By Marianne Lavelle for Inside Climate News – Whether the U.S. meets its emissions-reduction commitments under the Paris climate accord is pivotal to the success of the global agreement, but the Trump administration’s policies have all but ensured the U.S. will fall far short. One recent analysis says the country will miss its target by more than 1 billion metric tons. Under President Barack Obama, the United States pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 26-28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. That means emissions must be cut about 1.7 billion metric tons, according to figures from the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest greenhouse gas inventory.
By Joe Sexton for ProPublica – The fiscal 2018 price for President Trump’s border wall is in: $2.6 billion. That’s a cost to U.S. taxpayers, not a cost many people any longer think will be picked up by the Mexican government. As first installments go, it’s a pretty big number. Indeed, its size can be appreciated in one powerful way by setting it against some of the many budget cuts Trump proposed this week. One year of spending on a border wall is the equal of, well, the federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting plus the $231 million given to the country’s libraries and museums plus the $366 million that goes to legal help for the poor.
By Chris Hedges For Truth Dig – The crawl toward despotism within a failed democracy is always incremental. No regime planning to utterly extinguish civil liberties advertises its intentions in advance. It pays lip service to liberty and justice while obliterating the institutions and laws that make them possible. Its opponents, including those within the establishment, make sporadic attempts to resist, but week by week, month by month, the despot and his reactionary allies methodically consolidate power. Those inside the machinery of government and the courts who assert the rule of law are purged. Critics, including the press, are attacked, ridiculed and silenced. The state is reconfigured until the edifice of tyranny is unassailable.
By Staff for Tele Sur – The senior aides will monitor how closely the secretaries’ allegiances lie with President Trump. As if the Trump administration hasn’t already operated bizarrely enough, its Cabinet will now have a new addition: senior aides who will monitor how closely the secretaries’ allegiances lie with U.S. President Donald Trump, according to a new report by the Washington Post. The political appointees have been assigned to agencies as far-ranging as the Environmental Protection Agency to the Pentagon to NASA. The news comes while most members of Trump’s Cabinet do not yet have leadership teams in place or even nominees for their top deputies.
By Bethan McKernan for Independent – Iran, one of the states targeted by Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, is a country from which the US could learn a lot on the resettlement of refugees, the UN has said. The Soviet War in Afghanistan displaced six million people to neighbouring Iran and Pakistan in 1979. Almost four decades later, the Tehran government still shelters around one million registered Afghans, and up to two million are thought to also be living in the country – making Iran home to the world’s fourth largest refugee population. “The leadership demonstrated by the Iranian government has been exemplary in hosting refugees and keeping borders open,” Sivanka Dhanapala, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Tehran, said on Wednesday.
By Carol Burris for The Network for Public Good – Donald Trump’s education budget is a declaration of war on public education and our nation’s neediest children. It was surely designed by Betsy DeVos. Trump’s budget would axe after-school programs known as the 21st Century Community Learning Centers which help school districts, churches and nonprofit groups serve more than 1.6 million American children, most of whom are poor. In defending the cuts to such programs, White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said after-school programs don’t “show results.” He went on to say that feeding children after-school has never been proven to get them better jobs, so we cannot afford to do it anymore
By Margaret Flowers for Health Over Profit – If you were watching the live stream of President Trump’s rally in Nashville, TN on Wednesday, you may have noticed that at one point shouting arose to his right causing him to wave his right hand dismissively, pause and turn his back to the audience. When he turned back around, Trump said, “One person and that will be the story tomorrow. Did you hear there was a protester?” Click here to see the live stream. The interruption begins about 1 hour and 24 minutes in. That ‘one protester’ was Dr. Carol Paris, the current president of Physicians for a National Health Program and a member of the steering committee of Health Over Profit for Everyone, and she was able to get his attention in a sea of people.
By Deirdre Fulton for Common Dreams – In fact, warned Diane Yentel, head of the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, Trump’s budget “would have a devastating impact on millions of the lowest income people across the country.” As expected, the proposal would cut overall funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by 13 percent or $6.2 billion compared to 2016 levels, resulting “in the most severe cut to HUD since President Reagan dramatically reduced funding in the early 1980s,” she said. “Reagan’s deep spending cuts ushered in a new age of homelessness with a dramatic increase in the number of people sleeping on the streets, in cars, and in shelters,” Yentel added.
