About TRP

The Rational Progressive is a publication focused on progressive news and issues. Focused forward and focused on the facts, we avoid demons and demagogues.



by James Andre

  • The fight against the Right is over. The Left lost.

    The Guardian just out with a story connecting Trump's Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, Billionaire Robert Mercer, and the Brexit campaign that is severing England from the EU. This is a frightening, but not surprising, story that adds to a growing list of facts that demonstrate the existence and operation of a shrinking number of geopolitical players whose power is growing… Read more… 

  • Trump raised more money from small donors than Clinton and Sanders combined. America has a problem.

      The Campaign Finance Institute just released an analysis of FEC filings for the 2016 election. You may remember Bernie Sanders bragging about the money he was raking in from small donors at an average of $27 each. Well, Hillary Clinton beat him in small donations. And Trump beat them both - combined. Not only did Trump raise more small… Read more… 

  • Think About This – Monday 8/8/16

    Here are a few things to think about this week when you are talking politics and policy: • The world grows more peaceful and prosperous everyday. Violence and warfare have been declining since World War II. • Respect for civil and human rights in the U.S. is growing greater every day. More police are wearing cameras, and more are being… Read more… 

  • Haters, Whine All You Want. Hillary’s Nomination Is Unprecedented.

    I just wanted to write a quick note to Hillary supporters with some info for when you hear haters complaining that Hillary is not the first woman to run for president. That is true, however:   • The Clinton campaign is not making that claim. Maybe some in the media have. • Hillary is the first woman to win the… Read more… 


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Progressivism

Progressivism is not an ideology at all, but an attitude towards the world of politics that is far less black-and-white than conservatism or liberalism, breaking free from the false and divisive dichotomy of liberal vs. conservative that has dominated American politics for too long.

Progressives aren't simply liberals; progressives see the world for what it is, accept it as ever-changing and dynamic, and choose the best course of action in line with decidedly American values.

-From an article on Alternet.org by Andrew Garib

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The EPA just deleted the word science from the Office of Science mission statement

EDGI argues these changes signal the EPA’s new direction—one that prioritizes business interests over public health and science—under new Administrator Scott Pruitt, who has close ties to fossil-fuel companies. Pruitt didn’t mention public health once in his first speech to agency employees, instead focusing on improving the EPA’s relationship with private interests.

This change is Republican 101. Think about applying this kind of language to oil spills or auto safety. “Technologically achievable” is just another way of saying ‘don’t make business spend money on ideas to make things better’.

In other words, oil spill clean up rules can’t be made that require anything ,more than paper towel, because that is all that is technologically achievable. Remediation technology of all kinds will be completely disincentivized under this administration. –TRP

Source: Guess Which Word the EPA Just Deleted From Its Science Mission Statement | Mother Jones

Florida considering weakening restrictions on discharging chemicals in water

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has proposed revising limits on toxic chemicals that can be released into surface waters, something it’s supposed to do from time to time under the Clean Water Act but hasn’t since the early 1990s.

The agency is updating human-health criteria for 43 dangerous chemical compounds it currently regulates and adopting standards for the first time for another 39.

Of the 82 toxic substances, the vast majority would have lower standards than recommendations from the Environmental Protection Agency. And of the 43 chemicals now regulated, a couple of dozen would see limits increased beyond those currently allowed.

DEP officials say the new standards — based on risk and factors like seafood consumption — would let Floridians safely eat Florida fish and drink local tap water their entire lives. They say the concentration of pollutants in the water wouldn’t pose a significant risk to the average Floridian’s health.

But environmental groups and some doctors say the new standards would increase chances people will get sick or develop cancer from the contamination in seafood and water. The proposal drew fire during a recent DEP workshop in Tallahassee, one of three held around the state.

Source: Florida considering weakening restrictions on discharging chemicals in water


 

Idyllic Thai island Koh Tachai closed indefinitely due to damage from tourism

Tunya Nethithammakul, director general of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, told CNN Tuesday that the island had been closed to visitors “indefinitely,” due to the severe deterioration of its ecosystem.

