Sunday, July 2, 2017

Last Call For Climate Of Mistrust, Con't

It's now safe to say that the position of the Trump regime and that of EPA head Scott Pruitt is is that it is the American federal government's job to openly question the world consensus on climate science, if not to attempt to disprove it entirely.

The Trump administration is debating whether to launch a government-wide effort to question the science of climate change, an effort that critics say is an attempt to undermine the long-established consensus human activity is fueling the Earth’s rising temperatures.

The move, driven by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, has sparked a debate among top Trump administration officials over whether to pursue such a strategy.

A senior White House official, who asked for anonymity because no final decision has been made, said that while Pruitt has expressed interest in the idea, “there are no formal plans within the administration to do anything about it at this time.”

Pruitt first publicly raised the idea of setting up a “red team-blue team” effort to conduct exercises to test the idea that human activity is the main driver of recent climate change in an interview with Breitbart in early June.

“What the American people deserve, I think, is a true, legitimate, peer-reviewed, objective, transparent discussion about CO2,” Pruitt said in an interview with Breitbart’s Joel Pollack.

But officials are discussing whether the initiative would stretch across numerous federal agencies that rely on such science, according to multiple Trump administration officials, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because no formal announcement has been made.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who once described the science behind human-caused climate change as a “contrived phony mess,” also is involved in the effort, two officials said.

At a White House briefing this week, Perry said, “The people who say the science is settled, it’s done — if you don’t believe that you’re a skeptic, a Luddite. I don’t buy that. I don’t think there is — I mean, this is America. Have a conversation. Let’s come out of the shadows of hiding behind your political statements and let’s talk about it. What’s wrong with that? And I’m full well — I can be convinced, but let’s talk about it.”
The idea, according to one senior administration official, is “to get other federal agencies involved in this exercise on the state of climate science” to examine “what we know, where there are holes, and what we actually don’t know.” 

Understand that this will not just be the position of the EPA, but the position of the Trump Energy Department, Trump Education Department, Trump Commerce Department, Trump Labor Department, and all federal agencies.

That's what regimes do, guys.  This one is no different.

Separation Of Trump And Reality

The official, stated position of the Trump regime from Dear Leader himself is that America is a Anti-Muslim Christian fundamentalist theocracy.

President Trump told a group of evangelical Christians late Saturday that his administration will always “support and defend your religious liberty.

“We don’t want to see God forced out of our public square,” he said at a “Celebrate Freedom” concert at the Kennedy Center, according to a reporter traveling with the president. “We want to see prayers before football games if they want to say prayers.”

“No one is going to stop you from practicing your faith or saying what’s in your heart,” he added.Trump also said one of the greatest threats to religious liberty is terrorism, specifically “radical Islamic terrorism.”

“We cannot allow this terrorism and extremism to spread in our country or find sanctuary on our shores or in our cities,” he added.

We love our families, we love our freedom and we love our God,” the president said.

"We" love family, freedom and God.  "Those people" do not.  "Those people" are the enemy and the implied threat here is that Trump will soon deal with them.  "Those people" include the free press as well.

“The fake media tried to stop us from going to the White House, but I’m president and they’re not,” Trump said. “The fact is the press destroyed themselves because they went too far. Instead of being subtle and smart, they used the hatchet and the people saw it right from the beginning."

The dishonest media will not stop us from accomplishing our objectives on behalf of the American people," he said. "Their agenda is not your agenda.”

Actually, forget the theocracy part, we're rapidly becoming an autocracy.  The playbook calls for Trump to start taking legal action, executive action, if not police action or military action against the free press sooner rather than later.  He'll have to as long as they keep reporting the truth of how broken and dishonest he is.

We have a leader who is at rallies naming enemies of the people and of the state.  The state will soon stop naming these enemies and start eliminating them.  History teaches us that.  It's how regimes work kids, and to paraphrase Geoffrey Rush in Pirates of the Caribbean, you'd best start belivin' in regimes, dear reader.

You're in one.

Time Turner, Or Nina Stares Into The Abyss

Having lived in the Cincy area for more than a decade now, I've watched former Ohio state senator Nina Turner go from one of the champions of black liberal values in an increasingly red Midwest state to Bernie Sanders supporter to where she is now as the new head of "progressive" outfit Our Revolution, and in Collier Meyerson's interview with Turner in The Nation this week, unfortunately it seems like both Turner and her advocacy group are now only committed to the total elimination of the Democratic party as it stands today.

CM: How will Our Revolution relate to the DNC, the DCCC, the DSCC, that kind of establishment that so many activists and politicians, including you, have frequently criticized?

