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Trump’s top environmental win: Cutting protections

WASHINGTON Nearly 100 days into a presidency remarkably thin on legislative success, one area where the Trump administration and Republican-led Congress have notched indisputable gains is on the environment. Overshadowed by the implosion on health care and standstill on tax reform, the GOP drive to dismantle, defang and defund environmental laws, rules and science is yielding many of President Trump s most significant victories to date. From rolling back rules to fight climate change and air and water pollution to cutting funding for scientific research, Congress and the administration are undertaking the biggest effort to limit the nation s basic environmental protections since many were established nearly half a century ago, when Republican Richard Nixon was president.

Using a powerful mix of executive actions, new laws and budget cuts, the efforts exceed anything seen in the Reagan or George W. Bush administrations, two GOP presidencies also skeptical of environmental laws. Republicans frame the drive not as the war on the environment that critics describe, but as an economic policy to boost growth, said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a top GOP economist who heads the pro-market American Action Forum.

They have a clear agenda on improved economic performance, Holtz-Eakin said. I think that s the No. 1 reason why voters sent Trump to the presidency and carried majorities of Republicans in the House and Senate. Whether the GOP succeeds, one of the most striking aspects of the effort is that the scientific community is urging precisely the opposite course.

Climate change and other key measures of environmental degradation are approaching and crossing dangerous thresholds, many top scientists warn. Each additional year of continued carbon dioxide emissions creates more damage. Much of it, from Greenland s melting to mass species extinctions, is irreversible, they say. The fiscal costs escalate, too, whether it s the quarter-billion-dollar repair of Oroville Dam after the wettest California winter on record, or the half-billion dollars that Miami is spending to raise its streets above rising seas. Putting environmental efforts on hold for four or eight years of a Trump presidency is unthinkable for many scientists.

We are in an emergency state for the planet, said Elizabeth Hadly, a global change biologist at Stanford University. I really don t think I can overstate that.

  • Trump's Top Environmental Win: Cutting Protections
  • Trump's Top Environmental Win: Cutting Protections

Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle

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3 line cap please Traffic moves along highway 880 through downtown Oakland, Ca. on Wed. April 19, 2017.

3 line cap please Traffic moves along highway 880 through downtown Oakland, Ca. on Wed. April 19, 2017.

Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle

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Fisherman s Park, along San Francisco Bay in Burlingame, is protected from erosion by chunks of reclaimed concrete blocks. Fisherman s Park, along San Francisco Bay in Burlingame, is protected from erosion by chunks of reclaimed concrete blocks.

Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle

Analysis: Trump s top environmental win is in cutting protections

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Katherine Hayhoe, a climate physicist at Texas Tech University and a co-author of the 2014 National Climate Assessment, compared Washington s approach to climate change to a person with lung cancer continuing to smoke.

It s as if … you ve been to the doctor and you have troubling signs that smoking is beginning to impact your health, Hayhoe said. You go home, and instead of stopping smoking as soon as possible as the doctor recommends, you decide that you re not even going to wean yourself off slowly, like you have been. You re going to go straight back to every pack that you were smoking before, because you figure, Hey, it s been working for me for so many years. The problem is not climate change alone. Pervasive pollution, invasive species, habitat loss and mass extinctions have swelled into critical problems within the United States and globally. Each compounds the other, and all are amplified by climate change. Scientists estimate that global temperatures are on course to become hotter than they ve been in the past 14 million years, Hadly said. Modern humans evolved roughly 200,000 years ago.

So not only are the temperatures we re going toward in fact where we already are beyond the temperatures where our human civilizations evolved, Hadly said, they re way beyond the temperatures that humans themselves evolved in.

The administration and Congress are doing so much, so fast, on so many fronts that the scope of the drive has often escaped wide notice. The White House was so concerned that its successes were going unheralded that legislative director Mike Short held a news briefing this month to highlight 11 bills Trump had signed, nearly half of which involved environmental protections.

