Folks far and wide are celebrating the apparent demise of the Trans-Pacific "Partnership," given the recent election of purported anti-"free" trader Donald Trump to the Presidency -- but that doesn't mean we should be complacent. After all, these are politicians we're talking about, people who say they're going to do one thing and then do another, and then get angry with you when you catch them in their lies! And Mr. Trump, despite never having held elective office before, is no different; he exists to say whatever he thinks he needs to say to get whatever he thinks he needs to get. I've long suspected that he'll just up and demand the damn thing's passage one day, saying that he got around to reading it and decided it was actually a YUGE and BYOOTIFUL "free" trade deal -- or, maybe, he'll just say fuck-you-I-won, since he's (so far) gotten away with every other horrible thing he's done. We're in bad shape if it comes to that, of course, but we live in America, so we can still change things for the better, and it begins with calling your Reps and Senators (using the tools in the upper left-hand corner of this page) and telling them to keep rejecting the TPP and its job-killing, law-nullifying ways.
Meanwhile, Mr. Trump's victory has spurred talk in our media about poor rural folk left behind by our economy, and that's a fundamentally good thing! But just so happens an actual bipartisan bill already exists that would help some of the folks who got hurt the most by our changing economy: H.R. 4456, the RECLAIM Act, which would dedicate Department of Interior spending for the next four years to projects that would clean up abandoned coal mines -- projects that would put local folks to work and stimulate the economy a hell of a lot better than Mr. Trump's plan to hand out Yet More Tax Cuts to rich folks to pursue boutique "infrastructure" projects in rich neighborhoods. Hence the Sierra Club helps you tell Congressional leaders (including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell) to support the RECLAIM Act. My guess is they'd rather not -- they'd rather let the conditions that helped Mr. Trump's ascension continue to fester, and keep harvesting votes from that in the years to come. But it doesn't matter what they want; it matters what we want. And we all want good Americans to suffer less.
Finally, Kamryn Baker, of Bella Vista, AR, has begun a petition on Change.org which helps you tell Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (and both of Arkansas's Senators) to stop Valero Energy's Plains All-American Diamond Pipeline, which would run for over 400 miles through no less than five water systems, including the Arkansas River and the mighty Mississippi River. Sadly, Valero's pipeline safety record is little, if any, better than TransCanada's; the EPA ordered Valero to restructure their pipelines in 2010 because they chronically fell short of safety codes. It sure would be nice if oil and gas corporations would put some effort into making their pipelines safe, instead of whining about regulations that mandate pipeline safety and keep our air and water safe from pollution. And, sadly, we'll soon have a President who also thinks the money to gild the plumbing in your 19th vacation home is more important than clean water. Arkansas has suffered from oil spills more than most, though, so their state government might well be more receptive to our will. If we speak up, that is.