Facebook Hires Koch-Funded Climate Deniers for ‘Fact-Checking’ – EcoWatch – Business

By Andy Rowell

It may not come as a surprise that leading climate denier Donald Trump has made more than 10,000 false or misleading claims since he became president, according to fact-checkers at the Washington Post.

As the Post reports, Trump’s “tsunami of untruths just keeps looming larger and larger.”

Much of this tsunami of untruths will get reposted on Facebook as fact. Those hoping that Facebook will accurately check Trump’s statements and clean up the torrent of fake news on its platform will have to think again, especially if you are concerned about climate change.

In what can only be described as verging on the bizarre, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has given the contract to fight fake news to an organization that pushes fake news on climate change.

According to reports in Think Progress and Grist, Facebook has announced that it was teaming up with CheckYourFact.com, which is an offshoot of the anti-science media site, The Daily Caller.

The CheckYourFact website brags that: “Our mission is a non-partisan one. We’re loyal to neither people nor parties — only the truth. And while the fact-checking industry continues to grow, there are still countless assertions that go unchecked. We exist to fill in the gaps.”

In fact, the opposite seems to be true. As Think Progress outlines:

The Daily Caller, which has published misinformation about climate science for years, was co-founded by the science-denying Fox News host Tucker Carlson and is backed by major conservative donors, including Charles and David Koch, the billionaire fossil fuel barons who are the single biggest funders of climate science misinformation.
Think Progress includes a link back to 2015, when a peer-reviewed paper from scientists at Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute was published in the journal Nature Geoscience. The Daily Caller tried to twist the research to argue that “global warming is nothing new.”

It is hardly surprising that leading climate scientists and academics are outspoken about the Facebook fact-check tie up.”

Source: EcoWatch – Business

Opinion | Trump’s Anti-Abortion Incitement – By Michelle Goldberg – The New York Times

The president’s lies about infanticide could inspire violence.

By Michelle Goldberg
Opinion Columnist

April 29, 2019, 858

President Trump on Saturday in Green Bay, Wis., where he described Democrats as in favor of infanticide.
Credit
Erin Schaff/The New York Times

“Last week, The Washington Post’s tally of Donald Trump’s false and misleading claims hit a milestone, topping 10,000. His untruths, which lately average almost two dozen a day, have long since stopped being news, becoming instead irritating background noise. So when, on Saturday, he told a particularly lurid lie about infanticide at a political rally in Wisconsin, it was, like so much in this administration, at once shocking and unsurprising.

As his raucous crowd booed and screamed, Trump described a hideous scenario that he insists Democrats approve of. “The baby is born,” said Trump. “The mother meets with the doctor, they take care of the baby, they wrap the baby beautifully” — at this, he seemed to mime rocking an infant — “and then the doctor and the mother determine whether or not they will execute the baby.” He made a chopping motion with his hand.

Trump was elaborating on the willfully misunderstood words of Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia, who, in a radio interview in January, responded to a Republican hypothetical about a woman requesting an abortion during labor. A pediatric neurologist by training, Northam described what actually occurs when a woman whose pregnancy may not be viable gives birth. If “a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen,” he said. “The infant would be delivered, the infant would be kept comfortable, the infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.””

Opinion | The Zombie Style in American Politics – By Paul Krugman – The New York Times

By Paul Krugman
Opinion Columnist

April 29, 2019, 632

“Russia didn’t help Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. O.K., it did help him, but the campaign itself wasn’t involved. O.K., the campaign had a lot of Russian contacts and knowingly received information from the Russians, but that was perfectly fine.

If you’ve been trying to follow the Republican response to revelations about what happened in 2016, you may be a bit confused. We’re not even talking about an ever-shifting party line; new excuses keep emerging, but old excuses are never abandoned. On one side, we have Rudy Giuliani saying that “there’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians.” On the other side, we have Jared Kushner denying that Russia did anything beyond taking out “a couple of Facebook ads.”

It’s all very strange. Or, more accurately, it can seem very strange if you still think of the G.O.P. as a normal political party, one that adopts policy positions and then defends those positions in more or less good faith.

But if you have been following Republican arguments over the years, you know that the party’s response to evidence of Russian intervention in 2016 is standard operating procedure. On issue after issue, what you see are multiple levels of denial combined with a refusal ever to give up an argument no matter how completely it has been discredited.”

From Apples to Popcorn- Climate Change Is Altering the Foods America Grows – By Kim Severson – The New York Times

In every region, farmers and scientists are trying to adapt an array of crops to warmer temperatures, invasive pests, erratic weather and earlier growing seasons.

Credit
MSJONESNYC

By Kim Severson
April 30, 2019, 34

“The impact may not yet be obvious in grocery stores and greenmarkets, but behind the organic apples and bags of rice and cans of cherry pie filling are hundreds of thousands of farmers, plant breeders and others in agriculture who are scrambling to keep up with climate change.

