Trying to Reason with Trump

Many progressive activists are angry over Donald Trump’s victory, but persuasion – rather than anger – may be needed to get him to act responsibly on global warming and other crucial issues, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

By Paul R. Pillar

Anti-Trump street demonstrations since the election have had an aimless quality. It is hard to see anything they accomplish besides expressing frustration and letting off steam. The lack of focus is one indication that many of those united by abhorrence of a Donald Trump presidency are likely to start tripping over each other.

The different emphases that different abhorrees give to different issues will mean competition for attention, energy, and resources. Roots of such competition can be found in the habit, displayed in much Democratic Party politics and by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, of often approaching issues less in terms of a common national interest and more in terms of the diverse demands and interests of diverse demographic groups.

Image of Planet Earth taken from Apollo 17

Image of Planet Earth taken from Apollo 17

There is likely to be strife as well between those who believe that cooperating at all with a Trump administration lends respectability to its underlying prejudices and Congressional Democrats who want to work with the new administration where there is at least some common ground.

Here is a suggestion, for those who really want to make a positive contribution to the common interest, on how to prioritize issues on which there is well-founded worry about the damage that the Trump administration may cause. Besides thinking very carefully, from a broad frame of reference, about what is intrinsically most important, think about where that damage is most likely to be irreversible, or at least where it cannot be reversed without much more difficulty and uncertainty than other types of damage can be.

Many issues, although they are important and although bad policy on them can inflict much pain, are quite reversible. This is true of many topics in fiscal and economic policy. Even if, for example, financial deregulation hastens the coming of another financial crisis and another Great Recession, this will cause a lot of economic pain to the people but the nation will recover, as it recovered from the first Great Recession.

With many domestic policies, generally more so than with foreign policy, the self-corrective mechanism of disenchanted voters deciding to cast their votes in a different direction comes into play. This likely will be the case with many who supported Trump this year coming to see that his policies provide no improvement to the economic situations that underlay their discontent.

The Highest Priorities

Higher in priority are matters involving the integrity and validity of the democratic process through which all other policies are made. Here the element of irreversibility, or of difficulty in reversing, involves an entrenched ruling minority using techniques to stay entrenched, well after it has lost whatever majority it once may have had.

President-elect Donald Trump and his running mate Mike Pence thank their supporters for the upset victory on Nov. 8, 2016. (Photo from

President-elect Donald Trump and his running mate Mike Pence thank their supporters for the upset victory on Nov. 8, 2016. (Photo from

This topic includes voter suppression laws, in which a party in power impedes the exercise of the right to vote in ways that disproportionately disadvantage supporters of the other party. It also includes gerrymandering of legislative and Congressional districts, which is why a recent decision by a federal district court involving a case in Wisconsin, which has confronted this problem directly, is so important. It is reasonable to view such techniques as potentially a step toward authoritarianism. Most of the action on this topic, however, is to be found in the state legislatures and the courts, and is not necessarily a product of a president’s policies.

The highest priority, given the criterion of irreversibility of presidentially-inflicted harm, should go to the issue of climate change and the need to arrest global warming. The intrinsic importance of the subject ought to be beyond question: using a broad frame of reference, it would be hard to think of anything more vital for us humans than keeping the planet habitable for humans.

The difficulty in reversing any damage from presidential policies has two elements, one of which involves international politics and the fragility of international cooperation. With the Paris climate accord and understandings reached between the United States and China, the last few years have seen a welcome momentum in the right direction. If the United States, one of the two largest greenhouse gas emitters, were to lurch away from the international consensus in the next four years, the momentum would be hard to recover.

Irreversible Damage

Even more genuinely irreversible are some of the geophysical processes involved. One of the most disturbing aspects of global warming is that it involves self-reinforcing feedback loops that would make it extremely hard if not impossible to reverse the warming trend — at least on any time scale that has meaning as far as the history of the human species is concerned — once the trend passes certain tipping points.

A poster that comic artist Walt Kelly prepared for the first Earth Day in 1970.

A poster that comic artist Walt Kelly prepared for the first Earth Day in 1970.

