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Reporting from Washington DC:

 

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 30th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Over 200,000 people joined the People’s Climate March yesterday in Washington. Activists from every community and walk of life joined together in a sit-in around the White House to demand that the Trump administration end our nation’s reliance on the fossil fuels that are eroding our very way of life, especially in communities of color and low-income areas. We’re seeing it happen with the Dakota Access Pipeline, Keystone XL, and other fossil fuel projects, and people have had enough.

We have an alternative to the backwards thinking of the Trump administration. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon has introduced the “100 by ’50 Act” in the US Senate, and already has the support of Senators Bernie Sanders, Ed Markey, and Cory Booker. The bill not only would halt construction of Keystone XL, DAPL, and other fracked gas pipelines, but invest in the technology and jobs to rapidly advance us towards 100% clean, sustainable energy independence by 2050.

The ugly truth is that the fossil fuel industry will do anything to protect their profits. They will lie to the public, cheat the political process, and steal land from the Standing Rock Sioux and anyone else who stands in their way by violent means.

Their allies in Washington are many. The Secretary of Energy sits on the board of directors for the company constructing the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Secretary of State spent his career leading ExxonMobil. The head of the EPA made his career as a politician filing lawsuits against the agency he is now trying to dismantle from within.

We must preserve this planet for next generation and those to come — whether Donald Trump likes it or not.

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Bill McKibben: The GOP Is a Wholly-Owned Subsidiary of the Fossil Fuel Industry
By Democracy NOW!

30 April 17

To mark the 100th day of Donald Trump’s presidency, thousands of climate activists from around the country are converging in Washington, D.C. on Saturday for the People’s Climate March. Already, Trump has threatened to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord, begun dismantling President Obama’s climate legacy and revived the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. He has also put climate change deniers in charge of several key agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, and proposed slashing the budget of the EPA and other climate programs. This comes as scientists have confirmed 2016 was the warmest year on record. Our guest is Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, who helped organize this latest march and notes: “Weekends are for fighting tyranny.”

TRANSCRIPT

AMY GOODMAN: Here on Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. To mark the 100th day of Donald Trump’s presidency, thousands if not tens or hundreds of thousands of climate activists from around the country are converging on Washington, D.C., Saturday for the People’s Climate March. Over the past 100 days, Trump has threatened to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord, begun dismantling President Obama’s climate legacy, and revived the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. Trump has also put climate change deniers in charge of several key agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, and proposed slashing the budget of the EPA and other climate programs. This comes as scientists have confirmed 2016 was the warmest year on record and that the amount of carbon in the Earth’s atmosphere is now at a new high, recently topping 410 parts per million for the first time in human history. Ahead of Saturday’s march, organizers of the People’s Climate March recently released this short video.

NARRATOR: From Boston down to Florida, all the way from the Arctic, all the way from the Gulf, frontline communities, standing side-by-side, refusing to give in.

PROTEST SPEAKER 1: Climate change has happened. Climate catastrophe is a reality. We are dying.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I’m not a big believer in man-made climate change.

NEWS ANCHOR: President Trump has now signed orders saying construction can resume…

NARRATOR: …almost a 30 percent in the EPA [unintelligible]…

NEWS ANCHOR 2: Trump’s administration orders a media blackout.

PROTEST SPEAKER 2: We tell them, no more.

[group chanting] No bans, no walls. No bans…

PROTEST SPEAKER 3: We hear the ancestors telling us, it’s time for us to do something greater than anything our brain ever thought was possible.

PROTEST SPEAKER 4: This is the greatest uniting of bases of movements and of people that we’ve seen in the country in a very long time.

PROTEST SPEAKER 5: We will stand with those who are at the front.

PROTEST SPEAKER 6: Our oceans are not for sale to the highest oil and gas bidder.

[group chanting] Keep it in the ground! Keep it in the ground!

PROTEST SPEAKER 7: It’s about public health. It’s about jobs. It is about justice.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, activities are already underway in Washington, D.C., ahead of Saturday’s People’s Climate March. Thursday night, indigenous activists took over the intersection outside Trump International Hotel, shut it down by performing a round dance. This is Indigenous Environmental Network organizer Joye Braun.

JOYE BRAUN: What do you do when your earth is under attack?

JOYE BRAUN AND CROWD: Stand up, fight back!

JOYE BRAUN: What do you do when your mother is under attack?

JOYE BRAUN AND CROWD: Stand up, fight back!

JOYE BRAUN: What do you do when the water is under attack?

JOYE BRAUN AND CROWD: Stand up, fight back!

CROWD: [cheering]

JOYE BRAUN: It doesn’t matter what Trump does. Because in the end, we are going to still be standing. In the end, no matter what he tries to put through up there on the Hill, we’re going to overturn it. You have to have faith.

AMY GOODMAN: Democracy Now! will broadcast five hours of live coverage from the Climate March Saturday beginning 10:00 a.m. Eastern time. You can go to our website, Democracynow.org to tune in. But for more, we’re going to Washington, D.C., where we are joined by Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org. Usually here up in Vermont, at Middlebury College, where we were yesterday, but now in Washington for the Climate March. Bill, can you talk about, what are the plans?

BILL MCKIBBEN: Sure. Normally, Amy, I would rather be there in Vermont with you. But I got to say, Washington is pretty exciting right now. That round dance last night was amazing. And at the same time, or just before, there was a big party at the Hip Hop Caucus headquarters where Dr. Beverly Wright, the environmental justice pioneer, was honored and so was the great singer Antonique Smith. This town is starting to buzz. Saturday is going to be—Saturday is going to be intense, in part because they’re forecasting the hottest April 29 on record for Washington, D.C. It will be beautiful weather, but, please, bring a water bottle and some sunscreen and wear a hat. It can say something clever on it, but make sure it’s on top of your head. It’s going to be a remarkable day as people march and as people surround the White House and then sit down for a while. I guess people are saying it is going to be one of the biggest sit-downs if not one sit-ins, in the history of the nation’s capital. The message is, “We’re noticing.” We are well aware of what Trump has done in his first 100 days. And people are organized all over the place to fight back.

AMY GOODMAN: And talk about who is organizing this mass assembly and why you’re doing it now.

BILL MCKIBBEN: [laugh] Well, not me, in the first place. There’s hundreds of groups involved in this organizing. And they run the whole spectrum. In the lead, as usual, the environmental justice groups, indigenous groups, the people who have really been leading this fight from the start. A really big addition this time around is large, large participation by the labor movement. You know, people have tried to make out there is a split between environmentalism and labor over the years. And if that was ever true, it becomes less so all the time. Groups like SEIU and the nurses and the transportation workers and everybody just flooding in for this fight.

It is going to be—well, it is going to be not carried out in the hope that we can convince Donald Trump to do something different. We can’t. And the GOP in Congress, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the fossil fuel industry, isn’t going to do anything, either. We’re well aware of that. What we are doing is laying down the most serious of markers about the future. And one of the numbers that will be on everybody’s lips is 100, as in 100 percent renewable energy.

Yesterday, I stood with Jeff Merkley, the senator from Oregon, and Bernie Sanders, who I think may come from the very state you are in today. And they put forward really a landmark piece of legislation. For the first time, they said we need 100 percent renewable energy. Not, “We need some solar panels and we need some fracking wells.” Not the all of the above energy policy that the Obama administration favored. Instead, finally saying, we are ready to go, 100 percent. The technology is clearly there. The price of a solar panel keeps plummeting, which is why it is so absurd to watch Donald Trump try to somehow revive the expensive and dirty coal industry. We are ready to go, and now we have got I think what is going to be the flag around which progressives rally. Nothing less than 100 percent will do.

AMY GOODMAN: A new Washington Post article is headlined “The company behind the Dakota Access pipeline is in another controversy.” It details how Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, has now twice spilled drilling fluids in Ohio wetlands this month while constructing the $4.2 billion gas pipeline, the Rover pipeline, which is slated to stretch from Appalachia to Ontario, Canada. One of the spills included two million gallons of drilling fluid. Bill McKibben, your response?

BILL MCKIBBEN: I guess I can’t say that it comes as an enormous surprise, Amy. Look, there have been—from the—any pipeline company you look at—TransCanada or Energy Transfer Partners—they all have a long list of these kind of spills. Some of them a few thousand gallons, some a few hundred thousand gallons. That’s precisely why people at Standing Rock were so right to say, “Do not put this across our water supply. We know what will happen. We do not know the day that it will happen, but we know that it will happen.”

And that’s why people are standing up again to fight the Keystone pipeline in Nebraska and South Dakota and Montana. Everyone is well aware of what this industry is about. It engages not only in those kind of practices, polluting people’s water, but it has polluted our political life now for a quarter century.

One of the really powerful things that’s going on in this country right now is watching attorney generals like Eric Schneiderman in New York and Maura Healey in Massachusetts take on the oil companies that systematically have lied. Exxon is mainly in the crosshairs right now. That have systematically lied for a quarter century. And those cases are advancing. A New York judge has taken the Exxon case under her wing now and I think we are going to see remarkable disclosures about all of the things that they knew all along.

AMY GOODMAN: The significance of 410 parts per million. I mean, your group is called 350.org, based on 350 parts per million.

BILL MCKIBBEN: So, anything greater than 350 parts per million is more than the planet can safely deal with. It is what’s overwhelming our climate system. Because as you say, we’ve been going up about three parts per million per year. And two days ago, for the first time in we think at least 5 million years, the planet broached the 410 parts per million level. Now, it will go down for a while and then back up. And eventually, we will always be above 410, and then above 420, and above 430. We just keep pouring more carbon into the atmosphere. And the toll it is taking is now not some future or abstract threat. It’s what happens every day.

The latest numbers we have for March, they showed that March was the fourth warmest month that we have records on, dating back to the 1880s, and the warmest month in a non-El Niño period. That is to say, we’re kind of in a permanent El Niño now. The temperature is always elevated. March saw record lows for the date in global sea ice. That’s really, really scary. We are melting some of the biggest physical features on our earth.

But it is not just remote places. Pakistan, which is always a pretty hot place, crushed all its heat records a couple of weeks ago. It was 122 degrees in April. Up in Siberia, this year’s massive, massive wildfires began in April. These are not good signs. Not at all. Not for billions of people on this earth who are living close to the edge.

I think the place maybe to watch with the greatest worry right at the moment, and to try to help the most, may be those parts of Africa around Somalia that are enduring a climate-caused and really record-breaking drought. The Times said not long ago that it may be the greatest humanitarian crisis since the end of World War II. And of course, where humanitarian crises happen, so do political instability.

This is the world that we’re building and building fast. And it’s the world that people are trying somehow to slow down. That’s what this march on Saturday is about. That’s what this bill introduced yesterday by Merkley and Sanders are about. We’re looking for the cracks in the Death Star. Trying very hard to bring down this fossil fuel machine before it does any more damage.

AMY GOODMAN: Bill McKibben, President Donald Trump is set to sign an executive order today that would further expand offshore oil drilling in the Pacific, the Atlantic, and Arctic oceans. And President Trump also ordered this week a review of national monuments, potentially opening up millions of acres of public lands to drilling, mining, and logging. Trump said Wednesday his executive order was aimed at reversing Obama’s use of the 1906 Antiquities Act to protect federal land from development. The significance of these executive orders? Will he be able to move forward and do this?