Drop a pin anywhere on a map of the United States and you’ll find disruption in the fields. Warmer temperatures are extending growing seasons in some areas and sending a host of new pests into others. Some fields are parched with drought, others so flooded that they swallow tractors.

Decades-long patterns of frost, heat and rain — never entirely predictable but once reliable enough — have broken down. In regions where the term climate change still meets with skepticism, some simply call the weather extreme or erratic. But most agree that something unusual is happening.

[Tell us how climate change is affecting your area.]

“Farming is no different than gambling,” said Sarah Frey, whose collection of farms throughout the South and the Midwest grows much of the nation’s crop of watermelons and pumpkins. “You’re putting thousands if not millions of dollars into the earth and hoping nothing catastrophic happens, but it’s so much more of a gamble now. You have all of these consequences that farmers weren’t expecting.””

As Buttigieg Builds His Campaign- Gay Donors Provide the Foundation – The New York Times

By Jeremy W. Peters and Shane Goldmacher
April 30, 2019, 134

“Barely two months ago, when Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., was rating no higher than 1 or 2 percent in national polls, he had a well-worn punchline he used as he pitched himself in living rooms and conference rooms where many of the guests were, like him, young, male and gay.

“I’m not asking for monogamy,” he would say.

It was fine to give to the bigger names in the race like Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker or former Representative Beto O’Rourke. He asked only that they save some for his historic candidacy, too.

Now, Mr. Buttigieg is looking for commitment.

After vaulting into the top tier of presidential candidates vying for the 2020 Democratic nomination — going from “adorable” to “plausible,” in his own words — Mr. Buttigieg is building on the fly a nationwide network of donors that is anchored by many wealthy and well-connected figures in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political circles.

From more intimate cocktail parties on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where the composer Stephen Sondheim appeared in March, to larger events, like a planned June gala at the Beverly Hills home of the television producer Ryan Murphy, the L.G.B.T. donor base is helping push Mr. Buttigieg from the margins of the presidential contest into the same moneyed circles that raised millions of dollars for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.”

David Lindsay:  Comment to the NYT.     “Not my favorite article. All gossip, no policy. As healthy as an ice cream sunday with white flour cake and white sugar icing. But, I couldn’t stop reading it, and the comments make the money gossip worth the time. I would like to see some in depth pieces comparing Pete Buttigieg’s positions on such issues as climate change and income inequality, illegal immigration, NATO, Syria and Afganistan, etc., with the other candidates. It is sad that 85 or 95 per cent of all I read about presidential races is about political gossip. I often have to go to a candidate’s website to get any of their positions, since they are almost never mentioned or discussed.”

Here is one of my favorite comments:

simon sez
Maryland
Times Pick

What is happening with Pete is nothing short of amazing. He stands out as the most intelligent, thoughtful, likeable, authentic person running not only because he is comfortable with himself on all levels including being gay and married but more so simply because of who he is. When I watch him speak such as last night on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah I tear up. Why? Because he is at home with himself and gives me permission to relax and do likewise. He actually listens and answers questions asked of him. So many times I hear a question asked of him and, having binge watched him on youtube for weeks now ( yes, I am addicted) I already am waiting for the same answer I heard before. But the answer is not the same as before. It is different and even more penetrating, more incisive, more finely honed. He listens and responds to the underlying question. How rare. He communicates with all of us. These are things that I want in a leader and which most people also want. We want to be heard. We want to be acknowledged. We want not only to trust our President but to like them. I am a person of many labels: gay, male, white, orthodox Jewish, a physician, a language nut + But underneath it all I am a human being like every other person who wants the same things we all want: happiness, peace, fulfillment, and intimacy. Pete somehow brings out the best in me and others. And I really look forward to him being our next President.

1 Reply 61 Recommended

Biden and Obama’s ‘Odd Couple’ Relationship Aged Into Family Ties – by Peter Baker – The New York Times

” “Dealing with President Obama was like traveling on a one-way street — it was his way or the highway,” said former Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House Republican leader during the Obama administration. “When you dealt with Joe Biden, you actually had the opportunity to be heard. He was interested in understanding your viewpoint.”

That did not always sit well with congressional Democrats, who at one point barred the vice president from budget talks for fear that he was not holding fast enough. And the president’s team often seemed more skeptical of Mr. Biden than of their own boss. Heading into the 2012 re-election campaign, Mr. Obama’s political advisers secretly explored replacing Mr. Biden with Mrs. Clinton on the ticket.

But Mr. Obama brushed off the idea. Not only would it call into question his judgment in putting Mr. Biden on the original ticket, but also the vice president was a useful surrogate in working-class communities where he connected with voters more than Mr. Obama did.

