Former President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he is planning to form a super PAC as part of his post-presidential footprint into Republican Party politics.
Trump confidante and advisor Corey Lewandowski has been named to head up the super PAC, which is still in the planning stages as we head into CPAC weekend.
Trump political team member, senior advisor Jason Miller, said, “MAGA supporters and candidates supporting President Trump’s America First agenda are going to be impressed with the political operation being built out here. We expect formal announcements of the full team in the coming weeks, which will include some very talented operatives not yet named.”
Trump told political advisers yesterday at a multi-hour meeting at Mar-a-Lago that he’s chosen Corey Lewandowski to run a yet to-be formed super PAC https://t.co/xtXzw6Tqcc
According to a report by Politico, the meeting took place on Thursday at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida.
In addition to Lewandowski and Miller, the meeting’s attendees included former Trump Campaign Manager Bill Stepien, former deputy Campaign Manger Justin Clark, former Campaign Manager Brad Parscale, former White House Social Media Director Dan Scavino, and attorney Alex Cannon.
Donald Trump already has a leadership PAC called “Save America,” which was last reported to have roughly $31 million in the bank. While there are limits to how much a regular PAC can raise, super PACS are not limited on how much money can be raised for a particular cause.
In the short amount of time since Donald Trump left the White House, it has become very apparent that he will play a huge role in shaping the future of the Republican Party.
This development is much to the chagrin of people like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Mitt Romney, and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), all of whom have been harsh critics of Trump.
So far the former President has endorsed his former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who has announced a run for Governor in Arkansas, and Sen. Jerry Moran’s reelection bid in Kansas.
'Where Do We Go from Here as a Party?' Jason Miller Says Trump Plans to Look Forward, Not Back, in Headlining Speech at CPAC https://t.co/3uQmXGU9nL via @mediaite
In his first major appearance since leaving office, Donald Trump is scheduled to give the keynote address this coming Sunday in Orlando at CPAC, the large yearly gathering of conservatives.
Many expect that Trump will lay out his political vision and plans going forward for not just 2022, but possibly 2024 as well.
According to Fox News, the former president intends to address issues such as immigration, jobs, and energy during his CPAC keynote.
It’s no surprise that Trump intends to tackle immigration after President Joe Biden hastily halted building of the wall on America’s southern border.
Jobs and energy are also on the agenda in light of Biden’s EO halting construction of the Keystone XL pipeline project which has cost people their jobs, a good many of them being union jobs.
CPAC Chairman Matt Schlapp told “Fox & Friends” Thursday of Trump, “He knows it’s a very important reset for him and for the country and for half the country and so many people who are here in this ballroom.”
His advisers say the CPAC speech will demonstrate that Trump‘s influence in the party is stronger than ever.https://t.co/0W6CEuxq3w
The Politico report goes on to say that Trump told his advisers that he is eager to “engage” in the outcome of the 2022 elections.
Said engagement reportedly includes plans to “exact revenge” on those that the former president feels were not loyal to him.
This could include House Republicans who voted to impeach, and possibly Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, who Politico says Trump criticized for not “overturning the election.”
The new super PAC could serve as a conduit for Trump to raise funds and funnel them to his favored candidate in key 2022 races.
Trump has also recently met with Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, and former Senator David Perdue of Georgia.
However, it is not known if he intends to meet with any other possible presidential candidates who are attending CPAC including Sens. Rick Scott (R-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Tom Cotton (R-AR), former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota.
All it took for Ted Cruz to displace Bernie Sanders’ mittens at the top of the national meme board was a display of callous indifference so grand that the writers of the new Cruella de Vil movie are wondering if they can incorporate Ted’s move without it seeming too cartoonish. With the Republican-designed disaster capitalism power system leaving millions of Texans in the cold and dark, Ted decided to just skip the whole scene and take in the sun in Cancun. Because somehow, Cruz, with the most identifiable mini-mullet on the planet, thought he’d just slip through a Texas airport and collect a few beach days and no one would notice.
Cruz then hastily booked an abrupt return flight just seventeen hours later, then proceeded to lie about it, claiming this had always been the plan. Then he fell back on blaming his 10- and 12-year-old daughters, and admitted that he had intended to stay through the weekend to help them relax after a “tough week.” It was all such a display of over the top sneering at the people he is supposed to be serving, smeared with a frosting of rich-person privilege, that even Ted Cruz realizes it was a mistake. And that’s saying something.
Ted Cruz is not actually the Texas mayor who told his constituents to stop calling him for help because, “No one owes you or your family anything; nor is it the local government’s responsibility to support you during trying times like this! Sink or swim, it’s your choice! … Only the strong will survive and the week will perish.” That mayor was forced to resign for his words. All Ted Cruz did was demonstrate those statements through his actions.
