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The Plot to Loot America’s Wilderness A little-known bureaucrat named James Cason is reshaping the Department of the Interior. By Adam Federman TODAY 6:00 AM fbtwmailmsgwa federman_Cason-parks_img Illustration by Nurul Hana Anwar.

On Tue, Nov 21, 2017 at 11:58 AM, Douglas White <> wrote:

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One day in Mid-March, James Cason, the associate deputy secretary at the Department of the Interior, convened an impromptu meeting of the senior staff of the Bureau of Land Management. Cason, whose office is on the sixth floor, rarely wandered the halls, and some career civil servants still had never met him. A soft-spoken and unassuming man, Cason has cycled in and out of Republican administrations since the early 1980s and has largely avoided public attention. But people who have worked with him know him as a highly effective administrator and a disciple of some of the department’s most notorious anti-environment leaders in previous years—a “hatchet man,” in the words of one former DOI employee who worked with him during the George W. Bush administration. This article was reported in partnership with the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute.

About 30 employees were ushered into a conference room, where Cason announced that Kristin Bail, acting director of the BLM, would be replaced by Mike Nedd. The move itself wasn’t all that surprising: Bail, who came from a conservation background, had been appointed in the final days of the Obama administration to serve in a temporary capacity; Nedd, who had been assistant director for energy, minerals, and realty management since 2007, was viewed as better positioned to implement the new administration’s pro-industry agenda.

But the way Cason handled the meeting sent a stark message. According to two people who were present, he delivered what appeared to be hastily prepared remarks thanking Bail for her service but telling her that she was no longer needed in the position. One employee, who has since left the DOI, said it was unclear whether Bail had been told beforehand of her demotion. “It was one of the most awkward, disrespectful things I’ve ever seen,” the former employee said. The spectacle amounted to a kind of public dismissal—and a warning shot. The meeting ended as abruptly as it had begun, with employees left staring at their seats. By the end of the day, Bail was carrying her things out of her office in a box and looking for another place to sit.

Bail’s transfer was the opening salvo in an unprecedented restructuring of the DOI. Three months later, in what some department staffers now call the “Thursday-night massacre,” Cason sent memos to more than two dozen of the DOI’s highest-ranking civil servants informing them of reassignments; they had 15 days to accept the new positions or retire. The Office of the Inspector General is currently investigating how the transfers were determined; some employees believe they were designed to push out long-serving staff as part of a department-wide purge, and that climate scientists in particular were targeted.

Cason, who once described himself as the department’s “regulatory czar,” has also overseen the dismantling of rules governing energy development on public lands. The DOI is poised to open up millions of acres to drilling and mining—from Utah’s red-rock country to the frigid, perilous waters off Alaska’s coast—while stripping away basic environmental protections and reducing transparency. Across the Trump administration, the new mantra is “energy dominance”—a vision of the world in which the United States will amplify its influence with a dramatic expansion of oil, gas, and coal production, whatever the environmental costs. The DOI is poised to open up millions of acres to drilling and mining, from Utah’s red-rock country to Alaska’s frigid coastal waters. The axing of regulations and personnel is occurring with remarkable speed. In contrast to other federal departments mired by inept leadership in the Trump era, a small group of seasoned insiders has kept things humming along at the Department of the Interior, Cason chief among them. In the early months of the administration, according to one former DOI employee, there seemed to be few decisions, no matter how small, that didn’t cross his desk.

“From what I can tell, Jim Cason is running the show,” the former employee said. “I think he’s overseeing everything.” In addition to orchestrating the personnel reassignments and chairing the regulatory-reform task force that has rewritten or eliminated many Obama-era policies, Cason has been tasked with reviewing every grant or cooperative agreement of $100,000 or more, as well as any pending decisions with “nationwide, regional, or statewide impact.” He wrote the Federal Register notice announcing the department’s controversial review of 27 national monuments, and he has been granted virtual carte blanche to set policy as it relates to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.


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Cason’s return to the DOI doesn’t surprise Jim Cubie, who was chief counsel to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in 1989, when Leahy oversaw an Agriculture Committee hearing on Cason’s nomination to a top environmental post in the George H.W. Bush administration. Cason’s track record so alarmed the committee that he was eventually forced to withdraw his name from consideration. Now he’s back in a position that doesn’t require Senate approval. “He’ll do a lot of damage,” Cubie predicted.

Cason is one of only a handful of political appointees with deep knowledge of the Department of the Interior. (The DOI declined to make Cason available for an interview.) He faithfully carried out the agendas of two of the most controversial interior secretaries in recent memory—James Watt and Gale Norton. From 1985 to 1989, during the Reagan administration, Cason was deputy assistant secretary for land and minerals management; in that capacity, he worked closely with Steven Griles, a former coal lobbyist and the chief architect of some of the most environmentally destructive policies of the Reagan years. Griles helped to engineer the regulatory changes that facilitated mountaintop-removal mining, and he interfered with a Fish and Wildlife Service report on the potential environmental damage caused by coastal drilling. As head of the DOI’s Office of Surface Mining in the early 1980s, Griles also failed to collect tens of millions of dollars in civil penalties owed by companies that had broken environmental laws.

Throughout this period, Cason served as Griles’s right-hand man, according to a former congressional staffer familiar with his record. “He learned well at Griles’s knee about how to get stuff done,” the staffer said. The two became close friends; Griles was best man at Cason’s wedding in 1990. And in 2001, when Griles returned to the department under George W. Bush after more than a decade of lobbying for coal companies and other special interests, Cason joined him as his associate deputy. According to a former DOI employee who worked with Cason during the Bush administration, “Griles would have whatever idea, and Jim would figure out how to get it implemented. He’s quite effective at doing that. He was known as Griles’s hatchet man.”

But unlike Griles, who was sentenced to 10 months in prison after lying to Congress about his ties to the disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Cason has largely avoided the public eye. His personal style is exceedingly restrained, particularly in contrast with more flamboyant and controversial colleagues like Griles, who was known for being a brash talker with a volatile temper. Cason has a monotone way of speaking; he often dresses in a subdued blue suit and tie and seems to go out of his way to be agreeable. In an appearance on C-SPAN in 2005, as the Abramoff investigations were gaining momentum, a caller described Cason as a “Republican toady” and attacked the DOI for its policies toward Native Americans. Cason replied evenly, “OK, well, that’s certainly a good point of view too.”

