Saturday, January 21, 2017

REJECT REX TILLERSON - SIGN PETITION, MAKE PHONE CALLS

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a vote on Rex Tillerson’s (the just retired, lifetime EXXON man) confirmation on Monday to head our US State Department and we cannot afford to let up the pressure. {Also make your voice count, call your Senator, below you can find a list of the Foreign Relations Committee members}


In Tillerson’s confirmation hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 11, the ex-CEO of oil-and-gas-giant Exxon Mobil gave an unacceptable series of non-answers on issues ranging from man-made climate change to whether Russia’s Vladimir Putin is a war criminal. He may have even perjured himself by lying about Exxon Mobil’s documented history of lobbying against Russian sanctions.

Tillerson recently left his position at Exxon Mobil with a $180 million retirement package, just two months ahead of his scheduled retirement.1 We don’t need another climate-denying corporate executive in Washington – especially as the nation’s top diplomat.


Tillerson has led Exxon Mobil in public lie after public lie about the reality of climate change.2 Not only has he personally been outspoken about his false belief that scientists largely disagree about climate change and its connection to human action, he has used his position and influence as CEO of the oil and gas company to promote lies and propaganda denying the role burning fossil fuels plays in heating our planet. The company is currently under investigation by several state Attorneys General for lying and misleading investors and the public about the risks of climate change.3 Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil continues to fund climate denial groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council, despite commitments from Tillerson to stop funding climate deniers.4

Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike have expressed concern about Tillerson’s deep ties to Russia and his personal relationship with Vladimir Putin. In 2013, after the two negotiated an oil drilling deal reportedly worth $500 billion, Putin gave Tillerson one of the highest honors Russia gives to foreigners: the Order of Friendship. The Order of Friendship can be bestowed on someone who makes a "great contribution" to "large-scale economic projects" in Russia.5 Tillerson built his career and success at Exxon on close relationships and business deals to drill oil in Russia – and he has refused to release his tax returns that would show his true financial ties to Russia.

With mounting evidence that Russia interfered in the presidential election, now is not the time to install someone with deep financial ties to Vladimir Putin as the nation’s top diplomat. It’s time for the Senate to take a stand and commit to blocking his confirmation.

Thank you for everything you do,
Tessa Levine, Campaign Manager

Sign the petition at:
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But, can we get real.  SERIOUS AMERICANS NEED TO DO MORE, MUCH MORE ! 
PERSONALLY CONTACT YOUR SENATORS IS A GOOD START.
United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

Members, 115th Congress
Majority (Republicans)

 • Bob Corker, Tennessee Chairman

Minority (Democrats)
 • Ben Cardin, Maryland, Ranking Member
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References:
2 McKenzie Funk, “Did Exxon Lie About Global Warming?” Rolling Stone, June 30, 2016.
3 Justin Gillis and Clifford Krauss, “Exxon Mobil Investigated for Possible Climate Change Lies by New York Attorney General,” The New York Times, Nov. 5, 2015.
4 Lee Wasserman, “What Rex Tillerson's Exxon Mobil track record tells us,” Los Angeles Times, Jan. 3, 2017.
5 Matt Egan, Julia Horowitz and Chris Isidore, “Behind the deep ties between Exxon's Rex Tillerson and Russia,” CNN Money, Dec. 11, 2016.

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Reject Rex Tillerson, EXXON's Russian Obligate Oil Guy - Here's why.

Senator Gardner - Democratic decency requires NO VOTE on Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State
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Tips on Calling Your Member of Congress

When you dial 202-224-3121 you are directed to an operator at the Capitol switchboard. This switchboard can direct you to both senators as well as representatives.

Once the operator answers, ask to be connected to whomever you are trying to reach. They will send you to your senator's or representative's office line, and a legislative assistant will answer the phone.

It is important to let them know why you are calling and what issue you are calling about. You will sometimes be able to speak directly to your senator or representative, but more often you will speak to a staff person in the member's office. This person keeps track of how many people called and their positions on issues, and provides a summary to the member. Be assured that your call does count, even if you are not able to speak directly to your senator or representative.

