How to Inspire Action on Climate in the Age of Trump

Action on Climate in the Age of Trump

A Guide for Advocates

In the age of Trump, how do we advocate for climate action?

Climate Change Is Polarized. Clean Energy Is Not.

First, the bad news. Researchers have found there has been a small uptick in the number of Americans who understand that humans are driving climate change — but most of the gains have been made among Democrats. Republicans are actually less likely to accept climate science than they were 15 years ago. Thus, while public opinion in the aggregate is moving in the right direction, the issue has also become more polarized.

Jim Zarroli 2010

Vindictiveness personified

Patrons are reflected in a mirror as they eat at Trump Tower Grille at Trump Tower in New York. A critical Vanity Fair review preceded criticism of the magazine by the president-elect on Twitter.

* * * *

One day after Vanity Fair printed a highly critical piece about one of his restaurants, President-elect Donald Trump escalated his feud with the magazine’s editor, calling him a “no talent.”

“Has anyone looked at the really poor numbers of @VanityFair Magazine,” Trump said in an early-morning Tweet. “Way down, big trouble, dead! Graydon Carter, no talent, will be out!”

Has anyone looked at the really poor numbers of @VanityFair Magazine. Way down, big trouble, dead! Graydon Carter, no talent, will be out!

The tweet illustrates Trump’s ability to use his very visible platform as president-elect to lash back at critics of his businesses and underscores the conflicts of interest he will face in office.

Trump was originally supposed to hold a “major press conference” Thursday to reveal how he would address the conflicts of interest, but he decided to postpone it until next month. His staff said dealing with the issue involved complex legal issues and Trump needed time to iron out the details.

Although Trump didn’t refer to it directly in his tweet, Vanity Fair‘s website on Tuesday published a rough review of Trump Grill, located in the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan. The article, by politics and media writer Tina Nguyen, was headlined, “Trump Grill could be the worst restaurant in America.”

Nguyen lambasted the restaurant for its tacky decor and indifferent menu.

Among the foods served, she wrote, was a short-rib burger “molded into a sad little meat thing, sitting in the center of a massive, rapidly staling brioche bun, hiding its shame under a slice of melted orange cheese. It came with overcooked woody batons called ‘fries’—how can someone mess up fries?—and ketchup masquerading as Heinz. If the cheeseburger is a quintessential part of America’s identity, Trump’s pledge to ‘make America great again’ suddenly appeared not very promising.”

Interference in elections

One of the more alarming narratives of the 2016 U.S. election campaign is that of the Kremlin’s apparent meddling. Last week, the United States formally accused the Russian government of stealing and disclosing emails from the Democratic National Committee and the individual accounts of prominent Washington insiders.

The hacks, in part leaked by WikiLeaks, have led to loud declarations that Moscow is eager for the victory of Republican nominee Donald Trump, whose rhetoric has unsettled Washington’s traditional European alliesand even thrown the future of NATO — Russia’s bête noire — into doubt.

Leading Russian officials have balked at the Obama administration’s claim. In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed the suggestion of interference as “ridiculous,” though he said it was “flattering” that Washington would point the finger at Moscow. At a time of pronounced regional tensions in the Middle East and elsewhere, there’s no love lost between Kremlin officials and their American counterparts.

To be sure, there’s a much larger context behind today’s bluster. As my colleague Andrew Roth notes, whatever their government’s alleged actions in 2016, Russia’s leaders enjoy casting aspersions on the American democratic process. And, in recent years, they have also bristled at perceived U.S. meddling in the politics of countries on Russia’s borders, most notably in Ukraine.

While the days of its worst behavior are long behind it, the United States does have a well-documented history of interfering and sometimes interrupting the workings of democracies elsewhere. It has occupied and intervened militarily in a whole swath of countries in the Caribbean and Latin America and fomented coups against democratically elected populists.