Rather than stay to help the people who elected him, Cruz left that to O’Rourke and AOC. Instead he decided a little beachside massage and umbrella drinks was the appropriate response to a crisis. Which means that Cruz’s reception on his return to his home state has been about as warm as the average Texas water pipe at this point.
Even Cruz’s “I had intended to stay over the weekend” is underselling his action considerably. His family absconded to Mexico on Wednesday. What he meant was he was actually taking a whole week off in the middle of a crisis that has turned deadly for his state. And his only real excuse seems to be that he’s worthless anyway, so why bother to stay? In fact, Cruz’s intrinsic lack of any purpose was the main defense provided to him by his pals at Fox News, who indignantly huffed on Thursday about how, if Cruz stuck around, it wasn’t like he was going to do anything.
“Nobody likes Ted Cruz. This was the place that Ted Cruz was starting from earlier this week. Then he went to Cancun. He went to Cancun, where it is mostly sunny and in the low 80s, while many of his ice-blasted constituents were without heating and plumbing, watching their ceilings collapse, huddling in warming centers, defecating in buckets, and generally not packing for a few days on the Yucatán Peninsula.”
To make it even more damning. This is also the Ted Cruz who voted against relief for Hurricane Sandy. The Ted Cruz who mocked California for much less severe rolling blackouts by saying the state “is now unable to perform even basic functions of civilization.” And the Ted Cruz who not only has announced his opposition to President Biden’s COVID-19 relief bill, he voted against the last COVID-19 relief bill. This is the Ted Cruz who thinks nothing of paying for a week at the Ritz Carlton in Cancun and airline tickets bought on a whim with no advance discount, but believes that Americans don’t deserve a $2,000 relief check. That’s a lot of baggage, even for a spiffy bit of brand-new rolling luggage.
On Friday, temperatures in Texas are up, and while hundreds of thousands are still purposely without power as the overstressed electrical grid puts itself back in order. All over the state, Texans are discovering that their homeowner’s insurance will not cover the damage caused by bursting pipes, even when that led to collapsing floors and ceilings.
And now Ted Cruz is back to his real job, which is appearing on Fox News to join in the endless lies about how the problems in Texas are actually all Democrats’ fault, even though Republicans have been running the system for decades. That’s because, as MSNBC host Chris Hayes has noted, Cruz sees himself as “Rush Limbaugh with a Senate office.” He’s not there to do anything. He’s not there to do anything for the people of his state. He only exists to make snide remarks and attack democracy.
On Friday, the Houston Chroniclesummed Cruz up in an editorial as hot as the state’s been cold.
Take our advice, senator, and resign. Seems like you could use a break and we could, too, from an ineffective politician who, even in crisis, puts his personal itinerary before the needs of Texans.
This is the 660th edition of the Spotlight on Green News & Views (previously known as the Green Diary Rescue).Here is the Dec. 12th edition.Inclusion of a story in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.
After a two-week hiatus, the Spotlight will return on Jan. 9, 2021.
OUTSTANDING GREEN STORIES
Ernest T Bass writes—A break from politics. Here's a tale of ecological and environmental connections: “The story has to do with manufacture of the pesticide DDT in the Los Angeles area and some of its effects on the environment. I used to go through a version of this story when I would give presentations to high school and middle school students about working in the environmental field to help them see how contaminants in the environment can have unexpected effects. I chose it because my experience includes working to investigate and clean up DDT contamination at multiple locations, and because I hoped the story had interesting appeal plus a cute protagonist, which never hurts in show biz. [...] This particular story is an example of where a persistent manmade chemical that is remarkably deadly to some species while causing little harm to others, can be taken up by a few low-trophic level species and then other higher level species, causing odd effects that may be unrelated to its chemical toxicity, until yet another species, that not only has little to no vulnerability to the contaminant, but may never even have been exposed to it, could be brought to the brink of extinction because of that chemical compound — a compound to which it likely never was exposed. Clear enough? OK then—let’s get started.”
mettle fatigue writes—UN: World's wealthiest 1% cause over 2x the combined carbon emissions of the poorest 50%: “The BBC article draws upon THIS: UN Environment Programme Emissions Gap Report 2020. Below are a few interesting concepts from the foreward by UNEP executive director Inger Anderson, and other spots, edited for brevity: ...While the report looks at the plans that governments have submitted to curb their CO2, it also examines the roles of lifestyles and consumption patterns of individuals ...If the world wants to keep on track to restrict the rise in temperatures this century to 1.5C, then these high carbon footprints will need to be significantly curbed to around 2.5 tonnes of CO2 per capita by 2030 … for the top 10% of earners [e.g., roughly the American upper middle class on up], this would mean cuts to around one tenth of their current level…. the richest will need* to rapidly cut their CO2 footprints to avoid dangerous warming this century...[but] For the poorest 50% of the world, that would actually mean an increase in their footprint by a factor of three!?”
