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Devon Energy
20 января, 04:49

Inaugural Balls Bring Together Politicians And The Corporations That Can Pay For Them

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); WASHINGTON ― Billionaire Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on Friday with hundreds of thousands in attendance. Before and after the swearing-in, governors, federal and state lawmakers, and many others will party at dozens of inaugural balls across the Washington, D.C., area. It’s a tradition for states to have their own balls, where politicians and officials from both sides of the aisle will party. It’s also a tradition for these balls to be funded by large corporations and the lobbying firms they hire to push their agendas in Congress and state capitols. This year, at least 14 state inaugural balls or events during inauguration week are funded or otherwise supported by corporations and lobbying firms. Trump has promised that he will “drain the swamp” and end the outsized influence of lobbyists in Washington, much as President Barack Obama vowed when he entered office. Trump said he would keep lobbyists off his transition team. But in the end, the next president appointed both active and recently deregistered lobbyists to senior transition roles. When he held a controversial phone conversation with Taiwan’s prime minister, he was actually taking action orchestrated by a lobbyist for a foreign government. Now with the inaugural balls, corporations with Washington interests are playing a key role again. Oil and gas companies looking for significant rollbacks of environmental regulation from both Congress and the Trump administration are among the most notable funders of inauguration festivities. Chevron is a sponsor of the Michigan and Texas inaugural balls. Exxon Mobil, whose former CEO Rex Tillerson is Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, is also sponsoring the Texas ball. So is the American Petroleum Institute, the main lobbying arm of the oil and gas industry. The American subsidiary of BP, the British oil company, is a sponsor of the Texas and Indiana balls. Indiana is, of course, the home state of incoming Vice President Mike Pence. Automakers Ford, Honda and Toyota ― an industry that has garnered a lot of Trump’s attention recently ― are among a long list of other sponsors of Indiana’s event. Iowa’s inaugural ball ― which will be attended by many of the state’s senior Republicans, including Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Sen. Joni Ernst, and Reps. Steve King, Rod Blum and David Young ― is sponsored by the DCI Group, a major lobbying and public relations firm that counts Exxon Mobil as a client. The firm is also tied to the telecommunications industry, helping run campaigns opposed to net neutrality in Washington and against the provision of municipal Internet in cities, towns and other localities. Koch Industries, the giant corporation run by billionaire conservatives Charles and David Koch, is helping out the Georgia, Oklahoma and Texas balls. The Koch brothers operate perhaps the largest political influence machine on the right, funding political advertisings, grassroots activism, college courses and inside-Washington lobbying. Aside from Koch Industries, Oklahoma’s party is paid for by two natural gas companies that engage in the controversial practice of fracking: Continental Resources, run by generous Trump donor Harold Hamm, and Devon Energy, which has made large donations to Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Trump’s pick to run the Environmental Protection Agency. Silicon Valley ride-share company Lyft signed up as a sponsor for the Michigan, Illinois, Texas and Tennessee balls by offering discounted or free rides to the events. Lyft and rival Uber have been lobbying in state capitols across the country for laws more favorable to their app-based taxi services. "Lyft" your way to the @TNStateSociety's VolunCHEERS! .@lyft is an official sponsor of the event - code: VOLUNCHEERS and VOLUNCHEERS25 pic.twitter.com/E8fxdrpG46— TN State Society (@TNStateSociety) January 11, 2017 Major law and lobbying firms are grabbing the opportunity to make nice with powerful politicians, too. DLA Piper is sponsoring the Michigan ball. Dentons and Squire Patton Boggs have sponsored the Georgia celebration. The Indiana event is supported by Faegre Baker Daniels. Mayer Brown is a Texas ball sponsor. And the Alaska State Society is partnering with Jack Ferguson & Associates to hold an inauguration open house at the lobbying firm’s offices. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

20 января, 04:49

Inaugural Balls Bring Together Politicians And The Corporations That Can Pay For Them

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); WASHINGTON ― Billionaire Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on Friday with hundreds of thousands in attendance. Before and after the swearing-in, governors, federal and state lawmakers, and many others will party at dozens of inaugural balls across the Washington, D.C., area. It’s a tradition for states to have their own balls, where politicians and officials from both sides of the aisle will party. It’s also a tradition for these balls to be funded by large corporations and the lobbying firms they hire to push their agendas in Congress and state capitols. This year, at least 14 state inaugural balls or events during inauguration week are funded or otherwise supported by corporations and lobbying firms. Trump has promised that he will “drain the swamp” and end the outsized influence of lobbyists in Washington, much as President Barack Obama vowed when he entered office. Trump said he would keep lobbyists off his transition team. But in the end, the next president appointed both active and recently deregistered lobbyists to senior transition roles. When he held a controversial phone conversation with Taiwan’s prime minister, he was actually taking action orchestrated by a lobbyist for a foreign government. Now with the inaugural balls, corporations with Washington interests are playing a key role again. Oil and gas companies looking for significant rollbacks of environmental regulation from both Congress and the Trump administration are among the most notable funders of inauguration festivities. Chevron is a sponsor of the Michigan and Texas inaugural balls. Exxon Mobil, whose former CEO Rex Tillerson is Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, is also sponsoring the Texas ball. So is the American Petroleum Institute, the main lobbying arm of the oil and gas industry. The American subsidiary of BP, the British oil company, is a sponsor of the Texas and Indiana balls. Indiana is, of course, the home state of incoming Vice President Mike Pence. Automakers Ford, Honda and Toyota ― an industry that has garnered a lot of Trump’s attention recently ― are among a long list of other sponsors of Indiana’s event. Iowa’s inaugural ball ― which will be attended by many of the state’s senior Republicans, including Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Sen. Joni Ernst, and Reps. Steve King, Rod Blum and David Young ― is sponsored by the DCI Group, a major lobbying and public relations firm that counts Exxon Mobil as a client. The firm is also tied to the telecommunications industry, helping run campaigns opposed to net neutrality in Washington and against the provision of municipal Internet in cities, towns and other localities. Koch Industries, the giant corporation run by billionaire conservatives Charles and David Koch, is helping out the Georgia, Oklahoma and Texas balls. The Koch brothers operate perhaps the largest political influence machine on the right, funding political advertisings, grassroots activism, college courses and inside-Washington lobbying. Aside from Koch Industries, Oklahoma’s party is paid for by two natural gas companies that engage in the controversial practice of fracking: Continental Resources, run by generous Trump donor Harold Hamm, and Devon Energy, which has made large donations to Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Trump’s pick to run the Environmental Protection Agency. Silicon Valley ride-share company Lyft signed up as a sponsor for the Michigan, Illinois, Texas and Tennessee balls by offering discounted or free rides to the events. Lyft and rival Uber have been lobbying in state capitols across the country for laws more favorable to their app-based taxi services. "Lyft" your way to the @TNStateSociety's VolunCHEERS! .@lyft is an official sponsor of the event - code: VOLUNCHEERS and VOLUNCHEERS25 pic.twitter.com/E8fxdrpG46— TN State Society (@TNStateSociety) January 11, 2017 Major law and lobbying firms are grabbing the opportunity to make nice with powerful politicians, too. DLA Piper is sponsoring the Michigan ball. Dentons and Squire Patton Boggs have sponsored the Georgia celebration. The Indiana event is supported by Faegre Baker Daniels. Mayer Brown is a Texas ball sponsor. And the Alaska State Society is partnering with Jack Ferguson & Associates to hold an inauguration open house at the lobbying firm’s offices. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

