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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.

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


Union of Concerned Scientists – Thank Your Senator for Opposing Former ExxonMobil CEO

From The Union of Concerned Scientists:

The US Senate voted on the nomination of former ExxonMobil head Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State. An unprecedented 43 senators voted against his nomination!

Tell your senator thanks for opposing a nominee who has spent decades questioning the validity of climate science. During his nomination hearings, Secretary Tillerson failed to show how he would resolve conflicts of interest over the next four years, demonstrated ignorance on foreign policy, and refused to take an unequivocal stand against human rights violations.

While his confirmation still passed the Senate 56-43, this vote goes down in history as the largest tally against a Secretary of State since at least 1949. Now, we will need your senator to hold Secretary Tillerson accountable for his actions and ensure he puts the interests of the American people above those of the fossil fuel industry.

Your senator showed determination by standing in opposition to a nominee who questions the validity of climate science.

Thank your senator for opposing Rex Tillerson’s nomination for Secretary of State.

Please make your letter personal by adding in your own thoughts and concerns. Every letter makes a difference, but customized letters have the greatest effect!

Learn more about Rex Tillerson and five reasons to oppose him.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 1st, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Betsy DeVos ‘is unprepared and unqualified’ to be Education secretary, charter school booster Eli Broad says

Eli Broad, the prominent local philanthropist behind a massive effort to increase the number of charter schools in Los Angeles, is protesting the appointment of Betsy DeVos as secretary of Education.

Broad sent a letter to U.S. senators Wednesday, asking them to vote against President Trump’s nominee.

“I believe she is unprepared and unqualified for the position,” Broad wrote. “Indeed, with Betsy DeVos at the helm of the U.S. Department of Education, much of the good work that has been accomplished to improve public education for all of America’s children could be undone.”

Betsy DeVos is a billionaire Republican fundraiser based in Grand Rapids, Mich. Before Trump announced her nomination, she spent her dollars and connections promoting school choice, in the form of both vouchers and charter schools.

Confirmation of Betsy DeVos as secretary of Education in peril as two GOP senators defect.

School vouchers use public money to fund private — often religious — schools, and charter schools are publicly funded, but can be privately run.


Broad has contributed heavily through a political action committee to local school board candidates who support charter schools, and his philanthropic group is backing an effort to increase their growth in Los Angeles, which already has more such schools than any other city in the U.S.

But despite their agreement on charter schools, Broad thinks DeVos’ views are too extreme. “We must have a Secretary of Education who believes in public education and the need to keep public schools public,” he wrote.

During a contentious confirmation hearing last month, DeVos drew ire for her apparent lack of basic understanding of some key education laws. Before the hearing, Broad wrote, he questioned her support for “unregulated charter schools and school vouchers.” Her performance reinforced his doubts.

On Tuesday, the Senate education committee voted along party lines to advance her candidacy.

But her confirmation might be in trouble. On Wednesday, two Republican senators on the education committee who voted for DeVos to get through committee said they would vote no on the Senate floor. One more Republican defection would mean DeVos doesn’t get the job.


DeVos’ nomination has put Democratic charter school supporters in a hard spot because she also supports school vouchers. Vouchers are a third rail in Democratic politics — they arouse fears not just about the draining of dollars from public schools but about erosion of the separation of church and state as well.

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

Editor’s note: Education Matters receives funding from a number of foundations, including one or more mentioned in this article. The California Community Foundation and United Way of Greater Los Angeles administer grants from the Baxter Family Foundation, the Broad Foundation, the California Endowment and the Wasserman Foundation. Under terms of the grants, The Times retains complete control over editorial content.

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

Will now the US send its navy to conquer South China Sea oil?
Is a nuclear confrontation for oil, with China, in our future?

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PowerPost – The Washington Post Daily 202 Newsletter

Tillerson approved by Senate panel as secretary of state

By Karoun Demirjian and Sean Sullivan January 23, 2017 at 6:57 PM

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee split along party lines Monday to endorse Rex Tillerson as the country’s next secretary of state, setting up a confirmation vote in the full Senate that is all but guaranteed to succeed.

Republicans unanimously backed Tillerson in the 11-to-10 vote, after key Republicans who had voiced criticism of Tillerson opted to support his nomination.

Chief among them was Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a committee member who announced Monday morning that he would support Tillerson despite concerns about how Tillerson would approach Russia and other countries Rubio counts as human rights violators, resolving the final major question surrounding Rex Tillerson’s bid to be confirmed as the nation’s top diplomat.

“My concern was that Mr. Tillerson would be an advocate for, and would pursue a foreign policy of dealmaking, at the expense of traditional alliances and at the expense of the defense of human rights and democracy,” Rubio explained to the committee Monday.

Several Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee expressed similar concerns, and elected not to support Tillerson’s nomination on those grounds. Democrats also complained that Tillerson had not answered many of their questions directly, and expressed alarm that the former ExxonMobil chief had advocated a military response to several conflicts, from the annexation of Crimea to the ongoing dispute with Beijing in the South China Sea.