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Even when not behind the scenes at the DOI, Cason maintained a low profile. He’s never worked as a registered lobbyist. During the Clinton administration, he lived in Western New York and was vice president of risk management at a company that manufactures ceramic-fiber products for industrial applications. More recently, he’s done consulting work for Booz Allen Hamilton and Kelly Anderson & Associates (now KAA Federal Solutions), a business-management firm that works with federal and industrial clients. On his financial-disclosure form, submitted in July, Cason provided so few details about the contracting work he’d done with the Quapaw tribe in Oklahoma that, after queries by ProPublica, the DOI was forced to submit a revised version. In it, Cason revealed that over a five-month period in 2016, he’d earned $50,000 doing “research” for the tribe. (The department’s ethics lawyer called the omission an “oversight.”)

KAA chief executive officer Tim Vigotsky, who hired Cason in 2012, describes him as a policy wonk who knows the DOI better than anyone. “There’s not a lot of flash,” Vigotsky said. “He works long hours—whatever it takes.” Because Cason wasn’t registered as a lobbyist at Booz Allen or Kelly Anderson, it’s unclear who his clients in the energy sector might have been. Vigotsky called Kelly Anderson’s list a “who’s who” of the industry but wouldn’t reveal the names of private clients. Much of the firm’s work involves providing assistance to companies seeking federal contracts. On his résumé, Cason stated that, in addition to providing consulting support for Native American, commercial, and federal clients, he helped to “network access to government officials.”

A window into what has otherwise been a veiled career opened in 1989, when Cason was nominated to serve as assistant secretary for natural resources and environment at the Department of Agriculture under George H.W. Bush. Few people had ever heard of Cason, who was only 35 when his confirmation hearings took place. The position is typically filled by noncontroversial policy experts, and the hearings are rarely the stuff of high-stakes political theater. But Cason’s nomination was unusually contentious, in large part because of his former boss—James Watt, one of the most polarizing and unpopular interior secretaries ever to hold the position.

As the DOI’s head under Ronald Reagan, Watt was known for his staunch support of property rights and for his attempts to sell millions of acres of public lands to drilling and mining interests; he resigned in 1983, after stating that a coal advisory commission he’d established was balanced because it included “a black…a woman, two Jews, and a cripple.” In his opening remarks at Cason’s hearing, Senator Leahy wasted little time in drawing a parallel between Cason and Watt. “Frankly, we do not need a James Watt clone in this position,” Leahy said. Jim Cubie, Leahy’s counsel, said they’d heard from a number of sources that “this guy’s going to be a disaster…. Anybody who was a Watt acolyte was trouble.”

In written testimony, Cason said he’d barely gotten to know Watt and “could not fairly or knowledgeably compare or contrast our philosophies.” Yet Cason revealed that his philosophy was in fact closely aligned with Watt’s when he faced a series of questions about his decision to approve the transfer of tens of thousands of acres of public land at below-market rates in 1986. The episode involved the sale of oil-shale claims to energy companies at $2.50 an acre; weeks later, some of the same land was sold to private developers at 800 times the original price, reaping a windfall of $37 million for the energy companies. Asked by Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) whether the sale was “in the public interest,” Cason replied: “I think it is in the public interest to assure that we properly address private-property rights.” In that single sentence, Cason summed up Watt’s worldview.

“The whole department, and yourself as part of that department, were overly solicitous of business and industry points of view.” But the hearing wasn’t only a referendum on Watt—it demonstrated that Cason put his own stamp on a number of decisions that heavily favored industry. Cason’s involvement in the alleged suppression of a BLM report on the dangers to the spotted owl dominated press accounts of the hearings. At the time, there was great concern among conservationists that the logging of old-growth forests in Oregon would lead to the owl’s demise. Indeed, several studies carried out in the 1980s demonstrated that the forests were key to the species’s survival. The BLM report commissioned by Cason found that the spotted owl would be imperiled if logging continued. Cason later claimed that the report didn’t live up to the department’s scientific standards—but several individuals involved in the review testified that Cason simply disagreed with their conclusions and had asked the DOI to bury the report. After news of the report leaked to the press, Cason had the DOI release what many felt was a watered-down version of the original. (“Jim Cason is a seasoned Department of the Interior official who brings decades of government, private sector, and personal experience to the position,” a DOI spokesperson wrote in response to questions about his record, including the owl report. “We are lucky to have him.”)

Cason had also pushed through a series of industry-friendly measures in the final weeks of the Reagan administration. He lowered the royalties paid for coal mined on public lands; authorized a rule that made it possible for companies to mine in national parks or on Forest Service land (a rule considered so over the top that it was quickly withdrawn); traveled to Colorado to encourage—yet again—the transfer of thousands of acres of oil-shale claims at rock-bottom prices; and brokered an agreement with several major oil and gas companies that essentially undermined the federal government’s authority to audit royalty payments. Not only did Cason reach the latter deal without consulting state or tribal officials, whose constituents stood to lose out on millions in annual payments, but he also signed the agreement on letterhead from the industry’s attorneys. R. Max Peterson, then the executive vice president of the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, described Cason’s actions as “an inexcusable betrayal of the public trust.”

Even Republican members of the traditionally conservative Senate Agriculture Committee had their doubts. Summing up Cason’s years at the DOI, Indiana Senator Richard Lugar said: “The whole department, and yourself as part of that department, were overly solicitous of business and industry points of view.” Several weeks later, realizing that he didn’t have enough votes to secure the nomination, Cason withdrew his name.

All of that must have seemed like a distant memory this past summer, when Cason addressed a roomful of industry executives at the Colorado Oil and Gas Association’s annual energy summit in Denver. He spoke alongside Gale Norton, who had been the interior secretary for much of George W. Bush’s administration. Cason’s current post is the same one he held under Norton—but this time around, according to interviews with more than a half-dozen current and former DOI employees, he wields significantly more power. (Norton, who took a position with Royal Dutch Shell after leaving office in 2006, now runs her own consulting firm—Norton Regulatory Strategies—and works closely with the oil and gas industry.)