“He was able to go and campaign in places where it just didn’t make sense to send the president,” said Anita Dunn, an adviser to the White House.”

Opinion | Which Way- Pete Buttigieg? – by Ross Douthat – The New York Times

By Ross Douthat
Opinion Columnist

April 27, 2019, 601
Pete Buttigieg spoke to a group of high school students from Massachusetts and New Hampshire this month in Nashua, N.H.
Credit Gabriela Bhaskar for The New York Times

“One of the central problems in Western politics is the impasse between a governing class that lacks legitimacy, and populist alternatives that are poorly led and unready to govern. This impasse reflects a deep trend of the last few decades — the working-out of meritocracy’s iron logic, in which the most talented young people (or at least the most talented résumé-builders) self-segregate in a small group of metropoles while the hinterland declines.

For a clinical rather than impressionistic assessment of this trend, you can turn to the new report from Senator Mike Lee’s Joint Economic Committee, which tracks “brain drain” trends across American states and finds a pattern, both longstanding and accelerating, in which the highly-educated cluster in “dynamic states” and “major metropolitan areas,” leaving less-educated Americans in “rural and post-industrial states” behind. The report describes this “geographic sorting” as one factor behind economic stagnation and social breakdown; it’s also clearly a factor driving the class-based polarization that’s given us Donald Trump, and in European politics the Brexiteers and gilets jaunes and more.

This background is part of what makes Pete Buttigieg, the bright young man of the Democratic field, such an interesting figure. In many ways Buttigieg is a kind of uber-meritocrat, a child of academic parents who made a swift climb up the meritocracy’s cursus honorum: a Harvard degree and then a Rhodes scholarship, a brief stint in D.C. followed by three years at McKinsey. And beyond the résumé, an obvious part of his appeal depends on his performative intelligence, his college-interview style of “humble” showing off.”

David Lindsay: Ross Douthat, there you go again. I had a busy weekend, and didn’t get to the Sunday NYT till Sunday night after dinner at 9 pm. By 10 pm, I was struggling to stay awake as I practiced my intellectual “flossing” by trying to follow the gymnastics of right wing, ultra religious conservative Catholic, Ross Douthat, as he cut up Pete Buttigieg, and accused him of going back to South Bend Indiana after a spectacular early career, because he was plotting for the presidency. Reading Douthat, I kept closing my eyes to sleep, and this morning, I drank in the most recommended Times comments, 2 or 3 dozen, which shredded Douthat for the narrow, intolerant, fascistic but brilliant Catholic that he is. These comments were so much more focused and clear headed than I was capable of last night. If you want a clear delineation of what is evil in conservative right wing evangelical or Catholic meddling in politics, I recommend these comments. They also are a powerful recognition, that in Pete Buttigieg, people hear the intelligence and calming clear voice of another Lincoln, FDR or Obama.
About my fabulous, bitter-sweet weekend. Kathleen was busy all day Saturday at the Hamden Earth Day Fair at the Hamden Middle School, where she was manning the table for her Sustainable CT initiative, where she is working relentlessly to get Hamden certified by the Sustainable CT organization, a massive two year effort. In the morning, I was reading in the Times that Obama loved having Biden as his running mate, twice, because Biden could speak and win over white working class males from the rust belt. I reworked the old song, “I’m Ready When You Call me Lord, But Give me Just a little More Time.” When I got to the Earth Day Fair, I found Kathleen in front of her table, free style dancing to rock and roll with a 10 year old boy and his mother, because, “the young man really wanted to dance, but was too shy to do it by himself.” I found many vendors who could guide me in making my house and life more sustainable.
On Sunday, one of my music partners Gail Pells came over and we three rehearsed our three songs, before singing with many others at the Memorial Service of my long-time friend and former singing partner David Green of Branford, at the Evergreen Woods Life Care Community. It was great to see his widow, my friend Ginny Shaw, and hear her articulate, teary-eyed daughters and family. Kathleen and I went in the afternoon to Bill and Gina Dunlap’s house Concert to hear Hughie Jones of England and the two Bobs of Staten Island, Bob Conroy and Bob ? in concert that was extended by songs led by some of CT’s finest traditional singers, who were in the audience. In the kitchen pub sing after the concert, Kathleen and I performed, the half traditional, half David Green version of “I’m Ready When You Call Me Lord, But Give me just a little more Time,” for the second time in the same day.
And now, here is Ross Douthat, see if you can see any faults in his crafty, articulate logic.

Can Humans Help Trees Outrun Climate Change? – By Moises Velasquez-Manoff – The New York Times

By Moises Velasquez-Manoff Illustrations by Andrew Khosravani
April 25, 2019
“SCITUATE, R. I. — Foresters began noticing the patches of dying pines and denuded oaks, and grew concerned. Warmer winters and drier summers had sent invasive insects and diseases marching northward, killing the trees.

