How America looked like before the EPA cleaned it up

This is what America looked like before the EPA cleaned it up…It wasn’t pretty


Outflow Pipe from the Oxford Paper Company into Androscoggin River

❝ In 1970, Republican President Richard Nixon signed an executive order creating the United States Environmental Protection Agency. It was a time when pollution made many of our nation’s rivers and streams unsafe for fishing or swimming. Back then, New York City’s air pollution was so thick that you often couldn’t see the city’s iconic bridges. Forty-seven years later, there is serious talk of dismantling the agency, or at least slashing its size by two-thirds.

A present from populist America. Racism and bigotry wasn’t enough.

❝ But what does America look like without the EPA?

❝ From 1971 to 1977 the nascent agency, in an act of prescience, enlisted the services of freelance photographers to help us remember. These photographers captured images of America’s environmental problems before we’d cleaned them up. In 2011, the US National Archives digitized more than 15,000 pictures from the series “Documerica”. Here are some of the most compelling.

…Please read our series on the EPA past and present. It begins here.

Or you could work at putting Trump and his chumps in charge for several years. They will bring all this poison back into our lives.

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French historian nearly deported from U.S. – we are governed more and more, every day, by fearmongers


Henry RousoMémorial de la Shoah

❝ A French historian on his way to a conference in Texas was detained for 10 hours by US border officials and threatened with deportation.

Officials at Texas A&M University said Henry Rousso was going to be returned to Paris as an illegal alien “due to a visa misunderstanding”…The university stopped the deportation with help from a law professor, local news website The Eagle reported.

❝ “I have been detained 10 hours at Houston International Airport about to be deported,” Mr Rousso, 62, confirmed in a tweet on Saturday…

The Egyptian-born Jewish scholar, a senior researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research, is a specialist on French World War Two history.

❝ Texas A&M University had announced to the conference on Friday that Mr Rousso had been detained upon arriving at Houston airport on Wednesday.

Senior official Richard Golsan said there had been a misunderstanding regarding the parameters of his visa, The Eagle reported.

“When he called me with this news two nights ago, he was waiting for customs officials to send him back to Paris as an illegal alien on the first flight out,” Mr Golsan told the meeting.

❝ He said the university enlisted the help of law school professor and immigrant rights expert Fatma Marouf…

Ms Marouf described the behaviour of customs officials as an “extreme response”…”It seems like there’s much more rigidity and rigour in enforcing these immigration requirements and the technicalities of every visa,” she said…

❝ Mr Rousso went on to attend the conference and thanked his supporters in a post on Twitter.

“Thank you so much for your reactions. My situation was nothing compared to some of the people I saw who couldn’t be defended as I was,” he said.

The pettiness of government flunkies can be distressing under the best of circumstances. Civil service at the base level in the United States is often akin to traditional jobs for “Cousin Ernie” who can’t find employment anywhere – so, you pay to stick him into the state highway department. Add the stress of our so-called president and his demented band of bigots to the equation and this sort of crap will become more and more common.

Legality, common courtesy, sense and sensibility have little or nothing to do with a job chartered in the mind of populist mobs as pest control. The horde will be served. Their Fearless Leader demands obedience.

Bernie Sanders Just Blind-Sided Trump With Reality — in four words

❝ If President Donald Trump is in need of an ego boost on Saturday, Twitter may not be the place to find it.

The president was slapped with a scalding reality check, compliments of Sen. Bernie Sanders, after suggesting his supporters have their own rally.

“It would be the biggest of them all!” Trump proclaimed on Twitter Saturday.

screen-shot-2017-02-25-at-6-50-25-pm

❝ Exciting idea, except that Trump had a rally just last month, for Inauguration Day, as Sanders reminded him.

“They did. It wasn’t,” Sanders smartly snapped.

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Har!

Apple, Intel and many more oppose Trump’s Congress ending the conflict-mineral regulation

❝ Apple doesn’t want to see it scrapped. Neither does Intel or Tiffany & Co.

