Friday, December 30, 2016

#2 Debating the Republican Disconnect from Earth's realities

My pal returned with another comment, which I gladly share in this second installment, since it affords me an opportunity to list a lot of valuable links that support my claims and that will help inform the curious.   Update, I've received an email from E.M. who requested I refer to him by his initials.  He also offered a four thousand word response that I want to read through before posting it, it'll probably be Saturday night or Sunday before I'll be able to do get it posted.  (12/30/16. 10PM). > It has been posted at #3 E.M. has his say. Debating the Republican Disconnect from Earth's realities.
E.M. at 11:26pm 12/29/16 writes:  You've got me entirely wrong. Don't warp my broad claim that both sides of this argument are self-interested into labeling me as an "astro-turfer'. 

Then why are your words so predictable?  It’s like you’re reading off the script.

Oh and you are entirely wrong about the scientists and I suspect you've never actually listened to them discussing their work and results.

I appreciate it's hard for someone trapped within the self-serving Republican mind-set to imagine a community of people dedicated to getting as close to objective truth as humans can hope for.  But, so it is.  This list is incomplete, but it's lecture videos I'm familiar with, I know there are many others out there.

Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast 
Video Lecture Series by David Archer PhD | University of Chicago

University of California Television (UCTV)

#1. Debating the Republican Disconnect from Earth's realities

It’s been awhile since I had a good online debate and I welcome the opportunity provided by a commenter to What's Up With Republican disconnect from planet Earth?.  I’ll use my generic ‘Dude’ since I don’t feel comfortable using his real name, no offense intended.  I myself found his comment offensive in it’s devious mischief and it seemed a careful dissection of his rhetorical game is called for.  I hope some may find it a learning experience.  Update, I've received an email from E.M. who requested I refer to him by his initials.  He also offered a four thousand word response that I want to read through before posting it, it'll probably be Saturday night or Sunday before I'll be able to do get it posted.  (12/30/16. 10PM). > It has been posted at #3 E.M. has his say. Debating the Republican Disconnect from Earth's realities.
E.M., I don’t believe you are the innocent you pretend to be.  If you were that naive you wouldn’t be commenting on AWG over here!  That doesn’t mean we can’t continue a constructive dialogue, I just want you to know where we stand.  

You have provided me another excellent vehicle to examine the subtle dishonest rhetorical game that the Republican PR machine broadcasts through thousands of astro-turfed mouthpieces.  It brings me back to what this blog was all about before the 11/8/16 catastrophe and I thank you for that opportunity.  

E.M.:  Morning, 
Glad we can have this discussion, and I appreciate your timely response. I am not here to to argue the existence of the human-contribution to climate change; this is an unarguable topic and it is widely accepted on both sides of the debate. 
Nonsense!  The right wing media machine is saturated with people denying the fundamentals of AGW.  Just need to google it, or try YouTube for hundreds of real zingers.  {This deception is the first “tell” that we are dealing with a disingenuous individual.}

You say you don't want to argue about the existence of the human-contribution to climate change and then proceed to do just that in a wishy-washy way.  What gives?  
E.M.:  Honestly, I think both sides of the AWG debate are self-interested and self-serving. 
Why do you think the scientific community has been self-serving?  
Please offer some examples.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Emolument Clause and Trump’s entanglements - collection of news stories

Our Founding Fathers were very concerned about foreign interests undermining the fidelity of United States government officials with a variety of financial incentives.  That is why they created the “Emolument Clause.”  Here is a collection of quotes and links to recent articles looking at various aspects of the Emolument Clause and how it relates to our soon to be president, the Russian Obligate, Donald Trump with his untold international business entanglements (Guess now we know another reason Trump continues hiding his tax returns.).  I do this in order to provide a one stop overview and reference resource regarding USA's wise Emolument Clause.  Feel free to copy and share.  

Democracy use it or lose it!  
bring this up because you know those two faced Republicans are going to try and green-light Trump's shenanigans since they only care about their agenda and payouts are part of their game anyways, so it ain't no big thing.  To them!  Heck, they don't even care about Russians undermining our election, it's all business to them.