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With a list of the summit’s major sponsors—BP, Anadarko, Noble Energy—projected on the wall behind him, Cason explained that Donald Trump’s win in November marked a profound shift in direction. Though few would describe the Department of the Interior, even under President Obama, as unfriendly to oil and gas producers, Cason declared that the Trump administration had inherited “an anti-energy bias” and a “preservationist thought process” that needed rooting out.

“There’s not a lot of flash. He works long hours—whatever it takes.” While the DOI has often struggled to balance its dual mandate of conservation and resource development, the scales have now tipped decisively in favor of the oil and gas industry. As a candidate, Trump promised to “unleash America’s $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural-gas reserves, plus hundreds of years in clean-coal reserves”—a grandiose statement that has nonetheless become a kind of blueprint for his Department of the Interior. The long-held goal of “energy independence”—a stock phrase used by every administration at least since the Carter years—has been replaced by one of “energy dominance.” Trump officials believe that achieving it requires an aggressive push for increased access to public lands, including national monuments and offshore oil and gas reserves.

The DOI, as the largest landowner in the United States—managing roughly 500 million acres, one-fifth of the country’s landmass—is at the heart of this effort. The department also administers millions of acres in offshore oil and gas reserves. Trump has already reversed an Obama-era ban on drilling along part of the Atlantic coast and in the environmentally sensitive waters around Alaska. Now, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Republicans in Congress are seeking to fulfill one of the industry’s long-sought goals: opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the largest unexplored and undeveloped onshore basin in the United States. In December, the BLM will offer approximately 10.3 million acres of land in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve for oil and gas leasing. And next spring, the department will hold the largest oil- and gas-lease sale in the country’s history when it auctions off some 77 million acres of offshore reserves in the Gulf of Mexico.

Recently, the DOI announced that it would be running its operations more like a business, with the primary objective of generating revenue through energy production. According to a July report in Bloomberg News, Zinke is pushing to “retool the agency into a federal profit center.” The DOI’s climate-change webpage has undergone a makeover, too. Sometime between February and April, the department replaced a lengthy informational page with two short paragraphs describing the DOI’s preservation duties; the phrase “climate change” appears just once. And in April, the BLM—which is tasked with overseeing oil and gas leasing on federal land—changed the image on its home page from one of a couple of backpackers looking out onto a scenic landscape to a shot of a massive coal seam in Wyoming (an image that has since been removed).

In Denver, Cason reiterated that the DOI was more interested in facilitating energy development than regulating it; he told the roomful of oil and gas executives that they represented “a very important industry for the Department of Interior and the administration.” About a month after the conference, the DOI submitted a draft of its strategic vision for the next five years to the Office of Management and Budget. According to a copy of the plan obtained by The Nation, the department’s priorities include accelerating the exploitation of “vast amounts” of untapped energy reserves on public lands. The outline makes no mention of climate change—a phrase that appeared dozens of times in the previous strategic plan.

In October, the DOI released a report detailing the burdens on energy development and recommending sweeping changes that would undermine its own basic regulatory authority. The high-profile targets included a 2015 rule requiring rudimentary safeguards for fracking on public lands, as well as a conservation plan for the imperiled sage grouse. The report also raised the possibility of eliminating the federally required land-management plans that might limit drilling in certain areas; the conditions placed on development that affects endangered species or critical habitat; and even the collection of basic data related to energy production, which critics see as an attempt to muddy an already opaque process. Jeremy Nichols of the advocacy group Wild Earth Guardians called the proposed elimination of these common-sense measures “shocking even for this administration.”

The Department of the Interior is made up of nine bureaus, including the BLM and the Fish and Wildlife Service, with 70,000 employees and state and regional offices across the country. Secretary Zinke, a former Navy SEAL and one-term US congressman, has no experience managing such a large, decentralized bureaucracy, and he has relied heavily on his political appointees to run the department’s day-to-day operations. With Cason at the helm, a small circle of insiders orchestrated the aggressive deregulatory agenda and the unprecedented reshuffling of career staff.

“Cason is really an administrator,” a DOI employee who has known him since the George W. Bush administration told me. “He understands how to run an organization.” The position Cason now holds—associate deputy secretary—was created especially for him when he joined the Bush administration, most likely because of fears that he would not make it through another round of confirmation hearings. “They didn’t even try for a nomination, because they knew it would be dead on arrival,” said another former DOI employee who worked closely with Cason at the time.

In his remarks in Denver, Cason said it was evident from day one that career employees needed “an attitude adjustment.” New leadership, he continued, would force them to “adopt a different way of looking at things.” (In a recent speech before the National Petroleum Council, Interior Secretary Zinke described “30 percent” of DOI employees as “not loyal to the flag.”) As a member of the Executive Resources Board, which is responsible for senior-executive-level reassignments, Cason has overseen a series of personnel changes that appear designed to enhance the administration’s pro-oil-and-gas orientation. Under Zinke, the ERB is made up entirely of political appointees, despite strong recommendations from the Office of Personnel Management that the board include a mix of political and career employees “to provide…a balanced perspective.” According to Elizabeth Klein, who occupied Cason’s role in the Obama administration and served on the ERB for part of that time, there was a rough split between civil servants and political appointees.

The “Thursday-night massacre” occurred on June 15, when more than two dozen of the department’s Senior Executive Service (SES) employees, from nearly every agency, received memos informing them of the reassignments. None of the employees that The Nation spoke with were consulted in advance, which is considered both a common courtesy and responsible management. In most cases, even agency directors were kept in the dark until just before the memos went out. When one high-level supervisor asked if they were on the list, Cason reportedly replied, “Not this round.” The reassignments sent shock waves throughout the DOI. Dan Ashe, former director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, said the transfers were clearly designed to disrupt the normal order of things and to undermine the authority of senior civil servants. Cason, who had served as chief human-capital officer under Bush, was intimately familiar with the SES and personally knew many of the employees who were transferred.

