obama

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Originally Posted on November 18, 2016

A lot to like here. Here are some of the highlights:

“This is the right action to take on behalf of current and future generations,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell - She said it would protect the region’s “rich cultural and natural resources and recognizes the irreparable impacts that oil and gas development would have on them.”
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The exploration leases in Montana covered parts of the Badger-Two Medicine area of the Lewis and Clark National Forest in northwest Montana, an expanse that covers a 130,000 acres surrounded by Glacier National Park, the Bob Marshall Wilderness and the Blackfeet Indian reservation.

“There aren’t many places like this left in the lower 48,” said Michael Jamison, a senior program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association, noting that the area is home to grizzly bears, elk, wolves and an array of other wildlife. “It is a tremendously important ecosystem.”  #OurAmazingWorld
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Harry Barnes, chairman of the Blackfeet Nation Tribal Business Council, said in an interview that area has been long been a sacred spot for the tribe.

“A lot of our creation stories emanate from this area. It’s a significant area, it always has been for thousands of years,” Barnes said. “While we’re not opposed to oil and gas exploration, we are opposed to oil and gas exploration in that area.”

He called Wednesday’s settlement a “victory for not only the Blackfeet people, but for all of America. It’s such a beautiful area. It’s Mother Earth, and it needs to be enjoyed by everybody.”

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The full Washington Post story here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/11/16/obama-administration-reaches-deal-to-cancel-oil-leases-on-lands-tied-to-tribe/ 

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Originally Posted on November 18, 2016

The Earth Initiative is decidedly not partisan. We are not here to engage in politics, nor the culture wars.

We are here to share the news of what is happening. near and far, that affects the present and the future of our Natural World - and thus, us.

To share news, take actions, challenge each other to take actions that can have a positive impact on that future.

In 2012 @realDonaldTrump Tweeted this: The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.

We disagree. By our sights, Global Warming is ongoing and is caused by the (measurable, undeniable) spike in the level of carbon dioxide in out atmosphere. You only have to open your eyes and ears, look around, to see that human activity is a huge driver there.

In 2012 @realDonaldTrump was a businessman and reality tv personality - his Tweet was simply ill informed and inconsequential. Today Doanld Trump is the President Elect of the United States, today he needs to get right not with the cartoon China he used in 2012 - but with the real nation, China.

China’s Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin has clarified, from the currrent Climate Meetings meetings in Marrakech: “If you look at the history of climate change negotiations, actually it was initiated by the IPCC with the support of the Republicans during the Reagan and senior Bush administration during the late 1980s,” Liu told reporters during an hour-long briefing.

is real reality. Serious world leaders understand the threat - and the need to act now.

Added a post  to  , obama

Originally Posted on September 5, 2016

President Obama and President Xi Jinping formally committed the world's two largest economies to the Paris climate agreement at the G20 meetings on Saturday, cementing their partnership on climate change.

This despite friction in areas that range from trade, to maritime security, to computer hacking.

The fact that "they set aside those tensions to work together yet again on a joint plan to reduce greenhouse gases attests to the pragmatic personal rapport they have built." [1]

It also represents the growing global consensus the Climate Change  is a real and present danger - one that we all need to address. 

Kudos, from The Earth Initiative

 

[1] Mark Landler and Jane Perlez for the NY Times Septmber 4th, 2016


  


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Originally Posted August 31, 2016

Capping a week of 100th anniversary celebrations for the National Park Service, Barack created the largest protected area anywhere on Earth—a half-million-square-mile arc of remote Pacific waters known for both exceptional marine life and importance to native Hawaiian culture.

The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, established in 2006 by President George W. Bush, already covered 140,000 square miles of ocean around the uninhabited northwestern islands of Hawaii, Obama’s home state. Obama more than quadrupled Papahānaumokuākea’s size, to 582,578 square miles, an area larger than all the national parks combined. 

May this be the sign of things to come.

Extending these no-take areas greatly enhances the chances for the Earth's fish stressed fish populations to rebound - and for species threatened with extinction to find refuge. 

