Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Science fact?

Leah Douglas (NPR) reports:

Americans eat an average of 16 pounds of fish each year, and that number is growing. But how to meet our demand for fish is a controversial question, one that is entering a new chapter as the Environmental Protection Agency seeks to approve the nation's only aquaculture pen in federal waters.
Fish farming has been positioned by its boosters as a sustainable alternative to wild-caught seafood and an economic driver that would put our oceans to work. So far, restrictions on where aquaculture operations can be located have kept the U.S. industry relatively small. In 2016, domestic aquaculture in state-controlled waters accounted for about $1.6 billion worth of seafood, or about 20 percent of the country's seafood production.
But the biggest potential home for aquaculture, federally controlled ocean waters, has so far been off limits. States control up to three miles offshore from their coastlines, but between three and 200 miles falls under federal control. Attempts to introduce aquaculture in federal waters have so far been stymied by concerns about aquaculture's impact on ocean ecosystems and wild fisheries.

And I think they should be stymied.  But that's my opinion.  Madeleine Stone (NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC) reports:

When the remnants of Europe’s second summertime heat wave migrated over Greenland in late July, more than half of the ice sheet’s surface started melting for the first time since 2012. A study published Wednesday in Nature shows that mega-melts like that one, which are being amplified by climate change, aren’t just causing Greenland to shed billions of tons of ice. They’re causing the remaining ice to become denser.
“Ice slabs”—solid planks of ice that can span hundreds of square miles and grow to be 50 feet thick—are spreading across the porous, air pocket-filled surface of the Greenland ice sheet as it melts and refreezes more often. From 2001 to 2014, the slabs expanded in area by about 25,000 square miles, forming an impermeable barrier the size of West Virginia that prevents meltwater from trickling down through the ice. Instead, the meltwater becomes runoff that flows overland, eventually making its way out to sea.
As the ice slabs continue to spread, the study’s authors predict more and more of Greenland’s surface will become a “runoff zone,” boosting the ice sheet’s contribution to global sea level rise and, perhaps, causing unexpected changes.

We have no idea, again just my opinion, how much we are screwing up our world and how awful things are going to get.  No idea at all.  ELYSIUM is going to look like science fact in a few years, not science fiction.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Wednesday, September 18, 2019.  The US government continues to growl for more war, a War Whore dies and Nina Totenberg wants us to mourn the whore, Elizabeth Warren's on the rise in a new poll and much more.

Starting with the push to go to war on Iran.  Bill Van Auken (WSWS) points out:

The threat that Washington will unleash a major new war in the Middle East continued to escalate Tuesday as US intelligence and military officials—speaking not for attribution—claimed to have established that last Saturday’s attacks on Saudi Arabian oil installations were launched from southwestern Iran.
Not a shred of evidence has been provided to substantiate this charge, and, according to Pentagon officials who spoke anonymously to National Public Radio, the evidence claimed is “circumstantial,” consisting of satellite surveillance imagery showing activity at supposed Iranian launch sites in advance of the attack on Abqaiq, the world’s largest crude oil processing facility, and the Khurais oil field, both in eastern Saudi Arabia.
Despite the failure of US authorities to make public any of their alleged evidence, the US corporate media is reporting the charge against Iran as incontrovertible fact.
Iran has denied any responsibility for the attacks, which were claimed by the Houthi rebels in Yemen as an act of retaliation for the near-genocidal war waged by Saudi Arabia against the impoverished Arab country for the past four-and-a-half years.
An unrelenting bombing campaign, waged with indispensable US supplies of arms, ammunition and logistical support, is responsible for the bulk of the nearly 100,000 Yemeni deaths in the course of the war. The Saudi attacks, combined with a blockade enforced with the aid of the US Navy, has driven some 8 million Yemenis to the brink of starvation.
The Houthis claimed to have staged the attacks with a swarm of 10 weaponized drones, weapons that they publicly unveiled last July. The strikes cut Saudi Arabia’s oil production in half, reducing it by 5.7 million barrels daily, or more than 5 percent of global crude production.

The US is involved in endless wars.  That would include Iraq, yes, and Afghanistan as well -- but it would also include so many more.  In 2014, Timothy McGrath (PRI) counted 134 wars the US was then currently involved in.  The last thing the US needs is another war.  The last thing the world needs is another war.

To Iran today is not the of 1987. Richer better armed and far more influential in large part because of the US invasion of Iraq that you so enthusiastically supported. No more US blood for oil.

