Steve Mnuchin stopped Trump from making Ivanka head of the World Bank

Jim Yong Kim threw the global financial development sector into a state of disarray: The former academic and health official announced he would be stepping down the following month from his role as president of the World Bank…creating worries that the America First champion would pick somebody ill suited for the global role…

As the White House moved to select its new leader, one name very dear to the Trump’s heart kept floating around: his daughter Ivanka Trump…two sources, not authorized to speak publicly, tell The Intercept the talk of Ivanka at the helm went far beyond the realm of Beltway chatter: Trump very much wanted Ivanka as World Bank president, and it was Mnuchin who actually blocked her ascent to the leadership role.

It came incredibly close to happening,” said one well-placed source.

Representatives for Mnuchin and Ivanka Trump did not respond to requests for comment, nor did the World Bank or the Trump Organization.

Since Mnuchin, Ivanka and Meathead won’t comment (yet) don’t expect chapter and verse of how Mnuchin won out. Sooner or later, it will come out. The worst crap always does!

Big Pharma does love our money

Leading drug makers rang in the new year by once again raising list prices of their drugs—this time on more than 250 of them, according to an analysis reported by Reuters…

The larger price tags applied to a range of medications, from blood thinners to cancer therapies and treatments for respiratory conditions, HIV, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.

Nearly all of the increases were below 10 percent, according to the 3 Axis analysis. So far, the median price increase is around 5 percent, though additional price increases could still be announced.

Don’t worry. They’re not doing themselves any harm. As of November, the 2019 inflation rate was 2.1 percent.

Police chiefs apologize for historical mistreatment of minorities

❝ The president of America’s largest police management organization on Monday issued a formal apology to the nation’s minority population “for the actions of the past and the role that our profession has played in society’s historical mistreatment of communities of color.”

❝ Terrence M. Cunningham, the chief of police in Wellesley, Mass., delivered his remarks at the convention in San Diego of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, whose membership includes 23,000 police officials in the United States. The statement was issued on behalf of the IACP, and comes as police executives continue to grapple with tense relationships between officers and minority groups in the wake of high-profile civilian deaths in New York, South Carolina, Minnesota and elsewhere, the sometimes violent citizen protests which have ensued as well as the ambush killings of officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

…Cunningham’s comments are an acknowledgement of police departments’ past role in exacerbating tensions and a way to move forward and improve community relations nationwide. Two top civil rights groups on Monday commended Cunningham for taking an important first step in acknowledging the problem.


Click to enlarge

❝ “…If we are brave enough to collectively deliver this message, we will build a better and safer future for our communities and our law enforcement officers. Too many lives have been lost already, and this must end. It is my hope that many other law enforcement executives will deliver this same message to their local communities, particularly those segments of their communities that lack trust and feel disenfranchised.”

The IACP members present for Cunningham’s speech gave him a standing ovation, IACP spokeswoman Sarah Guy said. Cunningham made the remarks on behalf of the membership…

Overdue. Justly applauded.

Grading the White House candidates on climate and science

In the “I’m shocked … shocked” category, a group of climate scientists graded the presidential candidates on their knowledge of accurate climate change science, and the Democrats came out on top, with the Republicans at best doing badly, and at worst humiliating themselves.

The study was done using anonymized statements made in tweets, interviews, and debates, which were shown to eight scientists. Hillary Clinton came out on top, followed by Bernie Sanders with quite high marks. None of the GOP hopefuls even got a passing grade…The highest being Jeb Bush with a meager 64/100.

The only surprise I got was that Donald Trump (15/100) did better than Ted Cruz (a spectacular fail of 6—yes, six—out of 100 points). About Cruz’s (still at the time anonymous) statements, climatologist Michael Mann wrote: “This individual understands less about science – and climate change – than the average kindergartner…”

Not to put any of the other Republicans at the front of the class. Bush’s tepid grade is hardly a ringing endorsement, and of course Trump’s bloviating borders on cartoon-level nonsense.

