Tillerson hedges on climate science, but supports Paris agreement


The position, repeated several times during a day-long hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, puts him at odds with the president-elect’s campaign vow to “cancel” the landmark global accord. Tillerson, chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil until two weeks ago, did not mention the accord or climate change in his nine-page prepared introductory remarks. But again and again in his wide-ranging testimony, he was pressed by Democrats to articulate his views on the climate crisis, because as secretary of state he would have to lead the country’s climate diplomacy. Cushman Jr. Though Tillerson cautiously backed the Paris agreement, mainly to ensure other countries are doing their fair share of climate action, on other climate change issues he was more doubtful. Tom Udall of New Mexico, noting that more than 190 countries had come together to tackle climate change. Listen to the full interview. He pushed back against the growing scientific evidence that links global warming to severe weather events, habitat loss and spread of certain diseases. and Marianne Lavelle for Inside Climate News. “We’re better served by being at that table than leaving the table,” Tillerson said in response to a question from Democratic Sen. Rex Tillerson   told the Senate panel considering his nomination for secretary of state that he supported the United States remaining in the Paris climate agreement and that he has made his views known to Donald Trump.Player utilitiesPopout
downloadThis story is based on a radio interview. By Neela Banerjee, John H. To read the rest of their article, click   here. He also declined to answer questions about Exxon’s ambitious in-house climate research in the 1970s and why it pivoted to funding climate denial campaigns afterward, telling senators to ask the company. But Tillerson acknowledged that this advice would have to be squared with Trump’s own promises to put “America first” in the new administration’s energy policy, which heavily favors the unrestricted use of fossil fuels.

A Swiss town is divided over whether to take in refugees

Then someone filed a referendum and there was a mail-in vote — and this time, the town voted the other way, to NOT allow refugees in. And it takes a lot of strength, a lot of energy, and I did not feel quite as at home and at ease anymore as I used to.”
At the local grocery store, resident Marc Bierty is picking up a few things. It turns out that under his leadership the town had opted to pay a $300,000 fine rather than accept its federal quota of eight refugees. He’s still keeping up his populist right-wing rhetoric, but the trip softened his views enough that he’s now leading a move to allow a single refugee family to move to town. That’s really a big problem. It was. The country grants asylum to a few thousand refugees each year and tries to resettle them evenly across the country. He says he voted to allow migrants in, but his involvement stopped there. He earned a seat here after campaigning on his anti-migrant rhetoric. He says as divisive as this question was, most people are just concerned with living their lives. Graduate student Johanna   Gü​ndel, 25,   loved growing up in a town where her family has lived for generations. He says this while in the Parliament building in Bern, Switzerland’s capital. But last year, a university roommate of hers posted a video to Facebook of a mayor boasting to a reporter that his town was safe and idyllic —   and that it was going to stay that way because no refugees were there. All those years there weren’t refugees there, it was because the town had been paying the fine to their canton, similar to a state. “My town changed for me. There’s a mass migration to Europe and we should stop it,” he said. Oberwil-Lieli is right outside Zurich, Switzerland’s biggest city. PRI.org

In   Oberwil-Lieli, a small, wealthy town,   the immigration battle recently   came to a head. But not every community welcomes those refugees.Player utilitiesPopout
downloadListen to the Story. And the mayor,   Andreas Glarner, was boasting about it because he was running for a seat in Swiss Parliament. The mayor and member of Parliament visited migrant camps in Greece a few months ago. Gü​ndel organized protests and introduced a vote on the issue at a town meeting. She was incensed —   and she wasn’t alone. “We cannot take the whole world into Switzerland. News footage shows him gleefully standing in front of housing where refugee Bosnian families had once lived, as they were demolished. Andreas Glarner is mayor of the town of Oberwil-Lieli and a member of the Swiss parliament. “It’s very Swiss to keep our own country as we like to have it. And we are free in our decisions and we should make what is good for Switzerland,” he said. As for Glarner? Meanwhile, the mayor kept campaigning, calling migrants terrorists and warning they’d take jobs and resources. Others in her town of slightly more than 2,000 people were shocked. It feels like a different world here — there are rolling hills, and people drop by each others’ houses on horseback. Credit:

Erika Beras

Glarner says he had them torn down because they were for refugees. Recently, the size of the fine has been increased tenfold. Back in Oberwil-Lieli, even individual families are divided as to whether the town should welcome refugees. Gü​ndel says it’s been hard. “I don’t have the time for that because I’m employed, I have two kids, I have to provide for them and I have a lot of things on my mind despite that,” he said. It won’t be anytime soon though — he can’t find a landlord with space to rent. “They didn’t have an opposition or on the other side they didn’t have maybe a pro side — so it was really Swiss like —   we’re in the middle,” he said with a laugh. Both elections were tight, nearly 50-50. “Every time you meet someone you think is this person for me or against me. “That was the time when we kind of woke up and realized,   is that what was going on all those years?” she said. It was difficult to walk the dog on the streets because some people wouldn’t greet me anymore,” she said. “Just the fact how he talked about we here in Oberwil-Lieli do this and want this and I did not feel like I in any way belonged to that we,” said Gü​ndel. That includes Switzerland, population 8.5   million. He proudly shows off his seat on the Parliament floor and walks me around the building as he talks about the importance of maintaining what he thinks of as Swiss identity. Across Europe, countries are grappling with how to best accommodate the surge of migrants. The fine had been put in place in case a community couldn’t accommodate the refugees they were mandated to take in — the Swiss government has each town take refugees based on how many adults live in a community. We are not in the European community. “And then I watched and I said ‘oh my God, that’s my town, that’s my mayor,’” she said. The residents voted to allow refugees in. This was the first   Gü​ndel had heard of this.  

