Distraction By Design?

Some of you undoubtedly saw this article from The Guardian.

A top US official told a group of fossil fuel industry leaders that the Trump administrationwill soon issue a proposal making large portions of the Atlantic available for oil and gas development, and said that it is easier to work on such priorities because Donald Trump is skilled at sowing “absolutely thrilling” distractions, according to records of a meeting obtained by the Guardian.

Joe Balash, the assistant secretary for land and minerals management, was speaking to companies in the oil exploration business at a meeting of the International Association of Geophysical Contractors, or IAGC, last month.

“One of the things that I have found absolutely thrilling in working for this administration,” said Balash,“is the president has a knack for keeping the attention of the media and the public focused somewhere else while we do all the work that needs to be done on behalf of the American people.”

Yes indeed. The amount of damage being done by this administration–to public education, to science, to the environment, to poor people–is enormous, and most Americans are unaware of most of it, because Donald Trump has sucked up all the oxygen in the room.

The administration is moving as quickly as possible to allow oil and gas drilling in federal waters, despite opposition from coastal residents and lawmakers.

The Trump administration is moving to permit a handful of private companies to start using seismic surveys in the Atlantic, a controversial practice in which air guns shoot loud blasts into ocean waters to identify oil deposits. Some scientific studies suggest that seismic surveys can harm or potentially kill marine creatures, including dolphins, whales, fish and zooplankton.

Mr. Balash may find the President’s ability to distract us “thrilling,” but Americans who care about the environment are less enchanted.

As the media focuses on Trump’s increasingly bizarre tweets and his “wink wink” none-too-subtle encouragement of White Supremacists, the people charged with administering federal agencies are busily deconstructing them. A coal lobbyist heads up the EPA, an advocate of privatizing public schools has been ensconced at the Department of Education, a “brain surgeon” who believes poverty is best addressed by exhorting poor people, and various other actual “enemies of the people” are intent upon eviscerating health and safety regulations and empowering “Captains of Industry” with whom they are cozy.

Our only salvation is the thorough-going incompetence of most of these corrupt crony capitalists. I shudder to think how much more harm they could do if they knew how government worked.

What I would find “thrilling” is their departure–along with Trump and Pence–from any role  whatsoever in American government.


  1. To be clear, all US POTUS’s have been coal and oil sluts. Trump is a buffoon, so it’s effortless to pick apart his department heads–he requires servitude. Being a servant to an idiot requires a special kind of stupid. We’ve assembled a small mass of idiocy in the White House.


    Americans support the Green New Deal, but Industry is trying their hardest to show they still rule in this country. I love the repeated attempts by Trump to assure the American people that we will never be a socialist country. I guess voters will have the last word on what this country is or is not.

    Let me rephrase, informed voters would have the final say…if not in 2020, then in 2024.

    This shit show is coming to an abrupt end very soon. Hopefully, the sooner, the better.

  2. Having seen so many movies filmed in California, showing the natural beauty as well as the busy cities, I was excited when my husband and drove from Las Vegas to visit my cousins in a Los Angeles suburb in 1981. Their beautiful home with the small yard beautifully landscaped by them had a short brick wall separating their lovely back yard from one of the many huge, ugly 24/7 oil pumping rigs that seemed to be everywhere. That was then; this is now and what is the situation today?

    Will we be rid of Trump and all Republicans such as Joe Balash before this becomes the norm throughout our country? Never lose sight of the lengths this government went to to “protect” the Keystone oil pipeline through Native American lands and sacred grounds or the lives lost in that continuing “cavalry against the Indians” battle. Our oceans are not the only areas in danger of destruction. None of us are immune.

  3. Republican governing by “distraction” isn’t governing at all. It is a special kind of treason where the laws of the land are twisted and ignored and the very lives of the people are injured and destroyed in the name of capitalism. Local example being Franklin, Indiana.

  4. I hope and pray that “informed voters” all go to the polls in November 2020. In fact, I don’t even care if they’re informed, as long as they want to put an end to this national nightmare.

  5. Let’s do some historical analogy. Bannon (officially) left the Administration but his admittedly Leninist theory of the “deconstruction of the administrative state” is Trump’s sub rosa (but plain to the discerning) plan to destroy our democratic values and institutions. Thus it is not the communist hordes in 1917 St.Petersburg who destroyed the administrative state of the Romanovs and their Rasputin we see today but rather by analogy the Romanovs (Trumps) and their Rasputin (Bannon) who would destroy the administrative state (democracy) we have today in favor of some form of authoritarianism yet to be defined.

