California’s Cap and trade bill a massive blow to environmental justice worldwide

3,000 People Will Die Because California Lawmakers Extended Cap-and-Trade


Celebrated as one of California’s greatest climate policy achievements, it’s actually a massive blow to the cause of environmental justice worldwide.

Richmond, California, has been my home for the past 15 years. It’s also home to the largest refinery on the west coast, operated by Chevron, California’s single largest stationary source of greenhouse gas emissions.

For almost four years, Richmond’s environmental justice advocates have been campaigning to prevent Chevron from embarking on a major refinery expansion that would allow the facility to process dirtier, heavier tar sands crude. The campaign fought to convince the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), the regional air pollution regulator, to establish a refinery-based cap on greenhouse gases and toxic co-pollutants. Such a cap would help reduce the toxic pollution hotspots in Richmond and neighboring refinery communities. Public health experts estimated that such a cap could save 800–3,000 lives regionally over 40 years.

Chevron, awash in tar sands dreams, fought back. They argued that the state cap and trade system, administered by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), already regulated carbon emissions and that additional BAAQMD regulations would interfere with the state’s policy. But in April 2017, CARB sent a game-changing opinion to BAAQMD, clarifying that not only was it okay for BAAQMD to impose stronger rules, but that the state supported them, and “agree[d] more can and must be done to deliver real reductions in pollutants that are impacting the health of residents living near refineries.”

On the day before Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement, BAAQMD approved a motion to finalize the world’s strongest and most ambitious refinery pollution cap, a remarkable achievement won after years of grassroots, community struggle.

Cap and trade bill a blow to environmental justice

Chevron couldn’t let that victory stand. They went to Sacramento to kill the rule, and they succeeded. The cap and trade bill, which the California legislature passed Monday night, blocks the ability of local air quality agencies from establishing rules limiting greenhouse gases.

The bill also includes a host of other concessions to polluters, including giving away tens of billions of dollars’ worth of free carbon emissions allowances (the vast majority which benefits the oil and gas industry), and allowing polluters to buy carbon offsets instead of actually reducing emissions.

By buying offsets, a polluter like Chevron can continue polluting as usual – or even process tar sands and thus increase their emissions. Offsets let polluters off the hook while allowing pollution hotspots to perpetuate, condemning communities like mine to decades more of toxic pollution.

What racism looks like

Race is the most important predictor of whether a person lives near pollution. You see it in Richmond, where almost 80 percent of people living within a mile of the refinery are people of color.

The 3,000 people that analysis showed would die prematurely if the refinery cap was not put in place – their deaths will not be evenly spread throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. They will not be evenly distributed between rich and poor, white and black. Science and data shows us that they will predominately be people of color.

This is institutional racism: when a bipartisan legislature pushes through public policies like AB 398 that look at the “big picture” and “mean well,” but really just perpetuate patterns of inequality and discrimination.

“Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”

That’s what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in 1963 to his fellow clergymen who disagreed with his strategy of nonviolence. King excoriated moderate whites who asked him to wait for “a more convenient season” to fight for justice, and said those moderates, not conservative extremists, were the biggest obstacle standing in the way of civil rights progress.

As many environmental groups in California and across the country celebrate their cap-and-trade “victory,” I’m reminded of the moderates King chastised. He knew that they were the biggest obstacle to progress. 50 years later that struggle persists. King hoped for understanding but was left with disappointment.

Tonight, as I write this from my home in Richmond, I am disappointed. The vote is over. And despite our efforts, 3,000 people will die, many of them in my town.

After the vote, the California Environmental Justice Alliance tweeted, “EJ communities will suffer the consequences, but our spirit is intact. The EJ community will fight another day.”

I am trying to keep my spirit intact. I am reminding myself of Dr. King’s admonition to always see injustice, and do my part to bring just grievances to the power structure. And since Dr. King ended his letter on a note of hope, I too will try to be hopeful, even during these dark days when racism is rampant in ways both obvious and subtle.

“Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.”


By Michelle Chan

Michelle Chan is the Vice President of Programs at Friends of the Earth. She is the founder of BankTrack, and currently is the Vice President of the Board of Amazon Watch. She has served on the boards of Ceres, the Council for Responsible Public Investment, the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment; and was a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index Advisory Committee. In 2002, Michelle received the Social Investment Forum’s Service Award for outstanding contributions to the field of socially responsible investing.