“What they are doing to hand the keys over to the energy industry is pretty astounding.” Among those reassigned was Joel Clement, a senior policy adviser and widely respected climate scientist, who was moved to an accounting office overseeing royalty collection from the fossil-fuel industry. Clement later filed a whistle-blower complaint alleging that his reassignment was politically motivated; he has since resigned. In his departing letter, Clement blasted senior-level appointees for being “shackled to special interests such as oil, gas, and mining.” Virginia Burkett, who oversaw climate-science research at the US Geological Survey, was transferred to an undefined advisory role in the office of the assistant secretary for water and science; she ended up leaving the SES and returning to a lower-grade position. Cindy Dohner, the Fish and Wildlife Service’s highly respected Southeast regional director, who oversaw restoration efforts in the Gulf of Mexico after the BP disaster, was reassigned to serve as the agency’s director for international affairs. She resigned instead.

“It made people very afraid to make decisions about things or to advocate for what we would call ‘good government,’” said Debra Sonderman, who was moved after almost 20 years in her role as director of acquisition and property management. Sonderman, too, has resigned.

According to numerous reports, the DOI is planning another series of reassignments. Rumors have been circulating since June that they could be announced at any time. One former DOI employee said that the list has already been compiled, but the department is waiting for the inspector general’s investigation to conclude before pulling the trigger. “Everybody is looking over their shoulder,” said Ashe, the former Fish and Wildlife Service director.

Unlike other departments that have displayed a shocking level of dysfunction—a kind of embodiment of the Trump presidency itself—the DOI is operating with ruthless efficiency. This is largely due to the presence of experienced appointees like Cason and David Bernhardt, Zinke’s deputy secretary, who was confirmed in late July. A former corporate lobbyist whose clients included major oil and gas producers, Bernhardt was once described by Center for Western Priorities spokesman Aaron Weiss as a “walking conflict of interest.” (Cason served as acting deputy secretary until Bernhardt’s nomination.)

A handful of other DOI officials from the George W. Bush era have resurfaced after spending the past eight years working for far-right think tanks or as industry lobbyists. Doug Domenech, most recently director of the Fueling Freedom Project, which promotes “the forgotten moral case for fossil fuels,” is now assistant secretary for insular affairs, coordinating policy for American territories in the South Pacific. Daniel Jorjani, a longtime adviser for several of the Koch brothers’ groups, is helping to craft the department’s legal policy. Scott Cameron, who spent the past several years advising a lobbying firm whose clients include Shell Oil and the Marcellus Shale Coalition, is now overseeing the DOI’s budget.

The oil and gas industry is now taking full advantage of the access offered by its allies at the department. Cason has described the DOI as having an “open-door policy,” and in the first month and a half of the administration—before Zinke was even confirmed—met with top industry lawyers, corporate lobbyists, and industry trade groups, including the American Petroleum Institute and Peabody Energy. Zinke himself has had dozens of meetings with energy executives and lobbyists, including those from ExxonMobil and BP. He’s used taxpayer dollars to fly on a private jet owned by an oil-and-gas-exploration firm in Wyoming, and as a member of Congress he received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the industry. So far, eight of the 12 secretarial orders he’s issued have called for greater access to drilling on public lands and in offshore waters.

RELATED ARTICLE The Nation EXCLUSIVE: THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT SCRUBS CLIMATE CHANGE FROM ITS STRATEGIC PLAN Adam Federman In June, the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) sent a midyear legislative agenda to its board of directors, announcing that the playing field for oil and gas producers has been “dramatically altered.” A copy obtained by The Nation shows that in just the first few months of the Trump administration, the lobbying group achieved an astonishing number of the regulatory rollbacks on its wish list, including an elimination of the fracking rule and another that would have closed a loophole allowing coal companies to calculate their own royalties on coal sold at below-market rates.

There is still a great deal that energy interests hope to accomplish during the Trump administration. Ending a rule to limit methane venting and flaring from wells is at the top of that list. Undermining protections for endangered species on federal land is another key item. A third is ensuring that future administrations are unable to finalize what the IPAA calls “harmful” air-quality regulations that it says would limit offshore development.

Kate Kelly, former senior adviser to then–Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and current director of the public-lands team at the Center for American Progress, warns that it’s difficult to appreciate just how radically the DOI’s policies have changed and what this means for the environment. “In totality, what they are doing to open up public lands to oil and gas development—to basically hand the keys over to the energy industry—is pretty astounding,” she said.

Cason shares the industry’s sense of having a rare opportunity to reshape the policy landscape. In Denver, he mused that the midterm elections weren’t too far off—and that the dynamic in the Senate, and possibly even the House, could change, making it more difficult to advance a deregulatory agenda. “You think about having four years to do things,” he said, “but for those of us who have been on the federal-government side of the fence, you don’t really have four years. And if you want to effect change, you have to have a sense of urgency from day one.”


Get unlimited access to The Nation for as little as 37 cents a week! Already a subscriber? Log in here. SUBSCRIBE Close Meerkat Adam FedermanAdam Federman is a reporting fellow with the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute. He is the author of Fasting and Feasting: The Life of Visionary Food Writer Patience Gray.

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S.O.S. Puerto Rico As the crisis mounts government support dwindles. By Martin Kozlowski TODAY 8:00 AM fbtwmailmsgwa

(Martin Kozlowski)

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Pillaging America’s Parks Trump's Department of the Interior has plans to loot our public lands. By The NationTwitter YESTERDAY 3:00 PM fbtwmailmsgwa

(Illustration by Nurul Hana Anwar)

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LABORENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICECITIES RISING Elon Musk Will Not Help Lead a Climate Leap Los Angeles activists are fighting for climate justice, but, at nearby Tesla, green jobs aren’t good jobs. By Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis YESTERDAY 12:41 PM fbtwmailmsgwa Elon-Musk-Tesla-rtr-img Tesla's Elon Musk at a forum on start-ups, January 26, 2016. (Reuters / Bobby Yip) The finger snapping started at an unlikely moment, in a session called “benchmarks for racial and economic justice.” OK, not an obviously inspiring name. But as the ambitious political demands popcorned around the room, the energy surged, and the snapping reached a crescendo.

