Thursday, June 21, 2018

Fruits of Ignoring Deliberate Deception

Since no one's looking at my ConfrontingScienceContrarians.blogspot.com, I figure may as well also post this over here.  It all started with an off-the-wall assertion made by a Creationist(s) regarding the Geologic Column.  

. . .   Psalm1Tree, a YouTube drive-by shooter, inspired me to write a column for the FourCornersFreePress which in turn caused me to compose the previous three "pre-footnotes" - "meeting" James Hutton, William Smith, Blakey and Ranney.  I won't be posting the column until after the first of month, still the previous three footnotes demand some sort of follow up, so I'm sharing a key portion of what I'm trying to get across in this month's FCFP column. 
... Unfortunately, after decades of ignoring such belligerent denial of reality about important aspects of our life and planet, in the service of GOP political war strategies, it has become so insidious and commonplace that we find our government increasingly controlled by Republicans who feel empowered to blatantly disregard obvious down to Earth physical realities on personal whim. 
Justified only by a hubristic conceit that they are doing “God’s duty,” when in honesty they are all about pursuing their own EGO’s bidding. 
Since it matters to me,
I decided to engage Psalm with a short video that rationally explains what the geologic column is all about. Then came my second shock,

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Judge Howell rules: Pruitt must justify his climate science denial. (Text of Complete Ruling)


With a tip of my hat to Arstechnica, I reproduce a verbatim copy of Chief Judge Beryl's ruling in PEER's Freedom Of Information Act case against Scott Pruitt, the GOP's Environmental Protection Agency vandal 
I have only added some bold highlights, a few extra paragraph breaks to help with clarity and one link to background regarding Pruitt.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
PUBLIC EMPLOYEES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY (PEER),
Plaintiff,
v
U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY ,
Defendant.

Civil Action No. 17-652 (BAH)
v. Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell
June 1, 2018

MEMORANDUM OPINION

On March 9, 2017, Scott Pruitt, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), appeared on the CNBC program “Squawk Box” and stated, regarding carbon dioxide created by human activity, that “I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see,” and “there’s a tremendous disagreement about of [sic] the impact” of “human activity on the climate.” Compl., ¶ 18–19, ECF No. 1. 

Noting that these public statements by the EPA Administrator “stand in contrast to published research and conclusions of the EPA,” id. ¶ 20, the plaintiff, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (“PEER”), a “non-profit organization dedicated to research and public education concerning the activities and operation of [the] federal . . . government[],” id. ¶ 2, submitted a request to EPA, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. § 552, for agency records “relied upon by Administrator Pruitt in making these statements and any EPA documents that support the conclusions that human activity is not the largest factor driving global climate change,”

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility needs help to block Pruitt's insurgency against the EPA

I received the following email from Jeff Ruch, Executive Director of PEER  (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility) that I want to share.  PEER needs more help to block Pruitt’s insurgency against our nation’s EPA.  Can you offer them some support?

A new scheme by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to raise private donations for a personal legal defense fund violates criminal conflict of interest laws and federal ethics rules, according to a new PEER complaint

Earlier this month, Pruitt admitted under questioning at a Senate subcommittee that he has created a “legal defense fund” even though he is not yet personally facing any civil suits or criminal charges.

Responding to congressional and other official inquiries is part of Scott Pruitt’s day job and he is not supposed to accept gifts for doing that job – a violation of the criminal conflict of interest prohibition against a government official having two paymasters. 

That offense is punishable by – Imprisonment up to one year for a knowing violation;
  • Imprisonment up to five years for a willful violation; and/or
  • Civil penalties of up to $50,000 for each violation.

Observations on our dysfunctional public dialogue, in 14 verses.

Food for thought.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1)  Uncertainties vs. known Physical Certainties

It is a disservice to constantly allow trivial uncertainties to become the focal point of the public discussion.

In real life when we get mired or overwhelmed by increasingly complex situations, we stop, back off a little, get reoriented with the big picture, reacquaint ourselves with what we do know for certain, then move forward again.  