“In my view the secretary of state should be leading with more diplomacy, and I found it disturbing that that seemed to be not his first reaction,” said committee ranking member Ben Cardin (D-Md.).

But Tillerson’s confirmation was effectively sealed on Sunday, when Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), both of whom had criticized him strongly, announced they would support his bid in the full Senate.

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

Democrats Shouldn’t Squander Their One Advantage.
By Bill McKibben, The Boston Globe
07 January 17

he Democrats were given one great gift last year. Even as they lost state legislatures and control of the Senate, even as they surrendered governors’ mansions and somehow turned over the White House to a moral midget, one thing broke their way. And if they squander it now, as their establishment leadership seems inclined to do, then shame on them.

That one great gift was the cascade of young voters that poured out in support of Bernie Sanders. Early in the primary campaign, I introduced the Vermont senator to a crowd of nearly 30,000 people in a big-city convention hall. They were almost all millennials, and they were roaring — any fear I had about the supposed apathy of youth vanished that night. That scene repeated itself across America. By the time primary season was over, Sanders hadn’t just swamped Clinton among young voters — he’d gotten 35 percent more young voters than Clinton and Trump combined. Nothing like that has happened in my political lifetime.

It demonstrates that an honest, bold message, paired with a leader who passes the authenticity test, can move young people into political action. And that should thrill Democrats. Broken as the party is at the moment, demographics means that, indeed, young people are the future. And cynical as they are about politics, they are not lost to the party.

Which is why it was exciting to watch Keith Ellison’s candidacy for party leader take off this fall. Not only did he work closely with Sanders (who remains America’s most popular politician) but he’s cut of the same cloth. Not literally — he’s short, black, and Muslim, instead of tall, white (and white-haired), and Jewish. But he speaks the same language and with the same urgency — he understands the depth of the problems faced by young and working people.

I got to watch him up close during the marathon hearings and negotiations over the Democratic platform last spring. Some of the participants in that process were, to put it politely, veterans of Democratic politics, repeating bromides that had perhaps worked once but no longer do. (Having watched that process, I was not surprised by the lackluster presidential campaign.) Ellison — a sitting member of Congress — was polite, respectful, and attentive. But he was also firm and urgent. He wasn’t going through the motions.

Which is, I think, why the most ingrained parts of the party establishment are now trying to break his momentum. They’ve put forward Thomas Perez, a perfectly good man but from the ruling wing, not the organizing wing, of the party (he’s never been elected to anything above a county council). And, sadly, they’re playing dirty, or at least cynical, digging up “controversies” like ancient parking tickets from Ellison’s past, or a newspaper column he wrote in college defending the Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakahn. Voters in his congressional district have thoroughly rejected such nonsense, and so should the DNC members, but the same party machinery that clearly disliked the Sanders challenge (remember those e-mails showing senior officials debating whether it would be more effective to smear him as a Jew or an atheist?) is now trying to derail Ellison.

These insiders view the Democratic party as a club or an institution, not as an organizing platform. And we’re not in an age when institutions are particularly useful — we’re in an era when institutions, without an infusion of new blood and ideas, simply fade away. I know this in part because I’m a Methodist, once perhaps America’s most vital Christian denomination. But over time its energy bled away — despite plenty of vibrant local congregations, and despite sporadic attempts at top-down rejuvenation, it has steadily ebbed. The average age of a Methodist is now 57.

One way to imagine the Sanders campaign, then, is as a series of revival meetings, conducted in every corner of the country. There was nothing shallow about them — Sanders’ unique form of charisma stemmed from his slightly grumpy seriousness. And so the support he received demonstrated a fervent desire to participate, especially among young Americans. They were serious about change.

That energy won’t disappear — it’s already powering the new civil rights movement and the fight for climate justice. But it will disappear from the Democratic Party if the party doesn’t seize the opportunity that Ellison offers. It won’t be the fault of the Russians or the FBI. And it may not come again.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 4th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

California is destined to be the anti-Trump like Texas was the anti-Obama.
Take notice – California is the Fifth largest economy in the World and its legislature does not want Trump to mess it up.

California braces for a Trump presidency by tapping former U.S. Atty. General Eric Holder for legal counsel.

By Melanie MasonMelanie Mason, Contact Reporter based in Sacramento, The Los Angeles Times.

Bracing for an adversarial relationship with President-elect Donald Trump, the California Legislature has selected former U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. to serve as outside counsel to advise the state’s legal strategy against the incoming administration.


The unusual arrangement will give Holder, leading a team of attorneys from the firm Covington & Burling, a broad portfolio covering potential conflicts between California and the federal government.

“He will be our lead litigator, and he will have a legal team of expert lawyers on the issues of climate change, women and civil rights, the environment, immigration, voting rights — to name just a few,” Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) said in an interview.