“End corporate welfare as we know it.” “Get the combustion engine off the roads within 10 years.” “A massive expansion of public housing, built on the principle of development without displacement.” “All 5,000 diesel trucks servicing the port upgraded to locally manufactured electrics, financed by a new public bank.” As the afternoon sun danced in the courtyard fountain of the Audubon Center at Debs Park, 60 movement leaders from across the city—and from a sparkling spectrum of causes—gathered to share their wildest dreams of a different Los Angeles. This was the founding meeting of a new coalition, gathered to draft a document called the “L.A. Leap Manifesto”: a vision for a carbon-free city by 2025. Over two days, a clear picture emerged of a city that values all of its residents, as well as the natural systems—water, soil, air—that we all depend upon to thrive. No one and no place to be treated as disposable.

As Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz aptly put it in his kick-off for this historic gathering: “The record heat, hurricane and wildfire seasons show we are living in a climate emergency of shocking proportions we never expected so soon. Yet the answers can create jobs, save us money, make our neighborhoods cleaner and healthier, and transform the economy. It’s time for a true climate-justice mobilization starting right here in Los Angeles…and it’s time for all of us across the city to set aside our differences, find commonalities, and do it now, for all of our sakes.”

Faith leaders caucused with trade unionists. Food-justice and zero-waste evangelists brainstormed with housing activists fighting oil drilling in city neighborhoods. Physicians and environmental-justice advocates hatched plans with Tongva elders. What united us was a shared belief that as we make the deep changes required to battle the climate crisis, we have a once-in-a-century opportunity to build a much fairer, more inclusive society at the same time. “LA was built on oil; it was built on inequality. We have an opportunity to create a new economy right now,” as Martha Dina Argüello, executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility–LA, put it.

RELATED ARTICLE The Nation THE PARIS CLIMATE ACCORD DIDN’T GO NEARLY FAR ENOUGH—CAN BONN DO BETTER? Michelle Chen Yet underlying the excitement was also a current of fear. Because in recent months there have been vivid examples of the opposite phenomenon: responses to climate change that actually deepen and exacerbate existing inequalities—between migrants and citizens, rich and working poor, workers and employers.

A case in point was playing out a half-day’s drive up the coast from where we gathered, at the Tesla plant in Fremont, California. Imagine the high-tech green future from every sci-fi film you have ever seen, and you can pretty much picture the factory. Ten thousand workers move through gleaming white spaces, welding sparks popping under the coordinated lurch of bright-red robot arms—all in the service of making pollution-free cars that run on the power of the sun.

Except there is one big problem: As one Tesla worker told a Guardian reporter a few months ago, “Everything feels like the future but us.”


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The Fremont workers make well below the national average for autoworkers, and they live in one of the most expensive areas in the country. For those with families, this futuristic job doesn’t even pay a living wage. Moreover, as Tesla has faced huge pressure to meet production targets for the more affordable Model 3 sedan, there have been ubiquitous reports of workplace injuries, punishing hours, and inadequate pay.

When workers began a union drive back in February, Elon Musk, Tesla’s messianic CEO, reacted poorly. First he sent a frantic evening e-mail to the factory’s staff promising “a really amazing party” instead—while also dangling “little things” like “free frozen yogurt stands” throughout the plant.

When that didn’t work, things got ugly, culminating in news a few weeks ago that hundreds of employees (possibly as many as 1,200) had been abruptly fired. Tesla blamed low performance, but refused to provide anyone with their latest performance reviews; pro-union workers said they had received only glowing ones and suspected that the purpose of the firings was partly to snuff out the union drive. (The company denies this and insists the worst problems have already been resolved.)

What’s clear is that something is badly amiss at American’s flagship “green jobs” workplace. And that’s a big problem, because climate action will never pick up the momentum this crisis demands if workers like those in the Fremont plant are treated like serfs in the gleaming future.

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We co-founded The Leap one year ago as an attempt to build broader coalitions to confront the climate crisis. We did it because, as the movement slogan goes, “to change everything, it takes everyone.”

But we also did it because it has become very clear that a big part of what blocks momentum for urgent, life-saving climate action is the fact that so many status-quo “green” policies are patently unjust: carbon taxes and renewable-energy programs that hike prices for the working poor while letting polluters off the hook; cap-and-trade schemes that give green cover to polluting industries in low-income communities of color; hydro, solar, and wind projects that are situated on the lands of Indigenous peoples but without their participation or sharing in the profits. And much more.

Debates about migration and border policy, meanwhile, consistently fail to acknowledge the role that climate destabilization is already playing in forcing millions from their lands and exacerbating conflict—or to ask the question of what big polluting countries like the United States owe to the poorer ones that are bearing the brunt of climate disruption.

As coalitions like the Climate Justice Alliance have been arguing for years, with so much injustice in the green-policy sphere, is it any wonder that that the mainstream climate movement has so far proved too small, and too homogenous, to full confront the fearsome power of the fossil-fuel lobby?

The Tesla case is particularly telling because it is highlights a much larger problem with trying to paper over these challenges with the shiny promise of “green jobs” for all. As Jon Barton, an SEIU deputy director, said at the Debs Park meeting: “We can’t ask folks to give up a unionized refinery job paying $100,000 a year for a non-union one installing solar panels paying less than half. That’s not a just transition.”

Which is why the recent Leap gathering spent much of its time digging into what it would take to make sure that green jobs are good jobs. After all, union members have reason to fear the phrase “just transition.” Those have traditionally been the last two words they heard before getting laid off, shuffled into humiliating retraining programs for more precarious service jobs.

And it’s not only union members who need justice in the transition to a new economy beyond fossil fuels. In Los Angeles, the black and brown folks being poisoned by industrial emissions in their neighborhoods—whether from oil drilling, battery recycling, or trucking corridors—are also the workers in those industries. They deserve not just clean air and water but also better-paying, more secure jobs in clean energy, manufacturing, and the vast project of building new transit and housing for the 21st century.

