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

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research

6th International Conference on Deserts, Drylands & Desertification (DDD).

November 6-9, 2017, Sede Boqer Campus, Israel,

(DDD) has emerged since 2006 as an important Science of Development Conference with close to 1000 participants from many developed and developing countries. These subjects impact in effect the majority of the countries and regions of the world – not just the on-going preoccupation of that time with Africa – of the UN or UNEP.

The subject evolved after the Rio Summit of 1992 and the Brazilian Insistence that Dry Lands – arid and semi-arid – are wide spread – even to counties held responsible for the plight of the Amazonas.

Following the success of the previous five international biennial conferences 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, though no conference was held in 2016, but the 2017 6th conference – to be this November – is now in full gear – and this year’s focus is on Healthy Lands and Healthy Collection and Treatment • Remote Sensing Applications for Drylands.

The list of advertised topics includes:

– Ecology of Drylands
– Afforestation in Drylands
– Carbon Footprint
– Desert and Drylands Archeology
– Dryland Agriculture
– Irrigation
– Mathematical Asects, Modeling and Analysis for Dryland Research
– Ecohydrology of Dryland Landscapes
– Geological Aspects of Deserts and Desertification
– GIS Application for Dryland Studies
– Hydrology in Drylands
– NGO perspectives on Dryland Development
– Nutritional and Food Security
– On-site Waste Collection and Treatment
– Remote Sensing Application for Drylands
– Soil and Land Restoration
– Green Roofs an Urbn Forestry
– Women and Economic Change in Rural Arid Lands

Additional topics may be included.
Topics can be submitted till April 1, 2017 and Abstracts have to be submitted by May 15, 2017.

www.desertification.bgu.ac.il at www.bgu.ac.il

write to  desertification at bgu.ac.il

Prof. Pedro Berliner and Prof. Arnon Karnieli, Chairs of the Organizing Committee
Ms. Dorit Korine, Conference Coordinator.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

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


Humanitarian Congress Vienna 2017 – Forced to Flee – Humanity on the Run


The 4th Humanitarian Congress – Forced to Flee – Humanity on the Run – takes place on
3 March 2017 in the ceremonial halls of the University of Vienna.
Please note that registration is open until 28 February 2017.

The Humanitarian Congress gives you the chance to benefit from the unique insights of the experts as for example Mr. Volker Türk, Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, UNHCR or Kate Gilmore, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations discussing the following themes:


(Failed) Policy making with Global Consequences

Why are People Forced to Flee?

Refugee Health – Time for Change

The Erosion of International Law – Who Cares?

Civil Society and Refugees: Lessons Learned

Leaving No One Behind – A Mission Impossible?

For more information please visit www.humanitariancongress.at and the attached Newsletter.
We look forward to welcoming you on 3 March 2017.

With kind regards,

Mag.a Annelies Vilim

GLOBALE VERANTWORTUNG –

Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Entwicklung und Humanitäre Hilfe

Apollogasse 4/9, 1070 Wien

Tel.: (+43 1) 522 44 22

 office at globaleverantwortung.at

www.globaleverantwortung.at

www.humanitaerer-kongress.at /  info at humanitaerer-kongress.at

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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)

(CNN) The Treasury Department said Thursday – January 2, 2017 – it will allow for some companies to do limited business with Russia’s Federal Security Service, known as the FSB.

The move is a minor easing of a sanction put in place at the end of the Obama administration that limits business to $5,000 for any calendar year.
A top State Department official said the move was made as a technical fix to the sanctions that were put in place to avoid “unintended consequences” of US government business with Russia.
President Donald Trump denied Thursday he’d eased sanctions on Russia.
“I haven’t eased anything,” Trump said during a meeting with Harley-Davidson executives at the White House.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the same during his daily press briefing.
“From what I understand it’s a fairly common practice for the Treasury Department, after sanctions are in place, to go back and look at whether or not there needs to be specific carve-outs for different industries or products or services,” he said.
He said the move didn’t reflect a shift in policy, but rather a “regular course of action.”
The fix was in the works soon after the sanctions were put in place because FSB is also involved in customs and border checks on trade. The sanctions had the unintended consequence of preventing US businesses from being able to pay some necessary trade-related costs to the Russian government.
US intelligence agencies accused the FSB of being involved in the election-related hacking last year.
The Treasury Department did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment.

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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 February 1st, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

United Nations, New York City

UN chief decries discriminatory border bans in rebuke to Trump travel decree
António Guterres: ban based on religion or ethnicity violates basic values
Secretary general says such a ban risks fueling terrorist propaganda.

António Guterres denounced border policies ‘based on any form of discrimination related to religion, ethnicity or nationality’.

Julian Borger in Washington, The Guardian, Wednesday 1 February 2017

António Guterres, the new UN secretary general, said on Wednesday, in a clear response to the Trump administration’s refugee ban, that border policies based on religion, ethnicity or race were “against the fundamental principles and values on which our societies are based”.

US travel ban puts 20,000 refugees in ‘precarious circumstances’, UN says

Guterres did not mention the US or Donald Trump in his written statement but he directly addressed the political, legal and moral debate triggered by the president’s executive order suspending entry for refugees and other visitors from a list of seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Guterres, who was formerly the UN high commissioner for refugees, also had implicit criticism for other western countries that have increasingly closed their doors to the vast numbers of refugees seeking safe haven around the world, and compared them unfavourably to poorer countries who host the overwhelming bulk of them.

