Daily Archives: November 29, 2016

Standing Rock is the civil rights issue of our time – let’s act accordingly | Bill McKibben

Tuesday 29 November 2016 10.20 EST
The US government sent helpers to protect integration efforts in the 1960s. Why not do more to protect the Dakota Pipeline protesters today?
‘We’re seeing a scene as explosive as the Freedom Rides or the bus boycotts play out in real time on the high plains of the Dakotas.’ Photograph: Stephanie Keith/Reuters @billmckibben

Tuesday 29 November 2016 10.20 EST

When John Doar died in 2014, Barack Obama, who’d already awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, called him “one of America’s bravest lawyers”. Without his courage and perseverance, the president said, “Michelle and I might not be where we are today”.

Doar was the federal lawyer sent south by the Kennedy and Johnson justice departments to keep an eye on the explosive centers of the civil rights movement. Those White Houses didn’t do enough – but at least they kept watch on things. Doar escorted James Meredith to classes at the University of Mississippi, and helped calm crowds at the murder of Medgar Evers; he rescued activists from mobs during the Freedom Rides. A figure of history, in other words.

But history is just news from a while ago. Right now, we’re seeing a scene as explosive as the Freedom Rides or the bus boycotts play out in real time on the high plains of the Dakotas. And it’s a scene that desperately needs some modern-day John Doars to keep it from getting any worse.

Representatives of more 200 Indian nations have gathered at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in an effort to prevent construction of an oil pipeline that threatens the tribe’s water supply, not to mention the planet’s climate. It’s a remarkable encampment, perhaps the greatest show of indigenous unity in the continent’s history. If Trump Tower represents all that’s dark and greedy in America right now, Standing Rock is by contrast the moral center of the nation.

But the peaceful protests have been met with repression that closely resembles the work of Bull Connor, as the pipeline company’s hired guards began by using dogs, and the local sheriff escalated from pepper spray to using water guns in freezing weather, “sonic cannons” and rubber bullets.

Clearly the authorities are attempting, a la Birmingham or Selma, to goad nonviolent protesters into some kind of reaction that will justify more repression. They’ve used every trick in the book, including arresting reporters and shutting down camera drones to make sure they’re operating in the dark.

…(read more).

In post-election media, colorful thread develops on science—mainly climate science

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Donald Trump and Mike Pence shake hands at the Republican National Convention in July. Researchers and media organizations are trying to understand the science and climate implications of a Trump administration. Credit: ABC/Ida Mae Astute, CC BY-ND 2.0

Is Donald Trump “the first anti-science president we have ever had”?
Steven T. Corneliussen
18 November 2016
PREVIOUS POST SCIENCE AND THE MEDIANEXT POST
Until autumn, the US presidential campaigns and their press coverage attended only sparsely to science issues. Things picked up after Labor Day, but even during the televised debates, little was asked or said. Then Donald Trump won. A trickle of media coverage ensued about science implications—but was engulfed by a tsunami of reporting and commentary on climate implications, much of it conspicuously confounded, dismayed, or outright horrified.

(read more)

Chief of Staff Confirms Climate Denial Will Be Official Policy of the Trump Administration

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Climate Nexus Nov. 29, 2016 08:53AM EST

Incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus pushed back on the suggestion that Donald Trump is “softening” his stance on climate, saying in an interview with Fox News Sunday that the president-elect’s default position on climate change is that “most of it is a bunch of bunk.”

Meanwhile, Kathleen Hartnett White, senior fellow with Koch-connected Texas Public Policy Foundation and a rumored pick for an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or Interior Department cabinet position, met with the president-elect on Monday. White strongly opposes climate regulations, was once called “an apologist for polluters” during her stint as chair and commissioner of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and has claimed the coal industry abolished slavery in the British empire.

Military experts also told ClimateWire they worry that the president-elect will downplay climate change as a national security threat. The appointment of Fox News analyst K.T. McFarland as deputy national security adviser probably won’t assuage these fears: McFarland denies the climate-security link and claimed Obama’s attendance at the Paris agreement talks last year gave “encouragement” to terrorists.

…(read more).

What We KNOW About Climate Change – Kerry Emanuel

Historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz on Thanksgiving: “It Has Never Been About Honoring Native Americans”

Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say – The Washington Post

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in an interview with RT in 2013, said that he wanted to “break the Anglo-Saxon monopoly on the global information streams.” (YURI KOCHETKOV/AFP/Getty Images)

By Craig Timberg November 24

The flood of “fake news” this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation.

Russia’s increasingly sophisticated propaganda machinery — including thousands of botnets, teams of paid human “trolls,” and networks of websites and social-media accounts — echoed and amplified right-wing sites across the Internet as they portrayed Clinton as a criminal hiding potentially fatal health problems and preparing to hand control of the nation to a shadowy cabal of global financiers. The effort also sought to heighten the appearance of international tensions and promote fear of looming hostilities with nuclear-armed Russia.

Two teams of independent researchers found that the Russians exploited American-made technology platforms to attack U.S. democracy at a particularly vulnerable moment, as an insurgent candidate harnessed a wide range of grievances to claim the White House. The sophistication of the Russian tactics may complicate efforts by Facebook and Google to crack down on “fake news,” as they have vowed to do after widespread complaints about the problem.

…(read more).

Our Flooding World


PeoplePowerTelevision

Published on Aug 7, 2014

University of Washington paleontologist Peter Ward is one of the world’s leading experts on the mass extinction events that delineate the geologic record. His thesis that all the mass extinctions (save the one that divides the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods and killed off the dinosaurs) were brought on by rapid climate change much like what we ourselves have initiated has become established science in the last few years. His 2007 book: Under a Green Sky is about how he unearthed the evidence that changed the scientific paradigm ending the debate on what caused the myriad mass extinctions of eons past and gives powerful insight into our likely fate if we are unable to force necessary changes in time.

The writer of 15 books on popular science, Professor Ward does not confine himself to the ivory tower. Neither does he apparently feel comfortable containing himself in one scientific field. He is also a professor of biology and of earth and space sciences and serves as an adjunct professor of zoology and astronomy. His career has included teaching posts and professional connections with Ohio State University, the NASA Astrobiology Institute, the University of Calgary, McMaster University, and the California Institute of Technology. He was elected as a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences in 1984.

Dr. Ward’s broad scientific background and his work in understanding the mechanisms by which climate change destabilized the biosphere leading to mass extinctions in the past puts him on the cutting edge of what we know about global warming.

In this program, Professor Ward turns our attention to sea-level rise and examines the consequences of varying sea-level rises on civilization. He brings this home as he examines some of the effects it will have here in Seattle. His latest book is The Flooded Earth: Our Future in a World Without Ice Caps.