Besides, who's going to do anything to stop them? Democratic politicians?  Forget about it.  What can they accomplish without many, many thousands of your letters and phone calls in their pockets.  Democracy is a team effort!  Everyone has their roll to fulfill.  Can you help?  At the end of this collection I include a list of Democratic Senators' addresses and office phone numbers.


Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the U.S Constitution:  
“No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.”
News Article Titles:

Congressional Research Service Report: Trump's Conflict of Interest, Ethics traps.

On November 22, the Congressional Research Service filed a report that identified nine federal conflict of interest and ethics provisions that could, if enforced, apply to the president.  

I believe this is valuable information for all who fear this rogue administration’s intentions and who understand that this 45th US Presidential Administration is something never before experienced in America.  A President who hates our government and who’s intent on waging a hostile insurgency dedicated to destroying our very way of government and remolding it into something more accommodating of his oligarch’s blind self-interested avarice.

Be afraid, be very afraid, but don’t fold, America needs defending now!  Can you help?  Only an informed and engaged citizenry will insure our Democratic politicians do the right thing as this nightmare unfolds in these next couple years.  Any ground we lose, won't be made up, America needs your participation now. 
The following is a matter of public record, the reposting and sharing of full content is permissible.  
Other than adding links to the law titles, nothing has been added or removed.

Congressional Research Service
Informing the legislative debate since 1914

MEMORANDUM November 22, 2016
Subject: Conflict of Interest and “Ethics” Provisions That May Apply to the President
From: Jack Maskell Legislative Attorney
American Law Division

This memorandum is intended to briefly identify those provisions of federal statute or regulation that [11] respect conflicts of interest or “ethics” and [2] may apply to the President. The memorandum begins by noting why certain provisions would appear to be inapplicable to the President. It then notes the remaining provisions that could potentially be seen to apply to the President.

The memorandum is solely concerned with the identification and, where relevant, discussion of the specific provisions. It is not intended to discuss whether and how particular provisions could potentially be enforced against the President, although it is important to note that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has previously opined that sitting Presidents are not subject to indictment for violations of federal criminal law. [1]

Frank Walton's plea for a Merrick Garland recess appointment

There was another recent article worth sharing, written by Frank Vyan Walton for the DailyKos.  It’s an excellent compliment to Dr. Wang’s ‘Constitutional Hardball.’  Walton is advocating for an Obama recess appointment, I like the idea of the Daily Kos petition for Democratic Senators to actually vote Judge Garland onto the Supreme Court Jan 3rd.  See the item following Walton’s piece.  Still either one would be better than neither.
“Enough is enough.  It’s time the Democrats stop bringing a butter-knife to the gun fight. It’s time to fight back, to finally get up when the bullies push you down and punch him right in the nose.”
Seems like a good bookend to be the last of my emergency 'window of opportunity' bootlegs.  Don't get me wrong, I’m not going to stop writing or posting, or hoping, that never works for me either and I'll continue sharing the work of others, simply that I'm returning to not making exceptions conventional restraints,... after allowing Frank Walton's article to speak for how I'm feeling.  A healthy democracy demands an informed and engaged citizenry - we need you now.

Sunday, Dec 25, 2016 

On his way out the Oval Office door there is one thing President Obama can do to give the do-less-than-nothing Congress a big stiff middle finger.  Recess appoint Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court so sayeth the New Republic .

Come January, President Barack Obama will be consigned to the sidelines as Donald Trump occupies the Oval Office and begins the work of dismantling his legacy. But there is one action that Obama could take on January 3, 2017 that could hold off some of the worst potential abuses of a Trump administration for up to a year. Obama can appoint his nominee Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court on that date, in between the two sessions of Congress.

Here’s how it would work. Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution states, “The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate.” This has been used for Supreme Court vacancies before—William Brennan began his Court tenure with a recess appointment in 1956. Any appointments made in this fashion expire at the end of the next Senate session. So a Garland appointment on January 3 would last until December 2017, the end of the first session of the 115th Congress.

Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Obama would have to do it on the January 3rd, because the last time he did a recess appointment it was during a period that the Senate was holding pro-forma sessions, where they would be gaveled in, and then immediately out again by just one Senator every three days, specifically to block the President from making recess appointments. ...

