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Messages - Susan Anderson

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1
The forum / Re: Forum Decorum
« on: October 06, 2019, 08:44:03 PM »
Here is a quote which I provide first, and hope it will be read before being dismissed. The explanation of why it is here follows directly. Since this is one of the best summaries of the problem I've ever seen, I felt it was worth putting it out of context, and lead this comment with it. It is equal opportunity in accusing big fossil of corruption everywhere.

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The saga includes, among other incidents, the purposeful detonation of a 50-kiloton nuclear bomb 8,000 feet below the earth's surface (unsettlingly close to an I70 exit ramp in Colorado); an international financial crisis; a 28,000 ton vessel dragging unmoored and unmanned on the craggy coast of Alaska; tornadoes; the novelty of man-made earthquakes; murdered cows; and a third-grade public school teacher panhandling to provide school supplies for her students. Even an inept Russian spy ring ferreted out of suburban tract houses in New Jersey and Virginia. Even Russia's interference in the 2016 US presidential election. Seems unlikely, but it all ties.

The motive force of all the action - its fuel as well as its engine - is the most consequential, the most lucrative, the most powerful, and the least-well-governed major industry in the history of mankind. Oil and gas. I do not propose to discount or minimize the powerful and positive effects the producers of our hydrocarbons have had on our own country and on the world at large. I like driving ... and heating my house as much as the next person, and the through line between energy and economic growth and development is as clear to me as an electric streetlight piercing the black night. But the political impact of the industry that brings us those things is also worth recognizing as a key ingredient in the global chaos and democratic downturn we're now living through.

I don't mean to be rude, but I also want to be clear: the oil and gas industry is essentially a big casino that can produce both power and triumphant great gobs of cash, often with little regard for merit. This equation invites gangsterism, extortion, thuggery, and the sorts of folks who enjoy these hobbies. Its practitioners have been lumbering across the globe of late, causing mindless damage and laying the groundwork for the global catastrophe that is the climate crisis, but also reordering short-term geopolitics in a strong-but-dumb survival contest that renders everything we think of as politics as just theatre. It's worth understanding why. And why now.

Why is this here? Because Neven has shut down a discussion about Rachel Maddow's superb book about the history of oil and gas and its takeover of the world (quote is from her introduction), with some blistering insults and misrepresentations (see below). This is not true (I was going to say something stronger, the lack of skepticism reflects a strange lack of interest in the facts or the truth; it is hard to understand why Neven, who has does the world a great service as one of the world's most superb reporters on the cryosphere, chooses to be guided by hate on this). It is gaslighting, ad hominem, using personal attacks to discredit some of the best reporting on big fossil we have in the world today. I didn't know exactly where to put it, so here it is.

Please at least read the above quote with an open mind (it's from the introduction to Blowout. It is a powerful bit of truthtelling. To call the author one of the out-of-touch-millionnaire stooges of smoke-and-mirrors neoliberalism is wrong, and it does harm.

Quote
Re: Last Stand of The Fossil Fools« Reply #1 on: Today at 12:38:02 PM »

But this has nothing to do whatsoever with Arctic sea ice, and a video with two out-of-touch-millionnaire stooges of smoke-and-mirrors neoliberalism is about the worst starting point one could imagine.

2
The rest / Re: Systemic Isolation
« on: September 29, 2019, 06:54:21 PM »
FWIW, Feynman hated bullshit. Full stop.

[He hung out with our group of artists at MIT in the mid-80s, when he was working at Thinking Machines. We spent a lot of time with him, and consumed a fair amount (but not too much) of beer together.]

3
The politics / Re: The Koch Watch Thread
« on: September 28, 2019, 09:19:54 PM »
Don't know if this video will cross the pond, but it's pretty good. Some of the contents include how in response to action under George HW Bush, Pelosi-Gingrich collaboration, the Waxman-Markey bill, etc., the "Koch Family Foundations spent $127,006,756 directly financing 92 groups that have attacked climate change science". They helped replace Bob Inglis when he said he "believed" in climate change with Trey Gowdy, etc. etc.

4
The politics / Re: The Koch Watch Thread
« on: September 27, 2019, 04:54:36 PM »
I thought this one deserved a separate post. This story is only one of many. There are untold riches in the Jane Mayer New Yorker list.

A Whistle-Blower Accuses the Kochs of “Poisoning” an Arkansas Town https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/a-whistle-blower-accuses-the-kochs-of-poisoning-an-arkansas-town

limited extract, better to check the original, but of course it's paywalled with monthly article limits.
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air-quality monitoring equipment, which he told me showed “deadly levels of hydrogen sulfide,” a foul-smelling, colorless gas that has proven carcinogenic to rats and mice. Guice took measurements in the morning, midday, and evening, and documented them all. When he told the Georgia-Pacific supervisors that he was getting readings so high that they indicated a potential for immediate illness and death, he says the company blamed his equipment. After he protested this, they offered to build a roof over the fields where the waste was being spread, but he told them that this would be like building a toxic gas chamber. “They told me it was my problem. They knew it was dangerous, but their attitude was: keep your mouth shut, do the job, and don’t get in anyone’s business,” according to Guice. Eventually, a company official took her own readings, which he says confirmed his own. At this point, the company decided to build a huge stainless-steel chain-link fence around the perimeter of its property, “so you can’t see where the work is,” he told me. Once he was able to get employment elsewhere, Guice, who had been contacted by the filmmakers behind “Company Town,” decided to blow the whistle.

5
The politics / Re: The Koch Watch Thread
« on: September 27, 2019, 04:48:55 PM »
Thanks for creating this. I carefully read Jane Mayer's Dark Money which contains much of the same information, and possibly more. Mayer gave the Leonard book a good review. Her materials on the Kochtopus and other forms of corruption in the US are ongoing and contain quite a few offshoots, including their efforts to discredit her.
https://www.newyorker.com/contributors/jane-mayer {I've included some - possibly excessive - links to her many articles, which are a record of the downfall of any potential for integrity and fairness in the US.}

The Kochs got an early start by providing facilities for Stalin and Hitler.

They have an inside track to US government through Mike Pence (and also because the leadership at the top is highly disorganized). https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/10/23/the-danger-of-president-pence The Danger of President Pence: Trump’s critics yearn for his exit. But Mike Pence, the corporate right’s inside man, poses his own risks.

Myron Ebell was Trumpistan's early point person installing the "bad guys" - fossil lobbyists and other power brokers - everywhere and getting rid of science and honesty.

They are also closely allied to international climate fake skeptics such as UK's Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), and the unchristian "Christians" who wouldn't have anything to do with Jesus or his teachings (per the gospels which are short and repetitive). (I say this as an atheist, so let's not get going on religion: I have great respect for the leadership of compassion and caring for the less fortunate Jesus models.)

Trump vs. Koch Is a Custody Battle Over Congress: Both Donald Trump and Charles Koch appear to think that the Republican Party in particular, and American politics in general, should be theirs to dominate. https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/trump-vs-koch-is-a-custody-battle-over-congress

What Happened to Jane Mayer When She Wrote About the Koch Brothers https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/27/nyregion/what-happened-to-jane-mayer-when-she-wrote-about-the-koch-brothers.html
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“The firm, it appears, was Vigilant Resources International, whose founder and chairman, Howard Safir, had been New York City’s police commissioner under the former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani,” she writes in “Dark Money.”

6
The forum / Re: Forum Decorum
« on: September 26, 2019, 07:58:03 PM »
I once again faced a barrage of intolerant and in some cases ill-informed opinion. imnsho, this should not occupy space in the list of recent posts.

