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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 17th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


UNITED NATIONS, UNICEF AND SMURFS TEAM UP TO CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF HAPPINESS.

Small Smurfs Big Goals campaign inspires support for Sustainable Development Goals.

The UNF, New York, March 18 – Voice actors from the upcoming animated movie Smurfs: The Lost Village today joined officials from the United Nations, UNICEF and United Nations Foundation at the world body’s headquarters in New York to celebrate International Day of Happiness with a campaign promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The “Small Smurfs Big Goals” campaign is designed to encourage young people everywhere to learn about and support the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by world leaders in 2015 to help make the world more peaceful, equitable and healthy.
As part of the celebrations, Team Smurfs recognized three young advocates — Karan Jerath (20), Sarina Divan (17), and Noor Samee (17) — for their actions to promote the Goals.

Jerath, a UN Young Leader for the Sustainable Development Goals, invented a containment device that could prevent offshore oil spills and ensure the protection of marine life. Divan expanded a UN Foundation girl empowerment initiative at her high school and beyond, and Samee is a UNICEF blogger and advocate on social justice issues and raising awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The movie’s U.S. stars — Demi Lovato, Joe Manganiello and Mandy Patinkin — presented the three young students with a symbolic key to the Smurfs Village in recognition of their work.

“This inspirational campaign highlights the fact that each and every one of us, no matter how young or old, small or big, can make our world a better and happier place,” said Cristina Gallach, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information. “We are grateful to creative partners like Sony Pictures Animation and Team Smurfs for their spirit of collaboration in helping the UN reach diverse audiences.”

The Small Smurfs Big Goals campaign culminates on the International Day of Happiness on 20 March, which emphasizes the importance of personal happiness and well-being. The idea is closely linked to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which include decent work for all, access to nutritious food, quality education and health services, and freedom from discrimination.

“Today we have seen how the Small Smurfs Big Goals campaign is giving children and young people a platform to speak out about issues they are passionate about. As we celebrate International Day of Happiness, we hope many more young people are empowered to take action on the Sustainable Development Goals and help achieve a world free from poverty, inequality and injustice,” said Caryl M. Stern, UNICEF US Fund President and CEO.

The actors and UN officials addressed some 1,500 students attending an international Model UN conference in the iconic General Assembly Hall of the United Nations, where they encouraged all participants and the public to join “Team Smurfs”.

The campaign invites the general public to visit SmallSmurfsBigGoals.com to find out how to contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and share information, ideas and images on social media.

The actors also premiered a new public service announcement video starring cast members of the film that inspires viewers to join the campaign and champion the Sustainable Development Goals.

“We hope the campaign will help us all think about how our actions impact the planet,” said Demi Lovato, who voices Smurfette in the movie. “Every one of us, even a Small Smurf, can accomplish Big Goals!”

The United Nations Postal Administration closed out the blue carpet event by unveiling a special edition stamp sheet featuring the Small Smurfs Big Goals campaign. The film cast along with the Belgian Ambassador to the United Nations, Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, and United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Management, Stephen Cutts, presented the Small Smurfs Big Goals UN stamps to the press.

Along with the event at the United Nations, other celebrations took place in 18 countries around the world including Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Russia and the UK, to name a few, to help raise awareness for the “Small Smurfs Big Goals” campaign and the Goals.

“Since 1958, the Smurfs have embodied around the world the universal values of camaraderie, helping one another, tolerance, optimism, and respecting Mother Nature,” said Véronique Culliford, the daughter of Peyo, who created the Smurfs. “It’s been an honor and privilege for The Smurfs to support the United Nations and to continue our longstanding relationship with UNICEF with this campaign focused on raising awareness for the Sustainable Development Goals.”

On March 20, festivities for the International Day of Happiness will culminate in a special ceremony with the film cast along with United Nations, UNICEF and United Nations Foundation officials where they will help turn the Empire State Building blue to commemorate the occasion.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 12th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


10th – 11th August 2017: North American Symposium on Climate Change and Coastal Zone Management, Montreal, Canada


Climate change is known to impact coastal areas in a variety of ways. According to the 5th Assessment Report produced by the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), coastal zones are highly vulnerable to climate change and climate-driven impacts may be further exacerbated by other human-induced pressures.

In North America, multiple pressures – including urbanization and coastal development, habitat loss and degradation, pollution, overexploitation of fish stocks and natural hazards- affect the coastal ecosystems, hence exacerbating the impacts of climate change in coastal zones. In particular, sea level rise changes the shape of coastlines, contributes to coastal erosion and leads to flooding and salt-water intrusion in aquifers.

Climate change is also associated with other negative impacts to the natural environment and biodiversity, which include damages to important wetlands, and to the habitats that safeguard the overall ecological balance, and consequently the provision of ecosystem services and goods on which the livelihoods of millions of people depend. These impacts are particularly acute in North America, which endeavors to become more resilient to damages caused by hurricanes, floods and other extreme events.

The above state of affairs illustrates the need for a better understanding of how climate change affects coastal areas and communities in North America, and for the identification of processes, methods and tools which may help the communities in coastal zones to adapt and become more resilient. There is also a perceived need to showcase successful examples of how to cope with the social, economic and political problems posed by climate change in coastal regions in North America.

It is against this background that the North American Symposium on Climate Change and Coastal Zone Management is being organized by the Research and Transfer Centre “Applications of Life Sciences” of the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (Germany), the International Climate Change Information Programme (ICCIP) and the Université du Québec à Montréal. The Symposium will be a truly interdisciplinary event, mobilizing scholars, social movements, practitioners and members of governmental agencies, undertaking research and/or executing climate change projects in coastal areas and working with coastal communities in North America.