The most infamous episodes include the ousting of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953— whose government was replaced by an authoritarian monarchy favorable to Washington — the removal and assassination of Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba in 1961, and the violent toppling of socialist Chilean President Salvador Allende, whose government was swept aside in 1973 by a military coup led by the ruthless Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

Trump is laying the path for Democrats to reconsolidate the Blue Wall

Trump is laying the path for Democrats to reconsolidate the Blue Wall
 via Daily Kos by Egberto Willies
Sunday Dec 11, 2016 · 9:00 PM EST

Democrats lost a big chunk of the blue wall because they took many of the reliably Democratic states for granted. They did not do so by having policies inferior to those of the Republicans: they did so by allowing Donald Trump to define the policies he purported to support, letting him highlight past Democratic policies anathema to the working class, and by giving him the win in the domains of social media and electronic media.

Farewell America

No matter how the rest of the world looked at us on Nov. 7, they will now look at us differently.

The sun sets behind the Jefferson Memorial in Washington. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

America died on Nov. 8, 2016, not with a bang or a whimper, but at its own hand via electoral suicide. We the people chose a man who has shredded our values, our morals, our compassion, our tolerance, our decency, our sense of common purpose, our very identity — all the things that, however tenuously, made a nation out of a country.

Whatever place we now live in is not the same place it was on Nov. 7. No matter how the rest of the world looked at us on Nov. 7, they will now look at us differently. We are likely to be a pariah country. And we are lost for it. As I surveyed the ruin of that country this gray Wednesday morning, I found weary consolation in W.H. Auden’s poem, September 1, 1939, which concludes:

“Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.”

I hunt for that affirming flame. This generally has been called the “hate election” because everyone professed to hate both candidates. It turned out to be the hate election because, and let’s not mince words, of the hatefulness of the electorate. In the years to come, we will brace for the violence, the anger, the racism, the misogyny, the xenophobia, the nativism, the white sense of grievance that will undoubtedly be unleashed now that we have destroyed the values that have bound us.

 We all knew these hatreds lurked under the thinnest veneer of civility. That civility finally is gone. In its absence, we may realize just how imperative that politesse was. It is the way we managed to coexist.

If there is a single sentence that characterizes the election, it is this: “He says the things I’m thinking.” That may be what is so terrifying. Who knew that so many tens of millions of white Americans were thinking unconscionable things about their fellow Americans? Who knew that tens of millions of white men felt so emasculated by women and challenged by minorities? Who knew that after years of seeming progress on race and gender, tens of millions of white Americans lived in seething resentment, waiting for a demagogue to arrive who would legitimize their worst selves and channel them into political power? Perhaps we had been living in a fool’s paradise. Now we aren’t.

This country has survived a civil war, two world wars and a Great Depression. There are many who say we will survive this, too. Maybe we will, but we won’t survive unscathed. We know too much about each other to heal. No more can we pretend that we are exceptional or good or progressive or united. We are none of those things. Nor can we pretend that democracy works and that elections have more-or-less happy endings. Democracy only functions when its participants abide by certain conventions, certain codes of conduct and a respect for the process.

No more can we pretend that we are exceptional or good or progressive or united. We are none of those things.

Middle class blues – economic style

Rising income inequality has eroded the ability for American children to grow up to earn more than their parents, according to groundbreaking new research from a superstar team of economists that carries deep implications for President-elect Donald Trump’s policy agenda.The research from a team of economists led by Stanford’s Raj Chetty, and also including researchers from Harvard and the University of California at Berkeley, estimates that only half the children born in the 1980s grew up to earn more than their parents did, after adjusting for inflation. That’s a drop from 92 percent of children born in 1940.The fall-off is particularly steep among children born in the middle class.

“If we simply care about absolute mobility,” Chetty said in an interview, “these results show, you have to care about inequality.”

Garrison Keillor Photo: HANDOUT / HANDOUT / HANDOUT

A Prairie Home Companion Host speaks about Senor Naranja & Light Bulbs

It was gratifying that after Wisconsin voted him into the presidency, the gentleman did not talk about putting Hillary in prison. That was a nice surprise. And when he met with Obama of Kenya, the white sahib was well-behaved, listened to what the African had to say, did not interrupt or call him stupid, and in fact thanked the alien for meeting with him. He did a good impersonation of modesty.

Say what you will, the man is flexible. The wall on the border, his reliable applause line this past year, has been downgraded to a fence in some places and may eventually turn into a line of orange highway cones. The 11 million deportees are down to two or three. Hillary may be let off with an ankle bracelet.