Such a task typically falls to the state attorney general. On Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown formally nominated Democratic Rep. Xavier Becerra to replace former Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris, who now serves in the U.S. Senate. Becerra, whose nomination hearings in the Legislature begin next week, is expected to be easily confirmed.

But De León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon began contemplating hiring outside legal counsel for the Legislature almost immediately after Trump’s election, in hopes of protecting existing state policies that are at odds with the president-elect’s stated positions.

“While we don’t yet know the harmful proposals the next administration will put forward, thanks to Donald Trump’s campaign, cabinet appointments and Twitter feed, we do have an idea of what we will be dealing with,” Rendon said in a statement.

“The Covington team will be an important resource as we work with the governor and the attorney general to protect Californians,” he added.

The two legislative leaders have taken an unabashedly combative posture against Trump.
Rendon, in remarks last month at a swearing-in ceremony for lawmakers, described the incoming administration as a “major existential threat,” and asserted “Californians do not need healing. We need to fight.”

De León said the additional counsel would offer “more legal firepower” that would complement and bring additional heft to the state attorney general’s efforts.

“Hiring the former attorney general — the nation’s top lawyer — it shows that we’re very serious in protecting the values of the people of California against any attempt to undermine the policies that has made us the fifth-largest economy in the world,” De León said.

Bringing on outside counsel is not unprecedented for the Legislature. The state Senate hired special counsel for a select committee investigating price manipulation in the wholesale energy market by Enron in the early 2000s. The Senate also sought outside counsel to sort through the federal investigation of former Democratic state Sen. Ron Calderon, who later pleaded guilty to corruption charges.


Updates from Sacramento:

But it is far more unorthodox for both houses to join together in retaining counsel in a preemptive bid to prepare for as-yet-unknown litigation and policy-making at the federal level. Much of the arrangement remains murky, including how Holder’s efforts will differ from or align with Becerra’s.

Also unclear: the price tag. Aides to legislative leaders declined to specify how much Covington & Burling’s services will cost the state, citing still-unfinished contracts, but said the payment would come out of both chambers’ operating budgets and would not require additional state funds.

Holder, who was a partner at Covington from 2001 until 2009 before rejoining the firm in 2015, will direct the efforts from the firm’s Washington, D.C., office. The firm, which has a long-established presence in the nation’s capital, has in recent years expanded its footprint in California. Covington’s Los Angeles office, which will play a major role in working with the Legislature, was launched in part by former federal prosecutor Dan Shallman, whose brother, John Shallman, is a prominent Democratic strategist whose clients include De León.

“I am honored that the legislature chose Covington to serve as its legal advisor as it considers how to respond to potential changes in federal law that could impact California’s residents and policy priorities,” Holder said in a statement provided by De León’s office.

“I am confident that our expertise across a wide array of federal legal and regulatory issues will be a great resource for the legislature.”

Holder, a close friend of President Obama, left the Justice Department in 2015. As one of the most liberal figures in the Obama administration, his tenure was defined by a focus on civil rights and criminal justice reform and was marked by a tumultuous relationship with Congress and scandal stemming from the failed gun-trafficking operation known as Fast and Furious.

Representing California lawmakers against Trump won’t be Holder’s sole foray into politics in the coming years. He is also overseeing a Democratic campaign focused on redistricting, the process of redrawing political maps that, in recent years, has tilted state legislative and congressional landscapes in the Republicans’ favor.

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 melanie.mason at latimes.com

Follow @melmason on Twitter for the latest on California politics.

ALSO

California is itching to take on Trump. Here are the prominent figures leading the charge.
Texas was Obama’s chief antagonist. In Trump’s America, California is eager for the part.

California’s new legislative session begins with a message: We’re ready to fight Trump.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 3rd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

What to Expect in China Policy During the First 100 Days of Donald Trump’s Presidency
Young China Watchers and the Center on U.S.-China Relations of the New York City based Asia Society, present Daniel Rosen and Orville Schell.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017
6:30pm – 8:00pm
Asia Society
725 Park Ave., New York, NY, 10021

With the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States fast approaching, nominations for most of the highest cabinet appointments and many senior staff positions announced, and months of frenetic media coverage of President-Elect Donald Trump’s transition team behind us, it is worth assessing how Trump’s world view and that of his advisors is likely to shape American policy toward China.

By establishing contact with the Taiwanese leader and openly questioning the “One China” policy, Trump has already signaled that he is willing to turn the U.S.-China relationship as we know it on its head. Daniel Rosen, co-founder of the Rhodium Group, and Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations Orville Schell will discuss what it all means for the future of U.S.-China relations.