19 января, 02:27

Trump's EPA Nominee Struggles To Defend Oily Environmental And Ethics Records

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency came out swinging at his confirmation hearing Wednesday, defending, before facing a single question, his deep ties to oil and gas companies.  “We must reject as a nation the false paradigm that if you’re pro-energy, you’re anti-environment or if you’re pro-environment, you’re anti-energy,” Scott Pruitt said. “I reject that.” But he struggled throughout the six-hour hearing to make the case to senators that his confirmation would not, as critics have said, amount to a “fox guarding the henhouse.” The Oklahoma attorney general insisted that sending the EPA a 2011 letter almost entirely drafted by an oil and gas firm under his letterhead served the interests of the people of his state. He refused to recuse himself from lawsuits he filed as attorney general, sometimes jointly with fossil fuel firms, against the EPA. He described the agency as “dictatorial,” depicting it as the spearhead of federal overreach into states’ rights. He floundered when asked to name a lawsuit he brought against a corporate polluter. He declined to say how much lead is safe to drink and tried to justify his fight against rules on mercury pollution in the air. He acknowledged that climate change is not a hoax, as Trump has repeatedly claimed, but stressed that serious debate persists over the role humans play. He rebuffed a question about the need to wean off carbon-spewing fuels, robotically repeating: “I believe the EPA has a very important role to perform in regulating CO2.” “While you are not certain, the vast majority of scientists are telling us that if we do not get our act together and transform our energy system away from fossil fuel, there is no real question as to the quality of the planet we are leaving our children and grandchildren,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said, seemingly exasperated by Pruitt’s intransigence on the question. “You are applying for the job of administrator to protect the environment.” Pruitt wasn’t without his defenders. Republican senators thrice ceded their questioning time to allow Pruitt to respond to aggressive inquiries without the interruption of the Democratic lawmakers who asked them. When Democrats raised concerns about ethical conflicts or environmental science, Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) routinely submitted articles to the official record meant to challenge those issues. Against Democrats’ pleas, Barrasso cut off the hearing after three rounds of questioning.  Pruitt’s history with Devon Energy, an oil and natural gas producer based in Oklahoma City, became a flashpoint. In 2011, Pruitt sent a letter to the EPA criticizing the agency’s estimates on methane emissions from natural gas drilling sites. The letter, published by The New York Times in 2014 among 84 pages of correspondence, bears Pruitt’s official letterhead as attorney general, but the words came almost verbatim from a memo drafted by Devon’s lawyers. During the hearing, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) attacked Pruitt as an industry “mouthpiece” over the incident. “You acknowledge that 97 percent of the words came from Devon Energy?” Merkley said. “I have not looked at the percentage,” Pruitt replied. “Senator, that was a step that was taken as attorney general representing the interest of our state.” “I’m just asking you if you copied the letter virtually word for word,” Merkley said. Pruitt demurred. “The efforts I took as attorney general were representing the interest of Oklahoma.” If that’s the case, Merkley said, what environmental experts did you consult to know you were representing interests beyond Devon’s? “I consulted with other environmental officials in Oklahoma that regulate that industry,” Pruitt said. “We have seven or so individuals in our office that are involved in these issues.” He promised to submit their names to the committee. Pruitt sued the EPA 13 times as Oklahoma’s attorney general, and some lawsuits are ongoing. Still, he refused to commit to a blanket recusal from those suits, even after Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said failing to do so would make Pruitt “plaintiff, defendant, judge and jury” on issues related to clean air and water. “I have every willingness and desire to recuse as directed by the EPA ethics counsel,” Pruitt said. “If directed to do so, I will in fact do so.” In an open letter, the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center rejected Pruitt’s argument, urging him to recuse himself from the estimated 26 suits against the EPA in which he either filed suit or filed briefs. “Pruitt made a name for himself by suing the same agency he now seeks to lead, and if confirmed, he will be in a position of defending against — or settling — the same cases he previously initiated and supported,” Larry Noble, general counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, said in a statement. “Pruitt can’t be an impartial administrator when it comes to the lawsuits he spearheaded, and as EPA Administrator he must step aside from those suits to protect the integrity of the agency’s decisionmaking.” Pruitt deferred to Justina Fugh, the EPA’s ethics chief, when asked about conflicts of interests stemming from donations made to Pruitt-linked groups by fossil fuel companies. In particular, two Pruitt-linked political action committees that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from energy companies announced last week that they would shut down amid reports of questionable spending.  During his first questions, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) trotted out a poster-sized chart drawing lines between Pruitt-affiliated fundraising groups and donations from six major energy companies, including Koch Industries, Exxon Mobil Corp. and coal giants Murray Energy and Continental Resources. Whitehouse asked pointedly whether Pruitt solicited donations from the companies. “I attended fundraising events as attorney general,” Pruitt said. Whitehouse refined his question, asking specifically if he asked for money. “I did not ask of Koch,” Pruitt said, stuttering. “What were the other ones?” Whitehouse once again displayed the names on the chart. “I have not asked for money on behalf of RAGA,”  Pruitt said, referring to the Republican Attorney General Association, which he chaired in 2012 and ’13. Pruitt tried to counter by saying he has sued companies on the list. Whitehouse asked which ones. “With respect to the rule of law ― Exxon Mobil,” Pruitt said. Speaking out of turn, Whitehouse shot back by noting the lawsuit had “nothing to do with the environment.” Pruitt championed Exxon Mobil last year against a coalition of Democratic attorneys general who opened a fraud investigation into the oil giant’s history of covering up evidence of global warming. When the hearing resumed after an hourlong lunch break, Pruitt recalled filing lawsuits against other oil companies, including Valero Energy, BP and ConocoPhillips. If Democrats used their time to investigate Pruitt’s environmental record, Republicans spent theirs putting the EPA itself on trial. Conservative senators, along with Pruitt, repeatedly described an agency suffering from “mission creep,” putting undue burdens on farmers, lumberjacks and fishermen to obtain special permits. Pruitt said the agency showed “an attitude of indifference” to states’ rights. Yet, pressed by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), he refused to commit to upholding California’s vehicle pollution standards, which are stricter than the national average. Markey slammed what he called a “double standard” in which Pruitt deems state actions aligned with oil and gas interests to be kosher but questions state regulations that go beyond EPA rules. “When it comes to Massachusetts or California or other states trying to increase their protection for the environment, protect their victimization from carbon pollution, you say there you’re going to review,” Markey said. “The science hasn’t changed. The new clean energy technologies haven’t changed. The danger to the public from environmental exposure to carbon pollution hasn’t changed. So from our perspective, we are fearful of what a review would actually result in. From my perspective, it’s going to lead to you undoing the right of states to be able to provide that protection.” type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related... + articlesList=5878ad15e4b0b3c7a7b0c29c,587f9ecfe4b0cf0ae88131b6,587f9911e4b0c147f0bc3267,587d4aa2e4b03549ebc02152,585ab45de4b0d9a59456ba9d,584856f1e4b0b9feb0dab14f -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

18 января, 18:51

EPA nominee Pruitt survives Democrat assault

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is facing a tough grilling from Senate Democrats today at his nomination hearing for the top job at the Environmental Protection Agency -- an agency he has sued on behalf of his state over dozen times. President-elect Donald Trump's decision to pick Pruitt to run the agency has been hailed by conservatives, who have long complained the Obama EPA has vastly overreached with its air and water regulations, implementing rules they say only Congress has the authority to make. Pruitt, who also has strong backing from Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), has been targeted by greens for his ties to the oil and gas industry, which has been a major contributor PACs backing him, as well as his role leading a group of Republican attorneys general with close ties to fossil-fuel companies Here are highlights of the hearing in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee: Barrasso: EPA's failed leadershipSenate Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) opened the hearing by criticizing the agency's “failed environmental leadership” under President Barack Obama that he argues contributed to two environmental disasters — the Flint, Mich., lead-contamination water crisis and the Gold King mine spill in Colorado.“Those disasters hurt people, many from low income and minority communities who can least afford it,” Barrasso said. “Clearly a change is needed,” he added. “Any new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency needs to protect the environment in a responsible way that doesn’t ignore the good work that states do to protect their air, land and water, as well as their economies.”Pruitt promises to curb EPA rolePruitt addressed conservatives complaints about EPA, promising lawmakers that under his leadership, the agency would stop “picking winners and losers,” according to prepared remarks.He also accused the agency of overstepping its power, saying it had "bootstrapped its own powers and tools through rulemaking" that had triggered protracted litigation and that he would rely on the states rather than federal officials to be "our nation’s frontline environmental implementers and enforcers." Farmers, ranchers and small business owners have felt "hopeless, subject to a never ending torrent of new regulations that only a lawyer can understand,” Pruitt's said. “They fear the EPA, and that just shouldn’t be the case. If confirmed, I will work tirelessly to ensure that the EPA acts lawfully, sensibly, and with those hardworking Americans ever in mind.”Carper: Pruitt views are troublingSen. Tom Carper, the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, indicated he is leaning against approving Pruitt, marking the second time the Delawarean has opposed an EPA administrator.“Too much of what I’ve seen of his record on the environment and his views about the role of the EPA are troubling and in some cases deeply troubling,” Carper said. In 2005, Carper voted against George W. Bush’s third EPA administrator, Stephen Johnson, though Carper said at the time he opposed Johnson because of the Bush administration was allegedly blocking studies of power plant pollution, according to the New York Times.