This means even a human race universally committed several years or decades from now to saving the planet would be unable to accomplish some things toward that end that humans of today could accomplish. In short, the next several years matter a lot, and if they are not used well, irreversibility becomes more of a problem.

An example of such a feedback loop involves sea ice in the Arctic. The warmer it gets in the Arctic, the less ice there is. And the less ice there is, the less sunlight is reflected off the surface, the more heat is absorbed, and the more global warming accelerates further. The extent of Arctic sea ice right now, which is at an off-the-charts low for this time of year, ought to be ringing alarm bells.

Another feedback loop involves land areas in the Arctic. Thawing of long-frozen tundra and organic material within it releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas that exacerbates the global warming.

Climate change deniers ought to be treated with all the disdain they richly deserve. Going against the overwhelming scientific consensus on this subject ought to be given as much respect as belief that the Earth is flat. Those who place short-term financial or political interests ahead of the fate of the planet should be condemned for their indefensibly selfish and short-sighted posture.

Some of Donald Trump’s utterances on the subject are worthy of disdain, as are some of the anti-scientific people who are advising him on the topic. Trump’s assertion that climate change is a hoax that China has perpetrated for economic advantage is looking ridiculous considering how China has been not only talking the talk in reaching diplomatic agreements but also walking the walk in restructuring its own energy infrastructure.

Beijing’s de-emphasis of coal and development of renewal energy sources have meant that China may have already turned a corner in reducing carbon dioxide emissions as of last year.

An ‘Open Mind’

But with a president as thin-skinned as Trump, merely condemning him for the ridiculous and the outrageous in what he has said is not the way to steer him onto a wiser policy course. It is tactically sound, and not just wishful thinking, to try to build upon the more constructive-sounding parts of his inconsistent rhetoric. He ought to be taken at his word when, as in his interview with the New York Times, he says he has an “open mind” about climate change.

Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona. June 18, 2016. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona. June 18, 2016. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

There is potential for getting the new president to use that open mind to adopt some good planet-saving ideas as if they were his own. The concept of the United States being a leader and not a laggard, and not losing ground to the likes of the Chinese, in the development of renewable energy represents one set of such ideas. The concept should be all the more attractive to Trump if he becomes educated enough in the subject to understand that the trend to renewables is a matter of economics and not just of environmental activism.

A real estate developer such as Trump also ought to be impressed at least as much as anyone else by the effects that a rising sea level already is having on the market for coastal real estate. His own Mar-a-Lago is by the water — in Palm Beach in southeastern Florida, where those effects are being felt at least as severely as anywhere else in the United States.

Columnist Frank Bruni probably has it right when he identifies applause and adulation of an audience as the main motivator of Trump. To steer him in the right direction on climate change, he needs to feel that he is responding to the demands and emotions of an audience.

So go ahead and hold street demonstrations and make lots of noise on this subject; but the signs and the slogans should be pro-planet Earth rather than anti-Trump.

Paul R. Pillar, in his 28 years at the Central Intelligence Agency, rose to be one of the agency’s top analysts. He is author most recently of Why America Misunderstands the World. (This article first appeared as a blog post at The National Interest’s Web site. Reprinted with author’s permission.) 

36 comments for “Trying to Reason with Trump

  1. k
    December 3, 2016 at 11:18

    one thing i wonder reading the comments: those usually very knowledgable and reasonable on politics seem dull when it comes to the so-called climate change which was called global warming which was called global cooling. haven’t they studied that at first it was global cooling, renamed as global warming, renamed as climate change? pillar is excluded, of course. no doubt he’s a propagandist.

    • Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
      December 3, 2016 at 20:46

      Al Gore addresses the global cooling idea put forward by denialists against anthropogenic global warming.

  2. Gravedigger
    December 1, 2016 at 18:08

    CAGW is the biggest scam since the great global cooling crisis of the 70,s. The Donald has upset the globalist agenda and I can’t stop smiling:))))

    • Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
      December 3, 2016 at 20:51

      Claiming it is a conspiracy loses you the argument.