The statement said Guterres was on his “way back from Ethiopia, the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa that for decades has been keeping its borders open to hundreds of thousands of refugees from its neighbours, many times in dramatic security situations”.


“Countries have the right, even the obligation, to responsibly manage their borders to avoid infiltration by members of terrorist organizations,” the secretary general said, but he added: “This cannot be based on any form of discrimination related to religion, ethnicity or nationality because … that is against the fundamental principles and values on which our societies are based.”

He added two other practical objections that have been at the core of much criticism of Trump’s executive order, on the grounds that it is poor national security policy. Guterres said such a ban “triggers widespread anxiety and anger that may facilitate the propaganda of the very terrorist organisations we all want to fight against” and that, furthermore, “blind measures, not based on solid intelligence, tend to be ineffective as they risk being bypassed by what are today sophisticated global terrorist movements”.

“This is not the way to best protect the US. or any other country in relation to the serious concerns that exist about possible terrorist infiltration,” Guterres told reporters in reference to Trump’s executive order. “I don’t think this is the effective way to do so. I think that these measures should be removed sooner rather than later.”

Ben Emmerson, the UN special rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights, said on Monday: “Trump’s executive order clearly breaches US international human rights obligations on non-refoulement and non-discrimination. It is unlawful.”

“Apart from being in breach of international law, Trump’s Executive Order carries a risk of inc . reasing rather reducing the risk of terrorism,” Emmerson said on Twitter on Tuesday evening

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

Seemingly the new UN Secretary-General, a former Portuguese Head of State, does indeed have the backbone to stand up to his American host – this even as expected – President Trumps cabinet appointees may present a danger to the continuation of the present UN structure. Though only 10 days old and many members of the cabinet not yet approved by US Congress – this new US Administration has already managed to put in motion many revolutionary activities that clash with laws intended to protect the weak from the interests of the rich.

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

Further, we received also the following from the outgoing US Mission to the UN:

This is to let you know that Ambassador Haley will be spending her first few months learning about the UN and Security Council and its members. She will not be meeting with NGOs for a while.

My last day is February 28. Have really enjoyed working with you.
Peggy

Peggy Kerry
NGO Liaison
U.S. Mission to the UN
799 UN Plaza

We clearly are sorry for losing Ms. Peggy Kerry from her position as NGO liaison to the UN
and we also note that the new US Ambassador for the UN – Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina – will be inactive for several months, and not having the background to function at the UN, and in need of a learning experience before she is ready to enter the fray – she in effect sees no need to ask also for advice in that learning time from the NGOs. This in itself is a major retrogressive step for the US in its international relations – that we will follow and watch attentively.

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

EUROPE/The New York Times

Trump Threatens Europe’s Stability, a Top EU Leader Warns.

By JAMES KANTER JANuary 31, 2017

Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, at a news conference shown on Tuesday in Tallinn, Estonia.

BRUSSELS — The president of the European Council warned Tuesday that President Trump was a potential threat to the European Union, including the American leader’s bellicose pronouncements with major geopolitical challenges like Russian aggression, China’s assertiveness and international terrorism.

In a letter sent to European leaders, Donald Tusk, the council president, wrote that those factors and “worrying declarations by the new American administration all make our future highly unpredictable.” He appeared to question whether the United States would maintain its commitment to European security under Mr. Trump’s leadership.

“For the first time in our history, in an increasingly multipolar external world, so many are becoming openly anti-European, or Eurosceptic at best,” Mr. Tusk wrote. The letter was released ahead of a European Union summit meeting in Malta on Friday; Mr. Tusk is responsible for setting the agenda for the meetings.

“Particularly the change in Washington puts the European Union in a difficult situation; with the new administration seeming to put into question the last 70 years of American foreign policy,” he wrote.

RELATED COVERAGE:

As Trump Era Arrives, a Sense of Uncertainty Grips the World JAN. 16, 2017

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Continue reading the main story

The European Union has been struggling to contend with fractious internal forces. Among them: the vote by Britain to leave the bloc, the organization’s failure to establish a unified response to the arrival of hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers and the debt crisis that has driven many Greeks into poverty. And then there are external pressures like Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Before the election and since taking office, Mr. Trump has lauded the vote by Britain, known as Brexit, and said the country would thrive outside the European Union. He met with Nigel Farage, a populist leader of the campaign to leave the bloc, before seeing Prime Minister Theresa May. And at one point he went so far as to suggest that Mrs. May appoint Mr. Farage as Britain’s ambassador to the United States.

Mr. Trump has also praised President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and indicated he would pursue friendlier relations with Moscow, even as Russia encourages chaos on the European Union’s eastern border.

Mr. Tusk’s letter does not reflect a new policy for the European Union, and member states of the 28-nation bloc are not required to act on Mr. Tusk’s advice when they meet on Friday. But many European leaders have made their differences with Mr. Trump known.

After the United States said it was temporarily blocking refugees from entering the country, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany felt compelled to point out to Mr. Trump the obligations of nations under the Geneva Conventions to protect refugees of war on humanitarian grounds. And President François Hollande of France said he had reminded Mr. Trump that “the ongoing fight to defend our democracy will be effective only if we sign up to respect to the founding principles and, in particular, the welcoming of refugees.”

Mrs. May, of Britain, sought in a meeting with Mr. Trump last week to confirm his commitment to NATO; he was dismissive of the alliance, the bedrock of European security, during his campaign.