NT: I don’t think it is our job nor our obligation to fit in. It’s their job to fit in with us. But the overwhelming majority of registered voters in this country, I think it’s 53 percent or maybe 54 percent, identify as independent. Now, we know independents lean one way or the other but they identify as independent so that means that both political parties need to do some soul searching. I’m certainly willing to sit across the table with almost anybody if we gonna work towards the collective good, but it is not Our Revolution’s job to fit in with them.

CM: And how will Our Revolution relate to progressives within government who didn’t back Bernie, like Sherrod Brown and Tammy Baldwin, if they go on to seek reelection?

NT: If they want Our Revolution’s endorsement they will seek it like everybody else and so they gotta start with the local affiliates, and if the local affiliates say that this is the person that we want to back, then there it is. There it is.

CM: And what about the Democratic Party at large. Do you see Our Revolution working to bring some unity to factions in the party?

NT: No. Not really. I want people to be unified. I would say that the board of directors wants that too, but we’re here for a very specific purpose, and that is to help the everyday Americans in this country who feel left behind. That is what this movement is about, for people to know that the power is absolutely in their hands and we are providing the organizational structure to give the power back to the people.

CM: Will the group be endorsing non-Democrats?

NT: You know what, yes. We are open to it. And for me, I’ve also heard the senator say this lately too: Let’s put the political affiliation to the side. If there is a Republican or a Libertarian or Green Party person that believes in Medicare for all, then that’s our kind of person. If there’s somebody that believes that Citizens United needs to be overturned, that we need the 28th amendment to the Constitution that declares that money, corporate money, is not speech and that corporations should not have more speech than Mrs. Johnson down the street and Mr. Gonzalez around the corner, then that’s our kind of people.

And there we have it.

Look, she's not completely wrong: there are terrible Democrats out there that aren't reliable votes for progressive issues and who will never will be.  They come from places where there really isn't too much difference between being a Democrat and being a Republican.

But the approach she's describing right now, when we have Republicans actively working to undo decades of classical liberalism, civil rights, and voting rights in America? We don't have the luxury of relying on that.  We have to get rid of the GOP now, not embrace them if they have the correct values on her check box, because in the end they'll still support the GOP.

It's not your job to fit in the Democratic establishment, Nina?  Neither is that of the GOP.  Think long and hard about that one.

Sunday Long Read: Love Of The Game

This week's Sunday Long Read is Vanity Fair's cover piece on tennis legend Serena Williams and her rise in 2017 to removing the "arguably" in front of "arguably the greatest tennis player of all time" as she won the Australian Open this year while pregnant.  Her relationship with Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and her appointment to the company's board means she's not only one of the most powerful black women figures in sports, philanthropy and entertainment but potentially in tech as well.  And if anyone's up to that challenge, it's Serena.

Which leads us, on the surface at least, to the seemingly mismatched pairing of 35-year-old Serena Williams and her fiancé, 34-year-old Alexis Ohanian. She is the beyond remarkable tennis player, although all superlatives are pointless. He is in the high cotton of high tech as the co-founder of the Web site Reddit, which has 234 million unique monthly users. They became engaged last December, after first meeting roughly a year and a half earlier, then found out in January that Serena was pregnant. They will be married in the fall after the birth of the baby.

With 23 grand-slam wins on the women’s pro tennis tour spanning nearly three decades—from her first, at 17 years old, in September of 1999, to her latest, at 35, in January of 2017, and the most in the open era—Serena is in the heart of every conversation concerning the best athlete of her time. “If I were a man, then it wouldn’t be any sort of question,” she told me. She may well be right, a society still conditioned to believe that men are better than women in everything except the superfluous.

Alexis, on the other hand, had never seen a tennis match until he met Serena, in May of 2015 in Rome. He knew so little about the game that the photo he excitedly posted on Instagram of her playing her first match in the Italian Open showed her foot faulting.

Serena plays a sport that requires the mental focus of instantaneously letting go of losing points and moving on because there are a lot of excruciating ones no matter how great you are, continual regrouping and re-inventing: dwell on them, you lose confidence; lose confidence and you lose. She is also superbly conditioned, given that a female tennis player may run about three miles in a match without the luxury of coming out of the game because you feel winded or lost too much money gambling with teammates the night before on the charter and would rather mope on the bench.

Alexis’s athletic history amounted to the level of a very gangly defensive tackle for Howard High School in Ellicott City, Maryland, far more interested in science fairs and programming and building Web sites. His skill at tennis is not one of potential; when Serena offered to give him a lesson, he turned it down so he could tell his friends that he once turned down a lesson with Serena Williams.

I really do hope this works out for the both of them.  Serena has long deserved this kind of happiness and has been at the top of her game now since turning 30.  We'll see where the rest of the match takes them.

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