17 января, 17:30

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Cimarex Energy, Southwestern Energy, Gulfport Energy, Devon Energy and Abraxas Petroleum

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Cimarex Energy, Southwestern Energy, Gulfport Energy, Devon Energy and Abraxas Petroleum

17 января, 03:05

Trump’s EPA Pick Raised A Lot Of Money For Candidates That Never Reached Them

Two election fundraising groups linked to Scott Pruitt, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, spent at least $637,034 since the start of 2015, even though he couldn’t run for re-election as Oklahoma attorney general. An average of roughly $26,543 per month was disbursed from two federal election-focused political action committees linked to Pruitt, both of which announced plans last week to shut down. Donations flooded in from fossil fuel companies, whose pollution Pruitt would be tasked with policing at the EPA. Staff overlap between the two political groups raises concerns, given that one is a super PAC and cannot legally coordinate with the other PAC under election rules. Most of the money, meant to bolster Pruitt’s national profile by raising funds for candidates seeking federal office, went to consultants and travel. The spending, documented in Federal Election Commission filings, could raise questions from senators at Pruitt’s confirmation hearing, scheduled for Wednesday. Trump ran on a promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington, vanquishing a culture of political patronage exacerbated, in part, by an influx of dark money in elections. “The PACs missions are no longer relevant and we don’t want them to be a distraction during the confirmation hearings,” Charles Spies, counsel for both committees, told E&E News, a climate and energy trade publication. Spies did not immediately comment to The Huffington Post on Monday. The Trump transition team did not respond to a request for comment. A new nonprofit group, called Protecting America Now, is now raising hundreds of thousands of dollars from energy executives and other donors to counter anti-Pruitt campaigning by “anti-business environmental extremists,” according to Politico.  Pruitt’s aides organized Oklahoma Strong Leadership PAC in 2015, a year after he won re-election as the state’s top attorney. The group quickly attracted money from donors, including coal giant Alliance Resource Partners, electrical utility Pinnacle West Capital and payday lender Ace Cash Express. By the end of 2015, the group had spent $3,700 on two other committees, linked to Jeb Bush’s presidential bid and Republican Patrick Morrisey’s West Virginia attorney general campaign. At the time, a spokeswoman for Oklahoma Strong said the group “deferred” spending on candidates “to allow primary and runoff elections to conclude and the general election landscape to crystallize.” Of the $391,004 it had raised by the end of 2016, the group spent just $13,690 on elections, $3,160 of which went to registration fees. Oklahoma Strong’s operating expenditures totaled $297,030. Travel and consulting fees paid out to various firms made up the bulk of those expenses. The group spent $7,157 on food, transportation and rooms at the Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua, Hawaii. An additional $459 paid for a stay at the Intercontinental New Orleans, a four-star hotel in the city’s commercial district. “The idea behind a leadership PAC was supposed to be that you were raising money to support other candidates,” Lawrence Noble, general counsel for the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, told The Huffington Post by phone. “The theory behind it was that those who were leaders or wanted to be leaders needed to show they were supporting other candidates in the party. They’re supposed to spend on other candidates, but what we’ve seen is more and more they’re using to help the candidate who set them up.” Liberty 2.0, the Pruitt-linked super PAC, raised $420,248 since its founding in 2015, nearly half of which came from fossil fuel interests, according to a review of election filing by E&E News. Lucas Oil Products and coal behemoth Murray Energy each donated $50,000, the largest sums contributed, according to filings. Devon Energy Corp., whose ties to Pruitt run so deep its lawyers once authored a letter he signed and sent to the EPA, gave $5,000. Liberty 2.0 donated $50,000 to the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aimed at maintaining Republican control of the Senate, and $10,000 to the Republican Attorneys General Association, which Pruitt chaired in 2012 and ‘13. Its operating expenditures, which totaled $243,313, went mostly to consulting fees, rent for office space and airfare. Super PACs, which grew out of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling, can raise unlimited funds from corporations, individuals and labor unions to prop up or defeat a candidate. Super PACs, technically independent groups, cannot coordinate with candidates or their election committees under federal law. That means Liberty 2.0 cannot work in sync with Oklahoma Strong. Still, the two organizations overlap. Both groups operated out of the same office space in Tulsa, Oklahoma, according to filings. Millan Hupp and Sydney Hupp, sisters and former campaign staffers for Pruitt, each received payments from both groups, data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics shows. Crystal Coon, who served as Pruitt’s first chief of staff as attorney general and now works as a consultant for a communications firm, earned $37,787 from both groups in 2016. In 2015, Tamara Hyatt Cornell, a fundraiser, raked in $15,206 from Oklahoma Strong and an additional $4,107 from Liberty 2.0. None of the women responded to emails, LinkedIn and Facebook messages requesting comment on Monday. Rules against coordination with super PACs are tough to enforce, and criminal charges are rare. The Department of Justice prosecuted its first criminal case of coordination between a candidate and a super PAC in February 2015. An aide apparently working for Chris Perkins, a Republican candidate who unsuccessfully challenged Democratic incumbent Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), pleaded guilty to orchestrating a complex scheme to coordinate super PAC fundraising while serving as a campaign manager. Blurred ethical lines in campaign finance may be the least of critics’ concerns over Pruitt’s nomination. Trump has stacked his proposed Cabinet with fossil fuel executives, including former Exxon Mobil Corp. CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, and global warming deniers. Myron Ebell, a so-called climate contrarian who spent much of his career combatting climate science, led the transition team that picked the new EPA chief. Pruitt has spent much of his recent career suing the EPA to block President Barack Obama’s new rules to curb greenhouse gases from electrical utilities. He has alarmingly close ties to the fossil fuel industry. He has a history of looking the other way when industries that donate to him are caught polluting. “Scott Pruitt running the EPA is like the fox guarding the henhouse,” Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, said in a statement. Pruitt’s respect for campaign finance rules may be similarly brazen. type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related... + articlesList=587960bae4b0e58057fee7bd,5863ddb8e4b0eb586487bc1a,585ab45de4b0d9a59456ba9d,584856f1e4b0b9feb0dab14f,5873d40fe4b099cdb0fea2f4 -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

17 января, 02:07

Natural Gas Futures Rally on Bullish Stockpile Draw

Strong heating demand led to a higher-than-expected drawdown in natural gas inventories.

12 января, 18:00

Pruitt Helped Block Garland Confirmation to Supreme Court, Then Fundraised From Polluters That Benefited

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, President-elect Trump's choice to be the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), coordinated an effort by Republican state attorneys general to oppose the confirmation of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. Pruitt then used this effort as a basis to request financial support for his federal Political Action Committee (PAC), called Oklahoma Strong. In a March 2015 email (see here) that he sent to supporters of Oklahoma Strong, Pruitt boasted of his effort to block Garland's confirmation. Donors to Oklahoma Strong include major energy interests and leading D.C. law firms. Many of these donors have interests before the courts that could have been significantly affected by the confirmation of Garland. Oklahoma Strong has raised more than a third of its total funds from the energy industry, according to reporting by Politico. These have included contributions from Joe Craft, the President of the coal firm Alliance Resources, and from J. Larry Nichols, the founder of the fracking giant Devon Energy. Pruitt is well known to have strong ties to the energy industry. A 2014 New York Times investigation revealed that Devon Energy lobbyists had drafted letters for Scott Pruitt, which he in turn sent to the EPA and to the Department of the Interior under his own name and with almost no changes. Eric Lipton of the Times received a Pulitzer Prize for this reporting. Other donors to the PAC have included David Green, the CEO of Hobby Lobby, and Harlan Crow, the billionaire real estate developer from Texas who is reported to be a close personal friend of Justice Clarence Thomas. Partners from major U.S. law firms with interests at the Supreme Court, including Reginald J. Brown at Wilmerhale and David B. Rivkin at Baker Hostetler have also contributed. On March 16, 2016, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to become a Supreme Court Justice, taking the seat vacated by the late Antonin Scalia. The next day, a letter was sent to Senator Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and to Senator McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, urging them to block Garland's confirmation. That letter was signed by 21 state attorneys general, all Republican. According to the email from Oklahoma Strong, Pruitt had asked his fellow Republican attorneys general to sign the letter, acting in his role as board chair of the Rule of Law Defense Fund (RLDF). The RLDF is a so-called "501C4" organization, which means it is not required to publicly disclose any information about its sources of funding. It was created in 2014 by the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), with which it shares staff and office space and holds some joint events. RLDF is highly secretive about what it does. For example, it does not put any details about its activities or meetings on its website. Despite this, the Center for Media and Democracy obtained an agenda for one RLDF meeting via a public records request. This meeting, held in April 2016, featured a session about blocking the Clean Power Plan. Scott Pruitt was a speaker on that panel, which also included David Rivkin, a partner at the law firm Baker Hostetler. Rivkin, also a donor to Oklahoma Strong PAC, is representing the state of Oklahoma in the lawsuit against the Clean Power Plan, which will likely end up at the Supreme Court. Currently, only two funders of RLDF have been identified, both with deep ties to the fossil fuel industry. One is Freedom Partners, the mega-fund created by Charles and David Koch, which gave RLDF $175,000 in 2014. The Kochs own Koch Industries, which operates a network of oil and natural gas pipelines and refineries. That isn't the only connection of RLDF to the Kochs. In 2015, RLDF appointed Samantha Dravis as its President, in a shared position with RAGA where she serves as Policy Director and General Counsel. Dravis joined RLDF from Freedom Partners, where she had been the organization's Legal Counsel. The other known RLDF donor is the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), which gave RLDF a $25,000 contribution in 2014. EEI is the trade association for the utility sector, and has already engaged in litigation in an attempt to block the Clean Power Plan. Unlike RLDF, RAGA must publicly disclose its funding sources. According to the Center for Media and Democracy's analysis of IRS filings, RAGA has raised almost $4 million from fossil fuel industry connected entities since 2014, including ExxonMobil, Peabody Energy and the American Petroleum Institute. The Center for Media and Democracy has previously released other materials on both RAGA and RLDF. These materials demonstrate the efforts of the two organizations to block the Clean Power Plan, and to help stall state investigations into ExxonMobil for its role in promoting climate change denial. A Senate confirmation hearing is expected soon on Scott Pruitt's nomination to be Administrator of the EPA. Following his selection by President-elect Trump, Pruitt has announced that he has stepped down from his position at RLDF, and has said that he will close down his Oklahoma Strong PAC. Despite this, little is known about what RLDF did during Pruitt's time as board chair. As part of the confirmation process, Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee have written to Pruitt asking him to disclose information about his role as board chair of the RLDF. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

