WHEN TRAPPED IN A CORNER OF YOUR OWN MAKING, BLAME THE MEDIA

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This morning (Thursday, 1/5/17), Donald Trump tweeted: “The dishonest media likes saying that I am in Agreement with Julian Assange – wrong. I simply state what he states, it is for the people.… to make up their own minds as to the truth. The media lies to make it look like I am against ‘Intelligence’ when in fact I am a big fan!”

With apologies to readers who can’t stand the sight of Trump, here are screenshots of his actual tweets:

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Trump’s tweets are so full of fallacies that I don’t know where to begin, so I guess I’ll just dive in with several sets of questions.

First, whom is Trump calling dishonest? Why doesn’t he name anyone specifically? Is he, in fact, claiming that every reporter and all news media are dishonest, or is he leaving it to his Twitter followers to blame the ones that he’s attacked in the past? Is the ultimate purpose behind his blanket statements to sow distrust in news media as a whole?

Second, do the dishonest media—whoever they may be—actually say that Trump is “in Agreement with Julian Assange,” or do they do what Trump says he does, that is, “simply state what he [Trump] states” and leave it to “the people to make up their own minds as to the truth”? If he has examples of media quoting him falsely, why doesn’t he cite them? Granted, Twitter allows only 140 characters per tweet, but Trump could add a screenshot of the false claim to his tweet or put links in his tweet to the stories that contain the false quotes—if there are any—or he could cite multiple examples in a series of tweets.

Third, does the following tweet look like the work of a “big fan” of U.S. intelligence agencies to you? Please note that the quotation marks Trump puts around the words “Intelligence” and “Russian hacking” indicate that he’s mocking the U.S. intelligence agencies’ conclusion that the Russians interfered in the U.S. election.

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Fourth, if Trump is such a “big fan” of “Intelligence,” why didn’t he publicize the intelligence community’s conclusions about Russian interference in the election? And if he’s not in agreement with Assange, why did he go out of his way to tweet to his millions of followers that Assange said the “Russians did not give him the info”? (See screenshot of tweet below.) Don’t Trump’s actions indicate that he gives more credence to Assange than to U.S. intelligence agencies?

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So, what is Trump up to here? I don’t know for certain, but I suspect that he suffered a narcissistic injury when he—along with rest of the world—learned that all of the official U.S. intelligence agencies agreed that Russia intervened in the U.S. election in order to harm the electoral prospects of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Worse still, the C.I.A. concluded that Russia actively interceded in Trump’s behalf. How humiliating! Well, Trump, who has deluded himself into believing he won a “historic electoral landslide” couldn’t let that stand. So, in a narcissistic rage, he lashed out at the intelligence agencies by publicly doubting their conclusions and having his transition team release a statement that, in effect, called the agencies incompetent.

But now (oops!), the intelligence agencies’ report is about to be released, and Trump has painted himself into a corner. What does he do? He blames the “dishonest media,” of course! He tweets: “The media lies to make it look like I am against ‘Intelligence’ when in fact I am a big fan!” Trump’s a big fan? Yeah, right!

Let’s not let him get away with it.

 

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Electoral College: SAVE US FROM TRUMP!

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I hope you’ll take a minute to read: “Democrats Can Stop Trump Via the Electoral College. But Not How You Think.” http://wpo.st/dJiK2  The author, Michael Cannon, is a scholar at the Cato Institute, which is a libertarian think tank. I rarely agree with libertarians, but I think Cannon’s analysis here is good. Briefly, he’s counseling Democratic electors to pick a Republican—Romney, for instance—vote for him, and then convince at least 37 Republican electors to vote for the same candidate. As Cannon sees it, this is the only way to prevent Trump from assuming the presidency.

Many of my Democratic friends, who are horrified by the prospect of a Trump presidency, have told me they’d be okay with some other Republican—almost ANY other Republican. I emphatically agree. So what do you, dear blog reader, think about urging electors (Democrats and Republicans) to vote for a consensus (non-Trump) Republican? Good idea? Bad idea?