It’s tempting to imagine that men like Elon Musk can save the planet for us, that we just need to unleash the power of their innovation and wait for the magic. But as the workers in Fremont well know, the quest for profit very often comes at the expense of people—even when the product is green.

If we want the future to be fair, then we are going to have to design it that way, and fight for it. That’s the vision behind Leap Los Angeles. A city that looks like the future—with the people who have for too long been treated as if their lives and lands don’t matter showing us exactly how to get there.

KEEP READING CLIMATE CHANGENUCLEAR ARMS AND PROLIFERATIONJERRY BROWN California Governor Jerry Brown Is Doing Far More to Combat Climate Change Than Trump’s Washington When Trump opened a massive leadership void on climate change, nuclear weapons, and more, Brown stepped in. By James Carden YESTERDAY 12:08 PM fbtwmailmsgwa Jerry Brown Germany Jerry Brown speaking at the climate initiative “America's Pledge” during the World Climate Conference in Bonn, Germany, November 11, 2017. (Henning Kaiser / picture-alliance / dpa / AP Images) Feeling Overwhelmed? Sign up for Take Action Now, our newsletter that connects busy people to the resistance.

In 1995, French President Jacques Chirac, observing the presidency of Bill Clinton and his administration’s tepid response to the unfolding atrocities in the former Yugoslavia, observed, with barely concealed disgust, that “the position of leader of the free world is now vacant.”

The same thing could be said today of the presidency of Donald J. Trump. But in an unusual, and in some ways unprecedented development, a 79-year-old four-term governor and three-time presidential aspirant has swept into the void left by the inept, incompetent, and embarrassing Trump.

The governor, of course, is California’s Jerry Brown, who is about to wrap up a 10-day trip to Europe, where he made stops at the Vatican, Brussels, Stuttgart, Oslo, and Bonn, in an effort to show the international community that, despite Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, the leader of the world’s sixth-largest economy remains committed to the fight against climate change.

At a meeting of climate-change experts and religious leaders at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on November 4, Brown explained that American state and municipal leaders have it in their power to take action. There is “not just a top-down structure that we have in the United States, there are many elements,” and, given the commitments that “we’re seeing around the world, the Trump factor is very small.”

CLIMATE CHANGE The Nation THE PARIS CLIMATE ACCORD DIDN’T GO NEARLY FAR ENOUGH—CAN BONN DO BETTER? Michelle Chen A week later, at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Brown urged state and local leaders to take the initiative. “We can’t,” said Brown, “just wait for our national leaders—we need to take action together.”

Brown, who was appointed the UN conference’s special adviser for states and regions, reaffirmed the commitment of a number of American cities and states to the Paris agreement, and noted that those US businesses, states, and municipalities who remain committed to Paris represent “a bigger economy than any nation outside the US and China.”

While in Bonn, Brown also welcomed outgoing Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe as the newest signatory to the Under2Coalition pledge. The coalition was formed in 2015 by a dozen states and provinces from across the globe, including Washington, California, Vermont and Oregon; Baden-Württemberg, Germany; Catalonia, Spain; and Ontario, Canada.


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Parties to the Under2MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) pledge to pursue “emission reductions consistent with a trajectory of 80 to 95 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 and/or achieving a per capita annual emission goal of less than 2 metric tons by 2050.”

In a sense, Trump’s reckless disregard for the Paris agreement acted as a spur to action. In an interview with the author Dave Eggers this past July, Brown observed that because Trump has taken “such an outlandish position” on climate change, he has perhaps inadvertently “heightened the focus” on it. “He’s given climate denial such a bad name,” said Brown, “that he’s given the climate-action movement a thrust that it would never have generated on its own.”

Brown is under no illusions that the road ahead will be an easy one. In a talk to the German Marshall Fund in Brussels on November 9, Brown warned that with climate change “there’s a lot of easy talk,” but “unless all the major players are in, we’re not going to get there—you need India, you need China, you need Russia—everybody has to be all in.”

The problem, said Brown, is that “nobody is in charge.”

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California Attorney General Xavier Becerra recently told Time magazine that these days, Brown is “a man on fire.” It is a description that is hard to dispute. From the moment Donald Trump announced his decision to unilaterally withdraw from the Paris climate accord on June 1, Brown has been in overdrive, traveling to China in June and Russia in September before taking off on this latest trip to Europe.

Perhaps in his efforts to counter, or at least partially negate, the reckless and shortsighted policies emanating out of Trump’s Washington, Brown might serve as a much-needed example to members of the so-called #resistance movement, which would be wise to spend more of its time formulating alternative solutions to pressing economic and foreign-policy challenges.

Indeed, the aforementioned Time magazine report noted that Brown does not like to use the word “resistance.” Instead, says Brown, “I’d like to reframe it as action.”

And Brown has hardly limited his own “actions” to climate change; he has also turned his attention to that other potential cause of global catastrophe: nuclear weapons.

Brown recently told a reporter at the Los Angeles Times that the ongoing threat of nuclear annihilation that we continue to live under, despite the end of the first cold war over 25 years ago, isn’t on most people’s radar because, as he puts it, “the end of the world is not news.”

But in March Brown traveled to Washington where he met with—and joined the board of—the Nuclear Threat Initiative, an advocacy group made up of distinguished nuclear scientists and foreign-policy experts that includes former US Senators Richard Lugar and Sam Nunn, former energy secretary Ernest Moniz, and former defense secretary William Perry.

For some, Trump’s reckless disregard for diplomacy and his childish saber rattling toward North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has had the effect of bringing the risk of a nuclear war back home. As Brown put it, “You send a nuclear missile to L.A., it’s going to be a bad day for everybody. So you can’t wait for that. You’ve got to start talking.”

In a review of former defense secretary William Perry’s book, My Journey at the Nuclear Brink, Brown sounds the alarm over the risk of waging a second cold war with Russia, writing:

“Sleepwalking” is the term historians now use for the stupidities that got European leaders into World War I and for the mess they unleashed at Versailles. And sleepwalking still continues as NATO and Russia trade epithets and build their armies and Moscow and Washington modernize their nuclear overkill. A new cold war.

