US Department of State to become the Exxon Department of Oil States

Rex Tillerson, our next Secretary of State, has not changed his key views from those that he has held as CEO of Exxon, our largest oil company.  This applies to his view of climate change and his ignoring of civil rights violations in other countries.  Although claiming to be skeptical of Russia, he will have to reverse that as Trump tells him to do.  The King of the Jungle does not change his stripes.  Rex (king in French) was of course chosen for this position because he has the same stripes as soon-to-be-Presidentosaurus-Rex Trump.

While oil exploration and drilling and fracking and refining and pipelining and shipping are highly scientific endeavors, Rex has apparently never talked to a climate scientist, since he mouths the standard Republican line that the origin of global warming is not decided.  This, despite Exxon’s being sued for supporting climate science deniers, while planning to drill in the Arctic as the polar cap continues to melt away.  Of all things, there are emails that prove Exxon’s duplicity.

Tillerson said that we should stay in the Paris Agreement, but to maintain our leadership.  He didn’t say that we should stay because it is important for us to cut our greenhouse gas emissions.  What he means by leadership could then turn out to be casting doubt on climate science, or claim that mitigating climate change is too expensive.  In contrast, President Obama just published an article in our leading Science Magazine demonstrating how our economy has improved as we have invested in clean energy.

Then he seems to not know about human rights violations in countries that he has or will deal with, and says that there are more important dealings with those countries that should not be marred by civil rights worries, like drilling and shipping their oil, I imagine.

In other words, Rex is promising that as Secretary of State, he will continue acting just as he did when he was CEO of Exxon.  That literally makes our previous Department of State into Exxon’s Department of Oil States.

Posted in 2016 Election, Affairs of State, Climate Change, Donald Trump, Fossil Fuel Energy, Oil, Russia, Trump Administration, Trump on Climate Change | Leave a comment

Trump Demands Subservience to the Supreme Leader

  1. Sacrifice freedom of speech, freedom of the press.
  • Meryl Streep attacked about Trump’s video of mocking disabled reporter. (Kellyanne deserves an Oscar for best acts of denial and counterattack diversions.)
  • CNN attacked for mentioning existence of derogatory opposition document.
  • Trump demands that CNN fires the reporter.
  • Trump (Kellyanne) falsely claims that CNN published the document, or, if not, then linked to it. (Any child can find Buzzfeed in seconds, without a link.)
  • Buzzfeed attacked for publishing document, even if not verifiable. (This is censorship.  James Joyce’s Ulysses was published and censored.  The story was never shown to be true.)  (Trump’s 80% hyperbole or hyper-hyperbole constantly shown on TV, even if never fact checked by Trump or the TV stations.)
  • The opposition analysis had been circulating, and was not classified.
  • Sean Spicer warns reporter that he will be ejected if he steps out of line again.
  1. Cabinet Secretaries can say what they want, but must obey Trump, says Trump Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, obeying Trump.
  2. Trump threatens Democratic Senators up in two years, in states that Trump won. He will campaign against them if they exercise right to filibuster Obamacare cancellation.  (Big deal, he will do so anyway.  He thrives on adulation from his crowds, and it also helps him for 2020 campaign.)
  3. All this in three days as the pre-President.
Posted in 2016 Election, Communications, Donald Trump, Freedoms, Secrecy, Trump Administration | Leave a comment

UCI Prof. Michael Prather’s Talk on “Where Climate Science Meets the Government”

Michael Prather’s Talk in UCI’s Physical Sciences Breakfast Lecture Series, January 10, 2017

Title:  Reporting From the Front Line:  Where Climate Science Meets the Government

The recorded talk will appear on the UCI Physical Sciences website.

Michael Prather, Distinguished Professor of Earth System Science, has held the Kavli chair at UCI, and has held a vast number of leadership positions in science.  Here is his website with a more complete list:  http://www.ess.uci.edu/researchgrp/prather/home

He started with the latest data, and climate over the last century.  He separated weather from climate.  He showed the picture with the many factors considered in modern climate analyses.  There were graphs of the rise in greenhouse gases, of global temperatures, including the recent sequence of rises in 2013-2016, and the world warming map.  The projected band of temperature rises by 2100 from business as usual was 3-5 degrees C, centered around 4 degrees C. 

Frost days would decline by 20 to 25 days.  This is the current problem we are having in California with our Pineapple Express of heavy rain these two weeks in the Sierra Nevada, but instead of falling as snow to last until we need it in the summer, it is just flowing as water, and taking out what snow had already fallen in lower altitudes.

