American Politics

All of Donald Trump’s Lies

Last weekend, The New York Times performed a noble public service by publishing nearly every lie Donald Trump has told since taking the oath of office (just four months and a few days ago, but it seems like an eternity, no?). The op-ed chart of tiny but readable font fills the entire page, until at one point, in the mind’s eye, they appear to morph into termites burrowing deep into the foundation of democracy, leaving sawdust in their wake.

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One subtitle reads: “Trump Told Public Lies or Falsehoods Every Day for His First 40 Days.” Another reminds us: “Trump’s Lies Repeat — and Shift With Repetition.” David Leonhardt and Stuart A. Thompson, the journalists in charge of the project, wrote:

“We are using the word ‘lie’ deliberately. Not every falsehood is deliberate on Trump’s part. But it would be the height of naivete to imagine he is merely making honest mistakes. He is lying.”

Their effort deserves the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. We also hope that once they finished the task, they rushed right home to a long and cleansing shower.

Meanwhile, you may want to remind yourselves of the Big Lie that Donald Trump rode to power — the Birther Lie. It was never true when the right wing media — talk radio, internet trolls and Fox News — began to spread the story that Barack Obama was not born in the United States and was therefore an illegitimate president.

Yet Trump shamelessly championed the lie and made it central to his campaign. “I’m starting to think that he was not born here,” he told gullible television hosts as early as 20ll. A year later he tweeted that “an extremely credible source” had called his office to inform him that Obama’s birth certificate was “a fraud.” Then he urged hackers to “please hack Obama’s college records (destroyed?) and check ‘place of birth.’”

The Big Lie worked for Trump because it had been sown in the fertile soil of slavery and segregation, and he knew that after eight years of a black president, white supremacy was ripe for harvesting. I talked about the Birther Lie with four noted historians in this video, which we posted on Jan. 20 — the day Trump was inaugurated as Barack Obama’s successor.

The United States’ Next Ground War In The Middle East Might Erupt Without Warning

6 Trigger Points:
How the Conflict Between the United States and Iran Is Fast Escalating Toward War

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The long-simmering conflict between the United States and Iran is fast escalating toward war. The battlefield is the desert expanse of eastern Syria where civil war has raged for the last five years. Tehran wants to keep U.S. forces out of the area, while Washington wants to use the region to wage war against Iran’s ally, Syria.

After 15 years of unsuccessful war in Afghanistan and Iraq, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the Trump administration is pursuing a policy of “regime change“ in Iran that might lead to a third U.S. ground war in the Middle East since 2001.

Restraint is breaking down. While President Obama resisted U.S. involvement in the Syrian civil war, Trump has approved it. While Obama pursued dialog with Iran, Trump has embraced the new Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who laid down his country’s new, harsher line in April. ‘We will not wait until the battle is in Saudi Arabia,“ he said, “but we will work so the battle is there in Iran.“

Secretary of Defense James Mattis, while resisting White House pressure for rapid escalation, has given battlefield commanders more leeway to attack Iranian-backed forces. The result is a series of unprecedented incidents that have Washington experts asking “Is Trump preparing for a conflict with Iran?“

  • On May 18, the United States attacked a convoy of Iranian-backed militiamen in southern Syria, reportedly killing eight fighters.
  • On June 07, ISIS struck inside Iran for the first time, with a pair of suicide attacks that killed 18 people. One top Iranian official said the United States, by supporting Saudi Arabia, effectively supports ISIS.
  • On June 18, Iran fired ballistic missiles at ISIS positions in eastern Syria, in retaliation for the two terror attacks. It was the first time Iran has used such heavy weaponry on the Syrian battlefield.
  • That same day U.S. forces shot down a Syrian fighter jet, the first time the U.S. has attacked the air force of Iran’s ally.

As the United States and Iran compete for battlefield advantages, here are six places their struggle might erupt into war.

1. Raqqa

After ISIS is defeated the Syrians, backed by Iran, want to reestablish the authority of the President Bashar Assad’s regime throughout the area. The U.S.-backed forces want to pivot from the fight against ISIS to take on the Syria government directlyRaqqa is  where these ambitions will collide.

 Eastern Syria

As the sway of ISIS shrinks, Assad and his allies have launched an operation to “take control of the eastern desert in Syria,” which borders on Iraq. They want to drive out the Sunni extremists, but also prevent other rivals—namely the United States—from filling the void.

Iran fears that that U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters in the Syrian Democratic Forces will seize northern Syria while other U.S.-backed rebels take control of the rest of the Iraqi border.

Iran wants to deny the United States and its allies a sanctuary, while the U.S. military seeks freedom to operate in the area. Both sides hope to benefit from the changing status quo in eastern Syria to their advantage. Only one can prevail.

3. Unfriendly skies

American, Iranian, Syrian, Russian, and Turkish air forces are all active in the airspace over Syria—and all are becoming less tolerant of the others.

When the U.S. shot down a Syrian jet last week, Russia warned it would target all foreign aircraft west of the Euphrates River. When the Iranians sent drones over U.S.-controlled territory, the United States shot down two of them.

The conflict is escalating vertically, as well as horizontally.

4. Missiles

Iran compensates for its weak army and air force with a potent ballistic missile force that the United States regards as a threat to Israel and the region. The U.S. Congress just voted to increase sanctions on Iran for its ballistic missile program.

Iran’s decision to use the missiles in eastern Syria was more than a message to ISIS, said Iranian Gen. Ramazan Sharif in a television interview.

“The Saudis and Americans are especially receivers of this message,“ Sharif said. “Obviously and clearly, some reactionary countries of the region, especially Saudi Arabia, had announced that they are trying to bring insecurity into Iran.“

If the United States is threatening Iran with regime change, and Iran uses missiles when it feels most threatened, then missile warfare is more likely.

5. Hostages 

Americans of a certain age will never forget that the Iranians took 52 Americans hostages in 1979 and held them for more than a year. Another hostage situation would inflame American public opinion and be used to justify escalation.

When the Iranian navy detained 10 U.S. sailors whose patrol boats strayed into Iranian waters in January 2016, the sailors were released within 24 hours. Secretary of State John Kerry used his working relationship with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to secure their freedom.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has no such communication channel with the Iranians, and no interest in having one. If such an incident occurred again, opened-ended escalation is much more likely than quick resolution.

