trump campaign manager for several months last summer. He had previously worked as an adviser to the former Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, who was backed by Moscow, and pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarchs.

Manafort has repeatedly denied any contacts with Russian officials. He told the New York Times on Tuesday: “I have never knowingly spoken to Russian intelligence officers, and I have never been involved with anything to do with the Russian government or the Putin administration or any other issues under investigation today.”

“It’s not like these people wear badges that say, ‘I’m a Russian intelligence officer,’” he added.

Manafort did not immediately respond to a Guardian request for comment.

Manafort left the Trump campaign in August, after allegations about his activities in Ukraine first surfaced. At about the same time the campaign also distanced itself from a US businessman, Carter Page, whom Trump had previously described as an adviser, after Page was reported to have had contacts with Vladimir Putin’s top lieutenants. Page called the reports “complete garbage”.

The new reports of the Trump campaign’s contacts with Moscow rekindled bitterness among former campaign aides to Hillary Clinton, over a pre-election announcement by the FBI director, James Comey, that new material was being studied in an investigation of her use of a private internet server for her emails.

That investigation came to nothing, but Clinton officials were convinced the bad publicity, just 11 days before the election, cost her crucial votes. By contrast, they point out, the Republican Comey said nothing about investigations under way at the same time into Trump’s Russian links.

“I’d like the FBI to explain why they sent a letter about Clinton but not this,” Clinton’s former campaign manager, Robby Mook, said in a tweet on Tuesday night.

Her former spokesman, Brian Fallon, tweeted: “Everything we suspected during the campaign is proving true. This is a colossal scandal.”

============================================

A SUBJECT HAT IS CONTINUING TO PESTER WASHINGTON:

On the Road to Another Watergate?
By TIM WEINER – The New York Times February 17, 2017
Michael Flynn has resigned. Now expect the investigations to begin.

White House Plans to Have Trump Ally Review Intelligence Agencies
By JAMES RISEN and MATTHEW ROSENBERG – The NYT February 17, 2017
The review is being pushed by President Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon and his son-on-law, Jared Kushner, and would be led by Stephen A. Feinberg, a billionaire private equity executive

============================================

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 14th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Media Matters for America

The Breitbart Spicer Trainwreck

Taking a break from repeatedly lying from behind the White House lecturn, press secretary Sean Spicer granted an exclusive interview to white nationalist outlet Breitbart, which was formerly run by Trump’s chief strategist Stephen Bannon and now is at the center of the so-called “alt-right.” The interview was a complete trainwreck, prompting widespread mockery of both Breitbart and Spicer.

Sean Spicer Grants “Exclusive Interview” To Breitbart.com

White House press secretary Sean Spicer will participate in an “exclusive interview” with “alt-right” website Breitbart.com — a development that underscores the growing relationship between the Trump administration and the notoriously inflammatory outlet.

Breitbart announced the interview in a February 8 post, touting an “exclusive interview” with Spicer to be streamed on Facebook at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on February 9. Breitbart White House correspondent Charlie Spiering will conduct the interview. The post encouraged Breitbart readers to suggest questions for Spicer in the website’s infamous comments section, which has been called “a sewer of mindless hatred and racism.”

Ties between the White House and Breitbart.com run deep. The website was formerly run by chief White House strategist Steve Bannon, who previously termed Breitbart “the platform for the alt-right.” Other current Trump administration employees who used to write for Breitbart include deputy assistant to the president Sebastian Gorka and Bannon assistant Julia Hahn.

During Trump’s first press conference as president-elect, the only reporter given a reserved seat was Breitbart reporter Matthew Boyle, and Trump called on him in short order to ask a sycophantic question about what “reforms” the new president would recommend for the media industry.

Trump and his allies have engaged in an unprecedented war on the press, dating back to his campaign. A day after being sworn in as president, Trump referenced his “running war” with mainstream media. Bannon later called mainstream press “the opposition party” and suggested that “the media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for awhile.” Meanwhile, the White House has repeatedly elevated pro-Trump propaganda outlets like Breitbart. Laura Ingraham’s LifeZette, a website that frequently publishes false reports, received the first question at a recent White House press briefing. The Gateway Pundit, a notoriously sloppy conservative blog, and conspiracy theory outlet Infowars have both claimed they will soon be credentialed by the White House.

In contrast to the widespread derision Spicer has drawn because of his tendency to lie from the press briefing room lectern, Breitbart’s coverage of Spicer’s briefings has been fawning, amplifying perceived victories over the press. Here’s a sampling of recent Breitbart Spicer headlines, all of which ran atop articles written by Spiering:

Four items on that list – please see –  mediamatters.org/blog/2017/02/09…

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 14th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


RED HOUSE? Yes. It was the intelligence Putin served Trump – directly and indirectly – that was in big part responsible for his defeating Hillary Clinton. And yes, it was FBI’s help that eventually built that wall. Michael T. Flynn should never have been inside that wall except we really do not know what messages he passed from the Trump campaign as promises to Putin via his Ambassador in Washington. How will the Trump=Putin link impact on Europe? On European States – Trump relations? On the future of Ukraine? On the price of Oil? On the Midle East?
On the Planetary Globe? On Outer Space? On the Future of God? ?????


THE NEWS: Michael T. Flynn, the national security adviser, resigned on Monday night after it was revealed that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other top White House officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States.


On Monday, a former administration official said the Justice Department warned the White House last month that Mr. Flynn had not been fully forthright about his conversations with the ambassador. As a result, the Justice Department feared that Mr. Flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow.


To us at SustainabiliTank this is just the tip of the iceberg – we already wrote that Trump himself is susceptible to Russian blackmail as by hacking into US cyberspace they did not have just the pittance of Hillary Clinton and John Podesta info, but the much juicier Trump business and taxation info. Those are real bombs in hiding! Blackmail in the making!


“I am tendering my resignation, honored to have served our nation and the American people in such a distinguished way,” Mr. Flynn wrote.

The White House said in the statement that it was replacing Mr. Flynn with retired Lt. Gen. Joseph K. Kellogg Jr. of the Army, a Vietnam War veteran, as acting national security adviser.

Mr. Flynn was an early and ardent supporter of Mr. Trump’s candidacy, and in his resignation he sought to praise the president. “In just three weeks,” Mr. Flynn said, the new president “has reoriented American foreign policy in fundamental ways to restore America’s leadership position in the world.”

But in doing so, he inadvertently illustrated the brevity of his tumultuous run at the National Security Council, and the chaos that has gripped the White House in the first weeks of the Trump administration — and created a sense of uncertainty around the world.

DOCUMENT
Michael Flynn’s Resignation Letter
Michael T. Flynn, under scrutiny for his communication with Russia, resigned as President Trump’s national security adviser late Monday.

OPEN DOCUMENT
Earlier Monday, Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, told reporters that “the president is evaluating the situation” about Mr. Flynn’s future. By Monday evening, Mr. Flynn’s fortunes were rapidly shifting — his resignation came roughly seven hours after Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to the president, said on MSNBC that Mr. Trump had “full confidence” in the retired general.

And when he did step down, it happened so quickly that his resignation does not appear to have been communicated to National Security Council staff members, two of whom said they learned about it from news reports.

Officials said Mr. Pence had told others in the White House that he believed Mr. Flynn lied to him by saying he had not discussed the topic of sanctions on a call with the Russian ambassador in late December. Even the mere discussion of policy — and the apparent attempt to assuage the concerns of an American adversary before Mr. Trump took office — represented a remarkable breach of protocol.

The F.B.I. had been examining Mr. Flynn’s phone calls as he came under growing questions about his interactions with Russian officials and his management of the National Security Council. The blackmail risk envisioned by the Justice Department would have stemmed directly from Mr. Flynn’s attempt to cover his tracks with his bosses. The Russians knew what had been said on the call; thus, if they wanted Mr. Flynn to do something, they could have threatened to expose the lie if he refused.

The Justice Department’s warning to the White House was first reported on Monday night by The Washington Post.

In addition, the Army has been investigating whether Mr. Flynn received money from the Russian government during a trip he took to Moscow in 2015, according to two defense officials. Such a payment might violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which prohibits former military officers from receiving money from a foreign government without consent from Congress. The defense officials said there was no record that Mr. Flynn, a retired three-star Army general, filed the required paperwork for the trip.

Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement late Monday that Mr. Flynn’s resignation would not close the question of his contact with Russian officials.

“General Flynn’s decision to step down as national security adviser was all but ordained the day he misled the country about his secret talks with the Russian ambassador,” said Mr. Schiff, noting that the matter is still under investigation by the House committee.

Two other Democratic lawmakers — Representative John Conyers Jr. of Michigan and Representative Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland — called for an immediate briefing by the Justice Department and the F.B.I. over the “alarming new disclosures” that Mr. Flynn was a blackmail risk. “We need to know who else within the White House is a current and ongoing risk to our national security,” they said in a statement.

Representative Devin Nunes, Republican of California and the chairman of the House intelligence committee, was supportive of Mr. Flynn until the end. “Washington, D.C., can be a rough town for honorable people, and Flynn — who has always been a soldier, not a politician — deserves America’s gratitude and respect,” Mr. Nunes said in a statement.


The White House had examined a transcript of a wiretapped conversation that Mr. Flynn had with Mr. Kislyak in December, according to administration officials. Mr. Flynn originally told Mr. Pence and others that the call was limited to small talk and holiday pleasantries.

But who was Flynn to talk to the Russian Ambassador? What role did have within the Trump machine? Did Pence send him there or was it his own eagerness to please the incoming Administration before it actually became an Administration? Was he an old time Russian contact? What we used to call a double spy? This clearly can not be washed down by eager-to-please Republicans.

But the conversation, according to officials who saw the transcript of the wiretap, also included a discussion about sanctions imposed on Russia after intelligence agencies determined that President Vladimir V. Putin’s government tried to interfere with the 2016 election on Mr. Trump’s behalf. Still, current and former administration officials familiar with the call said the transcript was ambiguous enough that Mr. Trump could have justified either firing or retaining Mr. Flynn.