Prof. Prather reviewed the international agreements on mitigating climate change.  It starts with the 1992 UN Framework convention.  Then there was the Kyoto agreement, which has mainly expired.  The new pact is the 2015 Paris Agreement, which was agreed to by 190 nations.  It does not require Congressional approval.  We have to submit reports about what we are doing.  The goal is to hold the temperature increase since pre-industrial times to below 2 degrees C, preferably to 1.5 degrees C.  The temperature rise has already been close to 1 degree C.  The contributions to this effort are determined nationally, and reported regularly.  There is a global stocktaking every 5 years.

The IPCC reports started in 1988, and Michael Prather has contributed to most of them.  The next one, AR6, will report in 2021, starting with scoping in 2017.   One key part is Working Group 2 (WG2), which projects the impacts of climate change.  The Summary for Policy Makers has grown to 18 pages of text for this.  The Saudi government objected to the more serious descriptions in this.  The economic impacts are most important to the US.  As the second leading greenhouse gas contributor, the US could be sued for the costs of adaption.

I liked his description of a greener versus a redder planet.  We are already above a 1.0 degree C rise.  The goal of 1.5 degrees C is actually quite near in the projections.  There was a meeting in October 2016 to report on this, which will come out in August, 2018.  Two organizations on the web lobbying for immediate action are onedegreeofchange.org, and carbonbrief.org.

One key point that I had not realized, was that the present amount of warmth and greenhouse gases will continue to melt the ice sheets.  In a few hundred or a thousand years, the sea level rise may be 9 meters.  (Only about one meter is projected by 2100.)

Although hurricane Sandy cannot be said to be caused by climate change, it was exacerbated by it.

He ended his talk with the first and third verses from Bob Dylan’s “Times They Are a Changing”: “And admit that the waters around you have grown”; and “Don’t stand in the doorway, don’t block up the hall”.  (I’m pretty sure that Dylan meant the flood metaphorically.)

In answer to questions, he stated that the western states are reducing greenhouse gases.

Some of the public is not accepting the need to act on climate change.  We need to start from a public base, rather than elite reports.  This can be done with more recent local and regional climate level resources coming out.  (I’ve been trying this for a decade with our local Republican representatives, to no result.)

California has produced more jobs and economy with its green efforts than have been lost by them.

Our children and grandchildren will pay the price of our inaction.

http://environment.uci.edu/node/1300 has a CLEAN Education project to educate children to supplement their existing science education.

Asked about the East Anglia hacking, that is only one of four groups doing the climate analysis, so anything going on there would not affect the outcome.  (They have been cleared many times of any wrongdoing.)

Fake news is hard to combat.  We have to train students to find real news sources, as opposed to fake ones.

(There was a really big turnout for this distinguished speaker.)

Posted in Climate Change, Communications, Education, Fossil Fuel Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions | Leave a comment

Trump Goes Off-His-Rocker on Instantaneous Health Care Replacement

Trump Goes Off-His-Rocker on Instantaneous Health Care Replacement.

Update:  January 11th Trump News Conference.  Trump stated that he would submit a replacement plan or guidelines for Obamacare the day after his cabinet member got sworn in or approved.  Strangely, he didn’t name which Department or Cabinet member that he was talking about.  He restated that he expected approval by the Congress in two or three weeks.   He also said that he would not sign laws on Inauguration Day, Friday, January 20th.  This is because there will be quite a great show with great entertainers for the inauguration (plus the parade, and the balls.)  Next week, there will be action announcements on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  With all of the other stories about doubtful opposition research, and undeserved attacks on CNN, and asking them to fire a reporter, the super schedule was bypassed.  This also caused the news to have to ignore most of the Senate screening hearings of the cabinet appointees.  Trump manipulation of the news?

Today, not-yet-President Donald Trump has called for a repeal of Obamacare by next week, with a simultaneous replacement, or shortly thereafter, in two to three weeks.

It seems to me that the ACA individual enrollments are contracts for a year at a time, so it will not disappear immediately.  Trump’s positions and guidance for a congressional replacement are vague rally items at best.  They include coverage with previous conditions, coverage of dependents to age 26, and keeping all those presently covered, but by a better plan.  Is that all the guidance that we expect our President to give Congress on forming a plan covering 30 million people with the most important subject in their lives?  10% of our GDP is spent on health care.  Does Trump expect no input on this from his White House or Cabinet?  None of his Cabinet members have yet been approved, and they don’t take office for 10 days either.

