Meanwhile, Behind The Scenes…

While most of our media is caught up in “Mueller frenzy,” and Trump continues to suck all the oxygen out of the room, I thought I’d just share some underreported information about what our disgraceful federal government has been doing largely out of public view.

The Guardian is one of the few publications that seems to be following the day-to-day efforts of the Trump Administration to thwart global environmental efforts.

The United States and Saudi Arabia have hamstrung global efforts to scrutinise climate geoengineering in order to benefit their fossil fuel industries, according to multiple sources at the United Nationsenvironment assembly, taking place this week in Nairobi.

The world’s two biggest oil producers reportedly led opposition against plans to examine the risks of climate-manipulating technology such as sucking carbon out of the air, reflective mirrors in space, seeding the oceans and injecting particulates into the atmosphere.

Geoengineering is the name given to technical efforts to stop or reverse climate change; as scientists have proposed various methods, concerns over the potential for dangerously negative global effects have increased. Assessing the risks of proposed massive environmental interventions would certainly seem prudent–but the fossil fuel industry has seized on these proposals as a way to justify further expansion of their industries, and they aren’t interested in risk assessments that might cast doubt on that expansion. Full steam ahead.

Add that to the administration’s other efforts to sabotage environmental measures.

This was not the only agenda item in Nairobi that Trump administration diplomats were accused of watering down; they were also accused of undermining efforts to ensure strong environmental governance. “They are trying to remove all targets and timelines,” said one senior delegate.

An ambitious Indian resolution to phase out single-use plastics by 2025 has been diluted to resolving to “significantly reduce” them by 2030, said another delegate. The US was supported by Brazil and at least four other countries in pushing back the deadline and making the language more vague.

On marine waste, a Norwegian proposal to build an effective global strategy for dealing with plastics that enter the oceans has also met with resistance from the US. “They want to postpone measures so they can protect their industry,” said an ambassador from a large developing country.

In yet another example of being on the wrong side of history, there is the administration’s push-back against women’s rights. 

US officials in New York are attempting to water down language and remove the word “gender” from documents being negotiated at the UN, in what is being seen as a threat to international agreements on women’s rights.

In negotiations at the Commission on the Status of Women(CSW), which resume at UN headquarters this week, the US wants to replace “gender” in the forum’s outcome document with references only to women and girls.

The move follows similar attempts by the US last year to change languagein documents before the UN human rights council.

In draft documents, seen by the Guardian, the US is taking a step further at CSW by refusing to reaffirm the country’s commitment to the landmark Beijing declaration and platform for action, agreed at the fourth world conference of women held in 1995.

After all, why would practitioners of “locker room talk” and predatory sexual behavior want to empower women?

Under the Trump administration, US negotiators have found themselves more aligned with countries including Iran, Saudi Arabia and Russia than European nations. These countries consistently seek to undermine agreements on women’s rights at the UN, specifically around reproductive health and rights. This year’s US delegation includes Valerie Huber, a proponent of abstinence-only sex education and now a senior policy advisor in the Department of Health and Human Services, and Bethany Kozma, an anti-choice activist and senior advisor for women’s empowerment at the US Agency for International Development.

Just file these “factoids” in the growing category “why the world no longer looks up to the United States.”


  1. “Meanwhile, Behind The Scenes…” the Trump administration has his appointed administrators and many department heads forging ahead with their individual parts of the deconstruction of American government and democracy. While we, individuals and individual groups, are trying to multi-task to keep up with as much as we can; maintaining a grasp on the actions in total is an impossibility. Individuals and individual groups must find a way to organize our resources; we need an information source to go to for periodic basic status updates on issues. We cannot and should not need to be looking outside the country for information on what our own government is up to. This is but another reason “why the world no longer looks up to the United States.” We are grateful to the regular and timely Guardian reports from the UK to keep us informed.

    Who and how to provide this while struggling in the current confusion, chaos and turmoil is the question. Possibly the DNC as an information and referral site? What are they doing at this point to bring the Democratic party together and find a strong campaign foundation? Trump is again gaining strength; putting the 2020 presidential election deeper in jeopardy by the hour with his current “victory lap” over the Mueller report release which is actually the Barr Report claim as to its content.

  2. Does anyone else see the insanity of Bethany Kozma’s job description? She’s an anti-choice activist at the same time that she is a senior advisor for women’s empowerment.
    Talk about multi-tasking!

  3. It’s easier to change a regulation than it is a law. Our regulatory framework is being ripped to shreds.

  4. Geoengineering is a mixed bag. Sequestering carbon is one thing, but mirrors in space and spreading aerosols in space are “Buck Rogers in the 25th century” technologies, whose development-times are too long to prevent us from reaching a tipping point from which the climate will not recover.