6. Special Forces

Both Iran and the United States have deployed elite military forces to the Syrian battlefield.

More than 500 U.S. Special Operations forces are advising and training anti-Assad forces in Syria. An equally big contingent of Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces, under the command of legendary general Qasem Soleimani, are advising and fighting with pro-Assad forces.

In a crisis, military and civilian commanders on both sides are less likely to back down, compromise or negotiate if their most prestigious forces are fighting and dying. 

Ali Vaez, an analyst for the International Crisis Group, has noted, if the U.S. ends up going to war against Iran, it would “make the Afghan and Iraqi conflicts look like a walk in the park.”

~~  Jefferson Morley ~~

McKinley Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Improve Access to Lifesaving Medicine

Patients’ Access to Treatment Act supported by coalition of patient advocacy groups

The Gilmer Free Press

Reps. David B. McKinley, P.E., (R-WV) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) introduced the Patients’ Access to Treatment Act (H.R. 2999), which will help improve access to specialty drugs for millions.

The Patients Access to Treatments Act (PATA) will give patients with chronic, disabling, and life-threatening conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer, access to innovative drug therapies. By requiring insurance to cover these critical drugs, millions of patients will be able to afford vital life-saving medicine.

“Millions of Americans suffer unnecessarily from chronic and disabling diseases because they are unable to afford critical treatments,” said McKinley. “The cost of these life-saving and life-changing treatments can be astronomical and out of reach even for families with good health insurance.”

“Researchers in North Carolina and throughout the country have made great strides to provide promising and innovative medical treatments,” said Butterfield.  “Unfortunately, working families struggle to afford the rising out-of-pocket costs of treatment, even with insurance.  This bill will make patient access to lifesaving medications more affordable.  I am proud to join Congressman McKinley in the introduction of our bill, and I thank him for his continued leadership on this measure.”

“As a rheumatologist, I see first-hand the importance of access to effective therapies, such as biologics or specialty drugs, on the lives of patients with chronic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus,” said Dr. Angus Worthing, Chair of the Government Affairs Committee for the American College of Rheumatology.  “These therapies provide relief for millions of Americans and can enable them to function and pursue their livelihoods.”

“Every day, high out-of-pocket costs stand between patients and the medications they need to win their battle against cancer,” said Lou DeGenarro, CEO of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). “The bipartisan Patients’ Access to Treatments Act would limit cost-sharing requirements for lifesaving medications and begin to break down the barriers to access for patients for the therapies they need. On behalf of the more than 1.2 million patients in the U.S. living with a blood cancer, LLS thanks Representatives McKinley and Butterfield for their leadership on this critical issue for patients, and we urge the House to stand with patients and quickly pass this bill.”

“We’ve met with hundreds of patients over the years and listened to their stories,” said McKinley.  “I know this legislation would improve the life for many families, for whom the price of these drugs is out of reach. We can give people a new lease on life by passing this bill.”

The Coalition for Accessible Treatments, which represents over 30 patient and provider advocacy groups, supports the legislation.

Health Care Repeal: Playing Political Chicken With Our Lives

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is playing political chicken with our lives. Since he and the other Republicans in his 13-member working group are choosing to draft their bill to repeal health care in secret, it’s up to us to share the stories of those who will be affected by this disastrous plan.

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I was finally able to get treatment.

Without Medicaid, I’d be dead.

Without Obamacare, I’d have gone bankrupt.

Don’t they care about people like us?

I’m not worried about myself – I feel compassion for the people who have been helped, and don’t want them to suffer.

These are a few of the themes that come through loud and clear in the more than twelve hundred comments we’ve received from all across the country in the first 24 hours after we asked people to share their health care stories with us.

Not One State

Not one state supports this disastrous plan to repeal health care, according to the New York Times. That includes Mitch McConnell’s own state of Kentucky.

It’s no wonder the plan is so unpopular, or that Senate leaders will do everything they can to keep the rest of its details under wraps. At least 23 million Americans will lose health coverage under the House version of the bill. By some accounts, there will be even deeper cuts under the Senate’s plan.

Getting a “win” on  the health care bill has become a matter of pride for Republican leaders in Congress, to the point that it blots out all common sense or room for common ground. They want to funnel tax breaks to their billionaire friends so badly that they’re willing to bargain away our health care behind closed doors.

Our Own Hearing

Just because McConnell refuses to hold hearings doesn’t mean we can’t demand to be heard. We’ve already started to share these amazing stories with you, and here’s the next installment of comments from real people who want their senators to put the lives of constituents – not corporations – first.

We’ll keep sharing these stories until our leaders hear their constituents’ voices as loudly, and as clearly, as we do.

I worked and then came down with Crohn’s disease and lost my home and car, but luckily Medicaid pulled me through a tight spot. I probably wouldn’t be alive right now without it.

  • – David R., Ohio

After a devastating car accident in which my upper arm was totally crushed, the bone was replaced by a titanium rod, which later failed. I lived in excruciating pain for years until I was finally approved for Medicaid. Medicaid not only paid for the surgeries I needed to repair my arm, it paid for the physical therapy which made it usable. Without Medicaid, I would still be living in chronic pain and would not be able to use my arm!  

  • – Michelle M., Florida

I am a recipient of Obamacare, and it is the only thing that I have to be able to afford my for-profit Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance premiums!  Without it, I would be exposed to possible financial ruin and lack of adequate care because I would not be able to afford to pay for treatment! I currently pay less than $50 a month for a Silver Plan. Without Obamacare, I would have to pay close to $1000 per month. I can’t afford that! Can the GOP “health” plan HONESTLY provide better care and low monthly premiums as my Obamacare plan can?  Respected and authentic organizations say “n,o” and so do I.

  • – Robert J., West Virginia

Medicaid has literally kept my family afloat. For two years before the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, while working in a job that didn’t provide coverage, I had to simply pray that I didn’t need serious medical care. I also went without maintenance care, which could have caused serious problems. I’ve recently started a job that provides me with insurance. However, my brother, cousins, and even my parents are in the same position as I was: the Medicaid expansion is the reason they have had health care access at all. They aren’t the “freeloaders” Republicans would like to make them out to be – they work, but simply aren’t provided with coverage through employment. Also, as my grandparents aged and required more and more care, they were aided by incredibly hardworking, in-home caregivers. These women were able to make ends meet for their own families because they qualified for Medicaid.

