Category Archives: politics

Trump’s Budget

Trump's Budget by artist Michael Koester 2017 03 17 (copyright free image)

Image by Michael Koester, mike@97520.net  Koester has advised us that this image is not under copyright, so please re-post widely with your own comments and artwork on blogs and social media.  You can see more of Mike’s work on Facebook at Shawna Tre (the name of his service dog).  Koester’s work also appears in an AAAS-PD volume,  Art Inspired by Science: Imaging the Natural World, by Robert Louis Chianese.  (Click on image below to purchase the book.)

Art & Science

 

 

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Jeff VanderMeer and Storytelling in the Anthropocene, at DePaul

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by | March 15, 2017 · 20:06

CHICAGO CITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES DIVESTMENT FROM FOSSIL FUELS

By Chicago 350

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The Chicago City Council, led by the Progressive Caucus in partnership with a local grassroots chapter of 350.org, will consider full divestment of City funds from fossil fuel holdings. A resolution for divestment, co-sponsored by 39 aldermen, will be on the Committee on Finance’s agenda some time in February or March.  ***PLEASE NOTE: The hearing scheduled for February 21st was recently postponed.***

The resolution, which “require(s) divestment from stocks and bonds of Fossil Fuel Companies over the next 5 years and prohibit(s) investment in stock or bonds of Fossil Fuel Companies thereafter,” is the result of efforts by the Council’s Progressive Caucus and local grassroots organizations to take action on climate change. 350.org has led the divestment movement, which is the fastest growing divestment movement in history with 696 institutions divested (totaling an approximate value of $5.44 trillion dollars) in just 5 years.  Over a dozen local organizations have signed letters of endorsement for the resolution, including The Sierra Club, Chicago Recycling Coalition, Blacks in Green, 8th Day Center for Justice, and Chicago Youth Alliance for Climate Action.

While the City Council and organizers recognize divestment as only one part of successful climate change mitigation, divestment supporters aim to protect City finances against the projected declining value of fossil fuel stocks and bonds. As modern energy technologies displace fossil fuels in utilities and transportation, stocks tied to the previous century’s energy portfolio are expected to drop in value. Since the City of Chicago requires stable, long-term investments for its financial health, divestment supporters say, the City’s holdings must shift away from aging portfolios based on outdated energy sources.

“Climate change means deadly heat waves, such as the one that killed 739 vulnerable Chicagoans in the summer of 1995, a polluted Lake Michigan and dirty air. We cannot stand for this as representatives of the people and as stewards of their future,” said Alderman John Arena (45th Ward), a co-sponsor on the resolution and member of the Progressive Reform Caucus. “We must divest pensions from fossil fuels, and invest in clean energy.”

The full resolution is available at the Office of the City Clerk and online (https://chicago.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2908429&GUID=85803769-1BDB-4A93-A569-F9CA140C2216). Questions regarding local support for divestment should be directed to <350chicago350@gmail.com>. See facebook.com/Chicago350.org for more information regarding grassroots efforts towards divestment in Chicago.

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Federal agencies ordered to restrict their communications

The Washington Post,  Politics.

January 24

At the EPA, for example, communications staff received a memo instructing them that “no social media will be going out” and “a digital strategist will be coming on board” to oversee it. It added, “Incoming media requests will carefully screened.”

According to a former agency official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations, members of Trump’s EPA landing team spent significant time asking about who controlled the department’s communications levers, especially regarding social media.

Read more here.

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#DayAgainstDenial: Thousands Demand the Senate Stand Up to Trump’s Climate Denial Cabinet

Re-posted from GREENPEACE, January 10, 2017

by Ryan Schleeter

Donald Trump has nominated a slate of climate deniers and literal oil CEOs to lead his administration — but the people are fighting back.

If President-elect Donald Trump thought he would be able to steamroll the American people and appoint any science-denying white dude he wanted to his cabinet, then the people just proved him wrong.

Yesterday, thousands of people across all 50 states took action as part of the #DayAgainstDenial, demanding the Senate reject Trump’s nominations to lead the Departments of State, Energy, Interior, and the EPA — all of whom reject basic climate science. Already these demonstrations are having an impact: at least one Senate office said this was the largest meeting with voters they’ve ever had.

Take a look at these scenes from the people-powered movement to resist Trump.

Read more and see photos here.

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Local news (below) by Christine Skolnik, Environmental Critique

On January 9th, people all over the country, under the auspices of 350.org, gathered to send a message to U. S. Senators: “Reject Donald Trump’s reckless climate denying cabinet nominees.”

