Showing posts from December 21, 2017

Today's Trumpery

[Welcome to the monkey house. A daily pastiche of Trumpisms and responses thereto. *RON*]

First by For-Profit College, Now 'Screwed' by DeVos as Trump's DOE Rolls Back Debt Relief for Defrauded Students, Common Dreams [After Congress just passed a $1.5 trillion tax giveaway to the rich, she's concerned Americans' tax dollars will go towards helping defrauded students recoup their money. ]

Pruitt’s Plan to Debate Climate Science Paused as Science Confirms Human Link to Extreme Weather, DeSmog Blog

Court orders Trump administration to give immigrant teens abortion access, Reuters

What Would Happen if Sanders Ran for President in 2020? Naked Capitalism [Interesting piece - be careful what you wish for!]

Donald Trump's Immigration Policy Is Its Own Form of Ethnic Cleansing, AlterNet

The Yemenis trapped between war and US extreme vetting, Al Jazeera

Mercury from industrialized nations is polluting the Arctic – here’s how it gets there

Click here to view the original article.

[It's probably an established term, but this article uses a funny turn of phrase, "artisanal gold mining." What they really mean are minuscule efforts at mining gold by hand by many, many Third World poor people. See also: Quicksilver and Gold: Mercury Pollution from Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining. *RON*]

Daniel Obrist, The Conversation, 15 December 2017

Scientists have long understood that the Arctic is affected by mercury pollution, but know less about how it happens. Remote, cold and seemingly pristine, why is such an idyllic landscape so contaminated with this highly toxic metal?

I recently returned from a two-year research project in Alaska, where I led field research into this issue alongside fellow scientists from the University of Colorado; the University of Nevada’s Desert Research Institute; the University of Toulouse and the Sorbonne Universityin France; and the Gas Technology Institute in Illinois.

Our work was t…

Think Big Oil’s a Problem? “Big Meat” Emits More Greenhouse Gas Than Most Countries

Click here to view the original article.

[If you must eat meat, eat meat that's locally sourced. The meat and dairy industry now produces more greenhouse gas emissions worldwide than the transportation industry. For a chance to stave off global warming, we need to radically change how we produce and consume meat. *RON*]

Kristin Houser, Futurism, 19 December 2017


The burger you ordered for lunch might actually be a bigger problem for the environment than the gas-powered car you drove to the restaurant.

While the world is combating the problem of “big oil” by transitioning to electric carsand renewable sources of energy, the carbon emissions of “big meat” — the companies producing the lion’s share of the world’s consumable meat — haven’t spurred the same kind of widespread action.

According to a recently published report from GRAIN, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), and Heinrich Böll Foundation, just three meat producers — JBS, Cargill, and Tys…

When corporations come clean on climate effects

Click here to view the original article.
[Shareholders are becoming a powerful force prodding companies to explain what they are doing about climate change and how it will affect them, for better or worse. *RON*]
The Monitor's Editorial Board, Christian Science Monitor, 18 December 2017

Giant corporations often claim to be “green,” pointing to programs they’ve undertaken aimed at being environmentally conscious.

But sometimes these efforts don’t really amount to much. They can be no more than “greenwashing,” a public relations effort that doesn’t represent any fundamental shift in thinking.

But such a change may actually be going on among several of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies, names such as ExxonMobil, Shell, and BP. One of the biggest reasons: pressure from the companies’ shareholders.

Investors are asking corporations to make more transparent the effects climate change will have on their businesses, as well as explain what they are doing to reduce their greenhouse ga…

Green Energy Barometer

Click here to view the original report page.

[These are newly-released highlights of the Canadian results from the world's largest survey of attitudes toward Green energy, the Green Energy Barometer. *RON*]

Most of Canada wants green energy. 84% believe it is important to create a world fully powered by renewable energy, regardless of age, education level or political ideology. Support for renewable energy is especially rooted in: National pride about technology leadership. 78% say they will be proud if Canada invests time and money to become a global leader in green energy. Concern about climate change. 63% believe climate change is a global challenge, making it the second-most pressing global challenge in Canada. Economic benefits. 74% say building and producing more green energy will boost economic growth. A wish for leadership. 72% say the country should either be the world leader or among the most ambitious countries in terms of developing and producing green energy. People in…

How does intelligence become politicized?

Click here to view the original article.

[Interesting piece. The web site went down for a while yesterday, but now it's back. *RON*]

Alexander K. Bollfrass, Political Violence at a Glance, 19 December 2017

Ideally, spies should keep out of politics. Politics should not influence the work of intelligence agencies. That is how it is supposed to work, but even before President Trump assumed office, both his opponents and supporters have complained of violations of the barriers between politics and intelligence.

Since the debates over whether intelligence on Iraqi WMD was manipulated in the run-up to the invasion in 2003, academic researchers have made great progress in understanding how intelligence becomes politicized. They have found that politicization can happen from the top down, when politicians pressure intelligence agencies to produce analysis supportive of their policies. Intelligence officers themselves can also manipulate information for political ends in a bottom-up proces…