  3. Eternal Vigilance
    November 30, 2016 at 17:55

    Reasoning with Trump by leftist environmentalists? Inherent in this statement is the idea that there lies a compromise somewhere between the two. To the left a compromise is is that you surrender all your ideals and beliefs and agree with everything they ask or say! In return, they will not call you an idiot, meathead or whatever!

    Since the two elements are diametrically opposed what does the left have to offer to Trump tto affirm their reasoning capacities?

  4. Vincent Castigliola
    November 30, 2016 at 15:55

    Several centuries ago, the Aztecs utilized human sacrifice on a grand scale to insure that the sun would rise the next day and to prevent apocalypse predicted by their priests.
    After WW2 we feared the Russians were coming, and a national religion was established to ward off Soviet Communist demons which appeared in 1917 but largely evaporated by 1991.
    To resist that evil, we pursued a Cold War, came close destroying the world via nuclear war, sacrificed thousands of lives, and spent trillions of dollars to ward off a flawed political/economic system destined by its DNA to implode.
    We now face establishment of a new state religion founded upon a belief in manmade climate change. While cyclical climate change is well proven, man’s activities as its cause, remain theoretical. The cost of substantial, yet probably ineffective, efforts to ward off climate change is likely to be astronomical.
    Believers in a Global Warming apocalypse tend to reject as heretics anyone who questions their dogma. Advocates who would demonize Joe McCarthy, emulate him in their war on warning (and anyone skeptical of a manmade cause). That war, if fully implemented, will likely dwarf the cost in lives, liberty, and dollars of above mentioned actions intended to either change or cause things which were in fact predestined.
    Rather than pursue another war on yet another designated evil, would it not be better to seek an end to wars of intervention and occupation, to retire the job of policeman of the world, and seek cooperation rather than confrontation with Russia. Such actions would reduce the undisputed risk of very sudden global warming via nuclear war.
    Should we not urge President Elect Trump towards such peaceful pursuits which entail certain moral and financial benefit.

    • Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
      December 3, 2016 at 20:52

      McCarthyism? The only McCarthyism is Trump scapegoating all Muslims for the crimes of terrorists.

  5. Bill Cash
    November 29, 2016 at 12:50

    I’ve predicted for a long time that if these republicans ever got total control, it would be the end of what democracy we have left. We will now see a much stronger voter suppression effort and if it’s blocked by lower courts, they will push it to the supreme court which they will control. My hope is that their egos get in the way and interfighting among them breaks them up. My fear is that Steve Bannon through his Government Accountability Institute will have dirt on every congressman and they will be kneeling before him. Trump is a fool whom Bannon uses as the front man. He uses Trump to divert attention from what’s really happening. Bannon is an anarchist who wants to bring down our government and is now in the perfect position to do it.
    Trump wasn’t effective until Bannon took over his campaign.

    • backwardsevolution
      November 29, 2016 at 16:10

      Bill Cash – Catherine Austin-Fitts said something along the lines of: this election was a war between those who wanted to sacrifice country for empire (Hillary Clinton with the wars, secretive trade treaties, offshoring of jobs) and those who wanted to sacrifice empire for country (no wars, tariffs to allow “fair” trade, bringing jobs back). I think she’s right.

      Democracy? You are being spied on (your emails, your Internet searches, your phone, your purchases). Whistle blowers are thrown in jail for life. Secretive trade treaties are written by corporations behind the backs of the American people. Insider trading by congressmen. Corruption everywhere you look. Is this what you’re afraid of losing?

  6. Joe Tedesky
    November 29, 2016 at 01:26

    I think that Mr Pillar is advocating talking, and appealing to Trump in an intelligent way, and I agree. Although I approve of protest, and petitioning for needed attention, I’m curious to if the Trump Administration will crack down hard enough to drive this country into becoming a full fledged fascist state. The essential mythology of Americanism is that we are a ‘we the people’ rule nation. We all know how overrated this taught meme is, but why not?

    Think the worst, and the best will happen. If there ever was a time in our country’s short history to bunker down and prepare for the worst, this maybe it. Don’t get me wrong, I want Trump to do well. So far, except for Tulsi Gabbard none of his visiting possible appointees turn me on. Quite the opposite in fact. Hillary should come out and concede, and invoke getting behind our new president. Hillary wouldn’t need to disavow any vocal progressive push back, but only appeal to the country to have patience.