It is still 10 days for Trump and his Cabinet to take office.  Where is the time for his new Department of Health and Human Services to study new health care proposals?  What are the plans of the next Secretary of HHS, Tom Price?  Where is the time for input on a plan, which is not yet proposed by the Congress, by the health care industry, by doctors and nurses associations, by budget analysts inside and outside of government, by affected state governments, by our Representatives and Senators, and by the covered 30 million patients themselves?

There are multi-year plans with the 31 states that have adopted Medicaid plans that go with the ACA.  Are these longer term legal commitments?

My previous post, “Will Trumpomania Ever Cease?” questioned the need to cancel regulations on Day One, or even to make new legislation in the first 100 days.  Now we have a one week – three week combination, truly an insanity calling for a “Trumpomania” description.  The Congress was discussing a cancel now and replace after the next Presidential election.  Now they are asking for a two-to-three-year replacement, after the next Congressional election.  Where does 2-3 weeks fit in their plans?

Of course, all of this sturm-und-drang can be avoided by the replacement of one President-elect as apparently mentally unfit to occupy the office.  This replacement super-haste would be the evidence for that.  Are any congresspersons considering this?

Posted in 2016 Election, Affordable Care Act, Donald Trump, Health Care, Politics, Trump Administration | Leave a comment

Will Trumpomania Ever Cease?

Will Trumpomania Ever Cease?

President-not-in-waiting Donald Trump has been running an off-the-chart-rating TV reality (unfortunately) show, that keeps the public in daily suspense, and the cable news channels in a monetary heaven. For our sanity, we hope that at some point this trickles down to the same political boredom of past administrations. In that hope, we gather here some quick time scales in which Trump has promised to accomplish his disruptive miracles.

We have to keep in mind that the new Congress was sworn in on January 5, and has a 15 day head start on mayhem. Of course, Trump has beaten them by going immediately to Twitter purgatory to stir up every kind of devilish trouble that he can.

Trump has promised certain disruptive actions on day one. I didn’t see how he could do this, since his appointees to head Departments had not been advised and consented to by the Senate. However, the Senate is taking up six nominations on next Wednesday, and if advised and consented to, they still can’t take office until Jan. 20th, with the inauguration, and would not be able to recommend regulations to cancel. How wrong I was.

Trump’s nominee for the Administrator of the EPA, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, has spent his time trying to block EPA regulations. He can immediately tell President Trump which regulations to cancel, and how to do it. Trump’s cabinet nominees and the transition committee has already looked for people to fire and regulations to cancel in other Departments, as in the Department of Energy, to be run by Texas’ former governor Rick Perry. Trump calls these job killing restrictions, and promises “many millions of high paying jobs” in shale and “clean coal”. However, there are only 75,000 coal mining jobs, while in California, alone, thee are 300,000 clean energy jobs.

Trump has promised to kill on day one the EPA regulations, and may cancel Interior Department rules limiting fossil fuel production on federal lands and offshore areas.

Trump has required all agencies to submit a list of all cancelable regulations in a few months. At one point he claimed that 80% of regulations could be canceled. More recently, he said that for every new regulation, two had to be canceled. I guess that it doesn’t work the other way around. There is a fallacy with counting regulations, since a topic of regulation, say on clean energy, can have hundreds of sub regulations for hundreds of different instances. It’s also like Republican presidential candidates (Trump included), who were going to restore our navy to the number of ships after World War I. In World War II, we had thousands of ships that were very small landing craft. Do you count one of those the same as you do a massive Dreadnaught? Do you count a nuclear submarine with a dozen nuclear missiles the same as a World War I destroyer with a pair of cannons?

There are 81,640 pages of regulations in the Federal Register for 2016. That covers $153 billion of new regulations in 2016. The totality of regulations is a $1.9 trillion burden every year. Many of them need an act of congress to cancel. With this background, the Clean Power Plan, which only costs $7.2 billion a year, seems like small peanuts.  Considering that future hurricanes may resemble the 2012 Sandy which cost $65 billion, and the 2005 Katrina which cost $128 billion, it is cost effective not to mess with the climate, and to save our health from coal emissions.

In the first 100 days, on immigration, Trump will cancel DACA, affecting some 1.7 million people, and DAPA, affecting some 5 million, which probably will be denied with Trump’s new Supreme Court justice.

Trump has promised cancellation of Obamacare, but has somewhat discouraged Congress from jumping the gun before they have a replacement for it, and has promised to keep some of its new coverage.  If Republicans cancel but keep it until after the next election, for political reasons, this uncertainty will last at least another four years.  Republicans have been struggling with a replacement for six years now.  Its hard to replace a plan based on Romneycare, which they supported in the first place.