Way more migrants are now sneaking across the US-Canada border

Why do they do it? The Trump effect? Migrants were spotted with luggage marked with Plattsburgh, New York, an airport near the Quebec border. What’s more, “the United States is not necessarily safe for all refugees,” Dench adds. The process of being admitted as a refugee once a person is already inside Canada is faster than applying from outside the country. However, 187 Americans requested to be admitted as refugees at Canadian land border crossings last year — more than double the previous total, according to Canada’s border agency. That’s not including undocumented immigrants who reside in the US and their children who may have been born in the country. We can’t speculate on the motives,” says Jacqueline Roby, a spokeswoman for the Canada Border Services Agency. Related:   20 years ago, asylum-seekers in the US were not automatically put in immigration detention
On average 60 percent of all people who go before the tribunal are granted asylum in Canada, although the acceptance rate varies by country of origin, says Melissa Anderson, the spokeswoman for the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. So the Safe Third Country Agreement lures asylum-seekers to cross the border into Canada illegally, Dench says. Based on data provided to PRI by the Canada Border Services Agency. “There could be new movements of people.”
Other refugees pass through the US only briefly on their way to Canada, simply because it’s easier to get American tourist visas than Canadian visas, attorney Handfield says. Unlike in the US, they don’t have to wait in detention centers for that court date to come. The tally in November alone was higher than the whole of 2015. One reason is the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement, explains Janet Dench, the executive director of the Canadian Council for Refugees, a nonprofit group that advocates for refugee rights. US border patrol has the authority to take into custody anyone who is in the US illegally who’s caught near the border, according to Stephanie Malin, a public affairs officer with US Customs and Border Protection. What happens to the refugees in Canada
Canadian officials are confident they catch most people entering illegally, thanks to surveillance cameras and reports from residents. According to this 2004 agreement, a person who is in the US, which is considered a safe country, cannot request admittance as a refugee into Canada. Whatever the case may be, there is no talk in Canada about building a wall on the American border. “I know there’ve been some rumors since Donald Trump has been elected, but I haven’t seen any Americans crossing illegally,” Doré says. Julie Masis reported from Montreal. There is less racism in Canada,” he said. 20. Members of the Roma minority from Romania and Hungary are also generally accepted, says Stephane Handfield, an immigration attorney in Montreal. A very low rate of US citizens, on the other hand, win refugee claims in Canada. He says he sees refugees from his window every week, sometimes two dozen people in a single day. In November, Trump said on the TV show “60 Minutes” that he plans to deport or incarcerate “2 million or 3 million” undocumented immigrants with a criminal record after he takes office on Jan. Some may think they may not be able to continue safely in the US,” she says. Plans like that could be pushing refugees into Canada, says Dench of the Canadian Council for Refugees. They walk on little roads, gravel roads. For example, if someone in America on a tourist visa asks for asylum at a Canadian border crossing, they will most likely be denied. “Sometimes they say that Canada is a better country for refugees. Their cases have a higher chance of approval. One popular route leads into Quebec. Eventually they get to places where we can find them.”
Officials check the migrants for injuries or other health conditions like frostbite, Habel says. Despite repeated efforts to contact the asylum-seekers, officials and nongovernmental groups would not let us speak to them directly because refugee protection claims are private under Canadian law. “We catch most of them. According to the data, very few of the asylum-seekers walking across Quebec’s border illegally are US citizens. Families lug   suitcases “over a little ditch,” as one resident described it, to   avoid   passport checkpoints. “Everyone is well treated, everyone is treated the same as any other human being in Canada. Related:   A Syrian family finds sweet success in Canada
Retired policeman François Doré lives in Hemmingford, Quebec, less than a mile from the US border. The top five countries of origin in 2016 were Colombia, Syria, Iraq, Eritrea and Pakistan. For instance, the citizens of Syria, Iraq and Eritrea have an acceptance rate of more than 80 percent and are even exempt from appearing before the refugee tribunal in person. Credit:

Chris Wattie/Reuters

After they’re caught, the migrants generally request to be admitted into Canada as refugees. Last year overall, Canadian land-border refugee claims were up 50 percent from 2015. So why are people crossing the Canadian border illegally? Credit:

Google Maps

He sees them travel in family groups, with suitcases and strollers, often with stickers from the nearby airport in Plattsburg, New York. They are generally granted asylum in Canada, unless they already have refugee status in another country, Anderson explains. “There are a lot of people who are watching with concern what the election of Trump means to them. “Often people don’t mind that we find them. But some migrant rights advocates say that Trump’s promises to get tough   on   immigration, coupled with Canada’s reputation for welcoming refugees, could be factors. Refugee claims made from outside Canada can take longer than five years to process for some countries, according to the government’s immigration website. Some cross in the forest. The largest groups are from Eritrea, Syria, Sudan, Yemen and other countries facing economic or war catastrophe. The authorities won’t say whether Donald Trump’s November election win has anything to do with the surge. Canadian border officials are spotting a noteworthy trend: The number of people sneaking in from the United States and asking for asylum has gone way up. “The entrance is illegal, but it’s not a criminal case,” Habel says. The only reason they can be put in prison is if they had done something illegal like [trying] to smuggle drugs or contraband, or if we find out they’re part of a criminal network.”
Canadian officials can also detain individuals who cannot establish their identity, are determined to be a flight risk, or if there is a security concern. This past year, 1,222 people entered Quebec illegally and requested refugee status — almost five times the total in the previous year, according to the Canada Border Services Agency. “That’s the reason we believe the government should pull out of the Safe Third Country Agreement — people could cross legally, and it would take out the market from the smugglers who are taking a huge amount of money from people,” Dench says. “We can’t speculate on that. However, if they request refugee status when they’re already on Canadian soil, and pass a criminal check, their case will be considered. He says most of the women wear traditional Muslim headscarves. If someone is put in detention, they have the right to see a judge within 24 hours, Habel says. At least 90 percent,” asserts Camille Habel, a media representative for Canada’s police, the RCMP. Canada’s then-Immigration Minister John McCallum, left, and Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan speak to reporters in Ottawa, Canada on Nov. “They used to cross at night through the woods, now they just walk over the little ditch and walk into Canada,” he says. Undocumented immigrants in the US, estimated at 11 million, are particularly vulnerable. Canada accepts more refugees than the US. They receive a date to appear before a refugee tribunal, which by law cannot be more than two months away. Should they try to flee to Canada, it won’t be easy. 24, 2015.

What it’s like to cover Trump for a German audience

That’s according to reporter   Matthias Kolb, who covers the United States   for   the Munich-based news outlet   Suddeutche Zeitung. “I think in total we had about half a dozen stories that only dealt with the press conference,” Kolb says. Trump refused to take Acosta’s question and attacked   CNN over its choice to report on a dossier of unverified and damaging claims about Trump’s connections to Russia. “Your organization is terrible,” Trump said, as he and Acosta spoke over each other. This is exactly why, he says,   journalists need to cover the next US administration   with care, attention and guts. “You are fake news.”
“The ‘media’ is getting attacked in this country a lot and also back in Europe,” Kolb says, “and I think it would be good to try and stick together and fight for the profession.” For example, Kolb wants to see journalists stand up for one other when Trump singles them out, as he did with CNN’s   Jim Acosta during this week’s press conference. “We have this right-wing populist   party,   Alternative fur Deutschland   — Alternative for Germany — who are also very pro-Putin and think that it was totally OK   that [Russia] annexed Crimea,” he says. Germans are closely following President-elect Donald Trump’s path to the White House. Like news organizations in the US, Suddeutche Zeitung   is grappling with how to cover Trump, who has been more inclined to communicate with the public through his Twitter account than through the press. When Trump gave his first press conference as president-elect on Wednesday,   Suddeutche Zeitung   ran a live blog and   live stream so that readers could   follow along. Once the press conference was over, it   published analysis and summary. “I think it really shows what are the issues that he pays attention to.”
(Kolb’s advice for reporting on Trump’s tweets? Fact-check   and give   context.)
Germans are especially interested in the future of   US-Russia relations, Kolb adds. “I think his Twitter feed is really a window into his personality,” Kolb   says.