We should live in a society that allows us freedom from the constant fear of un-payable medical bills. The ACA has made great strides toward making this happen. Any steps backward, including the AHCA, are simply unacceptable.

  • – Amanda, Ohio

I lost everything in the recession of 2008 – job, house, credit, healthcare.I moved to Nevada  in 2011 and shortly thereafter benefited from the Medicaid expansion – thank you Governor Sandoval. I finally was able to obtain treatment for tumors, surgery was successful. Seeking better employment opportunities I moved to Tucson. I have full-time employment, but not a sustainable income. I am sixty years old, but I have no hopes of retirement anytime in the near future. I have pre-existing conditions and worries about and anger about health care. I am angry about the secrecy, about the lack of hearings. I am concerned about the haste. Any legislation that cannot withstand public scrutiny and rigorous debate is beneath a sitting U.S. Senator. The darkness you insist upon for the deeds indicate its shamefulness.

  • – Joan M., Arizona

My husband would’ve died from a heart attack if we didn’t have health insurance. Because of the ACA/Obamacare we only paid a little over $2,000.00. The hospital bill was $104,000.00. We paid $217.00 per month for our coverage. Plus his heart medication would’ve cost us $400.00 per month but was covered under the ACA/Obamacare so we paid nothing for it. We are now insured through his work. If he loses his job I’m afraid we aren’t going to be covered for anything.

  • – Theresa P., Nevada

~~  Sarah Chaisson-Warner ~~

Tax Breaks for the Richest Central to GOP Healthcare Bill

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West Virginia millionaires could see an average tax cut of close to $40,000 a year if the American Health Care Act becomes law, according to a new analysis. Those tax cuts would be paid for in part by removing more than 122,000 West Virginians from health-insurance rolls.

Alan Essig, executive director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, said Congressional Budget Office figures show the health bill that cleared the U.S. House is less about health policy than tax breaks for the top 3 percent of U.S. earners.

“The end result is 23 million people losing health-care coverage,“ he said. “The reason for that is to pay for $660 billion worth of tax cuts that overwhelmingly go to the wealthiest Americans.“

Supporters of the AHCA have said cuts to Medicaid and reversing the program’s expansion would reduce the federal deficit and lower health-care costs. The U.S. Senate has not yet made its version of the health bill public, but close observers say it closely resembles the House version.

The bill is opposed by the American Medical Association and American Nursing Association. The chief executive of the Charleston Area Medical Center called on employees of the state’s largest hospital to ask Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-WV, to vote against the bill, in part because of its cuts to the state Medicaid program.

Essig said the majority of Medicaid recipients that could be affected are older folks and people with disabilities, pregnant women and children. He warned that bankruptcies due to medical bills, which have decreased under Obamacare, could be back on the rise.

“Real people will end up losing their health-care coverage, and that will impact people’s health, people’s lives and people’s bank books,“ he said. “We’re going to be going back to where we were, which I don’t think is where anyone wants to go.“

Under the Affordable Care Act, low- and moderate-income Americans have been able to get coverage due in part to a tax on individuals making more than $200,000 a year, or $250,000 for couples filing jointly. Essig said insurance premiums for an average 64-year-old with an income of $27,000 would rise from $1,700 to more than $16,000 a year.

The analysis is online at

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

Yes, But Who Defines “Good”

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Conservatives like to paint the difference between conservatism and liberalism as the difference between absolute values and relativism. Hence George Neumayr in The American Spectator on the aftermath of the baseball shootings.

All of the post-Enlightenment ideologies that inform modern liberalism reject a divinely mandated moral law, which in the end is the only real prohibition on violence. If man’s will is the measure of morality, everything in principle is permitted and politics becomes a game of power that culminates in totalitarianism.

Under liberalism, the central question of politics shifted from goodness to power, from God’s plan for his creatures to man’s unfettered will.

This is all very well, except that liberals deny that there is a God and that there is a divinely mandated moral law. Also, liberals do not say that “man’s will is the measure of morality.“ Rather, they would say that the so-called “divinely mandated divine law” is nothing more than God’s will or, worse, the will of some priest determining that he had discovered the mind of God. On that view the “mandated divine moral law” is merely some conceited human’s will demanding to be taken as the measure of morality.

The whole point of the Enlightenment was to rethink human society on the basis of human reason, rather than God’s will.  Thinkers engaged in an effort to replace morality that issued from God’s will or some prophet’s will to morality based on the truth discovered in reason. But there is obviously a problem with this. Any great philosophical system is no less an expression of human will than the revelation of God’s will in the mind of a priest. And in fact the Enlightenment did in fact birth some of the most horrible human “mandated moral law” in history in the disastrous socialist experiments of the 20th century.

Let us take the principle proposed by Martin Luther King Jr. and echoed by President Obama, that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.“ That would be a beautiful notion, but many people get the idea that the moral universe needs a bit of agency. That is how President Obama understands it when he says that “you can bend the arc of history in a better direction.“ Who is “you,“ Kemosabe? Obviously President Obama did not have Donald Trump in mind as the “you.“ Who gets to define “justice,“ and what powers shall they have?

In my view there is a way to get around this: it is to admit that any idea an individual human or a group of humans may have about the “moral law” or about “justice” is going to be incomplete, and that experience will show it to be incomplete and error-ridden. So we must start with the notion that whatever brilliant ideas we come up with for divining the meaning of “life, the universe, and everything,“ they are bound to be riddled with errors. Moreover, I would argue, any attempt to bend the arc of history is just as likely to bend the arc towards injustice as towards justice. Thus any human effort to discover the principles of the moral law and/or justice must start from the humble admission that “we” don’t have all the answers. Or, as some wag said, the ideas of big minds can always be improved by small minds.

OK. So what does this mean? Well, it could mean that the best way to implement “change” is to follow the example of the business “start-up,“ by starting small and then, after solving the teething problems at a small scale, scale up to a larger size. It could mean that the wrong way to do “change” is to introduce a comprehensive and mandatory government program that starts at full scale, like Obamacare. It could be that capitalism is a very useful system because it is based on the price system that signals to all participants every day what is working and what is not working so that they can discover errors in their thinking and correct them. It could be that government programs in general are a very bad idea because it is almost impossible to change government programs on a day-to-day basis; indeed it is almost impossible to fix government programs when they break.

