Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

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Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Trump’s Worst Nominations


President-elect Donald Trump nominated Scott Pruitt for EPA Administrator.  He’s a climate change denier, who during tenure as Attorney General in Oklahoma consistently failed to uphold his responsibility to protect our nation’s environment.  Pruitt has called the risks from climate change “speculative guess work” and claimed the debate is “far from settled.”  In Oklahoma, he repeatedly sued the EPA for implementing clean air and water protections.  An investigative report revealed, that he used his government position to act as an agent of the oil and gas industry.  As head of the EPA, Pruitt could stop enforcing environmental protection regulations, slash climate change research, and allow Big Polluters to reign free.

Tom Price will run the cabinet-level department of Health and Human Services.  HHS has the responsibility to protect the health of the American people.  Price wants to initiate new budgetary rules.  Under the current system any new entitlement spending has to be balanced by a rise in revenues.  However, Social Security, Medicare are allowed to respond to economic changes and demand for their services.  SNAP and unemployment insurance are permitted to become stronger when there is greater need for food and income for those who lose their jobs.  All that will be reversed if Price's draconian rules are put into play.

ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson has been nominated to be Secretary of State.  He’s the CEO of the world’s largest oil company, which has huge business interests in Russia.  Under Tillerson, Exxon has continually funded climate denial groups and is currently being investigated following reports suggesting it buried 40 year-old research which ties burning fossil fuels to climate change.

Rick Perry, who was governor of Texas, the country’s largest energy-producing state, from 2000 to 2015, will be Trump’s Energy Secretary.  During Perry’s 2012 presidential bid, he included the Energy Department in a list of three agencies he’d like to abolish.

Andy Puzder is Trump’s choice for Labor Secretary.  He’s CEO of a chain of  fast food restaurants that include Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s.  In 1989, he helped write an anti-choice Missouri law that became a landmark challenge to Roe v. Wade and paved the way for states to restrict access to abortion.  Puzder has been critical of government regulations, including efforts to raise the minimum wage.

Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama will become our Attorney General.   Sessions' appointment to the federal bench was denied in 1986 by the Senate Judiciary Committee, because of remarks he had made were considered racially insensitive.  He called the ACLU and NAACP “un-American,” and twice blocked legislation that would reform the unfair way cases of sexual assault are prosecuted in the military.  As Attorney General, he’d be in charge of  enforcing environmental laws and protecting the rights of all Americans — including women, LGBT, and communities of color.

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