Victims of online romance scams, there’s a place you can go for help

It was pretty gratifying, she says; the son was ecstatic. She finally realized she’d been scammed. “You pretend to be a victim and string them along, try to get them to waste as much of their time, money, and resources as you can,” he says. “My friends advised me to go online and try to find someone to share my life with,” she says via Skype. But for Mays, who co-hosts a scam-baiting podcast, “it’s also like improve comedy.”
Most people aren’t turning to him for comic relief, though. But soon after, she learned that the son had had an accident at school and needed help paying hospital bills — urgently. The site tends to be a last resort for victims who are afraid to go to the police, or to tell anyone in their life what’s happened, because they’re ashamed. Go deactivate all your social media accounts,” he says. One day, scrolling through an online forum, she met Wayne Mays (not his real name) from the UK. “Of course I was sending money again to Western Union,” Firefly says. Mays is a romance scam-baiter, which means he hangs out on dating sites, posing as a naive love-seeker, with the goal of unmasking — and exhausting — confidence men and women. But she also realized something else: There were probably a lot of people, just like her, being victimized on dating sites, and Firefly was determined to do something about it. The most common complaint Scam Survivors receive is for “sextortion,” where scammers make tapes of sexual encounters with their victims, then press them for money in exchange for keeping the video private. Her new boyfriend had a complicated backstory: He was an American soldier serving in Iraq, and he had a son living in Ghana. Then, after about a week of heavy correspondence, Firefly’s boyfriend announced his son’s birthday was coming up, and suggested she send him a gift. He suggested they ditch the dating site and switch to email. Their partner has either died or they’ve divorced and they’ve just started looking at online dating. According to Mayes, they’ve handled more than 14,000 such cases in the past three years. But on the internet, she’s still looking for love in all the wrong places — this time, with a mission. So she wired a few hundred euros to Ghana. Within 10 minutes of posting, she had a handful of virtual suitors — and one stood out. Five years ago, he and a small team of international volunteers, including Firefly, created Scam Survivors, a hotline and information resource center for victims of online scams — mostly, as it turns out, romance scams. In Mays’ experience, romance scammers typically target 30 to 40 people a day, and will eventually move on to easier prey if they encounter resistance. Five years ago, an Austrian woman decided to give online dating a try. “These people are not stupid at all.  
Mays would post any identifying details that scammers used online — from the email addresses they created to the back stories they recycled — to make them searchable. (She asked that I only use her internet handle, Firefly, for reasons that will soon become clear.) It had been about a year since Firefly got divorced. Within the space of about three months, Firefly wired the equivalent of about $1,000 to Ghana. Whatever you do, he adds, don’t ever pay them — that will only make a scammer more aggressive. They’re just trusting,” Mays says. As for Firefly, she now refuses to date anyone she doesn’t meet the old-fashioned way, face to face. So they have no idea that these scammers are out there.”
While Mays admits that they can’t get victims’ money back, they can help get victims out of scary situations, especially when romance scammers resort to extortion. It’s not uncommon for victims to lose tens of thousands of dollars. (I know; red flag.)
“He even called me, calling me ‘Mom’ a few times,” she says. And it involves a nearly trillion-dollar-a-year industry — romance scams. Scarcely had the boy recovered when he was struck by cholera, which required another expensive course of treatment. This is a detective story that started off as a love story. She decided to do a little research online and discovered that, yes, cholera is a problem in Ghana, and yes, treating it can be expensive — except that Ghana actually has a free cholera treatment program. But she had revealed to her new online beau how much she wanted children, and soon his 14-year-old son was emailing her. “We will advise them, first of all: Don’t panic. “With the romance scam, it could be someone who’s been married for a number of years. Firefly spent a lot of time on her profile, thinking she needed to be entirely honest and open if she hoped to really connect with someone. “In that moment, something was not sounding right to me,” Firefly says. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, online romance scams account for higher financial losses than any other internet-based crime. It’s a form of low-grade, guerrilla cyberwarfare.

Trump: The public doesn’t care about my tax returns. Our audience: Wrong!

His   answer Wednesday was no different: “Only reporters care about my tax returns. In Wednesday’s press conference with reporters, President-elect Donald Trump was again asked whether he would release his tax returns. Can I see your tax returns and make them public to the world?”
People who wrote in said Trump might not be willing to release his taxes because   he has something to hide. “No tax returns, Lock Him Up !”
And then there’s this sentiment, though it was rare in our poll: “Why is it any of anyone’s business? We as a nation need to understand he is going to be our President and stand behind him. “[His] tax returns tell us everything we need to know about his past dealings his current dealings and what kind of a person he really is. Obama humored the racist vitriol of the birther movement and show the press his birth certificate – Trump can do the same for a reasonable request like tax returns. his taxes are irrelevant but only to those looking for dirt… From @Eh_Double: “If Trump can fight to see Obama’s birth certificate then we should be able to see his taxes.”
Richard Wittman Horan added something a little harsher. ”I think it is the essence of our democracy that our leaders are completely transparent with their finances,”   said Greg Tyler. “I am a US citizen. he takes the maximum legal deductions and pays the minimal allowable tax LIKE YOU AND ME… Well sorry he’s been elected as your president stop whining about it, its over and done. He can either do the job or not and in 4 years you can vote and judge him then.”
And from Mary Chiasson: “Regardless if Trump releases his tax records people will still find a reason to distrust him. I also appreciate a president who sets a precedent for transparency, and Trump is the least-transparent PEOTUS in decades (perhaps ever). So, we decided to ask you, our listeners and readers, whether you cared if Trump released his taxes. Some of you tweeted in your answer. If he is framing tax returns as a ridiculous issue, he ought to release them like he said he would. The American people don’t care. I am interested.”
Jane Palomera Moore had more to say: “I really want to see them. Its almost like people want him to fail. Like @Bethnoteliza. Yes, @pritheworld I want to see @realDonaldTrump tax returns before Jan20 #thatmeansnow”
And @bikesunnybike said, “I am not newsmedia and I would like to see #Trump release his tax returns and follow through on his promise.”
Some of you said that if Obama had to produce a birth certificate for legitimacy, then Trump should show details of his finances. And the public seems to expect it. But custom and history has led nearly every major US presidential candidate in modern history to release his taxes. That he is the first president ever to not share his tax return is offensive and an affront to the American people who all work hard for what we haveeven to the extent that it might be something we have to have put into law.”
The president’s   taxes aren’t required to be disclosed by law. Joan Dulbergsaid wrote in an email to us: “I’m extremely concerned that this sets a very bad precedent for the future. While we got a few from people who don’t care if Trump releases his taxes, the vast majority of you said yes, you do care. Here’s a sampling of responses from our Facebook pages:
Robin Schlatter said, “I’m a welder not a reporter. I am so tired of hearing how he’s not my president. You responded. Boy, did you respond. I won the election,” he quipped. Within a day we received more than 700 comments on our Facebook   pages, more than 900 tweets   and about a dozen emails. It’s been a burning question throughout the campaign and since his election — and one that Trump has dodged repeatedly. Carter had this to say: “Idiocy… Trump has high paid CPAs and Tax Lawyers handle his taxes… I do think releasing tax forms would be a step to inspiring confidence in the over 50% of Americans who voted against him, and also would be a productive step taken to dispel the suppositions and rumors about less-than-savory business doings. From now on, everyone running for office could say they’re not releasing their tax returns because if the president didn’t, why should they?”
Here are a couple more people, though, who think we all need to move on:
Charles N. How does America win in that situation?”

