This starts as follows:
As Democracy Now! broadcasts from the
United Nations climate summit in Marrakech, Morocco, the U.S. special
envoy on climate change, Jonathan Pershing, says no one from
President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team has reached out to him
to discuss U.S. climate policy. This all comes as the World
Meteorological Organization is projecting 2016 to be the warmest year
on record, and Trump has vowed to withdraw from the Paris climate
agreement. "Legally he can’t, and politically it would be a disaster,"
says economist Jeffrey Sachs, director of The Earth Institute at
Columbia University. "If Donald Trump goes in the way that his rhetoric
… ha[s] portrayed, we’re going to have a brawl in the United States.
I say, and should start this review by
saying that I've never believed in the Paris climate agreement,
not because I share Trump's disbelief in climate
change, but because I think it was too little too late.
There is first this on the French
I think Hollande is waffling. Nothing
is "irreversibible in law" (for in the end law consists only of
verbal agreements), and if the largest economic power and the
second-largest greenhouse gas emitter says "Fuck you, we go for our
profits and don't care about the world!", you have a major
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,
democracynow.org. I’m Amy Goodman, here at the United Nations climate
summit in Marrakech, Morocco. French President François Hollande has
called on President-elect Donald Trump to respect the Paris climate
accord, saying the deal is irreversible. Trump is a longtime climate
change denier, who has described global warming as a Chinese hoax. He
has threatened to pull the United States out of the Paris deal.
President Hollande addressed the plenary here in Marrakech Tuesday.
[translated] The agreement was historic. And what we have to say here
is that this agreement is irreversible. It is irreversible in law. It
came into force on the 4th of November. More than 100 states,
accounting for two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions, ratified it. The
United States, the largest economic power in the world, the
second-largest greenhouse gas emitter, must respect the commitments
they have undertaken.
Here is Democracy Now!'s summary on Jeffrey Sachs
We’re joined now by the economist
Jeffrey Sachs, director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University.
He served as an adviser to Bernie Sanders in his presidential campaign
and continues to advise Bernie Sanders (...)
I must say I am not much impressed by
Jeffrey Sachs (he seems to me far too much like a leading Dutch
social democrat, who also make excellent and very
well-paid careers Doing The Good The Government Desires), and I
will only quote the end of the interview:
I am sorry, but this is a contradiction:
You can't say consistently that an agreement cannot be broken,
and that if it is broken it will be a double disaster.
AMY GOODMAN: And what does that mean, that
kind of organizing? What does that mean? For example, Donald Trump says
he’s pulling out of the Paris Agreement. What does it mean to resist it?
SACHS: Well, first of
all, legally he can’t, and politically it would be a disaster, and
diplomatically it would be a disaster. The whole world would put the
U.S. as a pariah. What it means for me, first of all, is if terrible
names are proposed, I expect the Democrats to filibuster, plain and
simple. We cannot let people that are going to wreck the country, wreck
the future, into office just because somebody’s named. We know that
Democrats have a lot of power if they choose to use it. I expect them
to use it. I expect Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and other
progressive leaders to be saying, "We’re not going to let our country
get wrecked." That’s what politics is.
And as to the filibustering: Perhaps. But then again the filibustering
may be declared illegal by the Republican majority.
So basically the lesson I draw from this is that Jeffrey Sachs
will disappear soon from political power.
Reporter Greg Palast: GOP Stole 2016 Election Using Voter Suppression,
The fourth item is by Kasia Anderson on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
Americans who think the 2016
presidential election was far too reminiscent of the 2000 edition might
be on to something. What’s more, like a busted clock, President-elect
Donald Trump could actually be right twice: that the “swamp” of
Washington, D.C., needs draining, and that U.S. elections can be
stolen. In fact, investigative reporter Greg Palast thinks Trump and
his party may have just made off with this one.
In the turbulent days since last
Tuesday’s shocker brought roiling national tensions and divisions out
in the open, politicians and pundits have lurched about in an effort to
explain the results. Everything from woefully flawed polling models to
a complacent electorate, intolerable nominees and third-party “spoiler”
candidates has been trotted out in explanation, amounting to a
confusing and jumbled picture. What for some constituted an
earth-shattering national disaster appeared to others as the dawn of a
welcome new era. As anyone with a social media account knows, there
hasn’t been much gray area in between. (Among many other things, this
campaign season was marred by extremes.)
For Palast, all that speculation misses
the point. According to his research, which he’s been conducting since
the last time Florida hogged the spotlight on Election Day, there are
many ways in which the U.S. voting apparatus can be manipulated to
produce a desired result.