Today is the birthday of Adam Smith, famous for two works: The Wealth of Nations and The Theory of Moral Sentiments. According to Fred Smith, these books develop two ideas that have decisively shaped the modern world.

Smith noted that humans’ evolved self-interest trait encouraged people to seek wealth-creating exchanges. That was the key element of his famous work The Wealth of Nations. But Smith also realized that such exchanges require that each party have some knowledge of what the other party seeks and what it would view as a fair deal. And that realization led Smith, in his book The Theory of Moral Sentiments, to focus on another human trait, empathy.

Self-interest and empathy. We need them both, and both are entwined with each other, in the Hegelian sense where the positive and negative are related to each other. Our own self-interest, in a world where piracy and plunder are discouraged, provokes us to think about other people: what do they need and what are they prepared to pay to satisfy their needs? To serve our own self-interest we have to empathize with the Other and think about what whey want and need in the process of getting what we want and need.

So maybe we discover the nature of the Good by serving our own self-interest through empathizing with the needs and the self-interest of the Other, rather than by divining moral laws and arcs of history.

~~  Christopher Chantrill ~~

WV Medicaid Patients Closely Watching U.S. Senate

Despite Senator Shelley Moore Capito’s promises to defend their health care, some folks covered under the Medicaid expansion in West Virginia are frightened by the health care bill in the Senate - and they haven’t even seen it yet.

Capito initially said she would defend the expansion. But more recently, she’s said she would vote for the expansion to be phased out under the Senate legislation now being drafted behind closed doors.

That’s disturbing to Allison McComas from Charleston. She gets emotional remembering what it was like before the Medicaid expansion, when she ran up thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills while working low-paid restaurant jobs.

“People get sick from not having health insurance, and they let it go too long, and they can’t work,” McComas said. “All in all, it makes sense for everybody to have coverage, not just rich people.“

Capito did not respond to requests for comment.

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Folks like Allison McComas say Medicaid expansion has made a huge difference for them.

She has said she thinks people who enrolled when Medicaid was expanded, such as McComas, should go through a transition period as Medicaid funding is cut. Supporters of the reduced funding call it necessary for the program’s stability.

Edwin Park, vice president for health policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said the little information that has been leaked about the Senate bill indicates it generally resembles the one that passed the House. He said both would cut a quarter of Medicaid funding to make room for tax cuts benefiting the wealthy and the health care industry.

He said he predicts the Senate bill’s timeline will be slower, but would have the same impact.

“The progress that’s been made with the Medicaid expansion would be lost over time, and then the coverage levels that were even in place pre-Affordable Care Act would be rolled back as well,” Park said.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated the Medicaid cuts in the House bill would cost 14 million people their health coverage. Park said the Senate bill would eventually arrive at the same result.

“With the same outcome as the House bill: that is, very large Medicaid cuts and millions of low-income individuals, who would otherwise be on Medicaid, losing their coverage,” he said.

About 170,000 West Virginians signed up when Medicaid was expanded, one of the highest rates in the country.

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

Resistance in a Time of Gunfire

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The smell of gun smoke had net yet lifted from an Alexandria baseball field when the calls for unity began. “An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan. “You’re going to hear me say something you’ve never heard me say before,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi responded. “I identify myself with the remarks of the speaker.”

“We’ve had a very, very divided country for many years,” said President Donald Trump, “and I have a feeling that (wounded Congressman Steve Scalise) has made a great sacrifice but there could be some unity being brought to our country.”

“Let’s hope so,” Trump added.

The country’s leaders understandably tend to call for unity after acts of political violence. But unity doesn’t mean silence. There are sharp political differences in this country. Important issues like health care and gun violence need debate, and lives are at stake.

The president was right to reject violence. But his own words of recent years linger in the air, as acrid as smoke.

“I’d like to punch him in the face,” Trump said of a protester at a campaign rally last year, before lamenting the passing of the “good old days” when the protester would have been “carried out on a stretcher.”

President Trump invited Ted Nugent to the White House for a private dinner in April. This, after the Southern rocker had for years called President Barack Obama an unprintable name, referred to him as a “sub-human mongrel,” and invited him to “suck on my machine gun.” That was “just an outrageous metaphor,” Nugent later said.

“We have got to be civil,” a seemingly chastened Nugent said after the Virginia shooting.

If that was to be the new far-right Republican stance, not everyone got the memo. Several hard-right commentators said that a “Second Civil War” – capitalized, for emphasis – has begun.

“America has been divided,” Republican Rep. Steve King said when he visited the Alexandria baseball field. “And the center of America is disappearing, and the violence is appearing in the streets, and it’s coming from the left.”

The violence is coming from the left? Nine murdered churchgoers in Charleston, along with several hundred other Americans murdered by the far right, would have been surprised to hear that.

The far right has conducted more terrorist violence, in fact, than any other social group in the United States. That includes radical Islamists, according to data published by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism & Responses to Terrorism.

Trump, Rep. King, and other Republicans have exaggerated the threat of Muslim extremists, while ignoring the many American lives lost to right-wing terrorists since 1990. The extremist right often targets law enforcement and military personnel. Despite Trump’s fearmongering about immigration, it poses a much greater threat to public safety immigrants do.

“Violence,” wrote the revolutionary writer and psychiatrist Frantz Fanon, “is man re-creating himself.”

Is he right? Are Americans doomed to an endless cycle of political violence? Not if we take reasonable precautions, like other countries do.

Fanon’s use of the word “man” reflects the gendered language of his time. But studies show that mass shooters are more likely to be men – especially men who have committed violence against women. Police records show that James Hodgkinson, the gunman behind Tuesday’s shooting, committed anti-woman violence against his daughter and a female neighbor.

Mass murders at Virginia Tech, in Isla Vista, Newton, Kansas, Colorado Springs, and across the country were carried out by men who had previously assaulted women. And yet, despite his profile and his record of violence, the FBI reports that James Hodgkinson was able to lawfully purchase a 9 mm handgun and a 7.62 caliber rifle.