10 января, 22:32

Trump's Corporate Cabinet

We're facing the prospect of a government literally of the Exxons, by the Goldman Sachses and for the Kochs. President-Elect Donald Trump's cabinet and top nominees draw more deeply from an extremist faction of the corporate class than any in memory, and likely in history. We are witnessing the wholesale corporate takeover of the American government. Nothing more plainly shows Trump's complete cynicism and dishonesty than his absolute betrayal of the core claim of his campaign - to rid Washington of corruption, cronyism and insider dealing. The corporate interests who he properly alleged in the campaign buy politicians will now themselves be directly in charge of the government. With this cabinet, it is a virtual certainty that this administration will be the most corrupt and scandal prone in American history. And it is absolute certainty that, by design, they will pursue a policy agenda that serves the interests of the corporate class against and does deep harm to the American people. To understand the scope of what we are facing, it's useful for a moment to step back and consider not just one or two of Trump's nominees, but the totality of his handover to corporate interests: Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who has strong ties to Koch Industries and raked in eye-popping sums from the finance sector, construction industry, pharmaceutical industry and chemical industry; Rex Tillerson, Trump's secretary of state pick, spent his entire career at Exxon Mobil, which is not just among the world's largest oil companies, but the corporation most responsible for spreading climate denial and intimidating climate activists. Steven Mnuchin, treasury secretary nominee and longtime Goldman Sachs executive, through a hedge fund took over the failed IndyMac, turned it into One West and went on a foreclosure rampage, engaging in robosigning and other abuses such that one judge found the bank to have engaged in practices that were ""harsh, repugnant, shocking and repulsive." General James Mattis, the pick for secretary of defense, has spun through the revolving door, leaving the military to serve on the board of General Dynamics, a multinational military contractor, and the scandal-ridden Theranos, a start-up company which misled investors and consumers about its blood-testing technology. U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), under consideration for attorney general, despite a racist record that disqualified him from a federal judgeship three decades ago, and who has a record of gentle treatment of the finance, tobacco and other industries. Betsy DeVos, named to be education secretary, is a billionaire scion and whose husband is heir to the Amway fortune, is a purveyor of extremist education privatization proposals and has herself invested in for-profit education companies. Elaine Chao, up to run the U.S. Department of Transportation, who served on the board of directors of Wells Fargo during the cross-selling scandal, as well as a half dozen other corporate boards. Former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn, slated to head the National Economic Council, who led Goldman Sachs as it profited off the housing market collapse in part by misleading its own clients; Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Trump's pick to the run the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, believes that climate science is "far from settled," has repeatedly sued the agency he will be tasked with leading, and as Oklahoma attorney general sent letters to federal agencies that were literally drafted by Devon Energy, one of the state's largest oil and gas corporations. Steve Bannon, a special adviser to Trump who once ran and may maintain undisclosed business or other ties with Breitbart.com, a far-right, racist website, and is a former Goldman Sachs executive; Linda McMahon, picked to run the Small Business Administration, who as World Wrestling Entertainment CEO helped ensure the wrestling industry remained largely unregulated, putting the health and safety of wrestlers at risk; Andy Puzder, who is to head the U.S. Department of Labor, the long-time mogul in charge of the Hardee's and Carl's Jr. fast-food chains, companies known for being anti-worker and anti-union, and who opposes many or all of the most important, recent, pro-worker initiatives of the Obama Labor Department, including a rule to ensure that worker are properly compensated for overtime. Wilbur Ross, a billionaire whose firm has profited from buying distressed firms and cutting workers' benefits, named to take the post of secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Carl Icahn, named as Trump's "special advisor on regulatory affairs," is the emblematic corporate raider and epitomizes predatory corporate capitalism, with financial holdings that give him a direct stake in many of the matters about which he will be advising the president. In any prior administration, it would have been a tempest if even one of these individuals had been named to the cabinet. The totality of the harm these individuals can inflict on America is hard to overstate. Consider some of the particulars. First, the Trump administration with a huge assist from Senate Republicans is displaying a stunningly cavalier attitude toward ethics rules. Nominees for cabinet positions are being rushed through Senate confirmation hearings without full vetting of ethical issues (as well as security issues). States the head of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), the agency in charge of ethics reviews: "It has left some nominees with potentially unknown or potentially unresolved ethics issues shortly before their scheduled hearings. I am not aware of any occasion in the four decades since OGE was established when the Senate held a confirmation hearing before the nominee had completed the ethics review process." In 2009, now-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell demanded that no hearing be held on a cabinet nominee until ethics reviews were complete - now, well, not so much. Now, Senator McConnell says these are picayune and technical requirements and the process of governing must proceed. But he's wrong. The ethics pre-clearance process - by which nominees disclose their financial holdings and work with the OGE on an arrangement of divestitures and commitments to recuse themselves from issues relating to current and former investments - is vital to avoid transgressing criminal conflict of interest standards. It is the moment when there is, or should be, the most attention to conflict of interest rules. If attention is not paid now, it is a virtual certainty that scandal will emerge later. Second, the unprecedented wealth and corporate entanglements of cabinet nominees means those inevitable scandals won't just involve conferring relatively small benefits on favored businesses. It means that policy-making itself will be corrupted. Consider the case of Carl Icahn. The corporate raider is known for his aggressive investment strategies that involve complex disputes about securities laws and has been implicated in Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigations over wrongdoing himself. Now Icahn has reportedly played a major role in selecting Trump's nominee to chair the SEC. Even more troublingly, Icahn had a key role in vetting Trump's candidates to run the EPA, and had enthused over the selection of Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general who has shown much more loyalty to oil-and-gas interests than environmental protection. Icahn has a controlling stake in CVR Energy Inc., which claims pending EPA rules will cost it hundreds of millions of dollars, and Icahn has stridently attacked EPA's renewable fuel standards and shows no compunction about using his influence to get them removed. Are we all going to breathe dirtier air just to help Icahn earn his next few hundred million dollars? It's entirely possible. Third, even if the legal conflict issues are resolved, the bigger revolving-door problem will nonetheless pervade this administration. The revolving door refers to people moving back-and-forth between government and industry positions, and particularly between corporate jobs and in regulatory agencies with jurisdiction over past and future employers. People passing through the revolving door into government bring with them the views they had in the private sector, and project those corporate interests as governmental policy. People passing through the revolving door back into the private sector may capitalize on their prior associations; even more important is what they do while in government in anticipation of going back to corporate jobs. This revolving door problem will define the Trump administration. Exxon's worldview will now fundamentally shape the conduct of U.S. foreign policy, including over the transcendentally important matter of negotiating global climate accords. The agency charged with enforcing worker protections will be headed by a fast-food chain mogul who has run afoul of those very standards. The Defense Department is to be headed by a retired general who rushed to join the board of directors of one the largest military contractors just five months after retiring from the marines. The Goldman Sachs view will once again control economic policy-making (Gary Cohn at the White House) and have a controlling power in financial regulation (Steven Mnuchin at Treasury). And on and on. Fourth, these aren't just your every day corporatists and billionaires. We know from extensive poll and survey data that the super rich generally see the world very differently than the rest of us. But the Trump picks go way beyond that, hailing from an extremist faction of the super rich. Education Secretary pick Betsy DeVos's primarily qualification is that she is an extremist, corporate libertarian ideologue. She has paid a great deal of attention to public education, with the primary objective of gutting it, in favor of vouchers and for-profit enterprises. Says education historian Diane Ravitch, "Never has anyone been appointed to lead in the past 150 years who was hostile to public education." DeVos and her husband and their family are part of what is colloquially known as the "Koch network" of corporate libertarian zillionaires, and the Koch Brothers are poised to have a surprisingly far-reaching influence in the Trump administration, given their hostility to the president-elect. "Trump has surrounded himself with people tied to the Kochs," reports Politico in an article titled "Trump's Koch Administration," referencing Devos, Pence, White House Counsel Don McGahn and a host of operatives on the transition team; more, including Marc Short, former financial director for the Kochs' Freedom Partners, who will serve as White House legislative affairs director, have since joined the White House staff-in-waiting. Fifth, all of this matters more than it might in other administrations because of the, shall we say, unconventional governing style expected of the incoming president. The cabinet members are going to have unprecedented degrees of autonomy to pursue their preferred agendas. Those in and around the transition, and those who have had prior business dealings with Trump, tell Politico that Trump "doesn't usually like getting into day-to-day minutiae or taking lengthy briefings on issues. He doesn't have particularly strong feelings on the intricacies of some government issues and agencies, these people say, and would rather focus on high-profile issues, publicity and his brand." Not only will the cabinet officials be given lots of latitude, Trump will encourage them to carry out extremist agendas - even if Trump himself has little idea what changes are merited or what they are doing. Get ready, America. We're in for some very tough times. A massive resistance - including demands to block the confirmation of this motley collection of corporate cabinet nominees - our best hope to limit the damage. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

