Majorityrights News > Category: Environmentalism & Climate Change

Pence brought to you by the Koch bros anti-EPA, Evangelical, Heritage fndn & all right wing concerns

Posted by DanielS on Thursday, 19 October 2017 00:01.

Pence owes his position to doing the dirty bidding of the Koch brother’s interests, starting with lobbying against carbon tax, an initiative that wound up putting oil man Scott Pruitt in charge of EPA - the proverbial fox in charge of the hen house. That’s not the half of Pence’s classic story of right wing corruption.

NPR, “Understanding Mike Pence And His Relationship To Trump: ‘His Public Role Is Fawning”, 18 Oct 2017:

Though President Trump ran as an outsider, New Yorker writer Jane Mayer describes his vice president as “the connective tissue” between Trump and the billionaire donors in the Republican party.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I’m Terry Gross. Many of President Trump’s critics are hoping he won’t serve his full term, but what kind of president would Mike Pence make? That’s one of the questions Jane Mayer sets out to answer in her new article about Pence titled “The President Pence Delusion.” It’s published in the current issue of The New Yorker.

She writes about how Pence became an evangelical Christian and how he became a favored candidate of billionaire backers, most especially the Koch brothers. She traces how religion and money shaped his ideology. She investigates how Pence became Trump’s running mate and how much power he has in the White House and how he’s used it.

Mayer is a staff writer for The New Yorker. She’s also the author of the bestseller about the Koch Brothers titled “Dark Money: The Hidden History Of The Billionaires Behind The Rise Of The Radical Right.” Last March in The New Yorker, she profiled another billionaire funder of right-wing causes, Robert Mercer, who she says has become a major force behind the Trump presidency.

Jane Mayer, welcome back to FRESH AIR. So I feel like I don’t see Mike Pence very much, and I often wonder if he’s a power behind the scenes or if he really doesn’t matter that much within the Trump administration. So what’s your impression?

JANE MAYER: Well, it’s really hard to tell. He is - as Joel Goldstein, a specialist in the vice presidency, told me, he calls him the sycophant in chief because when you do see him, he’s usually acting as an emcee to Trump or kind of echoing Trump and praising Trump. So his public role is really fawning. Behind the scenes, though, according to Newt Gingrich, he’s 1 of the 3 people who have the most power in the Trump administration along with the chief of staff, John Kelly, and Trump himself.

GROSS: What are the signs that he’s that powerful?

MAYER: Well, (laughter) that’s a good question - because I think he acts as the connective tissue between the Trump administration and Congress, between the Trump administration and the - kind of the socially conservative base of the party. And most importantly, he is the connector between the Trump administration and the billionaire donors in the Republican Party. He is the guy who does most of the fundraising and outreach to the money.

GROSS: And the money includes the Koch brothers and Robert Mercer.

MAYER: It does. And one of the interesting things to me in writing about Pence is it poses such a juxtaposition between the way that Trump ran, which was as a populist outsider who was attacking the big-money forces in the Republican Party as corrupt and saying that they were puppeteers trying to control the candidates as puppets. And Trump made a huge point of saying, I’m my own man; I’m so rich; no one controls me. Yet as his vice president, he chose Mike Pence. And you could hardly find a candidate in the American political scene who has closer ties to the big donors and particularly the Koch brothers. He’s been sponsored by them for years.

GROSS: So how do the Kochs first start backing Mike Pence?

MAYER: So this was when Pence was in Congress in 2009. He really did the Kochs a big favor. There was legislation pending that might have put a tax on carbon pollution, and it would have been terrible for Koch Industries. And Pence took up the cause and tried to help defeat that legislation and specifically carried around a pledge that the Kochs had created, trying to get people to sign it. And after he was successful in that, the Kochs invited him to come to their secret donor summits. And at that point on, they started showering him in money. So it was - it’s really became a working relationship then. And I hadn’t realized that until recently.

GROSS: One of the things you say Mike Pence is responsible for is bringing the Kochs and Donald Trump together. The Kochs didn’t support Trump’s candidacy. Charles Koch described the choice between Trump and Hillary as one between cancer or a heart attack. (Laughter) So what did Pence do to bring the Kochs and Trump together?

MAYER: Well, so this is what was interesting to me - is that Pence has been very close with the Kochs, and they have just showered money on his campaigns. And he’s kind of act as a peacemaker between the Kochs and Trump. And but in that process, what interested me most was that I really do think that Trump ran as a different kind of Republican. He ran against the big-donors orthodoxy and kind of libertarian vision of people like the Kochs. He said he was going to deliver something for the little guys and build infrastructure all across the country and use the government in various ways that the Kochs disapprove of.

And what you’ve seen with Pence is that in many ways, Pence has brought in a ton of people who are allied with the Kochs into the government, and he’s brought a lot of their policies in - so whether it’s on environmental issues or tax policy now where the Kochs are working very closely with the Trump White House on the Trump tax plan. And it is a tax plan that the Kochs love, and it’s a tax plan that’s going to help the super-rich according to many nonpartisan analyses and not do very much for the middle class. So you’re beginning to kind of see the government moving in the direction of the Kochs.