Mr. Trump, however, had become increasingly concerned about the continued fallout over Mr. Flynn’s behavior, according to people familiar with his thinking, and told aides that the media storm around Mr. Flynn would damage the president’s image on national security issues.

Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, asked for Mr. Flynn’s resignation — a move that he has been pushing for since Friday, when it became clear that the national security adviser had misled Mr. Pence.

Around 8:20 p.m. Monday, a sullen Mr. Flynn was seen in the Oval Office, just as preparations were being made for the swearing-in of newly confirmed Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. Soon after, Mr. Flynn’s resignation letter started making the rounds.

Administration officials said it was unlikely that Mr. Kellogg would be asked to stay on as Mr. Flynn’s permanent replacement. Mr. Flynn brought Mr. Kellogg into the Trump campaign, according to a former campaign adviser, and the two have remained close. K. T. McFarland, the deputy national security adviser who also was brought on by Mr. Flynn, is expected to leave that role, a senior official said.

One person close to the administration, who was not authorized to discuss the personnel moves and spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that retired Vice Admiral Robert S. Harward is the leading candidate to replace Mr. Flynn, although Mr. Kellogg and David H. Petraeus are being discussed. It was not clear whether Mr. Petraeus is still expected to appear at the White House this week, as initially discussed by advisers to the president.

Mr. Flynn’s concealment of the call’s content, combined with questions about his management of his agency and reports of a demoralized staff, put him in a precarious position less than a month into Mr. Trump’s presidency.


We at SustainabiliTank believe that under the circumstances – the choice of General Petraeus would be an excellent idea in the manner of Trump – this because it would take away the media attention from Trump and transfer it to Petraeus’ own problems with that woman. Flynn will then be forgotten and left to his past-driven future behaviour.

Vice President Pence can continue his clean right wing persona to allow him a smooth take-over when the Trump balloon eventually implodes.

Few members of Mr. Trump’s team were more skeptical of Mr. Flynn than the vice president, numerous administration officials said. Mr. Pence, who used the false information provided by Mr. Flynn to defend him in a series of television appearances, was incensed at Mr. Flynn’s lack of contrition for repeatedly embarrassing him by withholding the information, according to three administration officials familiar with the situation.

Mr. Flynn and Mr. Pence spoke twice in the past few days about the matter, but administration officials said that rather than fully apologize and accept responsibility, the national security adviser blamed his faulty memory — which irked the typically slow-to-anger Mr. Pence.

The slight was compounded by an episode late last year when Mr. Pence went on television to deny that Mr. Flynn’s son, who had posted conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton on social media, had been given a security clearance by the transition team. The younger Mr. Flynn had, indeed, been given such a clearance, even though his father had told Mr. Pence’s team that he had not.

Officials said classified information did not appear to have been discussed during the conversation between Mr. Flynn and the ambassador, which would have been a crime. The call was captured on a routine wiretap of diplomats’ calls, the officials said.

But current Trump administration officials and former Obama administration officials said that Mr. Flynn did appear to be reassuring the ambassador that Mr. Trump would adopt a more accommodating tone on Russia once in office.

Former and current administration officials said that Mr. Flynn urged Russia not to retaliate against any sanctions because an overreaction would make any future cooperation more complicated. He never explicitly promised sanctions relief, one former official said, but he appeared to leave the impression that it would be possible.

During his 2015 trip to Moscow, Mr. Flynn was paid to attend the anniversary celebration of Russia Today, a television network controlled by the Kremlin. At the banquet, he sat next to Mr. Putin.

Mr. Flynn had notified the Defense Intelligence Agency, which he once led, that he was taking the trip. He received a security briefing from agency officials before he left, which is customary for former top agency officials when they travel overseas.

Still, some senior agency officials were surprised when footage of the banquet appeared on RT, and believed that Mr. Flynn should have been more forthcoming with the agency about the nature of his trip to Russia.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 11th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


EPA Halves Staff Attending Environmental Conference In Alaska.

February 10, 20178:07 AM ET on NPR
RACHEL WALDHOLZ
BILL CHAPPELL

 www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2…

Days before this week’s Alaska Forum on the Environment, the EPA said it was sending half of the people who had planned to attend. The nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s pick to head the EPA, is still pending confirmation.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s presence at an environmental conference in Alaska this week was cut in half, after the Trump administration’s transition officials ordered the change. The agency had helped to plan the Alaska Forum on the Environment — but days before it was to start, word came that half of the EPA’s 34 planned attendees wouldn’t be making the trip.

“We were informed that EPA was directed by the White House transition team to minimize their participation in the Alaska Forum on the Environment to the extent possible,” forum director Kurt Eilo says.

The change has created awkward scenes at the conference, particularly at events meant to highlight the EPA’s role in Alaska, a state known for both its pristine ecosystems and its oil production.

More than a thousand people attend the multiday event in downtown Anchorage each year, and the EPA is normally a major partner. This year, agency officials were scheduled to take part in about 30 sessions on everything from drinking water and sanitation in rural Alaska to climate change adaptation.

In an emailed statement, EPA transition official Doug Ericksen says the decision to cut back is an effort to limit excessive travel costs. He says a review last week found that EPA spent $44 million sending employees to 25 outside conferences in 2016. When officials learned that 34 employees were slated to attend the Alaska event, they slashed the number to 17.

“This is one small example of how EPA will be working cooperatively with our staff and our outside partners to be better stewards of the American people’s money,” Ericksen said.

Some EPA staff whose plans to attend the conference were revoked would have come from Seattle or Washington, D.C. — but Eilo said others are based just blocks away from the downtown Anchorage site.

Eilo himself was an EPA enforcement officer when he founded the Alaska conference two decades ago. He says this is the first time he can recall this happening. While he understands the impulse to review travel spending, he says the cutbacks also raise a red flag.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty among folks here at the forum,” Eilo said. “There’s concern about the tribal programs, there’s concern about how we’re going to address things like climate change in the next upcoming administration.”

As the Alaska Dispatch News reports, one panel discussion that was to feature six EPA staffers Tuesday instead included two EPA representatives. While the topic had originally been planned to center on the agency’s grant system, the officials instead fielded questions about changes at the EPA.

The order to reduce staff numbers at the conference is the latest sign of a shift in priorities for the EPA under a new president. Days after President Trump’s inauguration, Ericksen said the agency’s scientists will likely need to have their work reviewed on a “case by case basis” before it can be made public.

On Thursday, the fourth day of the weeklong conference in Anchorage, attendees kicked snow off their shoes as they walked into the Dena’ina Center. Many were unaware that the EPA presence had been slashed. Organizer Elio acknowledges that the agency worked hard to minimize disruption from the change in plans. In the end, only one of the conference’s more than 100 sessions had to be canceled.

The conference drew attendees who had flown in from Alaska’s rural communities where the EPA works with tribes to fund programs on drinking water, sanitation and trash collection. Breakout sessions focused on issues such as brownfield cleanup, emergency response and dealing with coastal erosion due to climate change.

Billy Maines is the environmental coordinator for the Curyung Tribal Council in Dillingham, Alaska, who also serves as an adviser to EPA Region 10 on its tribal programs. He said the agency’s direct assistance to Alaska’s rural communities is vital.

“They’re trying to take up and clean up their dumps, landfills, trying to recycle and get what waste goes into their communities, out of their communities,” he said.

Maines and others worry the cutback on conference attendees might be a sign of broader, and more painful, budget cuts to come.

Trump’s nominee for EPA chief is Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general who has criticized — and repeatedly sued — the agency he’s now in line to lead.

Pruitt’s nomination was advanced to the full Senate last week, after Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee refused to attend meetings that were meant to hold confirmation votes on Pruitt.

During his confirmation hearing weeks earlier, Pruitt said his past actions had been made out of concern for his home state and that if he were to lead the EPA, his decisions would be dictated by “the rule of law.”

Pruitt, who has questioned climate change, also sought to answer critics who have faulted him for that stance, saying in a January hearing:

“Let me say to you, science tells us that the climate is changing and that human activity in some matter impacts that change. The ability to measure with precision the degree and extent of that impact, and what to do about it, are subject to continuing debate and dialogue. And well it should be.”

——————————
Rachel Waldholz reports for Alaska Public Media.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 11th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Washington (CNN) – February 11, 2017 – President Donald Trump taunted Democrats by telling them “Pocahontas is now the face of your party” — his insult of choice for Sen. Elizabeth Warren — during a meeting with senators earlier this week, sources told CNN.

The sources said the Warren moment came up in the context of Trump’s impromptu analysis of the state of the Democratic Party. Trump made his comments in what appeared to be a reference to Warren’s criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his confirmation process. Her comments prompted Republicans to invoke an arcane rule to cut her off.


Trump to Dems: ‘Pocahontas is now the face of your party.’

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For the benefit of A US President who clearly knows very little about American history, and seemingly knows very little of history – period – here material about the woman he dared to mention thinking he uses her name as an insult against a US Senator whose Constitutional right to speak out was cut by the President’s Republican gang leader of the US Senate.

The Pocahontas Myth:

Note: Many Pocahontas descendents have sent us inquiries regarding membership. Please see our frequently asked questions for information regarding Pocahontas’ descendents and Powhatan membership.

In 1995, Roy Disney decided to release an animated movie about a Powhatan woman known as “Pocahontas”. In answer to a complaint by the Powhatan Nation, he claims the film is “responsible, accurate, and respectful.”

We of the Powhatan Nation disagree. The film distorts history beyond recognition. Our offers to assist Disney with cultural and historical accuracy were rejected. Our efforts urging him to reconsider his misguided mission were spurred.

“Pocahontas” was a nickname, meaning “the naughty one” or “spoiled child”. Her real name was Matoaka. The legend is that she saved a heroic John Smith from being clubbed to death by her father in 1607 – she would have been about 10 or 11 at the time. The truth is that Smith’s fellow colonists described him as an abrasive, ambitious, self-promoting mercenary soldier.

Of all of Powhatan’s children, only “Pocahontas” is known, primarily because she became the hero of Euro-Americans as the “good Indian”, one who saved the life of a white man. Not only is the “good Indian/bad Indian theme” inevitably given new life by Disney, but the history, as recorded by the English themselves, is badly falsified in the name of “entertainment”.