Republicans continue to block any attempts to pass reasonable gun control legislation. They are also increasingly eager to outlaw peaceful protests.  Trump’s Commerce Secretary expressed admiration for Saudi Arabia’s totalitarian repression of demonstrations even as lawmakers across the country are moving to criminalize protest.

That’s a toxic combination. This is a time of growing economic inequality, state violence against people of color, and a fraying social safety net. Protests provide a voice for the voiceless and a channel for change. Without protest, crushed dreams are likely to lead to greater unrest.

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible,” said John F. Kennedy, “will make violent revolution inevitable. “

Virtually all leaders of the American left, from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Bernie Sanders, have been deeply committed to nonviolence.

“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,” Dr. King said, “adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.” Sanders has always spoken of peaceful revolution, as he did after the Alexandria shooting. “Real change can only come about through nonviolent action,” Sanders said.

Leaders of the right should follow their example.

But there must be nonviolent action. As of this writing, Republicans are moving to deprive an estimated 24 million people of their health insurance – an act that will cause an estimated 43,000 needless deaths each year.

These are our lives, and the lives of our families, friends, and neighbors. We have the right to act peacefully to protect them.

We don’t have to reinvent ourselves along violent lines. Instead, we can become a country that changes itself through nonviolent revolution. To do that we will need more voices of dissent.  Protest is patriotic. The politicians calling for unity are forgetting a simple principle: When justice is achieved, unity will follow.

~~  Richard Eskow ~~

Consumer Groups Warn CHOICE Act Would Hurt Military Families

The Financial CHOICE Act is in the U.S. Senate, and its backers aim to ease restrictions on banks put in place by the Dodd-Frank Act after the 2007 economic crash. But new research warns the deregulation would hurt U.S. service members.

A report, called Protecting Those Who Serve, said the bill weakens the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That would include limiting the ability of the Office of Servicemember Affairs to defend military families against common problems with predatory lenders.

Report coauthor Ed Mierzwinski is the consumer program director with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

“The Financial CHOICE Act makes it almost impossible for the CFPB to protect anyone,” Mierzwinski said; “and that includes service members.“

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A new report says Congress’ attempt to ease regulations on the financial industry would have harmful side effects for the nation’s military families.

Supporters say the bill, HR 10, removes blocks on economic growth. But Mierzwinski argued that, by making the CFPB optional, the act risks turning common issues like debt collection and high-interest payday loans into bigger problems for military families.

The U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group analyzed 44,000 consumer grievances from active duty service members, veterans and their families. Mierzwinski said the most common complaint was problems with debt collectors. He said for military members, this can have career consequences.

“Admirals and Generals have routinely and often said that a leading cause of losing a security clearance is a bad debt, or a wrong debt,” Mierzwinski said.

Loss of security clearance limits a service member to lower level positions, hindering their ability to earn more money.

The Financial CHOICE Act passed the House along party lines, but it is likely to change in the Senate, where lawmakers on the Banking Committee have shown interest in a smaller but similar bill.

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

Trump Offers Fool’s Gold to Fund Infrastructure

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Donald Trump surrounds himself in gold. The signs on Trump buildings shimmer in it. His penthouse in New York is gilded in it.

He claims now to have found the alchemy to conjure $1 trillion in infrastructure gold. He plans to put up a mere $200 billion in federal funds and stir it together with $800 billion in private investment and state dollars.

That is fool’s gold. A falsely-funded infrastructure program is a massive broken promise. America needs real improvements to roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, airports, water systems and railways. That requires a commitment of real tax dollars, not the relinquishment of America’s public assets to profit-seeking private Wall Street entities. Americans should not be charged twice for maintenance of the public good, once through tax breaks to investors and again in outrageous tolls and fees the investors charge.

On Wednesday, standing on the banks of the Ohio River in Cincinnati, Trump reiterated the pledge he made repeatedly on the campaign trail to put $1 trillion into infrastructure. He said “restoring America” is a promise that Washington, D.C., has broken. “It has not been kept, but we are going to keep it,” he said.

“Taxpayers deserve the best results for their investment,” he said, “and I will be sure that is what they get.” But the plan to turn over public assets to private corporations for tax-supported investment is gold only for the 1 percent who can afford to invest.

The Wall Street Journal reported last fall that to raise the private funds, Trump planned to give massive tax breaks of 82 percent of equity to investors that help pay for infrastructure repair. For citizens, that’s a crappy deal – giving Wall Street control over public assets in addition to being forced to fork over the taxes that rich investors will not pay.

That financial alchemy creates poison, not gold.

In addition, there is no profit in many types of infrastructure that need repair, like schools and hospitals. A corporation can’t collect tolls from children entering their elementary school each morning.

Despite Trump’s promise in Cincinnati that he would take care of rural areas, there’s no profit in many crucial infrastructure projects in such regions. Investors won’t pay for a highway needed to connect two isolated towns in West Virginia.

And the profit in some projects is highly questionable. Several corporations that have bought or built toll roads have filed for bankruptcy. This includes highways in Texas, California, Indiana and Alabama.

In other cases, the profits reaped are outrageous. After Chicago sold its 36,000 parking meters to Morgan Stanley, the Wall Street bank doubled the parking rates and charged the city tens of millions annually for meters Chicago took out of service for street repairs, mass transit stops and safety. A city inspector general report on the deal says Chicago under-priced the meters by nearly $1 billion when former Mayor Richard M. Daily signed the 75-year contract in 2008. The bank is expected to make back its $1.15 billion investment by 2020, giving it 60 more years to rake in pure profit on the backs of Chicago taxpayers who paid to install the meters and who feed them daily.

That’s gold for Morgan Stanley, grief for taxpayers.

Another part of Trump’s financing plan is to shift infrastructure costs to states and towns. This also cheats too many citizens. Sure, some places high on the hog like Silicon Valley might be able to afford that. But too many will be left out.

That’s because large numbers of cities and states are facing fiscal crises. Chicago sold its parking meters to fill a budget shortfall. In Oklahoma, where there’s a $900 million budget gap, schools are so underfunded that 96 of the state’s 513 districts have reduced the school week to four days and another 44 may be forced to do that in the fall. The state has shuttered rural hospitals, overcrowded its prisons and limited state troopers to 100 miles of driving a day.

