Notes and Comment Blog


Sir, you’ve missed the point, sir

Aug 10th, 2019 11:00 am | By

Don is mad again. Really mad. He can’t stop fuming.

“Hollywood, I don’t call them the elites,” Trump complained to reporters at the White House on Friday. “I think the elites are people they go after in many cases, but Hollywood is really terrible. You’re talking about racists? Hollywood is racist.”

Of course he also took it to Twitter.

Liberal Hollywood is Racist at the highest level, and with great Anger and Hate! They like to call themselves “Elite,” but they are not Elite. In fact, it is often the people that they so strongly oppose that are actually the Elite. The movie coming out is made in order……..to inflame and cause chaos. They create their own violence, and then try to blame others. They are the true Racists, and are very bad for our Country!

But, the Daily Beast story explained, he got it wrong.

Though he did not name the movie, Trump was almost certainly referring to The Hunt, an upcoming, blood-soaked satire starring Hilary Swank, Betty Gilpin, Ike Barinholtz, and Emma Roberts, and produced by Jason Blum. The thriller takes place at “the manor,” where wealthy, liberal elites hunt and kill for sport a group of political “deplorables” who’ve been captured as prey. On Tuesday, The Hollywood Reporter published a story revealing that The Hunt features “blue-state characters” selecting their targets based on whether they expressed anti-abortion opinions or uttered the N-word on Twitter.

“‘War is war,’ says one character after shoving a stiletto heel through the eye of a denim-clad hillbilly,” THR reported.

From the sound of it it’s a satire on liberals, not “deplorables.”

The nuance seemed lost on the president, whose annoyance at the picture had been brewing for days. Before his outbursts on Friday, Trump had privately complained in the White House about “the movie” made “by people who hate Trump,” according to an administration official who had heard the president make the comment this week. The official said that at the time, they had no idea what Trump was talking about, but assumed it was about something the president had seen on TV.

Lo and behold…

The Hunt has been extensively covered this week on Fox News and the Fox Business Network, two of the president’s favorite channels and sources of information and advice.

Starting with The Ingraham Angle—hosted by Trump’s close friend Laura Ingraham—on Wednesday evening, the movie has been the focus of at least 21 segments on Fox News and Fox Business Network as of Friday afternoon. (This counts late-night reruns of certain programs.)

The segments have generally portrayed the upcoming movie in an extremely negative light, especially on the president’s favorite opinion shows.

Well. Forget El Paso and Dayton, forget the floods in Kerala, forget the Greenland ice sheet, forget Bristol Bay – let’s all focus on this one movie we haven’t seen and have mistaken the point of which. That seems productive.



But his constitutional right

Aug 10th, 2019 10:37 am | By

Maaaaybe we can begin to see the problem now?

No, of course not, that’s just silly.

Guy walks into a Walmart carrying an assault rifle and wearing body armor. April Fool! In August! 6 days after another guy murdered 20 people in a Walmart with an assault rifle while in body armor. It was a test. That’s all, just a test. What’s everybody so riled up about? He was testing Walmart’s loyalty to the sacred right to carry assault rifles everywhere.

“I wanted to know if that Walmart honoured the second amendment,” the 20-year-old told police after his arrest.

Prosecutors have charged him with making a terrorist threat.

If found guilty, the charge could result in a four-year prison sentence and a fine of $10,000 (£8,300), Greene County prosecutor Dan Patterson said in a statement.

I bet he scared the bejeezus out of everybody in that store.

Prosecutor Dan Patterson said that while residents of Springfield, Missouri, were allowed to carry weapons, “that right does not allow an individual to act in a reckless and criminal manner endangering other citizens.”

Oh really. How, exactly, does that work? If they’re allowed to carry weapons, how are they supposed to know they can’t carry them into Walmart? If they are allowed to carry them into Walmart, how can all the people there avoid terror and panic and shock? What does it mean to be allowed to carry weapons but not allowed to carry weapons? What were you assholes expecting to happen?



