It’s across the board. When Republicans perceive reality to have a liberal bias, they simply go into denial mode.

In this case, when a staggering array of expert organizations are warning about the consequences of the health bill currently under consideration –

Vox interviewed master Science Denier Jim Inhofe:

Jeff Stein

What’s the policy explanation for the Graham-Cassidy bill? What substantive problems does this solve?

Jim Inhofe

Well, first of all, as a general rule the states do things better than the federal government does [things]. And that is essentially what the bill is. We actually had a bill that passed, except at the last minute — as you know — we had one deciding vote against it that was unforeseen. And I think what we’re looking at right now is essentially the same thing.

listening2

Scientists in Arizona have been under attack by a Koch-funded group seeking private email communications.  They had lost a round a few months ago. Appeals Court says not so fast.
More to come.

Play by play from Lauren Kurtz of Climate Science Legal Defense Fund.

Columbia University Climate Law Blog:

On September 14, the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division II, ruled that a trial court decision to release climate scientists’ emails had improperly ignored an Arizona statutory protection for university records.  In this case, the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (“E&E Legal”) has been attempting to use open records laws to obtain a 13 year span of emails from two University of Arizona climate scientists. This ruling returns the case to the trial court for a consideration of whether the statutory protection applies to the emails sought here.

State and federal open records laws promote government accountability by allowing citizens to request copies of administrative records, but these powerful tools can also be misused “to harass and intimidate scientists and other academic researchers, or to disrupt and delay their work.”  Overly intrusive open records requests, particularly for emails, can discourage the candid exchange of ideas (including “devil’s advocate” arguments and “what if” debates), and provide opportunities for hostile actors to take phrases, including scientific jargon, out of context in order to mislead and confuse the public.  Climate scientists in particular have been subjected to “information attacks” by a “network of groups with close ties to energy interests that have long fought greenhouse gas regulation.”

Case Background

In this case, E&E Legal initiated its open records request in December 2011, seeking a 13 year span of emails from University of Arizona climate scientists Malcolm Hughes and Jonathan Overpeck.  E&E Legal describes its work as “free market environmentalism” and claims that release of these emails is necessary for its “transparency project” into uncovering potential misconduct by climate scientists.  In its Amended Complaint, E&E Legal claimed that certain emails stolen in the so-called “Climategate” hacking in 2009, involving these two University of Arizona scientists and others, indicated misdeeds needing further scrutiny.  Of course, all official investigations related to “Climategate” have shown no misconduct and the episode is now seen as a “manufactured controversy.”

The University of Arizona produced some emails, and withheld thousands of others, claiming that these emails – which included peer-review commentary, preliminary drafts, and candid debates with colleagues – should not be produced under Arizona law.  The two main protections claimed by the University:

  • An Arizona statute, A.R.S. 15-1640, which dictates that “unpublished research data, manuscripts, preliminary analyses, drafts of scientific papers, plans for future research and prepublication peer reviews” from Arizona public universities are exempted from the public records laws, provided that certain requirements are met.
  • An Arizona common law balancing test, originating in Mathews v. Pyle, 75 Ariz. 76 (1952), which states that documents can be withheld from an open records request if it can be shown that the public interest in protecting the records is greater than the public interest in disclosing the records.

 

The University argued that the statutory requirements were met in this case, and protected these emails; in the alternative, it argued that the emails would also be protected under the common law test, as the public interest in protecting scientific research emails was greater than in disclosing them.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jimmy Kimmel has been roiling the media lately with some righteous blasts on the new health care legislation before the Senate.
But it’s not the first time – if you did not see his rant on climate denial not long ago, it’s worth a view, includes a vid of scientists speaking to the camera, which – starts with of my favorite Paleoclimate experts,  Aradhna Tripati of UCLA.

Below, Kimmel reads outraged responses from Climate deniers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Wow, he cuts loose here.

earthfired

Washington Post:

And then there were two.