In Kansas, with a $1.1 billion budget deficit, the state Supreme Court just ordered the legislature to properly pay for its schools. The court said Kansas’ under-funding meant inadequate education in basic reading and math for students in one fourth of its public schools. The state shortchanged half of the state’s black students and a third of its Hispanic pupils.

Illinois hasn’t had a budget for two years. The state’s credit rating has been downgraded eight times. It has accrued $14.5 billion in unpaid bills. As a result, more than 1,500 public university and community college workers have been laid off and untold numbers of social service agencies have closed or severely curtailed services.

Other states, including Connecticut, Kentucky, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, face massive pension shortfalls after years of failing to properly pay into the funds.

These places aren’t going to be able to jump up and take on the federal government’s responsibility to invest in infrastructure.

Even the $200 billion that the Trump administration is saying the federal government will provide is in question. It’s in the budget Trump submitted to Congress, but also in that budget is $206 billion in cuts to existing infrastructure programs, including those conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation and Army Corps of Engineers. That’s the very Corps of Engineers that would pay for the river lock and dam projects that Trump complained Wednesday in Cincinnati were grossly underfunded, causing costly breakdowns.

That kind of budgeting is bad alchemy. That’s not $1 trillion in infrastructure gold.

Trump said Wednesday, “We will build because our people want to build and because we need them to build. We will build because our prosperity demands it. We will build because that is how we make America great again.”

That sounds wonderful. But to build, projects must be properly paid for. And so far, the Trump administration has offered only pyrite.

~~  Leo Gerard ~~

CHOICE Act Is a Lump of Coal in Our Stocking

“Wall Street wrote their wish list, and to Congress they’re flocking:

But this Christmas in June, let’s put coal in their stocking!”

Republicans in the House want make the deepest desires of Wall Street sharpies, loan sharks and big banks come true.  They are poised to vote on what they call the “CHOICE Act,” which is in fact the most extreme pro-Wall Street, anti-consumer bill this country has ever seen.

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Fearless Girl Statue by Kristen Visbal, Wall Street. Photo credit: Anthony Quintano

Representative Maxine Waters is on target when she calls it the “Wrong Choice Act.” It turns back the clock to before our country’s financial near-collapse in 2008, effectively ‘repealing and replacing’ the curbs put in place to keep Wall Street avarice from crashing the economy while fleecing the public again.

The bill is a parade of anti-family, anti-consumer provisions; one terrible proposal after another.  It takes away rules that say your financial advisor has to represent clients’ interest before lining their own pockets; basically, it allows sales pitches to be disguised as financial advice.

It throws up ridiculous barriers to keep regulators from doing their job, and basically gives big banks the power to ignore oversight.

It takes away the Volcker rule, which stopped banks from gambling in the market with federally guaranteed deposits. And it eviscerates the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), weakening the watchdog and eliminating its ability to go after unfair banking practices that deceive and abuse the public.

They’re not coming after these rules and the CFPB because they don’t work.  On the contrary, it’s because they work so well. In less than six years, the CFPB has returned $11.8 billion to more than 29 million consumers defrauded by big banks, shady for-profit colleges, and debt collectors.

The CFPB has created key rules that protect consumers, reduce foreclosures, and make credit safer and more affordable.  Yet despite posting record profits in 2016, the big banks want more: more fees, more scams, and if they have their way, nobody watching the store.

The CHOICE Act’s most tone-deaf and destructive move strips the CFPB of its ability to regulate payday and car-title loan sharks, just as the Bureau is about to release rules designed to shut down payday debt scams.

Over 400,000 people nationwide submitted comments in support of rules that crack down on these triple-digit interest traps, but Republicans in Congress thinks they should have free reign.

American families are not fooled.  They understand the rules that were put in place after the financial meltdown make our economy more stable, and there are now fewer ways the big banks can trick and trap us in our financial lives.

They understand that it’s the millions of dollars pouring in to Congresspeople’s accounts from the financial industry that is driving this bill.  And people are making their voice heard.

Nearly a quarter of a million people have signed petitions to Congress telling them to vote no on the CHOICE Act.  They are going to town halls and Congressional offices from New Jersey to Texas, and from Tennessee to California, with a simple and clear message: if you vote for Wall Street over Main Street, we will remember come next November.

So, with our tongues firmly in cheek and apologies to hopeful children everywhere, we invite you to join us in a little carol we wrote for this cheerless occasion, the “Night Before the CHOICE Act.”

‘Twas the night before Congress and all through the Street,

not a broker was stirring, not even to cheat.

The bill had been written, by Chase and by Wells;

it’s a wishlist of Wall Street, with all of the bells.

“We went to our puppets – to Mitch, and to Paul

And let’s not forget Hensarling, our favorite of all!”

“We added in loopholes, and clawed back the rules!

We removed every watchdog, treat consumers like fools!”

It’s open season on families; let all the sharks loose!

The CHOICE Act is here, ripping out sense by the roots.

But what, to their wondering eyes, does appear?

Millions of angry people, who’ll be voting next year.

Folks are raising their voices from Maine to Manassas:

“if you vote for this garbage, you’ll be out on your asses.”

“We’re not giving our savings to make more bankers rich,

They drove our economy straight into the ditch!”

“We demand a strong Bureau and investor protections:

If you side with Wall Street, you’ll lose your elections.”

~~  Liz Ryan Murray ~~

Veterans On the March - Memorial Day Actions in DC

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The United States is the most militarized and jingoistic nation on earth. Its foreign policy is guided by imperialist militarism, neoliberal capitalism and racial xenophobia. For more than sixteen years now, three presidential administrations have carried out a so-called “War on Terror” (GWOT), a perpetual state of war that is waged globally, under the depraved reasoning that “the world is a battlefield,” to quote investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill. As demonstrated by the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the GWOT is conducted through conventional warfare. More often, however, it is executed through covert or “dirty” wars, against groups and individuals in many other nations.

The U.S. has the financial and logistical capacity to wage these illegal wars. Its bloated military budget is larger than the next seven countries combined. It is by far the largest operator of military installations abroad, maintaining nearly 800 bases in around 70 countries. The ever-growing military-industrial complex, which President Eisenhower warned about in his farewell address, permeates every facet of our society – from an economy largely dependent on the war industry, to military recruiting in our public schools, to police militarization. This toxic culture of war is underscored on different national holidays, particularly Memorial Day.