BILL MCKIBBEN: He will be able to do some of it. I mean here, they spent part of the week talking about how they’re going to be trying to do more drilling for oil and gas in national parks. I mean, who wants to go look at Old Faithful when you can see a derrick pumping up and down someplace? Look, they’re doing everything they can on the Koch Brothers fossil fuel industry wish list. These guys have waited a long time for absolute power. They’ve got it. They are making the most of it.

The only piece of good news is it’s incredibly unpopular. Of all the unpopular things that Trump is doing, the polling shows that the one that’s most out of whack with Americans’ opinions are these attacks on the environment. And it means, too, that people are going to have to start stepping up a little bit in other places.

I noted this week that after an amazing six-year campaign by students and faculty and alumni, Harvard University, the richest and most famous educational institution on the planet, more or less announced that it was divesting from fossil fuel. Now it didn’t use those words because it would be too embarrassing, I guess, for it to back down on its strident position against divestment. But its investment managers said, “We’ve put a pause on fossil fuel investments, and we don’t think we will ever resume.”

I think one of the things that’s happening is that people are realizing that they can’t pass the buck to the government because the government, at least as far it comes to environmental protection, doesn’t exist. That they’re going to have to bite the bullet a little bit themselves. Look, there are no silver linings to Trumpism. This is an unmitigated disaster. But let’s hope that at least it helps people find their courage in this resistance. Saturday will be another episode in this ongoing saga of citizens stepping up. Citizenship has been out of fashion for some decades in our country, but now it is back in fashion. Weekends are for fighting tyranny. And that’s why it’s going to be really fun to see Democracy Now! and everybody else out on the Mall on Saturday.

AMY GOODMAN: Why does marching matter, in this last 30 seconds? And are these marches happening around the country?

BILL MCKIBBEN: Marches all over the country. They matter. It is a beautiful week of action. It began with the scientists marching last week, and marching about facts. And now it’s all the rest of us who aren’t scientists, but who can take those facts and use them to turn into action. That’s what we are marching for. The action’s not going to come in the short run from D.C. But we need to come together once in a while from all our work out in the world, fighting every pipeline and coal mine and backing every solar panel and windmill. We need to come together sometimes and show our strength, so that the Trump administration at its 100th day is under no illusions that people are somehow in a fog. We know absolutely what this guy is doing, and boy, are we pissed off about it.

AMY GOODMAN: Bill McKibben, thank you for being with us. Co-founder of 350.org. And that does it for our broadcast. We will be out on Saturday broadcasting five hours from the People’s Climate March starting at 10:00 a.m. Eastern standard Time. On Saturday night, I’ll be speaking at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, and on Sunday at Busboys and Poets. Then it’s on to Durham, North Carolina. On Monday night, I’ll be speaking at the Eno River Unitarian church at 7:00. On Tuesday, 6:30, I’ll be speaking at the Coral Gables Congregational Church in Miami. On Wednesday at 7:30 in United Methodist Church in Tampa. And beyond, check our website, democracynow.org. Thanks so much.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 30th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Washington (CNN) Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward of Watergate fame argued Saturday night that good journalism is more crucial to a free society than ever in a climate of increasing hostility between the White House and the press.

By Josiah Ryan, CNN

Sun April 30, 2017

WASHINGTON – APRIL 29: (AFP OUT) Comedian Stephen Colbert entertains guests at the White House Correspondents Dinner April 29, 2006 in Washington, DC.

Bob Woodward: The media is not fake news.

Carl Bernstein said Nixon targeted the media in an attempt to divert attention from his own misconduct

Bob Woodward offered a critical reflection on the state of the mainstream media in 2017

The speeches from the revered journalists came on the occasion of the first White House correspondents’ dinner since 1981 in which the sitting president did not attend.

Ronald Reagan missed the dinner that year while recovering from an assassination attempt, but delivered remarks by phone. Before that, Richard Nixon was the last president to skip the dinner.

Bernstein, a CNN contributor, led the remarks by saying that Nixon targeted the media in an attempt to divert attention from his own misconduct and that of his administration’s officials.

“Richard Nixon tried to make the conduct of the press more the issue in Watergate instead of the conduct of the President and his men,” Bernstein said, speaking to a sold-out crowd in the nation’s capital. “We tried to avoid the noise and let the reporting speak.”

Bernstein also addressed lying and secrecy in the Nixon White House, but stopped short of drawing a direct parallel to President Donald Trump’s administration.

“Almost inevitably, unreasonable government secrecy is the enemy and usually the giveaway about what the real story might be,” Bernstein said to applause. “When lying is combined with secrecy, there is usually a pretty good road map in front of us.”

He added, “Yes, follow the money but also follow the lies.”

Woodward offered a critical reflection on the state of the mainstream media in 2017, but also emphasized its key role in American democracy.

“Our reporting needs to get both fact and tones right,” he said. “The effort today to get the best obtainable version of the truth is largely made in good faith.”

Speaking to the absent Trump, he said, “Mr. President, the media is not fake news. Let’s take that off the table as we proceed. …


“Whatever the climate, whether the media is revered or reviled, we should and must persist, and I believe we will,” he said. “Any relaxation by the press will be extremely costly to democracy.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 29th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

THIS IS POSTING FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES ON-LINE. IT WAS WRITTEN OBVIOUSLY BEFORE TRUMPS’ SPEECH AT HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA WHICH WAS DESCRIBED BY THE PUNDITS AS A MOST DIVISIVE CAMPAIGN 2020 SPEECH. ONE OF THE PUNDITS SAID SHE FELT LIKE GOING TO TAKE A SHOWER AFTER HEARING THAT SPEECH. SO, WE RATHER POST THAT PREVIOUS MATERIAL THAT STILL HAD A MODICUM OF CIVILITY IN IT.

CNN – an outlet attacked today by Trump, writes: The threat from North Korea, getting a health care bill passed and possibly renegotiating the Paris climate accord were among the big talking points of Trump’s 58 minutes speech on his 100th day as President, which he delivered to his crowd in Harrisburg.

Among the crowd favorites at Trump rallies are the President’s attacks on the press, and this especially rang true at Saturday’s event because many members of the press were celebrating at the White House Correspondents’ dinner in what Trump calls the “swamp” of Washington — setting up a prime-time duel with what has become his No. 1 foe, the media. Another Trump foil
– a rather new one – was Senator Chuck Schumer who was told by Trump – he was a bad leader.

BUSINESS DAY

Trump Roars Again on Trade, Reviewing Steel and Chiding Canada

By MARK LANDLER APRIL 20, 2017

President Trump at the signing ceremony on Thursday for an order initiating a sweeping investigation into whether steel imports are harming America’s national security.

WASHINGTON — President Trump added a new name Thursday to the list of countries he accuses of preying on American workers and exploiting naïve American trade policies: Canada.

“What they’ve done to our dairy farm workers is a disgrace,” Mr. Trump said as he ordered a sweeping investigation into whether steel imports are harming America’s national security. “We can’t let Canada or anybody else take advantage and do what they did to our workers and to our farmers.”

Mr. Trump admitted he was going off script because the steel order is aimed at more familiar trade boogeymen like China and Japan. But his outburst in the Oval Office toward a friendly neighbor punctuated a week when tough talk on trade took center stage in a White House deeply divided over how aggressively to erect the trade barriers that Mr. Trump promised during his campaign.

From Mr. Trump’s “buy American, hire American” rallying cry in Wisconsin this week to Vice President Mike Pence’s warnings to Japan and South Korea about the need to rewrite trade deals, the Trump administration is moving against free trade on multiple fronts. A senior White House official said there would be two trade-related events a week for the next few weeks.

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“He’s manically focused on these trade issues,” said Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s chief strategist.

The flurry of activity amounts to a comeback by nationalists like Mr. Bannon, who views trade as crucial to Mr. Trump’s populist appeal but whose star has dimmed after clashes with globalist-minded aides like Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, and Gary D. Cohn, the former Goldman Sachs banker and lifelong Democrat who is head of the National Economic Council.

The outcome of the debate between nationalists and globalists remains far from settled. Last week the globalists appeared to be winning when the administration decided not to formally designate China a currency manipulator, despite Mr. Trump’s vow to do so during the campaign. Mr. Trump also offered President Xi Jinping of China other concessions on his trade agenda in return for China’s help in curbing North Korea’s nuclear program.

But the nationalists scored an early victory when Mr. Trump fulfilled one major trade promise only three days after taking office. He pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 12-nation trade pact negotiated by President Barack Obama, declaring that the era of multinational trade deals was over.

After that, the president’s “bark quieted down,” said Gary Clyde Hufbauer, a senior fellow and trade expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “Now the volume of the bark is going back up.”

“But these are still barks,” he added. “So far, no bites.”

Mr. Trump’s steel investigation is much broader than dozens of anti-dumping cases against China and other exporters filed by the Obama administration and its predecessors. It invokes a somewhat novel principle of using national security as the criterion for whether the imports are damaging the United States. The narrow argument is that a depleted American steel industry would be unable to produce enough steel to supply the military. More broadly, White House officials say an economically vibrant country is better able to defend itself.

It is unclear what steps Mr. Trump will take once the investigation is completed — within 270 days but probably sooner. The most obvious would be to impose tariffs on steel imports. Mr. Hufbauer said the United States could also use the results as leverage to persuade countries to accept voluntary export restraint agreements, such as those in the 1980s.

While the directive does not single out any country, the Chinese are clearly in the cross hairs. China accounts for only 2 percent of direct steel exports to the United States, but its excess capacity drives down steel prices worldwide. Surplus Chinese steel, shipped to other countries, ends up in the United States in other manufactured products. Mr. Ross noted that steel imports from China had continued to rise, despite the government’s pledge to cut back its overcapacity.

Still, the White House’s competing aims with China were on display as it rolled out the order.

When Mr. Trump was asked whether the investigation would affect his efforts to obtain Chinese cooperation on North Korea, he replied: “This has nothing to do with China. This has to do with worldwide, what’s happening. The dumping problem is a worldwide problem.”

Critics of the administration questioned its invocation of national security. Most of America’s largest steel suppliers are friendly countries, like Canada, South Korea and Germany. Analysts also noted that the value of steel imports declined 26 percent from 2015 to 2016, though the White House noted that imports rose 20 percent between February 2016 and February 2017.

“The U.S. has long criticized trading partners for abusively invoking national security as an excuse for trade protectionist actions, most recently China for its new cybersecurity law,” said Daniel M. Price, a trade adviser to President George W. Bush who is now at Rock Creek Global Advisors. “The administration’s action may render it subject to the same charge.”

Mr. Trump seemed unconcerned about that. Flanked by chief executives from American steel companies, he said the dumping of steel into the American market posed a threat not only to the economy but also to the military, which depends on steel for tanks, ships and planes.

“This is not an area where we can afford to be dependent on other countries,” Mr. Trump said. “We have a product where we actually need foreign countries to be nice to us in order to fight for our people. And that’s not going to happen any longer, believe me.”