    It is not only communists who would destroy our democratic values and institutions. Capitalists can do the job as well, and we are witness to such an attempt with the admixture of terminal capitalism and authoritarianism Trump is pursuing. Plundering the Atlantic for fossil fuel is one such adventure. Impoverishing the poor and further enrichment of the already rich via tax cut redistribution of our economy’s income and wealth is another. Daily critiques of our democracy and patriots (McCain and many others) who suffered and died for such freedoms is yet another – and to make things worse – critiques from a draft-dodger! The list is endless.

    So what to do? Shall we be “Good Germans” and succumb to the deadly phantasies of a paper hanging racist as did many in the Thirties, or shall we resist this attack by a Bannon-inspired real estate investor on our democratic values and institutions for which millions have given their lives to nurture and support? I have made my choice, and on a personal level one I made long ago when seeing dead Japanese soldiers on a Palauan beach and seeing human fingers on the deck of our ship during WW II. I was there not on behalf of FDR or Truman but to resist fascists’ attempts to destroy our democracy since, as I often write all these years later > Our democracy is our most valuable asset held in common, and one of the last few things left worth dying for. Wannabe authoritarians – take note.

  6. Turned to Fox News last night to see what the enemy had to say about the Mueller Report and there was Cory Lewandowski staccato farting about presidential vindication.

    Trump vindicated? How much was that worth and who paid for it? Who would have you believe that the Orange Ogre is Lily White?

  7. If you read Scott Adam’s “Win Bigly”, you will find Trump does has some pretty amazing skills, but in the area of Persuasion. There is no doubt in my mind that distraction is one of key tools in his tool kit.

  8. We will not be able to fix all that is broken, or is about to be broken by this nest of scorpions, aka the Trump administration, until Republicans are voted out of office en masse and the 35% are left sucking their polluted thumbs. Let THEM whine and complain to their own distraction. We have to keep out eye on the ball and spend most of the rest of our lives putting our nation, its infrastructure and it spirit back together. Republicans won’t allow this as long as they’re in power and the toadies of corporate/banking America.

  9. As the World Shudders.

    Last month, Exxon announced it planned to pump 25% more oil and gas in 2025 than it had in 2017, tripling profits.

  10. President Agent Orange is a master of distraction. However he has willing accomplices at CNN and MSDNC who have covered President Agent Orange 24/7/365 since he was elected. Admittedly, there is a lot to cover concerning President Agent Orange and his crew: family and various appointed lackey’s.

    If you watched CNN and MSDNC you would think nothing else in the nation or world is happening, except something related to President Agent Orange and Pastor Pence. All day coverage of our Kardashian President Agent Orange.

    Issues like our brutal, inhumane for Profit Health Care System and Big Pharma – Not covered. Endless wars around the world by the USA – Not Covered. Flint Michigan – Forgotten. How are the people in California coping in the aftermath of the fires?? – Not Covered. Recent Boeing Air crashes and the reasons – Not Covered.

  11. Civic and scientific illiteracy have combined forces with 24/7 fake news to keep the illiterate in line and BELIEVING. They only march to government is the problem, corporations the solution, and all poor people are parasites to be converted to the middle class by the simple addition of more profound poverty. A highly armed populous is the solution to crime, social unrest, and loyalty to the leader.

    This is not the country that most of us signed up for but we have the founders to thank for giving us the tools to rid our country of the scourge. Democracy. Voting. An alternate party.

    What that tool demands of us is to stay informed with real news, and unify around the best of the alternatives, yet to be determined. Oh, and to keep the intellectual property that was the foundation of our success alive and well and spreading.

  12. on the atlantic coast, when trump was scamin jersey reps for eminent domain for his casino and hotel empire, ( where russians laundred stolen money,see james henry,on trump and kushners money laundering,via the americaninterests.com)no one paid much attention to his rehetoric in gaining access to the properties along the beach. when i was a kid, every summer our family would rent a bungalow
    in atlantic city,asbury park, manasquan, long branch. these bungalows were for rent a few weeks a year by people who bought these properties post WW2 and settled there. many like my grandfolks,who reloacted from scranton,pa. to help,in the war years. those people lives were conservitive,and kept the beach and towns clean,and in the money. We had a close friend who owned a bar across from the pier in long branch. circa,1965.. when trump and his mob,got some leverage from the nice folks in jerseys gov,office, he went on a rampage to get his properties, and it didnt matter who or what got hurt… where we once had a middleclass public beach, you now have multi million dollar condos, private beaches,and finded and jailed if you trespass, and a failed economy that sold its soul to trump. the trump empire folded like a two bit used car. altanic city, once a gem of summer affordabilty,seems like a ghetto compared to what it was.it was a easy place for inner city kids to cool off on wages paid to most people who lived there. now since the oil and gas industry wish to drill,go ahead, lets foul that beach jersey screwed the public out of,and give trumps buddies their due..