Salmon? Who cares?

Aug 10th, 2019 9:50 am | By

CNN reported yesterday:

The Environmental Protection Agency told staff scientists that it was no longer opposing a controversial Alaska mining project that could devastate one of the world’s most valuable wild salmon fisheries just one day after President Trump met with Alaska’s governor, CNN has learned.

It’s not really “could,” from what I’ve been reading. It’s will. It’s there is no way it won’t.

The EPA publicly announced the reversal July 30, but EPA staff sources tell CNN that they were informed of the decision a month earlier, during a hastily arranged video conference after Trump’s meeting with Gov. Mike Dunleavy. The governor, a supporter of the project, emerged from that meeting saying the president assured him that he’s “doing everything he can to work with us on our mining concerns.”

And “everything he can” is unfortunately a lot, because he considers himself a dictator and acts accordingly and it seems that no one can stop him.

Dunleavy met with Trump aboard Air Force One on June 26, as the President’s plane was on the tarmac in Alaska. The President had stopped there on his way to the G20 summit in Japan.

Four EPA sources with knowledge of the decision told CNN that senior agency officials in Washington summoned scientists and other staffers to an internal videoconference on June 27, the day after the Trump-Dunleavy meeting, to inform them of the agency’s reversal. The details of that meeting are not on any official EPA calendar and have not previously been reported.

Those sources said the decision disregards the standard assessment process under the Clean Water Act, cutting scientists out of the process.

So in other words the decision is illegal, but that won’t matter.

The same day Trump and Dunleavy met in June, the EPA publicly announced that it would begin reconsidering whether to withdraw the Clean Water Act restriction on the Pebble Mine. EPA scientists and staff believed that they would then have weeks or months to reassess previous findings and potentially permanently stop the project, according to the sources.

Instead, immediately after Trump met with Dunleavy, EPA officials received an invitation from EPA headquarters to attend the video conference the next day, June 27.
During that video conference, EPA General Counsel Matthew Leopold said that a decision had been made to lift the restriction on the Pebble Mine proposal and that no further consideration of the matter was needed, sources said.

“I was dumbfounded,” an EPA insider said. “We were basically told we weren’t going to examine anything. We were told to get out of the way and just make it happen.”

Even some Republicans think this is outrageous.

Christine Todd Whitman, who served as an Environmental Protection Agency administrator during the George W. Bush administration, said the EPA’s decision to lift the restriction on the mine before the agency’s scientists fully reviewed the matter could violate the Clean Water Act.

“It’s politics trumping policy and good science,” said Whitman, who in 2017 joined two other former EPA administrators who served under Republican presidents in opposing the mine due to its estimated environmental impacts. “If this goes forward now with all the holes and the insufficiencies … there’ll be a lawsuit, no question about that.”

Let’s hope it’s successful.

Remember the IPCC report the other day on threats to the food supply? This is a new one, and one that we could easily avoid by just not doing it.



The big silence

Aug 10th, 2019 9:22 am | By

So there won’t be testimony from Jeffrey Epstein. He hanged himself again, and this time he succeeded.

Following news of his death, his alleged victims condemned his suicide and what they described as a lack of justice for them and other accusers.

“I am extremely mad and hurt thinking he once again thought he was above us and took the easy way out … I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that’s really true,” Jena-Lisa Jones, 30, an alleged victim of Epstein when she was 14 in Florida, said in a statement. “God will have his judgement now.”

Jennifer Araoz, 32, who claimed that Epstein raped her when she was 14, called on authorities to “pursue and prosecute his accomplices and enablers.

“I am angry Jeffrey Epstein won’t have to face his survivors of his abuse in court. We have to live with the scars of his actions for the rest of our lives, while he will never face the consequences of the crimes he committed the pain and trauma he caused so many people,” Araoz said.

Michelle Licata, an alleged Florida victim of Epstein when she was 16, said she didn’t want anyone to die.

