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  • By Oliver Milman

    Donald Trump is poised to eliminate all climate change research conducted by Nasa as part of a crackdown on “politicized science”, his senior adviser on issues relating to the space agency has […]

    • The man who suppressed the vote will now suppress science. After fake news, we will get fake science, {alt}science.

    • prietenul #1
      Nov 23, 2016 at 5:03 pm

      The man who suppressed the vote will now suppress science. After fake news, we will get fake science, {alt}science.

      If Trump knocks American space industries out of the commercially viable Earth monitoring and communications market, other countries and other businesses will happily take this over!

      @OP – “We see Nasa in an exploration role, in deep space research,” Walker told the Guardian.

      With Trump having a four year term of office, Walker and Trump clearly do not understand the time-scales involved in “deep space research”!

    • @OP link – There is overwhelming and long-established evidence that burning fossil fuels and deforestation causes the release of heat-trapping gases, therefore causing the warming experienced in recent decades.

      .-.-.-.-.

      Walker, however, claimed that doubt over the role of human activity in climate change “is a view shared by half the climatologists in the world.

      Showing that he is either a scientifically illiterate idiot, or a lying lobbyist who can be paid to say anything!

      We need good science to tell us what the reality is and science could do that if politicians didn’t interfere with it.”

      Nope! Thousands of independent scientific studies have already told us that!

      We need scientifically educated politicians and political advisors, who can recognise what the scientific reality is and what competent measured scientific data and studies are. ! –
      Not lying lobbyists and pseudo-science muppets, exercising their ironic psychological projections while incompetently doubt-mongering and politically interfering!

    • bonnie2 #7
      Nov 23, 2016 at 6:11 pm

      “Americans seem to know that the destiny of a free people lies in the stars“.

      Perhaps the people could be “freed” to “follow their destiny” by arranging a flight for Trump and his advisors to land on the nearest star (Our Sun) – after cancelling funding the probes monitoring its temperature of course!!! . 🙂

    • Stalin, endorsing Lysenko, harmed Russians (and some Chinese) with fake science. Trump will harm all of us.

    • why the climate activists have so utterly failed to make their case

      There is a difference between a “Climate Activist” and a climate scientist. That people with a social conscience feel that inaction is a crime against humanity, specifically against my grand children is perfect justification for feeling passionate and doing what they can to change the collective mind of the world. A badge of honour.

      I’ve just finished Michael Mann’s The Hockey Stick and The Climate Wars. There are two sides to this debate. One wears white hats. One wears black hats. The book details (All referenced) the activities of the climate denial industry and how successful they have been in stopping action.

      I concur with your last paragraph. I think that those that care, are vastly outnumbered on the planet by those that don’t care. And our votes count as equals in the ballot box. Those that only live in the moment. Those that abuse Tragedy of the Commons.

      I don’t think we will go to zero… Graphs of plague animals crash precipitously, but they never go to zero.

    • Regardless of pro- and con squabbles, a president should tower above them and give direction based on solid scientific knowledge and evidence. This president is radically different though. He wants to eradicate the sources of the things he simply does not want to hear.

      Let the War on Science begin in ernest now!

    • Thank you Alan4D. I’ve just come back to this. You’ve covered what I would have said. I would highly recommend Merchants of Doubt Robert Firth. I suspect your essayist, while making valid points, may not understand the cunning and determination of the enemy in opposition. Like the line from The Terminator.

      “They Will Never Give Up”

      They must be fought trench by trench. This is about the hearts of minds of the public. The deniers have been winning since the mid 1990’s and have stopped the world from acting. This, on behalf of my grand children, is a Crime Against Humanity, and it must be resisted by every means possible. The stakes are too high for nuanced examinations.

    • David R Allen #16
      Nov 24, 2016 at 5:57 am

      Thank you Alan4D. I’ve just come back to this. You’ve covered what I would have said. I would highly recommend Merchants of Doubt Robert Firth.

      In looking for a link on this, I found numerous flea denials, where the liars produce new campaigns of lies as pseudo-refutations of the exposures of their disreputable antics!

      I suspect your essayist, while making valid points, may not understand the cunning and determination of the enemy in opposition.

      Indeed! – Regardless of however substantial and solidly evidenced the scientific claims and the the exposure of their chicanery are, they will just keep on using more lies to dishonestly continue pretending there is a serious dispute as to the facts and the historical record, while posturing as respectable people of expertise and integrity.

    • The problem is the problem of dogma as ever.

      This is why I parted company with Greenpeace after accidentally joining it over support for a legitimate complaint about renewed coal use.

      Science is science. If it is politicised it is not science. Politicians and lobbyists may use it dogmatically and partially but that ceases to be actual science.

      The indications of AGW science is that the outcomes range from being merely disastrous for the burgeoning poor folk already at the waters edge of a Malthusian inundation to being utterly catastrophic for everyone…

      This first happy possibility that only black folk will die in millions gives all the wriggle room needed for the vast engines of old money and old energy money to rubbish the range of risks that may be in prospect.

      One smashing technique we can see at work, memed into the heart of our concerned community, is the pole-axing of effective engagement by sowing dissension where there should be growing mutual self interest. “They aren’t pulling their weight.” “They are still trying to progress their own community too much.” Rubbishing the fact that hard agreements seem not possible and that agreements now are about best endeavours only.

      Solving these problems are hugely complex and must manage to retain political calm within all communities. The recent push-back from those awoken to being overly parasitised by the rich is a very unfortunate addition to this mix. Fairness now isn’t so clear a deal. American citizens are habituated to their 3 to 5 jet flights per annum, I am told. It is surely now an enshrined right? That Pakistani family have no access to education. They surely won’t miss what they never had? But poorer folks must be cut some slack in dragging themselves up and transitioning to a lower birthrate culture….

      Even if you don’t give a bleep about about poor black people suffering from “this little blip in the weather” Even if you are willing to take a gamble on the AGW catastrophe for all of us being unlikely, there is still every reason to do exactly the right thing anyway.