The North American Symposium on Climate Change and Coastal Zone Management will focus on “ensuring the resilience of coastal zones” meaning that it will serve the purpose of showcasing experiences from research, field projects and best practice to foster climate change adaptation in coastal zones and communities, which may be useful or implemented elsewhere.

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


BARD COLLEGE – MBA in Sustainability program


Visiting Lecturer Positions – Fall 2017

Bard College’s low-residency MBA in Sustainability program, based in New York City, has openings for visiting lecturers to teach the following courses in the fall semester of 2017:

· Operations and Supply Chains
· Leading Change in Organizations

Please follow the link www.bard.edu/mba/program/courses/ to learn more about their content. Professors modify the existing syllabi for these courses to reflect their area of expertise.

Bard’s MBA program is one of a select group of programs globally that fully integrates sustainability into a business curriculum. Courses address core MBA material through a mission-driven lens, supporting students to master the business case for sustainability.
Faculty members teach during intensive weekend residencies held once a month in Manhattan. In addition, they teach an online evening session each week between the monthly residencies. The low-residency format allows flexibility in residential location.

MBA faculty members are expected to have earned a Ph.D., J.D., M.B.A., M.P.A., or equivalent degree. Successful candidates will have an established record of excellence in teaching.

For more information about Bard’s MBA program, visit the MBA website www.bard.edu/mba

To apply, send a cover letter, CV, and names and contact information for three references through Interfolio.com at: apply.interfolio.com/40456. Applications will be reviewed as received.

Bard College is an equal opportunity employer, and we welcome applications from those who contribute to our diversity.

Eban Goodstein
Director, Bard Center for Environmental Policy &
Director, Bard MBA in Sustainability
 www.bard.edu — www.bard.edu
845-758-7067
 ebangood at bard.edu

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


Exxon eyes Israel after Cyprus win

 www.globes.co.il/en/article-exxon…

9 Mar, 2017 14:09
Nati Yefet

After winning a Cypriot government tender, Exxon Mobile has expressed interest in bidding for Israeli natural gas tenders.

Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz met last week with senior executives from Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell during his visit to the US. The minister’s associates say that while Royal Dutch Shell will probably not take part in the new tender for oil and gas exploration licenses in Israeli waters, the Exxon Mobil executives came equipped with a great deal of relevant information, and expressed interest in the tender.

The reason is allegedly the announcement two days ago that Exxon had won a tender for oil and gas exploration in Block 10 in Cyprus as part of a consortium with Qatar Petroleum. A group composed of Italian company ENI and Total, and ENI by itself, won the concession for two other blocks in the tender.

In a fourth block already held by Total, the company asked the Cypriot government for permission to add ENI as a 50% partner in the license, because the block is located only six kilometers away from the Egyptian Zohr gas reservoir discovered by ENI. Total expects ENI’s extensive knowledge of the geology in the area to be of use in finding gas in Cyprus.

Steinitz’s associates say that since Exxon is starting to prepare for activity in a nearby area, the company believes that it is likely to prove worthwhile to develop parallel activity in Israel, and to use the same transportation infrastructure to export gas discovered in both countries to Europe.

Steinetz went to Europe early this week, and flew from there to New York and Houston for a week of meetings with energy concerns. In Rome, he met with his Italian counterpart, and held meetings in New York with the Barclays, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan investments banks, as well as with a group of private investors organized by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). In Houston, he took part in the CERAweek energy conference, and held meetings with energy companies.

Steinitz told “Globes,” I was surprised to see energy ministers and representatives of energy companies from all over the world congratulate us on the beginning of development in Leviathan, after years of delay. Almost everyone had assumed that Leviathan was a lost cause… especially given the global crisis in investments in oil and gas fields and the fact that some of the deep water projects of the Leviathan type have been canceled or postponed in various places around the world.


“In meetings with some of the world’s largest investment banks, they noted the change in Israel’s image in the energy market, from a place to be avoided into a responsible country attractive for energy investments in general, and private gas in particular. The plans we displayed for building an undersea pipeline to Turkey, and from Israel and Cyprus to Greece and Italy, aroused a surprising degree of interest.”

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Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News – www.globes-online.com – on March 9, 2017
and appears in many Israeli publications, i.e. The Jerusalem Post, March 10, 2017

SustainabiliTank, sorry for the Trump Administration’s definitive efforts to undo the Obama Administration’s great successes in decreasing the place of oil in the global energy markets,
sees now a decreasing importance of the EPA, Energy Policy, Environment Policy and Global Climate Change avoidance. But also a planed subservience of The State Department to the US oil Interests – the revival of the American Petroleum Institute (API) in the Governing of the USA.
Geting the present Israel Government interested in the cooperation in developing sea resources could perhaps take off some of the pressure in the political arena, though clearly inctreasing
pressure against the potential of an Iranian sea base on Syrian soil. All of this within Israel and US State Department attention.