I would rather see you there fighting the good fight with me, Susan. :) ;)

Thanks, but I tried and failed, for way too long. I don't have the time or the stamina, and Neven himself condemned my efforts. It's his forum.

@nanning, yes, we are too egocentric. And - OT alert - Boris Johnson suggesting that the murdered anti-Brexit campaigner should be "honored" by promoting Brexit is horrifying as well. There are too many dictators-in-training and racist otherblamers taking over too many governments around the globe. But I'm past apologizing for the likes of Mossadegh, Vietnam, Reagan/Thatcher, and Bush II, let alone Trump. It's awful!!!

7
Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019 melting season
« on: August 27, 2019, 05:15:04 PM »
Not sure how relevant this might be, but the Atlantic hurricane season is just getting going. That will push heat north (highly simplified, I know).

8
The politics / Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« on: August 22, 2019, 08:43:47 PM »
My friend Florifulgurator brought me back here, to find the same condemnatory blindness I got away from some while ago. Yes, the sins of the US and other western empire builders are manifold and disgusting, things like the second Iraq war, the replacement of Mossadegh by the Shah, the financing of Osama Bin Laden to fight the Soviets, Vietnam, and our manifold sins in Central and South America (the informative video about Central America below is created by an American; I have some personal history in that conflict; Reagan was a monster*). Lumping us all together and blaming each of us for sins we've fought to overcome is unhelpful at best.

For example, why should I hold all current citizens of Austria to blame for Hitler? Should I assume that citizens of the countries mentioned here are all collaborators? Far-right, even racist views go mainstream in Central Europe https://www.apnews.com/3861bc14ddaf46528007919491e7820a
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In many places, the shift to the right has included the rehabilitation of Nazi collaborators, often fighters or groups celebrated as anti-communists or defenders of national liberation. In Hungary and Poland, governments are also eroding the independence of courts and the media, prompting human rights groups to warn that democracy is threatened in parts of a region that threw off Moscow-backed dictatorships in 1989.

Some analysts say Russia is covertly helping extremist groups in order to destabilize Western liberal democracies. While that claim is difficult to prove with concrete evidence, it’s clear that the growth of radical groups has pushed moderate conservative European parties to the right to hold onto votes.

Assuming we support and are to blame for everything that is wrong in the world may be satisfying, since I, for example, can be directly condemned and blamed, but in the larger scheme you are wasting your misdirected energy. My time is better spent working with the majority here in the US to return humanity to my country, and overcome TrumpRepublican's efforts to make hate great again. To do that, we have to get rid of vote cheating, and Putin's Russian support of Trump, McConnell, and Republican nastiness is very much a part of that problem. (McConnell is receiving direct support from Russia in several forms in his local election.)

If you would all simply put Putin and Trump together, along with all Trump's other faves, such as Kim Jong Un, MBS, Al Sisi, Duterte, Erdogan, and other conservative strongmen that he envies because they can jail, torture, and kill their opponents, you would have a better idea of the fix we're in. Those of us who prefer Elizabeth Warren or another progressive, the Squad, Greta Thunberg, and others fighting for real Democracy and equality from all points of the compass, are not helped by these single-minded condemnations.

You can hold your nose all you like, but it sure as hell is not helping action on climate change to alienate everyone who does not subscribe to your wholesale blamefest. In work to make things better, 1%, or even 10%, is not going to be enough.

Blaming those who work towards a better situation because they're not part of the 1% who demand perfection, bothsidism, abdication, and supporting factions and splinters that have no chance of effecting change, makes you "perfect" in your own eyes and those of your buddies, but it also makes you vulnerable to manipulation, which, I think, it the point some of us have tried to make here, and failed.

Here's some good ammo for your "side" - we individuals who did not support this - ever - are not the bad guys here.

9
Permafrost / Re: Toward Improved Discussions of Methane & Climate
« on: June 13, 2019, 09:10:07 AM »
Unexpected surge in methane levels:
https://climatenexus.org/climate-change-news/methane-surge/

"Freedom gas" "molecules of freedom" - ugh!!!

10
Antarctica / Re: What's new in Antarctica ?
« on: June 13, 2019, 09:06:44 AM »
https://mashable.com/article/antarctica-holes-ice-polynya-explained/
Super colossal holes in Antarctic ice demystified by scientists
Mashable's Mark Kaufman covers a good range of materials on environmental subjects (not just Antarctica/cryosphere, though this one is on topic). Warm water creates polynias in June?!!

11
Consequences / Re: Hurricane Season 2019
« on: May 02, 2019, 05:46:30 AM »
See if I can paste this; hah, it worked! Hope it stays ...

12
Antarctica / Re: PIG has calved
« on: April 10, 2019, 04:48:08 AM »
Earth Observatory has a nice animation and summary: The Wide View of a Shrinking Glacier: Retreat at Pine Island. It's longish and presents a range of information.
https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/features/pine-island

13
@ritter
You guys have a fixation on "corporate dems". You're out of date and distorting as well. Dems have been out of power. Nancy Pelosi is a great example of a good 'un. Blaming victims is not helpful. You have no idea what these people would do if they could. You appear to need to blame somebody, and as a result are looking away from the real villains.

This is not completely OT, since y'all are too busy attacking our allies to notice our enemies who do this kind of thing. It's hopefully weird and awful enough to get your attention about what is really going on. I've extracted the whole text, since access to NYTimes is somewhat paywalled (limited # of aticles per month):
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/05/opinion/sex-women-facts-education.html

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America’s Leaders Need Sex Ed: For those who want to regulate women’s bodies, ignorance has been no obstacle.

A few recent news stories have served as reminders that an awful lot of people lack even a basic understanding of the female body. And some of those people get to make and shape our laws.

There was the lawyer in Alabama who tried to justify an extreme anti-abortion bill that he helped draft by arguing that after a man and a woman have sex, “you can take her straight into a clinic and determine an egg and sperm came together.”

That’s not medically possible. Even the most sensitive pregnancy test won’t come back positive until an embryo is implanted in the uterus, which typically happens a week or more after fertilization. So the idea that any woman would be able to get an abortion within two weeks of fertilization — the cutoff under the Alabama bill — is preposterous.

Maybe not everyone learns the mechanics of early pregnancy in ninth-grade biology class. But it’s reasonable to expect that someone trying to legislate what pregnant people can do with their bodies would have a better grasp on the matter. (He might also want to consider the logistics of sending millions of women for in-clinic pregnancy tests immediately after they have sex. But that’s a story for another day.)

Then there was the member of Maine’s House of Representatives who said that giving incarcerated women an adequate supply of menstrual products would make prisons akin to “country clubs.”

Beyond the questions this raises about what he thinks goes on at country clubs, it’s disturbing that an adult male doesn’t seem to know what tampons and pads do. As so many of us are intimately aware, these products are not luxury items, but rather an absolute necessity for anyone who’s menstruating.

The bad news for the rest of us is that these guys are hardly alone in trying to legislate aspects of human bodies that they do not understand.

There was the lawmaker in Idaho who asked at a legislative hearing whether a woman could get a gynecological exam by swallowing a tiny camera. (No more than a dentist can do her job by looking at your feet.)

And the Texas state representative who seemed to think that abortion providers cut into women’s bodies. (That’s a cesarean section.)

And the other Texas lawmaker who said that while getting a rape kit exam, “the woman can get cleaned out” to end her pregnancy. (That’s not what rape kits are for.)