* You can also find the direct number to any member's office by consulting the



How to be effective about contacting your senator: 
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Friday, January 20, 2017

Trump doesn't want you to see this !

https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-record/climate

The muzzling is already beginning.

Trump’s White House Website Now Only Mentions "Climate" in His Plans to Ax Obama’s Policies


Today, the peaceful transition of power took place, with President Barack Obama passing the White House baton over to President Donald Trump. 
Behind the glitz and glamor and pomp and circumstance came another key White House transition: the Trump White House has gotten rid of the climate change section of the White House website. The URL www.whitehouse.gov/energy/climate-changenow takes those surfing the internet to a page which “could not be found.”
Journalist Brian Kahn of ClimateCentral.com was the first to point this out on Twitter. This is what it looks like for those who go to the WhiteHouse.gov web domain for climate change. 
Image Credit: WhiteHouse.gov
... The new web section does pay some homage to environmental protection, but there is no mention of climate change. The word “climate” appears only once — and that's when the Trump administration proclaims its intention to put President Obama's Climate Action Plan on the chopping block.
“[O]ur need for energy must go hand-in-hand with responsible stewardship of the environment,” reads the website. “Protecting clean air and clean water, conserving our natural habitats, and preserving our natural reserves and resources will remain a high priority. President Trump will refocus the EPA on its essential mission of protecting our air and water.”
DeSmog has reached out for comment to the Trump White House senior level staff and communications team and will update this article with their comments if we receive a response.
Update: The Obama White House now has an archived website, which includes its climate change section
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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Diary 1/19/2017 and "Trump's Promises Score Card"

For those of you who are into keeping score on how well, or poorly, Trump is at keeping his many promises, you'll want to bookmark this link https://thinkprogress.org/trump-made-a-lot-of-promises-about-what-he-will-do-as-president-weve-documented-663-of-them-3d28f0131e7f#.x7ni4arpr because ThinkProgress had put together a list and a team of journalists who will be keeping track.  My intended short introduction turned into a full on essay of sortsafter which I have much more information about the ThinkProgress "Trump Promise Score Card."

* You'll have to forgive me for not giving Trump any benefit of the doubt.  He has repeatedly shown that he lives within a narcissistic bubble detached from down to Earth reality.  I have yet to see the slightest indication he possesses any scruples or empathy.  Trump doesn't read and beyond money and marketing appears to know nothing, no history, no science, no geography, no evolution, nor any philosophy beyond,
"The Golden Rule"  ~  The man with the gold makes the rules! 
No different from a few thousand tribal warlords and emperors who came before, to dominate, destroy, get destroyed.  When I was a kid, we had this idea going around that humanity may finally be able to learn from that repetition of historic lessons.  How wrong we were.  I think my generation lost our focus.  We learned to detach and take it all for granted.  For the most part we were all too willing to turn our backs on the lessons of the 70s - namely, that we as a global society needed to power down a bit.  Less baby making.  Wiser resource consumption with an eye toward sustainable systems.  (For instance why couldn't tire manufactures lease their tires, then repurpose returning tires?  Same with batteries and other such short duration resource rich items?  Simple things like that.)  Also, incorporating an appreciation for the profound impacts increasing our planet's atmospheric insulation was sure to have on the biosphere we depend on.

Future, long term survival was dependent on a mature appreciation for this planet Earth and the myriad of biological systems and subsystems along with our global climate engine all interwoven in amazing ways.  But, fast cars, fast food, kick ass movies and music and sports and fantasizing about having riches and ever increasing profits became all we needed.  At best it was a Faustian Bargain.

I'm afraid we liberal intellectual thoughtful types have lost our country because we could never convey the importance of our planet's natural systems, its biosphere and climate system and how they enabled all we hold dear and depend on.

