Bulgarian President Plevneliev: Battle for UN Secretary-General post ?unpredictable?

plevneliev un photo un photo Cia Pak

Bulgaria?s battle for the post of United Nations Secretary-General is extremely difficult and currently unpredictable, President Rossen Plevneliev said in New York at a meeting with the Bulgarian community.

Plevneliev is in New York for the opening session of the UN General Assembly, which he is due to address on September 22, four days before the UN Security Council holds its fifth ?straw poll? on the candidates to head the world body.

He was speaking close to a week after Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said that, in spite of media reports, Irina Bokova remained Bulgaria?s candidate. However, Borissov said, if Bokova did not win one of the top two places in the straw poll on September 26, his government would reconsider the question.

Within Bulgaria and elsewhere in Europe, there is significant backing for replacing Bokova with Kristalina Georgieva, the Bulgarian vice-president of the European Commission, or possibly nominating Georgieva, in the name of countries other than Bulgaria, as an alternative candidate.

Bokova has done poorly in the first four straw polls, gaining at best a joint third position. In the most recent vote, she placed fifth.

Plevneliev told the Bulgarian community in New York that Bulgaria had a ?worthy candidate? and was supporting that candidate in this race.

On September 16, in an interview with public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television, Plevneliev ? asked about the Bulgarian candidacy for the UN job ? said that it was up to the Bulgarian government to decide on the candidate.

?The Bulgarian government has said very clearly who the candidate is, and the entire Bulgarian candidate is standing behind (that candidate) and working for (the candidate),? Plevneliev said.

He said that Bokova was the Bulgarian candidate. ?The government has its candidate, and I am working with that candidate. As head of state, I will work to the very last second with the Bulgarian candidate for the UN,? Plevneliev said.

(Photo: UN Photo/Cia Pak)



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News Briefs: This week?s Clown Show

wasco clownMy stars, it was a busy news week! We can?t cover all the doubtful news rolling out every day. Here are a few extra links from the Doubtful News Twitter and Facebook feeds related to themes and past stories we?ve featured. Feel free to throw in additional information in the comments. Send suggested stories to editor@doubtfulnews.com or on via Twitter @doubtfulnews. Thanks for your support. It?s good to be back.

The threatening clowns reported by witnesses in three southern US states have yet to be verified as real but copy cats have been caught playing up the fears on social media, even to the point of disrupting schools.  Hale County schools on soft lock down due to clown threats on social media and Teens found with clown mask in McDuffie helps put community at ease.

The clown show of US Presidential politics continues as Trump admits Obama was born in U.S., but falsely blames Clinton for starting rumors. Trump FINALLY admitted there was no basis to the ridiculous Bircher allegations but then backpedals on his newly acquired admissions of truth by asserting Hillary Clinton started the rumors. Many media outlets have checked on this assertion in the last few years and found no substantiation of that statement. Trump?s pants frequently seem to be on fire.

World Famous Exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth Dies at 91. Amorth performed over 70,000 exorcisms in his career and was often asked by the media to comment on cases about exorcisms. He was the Catholic Church?s leading cheerleader for the use of exorcisms. Amorth was a controversial figure, obviously, declaring that Harry Potter and yoga were evil and that the devil was at work in the Vatican itself. He was sometimes referred to an ?official ? exorcist of the Vatican but was only serving in capacity of the diocese of Rome.

50 Years Ago, Sugar Industry Quietly Paid Scientists To Point Blame At Fat. In a scenario that sounds reminiscent of the tobacco and fossil fuel industries, the sugar industry plotted to influence scientists and research studies to suggest sugar wasn?t as bad for you as it actually is.

Sorry David Attenborough, we didn?t evolve from ?aquatic apes? ? here?s why. Nature documentarian Sir David Attenborough buys into pseudoscientific theory that man evolved from aquatic apes. It?s a 55 year old idea that has overwhelming evidence against it and has been long-discarded as viable by evolution researchers.

Chinese actress Xu Ting dies of cancer after opting for alternative medicine instead of chemotherapy. Cupping, acupuncture and skin scraping shouldn?t be viable options for cancer treatment but they are and people die. Xu Ting was only 26 and died from lymphoma, which is treatable with chemotherapy. She wasn?t stupid, she was deeply misinformed about the efficacy of these nonsense treatments.

A movie is in the works about the famous Winchester family, in which the heiress of the rifle family business is haunted by people killed by the firearm. Jason Clarke to Star Opposite Helen Mirren in Thriller ?Winchester?.

Sweden?s self-described witch hunter caught. A man who escaped a psychiatric ward and plotted to kill his brother in law and dozens of other people, has been caught.

Finally, Uri Geller wants attention so bad, he put out a silly idea about why Donald Trump will be the next president, using incredibly irrational and goofy numerology. But, hey, at least it?s not Donald J. Trump. So we can rest easier.


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EC Looks at Engie’s Lux Tax Deals

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into Luxembourg’s tax treatment of the GDF Suez group (now Engie), it said September 19. The competition directorate is concerned that several tax rulings issued by Luxembourg may have given GDF Suez an unfair advantage over other companies, in breach of EU state aid rules.