“I just wanted him to be held accountable for his actions. Simple as that,” she said.

Law enforcement sources told ABC News the criminal case against Epstein will not end with his death. The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan will continue to evaluate the evidence and hear from his accusers, the sources said.

But he got away with it almost unscathed for 66 years.



Happy happy fun times

Aug 9th, 2019 4:59 pm | By

There’s a feeling that maybe maybe maybe just possibly when you go to visit people injured in a mass shooting you shouldn’t pose for photos grinning broadly and making “yeeeha!” gestures. Maybe.

A backlash is building over a picture posted by Melania Trump on Twitter that showed her and Donald Trump smiling broadly while holding a baby who was orphaned in the mass shooting in El Paso.

On a visit to El Paso this week, the president flashed a thumbs-up when posing with the two-month-old, whose parents Andre and Jordan Anchondo were shot dead last Saturday. When the picture was posted on the first lady’s Twitter account on Thursday, it prompted outrage.

What, because it was crass and tasteless and staggeringly unfeeling? But this is Donald Trump and the woman who is still married to him.

The orphaned child, named Paul, had been brought back to the hospital – reportedly at the request of White House during the visit by the Trumps on Wednesday. The baby’s uncle, standing next to Donald Trump, is reportedly a Trump supporter, as was the deceased father.

The baby was injured, breaking his fingers, in the shooting, after his mother died trying to protect him and her body fell on him. His father had dived to try to shield her as bullets flew.

Image

I’m sure the baby enjoyed the outing very much.

Doctors at the Del Sol medical center in El Paso, where some of the survivors are still being treated, later said the president appeared to “lack empathy” after he boasted during the visit that he drew a larger crowd at a January rally in the city than one held by “crazy” Beto O’Rourke.

Yes, that does seem like an appearance of lacking empathy.



The playground theory of government

Aug 9th, 2019 4:27 pm | By

Oh no, how dare other countries point out that the US has a penchant for violence? Never mind, Trump is on the job, he’ll just “reciprocate” if they say it.

Countries including Uruguay, Venezuela and Japan have issued advisories surrounding travel to the US following multiple mass shootings in the country last weekend that killed 31 people.

When asked about them, according to the Hill, Trump replied: “Well, I can’t imagine that. But if they did that, we’d just reciprocate.”

“We are a very reciprocal nation, with me as the head. When somebody does something negative to us in terms of a country, we do it to them,” he added.

Yes, that always works well.



Guest post: That’s not just stereotypical male behaviour

Aug 9th, 2019 3:44 pm | By

Originally a comment by Bruce Gorton on “Cis lesbians…aren’t always into that”.

I have never encountered a CIS woman who thought she was entitled to sex. I have never read an article by a CIS woman who thought that having a vagina meant that lesbians should be attracted to her, nor have I seen any articles by women claiming that having a vagina means that men should automatically find her attractive.

You know who does think that there is some magical formula which obliges women to have to have sex with them? Douchebags.

Common, garden variety and very male douchebags, who women can’t leave alone with their drink.

It doesn’t matter why someone doesn’t want to date you, it doesn’t matter what you feel about them, if they don’t consent they don’t fucking consent, and trying to pressure them into it? That’s not just stereotypical male behaviour, that’s stereotypical fucking rapist.



Not just the middle

Aug 9th, 2019 11:53 am | By

Kim sent Trump another letter – a very beautiful letter.

It was three pages.

Not only that – it was top to bottom. No seriously, right from top to bottom. He said so. “Beautiful…three page…I mean right from top to bottom.” He made a side to side gesture to illustrate top to bottom, in case we don’t understand what letters are.

Top to bottom! Kim must really love and admire Trump if he sent him a beautiful letter that was top to bottom.



Raids

Aug 9th, 2019 11:24 am | By

About those ICE raids on Wednesday

US immigration officials say they have temporarily released about 300 people who were arrested in a massive raid in Mississippi on Wednesday.