SPEAKERS:

Daniel H. Rosen is a co-founding Partner of the Rhodium Group (RHG), and leads the firm’s work on China and the world economy. His is currently focused on China’s reform challenges, patterns in Chinese direct investment, and the impact of nationalistic technology policies on Chinese welfare. Mr. Rosen has been an Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia University since 2001, and he is affiliated with a number of preeminent American think tanks. Since 1992, he has authored more than a dozen books and reports on aspects of China’s economic and commercial development. He served on the White House National Economic and Security Councils in 2000-01.

Orville Schell is the Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at Asia Society in New York. He is a former professor and Dean at the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He is the author of numerous books on China, most recently Wealth and Power: China’s Long March to the Twenty-first Century. Schell was born in New York City, graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard University in Far Eastern History, was an exchange student at National Taiwan University in the 1960s, and earned a Ph.D. (Abd) at the University of California, Berkeley in Chinese History.


LIVE WEBCAST:
Can’t make it to this program? Tune in Wednesday, January 18, at 6:30p.m. New York time for a free live video webcast. Viewers are encouraged to submit questions to  moderator at asiasociety.org or via Twitter by using the hashtag #AsiaSocietyLIVE.
 AsiaSociety.org
/Live

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Co-organized by Young China Watchers and the Center on U.S.-China Relations.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 31st, 2016
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Trump Could Be Fighting Obama’s Climate Policies for Years

By Timothy Cama, The Hill
30 December 16

President-elect Donald Trump’s energy agenda is shaping up to be a years-long effort to undo President Obama’s policies.

Supporters of Trump and industries that have opposed Obama’s regulatory actions say turning back the clock is the most important thing the president-elect can do to help businesses succeed.

But it won’t be easy to undo many of the energy and climate regulations that Obama has put in place.

Under federal law, reversing major regulations requires a time-consuming process that can drag on for months and sometimes years. And even after new rules are issued, they can be challenged in court — something environmental groups are already vowing to do.

The Obama administration, meanwhile, has in recent weeks added to Trump’s list of targets by issuing a new coal-mining regulation and offshore drilling bans in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.

Obama also created controversial national monuments in Utah and Nevada that Republicans are pushing Trump to repeal, something Obama says is not in Trump’s power to do.

“Some actions they will be able to do in relatively short order. Other major rules will take time to meet the burden of regulatory process,” said Scott Segal, a lobbyist at Bracewell who represents numerous energy companies.

“The next administration needs to be careful, transparent and follow the rule of law, or else they’ll have potential trouble in front of a reviewing court,” Segal said. “Because there’s no doubt that the environmental community would sue to prevent these actions.”

Still, much of Obama’s environmental agenda was enacted through executive actions, which are within Trump’s power to quickly reverse.

The Republican Congress can also help undo some of Obama’s recent rules by using the Congressional Review Act, which provides for the expedited repeal of regulations.

“The Obama administration has done a lot unilaterally, and the silver lining of that is that it can be undone unilaterally,” said Nick Loris, an economist at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

What seems clear is that Trump is dedicated to the fight.

While Trump has given a few nods to the green movement — Trump met separately with climate activists Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio after the election — his Cabinet picks are vocal critics of Obama’s agenda.

Trump’s selections include Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R) to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke (R) to lead the Interior Department and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) to lead the Energy Department.

William Yeatman, a senior fellow at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, said an aggressive fight against Obama’s policies is a welcome change and something to be expected when the White House changes hands.

“It is not uncommon whenever there’s a change of party, given how much policy emanates from the executive branch these days, for recension to be of the order for the incoming president,” he said. “When policy emanates from the executive, and there’s a change in the executive, policy is supposed to reflect that.”

During the campaign, Trump ran in part on an aggressive deregulatory plan, saying in September that he would pursue “the elimination of all unnecessary regulations and a temporary moratorium on new regulations not compelled by Congress or public safety.”

Trump has specifically pledged to undo the Clean Power Plan, the Waters of the United States rule, Interior’s stream protection rule and the moratorium on new coal-mining leases on federal land.

He’s also promised to stop all payments to international climate efforts, to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, and to open more federal land and water to oil and natural gas drilling.

The Trump transition website promises that the next administration “will unleash an energy revolution that will transform us into a net energy exporter, leading to the creation of millions of new jobs, while protecting the country’s most valuable resources — our clean air, clean water, and natural habitats.”

Environmentalists and other Trump opponents say many of Obama’s actions are popular with the public and should be preserved. They accuse the Republican of focusing solely on reversing Obama, rather than putting forward energy and environmental plans of his own.

“If President-elect Trump decides to go in the direction that it appears he is, trying to undermine a full range of environmental protections, weakening or eliminating a move to a clean-energy economy, there will be a very strong reaction,” said David Goldston, director of government affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Goldston compared Trump’s plans to those of presidents George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, as well as that of former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). All three came to power with broad deregulatory promises but failed to overcome opposition, he said.

“There was a strong vocal backlash, and they eventually decided this was not worth their effort. And we expect that to be the case again,” he said.