To learn more, and to learn how to pronounce Papahānaumokuākea :- ) see this from  National Geographic

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President Obama this last week issued a rare and unusual public statement about the Presidential race, warning the Democratic field not to veer "too far left." While almost all of the candidates have made their obligatory pilgrimage to meet with the former President, such a public near rebuke of the progressive, majoritarian wing of the party seems out of place, happening at time where the buzz of backroom wealthy Democratic donors is encouraging the late entries of Deval Patrick and Michael Bloomberg into a race that wasn't lacking for centrists or billionaires in the field.

The New York Times reported Obama not mentioning any candidate by name, "but he took aim at the 'activist wing' of the Democratic Party and 'left-leaning Twitter feeds,' saying they were out of touch with the average voter.  'This is still a country that is less revolutionary than it is interested in improvement,' he told an audience of some of the party’s wealthiest donors on Friday evening." (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/16/us/obama-left-democrats-2020.html)

Well...of course he was talking to wealthy donors, because many of them are quite concerned that a Warren or Sanders Presidency will actually impact their financial lives in ways that that the previous Democratic presidencies of Obama and Clinton did not.  Indeed, the economic policies of third way centrism only made them preposterously more prosperous and did little to lift all economic ships.  The truth though is that if we are going to make a serious dent in the gross economic inequality, if we are truly going to educate every citizen well through post-secondary, if we are going solve the climate crisis, if we are going to ensure access to health care for every citizen, than we will need to rely on the wealth of those billionaires with a significantly more progressive tax scheme than we currently employ.

We also found out this week that for the first time in American history, the very wealthy are being taxed at a lower rate than working people.  (https://www.forbes.com/sites/camilomaldonado/2019/10/10/trump-tax-cuts-helped-billionaires-pay-less-taxes-than-the-working-class-in-2018/#3249eb03128f - And yes, that's no left-wing socialist rag making this report, it is Forbes).  This inflection point of our economic history must become the very bottom of the historical tax curve.  We need to tax wealth and raise the marginal rates on incomes for millionaires and billionaires if we hope suspend our descent into plutocracy and maintain a functioning democratic republic.

And so, I wonder if Obama is missing the moment here.  Does he not realize how quickly the party that he led has moved ideologically to the left?  This is not the same party or country in the last time he ran in 2012 or even 2016.  The demographic shifts that we were all discussing in 2016 about a younger, more diverse electorate all still hold true despite Trump's last gasp of xenophobia and racism.  The Republicans, already headed towards minority status are cementing such a position for a generation in their embrace of white nationalism and topsy-turvey, mafia-style foreign policy.  A decade and a generation from now, we will all still be asking, what did you do to fight the racism, lies, and civic ugliness of Trump? 

I'm not saying the leftward shift is Trump-driven. though it has catalyzed activism in the country and crystalized many issues for folks.  For example, we now see that Democratic policies unjustly deported millions of immigrants, created cover for pre-emptive war and slaughter in Iraq, supported stop and frisk laws and other racist policing methods that encouraged a mass incarceration system, or more immediately in our discussion, didn't ask the rich to do their fair share out of fear of being deemed a class warrior or worse yet, because Larry Summers did not think it was a good idea.  

The fact is that most Americans and certainly most Democrats support almost all of what's on the policy table of the progressive Democrats in the race. This past summer, I warned against letting Republicans or Republican-leaning folks tell Democrats for whom to vote (https://www.civicaction.center/story/dont-let-republicans-tell-us-how-vote).  It is worth reiterating here the broad support that progressive policy has with Americans:

Single Payer Healthcare.  56% of Americans support single payer 38% oppose and support is trending upward over time. https://www.slideshare.net/KaiserFamilyFoundation/public-opinion-on-singlepayer-national-health-plans-and-expanding-access-to-medicare-coverage-150455379 

Green New Deal. The policy prescriptions have support of 80% of registered voters.  https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/421765-poll-majorities-of

Taxing the Rich. 76% of registered voters want to increase taxes on the rich. https://fortune.com/2019/02/04/support-for-tax-increase-on-wealthy-americans-poll/amp/

So frankly, I'm not even sure what President Obama is talking about when he warns about being .  These are mainstream issues.  Candidates who offer full-throated support for these issues like Warren and Sanders are polling well with their support growing rather than shrinking.  Obama is missing the moment and it is up for the voters to bring him along.  We need his voice moving forward, but as a catalyst, rather than impediment: not for the change we can believe in, but rather for the policies we know we need to bring about lasting systemic change.