The truth of the matter is that the first time John Smith told the story about this rescue was 17 years after it happened, and it was but one of three reported by the pretentious Smith that he was saved from death by a prominent woman.

Yet in an account Smith wrote after his winter stay with Powhatan’s people, he never mentioned such an incident. In fact, the starving adventurer reported he had been kept comfortable and treated in a friendly fashion as an honored guest of Powhatan and Powhatan’s brothers. Most scholars think the “Pocahontas incident” would have been highly unlikely, especially since it was part of a longer account used as justification to wage war on Powhatan’s Nation.

Euro-Americans must ask themselves why it has been so important to elevate Smith’s fibbing to status as a national myth worthy of being recycled again by Disney. Disney even improves upon it by changing Pocahontas from a little girl into a young woman.

The true Pocahontas story has a sad ending. In 1612, at the age of 17, Pocahontas was treacherously taken prisoner by the English while she was on a social visit, and was held hostage at Jamestown for over a year.

During her captivity, a 28-year-old widower named John Rolfe took a “special interest” in the attractive young prisoner. As a condition of her release, she agreed to marry Rolfe, who the world can thank for commercializing tobacco. Thus, in April 1614, Matoaka, also known as “Pocahontas”, daughter of Chief Powhatan, became “Rebecca Rolfe”. Shortly after, they had a son, whom they named Thomas Rolfe. The descendants of Pocahontas and John Rolfe were known as the “Red Rolfes.”

Two years later on the spring of 1616, Rolfe took her to England where the Virginia Company of London used her in their propaganda campaign to support the colony. She was wined and dined and taken to theaters. It was recorded that on one occasion when she encountered John Smith (who was also in London at the time), she was so furious with him that she turned her back to him, hid her face, and went off by herself for several hours. Later, in a second encounter, she called him a liar and showed him the door.

Rolfe, his young wife, and their son set off for Virginia in March of 1617, but “Rebecca” had to be taken off the ship at Gravesend. She died there on March 21, 1617, at the age of 21. She was buried at Gravesend, but the grave was destroyed in a reconstruction of the church. It was only after her death and her fame in London society that Smith found it convenient to invent the yarn that she had rescued him.

History tells the rest. Chief Powhatan died the following spring of 1618. The people of Smith and Rolfe turned upon the people who had shared their resources with them and had shown them friendship. During Pocahontas’ generation, Powhatan’s people were decimated and dispersed and their lands were taken over. A clear pattern had been set which would soon spread across the American continent.

Chief Roy Crazy Horse

Pocahontas (born Matoaka, known as Amonute, (1596–1617) was a 100% Native American.
Born at Werowocomoco, present-day Gloucester County, Virginia
Died on March 1617 (aged 20–21)
Gravesend, Kent, Kingdom of England
Resting place St George’s Church, Gravesend

Senator Elizabeth Ann Warren is an American academic and politician. She is a member of the Democratic Party, and is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts.
She never was involved in te real estate business.

Born (née Herring; born June 22, 1949, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States
Office: Senator (D-MA) since 2013
Previous office: Elizabeth Warren became the first member of her family to graduate from college, eventually earning her law degree from Rutgers University. After teaching law at several universities, Warren was selected to lead the National Bankruptcy Review Commission. In 2008, she headed the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
She was Special Advisor for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (2010–2011)
Education: Rutgers School of Law – Newark (1976),
Spouse: Jim Warren – a legal historian (m. 1968–1978), Bruce Mann (m. 1980),

Warren’s campaign or the Senate seat from Massachusetts ran into some trouble in early 2012, when she found herself in a media maelstrom over her Native American ancestry claims.

Reporters for the Boston Herald could not find any proof of her Cherokee heritage, and a Cherokee genealogist also challenged Warren’s assertion.

To try to quell the controversy, Warren released a statement to Boston’s WBZ-TV. “Growing up, my mother and grandparents often talked about our family’s Native American heritage. As a kid, I never thought to ask them for documentation—what kid would?” Warren further explained that “I never sought nor gained personal benefit in school or job applications based on my heritage.”

Despite this controversy, in June 2012, Warren clinched the Democratic nomination in the Senate race, facing incumbent Republican opponent, Senator Scott Brown. The candidates were involved in a tight race. A poll released in September 2012 by the Public Policy Polling showed that Brown had a five-point lead over her.

So, what percentage Amerindian blood flows in her veins? Probably some as most local Oklahomans have in their veins some Cherokee blood – that is some of the Cherokee women that were not killed or expelled but kept as practical slaves. Ah, those nicewhite settlers of tat land.

The issue gets in effect worse wen we start looking at Senator Elizabeth Warren’s tormentor –
Republican Majority Leader of the Senate – Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. His Spouse: Elaine Chao (m. 1993), Sherrill Redmon (m. 1968–1993) Who is not a white woman – so we would like to believe he is not racist. But his wife is a cabinet member appointed by the Trump Administration. We find this interesting.

But why did Mitch McConnell not allow Elizabeth Warren read Coretta Scott King’s letter opposing racist Sessions as part of the hearing so it had to be read by protesters outside his Washington home?

Also, searching the internet we found: “The most prominent early Indian tribes in Kentucky were the Cherokee, Chickasaws, and Shawnee. Most of these tribes were eliminated from Kentucky by about the early 1800s either through warfare or resettlement to other territories by the federal government. So, Kentucky is not different from Oklahoma. What percentage Amerindian blood does Mr. McConnell carry in his veins? Is this higher or lower then Elizabeth Warrens?

We do not know – Does President Trump know?
So why does he talk about something he does not know?
Is his education level at a bar-height just of a Walt Disney movie?

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Just one more comment – it is based on a column y Peter Praschl in the German “Die Welt” – January 18, 2017 – a rather conservative paper that wrote what I will mention here – right before the Change of White House residents.

“THE PRESIDENT OF BOOKS – Barack Obama was one of the most active readers in the White House. His Summer-reading-list made authors famous. This is over now.”
This showed already

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 10th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


This is a SustainabiliTank.info original and it was inspired by our watching his press conference at the side of his guest – the Prime Minister of Japan – H.E. Shinzo Abe.

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Mr. Abe seemingly knew well what happened to even a greater ally of the US – the Prime Minister of Australia, so it was evident he was well prepared for meeting his host whom he met already once before by visiting at the Trump Towers in New York – at a time Trump was not yet sitting President. Mr. Abe seemed worried that the new US President who talks of making “America Great Again” – has no interest in Asia and while nevertheless pulling at China’s toes. Japan does not want to be left to face China alone.

But as we wrote earlier today in “The Taming the Tramp” – Mr. Trump beat retreat from his earlier high talk about China-China. He did this in clear light by promising to the Chinese leader that he will not change the One China policy. Surely we do not know how this phone call went, but it is obvious that Mr. Xi Jinping made his demand for a public statement very clear and Trump had to comply – “do not look at what I say – look at what I do.”

Now with Mr. Abe, Trump was visible only against the Red Sun of the Japanese flag – but remained unseen against his golden backdrop.

Trump allowed only two questions from the media – from correspondents of The New York Post and The Fox Network – both owned by US Australian magnate Rupert Murdoch – a card holding right wing Republican. But something happened, Murdoch’s people, thinking of what Trump did to the Australian Prime Minister, so they insisted to know about the US backing out from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). When the first question was not answered, the second reporter insisted even stronger and forced an answer. Trump thought that was it and wanted to end he Press Conference. But Prime Minister Abe, though smaller in stature, but with black hair – quite visible in front of those golden drapes, knew that he has the accepted right to pass two questions to Japanese reporters as well. Actually in friendlier environments the host varies the reporters called upon – but this Golden Room is not a friendly place and accepted manners were dismissed with the entry of the new occupants.

Worthwhile to mention here is the obviously trained diplomatic way Mr. Abe answered the essence of the four questions by not getting involved but rather saying that substantial matter will be taken up at the working lunch. We also assume he will try, like Mr. Xi, get in private agreements that will then be publicized at the appropriate time. China and Japan are not out to make “Deals” but as obvious – they want open guarantees that no shenanigan behavior will lead to an abrupt change in the Status Quo ante.

The issues he is putting on the table are Free Trade between Nations in the Pacific area – with State Governments not being involved in regulations, Rule of Law, the security of navigation in the East China Sea and the recognition of the large investments Japan made in US industry and the fact that Japan technology – like the Maglev fast trains – can yet increase that Japan-US cooperation. He also by the way thanked the US for 115 years ago having learned from the US about democracy. Quite subtle and diplomatic.

Trump said that the US being great again is good for Japan – that jobs will come by tax policyack to the US – like Ford and GM – and an announcement will be make soon about Intel He will achieve this by tax policy and financial incentives.

Following the Press Conference, the TV pundits unanimously showed their astonishment at an issue that was evolving in parallel to the Abe visit that is the involvement of the Trump White House Adviser to the President Michael Flynn who talked with the Russian Ambassador about reducing the US Sanctions against Russia – this while Trump was not yet President –
a clear illegality that was known seemingly also to the man who is now Vice President.

Have we reached already time to clean House? I must thus remind our readers that considering the Russian involvement in the elections we called the home of the Golden Rooms – The Red House in Washington DC. Will finally some ethics Congressional Committee start looking seriously into the backdrop of the Flynn Affair? Will finally someone be indicted.
People start demonstrating with the deadly slogan – “DO YOUR JOB.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 10th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Stephen Bannon’s words and actions don’t add up.

By Fareed Zakaria -The Washington Post Opinion writer – February 9, 2017, at 8:34 PM

Perhaps it’s just me, but a few weeks into the Trump presidency, between the tweets, executive orders, attacks and counterattacks, I feel dizzy. So I’ve decided to take a break from the daily barrage and try to find the signal amid the noise: What is the underlying philosophy of this administration?