But the U.S. conflict-minerals law — which requires American public companies to avoid using minerals that fund war and human rights abuses in the Congo region — is widely seen today as facing its most serious threat since its passage in 2010.

❝ The White House is considering a suspension of the law, part of U.S. President Donald Trump’s pledge to cut government regulations and a long-held goal of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. If that does not happen, congressional Republicans are expected to try defunding it, which they attempted last year. At the same time, federal regulators recently announced that they plan to “reconsider” the law’s scope. The acting head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the agency that oversees the regulation, called it “a misguided rule.”

❝ …Several major companies say they will not abandon the standard even if the law is gutted.

While corporations normally cheer in unison when regulations are cut, this controversial rule has prompted a different reaction.

That is because something interesting has happened since the law took effect: Companies say the conflict-minerals law has created an expectation both inside their corporate headquarters and among consumers that their products will be “conflict-free.”

They do not want to back away from that now. But they worry their efforts will be undermined without the law to support them.

❝ “We do this because it’s the right thing to do,” Apple said in a statement about its conflict-minerals compliance. The tech giant said it plans to keep those protections “regardless of whether or not the law requires it.” Apple said it is pleading its case behind the scenes to White House and SEC officials.

Intel said it, too, was committed to “responsible sourcing of minerals” regardless of regulatory changes…

Richline, a major jewelry company, said it would remain committed to the standard “because the cause is worthy of these efforts.” Richline added that it was against “weakening or repealing a process that has already been set in motion and is just beginning to affect meaningful change.”

Not that Trump, his neo-con Republican bubbas, ever cared about how much blood is spilled to promote their profit margins. The useful part of all this is that a number of taste-making American companies have realized they benefit from aligning themselves with humane goals.

Now, let’s see if we can drag the pimps of profiteering back into reasonable behavior.

White House Censors Press — Denies Briefing Access to New York Times, Politico, CNN

Trump’s view of a “Free Press”

❝ White House press secretary Sean Spicer excluded several major news outlets, including the New York Times and CNN, from an untelevised media briefing on Friday, hours after President Donald Trump assailed coverage of his administration.

❝ The White House invited members of the so-called press pool to attend the briefing, including representatives from the Associated Press, Reuters, Bloomberg News, Agence France-Presse and Hearst, which is serving as the daily representative for newspaper outlets. The White House then handpicked additional outlets to participate, including NBC News, CBS News, and ABC News — as well as conservative outlets like the Washington Times, America One, and Breitbart News Network.

Notably excluded were the New York Times, CNN, Politico, the Los Angeles Times, BuzzFeed News and the BBC. Bloomberg News only learned that some outlets had been excluded moments before the briefing began. The Associated Press was invited but declined to participate, citing the exclusion of other organizations…

❝ Bloomberg editor in chief John Micklethwait said in a statement: “I don’t believe that the White House’s decision to exclude major news organizations is in the best interest of keeping the public informed, so in the future we will not participate in exclusionary briefings of the sort that happened today.”…

❝ Spicer holds a televised news briefing on most weekdays when the president isn’t traveling, but on Thursday evening, when it issued its daily guidance, the White House said Spicer would instead “gaggle” on Friday. The term is jargon for less formal briefings, usually held in Spicer’s office or aboard Air Force One, that aren’t televised…

Shortly before the gaggle, the White House asked news organizations to register for an “expanded pool” of reporters that would be admitted to cover it. The group granted access included all of the members of the so-called “protective pool” of journalists that routinely covers the president’s activities, including Bloomberg.

The New York Times and other outlets were turned away at the door to Spicer’s office.

❝ “Nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history of covering multiple administrations of different parties,” New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet said in a statement. “We strongly protest the exclusion of the New York Times and the other news organizations.”

The previous record-holder as Republican crook – Richard Nixon – never went this far in trying to suppress the First Amendment. He fought with those who eventually uncovered all of his administration’s corruption and called the Press “his” enemy”. Trump takes the next step towards fascist rule by calling a Free Press an “enemy of the people”. The sort of declarative you would expect from someone who fears democracy, transparency.