And, of course, this infamous observation from Todd Akin, then a Missouri congressman: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” (Where even to begin?)

And last month President Trump mused about Central American migrants heading to the United States: “Mothers who love their daughters give them massive amounts of birth control pills, because they know their daughters are going to be raped.” (That is ... not how birth control works.)

This is without even getting into politicians’ misguided notions about comprehensive sex education, their insistence that the morning-after pill and intrauterine devices cause abortions and their curious views about birth control in general. (“Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that’s O.K., contraception is O.K. It’s not O.K,” said Rick Santorum, the former Republican senator from Pennsylvania, in 2011. “It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”)

As members of the anti-abortion movement have sought increasingly extreme restrictions on the procedure — and have rolled back access to contraception and other health services — their justifications have become further removed from science and fact. It would be naïve to think that giving every elected official a copy of “Our Bodies, Ourselves” would change that.

But facts do still matter. And it sure wouldn’t hurt for more people in power to learn about the bodies they’re trying to regulate.

Nor would it hurt for supporters of reproductive freedom to remember they’re fighting a war on multiple fronts — and ignorance about women’s bodies is one of them.

14
The rest / Re: How Educated are we as a Forum
« on: April 04, 2019, 08:42:07 PM »
Many of the participants on the scientific side of this forum are well educated amateurs who in some cases exceed the expertise of those with PostDoc education. Neven on the Arctic would be a good example.

This result, while interesting, will not reflect the collected expertise here.

[You need only look at the political posts, however, to see that intelligent people can go sadly astray when they go outside their field of expertise and start "collecting" biased material on the internet and looking for people to blame, while being unable to distinguish between liberals and neoliberals.]

15
Greenland and Arctic Circle / Re: What's new in Greenland?
« on: April 02, 2019, 09:28:13 PM »
I see a recent related post in "Ice Apocalypse" but since this one mentions Greenland in the title, I'll assume it's OK as a related cross-reference: http://www.rcinet.ca/eye-on-the-arctic/2019/04/01/ice-cliffs-sea-level-rise-study-greenland/
The original for both Antarctica and Greenland slumping research appears to be the same: https://pubs.geoscienceworld.org/gsa/geology/article/569567/ice-cliff-failure-via-retrogressive-slumping

Quote
Scientists have found that tall ice cliffs in Greenland are slumping — and this may eventually lead to a more rapid rise in sea levels.

The study, published this month in the journal Geology, suggests ice on glacial cliffs in Greenland and Antarctica are acting like soil and rock by slumping — which refers to when weakened sediment breaks apart from land and slides down a slope.

“It’s sort of like a human slumping down in an easy [recliner] chair,” said Richard Alley, one of the authors of the paper and a professor of geosciences at Pennsylvania State University.

Though most of you know this, Dr. Alley is a reliable source who doesn't tend to exaggerate.

16
Antarctica / Re: Halley base shut down and new crack in Brunt shelf
« on: March 29, 2019, 06:36:44 PM »
Reporting in the New York Times 28 March:
An Iceberg Twice the Size of New York City Is About to Split From Antarctica: Two rifts on the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica are close to creating an iceberg over 560 square miles in size. Scientists say the calving event could happen any day now.
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/03/28/climate/antarctica-brunt-iceberg.html

brief but good graphical presentation ...

I think A68 calved in winter. Is it a thing, that as it gets colder the calving potential continues? If so, for how long? Might be, answer is, nobody really knows, just sayin' ... [ocean temps lag a lot, for example in Boston it's just beginning to warm up a tiny bit, over 3 months later]

18
The politics / Re: The Media: Examples of Good AND Bad Journalism
« on: January 16, 2019, 08:55:21 PM »
@Neven. Why ask for evidence when you consistently refuse to accept it?

I've tried and tried, and you appear to be so wedded to your opinion that you wouldn't accept anything you don't like. Your treatment of Rob Dekker who does provide sources and facts is an example of what happens to people who make the effort.

I expect this from climate deniers, and in that field you are irreproachable. Why not import that objectivity and tolerance to your opinions here?

Your attack language is mild, but it is still attack. Your acceptance of opinions from people making biased assertions, and dismissal of those trying to point to information that corrects this, is the reason so many of us no longer make the effort.

The only thing I am willing to do at this point is to post examples from other resources and parallels that might, just possibly might, get you to investigate your bias and treat the majority of us in the US as fellow humans, not people to be defeated and/or ordered to follow your lead.

What this world needs is people working together to solve problems, not people finding fault with allies who fall short of a demand for purity in a narrow spectrum.

Fact is, I suspect we agree that we need a radical remake into a sharing, caring society that regards waste with abhorrence and is desperately concerned about the way we are trashing our planet at speed. I just don't think you can achieve that by attacking allies who are trying to find practical ways to enlist a broad range of humanity in saving our planet.


Indulging in hatred and bile will not achieve anything except more hatred and bile.

This probably belongs somewhere else, but is a reply to your most recent reply. I don't have the time and energy to keep on trying to find sources that you will respect to show you what is actually happening when you dismiss it all and return to the unappealing opinions of the few, the proud, who are dragging this small posse into hatred and exclusion. I expect that from the fake Christians whose arrogance and victim blaming would disgust their putative leader. I didn't expect it from someone I've always admired and respected, who does amazing work in the cryosphere.

19
The politics / Re: The Media: Examples of Good AND Bad Journalism
« on: January 14, 2019, 10:01:54 PM »
The predominance of a very small cadre of intolerant commenters, with Neven's passive assent if not participation, is counterproductive. He's made the point, which is of some value, that we should go to the cryosphere where knowledge is growing rather than bother with this sump of single-minded self-righteousness. But I cannot help trying to find, from time to time, ways to convey how this posse might ask themselves if they are making things worse. In general, I'm using other's words to avoid being distorted or misunderstood. I'm trying for some cognitive dissonance in the hope of jolting good people from bile-infested attacks to consider working together.

One of the pieces of this is the way that bad people exploit muddy thinking focused on finding fault with people who are not 99% perfect according to some inflexible canon.

Quote
Terror's Advocate: Barbet Schroeder directed this fascinating, appalling documentary portrait, from 2007, of the French attorney Jacques Vergès, who represented such clients as Klaus Barbie and Carlos the Jackal. Vergès discusses his life and work, starting with the discrimination he faced in his youth (his mother was from Vietnam, his father from Réunion) to his first major case .... With probing interviews and intrepid legwork, Schroeder shows how the anti-colonialist movement was secretly hijacked by Nazis and other anti-liberals, and regretfully traces modern terrorism to the tactics of Algerian independence fighters. The story Schroeder unfolds is also his own—that of a generation that had its humanistic sympathies manipulated by unscrupulous people with agendas of horror.[/size]
https://www.newyorker.com/goings-on-about-town/movies/terrors-advocate-2

The point is, whether you are using or being used, be careful not to let your hatreds eat you alive, as you execute the agenda of those who wish to destroy and sow chaos, rather than work together to solve problems.

20
If you can access this, it's a good short summary of what happened with PayGo.
http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/01/paygo-rule-explained-ocasio-cortez-house-democrats-pelosi.html

Posting caricatures of Nancy Pelosi won't work with anyone rational in the US at the moment. She's a good manager. That is not a bad thing. Ocasio-Cortez is working with her, not in opposition. Argument is healthy, and I agree that the optics (and it's just optics) of PayGo are lousy given the liberties Trumpistanians have taken.

I doubt this will transmit across the pond, but it's worth a look. Get a load of the real woman, not the caricature that you've worked so hard to hate.