    If any of these stories which are floating around on the net are true, get ready. Repealing ACA/Obamacare, privatizing Medi-Care & Social Security, no more Net Neutrality, bigger and meaner local police forces, walls where possible, and on and on. This all may come true, I don’t know, but wouldn’t it be more efficient to wait and see what happens…in the process of all of this, yes write, call pertinent congressional representatives, do what you must do, whether approval or disapproval it doesn’t matter. What does matter is you voiced your opinion….this goes even for the no voters, in my mind if you pay taxes you have a say.

    In the meantime I’m still trying to figure out if I’m a Russian mole. If I am boy what a pickle I’m in…. I have a hard enough time with English let alone speaking and writing in Russian. See you all later comrades….got to go put on ‘Back in the USSR’.

  7. Robert Severance
    November 28, 2016 at 21:28

    Perhaps The Donald could be persuaded to install a major reform to Obama Care : Single Payer, with the power to negotiate prices! It would have to be re-packaged under a new name such as Freedom Choice of Health Plan, and presented as a brilliant new anti-Obama idea. Re-packaging has worked before. While the details are worked out, the public could be distracted by a sideshow, such as charging Hillary with treason and sending her to Guantanamo. Think of the photos of her in a orange suit!

    • backwardsevolution
      November 28, 2016 at 23:16

      Robert – you’re right, single-payer’s time is now. Cut out the middle man, get rid of the insurance companies. People are being fleeced.

      • Bill Bodden
        November 29, 2016 at 13:55

        Donald Trump selects Tom Price as secretary of health and human services: Georgia congressman would be expected to play key role in attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s landmark healthcare legislation –

        Lotsaluck on single-payer with this combo.

        • backwardsevolution
          November 29, 2016 at 15:58

          Bill – well, healthcare didn’t get talked about much in the election, did it? As Sam F points out, special interests controlled the narrative: illegal immigrants, LGBT rights, Muslims, wiping out student debt, and other special interests. Hillary had the chance when Bill Clinton was President to do something about healthcare, but she chose not to. Had she called for single-payer during this past election, she would have won, but she didn’t. At least Trump spoke about stopping wars and the secretive trade treaties. At least he did that.

          “Hillary took the lead role in the White House’s efforts to pass a corporate-friendly version of “health reform.” Along with the big insurance companies the Clintons deceptively railed against, the “co-presidents” decided from the start to exclude the popular health care alternative – single payer – from the national health care “discussion.” (Obama would do the same thing in 2009.)

          “David, tell me something interesting.” That was then First Lady Hillary Clinton’s weary and exasperated response – as head of the White House’s health reform initiative – to Harvard medical professor David Himmelstein in 1993. Himmelstein was head of Physicians for a National Health Program. He had just told her about the remarkable possibilities of a comprehensive, single-payer “Canadian style” health plan, supported by more than two-thirds of the U.S. public. Beyond backing by a citizen super-majority, Himmelstein noted, single-payer would provide comprehensive coverage to the nation’s 40 million uninsured while retaining free choice in doctor selection and being certified by the Congressional Budget Office as “the most cost-effective plan on offer.”

          Anti-Progressive Neoliberal Trailblazers

          There was no dishonesty in Hillary’s dismissive remark. Consistent with her neoliberal DLC world view, she really was bored and irritated by Himmelstein’s pitch.”

          “Along with the insurance companies the Clintons deceptively railed against…..” That says it all right there.

          And another thing that was not discussed during the election was getting big money out of politics. Instead the mean practice of actually having the nerve to ask someone to produce some voter I.D. was talked about instead. Unreal.

          I guess you get what you pay for…..or what big money pays the politicians for.

      • Sam F
        November 29, 2016 at 21:17

        Yes, it seems likely that a single-payer healthcare plan would make a landslide platform for progressives all by itself, although it would certainly generate a lot of dollars for the opposition. Add demilitarization/reinvestment/retraining, isolation of politics and mass media from money power, improvement of business and financial regulation, rigorous limitation of surveillance, and prosecution of corruption in Congress and judiciary, and the major parties wouldn’t dare to debate the platform at all.