Democrats and rights groups have condemned the arrests as “cruel”.

Nearly 700 workers from seven agricultural processing plants were arrested for allegedly not having proper documentation to be in the US.

Pictures emerged of children crying after being separated from their parents.

The thing about illegal immigration is…it’s not the kind of crime that is powered by greed or malice or aggression…the kind of crime that Trump, for one, commits regularly and without turning a gilded hair. It’s not a real “crime” (as we generally use the word) despite the illegality.

It seems to me it ought to be possible to enforce immigration laws in a humane way as opposed to the cruelest way possible.

Not this way:

Ever since his father was rounded up in the massive immigration work site raids in Mississippi this week, 6-year-old Nery, who is autistic, has refused to eat, according to his older sister.

“He hasn’t eaten anything, he looks at the food and he doesn’t eat,” Stefany, 18, told NBC News on Friday.

Stefany said her father was driving his sister to work Wednesday morning, with his 3-year-old daughter Ingrid in the car. They then saw that the food processing plant in Morton, Mississippi where they both worked was being raided by ICE.

Stefany, a high school senior in Morton, said she was in school when she heard the news.

Her aunt called them crying and told her that immigration authorities had found them hiding in their car, she said.

She said could hear her father telling someone “he has six kids and one with autism.”

“I just heard screaming, people screaming at him that they’re going to take him to jail,” she said. “I was just crying.”

Her father and aunt were detained in front of Ingrid, who was sitting in the backseat of the car, Stefany said. It wasn’t until about two hours later that the little girl was released to another aunt, she said.

Stefany said her little sister now keeps saying, “Daddy. Where is Daddy?”

It’s also interesting that the US news media keep calling them “agricultural processing plants” or “food processing plants.” The BBC called them what they really are:

The raids took place just hours before Mr Trump arrived in the majority Latino city of El Paso to mark a mass shooting which left 22 people dead.

About 600 ICE agents arrived at the chicken processing plants, owned by five different companies, in the towns of Bay Springs, Canton, Carthage, Morton, Pelahatchie and Sebastopol.

Ohhh, chicken processing plants. Those places are hell on earth, and they are also one of the most dangerous workplaces in the country.

We don’t have to be this way.



The requirements struck a balance

Aug 9th, 2019 10:50 am | By

Another sport buckles to the pressure.

Cricket Australia entered the fraught debate about gender identity and sport yesterday, releasing­ separate policies for the inclusion of transgender players in elite and community cricket.

The policy for elite cricket, consistent with the approach taken by the International Cricket Council, requires transgender players to keep their testosterone levels below a prescribed concentration for a 12-month period, sign a statutory declaration committing to their gender identity and to have their cases assessed by an expert panel.

The policy provides a pathway for a transgender woman to one day represent Australia in an Ashes series or World Cup.

That is, the policy provides a pathway for a man who identifies as a woman to displace a woman in an Ashes series or World Cup.

Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts said the requirements struck a balance between letting transgender players participate and preserving the integrity of women’s competitions.

A balance. In other words, women’s competitions have to give up the “women’s” part for the sake of letting transgender players participate as the sex they are physically not. Must balance the two. Can’t just say no, men cannot play on women’s teams because it would be grossly unfair to women who have only just recently even been allowed to have teams. No no, must “balance” the two.

The policy also advises local clubs and competitions to “give consideration” to players who are transitioning during a season. This means that a cricketer could start a summer playing as a male and end the season as a female.

It makes clear that any club or competition that fails to follow the policy could face prosecution.

Too bad, girls and women; sucks to be you.

The twin policy was welcomed by transgender cricketer Erica James, who didn’t play for many years because she felt uncomfortable sharing a field with men. She now plays for the Universities Women’s Cricket Club in Sydney.

“I think the hardest thing is my own fear about what could possibly happen,’’ she told The Australian. “I have to say my experience has been entirely positive.”