I’m not saying ignore uncertainties!  I’m saying keep reminding us of the overriding fundamental certainties!  Thus putting contrarian trivial pursuits into real world perspective.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

2)  Map vs. Territory Problem

Scientists are Cartographers mapping out the geophysical realities of our planet, the Territory if you will.  They do the best they can with the data they have available.

Too often we get trapped into assuming that until our scientists can define all aspects with statistical certainty, we should assume it's okay to ignore.  
That's getting lost on the Map and forgetting we exist within the Territory.  
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

3)  Sloppy usage of “Natural Variability”

Monday, May 28, 2018

Bibliography - Articles Reporting on Scott Pruitt's War on our EPA


Thinking about root causes and bubbles, it seems to me our fundamental problem, the one that spawns all others - is that pretty near everyone, from top to bottom, clings to the notion that increasing economic growth is our cure-all, sadly sober math and unavoidable physical reality makes clear that it’s the path to speeding humanity’s self-destruction.  So it goes.

Over the past year, I’ve started a few Scott Pruitt projects, but have been overwhelmed and unable to follow through since it requires more focused time and energy than I could muster so I've walked away, hoping for another day.  Still I hear the news while driving to jobs and am appalled at what these people and their hatchet-man Pruitt are getting away with while most the public seems unconcerned.  Sad thing is, they are going to win unless many more children of the Intellectual Enlightenment get informed and engaged.

The following handy resource is a bibliography focused on what Scott Pruitt has been doing as EPA Administrator.  After this list I repeat it sharing selected quotes from each of the articles hoping to entice readers to continue on to the full stories and reports. This is by no means a complete list, but it is a good start.  I'd welcome any additional suggestions, if offered.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This November's election is voters biggest, best chance to oppose 
and stop the Republican Party's increasingly totalitarian regime.
Community requires Enlightened Self-interest.
Not single-minded self-interest.
Trump's Americans': ME FIRST!
Is a path to ruin. 

06/05/2018,  By Alexander C. Kaufman, Huffington Post
(... Last month, the EPA barred reporters from entering a heavily publicized summit on toxic water contaminants. 
An Associated Press reporter was grabbed and shoved by a security guard. ...)
May 24, 2018, By Nicholas Kusnetz, InsideClimateNews
May 23, 2018, Marianne Lavelle, InsideClimateNews
May 16, 2018, By Umair Irfan, Vox
May 10, 2018, By Nicholas Kusnetz, InsideClimateNews
May 8, 2018, By Jillian Austin, Mt. Juliet High School Student Newspaper
May 3, 2018, By Elaina Plott | The Atlantic
May 2, 2018, Michael Hawthorne, Chicago Tribune

April 26, 2018, By Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin
April 13, 2018, By Star-Ledger Editorial Board 
April 12, 2018, By Eric Lipton and Lisa Friedman, New York Times
April 11, 2018, Rhea Such | ECO Watch
April 10, 2018, Dan Turner’s opinion at Fox News
April 9, 2018, Robin Bravender and Niina Heikkinen, E&E News reporters
April 6, 2018, By Howell Raines | NBC News
April 5, 2018, By Felice Stadler | Environmental Defense Fund
April 5, 2018, By Heather Smith | Sierra Club
April 5, 2018, Michael Bastasch, Boston Caller
April 2, 2018 | By Marianne Lavelle and John Cushman | InsideClimateNews.org
March 30, 2018, Justin Worland, Time
March 30, 2018, By Alex Guillén and Nancy Cook, Politico
March 29, 2018, By Alex Formuzis and Sonya Lunder | Environmental Working Group’
March 28, 2018, By John Podesta, Washington Post Op-Ed
March 23, 2018, By Charles P. Pierce | Esquire
March 8, 2018, By Umair Irfan | Vox

February 27, 2018, Kevin Drum | Mother Jones
February 8, 2018, Opinion by Alexander Nazaryan | Newsweek
       ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
November 19, 2017 | By Alex Guillén and Emily Holden, Politico
November 1, 2017, William D. Ruckelshaus (Administrator of the EPA from 1970-1973 and 1983-1985)
July 27, 2017, By Jeff Goodell | Rollingstone
February 4, 2017, LA Times Editorial Board
February 8, 2017, James Temple | Technological Review
                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
December 12, 2016, Christine Todd Whitman, EPA administrator from 2001 to 2003

THE CASE FOR FIRING SCOTT PRUITT

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Bibliography - GOP and Trump's Attacks on USA's Democratic Principles and Institutions

Democracy Under Trump: What Is Being Lost?