21
I had promised myself to try and untangle and post a response on behalf of friends and colleagues here, while untangling the mildly offensive and incorrect responses - particularly from Neven - that caused me to leave in August. However, the more I tried to be fair, reasonable, and accurate, the more defiled I felt. So here's a response to ageism and sexism from the NYTimes comment section today, with a tip of the hat to the effective progressive leadership of Nancy Pelosi, affirmed and acclaimed today. The ~15 (vs. 220) who voted against her or "present" were mostly to the center-right of the Democratic party or from Republican districts that demanded a public show of opposition to her. The demonization which seems to have taken strong hold here bears no relationship to the actual woman and her work.

The readership of the NYTimes is to the left of its reporters, who attempt to represent the full range of US citizens, not an easy task in the face of the criminal psychotoddler cowardly greedly bully-in-chief and his enablers. If you think these are not good enough, welcome to the 1% of purity mongers who prefer Republicans to the vast majority of good people here in the US. I have chosen here a few at the top of "Reader Picks":

Quote
silver vibes, Virginia

Unlike the outgoing, enabling and water-carrying Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi will stand up to this president and call him out for any abuse of power or deliberate misinterpretation of the Constitution.

The president is in over his head in any one-on-one encounter with Pelosi and he know it. Pelosi is this president’s and Republicans’ worst nightmare. For the first time in his dysfunctional administration, the president will now be held accountable for his missteps and wrongdoing. Ryan gave him a pass for two years but those days are long gone.

Jessica, Sewanee, TN

I am reassured that we have Nancy Pelosi poised to reclaim her post as Speaker of the House.  She is smart, experienced, and cares about the nation and all of its people.  It is clear that Republicans do not, that they are comfortable with blatant lies, corruption, and boosting the fortunes of the 1%. 
 
William Menke, Swarthmore, PA

As a landscape architect, I worked for a woman owned business (ha - my wife's).  I also am old enough to have witnessed, and supported the inclusion of women in all male bastions such at the Rotary Club.  Such vehemence at the changes, and now, it seems all like so much about nothing.

Kudos to Pelosi for getting where she is, the tough way.  She has her toughest job now.   Wish her the very best.  You go, girl!

Fester, Columbus

And so it begins, Mr. President. Just try threatening or buying the silence of this woman.  Go ahead, make Nancy's day.

Bob Burns, McKenzie River Valley

I've always thought that the greatest modern Speaker of the House was Sam Rayburn. I'm not so sure anymore. Nancy Pelosi is the Republicans' worst nightmare come true.

She will shred the opposition not by combat but by persuasion. She is no firebrand. She is a consummate person of the House and knows how it works.

May God bless and keep her in these trying times. She is the right person for the moment.

Vicki lindner, Denver, CO

I'm a new Pelosi fan! When people say she needs to make room for new younger leaders they never specify exactly who those leaders are or what they should accomplish that Pelosi can't when and if  they take charge. Alexandra Ocasio- Cortez is clearly on the list of charismatic newcomers -- and I applaud her idea for a committee on Climate Change-- but she is by no means as experienced politically as Pelosi was when she got the gavel.  Right now, in the age of Trump, we need a time-tested  powerful leader in charge of the house . Pelosi is right to hang on for now.  Plus she is providing a good model of what the first woman President should look like.

arusso, OR

"...long a target of Republicans who have demonized her as a San Francisco liberal..."

My question is,  what is the basis of this demonization? What had Pelosi done or stood for that is so distasteful? So terrible? So harmful? I can think of a dozen male GOP officials who have done things from sleazy to criminal off the top of my head with little effort and Republicans do not seem to care. And no one can clearly articulate to me what is so terrible about a "San Francisco liberal", as if that phrase alone should be explanation enough.  What a world we live in where over a third of the country supports Trump and believes Pelosi is the embodiment of evil.

There are hundreds more. Anywhere she comes up, people who know her and are served by her have nothing but praise. Her biography is admirable.

22
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/13/opinion/nancy-pelosi-midterms-democrats-republicans.html
Who’s Afraid of Nancy Pelosi?
[Paul Krugman is far on the progressive end, like Michelle Goldberg https://www.nytimes.com/column/michelle-goldberg, so you should not dismiss what he has to say out of hand.]

Quote
What, then, does the G.O.P. have to run on? It can hype the supposed menace from illegal immigrants — but that hasn’t been gaining much traction, either. Instead, Republicans’ attack ads have increasingly focused on one of their usual boogeymen — or, rather, a boogeywoman: Nancy Pelosi, the former and possibly future speaker of the House.

So this seems like a good time to remind everyone that Pelosi is by far the greatest speaker of modern times and surely ranks among the most impressive people ever to hold that position. And it’s interesting to ask why she gets so little credit with the news media, and hence with the general public, for her accomplishments.

What has Pelosi achieved?

First, as House minority leader, she played a crucial role in turning back George W. Bush’s attempt to privatize Social Security.

Then she was the key figure, arguably even more crucial than President Barack Obama, in passing the Affordable Care Act, which produced a spectacular fall in the number of uninsured Americans and has proved surprisingly robust even in the face of Trumpian sabotage. She helped enact financial reform, which has turned out to be more vulnerable to being undermined, but still helped stabilize the economy and protected many Americans from fraud.

Pelosi also helped pass the Obama stimulus plan, which economists overwhelmingly agree mitigated job losses from the financial crisis, as well as playing a role in laying the foundation for a green energy revolution.

It’s quite a record. Oh, and whenever you hear Republicans claim that Pelosi is some kind of wild-eyed leftist, ask yourself, what’s so radical about protecting retirement income, expanding health care and reining in runaway bankers?


It’s probably also worth noting that Pelosi has been untouched by allegations of personal scandal, which is amazing given the right’s ability to manufacture such allegations out of thin air.

So how does Pelosi stack up against the four Republicans who have held the speaker’s position since the G.O.P. took control of the House in 1994?

Newt Gingrich was a blowhard who shut down the government in a failed attempt to blackmail Bill Clinton into cutting Medicare, then led the impeachment of Clinton over an affair even as he himself was cheating on his wife.

Dennis Hastert, we now know, had a history of molesting teenage boys. Personal behavior aside, the “Hastert rule,” under which Republicans could support only legislation approved by a majority of their own party, empowered extremists and made America less governable.

John Boehner didn’t do much except oppose everything Obama proposed, including measures that were crucial to dealing with the aftermath of the financial crisis.

And Paul Ryan, the current but departing speaker, is a flimflam man: a fake deficit hawk whose one legislative achievement is a budget-busting tax cut, a fake policy wonk whose budget proposals were always obvious smoke and mirrors, pretending to address the budget deficit but actually just redistributing income from the poor to the rich. In the final act of his political career he has also shown himself to be a coward, utterly unwilling to stand up to Trump’s malfeasance.

Looking at modern House speakers, then, Pelosi stands out as a giant among midgets. But you’d never know that from her media coverage.

While in office, Hastert was generally portrayed as a stolid embodiment of middle-American values. Ryan was for years the recipient of fawning media coverage, which lauded him as the ultimate serious, honest conservative long after his phoniness was obvious to anyone who paid attention. But Pelosi is typically referred to as “divisive.” Why?

I mean, it’s true that she’s a political partisan — but no more so than any of the Republicans who preceded and followed her. Her policy stances are far less at odds with public opinion than, say, Ryan’s attempts to privatize Medicare and slash its funding. So what makes her “divisive”? The fact that Republicans keep attacking her? That would happen to any Democrat.