      Learning to live Sustainably solves all problems now and in the future. It is both moral, politically astute and economically savvy.

    • Other news on the ironical comedy front!

      Ken Ham to crackdown on ‘politicized geology, astronomy, and palaeontology’! 🙂

    • …crackdown on ‘politicized science’…

      A politician beating its chest about cracking down on politics… What a surprise…

    • Robert Firth #11

      So where do we go from here? In my opinion, we don’t. Collectively, on both sides of this debate, we are too irrational, too stupid and self-obsessed, to agree on effective action and then make it happen.

      Then act unilaterally. As a country choose to act unilaterally or recognise at least that issues are complex for every country with different internal problems and agree to best endeavours from all parties. This (Parisian) approach has a lot to commend it. It will never seem entirely fair to anyone.

      Its going to be hell, for sure, but fatalism is pathetic.

      If you want the floor swept, start sweeping the floor. Pass the broom to someone else. “Could you just do that bit while I go and get a dust pan?”

      Promote (adopt!) Veganism or at least vegetarianism or pescatorianism (?). Its official. Vegans have half the carbon footprint of omnivores. The other two are both 35% better than omnivores. There’s the whole answer in a nutshell, so to speak.

      Just off to cook a vegan Thai green curry. I’ve managed to about halve my meat eating so far….without impacting my daily pleasure hit from eating.

    • Vegans have half the carbon footprint of omnivores…

      Yes, but wouldn’t they produce more heat-trapping methane? You know, eating all those beans…

      Sorry, couldn’t help it…

    • Cairsley #24
      Nov 25, 2016 at 7:29 am

      At no point does the article make clear how the scientific findings of NASA research have been politicized. One is left with the impression that what is meant by the phrase ‘politicized science’ in this case is scientific findings that certain politicians do not want to be published too widely or at all.

      According to Trump, it was the politics of that damned Chinese manipulative hoax! –
      But compared to Trump’s all seeing whizzdumb and “ability” to make off-the-cuff decisions on far reaching matters; – What does NASA know about planetary sciences and hi-tec measuring techniques???

      As any fundamentalist denier or creationist (by use of projected faith-thinking) can tell you: – scientists make up fanciful opinions, in just the same way creationists and deniers do!!! 🙂

    • @Robert Firth #11

      “climate activists have so utterly failed to make their case.”

      Their case is irrefutable. The science is unequivocal, despite the Archdruid’s and your own inability to accept it.

      “…on both sides of this debate, we are too irrational,”

      The illusion of debate exists only in the minds of irrational Deniers, many of whom are now reduced to complaining about tone.

    • Cantaz

      [Vegans….] wouldn’t they produce more heat-trapping methane?

      Yes but that is why I have re-invented Pantalloons! Half pants half balloons….

      “Using the elevator today? Wearing your K-tel Pantalloons? Good, Vegan!”

      Another commercial failure, I fear as vegans don’t eat grass and are not ruminants. Enteric digestion (which wiki-see) is very energetically wasteful. Up to 12% of the carbon is lost as methane. Humans using the same land for cereals, pulses and veggies are much less burpy and farty relatively.

      So beef and lamb are the real culprits. Kilos of CO2e (equivalent) produced for one kilo of meat.

      beef 34.6

      lamb 17.4

      pork 6.35

      chicken 4.57

    • phil rimmer #28
      Nov 25, 2016 at 9:51 am

      Humans using the same land for cereals, pulses and veggies are much less burpy and farty relatively.
      So beef and lamb are the real culprits. Kilos of CO2e (equivalent) produced for one kilo of meat.

      There is the slight problem as far as food production goes, (but not the methane), that particularly in the case of lamb, from summer mountain pastures, and to a certain extent cattle grazed on water-meadows, Alpine tops, or rough ground (rather than intensive barley beef production), the same land cannot be cultivated for other purposes.

    • @phil rimmer #19

      most of your comments brilliant as usual
      except for this …

      The problem is the problem of dogma as ever.
      This is why I parted company with Greenpeace after accidentally
      joining it over support for a legitimate complaint about renewed coal
      use.

      are you referring to greenpeace’s “dogmatic” stance on nuclear power
      or their doggedness in making the fossil fuel industry look fascist?
      either way it’s another cheap shot at frontline activists
      if it weren’t for greenpeace millions (since 1971) would not have even questioned our energy addictions and their effect on the planet

    • Absolutely true, Alan.

    • Phil,

      Yes but that is why I have re-invented Pantalloons! Half pants half balloons…

      Very ingenious, but I do hope you have taken into account the possibility of electrostatic discharge… remember what happened to the Hindenburg…

    • Why would Trump avoid doing climate research?

      The Koch brothers paid him to masquerade as a climate denier. They want to extend the value of their sunset fossil fuel investments a few years.
      Trump has a pathological overvaluation of his own competence and an unjustified strong trust in his untutored intuition.

    • quarecuss

      It is a shot but not cheap, I hope. I truly believe that it could achieve more grassroots conversions if it were more nuanced in the scenarios it presents.

      Loathsome as the oil companies are they have to be dealt with and forming plans that allow them to help facilitate changeovers to renewables, for instance, could be a means to ease the transition. Here they have splendid off shore skills, deep experience of contracting and increasingly questionable investments from profits to make. In the UK we have a huge amount of off-shore wind and wave assets, many that could sit on a growing number of HVDC links across the North Sea and the Irish Sea. One of the major costs of off shore is efficiently landing the power. Having the wiring there already is a huge saving.

      Whilst it may look like buying them off to a certain extent, backed by Government Tax support for redirected fossil fuel investments it may deliver a double or tripple whammy of virtues. There are a number of such plans that could simply go to large civil engineering companies, but involving oil companies by means of tax legislation that will otherwise fight tooth and nail to oppose you should pay dividends.