Some of the rulings are as much as a decade old but only in the last few years have all member states agreed to open up these confidential agreements for review by the EC. These are bearing fruit, such as the discovery of the generous tax treatment that US Apple received at the hands of Ireland, worth some ?13bn ($14.5bn).

The rulings concern loans that can be converted into equity and bear zero interest for the lender. One convertible loan was granted in 2009 by LNG Luxembourg (lender) to GDF Suez LNG Supply (borrower); the other in 2011 by Electrabel Invest Luxembourg (lender) to GDF Suez Treasury Management (borrower).

How the EC sees it (Source: EC)

The EC will assess in particular whether Luxembourg tax authorities selectively derogated from provisions of national tax law in tax rulings issued to GDF Suez but not other companies. “They appear to treat the same financial transaction between companies of GDF Suez in an inconsistent way, both as debt and as equity. The Commission considers at this stage that the treatment endorsed in the tax rulings resulted in tax benefits in favour of GDF Suez, which are not available to other companies subject to the same national taxation rules in Luxembourg,” it said.

“A single company cannot have the best of two worlds for one and the same transaction. Therefore, we will look carefully at tax rulings issued by Luxembourg to GDF Suez. They seem to contradict national taxation rules and allow GDF Suez to pay less tax than other companies.” 

A spokeswoman told NGW that it could not say how much money was involved in this case. Engie did not comment at time of press.

William Powell 

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Indonesian Medco Energi Acquires 40% Stake in Natuna Sea Block

September 19th, 2016 2:45pm Posted In: Natural Gas News, News By Country, Corporate, Exploration & Production, Natural Gas News Asia, Indonesia

Indonesia?s Medco Energi Internasional has signed a share sale and purchase agreement to acquire ConocoPhillips Indonesia and ConocoPhillips Singapore Operations, both subsidiaries of ConocoPhillips.

ConocoPhillips Indonesia is the operator of the South Natuna Sea Block B PSC (SNSB) with a 40% working interest and is the operator of the West Natuna Transportation System (WNTS). ConocoPhillips Singapore Operations operates the onshore receiving facility (ORF) in Singapore. ?The WNTS infrastructure together with the Malaysian pipeline is, and will continue to be the focal point for the commercialisation of existing discoveries and ongoing exploration activities within the Natuna area. The transaction is expected to complete in Q4 2016,? Medco said September 19.

The acquisition will add substantial gas and liquids reserves and increase company?s daily production by over 35%. It did not disclose any financial details of the deal. Other partners in the SNSB are Japan?s Inpex and Chevron.

Five fields in SNSB, which is located off the northwest coast of Borneo, produce natural gas, and two fields produce crude oil. Net daily production during 2015 averaged 5,000 barrels of liquids and 66mn ft ³of natural gas, according to Chevron?s website.

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European Commissioner: Bulgaria to play crucial role with launch of new European border protection


Bulgaria will play a crucial role on the European stage with the October 6 opening of the new European border and coast guard office, European Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said in talks with the country?s interior and foreign ministers.

In talks with Interior Minister Roumyana Buchvarova and Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov, as well as President Rossen Plevneliev, Avramopoulos said that neighbouring countries Bulgaria and Greece were on the front line of the EU external border and this made them important to the best management of the refugee wave.

Avramopoulos praised the efforts of the Bulgarian government to deal with the issue in close co-operation with the rest of the EU.

He said that Bulgaria was under pressure, but was not alone, because the EU was standing behind it. The evidence for this was the planned opening on October 6 in Bulgaria of an entirely new European project, the border and coast guard service.

Through this project, Bulgaria would begin to play a more important role in the protection of its borders, which were at the same time the shared borders of Europe.

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Bulgaria grants 300 000 leva to Macedonia over flood damage


Bulgaria?s Cabinet agreed on September 20 to grant financial assistance of 300 000 leva (about 153 440 euro) to the the Republic of Macedonia to help its neighbouring country tackle the effects of the disastrous floods in the regions of Skopje and Tetovo on August 6 and 7.

The grant comes in addition to technical and humanitarian assistance already provided by Bulgaria.

The funding will come out of the development assistance and humanitarian aid budget of the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It will be paid out in two equal instalments, to the Red Cross of the Republic of Macedonia for dealing with the emergency situation, and to the neighbouring country?s finance ministry for dealing with material damage, including the restoration of infrastructure destroyed in the torrential fatal floods of August.

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Petronas expands in Azerbaijan

September 20th, 2016 5:55am Posted In: Natural Gas News, News By Country, Azerbaijan, Press Notes, Caspian Focus, Corporate, Exploration & Production, Political, Ministries, Natural Gas News Europe, Malaysia

Malaysia’s national oil company Petronas and Azerbaijan?s state-owned Socar have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to explore, develop and produce hydrocarbons from a block in the Caspian Sea.

petronas towers

Petronas Towers (credit: Petronas)

Under the MOU, the pair have six months to draft the main commercial terms of a production-sharing agreement for the Goshadash block, Socar said.

The Goshadash prospect is 15 km offshore in the north-western part of the Absheron archipelago in shallow water area of 10 to 50 metres depth. The block was a part of broad area that was explored by UK major BP. However, it was not included in the final contract area for the Shallow water Absheron peninsula project, which was signed between BP and Socar December 2014.