By George Lakey for Waging Nonviolence – If these were ordinary times, progressives might get away with casual images of our political opponents. Those who disagree “lack information,” or “remain prejudiced,” or are “gripped by an emotion like hate.” Reassured, we can return to informational outreach or protests or confrontations and hope that makes a difference. These, however, are not ordinary times. I further expect more instability and turbulence to come in the United States, a situation that invites more strategizing. And having a good strategy requires more accurate images of the other players in the arena. Arlie Russell Hochschild’s new book “Strangers in Their Own Land” has arrived just in time.
By Ralph Nader. Donald J. Trump was a builder of casinos and high-priced hotels and golf courses. Now he is a builder of a tower of contradictions for the American people that is making “America Great” at their expense. He made many conflicting promises throughout his presidential campaign. He was going to be the “voice of the people.” He was going to make their safety and their job expansion his number one priority. He was going to make sure that everybody had health insurance under his then unannounced plan. He was going to deregulate businesses, cut taxes, increase the military budget, build and repair the country’s public infrastructure and not surge the deficit. He was going to scrap the trade agreements known as NAFTA and the WTO.
By Chris Hedges for Truth Dig – The ruling corporate elites no longer seek to build. They seek to destroy. They are agents of death. They crave the unimpeded power to cannibalize the country and pollute and degrade the ecosystem to feed an insatiable lust for wealth, power and hedonism. Wars and military “virtues” are celebrated. Intelligence, empathy and the common good are banished. Culture is degraded to patriotic kitsch. Education is designed only to instill technical proficiency to serve the poisonous engine of corporate capitalism. Historical amnesia shuts us off from the past, the present and the future. Those branded as unproductive or redundant are discarded and left to struggle in poverty or locked away in cages.
By Staff of BBC News – Several US states have launched legal challenges against President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban. Mr Trump signed an executive order placing a 90-day ban on people from six mainly Muslim countries on Monday. New York maintains the new directive is a ban on Muslims while Washington says it is harmful to the state. Oregon and Massachusetts later also joined. The ban begins on 16 March, with the White House saying it is “very confident” of winning in court. Mr Trump’s original order was more expansive but it was defeated after a legal challenge initially mounted by Washington and Minnesota. Lawyers for those states say their original complaint applies to the revised order and are pursuing their cases.
By Todd Richmond for Associated Press – MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A federal judge on Friday blocked President Donald Trump’s administration from enforcing his new travel ban against a Syrian family looking to escape their war-torn homeland by fleeing to Wisconsin. The ruling likely is the first by a judge since Trump issued a revised travel ban on Monday, according to a spokesman for the Washington state attorney general, who has led states challenging the ban. A Syrian Muslim man who was granted asylum and settled in Wisconsin has been working since last year to win U.S. government approval for his wife and 3-year-old daughter to leave the devastated city of Aleppo and join him here…
By Sarah Lazare for AlterNet – Rosemary Holmes has lived in Newark’s Terrell Holmes for the better part of six decades. She, like many others in the building, has raised children in its courtyards and hallways, and forged a tight-knit community of friends and neighbors. At the age of 68, she has been forced to band with other tenants to fight local efforts to shutter the facility. Now, as the Trump administration weighs plans to gut the Department of Housing and Urban Development, she has a new battle on her hands. “Any time they move a person to someplace they don’t want to live, it’s imprisonment,” she told AlterNet over the phone. “I am a human being, and I deserve to live where I want to live. Us, the ones who really want to be here…
By Eric Margolis for Eric Margolis – We are now moving rapidly into stage II of Levantine Madness as the US boosts its intervention in the war-torn Mideast. Five thousand US troops are back in Iraq to bolster the shattered nation’s puppet regime that is propped up by American bayonets. New Iraqi military formations have been formed, totally equipped with modern US M1 Abrams tanks, Humvees, and fleets of trucks. More US forces are on the way. These US-financed Iraqi units are euphemistically called ‘anti-terrorism forces’ and are supervised by US officers. In fact, what we see is the old British Imperial Raj formula of white officers commanding native mercenary troops.