The chief ideologist of the Trump era is surely Stephen K. Bannon, by many accounts now the second-most powerful man in the government. Bannon is intelligent and broadly read, and has a command of U.S. history. I’ve waded through his many movies and speeches, and in these, he does not come across as a racist or white supremacist, as some people have charged. But he is an unusual conservative. We have gotten used to conservatives who are really economic libertarians, but Bannon represents an older school of European thought that is distrustful of free markets, determined to preserve traditional culture and religion, and unabashedly celebrates nationalism and martial values.


In a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2012, Bannon explained his disgust for Mitt Romney and his admiration for Sarah Palin, whose elder son, Bannon noted, had served in Iraq. The rich and successful Romney, by contrast, “will not be my commander in chief,” Bannon said, because, although the candidate had five sons who “look like good all-American guys .?.?. not one has served a day in the military.”

The core of Bannon’s worldview can be found in his movie “Generation Zero.” It centers on the financial crisis of 2008, and the opening scenes — in their fury against bankers — could have been written by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). But then it moves on to its real point: The financial crisis happened because of a larger moral crisis. The film blames the 1960s and the baby boomers who tore down traditional structures of society and created a “culture of narcissism.”

How did Woodstock trigger a financial crisis four decades later? According to Bannon, the breakdown of old-fashioned values resulted in a culture of self-centeredness that measured everything and everyone in one way: money. The movie goes on to accuse the political and financial establishments of betraying their country by enacting free trade deals that benefited them but hollowed out Middle America.

In a strange way, Bannon’s dark, dystopian view of U.S. history is closest to that of Howard Zinn, a popular far-left scholar whose “A People’s History of the United States” is a tale of the many ways in which 99 percent of Americans were crushed by the country’s all-powerful elites. In the Zinn/Bannon worldview, everyday people are simply pawns manipulated by their evil overlords.

A more accurate version of recent American history would show that the cultural shift that began in the 1960s was fueled by a powerful, deeply American force: individualism. The United States had always been highly individualistic. Both Bannon and Trump seem nostalgic for an age — the 1930s to 1950s — that was an aberration for the nation. The Great Depression, the New Deal and World War II created a collectivist impulse that transformed the country. But after a while, Americans began to reassert their age-old desire for personal freedom, fulfillment and advancement. The world of the 1950s sounds great, unless you were a woman who wanted to work, an African American who wanted to vote, an immigrant who wanted to move up or an aspiring entrepreneur stuck in a large, faceless corporation.

The United States that allowed individuals to flourish in the 1980s and 1990s, of course, was where the young and enterprising Bannon left a large bank to set up his own shop, do his own deals and make a small fortune. It then allowed him to produce and distribute movies outside of the Hollywood establishment, build a media start-up into a powerhouse and become a political entrepreneur entirely outside the Republican hierarchy. This United States allowed Bannon’s brash new boss to get out of Queens into Manhattan, build skyscrapers and also his celebrity, all while horrifying the establishment. Donald Trump is surely the poster child for the culture of narcissism.

In the course of building their careers, Trump and Bannon discarded traditionalism in every way. Both men are divorced — Bannon three times, Trump twice. They have achieved their dreams precisely because society was wide open to outsiders, breaking traditional morality did not carry a stigma and American elites were actually not that powerful. Their stories are the stories of modern America. But their message to the country seems to be an old, familiar one: Do as I say, not as I do.

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Read more from Fareed Zakaria’s archive, follow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 10th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Asia & Pacific
Trump agrees to honor one-China policy in call to Xi Jinping

President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (Jim Lo Scalzo/Filip Singer/European Pressphoto Agency)

By Simon Denyer and Philip Rucker – The Wahington Post – February 10, 2017

BEIJING — President Trump held a lengthy, “extremely cordial” telephone conversation with China’s President Xi Jinping late on Thursday evening in Washington, and — in a move set to ease tensions between the two nations — agreed to honor the one-China policy, the White House said in a statement.

The one-China policy forms the bedrock of U.S.-China diplomatic ties, established by President Richard Nixon and China’s leader Mao Zedong. It rules out independence and diplomatic recognition for the island of Taiwan.

But Trump has publicly called U.S. adherence to this policy into question, suggesting he would only commit to it once he evaluates China’s progress in addressing trade and currency concerns.

In response, China insisted the policy was highly sensitive and “nonnegotiable.”

The United States maintains a military relationship with Taiwan, which Beijing considers a province, but closed its embassy there in 1979.

What is the One China policy, and why is Beijing so infuriated with Trump? Play Video3:03
China has expressed “serious concern” after President-elect Donald Trump said the United States would not necessarily be bound by the One China policy unless it could “make a deal,” potentially on U.S.-China trade. (Jason Aldag/The Washington Post)

“The two leaders discussed numerous topics and President Trump agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honor our ‘one China’ policy,” the White House statement said.

Representatives from both countries will engage in “discussions and negotiations on various issues of mutual interest,” the statement said.

“The phone call between President Trump and President Xi was extremely cordial, and both leaders extended best wishes to the people of each other’s countries,” it added.

“They also extended invitations to meet in their respective countries. President Trump and President Xi look forward to further talks with very successful outcomes.”

The phone call came on the eve of a formal summit between Trump and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe set to take place in Washington on Friday.

Japan is a historic enemy of China and a key modern-day strategic rival.

In December, following his election and before his transition, Trump made waves with a protocol-breaking telephone call with Taiwan’s leader, Tsai Ing-wen.

It was the first communication between leaders of the United States and Taiwan since 1979 and the product of months of preparation by Trump’s advisers, who advocated for a new strategy of engagement with Taiwan to rattle China.


As expected, China reacted sternly, but Trump publicly questioned whether the one- China policy was in America’s best interests.


He fired off provocative tweets about the Chinese — on currency manipulation, imports from the United States and its military buildup in the South China Sea.


Trump told the Wall Street Journal in a January interview, shortly before his inauguration, that he was open to shifting U.S. policy on China and Taiwan.

“Everything is under negotiation, including ‘One China,’?” Trump told the newspaper.

The phone call to Xi came a day after Trump sent a letter wishing China a “prosperous Year of the Rooster” — which was sent 11 days after China celebrated its Lunar New Year festival.

The White House issued a statement saying Trump had “provided a letter” to Xi on Wednesday, thanking the Chinese leader for a congratulatory note he had sent on the U.S. president’s inauguration.

Trump wished the Chinese people a “happy Lantern Festival and prosperous Year of the Rooster” and said “he looks forward to working with President Xi to develop a constructive relationship that benefits both the United States and China,” according to the statement.

China celebrated its Lunar New Year on Jan. 28, and the lack of a customary new year’s greeting from the U.S. president at that time was noticed here. The Lantern Festival will be celebrated on Saturday.

Rucker reported from Washington.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 9th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 2, 2017
Contact: Clinton Foundation Press Office,  press at clintonfoundation.org

President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton to Convene More Than 1,000 Students from Around the World at 10th Annual CGI University Meeting

Now Accepting Applications for CGI University 2017, October 13-15 at Northeastern University in Boston

February 2, 2017 — The 10th annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) meeting—hosted by President Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton—will take place October 13-15, 2017 at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. More than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students will be joined by thought leaders from around the world to address some of the most pressing social, economic, and environmental concerns of their generation.

Since its first meeting, CGI U has brought together more than 8,700 students from more than 940 schools, 145 countries, and all 50 states. These students have developed projects including a predictive model for energy efficiency retrofits in New York City buildings, a mentorship program to promote confidence, deconstruct gender stereotypes and build leadership for young girls, a mobile texting app that prevents the sale of counterfeit prescription drugs in the developing world, and the creation of support centers for victims of gender-based violence in Pakistan.

Students interested in attending CGI U 2017 can submit their applications here by May 1, 2017. Students requesting travel/lodging assistance must apply by the early decision deadline of March 1, 2017. Further details on the meeting and application process are below, and can also be found here.

CGI U is one of many service and leadership development programs run by the Clinton Foundation. Other opportunities include the Presidential Leadership Scholars program, a unique initiative created in partnership with the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the Clinton Presidential Center, the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation, and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation to support some of the most promising leaders in America, and the Clinton Foundation Day of Action, a community service program that has mobilized more than 6,000 volunteers who have collectively donated more than 25,500 volunteer hours to date.


CGI UNIVERSITY: A HUB FOR YOUNG INNOVATORS

The Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), established in 2007 by President Bill Clinton, brings together college and university students to address global challenges with new, specific, and measurable plans called Commitments to Action. Whether building a digital platform to empower youth in the U.S. foster care system or providing rural Latin American communities with solar energy solutions, CGI U participants are among the world’s most promising young social innovators. Through CGI U’S annual meeting and year-round support, student participants create action plans, build relationships, and participate in hands-on workshops as they carry out their Commitments to Action.

The CGI U meeting takes place at an accredited college or university each year—previous CGI U meetings have been held at Tulane University, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Miami, the University of California at San Diego, the George Washington University, Washington University in St. Louis, Arizona State University, and the University of California at Berkeley.


HOW TO APPLY FOR CGI U 2017

Applications for CGI U 2017 are now open here. To attend CGI U 2017, students must be at least 18 years of age and currently enrolled in an institution of higher education at the time of application. Students who will be at least 18 years of age and enrolled in an institution of higher education by October 2017 are also eligible to apply.

Applicants are required to submit a detailed plan for their Commitment to Action that addresses a specific problem in one of five focus areas: Education, Environment and Climate Change, Poverty Alleviation, Peace and Human Rights, and Public Health.

The CGI U meeting is free to attend, though students must fund their own travel and lodging. Students requesting travel and/or lodging assistance must submit their application by the early decision deadline: March 1, 2017. All other applications must be submitted by the final deadline: May 1, 2017.

For any questions about the application process, please call 212.710.4492 or email  cgiu.applicant at clintonglobalinitiativ….

HIGHER EDUCATION FACULTY AND ADMINISTRATORS: JOIN THE CGI UNIVERSITY NETWORK

We are proud to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the CGI University Network—a growing consortium of colleges and universities that support, mentor, and provide seed funding to leading student innovators and entrepreneurs.