Memorial Day – a day originating in 1868 (Decoration Day), on which the gravesites of the Civil War dead were decorated with flowers – has morphed into a day that conflates the memorialization of killed soldiers with the glorification of war. The perennial flag-waving, ultra-nationalist speeches, garish street parades and hyper-consumerism of Memorial Day do not honor these soldiers. What might, however, is working to prevent future war and nurture peace – honoring their memory by not sending more men and women into harm’s way and to kill and maim in wars based on lies. To have any chance at being effective, however, this work must include efforts aimed at increasing public awareness about the many causes and costs of war.

Long-time consumer advocate, lawyer, and author Ralph Nader affirms in the essay, “Strengthening Memorial Day,” honoring our war casualties should be about more than their loss. According to Nader, “waging strong peace initiatives is also a way to remember those human beings, soldiers and civilians, who never returned to their homes. “Never again” should be our tribute and promise to them.”

Referring to the post-9/11 invasions, in “Remember This on Memorial Day: They Didn’t Fall, They Were Pushed,” Ray McGovern, former Army officer and senior CIA analyst, tenders a hypophoric question: what constitutes a show of respect for the U.S. troops killed in these wars and for the family members on Memorial Day? To which McGovern responds, “Simple: Avoid euphemisms like “the fallen” and expose the lies about what a great idea it was to start those wars and then to “surge” tens of thousands of more troops into those fools’ errands.”

Bill Quigley, law professor at Loyola University New Orleans, writes in “Memorial Day: Praying for Peace While Waging Permanent War?” that “Memorial Day is, by federal law, a day of prayer for permanent peace.” This is a contradiction, though—based on the conduct of our government. Quigley asks: “is it possible to honestly pray for peace while our country is far and away number one in the world in waging war, military presence, military spending and the sale of weapons around the world?” He offers five suggestions for how we might alter this reality, the first two being, “learn the facts and face the truth that the US is the biggest war maker in the world” and “commit ourselves and organize others to a true revolution of values and confront the corporations and politicians who continue to push our nation into war and inflate the military budget with the hot air of permanent fear mongering.” Quigley emphasizes that, “Only when we work for the day when the US is no longer the world leader in war will we have the right to pray for peace on Memorial Day.”

In an article published in The Boston Globe (1976), the people’s historian Howard Zinn urged readers to rethink Memorial Day, who we honor that day, and our national priorities. Dr. Zinn wrote: “Memorial Day will be celebrated … by the usual betrayal of the dead, by the hypocritical patriotism of the politicians and contractors preparing for more wars, more graves to receive more flowers on future Memorial Days. The memory of the dead deserves a different dedication. To peace, to defiance of governments.”... “Memorial Day should be a day for putting flowers on graves and planting trees. Also, for destroying the weapons of death that endanger us more than they protect us, that waste our resources and threaten our children and grandchildren.”

Each Memorial Day, members of Veterans For Peace (VFP), an international nonprofit that works to abolish war and promote peace, participates in a wide range of nonviolent protest actions in cities and towns nationwide. This year is no different. A major VFP action will be held in Washington, DC, through a series of events termed “Veterans On the March! Stop Endless War, Build for Peace,” May 29 and 30, 2017. VFP’s military veterans, military family members and allies will converge in DC in solidarity to end war as instrument of national policy; build a culture of peace; expose the true costs of war; and, heal the wounds of war.

On Memorial Day, VFP and its friends will gather on this solemn and respectful occasion to deliver letters at the Vietnam Memorial Wall, intended as a commemoration of all combatants and civilians who died in Vietnam and all wars. VFP will mourn the tragic and preventable loss of life, and call for people to strive to abolish war, in the name of those who have died and for the sake of all those who live today. The “Letters at the Wall” remembrance is an activity of the Vietnam Full Disclosure Campaign, a national project of VFP. In her essay, “Preparing for the Next Memorial Day,” CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin shares the story of one of the veterans who partakes in the Project: “As Vietnam vet Dan Shea said when he reflected on the names etched and not etched on the Vietnam Memorial, including the missing names of the Vietnamese and all the victims of Agent Orange, including his own son: “Why Vietnam? Why Afghanistan? Why Iraq? Why any war? .…May the mighty roar of the victims of this violence silence the drums that beat for war.”

On Tuesday, May 30, VFP will host a mass rally at the Lincoln Memorial, where speakers will boldly and loudly call for an end to war, to the assault on our planet, and to the abuse and oppression of all people. Calls will also be made for people to stand for peace and justice, at home and abroad. Following the rally, participants will march to the White House to present a list of demands to the President stipulating that the systemic state violence which is preventing a just, peaceful and sustainable way of life for current and future generations must stop immediately. Planning for this rally/march started in response to VFP’s galvanizing statement about Trump’s Military Budget and the desire and responsibility of veterans, citizens and human beings to express strong resistance to Trump’s racist and antagonistic policies and commit to find a better way to peace.

In addition to these actions, VFP will once again fill a void in the National Memorial space by offering people an opportunity to bear witness on a touring memorial to all the costs of war on all sides. Not only do we lack a memorial to the American combat dead in Iraq and Afghanistan and other post-Vietnam wars, but we lack a monument to the many suicide deaths and families torn by the traumas of exposure to war. The Swords to Plowshares Memorial Belltower, a 24-foot tall tower covered with silver wind-blown ‘bricks’ made from recycled cans, provides an opportunity for tribute to these war victims. Initiated by VFP’s Eisenhower Chapter, the Belltower is dedicated to stopping the cycle of war and violence, healing the wounds of war that is caused on both sides of conflict, and providing a forum for all victims to start the healing process caused by wars.

Join VFP in Washington, DC on May 29 and 30 to stop hegemonic thinking, dismantle the military-industrial complex, and demand a transformation of national priorities from death and destruction to social uplift and peace. These shared goals can be achieved if enough people come together and engage in nonviolent social change for a better tomorrow.

Brian Trautman is a U.S. Army veteran, a national board member of Veterans For Peace, and a peace educator/activist.