Now, the sentiments expressed in Mr. Tusk’s letter are pushing European leaders’ exasperation with the American president further into the public view.

Mr. Tusk has sounded the alarm about the existential crises facing the bloc before, but never with the urgency he displayed in the letter. And he has never before included a longstanding ally like the United States in the list of challenges.

“An increasingly, let us call it, assertive China, especially on the seas,” he wrote, “Russia’s aggressive policy toward Ukraine and its neighbors, wars, terror and anarchy in the Middle East and in Africa, with radical Islam playing a major role, as well as worrying declarations by the new American administration all make our future highly unpredictable.”

Much of the frustration Mr. Tusk displayed in his letter stemmed from what Guntram B. Wolff, director of Bruegel, a research organization in Brussels, said was Mr. Trump’s “de facto supporting” of populist forces that could further upend the European order.

Far-right populist challengers in France, Germany and the Netherlands have adopted some of his anti-establishment rhetoric in their own campaigns.

Still, Mr. Wolff said it was unwise to enter into a war of words with the Trump administration. “We need to uphold our values here, but does it mean that we need now a declaration where we put the United States on the same level as ISIS?” he said. “No, I don’t think so. I don’t think it that would be helpful in any way.”

The trans-Atlantic volley of opprobrium on Friday included an accusation by Peter Navarro, the director of Mr. Trump’s new National Trade Council, that Germany was manipulating its currency to gain a trade advantage. Mr. Navarro told The Financial Times that Germany was using a “grossly undervalued” euro to “exploit” the United States and its partners in Europe.

That did not sit well with Ms. Merkel, who defended the European Central Bank’s independent role at a news conference on Friday: “Because of that we will not influence the behavior of the E.C.B. And as a result, I cannot and do not want to change the situation as it is.”

The value of the euro is near a 13-year low compared with the dollar, allowing German carmakers and other manufacturers to sell their goods more cheaply in the United States. But German firms also employ around 670,000 people in the United States, including many in a BMW factory in Spartanburg, S.C., the carmaker’s largest in the world, and a Mercedes factory in Tuscaloosa, Ala. These are the sort of manufacturing jobs that Mr. Trump says he wants to keep in the United States.

Jan Techau, director of the Richard C. Holbrooke Forum in Berlin, a research center dedicated to diplomacy, said Mr. Tusk’s letter was less a warning to the American president than it was a message to Europeans not to be lured away from union, or to be tempted away from the bloc by favorable bilateral ties offered by the Trump administration. “He is encouraging everyone to fall into that trap,” Mr. Techau said of the American president.

Mr. Tusk, by contrast, is making the case for Europeans to stick together for their own survival. “He wants to remind them that there is something bigger at stake than just what they are going to be talking about in Malta,” Mr. Techau said.

——————————————–
Follow James Kanter on Twitter @jameskanter.

Alison Smale contributed reporting from Berlin and Jack Ewing contributed from Frankfurt, Germany.

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

Oil production releases more methane than previously thought.

Emissions of methane and ethane from oil production have been substantially higher than previously estimated, particularly before 2005.

Laxenburg, Austria, 1 February 2017: Global methane and ethane emissions from oil production from 1980 to 2012 were far higher than previous estimates show, according to a new study which for the first time takes into account different production management systems and geological conditions around the world.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, which scientists rank as the second-most important contributor to climate change after carbon dioxide. Yet while methane concentrations in the atmosphere can be easily measured, it is difficult to determine the contribution of different sources, whether human or natural. This is necessary information for reducing emissions.

“In an oil reservoir, there is a layer of gas above the oil which has a methane content of 50 to 85 percent. When you pump the oil to the surface this associated gas will also escape,” explains IIASA researcher Lena Höglund-Isaksson, who led the study. In oil production facilities in North America, almost all of this gas is recovered and what is not recovered will for the most part be flared to prevent leakage (and potential explosions), while a very small fraction is simply vented. In other parts of the world, where recovery rates are lower, much larger quantities of this gas are released into the atmosphere.

“Existing global bottom-up emission inventories of methane used rather simplistic approaches for estimating methane from oil production, merely taking the few direct measurements that exist from North American oil fields and scaling them with oil production worldwide,” says Höglund-Isaksson. This approach left a large room for error, so Höglund Isaksson decided to develop a new method that could better account for the many variations in oil production around the world.

In the new paper, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, Höglund-Isaksson estimated global methane emissions from oil and gas systems in over 100 countries over a 32-year period, using a variety of country-specific data ranging from reported volumes of associated gas to satellite imagery that can show flaring, as well as atmospheric measurements of ethane, a gas which is released along with methane and easier to link more directly to oil and gas activities.

She found that in particular in the 1980s, global methane emissions were as much as double previous estimates. The study also found that the Russian oil industry contributes a large amount to global methane emissions. A decline in the Russian oil industry in the 1990s contributed to a global decline in methane emissions which continued until the early 2000’s. At the same time, Höglund-Isaksson found, methane recovery systems were becoming more common and helping to reduce emissions. Yet since 2005, emissions from oil and gas systems have remained fairly constant, which Höglund-Isaksson says is likely linked to increasing shale gas production which largely offsets emission reductions from increased gas recovery.

Höglund-Isaksson points out that her estimates are only as good as the data allow and that there is still uncertainty in the numbers. She says, “To improve the data, a close collaboration between the scientific measurement community and the oil and gas industry would be needed to make more direct measurements available from different parts of the world.”

