Open thread for night owls: No, French protesters aren’t opposed to better climate policies

Open thread for night owls: No, French protesters aren’t opposed to better climate policies

Like much of the media, Donald Trump used the occasion of hundreds of arrests of “yellow jacket” protesters in France on Saturday to tweet that the month-long expressions of violence catalyzed by an increased fuel tax prove that people aren’t interested in environmental protection, particularly policies to address climate change. He and the shallow media reports have it wrong mistaken. On that same Saturday tens of thousands of supporters of climate action peacefully demonstrated in the streets of Paris and were joined by numerous yellow jacket protesters. Stéphane Mandard of Le Monde wrote that one of the yellow vests was emblazoned with a slogan that seemed to offer one answer to the two struggles: “Make the rich pay for the environmental transition.” 

Emily Atkin at The New Republic writes—France’s Yellow Vest Protesters Want to Fight Climate Change:

Trump isn’t the first to characterize France’s protests as a populist uprising against environmentalism. […] Writing in The Spectator, Brendan O’Neil praised the Yellow Vests for taking a stance against “eco-elitism.” “This is a people’s rebellion against the onerous consequences of climate-change policy, against the politics of environmentalism and its tendency to punish the little people for daring to live relatively modern, fossil-fueled lives,” he wrote. […]

Everyday people in France want to fight climate change; they are more worried and outraged about the impacts of global warming than their European neighbors, according to the last European Perceptions of Climate Change report. They just don’t want low- and middle-income people to have to pay for solving a problem caused by multinational corporations. According to the report, most French people oppose raising electricity prices, or raising taxes on fuel, as a method of fighting climate change. The French government’s fuel tax—written into law before Macron took office—is exactly the kind of policy citizens have indicated they do not support.

But the French do support other climate policies. Significant majorities support the use of public funding to subsidize renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, the report showed. Large majorities also support the Paris climate agreement, contrary to Trump’s tweets. In fact, the report shows that 69 percent of French people support “high economic penalties for countries that refuse to be part of this agreement.”

There are lessons to be learned from France’s protests. “People will riot in the streets if you try a carbon tax” isn’t one of them. The Yellow Vest protests show the importance of crafting equitable climate policies that don’t make life harder for people who are already struggling. Those type of policies exist—and if they were implemented, fossil fuels would decline at a remarkable rate. Only Trump and the Wall Street Journal would be rioting then.

TOP COMMENTS 

QUOTATION

“A respect for the rights of other people to determine their forms of government and their economy will not weaken our democracy. It will inevitably strengthen it. One of the first things we must get rid of is the idea that democracy is tantamount to capitalism.”
               ~~Eleanor Roosevelt, Tomorrow Is Now: It Is Today That We Must Create the World of the Future (1963)

TWEET OF THE DAY

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You can be fired for saying a lot of things but “Let’s destroy the climate and threaten human survival so polluters don’t have to be slightly less rich” is definitely not one of them, yet.

— LOLGOP👀 (@LOLGOP) December 10, 2018

BLAST FROM THE PAST

On this date at Daily Kos in 2002—Americans hijack Iraq weapons doc:

As if the US wasn’t already losing the PR war in its mad rush to war against Iraq…Diplomats and U.S. officials said Monday that after an intense lobbying campaign, the United States received an early and uncut copy of Iraq’s 11,807-page weapons declaration and whisked it to Washington for analysis.

The United States was then put in charge of making duplicates for its four fellow permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — Britain, China, France and Russia — on grounds that Washington had the best photocopying capabilities.

[…]

The Security Council had previously agreed to leave the report with U.N. inspectors until it was screened for material that might aid others in making weapons. All five permanent members are nuclear powers.

The decision upset several of the 10 non-permanent members of the 15-member Security Council, including Norway and Syria, as it overrode what the body had decided Friday.

And why would the Americans want first dibs at the document? Because it would allow it to scrub it clean of the names of foreign corporations that helped Iraq build its WMD programs.