James Goodwin, a senior policy analyst at the Center for Progressive Reform, said he is optimistic that the country will continue to move toward clean energy sources like wind and solar, no matter what Trump does.

“There’s only so much you can do with policy that’s going to change the way we’re headed,” he said.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 8th, 2016
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

NEW YORK MAGAZINE / THE NATIONAL INTEREST
September 7, 2016

Matt Lauer’s Pathetic Interview of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Is the Scariest Thing I’ve Seen in This Campaign
By Jonathan Chait


A frightening case study in journalistic failure.

I had not taken seriously the possibility that Donald Trump could win the presidency until I saw Matt Lauer host an hour-long interview with the two major-party candidates. Lauer’s performance was not merely a failure, it was horrifying and shocking. The shock, for me, was the realization that most Americans inhabit a very different news environment than professional journalists. I not only consume a lot of news, since it’s my job, I also tend to focus on elite print-news sources. Most voters, and all the more so undecided voters, subsist on a news diet supplied by the likes of Matt Lauer. And the reality transmitted to them from Lauer matches the reality of the polls, which is a world in which Clinton and Trump are equivalently flawed.

Lauer focused a third of his questioning time on Clinton’s private email server. Her decision to follow Colin Powell’s advice is a legitimate blot on her record. But Lauer did not move the ball forward on the question in any meaningful way:

The word judgment has been used a lot around you, Secretary Clinton, over the last year and a half. And in particular concerning your use of your personal email and server to communicate while you were secretary of state. You have said it’s a mistake.

“You said you made not the best choice.”

“You were communicating on highly sensitive topics. Why wasn’t it more than a mistake? Why wasn’t it disqualifying, if you want to be commander-in-chief?”

Lauer followed up with four more email-related questions. The impression an uninformed or even moderately informed viewer would receive from this interview is that the email issue represents a sinister crime, perhaps completely disqualifying from office, rather than an unjustifiable but routine act of government non-transparency.

The email exchange would not by itself be so alarming except when viewed in juxtaposition with Lauer’s hapless interview of Trump. Trump began the interview by boldly insisting, “I was totally against the war in Iraq. You can look at Esquire magazine from 2004. You can look at before that.” This is a lie. Trump has been quoted supporting the invasion beforehand and even afterward. Nobody has produced any evidence of Trump contradicting his support for the war before it started. His line to Lauer was transparently ridiculous – how could a 2004 interview supply evidence of having opposed a war that began in 2003? But Lauer did not try even a single follow-up.

Trump Lies About Iraq War Opposition, Lauer Moves to Next Question

Trump Offers Peace Through Strength – and Craziness

Trump went on to make a series of wild and dangerous statements. He praised Russian President Vladimir Putin as a strong, effective, and popular leader. Lauer did press him on this point, and when he did, Trump offered the astonishing rebuttal, saying President Obama had done equivalently brutish things. Lauer did not press Trump on his claim that the president of the United States behaves in a fundamentally similar way to a dictator who imprisons and kills political critics and journalists. Trump likewise reiterated his belief that “to the victor go the spoils” is the proper basis for American foreign policy, specifically with regard to his long-standing lament that the United States failed to steal Iraq’s oil after the 2003 invasion.

Lauer’s attempt to press Trump was the completely ineffectual technique of asking repeatedly if he is ready to serve as commander-in-chief. Lauer probably believes the answer is no, but nothing about this question would drive home Trump’s extraordinary lack of knowledge. Instead it allowed him to performatively demonstrate his confident, alpha-male reality-show character as a prospective chief executive.

Both of these beliefs stun and appall foreign-policy experts in both parties, as readers of the Washington Post or the New York Times know. But the average undecided voter isn’t reading those newspapers. The average undecided voter is getting snippets of news from television personalities like Lauer, who are failing to convey the fact that the election pits a normal politician with normal political failings against an ignorant, bigoted, pathologically dishonest authoritarian.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 26th, 2016
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Those interested in how a near 0 economy could be achieved using existing technology may find this chapter, available at papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?a…

Integrating Vehicles and the Electricity Grid to Store and Use Renewable Energy by David Hodas :

 SSRNpapers.ssrn.com

The world could be powered by renewable energy: more energy from the sun hits the earth in one hour than all of the energy consumed on our planet in an entire year.

In Delivering Energy Policy in the EU and US: A Multi-Disciplinary Reader, (Heffron and Little, eds.) (Edinburgh University Press, 2016)

Widener University Delaware Law School Legal Studies Research Paper Series No. 16-13


Abstract:


The world could be powered by renewable energy: more energy from the sun hits the earth in one hour than all of the energy consumed on our planet in an entire year.


Achieving a low-carbon economy is less technology dependent than it is dependent on new, well-designed energy law that broadly shifts private incentives towards efficient use of renewable energy using of “game-changing” technology such as Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) motor vehicles that could shift the world to a low-carbon economy.