28 декабря 2016, 21:07

Donald Trump's EPA Pick Urged To Come Clean On Ties To Secretive Koch-Funded Group

Six senators urged President-elect Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency pick on Wednesday to reveal his ties to a secretive fundraising group that enables fossil fuel companies to make anonymous donations to politicians. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt helped found the nonprofit Rule of Law Defense Fund to collect campaign contributions from companies like oil giant ConocoPhillips and coal mining titan Alpha Natural Resources, The New York Times reported in December 2014. Pruitt now sits on the group’s board.  The group, which keeps the identities of most of its donors secret, received $175,000 in 2014 from Freedom Partners, a business organization that organizes political activities for the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, who run the privately held chemical and oil giant Koch Industries.  “Before the Senate votes to confirm you to run EPA, it is important that you provide a full disclosure of your relationship with the energy industry so we can determine how that will influence your ability to run the agency,” read a letter signed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Sen. Jeffrey Merkley (D-Ore.), Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.). The senators are all members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.  Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), the committee’s chair who last year infamously displayed a snowball on the Senate floor as evidence of climate change being a hoax, derided the letter as a “baseless political stunt.” The Rule of Law Defense Fund denounced the letter as “partisan obstructionism” and called on Pruitt to dismiss it as having “no legal significance.” “Aside from disrespectfully lecturing you about the purpose of the agency you have been nominated to lead, and with which you are acutely familiar, the Democrats seek information about RLDF that they are not entitled to under the law, including confidential donor information,” Charles R. Spies and James E. Tyrrell III, lawyers representing the Rule of Law Defense Fund, wrote in a letter to Pruitt later on Wednesday. “The Democrats’ letter is transparently a partisan fishing expedition intended to smear your confirmation process and gin up fundraising support from radical, far-left environmentalist groups.” Pruitt’s ties to fossil fuel companies run deep, making him “too extreme,” the Denver Post declared in an editorial, to lead an agency tasked with defending the environment from polluters. He led the charge to block President Barack Obama from implementing his Clean Power Plan, a set of new EPA regulations aimed at cutting carbon emissions from utility companies.  function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); The 48-year-old once signed his name to a letter to the EPA, authored by lawyers of a major oil and gas company in his state, that criticized estimates on emissions from natural gas drilling sites.  After publishing 84 pages of correspondence in 2014 between Pruitt and the company, Devon Energy, The New York Times called the communications evidence of an “unprecedented, secretive alliance that Mr. Pruitt and other Republican attorneys general have formed with some of the nation’s top energy producers to push back against the Obama regulatory agenda.”  “We have been troubled that as Attorney General of Oklahoma you used, nearly verbatim, industry talking points in official correspondence your office sent to EPA concerning EPA’s estimation of methane pollution in your state,” the senators wrote in the letter. “Your relationship with the Rule of Law Defense Fund (the Fund) has received less attention but is no less troubling.” This year, Pruitt defended Exxon Mobil Corp. as it fought off Democratic state attorneys generals’ probes into its history of funding a disinformation campaign that questioned fossil fuels’ role in global warming. In May, he wrote an op-ed criticizing the attorneys general as a “climate-change gang” just three weeks after Exxon Mobil donated $50,000 to an association Pruitt led for two years, The Huffington Post reported last week.  Pruitt is even suing to block an EPA rule to protect streams and wetlands under the 1972 Clean Water Act.   “The confirmation process, starting with your responses to Committee questions before your hearing, is an opportunity for you to dispel the notion that the advocacy you have undertaken on environmental issues as Attorney General of Oklahoma has been directed by and for the benefit of the energy industry,” the senators wrote. “Accordingly, we look forward to your timely response to this request.” This story has been updated with comments from Sen. Jim Inhofe and the Rule of Law Defense Fund. Read the senators’ full letter below. type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related Coverage + articlesList=585ab45de4b0d9a59456ba9d,584875c7e4b0f9723cfff87e,584856f1e4b0b9feb0dab14f,58507c5ae4b0ee009eb44512,58503b7de4b0e05aded63a07 -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

28 декабря 2016, 21:07

Donald Trump's EPA Pick Urged To Come Clean On Ties To Secretive Koch-Funded Group

Six senators urged President-elect Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency pick on Wednesday to reveal his ties to a secretive fundraising group that enables fossil fuel companies to make anonymous donations to politicians. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt helped found the nonprofit Rule of Law Defense Fund to collect campaign contributions from companies like oil giant ConocoPhillips and coal mining titan Alpha Natural Resources, The New York Times reported in December 2014. Pruitt now sits on the group’s board.  The group, which keeps the identities of most of its donors secret, received $175,000 in 2014 from Freedom Partners, a business organization that organizes political activities for the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, who run the privately held chemical and oil giant Koch Industries.  “Before the Senate votes to confirm you to run EPA, it is important that you provide a full disclosure of your relationship with the energy industry so we can determine how that will influence your ability to run the agency,” read a letter signed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Sen. Jeffrey Merkley (D-Ore.), Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.). The senators are all members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.  The Rule of Law Defense Fund denounced the letter as “partisan obstructionism” and called on Pruitt to dismiss it as having “no legal significance.” “Aside from disrespectfully lecturing you about the purpose of the agency you have been nominated to lead, and with which you are acutely familiar, the Democrats seek information about RLDF that they are not entitled to under the law, including confidential donor information,” Charles R. Spies and James E. Tyrrell III, lawyers representing the Rule of Law Defense Fund, wrote in a letter to Pruitt later on Wednesday. “The Democrats’ letter is transparently a partisan fishing expedition intended to smear your confirmation process and gin up fundraising support from radical, far-left environmentalist groups.” Pruitt’s ties to fossil fuel companies run deep, making him “too extreme,” the Denver Post declared in an editorial, to lead an agency tasked with defending the environment from polluters. He led the charge to block President Barack Obama from implementing his Clean Power Plan, a set of new EPA regulations aimed at cutting carbon emissions from utility companies.  function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); The 48-year-old once signed his name to a letter to the EPA, authored by lawyers of a major oil and gas company in his state, that criticized estimates on emissions from natural gas drilling sites.  After publishing 84 pages of correspondence in 2014 between Pruitt and the company, Devon Energy, The New York Times called the communications evidence of an “unprecedented, secretive alliance that Mr. Pruitt and other Republican attorneys general have formed with some of the nation’s top energy producers to push back against the Obama regulatory agenda.”  “We have been troubled that as Attorney General of Oklahoma you used, nearly verbatim, industry talking points in official correspondence your office sent to EPA concerning EPA’s estimation of methane pollution in your state,” the senators wrote in the letter. “Your relationship with the Rule of Law Defense Fund (the Fund) has received less attention but is no less troubling.” This year, Pruitt defended Exxon Mobil Corp. as it fought off Democratic state attorneys generals’ probes into its history of funding a disinformation campaign that questioned fossil fuels’ role in global warming. In May, he wrote an op-ed criticizing the attorneys general as a “climate-change gang” just three weeks after Exxon Mobil donated $50,000 to an association Pruitt led for two years, The Huffington Post reported last week.  Pruitt is even suing to block an EPA rule to protect streams and wetlands under the 1972 Clean Water Act.   “The confirmation process, starting with your responses to Committee questions before your hearing, is an opportunity for you to dispel the notion that the advocacy you have undertaken on environmental issues as Attorney General of Oklahoma has been directed by and for the benefit of the energy industry,” the senators wrote. “Accordingly, we look forward to your timely response to this request.” This story has been updated with comment from the Rule of Law Defense Fund. Read the senators’ full letter below. type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related Coverage + articlesList=585ab45de4b0d9a59456ba9d,584875c7e4b0f9723cfff87e,584856f1e4b0b9feb0dab14f,58507c5ae4b0ee009eb44512,58503b7de4b0e05aded63a07 -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

28 декабря 2016, 02:15

Democrats press EPA pick Pruitt on energy sector ties

A nonprofit he helps lead accepted $175,000 from a central arm of the Koch brothers' network.