Seems that all the faith-shackled and agenda driven Republicans see are commodities to be exploited and consumed as fast as possible - though no one has a clue what we are in such a damned rush to achieve. 


For me the heart break of the past two months of lost opportunities to make a decisive stand, leaves me feeling bleak as ever.  America has voted (citizens who didn't vote, also voted!!!) and its a resounding endorsement of the Golden Rule - The man with the gold, makes the rules.


America appears to have evolved into a nation who is okay with that attitude.  After all, too much has never been enough for us.  We live on a daily media diet of obsessive love for Hollywood's explosive insanity played out in a parade of "thriller" movies who's gross sales are tracked in hundreds of millions of dollars and followed in headline news like the horse races used to be - at the same time scientists are scrambling for funding to study this home planet that we depend on for everything, at fractions of the cost of a cheap movie, while having to endure malicious dirty tricks.


From what I'm seeing the majority of liberal types have again retracted into their own communities to tut-tut all the avericious people being put into really impactful positions of near supreme power.  Oh yeah, we gave away the Supreme Court too.  Holding protests that usually only impress each other, since they rarely convey a clear policy strategy or achievable goal to follow up on.  Something that's symptomatic of Democrats' tendency to grossly underestimate their political opponents.  Liberals seem to ignore that Trump and gang couldn't care less what we think, they are getting the keys to the kingdom, with the military tossed in for good measure.  We need to do more.  


Senators and Representative need to hear from tens and hundreds of thousands of citizens.  If everyone who takes to the streets these next days also commits to get and remain informed and to call or write their US and state Representatives - now that would make an impression!  But, then you'll have to do it again, and again, again over the next 2 and 4 years.

I would truly love to have my assessment and distrust of this man proven wrong.  This "Trump Promises Score Card" that Koronowski and his team have put together, (which they will be referring back to as these years of living dangerously unfold), will provide an objective score card with which to judge.
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Trump made a lot of promises about what he will do as president. We’ve documented 663 of them.

The people who elected Trump expect him to come through.

Ryan Koronowski  |  January 19, 2017
Research Director at ThinkProgress.


Trump made a lot of promises about what he will do as president. We’ve documented 663 of them.

The people who elected Trump expect him to come through.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Columbia Journalism Review letter to Trump

I came across an excellent letter to Mr. Trump written by "The Press Corp" - It seems that along with many other America's they have woken up, taken stock of what happened this past year and are now ready to go forward into our self-inflicted frightening new political reality with a renewed sense of purpose and mission.

Welcome back America's once grand Fourth Estate, we certainly need you more than ever, I hope it's not too late.


Columbia Journalism Review

DEAR MR. PRESIDENT ELECT:
In these final days before your inauguration, we thought it might be helpful to clarify how we see the relationship between your administration and the American press corps.

It will come as no surprise to you that we see the relationship as strained. Reports over the last few days that your press secretary is considering pulling news media offices out of the White House are the latest in a pattern of behavior that has persisted throughout the campaign: 
You’ve banned news organizations from covering you. 
You’ve taken to Twitter to taunt and threaten individual reporters and encouraged your supporters to do the same. You’ve advocated for looser libel laws 
and threatened numerous lawsuits of your own, 
none of which has materialized. 

You’ve avoided the press when you could and flouted the norms of pool reporting and regular press conferences. You’ve ridiculed a reporter who wrote something you didn’t like because he has a disability.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Step-up Support Sen. Warren's Conflict of Interest Bill

Not much to add, so I'll simply pass this along:
      Donald Trump likes to brag that the president “cannot” have a business conflict of interest. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and a group of Senate Democrats have just introduced a bill to prove him wrong, and they need our help.

With Trump’s deep business ties to foreign governments and businesses, he will be in violation of the Constitution’s rules against bribery on his first day in office. But federal conflict-of-interest rules contain a glaring loophole exempting the president and vice president from many restrictions. Sen. Warren’s new bill (full text appears below this notice) would make it clear that Trump has to follow the rules – or else.