Petronas holds a 15.5% share in Shah Deniz gas and condensate development and South Caucasus gas pipeline after it acquired the stake from Norway’s Statoil for $2.25bn in 2014. 

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The Myth of the ?Race Card?

Two essential quotes come up often among the black women in my professional cohort. The first is one that we attribute to Zora Neale Hurston: ?If you are silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you enjoyed it.? The other is from Audre Lorde?s The Cancer Journals: ?Your silence will not protect you.? We trade these quotes to nudge one another toward self-advocacy in situations when speaking up for ourselves might be difficult?such as in work or social settings where we are in a minority as women of color and our experiences of sexism or racism may be minimized or disbelieved, if we are vocal about them.

Even with Hurston or Lorde to embolden us, lodging a public complaint as a black woman can still be a vulnerable undertaking?especially when we?re asked to justify why we?re offended or to explain how we can be so sure that the offense we felt had discriminatory underpinnings. So I wasn?t surprised that when singer Solange Knowles live-tweeted about an incident she described as racist at a Kraftwerk concert last week, commenters inundated her Twitter account with allegations that her description of events was racist.

?Let me tell you about why black girls / women are so angry,? Knowles began, and recounted being told by four older white women behind her, ?You need to sit down,? as she danced with her family. When she didn?t oblige, ?They proceeded to throw something at my back.? She ended her account with, ?But in this moment, I?m just going to share my experience? So that maybe someone will understand, why many of us don?t feel safe in white spaces. We don?t ?bring the drama….? Fix yourself.?

Knowles later posted an essay, ?And Do You Belong? I Do,? on her website that explores the insidious nature of confrontations with white people, in which the tone of voice they?re using feels as contentious?or more so?than the words they?re using, and how difficult it is to parse their actions and racial motivations:

You don?t feel that most of the people in these incidents do not like black people, but simply are a product of their white supremacy and are exercising it on you without caution, care, or thought. Many times the tone just simply says, ?I do not feel you belong here.?

Knowles?s critics were myriad. Some suggested Knowles avoid predominantly white environments, while others lobbed racist insults.

Many others accused her of ?playing the race card,? implying that they remained unconvinced of racist intent in the Kraftwerk incident. The term ?race card? is always evoked as an accusation, implying that black people are playing a game when we mention race in conversation. As the metaphor goes, the race card is a supposed trump card that?s used to shut down a conversation, to win some sort of rhetorical victory. But when you?re black in America, race is not just one card in a hand that can be played or not; it?s an integral part of our identity, as inextricable as our nationality, if not more so. So when a white person antagonizes us, we cannot ignore the fact of our skin color or the way our country has treated people of that skin color since its inception.

When a black person believes her experience?a white person yelling and throwing things at them, or using a derisive tone?has racist implications, she shouldn?t have to convince others of this. If there is any convincing to be done, the onus should be on the attacker, not the assaulted. By accusing Knowles of racism, or of ?pulling the race card,? critics are not only erasing the original offense; they?re attempting to victimize the victim yet again, by accusing her of wrongdoing.

This is often how such incidents unfold?but not always. Another recent conflict shows there?s hope yet for how we talk about race in America.

In a Snapchat video last week, actress Zendaya Coleman also spoke out about an incident she perceived to be racist at a Vons grocery store in Los Angeles. While attempting to buy gift cards with a credit card, a transaction for which the store has a $200 limit, Coleman said the cashier was reluctant to help her and her friend and ?threw her wallet at her? after explaining the gift card transaction limit. ?I don?t think she was a huge fan of our skin tone,? Coleman mused.

In its response, Von?s begins by explaining its gift card transaction limit. The company could?ve then insisted that the service denial had nothing to do with race. The only accounts of the incident, after all, were Zendaya?s and the cashier?s. It would?ve been easy to fall back on the claim that race didn?t factor into this exchange at all, and that this was simply a matter of store policy. Instead, the company wrote this:

We respect Zendaya?s voice in the community and similarly are committed to diversity and inclusion. Moreover, we understand that race is a sensitive issue in America and view this experience as a reminder that every interaction is an opportunity to treat each customer as we ourselves would like to be treated.

Vons, a California chain, had sound business reasons for responding this way. The company defused the conflict?the negative headlines, that is?and emerged with its reputation intact. But Vons did more than merely save face. It illustrated the most productive approach to discussing racial offense with the offended: acknowledging the validity of Zendaya?s experience, both as as a customer and as a black woman in America. Accepting the word of a slighted black customer may seem like a small start to some, a tentative first step on a long road. But it?s a lot closer to the conversation that America should be having than accusations about a phantom ?race card.?

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All the Rage

On November 9, the day after this year?s election, Donald Trump may well join Bernie Sanders as a footnote to U.S. history. But that doesn?t mean that their candidacies will vanish without a trace. In a decade or two, American politics may look as strange to us as the conservative politics of the 1980s looked from the liberal vantage point of the 1960s. And part of the reason will be Trump and Sanders, and what they revealed about the soft underbelly of our political system.