In Asia, Mr. Pence brought a similarly blunt message, warning Japan and South Korea that the administration would seek new bilateral trade deals with them. Mr. Ross, a billionaire known for his hard-line trade views and investments in failing steel companies, joined Mr. Pence in Tokyo. The Japanese were sufficiently worried that they sought to exclude him from some of the higher-level meetings, an official said.

With Mr. Trump scheduled to attend a meeting of the Group of 7 countries in Sicily next month — his first foreign trip as president — some administration officials predicted that Mr. Cohn and Mr. Kushner would try again to moderate his language on trade.

But if Mr. Trump’s performance Thursday was any indication, he remains as seized by the subject as he was on the campaign trail. In two weeks, he noted, the White House will present its ideas for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“NAFTA, whether it’s Mexico or Canada, is a disaster for our country,” he said. “It’s a disaster, it’s a trading disaster.”

COMMENTS:
Mr. Trump’s disparagement of Nafta led to his unexpected sideswipe of Canada. The president had a cordial meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Mr. Trudeau even took his daughter, Ivanka, to a Broadway show. None of that spared the Canadians from the president’s anger over how they protect their dairy industry — an issue that flared up after 75 dairy farmers in Wisconsin lost their main milk buyer because of a trade dispute with Canada.

“I was in Wisconsin the other day,” Mr. Trump said. “What they’ve done to our farm workers is a disgrace. It’s a disgrace.”

A version of this article appears in print on April 21, 2017, on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: White House Roaring Again On Free Trade.

NEWS ANALYSIS
Behind Trump’s Trade Deficit Obsession: Deficient Analysis APRIL 5, 2017

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 29th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

MEDIA – THE NEW YORK TIMES

Fears of Revolt by Consumers Felled O’Reilly

By MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM and SAPNA MAHESHWARIAPRIL 20, 2017

President Trump’s public support of Bill O’Reilly intensified activists’ resolve to oust him from Fox News. Credit Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press

Just weeks ago, “The O’Reilly Factor” was home to at least 30 nationally broadcast commercials each night, with giant sponsors like Mercedes-Benz and Aleve. By last Tuesday, that number had dwindled to 10, mainly small-budget spots for a pain relief cream and a bedding retailer, MyPillow.com.

Days later, the Fox News star Bill O’Reilly was out — taking with him a payout of up to $25 million — a strikingly swift fall ushered in by an advertising exodus that rattled the highest reaches of the Fox empire and delivered an unsettling message to corporate America: You’re on notice.

Some staff members expressed frustration that Mr. O’Reilly received such a lucrative package after being ousted over sexual harassment allegations.

In an era when outrage can be easily channeled online, major brands are well aware of the risk of revolts from consumers who are increasingly savvy about hitting companies where it hurts. Brands are not waiting to dissociate themselves from thorny issues that might alienate their customers, be it Mr. O’Reilly’s behavior or a North Carolina law against transgender bathrooms.

Bill O’Reilly Payout Could Be as High as $25 Million APRIL 20, 2017

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Bill O’Reilly Is Forced Out at Fox News APRIL 19, 2017

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“The allegations are disturbing,” a Mercedes spokeswoman, Donna Boland, said in a blunt statement after the company pulled its “O’Reilly Factor” ads. “Given the importance of women in every aspect of our business, we don’t feel this is a good environment in which to advertise our products right now.”

Lost revenue is one matter and tarnished reputation another. If the financial fallout from the O’Reilly backlash was relatively minor — many advertisers simply shifted their spending to other Fox News programs — it was difficult to ignore the public image of at least 50 major brands withdrawing support from the network’s most popular host.

Companies are “a bit on edge about how they engage and react in this moment,” said Rashad Robinson, executive director of Color of Change, an online racial justice group that encouraged its million-plus members to protest Mr. O’Reilly’s behavior.

“On the one hand, they’re trying to reach a broad audience, and on the other, they’re trying to maintain a loyal consumer base and loyal employees,” he said in an interview. “Placing their brands next to figures or platforms that don’t have to adhere to the same standards their employees do can often lead to problems.”

Numerous social-media-savvy groups are capitalizing on that to potent effect, both to expose where advertisers are placing their ads and to mobilize people into registering their concerns. The online boycott campaign #GrabYourWallet, aimed at brands tied to President Trump, has pressured companies like Nordstrom and T.J. Maxx to stop carrying products connected to Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter.

Uber, the popular ride-sharing app, came under fire after accusations that it tried to profit from a protest against President Trump’s executive order barring refugees and immigrants from certain countries from entering the United States. A trending hashtag, #DeleteUber, prompted thousands of users to dump the app; Uber’s chief executive later stepped down from a position on Mr. Trump’s economic advisory council.

In interviews, leaders of the online campaign to topple Mr. O’Reilly said they believed that while Fox News management would stand behind its star anchor, the network might be vulnerable to other pressures. Shareholders and the executives at its multinational parent company, 21st Century Fox, could be more attuned to the consequences of a large-scale advertising strike.

A demonstrator with Color of Change, an online social justice group, outside the headquarters of News Corp and Fox News in Midtown Manhattan on Thursday.
Credit Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“You need to be able to mobilize supporters to mount enough public pressure that they feel they need to respond,” Angelo Carusone, the president of the liberal website Media Matters and a veteran of advertiser boycott campaigns, said of Fox News. “You’re actually making a business case that keeping him on is inherently risky.”

Shannon Coulter, a founder of #GrabYourWallet, said that consumers — women, in particular — were realizing their own power.

“There’s this growing consciousness that our consumer dollars are basically funding our own oppression in some cases,” Ms. Coulter said in an interview. “That we are the customers of companies that are buying advertising that supports workplace environments that support serial sexual harassment.”

She added: “There’s a lot of dots being connected right now between consumers and companies. And the ease of contacting a company through social media is fueling it and adding gasoline to the fire.”

Mr. O’Reilly’s downfall started this month, shortly after The New York Times reported that he had settled with five women over claims of harassment and inappropriate behavior. Mr. O’Reilly has denied the allegations against him.

Even veteran activists were taken aback by how swiftly the company responded.

In the early years of the Obama administration, Color of Change slowly mounted pressure on advertisers to distance themselves from Glenn Beck, then a Fox News provocateur. This time around, the group spent only two and a half weeks on its anti-O’Reilly effort.

“Our effort around Glenn Beck took two years and hundreds of advertisers,” Mr. Robinson said.

He said that many of his members drew a direct connection between Mr. O’Reilly’s behavior and that of President Trump, who defied allegations of sexual harassment and assault to win the election. The fact that Mr. Trump publicly defended Mr. O’Reilly, calling him “a good person” during an Oval Office interview, only intensified the activists’ resolve.

“That further inflamed the grass roots, and women in general,” said Letitia James, the New York City public advocate, who organized protests outside Fox News’s Manhattan headquarters and has called for further investigations into the network’s workplace culture.

At the time of his final show on Fox News, Mr. O’Reilly was scoring some of his highest Nielsen ratings in years and remained the No. 1 draw on cable news. But the cultural and corporate pressures on his employer won out.

Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research, said Fox News probably recognized that installing a replacement anchor for Mr. O’Reilly would not necessarily lead to a giant drop-off in viewers.

And even if advertisers had stuck with Mr. O’Reilly, Mr. Wieser added, the situation raised other questions. “Is it harder to attract talent at Fox because of O’Reilly’s presence, or is it harder to book on-air guests?” he said. “Or is morale so low such that people are unproductive because they feel there’s a risk that’s looming?”

News of Mr. O’Reilly’s departure was met with jubilation by some online activist groups, including Sleeping Giants, a popular Twitter account created in November to pressure brands into removing ads that appear on Breitbart News. The anonymously run account had extended its mission this month, urging advertisers to pull sponsorship from Mr. O’Reilly’s show.

“Thanks to all of the Giants, the many collaborators and the advertisers who stood up to sexual harassment,” the group wrote in a Twitter post on Wednesday. “You did this.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 29th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

On a sweltering hot day, tens of thousands of demonstrators assembled in Washington on Saturday for the latest installment of the regular protests that punctuate the Trump era.

People marched from the U.S. Capitol to the White House to demand action on climate change.

This large-scale climate march marks President Trump’s first 100 days in office, which have been punctuated by multiple rollbacks of environmental protections and Obama climate policies.

Thousands braved weather to protest climate policies on Trump’s 100th day

Across the U.S., thousands of people participated in the Peoples Climate March to protest President Donald Trump’s environmental policies.

Thousands of people across the U.S. marched in rain, snow and sweltering heat to demand action on climate change — mass protests that coincided with President Donald Trump’s 100th day in office and took aim at his agenda for rolling back environmental protections.

The marches were for Climate, Jobs, and Justice.

At the marquee event, the Peoples Climate March in Washington, D.C., tens of thousands of demonstrators made their way down Pennsylvania Avenue on their way to encircle the White House as temperatures soared into the 90s.

Organizers said about 300 sister marches or rallies were being held around the country, including in Seattle, Boston and San Francisco.

A wet spring snow fell in Denver, where several hundred activists posed in the shape of a giant thermometer for a photograph and a dozen people rode stationary bikes to power the loudspeakers. In Chicago, a rain-soaked crowd of thousands headed from the city’s federal plaza to Trump Tower.

“We are here because there is no Planet B,” the Rev. Mariama White-Hammond of Bethel AME Church told a rally in Boston.


The Peoples Climate March, which originated with a massive demonstration in New York in September 2014, picked a symbolically striking day for its 2017 event. Temperatures could exceed 90 degrees and possibly set a record for April 29 in the District, which would amplify the movement’s message.


On the eve of the march, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it was beginning an overhaul of its website, which included taking down a long-standing site devoted to the science of climate change, which the agency said was “under review.”

“Hang on EPA, the midterms are coming. 2018,” read one sign carried by Kathy Sommer of Stony Brook, N.Y, as the protest assembled on the National Mall Saturday morning.

“There is no Planet B,” read another sign by Eva Gunther of Washington, D.C.

Many of the signs at Saturday’s climate march were dark and ominous, warning of climate catastrophe, dying oceans, crop destruction and planet degradation. But the mood of the marchers was anything but somber. Tens of thousands gathered all morning in the lush green National Mall in front of the US Capitol carrying signs, singing and chanting as they prepared to march to the White House. It was a racially diverse crowd with marchers of all ages.

The marchers came prepared with water bottles, hats and sun screen. They also arrived with sunny dispositions. “It’s beautiful,” said Allison Dale, a geologist from Conshohocken, Pa. “it’s so well organized and everyone is really friendly and in a really good mood.”

Impromptu concerts broke out as protesters waited for the march to begin. A brass band played as a stiltwalker danced past. Tambourine shakers and drummers added to the joyful cacophony. Their reason for marching was serious but they were determined to have a good time too.


The climate event differs from last week’s March for Science in its focus and also its participants — only 1 out of 8 contingents of this Saturday’s protest featured scientific researchers. The rest included labor activists, indigenous people already facing severe effects from climate change, and children and young people who will live with the effects of climate change longest as the Earth continues to warm.

Hank Moore, a member of the Alabama Sierra Club, traveled from Montgomery to participate in the Peoples Climate March in Washington, D.C. Moore, who’s retired from the Alabama Army National Guard, has three sons in the service and is concerned about their future and his grandchildren’s future. (Joshua Yospyn/for The Washington Post)

But there’s plenty of overlap between the marches. Ken Hunter, 78, traveled from Charlestown, W.Va. for this morning’s march. He also came to Washington for the March for Science last weekend and the Tax March on April 15 — and attended a Women’s March in Florida.

“Hell, I haven’t marched this much in years,” Hunter said with a laugh. “But these are all very important issues and it was important to be out here.”

The motivation for the current climate march is clear: The young Trump administration already has moved to roll back former president Barack Obama’s signature climate initiative, the Clean Power Plan, and Trump and his team have taken many other actions to weaken environmental protections of air and water, and to enable fossil fuel exploitation on public lands and waters.

The administration is grappling with a major climate policy decision: whether to remain in the Paris climate agreement.

Several of Trump’s Cabinet picks are advising against following through on his campaign pledge to “cancel” the accord.


It all adds up to a big contrast with the original People’s Climate March in 2014. That event was aimed at rallying support for climate change action and preceded by about a year the Paris climate agreement. This event is much more targeted at resisting rollbacks of climate efforts. Celebrity attendees include Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Gore and Richard Branson.

The focus on Trump was not necessarily intentional: In a press statement, Paul Getsos, national coordinator of the People’s Climate Movement, said the event was planned “before the election.”

For Ethan Fekete, Saturday’s climate march was the first protest he has taken part in.

“Ironically we march to get rid of our carbon footprint,” said the 13 year-old Virginia Beach resident who attended the march with his dad and a friend.

“It’s so much more than just a bunch of people walking around,” Fekete said. “The signs are so creative and everyone is here for a good cause.”

Marchers on Saturday gathered at the Capitol and marched along Pennsylvania Avenue. They covered the entire width of the avenue and its length from the Capitol to 14th Street. The crowd filled Pennsylvania Avenue and the sidewalks carrying signs decrying the president and his actions on the environment.

‘Shame!’: Demonstrators chant as they pass Trump Hotel

The marchers unleashed their anger as they passed directly in front of the Trump Hotel where they booed loudly and chanted “Shame!”and “We want a leader, not a creepy tweeter!” and “we will not go away, welcome to your 100 days!”

As the march streamed towards the White House, Freedom Plaza, an open area along Pennsylvania Avenue, provided an off ramp for sweltering protesters. At the far end of the plaza a series of six large water tanks awaited. Activists lined up to refill their bottles and, in a few cases, douse their heads.

The protesters were vociferous but peaceful. Interactions with the phalanx of police officers who stood at barriers in front of the hotel were friendly, with many protesters stopping to get pictures of themselves with officers.


They planned to “surround” the White House, according to the march website, and “make a loud sound demanding climate justice and good jobs that will drown out all of the climate-denying nonsense that has been coming out of this Administration.”

On the western side of the White House near the Old Executive Office building, the march changed character as it completed a loop around the center of U.S. presidential power. Instead of being densely packed and full of energy, the protesters grew more widely spaced out and slower in their strides. Some took a detour behind the White House and paused to sit in the shade on the grass between the South Lawn and the Ellipse.

Organizers told the National Park Service that they expect 50,000 to 100,000 attendees. More than 375 satellite marches were planned around the United States and even more around the world, from Manila to Amsterdam.

Getting to the march proved frustrating for many who chose to use public transportation. Metro officials did not make changes to their planned maintenance schedule, which affected several downtown stations that would normally be used by riders headed to the National Mall. In some instances, shuttle buses replaced trains. Many marchers complained the service was slow and were confused about where to board shuttle buses.

“Classic #wmata greatness while there are major events going on at once,” tweeted on disgruntled rider who included a screenshot that showed a 37-minutes wait for a Shady Grove train.

Those who used the Red Line also ran into problems Saturday morning when smoke from an arcing insulator at the Woodley Park stop forced the agency to single-track trains between that station and Van Ness, causing mid-morning delays. Those delays were in addition to previously planned single-tracking between two downtown stations, Judiciary Square and Farragut North. But officials said they planned to resume full Red Line service between Judiciary Square and Farragut North around 3 p.m. to accommodate people leaving the Climate March and those headed to the Capitals playoff game.

Even so, Metro officials said they did not anticipate significant problems.

“We believe that planned service will be more than adequate to accommodate ridership demand,” said Richard L. Jordan, a Metro spokesman.

The forecast Saturday is for temperatures to reach as high as the low 90s. The current record for the date is 91 degrees, while this month already is the warmest April on record for the District.

On April 22, seven of the 21 kids who are suing the federal government for failing to address climate change attended the March for Science in Washington, D.C. (McKenna Ewen/The Washington Post) Joe Heim and Lori Aratani contributed to this report.

Read more on Washington Post:

Back-to-back marches? Organizers insist there’s no competition

Atom-smashing scientists are unnerved by harsh Trump budget

Metro adds Red Line to weekend track work list, adding more disruption to busy weekend in D.C.

How is this weekend’s climate march different from its predecessor? ‘Now, the task is full-on resistance.’

These giant protest signs of famous women and environmentalists will brighten the Climate March

Donald Trump interrupted a screening of ‘Rogue One.’ Mark Hamill had a forceful response.
The 65-year-old actor, best known for playing Luke Skywalker, has consistently and publicly made fun of President Trump and his administration.

Please see also:  www.cnn.com/2017/04/29/us/climate…

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 29th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Donald TrumpTrump’s first 100 days

TRUMP WILL CELEBRATE 100 DAYS IN OFFICE – AWAY FROM A WASHINGTON DC UNDER THE PEOPLE’S ASSAULT – WITH A FRIENDLY CROWD IN HARRISBURG’, PENNSYLVANIA.

His office announced on April 29, 2017: Looking forward to RALLY in the Great State of Pennsylvania tonight at 7:30. Big crowd, big energy!

Trump appeals for loyalty as 100th day fanfare threatens to fall flat.

President prepares for Saturday night rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, as adviser Steve Bannon is thought to be behind focus on economic issues.

On his 100th day in office, facing a historically low popularity rating, a succession of intractable foreign crises and multiple investigations of his links with Moscow, Donald Trump reminded the nation that 1 May was Loyalty Day.

Donald Trump’s first 100 days: a guide to the successes, the failures – and the tweets

The day is an American tradition dating back to the Cold War, when it was a bolster to stop May Day becoming a rallying point for socialists and unionised workers. But for an embattled president learning on the job, it has an added resonance.


Making his remarks in an interview with Fox News, timing with the 100-day mark, Trump also declared himself “disappointed” with congressional Republicans – despite his many “great relationships” with them.


Regarding his lack of signature legislative achievement, he blamed the constitutional checks and balances built in to US governance. “It’s a very rough system,” he said. “It’s an archaic system … It’s really a bad thing for the country, stresses The Guardian.”

The Loyalty Day announcement came amid a flurry of other proclamations to mark a milestone at which presidencies are traditionally measured. The coming seven days were named both National Charter Schools Week and Small Business Week. May has been burdened with being National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, Older Americans Month, Jewish American Heritage Month, National Foster Care Month and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
{All this we guess as an outcome of trying to do away with the International Marxist Labor Day.}

Such announcements are always a mechanism to help a president look busy – doubly so for an inexperienced politician rapidly learning the limits of presidential power even with a solid Republican majority in Congress.


Trump has failed to get any of his priorities turned into legislation in the face of party disunity, and his attempt to rule by executive order has been largely hollow. His decrees have been either meaningless, like his one-page, detail-free tax reform plan, or have been been blocked by the courts, like his two attempts to impose a travel ban on refugees and travellers from some Muslim-majority countries.

In what is supposed to be a honeymoon period, the president’s approval rating has remained mired at historic lows, hovering around and frequently below 40%, well below recent predecessors at this stage.


One nation, two Trumps: America as divided as ever after first 100 days


But his core supporters have remained faithful, choosing to believe that the mainstream media is a purveyor of fake news rather than accept that Trump has not been the unrivalled success he has claimed. They have also accommodated Trump’s affinity for Vladimir Putin. The percentage of Republicans who see Russia as an unfriendly state has fallen from 82% in 2014 to 41%, according to a CNN/ORC poll.
{This being a very dangerous reality that some in Europe think of as a reminder of the Stalin-Hitler entente}


Claims versus realities:


On his 100th day, Trump turned to this loyal base and trumpeted the issue that bonds them most tightly – economic nationalism. On an otherwise leisurely Saturday, in which his only other engagement was a morning call with the CIA director, Mike Pompeo, the president was due to attend an evening rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a state in which disenchanted workers defected from the Democrats in droves in the 2016 election.

While visiting the town – and skipping the media’s White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington – he was due to sign an executive order to establish an office of trade and manufacturing policy, which will help push his drive for import substitution.

Trump’s weekly presidential address focused on jobs, repeating his claim that his first 100 days “has been just about the most successful in our country’s history” and pointing to evidence of an economic revival that has been previously suggested to be a result of corporate decisions made before Trump came to office.

In his address, Trump claimed that car companies were “roaring back in”, an apparent reference to General Motors’ plans and Ford’s decision to expand in Michigan, which both appear to be part of long-term strategy.

Trump also claimed that his approval of the Keystone oil pipeline from Canada would create tens of thousands of jobs. That will be true in the short term, during construction. After that, keeping the pipeline going is expected to employ 35 people on a permanent basis.


Le Pen, Putin, Trump: a disturbing axis, or just a mutual admiration society?


The gap between the extreme bravado of Trump’s claims and the daily realities of governing has deepened public cynicism. In a new Gallup poll, just 36% declared the president honest and trustworthy, down from 42 in early February. His general approval rating stood at 40%.


There is strong evidence however that fact-checking of presidential claims is having a small and dwindling impact on true Trump loyalists. Support remains strong in blue collar areas and evangelical strongholds, where there is more trust in the president than the mainstream media.

The president has relentless assaulted the media, launching an attack per day on average, denouncing negative news as “fake news”. There are signs the offensive has inflicted wounds. One poll released on Friday found that more people trusted the White House than political journalists.

Against that background there were reports on Saturday that Steve Bannon, the champion of economic and ethnic nationalism, is making a political comeback in the White House, and that he remains a bulwark of Trump’s strategy to secure his core support and win again in 2020.

Bannon’s hand has been seen behind the rapid-burst issue of protectionist moves in the run up to the 100th day, including picking fights with Canada over milk and softwood imports and measures to shield the aluminium industry from foreign competition.

“All of these people who say the president doesn’t have an ideology, they’re wrong,” one unnamed Bannon ally told The Hill. “He does have an ideology, and it’s Bannon’s ideology. They are just now figuring out how to implement it.”

Bannon was also said to have drafted an executive order withdrawing the US from the North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA). Trump chose simply to issue a call for its renegotiation on Thursday, reportedly after having been shown a map showing it would cost the most jobs in states that had supported him in the election.


The battle between countervailing factions in the Trump White House continues to ebb and flow, but the president’s reflex in times of adversity is to fall back on the “America First” nativist message that got him elected in the first place.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 29th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From the list of mportant News in The New York Times of Tuesday April 25, 2017:

• The middle class grew in Western Europe even as it shrank in the U.S. over the last two decades, according to a new study.