This is reviewed because I think that Greg
Palast has a point that the American elections can be
stolen in various ways. But it should be mentioned at this point that Trump's
winning in fact was slight
(he doesn't have the majority of the votes, for one thing) and does
in with the normal patterns of the American elections. Then again, if
the advantage was slight, it may have been easier to manipulate
in secret, if this is what happened.
Here is one more bit on what Palast thinks
has happened in the present elections:
What they’ve really accomplished,
according to Palast’s calculations, is the systematic purging of more
than a million and a half voters from the rolls in this latest
presidential election. Many of them are people of color, who have been
deemed more likely to cast ballots for Democrats—and thousands of them
live in the swing states that Trump claimed by razor-thin margins on
In short, Palast believes Americans have
just witnessed a hugely consequential heist on a national scale. He’s
been on the trail of alleged voter suppressors and election poachers
for years; he landed a cover story in Rolling Stone’s September
issue; and he released a documentary this fall,
“The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot
Bandits.” But he says the fix was in on Nov. 8 despite all these
There is a lot more text in the original.
My own judgement is that Palast may be right, but it will
be very difficult to prove (and a real proof may be quite difficult
to get publicity for).
5. Why Trump’s Victory Wasn’t a Surprise
The fifth item today is by Dennis J. Bernstein on Consortiumnews:
This starts as follows:
Despite Donald Trump’s long history of
stiffing workers, dodging taxes and abusing women, he will become
the 45th President of the United States, a remarkable turn of events
that has a lot of liberals and Democrats scratching their heads and
wondering how he could have beaten the powerful Clinton political/money
One person who was not surprised was
journalist and filmmaker John Pilger, who was born in Sydney,
Australia, and now is based in London. Pilger has reported from
all over the world, covering numerous wars, notably Vietnam. When he
was in his 20’s, he became the youngest journalist to receive Britain’s
highest award for journalism, Journalist of the Year, which he won
twice. He also has an Emmy and his most recent book is Hidden
Agendas and the New Rulers of the World.
This is reviewed because I like John Pilger
(<- Wikipedia): He is a good and courageous journalist. There is
this about Pilger's not being surprised by the outcome of the
Dennis Bernstein: I’m going to ask
you later on about the new film, which I’m very excited about. But
let’s begin with [the Nov. 8] victory over Clinton, by Trump. Were you
surprised? What do you think was at the core of the Trump victory?
John Pilger: You know, I wasn’t
surprised. Brexit undoubtedly helped this. I wasn’t surprised. I think
I’m quite surprised by how decisive his victory is. But I must say I
felt rather angry, and I think we probably expended enough anger on
Trump. He’ll, no doubt, provide us with plenty of material coming up.
But I think it’s time for people, so-called liberal people, to look in
Who created Trump? Who created this
disastrous election, so-called campaign? In my opinion the enablers of
all of this was the liberal class, in the United States. The liberal
class has refused to acknowledge, in its arrogance, the huge
disaffection and discontent among ordinary people. And painting them in
such broad strokes has been… what did Clinton call them?…”deplorables”
and “irredeemable”? That’s really disgraceful.
I have two remarks on this, both a bit
First, Trump's victory was not
"decisive": He got fewer votes than Clinton did, but more in the
Electoral College. And it is a more or less 50/50 win, which
again is more or less as many previous presidential elections were.
And second "the liberal class, in the United
States" is far too vague, and should not
at all be confused with the political propagandists,
in this case Clinton's, who misled them. And I think you can
blame this small class of political propagandists, but not the far
larger class of "liberals" or "progres- sives" (and while I don't
think these are "good people", I also think it is more likely
that they have been successfully deceived than that they - tens
of millions (?!) - successfully deceived).
And here is John Pilger on propaganda:
I heard a Harvard professor on the BBC,
on the very night, before the count began, talk about the hard left in
the Democratic Party, and how she would have to embrace the idea of
Bernie Sanders and what he stood for. You know, this kind of drivel,
and misrepresentation has been everywhere. The media, personally, and
I’m speaking of journalists, produced probably the most unfettered
propaganda I can remember at any time. In my career, this has been the
Here it should have been explained
that for Pilger Bernie Sanders is not much of a radical. I
agree with Pilger on the amounts of propaganda,
but I think there are far better examples.
There is this on Obama and "liberal America":
And, it’s something that liberal America
has to start coming to terms with itself. We had Barack Obama presented
seriously as a candidate of hope and real change. He was nothing of the
kind. He was in fact a warmonger. He’s got four wars going at once. He
conducted an international terrorist campaign using drones. He has
prosecuted more whistleblowers than any president in American history.
And, you know, when you think of Trump’s disgraceful remarks about
throwing people out of the country, and building a wall… who is the
Deporter-in-Chief? The liberal Barack Obama. He has deported more
people than any other president.