Or maybe it’s just the fact that she’s a woman — a woman who happens to have been far better at her job than any man in recent memory.

Does all this mean that Pelosi should become speaker again if Democrats retake the House? Not necessarily: You can make an argument for a new face despite her extraordinary record.

But her achievements really have been remarkable. It’s a sad commentary on Republicans that they have nothing to run on except demonizing a politician whose track record makes them look pathetic. And it’s a sad commentary on the news media that so much reporting echoes these baseless attacks.


23
The politics / Re: The Trump Presidency (was "Presidential Poll")
« on: August 14, 2018, 04:32:19 PM »
If you must use a poll, try this one. Following them minutely is to miss the forest for the trees:
https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/

https://fivethirtyeight.com/ provides a wide range of thoughtful analysis, and they rank the polls on reliability. Anybody who thinks Trump has a 50% approval rating isn't paying attention to anything they don't want to see or think about.


24
The rest / Re: GOP Losing Ground for the 2018 Mid-Term Election
« on: August 10, 2018, 05:48:21 PM »
For those who think Democrats don't have their eye on the ball, it is encouraging (and true) [garn, can't find the link, and it was a very good summary!] that Democrats are focusing on the issues and letting Trump and the Russian stuff speak for itself.

I repeat: Democrats are focusing on the issues for the constituents. They know they don't need to attack Trump, who is a living breathing poison pill for his party.

and this: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/09/opinion/columnists/left-sanders-ocasio-cortez-primaries.html

25
@Neven:
Quote
Susan, how can it be bothsideism when I argue they are one side (duopoly)?  ;)

I don't know if you intentionally misinterpreted what I wrote, but just in case, I'll try again.

Claiming that any Democrat is the same as almost all Republicans, or as you do, that many Democrats are corrupt, is bothsidism. I'm bored with the red team blue team oversimplification. Democrats are for caring for everyone. Some of them are rich and powerful, and we all compromise with corporations: that's daily life as it is, and unless on goes to extremes one is stuck with it. Some of you - all admiration for you in particular - have made real progress towards going off grid, but we are on computers, for example.

Here's another example: I'm watching a rerun of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez on The View as I write. She is smart (brilliant) and lovely. She will adjust as she moves into the mainstream, just as Elizabeth Warren did, to the realities of real opposition. She will not abandon her principles, but she will realize that there are practical things she can do. Democrats have gone down a bit (my opinion, not enough to offset the value of public representation of real Democracy) in the polls since she became so popular, but to me that makes no nevermind, because we are underrepresented and her values are truly important. The recent attacks on Warren disgust me, but they support my view that trolling and extremism and purity mongering are not helping us form honest conclusions. We need to accept people's differences, and do the best we can.

26
The politics / Re: The Media: Examples of Good AND Bad Journalism
« on: August 08, 2018, 06:26:52 PM »
Alex Jones has, among other things, made the lives of the parents whose young children were gunned down in Sandy Hook a living hell, by encouraging his followers to attack them as "crisis actors". They've had to hide from actual violence. His incitements to violence are not freedom of speech. He's a profit center. If you believe somebody who supports incitements to violence and mayhem based on lies, that's an indication that you are being led by the nose. Here's a more honest assessment:

27
The politics / Re: The Trump Presidency (was "Presidential Poll")
« on: July 22, 2018, 05:51:23 PM »
In a leaked tape, Benjamin Netanyahu boasts about making Trump pull out of the Iran Nuclear Deal. This will not make the evening news:

Actually, it did make the news. You are so ready to condemn Democrats you won't pay attention to what mainstream news reports, unless it's on one of those fringe sources you prefer.

In your defense, a lot of the better mainstream TV news is embargoed for days before it is released in Europe.

28
Antarctica / Re: Rift in Larsen C
« on: July 19, 2018, 06:49:37 PM »
Earth Observatory put out a new article about A68:

Iceberg A-68A has moved a relatively short distance in the year since it calved from the Larsen C Ice Shelf: Iceberg A-68A has moved a relatively short distance in the year since it calved from the Larsen C Ice Shelf/b] https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/92420/one-year-adrift-but-not-far



Quote
A-68A’s sluggishness is not surprising. When it calved, the berg was about the size of Delaware and weighed more than a trillion tons. Dense sea ice in the Weddell Sea has made it harder for currents, tides, and winds to move all of that mass. The iceberg has also become stuck at times when its north end encounters the shallow water near Bawden Ice Rise, an ice-covered rock outcrop.

Still, Iceberg A-68A has seen plenty of motion. Throughout the year, tide cycles have shuffled the berg back and forth like a driver trying to get out of a tight parallel-parking spot. Its north end has been repeatedly smashed against Bawden Ice Rise, fracturing and reshaping its northern edge. Also notice how the southeastern edge appears to have grown in area. This is not part of the original iceberg; it is fast ice that has come fastened to the edge of the berg as it shoves through the ice pack.

A-68A will continue this dance in moonlight, as the darkness of austral winter continues through early August. Thermal images ... an important tool for Adrian Luckman and the UK-based Project MIDAS, which has been monitoring the iceberg and how its calving affects the Larsen C Ice Shelf.

There’s no telling how much longer A-68A will stay “stuck” in the Weddell Sea. The smaller A-68B is a good example of the path taken by many Antarctic bergs, as they are carried by currents out of the Weddell and northward toward South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

29
The politics / Re: The Trump Presidency (was "Presidential Poll")
« on: July 11, 2018, 03:20:05 PM »
@PMT & Wili:

I think P's point was that it is hardly satire. There is no bottom to Trump's provocations. His and his administration's latest two: bullying other countries to advantage infant formula over mother's milk, when research was to be presented showing the latter is generally superior. And pardoning some violent arsonists involved in the leadup to the violent takeover in Oregon by the Bundy's (the father objected to paying 10% for the government services they received).

30
The politics / Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« on: July 08, 2018, 02:52:20 PM »
Seizing on the fact that public and/or legal documents use the word "allegations" as "proof" that the allegations are not true is exactly the kind of specious argument that climate deniers use to exploit honest scientific uncertainty.

But I'm actually here to post this: https://arcdigital.media/how-one-doctors-false-claim-was-used-to-erase-atrocities-in-syria-d76459ffa4e2

Quote
How One Doctor’s False Claim Was Used To Erase Atrocities In Syria

On social media, lies spread faster—and further—than the truth

Claiming to be a cardiologist, Twitter user @Thomas_Binder posted a tweet in the aftermath of the chemical attack in Syria last month accusing medical workers of faking a photo in which victims of the attack were pictured receiving life-saving care. Binder later admitted that the information in his tweet was wrong, but by the time he did so, the false claim had already been retweeted over ten thousand times and used to propagate a smear campaign against the volunteer rescue group known as the White Helmets.

The tweet was never taken down and has since made its way onto other websites and social media platforms, where it is being used as “proof” that the chemical attack was a hoax or a “false flag.” Meanwhile, the correction, which was posted two days later, has barely been noticed, garnering just over 40 retweets since it went up on April 15.

The virality of Binder’s tweet provides important insight into the human factors involved in the diffusion of misinformation (this refers to incorrect information, without assigning intent on the part of those spreading it, unlike “disinformation,” which does imply intentional deception), showing how cognitive biases, ideological motives, social and cultural norms, and characteristics of the misinformation itself interact to fuel a vicious feedback loop. With so many headlines focused on automated accounts (“bots”), online advertisements, and algorithm manipulation, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the problem we are dealing with is, at its core, a human problem.