If the dieback continued, some woodlands could become shrub land.

Most trees can migrate only as fast as their seeds disperse — and if current warming trends hold, the climate this century will change 10 times faster than many tree species can move, according to one estimate. Rhode Island is already seeing more heat and drought, shifting precipitation and the intensification of plagues such as the red pine scale, a nearly invisible insect carried by wind that can kill a tree in just a few years.

The dark synergy of extreme weather and emboldened pests could imperil vast stretches of woodland.

So foresters in Rhode Island and elsewhere have launched ambitious experiments to test how people can help forests adapt, something that might take decades to occur naturally. One controversial idea, known as assisted migration, involves deliberately moving trees northward. But trees can live centuries, and environments are changing so fast in some places that species planted today may be ill-suited to conditions in 50 years, let alone 100. No one knows the best way to make forests more resilient to climatic upheaval.

These great uncertainties can prompt “analysis paralysis,” said Maria Janowiak, deputy director of the Forest Service’s Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, or N.I.A.C.S. But, she added, “We can’t keep waiting until we know everything.” “

Biden on the Issues: Where He Stands and How He’s Changed – The New York Times

Climate change
Mr. Biden’s advocacy for government action on climate change goes back more than 30 years: He introduced the Senate’s first climate change bill in 1986. He has been outspoken about the urgency of action, including at a rally last year in Florida where he described climate change as “the greatest threat to our security,” citing briefings by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

[We annotated Mr. Biden’s campaign announcement.]

Like every other Democratic candidate, he wants to keep the United States in the Paris Agreement, which President Trump intends to withdraw from. As a senator, he supported tax credits for renewable energy and had an 83 percent lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters; as vice president, he supported a series of emission reduction regulations that Mr. Obama established but Mr. Trump is reversing. Beyond that, his full climate platform, including whether he would pursue a carbon tax or additional regulations beyond Mr. Obama’s, isn’t clear yet.

Abortion
Mr. Biden supports abortion rights and the Roe v. Wade decision, though he has gone back and forth on abortion in the past and has publicly struggled to reconcile his political positions with his Catholic faith. As recently as 2008, he said he believed life began at conception, though he emphasized that this was a personal view and that he did not think it was appropriate to impose it on others through abortion restrictions.

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[Read more about Mr. Biden’s views on abortion.]

But on some related policies, he has a more conservative record than other candidates in the race. As a senator, he voted multiple times against federal funding for abortions, including under government-run health plans. He also supported the Reagan administration’s so-called Mexico City policy, which blocks foreign aid to organizations that provide abortion counseling or referrals, and crafted his own amendment in 1981 to ban foreign aid for abortion-related biomedical research. Earlier this year, his aides would not say whether he still supported those policies.”

David Lindsay: Unfortunately, if you are serious about climate change, you have to be a hawk on population control, and you can’t support the Mexico City policy which blocks foreign aid to organizations that provide abortion counseling or referrals. If Biden hasn’t moved away from this position, I will probably not be able to support him after all.

In a Crowded Field Pete Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke Stake Out Similar Turf – The New York Times

By Jonathan Martin
April 24, 2019, 25
“NASHUA, N.H. — The question was the same: Why should you be the Democratic nominee for president?

The answers helped illustrate why Beto O’Rourke is stalling and Pete Buttigieg is surging in the first months of the campaign.

“So, for whatever reason, the president has trained the focus of this country on the border, on immigrants, on asylum seekers, on our connection with the rest of the world,” Mr. O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman, told a reporter last week after meeting with New Hampshire voters at a coffee shop near the Maine state line. “That’s where I live, that’s where I’m raising my kids, that’s the community I represented, those are the stories that I can tell that are profoundly positive and part of the larger conversation in this country, the larger story of America.”

A few hours later, speaking to employees at a yogurt company closer to the Massachusetts border, Mr. Buttigieg made his case.

“Americans tend to look for the opposite of what we just had,” he said, citing the Democratic strategist David Axelrod’s maxim that voters seek a “remedy, not replica” of the incumbent president. “Sometimes we feel tempted to try to just put up the mirror image of what’s there. I think what we need is something that’s completely different. If nothing else, I’m completely different than this president.” ”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comments
Biden and Buttigieg. You heard it from Lindsay. Together they will take the electoral college, which is the the most important thing of many that matter. Why so careful, and so conservative. Please go review the polling data presented last year by David Leonhardt. If I remember one data point correctly, 67% of expected to vote voters are white. Until the electoral college is corrected, the red often agricultural and post industrial mid-western states have the preponderance of the the electoral college.
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David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth Century Vietnam” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com. He performs a folk concert of songs and stories about Climate Change and the Sixth Extinction.