GROSS: You say 16 high-ranking officials in the Trump White House have ties to the Koch brothers.

MAYER: Well, and that’s according to a study by a group called the Checks And Balances Program. And you can count them. You can see it online. They’re - that’s in the White House. There are also many, many people who’ve worked for the Kochs in the government at large, in the cabinet, in the other departments. And a tremendous number of people who work with and for Pence have gone in and out of working for the Kochs to the point that you had Politico saying - they quoted a Republican operative saying that the Koch operation really was the shadow campaign for Pence for president.

And chief among them really has been Pence’s former chief of staff, Marc Short, who went - after working for Pence in Congress, he went to run the Koch’s political operation, Freedom Partners. And then when Pence was chosen as vice president on the ticket, Marc Short came back, worked with Pence in the campaign and is now the head of Congressional Liaison in the Trump White House. So the man that actually ran the Koch’s political operation is a key player inside the Trump White House.

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Big Pharma Pushes Opioid Epidemic on West Virginia, the Poorest and Whitest part of America

Posted by DanielS on Wednesday, 18 October 2017 00:01.


“I got the phone call Nov. 12 at 2:39 in the afternoon,” Tina Snyder recalled. Her 24-year-old son, Lee Winder, had been found in a shopping center parking lot near his car outside a Dunkin’ Donuts.

Winder had become addicted to pain pills and died of a heroin overdose.

Washington Post, “Amid a targeted lobbying effort, Congress weakened the DEA’s ability to go after drug distributors, even as opioid-related deaths continue to rise, a Washington Post and ‘60 Minutes’ investigation finds”, 15 Oct 2017:

In April 2016, at the height of the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history, Congress effectively stripped the Drug Enforcement Administration of its most potent weapon against large drug companies suspected of spilling prescription narcotics onto the nation’s streets.

By then, the opioid war had claimed 200,000 lives, more than three times the number of U.S. military deaths in the Vietnam War. Overdose deaths continue to rise. There is no end in sight.

A handful of members of Congress, allied with the nation’s major drug distributors, prevailed upon the DEA and the Justice Department to agree to a more industry-friendly law, undermining efforts to stanch the flow of pain pills, according to an investigation by The Washington Post and “60 Minutes.” The DEA had opposed the effort for years.

The law was the crowning achievement of a multifaceted campaign by the drug industry to weaken aggressive DEA enforcement efforts against drug distribution companies that were supplying corrupt doctors and pharmacists who peddled narcotics to the black market. The industry worked behind the scenes with lobbyists and key members of Congress, pouring more than a million dollars into their election campaigns.

The chief advocate of the law that hobbled the DEA was Rep. Tom Marino, a Pennsylvania Republican who is now President Trump’s nominee to become the nation’s next drug czar. Marino spent years trying to move the law through Congress. It passed after Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) negotiated a final version with the DEA.

For years, some drug distributors were fined for repeatedly ignoring warnings from the DEA to shut down suspicious sales of hundreds of millions of pills, while they racked up billions of dollars in sales.

The new law makes it virtually impossible for the DEA to freeze suspicious narcotic shipments from the companies, according to internal agency and Justice Department documents and an independent assessment by the DEA’s chief administrative law judge in a soon-to-be-published law review article. That powerful tool had allowed the agency to immediately prevent drugs from reaching the street.

Political action committees representing the industry contributed at least $1.5 million to the 23 lawmakers who sponsored or co-sponsored four versions of the bill, including nearly $100,000 to Marino and $177,000 to Hatch. Overall, the drug industry spent $102 million lobbying Congress on the bill and other legislation between 2014 and 2016, according to lobbying reports.

[TUESDAY UPDATE: Trump announces drug czar Marino will withdraw]

“The drug industry, the manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and chain drugstores, have an influence over Congress that has never been seen before,” said Joseph T. Rannazzisi, who ran the DEA’s division responsible for regulating the drug industry and led a decade-long campaign of aggressive enforcement until he was forced out of the agency in 2015. “I mean, to get Congress to pass a bill to protect their interests in the height of an opioid epidemic just shows me how much influence they have.”

Besides the sponsors and co-sponsors of the bill, few lawmakers knew the true impact the law would have. It sailed through Congress and was passed by unanimous consent, a parliamentary procedure reserved for bills considered to be noncontroversial. The White House was equally unaware of the bill’s import when President Barack Obama signed it into law, according to interviews with former senior administration officials.

Top officials at the White House and the Justice Department have declined to discuss how the bill came to pass.

Michael Botticelli, who led the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy at the time, said neither Justice nor the DEA objected to the bill, removing a major obstacle to the president’s approval.

“We deferred to DEA, as is common practice,” he said.

The bill also was reviewed by the White House Office of Management and Budget.

“Neither the DEA nor the Justice Department informed OMB about the policy change in the bill,” a former senior OMB official with knowledge of the issue said recently. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of internal White House deliberations.