[Note: RT in this image is "retweet" not Russia Times. There's more in the article, which uses this example to demonstrate how misinformation is spread and validated.]

31
After several months of the torch of public attention, Scott Pruitt has finally melted. Global slime levels rose perceptibly. Good riddance.

His replacement, Wheeler, is worse. Same ideology, lobbyist for coal, buddy with Inhofe, much more presentable, won't tick all the boxes for corruption. Like Pence, he will do more harm than the original.

32
The politics / Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« on: July 05, 2018, 04:20:28 PM »
The novichok denial exhibited here reminds me of climate denial.
We had it already after the Skripal poisoning. No need to repeat it all again.

Martin, should I conclude from your statement that you believe there is no evidence for AGW?

An absolutely classic case of reversing meaning. Since the Novichok is proven beyond any reasonable doubt (which is what Martin Gisser said), denying it is just like denying anthropogenic global warming.

It is easier to destroy than to build. Taking somebody's words and turning them on their heads is easy if you don't mind the dishonesty. There's a lot of it about. It's just like professional trolls, though I am still convinced at least one of them is busy on the Arctic forum. Political and climate-denying dirty tricks know no boundaries.

33
In my lifetime (now 70), especially recent decades, 90+ (32C) degree days have increased considerably in the US where they normally occur. (Semantic problem: previous vs. current norms, both of which include days in 90s (and 100s (38C); now there are more of them.) Wunderground keeps track (recent one doesn't cover stats: https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/Denver-Matches-All-Time-High-105F-Heat-Spreads-East-Weekend), and my local weather covers trends as well.

In Boston and Princeton, we have a week of over 90  starting today (Princeton 5-10F hotter on average), being part of DelMarVa (Delaware/Maryland/Virginia) region, which used to be ocean bottom, is humid hot lowland compared to mid-New Jersey - 30 miles north - childhood home). 3-4 days is normal; a week is not. Nighttime temps are over 70 (21C) for the week; the change in nighttime temps is bigger than daytime ones.

A good friend in Yorkshire notes the ongoing drought and heat there. England is in trouble (and those wildfires near Manchester, though they've occurred before, these are bigger and harder to extinguish.

As I understand it, this year is supposed to be cooler on average after the recent El Nino, but what I'm experiencing feels like we've crossed over into a new normal.

Looking at a map, note the size of the US and variation in regions, both geographically and politically.
Quote
In terms of land mass, the United States and Europe are similar in size—the United States is 9,833,000 square kilometers while Europe is 10,180,000 square kilometers—however, European countries are closer in size to eastern states in America (which are smaller and closer together than western states)

34
The politics / Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« on: June 25, 2018, 10:52:55 PM »
Actually, I came here to post this, but the gang here are so single-minded I couldn't resist remarking on it. Moving on ...

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/06/25/world/middleeast/syria-chemical-attack-douma.html

Quote
We created a virtual crime scene to investigate this bombing. Explore the scene in augmented reality.

On April 7, a chemical bomb was dropped onto the balcony of a multistory building in Douma, a neighborhood near Damascus, Syria. At least 34 people were killed.

The United States and its European allies blamed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and launched airstrikes to punish him.

Syrian officials still deny that bombing took place, and their Russian allies said that the attack was staged.

The investigation uncovered many pieces of evidence that contradict Mr. Assad and his allies. Here are some of the things we found:

35
Nice one: [link removed - see original from Neven above]

Why is Jimmy Dore the fount of all wisdom and the only purveyor of truth? I know some "believe" him and "hate" Rachel Maddow, but that's personal, not objective. There is no fact checking, but there is a clear agenda. The "in-crowd" on this forum are like climate science deniers, dismissing anything they don't like and promoting materials that are not objective.

Mostly, the Jimmy Dore links don't open for me, but this one did, so I watched it and did a brief fact check in my amateur way on one item that caught my attention:
https://www.quora.com/Why-did-President-Obama-appoint-Ajit-Pai-to-the-FCC-when-in-2007-he-promised-that-his-FCC-appointments-would-defend-the-principles-of-a-level-playing-field
https://www.reddit.com/r/NoStupidQuestions/comments/7gkjex/why_on_earth_did_obama_nominate_ajit_pai_to_the/

Blaming victims doesn't cut it. Bernie's "in bed" with these people? Honestly, anyone can say anything on the internet (your witness: me).

If you all want to survive, you have to stop prioritizing your attacks on the good guys, and focus on the bad guys.

36
ASILurker: Pot meet kettle. I suggest you block his posts (you can go to your profile and find this function with a little fiddling), since your comments are an escalation and undermine what you have to say. On the merits, Rob Dekker is less abusive than you are, and more accurate as to reality.
Susan

In recent posts you've defended the White Helmets, perpetuated the myth of Syrian gas attacks, and accused the Russians of exactly the same torture methods that we've documented as having taken place under the watch of America's most recently vetted CIA chief.
Vetted I might add, by so many of the Corporate Democrats you defend so nobly, that she is now the public face of  America's CIA.

Now you defend Rob Dekker and advise the victim to block Rob's vitriolic posts?

Nice multi-person personal attacks, fact free as usual, and oblivious to the vitriol you yourself have evidenced in this comment. You appear to ignore anything anyone posts with content you don't want to believe, except as material for serial insults.

If you believe that, I've got a swamp in Florida to sell you. That's why I only look at your posts when I have the stomach to read them. Your consistent promotion of the Putin propaganda version does not enhance your credibility. You apparently don't read anything I say for content except when you want to promote alternative realities.

37
I lost the stomach to read all through all that, but honestly, the Guardian is a warmongering nasty? Hannity is OK?

Just so you know, Trump has a lovefest with Hannity on his TV every night, and the two of them talk regularly.



[Links below won't work; you can find them and others by searching: "trump's talks to Hannity" for a variety of reports.]

Quote
About 770,000 results (0.68 seconds)
Search Results
Trump talks to Hannity on the phone nearly every night to 'decompress ...
www.nydailynews.com/.../trump-talks-hannity-phone-night-report-article-1.3990081

May 15, 2018 - Fox News host Sean Hannity calls the White House switchboard nearly every night after his show to speak to President Trump, according to a ...
Donald Trump and Sean Hannity's Late Night Calls - NYMag
nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/.../sean-hannity-donald-trump-late-night-calls.ht...

May 13, 2018 - Donald Trump and Sean Hannity like to talk before bedtime. Here's a look at life inside the bunker of Fox News' resident Trumplegänger.
Trump reportedly talks to Sean Hannity most nights before bed ...
www.businessinsider.com/trump-sean-hannity-talk-before-bed-2018-5

May 14, 2018 - President Donald Trump and Fox News host Sean Hannity apparently talk on the phone every night, according to a report from New York ...
Report: President Trump and Sean Hannity talk nearly every weeknight
https://www.usatoday.com/story/...trump...hannity...every-weeknight.../607595002/

I get that some of you hate Rachel Maddow - yes, I said hate, because the rejection of facts and bias are visceral rather than logical. She has her "beat" and her research team and work are as good as it gets. The last few days she's been focusing on the children separated at the border, and I've often heard her on a range of topics. MSNBC is in no way like Fox. Fox is largely fact-free and presents opinion from the right. MSNBC is a serious news organization that fills a hole in reporting on the more progressive end of the scale. They are not warmongers; that is a ridiculous assertion, not based on evidence. It is tempting to think that many people don't like a woman who presents more like a man than a woman, direct and "unfeminine".