Some Democratic members of the Electoral College have formed a group called the Hamilton Electors. They intend to vote for a Republican, whom they will choose by consensus. If you’d like more information about the Hamilton Electors, click here: http://www.hamiltonelectors.com

If you’d like to contact members of the Electoral College directly, #AskTheElectors makes that easy. Check out: http://asktheelectors.org

Here’s a link to another article on the subject by Kathleen Parker, “The Electoral College Should Be Unfaithful.” http://wpo.st/PeiK2

A Language-Spinner Sees the Light?

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In today’s New York Times, Frank Luntz counsels the winner of tonight’s presidential election to appeal to the common ground that unites us and bring the American people back together.

If you haven’t read his article and would like to, here’s a link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/08/opinion/how-to-begin-the-healing.html?emc=edit_th_20161108&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=26749800

I’m glad to see that Frank Luntz is counseling the winner of the election to seek common ground, but I can’t forget that for years he has advised Republicans to use poll-tested phrases to spin arguments to their advantage. Care for an example? He told Republicans never to say “estate tax,” but to say “death tax” instead. Why? Because “estate tax” sounds like something only the rich pay, and “death tax” sounds like something everyone pays — even though the tax only applies to individuals inheriting over $5.45 million. Luntz’s Machiavellian twists of language have been influential in driving Americans into hostile camps. I hope he now turns his talents and attention to coming up with phrases that will help bring Americans back together.

WHEN WILL THE INQUISITION END?

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When will Republicans put an end to the inquisition of Hillary Clinton? Will it stop if she loses? Will it go into overdrive if she wins?

I’ve lost track of all the hearings they’ve had concerning Benghazi. Yes, what happened there was tragic. Four Americans were killed. But where were the Republican inquisitors when terrorists killed 241 Marines in their barracks during Reagan’s presidency, and where is their retroactive anger now?

Republican politicians scream bloody murder about Hillary’s emails. They say a foreign power, hostile to the U.S., could have hacked her private server. True, but guess what. Russia did hack a highly secure server at the Democratic National Committee, and Trump and his followers cheered the Russians on. Rather than being outraged, Republicans have exploited the hacked information in order to attack Hillary and other down-ballot Democratic candidates, implying they are guilty by association.

Hillary certainly has faults, but so do the rest of us. Imagine that a large group of people, with virtually unlimited resources, put your life under a microscope. Wouldn’t they find something they could use to make you look bad? Now imagine that they put your spouse under the microscope and made you responsible for his or her conduct, too. Would you think that was fair?

Come on, people. The election is tomorrow. It’s time for the #inquisition to stop.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/07/us/politics/hilary-clinton-male-voters-donald-trump.html?emc=edit_th_20161107&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=26749800

Another Series of Presidential Debates with No Climate-Change Qs

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Did you notice? None of the debate moderators asked a single question about climate change. Isn’t that odd? As President Obama recently said: “No challenge  poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.” So why didn’t this existential threat merit even one question? Are all of the moderators climate-change deniers?
Probably not. My guess is that each of them asked questions on topics the American people find most pressing, and poll after poll shows that only about 1% of Americans name “the environment” (much less “climate change”) as one of the most important issues facing the U.S. today. The Big Q, then, is: Why do so few Americans express concern to pollsters about the environment? One of the reasons, no doubt, is that the news media under-report environmental problems relative to their importance. People discount environmental issues, because the media rarely bring the issues to their attention. Completing the vicious circle, the news media under-report environmental problems because the public seems not to care about those problems.
Here’s a link to a relevant article, which contains links to a number of other relevant articles.

What the Frack?

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Below, I’ve pasted introductory quotes and links to several articles about the environmental impacts of natural-gas production and storage. The first article discusses some of the arguments among environmentalists over the costs and benefits of fracking; the second looks at the impact of fracking on Florida’s drinking water; the third covers fracking-induced earthquakes; the fourth calls the leak from a natural-gas storage facility in Los Angeles “the worst accidental discharge of greenhouse gases in U.S. history”; while the fifth says, hold on a minute, the massive methane leaks from Texas’s fracking sites are worse than California’s.

Between the lines, the articles hint at why fracking is likely to continue despite the high environmental costs.

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Fracking Is Killing Coal. So Why Do So Many Environmentalists Hate It?