America is divided — and that’s by design

And it seems to me one of the jobs and what I will be working on over this next year is trying to develop indicators and signs of what’s illegitimate in American democracy and where it’s appearing. It includes not calling into question the integrity of the very system in which you serve. Mann and Norman J. “Newt outlined a strategy to achieve that objective by basically destroying the legitimacy of Congress as an institution and the people who occupy it, and lowering public trust in government,” Mann says. And these are not coups or revolutions. You’ll be fine. Rather, they say, it started as a deliberate strategy by some Republicans almost four decades ago, to pry away from the Democratic Party the lock on Congress they’d enjoyed for the four decades up to that point. “We believe the public was disserved by emphasizing the importance of equivalence and treatment that doesn’t mean you treat one fairly and the other unfairly,” he says. “People have separated on tribal grounds, with strong social, cultural and partisan identities, and they tend to believe what they hear from their own echo chamber and reject everything else,” he says. Thomas Mann, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and co-author of “It’s Even Worse Than It Was: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism.”


US State Department

So what’s a citizen to believe, or to trust? That includes accepting when the other side wins, and respecting the rules of the game. Donald Trump has set new records in espousing all kind of thoughts that are patently untrue. He insinuated that his supporters should think about taking out the other candidate, if she won. He thinks more journalists and public commentators should do the same. Since being elected, he has questioned the competence and integrity of the US intelligence community. When unverified documents were released, suggesting that the Russians have dirt on him, he called it disgraceful   fake news, and releasing it was like what Nazi Germany used to do. It’s what lets you walk down the street and go to farmers   markets, concerts and sporting events, knowing that you’ll be safe among strangers. And it doesn’t bother him one bit and he may or may not know it is when he’s making those statements. “It’s the Republican Party that has really tried to weaken the institutions of government and to break the norms of our democratic system. It now reads: “It’s Even Worse Than It Was.”
“Perhaps the most worrisome is the absence of acceptance of facts and truth — even science,” Mann says. Historians may look back on this era as another of those rough patches. Obviously some people are not at all engaged in politics and don’t care about it. The hope is there’s enough of a more attentive activists concern segment of the public that can be active and in so doing help preserve a democratic system that’s carried us 240 years.” And it’s time for using public shame on such things and riling up people about the right kind of issues and it won’t be easy. And that creates opportunities for very different kind of forces to operate in a democracy.”

Community members take part in a protest to demand a stop hate crimes during the funeral service of Imam Maulama Akonjee, and Thara Uddin in New York City. But you hoped over time there were at least enough ordinary citizens out there who would be moved by just sort of practical evidence and logical reasoning, and come up with the right thing. “And it all starts with a successful election. “This is the first real threat we’ve had in a long time, and will the institutions and rules and norms be sufficient to keep us from falling the way of many other countries toward a more authoritarian leadership.”