      More whacky is this: Applying fossil fuel tax at a rate inversely proportional to age could push up 100 million year old oil and gas costs but make, say, methane clathrates at 500 years old much cheaper and more attractive. These dangerous deposits are growing at a usefully sustainable rate if cropped and in certain locations on the continental shelf they represent a severe global warming accelerator risk. Again a potential multi-whammy win if the risks are removed and ancient gas extraction replaced. Oil and Gas companies are the companies to do this. And they should be given money to explore the potential.

      The ideology of evil-energy purveyors could be helpfully tempered to speed the demise of their dangerous practises.

      Yes thorium nuclear support is needed and a stop to dreadful emotional language like the catch-all “radiation” when cooler more honest descriptions would be less likely to deter those in the middle who are quick to dismiss GP as purveying “politicised science”.

      I want plans with clearer and more detailed paths for change with all players catered for in the transition. I don’t want twenty bitty and bolt-on policies like they have at the moment, but some grand proposals on the nature of economic reform to facilitate and support long term investment in long term enterprises.

      I want to run it, frankly.

      q, kind comment up top there, thank you. We’d be decades behind without you ground-breakers. Now its time to normalise the new techs and their business models.

    • Phil, Alan, others

      I wasn’t aware that animal agriculture and eating meat was a significant contributor. I guess it is. This science article that I found seems pretty good; would you say that this article puts things – more or less – in the proper perspective?

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/how-much-meat-contribute-to-gw.html

      Pathetic that trump is able to make decisions that affect the whole planet. Good. We’ll learn the hard way.

    • Cantaz

      {Pantalloons}……the Hindenburg…

      Oh the Humanity!

      We could, though put in a little spark generator and sell it as a self depilation kit. The Greeks used torches….

    • There is a pertinent anecdote about Franklin Roosevelt in consultation with a group of advisors who were pushing an innovative program that he supported. At the end of the meeting, he said, “Now get out there and make me do it.” (This is a paraphrased, modified summary). He meant that he could not take what he personally thought was a “good idea” and, in his capacity as chief executive, impose it on the country. By “make me do it” he was speaking to the imperative of drumming up popular and political support necessary to “make it happen.”

      Populations break down politically into constituencies, and even finer interest groups with specific goals (subsidies, entitlements, tax breaks) that generate tangles of cooperation and competition, compatibility and conflict even within their own ranks. In practice, constituencies and individual stakeholders prioritize issues in order of importance to their interests, needs and purposes. Recent Pew research polls show rising concerns about climate change, categorical consequences, and support for “voluntary” government actions and international agreements to reduce CO2 emissions (http://www.pewglobal.org/2015/11/05/appendix-9/ ).
      Pew polling, however, does not disclose the disconnect between climate change concern in relation to the actual priorities that voters, constituencies and interest groups demonstrate in voting or in political activism:

      Coordinated surveys, conducted by the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) in 33 countries from 1993 through 2010, “are the first and only surveys that put long-term attitudes toward environmental issues in general and global climate change in particular in an international perspective,” said Tom W. Smith, director of the General Social Survey, a project of the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago, and author of a paper that summarizes the surveys.
      In the surveys, respondents were asked the relative importance of eight issues: health care, education, crime, the environment, immigration, the economy, terrorism and poverty.
      The economy ranked highest in concern in 15 countries, followed by health care in eight, education in six, poverty in two, and terrorism and crime in one country each. Immigration and the environment did not make the top of the list in any country over the 17-year period. In the United States, concern for the environment ranked sixth while the economy was No. 1.
      In terms of national averages, the order of concern was the economy (25 percent); health care (22.2) education (15.6); poverty (11.6); crime (8.6) environment (4.7), immigration (4.1) and terrorism (2.6), the surveys showed. Terrorism’s low ranking was notable in light of the widespread attention the issue has received since 2001, though it topped the list of concerns in Turkey.

      The recent Trump victory underscores the disconnect. The environmentalist vote played a miniscule and obviously irrelevant role in the election. (Personally, I and many other individuals would have voted against Trump for his position on abortion and climate change denialism alone). Frankly, such niche issues are largely ignored by the electorate that votes preponderantly on pocket-book (economic) issues.) Brazilian populations poll high on climate change concerns yet the economy, employment, national GDP, and incomes take priority in the massive project to destroy huge swaths of the Amazon rain forest, a gigantic sink for CO2 emissions. National Geographic reports: During the past 40 years, close to 20 percent of the Amazon rain forest has been cut down—more than in all the previous 450 years since European colonization began. The percentage could well be far higher; the figure fails to account for selective logging, which causes significant damage but is less easily observable than clear-cuts. Scientists fear that an additional 20 percent of the trees will be lost over the next two decades…

      Homo sapiens will put their economic needs and appetites first. Human population and economic growth in the 21st century will dwarf that of previous centuries propelling environmental destruction to unimaginative levels. We can wish it were not so.

    • Dan #35

      Yep, diet has a big impact and from a personal perspective is one of the biggest changes we can most easily make. The article is excellent, but omits some contributing factors.

      (Incidentally, in the comments there is a truly excellent and informative graphic on CH4 cycles. Wetlands are something we may actually want to moderate in extent…also landfill is a major producer (far bigger than livestock). Controlled incineration or bio-digestion as we are starting to see will make enormous contributions to CO2e reductions. But notice the oceanic clathrate reserves….huge. Their low emissions will accelerate very quickly with oceanic warming.)

      Those missed factors (not pan global but pertinent to still developing countries) are CO2e contributions from deforestation and refrigeration which double the global average to 24% contribution for beef and lamb. Some dietary breakdown here-

      The carbon foodprint of 5 diets compared

    • Thanks, Phil.

      Some discussion above on fake news. It’s bad. The Trump-Russia connection is worrisome. Hillary was right all along.