Trump will institute “extreme vetting”, which has already been going on under Obama.

Trump will impose tariffs and alter NAFTA and cancel TPP trade plans.

Trump will start building a wall against Mexico. Even if he raises a tariff to get “Mexico to pay for it”, it will be American consumers that really have to pay the higher prices for the imported goods.

Trump will pass a tax plan giving money back to the rich and cancelling the estate tax. Changing the number of brackets doesn’t matter, since you either have a program or a tax expert calculate the tax, or you look up the results in a table. It will just make people more income class conscious.

There is a standard political consideration of passing any new laws the first of the two year congressional term, since constituents supposedly cannot remember what you have done when you are running for reelection the second year. The need to do things in the first 100 days seems to be just to railroad changes without debate or thorough consideration. In this case, it is really very poor and irresponsible management. Representatives are elected to serve 730 days, and compressing them to the first 100 is only fulfilling 14% of the job.

Since Trump was elected for four years, he is planning to inaugurate all of his policies in only the first 7% of his term, which implies very little relative consideration of them, since few of them have been decided upon currently.

While Trump won the election, a lot of his suggested programs were unpopular in general, and some in contention among Republicans themselves. Republicans will have to run for reelection in two years with many Trump supporters ready to withdraw support if they don’t toe the Trump line, and possibly leading to primary challengers backed by Trump himself. Trump is really good at threatening people and labeling them, and punishing those who oppose him. On the other hand, Republicans controlling congress for he last six years have had their way voting for laws that were vetoed by Obama, or filibustered in the Senate. For example, the House killed Obamacare 60 times, with no replacement. The Congress may not like having Trump and his billionaire appointees dictating bills for them when they have no knowledge of the necessary details or the local impacts of them.

Can Trump win a second term without Russian hacking of Democrats, or intervention by the FBI, and Congressional investigations of his opponent? Remember, Trump will dominate daily news with great effect, followed by cleanup by Trump’s spokespersons. He made a promised thousand saved jobs overcome Obama’s actual creation of 16 million jobs.

The Republican congress will launch multiple investigations of any Democrats that look like likely candidates, eagerly magnified by Fox News. The undisciplined Russians will continue hacking and publishing embarrassing results, with total denial by Trump. An average computer user cannot combat such sophisticated attacks. There appears to be no punishment or oversight of Republicans embedded in the FBI or law enforcement. Trump’s Attorney General will not enforce any such oversight.

Republicans will advance their assault on voting rights of minorities, with no federal opposition, and perhaps no Supreme Court opposition.

Trump’s contingent will keep softening up the public and media to accept his lies. He will also keep news focusing on his shows over issues. Even though Trump just squeezed out a victory by three large Midwestern states by less than a percent, he will concentrate on jobs for the Rust Belt to keep their loyalty.

Tax cuts will be appreciated by many Republicans, and all very rich Republicans, leading to plentiful campaign contributions.

Does Trump only have to fear Trump himself? Nope. He had major goofs from his past that should have hurt him bigly, but they did not.

Trump is aware that there are two opposite worlds in America. This is seen in his denial of Russian hacking. There is the world that only believes news from Trump himself, from Fox News, and Breitbart-like sources. All of Trump’s announcements are directed only to his believers, and seem incredulous to us who get our news from the “lyin’, liberal, loser,” press.

Will Trumpomania ever cease? Sorry, it never will.

Posted in 2016 Election, Affairs of State, Affordable Care Act, Communications, Cybersecurity, Donald Trump, Politics, Supreme Court, Trump Administration, US Intelligence Agencies, Voting Rights | Leave a comment

Trump’s Secret Private Cybersecurity Team?

Trump’s Secret Private Cybersecurity Team?

Trump’s staff released a short statement on cybersecurity, with the most cited phrase being “there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election”.  The statement did not agree that Russians had hacked the DNC.  What this post is about is the added statement that “… we need to aggressively combat and stop cyberattacks.  I will appoint a team to give me a plan within 90 days of taking office”.  The statement then says “America’s safety and security will be my number one priority”.  If security is his number one priority, why did it take until now to appoint a special team, after weeks of public hassle with the US intelligence and security services?  He had also blamed the DNC attacks on the DNC’s own poor security, rather than assigning the responsibility to the government.