The DEA’s top official at the time, acting administrator Chuck Rosenberg, declined repeated requests for interviews. A senior DEA official said the agency fought the bill for years in the face of growing pressure from key members of Congress and industry lobbyists. But the DEA lost the battle and eventually was forced to accept a deal it did not want.

[...]

Deeply involved in the effort to help the industry was the DEA’s former associate chief counsel, D. Linden Barber. While at the DEA, he helped design and carry out the early stages of the agency’s tough enforcement campaign, which targeted drug companies that were failing to report suspicious orders of narcotics.

When Barber went to work for the drug industry in 2011, he brought an intimate knowledge of the DEA’s strategy and how it could be attacked to protect the companies. He was one of dozens of DEA officials recruited by the drug industry during the past decade.

Barber played a key role in early version of the legislation that would eventually curtail the DEA’s power, according to an internal email written by a Justice Department official to a colleague. “He wrote the Marino bill,” the official wrote in 2014.

Barber declined repeated requests for an interview.

With a few words, the new law changed four decades of DEA practice. Previously, the DEA could freeze drug shipments that posed an “imminent danger” to the community, giving the agency broad authority. Now, the DEA must demonstrate that a company’s actions represent “a substantial likelihood of an immediate threat,” a much higher bar.

[...]

Today, Rannazzisi is a consultant for a team of lawyers suing the opioid industry. Separately, 41 state attorneys general have banded together to investigate the industry. Hundreds of counties, cities and towns also are suing.

“This is an industry that’s out of control. If they don’t follow the law in drug supply, and diversion occurs, people die. That’s just it, people die,” he said. “And what they’re saying is, ‘The heck with your compliance. We’ll just get the law changed.’ ”

[...]

‘Drug dealers in lab coats’

2006: 52,277 deaths from prescription opioid overdoses since 2000.

Joe Rannazzisi came to DEA headquarters as an outsider with an attitude. He worked as an agent in Detroit, where he watched prescription drugs flood small towns and cities in the Midwest.

Hundreds of millions of pain pills, such as Vicodin and oxycodone, ended up in the hands of dealers and illegal users.

Rogue doctors wrote fraudulent prescriptions for enormous numbers of pills, and complicit pharmacists filled them without question, often for cash. Internet pharmacies, supplied by drug distribution companies, allowed users to obtain drugs without seeing a doctor.

“There were just too many bad practitioners, too many bad pharmacies, and too many bad wholesalers and distributors,” Rannazzisi recalled.

[...]

Rannazzisi brought an aggressive approach to the diversion control office.

The year he took over, Linden Barber was promoted to run diversion control’s litigation office, which crafted the legal arguments that supported the team. He was a former Army lawyer who served in Iraq. The cadre of attorneys who worked for him saw him as a tough litigator unafraid of an influential industry.

Barber and Rannazzisi formed a powerful combination that the drug companies would learn to fear. “Early on he did really good work,” Rannazzisi said. “He jumped into the Internet cases when he first came here.”

After shutting down the Internet pharmacies, Rannazzisi and Barber pursued the pain management clinics that replaced them and soon became as ubiquitous in South Florida as the golden arches of McDonald’s. To get there, drug dealers and users would take the “Oxy Express” down Interstate 75.

“Lines of customers coming in and going out,” said Matthew Murphy, a veteran DEA supervisor in Boston whom Rannazzisi hired to be chief of pharmaceutical investigations. “Armed guards. Vanloads of people from the Appalachia region driving down to Florida to get a prescription from a pain clinic and then get the prescription filled, going back to wherever they’re from.”

Back home, each 30-pill vial of oxycodone was worth $900.

DEA officials realized they needed a new strategy to confront this new kind of drug dealer.

“They weren’t slinging crack on the corner,” Rannazzisi said. “These were professionals who were doing it. They were just drug dealers in lab coats.”

Rather than focusing on bad doctors and pharmacists, Rannazzisi and Barber decided to target the companies feeding the pill mills: the wholesale drug distributors, some of them massive multinational corporations.

[...]

“They definitely didn’t like Joe Rannazzisi,” Murphy said. “Not at all. He wasn’t viewed as a person that they could work with. And maybe that was appropriate. He didn’t want to work with industry much.”

Rannazzisi was unmoved by their complaints.

“We’re worried about their feelings being hurt because we were doing our job?” he said. “We were making them comply. We were holding their feet to the fire.”

Murphy recalled a telling meeting with drug company representatives.

He said the president of one of the drug companies sat on the other side of the table, put his hands up and said, “ ‘You got us. What can we do to make this right?’ ” Murphy recalled.

Murphy said he had heard the same thing from drug dealers.

There was an important difference, Murphy noted.

“You know,” he said, “the heroin and cocaine traffickers didn’t have a class ring on their finger from a prestigious university.”

‘This is war’

2011: 121,468 deaths from prescription opioid overdoses since 2000.

In 2011, Linden Barber left the DEA to join the Washington, D.C., office of the law firm Quarles & Brady. He started a practice representing drug companies. “If you have a DEA compliance issue or you’re facing a government investigation,” he said in a promotional video for the firm, “I’d be happy to hear from you.”