        We could simply not mention the background issues of equal rights and climate progress, until the Dems began shrieking that we were conspiring to subvert those.

  8. SteveK9
    November 28, 2016 at 20:25

    Climate-change deniers on the right and anti-nukes on the left are two sides of the same irrational, anti-science coin. The answer to climate change was and is nuclear power. We’ll probably figure that out about the time China completes its 500th nuclear reactor.

    • backwardsevolution
      November 28, 2016 at 23:14

      Or we could just cut our population way down, through having less children, and there wouldn’t be a need for China’s 500th nuclear reactor. Over a billion people in India, same with China, and Africa is set to explode. What are we thinking? Yeah, let’s just throw more nuclear reactors at it; there, done. Insanity.

  9. backwardsevolution
    November 28, 2016 at 15:35

    Zachary – “The suicide of an ‘intelligent’ species is a frightening thing to contemplate…” I wonder just how intelligent we really are. The way I see it is that the psychopaths at the top (our leaders and the elite) only think short-term (what’s in it for them in this lifetime), and the rest of us are too stupid to stop them. We’ve been conditioned in magical thinking: “Oh, it’ll be all right, we’ll muddle through.” The pot is starting to boil and we’re starting to feel the heat. Why does it always take us so long to wake up? Why are there so few of us who can see where things will lead and the possible consequences of continuing on a certain path? And when good people who do see early on where they think things might lead and they spell out their concerns, they’re called “conspiracy theorists” or “racists” or whatever the ugly term of the day is. Why is it that people only listen and begin talking about a subject when Wall Street or the bought-and-paid-for MSM start talking about it? Suddenly, former disbelievers (who looked at you funny when you previously brought the subject up) act as if they’ve known it all along.

    As I said above, we are raping our finite planet, and we can’t fill it up fast enough, as if bulging its seams with more people finally makes the statement that “we’ve arrived”. I view us not as intelligent beings, but as greedy, “I see nothing” beings who manipulated the planet to our desires, and NOW – NOW WHEN IT’S TOO LATE – want to get some intelligence.

  10. Zachary Smith
    November 28, 2016 at 14:42

    Donald Trump is 70 years old. I’ve noticed that as people age they often become more inflexible – especially once they’ve committed themselves. The world is in very bad shape regarding the Warming, and we can hardly spare 4 more years of do-nothingism at the highest level.

    But that’s what seems to be our destiny, and the election of Hillary would have had – in practical terms – the same effect. The suicide of an ‘intelligent’ species is a frightening thing to contemplate, and that we’ll be taking most of the rest of life on earth down with us is horrifying.

  11. backwardsevolution
    November 28, 2016 at 14:20

    Sorry, this is off-topic, but relevant to the recount. A poster on another site had this to say:

    “I have some small familiarity with what is happening in the recall-and-Electoral-College legal camp of the Clinton “machine” and I can tell you that the bar-admitted staff is ramping up like a hockey stick (and is now well over 100).

    They are reasonably certain of three things: that one or more of the recounts can be delayed beyond December 13 through legal artifice (multiple filings … mostly challenges and appeals … in multiple venues and jurisdictions), that the SCOTUS will become engaged between December 14 and December 19, and that neither DJT nor anyone else will be elected POTUS on December 19.

    Beyond December 19, with the matter (or matters) in the loving embrace of the SCOTUS and all of the Presidential election legal arcana in full operation, the ultimate outcome is completely uncertain.

    When I asked my contact what the budget for all of this is over at the “machine”, she responded, “infinite.” So apparantly someone over there thinks that HRC can be shoehorned into the Presidency, and they are going to try come hell or high water.

    This is going to be 2000 dustup on a much, much larger scale, possibly with the Electoral College failing to deliver a winner.”

    If this poster is being truthful, then no wonder Jill Stein kept upping the amount of money she needed. Once lawyers start getting involved with multiple filings, appeals, challenges, the sky is the limit, especially when their sole purpose would be to tie everything up in a knot and delay.