Well, that’s the important thing – that this one guy who wants to live as a woman has had a positive experience displacing a woman from the Universities Women’s Cricket Club in Sydney.

Kirsti Miller, a transgender footballer who plays with NSW country club Broken Hill, said allowing­ transgender players into local cricket clubs would ease the isolation felt by gender diverse people. “We lose our families, we lose our jobs, we lose our houses and quite often our only family left is a sporting family,” she said.

And what about women? What about any isolation a woman might feel when she loses her place on a team to a man who identifies as a woman? What about any frustration and despair at the injustice a woman might feel when a man pushes her out of a women’s team? Does that not count at all? Are women that privileged now?



Incite incite incite

Aug 9th, 2019 10:03 am | By
Incite incite incite

Trump retweeted Katie Hopkins twice yesterday.

Capture

He also retweeted someone yelling

Retweet if you see @IlhanMN GETS A PASS By The Media says @TuckerCarlson!

“Media ignores @Ilhan Omar’s Tax Fraud with someone she wasn’t married to! Omar’s Marriage History can’t be verified by local reporters on accusations she married her brother to skip our immigration laws!”

Less than a week after the white supremacist mass murder.



Yes but how big was my crowd?

Aug 9th, 2019 9:38 am | By

During his visit to El Paso Trump babbled to people in a hospital about…

…his crowd size.

And the visit is now a campaign ad featuring grinning Trump and his nightmare thumb.



“Cis lesbians…aren’t always into that”

Aug 9th, 2019 9:21 am | By

Not just any old logic but exciting new trans logic.

Image may contain: 5 people

Particularly stupid is the “What? Like, they won’t date you just because you’re trans?”

No, fool. Not “just because you’re trans”; because you’re male, with a male body. “Cis lesbians” i.e. lesbians “aren’t always into that” because lesbians are into women, with female bodies. Bullying lesbians for being attracted to women is just plain old homophobia.

If Aisha wants to “date” how about Aisha dates other “trans lesbians”?

Also Pheobe’s final panel is rich. “To turn around and hate trans girls just for being trans, and for loving who they love?” Not wanting to “date” i.e. have sex with male bodies is not hatred. It’s a sexual orientation, which is what lesbian and gay are about. It’s desperately homophobic to try to mandate that that doesn’t apply when it comes to trans people.



Aw yeah, vigilante justice, says Barr

Aug 8th, 2019 5:22 pm | By

Interesting. William Barr thinks two old movies that glorify vigilante “justice” aka revenge are emblematic of the human desire for justice.

“I believe a sense of justice is hardwired into human beings,” Barr recalled during an interview with Crime Story podcast host Kary Antholis. “Don’t ask me why, but it is there and it’s satisfying to see justice done.”

Why not ask him why? You’d expect lawyers to be interested, and it’s not a particularly arcane subject. There’s been research into a sense of fairness in chimpanzees, for instance, and I’m sure that’s just one item of many.

But hey, why read up on such things when there are crappy old movies to watch.

Barr elaborated on his theory of justice, recalling the Charles Bronson movie Death Wish and Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry, icons of vigilantism in ’70s filmmaking that spawned movie franchises.

The original 1974 exploitation classic Death Wish tells the story of how a do-gooder Manhattan liberal sees the light after his wife is murdered and his daughter is raped. He becomes a one-man vigilante squad, roaming New York City and executing petty thieves.

Yes, that’s justice all right, killing petty thieves because one woman was murdered and another was raped. We amateurs must be wrong to think it’s a little closer to justice to go after the actual perpetrators as opposed to random people doing more trivial crimes.

Death Wish, yeah,” Barr said. “That gives people a sense of satisfaction when they see it.”

I haven’t seen it, but I’m not getting what’s satisfying about that. It’s unnerving that the US Attorney General is.



Loyalty again

Aug 8th, 2019 4:48 pm | By

Andrew McCabe is suing the Trump administration.