Of course, there’s an easy solution to this whole mess. Iraq should simply leak the document to the press. If the Bushies are insistent on starting this war, then I want to know what role American companies played in building Iraq’s arsenal.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Greg Dworkin and Armando catch us up on the wild (il)legal weekend for Trump. Also, things happened in the rest of the world! But, back to us: People are writing about the i-word! Indicting a POTUS. Maybe the Constitution is a suicide pact after all.

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The politics of ’12 Angry Men’ has never really left us and probably never will

The politics of ’12 Angry Men’ has never really left us and probably never will

When I’m not analyzing the subtext of the latest pop culture offerings, on most days I get to interact with people from all walks of life, dealing with all sorts of situations. I meet people with children who in one way or another face a life of hardship, and I sometimes get lost in thought about the unfairness of it all. Seeing babies in a hospital nursery, some born into this world with serious medical adversities on day one, I start thinking about the things most people take for granted for which those children may never experience, and all because somehow someway they lost a random chance lottery game with nature. Things as simple as walking, living to be a teenager, having a first kiss, going to prom, or ultimately being able to live as a self-sufficient individual in control of their own destiny may be beyond their capabilities.

It’s not fair, and the longer I think about it the angrier I get.

Once in a late-night, drunken conversation I told a girlfriend about these feelings, and while she agreed the overall situations were tragic, she thought my perspective was flawed. For her, to view these lives as being “broken” in some way is to assign a value which considers them less than normal, when the love and relationships these individuals bring to the world is different but just as significant as any other. Getting angry over what has been possibly lost is to discount the flesh and blood reality of the present. I’m still not sure I totally agree with her, but the entire conversation made me realize how in any given situation, even the ones we think are cut and dry, our views are filtered through a lens of emotional baggage which can either angry at an imperfect world in which bad things can happen, or can find hope in the worst of circumstances. 

Sydney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men is considered by many to be one of the best films ever made, parodied endlessly as the definitive representation of pop culture depictions of the jury system, and used in many schools to teach principles as they relate to government, the application of law, and principles of American justice. The action of the 1957 film, adapted from a teleplay written by Reginald Rose, occurs in the tension-filled conversations which occur mostly in one room; a jury room where the life of a young boy accused of murdering his father hangs in the balance. Juror #8 (Henry Fonda) stands alone in questioning the boy’s guilt, and slowly, methodically begins swaying the jury with arguments which appeal to reason, compassion, and common sense.

In the decades since the film was released, there have been arguments over whether the jury’s ultimate decision was the right one, and the true theme of the story. Is it a tale about how an individual can make a difference in the world? Is it a story about the flawed ways we try to achieve fairness? Both are legitimate ways to look at the movie, but watching it again this weekend what struck me about 12 Angry Men is how it’s really a story of perspectives, and the ways those perspectives color reason.

But, most of all, I found the timeless quality of the movie funny in how the different perspectives in the film still describes the views of huge swaths of the electorate here in 2018.

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Bottom line: Federal prosecutors think the president committed a felony in pursuit of his presidency

Bottom line: Federal prosecutors think the president committed a felony in pursuit of his presidency

As the title says, federal prosecutors think the president committed a felony in pursuit of his presidency. At what point does the legitimacy of his presidency get called into question? And even if it does, I’m not sure we have the mechanism to address that. 

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“For the first time you have Federal Prosecutors essentially saying that Donald Trump committed a felony” – fmr. U.S. Acting Solicitor General, @neal_katyal pic.twitter.com/WrJlWOOKed

— TheBeat w/Ari Melber (@TheBeatWithAri) December 7, 2018

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7/ That statement by prosecutors indicates that they have some level of corroborating evidence that convinces them by “a preponderance of the evidence” that Trump directed Cohen to commit those crimes.

— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) December 7, 2018

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A historic first: country’s first charter school strike may be over, with a victory for teachers

A historic first: country’s first charter school strike may be over, with a victory for teachers

Acero charter school teachers walked off the job in Chicago on Dec. 4, beginning the first charter teachers strike. By that Friday, Acero Schools officials were saying that the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) was “violating” the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act. The CTU for their part, tried not to laugh out loud at the clearly desperate attempt (by what amounts to “management” in a charter school scenario) to paint teachers’ actions as anything other than righteous. Here’s how CTU president Jesse Sharkey responded to Acero’s allegations in a statement to New York magazine:

“Acero’s management is desperate, and our pressure is working. There is nothing illegal about our strike over wages, benefits, class size and other conditions that are mandatory subjects of bargaining under the federal labor law that governs this contract. Acero CEO Richard Rodriguez is a political hack trying to build his personal empire and the size of his wallet at the expense of our students. A growing groundswell of parents, neighborhood residents and elected officials are rejecting his spectacular greed, just as the courts will reject this desperate move to hoard power and public dollars at the expense the children in these schools and the educators upon whom they rely.

This is a pathetic and predictable ploy. Our bargaining team is at the table now and intends to work through the weekend to win a fair agreement.”

Damn. As LaborNotes.org points out, Acero charter schools CEO Richard Rodriguez is paid more for supervising roughly 8,000 students than than the Chicago Public Schools superintendent is for overseeing more than 350,000 students. The Chicago Tribune reports that Acero’s rhetoric was all bark and no bite.

More than 500 teachers and support staff will return to 15 Acero campuses across the city Monday after walking off the job and missing four days of school last week. The workers will vote in the coming weeks to approve the contract, which promises better pay and hours for teachers as well as smaller class sizes and sanctuary school protections for the majority Latino student body.

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House Democrats may investigate Jared Kushner and his oddly close relationship to Saudi crown prince

House Democrats may investigate Jared Kushner and his oddly close relationship to Saudi crown prince

While campaigning for president, Donald Trump openly talked about his relationship with wealthy Saudis, bragging to crowds about the huge amounts the Saudis had paid for condos at Trump properties. At a 2015 campaign rally in Alabama, Trump said: “Saudi Arabia, I get along with all of them. They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.” 

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A message from President Obama: You have 5 days to get covered!

A message from President Obama: You have 5 days to get covered!

Former President Barack Obama wants you to have health insurance.

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No jump shots. No ferns. No memes. Not this time. I’m going to give it to you straight: If you need health insurance for 2019, the deadline to get covered is December 15. Go to https://t.co/ob1Ynoesod today and pass this on — you just might save a life. pic.twitter.com/8mHMsXGY0g

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) December 10, 2018

Do what he says. Get covered. Spread the word. You have just five days in most states.

There’s free help for you or anyone you recruit. If you have questions about signing up or want to talk through your options with a trained professional, help is just a quick call or click away. Call 1-800-318-2596, visit localhelp.healthcare.gov or make a one-on-one appointment now.

Here are the states with extended deadlines for enrollment:
California – January 15, 2019
Colorado – January 15, 2019
D.C. – January 31, 2019
Massachusetts – January 23, 2019
Minnesota – January 13, 2019
New York – January 31, 2019
Rhode Island – January 31, 2019
 

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Jerome Corsi, caught up in Russia probe, sues Mueller and four federal agencies for $350 million

Jerome Corsi, caught up in Russia probe, sues Mueller and four federal agencies for $350 million

The big challenge for conspiracy theorists is when their quack scenarios run up against a truth serum known as “the law.” Chief birther and swiftboater Jerome Corsi is about to figure that out, but in the meantime he’s making the most of his blissful ignorance with a new lawsuit targeting Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the Justice Department, FBI, CIA, and National Security Agency for $350 million. 

Corsi’s complaint filed Sunday alleges that Mueller attempted to blackmail him into cooperating with a scheme designed to oust Donald Trump from the presidency. It also accuses Mueller of illegally leaking grand jury information that has smeared Corsi personally and professionally in an effort to “drive him into bankruptcy,” according to TPM’s Josh Kovensky.

