Trump Rolls Back Civil Rights Efforts Across The Government

Cliff Owen/ AP

By Jessica Huseman and Annie Waldman for Pro Publica – Previously unannounced directives will limit the Department of Justice’s use of a storied civil rights enforcement tool, and loosen the Department of Education’s requirements on investigations. Elizabeth Hill, press secretary for the U.S. Department of Education, told ProPublica that the new “enforcement instructions seek to clear out the backlog while giving every complaint the individualized and thorough consideration it deserves.” Lifting the requirement of collecting three years of data will allow complaints to be addressed “much more efficiently and quickly,” she said in an emailed statement. Read the full statement here. For decades, the Department of Justice has used court-enforced agreements to protect civil rights, successfully desegregating school systems, reforming police departments, ensuring access for the disabled and defending the religious. Now, under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the DOJ appears to be turning away from this storied tool, called consent decrees. Top officials in the DOJ civil rights division have issued verbal instructions through the ranks to seek settlements without consent decrees — which would result in no continuing court oversight.

Statement Of Cuba In Reaction To Trump’s New Cuba Policy

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By Staff of Cuba Min Rex – On June 16, 2017, US President Donald Trump delivered a speech full of hostile anti-Cuban rhetoric reminiscent of the times of open confrontation with our country in a Miami theater. He announced his government’s Cuba policy, which rolls back the progress achieved over the last two years since December 17, 2014, when Presidents Raúl Castro and Barack Obama announced the decision to re-establish diplomatic relations and engage in a process towards the normalization of bilateral relations. In what constitutes a setback in the relations between both countries, President Trump, gave a speech and signed a policy directive titled “National Security Presidential Memorandum”, which provides the elimination of private educational “people-to-people” exchanges and greater control over all travelers to Cuba, as well as the prohibition of business, trade and financial transactions between US companies and certain Cuban companies linked to the Armed Revolutionary Forces and the intelligence and security services, under the alleged objective of depriving us from income.

Trump’s Sword Dance Sets Off The War Of The Wahhabis

AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

By Pepe Escobar for Sputnik News – The current Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, now “guilty” for not blaming Iran as the root of all evils in the Arab peninsula, might even be following the steps of his own father, Hamad, who invented modern Qatar and deposed himself – under Saudi pressure – in favor of his son in 2013. We can’t forget that Bandar bin Sultan, a.k.a. Bandar Bush, notorious former top assembler/weaponizer of jihadis, and frustrated “liberator of Syria”, had famously described Qatar in the past as “300 people and a TV station”. So what is really going on in this noxious petrodollar swamp? The Israel-UAE connection. Let’s cut to the chase and establish that this nasty inter-GCC cannibalization has nothing to do with the Global War on Terror (GWOT). Among massive disinformation crossfire, a trail of evidence points to a concerted strategy elaborated by the Israeli lobby (via the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, founded, among others, by nefarious casino schemer Sheldon Adelson, and very close to Bibi Netanyahu); US neocon/Ziocon/neoliberalcon elements; and the UAE ambassador in Washington, Yousef al-Otaiba.

Former EPA Employees Worried About Trump’s Plans, Formed Own Alt-EPA

KEVIN LAMARQUE / REUTERS
President Donald Trump listens to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt after announcing his decision that the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, June 1, 2017

By Alexander C. Kaufman for The Huffington Post – This week, Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt is slated to defend drastic cuts to his agency’s budget, including axing 25 percent of its staff and zeroing out climate change programs. In response, former EPA employees have formed a new bipartisan group called the Environmental Protection Network to help reporters, activists and policymakers penetrate an administration they accuse of waging an “ideologically driven” battle to cripple core functions of the agency. On Monday, the group hosted a call to brief reporters on what slashing 31 percent of the EPA’s budget would mean for the agency. The scientists, lawyers, economists and engineers in the network submitted detailed comments to the EPA cautioning officials against scrapping regulations just because industry deems them onerous. The organization, which does not yet have a website, also helped reporters phrase Freedom of Information Act requests to make them as specific as possible. “There are a variety of ways our experience and our unique institutional memory can help the work we can do,” Ruth Greenspan Bell, who worked for the EPA’s general counsel under President Bill Clinton, said on Monday’s call.

13 U.S. Cities Defy Trump By Posting Deleted Climate Data

From EcoWatch

By Lorraine Chow for EcoWatch – More than one dozen U.S. cities have banded together to post deleted climate change information and research from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website that was notoriously scrubbed by the Trump administration. In May, Chicago became the first city to host the deleted pages, and now other mayors are following in Rahm Emanuel’s footsteps by creating their city’s own “Climate Change is Real” website. The “Climate Change is Real” website contains information on the basic science behind climate change, the ways weather is impacted from increased greenhouse gas emissions and actions the federal government has taken to reduce the impact. Major cities including Atlanta, Boston, Houston, San Francisco and Seattle have joined the effort. According to a statement from San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee’s office, the pages were launched Sunday to ensure that the public has readily available access to research information the EPA has developed over the last many decades.