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Brown’s cautious and historically informed worldview is, sorry to say, at odds with what passes for foreign-policy “analysis,” especially as it pertains to Russia, in the Democratic Party of 2017.

With a year left in office, reporters and pundits are already peppering Brown with questions about his legacy (a word he clearly doesn’t care for) and whether he intends to try for what would be a fourth run at the White House in 2020. But these seem to be questions with which Brown is loathe to indulge.

For now, anyway, Brown seems intent on filling the gaping void in American leadership left by the current, and most unfortunate, occupant in the White House.



VIDEO: People in Denmark Are a Lot Happier Than People in the United States. Here’s Why.


Historical Amnesia About Slavery Is a Tool of White Supremacy

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If interested lmk and send abstract and title soon-- due by the end of this month.(2017:Oct-Nov)
Trump Sammy Schmidt, Cecilia Gomez-Engler etc

Robert van Kemper before he died... left [Tzintzuntzan, Michoacán - Wikipedia] - TzinTzunTzan data with Doug,_Michoacán

  • Enbrel - Moderate to Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): In medical studies, ENBREL was shown to be clinically effective in about 2 out of 3 adults with moderate to severe RA at 3 months. ENBREL has been shown to begin working in as few as 2 weeks, and most patients who benefit will do so within 3 months. In another medical study, 55% of patients who were evaluated 5 years after beginning ENBREL therapy had no further progression of joint damage.
  • -->Book Categories-- just photos

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The eScholarship Team California Digital Library Looking at my cal I have a Friday Lunch time open or we could do an early lunch on Thursday -- Profession: Project and Program Management, Company TBD (as I am between gigs at the moment). nickduran‏ There are non-ASCII characters in the local part of the recipient address nickduran‏ nickduran‏ doesn't work

- help for garage, home, Errands & Odd- jobs - $25/hour -

(line 79 of /home/socsci/uci/galaxy-dist/lib/galaxy/jobs/runners/cli_job/ on, to have Galaxy submit the jobs to Comet under that allocation. (Of importance: the ‘ucissg' user on Comet must be on the allocation for this to work—as far as I can tell, the ucissg user on Comet is not currently on any active allocations). I don’t, however, have any real time to spend on this. So, when you (or someone else) can let me know the name of an active allocation that 'ucissg’ is on, on Comet, I’ll go ahead and put that in the code. Eric Blau The CoSSci / Galaxy is working again / all the best, Doug


Sanjay Gupta changes his mind on Medical Marijuana

Stuart Martin Globus toolkit



  • Robert K Stevens "Hank" <>
  • Ahmad - Bentley 858-999-9006 ---------949 491 0585?? --?? 619 955 9288 works
  • Sara 661-345-5058 next door to left
  • Marylyn Thompson 531 7767
  • Henry Yen at 824-5476 (
  • Jon Nilsson <> (949) 824-1536 or 949 824 5476 group
  • Jon: I will reply today. For the future, please send ***general computer*** questions to our email, as that will ensure our whole team sees it, and you should get a reply from somebody sooner.
  • Amber Johnson <> Amber L. Johnson
  • Margot Cottrell 508 674 4287 M 508 846 8145 beh mod emo bigger marg mode not want to ... di ... rational
  • Laurent Tambayong Arlene Rulan 626 354 1853 -- Laurent 310 980 6340. I am so sorry. Check out time. Sleeping out awhile waiting for the filter units and randomly, as usual, i m in a breakthrough abdominal pain. I couldn't lift and lying down in pain with my phone silence (I do that when in pain. Sorry again). Then Phone was in my pocket and I helped Arlene as much as I can. Still in a breakthrough pain. Rare. Usually 1/2 day. Maybe moving back extra pressure. 5 GIs couldn't find anything. This last one is the top of the pyramid. He keeps checking from all unusual angles but he wants to Disability Retirement me. "You clearly can't t teach by September (mid August actually). Go to HR. Start the process. This is already March." He hasn't given up but needs to protect his patient. I am scheduled for Fall 2017 or I'll be kicked out. I have kept the dept in blind for year. I shut my csuf email. HR said last year, it is not necessary to contact them. HR will manage it. HR is fiercely being on my side all the way. I ll just wait for the forms, they need calPERS green light first.
  • - That doctor got me a permanent lifelong handicap tag 2 months ago. He looks stoic but really cares.
  • - Regrets to you and Lilyan. We are grateful but in a sudden bad situation. I called you just to break the bad news about the unfortunate q-exponential survivability. If I can finish that one. There is one more data driven support for that. It is Carley's team data mining from a free source. She can't claim copyright. I use q-exp tech. Zero about that in her methods and I am the cleaner and maker of the networks. It is all my work thus her silence in the past. I just give her and ONR of USN thanks. I hopes more in the future was my plan. I think Israel SF was impressed by my wide spectrum published technics of analysis using the same data. Classic micro level SNA, mid level stability given the possible variations, macro level q-exp. I am still confident that combinations of those 2 variables measure beyond stability, they are predictive. My fitting results' 2 parameters are consistent to our paper's results. This really causes the disappointment of both sides. I miss data. They miss potentially critical analysis of sustainability and survival. --- I didn't expect to accept such kindness. Lilyan needs to be informed about the misscalls, please. She has a strong motherly tough-but-care character that I gratefully appreciate. I don't wish to agitate her. I am sorry I must stop. pain. likely bad sentences, too.
  • Michael Villa (Mike) 858 999 1569 --call 4 any help -- complex: 752 7152 -- wife Dr. Nisa Schenley 752 5071 CVD '414 6474 -- 282 8840 business in our complex -- $15 for tube for Feet at night
  • DBS120005UC Complex Social Science.docx And yes, the SDSC time you are asking for is on Comet. That’s where the job runs. UCI hosts the machine with the gateway server. That server sends jobs to Comet.
  • [Social Science Gateway
  • Also, you have to ask for the SDSC time every year. Your time runs out on 3/13. The deadline for getting a request in for 4/1 start was Jan 15. I’m sure I sent a note about that previously. Why don’t you send Ken Hackworth (, who runs the allocations process a note and ask what the best path forward is? You’re not using a lot of time, but you want to have it available continuously so the gateway isn’t interrupted. I would ask Ken about future deadlines and put them on a calendar with a reminder system. Nancy
  • Ken Hackworth (, who runs the allocations process. Missed Jan 15 2017. When is the next data for a request for startup?
  • Emailed Ken 23rd Feb - when is next time for a request for startup?
  • Sinkovits, Robert <> Robert Sinkovits 337 1039 (377 1055?) -- (858) 822 0995 --
  • Silvy Achankunju has readied our chapters (Wiley Companion to Cross-Cultural Research) to go the Wiley book publisher, Joe White. Past March 15, will continue for use by researchers? Call Jon Nilsson: will the VM farm continue to run after March 15?
  • Harry Mangalam <> 949 285-4487 (contact instead): The 'location' of your server is that it's a Virtual Machine on one of UCI's VM farms. Jon: The VM farm that Harry Mangalam is referring to is a great place to have a server. It is a very reliable virtual machine infrastructure similar to AWS, but hosted exclusively on-campus in UCI OIT's data center.
  • I'm not quite sure what it is you would like to setup... you mention "DEf01f" which is one of the links on the left side bar of your galaxy instance. (But I'm not sure what you mean by "cross-cultural analyses".)** If you have a new tool or workflow that you'd like setup on our server, then you'd have to contract with Francisco Lopez <> 1 949 824-8818 who can give more information should it be needed, re: size/OS/physical location of the VM farm should you need it. To get that done Jonathan Nilsson and Harry Mangalam can help.
  • Candice Bradley
  • Carmela Moore
    • Cross-cultural analyses involves several databases, each for a sample of world societies that have common numbers of variables per society and a code for each variable. The codes form a rectangular set of variables, societies by variables. "DEF01f" is a computer program at intersciwiki that allow users or students to choose a database, examine a codebook for the dataset, choose a "dependent variable" from "DEF01f", then independent and additional variables, run the program, chose a map that locates societies in the "model", execute the program, see which independent variables predict the dependent variable, if any, and select to view relevant maps using the variable(s) in the model.
  • The results of the analysis will test for predictors of the dependent variables and show selected maps of locations of variables.
  • Tanya Mcmullin, Associate Editor, Social Sciences, John Wiley & Sons. Wiley Book]]
  • Joe White - publisher for our Wiley book.
  • Malcolm Dow
  • Karl Reitz
  • David Gregory was at Dartmouth