• The Spanish and Brazilian governments plan an undersea fiber optic cable in the Atlantic Ocean, to improve internet speed for both sides and route traffic outside the reach of U.S. intelligence agencies.

• Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and Ivanka Trump, the U.S. president’s daughter and adviser, will share a stage at the W20 Summit in Berlin today. [Politico]

• U.S. embassies posted, but later removed, an article praising President Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Fla., Mar-a-Lago. [The New York Times]

ECONOMY

Middle Class Contracted in U.S. Over 2 Decades, Study Finds
By NELSON D. SCHWARTZAPRIL 24, 2017
Continue reading the main storyShare This Page

U.S. Steel’s Granite City Works in Illinois – the plant was idled in 2015. Some displaced employees found new work, but often it paid much less than their jobs at the mill had, forcing them to adjust. “I’ve had to rethink my whole life to make ends meet on what I’m now making,” Mike McCabe, a former U.S. Steel worker, said. Credit Luke Sharrett for The New York Times
Mike McCabe’s neighbors in rural Gillespie, Ill., consider him lucky. After being out of work for a year, he landed a job in January making cardboard boxes at a nearby Georgia-Pacific plant for $19.60 an hour.

He would agree with them, were it not for the fact that his previous job in a steel mill near St. Louis paid $28 an hour. “I’ve had to rethink my whole life to make ends meet on what I’m now making,” Mr. McCabe said. “The middle class is struggling for sure, and almost anybody in my position will tell you that.”

Middle-class Americans have fared worse in many ways than their counterparts in economically advanced countries in Western Europe in recent decades, according to a study released Monday by the Pew Research Center.

What is more, as Mr. McCabe’s experience suggests, the authors of the Pew study found a broader contraction of the American middle class, even as the ranks of the poor and the rich have grown.

Where Trump Sees Economic ‘Disaster,’ Experts See Something More Complex JAN. 5, 2017

INCOMES AND OUTCOMES
The Economic Expansion Is Helping the Middle Class, Finally SEPT. 13, 2016

Middle-Income Jobs Finally Show Signs of a Rebound AUG. 18, 2016

A SHIFTING MIDDLE
Middle Class, but Feeling Economically Insecure APRIL 10, 2015

“Compared with the Western European experience, the adult population in the U.S. is more economically divided,” said Rakesh Kochhar, associate director for research at Pew. “It is more hollowed out in the middle. This speaks to the higher level of income inequality in the United States.”

For example, between 1991 and 2010, the proportion of adults in middle-income households fell to 59 percent from 62 percent, while it rose to 67 percent from 61 percent over the same period in Britain and to 74 percent from 72 percent in France.

Households that earned from two-thirds to double the national median income were defined as middle income in the Pew study; in the United States that translated into annual income of $35,294 to $105,881, after taxes, in 2010.

A shrinking middle class is not necessarily cause for alarm, if the reason for the contraction is that more people are moving up the income ladder, said David Autor, a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The proportion at the top did rise, but so did the proportion at the bottom, rising to 26 percent from 25 percent. That is much more worrisome, said Mr. Autor, who was not involved with the Pew study.

Moreover, the middle-income group was smaller — and the groups at either extreme larger — in the United States than in any of the 11 Western European countries studied.

And incomes in the middle rose faster in Europe than they did in the United States, according to Pew. Median incomes in the middle tier grew by 9 percent in the United States between 1991 and 2010, compared with a 25 percent gain in Denmark and a 35 percent increase in Britain.

The United States, including the middle class, has a higher median income than nearly all of Europe, even if the Continent is catching up. The median household income in the United States was $52,941 after taxes in 2010, compared with $41,047 in Germany and $41,076 in France.

And while inequality may be widening, the proportion of households in the upper-income strata rose to 15 percent from 13 percent.

“Financially, the U.S. remains well ahead of the countries in Europe,” Mr. Kochhar said. “The difference is how incomes have evolved, and they are catching up.”

Although the cutoff of the study, 2010, may have highlighted weak income gains because it was in the immediate aftermath of the Great Recession, he said that was not enough to alter the study’s findings.

“It’s a clear trend that the middle class in the U.S. is shrinking and not keeping up financially with the upper-income group,” he said. “There is an aura of redistribution of income from middle income to upper income.”
[and we note this predates Trump – and we must add that it helped create Trump – the study in our opinio does not do full justice to the numbers it came up with.]

The study acknowledges that “middle class” can connote more than just income — like a college education, white-collar work, economic security, homeownership or even self-image — but for the purposes of the study, it was defined by income.

Whether in Europe or the United States, technological change and globalization mean that people who can adapt and learn new skills can reap bigger rewards, Mr. Kochhar said.

Since founding LaSalle Network, a staffing company based in Chicago, with two employees nearly 20 years ago, Tom Gimbel has watched revenues grow to a projected $70 million this year.

“I know a lot of people who have done much better in the last five years,” he said. “I have people working for me who made $35,000 to $60,000 a few years ago and are earning $60,000 to $150,000 now.”

Mr. Gimbel, who grew up in a comfortable Chicago suburb, has seen his own fortunes improve as well. “We didn’t want for anything, but my dad wasn’t rolling in money,” he said. “I’ve succeeded beyond where my parents were.”

On both sides of the Atlantic, the pressure on the middle class is translating into frustration with the political establishment and distrust of the elites.

Like his father and uncle, Mr. McCabe worked at the U.S. Steel mill in Granite City, Ill. But after the plant was idled in late 2015, he looked for a new job rather than waiting to be called back if the economy improved.

As a result, Mr. McCabe voted for Donald J. Trump in the presidential election last year, even though he grew up in what he calls a staunchly Democratic home. “My dad is probably rolling over in his grave,” he said.

“But I liked Trump’s message that he was going to help the middle class and get the jobs back,” Mr. McCabe said. “I was amazed that he won, and sat up all night watching.”

“You can only wait so long, and your unemployment runs out and you run out of choices,” he added. “I’m divorced with no kids. For people with kids, I can only imagine how tough they got it.”


Spain, Brazil plan subsea fiber optic cable by 2019

Reuters

SAO PAULO, April 24 (Reuters) – The Spanish and Brazilian governments have teamed up to lay an undersea cable in the Atlantic Ocean to offer fast online and cloud services to citizens of both countries by 2019, underscoring efforts to rout communications outside North America.

The EllaLink subsea cable will connect to data centers in Madrid and São Paulo, as well as in Lisbon, using shielded fiber rings, officials said on Monday. The cable will also connect the archipelagoes of Madeira, Spain’s Canary Islands and Africa’s Cape Verde along the route, they added.

At an event in São Paulo, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said the venture to build the first subsea fiber optic cable linking Europe to Brazil should help improve data security and privacy by routing calls and internet navigation outside the reach of the United States.

The idea gained traction almost four years after former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and other officials were target of personal and economic espionage by U.S. intelligence agencies.

Documents leaked by former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden in 2013 showed the U.S. National Security Agency had tapped Rousseff’s telephone calls and those of millions of other Brazilians.

The 9,200 km-long (5,700-mile), 72-terabytes-per-second- capacity subsea cable is about seven times the size of existing communications capacity between Latin America and the rest of the world, said Alfonso Gajate, president of EulaLink, one of the partners in the venture. No cost estimates were provided.

The only existing direct link between Europe and South America is a 20-Gb copper cable laid in 1999 by a consortium of voice operators. (Reporting by Brad Haynes; Writing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 29th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

On Saturday April 22, 2017, Earth Day, Scientists and their related fields, marched in New York – on Central Park West Avenue and Broadway – down to Times Square.

A week later – Saturday, April 29, 2017, there is no major march in Manhattan, New York, but all efforts are directed to Washington DC for what becomes a People’s March on Washington –
a march for Jobs, the Earth, Climate, and Decency. It happens on the 100th day since the Trump inaugural – and stretches out before our eyes and minds the dangers of a full four years term of this science-devoid President.

SCIENCE is REAL – The FACTS are with SCIENCE.
A scientific theory isn’t just a hunch or guess –
It’s more like a question that’s been put through a lot of tests.

And when a theory emerges consistent with the facts,
The Proof is witH Science – The truth is with Science.

In Science we Trust – Science is not just an Alternate Fact.

NO SCIENCE IS NON-SENSE. Science, Reason, Knowledge, Trump Stupidity or Opinion.
SCIENCE NOT SILENCE – Resist Stupidity

PRO FACTS – WE ARE NOT SLAVES TO FOSSIL FUEL – SCIENCE TRUMPS POLITICS.

“WHEN ICEBERGS ARE CRACKING IT IS NOT FUNNY.” This was the wording on a poster carried
down New York’s Broadway by an active 8-years young boy who MARCHED with his mom – a university person. She said he picked those words.

THERE IS NO PLANET B – EDUCATE WASHINGTON. GOP – DON’T FLUSH OUR EARTH AWAY.
REMEMBER – PLANET NOT PROFIT. MAKE AMERICA SUSTAINABLE FOR EVERYONE.

Above all – Remember – “SCIENCE MAKES AMERICA GREAT” – DEFEND OUR PLANET – WE LIVE HERE.

THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON CAN BASICALLY BE SUMMED UP AS: “CLIMATE SCIENCE IS REAL – TRUMP IS FAKE.

For the April 29, 2017 People’s March on Washington – please see also:
 www.cnn.com/2017/04/29/us/climate…

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 26th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

WRI Digest – THE WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE – WASHINGTON DC
Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Climate Science, Explained in 10 Graphics

Thousands of people are expected to attend this weekend’s People’s Climate Movement march.

Kelly Levin lays out the facts — what we know about climate change today, and what impacts we can expect in the future. Learn more at www.wri.org/blog/2017/04/climate-…

White House

Timeline: Trump’s 100 Days of Rollbacks to Climate Action
In the 100 days since President Donald Trump took office, his administration has embarked on an all-out assault on the environment. A new timeline documents rollbacks, budget cuts and more. Learn more at – www.wri.org/blog/2017/04/timeline…

The Man Who Stopped the Mine. Q&A with a 2017 Goldman Environmental Prize Winner
He endured kidnappings, assaults and attacks. But after more than a decade of protests and court battles, Prafulla Samantara stopped an open-pit mine from displacing India’s Dongria Kondh tribe from their sacred lands. Learn more at – www.wri.org/blog/2017/04/man-who-…

The Restoration Revolution = JOBS

There are 2 billion hectares of degraded land around the globe, explains WRI Board member Felipe Calderón, former president Of Mexico. Restoring it could not only put food on the table, it could create hundreds of thousands of jobs. Learn more at –
 www.wri.org/blog/2017/04/restorat…

UPCOMING EVENTS

Gearing Up for the People’s Climate March
Washington, DC
April 28, 2017

Greening Governance Seminar Series: Tipping Points in Global Environmental Policy
Washington, DC
May 2, 2017

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 26th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The Society for International Development (SID) welcomes Larry Cooley as its new President

The SID Secretariat is pleased to announce that Larry Cooley has been elected President of the SID International Governing Council.

