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Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
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The Trump Administration Is Just Flat-Out Lying About Climate Change


Climate Change
The Trump Administration Is Just Flat-Out Lying About Climate Change
As the president guts environmental regulations, an Interior Department official has been found sneaking misleading and debunked claims in government reports.
By Eric Lutz
March 2, 2020

Donald Trump has insisted that he’s worked “harder” than any of his predecessors on environmental issues, despite the fact that he’s spent the past three years all but personally taking a blowtorch to the world’s glaciers. “The United States under President Trump’s leadership and policies has made the air, water, and environment cleaner,” an administration spokesperson said last year. But the president and his White House have given ample evidence to the contrary, from his withdrawal from the Paris climate accord to his and Steve Mnuchin’s mockery of teen climate activist Greta Thunberg.

In the latest example of the Trump administration’s reckless climate change denialism, a Trump Interior Department staffer has reportedly been sneaking misleading and debunked claims into the agency’s scientific reports to give the impression that “increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is beneficial” and there is a “there is a lack of consensus among scientists that the earth is warming,” according to the New York Times. Known within the administration as “Goks uncertainty language”—in reference to staff to Indur M. Goklany, a staffer in the office of the deputy secretary—the misleading material has been embedded in at least nine significant reports, including “environmental studies and impact statements on major watersheds in the American West that could be used to justify allocating increasingly scarce water to farmers at the expense of wildlife conservation and fisheries,” the Times's Hiroko Tabuchi writes.

In Interior Department emails, she adds, “Goklany pushed misleading interpretations of climate science, saying it ‘may be overestimating the rate of global warming, for whatever reason;’ climate modeling has largely predicted global warming accurately. The final language states inaccurately that some studies have found the earth to be warming, while others have not.” This is, as the Times notes, a big deal; such reports factor heavily into the department’s decision-making on policies impacting land and water. “Highlighting uncertainty is consistent with the biggest attacks on the climate science community,” Jacquelyn Gill, an associate professor of paleoecology and plant ecology at the University of Maine, told the Times. “They’re emphasizing discussions of uncertainty to the point where people feel as though we can’t actually make decisions.”

The embedding of such misleading information is one of many attacks by the Trump administration on science—and comes amid a broader assault on expertise, whether coming from the intelligence community or the press. Trump has spent his first term rolling back environmental regulations, appointing fossil fuel company executives to environmental positions, and fostering a sense of uncertainty about the facts on climate change. Such deception could further erode public trust in the administration, including its scientific assessments that should, in theory, be apolitical. The Trump administration's fraught relationship to science has recently come to the forefront in its disorganized response to the coronavirus, with Trump’s mixed messages and self-serving politics helping create confusion at a moment in which the public is seeking answers.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 2, 2020, 07:21 PM (5 replies)

From: Dr. James Robb...

FB=my sister posted..

Philip Proctor
29 February at 16:42

Better safe than sorry!

From: Dr. James Robb, who believes that it will probably be widespread in the U.S. by mid-March/April.�

Dear Colleagues, as some of you may recall, when I was a professor of pathology at the University of California San Diego, I was one of the first molecular virologists in the world to work on coronaviruses (the 1970s). I was the first to demonstrate the number of genes the virus contained. Since then, I have kept up with the coronavirus field and its multiple clinical transfers into the human population (e.g., SARS, MERS), from different animal sources.

Here is what I have done and the precautions that I take and will take. These are the same precautions I currently use during our influenza seasons, except for the mask and gloves.:

1) NO HANDSHAKING! Use a fist bump, slight bow, elbow bump, etc.

2) Use ONLY your knuckle to touch light switches. elevator buttons, etc.. Lift the gasoline dispenser with a paper towel or use a disposable glove.

3) Open doors with your closed fist or hip - do not grasp the handle with your hand, unless there is no other way to open the door. Especially important on bathroom and post office/commercial doors.

4) Use disinfectant wipes at the stores when they are available, including wiping the handle and child seat in grocery carts.