Barber’s move turned out to be a key moment in the struggle between drug companies and the government, but it was far from the only one. Dozens of top officials from the DEA and Justice Department have stepped through Washington’s revolving door to work for drug companies.

[...]

‘it was bad’

2013: 149,853 deaths from prescription opioid overdoses since 2000.

The field generals in the DEA’s war on opioids are men and women such as Jim Geldhof, a 43-year agency veteran who managed the diversion control program in the Detroit field office. He witnessed firsthand the heartbreak pain pills were causing across the Midwest.

One night, at a town hall meeting in Portsmouth, Ohio, Geldhof sat quietly as the Portsmouth High School gym fell dark and a large screen flickered with photographs.

Geldhof was in tears.

“Sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters in graduation pictures,” he recalled. “Some were wearing football jerseys. They had their whole lives ahead of them, and then they were gone.”


[...]

Geldhof, the DEA program manager in Detroit, was investigating a midsize Ohio-based drug distributor. Between 2007 and 2012, Miami-Luken had shipped 20 million doses of oxycodone and hydrocodone to pharmacies in West Virginia. About 11 million wound up in one county, Mingo, population 25,000.

Despite the rising death rate in West Virginia — the highest in the nation — Geldhof said his pleas in 2013 to halt Miami-Luken’s operations were ignored by the legal office at headquarters.

“First we got blown off by the company,” he said, “and then we got blown off by our own lawyers.”

Novak suspected another reason for the slowdown.

At times, he said, some of his colleagues appeared more concerned with pleasing the industry than working on behalf of the public. Some of the lawyers had simply given up fighting the industry and seemed to be preparing for a future working with the companies they were supposed to be regulating, he said.

“It was not just one person who left the office; everyone started to leave. That’s your payout. You do your time, and more and more people were auditioning for the industry. It stopped us from doing our jobs.”

The departures gave the industry an unfair advantage, Novak said.

“There was a fear,” he said. “It comes from seeing that some of the best and brightest former DEA attorneys are now on the other side and know all of the weak points. Their fingerprints are on memos and policy and emails.”

[...]

Epilogue

2016: 197,713 deaths from prescription opioid overdoses since 2000.

John Mulrooney, the chief DEA administrative law judge, has been documenting the falling number of immediate suspension orders against doctors, pharmacies and drug companies. That number has dropped from 65 in fiscal year 2011 to six so far this fiscal year, according to the DEA. Not a single order has targeted a distributor or manufacturer since late 2015, according to Mulrooney’s reports, which were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Mulrooney said in his reports that the judges under him were handling so few cases at the DEA that they began hearing the cases of other federal agencies.

Mingo County, West Virginia, racial makeup 97.1% White

[...]

A spokesman for Whitehouse said that the DEA could have expressed its opposition at any time.

“The fact that it passed the entire Senate without hearing any sort of communication that would have triggered concern of at least one senator doesn’t really pass the smell test,” the spokesman said.

Jim Geldhof, the DEA program manager in Detroit, retired from the agency at the end of 2015 after 43 years on the job. He said the companies were fully aware of their responsibilities under the law.

“When you’re selling half a million pills to some pharmacy and you’re telling me that you don’t know what the rules are for a suspicious order?” said Geldhof, who is now working as a consultant to lawyers suing the industry. “All we were looking for is a good-faith effort by these companies to do the right thing, and there was no good-faith effort. Greed always trumped compliance. It did every time. It was about money, and it’s as simple as that.”

Just before Geldhof left, his two-year quest to persuade the DEA to take action against Miami-Luken finally paid off. In November 2015, the DEA accused the company of multiple violations of the law for allegedly failing to report orders for tens of millions of pain pills from pharmacies, most of them in West Virginia. That case — the most recent one to target a distributor — is pending.

Of the millions of pills sent to Mingo County, many went to one pharmacy in Williamson, the county seat, population 2,924. In one month alone, Miami-Luken shipped 258,000 hydrocodone pills to the pharmacy, more than 10 times the typical amount for a West Virginia pharmacy.

The mayor of Williamson has since filed a lawsuit against Miami-Luken and other drug distributors, accusing them of flooding the city with pain pills and permitting them to saturate the black market.

“Like sharks circling their prey, multi-billion dollar companies descended upon Appalachia for the sole purpose of profiting off of the prescription drug-fueled feeding frenzy,” the lawsuit says.


...West Virginia was not alone among poor White areas targeted, but provides a graphic example of how much big pharma, big business, big money and the government care for disadvantaged Whites, as West Virginia is markedly the poorest and Whitest state in America.


Almost heaven, West Virginia, the corporations can’t lay off - Massey corp. strip mines its mountains, poisons its water and big pharma preys on the despair of the first casualties of cultural Marxism.


Joining Wales, Scotland bans fracking.

Posted by DanielS on Thursday, 05 October 2017 04:15.