Larry Cooley founded MSI, now a part of Tetra Tech, in 1981 and served as its President until March 2015. Mr. Cooley is a specialist in strategic management, public sector performance and organizational development.


He has served as an advisor to cabinet officials in a wide range of federal agencies and in more than a dozen countries. In addition to his new role in SID, he serves on the Boards of Directors of the National Academy of Public Administration, Elma Philanthropies, and World Learning; curates a global community of practice on scaling up development outcomes; and serves on the Advisory Boards of Millions Learning and Georgetown University’s program in Democracy and Governance.

In the coming years, Mr. Cooley believes that SID will play an increasingly important role as a platform for collaboration and discussion. “In these turbulent and challenging times, we need more than ever a venue for civil discourse, honest debate, and constructive engagement about our common future,” said Cooley. “That has been SID’s contribution to the development discourse for 60 years and the role I hope we can continue to play in helping to shape and advance a global conversation about issues like globalization and protectionism, inequality, financing for development, and global climate change.”

Mr. Cooley steps into his new role after 13 years of service in various SID leadership positions, including seven years on the board of SID Washington Chapter and six years on the Governing Council of SID International. He takes over from Ambassador Juma Volter Mwapachu of Tanzania who served as President of the Society from 2011, and whose exemplary leadership is deeply appreciated.

Mr. Cooley holds a master’s in Economics from Columbia University, an MPA in Public Policy from Princeton, and an M.Phil. in Management from the UK’s Cranfield School of Management.


About SID
:
The Society for International Development (SID) is an international network of individuals and organizations with an interest in people-centered development policy, governance, research and dialogue. Since its creation in 1957, SID has consistently been at the forefront of reappraising prevalent development ideas and has confronted the theory and practice of development, challenging existing practices and suggesting alternative approaches. Over the years, three values have been – and remain – at the core of the Society’s work – respect for diversity, participation and equity, all framed in the overall context of human rights. The SID International Secretariat has offices in Rome, Italy and Nairobi, Kenya.

For further information, please contact the SID Secretariat:
Tel.: +39 06 4872172 | Email:  sidinfo at sidint.org

Will the Secretariat mov move from Rome to Washington DC?

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 22nd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Science in America
By Neil deGrasse Tyson,
Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Facebook Page
22 April 2017
The Day We Marched for Science

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American astrophysicist, author, and science communicator.
Since 1996, he has been the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at
the Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York City.

A century ago Albert Einstein laid the theoretical foundation for the laser. Many will argue that all science should be practical, with tangible stated benefits to society. But history shows this posture to be frankly, naïve. When Einstein derived his equations, I’d bet neither he nor anyone else was thinking “Barcodes!” or “Lasik Surgery!” or “Rock Concerts!”

Consider the 1920s, when quantum physics was discovered. It was obscure and esoteric in its day, but now, there’s no creation, storage, or retrieval of digital information without an understanding of the quantum. By some measures, IT drives more than one third of the world’s GDP. Delay that research two decades, you might only now be getting your first email account. Cancel it altogether for being frivolous, and the AM radio continues as a major item of furniture in your living room.

Science has only one goal: to determine the world’s objective truths. Meanwhile, like anybody else, scientists are susceptible to bias that can distort one’s own observations and judgments. Self-aware, scientists specifically constructed methods and tools to minimize, if not remove entirely, the chance that a researcher thinks something is true that is not, or that something is not true that is. Furthermore, you’re famous overnight if you can show conclusively that someone else’s idea is wrong. Yes, the entire enterprise thrives on built-in, error-checking mechanisms.

This means scientific truths emerge by consensus — not of opinion, but of observations and measurements — rendering the research that falls outside of consensus the shakiest possible grounds on which to base policy. Politics is not a foundation on which you base your science. Science is a foundation on which you base your politics, lest you undermine a functioning, informed democracy.

In 1862 Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, understood this. A time when he clearly had other concerns, Lincoln creates the Land-grant university system, transforming education and agriculture in America. And in 1863 he creates the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), an independent, multidisciplinary group of researchers tasked with advising our government in all ways science matters to its needs.

With the help of Congress, the run of US presidents with enlightened scientific foresight through the 20th century crosses the left-right political aisle like an Alpine slalom skier:

In 1916 Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, creates the National Park Service, an idea championed by Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican.

In 1930 Herbert Hoover, a Republican, creates the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Harry S Truman, a Democrat, creates the the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 1950.

In 1958 Dwight D. Eisenhower, a Republican, creates the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

In 1962 John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, announces we’re going to explore the Moon. We do that, and discover Earth for the first time.

In 1970, with Mother Earth now on our radar, President Nixon, a Republican, creates the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and later that year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

In the mid 1990s, Bill Clinton, a Democrat, boosts R&D funding that enables an exponential growth of the internet, as tens of millions of Americans come on line.

The creation of the NSF deserves some exposition. It was inspired by the 1945 report Science: The Endless Frontier. Written by Truman’s science advisor Vannevar Bush, the report compellingly argues for government-funded science as a driver of our wealth, our health, and our security. He further notes, “A nation which depends on others for its new basic scientific knowledge will be slow in its industrial progress and weak in its competitive position in world trade, regardless of its mechanical skill.” Bush also observed, “In 1939 millions of people were employed in industries which did not even exist at the close of the last war.” America in the 20th century would become the world’s largest economy, leading in every important category of innovation and production.

Meanwhile, did you ever wonder who conducts science in America? From 1900 onwards, on average about 10% of Americans have been first-generation immigrants. Yet first-generation immigrants have won 33% of all American Nobel prizes in the sciences since the award began in 1900, representing thirty-five countries from six continents. So immigrants to America are three times more productive at winning Nobel prizes than population statistics would predict.

Do you prefer one branch of science over another because you think its discoveries will be more useful in coming years? Consider that in hospitals, every machine with an on/off switch that diagnoses your health without first cutting you open, is based on one or more principles of physics, discovered by physicists and chemists who had no specific interest in medicine. This includes the MRI, PET scans, CT Scans, EKGs, EEGs, ultrasound, and of course, good old fashioned X-rays. So if you defund one line of research in favor of another, you thwart the entire moving frontier of discovery. In the end, nature cross-pollinates all sciences, so perhaps we should too.

To reclaim America’s greatness, anyone with business acumen could think of science investments within our various government agencies as the R&D of a corporation called the USA. Science is not a Liberal Conspiracy. It’s not even bi-partisan. Science is a fundamentally non-partisan enterprise that serves us all. Without it, watch America fade from relevance on the world stage, as we gasp for an era of scientifically enlightened governance to rise once again.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 21st, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Thousands to march in defFence of science

By ALEKSANDRA ERIKSSON, THE EUOBSERVER

BRUSSELS, April 21, 2017

Thousands of people in hundreds of places worldwide will take to the streets in support for science on Earth Day, taking place this year on Saturday (22 April), in an event underlining the difficult relationship between science and politics.

The idea of a global March of Science developed shortly after the inauguration of US president Donald Trump in January, amid fears that his term would be marked by disregard for facts and research.

.
Some 517 rallies have been registered so far, with the main one taking place in Washington.

But Calum MacKichan, a Scotsman who organises the march in Brussels, said the goal was much broader than just an anti-Trump protest.

“We want to celebrate science and the role it plays in everyday lives, protect facts and promote dialogue between the scientific community and the public,” MacKichan said at a press event on Thursday (20 April).

Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, a Belgian professor who is the former vice-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and Bas Eickhout, a Dutch MEP for the Green group, were also present at the gathering.

They said there was need for scientists to play a wider role in public life, also on this side of the Atlantic.


Van Ypersele welcomed that Earth Day’s theme this year is climate literacy, and said scientists should be in broader dialogue with both the public and politicians.


Eickhout, who trained as a chemist and worked as a climate change researcher at the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, said he entered politics “out of frustration that politicians made so little with science”.


“We are pointing fingers at Trump, but we should also point them at ourselves,” he added.


Politicians are dependent on research if they are to make good decisions, but many scientists are afraid of actively providing information to politicians, Eickhout said.

“They fear it makes them into lobbyists. But I don’t think it’s lobbying what you are doing, it’s about informing decision-makers throughout the legislative process,” he said.

This would help to strengthen EU policies, he said.

The European Commission, since 2001, has been conducting impact assessments for all major legislative proposals, covering the potential economic, social and environmental benefits and costs of each proposed policy.

But Eickhout said the assessments were not as objective as one would think. Rather, impact assessments usually portray the commission’s preferred scenario as the best option.

“If I was the commission, I would do the same, so I don’t blame them for this. But I blame them for claiming that the assessments are neutral, when they in fact are designed to fit the political interests of those that commanded them,” Eickhout said.


Trump’s actions could seem like a golden opportunity for green parties, but Eickhout wasn’t so sure.

“If you really want to get policies off the ground you need a broader political basis. I fear that in Europe, climate sceptics, who had a sleeping existence, are now waking up again. They see Trump’s election as an opportunity,” the Dutch MEP said.

The new US president has said the concept of global warming was made by the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing less competitive.

Van Ypersele said, however, that Trump has also shown signs he believed in climate change.

In 2009, Trump had signed a full-page advertisement in The New York Times calling for “meaningful and effective measures to combat climate change”, just before president Barack Obama departed for the climate summit in Copenhagen.

His organisation has also used the term “global warming and its effects” when applying for a permit to build protection against coastal erosion for his golf course in Ireland.

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

A letter from Bill McKibben

April 20, 2017

Dear Friend of The Nation,

We’re coming up on 50 years since the first Earth Day—and the Trump administration is trying to overturn most of what’s been accomplished over those decades. And it’s trying to do much of it in silence, behind the scenes.

That’s why The Nation, a longtime source of great green coverage, has never been more important. Reporters like Mark Hertsgaard, Zoë Carpenter, and Wen Stephenson have dug deep to discover what’s going on, and their reporting continues to make a real difference. I know that when I write for The Nation, people respond (that’s why I’ve just finished a piece on the big upcoming climate march in Washington, DC, on April 29).

I’m asking you today to support this journalism with a gift. Your contribution will help fund the first-rate environmental reporting you expect from The Nation.

We are facing an ecological disaster. Last year broke every record for global temperatures; Arctic and Antarctic sea ice are melting at record rates; the fossil-fuel industry is using climate know-nothings like EPA head Scott Pruitt to roll back the clock. We can’t afford to be distracted.

If we care about future generations and the most vulnerable communities, we cannot let Trump and his cronies put their interests ahead of the welfare of the earth. We must remain vigilant and informed.

We’re at a tipping point—factual and fearless reporting on the future of our planet could not be more critical than it is right now. I hope I can count on your support today.

Thank you,

Bill McKibben

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


PEOPLE FOR CLIMATE – expressions about the April 29 2017 Washington DC March – the 100th Day of Trump.

From a member of the SEIU – the Service Employees International Union.


I have been dealing with the impact of climate change my entire life. As my mom’s caretaker, I’ve seen how poor air quality has agitated her asthma and caused her constant discomfort; and as a skycap at Newark (N.J.) Liberty International Airport, the pollution from cars, buses and planes is taking a toll on me.