5) Wash your hands with soap for 10-20 seconds and/or use a greater than 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer whenever you return home from ANY activity that involves locations where other people have been.

6) Keep a bottle of sanitizer available at each of your home's entrances. AND in your car for use after getting gas or touching other contaminated objects when you can't immediately wash your hands.

7) If possible, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. Use your elbow only if you have to. The clothing on your elbow will contain infectious virus that can be passed on for up to a week or more!

What I have stocked in preparation for the pandemic spread to the US:

1) Latex or nitrile latex disposable gloves for use when going shopping, using the gasoline pump, and all other outside activity when you come in contact with contaminated areas.

Note: This virus is spread in large droplets by coughing and sneezing. This means that the air will not infect you! BUT all the surfaces where these droplets land are infectious for about a week on average - everything that is associated with infected people will be contaminated and potentially infectious. The virus is on surfaces and you will not be infected unless your unprotected face is directly coughed or sneezed upon. This virus only has cell receptors for lung cells (it only infects your lungs) The only way for the virus to infect you is through your nose or mouth via your hands or an infected cough or sneeze onto or into your nose or mouth.

2) Stock up now with disposable surgical masks and use them to prevent you from touching your nose and/or mouth (We touch our nose/mouth 90X/day without knowing it!). This is the only way this virus can infect you - it is lung-specific. The mask will not prevent the virus in a direct sneeze from getting into your nose or mouth - it is only to keep you from touching your nose or mouth.

3) Stock up now with hand sanitizers and latex/nitrile gloves (get the appropriate sizes for your family). The hand sanitizers must be alcohol-based and greater than 60% alcohol to be effective.

4) Stock up now with zinc lozenges. These lozenges have been proven to be effective in blocking coronavirus (and most other viruses) from multiplying in your throat and nasopharynx. Use as directed several times each day when you begin to feel ANY "cold-like" symptoms beginning. It is best to lie down and let the lozenge dissolve in the back of your throat and nasopharynx. Cold-Eeze lozenges is one brand available, but there are other brands available.

I, as many others do, hope that this pandemic will be reasonably contained, BUT I personally do not think it will be. Humans have never seen this snake-associated virus before and have no internal defense against it. Tremendous worldwide efforts are being made to understand the molecular and clinical virology of this virus. Unbelievable molecular knowledge about the genomics, structure, and virulence of this virus has already been achieved. BUT, there will be NO drugs or vaccines available this year to protect us or limit the infection within us. Only symptomatic support is available.

I hope these personal thoughts will be helpful during this potentially catastrophic pandemic. You are welcome to share this email. Good luck to all of us! Jim
James Robb, MD FCAP
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 2, 2020, 03:15 PM (6 replies)

Italy reports 50 percent increase in coronavirus cases in just one day

Italy reports 50 percent increase in coronavirus cases in just one day
By Justin Wise - 03/01/20 02:19 PM EST

Italian authorities said Sunday that the country has confirmed 1,694 cases of a potentially-deadly coronavirus, representing a 50-percent increase in the last 24 hours alone.

Officials added that five more people have died from the disease, bringing the total to 34 in the country, according to The Associated Press. Health officials reportedly noted that a marked increase in coronavirus cases was expected because it can take up to two weeks for containment measures to take effect, and because of Italy's sizable elderly population. Giovanni Rezza, director of the infective illness department at the National Health Institute, said that it would take up to 10 more days for the outbreak to become less severe.

The announcement arrived following a week in which U.S. health officials warned that a coronavirus outbreak within the country's border was likely inevitable, and as the Trump administration created a task force designed to combat its spread.


Posted by babylonsister | Sun Mar 1, 2020, 04:31 PM (1 replies)

Afghanistan president rejects Taliban prisoner swap in blow to U.S. deal

That's some negotiating there.


2 hours ago - World
Afghanistan president rejects Taliban prisoner swap in blow to U.S. deal
Jacob Knutson

Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani during a press conference on March 1. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani said on Sunday that he will not release 5,000 Taliban prisoners ahead of peace talks next week, as laid out in a peace agreement that the U.S. signed with the Taliban on Saturday, according to AP.

