Trump Saga Officially Begins

I’m traveling again over the next few days and so I only have time for a short post.

Many of my post-election posts have been about how deeply unusual and frightening someone like Donald Trump was elected president. Most of the blame goes to the mainstream media, especially the major television networks, for their breathless coverage of Trump’s outlandish criticisms of Hillary Clinton and her supposed email scandal, which wasn’t a scandal at all. Some of the blame, of course, rests with our electoral college system, which enables someone to win the presidency without winning the popular vote.

The last time I checked, Clinton was ahead of Trump by more than 2.3 million votes as counting and recounting continues. More U.S. voters wanted Clinton as their president than Trump. That’s obvious, and Trump can whine about it all he wants, but those are the facts. It’s not a case of Trump becoming an illegitimate president. It’s a case of an illegitimate system that needs to be modernized. It’s unlikely, of course, that will happen under Republican control of our government.

So take a deep breath and get ready for two extremely frightening years in which this country’s safety net—Medicare and Social Security, for example—will come under fire and perhaps altered to significantly lower benefits, two years in which Trump could take us into a new war, perhaps even a world war, with his egotistical blustering.

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Is Oklahoma Microcosm Of Coming Trump Presidency?

That president-elect Donald Trump is highly unpredictable is widely accepted, but what does seem something to securely bank on is his commitment to tax cuts for the wealthy given his connection to Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, who has been appointed to his transition team, and local oil baron, Harold Hamm, who is rumored to be in the mix for energy secretary.

As you might recall, both Fallin and Hamm, chief executive officer of Continental Resources, hammered out a 2014 tax-break deal for the state’s oil and gas companies that lowered their gross production rate from 7 percent to 2 percent for the first three years of any oil and gas well drilled vertically or horizontally.

This is what Fallin said about the deal after it was pushed by local oil and gas executives, which included Hamm:

“The new 2 percent tax rate is fair to the state and sends a clear message to energy producers worldwide: Oklahoma is the place for energy production and investment. We want to be a leader in this field not just today but for decades to come.”

Fair to the state? A year later the tax break, along with a slow down in fracking, led to a 12-year low gross production revenue drop.

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Pipeline Conflicts

The problematics and complications of the coming Donald Trump presidency is no more obvious than in Trump’s stock ownership in companies with interests in the Dakota Access pipeline, the controversial project now drawing major protests.

The Associated Press outlined Trump’s stake in the pipeline building project on Friday. Although comparatively speaking Trump doesn’t own that much stock in the project—$15,000 to $50,000 through one company and $100,000 to $500,000 through another company—he has indicated he supports the project and wants to see it completed, according to the AP story.

Since this all has to do with oil barons and profits from fossil fuels, there has to be an Oklahoma connection, right? The AP reports:

Besides Trump, at least two possible candidates for energy secretary also could benefit from the pipeline. Oil billionaire Harold Hamm could ship oil from his company, Continental Resources, through the pipeline, while former Texas Gov. Rick Perry serves on the board of directors of Energy Transfer Partners.

Continental Resources is based in Oklahoma City, and Hamm has been an active member of the conservative movement both locally and nationally.

The project has been delayed because members of the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota and other indigenous groups have stood up against it with help from other environmentalists, arguing it could contaminate drinking water and endanger Indian cultural sites. The Army Corps of Engineers, according to the AP, is consulting with the tribe in order to resolve the issue. Protestors want the 1,200-mile pipeline project, which would go through four states, shut down.

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