      (Alan, look at this:)

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/russian-propaganda-effort-helped-spread-fake-news-during-election-experts-say/2016/11/24/79

    • Dan #39
      Nov 25, 2016 at 3:41 pm

      (Alan, look at this:)

      Initially this came up as “Page not found”, on the WP site, but there was a clickable link on that page to the article which found it!

    • Dan #39
      Nov 25, 2016 at 3:41 pm

      Some discussion above on fake news. It’s bad. The Trump-Russia connection is worrisome. Hillary was right all along.

      It is probable that Americans are so used to fake news and commercial propaganda that a bit more in the mix would go unnoticed!

      The same thing is happening to some extent in the UK .

      Yesterday the government department for budget responsibility announced their calculated estimate that brexit would cost the country £60 billion, so the big headline on today’s ten-penny-gutter-press-offering was “£32 billion brexit bonus” from leaving the EU!

    • Alan4discussion

      It is probable that Americans are so used to fake news and commercial propaganda that a bit more in the mix would go unnoticed!

      I think the goal is that ALL news, including accurate news, will go unnoticed.. I think the idea behind it is that people will not be able to tell the difference, and will think that anything could be fake. It’s a form of warfare and must be addressed.

      (I heard on TV that this affected the Brexit vote too.)

    • First of all, Trump needs to know who or what is NASA, during Trump campaign was asked about NASA Trump pretended or did not know what NASA is so in order to work on an issue you need to be able to understand the basics.

      We are aware most of the campaign Trump pretended to be very stupid very uneducated, The strategy worked. Seriously, Rational, smart and intelligent person will do the opposite, NASA during the beginning of the agency was the brain to make the most powerful economy in world next to the military, Most of the technology use today came from the research the biggest influential agency ever created.

      Electronics, Missiles, clouding, transportation, instrumentation, medicine, any advance sciences, new discoveries and millions of innovations and technologies thanks to NASA and Subsidiaries.

      The USA was the front of discoveries and sciences advances that was reason USA was the number of many industries. In Order to get back on that, NASA should be funded more and put NASA on priority to explorations and discover all the industries will follow and new technology will be created and country with new technology will create more jobs and more economy for all.

    • Some may find these numbers interesting. Curiously, Brazil did not play a major role in deforestation and
      beef cattle markets until the early 1990s around the time of the Kyoto Procol.

      Princeton University article: “Cattle ranching is the largest driver of deforestation in every Amazon country, accounting for 80% of current deforestation rates. Amazon Brazil is home to approximately 200 million head of cattle, and is the largest exporter in the world, supplying about one quarter of the global market. Low input cost and easy transportation in rural areas make ranching an attractive economic activity in the forest frontier; low yields and cheap land encourage expansion and deforestation. Approximately 450,000 square kilometers of deforested Amazon in Brazil are now in cattle pasture. Cattle ranching and soy cultivation are often linked as soy replaces cattle pasture, pushing farmers farther into the Amazon.”
      BON APPETIT.

    • Some discussion above on fake news. It’s bad. The Trump-Russia connection is worrisome. Hillary was right all along.

      Alan4 #41: It is probable that Americans are so used to fake news and commercial propaganda that a bit more in the mix would go unnoticed!

      We should not get so worked up by “fake news” becoming the new normal. It’s always been the “new normal” for politicians to circulate vicious lies about their opponents. Vile slander, character assassination, and the Big Lie have driven campaign strategies with perennial regularity since the 19th century and before . The Trump-Clinton contest happened to feature the most shameful brutish liar -Donald Trump- running for president in our lifetime.

      Voters by necessity have become inured to propaganda, lying and “dirty tricks” during political campaigns on both sides of the Atlantic. It’s not just an “American” thing as the bellowing Brits whose ox was gored by the Brexit vote attest to.

      For the record, it is nearly certain that the “Russian Connection” played an irrelevant sideshow to the scandalous news that (from NPR) new emails came to light through a separate investigation into a sexting scandal by former Congressman Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin. The decision by FBI Director James Comey to make this information public has drawn criticism from some former federal prosecutors who say Comey has broken with agency protocol by inserting the FBI into politics just a little over a week before the presidential election. Arguably the director drove a final nail in the coffin of another corrupt politician who reeked of phoniness.

      Voters have no choice but to ignore the mudslinging whether some mud sticks to friend or foe. This election descended more than most into repellent mud wrestling with the Democratic favorite never doubting certain victory oblivious to blowing a tin whistle while appearing devoid of a vision for the country. Trump won the electoral vote while Clinton won the popular vote by two million votes -about 1.5% of votes cast – outcomes that had less to do with the appeal of lies and more to do with a novel confluence of circumstances and factors that promoted a new populism promising to promote the welfare of the declining middle class in general and the white working class in particular over the stagnant status quo of the complacent Democratic-Republican establishment.

    • Melvin #45
      Nov 26, 2016 at 3:38 am

      The decision by FBI Director James Comey to make this information public has drawn criticism from some former federal prosecutors who say Comey has broken with agency protocol by inserting the FBI into politics just a little over a week before the presidential election.

      That is the difference between competent ethical administrations, and reckless or rogue employees in high positions!
      These protocols have purposes, such as avoiding unnecessary collateral damage to innocent parties, or perverting the integrity of procedures.

      Arguably the director drove a final nail in the coffin of another corrupt politician who reeked of phoniness.

      That is irrelevant to what should be the disciplinary offence of the director disregarding the rules!

      The relatively small matter of dealing with the corrupt politician, could have waited until after the election, to avoid the major national issue of biasing the election result!
      Anyone in a senior position should understand the workings of legal and administrative procedures, as required basic honesty and competence in the job they are responsible for managing!

    • Melvin #45
      Nov 26, 2016 at 3:38 am

      outcomes that had less to do with the appeal of lies and more to do with a novel confluence of circumstances and factors that promoted a new populism promising to promote the welfare of the declining middle class in general and the white working class in particular

      You don’t see a self-contradiction here??