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe has sued the Trump administration for what he calls his “unlawful” termination, arguing that his firing last year was the result of improper political interference by the president.

“It was Trump’s unconstitutional plan and scheme to discredit and remove DOJ and FBI employees who were deemed to be his partisan opponents because they were not politically loyal to him,” the complaint alleges.

The star witness will be Trump’s Twitter account.



Take the cap off, punk

Aug 8th, 2019 12:26 pm | By

The presidential alibi.

The attorney for a Montana man accused of throwing a 13-year-old boy to the ground at a rodeo because the teenager didn’t remove his hat during the national anthem said Wednesday his client believes he was acting on an order from President Donald Trump.

The president’s “rhetoric” contributed to Curt Brockway’s disposition when he grabbed the boy by the throat and slammed him to the ground, fracturing his skull, at the Mineral County fairgrounds Saturday, attorney Lance Jasper told The Missoulian.

That’s the lawyer talking, so who knows how true it is, but it’s certainly plausible.

Brockway, 39, told a sheriff’s deputy that he asked the boy to remove his hat out of respect for the national anthem before the start of the county rodeo, Mineral County Attorney Ellen Donohue wrote in the document describing the attack. The boy cursed at Brockway in response, and the man grabbed him by the throat, “lifted him into the air and slammed the boy into the ground,” Donohue wrote.

If that’s how it happened it seems far more likely that Brockway simply lost his temper when the boy swore at him.

Also, here’s a thought: people could just mind their own business when it comes to things like taking hats off or kneeling or placement of hands when a “national anthem” is sung. In the UK theaters used to play “God Save the Queen” at the end of the performance and everyone was expected to stand. Why? A theater isn’t a church nor is it a government building so why? Just a pretext for feelings of belligerence or self-love? I don’t know. I wish we could stop with all the football-nationalism bullshit.



The four of them dreamt of what a feminist world could look like

Aug 8th, 2019 12:10 pm | By

A radical feminist woman wrote a piece last month about “non-binary” as the new misogyny.

Last summer she lived in a house with three other women.

We spent a lot of time together that year, and there were many late-night conversations about the sexism, misogyny, and male violence we had experienced. We talked about not fitting into what society had expected of women, we stopped shaving together, and we encouraged each other to not be ashamed of our natural bodies. We called rape crisis lines, organized protests, and exposed violent men in our communities. Mitali* shaved her head in a defiant act of rebellion against Indian expectations of beauty. Joy* became empowered to use her voice to speak up for the oppressed. Miriam* started to confront her religious parents and come to terms with her sexuality. The four of us dreamt of what a feminist world could look like and envisioned our lives free from patriarchy and violence.

The asterisks are because the names are all pseudonyms. All three now call themselves non-binary.

2018 article in Teen Vogue outlined the experience of one non-binary woman:

I reject the whole concept of gender. Growing up, I never felt people were wrong when they called me a woman, but it felt like a label imposed on me rather than one that fit. Then, in college, I learned about non-binary identity, and that did fit. Sure, I have likes and dislikes that some might label “feminine” or “masculine,” but I don’t feel any need to label them that way. The gender binary has made me feel pigeonholed, and I don’t want to identify with it.

Feminists have long rejected the concept of gender, defining it as oppressive sex-role stereotyping and maintaining the goal of abolishing the gender caste system. Rather than rejecting gender, the writer in Teen Vogue seems to have bought into it entirely, believing that she must not be a woman simply because she does not fully meet the expectations of womanhood.

I mourn for these women who have disowned their womanhood, choosing to run and hide from the oppression of their gender rather than boldly reject its power over their selfhood. To have so much pain, misogyny, and fear inside of you is to live in a constant state of unsettledness, never feeling safe or comfortable. In our last days together, I tried to show them a feminism that rejects gender rather than embraces its lies — but since I am “female” and they are “not” I could not possibly understand their pain. They said I was hateful.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Women and girls should be able to live in a world free from gender and all forms of patriarchy and male violence. We should be allowed to be women and be complex, creative, and whole. We should not have to reject our biological reality in favor of magical thinking in order to cope with the world in which we live.