This post was sent to the Examiner by Gary Graham Hughes

With dictatorship looming, now we have a Bi-partisan attack on free speech

The right to boycott has a long history in the United States, from the American Revolution to Martin Luther King Jr.’s Montgomery bus boycott to the campaign for divestment from businesses serving apartheid South Africa. Nowadays we celebrate those efforts. But precisely because boycotts are such a powerful form of expression, governments have long sought to interfere with them — from King George III to the police in Alabama, and now to the U.S. Congress.

In NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., the Supreme Court in 1982 upheld the right of NAACP activists to hold a mass economic boycott of segregated businesses in Mississippi. The court stated that the boycotters’ exercise of their rights to “speech, assembly, and petition . . . to change a social order that had consistently treated them as second-class citizens” rested “on the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values.”

Legislation introduced in the Senate by Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) and in the House by Peter J. Roskam (R-Ill.), would make it a crime to support or even furnish information about a boycott directed at Israel or its businesses called by the United Nations, the European Union or any other “international governmental organization.” The Israel Anti-Boycott Act says Violations would be punishable by civil and criminal penalties of up to $1 million and 20 years in prison. The American Civil Liberties Union, where we both work, takes no position for or against campaigns to boycott Israel or any other foreign country. But since our organization’s founding in 1920, the ACLU has defended the right to collective action. This bill threatens that right.

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act is designed to stifle efforts to protest Israel’s settlement policies by boycotting businesses in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. The bill’s particular target is the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, a global campaign that seeks to apply economic and political pressure on Israel to comply with international law.

Whether one approves or disapproves of the BDS movement itself, people should have a right to make up their own minds about it. Americans engage in boycotts every day when they decide not to buy from companies whose practices they oppose. Students have boycotted companies that sold clothing manufactured in sweatshops abroad. Environmentalists have boycotted Nestlé for its deforestation practices. By using their power in the marketplace, consumers can act collectively to express their political points of view. There is nothing illegal about such collective action; indeed, it is constitutionally protected.

This is not to say that all boycotters are automatically free speech heroes; indeed, BDS advocates have themselves at times shut down Israeli academics or speakers to the detriment of academic freedom. Thus, it’s understandable that free speech advocates might not immediately identify BDS supporters as victims of censorship. But when government takes sides on a particular boycott and criminalizes those who engage in a boycott, it crosses a constitutional line.

Cardin and other supporters argue that the Israel Anti-Boycott Act targets only commercial activity. In fact, the bill threatens severe penalties against any business or individual who does not purchase goods from Israeli companies operating in the occupied Palestinian territories and who makes it clear — say by posting on Twitter or Facebook — that their reason for doing so is to support a U.N.- or E.U.-called boycott. That kind of penalty does not target commercial trade; it targets free speech and political beliefs. Indeed, the bill would prohibit even the act of giving information to a U.N. body about boycott activity directed at Israel.

The bill’s chilling effect would be dramatic — and that is no doubt its very purpose. But individuals, not the government, should have the right to decide whether to support boycotts against practices they oppose. Neither individuals nor businesses should have to fear million-dollar penalties, years in prison and felony convictions for expressing their opinions through collective action. As an organization, we take no sides on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But regardless of the politics, we have and always will take a strong stand when government threatens our freedoms of speech and association. The First Amendment demands no less.

Orginal story: This piece of pro-Israel legislation is a serious threat to free speech

Can our Country and all it has stood for be salvaged?

America in Crisis: How Will We Get Out of this Mess?

Captions by James Simonelli

Our national crisis in 2017 is a situation that we never expected, and never want to see recur.

We are up against a hellish convergence of trends that transformed the last election into a freak show. The experience for most of us was gross in the extreme — grotesque. But it was just the beginning.

We are trapped in a political chamber of horrors without any visible doors. Will there be no reprieve? Fools and fanatics run riot as the rest of us seethe— but what can we do? That depends. Our position in life will determine our options and so will the flow of events . . . including the surprises.

In any case, there are limits right now to what anyone can do and that is a fact worth remembering.

It is far too soon to foresee how the crisis of 2017 will develop. Before long, we could find ourselves so completely worn out that we will simply find a way to muddle through. Or an emotional catharsis could propel the nation forward to a much better state of affairs. That is hard to predict.