A president using his power to enrich himself while indebted to foreign governments is not normal, and we cannot let Washington Democrats and the corporate media pretend it is. We need to get behind leaders like Sen. Warren and make it clear that Donald Trump is putting America’s safety and security at risk in order to line his own pockets.

Sign the petition from CREDO and Daily Kos: Make Trump disclose and divest.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Senator Gardner - Democratic decency requires NO VOTE on Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State

Since Colorado’s own Senator Gardner is on the Committee of Foreign Relations and is hearing Rex Tillerson’s nomination I decided to send his staff this open letter that I hope they’ll pass along.  I've sent it to our Durango Telegraph as 'letter to the editor' and I want to share it over here.  It might help some gather their own thoughts for sending messages to their own senators.  It's all we have right now, so everyone that cares needs to make an effort. http://civilrights.org/action_center/resources/calling-congress.html 
{Sorry about that early posting screw up}    It's been noted that mine is not the most diplomatic of opening paragraphs.  So be it.  It's not like Republicans have been anything but ruthlessly hostile to anyone on the other side of their world outlook divide.  Maybe, it's time they stop being so absolutist and progressive types stop being so accommodating !

Honorable Senator Gardner and staff,

Please take the time to think about the many objections to Rex Tillerson becoming our country’s Secretary of State. 

You’ll note right away that I can be categorized (and discarded) as a “tree hugger” type.  Indeed, I have hugged a few in my day.  I know too well how my kind is easily vilified and dismissed by Republicans.  Still I would beg you to consider the reality that we very much depend on a healthy climate and biosphere for everything we have and love.  

No matter what your personal religion tells you about your God, the basic inescapable reality is that we were born of this Earth and shall die back into it.  It is a beautiful reality, once you grow to appreciate evolution and understand what a fantastical pageant you are part of.

But, I digress.  What I really want to beg of you and your staff to consider is all the reasons Rex Tillerson, great oil-businessman though he may be, he should never be allowed to become USA’s Secretary of State.  A position demanding respect for our Constitution and a much broader understanding than a dedicated oil man(42+years), someone who knows nothing but drilling for profits is capable of acquiring.  No insult, fundamental reality.  Secretary of State requires immensely broad and deep understanding of governmental matters and a different sphere of relevant matter than a pure cold blooded businessman like Rex can acquire.

No matter now many big shot deals he may have closed, he’s unfit for the State Department!  Why can’t America at least get an experienced individual?  As for ‘outsider’ that just means he doesn’t know what’s going on.  That may work in the movies, but this is real life and there’s no going back.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Threat of Trump’s Corporate Cabinet. A review by Common Dreams

Here's a reprint of Tuesday's article by Robert Weissman at Common Dreams offering a quick review of Trump's Cabinet nominations and why they are so frightening.  And why we must stand up to oppose their plan to bulldoze America's government into something only a greed blinded oligarch living within their locked-gate enclaves could love.
There's so much I'd like to write about and so little time, either for me or for this country I love.  Thus, I'm forced take advantage of Common Dreams generous Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.  Hopefully someone will find something useful or inspiring in it. 
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Published on
by 

The Existential Threat of Trump’s Corporate Cabinet

The corporate interests who the President-elect properly alleged in the campaign buy politicians will now themselves be directly in charge of the government
We’re facing the prospect of a government literally of the Exxons, by the Goldman Sachses and for the Kochs.

President-Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet and top nominees draw more deeply from an extremist faction of the corporate class than any in memory, and likely in history. We are witnessing the wholesale corporate takeover of the American government.

Nothing more plainly shows Trump’s complete cynicism and dishonesty than his absolute betrayal of the core claim of his campaign – to rid Washington of corruption, cronyism and insider dealing. The corporate interests who he properly alleged in the campaign buy politicians will now themselves be directly in charge of the government.

With this cabinet, it is a virtual certainty that this administration will be the most corrupt and scandal prone in American history.