The US government intelligence, and government and private cybersecurity services have been at this for decades.  As I pointed out in my last post, President Obama has proposed $19 billion for the Cybersecurity National Action Plan for 2017, an increase of 35% over last year’s spending.  Will Trump go along with this increase, and even for the standard plan itself?  Does he really need an ad hoc team of so far unknowns to come up in only 90 days with something new to replace a plan that has been studied in detail for years, probably by all of our security agencies?  Isn’t that, in fact, a way to bring total chaos to a well-studied cybersecurity plan?

In Trump’s staff statement about the team, there is no government linkage implied with any present intelligence agency, or any relevant Cabinet Department, or any Congressional Security or Oversight committee to supervise and report to.  In the statement, the results of this team will also not be made available to the public.  This sounds like Trump is setting up his own private security agency, reportable to nobody but himself, and with no budget supervision or even oversight.  I imagine it can be done under the aegis of just a White House staff team.

Here are my fears, though, based on what Trump has said, or promised, or suggested during his campaign or after his election.  As usual, Trump may appoint a team of contrarians.  First of all, they may protect Russia, at all costs.  Then they may focus on erasing cyberprotection or privacy protection for all Americans, or maybe just a certain class of Americans.  During the campaign, Trump wanted Apple and therefore all cell phone companies to allow government to access all of their devices, even by police at the local level, even for small suspected crimes, without any stated search warrant oversight.  Just as gun owners value their privacy rights, cell phone owners value their privacy.  During the campaign, Trump said he wanted to monitor all Muslims.  He also wanted to track all US visitors, in order to deport those who overstayed their visas.  Cyber tracking is the easiest way to do these tasks.  Lately, his transition team wanted to see all of the emails of climate-science-associated members of the Department of Energy.  During the campaign, he publicly asked Russia to release all of Clinton’s missing emails that they had hacked (yet he still denies Russian hacking).  He still maintains that the earlier hacking of climate scientists’ emails revealed a horrendous scandal, yet they were cleared by many investigations.  To my knowledge, Trump has never faulted any of the hackers, or those who published the hacks, or the conservatives who feasted on them.

Trump’s nominee for Attorney General is Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama.   He strongly supported the USA Patriot Act, defended warrantless wiretapping, and argued against changing surveillance laws after Snowden, according to the NY Times.  He also shares Trump’s incorrect views that immigrants take welfare and desirable jobs, and are criminals.

Of course, these are just nightmarish speculations on my part, and in no way, am I actually impugning the integrity of our next President.  Besides, Kellyanne could easily explain away all of these statements, which he never said anyway. 

Posted in 2016 Election, Affairs of State, Clinton, Communications, Cybersecurity, Donald Trump, Freedoms, Politics, Secrecy, Trump Administration, US Intelligence Agencies | Leave a comment

Trump: Hacking, Couriers, Assange, Tweeting, and the “Age of Computer”

Trump:  Hacking, Couriers, Assange, Tweeting, and the “Age of Computer”

President-elect Trump is still trying to deny and deflect criticism that Russian hacking and Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks publication of John Podesta’s emails, the DNC emails, and the DNCC’s emails had an advantage for Trump.

To start, Trump has cast doubt on the US’s essential intelligence services, which are super sophisticated:  he claims that they had delayed a briefing to build a better case on Russian hacking; he trusts Assange as a more credible source; he blames the DNC and DNCC and Podesta for getting hacked; he said he never uses emails or computers, but couriers; he has not commented that Republicans and states were hacked; and he has said that all computers can be hacked, in this “Age of Computer”.   Where to start tearing all of this down?  I will settle for a few points.

It is ironic that on essentially the same day that Trump criticizes Congress for voting to lessen their ethics oversight, Trump embraces Assange, who violated laws by publishing hacked emails, and is in diplomatic asylum to avoid a rape trial.

Let’s start with couriers.  Can you imagine Washington D.C. streets, and now 5th Ave. New York City being flooded by an army of couriers, presumably in Black Lincoln SUVs full of security, racing around with every Trump, or Pence, or RNC communication?  Also, please recall the discovery in 2001, that Robert Hanssen, liaison between the FBI and the Dept. of State since 1995, every day, was selling secrets to Moscow since 1985.  If Trump institutes courier delivery, I hope I am not then indulging national security by reporting that Google quotes the distance from Trump Tower N.Y. to the White House as 232 miles, taking 3 hours 56 minutes by the NJ Turnpike and I-95 S.  Not quite as fast as email.  From the Mar-a-Lago Club, or “White House South”, the drive of 991 miles takes 14 hours and 31 minutes, via I-95 N, or they could fly.  Best for overnight messages.