But the trend has been steadily downward so far and we might have to wait until 2018 — and the next congressional elections — before significant things can be accomplished for the sake of America.

Will we ever feel the same about our country? Who can say? The leadership issue is essential. A great figure may arise before long who will lead us back into a semblance of political normality, or even to a state approaching grace. There is little we can do about that except watch and wait as the choices of the politicians play out.

But there are other types of possibilities — some more specific than others — that could pull us out of this disaster.

One of them, of course, is a resurgence of strength on the left that could balance, or even overcome, the disproportionate power in the hands of the radical right that has warped our political culture. And a steep plunge downward in our economic fortunes could strengthen the hands of politicians who protest the extremely dangerous maldistribution of wealth in the United States.

The investigations of the Trump-and-Russia connection are proceeding and so is revulsion toward the vile behavior of the president. A congressional inquiry into his mental condition has been suggested, and a full-fledged impeachment proceeding might be unavoidable. How much longer will Americans tolerate a misfit who drags our nation into the gutter? Almost anything is possible in this bizarre situation, especially if more Republicans begin to feel that this pariah could drag the whole party down to defeat in 2018. Indeed, the tipping point for the Republicans could come before the end of this year.

The condition of the Republican Party is itself a matter for reflection. The far right dominates the party, but that situation could be challenged. Republican moderates — those who remain — are in a weak position, but a bold new nonpartisan initiative could strengthen their hand.

The ferocity of the radical right is an affront to American decency. The insistence of the radical right that our social safety net should be destroyed could force millions to die in destitution. What do Christian ethics have to say about things like that?

The power of religious fervor can be double-edged, and so the power of the right could be confronted by a new non-denominational movement, one that is led by some responsible religious leaders along with some conscientious conservatives — and there are still plenty of them — to save the soul of the Republican Party. The Republican Party as such and conservatism as such would be spared, and yet the power of the radical right would be the subject of a national outcry. The Social Gospel movement of the Gilded Age could be revived through an attack upon cruelty. The Sermon on the Mount could be invoked in such a way as to emphasize the need for repentance. The leaders of this movement could argue that the nature of Christian spirituality is on the line in America — not by the standards of self-righteousness and vainglory, but by standards of decency and mercy.

A crisis of conscience for Republicans would strengthen the hand of Republican moderates — would it not?

It is possible that in the next generation a new party system may emerge. Attempts to destroy our existing party system and create a brand new one have been made now and then since the current system took shape in the 1850s. None of these attempts have yet succeeded. But some third-party movements have shaken the foundations of our system and ushered in significant change, and perhaps this could happen again.

In theory — though the process would produce many risks — we might do better with three or four political parties that could join in coalitions in response to the electorate’s wishes. If the Republican Party could somehow be split in two — into a party of irrational fanatics on the one hand and a party of rational conservatives and moderates on the other — our nation would be far better off. And then the Democrats in turn could be split into a party of progressive radicals and a party of consensus-builders.

But who will take the lead in such matters? In some ways it’s really a shame that Ross Perot and his people did not persevere in the 1990s. We might be far better off if they had.

Here’s a totally different scenario.

Things would also change if some moderate Republicans gave up on the Republican Party and decided to switch their allegiance by transforming themselves into Democrats. That would change our situation a lot — especially right now in the Senate. Perhaps the current crop of moderate Republicans have never thought of doing such a thing.

But perhaps they could think about it now.

Challenges could be launched to the structural injustices that make America undemocratic. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to the partisan gerrymandering of state legislative districts. Perhaps a larger challenge could be launched against the “winner take all” procedure that perverts the Electoral College. The challenge would argue that the method of winner-take-all is at odds with the “original intent” of such Founders as Alexander Hamilton. Conservative justices who subscribe to “originalism” would be put on the spot and they would have to do some independent thinking. And some of them — such as the current chief justice — have proven they are capable of independent thinking.

If attempts to guide the flow of events toward best-case outcomes should fail, futuristic planning is in order — especially in light of the secession controversy that is going on in California. I have argued elsewhere that the constitutional case for disunion can be made. But that point would be disputed — to put it mildly — if the “Calexit” movement succeeds, and the movement is in flux. An earlier installment in this series broached the topic of a coming civil war. The bloodiest pages of history show that events can topple, quite suddenly at times, straight down to abysses of horror. Only fools would deny that this is so.

Could we save ourselves from such a fate? Would the threat of secession bring so many people to their senses — and back from the brink — that a change in our Constitution might be possible? A fundamental change through a package of constitutional amendments designed to ease the crisis? Stranger things have happened.

Some observers would stop right here in their analysis. They would shrink from any further speculation into prospects that no one can foresee. And yet . . . we might profit quite a lot from responsible attempts to think boldly, to “think the unthinkable.” Much better, perhaps, to consider some “unthinkable” ideas then to plunge on blindly into danger. So let’s proceed with the theme of disunion.

If secession should prove unavoidable, the change could still be a peaceful one — a point to emphasize. The threat of mass killing should surely make the need for a peaceful solution quite obvious — especially so if it permits our two antagonistic tribes to be rid of each other.

A no-fault separation.

If we find that nothing else can heal us, we may also discover that the strategy of disunion and rebuilding — accompanied by massive population shifts — may be impossible to prevent. Decade by decade, Americans may vote with their feet through emigration or dramatic relocation rather than submit to ways of life that they reject if their opponents try to force these situations upon them. Sophisticates, for instance, may begin to flee from “the heartland” and all that goes with it. Such migrations have played a fundamental role in the story of America — have they not?

It would take a long time for such events to play out — a very long time — and it would have to be our children or even their descendants who would make such choices later on.

Futuristic thinking along such lines might appear to be quixotic or even irresponsible, but consider: secession movements have also emerged in Quebec, in Newfoundland and Labrador, and in some western Canadian provinces. If California were really to “exit,” the entire west coast might follow by the end of the twenty-first century. The idea of an independent republic in the Pacific Northwest has been broached many times in the course of our history. Such ideas are not out of the question.

The possibility of new experiments in nation-building should not be ruled out or laughed away. People may indeed choose to laugh, but we will never get to see who laughs last: historical developments have been fooling the smart alecks since time immemorial and no one can predict when that will happen.

Arrangements for cooperation between seceded states and a shrunken American Union — in matters of continental security, for instance — could be developed through intelligent treaties.

Evil must be faced, and we are all being hurried along into a future that we never foresaw. We must now turn our minds to the tasks that we believe to be our duty — to ourselves and the people we love. With intelligence and patience and audacity as needed, the best of us may prevail. Things could still go our way in due time.

And all may yet be well in our America.

by Richard Striner

Richard Striner, a professor of history at Washington College, is the author of many books including Father Abraham: Lincoln’s Relentless Struggle to End Slavery and Lincoln’s Way: How Six Great Presidents Created American Power.





Do the Trumpsters have you seriously worried yet? Civil war pt 3

The two posts we’ve had about the specter of American Civil conflict have been our most view posts of this year



In Today’s post we see that the fringe right is beginning marshal their troops for what they see is the inevitable Civil War


Would you go to war against your fellow Americans to show your support for President Donald Trump? For the last several months, that’s exactly what broadcaster Alex Jones—a favorite of the president—has been calling for.

In his radio show, on YouTube and on his Infowars website, Jones—who never met a conspiracy theory he didn’t like and who has pushed the notion that Sandy Hook was faked—has been announcing that the United States is on the verge of a bloody second civil war. Like the radio DJs in Rwanda, Jones has been egging on his conservative listeners and viewers—an estimated 2.7 million people monthly—to kill more liberal fellow citizens over their political differences.

Jones is hardly alone in promoting this scary, emerging narrative on the right. The theme gained momentum after the shooting at the congressional baseball game last month. The day before the attack, on June 13, right wing broadcaster Michael Savage, host of syndicated show The Savage Nation, warned that “there’s going to be a civil war” because of “what this left-wing is becoming in this country.” After the baseball field shooting the next day, he said that he “know[s] what’s coming, and it’s going to get worse.” Savage also said of the shooting that “this blood is on [Democrats’] hands.”

After the shooting, Newt Gingrich opined on Fox that “we are in a clear-cut cultural civil war.” Former GOP speechwriter Pat Buchanan wrote that the appointment of a special prosecutor and political street clashes presage a “deep state media coup” and that the nation is “approaching something of a civil war,” and it’s time for Trump to “burn down the Bastille.”