Reference
Höglund-Isaksson L, (2017). Bottom-up simulations of methane and ethane emissions from global oil and gas systems 1980 to 2012. Environmental Research Letters, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/aa583e.

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

Yes, The Washington of these last two weeks start reminding us of the Berlin of the 30s’.
Is Donald Trump going to be the American Adolf Hitler? Are the politicians of Washington, Tel Aviv/Jerusalem, not seeing this yet, and speak again only of the fringe/misleading Trump utterances?

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING for starting your enlightenment:

 medium.com/@yonatanzunger/trial-…

 www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/…

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

THE ALGEMEINER – January 29, 2017

Trump’s White House Takes Heat for Holocaust Remembrance Statement Omitting Mention of Jewish Genocide.

The White House has faced widespread criticism since Friday, when it issued a statement in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day that…More at www.algemeiner.com/2017/01/29/wh…

Temple U Chapter of Notoriously Anti-Israel Group Pays Tribute to Late Founder of Deadly Palestinian Terrorist Organization on 8th Anniversary of His Death
The Temple University chapter of the anti-Israel group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) paid tribute Thursday to the late founder of a notorious…More  www.algemeiner.com/2017/01/29/te…

Controversial British Baroness Who Resigned From Liberal Democrat Party Over Antisemitism Allegations Doubles Down on ‘Jewish Lobby’ Comments, Accusations That Israeli Treatment of Palestinians Behind Global Terrorism
British Baroness Jenny Tonge, who was suspended and then resigned from the UK Liberal Democrat party in October over allegations of antisemitism…More www.algemeiner.com/2017/01/29/co…

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

MIDDLE EAST

Bill to Legalize West Bank Settlements Advances in Israel

By ISABEL KERSHNER NOVember 13, 2016 revived January 30, 2017

JERUSALEM — An Israeli ministerial committee on Sunday approved a contentious bill that would allow for the retroactive legalization of Jewish settlement outposts built on privately owned Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank. The measure breaks a longstanding taboo, and in the view of many experts, it defies international law.

The bill requires approval by Parliament before becoming law. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposed its advancement now, presumably to avoid international censure. The attorney general has cautioned that he will be hard pressed to defend the legislation in Israel’s Supreme Court.

Israel’s pro-settlement camp has promoted the legislation, known as the Regulation Law, with increasing urgency as a Dec. 25 deadline approaches for the court-ordered destruction of Amona, an illegal outpost of 40 families on a West Bank hilltop claimed by dozens of Palestinian landowners and their heirs.

Treading a fine line between world opinion, his conservative Likud Party and his governing coalition, Mr. Netanyahu tried to delay the vote. He said it would harm the chances of a government request pending before the Supreme Court to postpone the demolition of Amona by half a year.

“There is no one who is more concerned about settlement than us,” Mr. Netanyahu said Sunday, in a nod to his pro-settlement constituency. But, he added, “sagacity and responsibility” are needed for the benefit of the settlement project as a whole.

Husam Zomlot, an adviser to Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, said that while all settlement was illegal, Sunday’s decision served to “reaffirm the Israeli government insistence on burying the prospects for peace.”

Israel’s expansion of settlements has outraged Palestinians and been a source of acute tension with the Obama administration, which views all settlement activity as illegitimate and an obstacle to peace. Most of the world considers the settlements in territory that Israel conquered from Jordan in the 1967 war to be a violation of international law.

President Obama is considering whether to publicly lay out his own parameters for a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before he leaves office, in a speech or in a resolution before the United Nations Security Council, a prospect Mr. Netanyahu has strongly opposed.

Instead of evicting the settlers, the Regulation Law would transfer the rights for the use of private land into Israeli hands and force the Palestinian landowners to accept compensation. While Israel’s highest legal authorities allow settlements in areas declared public land, private property rights have technically been preserved.

Naftali Bennett, a minister whose Jewish Home party promoted the bill, said Sunday’s action signified that Israel had embarked on “a historic process of normalizing the settlements in Judea and Samaria,” referring to the West Bank by its biblical name.

Critics said it represented a creeping annexation of the West Bank, with Parliament potentially imposing Israeli law in an area that the military authorities have overseen for nearly 50 years.

Tamar Zandberg, a legislator from the left-wing Meretz party, said the proposed law “says you are allowed to steal.”

Although the crisis over Amona preceded the American presidential election, Israel’s right wing has been emboldened by the victory of Donald J. Trump, with the settlements’ supporters believing that his administration will give them a freer hand.

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

Abu Dhabi is not an oil-state anymore. They are a plain financial-state while Saudi Arabia’s oil-company ARAMCO is actually joining the Emirates by enhancing their participation in the RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD as beneficial economically to everyone. ARO made a great presentation this month at the Abu-Dhabi meeting.

Today above has a special meaning in light of Donald Trump’s throwing the US back into the oil-barrel as managed by ExxonMobil. He even had the audacity to make the ex-CEO of ExxonMobil his Secretary of State or Foreign Minister. This can mean that the Americans intend to push back the World into the dark ages of carbon clouds. Nevertheless, Trump has left open the door to visitors from those old oil-states that could thus have a chance to bring some new energy ideas to the USA that retrograde Tramp does not see yet. Trump even said the US should have kept for itself the Iraqi oil and have kept that money from funding ISIS. Yes, he might have had a point there, but did he ever think that the US was not intended to be of a colonial nature? This in spite of the behaviour of the Bush family – the allies of the Saudi family?