While he’s making alterations, he should consider getting a presidential hairdo rather than the hair of a hotel lounge pianist in 1959. It’s distracting to watch a man talk about national security, looking like he may suddenly burst into “Volare.”A makeover would take about 15 minutes max. And might a speech therapist try to smooth out the Tony Soprano accent and give him a presidential voice like Nixon’s or Reagan’s and cut out those irritating repetitions for emphasis — do you know what I mean? Am I right? Am I right? You know I’m right. You better believe I’m right.

He will never be my president because he doesn’t read books, can’t write more than a sentence or two at a time, has no strong loyalties beyond himself, is more insular than any New Yorker I ever knew, and because I don’t see anything admirable or honorable about him. This sets him apart from other politicians. The disaffected white blue-collar workers elected a Fifth Avenue tycoon to rescue them from the elitists — fine, I get that — but they could’ve chosen a better tycoon. One who served in the military or attends church or reads history, loves opera, sails a boat — something — anything — raises llamas, plays the oboe, runs a 5K race now and then, has close friends from childhood. I look at him and there’s nothing there.

Trump’s Carrier deal could permanently damage American capitalism

December 2

President-elect Donald Trump on Dec. 1 celebrated a deal that will keep jobs at a Carrier plant in Indianapolis and announced that he chose retired Marine Gen. James N. Mattis for secretary of defense. (Video: Bastien Inzaurralde/Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

There are many aspects of the economic policy of the new administration that I find misguided. But I am most troubled by what President-elect Donald Trump did with Carrier to hold on to an extra 700 jobs in Indiana. Ronald Reagan’s response to the air traffic controllers’ strike was a small act that had profound consequences. I fear in a similar way that the negotiation with Carrier is a small thing that is actually a very big thing — a change very much for the worse with regards to the operating assumptions of American capitalism.

Market economies can operate anywhere along a continuum between two poles.

I have always thought of American capitalism as dominantly rule and law based. Courts enforce contracts and property rights in ways that are largely independent of just who it is who is before them. Taxes are calculable on the basis of an arithmetic algorithm. Companies and governments buy from the cheapest bidder. Regulation follows previously promulgated rules. In the economic arena, the state’s monopoly on the use of force is used to enforce contract and property rights and to enforce previously promulgated laws.

Even though we know of instances of corruption, abuse of power, favoritism and selective enforcement, we take this rules-based system for granted.  But looking around the world today or back through American history, this model is hardly a norm. Many market economies operate what might be called ad hoc or deals-based capitalism: Economic actors assume that they have to protect their property and do their own contract enforcement. Tax collectors use discretion in assessing taxes. Companies and governments buy from their friends rather than seek low-cost bids.  Regulators abuse their power. The state’s monopoly on the use of force is used to enrich and satisfy the desires of those who control the apparatus of the state.

This is the world of New York City under Tammany Hall, of Suharto’s Indonesia, and of Putin’s Russia.

Reliance on rules and law has enormous advantages. It greatly increases predictability and reduces uncertainty. It reduces expenditures on both guarding property and seeking to appropriate property. It promotes freedom because most of the people most of the time do not take political positions with a view to gaining commercial advantage. The advantages of the rule of law are so great that I would claim that there is no country more than 2/3 as rich as the United States that does not have a strong tradition of the rule of law-based capitalism.  And I know of no country where the people are free where the rule of law does not largely govern market interactions.

Jeremy Arnold

On the “recount” issue

Why does Jill Stein want a recount in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania?

Jeremy Arnold

Jeremy Arnold, Writer + analyst w/ deep interest in US politics on Quora.

Let’s start by being clear about what isn’t in dispute: the results of this election.

Trump won. Stein knows this. Clinton knows this. Alex Halderman (the computer science professor behind this effort) knows this. No one is really challenging that reality.

But you wouldn’t be crazy for thinking they were. For unclear reasons, the NYMag article that kicked off the firestorm certainly painted it that way. And, as happens too often, most of the other media outlets that picked it up repeated the same mistake.

Compelling as that storyline is, this recount effort has nothing to do with Russian hackers or some grand conspiracy to rig votes in rural Wisconsin.

As with many things, it’s about the intersection between personal agendas and a clickbait-crazed media unwilling to deconstruct the news instead of breathlessly “reporting” it.

Let’s do the work for them, shall we?

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