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Voter Suppression USA Election 2016, collection of news stories

Our US government is literally under a hostile take over attempt.  A healthy democracy demands an informed and engaged citizenry.  I am borrowing from the DailyKos again because this Trump Administration is playing for keeps and a lot more Americans need to wake up and become familiar with what's going on and I can't help but feel compelled to do my little part.  If a lot more people don't start taking all this a lot more seriously our losses will be grave.  Following Raven's article I include quotes and links to:

By Raven  |  Tuesday Dec 27, 2016

Recently another diary — ironically subtitled Beware the False Narrative — sought to explain “why we are losing everywhere but a handful of blue states.” The real, honest-to-gosh truth, as the diarist went on to burble? —  “urban areas just turned out less for Hillary Clinton”  and “the lower income end fled the Democratic parties banner”  and “The real culprit was collapsing support for Clinton” … and commenters gleefully joined in blaming either the voters or the Clinton campaign or the Democratic Party as a whole.
Not until well down the thread (in a comment by Ashes of Roses, thanks!) did anyone mention voter suppression, and that was immediately disputed: the first reply included “… ‘voter suppression’ should have meaning other than just less participation.” Others insisted the reason was “disengagement,” “disgust,” etc., on the part of voters, but not being prevented from voting.
Gosh, nothing before this about voter suppression? disenfranchisement? The GOP’s kicked people off the voter registration lists with Crosscheck (whose architect Kris Kobach is now Trump’s “immigration advisor”), closed 868 polling places in African-American and Latino districts across the South for this election, has been working hard at Voter ID laws nationwide — and boasting about the results!

Constitutional Hardball: Confirm Merrick Garland on January 3rd? by Prof Samuel Wang

This morning I googled Merrick Garland Supreme Court nomination for some news.  It's shocking and frightening to find nearly nothing.  It’s like Democrats are oblivious to this crucial tiny moment of opportunity to preserve the cornerstone of our American government - you know, it’s checks and balances!  That the importance of getting Judge Merrick Garland onto the Supreme Court isn't on every Independent and Democrats' lips, I find that astounding and deeply demoralizing.  This is the sort of laziness that gets governments defeated and countries lost.

Losing the Supreme Court will have far reaching consequences. Consider how passionately many powerful Republicans want to turn us into their “Christian Nation” under their personal god.  With the entire government in their hands, you better bet they will do their best to make it happen and given how pliable the DNC seems to be, they may get their way.  Who's to stop them?  Seriously, think about it.  This is for keeps.  Who's to stop this run away train wreck?

About the only thing I found worth sharing was this fascinating article by Professor Samuel Wang PhD.  It’s a good sober appraisal of this very real opportunity and it’s worth your time.  (I've included the directory of US Democratic Senators at the end of this.)

Constitutional Hardball: Can Senate Democrats Confirm Merrick Garland on January 3rd?

By Sam Wang. |  December 25th, 2016

On the New York Times opinion page, the editors suggest (“The Stolen Supreme Court Seat,” December 24th) that President-elect Donald Trump could nominate President Obama’s choice, Judge Merrick Garland, as a gesture of goodwill. I myself suggested this on CNN last month (that was the point, you guys, not the bug – go watch). This is unlikely, to say the least…but there’s still a long-shot way to get a vote on Garland on January 3rd. It involves playing Constitutional hardball. (also see petition)

Update: A reader quotes a former Republican Senate staffer who claims that the rules prevent this. I am skeptical of the source. But if objections are raised, they will surely take the form described.

In 2004, the legal scholar Mark Tushnet published a classic article called “Constitutional Hardball.” This article is a must-read for anyone wanting to understand the battles over how our national government works.  

In it, Tushnet points out that from time to time, an organized effort is made to change fundamental principles of how the branches of the U.S. government operate. In Constitutional hardball, the parties carry out maneuvers that are within the literal rules, yet violate longstanding principles that are followed by mutual consent, a.k.a. “norms.” As examples, Tushnet cites (1) Marbury v. Madison, (2) FDR and the New Deal, and (3) a period that began in the late 1990s and continues today. This last period coincides with the advent of our modern, polarized politics.