Scotland’s ban on fracking poses something of a dilemma for nationalists. While it is indisputable that fracking is environmentally destructive, it is also the case that the destruction can be mitigated some in that the process can be turned off such that it is not an endless source of pollution; and it can be turned on when, for example, Russia threatens to withhold oil supply for not yielding to its political pressure as an oil supplier; which it aspires to do and that’s why Russian Active Measures has a certifiable presence in anti-fracking movements, including that of Scotland.

BBC, “Scottish government backs ban on fracking”, 3 Oct 2017:

The Scottish government has announced an “effective ban” on fracking.

Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse told MSPs that the practice “cannot and will not take place in Scotland”.

He said an existing moratorium on the technique, which has been in place since 2015, would continue “indefinitely” after a consultation showed “overwhelming” opposition.

The government will seek Holyrood’s endorsement for the ban in a vote following the October recess.

But with only the Conservatives now opposed to a ban, the vote is likely to be a formality.

The move was welcomed by environmental groups but has been slammed by Ineos, operators of the huge Grangemouth petrochemical plant, which holds fracking exploration licences across 700 square miles of the country.

  Scotland and fracking: how did we get here?

The Scottish government has previously imposed a similar block on underground coal gasification (UCG) - a separate technique used to extract gas from coal seams deep underground - on environmental grounds.

It followed the introduction of a moratorium on both fracking and UCG in 2015, which saw a series of expert reports published on the potential health, environmental and economic impact of the controversial techniques, as well as a public consultation being carried out.

Mr Wheelhouse said the consultation came back with “overwhelming” opposition to fracking, with 99% of the 60,000 respondents supporting a ban. He said this showed that “there is no social licence for unconventional oil and gas to be taken forward at this time”.

The move comes almost exactly a year on from the UK government giving the go-ahead to horizontal fracking in Lancashire.

Shale gas is currently processed in Scotland at a site in Grangemouth, having been shipped in from abroad, but cannot be extracted from beneath Scottish soil under the current moratorium, which is enforced through planning regulations.

Mr Wheelhouse said local authorities would be instructed to continue this moratorium “indefinitely” - calling this “action sufficient to effectively ban the development of unconventional oil and gas extraction in Scotland”.

He said: “The decision I am announcing today means that fracking cannot and will not take place in Scotland.”

Mr Wheelhouse’s announcement was welcomed by environmental groups, with Friends of the Earth Scotland and WWF Scotland both hailing a victory for campaigners.

WWF Scotland official Sam Gardner said it was “excellent news”, saying “the climate science is clear” that fossil fuels should be “left in the ground”.

Mary Church from Friends of the Earth Scotland said it was a “huge win for the anti-fracking movement” which would be “warmly welcomed across the country and around the world”.
‘Poor decision’

However Ineos said the move could see “large numbers of Scottish workers leaving the country to find work”.

Tom Pickering, operations director of Ineos Shale, said: “It is a sad day for those of us who believe in evidence-led decision making. The Scottish government has turned its back on a potential manufacturing and jobs renaissance and lessened Scottish academia’s place in the world by ignoring its findings.”

Ken Cronin of UK Onshore Oil and Gas also said it was a “poor decision”, which ignored “extensive independent research” and was “based on dogma not evidence or geopolitical reality”.

And the GMB Scotland trade union said the move was “mired in dishonesty” and “an abandonment of the national interest”, saying Scotland would now be dependent on gas shipped in from “the likes of Qatar and Russia”.

The Scottish Conservatives also said Scotland would miss out on a “much needed economic boost” and high-skilled jobs as a result of the decision.

Tory MSP Dean Lockhart said ministers had ignored scientific and economic evidence to take a “short-sighted and economically damaging decision which is nothing more than a bid to appease the green elements of the pro-independence movement”.

However Labour MSP Claudia Beamish said the move did not go far enough, arguing that ministers were merely extending the existing moratorium which “could be overturned at any point at the whim of a minister”.
‘Legally shaky’

Ms Beamish has a member’s bill tabled at Holyrood calling for a “full legal ban”, but Mr Wheelhouse said this would not be needed until his proposals.

The Scottish Greens said the announcement was “a step in the right direction”. However, they also wanted a more permanent ban, with MSP Mark Ruskell saying the moratorium was “legally shaky” and open to challenge.

This was also echoed by Friends of the Earth Scotland, with Ms Church saying ministers should “go further than relying on planning powers” and “instead commit to passing a law to ban the fracking industry for good”.

Scottish Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur welcomed the decision, saying that ministers had taken the “scenic route” but had ultimately decided “effectively to ban fracking”.

MSPs have previously voted to support a ban on fracking, but SNP members abstained from that vote.
What is fracking and why is it controversial?


- Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside.
- The extensive use of fracking in the US, where it has revolutionised the energy industry, has prompted environmental concerns.
- The first is that fracking uses huge amounts of water that must be transported to the fracking site, at significant environmental cost.
- The second is the worry that potentially carcinogenic chemicals used may escape and contaminate groundwater around the fracking site.
- But the industry suggests fracking of shale gas could contribute significantly to the UK’s future energy needs

  find out more…

READ MORE...


Anti-fascist activist goes undercover with ‘alt right’ to expose movement’s rapid European expansion

Posted by DanielS on Thursday, 21 September 2017 01:24.