Donald Trump?  How does he go to war publicly?  He would likely lose his Libetarian support.  He would like lose a large part of his popular support.  For Bully Boy Bush -- and, let's be honest, craven Democrats in 2002 -- supporting war was an easy re-election bid.

But that's not the case for Donald Trump.  Going to war to 'defend' Saudi oil?  Does he really think the populist support he got in 2016 will stay with him?  It won't.  He talked about restoring America, he signaled that his moves would be moves to put America first -- and you really can't reconcile that with war on Iran to 'defend' Saudi oil.

There is no 'pivot' room for Donald on this issue.

He is treating this attack, claimed by the Housthis, as though it is 9/11 and, again, the American people will neither buy nor embrace that.  9/11 was not an attack on an oil field.  People died horrible painful deaths.  In the towers, some were trapped as they burned, some jumped to their death.  Those were horrible and haunting memories.  An oil field being attacked by a drone?  Not really the same thing, not at all.

William Rivers Pitt (TRUTHOUT) notes:

“In short: it’s all super unclear,” writes Jack Crosbie for Splinter News, “but the president’s public vow to bomb whoever Saudi Arabia tells us to is not reassuring. The Saudis are perfectly capable of fighting their own battles — we’ve sold them more than enough weaponry — but Trump’s stance throughout the crisis has been that, essentially, the U.S. military stands by to defend our favorite brutal authoritarian theocracy at any cost.”
If Trump does commit the U.S. to a war in Iran on behalf of Saudi Arabia, it would unsurprisingly be one of the worst calamities of an administration made of calamities. The only surprise here is the fact that John Bolton will have to watch it all on his flat-screen at home, or from the office of his now-anti-Trump super PAC. Maybe irony has a pulse after all.

Not only would an attack on Iran over the Houthis attacking Saudi Arabia weaken Donald Trump's support in the US, it would harm him historically.  Saudi Arabia is not going to come off well in the history books.  It's an authoritarian regime.  There's no real win for Donald Trump in attacking Iran.  That, of course, doesn't mean he won't do it.

Jake Johnson (COMMON DREAMS) reports:

With President Donald Trump firing off menacing tweets and the White House working to blame Iran—on the basis of flimsy evidence—for attacks on Saudi oil facilities over the weekend, Rep. Ilhan Omar said Monday night that Congress must act urgently to prevent Trump from launching another catastrophic military conflict in the Middle East.
"Congress has the constitutional right to declare war," the Minnesota Democrat told CNN's Erin Burnett. "The president doesn't have it. The secretary of state doesn't have it. And Saudi Arabia certainly doesn't have it."

Omar pointed to the Trump administration's decision last year to violate the Iran nuclear deal as the source of growing military tensions over the past several months, which on at least one occasion nearly resulted in a full-scale conflict.

This isn't 2002.  Meaning the American people is sick of war.  Democrats in Congress can't blindly support war thinking it will be the smart re-election strategy.  And they also can't stick their heads in the sand.  Ilhan's approach is the approach the party is going to have to take.

Failure to do so will suppress voter turnout more than anything else.  The Democrats better draw a clear line between themselves and the party in the White House if they want voters to support them at the polls in 2020.

Except for the time when Joe voted for NAFTA, PNTR with China, the Wall Street bailout, the Iraq War, bankruptcy “reform,” welfare “reform,” and cutting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and veterans benefits while fighting to cut pension benefits for 1.5 million union members

Yes, we're gearing up for another election.  November 2020 will be here before we know it.  Nicholas Wu (USA TODAY) reports:

A new NBC/WSJ poll released Tuesday shows former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., continuing to make gains over the rest of the Democratic field. 
Biden remains the highest-polling candidate, coming in at 31%, a five-percentage-point gain from July. Warren jumped by six percentage points, from 19% to 25%. 
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., inched up from 13% to 14%, and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg remained steady at 7%. 
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., on the other hand, fell from a high of 13% in July to 5%. 
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang moved from 2% to 4%, putting him in sixth place, behind Harris. 

The poll has a 4.4% margin of error which means Warren and Biden remain neck-and-neck in that poll.   NBC notes of their poll, "Important, however, only 9 percent of all Democratic respondents say their minds are definitely made up."  That's an important point.  But here's another: the poll is based on the media propping up Joe after the debate.  That's not reality.  And now the voices of the people -- including the voices of Latinos -- are weighing in.  Joe understands this problem.  He looked like a hero to some when he betrayed Anita Hill all those years ago.  People thought he and the others would get away wit it.  I said they wouldn't.  I said we saw what we saw and we wouldn't forget it and we would talk about it away from the media and the tide would turn.  Joe remembers that.  He was one of the people I said that too.  And the tide did turn and his treatment of Anita Hill continues to be a sore spot for his image to this day.