lostintheozarks writes—The Daily Bucket - "I See Dead Things...": “December 10, 2020. Some days I am surprised by the many birds and other wildlife that are showing up when I am on my walks, but other days I am equally surprised by the almost total lack of sight and sound of any living thing! A few days ago I didn’t have to travel far to be captivated by all the little birds that were seemingly everywhere. There are berries all over the Chinese Privets that line the edge of our county road, so naturally there were constant visitors to those berries. This colorful cardinal couple hopped and flew from branch to branch trying to find just the right berries. When she flew to a different spot, so did he. When he flew to another branch she was right behind him. They were beautiful and adorable.”
Pakalolo writes—Skin disease is killing dolphins worldwide and is linked to increased rainfall from climate change: “One of the weapons of a warming climate is changing rainfall patterns. Atmospheric changes and changes in the Jet Stream are causing more hurricanes to stall. These phenomena were seen with Hurricanes Wilma in Cozumel, Harvey in Houston, and Dorian in the Bahamas dropped feet of rain. It is the warming ocean that is making tropical systems stall and drop torrential amounts of rainfall. [...] Rainfall has become more intense and more frequent, leading to flash flooding in urban areas. This heavy rainfall has been tied to a warming climate, and rainwater being dumped in the ocean before and during landfall is connected to climate change. As a result, the decreasing salinity in the oceans has caused deadly lesions on coastal dolphins' skin. Bottlenose dolphins can’t survive in freshwater, and it takes time for rainfall to disperse through the ocean column.”
OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket - nature calendar for mom (2020): “Every year since 2013 I’ve assembled a wall calendar for my mom. She’s 95 this year. Wall calendars have become obsolete for most people in the current era, what with iCal and Siri and all, but my mom still likes to write things down. It’s also a way to enjoy a shared passion for us: nature and the outdoors. For the past few years I’ve posted the pages from the calendars at about this time of year here at the Bucket. Here are the pictures from the current year’s calendar (screenshots from the editing page—some have their edit icons but those don’t show up in print). The scenes are what you’d see outside each month. I’m lucky enough to have all these places in my ‘backyard,’ although it’s been a while since I’ve visited many of them. During this hellacious year of 2020, nature has been more than ever a refuge from the awfulness of current events. Sometimes pictures have to be a way to go to those places. I’ve created next year’s calendar already using an online company and am having it mailed directly to her. Our extended family will not be gathering together for Christmas this year in person.”
6412093 writes—The Daily Bucket--Monkeywrenching with Paper: “Edward Abbey memorialized environmental resistance to mindless development in his tome The Monkey Wrench Gang. It essentially endorsed sabotage to thwart degrading of the natural world, for instance, putting sugar in the gas tanks of bulldozers that are about to plow under a nice area. However, advances in surveillance make traditional monkey wrenching almost suicidal. But we can still cram a stick into the spokes of ‘progress’ by submitting lengthy criticisms of poorly planned projects, and even defeating them in the permit stage. I refer to this tactic as ‘monkeywrenching’ with paper. A rich guy want to build yet another gas station right next to precious wetlands. We swore to clog up his development engine with paper. It’s worked so far, and the agencies were out there yesterday, too. I escorted an inspector to the groundwater seep, and to the oily trickle that drains off of the lot of the creek. Here is the complaint letter.”
BrownsBay writes—The Daily Bucket: Ebey's Landing National Historical Preserve: “From a high point on the wind-swept prairie of Ebey’s Landing you can see two mountain ranges, two volcanoes, and a broad sweep of saltwater from a single vantage point and always one of those features in view no matter where you stand. Ebey’s Landing is on the west side of Whidbey Island. The layers of sands and gravels of Whidbey Island’s bluffs mark the recent glacial history of the Puget Sound region. Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve was established to preserve historical, agricultural, cultural, and natural features. Land ownership is a combination of National park Service, Washington State Parks, and the Nature Conservancy. Most of the land is owned by the Nature Conservancy as part of the 544 acre Robert Y. Pratt Preserve. A focus of preserve management is restoration of the rare golden paintbrush (Castilleja levisecta) and other prairie plant species. Unfortunately for us, our December visit was not primetime for wildflowers.”