The key difference is that we are Left Ethnonationalists, therefore Not imperialists, not supremacists, with no aim of genocide or its denial; thus, if our organizational meetings were infiltrated the only possible complaint would be that we wanted separatism and sovereignty; we do not want “them” to be part of our government and governing; do not want them imposed upon us; and if they refuse our wish for separatism and sovereignty, then they are revealed as the imperialists, supremacists, the exploitative, the slave masters.

Independent, 20 Sept 2017:

“Anti-fascist activist goes undercover with ‘alt right’ to expose movement’s rapid European expansion.”

Hope Not Hate report reveals how the group is breathing new life into once dormant far-right and racist groups around the world. A toxic mix of antisemitism, Islamophobia and sexism is revealed at the heart of the “alt-right” movement, following an investigation by an openly-gay anti-fascist activist that sheds new light on the far-right’s rising influence over political parties on both sides of the Atlantic.

Members of the group were caught discussing “gassing Jews” and killing their left-wing opponents after Hope Not Hate conducted a major study of white supremacists in the US and Europe.

The exposé reveals how the “alt-right” is breathing new life into once dormant far-right and racist groups around the world, uniting them under one international movement.

It uncovers the infiltration of the “alt-right” in the UK, with Sheffield-born blogger Paul Joseph Watson among those using their online following to reach audiences the traditional far-right has until now been unable to muster.

As a general principle The Independent avoids using the term “alt-right”, on the basis it is a euphemism employed to disguise racist aims.

The report says a second, “moderate” wing – dubbed the “alt-light” – has become increasingly influential on right-wing politics in Britain, pushing Ukip and others into ever-more hard-line territory.

Far right banned from using their favorite meme.

Authors of the study The International Alternative Right: From Charlottesville to the White House also claim to have found links between the hard-right network and the Trump administration.

Speaking of his experiences infiltrating the network of white supremacists, Patrik Hermansson said: “For almost a year I’ve been at the heart of a world of extreme racism, antisemitism, Holocaust denial, esoteric Nazi rituals and wild conspiracy theories.

“What I found was a movement that sometimes glorifies Nazi Germany, openly supports genocidal ideas and is unrelentingly racist, sexist and homophobic.”

Mr Hermansson said he first gained access to the movement after joining the far-right “think tank” London Forum, having claimed to have come to the UK as a disillusioned Swede curious about the “alt-right” and inspired by Brexit.

He was then introduced to other groups, including the Extremists Club and the Traditional Britain Group, which aims to “preserve the ancient traditions, peoples and beliefs” of the UK.

He said: “In this world, Holocaust denial and conspiracy theories are commonplace, so much so that a whole group exists to cater specifically for them.

“I spent endless mind-numbing hours at meetings of the [conspiracy theorist group] Keep Talking, listening to speakers deny climate change, debate whether 9/11 was a false flag attack or if an ill-defined ‘they’ sold birth certificates on the stock market. Trestle tables at the edge of the hall were adorned with Holocaust denial books.”

The label “alt-right” was first adopted by white supremacist Richard Spencer, but was brought to mainstream attention by individuals with a larger social media presence such as Milo Yiannopoulos and Mike Cernovich.

READ MORE...


Russia’s Geography Problem

Posted by DanielS on Monday, 18 September 2017 02:43.

Related Story: European & Asian Regional Alliance


Hurricane Irmina Gathering - Worst Case Scenario is Worse than Harvey, Worse than Katrina [updates]

Posted by DanielS on Saturday, 02 September 2017 02:54.

  “We’re talking total destruction”

Irma worst case scenario: Cat 5 storm, direct hit on Miami.

“Major Hurricane Irma now ... I’d be surprised if storm didn’t become Cat 5 during next 5-7 days. Many EPS ensembles are very intense.

It would be much worse than Harvey. Miami is built right up to the ocean, all those tall building would receive the impact of Cat 5 winds plus devastating storm surge. We are talking total destruction.”

- Ryan Maue, Meteorologist (PhD) | Free ex parte opinions on Weather | Hurricanes | Climate Science | Politics | Think Tanker @CatoCSS

SethBrown321‏ @FnafSeth Aug 31, replying to Ryan Maue @RyanMaue

“I’d make evacuation plans now everyone in Florida, NC/SC, Georgia, DC, Maryland and Virginia.”

Source, Lion of the Blogosphere

The Economic Collapse, “Category 6? If Hurricane Irma Becomes The Strongest Hurricane In History, It Could Wipe Entire Cities Off The Map”, 1 Sep 2017:

Meteorologists have been shocked at how rapidly Hurricane Irma has been strengthening, and they are already warning that if it hits the United States as a high level category 5 storm the devastation would be absolutely unprecedented.  Of course we are already dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and many experts are already telling us that the economic damage done by that storm will easily surpass any other disaster in all of U.S. history.  But there is a very real possibility that Hurricane Irma could be even worse.  According to the National Hurricane Center, at 5 PM on Friday Irma already had sustained winds of 130 miles per hour.  But it is still very early, and as you will see below, next week it is expected to potentially develop into a category 5 storm with winds of 180 miles per hour or more.