Trump and his followers are regularly denounced as fascist, nativist, misogynist, and racist. ?We want him off the stage,? political scientist Peter Dreier declared in August, ?and we want his racist followers to know that they represent a tiny sliver of America.? Sanders was dismissed by Clinton backers and Republicans as a ?utopian socialist? whose supporters were ?naïve idealists.? But such simplistic dismissals overlook something essential about both men?s campaigns?and about the impact they are likely to have.

Leaving aside his bilious nature, his preening self-absorption, and his casual bigotry, Trump represents a tradition of American populism that dates back to the 1880s. So does Sanders. And in America, populist campaigns, movements, and parties have played a vital role: Their ascendancy serves as an early warning signal that the political consensus uniting the country?and the leadership of both major parties?is breaking up. Populist campaigns have prefigured, provoked, and sometimes precipitated political realignments. To understand why the forces unleashed by Trump and Sanders will outlast their campaigns, you have to understand American populism.

There are as many meanings of populism as there are of liberalism and conservatism. Sometimes the term is simply used as a synonym for popularity. Sometimes business lobbies like the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity borrow populism?s language of anti-elitism to camouflage their self-interest. But there is a political tradition in America that begins with the Farmers? Alliances of the 1880s and the People?s Party of 1892 (whose adherents coined the term populist) and extends down through Huey Long and George Wallace, to Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan, to the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, and finally to Trump and Sanders.

The central feature of all these populist campaigns has been the attempt to champion ?the people? against an elite or establishment. But how the people and the elite are defined has changed with the campaigns. The People?s Party represented ?the plain people? against the ?plutocracy,? Huey Long the ?poor man? against the ?money power,? Wallace ?the man in the street? against ?big government,? Trump the ?silent majority? against the ?special interests,? and Sanders ?we the people? against the ?billionaire class.?

But there is another element of populism that is less understood, one that divides the tradition into two distinct political strains. In the left-wing strain, epitomized by Long, Perot, Occupy Wall Street, and Sanders, populists champion the people against the elites. In the right-wing strain, it?s also the people versus the elites?but the elites are attacked for coddling and subsidizing a third ?out group,? such as African Americans (Wallace) or immigrants who have entered the country illegally (Buchanan, the Tea Party, and Trump).

What distinguishes populists from conservatives and liberals? It?s all in the kind of demands they make. Conservatives and liberals advocate for incremental changes that are subject to negotiation and compromise?raising the minimum wage by $2 an hour, say, or eliminating the Affordable Care Act?s tax on medical devices. Populists, by contrast, make demands that would be turned down flat by the country?s current political leadership. Long wanted to create a guaranteed annual income. The Tea Party wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Trump wants a 45 percent tariff on goods from runaway shops. Sanders wants ?Medicare for all.? By their very nature, such immediate, unrealizable demands create a divide between the people and the powers that be.

Most of the time, the American electoral system works to ensure that political demands remain both incremental and negotiable. Our winner-takes-all approach discourages third parties, and the two-party system rewards candidates who move to the center in national races. The center itself is usually defined by a broad consensus that delineates the relationship between the government and the economy, as well as America?s place in the world. After the Civil War, for instance, a consensus that government should chiefly promote industrial expansion persisted, with some deviations, from 1872 to 1932; after the New Deal, a consensus on welfare capitalism endured until 1980. A consensus lasts as long as it fulfills a promise of peace and prosperity. Once it does not, the United States enters a political crisis.

The rise of populist movements indicates that a prevailing world view is breaking down. Ignited by the farm crisis that swept the South and West in the 1880s, the original People?s Party defied the laissez-faire consensus of the day, demanding that the railroads be nationalized and farm debt reduced. At the onset of the Great Depression, Long?s demands for economic equality pressured Franklin Roosevelt into undertaking the second New Deal, which established the modern welfare state. In the ?60s, Wallace attacked the extension of public benefits and civil rights to blacks, precipitating the end of the consensus in Washington about civil rights, welfare, and taxes, and bringing about the realignment of both the Democratic and Republican parties.

So what world view is under assault by populism today? Trump and Sanders both reflect the growing public dissatisfaction with the political consensus that supplanted New Deal liberalism after Ronald Reagan?s landslide victory in 1980. In Europe, it?s called ?neo-liberalism.? In the United States, it might more accurately be called ?market liberalism.? Forged in reaction to the protracted economic slowdown that began in the 1970s, it has prioritized growth over equity?with the promise, as Reagan put it, that a ?rising tide would lift all boats.? It has promoted free trade and capital mobility (including outsourcing), labor mobility (including immigration), tax reductions on business and the wealthy, deregulation of finance, and fiscal restraint (to keep taxes down). It has retained, but punched large holes in, the ?safety net? created under the prior New Deal consensus.

The consensus of market liberalism was put in place by Reagan and a new generation of Republican conservatives, backed by traditional GOP business interests and members of the white working class. Although many Democrats initially resisted market liberalism, the ?new Democrats? led by Bill Clinton soon embraced the emerging consensus on business tax cuts, free trade, increased immigration, and financial deregulation. American politics entered a new stage of normalcy.

The first populist rebellion against market liberalism came in the wake of the 1990?91 recession and the weak recovery that followed. Ross Perot, the Texas billionaire, promised ?to make America work again.? He attacked the North American Free Trade Agreement for inducing U.S. corporations to move south of the border. ?We must stop shipping manufacturing jobs overseas,? Perot declared, ?and once again make the words ?Made in the USA? the world?s standard of excellence.? In June 1992, Perot led both George H.W. Bush and Clinton in presidential polls, but he undermined his own campaign by withdrawing and then re-entering the race with only a month to go.

While Perot arose from the center-left of the political spectrum, another rebellion was brewing on the right. In the 1992 and 1996 presidential campaigns, former Reagan aide Pat Buchanan railed against illegal immigration and condemned ?the hired men of the Money Power? for NAFTA, runaway shops, and globalization. ?What has global competition done for the quality of life of Middle America?? Buchanan asked. ?What, after all, is an economy for, if not for its people??

The current incarnations of populism represented by Trump and Sanders bubbled up with the onset of the Great Recession. In the wake of the financial crash, the first populist rebellion took place among Tea Party activists. Most were small-business owners or members of the white working-class who had escaped the worst effects of the recession, but who bitterly resented policies that forced them to subsidize what they saw as the undeserving poor, including illegal immigrants, as well as reckless speculators on Wall Street and poorly run auto companies in Detroit. At first, the Tea Party targeted the Obama administration. But after it helped elect a Republican Congress?which failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act?the Tea Party?s activists turned their fury on their own party.

On the left, the first populist stirrings were expressed by Occupy Wall Street in the fall of 2011. The movement was composed primarily of college-educated young people, burdened by student debt, uncertain of their future, and angry that Obama had let Wall Street and the wealthy off the hook for the Great Recession. The Occupy movement lasted only a few months, but its attack on economic inequality as an outgrowth of market liberalism had a profound political impact. After the Occupy demonstrations, Obama turned against the precepts of market liberalism. That December, the president began his re-election campaign with a speech at Osawatomie, Kansas, where he took aim at a new ?kind of inequality that we haven?t seen since the Great Depression.?

The two uprisings?Occupy and the Tea Party?typified the left-wing and right-wing strains of populism. An extensive poll in October 2011 found that followers of both movements overwhelmingly agreed that ?government is too controlled by special interests.? But the poll underscored their differences. Eighty-two percent of Occupy supporters agreed that there is ?too much inequality in America,? compared to only 26 percent of Tea Party activists. Occupy viewed equality as a way to redistribute the wealth of the top one percent to everyone else. The Tea Party saw that concern about economic equality as justifying an attempt to equalize income between the rich and poor by taxing the middle. Those two expressions of populism soon found new homes, in the campaigns of Trump and Sanders.

Ever since Trump declared his candidacy, his campaign has regularly been described as ?unprecedented.? But it fits squarely within the American populist tradition. The only thing unprecedented is Trump?s degree of success: He is the first populist since William Jennings Bryan to gain the nomination of a major political party.

Trump?s populism isn?t unprecedented?just the degree of his success.

Trump?s political style is entirely within the populist tradition. Huey Long, George Wallace, and Ross Perot were also compared to fascists and accused of being would-be dictators. Like them, Trump is a charismatic leader who appears to put himself above party, representing himself as the voice of the people against the elite. In a January campaign ad?titled simply ?The Establishment??Trump sits behind a desk. ?The establishment, the media, the special interests, the lobbyists, the donors?they?re all against me,? he declares. ?I?m self-funding my campaign. I don?t owe anybody anything. I only owe it to the American people to do a great job.? In his acceptance speech at the GOP convention, Trump assured ?the forgotten men and women of our country? that ?I am your voice.?

Trump has struck at some of market liberalism?s key tenets. He has attacked NAFTA and other trade deals for sacrificing American jobs, and revived the economic nationalism of Ross Perot?and sometimes the very language he used?by denouncing U.S. corporations for moving overseas. ?Our jobs are being sucked out of our state,? he complained during the New York primary. ?They?re being sucked out of our country, and we?re not going to let that happen any more.?

Even after Trump had wrapped up the Republican nomination in May, and would have been expected to make his peace with the Republican business class, he persisted in attacking market liberalism. In a June speech on ?The Stakes of the Election,? Trump appealed to Sanders supporters to back him:

Because it?s not just the political system that?s rigged. It?s the whole economy. It?s rigged by big donors who want to keep down wages. It?s rigged by big businesses who want to leave our country, fire our workers, and sell their products back into the U.S. with absolutely no consequences for them…. It?s rigged against you, the American people.

Trump?s harsh, nativist views on illegal immigration, Mexicans, and Muslims are also far from unprecedented. In 1894, the People?s Party Paper denounced Chinese immigrants as ?moral and social lepers,? and a year later, Kansas populist Mary Elizabeth Lease warned of a ?tide of Mongols.? In blaming illegal immigration for crime, rising social costs, and declining wages, Trump is following Pat Buchanan and the Tea Party. But he has also drawn attention to market liberalism?s support for low-wage legal immigration, which he promises to reduce, and for high-tech guest workers. Trump has pledged to ?put American workers first.?

Trump?s foreign policy views have been attributed in large part to his affinity for Russian president Vladimir Putin. But as far back as 1987, Trump was urging burden-sharing among America?s NATO allies. His insistence that ?the United States cannot afford to be the policeman of the world anymore,? and that ?we have to rebuild our own country,? echoes both Perot and Buchanan. (?Our highest foreign policy priority is to get our house in order and make America work again,? Perot declared in 1992.) Trump?with considerably less knowledge of its isolationist background?adopted Buchanan?s ?America First? slogan to describe his foreign policy.

Like Trump, Bernie Sanders does not call himself a populist. While he?s admitted to being a ?democratic socialist,? he prefers to be called a ?progressive.? His proposals were modeled in part on European social democracy and American progressivism, but his approach was fundamentally that of a populist. Unlike traditional socialists, Sanders did not claim to represent ?the working class,? but a broader group; unlike progressives, he did not seek to reconcile class interests within a democratic pluralism. Instead, he advanced demands for Medicare for all, free tuition at public colleges, the reinstatement of Wall Street regulations repealed during the Clinton administration, and public financing for political campaigns?demands that established a sharp divide between ?the people? and political leaders in Washington.

Trump and Sanders remind us that parties inevitably reject their old identities.

Sanders rejected NAFTA and subsequent trade deals, as did Trump, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership that the Obama administration negotiated and that Hillary Clinton initially backed. ?I do not believe in unfettered free trade,? Sanders explained in a February debate. ?I believe in fair trade that works for the middle class and working families, not just for multinational corporations.? Again like Trump, Sanders also criticized ?corporations that take their jobs to China.? But he diverged sharply from Trump on illegal immigration, supporting a ?path to citizenship? for migrants who entered the country without proper authorization.

Sanders and Trump also differed in their political bases. Most of Trump?s followers are white workers?the same voting bloc that backed George Wallace in 1968 and 1972. Sociologist Donald Warren describes them as ?middle-American radicals? who believe that the establishment has sold them out for those on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder. Sanders drew his main support from young voters who in the early 2000s had begun voting en masse for Democrats??first over social issues, then over opposition to the war in Iraq, and finally over economics and the Great Recession. They saw in Sanders someone who shared their anger?and who, unlike Hillary Clinton, offered a compelling vision of the future.

Clinton supporters dismissed Sanders?s proposals as politically unrealistic and economically flawed. ?Sanders really does have a singularly naïve and simpleminded understanding of American politics,? scoffed Michael Cohen, a former Clinton-administration speechwriter. (Similar charges have long been made against populists; in 1935, the NEW REPUBLIC rhetorically asked Huey Long, ?Upon what statistics of economic studies do you base your conclusions??) While it was true that the details (and costs) of Sanders?s proposals often didn?t add up, it was certainly conceivable that the United States could enact them?after all, Canada and several European countries have ?Medicare for all.? What made them seem unrealistic was their challenge to the market liberal consensus on fiscal restraint and redistribution.

Unlike Trump, Sanders never contended, as his liberal critics suggested, that if he were elected president, he could enact the changes he advocated. ?If we are going to transform America,? he said last November in Las Vegas, ?we need a political revolution. Millions of people have to stand up and get involved in the political process in a way we have not in many, many years.?

Perhaps ?revolution? was too strong a word. But Sanders?s point was that breaking with market liberalism would require a radical departure from politics as usual. It would require, in short, a populist revolt.

In 1968, George Wallace ran as an independent, siphoning off votes primarily from Democrats in both North and South, and carrying five Southern states. At the time, it was unimaginable that the blue-collar workers who had formed the bulwark of the New Deal majority would bolt from the Democratic Party and help Republicans create a conservative majority for market liberalism. But Wallace?s populist appeal was a sign of what was to come: The parties realigned, and a new world view replaced the old.

Nearly half a century later, are Trump and Sanders playing a similar role? And if so, what will America?s new political parties?and its new political consensus?look like?

The answer, in part, depends on the economy. The first populist assault on market liberalism, championed by the Perot and Buchanan crusades of the ?90s, was beaten back by the internet boom. If today?s mild recovery gives way to another boom, Trump and Sanders?s populism could conceivably retreat into political background noise?waiting to be reawakened, with new political champions, after the next economic plunge.

But a new boom is unlikely. The recovery is fragile. Because market liberalism has left us with huge trade deficits, the United States relies on countries like China, Japan, and Germany to prop up our economy and sustain our financial sector by using their trade surpluses to buy U.S. government bonds or properties. That arrangement, which helped fuel the housing bubble that burst in 2007, broke down after the financial crash. As China?s growth slows, and as Europe fails to bounce back from the Great Recession, the chances of a buoyant American recovery are slim. What?s more likely is another downturn, which will keep the fires of discontent burning brightly well past November.

That discontent will continue to roil both parties. Trump?s candidacy has driven a wedge in the long-standing Republican coalition between business leaders and the white working class. Even if Trump is soundly defeated by Hillary Clinton, the rift he?s opened in the party won?t be magically healed. Business Republicans will try to use his loss to discredit the Trumpian critique of market liberalism, the same way moderate Republicans made the case that Barry Goldwater?s landslide loss in 1964 meant his hard-line conservatism was a nonstarter. The establishment lost that argument, and it could lose again. Trump?s working-class supporters furiously reject the GOP?s support for free trade, overseas investment, and large-scale immigration, and they oppose Republican calls to privatize New Deal programs like Social Security and Medicare. And Trump, like Goldwater, will almost surely inspire less foolish, less unhinged imitators who can rally his troops in future elections and further divide the party.