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

Columbia Law School Climate Law Blog has posted a new item, ‘A Blow in the Fight
Against Climate Change: EPA Withdraws Oil and Gas Information Request’

By Michael Burger and Romany Webb

Less than a month after being sworn in as Administrator of the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt has already begun dismantling years of
work to curb greenhouse gas emissions. In one of his first official actions,
last Thursday, Administrator Pruitt withdrew a request that oil and gas
companies provide certain information needed to develop new methane regulations
for the industry. The request, which was issued last November, included an
operator survey seeking information on the number and types of equipment used at
onshore oil and gas facilities and a more detailed facility survey which sought
data on methane emissions from equipment leaks and other sources. The operator
survey was to be completed by 15,000 companies, while the facility survey was
sent to a representative sample of 4,650. Most hadn’t yet responded and now,
thanks to the withdrawal, won’t have to. As a result, EPA will remain largely
unaware of the companies’ methane emissions, making appropriate regulation of
them all but impossible. That’s bad news for anyone concerned about climate
change.

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Those interested in the Global Environment and Climate Change will have thus to resort
to indeoendent means during these Trump years. An announcement of such developments
comes to us from Columbia University, New York, as well:

Columbia Law School Climate Law Blog has posted a new item, ‘Sabin Center and
New York State – StateAG.Org Launch Database of Environmental Actions Undertaken by State Attorneys General’

The Sabin Center for Climate Change Law has partnered with StateAG.org to
develop a database of actions undertaken by state attorneys general as they seek
to advance environmental law and policy objectives within their jurisdictions.

The State AG Environmental Action Database is intended as an easy-to-use and
organized legal resource for state attorneys general as they […]

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


Iceland to Private Sector: You WILL Pay Women Fairly

March, 9, 2017

Iceland’s government is set to introduce legislation to parliament that will require all employers with more than 25 employees to obtain certification to prove they are offering equal pay regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality or nationality, the Associated Press reports.

“While other countries, and the U.S. state of Minnesota, have equal-salary certificate policies, Iceland is thought to be the first to make it mandatory for both private and public firms. The North Atlantic island nation, which has a population of about 330,000, wants to eradicate the gender pay gap by 2022,” AP says.

— Rich country progress flatlining. The trend of improving conditions for working women has flatlined within the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in recent years, The Economist reports.

“In 2005, 60% of women were in the labor force; ten years later, this ratio had edged up only slightly to 63% (it was 80% for men in both years),” The Economist writes. Meanwhile, the gender wage gap “still around 15%, meaning women as a group earn 85% of what men do.”

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In New York City, New York, USA, the police arrested women leaders of the International Womens’ Day.

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


The Disjointed World that never was based on Human Rights.

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AN ADDITION WITH GLOBAL INTEREST:

Muhammad ali Jr. – Muhammad Ali’s son detained by immigration staff and repeatedly asked – are you Muslim?
by: Nicole MorleyNicole Morley for Metro.co.ukSaturday 25 Feb 2017

The son of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali was detained by immigration staff who asked – ‘are you Muslim?’ {ah! those Trump goons have no idea about America!}

A lawyer claims Muhammad Ali Jr, was asked targeted by immigration officials at a Florida airport who repeatedly asked about his religion and where he got his name.

Chris Mancini tells the Courier-Journal in Louisville that 44-year-old Muhammad Ali Jr. and his mother Khalilah Camacho-Ali, the second wife of Muhammad Ali, were arriving at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Feb. 7 after returning from Jamaica.
Khalilah Camacho-Ali, who married the boxer in 1967, was in Jamaica with her son to deliver a speech on black history.

Read more: metro.co.uk/2017/02/25/muhammad-a…

Read more: metro.co.uk/2017/02/25/muhammad-a…

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Iran tells U.S. chess champion to wear a hijab – here’s how she responds

By Carlos Garcia Feb 21, 2017

Nazi Paikidze is the reigning U.S. chess champion, but when the Iranian government told her she had to wear a hijab, the Muslim head veil, and restrict contact with men in order to compete in the world competition hosted by Iran this year, she refused. The “morality laws” were supported by FIDE, the international organization that coordinates the world chess championship event.

“By participating, I would be forced to submit to forms of oppression designed specifically for women,” Paikidze told Marie Clare magazine. “It sets the wrong example, particularly for young girls interested in chess.”

Paikidze further explained her decision in a post on Instagram in September.

This is a post for those who don’t understand why I am boycotting FIDE’s decision. I think it’s unacceptable to host a WOMEN’S World Championship in a place where women do not have basic fundamental rights and are treated as second-class citizens. For those saying that I don’t know anything about Iran: I have received the most support and gratitude from the people of Iran, who are facing this situation every day.
Paikidze also retweeted this tweet noting the irony of members of the Swedish team, a country known for its feminist advances, giving in to the gender-specific oppression imposed by Iran by wearing the hijab.

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SECOND ADDITION/UPDATE to this article

This after the night of the Oscar’s and the fact that the Iranian Director Asghar Farhadi won it for best foreign language film – for the second time. But this time, under Trump’s goons – he voluntarily refused to come to the big event as he did not want to submit to the official present US insanity!


Iranian director Asghar Farhadi just won his second Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for The Salesman — but as an act of protest against President Trump’s executive order banning people from seven majority-Muslim countries, and nearly all refugees, from entering the United States, he wasn’t at the ceremony to accept the award.

As Farhadi told the New York Times in a statement when Trump first signed the order in late January, he decided not to attend even if he could be granted an exception, saying it “now seems that the possibility of this presence is being accompanied by ifs and buts which are in no way acceptable to me even if exceptions were to be made for my trip.”

So instead of Farhadi giving a speech, Iranian-American businesswoman Anousheh Ansari — the first Iranian to go to space — read a statement from him:

It’s a great honor to be receiving this valuable award for the second time. I would like to thank the members of the academy, my crew in Iran, my producer, Amazon, and my fellow nominees.