By Brad Plumer, April 8, 2015

Few things have inspired angst among green groups and climate advocates like the question of how to deal with fracking…. Here’s a very rough breakdown of the debate: Supporters of fracking point out that the US natural-gas boom, driven by hydraulic fracturing, has actually been one of the big environmental success stories of the past decade. Electric utilities are now using more cheap gas and less dirty coal to generate power. Since gas burns more cleanly, that curbs air pollution…. On the “anti” side, meanwhile, are a large and growing set of environmentalists who now argue that the problems with fracking outweigh the benefits…. They don’t see gas as helping us move away from coal. They see cheap gas as hampering the transition to renewable sources like wind and solar.

http://www.vox.com/2015/4/8/8370401/fracking-debate-environmentalists

 

Unlikely Battle Over Fracking Intensifies in Florida

By Lizette Alvarez, Feb 23, 2016

With geology akin to a wet sponge and fragile underground aquifers that supply almost all its drinking water, Florida has never been considered part of the agitated battle over fracking as a technology for extracting oil and gas. But that began to change two years ago when a Texas-based oil and gas company was found to have been using hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, and matrix acidizing, a fracking-like method that dissolves rocks with acid instead of fracturing them with pressurized liquid. Neither residents nor local governments knew about it because well stimulation, the catch-all term for both techniques, does not require a separate permit and is not regulated.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/24/us/in-florida-an-unlikely-battle-over-fracking-intensifies.html?partner=IFTTT

 

Erin Brockovich on Oklahoma Earthquakes: ‘It’s Fracking, Let’s Just be Honest’

By Lorraine Chow, February 24, 2016

Oklahoma experiences more earthquakes than anywhere in the world. Before 2009, Oklahoma had two earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater each year, but now there are two a day…. Despite mounting scientific consensus against the oil and gas sector, certain politicians such as pro-business state Gov. Mary Fallin have been slow to change their tune about the link between fracking wastewater disposal and earthquakes. State scientists and regulators have also been reportedly silenced by industry-linked state officials.

 

http://ecowatch.com/2016/02/24/erin-brockovich-oklahoma-earthquakes/

 

California Gas Leak Was the Worst Man-Made Greenhouse-Gas Disaster in U.S. History, Study Says

By Joby Warrick, February 25, 2016

The massive leak that vented millions of pounds of natural gas from a Los Angeles storage facility now appears to have been the worst accidental discharge of greenhouse gases in U.S. history, scientists concluded in an analysis released Thursday…. “The climate impact is the largest on a record” for any single incident in the United States, said Stephen Conley, an atmospheric scientist at the University of California at Davis and one of six scientists involved in the study.

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/02/25/california-gas-leak-was-the-worst-man-made-greenhouse-gas-disaster-in-u-s-history-study-says/?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_green

 

Massive Methane Leaks From Texas Fracking Sites Even More Significant Than Infamous Porter Ranch Gas Leak

By Claire Bernish,  February 23, 2016

Texas is dealing with a comparable disaster [to the one in L.A.] that has been overlooked by officials and the media, in part, because the state’s methane emanates from a powerful industry’s infrastructure…. “Every hour, natural gas facilities in North Texas’ Barnett Shale region emit thousands of tons of methane—a greenhouse gas at least 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide—and a slate of noxious pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and benzene.The [Los Angeles] leak was big. The Barnett leaks, combined, are even bigger.”

http://ecowatch.com/2016/02/23/methane-leaks-texas/

 

 

Three Articles on Climate Change Politics

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Today, I’d just like to pass along links to three articles that I read this morning.

The first is from WIRED.

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You can find the article at:

http://www.wired.com/2015/12/climate-scientists-used-to-just-get-angry-now-theyre-taking-action/

The next article is from The New York Times.

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Find the rest of the article at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/04/opinion/the-latest-attack-on-climate-science.html?partner=IFTTT&_r=0

 

Finally, the op-ed below is by Paul Krugman. It also ran in today’s  New York Times.

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The entire article is at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/04/opinion/republicans-climate-change-denial-denial.html?partner=rss&emc=rss