It’s Even Worse Than It Was, book cover


Thomas E. “You know, populist movements have succeeded in changing democracies into autocracies all around the world,” Mann says. And he worked hard at it and created the Conservative Opportunity Society, some of which was substantive and ideological. Trust is also part of what lets a democracy function. They’ve operated very differently. Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and other new conservative radio shows soon emerged. He has nominated heads of government departments who are on record saying they’d like to gut or get rid of those very departments. Candidate Donald Trump said repeatedly that the system is rigged, and that he might not accept the election results unless he won. He appears to be much more concerned about the making public of those documents, than of the US intelligence community’s unanimous finding   that Russian leader Vladimir Putin ordered and oversaw a covert campaign to throw the US election to Trump. Or it could turn out to be a different kind of era altogether. But now we see it’s too tribal for that to happen. Credit:

Bill Pugliano

Mann says it has troubled him, especially in the most recent presidential campaign, that journalists and commentators treated the two parties as though they both do the same thing, in roughly equal measure. Ornstein

Mann is co-author with Norman Ornstein, of the American Enterprise Institute, of the books “The Broken Branch: How Congress is Failing America” (2006) and “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism.” The second book, released in 2012, struck a chord, went viral, and was even read in part on the floor of the US Senate. Credit:

Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

America’s democracy has been tested and has proven resilient in the past, albeit with significant rough patches —   the Civil War, the McCarthy Hearings, Jim Crow laws. “Because the parties aren’t the same, especially in this period. Ironically, purveyors of fake news loved Donald Trump, because his supporters were willing to believe just about anything that made him look good, and his opponents look bad. Speaker of the House and Republican candidate for president Newt Gingrich speaks during the 2011 Republican Leadership Conference on June 16, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Its rerelease in 2016 has the word “looks” crossed out in the title. “He thought the only way to throw off the majority Democrats was to discredit the institution and their leadership of it. And he has regularly denigrated journalists —   real journalists —   while staying apparently sanguine about the fake news that his supporters shared around during the campaign, to help gain support. And if there are real important consequential asymmetries between the parties, then, you’d do well to speak up.”
The problem is, Mann says, the strategy that Gingrich outlined almost 40 years ago, to undermine trust in democratic institutions, has worked so well that many Americans no longer know who or what to believe. Trust in democratic institutions, formal and informal — the integrity of the vote, the balance of power, the role of serious journalism, the idea that —   while politics can be a dirty business, most people play fair, most of the time. Mann says he and Ornstein have approached their work not as partisans but as scholars, looking at the evidence. PRI.org

Trust is what lets you enter into relationships with friends, lovers and business partners. But mainly he was out there recruiting and training candidates in the best ways to demonize their opponents.”
Part of the strategy was to discredit the legitimacy of Congress; part of it was to discredit the mainstream media, and offer an alternative worldview, set of values and narratives via a range of new, conservative media. “The problem is less in the stimulus, because we’ve always had disputes that had lots of lies and untruths in them. Hard won, easily lost, that much harder to regain.Player utilitiesPopout
downloadListen to the Story. But the man who is about to become president spent years claiming his predecessor wasn’t an American citizen —   when he is, and always has been. “This is a time of testing of our democratic system” says Thomas Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a scholar who for half a century has studied and written about American governance. Trust is a fragile thing. It’s kind of Orwellian.”

Former U.S. Mann says he and Ornstein first encountered the idea for the strategy when interviewing a newly elected House representative after the 1978 midterm election —   Newt Gingrich. They have different value,” he says. Credit:

Justin Sullivan

But the rot didn’t start with Trump, Mann and Ornstein argue in their books. “It means you treat them both fairly and honestly. But I think it’s going to take a more vigilant public. Rush Limbaugh speaks at a May 2007 event in Novi, Michigan. “It’s the dispute among elites and with ordinary citizens about what should be taken as the basis of beginning a conversation.

Kenyans in Obama’s ancestral village worry the world will forget them now

“The foundation congratulates   Donald J. Malik Obama, who has often expressed his disappointment with his half-brother for not visiting Kogelo more often, even endorsed Trump and voted for him in mock elections that have been held regularly in the village, both as a tourist draw and a superstitious way to influence the American vote. You will never hear about us again.”
Tonny Onyulo reported from Kogelo, Kenya. Obama is younger than Trump.” The Constitution wouldn’t allow for that, of course, but Otieno’s sentiment is clear. “We are very sad because Obama is leaving,” she said. Standing outside her tiny mud house in this remote village, Mary Anyango lamented President Barack Obama’s departure from the White House next week.Player utilitiesPopout
downloadListen to the Story. Both educate children referred by The Mama Sarah Obama Foundation, which cares for widows and orphans who have lost spouses and parents to HIV and AIDS. This is all happening because of Obama.”
Obama’s Kenyan roots have been a source of pride for this village of about 3,700 souls in western Kenya. Now Anyango is afraid those funds will dry up, especially after the stunning loss of Hillary Clinton, whom most Kogelo residents supported. Since Obama became president, the village has been in the local and international limelight, attracting public and private investment that has brought electricity, paved roads and other improvements. We are not going to experience any development again.”