22 декабря 2016, 23:55

Donald Trump's EPA Pick Championed Exxon Mobil After Donations To Association He Led

President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, became one of Exxon Mobil Corp.’s fiercest defenders this year as the oil giant battled legal probes into its funding of climate science deniers.  Exxon Mobil, meanwhile, served as a major donor to the Republican Attorneys General Association, of which the Oklahoma attorney general served as chairman in 2012 and ‘13 and remains a member. The company donated $50,000 to the group in April, a month earlier than usual, this year. The firm gave the same amount in May of last year, and $60,000 the same month in 2014, according to data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Exxon Mobil has a long history of donating to Republican organizations, and Pruitt has deep ties to the fossil fuel industry.  However, the extent to which Pruitt led the charge to defend the company against investigations by other state attorneys general appears set to become a flashpoint for opponents during his Senate confirmation hearings next year.  The history of contributions “only feeds the narrative that this is a rigged Cabinet out only for their personal bottom lines,” an aide to a Democratic senator, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press, told The Huffington Post on Thursday. “This is exactly the type of thing Democrats intend to hammer AG Pruitt on throughout the confirmation process.” Neither Exxon Mobil nor the Trump transition team responded to requests for comment on Thursday. Three weeks after Exxon Mobil made its most recent donation, Pruitt and RAGA’s current chairman, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, co-authored an op-ed criticizing a group of state attorneys general that pledged to crack down on climate fraud last March. In the piece, the two accuse the attorneys general of targeting oil and gas companies to quash legitimate debate about climate science. The argument echoes Exxon Mobil’s own statements a month earlier, when the firm said attempts to subpoena its internal documents on climate change were politically motivated and amounted to violations of its free speech.  Exxon Mobil became the target of probes by the attorneys general of Massachusetts and New York five months after InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times published blockbuster reports revealing that the company’s scientists internally recognized the risks of climate change while publicly claiming the opposite.  It’s not the first time Pruitt has parroted fossil fuel companies. Lawyers for Devon Energy, one of Oklahoma’s biggest oil and gas firms, once authored a letter Pruitt sent under his own name to the EPA criticizing estimates on emissions from natural gas drilling sites, The New York Times reported in 2014. The Times published 84 pages of correspondence between Pruitt and Devon, which it described as evidence of an “unprecedented, secretive alliance that Mr. Pruitt and other Republican attorneys general have formed with some of the nation’s top energy producers to push back against the Obama regulatory agenda.” Exxon Mobil, already a titanic political force through its extensive lobbying, seems set to become more influential under the incoming administration. Trump nominated company CEO Rex Tillerson for secretary of state, and the Cabinet is otherwise stacked with fossil fuel executives and climate science deniers. If Pruitt’s nomination is confirmed, the referee overseeing the fossil fuel industry’s biggest player may be more like a cheerleader. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

22 декабря 2016, 16:02

Anadarko to Sell Marcellus Shale Assets to Alta Resources Unit

Anadarko Petroluem (APC) to Sell its Marcellus Shale Assets to Alta Resources Unit for $1.24 billion.

19 декабря 2016, 18:55

Why Devon Energy (DVN) Could Be Positioned for a Surge

Devon Energy (DVN) could be an interesting play for investors as it is seeing solid activity on the earnings estimate revision.

16 декабря 2016, 16:43

Why Devon Energy (DVN) Stock Might be a Great Pick

Devon Energy (DVN) is seeing solid earnings estimate revision activity, and is a great company from a Zacks Industry Rank perspective.

08 декабря 2016, 21:41

Trump Talks To Leonardo DiCaprio In Latest Ploy To Misdirect Public On His Climate Agenda

President-elect Donald Trump met with Leonardo DiCaprio on Wednesday to talk about clean energy jobs, just two days after Trump talked to Al Gore about climate change. But don’t get too excited. Meeting with celebrity climate advocates, even one who is a former vice president, does little to soften the blow that Trump dealt Wednesday by selecting Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt, who has close ties to the fossil fuel industry, has been a harsh critic of the EPA. Under his lead, Oklahoma joined with other states in the lawsuit to block the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which would grant the EPA power to force utility companies to cut emissions. Oil and gas tycoon Harold Hamm ― a contender to run Trump’s Department of Energy ― led Pruitt’s 2013 re-election campaign. Pruitt even once sent a letter to the EPA criticizing emission estimates for natural gas drilling sites that was actually written by lawyers for Devon Energy, one of his state’s largest oil and gas companies. Don’t think Al Gore is resurrected. He’s not. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) Pruitt’s environmental record stands in stark opposition to DiCaprio’s recent efforts, as he has become Hollywood’s leading advocate for the climate. In October, DiCaprio released “Before the Flood,” a 96-minute documentary on climate change that some have called the “new ‘Inconvenient Truth’” ― a reference to Gore’s 2006 film that mainstreamed the issue of global warming. DiCaprio gave Ivanka Trump a copy of the new film during Wednesday’s meeting, The Associated Press reports. The actor’s conversation with the Trumps focused on “how to create millions of secure, American jobs in the construction and operation of commercial and residential clean, renewable energy generation,” said Terry Tamminen, CEO of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Yet the president-elect’s meetings with DiCaprio and Gore barely amount to a fig leaf over Trump’s actual plans for environmental policy. “Donald Trump has made it clear that he intends to wage war on clean air and clean water,” Benjamin Schreiber, climate and energy program director at the nonprofit Friends of the Earth, said in a statement. “Trump has also put our climate in peril and shown he is out of step with the American people.” Indeed, 65 percent of Americans ― an all-time-high and up 10 points from last year ― said climate change is being caused by human activities, according to a Gallup poll released in March. But the incoming president has repeatedly dismissed climate change as “a hoax” and “a bunch of bunk.” Trump has also staffed his transition team and is filling his Cabinet with people known for denying the evidence of humans’ role in global warming, despite the sweeping scientific consensus. Myron Ebell, a virulent climate science denier, led the transition team on the EPA. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Trump’s pick for attorney general, claimed last year (in audio obtained by The Huffington Post) that efforts to combat climate change hurt poor people, although many impoverished countries suffer the worst effects of global warming. Trump has even floated Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as a possible secretary of state, while the giant oil company fights accusations that it covered up evidence of climate change. “Don’t think Al Gore is resurrected. He’s not,” Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said Thursday at the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation’s “Energy and Climate Policy Summit” in Washington, D.C. “It just shows that we have a guy who was elected president who will talk to anybody.” For now, Trump’s talk with climate advocates appears to be little more than hot air. Kate Sheppard contributed to this report.  -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

08 декабря 2016, 21:41

Trump Talks To Leonardo DiCaprio In Latest Ploy To Misdirect Public On His Climate Agenda