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Do you remember this stunning moment?  Seems like a lifetime ago now.

America's original sins of slavery and racism seemed at least momentarily to be overcome by the  purveyor of hope, an inspiring figure who spoke with the eloquence and in the tradition of the great Civil Rights and abolitionist leaders. The goodness of the American people seemed affirmed, voting in a manner some never thought possible, making an African American the leader of the free world.

We were just beginning to understand the ramifications of the global economy in free fall.  We had lived through 9-11 and seen the unity of a collective resolve to conquer fear and terrorism torn asunder by leaders who dragged us into an unrelated war in which winning the peace was an afterthought paid for in American and Iraqi lives and 2 trillion dollars of taxpayer money.  This past and the storms on the horizon were present on election night 2008, but were swept away in the rejoicing of this improbable feat as a nation.  In Barack Obama, America had turned another corner. 

The election of an African American President affirmed that what Martin Luther King Jr. had told us was correct: the arc of the moral universe bends towards justice.

Except when it doesn't...

We are coming off what may be the most difficult week in our American political life in quite some time.  The full brunt of the indecency and misogyny of a US President combined with a complicit and conniving Republican Senate leadership undermined the broad support as a fair instrument of government long enjoyed by the Supreme Court since the beginning of the Civil Rights Era  This third branch of our government now is subject to and complicit in the power politics that embraces moral deviance and relativism in the allowance of the sexual assault of women and lying under oath as no real barrier to having a seat on the high court.  The Supreme Court, already comprised of a sexual harasser and other conservative justices that allow unfettered money into our political system will now form a majority that will further erode the gains of the Civil Rights Era, the feminist movement, the labor movement and all the progress that has been made to make this country a more fair and decent society for its citizens dating at least back to the Progressive Era politics of Teddy Roosevelt.  

This is the final step necessary to complete what I call the Great Regression.

The Long Arc of History...

For someone living in the mid-twentieth century as Martin Luther King Jr. did, positing the existence of a moral universe that gets increasingly more just over time seemed like a reasonable conclusion, even amidst the violence and anguish of confronting white Americans in the Civil Rights movement.  Decades of abolitionism, which started small but became an overwhelming force in American politics set the stage for a Civil War that ended slavery while killing off some ten percent of the population.  The excesses of Industrial Revolution and great income inequality were tempered by Progressive Era government regulation and trust busting and New Deal Keynesian economics that sought to provide for everyone's basic needs.  Disenfranchised women organized for decades before finally got the vote and eventually found their way into the workplace.  Labor unions fought for and one greater protections for workers and set the stage for a prosperity that was lifting most ships.  Jim Crow was dismantled by the Supreme Court who served as the guarantor of the civil liberties of black Americans. 

As King's activism got under way, he could believe in the hope that in a democracy like the United States, you could convince enough folks in the population that change was not only necessary, but possible.  When changing minds broadly failed, you could state your case to those in power and eventually they could be morally compelled to act.  The love power that he called activists to embrace was rooted in this hope, and indeed belief, that Civil Rights activism was pulling on that arc.  King could point to a number of important wins to corroborate his thinking.  

The Great Regression Explained.

Right at this juncture in American history, the Conservative movement formed in the modern sense, eventually finding a home in the Republican Party. Nixon's southern strategy first sought to engage  the racist grievances of southern white men who lived through a Civil Rights Era where the social arrangements and full privileges that they grew accustomed to shifted away from them.  Nixon combined this racism with the Republican tenets of a muscular foreign policy, a preference for the wealthy, and an ongoing attack against the new social movements seeking greater equality for women, homosexuals, and people of color.  