      Surely you don’t think Trump is actually going to promote the welfare of the middle class and the white working class!?

      Abusing the black and immigrant communities, is NOT the same as “benefiting” other middle or working class citizens!

    • Alan4 #48: You don’t see a self-contradiction here??
      Surely you don’t think Trump is actually going to promote the welfare of the middle class and the white working class!?

      Yes to the first question and no to the second. Both irrelevant because I didn’t discuss what Trump is going to do – only what he promised. The whole comment was descriptive and had nothing to do with emotional opinions about colonialism.

      Human history is about the migration of Homo sapiens from one territory to another sadly resulting in the removal of “indigenous” people from “their” land often through armed conflict, slaughter and ethnic cleansing. The process, given time, and now driven more by peaceful migration, demographic factors, and economics can bring about reversals. It would be absurd, but nonetheless popular in some circles to blabber that the United States “belongs” to the American Indians. Today immigration from the Hispanic south, bringing strong mixes of indigenous DNA has made inroads into replacement of the ethnic European populations that settled and multiplied across North America since 1800. An encyclopedic topic for another day.

      That is the difference between competent ethical administrations, and reckless or rogue employees in high positions! These protocols have purposes, such as avoiding unnecessary collateral damage to innocent parties, or perverting the integrity of procedures.

      Opinions vary about the motivation and consequences of what FBI Director James Comey actually did. One partisan consensus is that he unduly influenced the election by hurting Hillary Clinton in ways that cannot be measured. Another general consensus is that he violated a rule about disclosing an investigation-in-progress 60 days before an election. Still another credible explanation holds that Comey was caught in a double bind and probably made the wrong decision in good faith. The investigation into the private email server exonerated Clinton from criminal prosecution but raised questions about her integrity, judgement and clandestine motives. That investigation exacerbated major concerns about Hillary’s competence and scruples. Was she serving the American public with transparency as Secretary of State or was she serving Hillary Clinton? Comey may have reasonably concluded that the “new emails” in a separate investigation linked strongly enough to Clinton’s emails that the public had a right to know. Had he kept the suspected link secret with incriminating evidence coming out after the election, the Trump camp would have cried foul against the FBI for “protecting” the Democratic candidate.

      In my view a viable candidate would not have been shot down by the “scandal” of the browser” per se unless she already carried the baggage of a thoroughly obnoxious, corrupt, hollow and self-serving politician positioned for the presidency by a cynical Democratic National Committee out of touch with the American people.

    • Melvin #50
      Nov 26, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      Comey may have reasonably concluded that the “new emails” in a separate investigation linked strongly enough to Clinton’s emails that the public had a right to know.

      He had no “right” to ignore the rules on timings of disclosures during an election period!

      Had he kept the suspected link secret with incriminating evidence coming out after the election, the Trump camp would have cried foul against the FBI for “protecting” the Democratic candidate.

      Trump has a long history of disputing legal judgements and making appeals against those valid judgements which are not to his liking!
      To those who respect the laws and codes of conduct , these rantings are of no consequence, but those with biases and irrational thinking, are easily swayed by empty rhetoric and special pleadings!
      Public officials in senior positions, are supposed to resist attempts at bullying them into acting illegally!

      In my view a viable candidate would not have been shot down by the “scandal” of the browser”.

      As election majorities are often marginal, any lies or late released irregular items, can sway opinions and pervert results!

      The last-minute big lie, – circulated too late before the polling date for refutation, is a standard tool of disreputable campaigners!

    • Alan4 #51, #52, #53: You offer reasonable opinions and observations worthy of consideration about an ambiguous series of freak events whose cumulative effect we can never measure precisely. Trump’s narrow victory in the crucial swing states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania juxtaposed with his two-million popular vote deficit suggest (in my view) that the American electorate “knew” collectively that Trump was the greater liar. Because all candidates tell lies subject to fact checking, “lying per se” does not play the decisive role in political campaigns for office among voters. The “Day After” post mortem always condemns voters from partisan viewpoints for being duped by this lie or that lie and failing to vote consistent with the facts or indeed their own interest and the public interest. More commonly, I believe, voters put aside the all-politicians-are-crooks mantra in the voting booth and choose a favored candidate on holistic grounds, “hope for change” that will benefit them personally, address serious economic and social problems, and project national interests and values abroad. Trump can be faulted until doomsday, but I believe the Democrats defeated themselves [narrowly] by forcing an unappealing candidate on the electorate who brought no vision for change. Democrats, Republicans who despised Trump, and independents clearly saw the cynicism of the Democratic party elite imposing an aging, discredited establishment puppet on them. Through a weird coalescing of the three groups, reacting both passively = not voting and aggressively = voting in protest, Trump was barely pushed over the top and Hillary Clinton lost.

    • Alan4: Regarding Jill Stein’s call for a recount in the U.S. presidential election, it is helpful to understand the American electoral system and other compelling factors. Because the founders believed strongly in States Rights, following from the enlightenment conception of states as independent mini-republics governed by local stakeholders, the presidential election is constitutionally composed of 50 separate state elections with each state allotted a number of electors to vote in the electoral college. The electoral vote usually, but not always, reflects the national popular vote. Slightly disproportionate electoral votes are allocated to favor the less populated states under the ethic that a minority of heavily populated states [on the coasts] ; e.g., California and New York, should not control all other regions in the country. Obviously the U. S. is a huge geographic and demographic nation compared to the United Kingdom whose small territory and 70 million population make popular vote elections far more feasible.