Airport workers are not only the first line of defense for our customers, we’re also the first ones to suffer the consequences of pollution. For 25 years, I’ve greeted customers on the curb, breathing in exhaust and smog, as I loaded their luggage, printed their tickets, and helped them board the plane.

The quality of the air you breathe and water you drink should not depend on your zip code or job duties—that’s why I’m joining the People’s Climate March on April 29 and you should, too.

We need to counteract climate change because our lives depend on it. Climate change is real, and people of color, the elderly and people with disabilities particularly feel its impacts firsthand. The devastation Hurricane Sandy did to Newark and our community is still present—even more so in low-income areas.

High pollution levels and increased exposure to environmental hazards at home and at work are a reality for too many. That’s why I’m joining working people from across the country who are calling to reduce harmful pollution that causes climate change and to leave our children with a healthier, more vibrant future.


Our last climate march was the biggest in our nation’s history—this one will be even bigger.

Working families depend on the health of our communities and neighborhoods for our lives and livelihoods. We need everyone from every walk of life to come make their voices heard. Together, we can build a wide range of solutions that will benefit everyone and improve our economies and communities. Join the People’s Climate March and add your voice.

Lock arms with us Saturday, April 29th as we stand for climate action, one of the greatest challenges facing our world today. We must protect this planet and preserve its resources for the health of current and future generations.

See you in the streets,
Nancy Vazquez
Airport Worker, 32BJ SEIU

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

LATEST PRESS RELEASE
April 19, 2017


PEOPLES CLIMATE MARCH in Washington DC WILL ‘LITERALLY’ SURROUND THE WHITE HOUSE on
SATURDAY, APRIL 29, 2017 With off-shoot events in other cities as well.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 18, 2017
Contact: Harrison Beck,  harrison.beck at peoplesclimate.org

Mass Mobilization to Show Broad Resistance to Trump Agenda on April 29th

Washington, DC — The Peoples Climate March announced they will ‘literally’ surround the White House as part of its mass mobilization in Washington, DC on Saturday, April 29th.

Tens of thousands are expected to converge on Washington, DC from virtually every state in the country. In addition, more than 250 sister marches are also planned across the country and around the world.


“At 2 PM on April 29th, tens of thousands of people will encircle the White House in Washington D.C. to directly confront Donald Trump and challenge those who are pursuing a right-wing agenda that destroys our environment while favoring corporations and the 1 percent over workers and communities,” said Paul Getsos, National Coordinator for the Peoples Climate Movement. “This administration continues waging attacks on immigrants, Muslims, people of color and LGBTQI people everyday. This moment will be the highlight of a day that will begin with a march leading from the Capital to Washington Monument.”

The Peoples Climate March will begin near the Capitol, travel up Pennsylvania Avenue, and then surround the entire White House Grounds from 15th Street in the East to 17th Street in the West, and Pennsylvania Avenue in the North to Constitution Avenue in the South. The march will close with a post march rally, concert and gathering at the Washington Monument.

“After 100 days of this administration, it’s our time to show our resilience, to show that we’re still here, that we’re only getting stronger, that we’re multiplying and that we’re never giving up on justice, or on the people,” said Angela Adrar, executive director of the Climate Justice Alliance. “The Peoples Climate March is about building and deepening connections and linking the intersectionality we need in this moment. On April 30th, our movement will be stronger and more prepared to rise than on April 29th but we will need everyone to rise together.”

“Around this country, working people understand that we don’t have to choose between good jobs and a clean environment; we can and must have both,” said Kim Glas, executive director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “Together we can tackle climate change in a way that will ensure all Americans have the opportunity to prosper and live in neighborhoods where they can breathe their air and drink their water. We will build a clean economy that leaves no one behind.”
The Peoples Climate Movement is a groundbreaking coalition of indigenous, youth, Latino, environmental, racial justice, economic justice, faith-based and immigrant groups and labor unions demanding an economy and a government that works for working people and the planet.

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For more information on the April 29 Peoples Climate Mobilization, visit peoplesclimate.org
Follow us on Twitter @Peoples_Climate and Facebook www.facebook.com/peoplesclimate

Sign Up for Press Credentials here: bit.ly/2oJCObe

OLDER PRESS RELEASES:
March 28, 2017
Trump’s Executive Order Repeals Environmental Protections; Hurts People He Claims He Wants to Help

March 24, 2017
Members of The Peoples Climate Mobilization Condemn Trump Administration Decision to Greenlight KXL

March 15, 2017
People’s Climate Movement Supports Today’s AFGE Rally to Protect EPA

March 13, 2017
Unraveling Clean Power Plan Will Create Havoc on Our Environment, Economy and Families

March 9, 2017
Pruitt’s Latest Environment Claim Illustrates Trump Administration’s Continued War on Our Health, Livelihood and Families

March 3, 2017
To fight back Trump’s EPA assaults, join the People’s Climate Mobilization

January 25, 2017
As Trump Dismantles Obama’s Climate Legacy, People’s Climate Movement Organizes for Mass Mobilization in DC on April 29

PEOPLES CLIMATE MOVEMENT
 peoplesclimate.org/media/

Press Inquiries
Contact Us

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

In New York City – the SISTER MARCH is at:

People’s Climate March: NYCHA Takes Action!
April 29, 2017 • 10:00 AM
NYCHA Woodside, HANAC Astoria, NYCHA Ravenswood and Jacob Riis Settlement Center in Queensbridge
50-19 Broadway, Woodside, NY 11377

Queens, NY

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

APRIL 19, 2017
BASED ON THE UNPARALLELED FAREED ZAKARIA’S COLLECTION OF NEWS.


Admit it, Turkey Isn’t Getting in the EU: Becker


Turkey’s referendum should be the final nail in the coffin of the accession process for EU membership, writes Markus Becker for Spiegel Online.

“One popular counter argument is that the EU will lose any of the influence it has in Ankara by breaking off negotiations,” Becker writes. “But where was that influence in 2013 when Erdogan beat down the protests in Gezi Park? Where was it when Erdogan deliberately escalated the conflict with the Kurds as part of a domestic power play? And where was that EU influence when, right after last summer’s military coup attempt, Erdogan had tens of thousands of people rounded up and thrown into jail, including numerous journalists?”

Trump’s troubling call. Fareed says President Trump’s decision to call Erdogan to congratulate him on his referendum victory is a troubling sign at a time when Turkey is facing a “serious descent into authoritarianism.”

“Since the 1930s, Turkey was the one Muslim Middle Eastern country that had established a kind of secular liberal democracy. Now that seems to be unraveling, and yet President Trump’s response was to congratulate the strongman,” Fareed says.

“Contrast that with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who with her foreign minister issued a joint statement basically suggesting to Erdogan that ‘You won very narrowly. You really need to pay attention to the opposition. You need to pay heed to minority rights.’

“So what we have now is a situation where Germany’s chancellor has become the leading proponent of human rights and democracy and liberal constitutionalism, while the President of the United States is just saying ‘way to go.’ This is true for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. It’s true for Erdogan. For Rodrigo Duterte and his drug war in the Philippines.

“It’s disturbing because the great victory of the United States in foreign policy, in a broad sense, over the last six or seven decades has been to spread stability, along with a certain set of values. But here you have those unraveling and the President of the United States is cheering him on.”

AND:

Trump’s “Militarization of U.S. Foreign Policy”

President Trump’s recent foreign policy reversals “don’t address one of his administration’s most misguided impulses: The militarization of U.S. foreign policy,” writes James Gibney for Bloomberg View.

“It’s well and good to send a carrier task force…But without U.S. ambassadors in South Korea and Japan, not to mention an assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, the U.S. can’t do the kind of daily consultations and hand-holding needed to reassure allies whose civilian populations would bear the brunt of any North Korean retaliation,” Gibney says.

“…The influence of senior advisers steeped in the region might also have prevented diplomatic gaffes, such as Trump’s parroting of Xi’s line that Korea was once part of China.”


Don’t Panic About North Korean Nukes: Boot


The United States shouldn’t panic about North Korea acquiring nuclear weapons any more than it did China and Russia doing so, suggests Max Boot in Commentary. After all, unlike some other regimes, Kim Jong Un “does not aim to dominate his neighbors. All he wants to do is to survive.”

“By all means, the U.S. should step up sanctions, including secondary sanctions on Chinese companies doing business with the criminal regime in Pyongyang. But there is no overwhelming imperative to go beyond that and risk war, even if North Korea finally fields an ICBM with a nuclear warhead capable of reaching Washington,” Boot says.

AND:

Emirates Airline Cuts Flights To U.S., Citing Trump’s Security Rules

l
April 19, 2017


Emirates Airline says it is reducing its number of U.S.-bound flights because security restrictions imposed by the Trump administration have weakened demand in Middle East countries.

The Dubai-based carrier will pare back flights to five of the 12 U.S. cities it serves. Flights to Boston, Seattle and Los Angeles will be reduced from twice to once daily, and in Florida, daily service to Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale will shrink to five flights a week.

Overall, it’s a reduction of 25 flights per week for the airline, according to The Associated Press.

After Travel Ban, Airlines Scramble To Reroute Crew Members.

BUSINESS
After Travel Ban, Airlines Scramble To Reroute Crew Members

“The recent actions taken by the U.S. government relating to the issuance of entry visas, heightened security vetting, and restrictions on electronic devices in aircraft cabins, have had a direct impact on consumer interest and demand for air travel into the U.S,” Emirates said in a statement announcing the decision.


Last month, the Trump administration announced that passengers on direct flights to the U.S. from eight majority-Muslim countries — Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates — must now place electronic devices such as laptops, tablets and cameras in checked baggage.


Those restrictions came on the heels of President Trump’s controversial executive orders in January and early March seeking to temporarily halt travel from several other mostly Muslim nations. Both orders were halted by the courts.

The Dubai International Airport in the UAE, which is Emirates’ hub, is a major transit point for nationals of countries listed in Trump’s travel bans, The Associated Press reports.


THESE ARE CLEARLY UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES FOR TRUMP WHO AS PRESIDENT HAS NOW THE CHANCE AT A NOBEL PRIZE FOR SETTLING THE MIDDLE EAST CANYON. THIS ROAD TO SCANDINAVIA ALSO GOES VIA THE EMIRATES – DUBAI AND ABU-DHABI AND IS BASED ON FULL COOPERATION OF THE SAUDIS.

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

nbsp;mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?shva=1…

among the articles OF THIS ISSUE are:


Scientists and Activists Look Beyond the March
By NICHOLAS ST. FLEUR
On Saturday scientists and their advocates are expected to fill streets in more than 500 cities. But what they do next is just as important.

The March for Science: Why Some Are Going, and Some Will Sit Out
By MICHAEL ROSTON
In remarks submitted The Times, some said the president’s posture toward science demanded a response, but others worried about the politicization of science.

Plumes From Saturn’s Moon Enceladus Hint That It Could Support Life
By KENNETH CHANG
Data from the Cassini spacecraft suggest that hydrothermal vents could provide ingredients for microbes or other forms of alien life to exist.

Do Your Shoelaces Keep Coming Undone? Engineers Explain Why
By CHRISTOPHER MELE
Blame physics and “weak” knots for unraveled laces, a phenomenon researchers called “sudden and catastrophic.”