I’m sorry I’m not with you tonight. My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six nations whom have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the US. Dividing the world into the “us” and “our enemies” categories creates fear. A deceitful justification for aggression and war. These wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries which have themselves been victims of aggression. Filmmakers can turn their cameras to capture shared human qualities and break stereotypes of various nationalities and religions. They create empathy between us and others. An empathy which we need today more than ever.
This statement falls right in line with one he released in conjunction with all of his fellow Best Foreign Language Film nominees, which they wrote to “express our unanimous and emphatic disapproval of the climate of fanaticism and nationalism we see today in the U.S. and in so many other countries, in parts of the population and, most unfortunately of all, among leading politicians.”

So whether the winner was Farhadi, Denmark’s Martin Zandvliet, Sweden’s Hannes Holm, Germany’s Maren Ade, or Australia’s Martin Butler and Bentley Dean, it’s a safe bet that this acceptance speech wasn’t about to shy away from the harder realities lurking outside the sparkling Hollywood theater.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 24th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Kury Bayer was Board Director at the World Bank (2002/2004) and Board Director at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (2008/12). Since then consultant, columnist and member of think-tanks. He also runs a blog.

Kurt Bayer’s Commentary – GLOBAL ECONOMIC POLICY

FEBRUARY 23, 2017

TRUMP’S SWAMP

During his campaign, US president Trump had promised to dry out the swamp in Washington, D.C. (Austrians will remember the former President Kirchschläger’s announcement, “die sauren Wiesen Österreichs auszutrocknen”). And then, during the week that the new Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, was confirmed by the Senate, the House of Representatives voted to abolish the „Publish what you pay“ rule, which required listed US gas and oil companies to publish in their annual reports all payments made to foreign governments, be they royalties, fees, bonuses, taxes and any other payments, project by project, country by country.

This rule was part of the Dodd-Frank Act (Section 1504), enacted after long consultation in 2010 as part of the lessons learned from the financial crisis.

It is noteworthy that Mr. Tillerson, former CEO of Exxon-Mobil, had vigorously lobbied against this rule.

Has he now been given a swampy „inaugural dowry“ by his president?

With the original provision, the US had become the leading country to attempt to weed out the endemic corruption enabled by the international hydro-carbon firms to the benefit of the decisionmakers in oil and gas-rich countries.

We know that many of the prime ministers and their ministers in oil-rich countries have become exceedingly rich, while their populations starve.

The Financial Times on Feb. 23, 2017 cites the example of Equatorial Guinea (with ExxonMobil the dominant producer), where per-capita income for the country as a whole has risen to
$ 40.000, while three quarters of the population starve on less than 2 $ per day (the „official“ poverty rate).

Similar conditions reign all over the world. While „Publish-as-you-pay“ may not be the silver bullet against corruption, it was an important first step and has been followed by Canada, Norway and the EU (EU Transparency Directive 2013). A number of international oil companies have begun to report, others were to follow.

Of course, by now we know that the Trump administration (with or without Mr. Tillerson) is partial to the oil, gas and coal industry. His decisions on reversing the existing bans on the Keystone pipeline, on the Dakota access line, on coal mining is only topped by his appointment (and the Senate‘s confirmation) of Mr. Pruitt, the former Oklohoma attorney general, who has 12 lawsuits against his new agency under his belt, and who during his hearing did not agree that hydro-carbons and coal cause climate change.

So, in his first 100 days, President Trump has struck significant blows against world-wide corruption in one of the worst offending sectors, and against the environment, whose protection he (and Congress) have entrusted to a fox in the henhouse.

ExxonMobil will be grateful, as will be a number of dictators and autocrats in many of the oil and gas producing countries.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 23rd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


TRADE, INVESTMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE UNDER THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: WHAT LIES AHEAD?

Thursday, February 23, 2017, 7 – 8:30 pm
Columbia Law School, Jerome Greene Hall, 435 West 116th Street (at Amsterdam Avenue), Room 107

This event is open to the public. Registration is not required.

Donald Trump came to office promising sweeping changes to the US’s traditional trade and investment policies. Such shifts on trade and investment could offer an opportunity to align these policies with action on climate change. On the other hand, Trump’s priorities, particularly with respect to developing domestic fossil fuels, signal that trade policies will head in the opposite direction. This panel will discuss how trade and investment policy may be reconciled with climate change imperatives and commitments, the trade risks the Trump administration’s climate policies present, and how the United States Trade Representative might approach these issues in new trade and investment (re)negotiations. This event is co-organized with the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and the Environmental Law Society at Columbia Law School.

Moderator: Michael Gerrard, Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School

Panelists:

Ben Beachy, Senior Policy Advisor, Responsible Trade Program, Sierra Club

Silvia Maciunas, Senior Research Fellow, Center for International Governance Innovation

Dalindyebo Shabalala, Visiting Assistant Professor, Case Western Reserve University, School of Law, and Director of the Institute on Traditional Knowledge and Intellectual Property.

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The Washington Post Evening Edition – February 22, 2017
Energy and Environment

Thousands of emails detail EPA head’s close ties to fossil fuel industry.


In his previous role as Oklahoma’s attorney general, the Environmental Protection Agency’s new administrator regularly huddled with fossil fuel firms and electric utilities about how to combat federal environmental regulations and spoke to conservative political groups about what they called government “overreach,” according to thousands of pages of emails made public Wednesday.


