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Trump Appoints Two More to His Cabinet, Suggests an 'Open Mind' on Climate Change and More You Missed in Politics Today

by Countable | 3.20.17

It’s difficult to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in this country and to break through the clutter, so we’re here to make it easier. Here’s what we at Countable are reading today:

1. "Trump nominates two prominent GOP women: DeVos as education secretary, Haley as U.N. ambassador"

President-elect Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he is naming two new women to his Cabinet: "billionaire philanthropist Betsy DeVos for education secretary" and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley for ambassador to the United Nations. Both will need to be confirmed by the Senate. DeVos is “a conservative activist who has forcefully pushed for private school voucher programs. Her nomination is expected to face strong opposition from public school advocates, who oppose her efforts to funnel taxpayer dollars from public to private and religious schools.” Haley, meanwhile, is a two-term governor, “a rising Republican star and daughter of Indian immigrants who has virtually no foreign policy experience.” The Trump administration pointed to her work promoting South Carolina businesses to international partners.

Read more at the Washington Post.

2. "Trump backs away from some of his strident campaign promises"

Trump "abruptly abandoned some of his most tendentious campaign promises Tuesday, saying he does not plan to prosecute Hillary Clinton … has an ‘open mind’ about a climate-change accord from which he vowed to withdraw the United States and is no longer certain that torturing terrorism suspects is a good idea." Trump also said that “he believes there is ‘some connectivity’ between human activity and rising global temperatures” and that he “disavow[s]” the alt-right, as the far-right group’s rhetoric has grown increasingly anti-Semitic.

Read more at the Washington Post.

3. "Days after Trump spoke to Argentina’s president his stalled Buenos Aires tower project picked up steam"

Three days after Trump spoke on the phone with Argentine President Mauricio Macri, Trump’s associates announced that a long-stalled project to build a Trump Tower in Buenos Aires would go through. "There’s nothing substantive to confirm that the phone call and construction announcement are linked," but the timing is raising more questions about Trump’s decision to hand his business over to his children rather than putting his assets into a blind trust.

Read more at Quartz.

Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) has introduced legislation that would force Trump (and all presidents and vice presidents) to put his assets into a blind trust or report all potential conflicts of interest to the Office of Government Ethics. Learn more and tell your reps what you think.

4. "Tesla Shock Means Global Gasoline Demand Has All But Peaked"

"The International Energy Agency forecasts that global gasoline consumption has all but peaked as more efficient cars and the advent of electric vehicles from new players such as Tesla Motors Inc. halt demand growth in the next 25 years. That shift will have profound consequences for the oil-refining industry because gasoline accounts for one in four barrels consumed worldwide. … The cresting of gasoline demand shows how rapidly the oil landscape is changing, casting a shadow over an industry that commonly forecasts decades of growth ahead."

Read more at Bloomberg.

5. "Donald Trump Jr. Held Talks on Syria With Russia Supporters"

Donald Trump Jr., "emerging as a potential envoy for the president-elect, held private discussions with diplomats, businessmen and politicians in Paris last month that focused in part on finding a way to cooperate with Russia to end the war in Syria, according to people who took part in the meetings. Thirty people, including Donald Trump Jr., attended the Oct. 11 event at the Ritz Paris, which was hosted by a French think tank," which has “worked closely with Russia to try to end the conflict.”

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

6. "Facebook Said to Create Censorship Tool to Get Back Into China"

Facebook "has quietly developed software to suppress posts from appearing in people’s news feeds in specific geographic areas" in order to help the social network “get into China,” a market where it’s “been blocked.” The tool is “confidential” but anonymous sources told the Times that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg “has supported and defended the effort.”

Read more at the New York Times.

— Sarah Mimms
Photo by Camlin Moore/South Carolina Governor’s Office

Countable

Written by Countable

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(23)
  • Katie
    11/24/2016
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    You can't say you disavow the alt-right until you remove alt-right members from your inner circle 😠

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  • dhbrotman
    11/25/2016
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    It's clear that people like Owen can't be taken seriously. They are either one of the many paid climate deniers, or they have decided to lodge their head up somewhere it's not supposed to be. I personally have enough humility to know that an expert who has studied a problem extensively might know more than I do about it. And when you have the vast majority of scientific experts (clarification: a virtual unanimity of experts) reaching the same conclusion from many different investigative directions, it tells you something. Now, you can have doubts about the fine details or about the trade offs involved in dealing with it, that's legitimate. But to ignore the facts, however inconvenient, is not a serious option. And then there's the Insurance analogy. You insure many risks even when you think the likelihood of an occurrence is low; it's worth it to pay something just in case. Given what we know about climate change, it would be criminal if us not to take precautions even if we thought the risks were overblown. But, you see, those on Owen's side won't listen to rational argument, even if they could understand it. Which I doubt.

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  • JohnWick
    11/25/2016
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    If your so self involved that you can't see that climate change is a thing, nobody can help you. You have to want to attempt to learn something in order to actually retain the information.