giddy thing writes—US Fish & Wildlife Service Finds ESA Listing for Monarch Butterfly 'Warranted but Precluded': “It’s been a long wait from the initial petition in 2014, through the long slog of status review, to today’s official announcement by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service that listing the North American monarch butterfly as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act is warranted, but precluded by higher priority listing actions. Over the past 20 years, scientists have noted declines in North American monarchs overwintering in Mexico and California, where these butterflies cluster. Numbers in the larger eastern population are measured by the size of the area they occupy. At a density of roughly 8.5 million monarchs per acre, it is estimated that the eastern population fell from about 384 million in 1996 to a low of 14 million in 2013. The population in 2019 was about 60 million. The western population, located in California, saw a more precipitous decline, from about 1.2 million in 1997 to fewer than 30,000 in 2019. Based on surveys conducted over this recent Thanksgiving weekend, the western population has further plummeted to <2,000 individuals. [...] Warranted-but-precluded findings require subsequent review each year until the agency undertakes a proposal or makes a not-warranted finding. So in the interim, monarchs will be a candidate under the ESA.”
giddy thing writes—Dawn Chorus: Birdability - Birding Without Barriers: “One thing the COVID pandemic has made me grudgingly aware of is my mortality. It’s made me circumspect about staying healthy and empathetic towards those who have tragically succumbed to the virus or have been permanently debilitated. I’m grateful to be able-bodied right now, but I realize it’s a temporary state. Now in my early 60s, I expect that my tweaky back, grouchy ankles, and on-off again vertigo may limit my ability to engage in birding in the not-too-distant future. When that day comes, I will be indebted to the good work of Virginia Rose, a retired high school and college English teacher from Austin, Texas, and founder of Birdability. [...] Rose is a paraplegic who has used a manual wheelchair for 47 years after a horse-riding accident at age 14. She discovered her passion for birding about 17 years ago after attending a local Audubon chapter meeting. She was immediately hooked, not just by the birds, but by the sense of freedom, community, and joy birding gave her.”
6412093 writes—The Daily Bucket: Rubies in the Sky with Diamonds, and Gold amid the tannin-stained Waters: “The hummingbirds dash around my back yard, as hard to track as a feathered 3-card monte game; are there 2 or 3 or 4 hummers? Any hummer that sits in our Bartlett pear tree is automatically named Bart. It fights any other hummer using any one of five feeders below in corners of our yard. Bart also has high ground in a maple. The other hummers seem to get along, if not for Bart. They skulk around in the apple tree and the neighbor’s maple, waiting for Bart to get distracted, so they can dash to a feeder. I put out a new feeder, just for the drama. The hummers took turns following me around. I held it at arm’s length, hoping for some cute perching, but no. Bart did jump on it a few seconds after I placed it in the Rhodys. I was worried they couldn’t find it. Ha. They let me get close in a few times and take pictures, in return.”
funningforrest writes—The Daily Bucket: Forces of Nature; Tectonic, Atmospheric, Biotic. Part 3, Biotic: “When we think of the biotic realm, we are usually thinking of things that are alive. But, is a virus a living organism? What I had hoped to accomplish in this diary is to show how the biotic realm of the very small, primarily viruses and bacteria, have been a driving force in the evolution of life on Earth. I think we can take that as a given. Instead, I got very interested in learning more about viruses, and I’d like to share with you some of what I’ve learned. Regardless of whether a virus is scientifically a living organism, it sure acts like one, and we’ll proceed in that sense.”
ClimateDenierRoundup writes—New Cranky Uncle Game Teaches Players How To Destroy Climate Myths By Creating Them: “We’re talking of course about this week’s release of the Cranky Uncle game from Dr. John Cook of George Mason University, which uses humor and cartoons to show people how disinformation is constructed, thereby making them less likely to be fooled by it. ‘If you want to learn how to spot someone cheating at cards,” Dr. Cook explained, ‘first, you have to learn how to cheat at cards.’ The game (on iPhone now, Android soon) teaches players the tools and tricks of disinformation in a quest to become the best Cranky Uncle in denial of climate science or vaccines or any other sort of deliberately created myths. While few are eager to sit for a lecture on propaganda or disinformation, this novel and scientifically-verified approach, Cook says, seeks to ‘engage players and get them practicing critical thinking through gameplay.’ Though a game like this is perhaps an unusual thing for a traditional academic to produce, it makes perfect sense for Dr. Cook, given his career. ‘Starting Skeptical Science in 2007 set me down the path of researching how to better fight climate misinformation,’ he told us, while his doctoral research on disinformation led him ‘to [see] inoculation as a powerful tool for neutralizing denial, and in my last 4 years in the U.S., I further explored this approach in a series of research papers’.”
ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Conservatives Supposedly On Verge Of Dumping Climate Denial, Even As They Deny Democracy: “As a wide swath of the Republican party embraces the denial of lame duck President Trump’s election defeat — and attempts to overturn democracy because their candidate clearly lost — some people think now is apparently the time for Democrats to reach out to conservatives for climate compromises. Some of this is coming from generally unconstructive people, like the Breakthrough Institute for example, who argue in the crypto-right Persuasion that even though President Biden won, ‘the balance of power in American politics is held by rural and industrial states'' that “tend to be culturally hostile’ to regulations. Now, where some might talk about policy being held hostage by the toxic legacy of white supremacy, in the form of disproportionate power to Southern white slave-owners, Ted ‘my-uncle-is-the-famous-one-and-even-his-work-kinda-sucks’ Nordhaus and Alex Trembath instead sidestep all those messy historical facts and instead declare that ‘a more pragmatic environmental movement’ would accept that climate policy should be whatever those areas can be persuaded to agree to (not necessarily what the science demands).”
ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Can An Editorial Board Go Senile? WSJ Forgets Its Own Audience, and Itself, With Climate Risk Attack: “As the voice of a newspaper, the Editorial Board represents an outlet’s opinion, and generally reflects the point of view of its publishers. Consisting of individual editors, columnists and journalists, the Editorial Board, and the editorials it publishes, are sort of a ‘with our powers combined’ embodiment of the newspaper. We only bring this up because, sadly, it seems The Wall Street Journal’s is going senile. While they’ve always offered the sort of racist, misogynist, anti-science and pro-polluter propaganda you’d expect, now it seems they’ve begun to forget even the most basic things about who they are and what year it is. While most editorials tend to try and keep things pretty current, last Friday they seemed to have had a bit of a time slip. ‘Move over, Solyndra’ was the opening of the editorial about Tonopah’s Crescent Dunes, a molten salt solar energy plant’s bankruptcy approval by a judge, as though this was 2011, not 2020. After all, for a ‘Solyndra’ insult to be made in good faith and not just lazily used as a catchphrase,they’d have to believe it was before at least 2014. That’s when news broke that the DOE Loan program that funded risky innovative projects like Solyndra was turning a profit. And they certainly must think it’s not yet 2016, when loan repayments doubled the Solyndra program’s losses.”
ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Climate Denier Accepts They’re Losing, Thinks It’s Because They’re Too Science-Focused: “While many deniers haven’t yet given up hope of an armed rebellion to overthrow the 2020 election results, the incoming Biden-Harris administration combined with Boris Johnson’s green(wash)ing of the UK, have soured the mood in the denier blogs. And yesterday’s ExxonMobil announcement that they’re going to pollute a little less while polluting more can only add to the deniersphere's despair. For example, over the weekend WUWT featured a guest blog post by Paul D. Hoffman—whose 100+ word byline notes that he has written this for the creationist Cornwall Alliance and includes career highlights like his serving as a State Director for then-Congressman Dick Cheney, Executive Director of a local Chamber of Commerce, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks at the U.S. Department of the Interior. [...] Anyway, Paul, whose byline could have just read “old republican blogger,” tells WUWT readers that deniers ‘are losing the climate change debate. Not because we are wrong. Factually, win win every time! But, we are losing the hearts and minds of the people because we have failed to tap into their emotions’.”
Campion writes—What is needed beside science to meet the challenges ahead: “5th anniversary of the Paris Accords—and my birthday (68). I wrote this in response to Gore’s recent piece (RECOMMENDED) in the NYT. Science depends on facts in its search for truth and human culture must have science to have more than a prayer to survive. But human culture must also give up on some of its old and fixed ways of seeing. In modern times such thinking begins with cogito ergo sum (I THINK THEREFORE I AM) but anthropocentrism, racism, sexism, and other inequalities go back 10,000 years to the first significant division of labor that built agriculture, husbandry, cities, religion, and the business of war. Consider a few predicates. The world (the universe!) was created by a supreme being—who looked just like us--& for US alone, ‘HE’ made everything on the earth. In short the planet is our private warehouse full of useful junk that we can use up as we please because ‘HE’ wants us to. Implicit in all this is that we are a special thinking animal (unlike the others who are instinctual beasts or [worse] the nearly dead plants—that don’t think at all--, etc) or other creatures (fungi, bacteria, archaea, viruses, etc) that don’t really count at all), and the bit that WHITE MEN are a special race of man, likewise a special gender, ad nauseam. Of course at this late date, some of us are beginning to know that we do not live on top of the earth and on top of all the others, but with and in continuous relation with other organic and inorganic forms and fields of forces of the whole co-extensive EARTH—that thinking itself is co-extensive and distributive. Put it this way: the way we look is the way we look at it.”