By the time Reagan received the nomination in 1980, the modern evangelical movement of Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority was in full swing.  The GOP used their opposition to abortion as the wedge issue that would be used to undermine feminism.  Reagan was able to combined the racist aggrievement with this newly politically engaged religious movement to form a winning coalition.  Many working class white folks found themselves pulled into cultural and religious issues, even if the economic policies pursued by the GOP were against their economic interest.  The wealthy would see drastic tax cuts and increases in wealth while Republicans could drape themselves in the flag while holding a Bible.

The Conservative project of the last 40 years is now undeniably at its apex.  Despite an unorthodox conservative in Donald Trump, Republicans found someone who would continue economic policies that favor the rich, while speaking more directly to racist and misogynist grievance of the working class white folks that Nixon targeted in an increasingly culturally and racially diverse nation. Conservatives who spent years chipping away at the underlying tenets of a fair and decent nation that most Americans simply took for granted and in many ways still do are now able to pursue these regressive policies in a more robust way.  Republican leadership like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, would actually prefer that Medicare and Medicaid didn't existed. They voted time and again to kill off Obamacare, even though it provided insurance to millions of Americans.  Conservative governors refused to take Medicaid to insure more of their state's citizens.  The goal is no government involvement in health care or any other social good.  Indeed there is no social good in this thinking, only private gain. This is one of the logical ends to the Reagan Revolution which I would call more broadly the Great Regression.  

The Great Regression has occurred throughout most of the adult lives of those living today.  We have not seen it as this larger retrenchment as periods like President Obama's presidency masked the overall trajectory of the nation's descent into a plutocracy.  We are living it, but understanding the Great Regression on this longer time trajectory will help us think through how we more effectively fight back over the medium and long term.  Even with a mid-term election coming up, the immediate future looks bleak, but progressives and seekers of justice have fought longer odds in American history.  My addendum to King's adage:

The long arc of the moral universe bends towards justice, but only if we make it so...

Click Here for Part 2

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In May we asked, whether had ordered to speak with the about the potential of lifting sanctions that had placed on the regime in response to their interference in the #2016election. With the of General Flynn today and reports that he will testify that and did indeed make such an order. The is a resounding yes and Trump is in serious legal jeopardy.

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Jake Tapper has been on fire, hasn't he? He, Rachel Maddow, and David Frum have the most lucid commentary on the Trump administration, each from a very different perspective.  In his commentary today, Tapper called out the Trump administration for lying...again.  No one in the administration produced a single shred of evidence to support Trump's ridiculous claims that Obama ordered surveillance on him. Indeed, the Justice Department, asked for a delay in producing evidence for Congressional investigation committees.  Delay might be the only tactic available, short of saying that the President actually lied.  

Tapper's take down of the administration hacks who attempt to explain lie after lie that the President tweets is epic and worth the watch:

 

Most disturbing elment of this latest lie is that Trump again breaks a basic norm essential to a functioning democracy.  Sitting Presidents generally are hands off against their predecessors. Except during election cycles, former Presidents generally try to stay out of the fray.  A norm like this ensures that the current occupant of the White House can act without the interference of a former President. Likewise, a former President who has take on the toughest job in the world for four or eight years can live in relative peace without the threat of ongoing political reprisals.  

When Trump treats such basic democratic norms with his typical self-centered disdain, where are the aides and Trump voters who step up to say that's not okay? Instead, Spicer goes out before the world to airquote "wire tap" like we're supposed to take Trump figuratively even when he speaks quite definitively. I keep asking on social media are there any Trump supporters who wish to defend breaking of norms, the complete retreat from basic decency, or his blatant lying such as the the "tap" that Obama placed on Trump? Despite my entreaties, I have yet to see any of those who voted for him defend the ridiculous tweets or policy positions of the administration. I have yet to see any of them defend the blatant lying.

They went after the speck in Obama's eye incessantly, but are completely unwilling to denounce the wood beam in Trump's eye. At this point, they are enablers.

#wiretap ance

Added a post  to  , obama

is lying about . Yet again, the man breaks any we have as a . When the sitting President attacks the previous with no evidence. It is a lie intended to distract us from the closing in on the investigation. #resist

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The President's policies rescued the . We owe a tremendous debt of . Not bad...for a so-called

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