“The newly released emails reveal a close and friendly relationship between Scott Pruitt’s office and the fossil fuel industry, with frequent meetings, calls, dinners and other events,” said Nick Surgey, research director for the Center for Media and Democracy, which has sued to compel the release of the emails.

The emails highlight an often-chummy relationship between Pruitt’s office and Devon Energy, a major oil and gas exploration and production company based in Oklahoma City. The correspondence makes clear that top officials at the company met often with Pruitt or people who worked for him. Devon representatives also helped draft — and redraft — letters for Pruitt to sign and send to federal officials in an effort to stave off new regulations.

“Any suggestions?” a deputy solicitor general in Pruitt’s office wrote to a Devon executive in early May 2013, including a draft of a letter the office was planning to send to the EPA regarding proposed regulations of methane emissions.

“Here you go,” the executive, Bill Whitsitt replied. “Please note that you could use just the red changes, or both red and blue (the latter being some further improvements from one of our experts) or none.”

“I sent the letter today,” the deputy solicitor general wrote the following day. “Thanks for all your help on this.”

The emails show that Pruitt and his office were in touch with a network of conservative groups, many of which in the past have received backing from billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch, the libertarian owners of Koch Industries, a major oil company. The documents detail not only how Pruitt’s office at times coordinated with industry officials to fight unwanted regulations from Washington, but also how he was a highly sought-after speaker at conferences and other gatherings for groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council, which works with corporate interests and state legislators to shape key pieces of legislation.

In one example, Pruitt was a speaker at an ALEC conference on May 3, 2013, in Oklahoma City. He was part of a panel called, “Embracing American Energy Opportunities: From Wellheads to Pipelines.” The event also featured a reception at the Petroleum Club and a luncheon sponsored by Koch Industries.

The Oklahoma attorney general’s office handed over the batch of emails — nearly 7,000 pages in all — this week in order to meet a deadline set by a judge who ordered the documents’ release following more than two years of effort by CMD, a liberal watchdog organization. The group had sued to compel the state to release the documents under public records laws. (The emails can be viewed here.)

[Pruitt to EPA employees: ‘We don’t have to choose’ between jobs and the environment]

Though the emails show Pruitt’s ties with a wide range of fossil fuel interests and conservative political groups, they show a particularly friendly working relationship with officials Devon. Much of the correspondence revolves around arranging speaking engagements, obtaining contact information for people at the federal Office of Management and Budget and coordinating letter-writing efforts.

At one point, Pruitt’s then-chief of staff, Melissa Houston, wrote in a Jan. 9, 2013, email to Whitsitt, Devon’s vice president for public affairs: “You are so amazingly helpful!!! Thank you so much!!!”

In another email chain on March 21, 2013, Whitsitt wrote to Pruitt’s office offering a draft of a letter that state attorneys general might sign and send to the then-acting EPA administrator regarding limits on methane emissions. Devon, which has substantial shale gas and shale oil drilling operations, would have been affected by the rule.

“Attached is a potential first-cut draft of a letter a (bipartisan if possible?) group of AGs might send to the acting EPA administrator and some others in the Administration in response to the NE states’ notice of intent to sue for more E&P emission regulation,” Whitsitt wrote. “It would be a shot across the bow, warning EPA not to not go down a negotiated-rulemaking or wink-at-a sue-and-settle tee-up process.”

s chief of staff replied: “Thanks Bill — we will take a look and start working on a draft.”

In a Nov. 8, 2013, email, Houston asked the Devon VP of public and government affairs, Allen Wright, to take her, her sons and her father to see Devon Tower, a skyscraper in downtown Oklahoma City. Wright asked a colleague to escort her and her family to “50” — apparently the top of the 50-story tower.

In another case, Pruitt received a thankful email from Stuart Solomon, the president and chief operating officer of the Public Service Company of Oklahoma, a utility that’s part of the larger power company American Electric Power. The email came as the company hailed a 2014 decision by the EPA to back off of an attempt to impose a federal plan on Oklahoma for its compliance with the agency’s regional haze rule, and instead accept a plan offered by the state. Pruitt had sued the EPA over its federal plan – which, according to a press release from Solomon’s company, “would have cost the utility and its customers about $650 million more in additional near-term investments than the state plan.”

“Scott, I wanted to tell you personally how much I appreciate your efforts to pave the way for a state solution to meeting the RHR challenge,” said Solomon. “Your lawsuit against EPA, and your encouragement of our efforts to settle this issue in a way that benefits the state, were instrumental in giving us the time and the opportunity to develop a revised state plan.”

Pruitt’s close ties to Devon Energy were first highlighted in 2014 by the New York Times, which reported that a letter ostensibly written by the attorney general alleging that the EPA overestimated air pollution from natural gas drilling was actually written by the company’s attorneys. “That’s actually called representative government in my view of the world,” Pruitt later said of the letter.

The emails’ release comes just days after Pruitt was confirmed as the EPA’s new leader. Senate Democrats and environmental groups made a last-minute push to delay his confirmation vote last week, contending that lawmakers — and the public — ought to be able to review his correspondence with industry officials before putting him in charge of safeguarding the nation’s environment. Republicans forged ahead anyway, and Pruitt was confirmed by a 52-to-46 vote.

In a statement Tuesday, the Oklahoma attorney general’s office said it “went above and beyond what is required under the Open Records Act and produced thousands of additional documents that, but for the Court’s order, would typically be considered records” outside the scope of the act. “This broad disclosure should provide affirmation that, despite politically motivated allegations, the Office of the Attorney General remains fully committed to the letter and spirit of the Open Records Act,” spokesman Lincoln Ferguson said.