But few commentators can match the relentless hysteria and reach of Jones. His recent YouTube video titles telegraph the tone: “Get Ready For CIVIL WAR!”  and “First Shots Fired in Second US Civil War! What Will You Do?” and “Will Trump Stop Democrats’ Plan for Violent Civil War?”

Jones’s followers have already turned broadcaster words into violent action. Last year, Edgar Maddison Welch drove from North Carolina to Washington, D.C., to fire on a pizza restaurant Jones had been saying was a front for Democratic pedophiles and Satanists. Court records indicate he had been talking to his friends about Jones’s theories before he went on his mission. In 2014, a right-wing couple, self-described Infowars fans Jerad and Amanda Miller from Indiana, killed two police officers after posting screeds on Infowars. Jones later theorized that the shooting was a false flag intended to discredit the right.

Media Matters for America (MMA), a progressive research organization, has staff assigned to track Jones Infowars shows daily. According to spokesman Nate Evans, right-wing media has been advocating violence more since Trump was elected, but Jones “has been particularly crazy about it.”

Among the statements MMA has culled from his broadcasts in recent months are the following:

On June 23, he accused “the left” of starting civil war and offered to personally execute convicted traitors because, he said, “I’m not going to sit here and just call for stuff without actually being part of it.” In the same broadcast he said, “I don’t need some coming-of-age deal to kill a bunch of liberals,” but “we have to start getting ready for insurrection and civil war because they’re really pushing it.”

On June 15, he warned “you kick off Civil War 2, baby, you’ll think Lexington and Concord was a cakewalk.” The day before, he implicated himself and his listeners: “You’re trying to start a civil war with people. You’re taking our kindness for weakness. Do you understand the American people will kill all of you? You understand? We are killing machines, you fools.… But I can shoot bull’s-eye at 400 yards, dumbass. I mean, they have no idea who they’re messing with.”

In a May 13 broadcast, he warned that “leftists want a war,” so “cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war.”

Jones has also called for extrajudicially arresting former FBI DIrector James Comey and Hillary Clinton and has encouraged Trump to use the military against dissenters. “I’d support the president right now moving against these people physically,” he said in a June 13 broadcast. “I mean, let’s be honest. We’re in a war. I would support the president making a military move on them right now.”

This is not the first time Jones has attracted attention by advocating violence against federal officials. In April, he let loose with a rant on California Democrat Adam Schiff, the ranking minority member of the House Intelligence Committee looking into Trump’s Russian connections. The profanity laced transcript was also homophobic and included an explicit threat of bodily harm.

“I’m not against gay people. OK. I love them, they’re great folks. But Schiff looks like the archetypal cocksucker with those little deer-in-the-headlight eyes and all his stuff,” Jones said. “And there’s something about this fairy, hopping around, bossing everybody around, trying to intimidate people like me and you, I want to tell Congressman Schiff and all the rest of them, ‘Hey, listen, asshole, quit saying Roger and I’—and I’ve never used cussing in 22 years, but the gloves are off—‘listen, you son of a bitch, what the fuck’s your problem? You want to sit here and say that I’m a goddamn, fucking Russian. You get in my face with that, I’ll beat your goddamn ass, you son of a bitch. You piece of shit. You fucking goddamn fucker. Listen, fuckhead, you have fucking crossed a line. Get that through your goddamn fucking head. Stop pushing your shit. You’re the people that have fucked this country over and gangraped the shit out of it and lost an election. So stop shooting your mouth off claiming I’m the enemy. You got that you goddamn son of a bitch? Fill your hand.’ I’m sorry, but I’m done. You start calling me a foreign agent, those are fucking fighting words. Excuse me.”

Tim Johnson, a Media Matters for America Research Fellow, who tracks Jones says that the civil war theme is a new one, and probably related to the fact that Barack Obama is no longer president, offering a clear, single enemy. “He needs something new, and so it’s that criticism of Trump equals civil war,” Johnson said.

An attorney with expertise in federal law told Newsweek at the time that Jones’s threats at Schiff appeared to break a federal law, U.S. Code Title 18, Section 115, which makes it illegal to threaten to assault a U.S. official and provides a penalty of up to six years in prison.

After Newsweek published that legal analysis, Jones publicly pulled back, and posted a video attempting to clarify his remarks as “clearly tongue-in-cheek and basically art performance.”