President-elect Donald Trump met with Leonardo DiCaprio on Wednesday to talk about clean energy jobs, just two days after Trump talked to Al Gore about climate change. But don’t get too excited. Meeting with celebrity climate advocates, even one who is a former vice president, does little to soften the blow that Trump dealt Wednesday by selecting Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt, who has close ties to the fossil fuel industry, has been a harsh critic of the EPA. Under his lead, Oklahoma joined with other states in the lawsuit to block the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which would grant the EPA power to force utility companies to cut emissions. Oil and gas tycoon Harold Hamm ― a contender to run Trump’s Department of Energy ― led Pruitt’s 2013 re-election campaign. Pruitt even once sent a letter to the EPA criticizing emission estimates for natural gas drilling sites that was actually written by lawyers for Devon Energy, one of his state’s largest oil and gas companies. Don’t think Al Gore is resurrected. He’s not. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) Pruitt’s environmental record stands in stark opposition to DiCaprio’s recent efforts, as he has become Hollywood’s leading advocate for the climate. In October, DiCaprio released “Before the Flood,” a 96-minute documentary on climate change that some have called the “new ‘Inconvenient Truth’” ― a reference to Gore’s 2006 film that mainstreamed the issue of global warming. DiCaprio gave Ivanka Trump a copy of the new film during Wednesday’s meeting, The Associated Press reports. The actor’s conversation with the Trumps focused on “how to create millions of secure, American jobs in the construction and operation of commercial and residential clean, renewable energy generation,” said Terry Tamminen, CEO of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Yet the president-elect’s meetings with DiCaprio and Gore barely amount to a fig leaf over Trump’s actual plans for environmental policy. “Donald Trump has made it clear that he intends to wage war on clean air and clean water,” Benjamin Schreiber, climate and energy program director at the nonprofit Friends of the Earth, said in a statement. “Trump has also put our climate in peril and shown he is out of step with the American people.” Indeed, 65 percent of Americans ― an all-time-high and up 10 points from last year ― said climate change is being caused by human activities, according to a Gallup poll released in March. But the incoming president has repeatedly dismissed climate change as “a hoax” and “a bunch of bunk.” Trump has also staffed his transition team and is filling his Cabinet with people known for denying the evidence of humans’ role in global warming, despite the sweeping scientific consensus. Myron Ebell, a virulent climate science denier, led the transition team on the EPA. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Trump’s pick for attorney general, claimed last year (in audio obtained by The Huffington Post) that efforts to combat climate change hurt poor people, although many impoverished countries suffer the worst effects of global warming. Trump has even floated Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as a possible secretary of state, while the giant oil company fights accusations that it covered up evidence of climate change. “Don’t think Al Gore is resurrected. He’s not,” Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said Thursday at the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation’s “Energy and Climate Policy Summit” in Washington, D.C. “It just shows that we have a guy who was elected president who will talk to anybody.” For now, Trump’s talk with climate advocates appears to be little more than hot air. Kate Sheppard contributed to this report.  -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

08 декабря 2016, 21:35

Senate Dems Call Donald Trump’s EPA Pick A ‘Full-Fledged Environmental Emergency'

WASHINGTON ― Two of the Senate’s fiercest environmental advocates are advising their fellow Democrats to use Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, as a rallying point for the party. Democrats are aware that they will have to choose their battles once the president-elect takes office if they want a viable chance at reclaiming the Senate or the White House in 2020. But they argue that Pruitt, the fossil fuel-friendly Oklahoma attorney general, is just the type of nominee Senate Democrats can take a strong stand against.  Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said Thursday he is not only opposed to Pruitt because he is a climate change denier. He says Pruitt’s impending nomination is “a matter of corruption” because he has spent “his entire life in service” dedicated to the oil and gas industry, working against everything the EPA stands to protect.  “We need rally points in our cause and this appointment ought to be a rally point,” Whitehouse said on a call with reporters hosted by the nonprofit League of Conservation Voters. “First for our [green] groups and for young people, who feel that climate change is a vitally important issue. And it should be a rally point for some for our corporations who talk a very good game on climate ― but none of whom take serious action [with] Congress.” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) called Trump’s decision to pick Pruitt “a full-fledged environmental emergency.” “This is going to be litmus test for every member of the Senate who claims not to be a denier,” he said, adding that a number of Republicans have said they agree with Democrats that the question of whether climate change is real has been settled by scientists. “It’s one thing to occasionally flirt with the truth,” Schatz argued, but Republicans who support tackling greenhouse gas emissions must now decide if they “are going to stand with science, stand with clean air and clean water, or stand with Mr. Pruitt, who has made a profession out of undermining the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts.” Under Pruitt, Oklahoma is part of a coalition of states currently suing the EPA over the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which requires the nation’s coal-fired power plants to cut carbon dioxide emissions 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. According to a 2014 New York Times report, Pruitt and Devon Energy ― one of Oklahoma’s largest oil and gas companies ― engaged in an “unprecedented, secretive alliance.” Pruitt would be the “worst-ever administrator” of the EPA if he’s confirmed by the Senate, said League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski. During the call, a Fox News reporter asked why Karpinski, Whitehouse and Schatz insisted on calling Pruitt a climate change “denier” when there are a number of scientists who say the science behind climate change isn’t settled.  Karpinski referenced the oft-cited fact that 97 percent of the scientific community agrees that the earth is warming due to human activity. The Fox News reporter then asked Karpinski for the source of the figure ― something a quick Google search or visit to NASA’s webpage will produce. Karpinski said he would be happy to talk to the reporter once Fox stopped pushing fake news and accepted scientific fact.  “Putting aside that crap ... ” the reporter began to say.  But Karpinksi interrupted. “Excuse me, how did you describe science?”  -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

08 декабря 2016, 02:02

HUFFPOST HILL - 78-Year Streak Of A White Supremacist Not Being Person Of The Year Ends