Mary Anyango holds her daughter’s hangd in Kogelo, President Obama’s ancestral home in Kenya. Credit:

Tonny Onyulo

Nicholas Rajula, the Obama family spokesman, said Clinton’s loss was a big blow to the region. PRI.org

“Life is going to be very difficult in this village without Obama’s presidency,” said Anyango, 48, a single mother of six. “I think the world is not going to pay attention to us any more since Obama is leaving the presidency. Auma Obama, the president’s half-sister, cares for disadvantaged children and young people. “We supported Mrs. He last visited the village in 2006 when he was a US senator. The Sauti Kuu Foundation headed by Dr. Our son Obama has made us proud.”
Those uncertainties now dominate village concerns. Obama hasn’t directly supported or advocated for investment in Kogelo. Clinton as a [part of the Clinton] family, but the American people elected Trump,” said Rajula. Obama Foundation, created by the president’s half-brother Abon’go Malik Obama, develops sources of clean drinking water. Vincent Okoth, a taxi driver who guides tourists flocking to the village, said he was still mourning Obama leaving the White House. “This will affect the future of the village. Many here were deeply disappointed in 2015 when he visited Kenya and didn’t stop by, instead meeting with his relatives in Nairobi. Trump   on his inauguration as the 45th President of the United States of America,” read a statement on the Barack H. Obama Foundation’s webpage. Anyango, the mother of six, wasn’t optimistic that the university and other projects will be completed. “We are going to suffer because of Americans,” said Stephen Otieno. After Obama’s 2006 visit, Kogelo’s two schools were renovated and renamed the Senator Obama Secondary School and Senator Obama Primary School. “I think Malik should cement his relationship with Trump so that the president can bring developments.”
As Obama exits office, several big projects are on the drawing board. “Americans could have allowed our son Obama to continue being president. Auma Obama has raised funds for the construction of a recreational-education complex in nearby Alego, for example. Some residents said they hoped   Trump would not abandon them. They are putting up houses for us. “Will the white people continue visiting our village?” she asked. It’s now home to Mama Sarah Obama, his 95-year-old step-grandmother. At Kogelo’s central market, which opens every day at dawn, the potential adverse effects of Obama leaving the White House are a common topic of conversation among worried townsfolk. Recently, as the orange sun rose over the horizon, they murmured in low tones in their local dialect to express their disappointment. She has also begun construction of an Obama family-affiliated university on 50 acres of land in Kogelo, but lacks the funding to complete the school. I have been working as a driver for eight years. But his celebrity attracted important investment and development projects. She’s worried about how Obama’s exit from the White House will affect her life. “We hope this will not affect development projects in the village and our country. “We have many non-governmental organizations here, which are helping our children pay fees. “We have been depending on him,” said Okoth. I depend on visitors who come to the village to trace Obama’s roots.”
Five important institutions have sprung up here because of the US president’s ancestral connections. The project is slated to be completed in April. Around 250 miles from Nairobi, Kogelo first came to wide public attention in Barack Obama’s “Dreams From My Father,” his acclaimed memoir   published in 1995. “But for now we are in darkness because we don’t know how our future will look like minus his presidency. The Barack H. “We are very sure that Trump will support Kenya and people from this village, because Malik supported him,” said James Ochieng, a teacher at Senator Obama Primary School. “Make America Great Again.”
Residents said it was time for Trump to show the village that he has their interests at heart by supporting projects initiated during President Obama’s reign. Obama’s father, Barack Obama, Sr., was born and died in Kogelo, after studying economics in the US and working for the Kenyan government.

Watch live: Senate confirmation hearings for Defense, CIA and HUD

James Mattis, who is nominated to be defense secretary, will sit before the Senate Arms Services Committee. You can watch the hearings live below:
1. 2. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence   will question   Rep. Three of Trump’s nominees are appearing concurrently on Capitol Hill before three separate committees. Retired Gen. James Mattis, nominee for secretary of defense. Senate confirmation hearings   on President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees continue Thursday. Rep. Retired   Gen. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan, Trump’s pick to head the CIA. Ben Carson, nominee for secretary of housing and urban development And the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs will hear from Trump’s choice for secretary of   housing and urban development, Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who ran against Trump for the Republican presidential nomination. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan, nominee for director of the CIA


The reconciliation of Mark Wahlberg

The list of actor Mark Wahlberg’s offenses is not inconsequential. When asked if he would consider an official exculpation at this point, the governor responded, “I think he withdrew his application.”   When pressed if he would consider pardoning Wahlberg had he not withdrawn his application, the governor said, with a laugh,   “I don’t speak in hypotheticals about pardons. Both Wahlberg and his victims are dealing with the lingering impact. But the G-word is for us,” said Nam Pham, a leader in Dorchester’s 8,000-strong Vietnamese community, who is all too familiar with the term. A movie that would embrace the concept of brotherhood, of living together, making our neighborhood a much better place. The film, he said, is about “how people from all walks of life ran towards the problem and went to help people because it was the right thing to do.” The movie “Patriot’s Day”   will be released to general audiences nationwide Friday. When it began, white residents of Boston’s notoriously insular neighborhoods tried to torpedo a judge’s desegregation order by pelting yellow buses carrying black kids with rocks. “He’s a big movie star. Baker met with Wahlberg in early 2016 to discuss his upcoming movie. PRI.org