This week, Nicaragua, one of the few holdouts from the Paris climate accords, did an about-face and said it will sign the agreement.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega announced that the Central American nation of 6 million people ― about the size of Maryland ― would sign the landmark pact voluntarily committing nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to El Nuevo Diario, one of the nation’s major newspapers.

After President Obama, who orchestrated the pact bringing together more than 190 nations, only two nations had yet to sign the agreement in April of this year.

One was Syria, which was and still is in the middle of a bloody civil war. The other was Nicaragua, which attended 2015 talks but refused to sign the accord.

President Trump announced his intent to make the United States the third nonparticipant in the pact because of, as he said in a speech in June, “the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country.”

ThinkProgress:

Nicaragua announced Wednesday its intention to join the Paris climate agreement, leaving the United States and Syria as the only two countries that do not support the accord.

According to a report from a Managua-based television station 100% Noticias, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said his country plans to sign on to the agreement “soon,” though he did not provide a specific timetable on joining or ratifying the agreement to limit global temperature rise to 2° Celsius. Nicaragua had previously declined to join the agreement because it felt that it did not go far enough to curb emissions and did not require enough financial help from wealthy, developed nations for climate adaptation and mitigation in developing countries. Read the rest of this entry »

Stripping and Selling America

September 20, 2017

kendzior

Get real clear on this.
The Republican Party has made common cause with the global fossil fuel industry, with Russian Oligarchs, and with the violent White Supremacist right wing,  in order to make war on the very idea that there can be any institution, any interest, any law, that limits the greed or the reach of those with great wealth and power.

Interior Secretary Zinke proposes first steps, only the first steps,  in the handover of America’s Crown Jewels to the rape, ruin, and run crowd.

Reuters via AOL News:

WASHINGTON, Sept 18 (Reuters) – The head of U.S. Department of the Interior called for changes to the management of 10 national monuments that would lift restrictions on activities such as logging and mining and shrink the area covered of at least four of the sites, the Washington Post reported.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recommended that President Donald Trump reduce the boundaries of the monuments known as Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, Nevada’s Gold Butte and Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou.

Zinke also called for relaxing current restrictions within some of the monuments’ boundaries for activities such as grazing, logging, coal mining and commercial fishing, according to a copy of the memo that the Post obtained.

The Grand Staircase-Escalante monument has areas that “contain an estimated several billion tons of coal and large oil deposits,” Zinke’s report said, suggesting that it could be opened to energy production if Trump makes a reduction in the footprint of the monument.

The Trump administration has promoted “energy dominance,” or plans to produce more coal, oil, and gas for domestic use and selling to allies. With Grand Staircase-Escalante being remote, and oil and coal being plentiful elsewhere, it is uncertain if energy interests would actually drill and mine there, if the monument’s boundaries were changed.

USAToday:

Zinke noted that most public comment on the monuments review ”were overwhelmingly in favor of maintaining existing monuments” but were the result of “a well-orchestrated national campaign organized by multiple organizations.” Opponents of the monuments tended to be local residents associated with grazing, timber production, mining, hunting and fishing and motorized recreation, he wrote.

“It appears that certain monuments were designated to prevent economic activity such as grazing, mining and timber production rather than to protect specific objects,” Zinke found. He said many also failed to adequately account for local opinion.

Zinke noted that areas protected by the 1.8 million acre Grand Staircase-Escalante, created in 1996, contain “several billion tons or coal and large oil deposits. In the case of Cascade-Siskikou, created by President Bill Clinton in 2000 and expanded by Obama eight days before he left office, there are 4 to 6 million board feet of lumber on 16,591 acres set aside by a 1937 federal law for sustainable timber production. Zinke recommended ending the prohibition on logging on that land.

Except for red crab and American lobster fisheries, commercial fishing is currently prohibited in the 3,972 square miles of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts off Cape Cod. Zinke recommended lifting the fishing ban there and at the Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll monuments in the Pacific that have an economic impact on American Samoa.

Read the rest of this entry »