      Logically Hillary Clinton, the material loser should have been the one to call for a recount. Jill Stein who has no stake in a recount improperly made the request, and raises suspicions about acting as a de facto shill (without evidence of collusion) for the Democratic candidate. Decisively, Hillary, the media, and most of the country condemned Trump’s deplorable suggestion during the debate that the results of the election be re-examined for “rigging” before he would accept them. That consensus cuts to the chase. The American electorate believes in the imperative that any and all security procedures be in place and guarantee the accuracy and integrity of the vote count before the election. Recounts are necessary only in very narrow margins of victory-defeat involving several hundred or several thousand votes. Recounts are not intended to uncover “rigging” or “explain” irregularities to assuage grievances of individuals or partisans. Recounts required under statute at the arbitrary request of any losing candidate or, worse, any peripheral actor in the election like Jill Stein would pose potentially fatal threats to the democratic process. Recounts themselves present the same opportunities for possible rigging and an endless downward spiral of recriminations, lawsuits and denunciations into serial chaos.

      ( Supporters of the Jill Stein recount proposal raise the specter of computer hacking – and complex technical problems virtually beyond solution. Personally, I favor a paper-ballot trail for all votes that apparently has been dispensed with in some cases of computer voting.)

    • Melvin #55
      Nov 27, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      Logically Hillary Clinton, the material loser should have been the one to call for a recount. Jill Stein who has no stake in a recount improperly made the request,

      Strange assertion!! A candidate with no stake in the result?????
      Surely Jill Stein as a Green party candidate in the election, has the same rights of oversight of the count, as candidates of the major parties!

      and raises suspicions about acting as a de facto shill (without evidence of collusion) for the Democratic candidate.

      This sounds like the law according to Tumpology, and tone-trolling gratuitous innuendo, rather than normal electoral law.
      Election recounts don’t require “evidence of collusion”!
      They only require official requests to recheck narrow margins.

      Decisively, Hillary, the media, and most of the country condemned Trump’s deplorable suggestion during the debate that the results of the election be re-examined for “rigging” before he would accept them.

      There is as far as I am aware, no legal position which allows major parties to carve up election between themselves and to over-ride the legal rights of other candidates!
      Hillary rejecting Trump’s pre-election wild allegations of “rigging”, should have no bearing on legally following procedures for rechecking the count for errors, where narrow margins decide major issues and a candidate requests a recount.

      These emotive suggestions and attitudes, seem to explain why Americans get stuck with lame major party candidates to the exclusion of others!

    • Melvin #55
      Nov 27, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      Recounts are not intended to uncover “rigging” or “explain” irregularities to assuage grievances of individuals or partisans. Recounts required under statute at the arbitrary request of any losing candidate or, worse, any peripheral actor in the election like Jill Stein would pose potentially fatal threats to the democratic process. Recounts themselves present the same opportunities for possible rigging and an endless downward spiral of recriminations, lawsuits and denunciations into serial chaos.

      This is utter nonsense and a contradiction of the reality!!
      Procedures for recounts are usually legally prescribed and should be properly supervised.

      Computers do open up new possibilities for irregularities, but all this pasted quote of emotive crap – IS emotive crap!!

      Recounts are there to uncover any form of irregularity, inconsistency, or suspected or possible error.

      In UK elections I have been present during counting as a political representative witness for one of the candidates, during the counting process (along with other candidates and/or their representatives), watching the officials who were carrying out the counting, while police checked IDs for eligibility of attendance, and also had oversight that no-one was interfering with the process, or breaching personal confidentiality.
      If any candidate calls for a recount – there is a recount! – no recriminations – end of!!

      Personally, I favor a paper-ballot trail for all votes that apparently has been dispensed with in some cases of computer voting

      I also favour paper ballots, where bundles of ballot papers for each candidate are counted and laid out in 10s. 100s or 1000s, where they can be seen by those independently overseeing the process on behalf of interested parties and voters, and checked or recounted if requested.

      There are problems of scale with a presidential election, but democracy depends on a proper, accurate and transparent count where representatives from any party – or any officials can blow the whistle or call for checks.

    • Alan4 #57: In UK elections I have been present during counting as a political representative witness for one of the candidates, during the counting process (along with other candidates and/or their representatives), watching the officials who were carrying out the counting, while police checked IDs for eligibility of attendance, and also had oversight that no-one was interfering with the process, or breaching personal confidentiality.
      If any candidate calls for a recount – there is a recount! – no recriminations – end of!!

      I believe we have the same safeguards in place though security-oversight procedures may differ in administrative detail.

      From Wikipedia: Legal requirements
      Recounts can be mandatory or optional. In some jurisdictions, recounts are mandatory in the event the difference between the top two candidates is less than a percentage of votes cast or of a fixed number.[1] Mandatory recounts are paid for by the elections official, or the state. Mandatory recounts can usually be waived by the apparent losing candidate. The winning side will usually encourage the loser to waive the recount in a show of unity and to avoid spending taxpayer money.
      Each jurisdiction has different criteria for optional recounts. Some areas permit recounts for any office or measure, while others require that the margin of victory be less than a certain percentage before a recount is allowed. In all instances, optional recounts are paid for by the candidate, their political party, or, in some instances, by any interested voter. The person paying for the recount has the option to stop the recount at any time. If the recount reverses the election, the jurisdiction will then pay for the recount.
      In the United Kingdom it is possible for a defeated candidate denied a recount by the Returning Officer, to request one from the court by means of an election petition.
      There are several cases where a Parliamentary election has been the subject of a court-ordered recount.

      This information suggests that vote-count criteria often be met before election authorities permit a recount. Wikipedia does not always provide reliable, accurate or updated information so feel free to amend.

    • Jill Stein’s fundraising yielded over six million dollars to pay for recounts notably in Wisconsin but also with sights on Michigan and Pennsylvania, putting the recount in the optional category, usually funded by the losing candidate’s party. ( The margin of victory is too great in all three states to trigger an automatic mandatory recount – see below). Lawyers from the Democratic Party and the Republican Party will also attend with other staff to oversee the undertaking. Stein claims to be testing the integrity of the voting process by examining the reliability of the machines counting the votes. [Russian ?] Hacking and malfunction, rather than the intention of voters will apparently remain the focus.