The media defended him.  They did so by lying.  They were bullies -- the pundits.  Americans don't like that at all.

We're going to quote Ruben Navarrette Jr. (USA TODAY) one more time:

A lot of people of color are fed up with the old school white liberalism that Biden represents. It’s not just his past opposition to forced busing in the 1970s because, as he said then, he didn’t feel “responsible for the sins” of past generations. It’s also recent gaffes. During last week's debate, Biden answered a question about atoning for slavery with a condescending stemwinder about “problems that come from home” and social workers showing parents how to parent by having “the record player on at night” so kids pick up vocabulary. 
Harris and Booker got a pass for going after Biden, yet Castro is being walloped. White pundits know better than to scold African Americans about race, but they’re not afraid of Latinos, whom they often treat like their gardeners. 

While discussing competing health care plans, the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development mischievously poked at Biden by asking — repeatedly — whether the 76-year-old was forgetting what he said two minutes earlier.
Critics — including the news media and Biden supporters — are calling it “ageism” and a “cheap shot” by Castro. They say the 45-year-old should have shown more “respect” to his elder. 

That’s a thing in politics? Since when?

That's the opinion that's going to win out.  And we're already seeing that on campuses this week as we speak to various groups.  The media did what they always do, group-think, herd mentality and lie, especially lie.  That's going to bite them in their ass.

On the media, Cokie Roberts died . . . clutching her pearls as always.  I don't have any sympathy for her.  She was an alarmist who didn't just scream for Bill Clinton to be impeached and removed from office, she supported war and was addicted to war porn.  Her death is no great loss.  She broke no major story.  She did nothing with her life but act as a handmaiden to those who destroy.  She worked for NPR and ABC an accomplished nothing in her trade.

Let’s all remember Cokie Roberts as NPR’s champion cheerleader for the disastrous and criminal invasion of Iraq. WMD my ass.

Cokie Roberts of NPR media fame that pushed the Iraq war beyond the pale. And every other war. She is dead and will not be missed by anyone that values truth.

Cokie Roberts called anti-Iraq War figurehead Cindy Sheehan an "unsophisticated woman." Guess that Sheehan wasn't a mainstay on the Beltway cocktail party circuit.
Cokie Roberts was a pro Iraq War voice. Years later she said leaving would be "irresponsible." She was rich & a huge apologist for war criminal GWB. In 2019 she falsely claimed Bernie & can't win - and that it'd be awful if they did. Earth is better off without her.

I wish it was easy to find old clips of Cokie Roberts being a right wing reactionary bitch, but here's a little taste, where she complains about politicians who were "against the Iraq War from the beginning". Cokie is very bored and unimpressed

Ask Cokie Roberts if she regrets saying, in late '02, that pending invasion of Iraq was not opposed by "anybody that matters."

That's the real Cokie Roberts.  Shame on those who want to applaud her as a 'first' and pretend she accomplished something.  She was a daughter of power who never challenged power.  She, her mother and her brother all struggled with ethics.  She was a War Hawk and people are dead because of her.  I'm appalled by those rushing to prop up her memory.

An old whore had a long career of peddling her tired wares in the service of empire.  Nina Totenberg thinks it's time to now mourn -- well, Nina would think that, wouldn't she?

Iraq remains a failed state, many children there suffer birth defects, over a million Iraqis are dead, many more displaced.  Sorry, Nina Totenberg, but Cokie Roberts doesn't get a pass.

AFP reports:

 It has been a shaky 11 months for Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s government since it was painstakingly stitched together in the prolonged wake of May 2018 elections.
The administration’s power rests on the curious coupling of firebrand cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr with Fatah, the political arm of the Hashd Al-Shaabi armed network.
But a cocktail of new pressure points — from Sadr’s frustration with the Hashd to purported Israeli strikes targeting the force — are fraying this tenuous deal, said Ihsan Al-Shammari, head of the Iraqi Center for Political Thought.
“The situation is messy. The political parties are repositioning themselves and the major alliances have broken apart,” Shammari told AFP.

He predicted the “tactical partnership” between Sadr and Fatah will collapse amid the cleric’s escalating criticism of the Hashd’s possession of arms and moves to create its own air force.

The following sites updated: