As rich nations turn their backs on those in need

refugee5

In an editorial, the New York Times says: The world is witnessing the largest exodus of refugees in generations, spawned by armed conflicts in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. But “witnessing” is perhaps the wrong word. Many world leaders, including those who run most of the richest countries, are choosing to look the other way. They are more interested in barricading their nations from the fallout of conflict than in investing in peacekeeping and stability.

This willful neglect was on display last week at the inaugural World Humanitarian Summit, convened to face the needs of the world’s most vulnerable people. Most heads of state from the richest nations — including the United States — didn’t bother to show up, drawing a rebuke from the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon.

“It’s disappointing that some world leaders could not be here, especially from the G-7 countries,” he said at a news conference on Tuesday. “We have reached a level of human suffering without parallel since the founding of the United Nations” 70 years ago. [Continue reading…]

Contrast Ki-moon’s words with the happy talk from Barack Obama two weeks ago when he gave the commencement address at Rutgers:

by almost every measure, America is better, and the world is better, than it was 50 years ago, or 30 years ago, or even eight years ago.

This assessment has I believe less to do with the dry statistical arguments made by the likes of Steven Pinker, than it has with the group-think inside the Obama administration.

The easiest way to counter criticism on Syria, with the refugee crisis, and elsewhere, is by insisting we did all that we could.

This self-administered anesthetic is designed to suppress remorse, guilt and a keen sense on personal responsibility.

Obama’s faith in inexorable progress derives from his refusal to “look backwards” — a conviction not unlike that of a hit-and-run driver who keeps his eyes firmly on the road ahead.

Likewise, the notion that the United States can extricate itself from its Middle East entanglements by simply walking away, is really no different from the attitude of a deadbeat father who thinks he can leave his past behind.

Our need to understand the past derives from our need to understand the present — it has nothing to do with (as Obama claims) a fear of the future.

The simplistic approach favored inside the White House reduces everything to a choice over which Obama had no control: the decision to invade Iraq.

Those who make that the beginning of history, have very often thereafter indulged in the conceit that by having personally opposed that misadventure, they can thereby shed any sense of collective responsibility for what followed — as though the neocons’ war never actually became America’s war.

What is ostensibly geographically circumscribed by a neat divide between domestic and foreign is really a separation between those things we claim as our own and those we don’t.

The convenient reflex to which most people are susceptible is simply to disown whatever becomes problematic.

We turn our backs on refugees because we prefer to believe that they are not our problem.

Facebooktwittermail

Trump’s big tent for bigotry

Jonathan Weisman writes: A Jewish 17-year-old, inflamed by the Black Lives Matter movement and the cause of L.G.B.T. rights, told me recently there is no anti-Semitism, certainly nothing compared with the prejudices that afflict other minorities. I surprised myself when I recoiled from her words and argued passionately that Jews must never think anti-Semitism has been eradicated. I sounded like my mother.

Just weeks later, I found myself staring down a social-media timeline filled with the raw hate and anti-Semitic tropes that for centuries fueled expulsion, persecution, pogroms and finally genocide.

“I found the Menorah you were looking for,” one correspondent offered with a Trump-triumphant backdrop on his Twitter profile; it was a candelabrum made of the number six million. Old Grand Dad cheerfully offered up a patriotic image of Donald Trump in colonial garb holding up the Liberty Bell and fighting “against the foreign hordes,” with caricatures of the Jew, the American Indian, the Mexican, the Chinese and the Irish cowering at his feet.

I am not the first Jewish journalist to experience the onslaught. Julia Ioffe was served up on social media in concentration camp garb and worse after Trump supporters took umbrage with her profile of Melania Trump in GQ magazine. The would-be first lady later told an interviewer that Ms. Ioffe had provoked it. The anti-Semitic hate hurled at the conservative commentator Bethany Mandel prompted her to buy a gun.

Beyond journalism, stories of Muslims assaulted by Trump supporters are piling up. Hispanic immigrants are lining up for citizenship, eager to vote. Groups that have been maligned over centuries at different times in different regions now share a common tormentor, the alt-right, a militant agglomeration of white nationalists, racists, anti-Semites and America Firsters that have been waging war on the Republican establishment for some time. Their goals: Close the borders, deport illegal immigrants, pull out of international entanglements and pull up the drawbridge. [Continue reading…]

The middle way here requires neither minimizing anti-Semitism nor granting it special status among the array of bigotries that are being fomented by Trump.

The struggle now is between the politics of inclusion and those of exclusion.

There’s never been a time of greater need for a show of solidarity between Jews, Muslims, blacks, immigrants and all Americans who recognize that shared human values matter more than the identities we use to set ourselves apart.

Facebooktwittermail

Ask your doctor if Islamophobin is right for you

Facebooktwittermail

Trump’s rise part of global trend

The New York Times reports: Mr. Trump’s campaign has engendered impassioned debate about the nature of his appeal and warnings from critics on the left and the right about the potential rise of fascism in the United States. More strident opponents have likened Mr. Trump to Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

To supporters, such comparisons are deeply unfair smear tactics used to tar conservatives and scare voters. For a bipartisan establishment whose foundation has been shaken by Mr. Trump’s ascendance, these backers say, it is easier to delegitimize his support than to acknowledge widespread popular anger at the failure of both parties to confront the nation’s challenges.

But the discussion comes as questions are surfacing around the globe about a revival of fascism, generally defined as a governmental system that asserts complete power and emphasizes aggressive nationalism and often racism. In places like Russia and Turkey, leaders like Vladimir V. Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan employ strongman tactics. In Austria, a nationalist candidate came within three-tenths of a percentage point of becoming the first far-right head of state elected in Europe since World War II.

In Hungary, an authoritarian government has clamped down on the news media and erected razor wire fences to keep out migrants. There are worries that Poland may follow suit. Traditional parties in France, Germany, Greece and elsewhere have been challenged by nationalist movements amid an economic crisis and waves of migrants. In Israel, fascism analogies by a former prime minister and a top general have again inflamed the long-running debate about the occupation of Palestinian territories.

“The crash of 2008 showed how globalization creates losers as well as winners,” said Mark Leonard, the director of the European Council on Foreign Relations. “In many countries, middle-class wages are stagnant and politics has become a battle over a shrinking pie. Populists have replaced contests between left and right with a struggle between cosmopolitan elites and angry nativists.” [Continue reading…]

Facebooktwittermail

The graves of the Marines I lost

J. Kael Weston writes: Created after the Civil War, Memorial Day is an odd holiday, at once a solemn commemoration of those killed in war and a day of beach outings and backyard barbecues celebrating the start of summer. Rarely does it serve as a time to reflect on the policies that led to all those deaths.

While in Iraq and Afghanistan, I witnessed military officers and enlisted soldiers, at all ranks, being held accountable for their decisions. I have yet to see that happen with Washington policy makers who, far removed from the battlefields, benefit from our collective amnesia about past military and foreign policy failures.

The commander in chief and the senior military brass should leave the manicured grounds of Arlington and visit some of those places where most of America’s war dead are buried: farm towns, immigrant neighborhoods and working-class suburbs. At a time when fewer and fewer of us have any real ties to the military, how better to remind the nation that our troops are not just faceless volunteers, but people who live next door? [Continue reading…]

Facebooktwittermail

Eagles take down drones

The New York Times reports: Its wings beating against a gathering breeze, the eagle moves gracefully through a cloudy sky, then swoops, talons outstretched, on its prey below.

The target, however, is not another bird but a small drone, and when the eagle connects, there is a metallic clunk. With the device in its grasp, the bird of prey returns to the ground.

At a disused military airfield in the Netherlands, hunting birds like the eagle are being trained to harness their instincts to help combat the security threats stemming from the proliferation of drones.

The birds of prey learn to intercept small, off-the-shelf drones — unmanned aerial vehicles — of the type that can pose risks to aircraft, drop contraband into jails, conduct surveillance or fly dangerously over public events.

The thought of terrorists using drones haunts security officials in Europe and elsewhere, and among those who watched the demonstration at Valkenburg Naval Air Base this month was Mark Wiebes, a detective chief superintendent in the Dutch police.

Mr. Wiebes described the tests as “very promising,” and said that, subject to a final assessment, birds of prey were likely to be deployed soon in the Netherlands, along with other measures to counter drones. The Metropolitan Police Service in London is also considering using trained birds to fight drones. [Continue reading…]

This has been described as a “a low-tech solution for a high-tech problem” but, on the contrary, what it highlights is the fact that in terms of maneuverability, the flying skills of an eagle (and most other flying creatures) are vastly superior to any form of technology.

In this, as in so many other instances, technology crudely imitates nature.

Facebooktwittermail

How would Trump ‘take the oil’?

Zack Beauchamp writes: In the past five years, Trump has consistently pushed one big foreign policy idea: America should steal other countries’ oil.

He first debuted this plan in an April 2011 television appearance, amid speculation that he might run for the GOP nomination. In the interview, Trump seemed to suggest the US should seize Iraqi oil fields and just operate them on its own.

“In the old days when you won a war, you won a war. You kept the country,” Trump said. “We go fight a war for 10 years, 12 years, lose thousands of people, spend $1.5 trillion, and then we hand the keys over to people that hate us on some council.” He has repeated this idea for years, saying during one 2013 Fox News appearance, “I’ve said it a thousand times.”

Trump sees this as just compensation for invading Iraq in the first place. “I say we should take it [Iraq’s oil] and pay ourselves back,” he said in one 2013 speech.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump has gotten more specific about how exactly he’d “take” Iraq’s oil. In a March interview with the Washington Post, he said he would “circle” the areas of Iraq that contain oil and defend them with American ground troops:

POST: How do you keep it without troops, how do you defend the oil?

TRUMP: You would… You would, well for that— for that, I would circle it. I would defend those areas.

POST: With U.S. troops?

TRUMP: Yeah, I would defend the areas with the oil.

After US troops seize the oil, Trump suggests, American companies would go in and rebuild the oil infrastructure damaged by bombing and then start pumping it on their own. “You’ll get Exxon to come in there … they’ll rebuild that sucker brand new. And I’ll take the oil,” Trump said in a December stump speech.

Trump loves this idea so much that he’d apply it to Libya as well, telling Bill O’Reilly in April that he’d even send in US ground troops (“as few as possible”) to fight off ISIS and secure the country’s oil deposits.

To be clear: Trump’s plan is to use American ground troops to forcibly seize the most valuable resource in two different sovereign countries. The word for that is colonialism.

Trump wants to wage war in the name of explicitly ransacking poorer countries for their natural resources — something that’s far more militarily aggressive than anything Clinton has suggested.

This doesn’t really track as “hawkishness” for most people, mostly because it’s so outlandish. A policy of naked colonialism has been completely unacceptable in American public discourse for decades, so it seems hard to take Trump’s proposals as seriously as, say, Clinton’s support for intervening more forcefully in Syria.

Yet this is what Trump has been consistently advocating for for years. His position hasn’t budged an inch, and he in fact appears to have doubled down on it during this campaign. This seems to be his sincere belief, inasmuch as we can tell when a politician is being sincere. [Continue reading…]

Ignoring the issue of whether this policy might be widely supported in the U.S. (I fear that large numbers of Americans, like Trump, may actually feel the U.S. is entitled to lay claim to Iraq’s oil), and ignoring the fact that Iraqis themselves would object to the theft of their resources, a problem that Trump seems to overlook is the reaction of the rest of the Gulf’s oil producing countries.

Rather than succeeding in taking the oil, what Trump would more likely accomplish is something that currently looks improbable: the formation of an alliance between Iran, Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states, all of whom would feel threatened by Trump’s move. Not only would they feel threatened but they would also have the means to apply a stranglehold on the global oil supply by shutting down the Straits of Hormuz until Washington’s Pirate-in-Chief stepped back in line by respecting Iraq’s sovereignty.

What’s scarier than any of Trump’s outlandish proposals, is the fact that millions of Americans take him seriously.

Facebooktwittermail

Hope and hype of Hiroshima can’t conceal Obama’s dismal record on nuclear disarmament

Hiroshima: the original Ground Zero

Setsuko Thurlow, who as a 13-year-old girl survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, writes: In [President Obama’s] famous speech in Prague, in 2009, he said, “As the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act. We cannot succeed in this endeavor alone, but we can lead it, we can start it.”

Why then has the U.S. government, under the Obama administration, pledged $1 trillion over the next 30 years to modernize its nuclear arsenal? Exactly where is the moral responsibility and leadership in that?

Regarding disarmament, Obama stated, “Our efforts to contain these dangers are centered on a global nonproliferation regime, but as more people and nations break the rules, we could reach the point where the center cannot hold.” Why then are the U.S. and other nuclear weapon states actively boycotting the latest international nuclear negotiations? [Continue reading…]

Tim Wright writes: Under the Obama presidency, contrary to perceptions, the pace of nuclear warhead dismantlement has slowed, not hastened. Indeed, the two presidents Bush and Bill Clinton each made greater gains in downsizing the colossal US nuclear stockpile amassed during the cold war.

But more alarming than this failure to destroy old nuclear weapons has been the Obama administration’s aggressive pursuit of new, “smaller” ones, for which the threshold of use would be lower, according to former military commanders.

At great expense, the president has bolstered all three components of the nation’s “nuclear triad”: the strategic bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched missiles. This was the price paid for securing Republican support in 2010 for the ratification of a modest bilateral arms reduction treaty with Russia.

Obama’s much-publicised “nuclear security summits” largely ignored the greatest source of nuclear insecurity in the world today: 15,000 nuclear weapons, including 1,800 on hair-trigger alert. Instead, they focused on measures to keep “vulnerable nuclear material” out of terrorists’ hands – a vital endeavour, certainly, but for all the fanfare the results were small.

Now the United States is stridently resisting diplomatic moves by two-thirds of the world’s nations to declare nuclear weapons illegal. It boycotted UN talks in Geneva this month aimed at setting the stage for negotiations on a prohibition treaty. But it cannot veto this initiative, just as it could not veto the processes that led to bans on landmines in 1997 and cluster munitions in 2008.

While a prohibition on nuclear weapons will not result in disarmament overnight, it will powerfully challenge the notion that these weapons are acceptable for some nations. It will place them on the same legal footing as both other types of weapons of mass destruction – namely, chemical and biological weapons. [Continue reading…]

Facebooktwittermail

Debates about Hiroshima reduce the victims of 1945 to the role of extras in their own murders

Jeffrey Lewis writes: It’s not clear to me Truman had carefully thought through the implications of using the bomb or really understood that it might be a dramatic escalation from the enormous bombing campaign already underway. It is hard to assign simple motives to any large group of people, like “the United States.” Why “the United States” does anything is always a complicated story involving people working both with and against one other. In the case of Hiroshima, if anything, there was no decision to use the bomb, just an enormous amount of institutional momentum that rolled over haphazardly raised objections and qualms. I have a lot of objections to strategic bombing, and what John Hersey called the “material and spiritual evil” of total war, to say nothing of the racist propaganda required to facilitate killing on such a scale. But to postulate a geopolitical rationale for using the atomic bomb elides the awful human cruelty that was on display in 1945 and not just in Hiroshima.

And the revisionists have something else wrong, too. World War II was over — but it had not ended. If you study war and violence, you know that people continue killing each other even after the original justifications for the killing are obsolete. Japan’s leaders knew the war was lost, but that wasn’t quite enough to convince them to surrender. And Japan’s war cabinet was focused less on an imminent U.S. invasion than the more immediate problem of domestic subversion from the left if the conflict continued and from the right if it did not. The Japanese materials now available to scholars seem to show that Soviet entry into the war was the event that produced the biggest shock. And what turned the tide in Tokyo, which was divided over the issue of surrender, was the diplomatic note issued by U.S. Secretary of State James Byrnes that slightly softened the terms of Japan’s “unconditional” surrender. Even then, the story is a Japanese one. The historian Tsuyoshi Hasegawa argues that Japanese leaders interpreted the Byrnes note in a certain way because the translation into Japanese from the Foreign Ministry had been deliberately phrased to emphasize the possibility that Emperor Hirohito would remain in power.

But that’s a funny interpretation of Japan’s surrender, emphasizing people, places, and, above all, chance. Truman had his friend Jimmy Byrnes send a vague note, and a pair of obscure bureaucrats put a little English on the translation, so to speak. And that’s why your granddad didn’t die on some god-forsaken beach code-named after a car. That kind of account doesn’t really satisfy us, does it? Grand decisions require equally grand reasons. We want the story of the bomb to match the stakes in our own debates about who started the Cold War or the role that nuclear weapons played in our security. That’s because our debates about Hiroshima aren’t about understanding Truman, or the Japanese Foreign Ministry, or even the people who died. They are about ourselves.

Over time, the debate about the meaning of Hiroshima has shifted from responsibility for the Cold War to the question of whether we should plan, indefinitely, to base our security on the threat of nuclear destruction. Ward Wilson, in particular, has argued that the account of Hiroshima plays a central role in our modern myths about deterrence and the bomb as the winning weapon. [Continue reading…]

Facebooktwittermail

On nuclear weapons, nations must cooperate to avoid catastrophe

Sam Nunn writes: President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima comes almost 71 years after the conclusion of a world war that was fought and ended with tremendous sacrifice, huge casualties and immense devastation. Today, global nuclear arsenals are capable of destroying not only cities but also civilization itself. Albert Einstein’s prophesy bears repeating: “I do not know how the Third World War will be fought, but I can tell you what they will use in the Fourth — rocks!”

Since the end of World War II, the United States and our allies have relied on the ultimate threat of mutual assured destruction for our security, as the Soviet Union did and Russia does now. Today, with nine nations possessing nuclear arms and terrorists seeking them, this strategy has become increasingly hazardous and decreasingly effective.

Warren Buffett, a man who knows how to calculate risk, has reminded us that if the chance of an event occurring is 10 percent in a given year, and that same risk persists over 50 years, there is a 99.5 percent probability that it will happen during those 50 years. For more than 70 years, the United States and Russia have beaten the odds, avoiding a number of near-disasters. The recent deterioration in relations between the United States and Russia has greatly increased these risks.

The two nations still deploy thousands of nuclear weapons ready to fire on a moment’s notice, risking a catastrophic accident or miscalculation based on a false warning. Cold War dangers compelled dialogue between Washington and Moscow on nuclear security and strategic stability. This dialogue is dangerously absent now, even as our planes and ships have close encounters in Europe and the Middle East. [Continue reading…]

Facebooktwittermail

Israel/Palestine in the coming realignment of American politics

Following Bernie Sanders’ selection of Cornel West, Keith Ellison, James Zogby, Deborah Parker, and Bill McKibben to sit on the 15-member Democratic Party platform-writing committee, Corey Robin writes: However insignificant, power-wise, Sanders’s choices may be — his people will constitute about a third of the total committee — they are highly significant in terms of the discussion in this country around Israel/Palestine, as Haaretz rightly pointed out.

Because so much of Israel/Palestine politics in this country depends upon keeping certain voices and arguments out of the mainstream, the very fact that Sanders has chosen Cornel West — who in addition to self-identifying as a socialist, is also a long-standing critic of Israel and firm supporter of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS) — as well as Zogby and even Ellison, as his representative on the platform committee, is a big deal.

West, Zogby, and Ellison are now the voices of not only Sanders but also of the not-insignificant sector of Sanders voters within the Democratic Party.

Israel/Palestine has always been a curious issue in American politics: on the one hand, it’s one tiny piece of the world; on the other hand, it plays an outsized role in US foreign policy and political culture, for all sides of the debate.

That Sanders has chosen to make that one issue a kind of line in the sand of his particular brand of politics — when so many of us had thought he’d simply the ignore the issue altogether — suggests to me that it will play a large role in the coming realignment of American politics. [Continue reading…]

Facebooktwittermail

Assad’s allies in the West

Shawn Carrié writes: If there’s one thing everyone can agree on about Syria, it’s that nobody can agree on anything.

After five years of constantly evolving strife, the world still looks on in occasional waves of horror, pity, outrage and apathy – before returning to the stoic conclusion that the conflict is just too complicated to understand.

The laws of war, human rights and geopolitics have gone out the window. With them, regrettably, the rules of responsible journalism seem to have gone, too.

At one time, open-source activists and “Facebook revolutionaries” made the Arab Spring history’s most documented tectonic societal shift. Today, Syria’s war is a dangerously polarised nebula of partisans, as much in the media as on the battlegrounds.

Few non-aligned journalists remain to report unbiased and trustworthy news. Without credible information, it’s hard to understand anything that happens in Syria, contributing to a political and public consensus of apathy. What’s left is a news landscape driven less by actual events than by a narrow set of available perspectives.

“The Syrian conflict involves a public relations war with a level of sophistication we’ve never seen before,” American writer Patrick Henningsen said in an report published by Russia Today. Ironically, it’s an accurate assessment of a reality which Russia had a primary role in fostering.

In areas where Russian intervention hasn’t decisively turned the tide militarily in favour of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the allies’ powerful public relations machine has been working to pick up the slack.

The alliance with Putin has availed Assad of the full gauntlet of Moscow’s superior state-controlled media apparatus. The result: a highly efficient and centralised narrative spread throughout the international press. For every report, a favourable counter-narrative filters down from the regime megaphone to a wide network of smaller websites and blogs. [Continue reading…]

Facebooktwittermail

ISIS advance traps 165,000 Syrians at closed Turkish border

Gerry Simpson, at Human Rights Watch, writes: There are two walls on the Turkey-Syria border.

One is manned by Turkish border guards enforcing Turkey’s 15 month-old border closure who, according to witnesses, have at times shot at and assaulted Syrian asylum seekers as they try to reach safety in Turkey – abuses strongly denied by the Turkish government.

The other is a wall of silence by the rest of the world, including the United Nations, which has chosen to turn a blind eye to Turkey’s breach of international law which prohibits forcing people back to places, including by rejecting them at the border, where their lives or freedom would be threatened.

Both walls are trapping 165,000 displaced Syrians now scattered in overcrowded informal settlements and fields just south of Turkey’s Öncupınar/Bab al-Salameh border crossing and in and around the nearby Syrian town of Azaz. [Continue reading…]

Facebooktwittermail

Unhappiness in white America

Carol Graham writes: Everyone is struggling to understand why so many whites — including many who are not suffering economically — are rallying to the angry words and fearful music of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Meanwhile, blacks and other minorities are sticking with the status-quo incrementalism of Hillary Clinton. It’s an odd juxtaposition, but there’s an explanation, one with far-reaching ramifications. A wide and growing optimism gap has opened between poor and middle-class whites and their counterparts of other races — and the former are the congenital pessimists.

My research finds deep divisions in our country – not just in terms of income and opportunity, but in terms of hopes and dreams. The highest costs of being poor in the U.S. are not in the form of material goods or basic services, as in developing countries, but in the form of unhappiness, stress, and lack of hope. What is most surprising, though, is that the most desperate groups are not minorities who have traditionally been discriminated against, but poor and near-poor whites. And of all racial groups in poverty, blacks are the most optimistic about their futures.

Based on a question in a Gallup survey asking respondents where they expected their life satisfaction to be in five years (on a 0-10 point scale), I find that among the poor, the group that scores the highest is poor blacks. The least optimistic group by far is poor whites. The average score of poor blacks is large enough to eliminate the difference in optimism about the future between being poor and being middle class (e.g. removing the large negative effect of poverty), and they are almost three times more likely to be higher up on the optimism scale than are poor whites. Poor Hispanics are also more optimistic than poor whites, but the gaps between their scores are not as large as those between blacks and whites.

In terms of stress — a marker of ill-being — there are, again, large differences across races. Poor whites are the most stressed group and are 17.8 percent more likely to experience stress in the previous day than middle-class whites. In contrast, middle-class blacks are 49 percent less likely to experience stress than middle-class whites, and poor blacks are 52 percent less likely to experience stress than poor whites (e.g. their odds of experiencing stress are roughly half those of poor whites.

Why does this matter? Individuals with high levels of well-being have better outcomes; they believe in their futures and invest in them. In contrast, those without hope for their futures typically do not make such investments. Remarkably, the poor in the U.S. (on average) are less likely to believe that hard work will get them ahead than are the poor in Latin America. [Continue reading…]

Facebooktwittermail

Donald Trump would allow Keystone XL pipeline and end Paris climate deal

The Guardian reports: Donald Trump pledged to cancel the Paris climate agreement, endorsed drilling off the Atlantic coast and said he would allow the Keystone XL pipeline to be built in return for “a big piece of the profits” for the American people.

At an oil and natural gas conference in North Dakota on Thursday, just minutes after he had celebrated hitting the 1,237 delegate mark needed to formally clinch the party’s nomination, Trump gave a speech on energy policy that was largely shaped by advice from Kevin Cramer, a US representative from the state.

In a press conference before the event, Trump praised the advice of oil tycoon Harold Hamm. Hamm and Cramer then introduced him onstage.

Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club environmentalist group, was taken aback by Trump’s address.

“I have never heard more contradiction in one hour than I heard in the speech,” he told the Guardian. [Continue reading…]

Facebooktwittermail