Sanders?s campaign has already had a decisive impact on the Democratic Party, driving Hillary Clinton to distance herself from market liberalism. In her acceptance speech at the Democratic convention, she denounced ?unfair trade deals,? promised to ?stand up to China,? and vowed to punish corporations that ?ship their jobs overseas.? But despite such talk, Clinton is hardly a born-again populist, and her presidency won?t reconcile the party?s factions. Sanders himself may exert little personal influence after the election, but prominent Democrats like Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown share his populist rejection of market liberalism. That sets up an ongoing struggle with the party?s backers on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley.

How will this all shake out? One thing?s certain: There will be no ?populist agenda? that achieves landmark legislation. That?s not what populists do. Instead, they set the broader direction of political reform and realignment. And the movements unleashed by Trump and Sanders suggest that we?re headed toward a rejection of unfettered globalization. That will usher in, among other things, limits on free trade, stricter financial regulations, and more spending on large-scale infrastructure. It could also bring new restrictions on unskilled immigration.

What would this new economic nationalism mean for the political parties? If another downturn causes an even stronger upsurge in populism, it?s not inconceivable that Republican voters could end up driving out the Koch brothers and turning the GOP into a right-wing ?workers party,? as Trump has predicted. Or that the Democrats, even at the risk of alienating Wall Street and Silicon Valley, could embrace Sanders?s vision and once again become a home for the working-class whites who left them in the last great realignment.

It?s easy to throw cold water on such scenarios. Would the Republicans, the party of business for a century and a half, really slough off the bulk of their financial support? Would the Democrats, after years of embracing identity politics, actually be capable of reviving FDR?s universal approach to social and economic legislation?

But it?s always unfathomable, at any given moment, that the current political consensus could suddenly unravel, or that a major political party would dramatically reject its long-standing identity. Trump and Sanders remind us that such radical transformation is not only possible, but inevitable. Back in the 1960s, almost no one imagined, let alone predicted, that FDR?s New Deal legacy would be seized by a Goldwater acolyte like Ronald Reagan and transformed into something entirely new. It shouldn?t be hard to envision that another charismatic TV personality with a frighteningly simpleminded view of global affairs, or even an elderly Vermont socialist, could be harbingers and catalysts of another great crisis in American politics. That?s what populists do. They signal the arrival of the unimaginable.

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North Dakota?s Pipeline Protest is About Climate Justice

Over the past months, hundreds of indigenous persons and their allies have gathered near the crossing of the Missouri and Cannon Ball rivers in the ancestral territories of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. Using nonviolent means, their goal is to stop the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) that would connect production fields in North Dakota to refineries in Illinois. Their primary fear is that an oil leak would threaten water quality for many members of the tribal community.

On Sept. 9, a federal judge denied the tribe?s request for an injunction to halt completion of the pipeline. But shortly after, federal officials said they would temporarily stop construction pending further review.

As a scholar of indigenous studies and environmental justice, I?ve been following these developments closely. The pipeline?s construction has already destroyed some of the tribe?s sacred burial grounds. During protests, the protectors?as many gatherers prefer to be called?have endured violence, including being pepper-sprayed, attacked by dogs, denied nourishment, and threatened by lawsuits.

But despite the national attention to this case, one point has gone largely ignored in my view: Stopping DAPL is a matter of climate justice and decolonization for indigenous peoples. It may not always be apparent to people outside these communities, but standing up for water quality and heritage are intrinsically tied to these larger issues.

Disproportionate suffering

Climate justice?the idea that it is ethically wrong for some groups of people to suffer the detrimental effects of climate change more than others?is among the most significant moral issues today, referenced specifically in the landmark Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Climate scientists, through organizations such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and U.S. Climate Assessment, are finding more evidence of climate change from human activities, such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation. These destabilize the climate system, producing environmental conditions that disrupt human societies, through impacts such as rising sea levels, more severe droughts, and warming freshwater.

The same climate science organizations also show that indigenous peoples are among the populations who will suffer more, on average, than other communities from changing environmental conditions. Some are suffering right now.

Indigenous communities are among the first climate refugees, having to decide to relocate due to sea-level rise in the Arctic and Gulf of Mexico, as well as other places across the U.S. sphere. This is happening in other parts of the world too.

This is an injustice because, as indigenous scholar Dan Wildcat writes in ?Red Alert!,? the suffering is occurring ?not as a result of something their Native lifeways produced, but because the most technologically advanced societies on the planet have built their modern lifestyles on a carbon energy foundation.?

DAPL, a 1,172-mile connector of the Bakken and Three Forks fossil fuel basins to major oil refining markets, maintains the carbon energy foundation Wildcat writes of. The protectors, meanwhile, are bringing public attention to the urgency of reducing a fossil fuel dependence. Because indigenous peoples suffer the effects of climate change disproportionately, continuing fossil fuel dependence will inflict more harms in years to come.