OCEANS, WATER, DROUGHT
Dan Bacher writes—Estuary in Collapse: Zero Delta Smelt and Sacramento Splittail Reported In November CDFW Survey: “For the third month in a row, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) this November found zero Delta smelt and Sacramento splittail during the 2020 Fall Midwater Trawl Survey of pelagic (open water) fish species on the Delta, although they did report an index of 22 longfin smelt rather than the zero longfin smelt they reported the two previous months. We will see the final results for the pelagic (open water) species surveyed at the end of December or in early January after the October through December totals of Delta smelt, longfin smelt, striped bass, threadfin shad, American shad and Sacramento splittail caught in the annual trawl are tallied by the CDFW. Once the most abundant native fish in the entire Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, no Delta Smelt were reported in the Fall MIdwater Trawl in either 2018 and 2019, due to many years of massive water exports from the Delta through the State Water Project and Central Valley Water Project, combined with toxics, invasive species and declining water quality.”
Pakalolo writes—The only coral reefs predicted to survive climate change are now threatened by an enormous oil spill: “Yemen’s Houthi rebels in Yemen finally gave the United Nations access to a disintegrating oil tanker that threatens the northern Red Sea and Gulf of Aqaba's coral reefs and coastal communities. Safer, the tanker, had been abandoned with over 1.1 million barrels of crude oil (four times the amount of the Exxon Valdez) for over five years; the goop is valued at forty million dollars. After years of refusing the United Nations, the Houthi had finally relented to evaluate the damage to the ship. ”
Fossil Fuels & Emissions Controls
Victor Menotti writes—Biden's Oil Transition to Reset Saudi, Russian Relations Victor Menotti: “The 2015 Paris Agreement to protect the climate turn just turned five years old, with the UN’s 2020 Production Gap report noting that governments’ planned oil production by 2040 is three times above what is consistent with the 1.5C goal agreed in Paris. President-elect Biden’s bold promise to ‘transition from the oil industry’ now needs not only an ambitious plan for oil’s just transition domestically but also new diplomatic approaches to help align long-overdue international actions urged by scientists. As Biden builds his climate team, the world’s other top oil producers—led by Russia and Saudi Arabia in the OPEC-plus alliance— are debating a deepening dilemma on the uncertain future of oil demand, opening potential opportunities should Biden’s decisions center climate science as seriously as COVID’s. Scientists say it’s past time governments accelerate the transition from oil, so how fast will Biden act on his clear campaign promise to set forth such a process, and one based on the justice principles of his and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ platform?”
ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Dominion Energy Paying Local Virginia Columnist Whose Editorials On Dominion Didn’t Disclose Ties: “This year the Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press have published at least seven generally positive editorials about Dominion Energy, the Virginia energy company that (finally) bowed to the wide-spread opposition to its behind-schedule and over-budget Atlantic Coast Pipeline earlier this year. But it turns out that one of the papers' columnists, Gordon ‘G.C.’ Morse, wrote some of the editorials while he was … wait for it … also employed as a speechwriter for Dominion Energy! So what readers were led to believe were the independent opinions of a local newspaper were actually one of Dominion Energy’s pipeline propaganda ‘lessons learned’ in 2017: that if they want ‘fair’ coverage, “[they] need to pay for it.’ While technically they paid Morse to write up to a half-dozen speeches for Dominion executives throughout the year, the dramatic shifts in editorial style, tone and content that Paviour documents suggest Morse’s editorial positions changed with Dominion’s whims.”
TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE
annieli writes—Biden names Buttigieg as transportation secretary; VA state senator calls for martial law: “We are in that strange place where a respected rival gets to lead infrastructure change in a critical area of the US economy and a nutter in VA wants fascism. Darn Constitutional freedoms juxtaposed on the same day. Perhaps trains will run on time. [...] Buttigieg would be the first Senate-confirmed LGBTQ Cabinet secretary should his nomination make it through the chamber. The choice vaults a candidate Biden spoke glowingly of after the Democratic primary into a top job in the incoming administration and could earn Buttigieg what many Democrats believe is needed experience should he run for president again.”
outsidethelines writes—No. Just no. Buttigieg has no business being Transportation Secretary: “President-elect Joe Biden has tapped former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg to serve as Transportation secretary, according tomultiple reports. Hell no. I say that as a professional civil engineer working in development and infrastructure for more than 30 years. I get that Biden for God knows what reason wants to have Buttigieg in his Cabinet, and Biden’s transparency gives this all the appearance of a token LBGTQ Cabinet appointment, because that is exactly what this will be. I guarantee there are many better qualified persons with far more Transportation knowledge and experience who also happen to be gay, and who would have been worth consideration. Biden must not have even looked past Mayor Pete. In the city of Lexington, KY, our state has had an openly gay man, Jim Gray, as mayor. Jim Gray is a light years better pick than Mayor Pete.”