Why it matters: Ghani’s public disagreement with the contents of the agreement presents the first major hurdle in its implementation, which is crucial to ending America’s longest war.

What they're saying: Ghani said in a news conference that the U.S. could not promise a prisoner swap because it is his government's sovereign right to release and accept prisoners. He said he is not ready to release prisoners before negotiations begin.

“The request has been made by the United States for the release of prisoners and it can be part of the negotiations but it cannot be a precondition,” Ghani said.

The other side: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would not directly address Ghani's comments in an interview on CBS News' "Face the Nation" Sunday, instead saying that the U.S. "will work with all relevant parties to build on confidence, to create confidence-building measures amongst all of the parties, the Afghan government, non-Taliban, and others in the Afghan."

"No one is under any illusion that this will be straightforward," Pompeo said. "We've built an important base where we can begin to bring American soldiers home, reduce the risk of the loss of life of any American in Afghanistan, and hopefully set the conditions so the Afghan people can build out a peaceful resolution to their, now what for them is a 40-year struggle."
Posted by babylonsister | Sun Mar 1, 2020, 04:19 PM (8 replies)

How Trump 'sabotaged' this country's ability to respond to a coronavirus pandemic

How Trump 'sabotaged' this country's ability to respond to a coronavirus pandemic
Dartagnan for Community Contributors Team
Friday February 28, 2020 · 11:49 AM EST

Less than a month ago, the prospect of the deadly coronavirus spreading throughout the country as part of a worldwide pandemic was just a hypothetical proposition. In those heady times, so recent yet seemingly so long ago, important administration officials such as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross let their whims and fancies run free, even suggesting that the COVID-19 epidemic might turn out to be a net positive that would “accelerate the return of jobs to North America." At about the same time, a stupefyingly ignorant Donald Trump preemptively claimed that “we have it under control,” and promised that “it’s going to be just fine.”

Following this week’s blunt warning from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) telling Americans to prepare themselves for a pandemic, the administration’s rose-colored glasses have yet to come off. “We have contained this,” said former television host Larry Kudlow, now director of Trump’s National Economic Council. ”I won’t say ‘airtight,’ but pretty close to airtight.” Earlier this week, Trump accused the media and Democrats of feeding a sense of panic in the financial markets, while also demonstrating that he didn’t even know how to spell “coronavirus” correctly.

Things would only get worse.

During a cringe-inducing press conference on Wednesday, accurately described by a former World Health Organization official as “incoherent,” Trump struggled to correctly count the number of American citizens confirmed to be infected with the virus, just before he summarily punted the entire issue to Vice President Mike Pence. The financial markets that Trump pays such close attention to were not reassured, promptly tanking at the sound of Thursday’s opening bell.

Meanwhile, in the reality-based world, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, stated that “it’s not so much a question of if this will happen in this country anymore, but of when this will happen.” Echoing the CDC’s grim assessment, Messonnier further warned that the public should “prepare for the expectation that this might be bad.”

At this point, faced with such a seemingly contradictory barrage of information, it is probably a good time for Americans to know exactly how ill-prepared the United States finds itself to meet a challenge as daunting as this potential pandemic, all due to the actions of the Trump administration. That lack of preparedness may also explain why the administration has relentlessly downplayed the seriousness of the outbreak: As pointed out in this cogent piece by Frank DiPrima, whatever happens as a result of this nascent pandemic, the Trump administration is going to own it—good, bad, or horrific.

In late January, Laurie Garrett, writing for Foreign Policy (not exactly a left-wing publication) authored a disturbing article, titled “Trump Has Sabotaged America’s Coronavirus Response.” At that time, the virus’s spread was limited to certain parts of China and thus must have seemed rather “exotic” to someone with as limited a comprehension of global geography as Donald Trump. But the article makes the strong case that, thanks entirely to Trump’s own malfeasance in deliberately neutering the response mechanisms put in place by President Obama, our country has never been in a worse position to handle a global pandemic. Garrett’s article vividly illustrates just how serious and consequential Trump’s arbitrary cuts within the federal government—in the guise of “streamlining” functions and cutting so-called “wasteful” budgets—really can be when actual American lives are on the line.