I suppose that it is appropriate that such a powerful storm has a very powerful name.  In old German, the name “Irma” actually means “war goddess”…

  The name Irma is a German baby name. In German the meaning of the name Irma is: Universal, from the Old German ‘irmin’. War goddess.

Irma began forming on Wednesday, and it intensified at a faster rate than any storm that we have seen in nearly 20 years…

Hurricane Irma formed early Wednesday in the warm waters off the coast of West Africa — and took just 30 hours to strengthen to a Category 3. That’s the fastest intensification rate in almost two decades. By Friday afternoon, the storm had also grown noticeably larger in size with a well-defined eye, a classic sign of a strong hurricane.

Though Irma poses no immediate threat to land, the outlook is ominous: In the Atlantic, Irma is expected to pass through some abnormally warm waters — the primary fuel source for storm systems. The official National Hurricane Center forecast says it will remain at major hurricane status for at least the next five days, and, in a worst-case scenario, Irma could eventually grow into one of the strongest hurricanes ever seen in the Atlantic.

So how powerful could Irma eventually become?

According to Michael Ventrice of the Weather Channel, Irma could easily become a “super typhoon” with “sustained speeds of over 180mph”…

Veteran USA forecaster Michael Ventrice posted the track model on Twitter overnight and warned it looked like the storm could be a “super typhoon”, with sustained speeds of over 180mph.

He wrote: “These are the highest windspeed forecasts I’ve ever seen in my 10 yrs of Atlantic hurricane forecasting.

“Irma is another retiree candidate.”

The scale we have right now really never envisioned storms that powerful.  In fact, some have suggested that we need to add a “category 6” to describe the kind of “super storms” that are now developing in the Atlantic.

One of the reasons why Irma is so unique is because it is a “Cape Verde hurricane”…

There are a few factors that worry hurricane forecasters more about this storm when compared to the myriad other tropical storms and hurricanes that tend to form in the Atlantic.

First, it’s a so-called Cape Verde storm, having formed off the west coast of Africa. These storms tend to be the ones that go on to affect the U.S., after gathering strength for many days during their march across the ocean. For example, Hurricane Andrew, which was the most recent Category 5 storm to hit the U.S. in 1992, was a Cape Verde-type storm.

Because they begin at a relatively low latitude and move west rather than northwest, it can be harder for upper level winds blowing across North America to pick up and steer these types of storms away from the U.S. coast.

Let us hope that this storm does get steered away from our coastlines at some point, but so far that is just not happening.

Many hurricanes are often weakened by wind shear, but that isn’t happening to Irma either.  In fact, CNN is reporting that “Irma will remain in a low-shear environment for the next several days”…

A strong high-pressure ridge to the north of Irma, over the Atlantic, is steering the storm to the west and limiting the wind shear in the upper levels of the atmosphere, which has allowed the storm to grow so quickly. Wind shear is like hurricane kryptonite, and prevents storms from forming or gaining strength.

Unfortunately, Irma will remain in a low-shear environment for the next several days, so there isn’t much hope that Irma will weaken any time soon.

Basically, conditions are nearly ideal for a “super storm” to develop, and if Irma does make it to the U.S. the destruction that it causes could be absolutely off the charts.

Of course at this point there is no guarantee that it will ever reach the United States.  But if it does, and if it is still a category 5 storm when it arrives, we could be facing an event unlike anything that we have ever seen before.

Do you remember Hurricane Katrina?  Well, scientists now know that when it hit New Orleans it had already been downgraded to just a “low category 3” storm…

To put this all in perspective, Katrina was a Category 5 hurricane out over some hot spots in the Gulf. But when it hit New Orleans, scientists now know, Katrina had winds at a low Category 3, and much of them Category 2, including the “left side winds” that then came down from the north and pushed the surge-swollen waters of Lake Pontchartrain over and through NOLA’s levees. (Hurricanes spin counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere, so when Katrina came ashore just east of New Orleans, its winds hit the city from the north.)

Only three Category 5s have come ashore in the United States in the past century — the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane, Camille in 1969 and Andrew in 1992.

And Hurricane Harvey was just a category 4 storm.

If Hurricane Irma were to make landfall as a category 5 storm with sustained winds of 180 miles per hour, it would rip buildings and everything else in its path to shreds.

Next week we shall find out what happens.  Let us hope for the best, but let us also get prepared for the worst.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Irmina Update:


The Island Packet
, “Hurricane Irma back to Category 2, but its track makes a pronounced turn”, 2 Sep 2017:

Hurricane Irma become a Category 2 storm once more in the National Hurricane Center’s 5 a.m. update, but as its strength fluctuates, its track now shows a distinct northwestern turn.

Tropical weather track

Reload page every few hours
for the latest tracking information.

Source: National Hurricane Center

Irma is currently located about 1300 miles east of the Leeward Islands, and is moving west at 14 mph. It has maximum sustained winds of 110 mph with gusts up to 132 mph.