But there is more to this story, as climate change and U.S. colonialism against indigenous peoples are closely related.

While ?colonialism? is not a term many nonindigenous persons typically use even in climate activism, it is the academically rigorous term for describing a significant part of the political relationship between the U.S. and indigenous peoples. It also sheds important light on indigenous understanding of what climate justice really means and what solutions are required.

History of exploitation

Put simply, colonialism refers to a form of domination that involves at least one society seeking to exploit some set of benefits they believe to be found in the territories of one or more other indigenous societies already living there. These benefits can range from farm land and precious minerals to labor.

Exploitation can occur through tactics including military invasion, coercion, slavery, policing, and geographic removal of indigenous peoples. Sexual and gender violence are integral to undermining indigenous leadership customs, many of which were tied to non-patriarchal gender systems that empowered women and non-binary genders.

U.S. colonialism is about continued U.S. control over how indigenous peoples govern themselves internally and their territories as Tribal Nations. The U.S. Congress officially has plenary (absolute) power over tribes. The U.S. considers indigenous jurisdictions, including reservations, as U.S. federal land held in trust for tribes.

While the U.S. federal government is required to consult tribes before it undertakes action that will affect tribal well-being, a brief glance at history reveals it is most often a policy that legitimizes federal infringement. Indeed, the U.S. has not fulfilled all of its treaty responsibilities to tribes, especially when treaty obligations interfere with the economic interests of settlers.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe?at the center of this current protest?has already suffered from this practice. Until U.S. mining interests were at stake, it retained sovereignty over the sacred Black Hills and parts of the Missouri River and certain off reservation hunting rights in the Treaty of Ft. Laramie of 1868. But then in 1877, U.S. Congress, without tribal consent, passed an act removing the Black Hills from Standing Rock?s jurisdiction, curtailing tribal members? capacity to honor the sacred places of the Black Hills.

U.S. colonialism, then, serves to pave the way for the expansion of extractive industries which scientists have now identified as contributors to human-caused climate change. Damming and deforestation of indigenous territories enable mining and industrial agriculture; pipelines, roads and refineries create dependence on fossil fuels for energy.

Colonial exploitation of indigenous lands through these industries has already inflicted immediate harms on indigenous peoples, from water and air pollution to destruction of sacred sites. Many of these environmental harms can be compared to climate change, as land-use change alters land temperatures, soil composition and hydrology. Herein lies a pattern of harms arising from colonialism.

Vicious pattern

But not all of the impacts of carbon-intensive industries are felt immediately. Climate change impacts occur in greater force some years later, as the effects of changing environmental conditions are felt more and more, all of which is made worse by U.S. colonialism.

Tribes are susceptible to loss of cultural, spiritual, and economic relations to species such as moose or salmon as habitats change occur faster because their reservations are too small or fragmented to allow indigenous communities to follow the species? movements to more suitable ecosystems. U.S. treaties are supposed to guarantee continued tribal access to the species even when they change location or their habitats are threatened by environmental stressors, but it?s not clear the U.S. will honor these treaties in this way.

When it comes to indigenous climate refugees, any decision to relocate is made particularly difficult by U.S. domination over decision-making and discriminatory bureaucratic hurdles.

Moreover, climate change also opens up more indigenous territories, such as in the Arctic, to pressure from colonial exploitation, as thawing snow and ice open access to resources, such as oil and other hydrocarbons, that were previously hard to get to.

This further oil exploration will likely lead to the same detrimental effects we?ve already seen. The workers camps, or ?man camps,? created to support drilling and mining in regions like the Bakken, introduce more sexual and gender violence through increases in the trafficking of indigenous women and girls. Of course, some of the sites of violence are the very same North Dakota fracking fields that seek to send fuel down the DAPL.

Stopping DAPL, then, is about stopping a vicious pattern of U.S. colonialism that inflicts immediate environmental harms and future climate change impacts on indigenous peoples. For indigenous peoples, then, decolonization is not a metaphor.

Broader movement

It?s worth noting the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is not alone. A major supporter of stopping DAPL is the Lummi Nation, which has taken action to block the establishment of a coal shipment terminal and train railway near its treaty-protected sacred area of Xwe?chi?eXen in Washington state. The Lummi is part of a group of tribes that have documented the U.S. negligence in honoring its treaty responsibility to refrain from economic and consumptive activities that destroy the salmon habitat that the Lummi and other tribes in the region depend on.

The initiative, Treaty Rights at Risk, suggests the vulnerability of salmon habitat to climate change is part of a larger story of environmental damage done by U.S. dams, agriculture, and other land-use practices.

Similarly, for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, shifting plant and animal habitats from climate change combined with loss of jurisdiction over land, both due to U.S. colonialism, will make it harder for tribal members to maintain relationships with those plants and animals into the future.

So as the protests and legal battles over the construction of the pipeline continue, we need to realize that protection of sacred sites and worries over contaminated water supplies are simultaneously concerns about climate justice and its relation to U.S. colonialism. Non-indigenous environmentalists are only allies if they work broadly toward decolonization, instead of aligning with indigenous peoples only when a particular issue, such as opposition to one pipeline, seems to match their interests.

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