Posted by babylonsister | Sun Mar 1, 2020, 12:35 PM (2 replies)

Joe Conason: How 'Conservatism' Could Kill Us All


How ‘Conservatism’ Could Kill Us All
Joe Conason February 29, 2020

Nothing confirms the human need for strong, honest, and competent government like a looming pandemic. The possibility that thousands, or even millions, could die from a randomly transmitted virus reminds us of our species’ vulnerability — and why society cannot exist without institutions that can protect us from such staggering existential threats.

Only government can impose quarantines and precautions when necessary. Only government can trace contacts, control transportation and monitor communities. Only government can ensure that drugs, medical devices and care will be adequately distributed — and that sufficient resources will be directed toward production of a vaccine as soon as possible, without regard to profit.

At a moment like this, it suddenly becomes clear that every problem — indeed, the most pressing problems — cannot and will not be solved by “the private sector.” If that seems blazingly obvious, please inform the Republicans who constantly tell us they want to “shrink government down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” Facing a potential catastrophe, those old jeers from the right sound utterly mindless.


The politicians who hate government also tend to be remarkably incapable of executing the most important government functions. Obviously, this is true of Trump and his gang, who have left an extraordinary number of posts vacant simply because they don’t understand why it is necessary to fill them. In other instances, their empty-headed disregard for the purposes of government has led to the abolition of indispensable agencies and offices — notably, the National Security Council global health security division.

For the past three years, Trump and the Republicans have busied themselves with attacks on our government’s intelligence capabilities, our health systems, even the health coverage that would enable Americans to cope with an epidemic like coronavirus might become. They railed against “the deep state”; they sabotaged fundamental services; they behaved as if society needs no sentinels or guard posts; and now they pretend to be able to protect us.

If America escapes tragedy this time, it must be taken as a warning: Never entrust the future to these numbskulls again.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Feb 29, 2020, 06:09 PM (3 replies)

Trump's Environmental Rollbacks Are Deeply Unpopular With Swing Voters


5 hours ago
Trump’s Environmental Rollbacks Are Deeply Unpopular With Swing Voters
“He’s supposed to be protecting our country and our world.”
Zoya Teirstein
This piece was originally published in Grist and appears here as part of our Climate Desk Partnership.

It may be hard to tell, but in between jabs at climate science, federal science agencies, and stalwart environmental regulations, President Trump has been trying to position himself as an environmentalist. The president’s efforts to green his image go back as far as 2017, when he told business leaders, and I quote, “I’m a very big person when it comes to the environment.” Do voters agree? New research shows they most certainly do not.

Swing voters in four key states—Florida, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Michigan—are squarely opposed to Trump’s environmental rollbacks. That’s the takeaway from a set of focus groups of dozens of swing voters—defined as those who switched their presidential vote from Democratic to Republican, or vice versa, between 2012 and 2016—run by a non-partisan research groups Engagious and Focus Pointe Global.

Unlike polls, the focus groups don’t reflect the opinions of a representative sample of likely voters. Instead, they give us a glimpse into the minds of voters whose preferences could determine who will sit in the Oval Office come January. The participants were asked to rate their support for Trump’s environmental rollbacks on a scale of 1 to 10 twice: before seeing a list of 17 policies he’s gutted and after. (Those 17 policies were pulled from a comprehensive list of rollbacks compiled by the New York Times.) The groups’ ratings averaged 4.5 before seeing the rollbacks and 3.2 after.