If Trump wants all classified messages of everybody sent by courier, we should point out that 1.4 million Americans have top secret clearance, and an extra 3.5 million have lower levels of clearance.  That’s a lot of cars and gasoline a day to deliver to all of them.

Fortunately for us, Trump does not use a computer, but has his assistants handle all of that.  Otherwise, like Podesta’s computer manager, he would have fallen prey to a phishing attack.  Can you imagine what Trump would do if an “African Prince” offered him a million dollars to launder the Prince’s funds in Trump’s bank account?

The Department of Energy, to which Trump has appointed untrained, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, gives out $34 million in grants for cybersecurity protection for the electric grid and oil and gas infrastructure.  Let’s hope that Perry or Trump increases, rather than abolishes, this agency.  The rest of us who use computers, as well as the entire finances, businesses, and infrastructure services in the US rely on this protection.

President Obama, has proposed $19 billion for the Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP) for the 2017 budget.  This is a 35% increase in cybersecurity spending from the FY 2016 budget.

Many writers and commentators have expressed fears as to what Trump will get us involved in if he does not trust our intelligence services, or our experts in Administration Departments, but instead some unknown others who claim extraordinary knowledge of what is going on, as does Trump himself.  This denial by Trump of expert knowledge is a serious mental disorder of our new President, and a challenge for Republicans both in the Administration and the Congress to contain, as well as his close family.

Trump’s tweeting about US security matters without apparently consulting the Departments of State, or Defense, or the Department of Energy, which manages our nuclear arsenal, is the most serious breach of our security that has occurred in recent years.  Trump is still not our President yet.  And Trump’s spokespersons really cannot give a reasonable interpretation of what Trump meant, or justify his tweets.  Since iPhones are not considered that secure, and Trump has favored Apple giving its security secrets to the government, he is going to have to learn how to tweet from a secure blackberry, and use a secure computer system.

Trump’s “Age of Computer” is now pervasive in our society, and is only going to increase as we rapidly gain symbiosis with computers to expand our capabilities.  Automatic driving cars are rapidly approaching, and children and even babies are now being entertained by the iPad and iPhone revolution.  It’s naïve of me to point out that Trump’s world of his largely autopiloted jet plane, his hotel business with computerized reservation and finances, our national defenses, and the whole government apparatus that he soon will be responsible for, rely on computers and cybersecurity.

 

Posted in 2016 Election, Affairs of State, Communications, Cybersecurity, Donald Trump, Secrecy, US Intelligence Agencies | Leave a comment

Murdoch’s WSJ Eschews Logic on Trump’s Lies

Murdoch’s WSJ Eschews Logic on Trump’s Lies

Apparently, Wall Street Editor-in-Chief Gerard Baker said on Meet the Press that his paper would not call Trump’s lies “lies”.  Apparently, they will just be called “questionable” or “challengeable”.  So, the only thing a reader can do to find the truth, is to subscribe to another newspaper, which is more factual.  So why pay a dollar a day to get the Wall Street Journal, if they won’t tell you the truth about the same un-vetted Trump statements that you could get for free on any internet site, or on Trump’s twitter site?  That is the illogic of their policy.

This is nothing new for the WSJ.  For decades, they lied about climate change, which I realize that by my using the word “lied” here, I might be seen as making a value judgement about their “intent”.  When you ignore the agreement of 97% of climate scientists about manmade climate change, I would say there had to be some “intent” involved.  This has misled investors from investing in forefront clean energy sources.

In the enormous fossil fuel industries, the WSJ may not have told investors that much of the coal resources would have to be left in the ground, since they are too polluting of warming CO2.  It turned out that the cheaper, new fracking natural gas sources, are replacing coal, just by market competitiveness.  Denying global warming has also misinformed WSJ reliers that cars would have to become more fuel efficient, and that petroleum use would decline, eventually lowering its price.  Since fracking has opened more oil resources in the US to make us more energy independent, we have less reliance on Middle East oil, and less need to get involved there.

A more important question is where will President Trump get his information about climate science, or any science, greenhouse gases, energy sources, and air and water pollution and their effects?  Since Trump has appointed professional climate science deniers to all key cabinet and White House posts, he will NEVER hear any real science, and guarantees that anything that he says about the above subjects will indeed be lies, by the best liars on these subjects.  There is also the already indicated listing of climate science supporters in these agencies, and possibly their silencing, defunding, and lack of promotion.  Certainly, the abolition of all of their work on useful and even cost effective regulation will encourage them to move on to other jobs where their expertise will be useful.