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Michael Madsen  MMadsen at irena.org via lists.iisd.ca
Jan 29, 2017

to Climate
Dear Colleagues,

I would like to draw your attention to the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) most recent publication “Planning for the renewable future: Long-term modelling and tools to expand variable renewable power in emerging economies”, which was presented at the 2017 World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.

The report guides energy planners and modelling practitioners through various modelling practices and use of renewable data to better represent variable renewable energy (VRE) sources in long-term generation expansion planning. The report highlights the findings from AVRIL (“Addressing Variable Renewable Energy in Long-term Energy Planning”), an IRENA project that has identified the best practices in long-term planning and modelling to represent high shares of VRE.

The report includes two main parts:

· Part One (Planning the transition to variable renewables) offers guidance to energy decision makers and planners by providing an overview of key long-term issues and concerns around the large-scale integration of VRE into the power grid.
· Part Two (Long-term models for energy transition planning) offers guidance to technical practitioners in the field of energy modelling, specifically with a catalogue of practical VRE modelling methodologies for long-term scenario planning. Topics addressed include: temporal and spatial resolution of generation expansion models, calibration of time-slices, capacity credit constraints, flexibility constraints, flexibility balance validation, coupling with production cost models, linking grid expansion needs with VRE expansion, site specific representation of generation, and transmission needs.

In case of questions or suggestions, please contact Dr. Asami Miketa ( AMiketa at irena.org), Programme Officer at the IRENA Innovation and Technology Centre.

Best regards,

Michael Madsen
Junior Professional Associate – Social Media and Web / Digital Content

———————————————————
IRENA Headquarters, Masdar City | P.O. Box 236 | Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates | Tel: +97124147128 | Mob: +971569905026 |  MMadsen at irena.orgwww.irena.org

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

President Donald Trump insisted on Sunday that his travel ban on certain Muslim-majority nations would protect the United States from terrorists.

For a second consecutive day, protesters rallied across the country on Sunday.

In an afternoon statement, after the weekend of outrage and confusion over his move, Trump wrote that the country would continue showing “compassion to those fleeing oppression.”

He rejected criticism that his executive order amounts to the “Muslim ban” he proposed as a candidate.

“To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting,” he wrote. “This is not about religion — this is about terror and keeping our country safe.”

Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham broke the GOP silence on Capitol Hill on Sunday to issue a scathing condemnation of the executive order.

Trump’s move set off confusion at airports and even the agencies in charge of implementing it. One key question is how the order affects US green-card holders and people who hold dual citizenship that includes one of the seven banned nations.

Adding to the confusion, officials at times seemed to contradict themselves. In an interview with NBC, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said the order “doesn’t affect” green-card holders, then later said “of course” it affects green-card holders from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia.

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BUT IT DOES NOT APPLY TO AZERBAIJAN, EGYPT, SAUDI ARABIA, INDONESIA OR THE U.A.E. – ALL COUNTRIES WHERE TRUMP ORGANIZATIONS HAVE INTERESTS ALREADY OR ARE BIDDING FOR FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS. CAN ONE SAY HE IS CAREFUL NOT TO STEP ON HIS OWN FEET?
WHAT DO YOU CALL THIS?

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Jan 29 2017

STATEMENT BY SENATORS McCAIN & GRAHAM ON EXECUTIVE ORDER ON IMMIGRATION


Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) released the following statement today on the President’s executive order on immigration:

“Our government has a responsibility to defend our borders, but we must do so in a way that makes us safer and upholds all that is decent and exceptional about our nation.

“It is clear from the confusion at our airports across the nation that President Trump’s executive order was not properly vetted. We are particularly concerned by reports that this order went into effect with little to no consultation with the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security.

“Such a hasty process risks harmful results. We should not stop green-card holders from returning to the country they call home. We should not stop those who have served as interpreters for our military and diplomats from seeking refuge in the country they risked their lives to help. And we should not turn our backs on those refugees who have been shown through extensive vetting to pose no demonstrable threat to our nation, and who have suffered unspeakable horrors, most of them women and children.

“Ultimately, we fear this executive order will become a self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism. At this very moment, American troops are fighting side-by-side with our Iraqi partners to defeat ISIL. But this executive order bans Iraqi pilots from coming to military bases in Arizona to fight our common enemies. Our most important allies in the fight against ISIL are the vast majority of Muslims who reject its apocalyptic ideology of hatred. This executive order sends a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into our country. That is why we fear this executive order may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security.”

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(CNN)CNN’s Fareed Zakaria delivered a scathing critique of Trump’s travel ban on his show, “GPS,” on Sunday, calling the refugees and foreign nationals affected by the order the “roadkill of Trump’s posturing.”

Referencing President Trump’s request that the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department provide information and progress reports on the numbers of foreign terrorists over the next three months, Zakaria offered up some figures there and then on the seven countries affected by the ban.
“Let me save the government some money and offer up the data right now,” he said, quoting a study by Alex Nowrasteh of the CATO Institute, a conservative think tank that has tallied the number of Americans killed on US soil from 1975 to 2015 by citizens of the seven countries.
“Iraq – zero, Iran -zero, Syria – zero, Yemen – zero, Libya – zero, Somalia – zero, Sudan — zero,” Zakaria said.


As to how these particular countries were chosen, Zakaria said it was “truly mysterious,” before observing that “none of the Muslim majority countries that have a Trump hotel, building or office are on the list.”