The following schools will celebrate five consecutive years of membership in the CGI University Network this year. We applaud their dedication to engaging the next generation of leaders.

Arizona State University
Cornell University
Duke University
Johnson C. Smith University
Middlebury College
Northeastern University
Rutgers University
Southern Methodist University
The Ohio State University
Tufts University
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, San Diego
University of Central Florida
University of Houston
University of Miami

More than 60 schools have already joined for 2017, pledging more than $710,000 to support student commitment-makers from their campuses. All funding for the CGI University Network is raised and provided by participating University Network schools and given directly to students from these schools.

For a current list of universities who have joined the University Network for 2017, please write to the foundation..

CGI University is now accepting applications from eligible students over the age of 18. The early decision deadline is March 1, 2017; the final deadline is May 1, 2017. For more information and to submit an application, please visit cgiu.org

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About the Clinton Global Initiative University

The Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), established in 2007 by President Clinton, brings together college students to discuss and address global challenges with practical, innovative solutions by making Commitments to Action – new, specific, and measurable initiatives that can be small or large, local or global, financial or nonmonetary in nature. Through its annual meeting and ongoing programmatic support, CGI U supports students in their efforts to create action plans, build relationships, participate in hands-on workshops, and follow up as they complete their projects.

CGI U is proof that young people have the power to make a significant impact by confronting some of the world’s most urgent challenges. Since it’s first meeting, CGI U has brought together more than 8,700 students from more than 940 schools, 145 countries, and all 50 states, and nearly $3 million in funding has been awarded to these commitment-makers through CGI U. These students have made more than 6,250 Commitments to Action ranging from establishing a predictive model for energy efficiency retrofits in New York City buildings to a mobile texting app that prevents the sale of counterfeit prescription drugs in the developing world, from designing a lightweight water filtration backpack that provides drinkable water in disaster zones to support centers for victims of gender-based violence in Pakistan.

The CGI U meeting takes place at an accredited college or university each year, and previous CGI U meetings have been held at Tulane University, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Miami, the University of California at San Diego, the George Washington University, Washington University in St. Louis, Arizona State University, and the University of California at Berkeley.

To learn more, visit cgiu.org and follow us on Twitter @CGIU and Facebook at facebook.com

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 9th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The Uri Avnery Column at the Israeli Gush Shalom website of February 4, 2017

RESPECT THE GREEN LINE!

THE MOST incisive analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict I have ever read was written by the Jewish-Polish-British historian Isaac Deutscher. It consists of a single image.

A man lives on the upper floor of a building, which catches fire. To save his life, he jumps out of a window and lands on a passerby in the street below. The victim is grievously injured, and between the two starts an intractable conflict.

Of course, no metaphor is completely perfect. The Zionists did not choose Palestine by chance, the choice was based on our religion. The founder of the movement, Theodor Herzl, initially preferred Argentina.

Still, the picture is basically valid, at least until 1967. From then on, the settlers continued to jump across the Green Line, with no fire in sight.

THERE IS nothing holy about the Green Line. It is no different from any other border line around the world, whatever its color.

Most borders were drawn by geography and the accidents of war. Two peoples fight for the territory between them, at some point the fighting comes to an end, and a border is born.
The land borders of Israel – known for some reason as the “Green Line” – were also established by the accidents of war. A part of that line was the result of a deal between the new Israeli government and the king of Jordan, Abdallah I, who gave us the so-called Triangle as a baksheesh, in return for Israel’s agreement to his annexation of most of the rest of Palestine. So what’s so holy about this border? Nothing, except that it’s there. And that is true for many borders throughout the world.

A border is established by accident and confirmed by agreement. True, the United Nations drew borders between the Jewish and the Arab states in its 1947 resolution, but after the Arab side started a war in order to thwart this decision, Israel greatly enlarged its territory.

The 1948 war ended without a peace treaty. But the armistice lines established at the end of the war were accepted by the entire world as the borders of Israel. This has not changed during the 68 years that have passed since then.

This situation prevails both de facto and de jure. Israeli law applies only within the Green Line. Everything else is occupied territory under military law. Two small territories – East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights – were unilaterally declared to be annexed by Israel, but nobody in the world recognizes this status.

I ELABORATE on these well-known facts because the settlers in the occupied territories have lately started to taunt their critics in Israel by bringing up a new argument: “Hey, what’s the big difference between us?”

You too sit on Arab lands, they tell us. True, before 1948 the Zionists settled on land they bought with good money – but only a small part of it was bought from the fellahin who tilled it. Most of it was acquired from rich absentee landowners, who had bought it cheaply from the Turkish sultan when the Ottoman Empire was in dire financial straits . The tillers of the land were driven out by the Turkish, and later the British, police.

Large stretches of land were “liberated” during the fighting of 1948, when masses of Arab villagers and city-dwellers fled before the advancing Israeli forces, as civilians do in every war. If they didn’t, a few salvos of machine-gun fire were enough to drive them out.
The inhabitants who were left in Jaffa after the town was conquered, were simply packed on trucks and sent to Gaza. The inhabitants of Lod (Lydda) were driven away on foot. In the end, about 750 thousand Arabs were expelled, more than half the Palestinian people at the time. The Jewish population in Palestine amounted then to 650 thousand.

Some inner voice compels me at this point to mention a Canadian-Jewish officer named Ben Dunkelmann, then 36 years old, who commanded a brigade in the new Israeli army. He had served with distinction in the Canadian army in World War II. He was ordered to attack Nazareth, the home-town of Jesus, but succeeded in inducing the local leaders to surrender without a fight. The condition was that the local population would not be harmed.
After his troops had occupied the town, Dunkelmann received an oral order to drive the population out. Outraged, Dunkelmann refused to break his word of honor as an officer and a gentleman, and demanded the order in writing. Such a written order never arrived, of course (no such orders were ever put in writing), but Dunkelmann was removed from his post.
Nowadays, when I pass Nazareth, a thriving Arab town, I remember this brave man. After that war, he returned to his native Canada. I don’t think he ever came back here again. He died 20 years ago.

HONEST DISCLOSURE: I took part in all this. As a simple soldier, and later as a squad leader, I was a part of the events. But immediately after the war I wrote a book that disclosed the truth (“The Other Side of the Coin”), and a few years later I published a detailed plan for the return of some of the refugees and the payment of compensation to all the others. That, of course, never happened.

Most of the land and the houses of the refugees were filled with new Jewish immigrants.
Now the settlers say, not without some justice: “Who are you to despise us? You did the same as we are doing! Only you did it before 1967, and we do it now. What’s the difference?”
That is the difference. We live in a state that has been recognized by most of the world within established borders. You live in territory that the world considers occupied Palestinian territory. The state of Texas was acquired by the USA in a war with Mexico. If President Trump were now to invade Mexico and annex a chunk of land (why not?), its status would be quite different.


Binyamin Netanyahu – some now call him Trumpyahu – is all for enlarging the settlements. This week, under pressure from our Supreme Court, he staged the removal of one tiny little settlement, Amona, with a lot of heartbreak and tears, but immediately promised to put up many thousands of new “housing units” in the occupied territories.

OPPOSITE POLITICAL extremes often touch each other. So it is now.

The settlers who want to wipe out the difference between us and them, do it not just to justify themselves. Their main aim is to erase the Green Line and include all the occupied territories in Greater Israel, which would extend from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.

A lot of Israel-haters want the same borders – but as an Arab state.
Indeed, I would love to chair a peace conference of Israel-haters and Palestine-haters. I would propose to decide first on the points they all agree on – namely the creation of a state from sea to river. I would leave to the end the decision whether to call it Israel or Palestine.

A world-wide movement called BDS now proposes to boycott all of Israel, in order to achieve this end. I have a problem with that.

GUSH SHALOM, the Israeli peace organization to which I belong, takes great pride in being the first to declare a boycott on the products of the settlements many years ago. We still uphold this boycott, though it is now illegal under Israeli law.

We did not declare a boycott on Israel. And not only because it is rather awkward to boycott oneself. The main object of our boycott was to teach Israelis to differentiate between themselves and the settlements. We published and distributed many thousand copies of the list of companies located and products produced outside the Green Line. Many people are upholding the boycott.

The BDS boycott of all Israel achieves the exact opposite: by saying that there is no difference between Israel within the Green Line and the settlers outside, it pushes ordinary Israelis into the arms of the settlers.

The settlers, of course, are only too happy to get the assistance of BDS in erasing the Green Line.

I HAVE no emotional quarrel with the BDS people. True, a few of them seem to be old-school anti-Semites in a new garb, but I have the impression that most BDS supporters act out of sincere sympathy for the suffering of the Palestinians. I respect that.

However, I would urge the well-meaning idealists who support BDS to think again about the paramount importance of the Green Line – the only border that makes peace between Israel and Palestine possible, with some minor mutually agreed adjustments.


ISRAEL IS there. It cannot be wished away. So is Palestine.

If we all agree on that, we can also agree on the continued boycott of the settlements – and of the settlements only.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 8th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


PM Netanyahu Instructs the Foreign Ministry to Reprimand the Belgian Ambassador to Israel

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser – February 8, 2017)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (Wednesday, 8 February 2017), instructed the Foreign Ministry to reprimand Belgian Ambassador to Israel Olivier Belle.

Israel views with utmost gravity Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel’s meeting today with the leaders of Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem, during his visit to Israel. Initiatives are underway by the Belgian state prosecutor to try senior Israelis including Tzipi Livni and IDF officers.

The Belgian government needs to decide whether it wants to change direction or continue with an anti-Israel line.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has directed that legislation be advanced to prevent financing by foreign governments for NGOs that harm IDF soldiers.

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And from Ted Belman’s blog that is a US Republican plant in Jerusalem – to our big surprise a criticism of the heralded Trump – right out of the pages of HAARETZ:

Republicans Won’t Defy Trump on His Holocaust Statement – and Israel Should Pay Attention

T. Belman. The harshness with which the Trump administration reject criticism is unfathomable. Why is Trump doing this? Friends don’t do this to friends.

The way a resolution to restate Jewish focus of Holocaust was shot down sends unmistakable signal when it comes to new rules of power in D.C, Jewish community and, by extension, Israel.