We also are fearful that President Trump will also not get real information from his other agencies, such as the Dept. of Labor being run by a fast food company owner who opposes a minimum wage, the Dept. of Education being run by a supporter of private schools, and his economics advisor being a writer of books on China’s economic threat.  Will the WSJ point out these truthless sources of information that the President has set up to rely upon?

Even though Trump will remove government regulations favoring clean energy, the blue states will continue their clean energy programs.  So will many businesses responsible to the public.  Solar cells will get more efficient, and cheaper.  Wind power will increase in Republican Midwestern states, and gain from economies of scale, and increase in turbine size.  Public understanding and belief in climate science will increase.  Global warming will continue, and worldwide climate sciences will continue and improve research on the subject.  Countries hurt by global warming may well impose penalties on US goods, if we back out of the Paris agreements.

One should remember that the WSJ’s owner Rupert Murdoch has Fox News as his other outlet.  Fox has, during the campaign, labeled some of its anchors as opinion shows, not responsible for factual news.  Its conservative Republican and now Trump dedication cannot be denied.  There also is the Murdoch’s News of the World hacking of a thousand phones British scandal from 2005 to 2011, which forced that paper to close.

As the nation’s or world’s leading financial publication, one wonders whether their economic editors and analyses are chosen to represent only conservative view points.  One also wonders whether their political alignment with Trumpism will hamper them in weighing in on Trump’s trampling of Democracy, the Constitution, and the Courts.

Posted in 2016 Election, Communications, Donald Trump, Economies, Freedoms, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Politics, Renewable Energy, Trump Administration, Trump on Climate Change, Wall Street Journal | Leave a comment

Trump’s Appointments Are Like the Wizard of Oz Movie

Trump Appointments Are Like the Wizard of Oz Movie

Donald Trump has a problem trusting people that he does not know well.  So, he has been taking those that work for him or were close to him in the campaign and placing them in positions or nominating them for positions in which they are not professionally qualified.  This reminds me of Dorothy’s dream in the Wizard of Oz, where her relatives and the people she encountered just before the tornado (in the black and white part of the movie) end up being in glorified roles in her dream in Oz.

This was started with Chief Strategist Steve Bannon of Breitbart, who’s qualification is running one of the main misinformation and conspiracy news organizations.

It continues with Trump’s bankruptcy lawyer, David Friedman, being appointed Ambassador to Israel.  Then, Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s executive vice president and chief legal officer, will be the special representative for international negotiations.

When Trump does appoint experts, they are experts at opposing the work of the Departments which they will head.

We recall that the book by L. Frank Baum, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, was written in the year 1900.   The movie was made in 1939, with period references to Hitler as the Wicked Witch of the East, and to Russian and Japanese militaries.  Oz, the Great and Terrible, though a fraud, turns out to be the good guy.

We shortly review the relation between the characters in Dorothy’s life, and those in Oz.  Then we present quotes that seem interesting in today’s political climate.  It can only be a coincidence that the Witches of the East and West were bad, where Trump lost politically, but the Witch of the North being good, where Trump unexpectedly secured his win.

Oz is Oscar Zoroaster … Diggs (abbreviated OZPINHEAD), an Omaha con man and circus magician, who painted OZ on his balloon, and transformed to the ruler of Oz.

Miss Almira Gulch (Margaret Hamilton), the bike rider, who was bitten by Toto, and threatened Dorothy with a lawsuit, became the Wicked Witch of the East, who was killed by the falling house.  We still do not know if Trump will continue his threatened lawsuits after his inauguration, or how many other Trump towering “White Houses” he will occupy.

Hunk, a farm worker, became Scarecrow, and was played by Ray Bolger.  Scarecrow needed a brain, and was given a diploma by Oz from his made-up university.

Hickory (Jack Haley), who was repairing a wagon, became the Tin Man who wanted a heart.  He was told a heart could be broken.  He was given a clock shaped like a heart.

Zeke, also repairing the wagon, became the Cowardly Lion, who wanted courage, and was played by Bert Lahr.  Oz game him a Medal of Bravery, with Courage written on it.

Judy Garland played Dorothy Gale, and won a Juvenile Academy Award for her performance.

The song “Over the Rainbow”, written by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg, won the Oscar for “Best Song of the Year”.  VP-elect Gov. Mike Pence is a strong opponent of LGBT rights, often symbolized by a rainbow.

Some famous, and relevant lines today, from the movie follow.

Dorothy:  “Toto, I’ve a feeling were not in Kansas anymore.”