“There is really no rational basis for this ban,” he said, before adding that it could only be explained by looking at what he considered to be the hallmark of Trump’s political career: “the exploitation of fear.”
“From the birther campaign to the talk of Mexican rapists, Trump has always trafficked in fear mongering,” Zakaria said.

To “present himself as the country’s protector,” Trump had chosen to “punish ordinary men, women and children who are fleeing terrorism and violence,” Zakaria said.

“These people are the roadkill of Trump’s posturing,” he added.

“The image, reputation and goodwill of the United States of America as the beacon of the world” was destroyed by the executive order, Zakaria said.

“Donald Trump seems to want to turn off that lamp on the Statue of Liberty.”

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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 22nd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Trump Does Not Seem Capable of Being Magnanimous
By Jill Abramson, Guardian UK
22 January 2017

The 45th president of a United States delivered his much-anticipated address moments after he took the oath of office. Here’s the verdict

Jill Abramson: The man does not seem capable of being magnanimous

His inaugural address sounded like any speech at a Trump rally. The scene was a campaign event writ large, with a massive cheering crowd of white people wearing “Make America Great Again” red caps. Like his tone as a candidate, the new president’s voice was angry and dripping with pessimism. Like his speech at the Republican convention, President Trump drew a dark picture of a country under siege from foreign trade competitors, Muslim terrorists and Washington insiders. There were no grace notes.

His base no doubt loved it. But there was no reassurance or olive branch extended to the majority of Americans who did not vote for him. While he named President Bill Clinton, there was no mention of his wife, the vanquished opponent. There were no good wishes extended to President George HW Bush or his wife, who were hospitalized, but did not endorse him. The man does not seem capable of being magnanimous.

Indeed, after calling the Obamas “magnificent,” he was then overtly rude to them, portraying a do-nothing Washington that had betrayed the people and enriched itself. Meanwhile, the unprepared billionaires who displayed their ignorance at hearings last week await confirmation to his cabinet. In a gratuitous slap that echoed his wild and crazy insult to Rep John Lewis on Twitter, he lambasted politicians, presumably all the Democrats on the reviewing stand behind him, who “complain” but fail to get things done.

And the biggest lie of all when the narcissist proclaimed, “I will never let you down.”

He already has.

Steven Thrasher: Dumbness and xenophobia were baked into Trump’s speech

From the white bodies in the crowd, to the white faces of the performers, to the intended white audience for his words, Trump’s inauguration was a blatant moment of white reconciliation.

His excoriation of “welfare” and the “inner city,” his fear mongering about borders, his praise of “American hands and American labor:” it was all meant to stoke the excitement of the majority of white voters who supported him.

Like all projects of white supremacy, the inauguration was aided by exceptional black people who gave it legitimacy – like Justice Clarence Thomas, who used more words to swear in Mike Pence than he uses most years on the Supreme Court. In chastising politicians who are “all talk and no action,” Trump worked in a dig at John Lewis, a critical Black politician who questioned his legitimacy (and commendably didn’t attend).

Trump’s nods to lack of prejudice were insincere. His call that “when you open your heart to patriotism there is no room for prejudice” was sandwiched sentences stoking Islamophobia and praising the Christian Bible. And while the cliche that “whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood” got a rousing cheer from the largely white crowd, it was followed by the lie that “we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms” regardless of race.

The dumbness and xenophobia baked into Trump’s speech weren’t surprising. Perhaps more alarming was seeing Democratic leaders from Bernie Sanders to Hillary Clinton sitting there, silently, granting legitimacy to this idiotic ugliness.

Michael Paarlberg: It veered from religious pieties to dystopian hellscapes

Most of the world’s great strongmen give great speeches – should we be disappointed that ours does not? Trump’s inaugural address veered from religious pieties to dystopian hellscapes – “American carnage,” in his words – yet by the end, raising a clenched fist in defiance of the hated Washington elites he now commands, there could be little doubt of his authoritarian credentials. There was something reassuringly familiar in his decree that “the people will become the rulers of this nation again,” and his promise of a government “controlled by the people”.

“Every day, the people will rule more,” promised Hugo Chavez in 2011. “The people will be the ones who decide,” said Nicolás Maduro last year. Erdogan: “There is no power higher than the power of the people.” Generally, the greater the invocation of the people, the greater the president’s cronies will be fleecing the country. These are definitely not the people.

Trump has already brought more billionaires in to the Washington establishment than any other president, with a cabinet worth $14bn combined. These include CEOs and officials of the very banks that profited off of the immiseration of those ordinary Americans that Trump promises will rule again. There is much work, and much pillaging, to be done.

Jamie Weinstein: A conservative isn’t heading into the White House. A populist is

In case there was any doubt, Donald Trump’s inaugural made clear a conservative is not heading into the White House. A populist is.

“The people became the rulers of this nation again,” he promised the crowd, to the likely dismay of America’s founders who crafted the constitution in part to tame American populism.

Trump made it sound like he was not taking over a first world country with its share of problems that needed to be addressed, but a developing world basket case.

“This American carnage stops right here and stops right now,” he promised, as if had just inherited the problems of Venezuela.

And then there was the rhetoric that could have been lifted from President John Kerry’s 2004 inaugural address, had the Secretary of State won a few thousand more votes in Ohio.