Here in Chicago, members of local 350 chapters and allied organizations, headed by 350 Kishwaukee, protested at the John C. Kluczynski Federal Building at 230 South Dearborn Street. Approximately 120 people gathered to hear speakers and voice their vehement objections to the climate denier cabinet. Protestor representatives, organized by 350 Kishwaukee’s Charles Ryan, also met with the staff of U. S. Senators, Tammy Duckworth and Richard Durbin, and delivered a petition urging them to stand strong on the climate, and fight back against these dangerous cabinet picks:

  • Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon, for Secretary of State
  • Scott Pruitt for EPA Administrator
  • Ex-Gov. Rick Perry for Secretary of Energy
  • Ryan Zinke for Department of Interior

“The climate is changing, and anyone who denies it shouldn’t be in the White House cabinet.”

It’s up to us tell the Senate to stop these nominations.

Contact your Senators and tell them to fight Trump’s Climate Denial Cabinet.

Senator Dick Durbin’s Office: http://www.durbin.senate.gov/contact/

More information here: https://secure3.convio.net/gpeace/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=2057&s_src=actions

And here: https://twitter.com/hashtag/RejectRex?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

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Check out these regional 350 Chapters who signed on and participated in the Day Against Denial.

350Kishwaukee

Chicago 350

Elgin Green Groups350 (EGG350 for short!)

350 Indiana-Calumet350 Indiana-Calumet

Forest City 350

Text and photo sources:

http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/dayagainstdenial-thousands-demand-the-senate-stand-up-to-trumps-climate-denial-cabinet/

https://www.facebook.com/events/1230987060303459/

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Rex Tillerson’s Maverick Oil Diplomacy

As the largest oil company in the world not owned by a state, Exxon has had to work in “underexplored regions with higher risk, but higher reward potential,” as Mr. Tillerson, 64, said at a shareholder meeting last year.

After Mr. Tillerson’s nomination was floated by Mr. Trump, Reince Priebus, who will be the White House chief of staff, echoed a saying coined in a speech by former Vice President Dick Cheney: “The good Lord didn’t see fit to put oil and gas only where there are democratically elected regimes friendly to the United States.”

Russia

In 2011, Mr. Tillerson engineered a multibillion dollar joint venture with the Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft. Exxon received the right to look for oil in the Black and Kara Seas alongside Rosneft, in return for giving the Russian company minority stakes in Exxon projects in Texas, the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere.

Read more here.

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Transition questionnaire alarms Energy Department employees.

President-elect Trump’s transition team has circulated an unusual 74-point questionnaire that requests the names of all employees and contractors who have attended domestic or international climate change policy conferences, as well as emails associated with the conferences.

The questionnaire appears targeted at climate science research and clean energy programs.

Document: Transition Questionnaire Raises Concerns

Energy Department employees, who shared the questionnaire with The New York Times and spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, described the questionnaire as unprecedented and worrying.

“These questions don’t just indicate an attack on civil servants here in Washington,” said an Energy Department employee. “They amount to a witch hunt in D.O.E.’s 17 national labs, where scientists have the independence to do their work — yet here are questions that are reminiscent of an inquisition rather than actual curiosity about how the labs work.”

The questionnaire asks for lists of employees involved in key climate change programs, including all those who have attended United Nations climate change conferences. It also asks for lists of employees involved in designing a metric known as the Social Cost of Carbon, a figure used by the Obama administration to measure the economic impact of carbon dioxide pollution, and to justify the economic cost of climate regulations.

It specifically asks which Energy Department programs are essential to meeting the goals of President Obama’s climate change agenda, which Mr. Trump has vowed to roll back.

Interactive Graphic

How Trump Can Influence Climate Change

A Trump administration could weaken or do away with many of the Obama-era policies focused on greenhouse gas emissions.

OPEN Interactive Graphic

It includes several questions for the Energy Information Administration, the department’s statistics office, which also measures the nation’s carbon dioxide pollution, asking for justification of its numbers.

“In the Annual Energy Outlook 2016, E.I.A. assumed that the Clean Power Plan should be in the reference case despite the fact that the reference case is based on existing laws and regulations,” the questionnaire reads. “Why did the E.I.A. make that assumption, which seems to be atypical of past forecasts?”

And it includes several questions focused on the national scientific laboratories, including queries on highest salaries, and outside evaluation of research.

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