NewDem07 writes—Transit News : Build Back Better! “While the change in administration will greatly ease the design/funding/construction of transit projects (no more Elaine Chao holding California High Speed Rail funds hostage), the disappointing election results mean that a transformative nationwide infrastructure bill will unfortunately not come to pass. Much like how the presidential election results fell short of hopes of a reverse 1980 landslide, the state/local level featured a lot of ‘one step forward, one step back’ developments. Transit-related ballot measures endured severe headwinds this cycle. With agencies facing their worst crisis in history due to ridership dropping by 90% in some places, I initially feared that voters would see no justification for raising taxes when the roads/rails were empty, especially combined with their own economic troubles. Instead, I was decently surprised when nearly every one passed, and often by solid margins.”
AGRICULTURE, FOOD & GARDENS
art ah zen writes—IAN: The Table Top Veggie Garden: “I have been mentioning my table top veggie garden. I have not a gentleman farmer, being neither of those descriptions but here are some pictures. They are all covered with netting to deter bugs and birds. [///] This flat has basil, two kinds of parsley, green onions and the taller plant is a poblano pepper. They are good for chili rellenos. There are three or four little peppers on it. The green onions are from the grocery store and I plant them until I need them so that they continue to grow and stay fresh. I don’t remember where I saw that idea but it is the best. I cut the green ends as I need them and finally use the onion when needed but it usually has at least doubled in size when I get to it. It can be hard to get them out of the ground because the roots spread quickly.”
DownHeah Mississippi writes—Saturday Morning Garden Blogging Vol.16.51 SMGB Revisited: The Middle Years: “I am a relative latecomer here at SMGB, but I am fascinated by this groups’ history. One thing I note about these ‘middle years’ diaries is that they are very ‘picture heavy,’ compared to earlier years. I suppose that this evolution is partly due to platform changes/upgrades at Dkos itself, but mostly because readers love pictures! Speaking of pictures, and the fact that Christmas is rapidly approaching, check out this diary from Eddie C back in 2014: Christmas Windows. What’s going on in my garden, you might ask? “Next to nothing” is the short answer. The Tomato Patch has been cleared and raked, but I still have not gotten around to planting the mustard cover crop. The next 10-12 days look to be relatively warm, so I may try to get that done tomorrow...The Pepper Patch looks equally neglected and forlorn, but I take heart in the fact that I’ll be sowing my first pepper seeds in less than a month...”
NAT’L FORESTS, PARKS, MONUMENTS & OTHER PUBLIC LANDS
MIchael Brune writes—Oak Flat Is Sacred -- Not A Sacrifice Zone: “In its waning days, the Trump administration is rushing to transfer thousands of acres of Arizona public lands that are holy to the Apache and other Tribes so a copper company can develop a vast, earth-scarring mine. And not just any copper company: One of Resolution Copper’s parent companies, Rio Tinto, is responsible for the destruction of a 46,000-year-old Aboriginal site in Australia. Rio Tinto promised to change its ways. But the Apache, along with their Native and non-Native allies, have serious doubts that this project can be done in a way that respects their cultural and religious heritage or the ecology of the site. The Apache have held religious and cultural ceremonies on Oak Flat for centuries. It’s home to Apache burial grounds, sacred sites, petroglyphs, medicinal plants, and traditional foods. According to the Forest Service’s own environmental impact report, the proposed mine has a ‘high potential ... to directly, adversely, and permanently affect … places and experiences of high spiritual and other value to tribal members.’ After even a cursory look at the project, it’s obvious why: The mine would create a crater roughly two miles wide and 1,000 feet deep—so deep, you could stack three Statues of Liberty in it. It would destroy Oak Flat, eliminating the habitat of species that call Oak Flat home, and likely contaminating precious water supplies in drought-prone Arizona. Then there’s the issue of the toxic waste the mine would generate—all 1.4 billion tons of it.”