Auntie Em:  “Almira Gulch, just because you own half the county doesn’t mean that you have the power to run the rest of us.”

Cowardly lion:  “There’s only one thing I want you fellows to do.  (What’s that?)  Talk me out of it.”

Guard:  “Orders are nobody can see the Great Oz!  Not nobody, not no how!”  Trump will not hold the usual press conferences, or have daily White House press briefings.  It seems his suggested internet postings and town hall meetings would not allow open questions, just pre-chosen ones, at best.

Oz:  “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”.  We still don’t know who President-elect Trump is:  he provided no income tax forms, which might show links to Russian banks or oligarchs; no real health records; no real plans since the election, except for tweets; he has retreated from several campaign promises as just rally material; he doesn’t believe in our intelligence agencies, especially about Russian DNC hacking to help Trump win; and he has promised and backed out of several press conferences on challenging issues.

Of course, there is still the Yellow Brick Road and its similarity to a gold plated road for his billionaire appointees to the cabinet, and as advisors.

The land of Oz was a dream in the movie.  What will it be like in real life?

 

Posted in 2016 Election, Affairs of State, Donald Trump, Politics, Trump Administration | Leave a comment

This is the Start of the Planet of the Apes

This is the Start of the Planet of the Apes

I don’t really mean apes, but a government with similarities to that in the Planet of the Apes movie. I don’t really remember many of the details, so movie buffs, please don’t take me to task.

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This starts with remembering the dramatic scene where Charlton Heston first realizes that he is on earth, where he sees the Statue of Liberty half buried in the sand. The thing that just struck me about that, was that the sea level had risen to halfway up the statue, and had deposited the sand around it. This movie first came out in 1968. We are now beginning a dramatically different era where the Trump cabinet consists of very carefully chosen climate science deniers, who have designed their careers around destroying the embedded government regulations and plans for clean energy, and the study of climate science, which strongly justifies clean energy plans. Trump and the administration are going to destroy the amazing planet-wide Paris agreement, just put into action, that involves action by 200 countries. The Republican House, Senate, and the next Supreme Court appointments are climate deniers, and the relevant CongressIonal committees are all led by the most egregious ones. Also, it is probably very warm in the New York area where the movie takes place, since the humans seem comfortable with very little clothing on. (It seems odd that with his human girlfriend and horse, Heston had not realized that he must be on earth.)

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Let’s move on to the apes’ Minister of Science, and also Chief Defender of the Faith, Dr. Zaius, and his respect for science, or facts, or lack thereof. The scientist, Zira, is constantly belittled for her theory that humans could once speak, and ruled the planet. Any resemblance to our new leader, President Trump, who refuses to accept science, or intelligence briefings, or Russian hacking, or videotapes of what he actually said, or vote counts, or generals, or state department experts, or budget economists, etc.? He also creates myths, like all 3 million illegal immigrants in California voted against him, which required the kids to vote also.  (The blond hair and orange complexion is purely coincidental.)

When Dr. Zaius is confronted with the fact that Heston can speak, and human artifacts, he tries to deny and erase the evidence. President-elect Trump constantly insults the press and particular reporters. He bars some from even his public rallies. He had not given a news conference in half a year. He has threatened to relax the news protection in libel laws. He constantly publicly accuses opponents of crimes, violating due process. These are all similar to the behavior of the ape leader.

Zika is arrested and tried by an odd jury of see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil.  This is like Trump’s appointment for Administrator of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma Attorney General, who sues the EPA on climate change, and is a climate science denier.

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When humans try to leave, they are met with a type of wall of fear, the Forbidden Zone. The Planet of the Apes takes place in the US, but crossing out of the areas should lead to areas with normal human rights.

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At the end, the apes are worshiping a terminal nuclear weapon. Trump and his appointed Secretary of the Department of Energy, Gov. Rick Perry, have actually desired to close the DOE. The DOE spends the larger part of its budget taking care of our nuclear arsenal. If the DOE is closed, the US really won’t have anybody who knows about the weapons. The last few days have been dominated by Trump’s off the cuff declarations about nuclear policy, without apparently consulting anybody.

Undoubtedly, with the new movie coming out, they will reshow the old movies on TV, and many viewers will notice the similarities in the original Planet of the Apes with Trump and his new anti-science, exploitive, and planet-damaging administration.

Posted in 2016 Election, Affairs of State, Climate Change, Donald Trump, Fossil Fuel Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Nuclear Weapons, Politics, Renewable Energy, Sea Level Rise, Trump Administration, Trump on Climate Change | Leave a comment