Donald Trump Maintains Losing Streak In Court Over His Travel Ban

Mr Trump has said he needs more to time to decide whether to pull out of the Paris climate change agreement Evan Vucci/AP

By Cristian Farias for The Huffington Post – President Donald Trump couldn’t appease the appeals court that first rebuked him over his travel ban, as a panel of judges dealt him yet another legal setback Monday despite administration efforts to help the ban survive judicial scrutiny. More than three months since the president went back to the drawing board on his original executive order, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit again refused to reinstate the revised version, which aimed to impose a ban on travel from six Muslim-majority countries and a suspension of the refugee resettlement program. “The Immigration and Nationality Act … gives the President broad powers to control the entry of aliens, and to take actions to protect the American public. But immigration, even for the President, is not a one-person show,” said the court in a unanimous, unsigned ruling. “The President’s authority is subject to certain statutory and constitutional restraints. We conclude that the President, in issuing the Executive Order, exceeded the scope of the authority delegated to him by Congress,” the court added.

Controversy Surrounds Mueller RussiaGate Investigation

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By Staff of Irrussianality – Good thing I checked. Reading the New York Times this morning I almost coughed out my breakfast cereal on the sight of the following full page ad on page 7: What was the ‘therussiansarehere.org’, I wondered. The front for a bunch of well-financed maniacs determined to further exacerbate East-West tensions? As it happens, no. It turns out to be an advertisement for the TV show ‘The Americans’, about a pair of Soviet agents working undercover in 1980s America. My initial fears that The New York Times had finally gone from merely paranoid to full-blown crazy proved exaggerated. But, only slightly. The newspaper’s front page contained the headline ‘Trump’s standoff with Comey overshadows Russian threat’, a choice of words seemingly designed to create the impression that the ‘Russian threat’ is an incontestable fact. The article continues on page 26, with a half-page spread complaining that the fuss about James Comey is diverting attention from the real danger coming from Russia. It cites retired diplomat Daniel Fried as saying, ‘we’re facing an adversary who wishes for his own reasons to do us harm. … Comey was spot-on right that the Russia is coming after us, but not just the US, but the free world in general.’

Trump Postpones Trip To UK Due To Fear Of Protests

The President reportedly made the admission in a recent phone call to the PM AFP/Getty

By Emily Shugerman for Independent – The President does not want to visit the UK until the public supports him, sources say. Donald Trump has reportedly told Theresa May that he does not want to visit the UK soon for fear of large-scale protests against him. Ms May invited Mr Trump to Britain seven days after his inauguration. Now he apparently wants to wait until the British public supports him coming. The US President made the admission in a recent phone call to the Prime Minister, a Downing Street adviser who was present for the call told The Guardian. The aide said Ms May seemed surprised. Jeremy Corbyn welcomes ‘cancellation’ of Donald Trump state visit. Mr Trump – never a favourite among British voters – stoked outcry in recent weeks for attacking London Mayor Sadiq Khan in the wake of terrorist attacks in the city. The President ridiculed Mr Khan’s calls for calm, and later condemned the Mayor’s “pathetic excuse” for his statements.

Trump Wants To Privatize Air Traffic Control. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Private sector corporations’ first priority is to turn a profit—not to serve the public. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

By Shaun Richman for In These Times – Promising “cheaper, faster and safer travel,” the Trump administration announced a plan this week to privatize the nation’s air traffic control system. The announcement Monday marked the first day of the administration’s “infrastructure week,” a series of publicity events around one of the only areas of the president’s agenda that has intrigued some union leaders and Democratic legislators. What they had hoped for was an increase in public spending to create good jobs and repair our nation’s transportation systems. What Trump wants is to give public assets away to corporate interests, while reducing pay and benefit standards for workers. The official justification for privatizing air traffic control is to speed the conversion from a radar-based system to a more accurate GPS one. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been converting the system, but it does not anticipate finishing the job until 2020. An actual investment in infrastructure could give the FAA the resources it needs to do it faster, but if Republican politicians have any true religion, it is belief in the magic of the “free” market.

Liberals Rally For 'Truth' On Trump And Russia

Mr Trump has said he needs more to time to decide whether to pull out of the Paris climate change agreement Evan Vucci/AP

By Staff of The Real News Network – We did not report on March for Truth rallies that occurred in many cities recently because we did not see them as real resistance. These rallies sought investigation, prosecution and impeachment for RussiaGate and seemed to us to be organized by the Democratic Party and allied partisan non-profits. They were about as real as the so-called resistance of which Hillary Clinton now claims participate in. We have warned since the beginning of the Trump presidency that the problems of the United States are bigger than Donald Trump and that he is a symptom of a failed economic and political system where a mirage democracy hides an oligarchy, which now is becoming a kleptocracy. Trump should be protested, but we need to recognize that replacing Trump with a mainstream Democrat (the only type the party will allow to be nominated) will not solve the problems the country is facing. We need to end US empire and Wall Street-dominated politics in order to create a government that puts the people’s interests first. That means challenging the bi-partisan Wall Street and war parties…