2 Wilkins, Fischer, Brehm,Fitz,Joe White,Awbry,Ren Feng,Nancy

  • Nancy Wilkins-Diehr 534-5118
  • -- Michael Fischer <> --
  • Alessandra 212 945 8223
  • XSEDE Ken Hackworth <>
  • Chris Boehm <>
  • Chris White 206-954-5034 Chris White <>
  • Garry Chick <> Phone: +1 814 863 1941
  • Fitz phone 714 458 5039. 949 824 1536
  • Joe White <>
  • Differential Logic : Sketch 3 Author: Jon Awbrey
  • SW 1 206 384 9439 / 206 588 3207 / 206 303 7776
  • DW 1 858 888 6220
  • LW 1 858 888 6223
  • CW 1 206 954 5034
  • KatieW 1
  • Susan Yoshihara <> Hello Professor White, According to my records, your last FDCI award for a new computer was in 2012-13. You will be eligible again in 2016-17. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. -Susan Yoshihara (949-824-7667). Title Administrative Analyst School of Social Sciences Susan Yoshihara
  • command-shift-4 --- 365
  • Ren Feng <>
  • DBS120005UC Complex Social Science.docx
  • Nancy: Right now the only active allocation you have is an educational allocation for the CoSSCI gateway that expires 3/13/17. You’ll want to get a renewal request in by 1/15/17 for a 4/1/17 start. They’ll be able to extend the current allocation for 2 weeks to cover that short gap. Allocations always occur at quarterly intervals. The schedule is at

3 Henry Yen,Duran,Anthon,Dao,Fitz,Kron,Rudner

  • Hi Doug,
  • Are you still getting this message about backups? I believe you're working with a Mac laptop and you're using Time Machine to backup, is that correct?
  • It sounds like the drive that was assigned to backups may not be connected for some reason. Typically, people use an external USB hard drive to back up with Time Machine.
  • Here's a basic guide to using Time Machine:
  • It may be best if you bring in your laptop and your backup drive so we can diagnose both here. Let me know if you would like to make an appointment!
  • Best, --Henry Yen --Social Sciences Computing Services (x5476,
  • CoSSci Collegium
  • bank of America phone number (858)--- 552-4100
  • KromTech
  • Your activation code is:

Your order ID: 1051 Ukraine 1-800-830-8269 Zoom Support

Toll Free! for Mackeeper 1/2017 $417 2 year remote asst Russell 749.50 Your activation code is: Your order ID: 10536519


  • Dao Vuong
  • Fitz
  • David Kronenfeld
  • David David Rudner
  • daniel
  • daria <


I checked intersciwiki --> --> without a user --> and anyone can use the software there, along with the dataset at (main page) --> to do cross-cultural analysis from those codes (SCCS), which is something that Fitz could use to do articles with your help (maybe expanding the explanations on the web site) and get a teaching job at one of the CSU or other campuses. My former grad student and TA Ren Feng, is now using in his teaching at his university in China. You two could do some text that I could add to (intersciwiki --> for teach as well as writing articles.

 Need some help and can give you all the other info you might need without driving down here...
 One of my Macs works fine. Another is missing my Mail Server Password.
 I can give you all the other info you might need without driving down...


One of my Macs works fine. Another is missing the Mail Server Password ... might be easy to fix ... if you could fix it on that laptop (Scott knows how to zoom in from Seattle to La Jolla on my computers for example, no driving required)...

or can pay for your work as needed is my Google Account

Ryan Salmasi et al -- delete after a few months