Pruitt’s office at EPA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

[Scott Pruitt, longtime adversary of EPA, confirmed to lead the agency]


In an email, Devon Energy spokesman John Porretto said the company’s engagement with Pruitt during his time as attorney general was “consistent — and proportionate — with our commitment to engage in conversations with policymakers on a broad range of matters that promote jobs, economic growth and a robust domestic energy sector.” He added: “We have a clear obligation to our shareholders and others to be involved in these discussions related to job growth, economic growth and domestic energy…. It would be indefensible for us to not be engaged in these important issues.”

Environmental groups on Wednesday were quick to criticize Pruitt, arguing that the emails showed once again his penchant for putting the interests of industry over the health of ordinary citizens.

“This is Scott Pruitt’s mission statement: attack environmental safeguards, protect industrial polluters and let the public pay the price,” Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement. “These emails tell us that he’s in league with the very industries we’ve now entrusted him to police. He so deeply imbedded himself with energy companies that they described Pruitt and his allies as ‘fossil energy AGs,’ a badge of dishonor for a public guardian if ever there were one.”

The Oklahoma attorney general’s office withheld some documents as exempted or privileged and has asked Judge Aletia Haynes Timmons to review whether they should be released, according to the Center for Media and Democracy. Timmons also ordered Pruitt’s former office to hand over records related to five outstanding records requests by early next week.

After unsuccessfully seeking the release of Pruitt’s correspondence with fossil-fuel representatives under public records laws, the center filed suit over his refusal to turn over the documents and requested the expedited hearing that led to Timmons’s order on Thursday. In her ruling, the judge said there had been “an abject failure to provide prompt and reasonable access to documents requested.”

Pruitt sued the EPA more than a dozen times during the Obama administration, challenging the agency’s authority to regulate toxic mercury pollution, smog, carbon emissions from power plants and the quality of wetlands and other waters. During his tenure in Oklahoma, he dismantled a specialized environmental protection unit that had existed under his Democratic predecessor and established a “federalism unit” to combat what he called “unwarranted regulation and systematic overreach” by Washington.

These moves earned him widespread opposition from environmental activists but praise from fellow Republicans and industry representatives, who saw him as a friend to businesses and a staunch opponent of federal regulations they called unnecessary and burdensome.

On Tuesday, Pruitt addressed EPA employees for the first time as their new boss. He spoke of stepping back from the aggressive regulations of recent years and said there need not be a contradiction between environmental protection and energy production or job creation.

“We as an agency and we as a nation can be both pro-energy and jobs and pro-environment,” he said. “We don’t have to choose between the two.”

Chris Mooney and Juliet Eilperin contributed to this report. This post has been updated.

———————————————-

Further articles with relevance:

Hundreds of current, former EPA employees urge Senate to reject Trump’s nominee for the agency

The West’s largest coal-fired power plant is closing. Not even Trump can save it.

Trump EPA official juggles two jobs in two Washingtons, and it hasn’t gone well

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


The Supreme Court ruled 5:2 in favor of a death row inmate in Texas whose own lawyers introduced evidence at trial that he was more likely to be dangerous in the future because he is black.Thomas and Alioto dissented.

Washington (CNN) The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in favor of a death row inmate in Texas whose own lawyers introduced evidence at trial that he was more likely to be dangerous in the future because he is black.

The court ruled that the inmate, Duane Buck, will now be able to go back into a lower court and argue that he should have a new sentencing hearing.

In a 6-2 ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion holding that Buck has “demonstrated both ineffective assistance of counsel” and has an “entitlement to relief.”
Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented.

“But our holding on prejudice makes clear that Buck may have been sentenced to death in part because of his race. As an initial matter, this is a disturbing departure from a basic premise of our criminal justice system: Our law punishes people for what they do, not who they are,” Roberts wrote.

At another point the Chief wrote: “When a jury hears expert testimony that expressly makes a defendant’s race directly pertinent on the question of life or death, the impact of that evidence cannot be measured simply by how much air time it received at trial or how many pages it occupies in the record. Some toxins can be deadly in small doses.”

Roberts sent the case back down to the lower court for further proceedings.

The case comes at a time of racial unrest in the criminal justice system.

It also comes as two justices, Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, have argued the court should take another look at the constitutionality of the death penalty. They questioned, in part, whether the penalty was being applied arbitrarily throughout the country.

At oral arguments, several justices had expressed concern about the testimony introduced in the case.

“What occurred at the penalty phase of this trial is indefensible,” said Justice Samuel Alito, who called the testimony “bizarre.”

“What competent counsel would put that evidence before a jury?” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked.

Justice Stephen Breyer questioned whether there was “some good reason” Buck shouldn’t be able to reopen his case.

Buck has been on death row for the 1995 murders of Debra Gardner and Kenneth Butler. He did not argue his innocence, but asked for a new sentencing hearing because his own trial counsel was ineffective.

His lawyers argued that “no constitutional rule is more important than the dictate that race must play no role in a criminal sentence, much less a capital sentence.”

The legal issue before the court was whether Buck’s case meets the “extraordinary circumstances” test justifying the reopening of his sentencing.

At the heart of the matter was the testimony provided by Dr. Walter Quijano, one of two psychologists retained by the defense. Quijano testified that the fact that Buck was black “increased the probability” that he would commit future acts of criminal violence. In Texas, so-called “future dangerousness” must be established before a death sentence is rendered.
“Put another way,” Buck’s current lawyers argued in court papers, “Mr. Buck’s lawyers presented evidence that Mr. Buck was more deserving of a death sentence under Texas law because of his race.”