Like what you read below? Sign up for HUFFPOST HILL and get a cheeky dose of political news every evening!  Time magazine named Trump its “Person of the Year,” a nod to the rise of online bullying and internet trolls in American culture. The FBI is investigating a Huffington Post editor over a Twitter joke, since apparently Hillary Clinton had been keeping agents busy and oh wow, reporters are really screwed now. Trump chose Linda McMahon to head the Small Business Administration, so expect a big roll of red tape to be the heel at SummerSlam next year. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, December 7, 2016: YOU KNOW WHO ELSE ETC. ETC. - Donald Trump is Time’s Person of the Year: “For all of Trump’s public life, tastemakers and intellectuals have dismissed him as a vulgarian and carnival barker, a showman with big flash and little substance. But what those critics never understood was that their disdain gave him strength. For years, he fed off the disrespect and used it to grab more tabloid headlines, to connect to common people. Now he has upended the leadership of both major political parties and effectively shifted the political direction of the international order. He will soon command history’s most lethal military, along with economic levers that can change the lives of billions. And the people he has to thank are those he calls ‘the forgotten,’ millions of American voters who get paid by the hour in shoes that will never touch these carpets ― working folk, regular Janes and Joes, the dots in the distance.” [TIME] “WHO, ME?” - Man, come on. New York Times: “In an interview with Time for its person of the year issue, and a follow-up with NBC’s ‘Today’ show, Mr. Trump talked tough. He insisted he has nothing to do with the ‘divided states of America’ that Time says he will lead. ‘When you say divided states of America, I didn’t divide them,’ he told NBC. ‘I’m not president yet, so I didn’t do anything to divide.’” [NYT] The FBI is investigating HuffPost’s Nick Baumann for a joke he made on Twitter. HuffPost Hill is a little sad our jokes aren’t funny enough to merit throwing the entire weight of American law enforcement behind stopping them. TRUMP’S SLOW-MOTION MILITARY COUP CONTINUES - These generals going to be surprised when they find out civil servants don’t follow orders the way soldiers do. Elise Foley and Jessica Schulberg: “President-elect Donald Trump plans to nominate retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, a border hawk and yet another general, as his secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, multiple news outlets reported on Wednesday…. The selection of Kelly, a recently retired four-star general, to head the Department of Homeland Security, would add to the growing concern that Trump is increasingly filling his Cabinet and top advisory positions with generals ― particularly ones that clashed with President Barack Obama…. Trump has already nominated  retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn as his national security advisor and Gen. James Mattis to serve as Defense Secretary…. he president-elect is also reportedly considering retired Gen. David Petraeus and Adm. James Stavridis for Secretary of State.” [HuffPost] Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) is Trump’s pick for ambassador to CHI-na. SECRETARY OF JABRONIS POSITION REMAINS VACANT - Next up: Dale Jr. for U.S. Trade Representative. Steve Holland: “U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said on Wednesday he will nominate professional wrestling magnate and former Senate candidate Linda McMahon as his choice to head the Small Business Administration…. McMahon, 68, is a co-founder and former CEO of the professional wrestling franchise WWE, which is based in Stamford, Connecticut. She ran unsuccessfully for a U.S. Senate seat in Connecticut in 2010. She was an early supporter of Trump’s presidential campaign.” [Reuters] A WEE BIT TOO LATE, MR. PRESIDENT - W.J. Hennigan and Michael A. Memoli: “President Obama secretively built a massive counterterrorism apparatus, and now he’s confronting the consequences of expanding his war-making powers: handing them over to a man he said was unfit to serve as commander in chief. With President-elect Donald Trump weeks away from inheriting them, Obama has taken a new approach, advocating for limits and transparency that he often was content to do without…. Advocates of greater transparency welcomed Obama’s gesture, but expressed concern at the precedent he set by continuing to assert his authority for expanded counterterrorism operations under the broad authorization for the use of force that Congress passed after 9/11, years before Islamic State and other terrorist groups even existed.” [LA Times] Like HuffPost Hill? Then order Eliot’s new book, The Beltway Bible: A Totally Serious A-Z Guide To Our No-Good, Corrupt, Incompetent, Terrible, Depressing, and Sometimes Hilarious Government Does somebody keep forwarding you this newsletter? Get your own copy. It’s free! Sign up here. Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea [email protected] Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill TRUMP MUST HAVE TONS OF ROLLOVER MINUTES HE WANTS TO BURN THROUGH - Imagine Ronald Reagan doing this. Arthur Delaney: “President-elect Donald Trump has asked his chief of staff to get him a list of every American company that has plans to shift production to another country. ‘Hey, Reince, I want to get a list of companies that have announced they’re leaving,’ Trump said to Reince Priebus last week in the middle of an on-the-record interview with Time magazine that was published on Wednesday. ‘I can call them myself,’ Trump said. ‘Five minutes apiece. They won’t be leaving. O.K.?’ … If Trump is going to spend five minutes on the phone with every CEO of every company that’s planning to shift production abroad, he’s going to be on the phone for many hours, because Carrier’s case is not at all unusual.” [HuffPost] MEDISCARE FITS DEMOCRATS LIKE A COMFY OLD SWEATER - Congressional Democrats really, really, really want Republicans to try cutting Medicare benefits. Daniel Marans: “Top Democrats spoke at a Wednesday press conference on Capitol Hill to warn President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican Congress against privatizing Medicare. It is not yet clear whether Trump has the same appetite as House Republicans to take on transforming the massive health care program for seniors and people with disabilities. But Democrats are not waiting for him ― or their congressional colleagues ― to make the first move, and vowed on Wednesday to hang any benefit cuts around the candidate’s neck like a millstone….’Democrats will not let them win this fight,’ [New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer] said. ‘I say to my Republican colleagues: Turn back, because we will fight you on this tooth and nail. We will win, you will lose.’” [HuffPost] NOTHING TRUMP SAYS MEANS ANYTHING: IMMIGRATION EDITION - Mr. Build-The-Wall now wants to come across like Mr. Those-Unfortunate-People. Elise Foley: “President-elect Donald Trump says he’s ‘going to work something out’ with regard to Dreamers, the undocumented young people he promised for his entire campaign to strip of work authorization and protections. What does that mean, exactly? There were no clues in an interview with Time magazine for its ‘Person of the Year’ coverage, published Wednesday. ‘I want Dreamers for our children also,’ Trump told Time. ‘We’re going to work something out. On a humanitarian basis it’s a very tough situation. We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud. But that’s a very tough situation.’” [HuffPost] GOOD NEWS FOR THE INHALER INDUSTRY - Prediction: Pruitt will allow drilling for oil on the faces of teenaged boys. OIL! OIL! Kate Sheppard: “President-elect Donald Trump has picked Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to serve as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Reuters reported Wednesday. Pruitt has been a vocal critic of EPA regulations and defender of fossil fuel interests. Lawyers for Devon Energy, one of his state’s biggest oil and gas companies, authored a letter Pruitt sent to the EPA criticizing estimates on emissions from natural gas drilling sites, The New York Times reported in 2014.” [HuffPost] THIS MUST’VE BEEN A REAL RUDE-A-THON - By rights, Rahm Emanuel and Donald Trump having a chat should have created a singularity that swallowed the universe. John Byrne and Hal Dardick: “Mayor Rahm Emanuel and President-elect Donald Trump discussed Chicago’s status an a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants during a phone conversation since Trump’s election win last month, Emanuel said Monday. The mayor said Trump called to talk about the White House transition. Emanuel tried to walk the line between honoring the privacy of the chat and letting Chicagoans know he stood up to the president-elect for the city’s values.” [Chicago Tribune] STUNNING THAT JILL STEIN’S EFFORTS ARE AMOUNTING TO NOTHING - The queue for donation refunds begins to your right. Paul Egan and Kathleen Gray: “The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the Board of State Canvassers never should have allowed a recount requested by Green Party candidate Jill Stein to proceed, because she has no chance to overturn the result of the presidential election in her favor and is not an aggrieved candidate. The panel ordered the board to ‘reject the Nov. 30, 2016 petition of candidate Stein that precipitated the current recount process.’ … Mark Brewer, an attorney for Stein, said the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to stay the Republicans’ request to stop the recount, so it will continue until all the parties can get back to federal court to plead their case, again.” [Detroit Free Press] NEVER HAVE SEX IN OHIO - Laura Bassett: “Ohio’s Republican-led House and Senate passed legislation Tuesday night that would ban abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected― as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.... If it’s passed into law, physicians could face a year in prison if they perform an abortion after a heartbeat is detected or if they fail to check for one before a procedure. The measure is the most extreme abortion restriction in the country, effectively banning the procedure before most women even realize they’re pregnant, pro-abortion rights advocates said.” [HuffPost] Oh, hey, the man who sponsored the abortion bill allegedly assaulted his wife. PAUL RYAN IS SO, SO THIRSTY FOR TAX CUTS - Remember when he wanted to deny President Hillary Clinton security clearance or whatever? Nolan D. McCaskill: “House Speaker Paul Ryan is unbothered by President-elect Donald Trump’s business conflicts. The Wisconsin Republican has no qualms about Trump’s potential conflicts of interest with Trump’s vast business empire, advising him to handle them ‘however he wants to.’ ‘This is not what I’m concerned about in Congress,’ Ryan said Wednesdayduring an interview on CNBC. ‘I have every bit of confidence he’s going to get himself right with moving from being the business guy that he is to the president he’s going to become.’” [Politico] IF YOU LIKE YOUR PLAN, GO F*** YOURSELF - Train wreck! Train wreck! Jonathan Cohn: “Republicans who think their ‘repeal and delay’ strategy for Obamacare won’t cause serious and immediate insurance disruptions should read a new report that came out early Wednesday morning. The report, from the nonpartisan Urban Institute, predicts that state insurance markets will start to unravel almost immediately and that, as early as next year, the ranks of the uninsured will begin swelling. And if Republicans can’t come up with a replacement, the report says, the number of people without insurance could eventually rise by 20 million to 30 million people.” [HuffPost] CONGRESS PASSED A HEALTH CARE BILL! - No, not that one. Jennifer Steinhauer and Robert Pear: “The Senate approved complex health care legislation on Wednesday that would increase funding for disease research, address weaknesses in the nation’s mental health systems and vastly alter the regulatory system for drugs and medical devices. The vote sealed a final legislative victory for President Obama, who strongly supported the bill against objections from many liberal Democrats and consumer groups.” [NYT] POPE PANS POOPY PRESS - In case you wondered, the Latin word for “excrement” is “stercus.” Philip Pullella: “Media that focus on scandals and spread fake news to smear politicians risk becoming like people who have a morbid fascination with excrement, Pope Francis said in an interview published on Wednesday…. ‘I think the media have to be very clear, very transparent, and not fall into - no offence intended - the sickness of coprophilia, that is, always wanting to cover scandals, covering nasty things, even if they are true,’ he said. ‘And since people have a tendency towards the sickness of coprophagia, a lot of damage can be done.’” [Reuters] BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Someone is selling a human saddle. It’s for kids, don’t be gross. OUR NEW BOSS IS REALLY SUPER AND GREAT AND PROBABLY SMELLS NICE -We have every confidence Lydia Polgreen will agree with us that HuffPost Hill is the most important and intellectual voice in politics, and that fart jokes are essential to democracy. Michael Calderone: “Lydia Polgreen, a New York Times associate masthead editor and editorial director of NYT Global, has been named editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post. Polgreen, 41, will succeed Arianna Huffington, the news site’s namesake co-founder who left the company in August to launch Thrive Global, a company and website focused on health and wellness.In an interview, Polgreen said it was difficult leaving the Times, where she spent nearly 15 years, but that the role at HuffPost was a ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.’” [HuffPost] COMFORT FOOD - Here’s how much it would cost to power Clark Griswold’s holiday lights in every state. - A history of the completely benign, very old greeting “Happy Holidays. - These people built an ark for their cat. TWITTERAMA @lindsaygoldwert: I want to make people laugh but I also want to inform. I don’t want to infotain, I want laughacate! @MollyOShah: Guys, I totally gave him a chance, but by season 2 The Apprentice really sucked and this season feels like the end of Dexter level bad @pattymo: People have expressed concern with Trump picking Hexxus, the pollution monster from FERNGULLY, to run the EPA, but let’s give him a chance   Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson ([email protected]) -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.