Trump Names BP Oil Spill Lawyer, Climate Policy Foe As Top DOJ Environment Attorney

Clark was prominently involved in industry challenges to the EPA's "endangerment finding" that set the scientific basis for all subsequent attempts to regulate greenhouse gases. Credit: U.S. Navy

By Marianne Lavelle and John H. Cushman Jr. for Inside Climate News – Jeffrey Bossert Clark, a lawyer who has repeatedly challenged the scientific foundations of U.S. climate policy and was part of a legal team that represented BP in lawsuits stemming from the nation’s worst oil spill, the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, was nominated by President Donald Trump on Tuesday to serve as the Justice Department’s top environmental lawyer. Clark, a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Kirkland & Ellis, has represented the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in lawsuits challenging the federal government’s authority to regulate carbon emissions. In court he has repeatedly argued that it is inappropriate to base government policymaking on the scientific consensus presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “When did America risk coming to be ruled by foreign scientists and apparatchiks at the United Nations?” Clark demanded in a 2010 blog posting on the EPA’s endangerment finding. Clark was prominently involved in industry challenges to the EPA’s “endangerment finding” that set the scientific basis for all subsequent attempts to regulate greenhouse gases, including from autos and industrial sources.

GGJ Statement On Trump’s Withdrawal From Paris Agreement

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By Staff of Grassroots Global Justice Alliance – While the accord was far from what the planet needs, Trump’s reckless decision underscores a key overarching issue with the Paris Agreement in the first place. When the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, we put out this report entitled “We Are Mother Earth’s Red Line: Frontline Communities Lead the Climate Justice Fight Beyond the Paris Agreement.” We laid out 5 key concerns in the report. Our number one concern (see page 6) with the agreement was “The Agreement relies on voluntary versus mandatory emission cuts that do not meet targets scientists say are necessary to avoid climate catastrophe.” Trump’s withdrawal is a clear example that voluntary pledges are not enough. “Donald Trump is showing us the art of breaking a deal,” says Tom BK Goldtooth, Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network. “By abandoning the Paris Agreement, this administration will further perpetuate environmental racism and climate injustice against Indigenous peoples experiencing the worst effects of climate change across the globe. We’ve stated before that the Paris Agreement falls short of embracing the sort of climate solutions that lift up human rights and the rights of Indigenous peoples.

Newsletter: Our Responsibility After Trump's Climate Withdrawal

White House climate protest Kids for a Clean Planet. June 1, 2017 by John Zangas

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement follows the path of previous presidents who have undermined international climate agreements. We disagree with Trump but it is important to understand his actions in the context of the history of the United States regarding previous climate agreements. Once again, the political problems in the US are bigger than Trump. His action brings greater clarity to the inability of the US government to confront the climate crisis and clarifies the tasks of people seeking smart climate policy.

White House Protest Rebukes Trump For Paris Climate Agreement Exit

Climate Protest Invest in Solutions June 1, 2017 by John Zangas

By John Zangas for DC Media Group. Dozens of speakers, including leaders of think tanks, former government officials, and representatives from environmental groups converged on the White House Thursday afternoon to criticize President Donald Trump for his decision to back out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Trump’s decision to rescind the US endorsement of the Accord was seen as a set back to collective efforts to curb climate change. The Paris Climate Accord was signed in December, 2015 by 195 countries, and was heralded as a first step towards reducing climate change inducing gases. The US now joins a short list of two countries that did not endorse the accord, namely Syria and Nicaragua. The accord provides for five year incremental reviews and adjustments to keep up with sciencetific developmets as more is learned from the evolving climate situation. It also provides a means of gradually weening civilization off carbon based fuels. One by one speakers railed against Trump’s decision, calling it a “head in the sand” and “climate change denier’s” response on behalf of fossil fuel industry interests.

In Praise Of Trump Pulling Out of the Paris Climate Pact

Eiffel Tower Getty Images

By Ken Ward for The Hill. It’s also true that withdrawal from Paris deprives mainstream environmental organizations and the foundations and funders that guide them of a key deliverable, and that could risk eroding support for them. Perhaps that’s not such a bad thing. Many of them have pursued an utterly bankrupt strategy of understating the climate problem, negotiating with the fossil fuel industry, and cherry-picking small victories to showcase organizational accomplishments at the expense of a functional movement strategy. Pulling out of Paris takes false hopes off the table, and opens the way for building an effective climate movement. So as committed climate activist who knows we’re running out of time, I say, let’s get on with it. It’s also true that withdrawal from Paris deprives mainstream environmental organizations and the foundations and funders that guide them of a key deliverable, and that could risk eroding support for them. Perhaps that’s not such a bad thing. Many of them have pursued an utterly bankrupt strategy of understating the climate problem, negotiating with the fossil fuel industry, and cherry-picking small victories to showcase organizational accomplishments at the expense of a functional movement strategy. Pulling out of Paris takes false hopes off the table, and opens the way for building an effective climate movement. So as committed climate activist who knows we’re running out of time, I say, let’s get on with it.