This is an important story that has not been told, Short said. Environmentalists say they ve never seen anything like it. I ve worked in this game since 1977, and more bad stuff has happened in the last few weeks than in my entire career, said Scott Slesinger, legislative director for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Unlike health care, environmental issues unite the GOP s pro-business and small-government wings. When united, Republicans wield extraordinary power through their control of the White House and Capitol Hill. They tend to view environmental laws as an impediment to business, a drag on the economy, and a wellspring of big government.

The metastasizing federal bureaucracy is a threat to our people, our Constitution, and our economy, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield said after House passage of four major antiregulatory bills. Bureaucracies that aren t accountable to the people, staffed with regulators that never stand for election, write rules that undermine our rights and destroy American jobs. To be sure, many Republicans in states that have booming wind and solar industries now embrace renewable energy. Hundreds of U.S. companies such as Walmart and General Mills have committed to using 100 percent renewable energy through the We Mean Business coalition.

But others in the fossil fuel, mining, logging and other extractive industries, or in sectors such as chemicals or real estate development, view environmental rules as a threat. Trump s biggest moves in the environmental arena have centered on climate change. Two orders, to roll back limits on power plant emissions and to review vehicle fuel efficiency standards, go after the centerpiece of federal climate policy. In addition, McCarthy has spearheaded House passage of several anti-regulatory laws that would gut rule making by federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency. Most of these await action in the Senate, where Democrats hope to block them.

McCarthy said the new laws will save businesses $10 billion over 20 years. Budget cuts to government agencies can be nearly as effective as gutting rules, because they can reduce monitoring, enforcement and research. In a budget plan he sent to Congress last month, Trump proposed slashing domestic programs to fund a $54 billion boost for the military. His biggest cut, 31 percent, would come from the Environmental Protection Agency. He would also terminate four earth science and monitoring programs at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration that scientists see as critical to studying the effect humans are having on the climate.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney called climate programs a waste of your money. Trump also wants to eliminate Sea Grants, a $73 million program that helps coastal states with sea level rise, fisheries and scientific research, among other things. The administration said the program does not contribute to federal core functions.

It s so short-sighted it s just ridiculous, but what can you say, said James Eckman, director of the California Sea Grant program at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. Do we want to have red tides that we can t control, that we don t understand, that close beaches, that make seafood unsaleable? He noted that three of California s four major airports at San Francisco, Oakland and San Diego are at sea level and already experience flooding.

References

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Rise of the female bodyguard: Why more high-profile people are looking to women for protection

The chances are that when you picture a bodyguard, you re imagining a tall, big, broad, burly man with biceps the size of tree-trunks and hands that could crush skulls. But more and more these days, that image is wrong. Increasingly, women are being hired as bodyguards – and average-sized women too. The reason is that huge stereotypical-looking bodyguards – technically called close protection, personal protection or executive protection officers (CPO/PPO/EPO) – actually draw attention to whomever is being protected.

Women, on the other hand, are more likely to be mistaken for nannies.

Nine times out of ten the people I work for want someone who can blend in, commercial PPO Lisa Baldwin explained to The Times[1]. They don t want obvious security, like the kind used by Madonna or Britney Spears. Those bodyguards, the big guys, actually draw attention to the clients and put them at more stress and risk. Baldwin dresses down which allows her to look like a friend or nanny. With the bulkier guys, people will think: Why have those kids got a bodyguard? she says.

And I d like to see those big guys run. They are fine if you are just keeping fans back, but I am dealing with things like kidnap threat and might have to get out of a situation very quickly. Pure muscle isn t enough. Baldwin is by no means a huge woman either and believes the ex-military look can be a disadvantage: I remember the first job interview I had, when I was 20, I was up against another candidate who looked like GI Jane, all muscles and shaved head. And I got the job.

They were more interested in whether I had protective driving skills, which I had, and a firearms cert, which I also had. In fact they didn t want me to carry a firearm, but to show I had training in that field.

Japanese Women Wrestlers

Since Baldwin became a PPO 13 years ago, the number of women in the industry has soared along with demand. She says that there s been more interest from Muslim families in particular, who might not want the women mixing too closely with men. And then there are the bathrooms if you have a male bodyguard and a female client, that s going to be an issue. But there are still relatively few female PPOs and not enough to satisfy demand, according to Neil Davis, a former army officer who runs a Glasgow-based security company called Horizon.