Federal officials are not known to have contacted him or looked into the matter.

Trump is your biggest supporter…..until he’s not

Falling out of favor with Donny

Don’t piss this guy off

Trump is not known for the consistency of his views. In the six months since he became president, Trump has changed his mind on China, on Nato and on military intervention in Syria. On healthcare, he seems to change his mind twice before lunch.

But it’s not just the issues that have fallen victim to Trump’s caprices. It’s his colleagues and allies, too. This week it was attorney general Jeff Sessions who faced Trump’s ire.

But Sessions wasn’t the first to fall out of favor with the president. Here are some others.

Trump on Jeff Sessions Then:
“Jeff has been a highly respected member of the US Senate for 20 years,” Trump said in a statement. “He is a world-class legal mind and considered a truly great attorney general and US attorney in the state of Alabama. Jeff is greatly admired by legal scholars and virtually everyone who knows him.”

Sessions, the first senator to endorse Trump, was one of the president elect’s first cabinet nominees. Trump was happy with his choice. He was less happy after Sessions recused himself from any investigation into whether Russia meddled in the 2016 election. Sessions had earlier admitted to meeting with the Russian ambassador during Trump’s campaign.
Trump on Jeff Sessions Now:
“Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else [Session’s actions were] “extremely unfair – and that’s a mild word – to the president”

Trump on Steve Bannon Then:
“I want to win. That’s why I’m bringing on fantastic people who know how to win and love to win.”
Trump’s campaign was ailing when he decided to bring in Bannon, then Breitbart News’s executive chair. The pair swept to an unlikely victory that November. But as Bannon’s profile grew – he was sometimes portrayed as pulling the strings in the White House and was featured on the cover of Time magazine in February – Trump grew resentful. Then came the public smackdown.

Trump on Steve Bannon Now:
“I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late […] had already beaten all the senators and all the governors, and I didn’t know Steve. I’m my own strategist and it wasn’t like I was going to change strategies because I was facing crooked Hillary.”

Trump on James Comey Then:
“It took guts for director Comey to make the move that he made, in light of the kind of opposition he had where they’re trying to protect her from criminal prosecution. You know that. It took a lot of guts.”

James Comey had just announced that the FBI would be reviewing new emails in relation to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. It pleased Trump. But when Comey used those same guts to investigate alleged ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia, the president was less pleased.

Trump on James Comey Now:
“He was crazy, a real nut job,” Trump told Russian officials, according to a summary of the meeting acquired by the New York Times. In June, after Comey had testified at a Senate hearing about Trump allegedly interfering with the Russia investigation, Trump accused the former FBI director of making “so many false statements and lies”.

Trump on House Republican health care bill Then:

“This is a great plan […] What we have is something very, very incredibly well crafted.”

House Republicans had just managed to pass a healthcare bill with one vote to spare. But the bill proved deeply unpopular with the general public, with one poll suggesting 48% of Americans thought it was a bad idea. Trump swiftly changed his mind on the legislation.

Trump on House Republican health care bill Now:

The bill is a “son of a bitch”, CNN reported the president as saying. Trump also described it as “mean”.

Trump on Paul Manafort Then:
“Paul is a great asset and an important addition as we consolidate the tremendous support we have received in the primaries and caucuses, garnering millions more votes than any other candidate. Paul Manafort, and the team I am building, bring the needed skill sets to ensure that the will of the Republican voters, not the Washington political establishment, determines who will be the nominee for the Republican Party.”

Trump had just announced that Manafort would serve as his convention manager, and later promoted him to campaign manager and chief strategist. But Manafort was forced to resign in August as he increasingly came under scrutiny for his work representing Ukraine’s ruling political party. When Manafort became a focus for the special council and congressional committees, Trump changed his views on his former ally.

Trump on Paul Manafort Now:
This time it was Trump mouthpiece Sean Spicer who criticized a former ally. Manafort played a “very limited” role for a “very limited amount of time”, Spicer said. He later added, incorrectly: “Paul was brought on sometime in June and by the middle of August he was no longer with the campaign, meaning for the final stretch of the general election, he was not involved.”

Trump on Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein Then:

“He’s highly respected – very good guy, very smart guy. The Democrats like him. The Republicans like him.”