By Allison Kaplan Sommer, HAARETZ

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and then the Netanyahu dream:

The Ultimate Alternate Israel-Palestine Solution

With a new U.S. president, new ideas are emerging on how to resolve the Israel-Palestine debacle. One of the most promising comes from the Jordanian Opposition Council who favor a new Palestinian state — in Jordan.

By Ted Belman

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find above at:  www.israpundit.org/archives/63621…

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 8th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Mitch McConnell gives Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 presidential campaign an in-kind contribution.

BY JAMES HOHMANN The Washington Post
with Breanne Deppisch

MORNING INTELLIGENCE FOR LEADERS

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David AxelrodVerified account
?@davidaxelrod

David Axelrod Retweeted Matt Viser
McConnell did @SenatorSessions no favors tonight by shutting down @SenWarren. Strong-armed tactics looked weak & defensive.David Axelrod added,
Matt Viser @mviser
By a 49-to-43 vote, Senate rules that Elizabeth Warren broke rule impugning a senator. She now cannot speak during debate on Jeff Sessions.
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THE BIG IDEA: Mitch McConnell defended his decision to have the Senate formally vote to block Elizabeth Warren from speaking about the nomination of Jeff Sessions to be attorney general. “She was warned,” he said. “She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

The majority leader said the firebrand from Massachusetts broke the chamber’s rules by reading past statements about Sessions from Coretta Scott King and Ted Kennedy. “The senator has impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama,” McConnell said, setting up a series of exceptionally rare roll-call votes to silence Warren until Sessions is confirmed.

— In these angry times, the activist base of the Democratic Party wants its politicians to be fighters. When Republicans were in the wilderness, the party’s base valued hostility toward Barack Obama more than ideological purity. That’s how Donald Trump became the GOP’s standard bearer. The same principle will now apply for exiled Democrats. For the purposes of winning the 2020 nomination, it will be impossible to be too anti-Trump.

— McConnell gagging Warren is one of the best gifts she could have received, and her birthday is not even until June. It solidifies her bona fides as a fighter for progressive causes. Just hours before the showdown on the floor, which Warren had not planned for, the former Harvard Law professor announced that she will come out with a book this spring called “This Fight is Our Fight.”

— The brouhaha will be especially resonant because it touches race and gender, two of the most volatile fault lines in American life. During Black History Month, McConnell specifically cited portions of a letter that the widow of Martin Luther King Jr. wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee in opposition to Sessions’s 1986 nomination to be a federal judge as a justification for the votes to rebuke Warren. “Mr. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens,” King wrote three decades ago, referencing prosecutions he oversaw as the U.S. attorney for Alabama.

As Barack Obama’s former top strategist, David Axelrod, puts it as we wrote at the op of our posting.

— Sanctioning Warren also gives her underlying message a much bigger platform: She was speaking to a nearly empty chamber against a nominee who, no matter what, is going to get confirmed later today. Very few people paid attention to similar floor speeches against Betsy DeVos the night before. Now millions of people will read the letter that King wrote.

Rachel Maddow interrupted her MSNBC show for a live telephone interview with Warren. “I’ve been red-carded on Sen. Sessions,” she lamented. The senator then went into another room in the Capitol and read King’s letter aloud on Facebook Live. By morning, it had more than 5.2 million views:

— This really could help Warren make inroads with African Americans: There are relatively few black voters in Massachusetts, but members of the community will determine who wins the South Carolina primary in three years (it’s coming up faster than you think). Bernie Sanders just might have stopped Hillary Clinton if he had figured out a way to break through her firewall with African American voters. So there is no doubt that Warren World celebrated as groups like the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus quickly rallied behind her.

— The top trending hashtags on Twitter overnight are all about the donnybrook: #LetLizSpeak and #ShePersisted. An online clothing site for independent designers, RedBubble.com, is even selling “She Persisted” T-shirts and sweatshirts. Thousands of people are posting pictures of strong women throughout history with the caption #ShePersisted

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What we see now is an Administration hand picked by a Maverick whose mind seems set to destroy America. His ideal is a Mighty Mouse that scares everyone but has no power.

THE OLD EAGLE HAS TAKEN OFF AND THE NEED FOR COURAGEOUS FIGHTERS IS OBVIOUS IN ORDER TO RISE DECENT AMERICANS WHO WILL FINALLY SEE THAT “MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” WAS JUST AN
ANTI-DEMOCRATIC HOAX.

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Following an unusually tense conflict on the Senate floor Tuesday night, the chamber is scheduled to vote Wednesday evening on the fate of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), whose record on civil and voting rights as a federal prosecutor and state attorney general has long been criticized. Sessions is expected to win confirmation narrowly and largely along party lines — and primarily on the strength of his relationships with fellow Republican senators.

But the expected Trump victory comes after a bruising confirmation process for Sessions and other Cabinet nominees that Democrats have used to amplify their concerns about the president’s agenda — even as they have fallen short of derailing any nominees.

But will Senator Chuck Schumer show the mettle needed to stand up to McConnell?
In our opinion no sense here to try for the diplomatic compromise. There is no compromising if the issue is the dismantling of America.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 8th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


May defeats plan to give MPs Brexit veto.

 euobserver.com/uk-referendum/136…

By BEN FOX, EUObserver

LONDON, February 8, 2017

UK MPs will get a “take it or leave it vote” at the end of Article 50 talks with the EU, but Theresa May’s government defeated an attempt by opposition MPs to ensure that parliament gets an effective veto over Brexit.
Under the deal offered by the May government on Tuesday (7 February), MPs will get a vote on any deal struck with EU negotiators during the Article 50 process, to take place before any Brexit agreement was voted on by the European Parliament.

This initially seemed like a significant concession when it was announced by Brexit minister David Jones at the start of four hours of the second day of debate on the Article 50 bill, but it isn’t.
If parliament rejects the deal, the UK will leave the EU anyway and would fall back to trading with the bloc on the basis of World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

“This will be a meaningful vote,” Jones told MPs, adding that it would “be the choice of leaving the EU with a negotiated deal or not”.

“The vote they’re offering – which will give MPs a choice between an extreme Brexit and falling off a cliff edge into WTO trade rules – isn’t a concession, it’s an ultimatum,” said Caroline Lucas MP, co-leader of the Green Party.

“MPs must not be duped by the government’s attempt to quell unrest on their back-benches.”

Out voted
MPs also voted by a majority of 33 against an amendment proposed by Labour MP Chris Leslie that would have stopped ministers striking a Brexit agreement until it had been passed by MPs and peers.

Seven Conservative MPs voted with Labour. The amendment was seen as a means of keeping alive the slim prospect of the UK remaining in the EU.

A Labour proposal which would have forced the government to publish impact assessments of the different potential trading models with the EU, indicating the likely economic effects of leaving the single market or customs union, was also defeated.

The government faces a potentially close vote on an amendment calling for the rights of EU nationals living in the UK to be guaranteed, but it is highly probable that the bill will be passed without any of the 287 amendments to it being adopted when MPs take a final vote on Wednesday (8 February).

As it stands, the only risk – albeit slim – to May’s plans would be a delay in the House of Lords, where the Conservatives number only 253 out of 805 peers.

The Lords is not elected and it is extremely unlikely that peers will risk a constitutional crisis by opposing the Brexit bill.

In the more likely event that the Lords proposes amendments, these would then, in turn, be subject to the approval of MPs.

The bill is timetabled to be signed into law on 13 March, giving May time to keep to her self-imposed deadline of formally triggering Article 50 before the end of March.

Separately, the Scottish parliament backed a symbolic motion rejecting the decision to trigger Article 50 on Tuesday with the support of the Scottish National Party, Greens, Liberal Democrats and most Labour MSPs.

The devolved assemblies have no power to prevent or delay the Brexit process, although Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned that the UK exiting the EU, despite a large majority for “Remain” in Scotland, could lead to her government demanding a second referendum on independence from the UK.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 8th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

POLITICS

Like Many Americans, A Judge On The Court Weighing Trump’s Refugee Ban Was A Refugee
Judge Alex Kozinski’s family fled communism when he was a child.

02/06/2017 — by Matt Ferner
National Reporter, The Huffington Post

Judge Alex Kozinski isn’t assigned to the three-judge panel considering a federal court’s halt of the travel ban but will vote on it when all 11 judges of that court will be convened.

.
LOS ANGELES ? A federal judge who sits on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is set to rule on a block of President Donald Trump’s refugee ban, came to the United States as a refugee when he was a boy.

Alex Kozinski, one of the most well-respected judges on the 9th Circuit, fled with his parents, Moses and Sabine, from communist Romania in 1962. Kozinski has spoken publicly about his immigration experience for years, even joking that he went from being a committed communist as a boy to an “instant capitalist” after his first trip outside the Iron Curtain to Vienna ? on his way to the United States ? where he was introduced to “bubble gum, chocolate and bananas.”

Kozinski isn’t assigned to the 9th Circuit panel of three judges who will hear the case Tuesday evening. The panel consists of William C. Canby Jr., Michelle Friedland and Richard Clifton. But as the case progresses, the 9th Circuit, which is based in San Francisco, may grant a “full court” hearing before 11 judges. Along the way, Kozinski may or may not get to express his views on the legality of Trump’s travel ban.


Regardless of whether he ultimately rules on the ban, Kozinski’s journey is coming full circle. On Monday, HIAS ? a refugee agency that has been assisting Jews and others fleeing persecution since 1881 ? filed a legal brief with the 9th Circuit in strong opposition to Trump’s travel ban. HIAS was the same group that helped to resettle the Kozinski family, eventually helping them get all the way to the United States.

Photo -COURTESY OF ALEX KOZINSKi – Alex with his father, Moses, and his mother, Sabine, about a year before the Kozinskis left Romania.

Until contacted by The Huffington Post, HIAS officials were unaware that one of the children it helped decades ago was now serving on the court to which it was appealing.


Officials at HIAS searched their records and found official documentation of arrival for the Kozinski family. HIAS provided it to The Huffington Post, and it is printed here with the permission of Judge Kozinski.