In Florida, a state that’s particularly aware of the consequences of rising temperatures and seas, the average dropped to 2.6 after seeing the rollbacks enumerated. “Before seeing that list of rollbacks, my hand would have been up 100 percent for Trump,” one Florida focus group participant and 2016 Trump supporter said. “After seeing it, my hand was not up. I’m not 100 percent sold on him.” Another participant asked why she supported Trump less after seeing the list of rollbacks, said she didn’t know about half of those rollbacks before seeing them. “To me, it made a difference to actually see them and process it,” she said. Another participant said she didn’t expect or want Trump to roll back those regulations, despite voting for him in 2016. “He’s supposed to be protecting our country and our world,” she said. “He’s supposed to be a world leader.”

Trump’s environmental rollbacks might not be enough to prompt these swing-state voters to choose a Democrat in the voting booth—that first Florida participant who said he’s not 100 percent sold on Trump said he’s still “80 percent sold on Trump just because of a lot of the other things he stands for.” But the focus group results do show that Trump’s rollbacks are supremely unpopular with the people whose presidential votes count the most.

Other research supports the idea that climate change is an important consideration for bipartisan voters. In South Carolina, a state that votes for the Democratic nominee this Saturday, addressing climate change is a top issue. A January poll conducted by Conservation Voters of South Carolina and Audubon Action Fund found that 64 percent of all South Carolinians think climate change is a serious problem. Only 13 percent of folks surveyed for that poll self-identified as liberal, and only 31 percent said they were Democrats. It’s clear that rising temperatures aren’t just an issue for diehard Democrats anymore—other slices of the political spectrum are starting to get in on the climate action.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Feb 29, 2020, 11:55 AM (4 replies)

Trump's DOJ Creates Task Force To Strip Americans Of Citizenship

2/28/20 6:00pm
Trump's DOJ Creates Task Force To Strip Americans Of Citizenship
"Trump is weaponizing the DOJ to make naturalized immigrants look like second-class citizens."—The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights
By Common Dreams

Rights advocates expressed outrage and severe concerns after the U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday it is creating an official task force devoted to "denaturalization"—the process by which the government strips citizenship from foreign-born Americans, or naturalized citizens.

"Of all the dystopian shit—a department of denaturalization at DOJ might take the biscuit," tweeted activist Joel Braunold. "Means immigrant Americans (such as myself) will always have a threat to displace us if we step out of line."

The Justice Department claimed in its announcement that the motivation for the new unit stems from a desire to strip citizenship from terrorists or sex offenders whose citizenship was "illegally procured" by lying about past crimes.

"When a terrorist or sex offender becomes a U.S. citizen under false pretenses, it is an affront to our system—and it is especially offensive to those who fall victim to these criminals," Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt said in a statement.

Officially termed the "The Denaturalization Section," Hunt said the unit "will further the Department's efforts to pursue those who unlawfully obtained citizenship status and ensure that they are held accountable for their fraudulent conduct."

Rep. Chuy Garcia (D-Ill.) expressed dismay over the new policy, tweeting that it evoked historical U.S. mistreatments of ethnic minorities.

"This is a nightmare," said Garcia.



Posted by babylonsister | Sat Feb 29, 2020, 11:16 AM (4 replies)

Trump rallies his base to treat coronavirus as a 'hoax'

Trump rallies his base to treat coronavirus as a ‘hoax’
At a South Carolina rally on the eve of the Democratic primary, the president also sought to manage expectations about the White House’s response to the outbreak.
02/28/2020 08:40 PM EST

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — President Donald Trump on Friday night tried to cast the global outbreak of the coronavirus as a liberal conspiracy intended to undermine his first term, lumping it alongside impeachment and the Mueller investigation.

He blamed the press for acting hysterically about the virus, which has now spread to China, Japan, South Korea, Iran, Italy and the U.S, and he downplayed its dangers, saying against expert opinion it was on par with the flu.

“The Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. They're politicizing it,” he said. “They don't have any clue. They can't even count their votes in Iowa. No, they can't. They can't count their votes. One of my people came up to me and said, ‘Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia.’ That did not work out too well. They could not do it. They tried the impeachment hoax.”