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  • MadelineM
    11/25/2016
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    Open a book, Owen, then you won't think it's a "pseudoscience hoax".

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  • emilyrc2of6
    11/25/2016
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    And here we have Trump going back on his promises. Wow. Who saw that coming.

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  • OwensRight
    11/25/2016
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    Again, all I see is "all the evidence is there" arguments. Climate change has been happening since the beginning of time, and always will happen. It can never be disproven which is perfect for the left's want for control of the economy, energy, and our lives.

    Like (3)
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  • OwensRight
    11/25/2016
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    Climate change is a pseudo-science hoax.

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  • Ian
    12/01/2016
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    @Owensright, your basic argument that climate change has been happening and will always happen falls into the same category of broad overarching unfounded statements you are criticizing. Where is your evidence that humans are not a contributing factor? Climate Change is a slow process and you're correct , our planet has seen many climate changes throughout its history. The greenhouse effect is a very basic concept that any gardener liberal or conservative uses when they have a greenhouse to help grow their tomatoes or whatever. Solar radiation from the sun comes through our atmosphere with higher amounts of energy and loses energy when it reflects off the surface. The more greenhouse gasses we have in our atmosphere the more that solar radiation is trapped and not let back out into space. We now have over 400ppm of Co2 in the atmosphere which is more than our world has ever seen since humans inhabited this planet. There are over 7 billion people here and we definitely are the cause for the majority of that number, via coal fired power plants , manufacturing facilities , deforestation , cars etc. I'd be happy to hear some real evidence you have that shows humans haven't any influence on climate change.

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  • Michael777
    11/27/2016
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    😂 Already, Trump is back-pedaling on many of his biggest promises! The fraud now wants to keep "an open mind" about climate change after repeatedly calling it "a hoax", and now, he also does not believe that torture is a good idea after insisting that he "would bring back torture"! He just pandered and lied to millions of ignorant, right-wing Americans so he could get their votes, only to reveal himself as just a moderate! But his supporters probably do not care because many of them do not care about facts! Sad!

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  • OwensRight
    11/25/2016
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    @Maddy Lol the classic "open a book, but I won't give any real evidence" argument. Nice.

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  • PLD
    01/09/2017
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    Please oppose her appointment as contrary to the best interests of public education. The nominee has absolutely no training in the field nor has she or her children ever attended a public school. Instead, she has used her wealth to support a voucher system in support of private schools. The consequences have been schools proven to be inferior by national standards and, thus, FAILURES. From research that I've done, her only qualification appears to be personal contributions to politicians and others to further an agenda contrary to the best interests of a strong public school system.

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  • James
    11/25/2016
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    At what point in history was there No climate change?

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  • James
    11/25/2016
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    As far as Nikki Haley? Poor choice! Very poor choice! All she did in South Carolina was ban the Confederate Battle flag and tick off the people of South Carolina! Another Republican would have defeated her in their next election anyway! A very poor choice!

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  • Mary
    01/08/2017
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    Please reject Betsy DeVos. She does not believe in Public Education. Her policies will not protect the civil rights of our most needy children.

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  • Cameron
    11/25/2016
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    @OwensRight here's a good read - https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/09/why-is-antarctic-sea-ice-at-record-levels-despite-global-warming

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  • Erin
    01/16/2017
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    Please do not support the appointment of Mrs. DeVos. I have proudly served as a public school educator for 20 years and while I believe that change is needed in education, DeVos is NOT qualified to make changes that will benefit ALL students. She has no experience serving in education, never attended public school, nor sent her children to public school, and those facts added to her perspective on education as a wealthy member of society, mean that she cannot possibly understand how unrealistic a voucher system would be for our neediest families. The Department of Education should be lead by a professional in the education field. Again, I ask that you not support her nomination. Our students deserve a better, more qualified option.

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  • Lois
    01/09/2017
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    Please do not support Betty De Vos for Secretary of Education. She does not believe in public education. Her background does not indicate that she will have the educational interests of ALL American children in mind for anything she would do.

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  • Sarah
    01/08/2017
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    We must absolutely not have DeVos at the helm of public education... She does not believe in and works to undermine public schooling at every turn. Our children deserve better. Our country has prided itself on free quality public education for all. We need reform (especially in regard to funding formulas and testing mandates) but above all else we need to preserve free public education. We need to demonstrate that we value education; monetizing and privatizing do just the opposite.

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  • Steven
    01/08/2017
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    Absolutely NO on DeVos for education. Her advocacy for private schools and especially religious schools and her condemnation of public schools makes her UNFIT to lead the education department. She has no experience in education by training or personal experience since her own kids only went to private schools. Not everyone can afford that. We need to repeal of he no child testing abomination and let teachers really teach again!

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  • Rani
    01/08/2017
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    Please oppose Betsy DeVos for secretary of education. She will advance an evangelical Christian agenda that will result in further educational, political and economic polarization in our country. Her approach will result in public funds being diverted to support evangelical Christian institutions who do not have to teach to the same standards or even the same set of facts. This is a dangerous direction for our country.

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