Huge Cuts to Food Stamps Part of Trump’s Budget Proposal

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Donald Trump’s budget would drive millions of people off of food stamps, part of a new wave of spending cut proposals that already are getting panned by lawmakers in both parties on Capitol Hill.

Trump’s blueprint for the 2018 budget year comes out Tuesday. It includes a wave of cuts to benefit programs such as Medicaid, federal employee pensions, welfare benefits and farm subsidies.

All told, according to people familiar with the plan, Trump’s budget includes $1.7 trillion over 10 years in cuts from such so-called mandatory programs. That includes cuts to pensions for federal workers and higher contributions toward those pension benefits, as well as cuts to refundable tax credits paid to the working poor. People familiar with the plan were not authorized to discuss it by name and requested anonymity.

Cuts include a whopping $193 billion from food stamps over the coming decade — a cut of more than 25 percent — implemented by cutting back eligibility and imposing additional work requirements, according to talking points circulated by the White House. The program presently serves about 42 million people.

The food stamp cuts are several times larger than those attempted by House Republicans a few years back and comprise the bulk of a 10-year, $274 billion proposal that’s labeled as welfare reform.

The fleshed-out proposal follows up on an unpopular partial release in March that targeted the budgets of domestic agencies and foreign aid for cuts averaging 10 percent — and made lawmakers in both parties recoil.

The new cuts are unpopular as well.

“We think it’s wrongheaded,“ said Representaive Mike Conaway, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, when asked about looming cuts to farm programs. “Production agriculture is in the worst slump since the depression — 50 percent drop in the net income for producers. They need this safety net,“ said Conaway, R-Texas.

Trump’s budget plan promises to balance the federal ledger by the end of a 10-year window, even while exempting Social Security and Medicare retirement benefits from cuts. To achieve balance, the plan by White House budget director Mick Mulvaney relies on optimistic estimates of economic growth, and the surge in revenues that would result, while abandoning Trump’s promise of a “massive tax cut.“

Instead, the Trump tax plan promises an overhaul that would cut tax rates but rely on erasing tax breaks and economic growth to end up as “revenue neutral.“ It would create three tax brackets — 10 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent — instead of the current seven.

Trump is also targeting the Medicaid health program that provides care to the poor and disabled, and nursing home care to millions of older people who could not otherwise afford it.

The House had a bitter debate on health care before a razor-thin 217-213 passage in early May of a GOP health bill that included more than $800 billion in Medicaid cuts over the coming decade. Key Republicans are not interested in another round of cuts to the program.

“I would think that the health care bill is our best policy statement on Medicaid going forward,“ said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the program.

Details on Trump’s budget will not be publicly released until Tuesday, but Mulvaney has briefed Republicans about what’s coming and his staff has provided targeted leaks to the media.

A full budget submission by the administration to Congress is months overdue and follows the release two months ago of an outline for the discretionary portion of the budget, covering defense, education, foreign aid, housing and environmental programs, among others. Their budgets pass each year through annual appropriations bills.

An earlier blueprint from Trump proposed a $54 billion, 10 percent increase for the military above an existing cap on Pentagon spending, financed by an equal cut to nondefense programs. Those cuts rang alarm bells for many Republicans, who were particularly upset about proposals to eliminate community development block grants, slash medical research and eviscerate foreign aid.

Trump’s GOP allies rejected such cuts when wrapping up long-overdue legislation for the current budget year, which ends Sept. 30. There’s little sign they will have a change of heart now, especially with Trump’s administration in turmoil and his poll ratings at historic lows.

“The budget’s a starting point. We’ll go to work from there,“ said Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Republicans controlling Congress have delayed action on their companion budget measure, waiting for Trump to go first. This year’s budget debate, Republicans hope, would grease the way for a major overhaul of the loophole-cluttered tax system. But House conservatives also want to embark on a round of cuts to benefit programs and are open to Trump’s suggestions for cuts to mandatory programs such as federal employee pensions.

Presidential budgets are mere suggestions, and the White House has discretion to assume higher economic growth rates of up to 3 percent or so under Trump’s agenda of tax changes, loosened regulations and infrastructure spending.

Tuesday’s budget will also include proposals such as paid leave for parents after the birth or adoption of a child, a $200 billion infrastructure plan that Trump officials claim could leverage, along with private investment, up to $1 trillion in construction projects, and funding for Trump’s oft-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The budget contains $1.6 billion for wall construction, along with $300 million for additional border patrol and immigration agents as part of a $2.6 billion hike for border security programs.

Former Oil Industry Exec Weighs In on Methane-Waste Rule

Just hours are left for the U.S. Senate to invoke the Congressional Review Act and overturn a Bureau of Land Management rule preventing oil and gas developers on public land from venting and flaring methane gas into the atmosphere.

The Congressional Review Act gives lawmakers 60 days to overturn newly adopted agency rules, and for the BLM methane-waste rules, that deadline is Thursday. The Senate vote could come as early as today.

Wayne Warmack, a former director at ConocoPhillips, worked in the oil and gas industry for nearly three decades and contended that the rule will ensure a cleaner environment and bring in money for local communities.

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The Bureau of Land Management estimates that energy companies wasted enough natural gas to power more than 5 million homes between 2009 and 2014.

The result, he said, could be “millions and millions of dollars every year that would come in the form of taxes and royalties to the states and federal government, and the public. There are job benefits, in the fact that there will be more jobs created to help capture this methane.“

The BLM has estimated that companies wasted enough gas to power more than 5 million homes between 2009 and 2014. Supporters have said royalty dollars could go to support public schools or updated infrastructure. Those who are opposed have said capturing the gas is too costly for energy companies and impractical for older well sites.

Warmack said regulations must move forward in line with the public’s continually rising expectations. However, he noted, industry always rises to the challenge. One example, he said, was the mandate that vapor-control systems be installed at gas pumps.

“There was a huge cry about how much it was going to increase the price of gas and how it would put gas stations out of business and cost a lot of jobs,“ he said, “but the truth is that industry responds to those challenges by finding better technology and better ways to accomplish those tasks.“

A poll conducted earlier this year found an overwhelming majority of voters on both sides of the political aisle support keeping the BLM methane rule in place, and 60 percent said they oppose eliminating federal requirements on energy companies.

A fact sheet on the BLM methane-waste rule is online at

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