The problems included litter and food waste, gasoline from tour boats leaching into the water and damage to coral, he said, adding that overwhelming numbers of tourists were to blame.

Read Full Article=> Idyllic Thai island Koh Tachai closed indefinitely due to damage from tourism – CNN.com

US Senate Debate Flint Michigan Aid | Video

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduces an amendment to an energy policy bill calling for $800 million in assistance to Flint, Michigan to address the lead contamination of the city’s drinking water. The Senate later voted 54-43 to block the energy bill from advancing.

Source: US Senate Debate Flint Michigan Aid | Video | C-SPAN.org


 

Flint’s newest challenge: a flood of plastic bottles

In October, the city told residents to stick to filtered or bottled water because of unsafe levels of lead, a problem that developed after it temporarily switched to using water from the Flint River in order to cut costs. But residents had been trying for more than a year to get officials’ attention about the dirty water coming out of their taps, and many allege thatthe city’s demographics have something to do with the slow response. Nearly 42 percent live under the poverty line, and 57 percent are black.

“It’s hard for me to imagine the indifference that we’ve seen exhibited if this had happened in a much more affluent community,” US Rep. Dan Kildee, who represents Flint, told CNN.

Michigan mobilized its National Guard to help distribute water, and dozens of charities and celebrities have pitched in as well.

But many residents seem unsure what to do with the sudden influx of plastic, and much of it is headed to landfills, where each bottle takes hundreds of years to decompose.

READ FULL ARTICLE => Flint’s newest challenge: a flood of plastic bottles (+video) – CSMonitor.com

 

After blowing the whistle on Flint’s water, EPA “rogue employee” has been silent. Until now.

Del Toral was first alerted to Flint’s water problems last spring, when Lee Anne Walters called the EPA to complain about high levels of lead in her tap water and warn officials that her child had been diagnosed with lead poisoning.

Del Toral followed up with Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality, asking about corrosion control treatment in Flint. Emails show that in February 2015, DEQ staff told Del Toral Flint had a corrosion control program.

But Walters found out from a city employee that Flint was not using any corrosion control treatment. This treatment helps prevent lead and other heavy metals from leaching from old pipes into drinking water. Walters called Del Toral right away, and let him know.

“Even though she had told me that, in my head, I was thinking that’s not possible. That’s, you know, I couldn’t believe that was true,” Del Toral said, “I thought there was a misunderstanding here or some kind of miscommunication.”

But Del Toral and Walters had lots of conversations that spring. Walters wanted to get to the bottom of the water problems at her house. She wanted to understand what was going on, Del Toral recalled.

“In getting to know (Walters) and getting to know how quickly she was picking things up and the information she was providing was accurate I thought I better look into this,” he said.

So he started digging for more information, asking the DEQ again what kind of corrosion control treatment Flint was using. DEQ finally acknowledged that there was no treatment in place.

He stopped short of saying the DEQ lied to him about corrosion control.

READ FULL ARTICLE => After blowing the whistle on Flint’s water, EPA “rogue employee” has been silent. Until now. | Michigan Radio


 

TRP News – Progressive News & Information – August 10, 2015 – The Rational Progressive

TRP News with James Andre.

This week – the Jade Helm military exercise brings out the crazies, Potential Reid successor Senator Schumer bucks White House on Iran deal, voting rights on the 50th anniversary of the voting rights amendment, an update on the HIV outbreak in Indiana, the EPA accident polluting a Colorado river with heavy metals, Guantanamo may finally be closing, and Bernie Sanders, #blacklivesmatter, and the blatant racism of the “Left”.