The Kozinski family arrived in Baltimore in late October 1962. Alex was just 12, Moses was 47 and Sabine 43.


“[HIAS] was very generous and kind to us in all respects,” Kozinski told The Huffington Post of his journey to America. Kozinski recalled that the paperwork, all arranged and prepared by HIAS, was completed in Vienna around 1962. The agency then supported the Kozinskis while Moses and Sabine sought employment.

“Then we came to the U.S. on a Sabena four-propeller airliner ? it took about 18 hours to cross the Atlantic, with one stop somewhere in Newfoundland,” Kozinski said. The Kozinskis landed in New York, where they passed through customs, like so many immigrants before them and after them. They briefly settled in Baltimore, where HIAS continued to support the family until Moses and Sabine found steady work.

“Our caseworker was named Mrs. Friedman,” Kozinski said. “I remember her quite well. She smoked Parliaments.”

After about five years in Baltimore, the Kozinskis moved to California in search of warmer weather. They’d settle in the Los Angeles area, where Moses would open a grocery store and Alex would eventually graduate from UCLA’s law school. After several years of private practice and then clerking for Supreme Court Justices Warren Burger and Anthony Kennedy (while Kennedy was still on the 9th Circuit), Kozinski was named by President Ronald Reagan first to U.S. Claims Court and then, in 1985, to the 9th Circuit.

That HIAS helped Kozinski’s family escape totalitarianism doesn’t disqualify him from ruling on the case. “They’re an amicus, not a party, and any association I had with them ended half a century ago,” Kozinski said. (Indeed, judges routinely rule on cases that involve organizations they previously had involvement with.)


Even if he doesn’t end up ruling on the travel ban, the judge has already given the public a taste of how he feels about the federal government’s power over immigration ? and how it can have a profound effect no matter who is in power.

“We may soon find ourselves with new conflicts between the President and the states,” Kozinski wrote last week in an impassioned dissent to an order by the full 9th Circuit declining to hear a challenge by the state of Arizona to President Barack Obama’s policy aimed at helping young undocumented immigrants. His colleagues had declined to take up the case again, leaving in place a ruling that more or less forces Arizona to grant driver’s licenses to those covered by the policy.

But that result, under the Constitution, left Kozinski uneasy ? perhaps because of who is now the nation’s chief executive.

“Executive power favors the party, or perhaps simply the person, who wields it,” Kozinski warned his own court. “That power is the forbidden fruit of our politics, irresistible to those who possess it and reviled by those who don’t. Clear and stable structural rules are the bulwark against that power, which shifts with the sudden vagaries of our politics. In its haste to find a doctrine that can protect the policies of the present, our circuit should remember the old warning: May all your dreams come true.”

Trump’s controversial executive order temporarily bans all refugees and indefinitely bars Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. The order also suspends travel to the U.S. by citizens of seven countries: Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. The policy, which covers 200 million people, sparked chaos and protests at many U.S. airports last week as travelers from the targeted countries were detained and lawyers were denied access to the detainees.

The order was soon challenged in court by multiple states. On Friday, a nationwide restraining order was issued by U.S. District Judge James Robart, who ruled that the order was likely to cause immediate and irreparable harm to the states of Washington and Minnesota to education, business, family relations and the freedom to travel. Over the weekend, the Justice Department filed an appeal to immediately restore the ban, but the 9th Circuit denied that request. The appeals court is now preparing to hear full arguments in the case.

On Monday, HIAS filed in support of the stay of the executive order. HIAS argued that Trump’s executive order has “fractured many refugee families” and “risks the lives of many who relied on the promises of the United States when they received their visas.” The order, HIAS argues, closes the door to avoiding “immense dangers” they currently face in their home countries.

Trump has made a habit of smearing the judicial system and specifically attacking judges who challenge his authority or who issue rulings that unravel his plans. Over the weekend Trump blasted Judge Robart after he issued the nationwide temporary restraining order.

Follow Trump’s tweet of 9:39 PM – 5 Feb 2017: Donald J. Trump ? @realDonaldTrump
Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!

28,815 28,815 Retweets 134,593 134,593 likes

As a candidate, Trump also attacked Gonzalo Curiel, a federal judge who presided over lawsuits against Trump University. Trump accused the judge of an “absolute conflict” in the case because of the judge’s Mexican heritage. He repeatedly referred to Curiel as “Mexican” and said he couldn’t be an impartial judge because of Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the Mexican border. Curiel is a U.S. citizen, born in Indiana.

Kozinski is American, too.

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Photo: ALEX KOZINSKI
Moses Kozinski at his store in Hollywood in 1971. His son went to UCLA and became a lawyer, then a judge.

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CORRECTION: This article previously suggested that Kozinski was the only former refugee on the 9th Circuit. Judge Jacqueline Nguyen is also a former refugee.

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OUR COMMENT at SustainabiliTank: Not all those the US good meaning folks helped turned out well and good Americans.

I have a cousin who came here with his wife in 1962 – via Vienna – just like the Kozinskis – having a $50 bill from HIAS in his pocket. This happened also in 1962 and our extended family collected ransom money from inside its membership to pay Ceausescu’s goons. Then they helped him launch a Business in Chicago followed by a move to Los Angeles. He is now an American multi-millionaire with business on the East Coast and the West Coast – his American Dream. He has a town house in Manhattan and a mansion in Palos Verde. He has the audacity to be Trump’s friend – drinking from his poisoned well. The only such man in my whole American circle. Our shame.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 7th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

HOW ABOUT DISALLOWING INVESTMENTS BY ANYONE, OR ANY ENTITY, CONNECTED DIRECTLY TO ANY MEMBER OF THE PRESENT US ADMINISTRATION? CONSIDERING THE WHITE HOUSE BEHAVIOR, PEOPLE OF THE US ADMINISTRATION HAVE MORE AND MORE BECOME A DANGER TO THE WORLD ORDER AND TO PEACE – UNDERMINING IN EFFECT WHAT USED TO BE FRIENDLY GOVERNMENTS. Mr. BONDEVIK COULD LEAD THE WAY.

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CNN – International Edition+

Former Norwegian PM held at immigration over Iranian visa
By Kara Fox and Mohammed Al-Saiegh, CNN

February 7, 2017
Former Norwegian PM detained at US airport

(CNN) If you’re the former leader of a European nation, the president of a major human rights organization and the owner of a diplomatic passport, you’re not likely to encounter a long wait at airport immigration.

But on January 31, Kjell Magne Bondevik, the former Prime Minister of Norway, encountered more than just a lengthy queue.
Bondevik told CNN’s “Connect the World” he was interrogated by officials at Washington’s Dulles International Airport because he had an Iranian visa in his diplomatic passport.
“When they found the Iranian visa, where I was in December 2014, they said that there was a … regulation that with such a visa I had to be flagged up,” Bondevik said.

After the former European leader detailed his travel history — he was in Tehran speaking at an anti-extremism conference — Bondevik said he “assumed and presumed that they would let me go immediately.” But instead, Bondevik said he was questioned for over an hour.

“Did they really believe that I presented a problem or threat to the US? I expected they would show more flexibility and wisdom,” he said.

Bondevik said he was held along with migrants from the Middle East and Africa who were also facing additional screening. Although Bondevik was eventually released, he said the atmosphere surrounding President Donald Trump’s travel ban had shaken his core values.
Bondevik told CNN’s Becky Anderson he disagrees with the ban entirely, calling it “a contradiction” to his “view on human dignity.”
“I really dislike that he is treating people from some Muslim countries as a group and not individuals,” he said.

Bondevik, who heads the human rights organization Oslo Center, said the incident speaks to a wider issue of concern brought on by the President’s first actions in office.
It’s not just the ban that’s worrying Bondevik.

“I also must say that I dislike very much his approach to other international leaders — the Prime Minister of Australia, the President of Mexico … and how he is acting in the international community.”

He said many others, including Norway were concerned.
Last week, Trump signed an executive order that banned citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, from traveling to America. The ban also suspended the refugee program for four months, and stopped the admission of all Syrian refugees indefinitely.
These are the faces of Trump’s ban

On Friday, the executive order was temporarily halted after a federal judge suspended key parts of the order nationwide. As of Monday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had denied the US government’s emergency request to resume the ban and had ordered both sides to submit their arguments for or against it before a final ruling.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 7th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Team Trump’s Wrecking Crew – The Early Roster

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News
06 February 17


The Donald’s various US-haters want to make America grate again

here’s little question that a cohort of the people who elected Trump, possibly a minority of a minority of the population, want to tear down most of the existing government and replace our imperfect government of the people, by the people, and for the people with — well, with what? It’s not really clear beyond the premise that the Trump hats decide and the rest of us are expected to obey bare-headed.

The people who didn’t elect Trump, along with the people who regret electing Trump, as well as the people who didn’t elect anyone — all those people, a majority of a majority, are already reacting in surprising numbers against early Trump initiatives. This apparent majority of Americans, with little help from Democrats or any of the other old swamp creatures in the Trump-drained swamp, have more or less spontaneously risen in resistance to Trumpian attacks on freedom, decency, constitutionality, and whatever else might offend the nonpartisan oligarchy of rich predators.

The game is on now, and this may be the real Super Bowl for American constitutional government. Unlike a typical sports bowl, this political bowl has constantly changing rules, no time outs, and a running clock for the game’s four-year duration. There is no out-of-bounds and there is no limit on the numbers of plays a team can run at the same time. And this time, this bowl has only one organized team on the field, Team Trump. The Trumps say the media is the “opposition party,” to which Democrats offer no objection, making it clear that where, in the past, there was something like an opposing team, now there is a so-far largely disorganized rabble and maybe some specialty squads (like the courts). This other “team” has no unifying playbook, but it has the numbers, it can jam the field with more players than the Trumps, at least now in the opening period, and that makes the game seem less one-sided, perhaps.

What follows is a briefly annotated roster of the key players on Team Trump assembled to carry out its game plan of a top-down assault on America, to seize and destroy much of the US government as it existed in 2016, and to accept whatever collateral damage may ensue.

THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (POTUS) – Donald J. Trump, 70, the team captain, quarterback, calls the plays, sometimes takes suggestions from the sidelines, is well known for being not very well known except in a celebrity sense. Businessman. Billionaire (alleged net worth $3.7 billion, no transparency; Trump himself has said $10 billion). How unpredictable is he really? Who, if anyone, has his ear?

VICE PRESIDENT (1st in line of succession to Presidency) – Mike Pence, 57, attorney, conservative radio host, congressman (12 years), Tea Party loyalist, governor (3 years). Est. net worth $300,000 (not a typo). Said he is “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.” Stands for religious freedom to control other people. Has never released tax returns. Seems to believe God has his ear.

SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE (2nd in line of succession) – Paul Ryan, 47, not actually a Team Trump member, but forced by circumstance to line up with the team. Est. net worth $5 million. Professional politician, congressman (18 years), Ayn Rand devotee (25 years), fitness fanatic (30 years). Enemy of Social Security, among other things. Not known to have an ear.

PRESIDENT PRO TEM OF US SENATE (3rd in succession) – Orrin Hatch, 82, also not an official Team Trump member but boxed in by circumstance. Est. net worth $4 million. Attorney, senator (41 years), reliably slippery, trashed Anita Hill, tied to pharmaceutical industry, opposed fair housing. Keeps ear to ground.

SECRETARY OF STATE (4th in succession) – Rex Tillerson, 65, oil industry engineer (42 years), CEO of Exxon Mobil (10 years), close business ties with Russia/Putin, opposes sanctions on Russia (over Crimea, Ukraine). Est. net worth $325 million. Clear conflicts of interest, but business interests depend on global peace. Comes across as one of the grown-ups in the room. Seems to have ears in all directions.

SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY (5th) – Steve Mnuchin, 54 (nominated, not confirmed as of Feb. 6), Skull and Bones at Yale, Goldman Sachs honcho (17 years), hedge fund manager (6 years), OneWest Bank owner and rapacious mortgage forecloser (8 years). Est. net worth $300 million. Not prosecuted for “widespread misconduct“ of bank. Defendant in fraud lawsuits. In financial disclosure, “forgot” $100 million. Opposes bank regulation, corporate taxation. Enjoyed Kamala Harris blowing in his ear.

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE (6th) – Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis, 67, first cabinet member confirmed, vote of 98-1, despite law barring his taking office. Career military officer (48 years). Never charged with war crimes in Iraq (not even Fallujah, Mukaradeeb wedding party massacre). Post-military corporate board member. Est. net worth $5 million. Obama appointee. Takes hard line on China, North Korea, Iran. Opposed targeting Muslims, until Trump did it. 2013 quote: “The first time you blow someone away is not an insignificant event. That said, there are some assholes in the world that just need to be shot.” Ear tuned to master’s voice.

ATTORNEY GENERAL (7th) – Sen. Jeff Sessions, 71 (nominated, not confirmed as of Feb. 6), Eagle Scout, attorney, US attorney (12 years), senator (21 years). Rejected by Senate in 1986 as too racist to be federal judge. Supported Iraq war, opposed same-sex marriage. Est. net worth $8 million. Epitomizes southern charm and viciousness, graded “zero” by Human Rights Campaign. Opposes Voting Rights Act. Believes life begins at conception, marijuana more dangerous than alcohol, and climate change not real. Has ear tuned to the smallest slight.

SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE (8th) – Sonny Perdue, 70 (nominated, not confirmed as of Feb. 6), veterinarian, Georgia state legislator (both parties, ten years), Republican governor (8 years). Net worth $4.4 million. No direct experience in agriculture, led official state prayers for rain in 2007, Trump calls him “a great, great farmer.” Conflict of interest land deal 2003, doubled value of his property. Loves Confederacy, voter ID laws. Open ear to agribusiness.

SECRETARY OF COMMERCE (9th) – Wilbur Ross, 79 (nominated, not confirmed as of Feb. 6) investor/banker/leveraged buyout (50+ years), known as the “King of Bankruptcy” who off-shored 2700 jobs since 2004. Net worth est. $2.9 billion, 10 times Bush’s entire cabinet. Sago Mine disaster 2006 killed 12, part-owner Ross well aware of safety violations. Opposed TPP, China-bashing as “intellectually wrong.” He doesn’t have to listen to anyone.

SECRETARY OF LABOR (10th) – Andrew Puzder, 67 (nominated, not confirmed as of Feb. 6), attorney (22 years, including 5 years with a mob lawyer defending charges of looting Labor trust funds), CEO of CKE Restaurants (Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr.) (17 years). Est. net worth $45 million. Opposed minimum wage increase, overtime pay, Obamacare, paid sick leave. Spoke highly of robots/automation because machines are “always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall or an age, sex, or race discrimination case.” He has a hard time hearing worker issues.

SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (11th) – Dr. Tom Price, 63 (nominated, not confirmed as of Feb. 6), doctor in his own orthopedic clinic (20 years), Georgia Senate (10 years), congressman (12 years). Opposes abortion rights, gay marriage, gun control, environmental regulations, Obamacare, National Public Radio, and withdrawing US forces from Iraq. Est. net worth $13.6 million. Shady deals include his buying shares in Zimmer Biomet, then introduced legislation to help the company, which then donated to his campaign. He has not heard from prosecutors.

SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (12th) – Dr. Ben Carson, 65 (nominated, not confirmed as of Feb.6), neurosurgeon (30 years), politician (4 years). Est. net worth $29 million. He has no experience in government generally, and none in housing or urban development. He told Fox News: “We cannot have a strong nation if we have weak inner cities. We have to get beyond the promises and start really doing something. The amount of corruption and graft and things, shell games that are played — we need to get rid of all that stuff.” He has his ears cocked.

SECRETARY OF ENERGY (13th) – Rick Perry, 67 (nominated, not confirmed as of Feb. 6), Eagle Scout, salesman, cotton farmer (with father), career politician (33 years). Switched from Democrat to Republican in 1990, ran for Agriculture Commissioner, Karl Rove campaign manager, beat Jim Hightower by 1%. Est. net worth $3 million. Texas governor (14 years). Running for president, famously forgot he wanted to abolish Energy Department. Has no experience or expertise in energy issues, most of which involve nuclear reactors and weapons. He says “nucular.” He keeps an ear peeled for every siren song.

SECRETARY OF EDUCATION (14th) – Betsy DeVos, 59 (nominated, not confirmed as of Feb. 6), born rich, married richer, philanthropist and school “choice” advocate. Est. net worth $5.1 billion. She and husband support Neurocore, a string of “brain performance centers“ based on fake science. Opposes public schools. Advocates unregulated government spending on private, religious, charter schools. Testified using fake statistics. Supports guns in classrooms to defend against “potential grizzlies.” Listens carefully to own voice.

SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS (15th) – Dr. David Shulkin, 58 (nominated, not confirmed as of Feb. 6), doctor and medical administrator (31 years), current Under Secretary in Veterans Affairs (Obama nominee). Est. net worth $17 million. Trump reported considering privatizing VA, Shulkin testified: “The Department of Veterans Affairs will not be privatized under my watch.” Critique: he’s not a veteran, that he’s working with the Koch Brothers to turn VA into an insurance company. Keeps ears pinned back.

SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY (16th) – Gen. John F. Kelly, 67, career military officer (47 years), confirmed by 88-11 vote despite law barring his taking office. Est. net worth $4 million. Opposes sanctuary cities, DREAMers. Supports Mexico wall with “a layered defense,” including patrols and sensors. Calls drug trade “existential threat“ to US. 37 Democrats voted for him. Said: “I don’t know why they hate us, and I frankly don’t care, but they do hate us and are driven irrationally to our destruction.” Hears what he wants to hear.

SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION – Elaine Chao, 64 (not in line of succession, not natural born citizen), came to US on freighter at age 8, banker (25 years), Secretary of Labor (8 years), married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (24 years), part of 1996 shady campaign giving. Est. Net worth $24 million. Favors highway spending. Disregards energy efficiency, urban transit, pedestrians. Has extensive business and political links to China. Listens to own drummer.

SECRETARY OF INTERIOR (not currently in line of succession) – Ryan Zinke, 56 (nominated, not confirmed as of Feb. 6, would become 8th in line for Presidency), Navy SEAL (22 years), Montana legislator (2 years), congressman (2 years). Est. net worth $800,000. Wrote 2010 letter calling climate change “a threat multiplier for instability in the most volatile regions of the world.… the clean energy and climate challenge is America’s new space race.” In Congress backtracked, “not proven science,” got grade of 3 from League of Conservation Voters. Opposed federal land giveaways, favors gas/oil/mining exploitation. He seems to hear the money talking.

That’s it for the cabinet and presidential succession members of Team Trump. Still to come: Team Trump deep insiders, like the CIA, National Security Counsel, and White House staff.

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William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 6th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Today’s WorldView – Teh Washington Post

BY ISHAAN THAROOR, Frebruary 6, 2017

President Trump begins his third week in office with the worst approval ratings of any new American president since polls began tracking such results. His close advisers are circling the wagons, snarling at an “opposition media” they claim has unfairly covered the new administration — even while privately admitting the president’s itchy Twitter finger is making their job harder.

Yet a theme is emerging from the tumult of the White House: For a president who promised “unity,” division remains Trump’s signature tactic. And what troubles critics is that Trump’s behavior seems utterly familiar in authoritarian contexts elsewhere in the world.

Case in point: Trump’s reaction to the widespread protests against his immigration ban, as well as his fury at the federal judge who shot it down in court. Rather than recognizing these voices of dissent for what they are — normal features of a healthy democracy — Trump sought to attack the very legitimacy of his opponents, deeming protesters “thugs” and “paid” activists while questioning the judge’s authority to disagree with him.

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Knowing what we know about the Trump appointees, we are not surprised at this cats’ symphony
– yes – the US has become its own disgrace and no half dissent parliament of even half democracies will invite him to speak. The Brits already show the way even though their leader may yet try to get Trump’s favors,

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