Clients who might not want their children looked after by a man often specify a woman, he told The Times. These days, the good female PPOs can work all year round while men struggle to find jobs, especially as there has been an influx from eastern Europe competing for work. Such is the demand for women, they get paid more than the men at the moment. However, Davis says women have to be the whole package – not only do they need to be trained but they usually have to be fluent in one or two foreign languages and qualified in something like scuba diving or skiing.

David Cameron and Tony Blair both had female bodyguards, and Davis says there are certain advantages to using a female CPO when the client is male.

If I was putting together a security team of eight, I d like at least two, maybe three, women in the mix. Do that and the group dynamic instantly changes. Women lower the testosterone level.

To illustrate his point, Davis gives the example of when things start kicking off in a bar or pub: If a man steps up to confront [your client] then the situation can escalate.

If a woman does it, the aggression levels drop because, no matter how drunk they are, most men are conditioned to know it is wrong to hit a woman. A female PPO tends to be better at conflict resolution rather than making the situation worse.

Rise Of The Female Bodyguard: Why More High-profile People Are Looking To Women For ProtectionReuse content[2]

References

  1. ^ The Times (www.thetimes.co.uk)
  2. ^ Reuse content (www.independent.co.uk)

Canada officer who trained Mumbai cops, wanted to fulfil his

dads wishMumbai, Apr 17 (PTI) Satyanand Gaitonde, a Close Protection Officer with a security agency in Canada, who has been providing soft skills training to Mumbai police personnel here for the last few months, says he took up this task in order to serve his country, a wish harboured by his late father.Mumbai-born Gaitonde is presently associated with a national level security agency in Canada. He specialises in soft skills training and imparts counselling besides holding personality development seminars for policemen abroad following which he was roped in by Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Milind Bharambe, to train traffic cops here last year.“My dad always used to encourage me to do something for the country. I always used to delay it (the decision). He eventually convinced me to come here. But the day I landed here (November 1, 2016) he passed away. That strengthened my determination to work for my country,” he told PTI in an informal chat.Gaitonde, who earlier served with Toronto Police for a decade till 2012, has conducted various soft skills seminars in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Nashik since his arrival in India.“There is no dearth of trainers in India, but they lack someone to provide soft skill training. Soft skills is a thing that Indian police lacks. So they decided to use my expertise and I started giving lectures on various platforms.It is first time that Indian police have been given soft skills training. I provide them proper personality development guidance on topics like anger management, stress management, and behavioural issues.”To utilise my skills to the fullest, Milind Bharambe brought me to the Byculla Traffic Training Institute, the 50-year-old officer said.Following the success of his seminars there, Gaitondes services were utilised at the Marol Police Training school in suburban Andheri here to train new recruits.“The Principal of the training school told me that instead of providing training to senior constables and senior officials, if I teach fresh recruits then it will benefit a lot. I took it as a challenge and conducted 16 seminars there, which culminated on Saturday,” he said.During his stint at Marol, Gaitonde trained over 640 new recruits.He will return to Canada this week.Gaitonde also penned a book called “Mumbai Traffic Management and Police Officer Safety” after reading about police constable Vilas Shinde, who was allegedly beaten to death by a juvenile biker and his elder brother in Khar here in September last year.“I was deeply saddened by the death of Shinde. He didnt know the technique for communication or a self-defence skill,” he said.“I have written a book on police officer safety. It is not for publication, but for policemen only. I have given a copy of it to Bharambe and will give one to Maharashtra Chief Minister Canada Officer Who Trained Mumbai Cops, Wanted To Fulfil HisDevendra Fadnavis[1] also.”Speaking about his work in the agency at Canada, he said, “We are a semi-government organisation and an undercover agency. We dont spy or do anything as such. We deal with cyber crime, provide security on spot and support CIA and FBI on security matters.” PTI AVI DK DK SDM

References

  1. ^ Devendra Fadnavis (indiatoday.intoday.in)
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