The whole piece is like that – eminently reasonable, and not hostile or cruel.

But there’s a punchline.

Update: I’ve been fired from my unrelated job for writing this piece.

I Googled her and it appears to have been a software engineering job she was booted from. Why? Why on earth? Why why why?

There are quite a few comments and the dissenting ones are startlingly venomous. Maybe a bunch of venomous people put their heads together and decided to see if they could get her fired.

Feminist woman fired for writing that women don’t have to claim to be neither women nor men in order to resist the stupid gender norms that keep us subordinate. That’s some headline.



As the planet warms

Aug 8th, 2019 11:23 am | By

There’s the Greenland ice shelf melting, which means much bigger rises in sea level happening much faster; there are the permanently dying forests which will become grasslands; there are the shrinking water tables…

And there is the little matter of the food supply.

As the planet warms, parts of the world face new risks of food and water shortages, expanding deserts, and land degradation, warns a major new report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Those effects are already underway, and some of them could soon become irreversible.

The changing climate has already likely contributed to drier climates in South and East Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East, reducing the food and water supply. In 2015, about 500 million people lived in dry areas that experienced desertification in recent decades as a result of human activities. Those problems are only going to get worse as climate change continues to take its toll.

Last year, the same body issued the alarming finding that we have roughly a dozen years left before the world misses its window for averting runaway global warming. It wouldn’t be enough, the IPCC warned, to cut our fossil fuel dependency; the world will also need to prioritize drawing out carbon from the atmosphere.

But we can’t, because we’re too busy cutting down trees and driving 100 miles to work.

The way we eat, farm, and cut down forests contributes in a major way to the climate problem. Deforestation, agriculture, and other land use are already responsible for 23 percent of the rise in human-caused greenhouse gases, and agriculture is responsible for 44 percent of methane emissions. Those numbers will certainly grow without changes in land management—changes like growing forests and improving soil’s carbon capture with more native plants and crops.

When land is degraded, it becomes less productive, restricting what can be grown and reducing the soil’s ability to absorb carbon. This exacerbates climate change, which in turn worsens land degradation.

Which in turn makes it less productive, restricting what can be grown and reducing the soil’s ability to absorb carbon. This exacerbates climate change, which in turn worsens land degradation, which in turn makes it less productive, restricting what can be grown and reducing the soil’s ability to absorb carbon, which in turn makes it less productive, restricting what can be grown and reducing the soil’s ability to absorb carbon…∞

Updating to add the link to the IPCC press release.



His discomfort with showing empathy in public

Aug 8th, 2019 10:46 am | By

The Times is cold about Trump’s campaign stops in Dayton and El Paso yesterday.

Trump’s schedule was meant to follow the traditional model of apolitical presidential visits with victims, law enforcement officials and hospital workers after calamities like the mass shootings that resulted in 31 deaths in Dayton and El Paso and that created a new sense of national crisis over assault weapons and the rise of white supremacist ideology.

That plan went awry even before Trump, who has acknowledged his discomfort with showing empathy in public, departed Washington. On Tuesday night, he attacked on Twitter the former Democratic congressman from El Paso, Beto O’Rourke, and as he prepared to leave the White House on Wednesday morning, he went after the former Vice President Joe Biden. Both men are running for president and have been particularly harsh in their criticism of Trump after the two shootings, and Trump rose to the bait.

Because he really is that self-absorbed and callous and out of control. His outraged vanity is vastly more important to him than the agony of people mourning the dead in Dayton and El Paso. It takes a truly vile person to weight things that way.

The result was the latest example of Trump’s penchant for inflaming divisions at moments when other presidents have tried to soothe them, and further proof of his staff’s inability to persuade him to follow the norms of presidential behavior.