38
The rest / Re: 'Deep State' Fact or Fiction
« on: June 21, 2018, 05:13:42 PM »
@FishOoW: It's hopeless, they're determined to blame the better people who are handicapped by not having a voice in any of the branches of government. They think it's just dandy to blame those who are out of power, while ignoring the actual movers of evil you so aptly summarize. They appear not to wish to comprehend that kneecapping the opposition enables those in power. The "insiders" to this point of view on this forum are intransigeant, attacking Democrats and turning a blind eye to outright evil.

Trump, the Kochs, and hardliners who would not mind killing and deporting "those people" are happy to have them pinching from the left. They have no scruples; their goal is to win, and their allies on the left are doing a very good job of helping them. Evidence be damned; they don't want to hear it and there are plenty of resources on the world wide web to flesh out the fantasy that perfection is achievable and Trumpistan acceptable as a means to get their heroic myth. Only perfection will do; let the sky fall!

39
Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2018 melting season
« on: June 18, 2018, 05:35:37 PM »
This is an impressive discussion, thank you all.

I hesitate to opine, since I have less scientific skill than almost if not all of you in this field, but this has been niggling in the back of my mind as I've watched the correspondence of world weather events over time with polar and other climate developments.

What has been staggering (in both senses) over the last few years is the lack of winter refreeze at anything like "normal" levels (whatever timeframe you use, each year has been less).

When looking at what happens over the summer period, it seems to me the lack of a solid winter base over much of the ice affects everything else.

As a human, I would be greatly comforted if we could have just one winter that refreezes in a way that doesn't look like a state change has occurred in the last few years.

40
Antarctica / Re: 3 trillion tons of Antarctic ice lost since 1992
« on: June 15, 2018, 08:46:51 PM »
Does anybody know more about the background to this Guardian video?

https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2018/jun/14/timelapse-shows-antarctic-ice-shelf-collapse-after-battering-from-waves-video

I did check the reference included and found a bit more:

http://www.antarctica.gov.au/ - specifically:
http://www.antarctica.gov.au/news/2018/ocean-waves-following-sea-ice-loss-trigger-antarctic-ice-shelf-collapse

I checked the reference at the end, which included the citation, The conversion and the NSIDC.

41
Glaciers / Re: Andes Glaciers
« on: June 15, 2018, 08:35:57 PM »
Well, heck, somehow human overpopulation has to be killed off. Better flood than war, pestilence, or starvation. When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn...

good question, the answer is never before extinction. how comes i see it that way, because of history while extinction in the past was local, tribes, kingdoms etc. and now that we're globalised it will perhaps be global but at least more widely spread so to say ;)

however, thinking about things like that i know exactly why i'm a huge fan of science fiction or space exploration, it's the only chance we have, latest once the red giant will swallow us in about 4 billion years LOL

Trouble is the environmental and financial cost of going to Mars (or anywhere else) is astronomical and impractical, while the cost of fixing things here is only unaffordable because a staggering fraction of earth's apex predators haven't learned how to think reflect, and act as a community for mutual benefit.

42
The politics / Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« on: June 13, 2018, 06:30:45 PM »
Web of elite Russians met with NRA execs during 2016 campaign

Quote
Several prominent Russians, some in President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle or high in the Russian Orthodox Church, now have been identified as having contact with National Rifle Association officials during the 2016 U.S. election campaign, according to photographs and an NRA source.

The contacts have emerged amid a deepening Justice Department investigation into whether Russian banker and lifetime NRA member Alexander Torshin illegally channeled money through the gun rights group to add financial firepower to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential bid.

Other influential Russians who met with NRA representatives during the campaign include Dmitry Rogozin, who until last month served as a deputy prime minister overseeing Russia’s defense industry, and Sergei Rudov, head of one of Russia’s largest philanthropies, the St. Basil the Great Charitable Foundation. The foundation was launched by an ultra-nationalist ally of Russian President Putin.

an NRA delegation met with Rogozin and Rudov during a trip to Russia in December 2015.

Even as the contacts took place, Kremlin cyber operatives were secretly hacking top Democrats’ emails and barraging Americans’ social media accounts with fake news stories aimed at damaging the image of Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton and boosting the prospects of Republican Donald Trump.

The NRA, Trump’s biggest financial backer, spent more than $30 million to boost his upstart candidacy

Torshin has drawn focus in part because he was implicated in a years-long investigation by Spanish authorities into money-laundering by the Russian mob.
https://www.mcclatchydc.com/latest-news/article212756749.html

43
The rest / Re: 'Deep State' Fact or Fiction
« on: June 11, 2018, 10:30:43 PM »
Here's John Oliver on the Deep State. As Oliver neatly explains, it's a Fox/Trump talking point in current news. [Yes, I know, US has done a lot of dubious and more than dubious things like installing the Shah of Iran in place of democratically elected Mossadegh on behalf of BP at the behest of the UK, more than half a century ago, and starting a war that destabilized the Middle East worse under Bush II. The list of my country's crimes is endless. Sadly, power and wealth are infinitely corrupting.]



And today, the Supreme Court ruled that voter suppression is just fine and dandy in Ohio. Now that's what I'd call corrupt. But we knew that: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/04/17/the-conservative-pipeline-to-the-supreme-court The Conservative Pipeline to the Supreme Court: With the Federalist Society, Leonard Leo has reared a generation of originalist élites. The selection of Neil Gorsuch is just his latest achievement

44
Policy and solutions / Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« on: June 11, 2018, 05:02:54 PM »
Anybody who thought Musk was OK (though, like most humans he's a mixed bag) should take a gander at this horror:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jun/10/a-great-item-to-have-flamethrowers-sell-like-hot-cakes-at-elon-musk-sale

Quote
'A great item to have': flamethrowers sell like hot cakes at Elon Musk sale

The tech billionaire urges buyers to act responsibly as dozens queue up to get their hands on the $500 weapons

Many planned to resell the flamethrowers, which are already fetching more than $2,000 on eBay. “Anything Elon Musk does is a collector’s item,” said Alex Shame, 52, an engineer.

Tudor Melville, 62, who owns an electrical company, drove his Tesla from Arizona to collect 10 flamethrowers, nine of which he plans to sell.

Children probably should not use them, he said. “Well, as long as they point in the air, it’s fine.” He added: “My family thinks I’m nuts.”

Some misuse is inevitable, said buyers. “No doubt there’ll be some bad eggs out there who do something stupid,” said Carrillo.

Tabula, the fire-loving entrepreneur, said he had “a bad feeling” about abuses. That might explain, he said, why the Boring Company told customers to not open the boxes “until we were way off the premises”.

My personal pet peeve (along with city buildings heavily lit up all night) is leaf blowers. If it's noisy and burns lots of fossil fuels and stinks, your neighbors love it (and their underpaid yard laborers too). Overgrown kids with dangerous toys, who don't care ... yuck!

45
The politics / Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« on: June 09, 2018, 02:56:53 PM »
There's a lovely little facility that allows one to ignore commenters. It helps keep me sane and makes the trolling more obvious and easier to count. I mostly agree with the analysis that says we need to radically review our acceptance of the way we lead our day-to-day lives if we are going to survive. But but but ... how? Spewing hatred is certainly not an improvement by any definition.

Meanwhile, I came across this pithy summary which explains why hating on the people who are trying to make progress in difficult circumstances leads to success of the worst enemies.

The right looks for converts, the left looks for traitors.

Sound like a solution, a winning strategy? I didn't think so.

(I've lost the source, sorry.)