While Irma has remained in a somewhat weakened state over the past day or so, it is expected to move into warmer waters and better wind conditions in about a day, and is expected to be a major hurricane again as it approaches the Lesser Antilles at the beginning of next week.

It is expected to reach Category 4 status by next Wednesday, with forecast sustained winds of 132 mph and gusts over 160.

The NHC track for Irma looks only five days out, but there are other, more speculative forecast models.

No coastal watches or warnings have yet been issued for Irma. Watches and warnings are typically issued 36 hours before a tropical cyclone poses a threat to a coastal area. So, as alarming as some of the information coming in might be, people can take solace in the knowledge that they will have plenty of warning if Irma looks to threaten the U.S. coast.

“It’s still 2,000 miles away, and anything over the Atlantic Ocean moving generally westward, by geographical definition, would be ‘aiming in the general direction of the United States,’” said NHC spokesman Dennis Feltgen. “It is far to early to tell what, if any, impacts will be felt on the continental U.S.”

Feltgen also said that Irma is a useful reminder that we are in the peak of hurricane season, and that as such, people in hurricane prone areas should be prepared, just in case.

“Check your supplies and make sure you have a hurricane plan,” said Feltgen. “The last thing you want is to be doing this on the fly if you happen to be in an area where hurricane watches or warnings go up. Not that we expect that to happen any time soon, but use this weekend, when stores are open and everyone has supplies, to take advantage of that.


Trump’s business cronies proceed full speed ahead in disregard of environmental systems

Posted by DanielS on Tuesday, 18 July 2017 13:16.

Independent, “Climate change denier Scott Pruitt’s appointment to run EPA would be ‘unprecedented assault’ on its work,” 7 Feb 2017.

One issue that state discretion would Not handle better is the overseeing and coordination of environmental matters, which are, by definition, of interrelated systems that do not heed political bounds, especially not smaller ones.

Trump’s crass assault on our earthly home was launched with his appointment of business plant and climate change denier, Scott Pruitt, as head of the EPA: fox in charge of the hen house. The assault is now going into overdrive.

Daily Caller, “House Republicans Lay Out Their Plan To Rein In The EPA”, 18, 2017:

House Republicans released their proposal to balance the federal budget in 10 years, which included their plans to rein in the regulatory power of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Republicans plan three broad reforms for the EPA: reduce its funding, cut global warming and programs and eliminate the agency’s policy office.

“The Environmental Protection Agency has long overreached in its duties,” the House budget resolution reads, released Tuesday.

“While everyone supports protecting the environment and promoting clean air and clean water, the states are better positioned to address their individual environmental concerns and balance those responsibilities with the concerns of workers, small-businesses, and manufacturers,” the resolution adds.

However, the House’s plan for the EPA would cut the agency’s budget 80 percent less than what the White house recommended in its May budget proposal.

A House appropriations bill introduced days ago gives the EPA a $7.5 billion budget in 2017, or $528 million less than the agency’s 2017 budget. The bill also ignored many Trump administration requests to cut dozens of EPA programs. That bill is still making its way through committee.

The House appropriations bill would give $31.4 billion to federal environmental programs at the EPA, Department of the Interior and other agencies. That’s $824 million below 2017 levels, but $4.3 billion less than the White House’s request.

The White House recommended cutting the EPA’s budget $2.6 billion, or more than 30 percent, along with eliminating dozens of programs, particularly those enforcing Obama-era regulations and climate programs.

The budget proposal also included plans to eliminate duplicative energy programs and wasteful spending to help get “federal government out of the way and allow the private sector to do its job and flourish.”

That effort largely focuses on reducing Energy Department spending energy subsidies and stopping the agency from issuing any more loan guarantees — the same program that funded Solyndra.

“Eliminating these Obama-era pet programs will help us reduce federal spending in the energy sector and promote private-sector energy production and innovation,” the House budget document reads.

Republicans claim that their plan would balance the federal budget within 10 years.

Democrats and environmentalists are already pushing back on the Republican resolution.

House lawmakers will mark up the budget resolution Wednesday, and it’s expected to pass the chamber. Senate Democrats could pose problems for the budget resolution’s path to President Donald Trump’s desk.


Massive iceberg breaks away from Antarctica

Posted by DanielS on Wednesday, 12 July 2017 18:14.

CNN, “Massive iceberg breaks away from Antarctica”, 12 July 2017:

It’s clear that global warming, caused largely by burning fossil fuels and agricultural practices, is contributing to the broader destabilization of Antarctica, said Eric Rignot, professor of Earth systems sciences at the University of California, Irvine, and a senior research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

“This break-up signals that the ice shelf got too thin,” Rignot said in an email. “It got thinner because climate has been warming, over decades; the ice shelf will eventually collapse in the coming decades. This is absolutely related to climate warming. The ice shelf front has not calved this far back in 125 years (first seen by Carl Larsen in 1893) and Larsen C is on a course to collapse, very reminiscent of what happened to Larsen B in 2002.”

“This is yet another wake up call,” he said, “that Antarctica is on the rise and we should be concerned about what that means for future sea level.”


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