“Gook — just like the N-word. “He was a youthful offender. It doesn’t make him any exception,” she said. Tommy Saunders, played by Wahlberg, is in a frantic race against the clock to hunt down the Tsarnaev brothers. Physical attacks on immigrants and African Americans were not uncommon in the post-anti-school busing era. Later the same day in 1988, he punched another immigrant from Vietnam and allegedly peppered him with a racially derogatory term directed at Asians.Player utilitiesPopout
downloadListen to the Story. Busing for the purpose of desegregating schools began in 1974, but its effect lasted into the 1990s. Tommy Saunders in “Patriot’s Day.” The film is about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and has nationwide release on Friday, January 13. He served his time. In the meantime, Wahlberg hopes that “Patriot’s Day” will serve as one kind of movie about reconciliation. “I give Peter Berg [the director] and Wahlberg and the rest of them a lot of credit for what I believe capturing the story in the right way,” said Baker. The A-list actor was,   until recently, trying   to win an official pardon for his crimes. Latinos, Asians and newly arrived Cape Verdeans were also among those targeted. To become a better person, a better father, a better husband and a better Bostonian. “Considering where I came from and coming up in an area like this is not an easy thing to do, but that’s why I want to focus so much on giving back and make sure I can create opportunity for   kids growing up in Dorchester, Roxbury, inner city average youth, and tell them that if I can accomplish what I set out to do through hard work and dedication, they can do the same,” Wahlberg said. “The interesting part about this one is, if his name was Mark Smith, this would not be controversial at all,” Albano said. I think that would be a wonderful thing to do.”
When I mentioned this proposal to Wahlberg, he actually seemed open to the suggestion. It details the immediate aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings where police Sgt. “I don’t really care who he is. Never!”
The road to a pardon in Massachusetts would go through the Governor’s Council and at least one member, Mike Albano, was ready to grant it. Credit:


Before stardom, Wahlberg was something else: a juvenile delinquent, making life hell for Vietnamese immigrants and African Americans on Boston’s racially divided streets. Mark Wahlberg as Sgt. Pham, the Vietnamese American leader who now works for the Baker administration, suggests a novel way he thinks that Wahlberg can atone for his past. “If you’re a racist, you’re always going to be a racist.”
Another victim, Johnny Trinh (Hoa Trinh), a Vietnamese man now living in Texas,   told a Daily Mail reporter   he does forgive Wahlberg, and denies a popularly held belief that the permanent injury to his left eye was caused by the actor during the 1988 assault. If you look at his record, the contributions he’s made back to the community with veterans and young people, he’s a perfect fit for a pardon.”
Though the pardon is now moot, Wahlberg remains self-conscious about his past and told me during a recent press conference for “Patriot’s Day” that he is trying to make up for it through charitable work with the Boys and Girls Clubs and through his own life example. “Perhaps he can make a movie talking about race.”
Pham suggested this pitch:
“A man from Dorchester who was a troublemaker and now trying to make things better for everybody. “It was very common.”
This is why Wahlberg’s on-screen portrayal of a Boston cop is filled with irony given the crimes he committed as a young man, including several assaults on people of color. “I first came to Dorchester’s Field’s Corner in 1981, and once in a while I would run into people who would tell to my face, ‘Go home gook,’” Pham said. “And as far as telling my own story, these are things that I’ve worked hard [to achieve] every day. The conflict spilled over to local beaches, night clubs and street corners. That would be the toughest task,” he said. So, the last act of my story is yet to be written but I am very proud to be a Bostonian, to be a part of this story.”
Hollywood has never made a full-length movie about the collective trauma of racism and anti-busing that enveloped Boston in the 1970s   and 80s. Wahlberg grew up in a tough, white working class part of Dorchester. Also: Two young filmmakers grapple with their high school memories of the Boston marathon bomber
Wahlberg was convicted of assault and served a little more than a month in detention for attacks on the Vietnamese men. We all believe in a second chance,” said Pham. He says Wahlberg’s fame made his case more difficult. He never encountered Wahlberg, but he encountered the term frequently. “Yeah, growing up in Boston during the 70s and 80s there was a huge racial divide. One victim, Kristyn Atwood of Decatur, Georgia, a black woman who was ten at the time,   told the Associated Press   in 2015 that she will never forgive him. But in a recent interview, the governor still appeared unsympathetic to the notion of a pardon, despite Wahlberg’s work on “Patriot’s Day”. At 16, during an attempted robbery, he pummeled a Vietnamese man with a wooden stick and knocked him unconscious. “Well, I’ll have to figure out who’s going to play me in the movie first. Both former Governor Deval Patrick and current Governor Charlie Baker were disinclined to act on his request for a pardon, so in September Wahlberg dropped it. It was pretty much all we knew growing up and one of the things I continue to go back to is to see how far cities come, how much people have grown and how people from all walks of life,” Wahlberg said.