The president was speaking after Rosenstein wrote a memo recommending he fire then FBI director James Comey. Trump said he was going to fire Comey “regardless of the recommendation”, but praised Rosenstein’s character in writing the initial note. Trump had nominated Rosenstein for deputy attorney general on 31 January. By July, however, Trump had soured on his choice.

Trump on Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein Now:
The New York Times said Trump was angry with the attorney general during an interview in July: “When Mr. Sessions recused himself, the president said he was irritated to learn where his deputy was from. ‘There are very few Republicans in Baltimore, if any,’ he said of the predominantly Democratic city. He complained that Mr Rosenstein had in effect been on both sides when it came to Mr Comey. The deputy attorney general recommended Mr Comey be fired but then appointed Mr Mueller, who may be investigating whether the dismissal was an obstruction of justice. ‘Well, that’s a conflict of interest,’ Mr. Trump said. ‘Do you know how many conflicts of interests there are?'”

Pardons, threats, lies, misdirection, phony leaks, Pay attention people! This is a slow rolling Republican sanctioned Coup d’état

(They lost the popular vote by 3 million, but thanks to “Cross Check” voter suppression and Russian sabotage the Republicans now completely control the Government and seem ready for Trump to officially become its dictator.)TE

Misdirection: Trump attacks Post over report Sessions discussed campaign with ambassador

Donald Trump went on the offensive on Saturday morning, after the Washington Post reported that his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, discussed Trump’s White House bid with the Russian ambassador to Washington in 2016.

The president did not defend Sessions, whom earlier this week he criticized strongly for his recusal from the Russia investigation. Instead, Trump complained about “illegal leaks” and demanded: “Why isn’t the AG or Special Council [sic] looking at the many Hillary Clinton or Comey crimes. 33,000 e-mails deleted?”

(Talk about fake news, now we have the media initially falling for this “so called leak” that actually was reported about months ago. Now being re-leaked by the White House) TE

The Post report cited US intelligence intercepts which contradict Sessions’ assurances that the campaign was not discussed. Sergey Kislyak told his superiors in Moscow he talked about campaign-related matters and significant policy issues during two meetings with Sessions, according to current and former US intelligence officials, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

The ambassador’s accounts of the meetings, which US spy agencies intercepted, clash with those of Sessions and pile fresh pressure on the attorney general just days after the president publicly criticized him.

On Saturday morning, Trump tweeted his anger.

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump 3:33 AM – 22 Jul 2017

A new INTELLIGENCE LEAK from the Amazon Washington Post, this time against A.G. Jeff Sessions.These illegal leaks, like Comey’s, must stop!

Trump has complained that Comey, whom he fired in May, has leaked confidential information.

Trump also tweeted a complaint about the Post’s main rival:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump  3:45 AM – 22 Jul 2017

The Failing New York Times foiled U.S. attempt to kill the single most wanted terrorist, Al-Baghdadi.Their sick agenda over National Security

On Friday, Gen Raymond Thomas, head of Special Operations Command, blamed a “media leak” for one instance of Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, escaping capture or death.

Trump did not immediately follow up or expand his argument, instead tweeting about a speaking engagement in Norfolk, Virginia. He then tweeted a reference to reports, met with horror among Democrats, that White House advisers were exploring the possibility of presidential pardons.

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump  4:44 AM – 22 Jul 2017

“While all agree the US President has the complete power to pardon,” Trump wrote, “why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us. FAKE NEWS.”

He added:

So many people are asking why isn’t the A.G. or Special Council looking at the many Hillary Clinton or Comey crimes. 33,000 e-mails deleted?

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump 4:47 AM – 22 Jul 2017

…What about all of the Clinton ties to Russia, including Podesta Company, Uranium deal, Russian Reset, big dollar speeches etc.

 Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump  5:00 AM – 22 Jul 2017

My son Donald openly gave his e-mails to the media & authorities whereas Crooked Hillary Clinton deleted (& acid washed) her 33,000 e-mails!

Sessions, formerly a senator from Alabama, was a senior foreign policy adviser to Trump during the presidential race. After being tapped to run the justice department, he first failed to disclose his encounters with Kislyak and then said the meetings were not about the Trump campaign.