They said such prejudicial evidence is the “epitome of ineffective assistance of counsel.”
The state itself eventually conceded error in six other cases where Quijano’s testimony had been elicited, they pointed out.

Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller drew a distinction in court between Buck’s case and the others because it was the defense itself who called Quijano and elicited race-related testimony on direct examination.

In the opinion, Roberts emphasized the unusual circumstances of Buck’s case suggesting that it might not impact other death row inmates.

In court, Keller addressed the circumstances surrounding Buck’s crime, including the fact that he murdered his ex-girlfriend, Gardner, in front of her children.

Keller pointed to the fact that he also shot his stepsister at point-blank range and shot another man through the heart.

But he was cut off, as the justices circled back to the race-based testimony.

Keller also argued that Quijano’s testimony played a limited role at trial, and that other evidence of his future dangerousness came from the brutality of the murders, Buck’s lack of remorse after he was apprehended as well as the testimony of another ex-girlfriend.

A group called the National Black Law Students Association, however, filed a brief in support of Buck emphasizing how the group believes the case impacts race relations today.
“When an expert witness told the jury that Mr. Buck was dangerous because he is black, he dredged up into the open for all members of the jury to see the monstrous specter that is never far from the surface: the violent black brute, the single most fearful, dehumanizing and cruel stereotype black people have had to endure,” wrote the group’s lawyer, Deborah N. Archer.

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

For registration to the event – please go to:

 www.eventbrite.com/e/ethics-in-a…

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If the weather last month seemed a little out of season, there was a reason. According to NASA, January 2017 was the third-warmest January on record, 0.92 degrees Celsius warmer than the average temperature in the month from 1951-1980.

Dr. James Hansen was one of the first scientists to raise awareness of the global threat posed by climate change. His 1988 Congressional testimony helped put global warming in the public consciousness and he has been a leading voice on the subject ever since.

On March 2 at 6:30 PM, you’ll have the chance to learn from Dr. Hansen as he joins Professor Jeffrey Sachs for a one-hour discussion at the New York Society for Ethical Culture.

At the event, Professor Sachs and Dr. Hansen will discuss the reality and ethical dimension of climate change, including what New York City can do to align with the Paris Agreement and decarbonize its energy system.

You’ll also have the unique opportunity to ask a question of Dr. Hansen. Just submit yours during the registration process!

About Dr. James Hansen
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Dr. James Hansen, formerly Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, where he directs a program in Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions. Dr. Hansen is best known for his testimony on climate change in the 1980s that helped raise awareness of global warming. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and has received numerous awards including the Sophie and Blue Planet Prizes. Dr. Hansen is recognized for speaking truth to power and for outlining actions needed to protect the future of young people and all species on the planet.

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


Pence seeks to reassure European allies unnerved by Trump

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


EPA Halves Staff Attending Environmental Conference In Alaska.

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

 www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rachel Waldholz reports for Alaska Public Media.

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

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

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


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

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


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

The Pocahontas Myth:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chief Roy Crazy Horse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


CGI UNIVERSITY: A HUB FOR YOUNG INNOVATORS

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

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


HOW TO APPLY FOR CGI U 2017

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

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

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

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

HIGHER EDUCATION FACULTY AND ADMINISTRATORS: JOIN THE CGI UNIVERSITY NETWORK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About the Clinton Global Initiative University

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

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

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

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

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

POLITICS

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kozinski is American, too.

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

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

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

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

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

Today’s WorldView – Teh Washington Post

BY ISHAAN THAROOR, Frebruary 6, 2017

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

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

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

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

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 2nd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


US Military Officials Just Blamed Trump For Disastrous Raid That Killed American Soldier.

by Colin Taylor, A Democrat – obviously. Based on Reuters’ Reporting.

President Donald Trump’s first covert military action was a disaster by all accounts. One Navy SEAL, Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens lost his life in a ferocious firefight. Nawar “Nora” al-Alwaki, an eight-year-old American citizen, was shot in the neck and died. Fourteen more Yemeni civilians died at the hands of American commandos as the majority of Yakla village was obliterated. The commandos were forced to destroy a $75 million MV-22 Osprey after a rough landing.

Now, U.S. military officials are pointing fingers – and responsibility lies with President Trump. Our ignorant showboat of a President “approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations” according to Reuters. “As a result, three officials said, the attacking SEAL team found itself dropping onto a reinforced al Qaeda base defended by landmines, snipers, and a larger than expected contingent of heavily armed Islamist extremists. One of the three U.S. officials said on-the-ground surveillance of the compound was ‘minimal, at best.‘”

It is also revealed that the proposed raid had been presented before ex-President Obama, who had refused to give the green light due to operational reasons – meaning he wasn’t comfortable with the level of tactical information available on the target and the defenses. It goes to show how seriously President Obama took every decision of this magnitude, and how cavalier Trump was with the lives of our servicemen and women.

Now one American soldier and fifteen Yemeni civilians are dead. Trump has lauded the mission as a “success,” but what have we really gained here? “Knowing that we killed an estimated 14 AQAP members and that we gathered an unbelievable amount of intelligence that will prevent the potential deaths or attacks on American soil – is something that I think most service members understand, that that’s why they joined the service.” said Sean Spicer, Trump’s press secretary.