46
The politics / Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« on: June 08, 2018, 06:48:20 PM »
ASILurker: 9 posts yesterday and 4 today, so far. Nothing is going to overcome his or her preference for blaming the US and its allies (and we are not blameless) and exonerating Russia etc.

That said, in order to interrupt the stream of biased assertion, which IMHO has crossed the line into trolling, here are some recent facts about Russian interference in international affairs:

Quote
What advice would Mr. Putin have offered his American counterpart, the man whom Mr. Putin tried to help elect, according to the American intelligence community?

Mr. Putin’s objectives are plain: to restore Russia to global greatness at the expense of the United States and to divide Europe by weakening NATO and the European Union. In Mr. Putin’s zero-sum calculus, when the United States and Europe founder, Russia benefits. The Russian leader knows that America’s global power rests not only on our military and economic might but also on our unrivaled network of alliances from Europe to Asia. For some seven decades, our alliances have ensured that America’s strength and influence are magnified. Accordingly, Mr. Putin seeks to drive wedges between the United States and its closest partners, to strain and ultimately rupture its alliances.

If Mr. Putin were calling the shots, he would ensure that America’s reliability is doubted, its commitments broken, its values debased and its image tarnished. He would advise the new president to take a series of steps to advance those aims

And on the World Cup:

Quote
In the spring of 2010, Christopher Steele, a former British spy with a shock of graying hair and a quiet, understated manner, received some alarming news: Vladimir Putin, a lifelong ice hockey fan, had taken a sudden interest in soccer.

.... In 2010, Mr. Steele, regarded among those who knew him as a serious and levelheaded MI6 officer, had only recently retired and opened his private intelligence firm in London. He might have reasonably expected to be embarking on an uneventful, if lucrative, second career. But the story of what happened next would profoundly affect his and countless others’ lives, foreshadowing the Trump investigation and the shadowy role Russia plays in the modern world.
....
Mr. Steele ... expertise in Russia ... undercover in Moscow, and he maintained extensive contacts in Russian government and business circles. ... He was no stranger to Russia’s playbook. When it came to pursuing national objectives, the country had few if any compunctions about employing whatever means — collusive, corrupting, scandalous — might be necessary. And on its face, it was clear the Russian bid was going to need a lot of help.
....
Mr. Steele collected a growing pile of intelligence suggesting that Russian government officials and oligarchs close to Mr. Putin had been enlisted to push the effort, cutting shadowy gas deals with other countries in exchange for votes, offering expensive gifts of art to FIFA voters and even dispatching Roman Abramovich, the billionaire who owns the London-based Chelsea Football Club, to South Africa to pressure Sepp Blatter, FIFA’s president.
....
the FBI’s Eurasian Organized Crime squad, had been looking for opportunities to chase down conspiracies emanating from Russia. After breaking the back of the Russian mob in New York, the squad had set its sights on border-crossing financial crimes involving oligarchs and mafia kingpins. Mr. Steele’s intelligence about Russian attempts to corrupt FIFA seemed to check all the boxes.
....
a convincing case that the beautiful game had become little more than a source of vast profits for an international organized crime syndicate.
....
[since 2015] more than two dozen people and entities have been convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering in the case, which continues.

The Department of Justice managed to do something that few if any of the sport’s  billions of fans had ever believed possible: FIFA, nested high above Zurich and, its officials thought, beyond any kind of regulation or government interference, had finally been held accountable.

The investigation also forged a strong bond of trust between Mr. Steele and American law enforcement

Of course, Mr. Putin has his strongest ally now installed as our head of state, and some of you guys are eager to undermine Trump's opponents, those of us who retain some vestige of concern for the population at large and the future of planet earth under a democratic system not run by the kleptocracy, with freedom of information and restraints on suppressing opposition like that growing in Turkey, Egypt, and parts even of Europe, in the name of racism and property.

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Remember Hitler and Stalin.

47
Antarctica / Re: What's new in Antarctica ?
« on: June 06, 2018, 04:44:56 AM »
from Earth Observatory, 6 June 2018: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=92238&src=eoa-iotd
End of the Journey for Iceberg B-15Z?



Quote
When astronauts aboard the International Space Station shot this photograph on May 22, 2018, B-15Z measured 10 nautical miles long and 5 nautical miles wide. That’s still well within the trackable size. But the iceberg may not be tracked much longer if it splinters into smaller pieces. A large fracture is visible along the center of the berg, and smaller pieces are splintering off from the edges.



[Note: The original presents more information in a different order.]

48
The rest / Re: The Dems blow the election again
« on: May 25, 2018, 11:30:00 PM »
On the other hand, I received this from Elizabeth Warren earlier today. Given what we have, I think it's a good effort:

Quote
Almost 20 years ago – early in the fall term of 1999 – I’d been covering an especially tough topic in my bankruptcy class.

You know that deer-in-the-headlights look on a CEO’s face when they can’t answer a question in a Senate hearing? That was my whole room of students that day.

A few students had looked a little shaken when they left class, so I wasn’t surprised when one of them stopped by my office later in the day. “Hi, I’m Katie Porter. You were really hard on me today.” I thought she was about to start complaining about how tough the work was, but she didn’t pause a beat. Instead, she said, “and I just wanted to come by to say please keep it up. I want to learn this, so don’t let up on me.”

I didn’t let up –- and neither did Katie. Katie became an expert in the complex law of bankruptcy, and we worked together for years studying why millions of American families were in so much financial trouble. She became a law professor herself out in California –- and in the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis, California Attorney General Kamala Harris appointed her to a job fighting to hold the big banks accountable and help Californians who lost their homes.

Several months ago, Katie invited me to breakfast. After we caught up on the news about her kids, she told me she wanted to pour everything she had into making a difference for people. Katie is running for Congress in 2018 -- and my friends at Democracy for America are behind her 100%.

I trust Katie to fight for working families. I’m fighting for Katie, along with DFA, and I hope you will, too. ...

Katie lives in Orange County, California –- in a district that Hillary Clinton won by five points last November. The Republican Congresswoman who holds that seat has voted with Donald Trump 98.7% of the time -– including votes to repeal health care for millions of Americans, defund Planned Parenthood, and gut the rules on Wall Street.

Sending Katie to Congress in this winnable district would put us one seat closer to taking back the House in 2018. And Katie will give us another powerful voice in Washington who will stand up to the big banks and powerful corporations and fight for women, students, seniors, immigrants, and working people in her district and all across this country.

I’ve seen Katie’s commitment and grit up close and personal. I’ve seen her determination to tell the story of a rigged game. And I’ve seen her put it all on the line to fight for what she believes in.

Katie has been my partner in these fights for years -- and she’ll make a terrific partner in Congress.

It was a donation ask, but things like this give me hope ... Mind you, I am ignoring all requests from the main party. DFA (Democracy for America) is one of the good guys.

49
The rest / Re: The Dems blow the election again
« on: May 24, 2018, 08:28:04 PM »

50
The politics / Re: Empire - America and the future
« on: May 21, 2018, 05:36:51 PM »
I am tired of spending my time and energy here trying to get you all to stop making me and other people of good will your dartboard. You are spending real time and energy not solving problems in the real world. I am sick and tired of Bernie and his purity monster and encouragement of discord. It's not solving things, it gave us Trump.

We are all human, and if I knew more about you, I probably could find things you do to nit and pick about. But I'm more interested in getting people of good will to work with each other to solve problems, and that involves being tolerant and accepting differences.

It involves listening (or reading). It means working in the world you inhabit, not the one you would force on people if you could.

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