Incidentally, William Ruckelshaus — a Republican himself, as well as the first Environmental Protection Agency chief (appointed by Nixon and reappointed by Reagan!) — has in no uncertain terms condemned the GOP cohort for denying science for political gain. This much is obvious; it’s just gratifying to see another Republican say so.

Our courageous journalists and editors spend a great deal of time whining about whether or not they should confront Trump’s lies. Fact is – all the Republican candidates lie through their teeth about science in general, women’s health and climate in particular. In the latter case, we can stick with our suspicions about payoffs from scumbags like the Koch Bros. In the former, I’m not so certain. I think it’s just rank ignorance.

You have to wonder how some of today’s conservatives manage to father children they’re so out of touch with female biology.

Home of Taiwan’s past president becomes a McDonald’s

McDonald’s has turned a house in Taiwan where the son of the former Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek once lived into a restaurant, dividing opinion on the island and in China.

The McCafe opened on Friday in the former residence of Chiang Ching-kuo, near West Lake in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. A side wing of the two-storey wood and brick lakeside villa had already been turned into a Starbucks in October.

Chiang Ching-kuo lived in the western-style villa with his family for a short time in 1948. He fled the mainland in 1949 after the Chinese Nationalist party’s army was defeated by the communists, retreating to Taiwan where he was president from 1978 to 1988…

A McDonald’s spokesperson declined to comment.

For many “important” political figures in recent decades I think this transformation is spot on. We could rent out Richard Nixon’s home to be the World Headquarters of the White Citizen’s Council. The Texas ranch that George W. Bush bought specifically to befuddle ignorant voters into thinking of him as a good ol’ boy instead of the incompetent and petty front man for religious crusades around the world – could become a theme park for Madison Avenue Republicans, e.g., Kinder, Gentler Conservative-land. Complete with plastic promises.

Can President Kim end World Bank backing for coal-fired power?


Creeps like the Koch Bros. should be required to live downwind

In a closed meeting on Tuesday evening, the World Bank put before its executive directors a proposal to stop funding the development of new coal plants globally. Despite provisions that would grant exceptions to allow funding for a few rare coal plants, this proposal is a big step forward for an agency that has supported some of the world’s largest and dirtiest coal plants for years. It is also a key opportunity for World Bank President Dr Jim Yong Kim to lead the World Bank into a clean energy future.

Kim is already poised to be a leader in the fight to address climate disruption. Shortly after joining the World Bank as president one year ago this month, he commissioned a report that detailed the catastrophic effects the world would see if global temperatures rose by just four degrees Celsius. Since then, Kim has repeatedly called on countries around the world to take action now in order to avert such a crisis in the future.

Unfortunately, the World Bank’s actions haven’t lived up to Kim’s rhetoric. In the past five years alone, the bank has financed more than $5bn in carbon-intensive coal plants. Currently, it is considering financing a new coal power plant in Kosovo that would burn lignite coal – the dirtiest and most toxic form of coal available. This plant would be built in a country where, according to the World Bank’s own statistics, coal already kills 835 people every year.

…The tide at the World Bank may be turning. In his “climate action” speech last month, President Obama called for an end to public financing of dirty coal plants abroad. On the heels of that announcement, the World Bank released a draft energy strategy that would ban funding for new coal generation, with some rare exceptions. Although we would prefer to see the door closed on coal for good by eliminating even those loopholes, the bank’s new energy plan still marks real progress under Kim’s leadership.

Ending the financing of coal plants globally would also free up scarce public funds for investment in decentralized clean energy projects. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the only way the 1.3 billion people who still do not have access to electricity will be able to get it is through this type of off-grid, decentralized clean energy. Indeed, the IEA argues that to achieve universal electrification, the 70% of rural areas currently without power must be serviced with off-grid renewable energy…

Jim Yong Kim showed he was up to the test, but we’ll be watching closely to make sure this policy is backed up by real action.

Keep on rocking in the Free World!

Even if you get to wear thousand-dollar-suits and arrive at meetings in a Mercedes S-class chariot, confronting the fossil fuel flunkies ain’t ever anything more than a polite version of mud wrestling. And they control both the dirt and the gold.