Meteor Blades writes—Biden picks Rep. Deb Haaland to run the Interior Dept. She will be first Native Cabinet member ever: “A long-time Democratic activist, Haaland is an enrolled member of the 7,500-member Laguna Pueblo. The symbolism of picking her can’t be stressed enough. Interior is charged with managing the nation’s natural resources and public lands, including millions of acres from which Natives were forcibly removed as well as 55 million acres held in trust for the tribes. Encompassing a dozen bureaus and agencies, among them the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Interior also has the obligation—poorly carried out according to reports dating back to the 1920s—of fulfilling treaty commitments via the chronically underfunded and understaffed Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Education. Since her election to Congress in 2018, Haaland has served on two key committees—Armed Services, and Natural Resources, the latter as vice chairwoman, and as chairwoman of its subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands. She also serves on Biden's Climate Engagement Advisory Council. She has a reputation as a strong fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.”
Carolyn Copeland writes—Rep. Deb Haaland poised to make history again as first Native American Interior secretary: “Rep. Deb Haaland has made history once again. The New Mexico representative for the state’s 1st Congressional District was selected Thursday by President-elect Joe Biden to be the nation’s first ever Native American interior secretary, and the first ever Native American cabinet secretary in U.S. history. The news was first reported by Reuters. But this isn’t the first time Haaland has been ‘a first.’ Haaland was one of the first two Native Americans elected to U.S. Congress in 2018, along with Sharice Davids. Haaland has written openly about her experience being the first Native American woman elected to Congress, and the importance of representation at all levels of government.”
Dan Bacher writes—Biden Picks First Native American, Rep. Debra Haaland, for Interior Secretary Position: “The Washington Post, USA Today, New York Times and other publications today reported that President-elect Joe Biden has chosen Deb Haaland, a Democratic congresswoman from New Mexico, to serve as the first Native American interior secretary. Later today, the Biden Transition Team issued a press release officially announcing the nominations and appointments of Haaland and other members of his transition team. Coalitions of Tribes and environmental organizations have been pushing Biden to appoint her to head the department that oversees the country’s vast natural resources, including tribal lands, national forests, National Parks and Monuments and other lands. In response to the appointment, Haaland, 60, said on Twitter, “A voice like mine has never been a Cabinet secretary or at the head of the Department of Interior.Growing up in my mother’s Pueblo household made me fierce. I’ll be fierce for all of us, our planet, and all of our protected land. I am honored and ready to serve.”
REGULATIONS & PROTECTION
annieli writes—former MI governor Granholm tapped as Energy head: “Unlike one of her predecessors, who had numerous connections to the Trump impeachment and its hinky relations with Russian oligarchs, Jennifer Granholm will combine clean energy policy and economic recovery. Even without explicit support for the GND, this is a direction 180 degrees from the prior administration's kowtowing to fossil fuel industries and kleptocratic regimes based on such products. Granholm, if confirmed by the Senate, would help Biden carry out his ambitious energy plan. The President-elect has proposed spending $2 trillion over four years on clean energy projects and ending carbon emissions from power plants by 2035. The plan would create union jobs in clean energy and through projects such as the construction of electric vehicle charging stations, updating electric grids, expanding broadband internet access and more.”
Meteor Blades writes—For EPA chief, President-elect Biden picks Michael Regan: “The Joe Biden transition team announced Thursday that the president-elect has picked Michael Regan, the 44-year-old head of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. If confirmed, he would be the first African American man to hold that post. One of his key tasks will be restoring the reputation, morale, and science-informed operations of the 50-year-old agency whose mission Donald Trump and his appointees Scott Pruitt and Andrew Wheeler undermined and tainted over the past four years. Among other things, Regan will have to cope with the weakening or destruction of more than 130 environmental regulations on energy and pollution that the Trump regime implemented or is tied up in court trying to implement. Included are limits on vehicle emissions and methane emissions on coal-burning power plants. One obstacle Regan will face is Trump’s move to make new regulations harder to put in place. As the Biden-Harris administration focuses on the climate crisis, the EPA will play a major role, something the current occupant of the White House sought to obliterate.”
Meteor Blades writes—Biden picks two women with strong environmental credentials for Energy and domestic climate adviser: “As widely reported earlier this week, President-elect Joe Biden has chosen former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm to run the Department of Energy (DOE) and former Environmental Protection Administration Chief Gina McCarthy to run a new White House office on climate change. Both women have strong environmental records and can be expected to be assertive key figures in the Biden administration, which is making the climate crisis a top priority. Granholm must be confirmed by the Senate, but McCarthy does not. McCarthy will operate as a domestic counterpart to former Secretary of State John Kerry, who Biden picked to be the administration’s international envoy on climate policy. ”