“We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own and spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay,” Trump pledged, seeming to indicate a desire to reduce America’s role in the world and perhaps end Pax Americana.

Trump’s inaugural address is unlikely to be long studied by students of political oratory. But what it made very clear, for good or for bad, is that the man entering the White House does not fit very well on the traditional right-left, conservative-liberal political axis we have become used to in American political life.

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

Trump’s coronation by his blind admirers was not the only act of global importance this weekend. We also saw a Turkish Parliament vote that turns Recep Tayyip Erdogan into a Presidential Sultan; he remembers that January 22, 1517 – just a mere 600 years ago – the Turks conquered Cairo.

Prime Ministers Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Theresa May of the UK compete to be the new US Chief’s first guest. The Tsar of Russia, Vladimir Putin expressed his wishes to co-reign with the new United States, while at the Davos World Economic Forum, the playing ground of world’s capitalists, it was Xi Jinping – the Chinese Communist Party leader – who is viewed as the new world leader of Free Trade and Globalization. Quite a global change!


And Pope Francis warns against rise of populist leaders ‘like Hitler’ as Donald Trump sworn in as President He said among other things – “In times of crisis, we lack judgement.

President Donald Trump’s World-view is best depicted in a Kurier of Austria, January 22, 2017, drawing:

On the left side it shows a bloated US (TRUMP – Great Again!) sitting on a brick wall under which all of Latin America is marked Mexico.

On the right side you see the British Islands marked Brexit under which there is a rather smallish area labelled Pussies – that becomes recognizable thanks to the Italy-boot.
Underneath there is a much larger area labelled with a crossed-out ISIS and from the West side an incoming missile.

To the further right there is a nondescript large blob marked “Maybe Russia, Maybe China.”

If that map does not talk to you, then you had better listened to Fareed Zakaria’s program on his GPS (Global Public Square) and then followed up on NBC’s “Meet the Press” where Chuck Todd was trying to get answers from Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s Senior Adviser on how to beat the press. Obvious to the blind – The President is the LIAR-IN-CHIEF, his Press Secretary – the bamboozler par excellence and Kellyanne – the obnoxious fighter that brought them to where they are today.
From the Washington Post Evening Edition, January 22, 2017: Challenged on falsehoods, Conway says Trump team has ‘alternative facts’ that translates to Alternative meaning evasion and un-truth – simply said intended lies she makes up to avoid an answer.

Bette Midler posted today her findings that Trump’s cabinet is the richest in the history of the nation – worth over 14 billion dollars.
Wonder why you have no money? Because they have it All!

An Israeli facebook writer expressed her question that she does not understand who learned from whom – Netanyahu from Trump or Trump from Netayahu. We have the answer to her dilemma – both learned from Sbeldon Adelson – the Casino mogul from Macao who lives in Miami and who funded the political campaigns of Netanyahu and of the extreme right in the US of which Trump was the ultimate beneficiary. In Israel Adelson bought up the media outlets and created that fake impression of reality. Now, what the wonder that Trump’s Cabinet looks like a Goldman Sachs retreat and the proposed Secretary of State is the greatest Oil Industry executive?

Looking at that “Inauguration speech” that Trump made on Friday in front of a mainly
male audience pockmarked by all those blonde Republican wives, the right-looking well established journalist – George Will – writes:
“Trump vindicated his severest critics by serving up re-heated campaign rhetoric about rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape and an education system
producing students deprived of all knowledge. Yes all.
But cheer up, because the carnage will vanish if we follow two simple rules: Buy American and Hire American. ‘Simple’ is the word.”

Trump missed his chance to make a unifying speech and ended up sawing more division of an already split nation. The event was thus real in its fakeness but next week the country is his to rule. Will he make it better for all – not just for his bunch of oligarchs?

From Kellyanne’s pearls: “*On the Whitehouse press room – “We can’t let the press into the White House press room if they are going to question the facts presented by the team or the President himself.” *On Trump’s tax returns: “The president will NOT release his tax returns. The people don’t want that – they are interested in their own tax returns.”
*On the million who marched in America and more around the world: “I discussed it with him briefly but didn’t see any point to focus on it.”

The most incisive comments on Trump we found in the weekly column of a wise Israeli – Uri Avnery who has seen it all and has clear memories that stretch for 90 years.

He writes that President Trump does not know a thing about history and about many other things as well. Tramp knows real estate and how to make money. But some of the most terrible
wars were started because of ignoramuses. You can think of the First World War, on the millions of dead that started because of an unimportant Serb. Then the Second World War and its tens of millions of dead that was caused by Adolf Hitler, a primitive man, who crossed the border into Poland without giving a thought that he starts a world war. He did not believe that Britain, an Arian Nation he admired, will declare war again him.

Avnery starts his column by saying the only thing that is sure is that we are facing four years of uncertainty. Every morning he expects to get up and first thing he will try to find out what this man will do today. He will be the entertaining-president The World is dangerous and from today it will be dangerous some-more.

Yes, we agree with Avnery and we already named Trump the American Caligula.
Yes, history repeats itself – but please remember – now it is not horses – it is nukes!

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

Washington Post – Opinions

Did we really elect Donald Trump?

By Kathleen Parker – Opinion writer – January 13 at 7:45 PM

Republicans can argue until their last breath that Trump objectors are sore losers, but isn’t more at stake than “mere politics”? This phrase has been rendered quaint by such serious issues as Russian hackers apparently trying to tilt the election toward Donald Trump; the FBI’s possibly politically motivated practices; Trump’s initial resistance to the conclusions of the U.S. intelligence community; Trump’s refusal to release tax records, which might mollify concerns about his relationship with Russia.