V2G vehicles integrate separate energy conversion systems: the electricity grid and light vehicle transportation fleet by storing electricity from the grid when it is not needed and returning it to the grid when it is needed.

The total U.S. light vehicle fleet power capacity is about 39 times the power generation capacity of the U.S. electrical generation system.

The grid could use power stored in idle V2G batteries whenever needed, yet each vehicle would be tapped only within the constraints of its drivers’ specific schedule and driving needs. 20,000,000 V2G cars (just 10% of the U.S. fleet) with an average peak power rating of only 50 Kw, would have the combined power capacity equivalent to the entire U.S. Electric grid. This fleet would be the backup system for a fully renewable (e.g., solar and wind) energy generation system.

The benefits of a V2G system could be enormous: dramatic reductions in CO2 emissions and the adverse health effects of air pollution from burning fossil fuels and a more robust electric grid. A renewable energy V2G system could replace fossil fuels in many regions of the world.

David R. Hodas
Distinguished Professor of Law
Widener University
Delaware Law School

4601 Concord Pike
Wilmington DE 19803-0474

302 477 2186 (tel)
302 477 2257 (fax)
 drhodas at widener.edu

 papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsBy…
 works.bepress.com/david_hodas/

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 22nd, 2016
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

THE NEW YORK TIMES – SCIENCE

English Village Becomes Climate Leader by Quietly Cleaning Up Its Own Patch

By TATIANA SCHLOSSBERGAUG. 21, 2016

ASHTON HAYES, England — This small village of about 1,000 people looks like any other nestled in the countryside.

But Ashton Hayes is different in an important way when it comes to one of the world’s most pressing issues: climate change.

Hundreds of residents have banded together to cut greenhouse emissions — they use clotheslines instead of dryers, take fewer flights, install solar panels and glaze windows to better insulate their homes.

The effort, reaching its 10th anniversary this year, has led to a 24 percent cut in emissions, according to surveys by a professor of environmental sustainability who lives here.

But what makes Ashton Hayes unusual is its approach — the residents have done it themselves, without prodding from government. About 200 towns, cities and counties around the world — including Notteroy, Norway; Upper Saddle River, N.J.; and Changhua County, Taiwan — have reached out to learn how the villagers here did it.


As climate science has become more accepted, and the effects of a warming planet are becoming increasingly clear, Ashton Hayes is a case study for the next phase of battling climate change: getting people to change their habits.

“We just think everyone should try to clean up their patch,” said Rosemary Dossett, a resident of the village. “And rather than going out and shouting about it, we just do it.”

One of their secrets, it seems, is that the people of Ashton Hayes feel in charge, rather than following government policies. When the member of Parliament who represents the village showed up at their first public meeting in January 2006, he was told he could not make any speeches.

“We said, ‘This is not about you tonight, this is about us, and you can listen to what we’ve got to say for a change,’” said Kate Harrison, a resident and early member of the group.

No politician has been allowed to address the group since. The village has kept the effort separate from party politics, which residents thought would only divide them along ideological lines.


The project was started by Garry Charnock, a former journalist who trained as a hydrologist and has lived in the village for about 30 years. He got the idea a little more than a decade ago after attending a lecture about climate change at the Hay Festival, an annual literary gathering in Wales. He decided to try to get Ashton Hayes to become, as he put it, “Britain’s first carbon-neutral village.”


“But even if we don’t,” he recalls thinking at the time, “let’s try to have a little fun.”

Sometimes, efforts to reduce greenhouse gases involve guilt-tripping or doomsday scenarios that make people feel as if the problem is too overwhelming to tackle.

In Ashton Hayes — about 25 miles southeast of Liverpool, with a 19th-century Anglican church and a community-owned shop that doubles as a post office — the villagers have lightened the mood.

They hold public wine-and-cheese meetings in the biggest houses in town, “so everyone can have a look around,” and see how the wealthier people live, said Mr. Charnock, the executive director of RSK, an environmental consulting company. “We don’t ever finger-wag in Ashton Hayes.”

About 650 people — more than half of the village’s residents — showed up to the first meeting, Mr. Charnock said. Some in the village were less keen, but little by little, they began to participate.

Some have gone further. When they were looking to build their energy-efficient home and heard about Ashton Hayes’s carbon-neutral project, Ms. Dossett and her husband, Ian, thought it might be the perfect village for them.

They moved from nearby South Warrington and found two old farm cottages, which they converted into a two-story brick house, and installed huge triple-glazed windows, photovoltaic cells on the roof, a geothermal heat pump that heats the home and its water, and an underground cistern to hold rainwater for toilets and the garden.

“I wouldn’t want anyone to think we live in a mud hut,” Ms. Dossett said, sitting on a couch in her warm, well-lit living room.

The Dossetts also have a vegetable garden, grow grapes for wine, brew beer and keep two cows, which mow the lawn and may also eventually become food in a few years. They pay about 500 pounds (about $650) a year for electricity and heating.