Climate Change Reroutes a Yukon River in a Geological Instant
By JOHN SCHWARTZ
Melting water from one of Canada’s largest glaciers used to flow north, to the Bering Sea. Last spring, it reversed course, a case of what scientists call “river piracy.”

It’s Like It Never Left: Another El Niño May Be on the Way
By HENRY FOUNTAIN
Just a year after weather patterns were altered worldwide, scientists see signs that more disruption may be brewing.

Scott Pruitt Faces Anger From Right Over E.P.A. Finding He Won’t Fight
By CORAL DAVENPORT
Critics charge the agency’s administrator should have challenged a legal finding that underpinned the Obama climate policies, but he refuses to budge.

More Permafrost Than Thought May Be Lost as Planet Warms
By HENRY FOUNTAIN
A study suggests that as the planet warms toward 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, each degree Celsius of warming will lead to the thawing of 1.5 million square miles of permafrost.

YES – QUITE AN AMAZING LIST OF ARTICLES IN ONE ISSUE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES.

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

In New York City – the meeting place will be at the SW Corner of W.64 Street & Broadway.
The march will be along Central Park West.

Think of the 2015 400,000 people strong march and its global impact. Please just show up
in order to tell the ruling skeptics that SCIENCE MATTERS.

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

The Intercept

New York Times Promises Truth and Diversity, Then Hires Climate-Denying Anti-Arab White Guy

April 14, 2017

FOLLOWING DONALD TRUMP’S election, The New York Times promised its readers that it would aggressively pursue truth and challenge power in the days and months ahead. Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and executive editor Dean Baquet wrote an open letter to readers on November 13, vowing to “hold power to account, impartially and unflinchingly.”

And readers responded in droves. During the last three months of 2016, the Times added 276,000 digital subscribers — readers who were presumably drawn to the promise of aggressive and adversarial writing that was firmly based in reality.

“The truth is more important now than ever,” the Times proclaimed in an ad during the Oscars in February.

The Times has also strongly committed itself to diversity in its hiring. Times CEO Mark Thompson told hiring managers last year that supervisors who failed to recruit minority candidates would be encouraged to leave or fired.

“Only by having a staff as wide as it is deep, broad in perspective, backgrounds and experiences are we able to capture the multitude of voices of America and the world, with true fidelity,” the company proclaims in its mission statement.

But the Times’s editorial page — which is distinct from the newsroom — apparently has other priorities.


In the paper’s biggest marquee hire since the election, the Times has poached the Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens as a regular columnist.

In a statement announcing the hire, Editorial Page Editor James Bennet explained the move in glowing terms.

“He’s a beautiful writer who ranges across politics, international affairs, culture and business, and, for The Times, he will bring a new perspective to bear on the news,” Bennet wrote. He summarized Stephens as a “generous and thoughtful colleague with a deep sense of moral purpose and adventure about our work.”

But Stephens’s voice is hardly new to the media landscape — it echoes the powerful and attacks the powerless, specifically marginalized groups like Arabs and Muslims who have little representation in U.S. media.

And although Stephens has been hailed as an anti-Trump conservative, he and Trump share a very significant belief that defies reality: They both deny the existence of climate change. Stephens used his Wall Street Journal columns to compare climate science to a religion, saying that environmental groups “have been on the receiving end of climate change-related funding, so all of them must believe in the reality (and catastrophic imminence) of global warming just as a priest must believe in the existence of God.”


In April of 2010, he proclaimed that “global warming is dead, nailed into its coffin one devastating disclosure, defection and re-evaluation at a time. Which means that pretty soon we’re going to need another apocalyptic scare to take its place.”

He then mockingly proposed “a readers’ contest to invent the next panic. It must involve something ubiquitous, invisible to the naked eye, and preferably mass-produced. And the solution must require taxes, regulation, and other changes to civilization as we know it.”

And as a white male member of the media elite, he hardly brings diversity to the stable of editorial page columnists. Indeed, several regulars already hold right-wing or center-right views. And although the editorial board consistently espouses liberal positions in the editorial column, the op-ed page by and large has to outsource to publish genuinely left perspectives on most major issues.

The Times editorial page currently does not have a female minority columnist and, despite frequently writing about conflicts in the Middle East, employs no regular Arab American or Muslim American writers.

On the contrary, at a time when Arab American and Muslim American civic society faces unprecedented demonization from a presidential administration, the Times has chosen to hire someone who takes part in it regularly.

For instance, Stephens used Egyptian judo player Islam El Shehaby’s politically-based refusal to shake hands with his Israeli opponent at the Rio Olympics last year as an excuse to launch into a long racist tirade against the state of the Arab world.

“If you want the short answer for why the Arab world is sliding into the abyss, look no further than this little incident,” Stephens wrote. “It did itself in chiefly through its long-abiding and all-consuming hatred of Israel, and of Jews.”

He claimed that “the Arab world’s problems are a problem of the Arab mind, and the name for that problem is anti-Semitism.”

This “Arab mind,” in Stephens’s telling, has few achievements. “Today there is no great university in the Arab world, no serious indigenous scientific base, a stunted literary culture,” he explained — all of which would continue until the Shehabys of the world would embrace their Israeli judo counterparts.

Responding to a wave of violence between Palestinians and Israelis in 2014, Stephens shrugged off the international consensus that occupation and statelessness is the root of the conflict, instead blaming it on “Palestinian blood fetish.” To him, they had “been seized by their present blood lust — a communal psychosis in which plunging knives into the necks of Jewish women, children, soldiers and civilians is seen as a religious and patriotic duty, a moral fulfillment. Despair at the state of the peace process, or the economy? Please. It’s time to stop furnishing Palestinians with the excuses they barely bother making for themselves.”

In January 2017, Stephens wrote that “maybe” Palestinians are entitled to a state, but then ticked off a long list of other peoples, including “Native Hawaiians,” who also lack a state, so “what gives Palestinians the preferential claim?” At least they aren’t being ruled by the Chinese, he argued: “Have they experienced greater violations to their culture than Tibetans? No: Beijing has conducted a systematic policy of repression for 67 years, whereas Palestinians are nothing if not vocal in mosques, universities and the media.”

Stephens also frequently appears in the media arguing for military attacks and regime change in the Middle East.

He has directly helped activists lobby to scuttle diplomacy. In 2015, as Congress was debating the nuclear deal with Iran, he held an off-the-record call with the Christian Zionist group Christians United For Israel, where he advised them on how to lobby members of Congress.

He is, however, an outspoken supporter of one prominent Muslim: Egypt’s autocratic leader Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, who he interviewed in 2015 in an article titled “Islam’s improbable reformer.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 13th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

George Soros  info at georgesoros.com via mail31.atl111.rsgsv.net
5:45 PM (3 hours ago)

to PJawetz

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
George thought you might be interested in this excellent Op-Ed published in Project Syndicate by Gregory Maniatis, in which he argues against the proposed nearly 30% budget cuts for the UN’s efforts that “support refugees, feed the poor, protect human rights, vaccinate children, and uphold peace”.

All best,
Michael Vachon

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Trump’s Tomahawks Won’t Help

Project Syndicate
April 11, 2017
By: Gregory Maniatis

There is a tragic inconsistency in US President Donald Trump’s response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of sarin gas against his country’s people. Trump said that he was moved to act by images of innocent children in Idlib province who had been killed by the deadly nerve agent. Yet Trump’s administration stands behind a proposed budget that will cause even greater harm to people in Idlib and around the world.

For starters, Trump wants to slash overall funding to the United Nations – a move that would undermine the entire global humanitarian-aid system. Last year, the US contributed about $10 billion to UN efforts that support refugees, feed the poor, protect human rights, vaccinate children, and uphold peace. Trump not only wants to cut that spending by nearly 30%; he also plans to gut or even eliminate US government programs that help prevent starvation and provide essential services in Idlib and elsewhere.

Even seeming minor cuts can have an outsize impact. For example, the State Department is scrapping Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance, a small but crucial fund that has been deployed in Idlib to provide emergency food aid to Syrians driven from their homes by Assad’s army. In the past, the fund has quelled unforeseen crises in South Sudan, Mali, and Côte d’Ivoire, and other countries.

Furthermore, Trump wants steep cuts to the US Agency for International Development’s Food for Peace program, which has helped to feed three billion people in 150 countries since President Dwight D. Eisenhower created it in 1954, and to eliminate the US Department of Agriculture’s McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program. He also wants a one-third cut in funding to UNICEF, which provides clean water for children. And he seeks to reduce the United States’ $2 billion contribution to the World Food Program.

Such cuts could hardly come at a worse time. The UN has declared a famine for the first time since 2011, as 20 million people face starvation in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen. UNICEF estimates that almost 1.4 million children are already at imminent risk of death from severe acute malnutrition, and urges concerted action to save them.

Moreover, many fragile states are at risk of becoming failed ones, exacerbating the ongoing refugee crisis. As the new state of South Sudan has gradually collapsed into starvation and chaos, more than 600,000 people have fled into Uganda alone. Globally, 65 million people have been forced from their homes in recent years; 23 million of them are international refugees.

Yet Trump is also set to undermine already-strained refugee programs. The UN Refugee Agency receives $1.5 billion of its $4 billion budget from the US. Trump wants to slash its contribution by more than $500 million. As if that were not enough, Trump has signed executive orders that could reduce US refugee admissions by more than half, to just 50,000 this fiscal year.

It is against this background that Trump expressed his horror at the recent chemical attack in Syria. Of course, Trump is right to be horrified by the situation in Syria. Nearly a half-million people have died there since 2011. The number of Syrian refugees outside the country topped five million last week. This has destabilized neighboring countries, where nearly four million refugees now reside, as well as the European Union, which has received most of the rest.

But military action alone will do little to solve Syria’s problems. Even the generals on whom Trump relies say that his budget cuts are folly. “If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition ultimately,” Defense Secretary General John Mattis said in February. That same month, more than 120 retired generals signed a letter to Trump arguing that funding the State Department and the USAID is “critical to preventing conflict and reducing the need to put our men and women in uniform in harm’s way.”

Congress should reject Trump’s budget proposal unanimously. But it probably won’t. In the House of Representatives, the Republican majority is hopelessly divided. Fiscal conservatives prefer a balanced budget to international aid, and the far-right Freedom Caucus wants to limit the scope of government every way it can.

In the Senate, a majority seems to understand the recklessness of the Trump administration’s approach. “America being a force is a lot more than building up the Defense Department,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. “Diplomacy is important, extremely important, and I don’t think these reductions at the State Department are appropriate, because many times diplomacy is a lot more effective – and certainly cheaper – than military engagement.” But, despite such strong words, no concerted opposition to the proposed budget cuts has emerged in the Senate.

Preparing a budget is both challenging and important. But the arcane details of that process must not be allowed to obscure the reality that the world is facing a serious humanitarian crisis. The US has a long tradition of providing relief to populations worldwide. To break with that tradition – or, worse, to play an active role in creating a humanitarian crisis – would amount to a repudiation of the values America claims to uphold. Yet that is the path that the Trump administration seems set to take.

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Why does Trump pass on inviting to his inner circle of advisers wise people-of-business like George Soros or Warren Buffett?

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