      From the New York Times: In Wisconsin, Mr. Trump leads by 22,177 votes. In Michigan, he has a lead of 10,704 votes, and in Pennsylvania, his advantage is 70,638 votes.
      Mr. Elias suggested in his essay that the Clinton campaign was joining the recount effort with little expectation that it would change the result. But many of the campaign’s supporters, picking up on its frequent complaints of Russian interference in the election, have enthusiastically backed Ms. Stein’s efforts, putting pressure on the Clinton team to show that it is exploring all options.

    • Melvin #59
      Nov 27, 2016 at 9:18 pm

      Stein claims to be testing the integrity of the voting process by examining the reliability of the machines counting the votes. [Russian ?] Hacking and malfunction, rather than the intention of voters will apparently remain the focus.

      Given the fluency of Trump’s unrestrained lying and his foreign policy ineptitude, the impeachment of a previous Republican president, and a dubious Florida count which gave the world imaginary “weapons of mass destruction”, G.W. Bush, civil wars, and refugee crises, “testing the integrity of the voting process” is probably a good idea!
      Testing the integrity of the candidates would also be a good idea!

      @#55 – Logically Hillary Clinton, the material loser should have been the one to call for a recount. Jill Stein who has no stake in a recount improperly made the request, and raises suspicions about acting as a de facto shill (without evidence of collusion) for the Democratic candidate.

      I would have thought, that calling for a recount which might unseat an – “It’s a Chinese hoax” global warming denier, who has promised to further develop the coal industry, would be very much a logical move (even with a slight chance) for a Green Party Candidate trying to protect humanity’s stake in the planet!

      Perhaps she is also the candidate, those who wanted to rebel against THE entrenched, greedy, heavily sponsored, POLITICAL ESTABLISHMENT, should have been voting for!

    • Alan4 #60: testing the integrity of the voting process” is probably a good idea!
      Testing the integrity of the candidates would also be a good idea!

      Barring a Russian super-genius who left nearly-undetectable evidence of multiple hacking into electronic voting systems with preternatural skill to change pinpoint voting clusters in targeted counties, the overwhelming consensus is that the election was not and could not have been tampered with by outsiders. Even Hillary’s campaign, though now committed to an active oversight role in the recount, claims there is no evidence of tampering. Several rabidly partisan computer “experts” have raised questions of “irregularities” in counties using electronic voting machines while other experts have dismissed their statistics as contrived. Personally, I’m so gun shy of making “certain” predictions about this bizarre election, that I gladly welcome the recounts.

      Infected though I am with the contagion of conspiracy-theory fever, regular calls for recounts, except in cases of legally defined close margins of victory-defeat, pose a threat to democracy by socializing electorates to live in paranoia about the outcome of every important election with controversial candidates. Security and reliability of the voting process at every step is verified by multiple repetitive procedures and safeguards. The actual process of “counting votes” itself involves substantive recounting with multiple cross-checking audits of paper ballots with log-in registers, voter registration records, mail-in ballots, investigation of questionable ballots, and, of course voting machine operation and tabulation.

      As mentioned, gratuitous regular calls for recounts not only offer the same opportunities for tampering as the “original” election but also multiply those opportunities for disgruntled losers to overturn the election. Herein lie major causes for post-election bloody conflicts including civil wars witnessed in corrupt developing nations.

    • Alan4 #63: However when their previous records are looked at, some states are seriously inadequate or in need of improvement! It is unclear as to what improvements, or if any improvements, have since been made.

      The cases you cite are disturbing. In the olden days many elections held throughout the country were “won” by simple ballot box stuffing: fraud, corruption, bought votes, intimidation and, last but not least, violence inflicting serious or fatal bodily harm. Though disturbing, the cases cited above were all solved or controlled by election officials with one possible exception. We’ve been assured for the 2016 election that computer voting systems could be verified not only for proper functioning before the election but also monitored during the election and cross-checked with independent sources after the election for any evidence of tampering or malfunction. No system is fail-safe including paper ballots (see “olden days” reference above.) Recounts, except under extraordinary conditions, still plunge the electorate into infinite feedback loops within an infinite regression. If the original election with all its audits and safeguards and no detectable evidence to the contrary is suspect, why isn’t the recount with slightly separate audits and safeguards not just as suspect? Does not the tenth recount arguably compound all the small errors made in the previous nine recounts? See where this is going? It is better to assure the integrity of the voting process with all the safeguards integral to a single election than to plunge hothead partisans into the morass of gratuitous recounts.

      By way of digression: From the Report: We determined that five states – Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, Vermont and Wisconsin – are the best prepared to catch voting system problems and to protect voters from disenfranchisement due to equipment failures

      Jill Stein curiously enough wants to start with Wisconsin cited for being among the “best prepared” states listed above. But enough quibbling. The march of events has overtaken opinion. Let the recount begin!!

    • The press in America is truly appalling. Trump has been given an almost totally free ride on his stream of lies which the press generally just report as “Trump says…” and “Democrats disagree”. If they had the guts to call him out properly each time and call him a liar maybe the electorate wouldn’t be so easily bamboozled.

    • Alan4 #65: Mr Trump won by two-tenths of a percentage point out of nearly 4.8 million votes, making it the closest presidential race in Michigan in more than 75 years.
      He is the first Republican presidential nominee to win Michigan since 1988.

      The margin of victory for Trump in Michigan was announced at about 11,000 votes. Those dirty Russians
      must have been up to a whole lot of meddling!… OK, I’ll accept the inevitable and leave the findings up to the recount.

      Alan4 #68: This year’s mass bleaching was the worst-ever recorded on the Great Barrier Reef, following two previous events in 1998 and 2002.

      So what? Hundreds of millions of people tomorrow are going to fill up their gas tanks to get to work. Thousands of tourists are going to fly by jet to Australia zoom zoom, then putter out to the great barrier reef to scuba in petrol-powered dive boats. People are going to live out their lives oblivious to a soggy report on coral bleaching. People are going to take care of themselves first here, there and now. Were that their numbers much smaller and their cumulative impact far, far less.