  5. This administration daily shouts out to the world, and especially to our allies, that “We cannot be trusted and we have lost any sense of humanity that we ever had”!

  6. Thank you for this. So much news is focused on “the trump show” that it takes away from the (other) truly awful things this maladministration is doing while our attention is focused elsewhere.

  7. Right. While Hitler railed at the masses, Himmler, Eichmann, Bormann, Goebbels,, were destroying the “administrative state” of Germany and creating their own monstrosity. It’s what tyrants do.

    Trump continues to realize that he is above the law and can get away with anything. You know, “promises made, promises kept.” Think is, the promises are destructive and his “base” loves it. So, how do we stop it before it’s too late? The Constitution? House oversight? Impeachment/conviction? Criminal indictments? None of this works for THIS tyrant.

    Any other suggestions?

  8. Peggy makes a crucial point. A lazy Congress intent on reelection has ceded its authority to executive discretion and we are paying the price both internally and externally. We are only not a world leader but are not even a consistent follower of a minority consisting of Iran and the dictatorships of Russia and Brazil, who we follow or do not follow to suit the domestic politics of the day.
    Our present administration is on track to “deconstruct the administrative state” via a deliberate plan to sow chaos and confusion under whose cover they can pull off such atrocities as our anti-NATO stance, refutation of the Iranian atomic treaty, the Paris Accords etc. etc. etc. While Trump is sucking up all the oxygen in the room with his daily insults to people and reason, the Bannon-inspired and admittedly Leninist “deconstruction of the administrative state” continues apace and in plain view but relatively unnoticed because our attention is caught up in daily atrocities manufactured specifically for the purpose of deflecting our attention by such headlines as hordes of rapists and murderers intent on invasion of our southern border, socialism, people like Schiff who are trying to do their constitutional oversight of an executive branch run wild etc. etc. etc.
    Let’s not be fooled by daily headlines but rather zero in on just what this most corrupt administration in history is doing and hold its members to account for their apparent attempt to undermine our Constitution and install authoritarian rule. How? By robustly resisting what it is that they are trying to do in the hope that we can survive long enough to reverse such deconstruction some 19 months from now, starting with the Barr report on the Mueller report.

  9. There is more from the Guardian. The regime of President Agent Orange and Pastor Pence now appears to secretly have authorized several U.S. companies to sell nuclear technology and assistance to Saudi Arabia is generating alarm over ongoing negotiations about a broader deal that critics worry could eventually lead to a nuclear-armed Saudi Arabia.

    Rick Perry is another of the intellectually challenged members of President Agent Orange’s regime. Energy Secretary Rick Perry had approved at least six Part 810 authorizations, which “allow companies to do preliminary work on nuclear power ahead of any deal but not ship equipment that would go into a plant.”

    Part 810 authorizations do not require congressional oversight, but they are often open to public review. However, according to DOE, “the specifics of these authorizations have not been made public because the companies determined that the authorizations contain proprietary business information.”

    Side Bar > the above paragraph fits into swamp of the Regime of President Agent Orange. We have the slimy, sleaze of Kushner and his “relationship” with equally slimy, sleaze of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS). Corporations determined the details must remain secret.

    However, some lawmakers remain skeptical. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) told Pompeo, “If you cannot trust a regime with a bone saw, you should not trust them with nuclear weapons.”

  10. We have a real “problem” that somewhat defies “solution”. Our government has been constructed assuming that, for the most part, it would be run by honest, professional public servants acting to move forward the common good. Thus, a relatively loose structure of congressional oversight and internal investigators. And The Duck and Company sweep in and overrun it with a double whammy, creating huge distrust in DC which turns off many people from voting – except, of course, those who fear abortion and immigrants who turn out passionately.

  11. as the media sells its rehetoric to the easy bucks made in advertising,from its ongoing whoring for the rich. if the amazement from looking at a glass wall of fantasy,and words with smiliy faces. as it gathers the masses minds,finds other headlines to scramble the ideals of where this country needs to be. there is little to find in context,if there is no context. after 39 years of living on the road,and,never seeing those big shows that sold to whoever,what we should be like. instead,i see and hear,what it is going on. if those lost souls in detroit bought a single line from the liar in charge,we are lost. we obviously havent done enough to stop this. when CBS vice pres admitted to selling his ad space to the highest bidder,during trumps campaign,then we got a look at how,this circus operates.again, boycott the ads,boycott the channel. and send notice to the republicans, your circus is not America, and were tired of being lied to. spell out your aganda,did anyone ever notice,they have never spelled out thier aganda, only lies and coverups. not one news service has said, what are we replacing with what,and how.. instead we have dead air,and a congress and senate demanding,between themeselves.. trump is mcconnels pupet, and no one makes times to point that out. trump is not a politician,hes a road side barker,following the game of mcconnel…

  12. There is an excellent article in the Smithsonian Magazine:
    The Wild Road Trip That Launched the Populist Conservative Movement
    How a fiery preacher and a maverick Army general took the nation by storm.
    The General was Edwin Walker. The road trip was in 1963.