    So we could have Soros money (mainly) paying for an army of lawyers to just keep chipping away until they get the answer they want. As Ilargi said, “Is it really that hard to throw out Soros?” Just throw him out of the country. The guy is an absolute menace. This is the reason that money should be taken out of politics, there should be paper ballots, and voter I.D. with picture (which you don’t get unless you are a friggin’ citizen).

    • Charles Watkins
      November 28, 2016 at 14:44

      Yet another Soros plot. Can’t you come up with something more original?

      • backwardsevolution
        November 28, 2016 at 15:02

        Charles Watkins – oh, come on, the man is everywhere. Let’s see an accounting of where the money came from. Would you be open to that? I’ll just bet that Soros is at the top of the list. It’s what he does. He’s a sh*t disturber. He believes in open borders, open immigration, no nation states. He causes chaos wherever he goes. This has got SOROS written all over it.

    • Suzanne Moore
      November 28, 2016 at 15:01

      Well, what about the Koch brothers and their world wide web? I won’t get into climate change – which should be our first priority – because the commenters do not know what they’re talking about and won’t be convinced until all our coastal areas are completely submerged due to rising sea levels.

      • backwardsevolution
        November 28, 2016 at 15:19

        Suzanne – and the Koch Brothers too, yes. All of these monied lobbyists should be shut out of politics. For the last ten minutes I’ve been trying to find the Counterpunch article I read re Trump and climate change, but I’ve yet to find it. The writer said that Trump is not against tackling climate change, but what he IS against is just throwing a bunch of government money at a bunch of lobbyists and vested interests (making them rich), and yet not solving anything. That’s what he’s against. Wall Street is gearing up and rubbing their hands together re the selling of carbon credits. Whenever Wall Street is ecstatic about something, beware! Trump just doesn’t want this to turn into something where Wall Street and other big wigs make a fortune, while in the end the problem remains. If what the writer said about Trump is true, does that make you a little happier? I hope so. I’ll keep looking for the article.

        What no one ever seems to address is over-population. We keep wanting more and more growth, immigration, jobs, velocity, GDP, housing, cars, products to buy, and yet we’re then surprised at the results. I’ve read many expert opinions, and what they say is sobering – that solar and wind won’t solve our problems, that they can’t solve them. We’ve even built nuclear reactors on fault lines (Japan). Notice that we rarely hear anything about that catastrophe. Radiation continues to spew from Fukushima, and yet the media is quiet about it.

        This is a finite planet, and man has overstayed its welcome. If we continue on, yes, nature will submerge us. It is only fitting. We have broken the balance, and she will take it back.

    • Bill Bodden
      November 28, 2016 at 23:42

      Beyond December 19, with the matter (or matters) in the loving embrace of the SCOTUS and all of the Presidential election legal arcana in full operation, the ultimate outcome is completely uncertain.

      If this SCOTUS scenario plays out, let’s hope the justice come up with a four-to-four vote.

      If this poster is being truthful, then no wonder Jill Stein kept upping the amount of money she needed. Once lawyers start getting involved with multiple filings, appeals, challenges, the sky is the limit, especially when their sole purpose would be to tie everything up in a knot and delay.

      The Guardian has an update on the recount: US election recount: how it began – and what effect it could have: Jill Stein has raised millions of dollars for recounts in three states after election integrity activists flagged concerns. But it remains unclear whether the costly process will make a difference after Donald Trump’s victory –

      Key Points:

      How did this start? Following Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the presidential election, voter security experts began privately discussing their concerns about whether the results might have been tampered with, according to John Bonifaz, the founder of the National Voting Rights Institute.

      It was decided that this loose coalition would push for a full audit or recount in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – three states critical to Trump’s electoral college win that pollsters had previously thought safe for Clinton. To do this, they needed to persuade one of the candidates who was actually on the presidential ballot to ask state authorities to review the results

      What does Jill Stein say about it? Stein, the Green party’s candidate for president, agreed to spearhead the effort to secure recounts following requests from Bonifaz and the security experts. Having been reluctant initially due to financial concerns, Stein was persuaded that the cost could be met via crowdfunding. On Wednesday, the Guardian first reported that she had decided to act..