I expect many voices to be raised from conservative to liberal, libertarian to progressive. It will be an interesting exercise picking out Republicans who claim to be constitutionalists – who will also stoop to bow before their leader and support his denial of access to news media.

Alabama immigration law — Trumpkin politicians guarantee rotting crops

❝ Brian Cash can put a figure to the cost of Alabama’s new immigration law: at least $100,000. That’s the value of the tomatoes he has personally ripening out in his fields and that are going unpicked because his Hispanic workforce vanished literally overnight.

❝ For generations, Cash’s family have farmed 125 acres atop the Chandler mountain, a plateau in the north of the state about nine miles long and two miles wide. It’s perfect tomato-growing country – the soil is sandy and rich, and the elevation provides a breeze that keeps frost at bay and allows early planting.

For four months every year he employs almost exclusively Hispanic male workers to pick the harvest. This year he had 64 men out in the fields…Then HB56 came into effect, the new law that makes it a crime not to carry valid immigration documents and forces the police to check on anyone they suspect may be in the country illegally.

The provisions – the toughest of any state in America – were enforced on 28 September. By the next day Cash’s workforce had dwindled to 11

❝ Cash says that losing his pickers is much more than a commercial disaster. “Many of these people are friends and like family to us. They have been working for my family for years.”

The crew leader for Cash’s fields has been working for his family for 17 years. “He’s my age and we pretty much grew up together,” he says.

Cash has sponsored him in his application for American naturalisation – a process that the immigration authorities have said will take up to nine years and cost up to $17,000.

❝ The crew leader already has permanent residency status and his two children are US citizens, but because his wife is undocumented he was fearful of the new law and left abruptly along with the others the minute the provisions came in.

RTFA. Take the time to step past the lies and propaganda conservative and bigoted Congress-critters, state and local scum-suckers blather to pass laws like this. Itinerant foreign migrant labor is nothing new in my life. For decades migrant farm crews returned to the Connecticut River valley to follow the harvest season south until it was time to return home. In those days, mostly back to the Caribbean.

What Is The US Trade Deficit? Donald Trump Will Make It Look Bigly

The administration of President Donald Trump has planned to widen the appearance of America’s trade deficit, measured as total exports minus total imports, by changing the method used to calculate it.

The new calculation would count items known as “re-exports” — products first imported into the U.S. and then transferred, unchanged, to neighboring countries — as imports, but not exports. That would effectively exaggerate the deficit total, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday…

Economists expressed worries that the new method would steer trade data away from a preferred level of “symmetry” in the way exports and imports are accounted for, as former Bureau of Labor Statistics Director Steve Landefeld put it in an interview with the paper.

Trump has previously declared himself a lover of debt and “the king of debt,” and suggested that the U.S. should take advantage of rising bond yield rates — which come hand-in-hand with falling bond prices — to “buy back government debt at a discount,” or simply “print the money” needed to cover the deficit.

All the fiddling that Republicans accuse Democrats of doing.

Total government debt, a cumulative measure of yearly deficit amounts — which includes government securities held by the citizens, companies, local and state governments and the Federal Reserve, along with money owed to foreign governments and beneficiaries of federal programs, such as Social Security — has been on track to reach $20 trillion.

The IBTimes repeats the Republican canard that Social Security [usually adding in Medicare] is part of their debt worries. Only if Congress steals the money from funds contributed by American individuals in the form of FICA payments. They are, in fact, insurance programs. Differing essentially from private insurance in their efficiency. They require less than a quarter of the administrative cost our corporate insurers claim is necessary.

Congressional pimps for privatization usually follow this up with whines of the imminent collapse of both. Imminent meaning a decade or so. Then, whines about raising the percentage going into FICA appear – conveniently ignoring the fact that there is a cut-off point above which wealthier Americans cease to pay into the fund. Removing that cap gets rid off another 50 years or more of 2-party craptastic lies – while working folks receive the benefits we paid for.