0:27 Jade Helm 15
4:12 Iran Nuclear Deal
6:15 Voting Rights
9:14 Indiana HIV
10:55 Animas River Spill
12:52 Guantanamo
14:16 Black Lives Matter

For audio only, stream or download here : https://archive.org/details/TRPNews


 

 

Genetically modified ‘jellyfish lamb’ accidentally hits French dinner plates

A judicial inquiry has been launched to find out how Rubis, a female lamb belonging to the French national institute for agricultural research (Inra) ended up on dinner plates.

Destined for animal research only, the lamb was sold to an abattoir in November 2014 along with unmodified sheep and then onto an unsuspecting customer, who has not been identified to date.

The sale and consumption of any genetically modified food products for humans is illegal in France.Rubis was the fruit of Inra’s so-called “green sheep” programme launched in 2009 to produce lambs genetically modified to contain a green fluorescent protein originating from a jellyfish.

The proteins make the skin transparent and give off a greenish glow when exposed to certain ultraviolet light. Typically, they are used to monitor the activity of altered genes, and in this case to monitor transplants for heart disease.

The lamb belonged to the Inra’s animal research unit, UECA, which sells its unmodified animals to a local abattoir but has strictly no right to sell GM animals.

An internal investigation into the huge slip-up suggests foul play on the part of an employee acting out of revenge after a dispute with a colleague.

Read Full Article: Genetically modified ‘jellyfish lamb’ accidentally hits French dinner plates – Telegraph


 

Despite federal push after BP oil spill, number of aging temporarily sealed wells grows

Five years after the Obama administration promised to move swiftly to permanently plug unused oil and gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico, even more shafts are lingering for longer periods with only temporary sealing, an Associated Press investigation shows.

It is not clear how many incompletely sealed wells may have leaked — they generally are not monitored as carefully as active wells — but they contain fewer barriers to pent-up petroleum and rupture more easily. The threat to the environment increases with time.

In July 2010, during the BP oil spill, the AP reported that the Gulf was littered with more than 27,000 unused wells, including 14 percent left with just temporary seals.

The AP’s new analysis of federal data shows that the neglect of long-idle wells has intensified since 2010, despite the federal push after the BP accident:

  • Twenty-five percent more wells have now stayed temporarily sealed for more than a year, jumping from 2,855 to 3,576.
  • Wells sealed temporarily for more than a year make up 86 percent of all temporarily sealed shafts, up from 78 percent.
  • The number of wells equipped with temporary barriers for more than five years has risen from 1,631 to 1,895 — a 16 percent increase.

“I think there are signs of progress, but, my God, we got a long way to go,” said Bob Bea, an emeritus engineering professor at the University of California, Berkeley, when told of the AP findings.

Read Full Article: Despite federal push after BP oil spill, number of aging temporarily sealed wells grows


 

TRP News – Progressive News & Information – July 13, 2015

TRP News with James Andre.

This week South Carolina finally takes down the confederate flag from the capitol, BP reaches a settlement on the Gulf spill while Shell moves forward with Arctic drilling plans, Islamic State propaganda and activity around the world, and a deal with Iran on nuclear research is said to be imminent.

0:30 South Carolina Confederate flag
2:50 BP Settlement/Shell arctic drilling
9:35 Islamic State
16:09 Iran negotiations

 

For audio only, stream or download here : https://archive.org/details/TRPNews


 

Magical Mystery Tour of American Austerity: How One State Is Destroying Democracy and Poisoning Its People | Alternet

One city neglected to inform its residents that its water supply was laced with cancerous chemicals. Another dissolved its public school district and replaced it with a charter school system, only to witness the for-profit management company it hired flee the scene after determining it couldn’t turn a profit. Numerous cities and school districts in the state are now run by single, state-appointed technocrats, as permitted under an emergency financial manager law pushed through by Rick Snyder, Michigan’s austerity-promoting governor. This legislation not only strips residents of their local voting rights, but gives Snyder’s appointee the power to do just about anything, including dissolving the city itself — all (no matter how disastrous) in the name of “fiscal responsibility.”