While all soldiers do their duty knowing they may have to pay the highest cost, it is the moral duty of our commander-in-chief to send them into combat only when they have the highest chance of success and survival – and this debacle was a dereliction of that duty. The commandos made off with a laptop and some documents. We do not know what those documents hold, but the insinuation that they contained some kind of master plan to attack America by al-Qaeda groups in Yemen is far-fetched at best. While it may contain information useful to the coalition’s efforts in the region, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is far too busy battling both the Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition for control of the Gulf nation to busy themselves with grandiose plots to strike across the ocean. The instability created by George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq and the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War has given al-Qaeda’s franchises – AQAP, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in North Africa and Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (JFS) in Syria – the opening they need to begin carving out their own Wahabbi enclaves among the ruins. Osama bin Laden’s dream of global jihad is no longer their motivating impetus.

Make no mistake. Donald Trump saw an opportunity to posture and to prove to the world that he is “strong” by blindly greenlighting a mission that was previously rejected without considering the variables at stake – and an American soldier died because of it. Children died because of it. The implications for the future are terrifying. We all knew Trump was unfit to be our Commander-in-Chief, and the first American has just paid for it with his life.

Let’s hope there won’t be any more.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 2nd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

North American Energy Infrastructure: An Opportunity
for Cooperation?

From the CENTER FOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS, the NEW YORK UNIVERSITY SCHOOL of PROFESSIONAL STUDIES:
Co-sponsored by the Consulates-General of Canada and of Mexico in New York City

Monday, February 13, 6.30 – 7.45 pm


How to create a more economically vibrant and connected North America and support energy production? The answer may be infrastructure. Much of the infrastructure developed during the twentieth century is in need of renewal and is not adequate to support the energy revolution and transformation that has taken place across the continent over the last decade. The extraordinary increase in energy production demands a new vision for North American energy infrastructure.

U.S. President Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, and Mexican President Pena Nieto have all committed to significant infrastructure spending. Will these plans lead to greater cooperation, interconnection, and integration of the American, Canadian, and Mexican economies? This panel will examine the opportunities and challenges facing the continent, including the role of governments and the private sector to develop and promote greater infrastructural development through pipelines, energy grids, and transmission lines.

Panelists:

Graham Campbell, President, Energy Council of Canada

Pedro Haas, Director of Advisory Services, Hartree Partners LLC

Rachel Ziemba, Managing Director of Research, 4CAST-RGE

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 2nd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Iranian man barred from entering U.S. lands at LAX; first to return after court order
Trump deportee to return

Hundreds sit Sunday in on the departure level of the Tom Bradley International Terminal to protest President Trump’s travel restrictions.

An Iranian man who was barred from entering the U.S. under President Trump’s travel ban returned to Los Angeles on Thursday, the first person allowed into the country as a result of a legal challenge to the White House’s executive order.

Ali Vayeghan was aboard a flight from Qatar that landed at LAX at 12:40 P.M, said family members and attorneys who took up his case. Vayeghan reunited with supporters around 1:30 p.m. after border patrol officials allowed him into the U.S. in compliance with a judge’s order.

A roar of approval went up from immigration attorneys and relatives who had gathered at LAX’s Terminal 2 when it was announced Vayeghan’s plane had landed.

Flanked by people holding balloons and flowers, attorney Talia Inlander, part of the legal team that fought for Vayeghan’s return, spoke to reporters of the man’s tortuous journey to the U.S. She blasted federal immigration authorities for turning Vayeghan away the first time.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who has spoken out against the severe travel restrictions, was on hand to celebrate the news of Vayeghan’s arrival, but warned the impact the president’s order continues to be felt.


“The moment we are about to witness should not be extraordinary,” he said of Vayeghan’s impending arrival.

Trump’s order, which went into effect Friday, bars people from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including Iran, from entering the U.S. for three months. It also imposed a 4-month ban on refugees from any country coming in to the U.S.

Vayeghan’s return marked a dramatic reversal from Friday evening, when the 61-year-old touched down at LAX just hours after Trump signed the executive order, setting of chaotic scenes in airports as confused border control officers scrambled to decipher the new rules.

Waiting for Vayeghan at the airport on that day was his brother, who lives in Los Angeles. The men had planned to spend a short visit catching up before Vayeghan continued on to Indiana, where he would reunite after 12 years with his son, a U.S. citizen.

The brother and other family members waited at LAX until after 3 a.m. Saturday, with scant information about his whereabouts.

The American Civil Liberties Union and L.A.-based immigration attorney Stacy Tolchin stepped in, filing a habeas corpus petition on Saturday. Attorneys argued that Trump’s executive order violated Vayeghan’s due process and was hostile to a specific religion, Islam, putting it at odds with the 1st Amendment’s establishment clause.

U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee granted an emergency temporary restraining order instructing that Vayeghan be allowed to enter the country, but it arrived too late. Vayeghan was put on a plane to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday afternoon.

According to his brother and attorneys who had sporadic phone contact with him, Vayeghan was pressured by border control officials to sign documents that revoked his immigrant visa. Regretting the decision afterward, he resisted demands that he board a plane for Dubai and was carried to his seat, an attorney for the ACLU said.

Gee amended her order and instructed that U.S. officials were to return Vayeghan from Dubai and admit him to the country. Citing the “irreparable harm” Vayeghan would face if he was forced to go back to Iran, Gee ruled that his attorneys had showed a strong likelihood of successfully arguing that his denial to the U.S. violated federal law.

Instead, however, officials in Dubai placed Vayeghan on a plane bound for Tehran.

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