The ninth-seat vacancy on the Supreme Court – and twenty-five other languishing judicial nominations – exemplify this year’s round of hardball. 

A Historic Snafu In Need Of Revisiting - Cheney/Edwards VP Debate

This was my second post at citizenschallenge.blogspot and harks back to another monumental Democratic Party failure to appreciate the moment and capture its important opportunity.  Though I imagine most aren't even aware of it.  I reposting this for the young bloods who are sick of their DNC elders and the disconnected mistakes that they seem incapable of learning from.  I encourage you move on and up within the DNC, the elders will oppose you, but exert yourselves, speak up, the DNC and America needs you to step up and deal with our world as it is.
A historic snafu in need of revisiting
CitizensChallenge, August, 2, 2008

Back in 2004, during the Vice Presidencial debates, the question of the moment was: America's Right to "Go It Alone." Cheney proclaimed: "America will not allow anyone veto power!" Senator Edwards (and by extension the Democratic Party) could respond no better than to mumble meaningless platitudes.

Why couldn't Senator Edwards invoke the words of our United States Declaration of Independence? The last line of the first paragraph reads: "... a decent Respect to the Opinion of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to Separation."

Our Declaration of Independence and its signers granted no one veto power, however they did recognize a higher arbiter of correctness and a requirement that they be able to justify their actions in the eyes of the world!

Why couldn't the Democrat articulate that?
Why have we so easily misplaced our respect for the rest of mankind?

Consider a historic inspiration worth recalling

Our Founding Fathers were all men of passionate, deeply held and defensible beliefs.

Yet, each one knew they needed the knowledge and experiences of their ideological opponents.

They allowed themselves the luxury of respecting their opponents and they appreciated that there was something to be learned from most everyone.

They had the humility to understand that no one of them held absolute insight.

And they had the integrity to be able to alter perspectives when new information justified it.

Shouldn't all of us reacquaint ourselves with this principle?

Saturday, December 24, 2016

What's Up With Republican disconnect from planet Earth?

The following started as a response over at Center For Inquiry forum.  But it took on a life of its own and I'd like to share it over here, the quote that got me going:

“I agree that there are lots of justifications to have a negative outlook for our future.  But I do think that although our ability to destroy ourselves is increasing all the time, we are also, on average, getting better at treating each other better.  (I wish I could say the same for how we treat our planet, but with our population and growth rate and 'improving standard of living', we have a long loooong way to go.”)  

(for the record this was written several months before the election.)

CC:  I wonder how you feel after this election "campaign" and its result?

As for our planet, we are her guests.  Earth has only so much to offer us and after a few hundred years of sucking out and consuming everything as fast as possible, all the while getting ever more contemptuous and disconnected from our Earth’s physical realities, she's running out of what we need to survive.  Our slow learning curve doesn’t mean a thing to how Earth reacts to what we have done to her.  What we don’t know is certainly going to harm us. 

Science tells us about Earth’s simple physical reality.  No matter how much bullshit Republican delusionals have hurled at this edifice of knowledge and understanding, the overwhelming observational evidence supports what the scientists are tellings us. 

Misrepresenting what scientists say likewise doesn’t change the facts.  Choosing to ignore it doesn’t mean the changes aren’t continuing underfoot.  Here I’m reminded of an excellent song worth sharing at this point.  I’ve wanted to share it since first hearing it downtown Denver during the 2008 Democratic Convention.  Their poetry does a pretty job of conveying a certain ugly reality about how things work in Washington DC and how oblivious most people are to it.

 Oakhurst - Moonshine Still


Bringing it back down to Earth and appreciating her realities.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Reflecting on our failure to appreciate the weather, our weather.

Yup, "our" weather as in, you break it, you own it.   Republicans believe it's okay to deny observable facts - They believe it's their personal "Free Speech Right" to fabricate lies and malicious nonsense, then insist their cynical misdirections are reputable facts. Which they most certainly are not - as any good-faith full spectrum examination makes clear.   They refuse to listen to any corrections and thoughtful explanations, they slander honest, accomplished and respected scientists with hysterical claims, sans all serious evidence.  Since arguing the facts of the matter is a loser for them, they derail discussions with character assassination attempts on all who dare defend climate scientists against the outlandish paranoid machinations of fiction reporters - all this rather than rationally listening to what scientists have to teach.  