If you’re thinking, “Who cares?” since what happens in Michigan stays in Michigan, think again. The state’s aggressive balance-the-books style of governance has already spread beyond its borders. In January, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie appointed bankruptcy lawyer and former Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr to be a “legal adviser” to Atlantic City. The Detroit Free Press described the move as “a state takeover similar to Gov. Rick Snyder’s state intervention in the Motor City.”

And this spring, amid the hullabaloo of Republicans entering the 2016 presidential race, Governor Snyder launched his own national tour to sell “the Michigan story to the rest of the country.” His trip was funded by a nonprofit (fed, naturally, by undisclosed donations) named “Making Government Accountable: The Michigan Story.”

To many Michiganders, this sounded as ridiculous as Jeb Bush launching a super PAC dubbed “Making Iraq Free: The Bush Family Story.”  Except Snyder wasn’t planning to enter the presidential rat race. Instead, he was attempting to mainstream Michigan’s form of austerity politics and its signature emergency management legislation, which stripped more than halfof the state’s African American residents of their local voting rights in 2013 and 2014.

As the governor jaunted around the country, Ann Arbor-based photographer Eduardo García and I decided to set out on what we thought of as our own two-week Magical Michigan Tour. And while we weren’t driving a specially outfitted psychedelic tour bus — we spent most of the trip in my grandmother’s 2005 Prius — our journey was nevertheless remarkably surreal. From the southwest banks of Lake Michigan to the eastern tips of the peninsula, we crisscrossed the state visiting more than half a dozen cities to see if there was another side to the governor’s story and whether Michigan really was, as one Detroit resident put it, “a massive experiment in unraveling U.S. democracy.”

Source: Magical Mystery Tour of American Austerity


 

TRP News – Progressive News & Information – May 11, 2015

TRP News with James Andre.

This week an update on Iran nuclear deal legislation, the current state of fast track legislation for TPP and what really happened to those manufacturing jobs, another story about the wrongs being committed under civil asset forfeiture laws, the nature of the debate over GMOs, and an outbreak of STDs in a Texas high school.

0:17 Iran Legislation
3:08 TPP
17:00 Civil Asset Forfeiture
21:00 GMOs
33:02 Dallas County STDs

For audio only, stream or download here : https://archive.org/details/TRPNews


 

TRP News – Progressive News & Info – Weekly Digest – March 30, 2015

This week’s topics are Senator McConnell’s efforts to undermine EPA regulations about coal and the global treaty on climate change, Indiana’s religious freedom law and the disingenuousness of Governor Pence, the state of the Loretta Lynch confirmation, and an update on the Iran nuclear negotiations.

View video on youtube for relevant supporting links in the video description.

 


Scientists may have cracked the giant Siberian crater mystery — and the news isn’t good

By now, you’ve heard of the crater on the Yamal Peninsula. It’s the one that suddenly appeared, yawning nearly 100 feet in diameter, and made several rounds in the global viral media machine. The adjectives most often used to describe it: giant, mysterious, curious. Scientists were subsequently “baffled.” Locals were “mystified.” There were whispers that aliens were responsible. Nearby residents peddled theories of “bright flashes” and “celestial bodies.”)

There’s now a substantiated theory about what created the crater. And the news isn’t so good.

It may be methane gas, released by the thawing of frozen ground. According to a recent Nature article, “air near the bottom of the crater contained unusually high concentrations of methane — up to 9.6% — in tests conducted at the site on 16 July, says Andrei Plekhanov, an archaeologist at the Scientific Centre of Arctic Studies in Salekhard, Russia.

>>Read the original article – The Washington Post.


 

Bikes Only: London Approves New Cyclist Superhighway Plan

London Mayor Boris Johnson’s ambitious plan to reshape how the city handles cyclist traffic got final approval Wednesday, clearing the way for the spread of segregated bike lanes and dedicated traffic signals. Johnson plans to create a network for cyclists that rivals the city’s transit system.