Then Trump called the coronavirus “their new hoax.”

Trump’s comments came as the White House has struggled to adequately respond to and contain the coronavirus’s increasingly sweeping path. At the rally — held here on the eve of the Democratic primary in South Carolina — he sought to manage Americans’ expectations about the White House’s ability to fight it.

By undermining the news reporting on the virus and by trying to hold liberals responsible for a potential public health crisis that has little to do with politics, Trump did what he often does best: He sought to deflect blame at a time when many Americans sought leadership and scientific facts.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Feb 28, 2020, 10:31 PM (28 replies)

How the Horrific 1918 Flu Spread Across America

How the Horrific 1918 Flu Spread Across America
The toll of history’s worst epidemic surpasses all the military deaths in World War I and World War II combined. And it may have begun in the United States
Camp Funston
An emergency hospital at Camp Funston, Kansas, 1918. “Of the 12 men who slept in my squad room, 7 were ill at one time,” a soldier recalled. (New Contributed Photographs Collection / otis historical Archives / National Museum of Health and Medicine)
By John M. Barry
November 2017

Haskell County, Kansas, lies in the southwest corner of the state, near Oklahoma and Colorado. In 1918 sod houses were still common, barely distinguishable from the treeless, dry prairie they were dug out of. It had been cattle country—a now bankrupt ranch once handled 30,000 head—but Haskell farmers also raised hogs, which is one possible clue to the origin of the crisis that would terrorize the world that year. Another clue is that the county sits on a major migratory flyway for 17 bird species, including sand hill cranes and mallards. Scientists today understand that bird influenza viruses, like human influenza viruses, can also infect hogs, and when a bird virus and a human virus infect the same pig cell, their different genes can be shuffled and exchanged like playing cards, resulting in a new, perhaps especially lethal, virus.

We cannot say for certain that that happened in 1918 in Haskell County, but we do know that an influenza outbreak struck in January, an outbreak so severe that, although influenza was not then a “reportable” disease, a local physician named Loring Miner—a large and imposing man, gruff, a player in local politics, who became a doctor before the acceptance of the germ theory of disease but whose intellectual curiosity had kept him abreast of scientific developments—went to the trouble of alerting the U.S. Public Health Service. The report itself no longer exists, but it stands as the first recorded notice anywhere in the world of unusual influenza activity that year. The local newspaper, the Santa Fe Monitor, confirms that something odd was happening around that time: “Mrs. Eva Van Alstine is sick with pneumonia...Ralph Lindeman is still quite sick...Homer Moody has been reported quite sick...Pete Hesser’s three children have pneumonia ...Mrs J.S. Cox is very weak yet...Ralph Mc-Connell has been quite sick this week...Mertin, the young son of Ernest Elliot, is sick with pneumonia,...Most everybody over the country is having lagrippe or pneumonia.”

Several Haskell men who had been exposed to influenza went to Camp Funston, in central Kansas. Days later, on March 4, the first soldier known to have influenza reported ill. The huge Army base was training men for combat in World War I, and within two weeks 1,100 soldiers were admitted to the hospital, with thousands more sick in barracks. Thirty-eight died. Then, infected soldiers likely carried influenza from Funston to other Army camps in the States—24 of 36 large camps had outbreaks—sickening tens of thousands, before carrying the disease overseas. Meanwhile, the disease spread into U.S. civilian communities.

The influenza virus mutates rapidly, changing enough that the human immune system has difficulty recognizing and attacking it even from one season to the next. A pandemic occurs when an entirely new and virulent influenza virus, which the immune system has not previously seen, enters the population and spreads worldwide. Ordinary seasonal influenza viruses normally bind only to cells in the upper respiratory tract—the nose and throat—which is why they transmit easily. The 1918 pandemic virus infected cells in the upper respiratory tract, transmitting easily, but also deep in the lungs, damaging tissue and often leading to viral as well as bacterial pneumonias.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Feb 28, 2020, 09:34 PM (11 replies)
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