      Arkrid Sandwich #66: The press in America is truly appalling. Trump has been given an almost totally free ride on his stream of lies which the press generally just report as “Trump says…” and “Democrats disagree”.

      The mainstream press in the U.S.: MSNBC, CNN, NPR, newspapers in major cities (New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, etc.) took off the gloves during the campaign and called trump out frequently for his egregious lies. I’ve never seen anything like it in a presidential election season. Contrary to your statement, the media ironically followed your sound advice and thoroughly denounced Trump for his pathological lying, his vile insults, his mean temperament and his atrocious lack of judgement, knowledge and experience. Under the circumstances – you and I would agree – they were entirely justified.

    • Melvin #69
      Nov 29, 2016 at 6:27 pm

      Alan4 #68: This year’s mass bleaching was the worst-ever recorded on the Great Barrier Reef, following two previous events in 1998 and 2002.

      So what? Hundreds of millions of people tomorrow are going to fill up their gas tanks to get to work.

      Some are going to find their homes going up in wild-fires, crops failed because of droughts, or flooded by increasing storms and land-slides, but some sheltered individuals may remain oblivious or in denial!

      Thousands of tourists are going to fly by jet to Australia zoom zoom, then putter out to the great barrier reef to scuba in petrol-powered dive boats.

      Of course this will be pointless in the northern sections when the reef no longer exists, when the coral ecosystem is impoverished, and the coastal erosion is eating into the land!

      People are going to live out their lives oblivious to a soggy report on coral bleaching.

      Some may, – unless they are in communities fed by coastal fish, or protected from storms by coral reefs.

      People are going to take care of themselves first here, there and now. Were that their numbers much smaller and their cumulative impact far, far less.

      Unnecessarily polluting the planet is a VERY short-sighted, failing and self defeating method of attempting this, and requires a mental disconnect from the reality of sources food supplies and effects of climate on life.

    • @Melvin

      People are going to take care of themselves first here, there and now.

      Is this a good thing… Isn’t this text book Tragedy of the Commons. I can take my little bit and it won’t matter. Echoed by 7.5 billion people on the planet. How do you change this to I will think of the long term survival of the planet first… and if there is enough, I will take a little bit.

    • I commend Alan4 for citing this study that adds irreversible conditions worthy of consideration to worsening global warming doomsday scenarios: Earth warming to climate tipping point, warns study:
      A warmer world will release vast volumes of carbon into the atmosphere, potentially triggering dangerous climate change, scientists warn. Writing in journal Nature, they project that an increase of 1C (1.8F) will release an additional 55 billion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere by 2050. This could trigger a “positive feedback” and push the planet’s climate system past the point of no-return. Previous assessments have not taken carbon released by soil into account.In their Nature paper, an international team of scientists said that the majority of the Earth’s terrestrial store of carbon was in the soil. They warned that as the world warmed, organisms living in the planet’s soils would become more active, resulting in more carbon being released into the atmosphere – exacerbating warming. “There have been concerns about this positive feedback for a long, long time,” said lead author Thomas Crowther, who conducted the research while based at Yale University, US, but now at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology.

      Between 2013 and 2016 reports of CO2 reaching 400 parts per millions with steady if not increasing annual increases ahead, the doomsday outcome seems certain. From NASA: These increases in atmospheric CO2 are causing real, significant changes in the Earth system now, not in some distant future climate, and will continue to be felt for centuries to come. We can study these impacts to better understand the way the Earth will respond to future changes, but unless serious actions are taken immediately, we risk the next threshold being a point of no return in mankind’s unintended global-scale geoengineering experiment.
      – Dr. Charles Miller

      Let’s look at these predictions literally in terms of outcomes. There is no way to reduce annual CO2 concentrations in the atmsosphere immediateley. The time frame gives humanity the year 2017 as the starting point and the ending point as 2050. That’s 33 years. Annual emissions [from fossil fuels] of CO2 have (allegedly) remained flat for three years. Unfortunately , flat or slightly decreased annual emissions have no systemic effect on the annual increases of CO 2 concentrations in the atmosphere 2015 emissions levels will increase parts per million by about 1% annually.

      If the studies’ findings, and their analyses are accurate there are no grounds for holding out hope that the planet will recover from the imminence of global warming over the next 20 or 30 years. There just isn’t time or credible signs of radical changes in world energy infrastructures starting January 1, 2017. If the reports have miscalculated the consequences of increasing (stable or slightly reduced) anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere driving an increase in concentrations of those gases -then no catastrophe on the scale predicted will materialize.. The reports may turn out simply to be false. If they mean what they say the ship is sinking with no rescue vessel in sight.

    • Melvin #73
      Dec 1, 2016 at 3:52 am

      If the reports have miscalculated the consequences of increasing (stable or slightly reduced) anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere driving an increase in concentrations of those gases -then no catastrophe on the scale predicted will materialize..

      . . . .then no catastrophe on the scale predicted will materialize as soon as predicted. It may take a bit longer! – On the other hand it could happen sooner, if the miscalculation is in the other direction.

      The reports may turn out simply to be false.

      It is extremely unlikely that these sorts of confirmed scientific measurements are completely false. (Increases in greenhouse gases DO increase retained solar heat.)
      The predictions MAY turn out to be slightly inaccurate – in detail and timing, but those inaccuracies could be in either direction, with calamities on a range of scales, triggered sooner OR later.

      The preservation of organic matter when frozen, and the rotting down of organic material to releasing gases at warmer temperatures, can be demonstrated by anyone taking frozen food out of a freezer!

    • Long thread. Someone may have already posted this link. The Arctic sea ice is melting. Eek! The difference between now and 1986 is staggering. There are photos from NASA. This “scrapping” of NASA’s climate research is one of the most disturbing aspects of this Trump situation.

      https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/2016-arctic-sea-ice-wintertime-extent-hits-another-record-low