The success of the carbon-neutral project seems to have inspired other community efforts in Ashton Hayes. The residents, for example, have built a new playing field with a solar-powered pavilion, which is the home of a community cafe three days a week. They have also put photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of the primary school.

Other towns and cities around the world hope to copy Ashton Hayes. Their representatives have contacted the project’s leaders, asking for help in setting up similar initiatives, according to the diary the Ashton Hayes group keeps about the project, chronicling almost everything they have done over the past 10 years.


Eden Mills, a small community in Ontario, Canada, is one of them. Charles Simon traveled to Ashton Hayes in 2007 to learn how to translate their approach to his town, adopting the apolitical, voluntary, fun method.

“Some of the changes are so easy,” Mr. Simon said. “Just put on a sweater instead of turning on the heat.”


Eden Mills has cut emissions by about 14 percent, Mr. Simon said, and has plans to do more. Residents have been working with experts from the nearby University of Guelph, planting trees in the village forest to help absorb the carbon dioxide the town emits, Mr. Simon said.

Janet Gullvaag, a councilwoman in Notteroy, Norway, an island municipality of about 21,000 people, reached out to Ashton Hayes about nine years ago after her political party decided to include reducing carbon dioxide emissions in its platform.

“I think that the idea that Ashton Hayes had — to make caring for the environment fun, without pointing fingers — was quite revolutionary,” Ms. Gullvaag said.

Though her community’s approach is decidedly more political, Ms. Gullvaag said that adopting Ashton Hayes’s mantra of fun had paid dividends: She has seen changes in her community, she said, as people buy more electric cars and bicycles, and convert their home heating from oil to more environmentally friendly sources.

“Whatever you’re trying to do, if you can create enthusiasm and spread knowledge, normally, people will react in a positive way,” she added.

Though deep cuts across the globe are still required to make broader progress, actions to reduce emissions, even by small towns, are a step in the right direction, say experts who study community action on climate change.

“The community-building element of all this has been as important as the environmental impact so far,” said Sarah Darby, a researcher at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute.

She added that Ashton Hayes was in a good position to take on these kinds of projects — it is a small village of well-off and well-educated people, so simply taking fewer flights each year can have a big effect.

Residents were able to cut emissions by about 20 percent in the first year alone, according to surveys used to calculate carbon footprints that were developed by Roy Alexander, a local professor, and his students.

Some have had even more significant reductions: Households that participated in surveys in both the first and 10th years shrank their energy use by about 40 percent.

Mr. Charnock said he thought the village could get the cuts in its 2006 carbon footprint to 80 percent in the next few years with the help of grant money to buy and install solar panels on the local school and other buildings.

The next thing they have to do, he said, is to get the county government to be as committed to cutting emissions as Ashton Hayes is.

“There’s so much apathy,” Mr. Charnock said. “We need to squeeze that layer of apathy jelly and get it out.”

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A version of this article appears in print on August 22, 2016, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: An English Village Leads a Climate Revolution.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 1st, 2016
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The Opinion Pages of The New York Times | An OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR


How the ‘Stupid Party’ Created Donald Trump

By MAX BOOT, JULY 31, 2016

It’s hard to know exactly when the Republican Party assumed the mantle of the “stupid party.”

Stupidity is not an accusation that could be hurled against such prominent early Republicans as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Elihu Root and Charles Evans Hughes. But by the 1950s, it had become an established shibboleth that the “eggheads” were for Adlai Stevenson and the “boobs” for Dwight D. Eisenhower — a view endorsed by Richard Hofstadter’s 1963 book “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life,” which contrasted Stevenson, “a politician of uncommon mind and style, whose appeal to intellectuals overshadowed anything in recent history,” with Eisenhower — “conventional in mind, relatively inarticulate.” The John F. Kennedy presidency, with its glittering court of Camelot, cemented the impression that it was the Democrats who represented the thinking men and women of America.


Rather than run away from the anti-intellectual label, Republicans embraced it for their own political purposes. In his “time for choosing” speech, Ronald Reagan said that the issue in the 1964 election was “whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant Capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.” Richard M. Nixon appealed to the “silent majority” and the “hard hats,” while his vice president, Spiro T. Agnew, issued slashing attacks on an “effete core of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals.”


William F. Buckley Jr. famously said, “I should sooner live in a society governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the 2,000 faculty members of Harvard University.” More recently, George W. Bush joked at a Yale commencement: “To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say, well done. And to the C students I say, you, too, can be president of the United States.”

Many Democrats took all this at face value and congratulated themselves for being smarter than the benighted Republicans. Here’s the thing, though: The Republican embrace of anti-intellectualism was, to a large extent, a put-on. At least until now.