      What does Hillary Clinton say about it? Clinton has said nothing publicly. Her campaign was approached by Bonifaz and his coalition earlier this month, and listened during a conference call as election experts laid out their various concerns. But the campaign gave no official response on whether they would request recounts, leaving Bonifaz and his allies to turn to Stein and the Green party.

      How much will it cost? The recount effort has so far raised $6.3m of its $7m funding goal. That budget is based on estimates of filing fees ($1.1m in Wisconsin, $0.5m in Pennsylvania and $0.6m in Michigan) plus an estimated $2m-$3m in attorney’s fees as well as the money required to hire recount observers across all three states.

      “This is going to be a very costly campaign,” said Bonifaz, adding that the average contribution from the tens of thousands of supporters who had donated was about $42. “But it is something that a lot of people clearly want.”

      The final paragraph of this article suggests the recount is unlikely to change who will become president.

      Accordingly, it might be a good idea to continue paying attention to how this recount plays out for what we can learn. Instead of bashing Jill Stein, we would be more gainfully employed preparing to face the ominous challenges a Trump/Pence presidency will present to the US and many other parts of the world.

      • Bill Cash
        November 29, 2016 at 12:57

        If you went to Stein’s website, she was always very upfront about what she was doing and what the expenses would be. I donated and kept track of her progress. I doubt it will overturn the election but it might do some good.

    • Bill Cash
      November 29, 2016 at 13:00

      Bannon/Trump is by far the bigger menace with the Kochs coming in second. Can we get rid of them?

  12. Bob Gardner
    November 28, 2016 at 13:53

    So is this what all the crap about not settling for the lesser of two evils was about? So we could try to figure out what was really in Donald Trump’s mind and then make the left palatable by not offending him?

  13. Lolita
    November 28, 2016 at 13:44

    “An example of such a feedback loop involves sea ice in the Arctic. The warmer it gets in the Arctic, the less ice there is. And the less ice there is, the less sunlight is reflected off the surface, the more heat is absorbed, and the more global warming accelerates further. The extent of Arctic sea ice right now, which is at an off-the-charts low for this time of year, ought to be ringing alarm bells.”

    CIA analysis obviously does not include meteorology and climatology. If it did, Mr. Pillar would have realized that warm air advections along the Scandinavian coast is a well-established path that brings tropicalized flux towards the Arctic. Watching weather satellite animation would help. He would know that we are experiencing strong descents of polar air reaching pressure highs of 1060 hPa over western Russia and over Siberia and so despite the supposedly incriminating lack of sea ice in the Barents and Kara seas, very cold air early in the season is wreaking havoc. This dynamics means cold air masses are descending deeper towards the equator advecting warmer, moist air in return at their edges, hence the regional lack of sea ice observed during this year’s transition from fall to winter. He would also be aware that prior to the last glaciation, the Svalbard islands experienced warmer temperatures during the transition towards the glaciation. These did not last ultimately, of course. The same will happen on the seasonal scale.

    “Another feedback loop involves land areas in the Arctic. Thawing of long-frozen tundra and organic material within it releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas that exacerbates the global warming.”

    That one has been debunked. In 2016, among others, from San Diego State University: “…found that far more methane is escaping from Arctic tundra during the cold months—when the soil surface is frozen (generally from September through May)—as well as from upland tundra, than prevailing assumptions and climate modelers previously believed. In fact, they found that at least half of the annual methane emissions occur in the cold months, and that drier, upland tundra can be a larger emitter of methane than wet tundra. The finding challenges critical assumptions in current global climate models.”
    Or another one “Analysis of nearly three decades of air samples from Alaska’s North Slope shows little change in long-term methane emissions despite significant Arctic warming over that time period, according to new research published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.”

    “Climate change deniers ought to be treated with all the disdain they richly deserve.”

    Not up to date columnists, too…
    Finally, no one sane denies climate does change. Strawman.