The Post cited an unnamed US official who called Sessions’ statements “misleading” and “contradicted by other evidence”. An unnamed former official said the intelligence indicated Sessions and Kislyak had “substantive” discussions on matters including Trump’s positions on Russia-related issues and prospects for bilateral relations in a Trump administration, the paper reported.

The officials acknowledged that the ambassador could have mischaracterized the meetings in his briefings to Moscow.

The attorney general has repeatedly said he never discussed campaign-related issues with Russian officials and that it was in his capacity as a senator, not a Trump surrogate, that he met Kislyak. “I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign,” he said in March.

The apparent discrepancy with Kislyak’s version of events capped a torrid week for Sessions. Trump said in an interview published on Wednesday that he regretted appointing him after Sessions recused himself from investigations into links with the Trump campaign and Russia.

The president, marking six months in office, appeared to be venting concern that the investigation headed by special counsel Robert Mueller was reportedly expanding to include his business ties with Russia.

Sessions told reporters on Thursday that he would continue in his job “as long as that is appropriate”. He made no immediate response to the Post’s article on Friday.

However, in a statement, a justice department spokeswoman told the paper: “Obviously I cannot comment on the reliability of what anonymous sources describe in a wholly uncorroborated intelligence intercept that the Washington Post has not seen and that has not been provided to me.”

In a separate development on Friday, the Senate judiciary committee said that next week it would interview the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr, and his former campaign chief Paul Manafort behind closed doors rather than in public testimony, as originally planned.

Both men agreed to negotiate to provide the committee with documents and be interviewed prior to a public hearing, the committee chairman, Chuck Grassley, and its ranking member, Dianne Feinstein, said in a statement. “Therefore, we will not issue subpoenas for them tonight requiring their presence at Wednesday’s hearing but reserve the right to do so in the future.”

(“Instead in an attempt at a big misdirection Grassley tried to replace them with GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson the research firm responsible for funding the bombshell Russia dossier. An attorney for Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson rejected a request to voluntarily appear before a Senate Judiciary hearing next week, citing Simpson’s vacation plans.”)  nice try TE

News from story in the Guardian –

We know it’s become the norm, but we still have to call the BS out anyway

Liar Liar pants on fire!

We’ve signed more bills — and I’m talking about through the legislature — than any president ever.”

— President Trump, remarks at a “Made in America” event, July 17, 2017

Shortly after the president made this statement, he amended it: “I better say ‘think,’ otherwise they’ll give you a Pinocchio. And I don’t like those — I don’t like Pinocchios.”


We always appreciate it when politicians acknowledge our Pinocchio ratings. And President Trump has certainly earned his fair share. So, even with his caveat, is he close to correct?


The Facts

When Trump reached the 100-day mark, his staff touted that he had signed more bills — 28 — than any president since Harry Truman, who had signed 55. (Trump was way behind Franklin D. Roosevelt, who signed 76 bills in his first 100 days. All but one president between 1901 and 1949 had beaten Trump as well.)

Trump apparently is under the mistaken impression that he’s now ahead of Truman. “For a while, Harry Truman had us. And now, I think we have everybody,” he said.

But actually Trump has not even caught up to Truman’s 100-day total — and he’s fallen behind other recent presidents.

Trump has signed 42 bills so far in his first term. According to data compiled by GovTrack, as of July 17, Jimmy Carter had signed 70 bills, George H.W. Bush had signed 55, and Bill Clinton had signed 50. So now Trump is behind three recent presidents, not to mention FDR, Truman and other earlier presidents.

Just counting bills does not measure the quality of the output — or whether it is meaningful. Barack Obama had signed 39 bills, but his legislation appears to have been substantial, totaling 1,957 pages, compared with 880 so far for Trump, according to GovTrack. Our colleague Philip Bump has documented that 60 percent of the bills signed by Trump so far have been just one page long.

The Pinocchio Test

Tempted as we are to give the president Pinocchios for his statement, he seemed to be speaking off the cuff and was operating on outdated information from his first 100 days. We don’t play gotcha here at The Fact Checker, and we appreciate that he added a caveat. He certainly appeared to pause for a moment and wonder if he was right. For Trump, that’s a step in the right direction. (check yourself before your wreck yourself – Ice Cube)

But he’s way off the mark and actually falling behind in legislative output.
The Washington Post

For Examiner readers demanding Pinocchios, here you are