Even the most obvious, least contentious norms possible. “Sir, you need to pretend you care all day today. All day long. No breaks. No fight-picking interludes. No ragey outbursts – no sir not even on the plane, because people will still be watching. No ragey tweets sir. Sir…”

Trump himself finished the day claiming success. “We had an amazing day,” he told reporters in El Paso. Of his earlier stop in Dayton, he said: “The love, the respect for the office of the presidency — I wish you could have been in there to see it.”

See – that right there. That’s not it. No no no no no. That’s not what you’re there for, SIR. You’re not there to bathe in the attention. It’s not about love for you, jackass. Nobody needed to be there to see it, because it was not the point.

He was pissed off at Sherrod Brown because of a news conference he watched on the way to El Paso.

Brown, who took an otherwise respectful tone toward the president, suggested that some victims at the hospital had privately complained about Trump’s visit and complained that he has used racist and divisive language.

Trump, who believes he has been treated unfairly by Democrats and the news media despite his remarks on Monday condemning white supremacy and other hateful ideology, reacted with fury. As his plane soared toward a restive El Paso, he bellowed at aides that no one was defending him, according to a person briefed on what took place.

Because that’s all that matters, to him. When the world bursts into flames he’ll be bellowing that no one is flattering him.

Although Biden spoke for many Democrats on Wednesday when he said in a speech that Trump has “fanned the flames of white supremacy,” Trump again denied that before he departed from Washington in the morning. But even as he did so, he repeated his past claim of equivalence between extremists on the left and right.

“I am concerned about the rise of any group of hate,” Trump told reporters before leaving the White House. “Any group of hate, I am — whether it’s white supremacy, whether it’s any other kind of supremacy, whether it’s antifa, whether it’s any group of hate, I am very concerned about it.”

On both sides. On both sides.

In his comments to reporters Wednesday morning, Trump repeated his previous attacks on unauthorized immigrants and called Biden, his leading Democratic presidential rival, “a pretty incompetent guy” who has “truly lost his fastball.”

Sir sir sir sir we talked about this. Remember I said you have to pretend to care all day? That means in the morning, too, even before you leave. Yes sir, really.

The president held back from making any further public statements once he arrived in Dayton later in the morning, visiting privately with families and victims of the city’s weekend massacre as well as emergency and medical personnel at Miami Valley Hospital. But even as his spokeswoman said the event was never meant as a photo op, Dan Scavino, the president’s social media director, posted on Twitter pictures from inside the hospital “The President was treated like a Rock Star inside the hospital, which was all caught on video,” he tweeted. “They all loved seeing their great President!”

Woo hoo! Wheeeee! Awesome!

The White House quickly followed up with campaign-style video featuring images of Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, shaking hands with first responders and chatting with smiling hospital workers.

And in Trump’s case doing the thumbs up sign, just to make sure.

Brown said Trump “was received as well as you can expect by the patients.”

“They are hurting,” Brown said. “He was comforting. He and Melania did the right things. It’s his job in part to comfort people. I’m glad he did it.”

But later on Air Force One, Trump soon attacked the senator and the mayor on Twitter. “Their news conference after I left for El Paso was a fraud,” the president wrote. “It bore no resemblance to what took place.”

Scavino added on Twitter: “They are disgraceful politicians, doing nothing but politicizing a mass shooting, at every turn they can.”

But it was political. He put out a manifesto, remember? The shooter did? The manifesto is political. It’s not Brown and Whaley who are politicizing, it was the shooter who did.



Sooo Boring!

Aug 8th, 2019 9:48 am | By

On his way from Dayton to El Paso yesterday, Trump was so full of grief and sympathy that he tweeted

Watching Sleepy Joe Biden making a speech. Sooo Boring! The LameStream Media will die in the ratings and clicks with this guy. It will be over for them, not to mention the fact that our Country will do poorly with him. It will be one big crash, but at least China will be happy!

It doesn’t get much more compassionate than that.