    The origins of the tactics used by President Agent Orange and the alliance between evangelical bible thumper’s, the military, anti federal government (at least in terms of desegregation, the Warren Court), get out of the UN and the Liberal Media as the enemy, were here in this road trip in 1963. JFK was a particular target, a catholic, surrounded by Ivy League types and he used the military to enforce desegregation, and the FBI to investigate the KKK.

    The article has the following: But he (General Walker) did not harm his standing among his supporters when he blackened Washington Daily News reporter Thomas V. Kelly’s eye for asking a question Walker considered impertinent. There is another part where the preacher Billy James Hargis, verbally attacked a reporter at a rally. Like the rallies for President Agent Orange the result was the crowd hurled insults at the reporter.

  13. matt taibbi and aaron mate and russiagate stuff, and how disent doesnt get aired.. interview,with a view… best wishes

  14. Seems that there are women who glory in their power just like men in power.

    I listen to the BBC every day and follow The Guardian, as well. They both give me a much better sense of what is going on in the world than anything I can get in the states, including NPR/PBS.

    The cozy relationship between Trump/Kushner and the Saudis/Brazil/NK/Russia?Phillipines, etc. are viewed by the GOP as a means to acquire wealth for their donor class and themselves. It is all about money and the power it buys.

  15. Oh dear, you know when you drain the swamp the monsters and poisonous creatures that lurked hidden in the muck and mire are revealed.

    So how about this: Stephen Moore, the economics commentator chosen by Donald Trump for a seat on the Federal Reserve board, was found in contempt of court after failing to pay his ex-wife hundreds of thousands of dollars in alimony, child support and other debts.

    The Guardian revealed this week that Moore owes the US government $75,000 according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Moore disputes the government’s claim and blames confusion over tax deductions relating to his child support and alimony payments.

    Moore has lamented the steady decline in US marriage numbers, asserting in an October 2014 article that “intact families” were important for the economy and criticising “those who cheer divorce as a form of women’s liberation”.

    Concluding the article, he called for a “personal and national commitment to sturdy families” and strong parenting as part of a “culture of virtue” aimed at saving the American economy from what he called a path of decline.

    The 2010 divorce filing from Moore’s wife said he had destroyed their marriage through adultery, after creating two accounts on the dating website and beginning an affair with a woman early in 2010.

    Moore is said to have discussed the affair “openly and tastelessly” with his then wife, and to have said at one point: “I have two women, and what’s really bad is when they fight over you.” He also left evidence of the relationship around the home, the filing said.

    Unlike all current members of the Federal Reserve board of governors, Moore does not hold a doctoral degree. Greg Mankiw, an economics professor at Harvard University who was a senior economic adviser to former president George W Bush, has said Moore “does not have the intellectual gravitas” for the job and urged senators to reject him.
    So this fellow would fit right in Regime of President Agent Orange, champions marriage, but commits adultery, fails to pay his ex-wife court ordered alimony and may owe back taxes to the IRS.

  16. It’s all part of redistributing wealth up, Trumps only goal for government. We might never know but I’ll bet he leaves the Whitehouse with the kind of wealth he bragged about coming in but didn’t have.

    We will be paying for decades, maybe always.

    The only way to end it is by massive Democrat unification in 2020. He’s infected the entire Republican Party which is sad and unfortunate but must be dealt with realistically.

  17. Here in South Carolina, the 49th state (by practically every measurement), where our motto is “Thank God for Mississippi,” coastal cities have a passion for keeping the ocean and rivers clean. Some have even gone so far as to ban single use plastics. Incensed by this threat to their income streams, state legislators look likely to pass a bill banning the plastic bans.

    Meanwhile, every community on the coast (and many others around the state) has come out strongly against drilling for offshore oil. This includes even our antediluvian governor. Yet our state senator in the Myrtle Beach area, ever mindful of who is greasing his needy palms, pretends to support the no-drilling cause while insisting that “we need to do seismic testing to find what’s out there.” When he is asked why, he changes the subject. When told that America is awash in oil and any further discoveries will need to find new foreign markets, he calls on a friendlier face in the audience.

    From the outset South Carolina never wanted to be part of the union. It still regrets capitulating. Given its opposition to anything resembling democracy, we should reconsider SC’s standing offer to go it alone.

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