It's been a while since I've posted, partly because I'm now quite busy and preoccupied with jobs, but also because I'm in a funk of disappointment.  What's the point of stealing the time and putting in the effort, when there's nobody out there?
     
Along with that, the malicious recall effort against Gwen Lachelt fell short, but was given two extra weeks to make up the difference, which they managed to do.  That they so easily gained over 2000 signatures in those extra two weeks reflects the Democratic Party's continued inability to invigorate their voters, or to effectively confront the deluge of deliberate and ruthless, amoral deception that was the hallmark of the so-called Save La Plata County's anti-democratic con-job.
     
While on the national scene Democrats remain as timid and tongue tied as ever, all very depressing.  Trump's bullies, the alt-right and evangelicals and oligarchs are relentlessly inflicting brutal damage on our democratic principles and ways of government.  Not to mention our EPA being eviscerated by the teflon plated Pruitt.

I guess I'm old fashioned, I believe patriotism demands action when our nation is in danger, and even if my actions are futile, they're better than rolling over and pretending our democracy isn't in the middle of a fierce existential crisis and that we stand on the cusp of losing our democracy to ruthless special interests.  A situation demanding all hands on deck, if there's to be any hope of turning back the tide!  If there's anyone out there with the same feeling, please let me know, the one hand clapping is getting old.

In any event this post is dedicated to sharing a bibliography of articles that discuss different aspects of trump's attack on our democracy.  This is the sort of background knowledge we need to learn about and to share with others.  Raising awareness and encouraging involvement is our only hope.  Following this list I've gone on to include key quotes from the articles as an introduction and hopefully encouragement for you to follow the links to the complete articles.  It is by no means a complete, but its a good start.

     May 27, 2018 - By Lauren Strayer, Democracy Fund
     May 22, 2018 - By Travis Gettys, Raw Story
     May 16, 2018 - By Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer
     April 25, 2018 - Jay Rosen, New York Book Review
     April 13, 2018 - Evan McMullin, The Atlantic
     April 4, 2018 - by Darrell M. West and Jack Karsten, Brookings Institution
     April 3, 2018 - Cass R. Sunstein, Bloomberg View 
     February 23, 2018 - By John Shattuck, American Prospect
     February 15, 2018 - John Shattuck, Amanda Watson, Matthew McDole
     February 8, 2018 - Congressman Ted Lieu
     February 8, 2018 - Bright Line Watch, Survey-Wave 4
     February 6, 2018 - By Michael Finnegan, L.A. Times
     February 3, 2017 - Rob Wijnberg, The Correspondent 
     January 1, 2018 - By Jeffrey H. Smith, Lawfare
     January 27, 2018 - Jill Abramson, The Guardian
     January 18, 2018 - Protect Democracy
           {Ensuring the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”}
     January 16, 2018 - Tracey Lee, Newsweek
     January 16, 2018 - By Zachary Cohen, CNN
     January 3, 2018 - Gary Grappo, Fair Observer
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Art of the Lie - The tally after one year

     December 29, 2017 - By Bernard Avishai, The New Yorker
     December 12, 2017 - Daily Kos
     December 7, 2017 - By Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt , The New Republic
     December 6, 2017 - By Scott Bolden, The Hill
     November 30, 2017 - By Thomas B. Edsall, The New York Times
     November 10, 2017 - Brian Klass, The Hill
     September 6, 2017 - Carnegie Endowment
     September 5, 2017 - By Dr. Benjamin Knoll, Ph.D., Huffington Post
     Aug 18, 2017 - By Hugh Cortazzi , The Japan Times
     May 15, 2017 - Brian Klass, USA Today
     April 26, 2017 - Slate Staff
     March 10, 2017 - Brian Klass, Washington Post