Pilger is right about Obama (I think, who was
briefly misled by Obama's propaganda,
but recovered from that by the end of 2009), but again I don't
think he is quite right in blaiming "liberal America" or "the liberal
class", and again my main reason is that these were subjected as well to very
much propaganda by the Obamites and Clintonites (and their
professionals, who indeed often are prominent professors at prominent
I think Pilger would have been quite
correct if he had blaimed the Obamite and Clintonite propagandists, but
he is not correct (I think) in blaiming "the liberals": That is
far too vague and too general.
And I skipped a lot in this fairly
interview, mostly because I think it should have been shortened and
straightened out a bit more.
Here is the ending of the interview (with
some italics added by me, and a word added, and two links added):
DB: This is a touchstone for more
terrible things. Well, John, I do thank you for spending the hour with
us. It’s always enlightening, to have you. I want to tell people that
your name is John Pilger. And you’re, really, an inspiration to me and
many journalists who really believe in getting down and finding out
what’s really going on. One of your latest books is Hidden Agendas
and the New Rulers of the World. You’ve got your film coming out The
Coming War Against China. And you wrote a piece most recently Inside
the Invisible Government War: Propaganda, Clinton and Trump.
And you did an
excellent interview with Julian Assange.
JP: Yeah, yeah. Interestingly, that
interview with Julian Assange went out on, RT, Russia Today, and one of
the reasons it did, well they [made] a good job of it, such a good job
that it ended up with something like four million viewers. But no other
broadcast, mainstream broadcast would take it. They have their own
agendas. And that has to be understood by people. If you want to find
out what is going on, you abandon the media as it’s presented to us.
It’s unwatchable, it’s really just a product of enduring propaganda.
I agree on the propaganda, but as I said
earlier, "the liberal class" is too vague to address or to
blame, and probably the largest part of that broad and vague class
was also much more convinced by propaganda
than by real rational
thinking and knowing.
6. After Railing Against 'Rigged' Economy, Trump Readies to
Rig It Even More
The sixth and last item today is by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
After running a campaign that blasted
the "rigged" economy, President-elect Donald Trump appears set to rig
it even further—in favor of corporations, Wall Street, and the wealthy.
On Wednesday, Reuters reported
that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which enforces
a wide range of financial rules, will see major changes under the Trump
administration, mostly in the form of slashed regulations.
"Trump's decision to tap former
Republican SEC Commissioner Paul Atkins to help manage the Trump team's
transition efforts at the SEC and other financial agencies offers a
window into some other changes that could be in store," according to
the news agency, which noted: "Atkins' well-known conservative views on
everything from enforcement penalties to corporate governance are
likely to be reflected in the SEC's agenda."
This is precisely what I expected
(and Deirdre Fulton very probably expected as well). Here is
more on Paul Atkins:
Indeed, the WSJ
last week that "Atkins became an outspoken
critic of the [SEC]'s approach to cracking down on corporate misdeeds
through large penalties against firms that agreed to settle fraud
"Proponents argue that large financial
penalties deter companies from engaging in illegal behavior," the WSJ
wrote, "But Mr.
Atkins maintains they punish shareholders who already have been
victimized by a company's fraud, further damaging the value of
Atkins "is a guy in general who wants to
let companies do their thing and not get in the way very much," Ian
Katz, a financial policy analyst with the research firm Capital Alpha
the Los Angeles Times on Monday. "You would see a lighter
touch on enforcement and a lighter hand on corporate governance issues
Incidentally, here is the utter
idiocy/gigantic greed of Atkin's proposal:
First "the shareholders" did not
prevent the nomination of a some psychopathic or sociopathic CEO who frauded to increase
their profits, but then these CEOs are not only not to be
prosecuted for fraud,
but the companies are not to be punished anymore even just
financially, because this might cost "the shareholders" money. That
is: Everything is for the rich, and the rich cannot even be
punished anymore either legally or financially.
And here is Elizabeth Warren:
Yes, precisely - as in fact also
happened under Obama (!).
In her searing
take-down of Trump's "drain the swamp" rhetoric on Tuesday, Sen.
Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) named Atkins specifically—along with former
Bear Stearns chief economist David Malpass and former Goldman Sachs
Group Inc. executive Steve Mnuchin—as among the "slew of Wall Street
bankers, industry insiders, and special interest lobbyists" the
president-elect has elevated to his transition team.
"Quite frankly," Warren wrote, "the
makeup of your transition team suggests that you will not only be
'letting Wall Street get away with murder' during your presidency—you
will be letting them write the rules that allow them to get away with