Eisenhower may have played the part of an amiable duffer, but he may have been the best prepared president we have ever had — a five-star general with an unparalleled knowledge of national security affairs. When he resorted to gobbledygook in public, it was in order to preserve his political room to maneuver. Reagan may have come across as a dumb thespian, but he spent decades honing his views on public policy and writing his own speeches. Nixon may have burned with resentment of “Harvard men,” but he turned over foreign policy and domestic policy to two Harvard professors, Henry A. Kissinger and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, while his own knowledge of foreign affairs was second only to Ike’s.


There is no evidence that Republican leaders have been demonstrably dumber than their Democratic counterparts. During the Reagan years, the G.O.P. briefly became known as the “party of ideas,” because it harvested so effectively the intellectual labor of conservative think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation and publications like The Wall Street Journal editorial page and Commentary. Scholarly policy makers like George P. Shultz, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick and Bill Bennett held prominent posts in the Reagan administration, a tradition that continued into the George W. Bush administration — amply stocked with the likes of Paul D. Wolfowitz, John J. Dilulio Jr. and Condoleezza Rice.

In recent years, however, the Republicans’ relationship to the realm of ideas has become more and more attenuated as talk-radio hosts and television personalities have taken over the role of defining the conservative movement that once belonged to thinkers like Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz and George F. Will. The Tea Party represented a populist revolt against what its activists saw as out-of-touch Republican elites in Washington.

There are still some thoughtful Republican leaders exemplified by House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, who devised an impressive new budget plan for his party. But the primary vibe from the G.O.P. has become one of indiscriminate, unthinking, all-consuming anger.

The trend has now culminated in the nomination of Donald J. Trump, a presidential candidate who truly is the know-nothing his Republican predecessors only pretended to be.

Mr. Trump doesn’t know the difference between the Quds Force and the Kurds. He can’t identify the nuclear triad, the American strategic nuclear arsenal’s delivery system. He had never heard of Brexit until a few weeks before the vote. He thinks the Constitution has 12 Articles rather than seven. He uses the vocabulary of a fifth grader. Most damning of all, he traffics in off-the-wall conspiracy theories by insinuating that President Obama was born in Kenya and that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the Kennedy assassination. It is hardly surprising to read Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter for Mr. Trump’s best seller “The Art of the Deal,” say, “I seriously doubt that Trump has ever read a book straight through in his adult life.”

Mr. Trump even appears proud of his lack of learning. He told The Washington Post that he reached decisions “with very little knowledge,” but on the strength of his “common sense” and his “business ability.” Reading long documents is a waste of time because of his rapid ability to get to the gist of an issue, he said: “I’m a very efficient guy.” What little Mr. Trump does know seems to come from television: Asked where he got military advice, he replied, “I watch the shows.”

Mr. Trump promotes a nativist, isolationist, anti-trade agenda that is supported by few if any serious scholars. He called for tariff increases that experts warn will cost millions of jobs and plunge the country into a recession. He claimed that Mexican immigrants were “bringing crime” even though research consistently shows that immigrants have a lower crime rate than the native-born. He promised that Mexico would pay for a border wall, even though no regional expert thinks that will ever happen.

Mr. Trump also proposed barring Muslims from entering the country despite terrorism researchers, myself included, warning that his plan would likely backfire, feeding the Islamic State’s narrative that the war on terrorism is really a war on Islam. He has since revised that proposal and would now bar visitors from countries that have a “proven history of terrorism” — overlooking that pretty much every country, including every major American ally, has a history of terrorism.

Recently, he declared that he would not necessarily come to the aid of the Baltic republics if they were attacked by Russia, apparently not knowing or caring that Article 5 of the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty obliges the United States to defend any NATO member under attack. Last week, Mr. Trump even invited Russia’s intelligence agencies to hack the emails of a former secretary of state — something impossible to imagine any previous presidential nominee doing. It is genuinely terrifying that someone who advances such offensive and ridiculous proposals could win the nomination of a party once led by Teddy Roosevelt, who wrote more books than Mr. Trump has probably read. It’s one thing to appeal to voters by pretending to be an average guy. It’s another to be an average guy who doesn’t know the first thing about governing or public policy.

The Trump acolytes claim it doesn’t matter; he can hire experts to advise him. But experts always disagree with one another and it is the president alone who must make the most difficult decisions in the world. That’s not something he can do since he lacks the most basic grounding in the issues and is prey to fundamental misconceptions.

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1
COMMENT
In a way, the joke’s on the Republican Party: After decades of masquerading as the “stupid party,” that’s what it has become. But if an unapologetic ignoramus wins the presidency, the consequences will be no laughing matter.

Even if we can avoid the calamity of a Trump presidency, however, the G.O.P. still has a lot of soul-searching to do. Mr. Trump is as much a symptom as a cause of the party’s anti-intellectual drift. The party needs to rethink its growing anti-intellectual bias and its reflexive aversion to elites. Catering to populist anger with extremist proposals that are certain to fail is not a viable strategy for political success.

Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, was a foreign policy adviser to the presidential campaigns of John McCain, Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio.

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