  13. Thanks, Gerald, i read untold volumes of WW2 history,accounts,and personal conversations , at a young and impressonable age,(9-13)(1964/68)with the former vets of that era. as a kid, it moved me to make a full account of who and what, will distroy, what others, died for, to keep the greatest nation and goverment, from perishing. best wishes bud…

  14. Nothing short of a fire sale on orange jump suits to accommodate the sartorial needs of all of the criminal and treasonous Trumpers (including Nunes and most Republican Senators) has any chance of returning America to its former democratic status.

    The specific numbers of marine mammals the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) estimates will be destroyed by seismic exploration off South Carolina is 300,000, although that could be off by a couple of orders of magnitude since an unknowable number will be deafened and unable to mate. BOEM, under Trump, finds that number perfectly acceptable even though BOEM, under Obama, did not.

    None of the oil extracted will find its way onto the American market, We already are #1 in fossil fuel production and will dump future findings onto international markets solely to enhance the profits of Exxon-Mobil and cohorts.

    Two friends here in Pawleys Island and I wrote a paper 4 years ago indisputably proving, and since substantiated, that the risk to our state’s tourist industry exceeds by far any potential oil profits that could come into South Carolina (if the oil companies decide to give the state a minuscule piece of the action). Nor will any significant number of jobs be created since oil extraction requires expertise and we have none.

    In other words, drilling in the Atlantic is unneeded and highly risky, neither of which means anything compared to the need for politicians to keep the Citizens United money flowing to their campaigns. Isn’t that what America is all about under Trump? His campaign will reap enormous rewards for his efforts on behalf of making those wishing to make America unlivable.

  15. Some thing to keep in mind:
    Donald Trump could sail to victory in the 2020 presidential elections despite historically low approval ratings and poor public support for his America First agenda.

    Strong economic figures and the advantage of his incumbency could wave him back in, a report has concluded. The research looks at a set of economic models that have consistently predicted winners and losers in US presidential elections.

    Rather than focusing on polling and campaign trail data, many economic models that are successful in predicting presidential victors focus solely on figures such as GDP growth, disposable income, inflation, wage gains and tax burdens.

    For example, a model produced by Trend Macrolytics, which showed Mr Trump winning in 2016 even when most polls had Hillary Clinton in the lead, shows the president securing a second term. It suggests he will win a landslide victory within the electoral college, securing an expected 294 votes.

    “The economy is just so damn strong right now and by all historic precedent the incumbent should run away with it,” Donald Luskin, chief investment officer of Trend Macrolytics, told Politico. He added: “I just don’t see how the blue wall could resist all that.”
    Even though our Kardashian President Agent Orange and Pastor Pence may appear vulnerable, it would be a big mistake to underestimate them.

  16. Distraction 1) Rant about Sen. McCain ad nauseum
    Distraction 2) Gift to Netanyah re the Golan Heights
    Distraction 3) Gift to Kim this afternoon re canceling sanctions placed on NK by the Treasury Dept. this morning because he “likes Kim.”
    Distraction 4) Release the report on a Friday evening (during March Madness, no less).
    Distraction 5) Threaten to take military action in Venezuela.
    Distraction 6) Ohio GM plant visit and strong arm call to the CEO.
    Those are just the one I can think of.
    His giddy remarks about wanting the report to be fully released are theater. He knows perfectly well that his appointee to AG does not intend to release the entire report. I would not be surprised if he already has the report. Someone has likely leaked it to his lawyers. I have no confidence in the Congress, the Justice Department, the AG, the SCOTUS as they have all shown that politics and party loyalty are the paramount to them, the good of the country be damned.

  17. As a coastal resident of South Carolina and someone who has worked to oppose to seismic blasting and drilling for fossil fuels in the Atlantic — this makes me want to cry. 🙁

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