Corsi adds that his tribulations are part of a conspiracy “designed to remove the current president of the United States for political and other improper purposes, and therefore effectively wage a ‘legal coup d’etat,’ negating the will of the American voters who elected Donald J. Trump on November 6, 2016.”

Keep it up, Corsi, because suing the entire federal law enforcement and national security apparatus while the special counsel’s office zeroes in on your involvement in the Russian conspiracy to steal the 2016 election is pure genius.

After rejecting a plea deal with Mueller several weeks ago, Corsi said publicly he expects to be indicted by the special counsel. He also leaked the draft agreement with Mueller, which detailed Corsi’s advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ Democratic email dumps and totally incriminated him. Also pure genius. 

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Undocumented Trump worker stands by decision to share to her story: ‘I had enough with suffering’

Undocumented Trump worker stands by decision to share to her story: ‘I had enough with suffering’

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Victorina Morales, the brave undocumented immigrant who stepped forward to reveal that she had been working at Donald Trump’s New Jersey golf club for five years, is standing by her decision to take on the president of the United States at great personal risk. “We need to come out and defend ourselves,” she said. “I had enough with suffering.”

Morales is one of the four immigrants—so far—who have said that the Trump Organization hired them to work at the Bedminster golf resort while knowing that they didn’t have permission to be in the U.S. Morales, in particular, said she worked in such close proximity to Trump that she made his bed and got a special recognition from the White House. “I liked working for him,” she said.

That all changed when she began to be subjected to abusive behavior from management, saying that immigrant employees were ridiculed as “donkeys,” “dogs,” and insulted over their English-language proficiency. Then, there was the main boss. “When I saw how he talked about us when he started his presidency,” she said about Trump, “I felt humiliated.” 

Morales is also exposing (more) claims of criminality within the Trump Organization, saying that management not only knew she had false documents, but helped her procure another set while holding her immigration status over her head. “The brave women who’ve come forward to seek justice,” said leading immigration attorney David Leopold, “are victims of crime” who could be protected by special visas.

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James Comey confirms ordering a 2016 investigation into Rudy Giuliani and Clinton-related FBI leaks

James Comey confirms ordering a 2016 investigation into Rudy Giuliani and Clinton-related FBI leaks

During the 2016 election cycle, miniature former mayoral dictator Rudolph Giuliani, like failed person Chris Christie, decided to attach his old-corrupt New York wagon to Donald Trump. It made sense to anyone who grew up in the tri-state area in the 1970s-2000 that all of these villains would be in league with one another. Giuliani, whose only national exposure was as the mayor of New York City during the World Trade Center attacks of September 11th, had run his course. But with Trump, Giuliani was given a second and third terrible act, maligning Hillary Clinton on shows like Fox News. Giuliani held himself up as someone with real important insider information, offering insight into how “corrupt” Clinton was and how her private email server was the single-most important national security issue facing the country.

Former FBI director James Comey was doing a talk at the 92nd Street Y radio show in New York City on Sunday night. He talked about Trump’s legal problems but he also discussed Rudolph Giuliani.

Sunday also marked Comey’s first public comments since he testified Friday for more than six hours before two House committees on both the Clinton email investigation and the Russia probe. In that testimony he revealed that he ordered an internal investigation into leaks he believed were coming from the FBI’s New York field office about developments in the Clinton email case, based on public comments made by then-Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani who now is the president’s top attorney. […]

“Knowing the bureau, I’m highly confident that it’s either ongoing or it reached conclusion. Because that’s not something our internal affairs people let go of,” he said.

In 2016, Giuliani could offer Trump’s campaign a few things. One, he knew Trump for decades, and is suspected—as a former New York state attorney who went after the New York mafia—to know where some of Donald’s early dirty dealings are hidden. Two, after September 11, 2001, Giuliani—as New York City mayor—began relationships with New York FBI agents working with Patriot-Act powers in the security of the Big Apple.

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