“The board of Transport for London approved a plan to spend £160m (around $240 million) on segregated bike lanes,” Britain’s ITV reports. “The biggest investment will be on two controversial ‘cycle superhighways’ running east-west and north-south through central London.”

Overall, London plans to invest more than $6 billion in its Road Modernization Plan, which includes everything from replacing streetlights to revamping tunnels.

Click To Read Full Article

 


 

 

Outrage Over US Secret Approval of Genetically Engineered Trees

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treefarm_mettjr

Groups from around the world  today joined together to denounce the US government for allowing the first genetically engineered tree, a loblolly pine, to be legalized with no government or public oversight, with no assessment of their risks to the public or the environment, and without regard to overwhelming public opposition to GE trees.

A secret letter from the USDA to GE tree company ArborGen, dated last August, was recently exposed by scientist Doug Gurian-Sherman of the Center for Food Safety. In this letter, the USDA made the unprecedented decision to allow ArborGen to pursue unregulated commercial cultivation of a loblolly pine genetically engineered for altered wood composition. These trees could be planted anywhere in the US, without public knowledge or access to information about them.

Read Article Outrage Over US Secret Approval of Genetically Engineered Trees.

 


 

Obama Expands Pacific Ocean Preserve, Making It Largest In The World

glorious-pacific-ocean

President Barack Obama is carving out a wide swath the Pacific Ocean for an expanded marine preserve, putting the waters off-limits to drilling and most fishing in a bid to protect fragile underwater life.

The revamped expanded Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument will cover 490,000 square miles – an area roughly three times the size of California – and will become the largest marine preserve in the world. Millions of seabirds, sea turtles and marine mammals live in the bio-rich expanse included by the new monument, which will also add new protections for more than 130 “seamounts” – underwater mountains where rare or undiscovered species are frequently found.

The move to broaden the George W. Bush-era preserve comes as Obama seeks to show concrete presidential action to protect the environment, despite firm opposition in Congress to new environmental legislation. At the United Nations this week, Obama announced new U.S. commitments to help other nations deal with the effects of climate change, as world leaders seek to galvanize support for a major global climate treaty to be finalized next year in Paris.

via Obama Expands Pacific Ocean Preserve, Making It Largest In The World.

 

 


 

How Hillary Clinton’s State Department Sold Fracking to the World

 

Under her leadership, the State Department worked closely with energy companies to spread fracking around the globe—part of a broader push to fight climate change, boost global energy supply, and undercut the power of adversaries such as Russia that use their energy resources as a cudgel. But environmental groups fear that exporting fracking, which has been linked to drinking-water contamination and earthquakes at home, could wreak havoc in countries with scant environmental regulation. And according to interviews, diplomatic cables, and other documents obtained by Mother Jones, American officials—some with deep ties to industry—also helped US firms clinch potentially lucrative shale concessions overseas, raising troubling questions about whose interests the program actually serves.

via How Hillary Clinton’s State Department Sold Fracking to the World | Mother Jones.

 


 

 

House Of Representatives Gives D.C. The Big Foam Finger

StyroFoam-Cups-psd8020

It hasn’t always been this way. When Nancy Pelosi D-Calif. took over as Speaker of the House, she launched the Green the Capital initiative, which directed House cafeterias to use compostable cutlery made with corn-based plastic substitutes and carryout containers made with plant fibers, and instituted a composting program. A 2010 report on the Green the Capital program found that 650 tons of compostable waste had been collected from House facilities and grounds.

But when Republicans took over the House in 2011 and installed Speaker John Boehner R-Ohio, the compostable cups and forks were quickly replaced with the old Styrofoam standbys. The change back to polystyrene and plastic prompted predictable griping from Democrats and celebrations from Republicans, who argued that they were cheaper and more durable. The Senate, however, remains foam-free.

via House Of Representatives Gives D.C. The Big Foam Finger.