These aren’t partisan issues, or shouldn’t be, as evidenced by the Justice Department inspector general’s decision to investigate how FBI Director James B. Comey handled the probe of Hillary Clinton’s email and private server. The focus will be on Comey’s statement in July that Clinton and her colleagues were “extremely careless” with classified information but that he wasn’t recommending criminal charges — as well as his announcement to Congress just a week and a half before Election Day that, because of new information, he was reopening the investigation.

This fresh look pertained to new emails found on the laptop of Carlos Danger, a.k.a. Anthony Weiner (but, really, why the name change?), estranged husband of top Clinton adviser Huma Abedin. The emails subsequently were found to be inconsequential, but if there were any fence-sitters left at that point, at least many of them probably toppled into Trump’s camp, from sheer exhaustion if not outright disgust.

Let me help you: Eleven days to go and the man who had said there’s nothing to see here suddenly says, Hey, there might be something after all! And no one’s supposed to think this affected the election?

How could it not have? Anecdotally, I can report at least a dozen friends who say, “That was it for me.” But polling, too, suggests a consequential voter shift in the final days of the campaign.

FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver’s polling/analysis group, reported that Clinton had an 81 percent chance of winning in mid-October. About a week after Comey’s announcement, that number dropped to 65 percent. This rapid shift didn’t occur because people suddenly recognized that Trump is a brilliant foreign policy strategist. It’s true that undecided people often return to their party at the last minute, but this may not account for Clinton’s sudden drop.

While it’s impossible to prove that Comey had any impact, there’s enough reason for dissatisfied Americans to continue to protest the results — even on Inauguration Day. For certain, Comey acted against bureau policy never to interfere politically or discuss investigations so close to an election. If there’s any justification, Comey may have felt that the information would be leaked anyway.

Adding suspicion to skepticism, the hacking and release of Democratic National Committee emails also may have affected election results, though, again, it’s impossible to know how much, since, as far as I’m aware, we can’t read people’s minds (yet). Thus, we’re left to draw inferences from suppositions from what little else we know.

We do know that our intelligence community concluded that Russia hacked the DNC, and Trump finally accepted this last week. To concede that Russia was behind the hacking (rather than a 400-pound person sitting on a bed somewhere, as Trump at one point theorized) was, presumably, to admit that Russia helped him win. Well, didn’t it? Didn’t Trump loudly call upon Russia to hack Clinton’s emails?

For the undecided (or the unpersuadable), let’s pose a hypothetical: What if Clinton had publicly asked Russia to hack Trump’s records and release his tax returns — and Russia did? And what if the FBI announced less than two weeks before Election Day that it was going to investigate fraudulent practices at Trump University? Let’s say that Trump’s number dipped dramatically and he lost.

Do you reckon Republicans would be a tad upset?

The inspector general’s investigation into Comey’s conduct, as well as Congress’s investigation into Russia’s apparent interference in the election, are urgent, overdue and probably useless. Mostly, Comey is guilty of poor judgment. And Russia is being Russia — a fact best quickly absorbed by the soon-to-be president.

Yes, democracy needs saving and the republic’s foundation is showing wear. But isn’t the crucial question the very one that can’t be answered: Did we really elect Donald Trump to be president of the United States?

We may never know precisely who sowed the wind, but to be sure, we’re all going to reap the whirlwind.

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Read more from Kathleen Parker’s archive, follow her on Twitter or find her on Facebook.

Read more here:

The Post’s View: Stop trying to hush up the truth about election hacking

Adam Schiff and Jane Harman: Russia attacked our democracy. That demands intense review by Congress.

John Podesta: Something is deeply broken at the FBI

Eric Chenoweth: Americans keep looking away from the election’s most alarming story

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Washington (CNN) January 14, 2017 Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis says he doesn’t see President-elect Donald Trump as a “legitimate” commander in chief following Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

“I don’t see this President-elect as a legitimate president,” Lewis, a Georgia Democrat, told NBC News’ Chuck Todd in a clip released Friday. “I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”
Lewis is an elder statesman in the party, especially among older black voters who know him from his time leading the “Bloody Sunday” march protesting segregation in Alabama in 1965. Lewis was eventually elected to Congress in 1986.
Lewis also said he planned to skip Trump’s inauguration next week, which he said would be the first ceremony he would not attend since coming to Washington.

Other Congressmen Joined the John Lewis protest. So far we have the names of:

Raul Grijalva of Arizona,

Nydia Velasquez, Jose Serrano, Yvette Clarke of New York

Luis Gutierrez of Illinois

Katherine Clark of Massachusetts

William Lacy of Missouri

John Conyers of Michigan

Kurt Schrader, Earl Blumenauer of Oregon

Mark Takano, Mark DeSaulnier, Jared Huffman of California


UPDATED Monday January 16, 2017

Further 12 Representatives – all Democrats – announced they will skip the inauguration.

They are:

Jerry Nadler, Adriano Espaillat of New York

Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey

Marcia Fudge of Ohio

Mark Pocan of Wisconsin

Pramila Jayapal of Washington

Ted Lieu, Judy Chu, Joe Lofgren, Maxine Waters, Lucille Raybal-Allard, Karen Bass of California.

Our count as of today is thus 28 “refusniks”

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