Of course, taking our changing global environment seriously does demand changing the way we think and do things.  It demands growing up and recognizing we have a huge population on a warming planet with shrinking resources and we no longer have the luxury of behaving as though Earth was still a limitless cornucopia.  Since I'm still not getting the time I need to write, I want to share an article from last year where I try to describe our failure of vision and curiosity when it comes to addressing humanity's most fateful "geophysical experiment."   (some touch up editing 12/24)

Reposted from

Twenty years ago I came across a cartoon by Mike Keefe in the Denver Post that captured an attitude I had found all too pervasive among my fellow Americans: the attitude of entitlement and detached disregard for understanding how our global climate system operates.

It inspired me to write an essay describing my understanding of our planet’s climate system, and it was published in the November/December 1995 issue of the Humanist magazine. Rereading it recently, I noticed some minor errors but the basic story remains as accurate today as it was back then. Since anniversaries are a good time to reflect on history and how far we’ve come (or not), I wrote a twenty year reflection which the Humanist printed in their Nov/Dec 2015 issue.  This is a slightly altered version and I've included many links to further information.

I thank Mike Keefe for the permission to use his cartoon.

I think it’s worth recalling where our understanding of global warming induced climate change was twenty years ago.  Though there were fewer media outlets back then, they were more objective and for the most part offered straightforward climate science information. After all, it’s not that tough a story to summarize, even if the details get devilishly difficult.

By ’95 we had learned that weather is the product of climate conditions and that Earth’s climate conditions fluctuated. We knew that CO2 and other greenhouse gases were a major regulator of those fluctuations because they regulated how much of the sun's incoming heat was retained within Earth's climate system.

At the same time we were also being forced to confront the reality that it was our own burning of fossil fuels and the machines behind our modern marvels and lavish lifestyles that were increasingly belching “gaseous insulation” into our atmosphere.

Help confront the Republican attack on science and rationality.

I received the following email from and figured I should share.  If you can help please do.  If you can help wake up friends and neighbors please do.  This is for keeps and so far we are only putting up enough of an effort to think we tried - but not enough to actually accomplish anything.  So sad.  USA's citizens general apathy will have devastating consequences in the coming years.  (undated, with additional information below the fold, Dec.22, 5:30PM)


There has been, for many years now, a growing war on science, and that's part of what we here at ScienceDebate have been engaged in fighting, with your help.

This war goes far beyond partisanship; it is an attack on the fundamental idea that there are objective facts that can be discovered, and that these are the fairest and most just basis for public policy—the idea that if anyone can discover the truth of something for him or herself using the tools of science and reason, then no king, no pope, and no wealthy lord has any more authority to govern than anyone else, a truth that is self-evident. The idea of democracy.

That idea—democracy—is what is really under attack in this war, for as go science and facts, so go the tools the people may use to govern themselves. And as the press ceases to hold the powerful accountable to evidence, and instead "balances" their reporting between competing claims to the truth as if they are disinterested arbiters in a playground spat, they have opened the way for the sort of well-funded public relations campaigns that are now the scourge of the democratic process.

I, along with MatthewLawrenceSherilMichaelNancy and others, have sought to mitigate this through ScienceDebate, through exposing its relationship to democracy in writing THE WAR ON SCIENCE, through speaking worldwide, though top quality television and online videos, and through reaching out to president-elect Trump as a bridge to the science community, since ScienceDebate was the ONLY place that asked him about climate change and other science-related questions during the election. Unfortunately, Trump and his team have ignored these and other outreach efforts.

Instead, president-elect Trump has appointed well-known science deniers and their funders to top government posts, as Lawrence recently pointed out in The New Yorker, and now his pick for budget director, the man that oversees the office that develops the president's budget including the science agencies, has asked on his Facebook page: 

Clearly, much, much more needs to be done.