    • Sam F
      November 29, 2016 at 09:53

      Agreed. Let’s leave the fashion issues out: the people need real progress, not fashions and special pleading. The real issues of the US are much more immediate: military aggression, corruption of politics and mass media by MIC/WallSt/zionists, the failure of domestic reinvestment and employment and training, failure of business and financial regulation, promiscuous surveillance, corruption of the judiciary, and many others.

      The agents of oligarchy have destroyed the left by supplanting the real issues with upper-middle-class fake-liberal fashion issues selected to lead young activists away from the real political issues of our times. No important group denies climate change any more than the weather forecast, and no important group would deny equal rights to women, gays, or Jews. Hysteria and demands for special rights do not advance any real cause.

      Climate change is the least immediate real issue: progress is determined by technology development and its adoption in the developing nations; the US already has the necessary political awareness, and will take the necessary regulatory steps with the usual reluctance.

      The problem is that the oligarchy has taken over the left, pretending to seek equality for women, gays, and Jews, who already have equal rights in law, while in fact seeking special privileges including endless Mideast murders for Israel, propagandizing for sodomy, and tricking progressives to vote for a female candidate from the oligarchy. They falsely accuse real progressives of “climate denial,” “anti-semitism,” “homophobia,” and “misogyny,” nearly non-existent states of mind, to lead young activists away from the real political issues of our times.

    • Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
      December 3, 2016 at 20:54

      He was talking about people denying ANTROPOGENIC global warming, which was obvious. Be mentally retarded somewhere else.

  14. Sam F
    November 28, 2016 at 13:27

    Climate change is the least actionable issue of all – just a way to dump the fashionable fanaticism of wealthy Dems in the path of those who want progress on the real issues of this era. There is little to be done on that front in the US that would not be done anyway.

    The real issues are much more important: US military aggression, corruption of politics and mass media by MIC/WallSt/zionists, the failure of domestic reinvestment and employment and training, failure of business and financial regulation, promiscuous surveillance, corruption of the judiciary, and many others.

    Let’s leave the fashion issues out, as no serious sector opposes the rights of women, gays, or Jews. Those were the false claims of the Dems, to conceal their demands for special rights of specialist activists. The people need real progress now, not fashionable special pleading.

    • Sammy TT
      November 29, 2016 at 15:33

      Totally wrong on climate. Couldn’t be more wrong. Your other issues are incredibly important, but if we don’t get climate right, none of the other issues confronting humanity will matter. Do you know what a planet that is 4 degrees Celsius warmer than today looks like? When you can no longer grow corn in Iowa or when you can no longer sustain human life in East Africa or when Bangladesh is inundated by rising seas or when you have 30 Syrian conflicts around the world at the same time because people are starving and governments around the world have no way to manage the desperation or unrest, what do you think the world will look like then?

      And we may have the technology to solve the climate crisis, but we need incentives to urgently and rapidly deploy the technology. You can make a lot of progress with the right policies, but do a tremendous amount of harm with the wrong policies. The room for error on climate is gone. We need to decarbonize the global energy supply chain with extreme urgency. I don’t know why any so-called progressive can fail to understand how urgent this issue is.

      • Sam F
        November 29, 2016 at 20:29

        I am fully aware of the issues and the impacts, and the importance.

        Agreed on the need for incentives, but hysteria (exaggeration of immediacy of damage) does not get us there. Urgency is correct, but extreme urgency is not: the issue is slow moving unlike the others I mentioned.

        The problem is that this push-for-maximum-priority demands a halt to all human emergency responses to merely scream at the intransigent on a slow-moving problem.

        That is the error of climate hysteria, and it could not be more extreme. It demands termination of all action for human progress. Climate hysteria is an enemy of progress.

      • Sam F
        November 29, 2016 at 20:39

        I should add that it is no accident that the Dems get a lot of money to push these pseudo-liberal issues as an obstacle to progressives. They act as a backstop for the Repubs in case they miscalculate, fielding useless pseudo-liberal identity candidates who merely blather about fashion issues of the upper middle class, and forget to mention that they intend to block progress for humanity on all fronts. They can put their fashion issues where the sun don’t shine, and stay out of the way while progressives get humanity’s government work done.

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