Tag Archives: republican

The Times is now publishing climate denial. Scientists are not having it.

Two weeks ago, the New York Times took on Bret Stephens — who once called climate change an “imaginary” problem — as an op-ed columnist in an effort to reflect more political perspectives.

His first column came out on Friday, and — surprise — it casts doubt on the certainty of the scientific consensus on climate.

Previously, while some readers had threatened to cancel their subscriptions as a result of his controversial stances on science, Muslims, and campus rape, “relatively few” had done so, wrote Liz Spayd, the Times’ public editor.

The backlash to Spayd’s piece was real. Climatologist Michael Mann canceled his subscription and started the Twitter hashtag #ShowYourCancellation.

“There is no left-leaning or right-leaning climate science, just as there is no Democrat or Republican theory of gravity,” wrote Stefan Rahmstorf, head of Earth System Analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in his cancellation letter.

Other scientists joined in:

James Bennet, the paper’s editorial page editor, defended the decision to hire Stephens. We shouldn’t ignore the perspective of the “millions of people who agree with him,” he told HuffPost.

Well, yes — but millions of people have been wrong before. That doesn’t mean alternative facts should be given a platform.

Now that Stephens’ first piece is up, we’ll see if more cancellations follow.

View original article:  

The Times is now publishing climate denial. Scientists are not having it.

Posted in alo, Anchor, Everyone, FF, G & F, GE, LAI, ONA, Ringer, Thermos, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Paul Ryan Isn’t Even Trying to Pass a Health Care Bill Anymore

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd”>

The LA Times reports that House Republicans have steadfastly refused to reach out to Democrats in an effort to pass their health care bill. This is no surprise. They’re well aware of how they suckered Democrats in 2009, killing months of time in “talks” even though none of them ever planned to support Obamacare. They figure Democrats would do the same to them, and they’re right.

But then we get this:

And senior House Republicans and White House officials have almost completely shut out doctors, hospitals, patient advocates and others who work in the healthcare system, industry officials say, despite pleas from many healthcare leaders to seek an alternative path that doesn’t threaten protections for tens of millions of Americans.

….Health insurers, who initially found House Republicans and Trump administration officials open to suggestions for improving insurance markets, say it is increasingly difficult to have realistic discussions, according to numerous industry officials. “They’re not interested in how health policy actually works,” said one insurance company official, who asked not to be identified discussing conversations with GOP officials. “It’s incredibly frustrating.”

Another longtime healthcare lobbyist, who also did not want to be identified criticizing Republicans, said he’d never seen legislation developed with such disregard for expert input. “It is totally divorced from reality,” he said.

It’s increasingly obvious that Republicans aren’t actually trying to pass a health care bill. They just want to be able to tell their base that they tried. And President Trump wants to erase the taste of defeat from the first health care bill.

If House Republicans were serious, they’d engage with the health care industry. They haven’t. If they were serious they’d care about the CBO score. They don’t. If they were serious they’d be crafting a bill that could pass Senate reconciliation rules. They aren’t even trying. If Senate Republicans were serious they’d be weighing in with a bill of their own. They aren’t wasting their time.

In the beginning, I think Paul Ryan really did want to pass something, mainly so that it would make his tax cut plan easier to pass. But he’s given up on that. At this point he just wants a piece of paper that gets 218 votes and demonstrates that the Republican caucus isn’t hopelessly inept. He knows it will be DOA in the Senate, but at least it will get health care off his plate once and for all. Then he can move on to cutting taxes on the rich, which is what he really cares about. And he’ll have no trouble rounding up votes for that.

See more here – 

Paul Ryan Isn’t Even Trying to Pass a Health Care Bill Anymore

Posted in FF, GE, LG, ONA, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chart of the Day: Obamacare’s Triumph—Except in the South

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd”>

The CDC has a new report out on the chronically uninsured. Here’s the good news:

Starting in 2014, when Obamacare went into effect, the number of chronically uninsured plummeted by more than half, from 15.7 percent to 7.6 percent. That’s a huge public policy victory.

Now here’s the bad news—at least for some people:

States that resisted Obamacare in general, and refused the Medicaid expansion in particular, were largely in the South. In 2013 those states already accounted for 46.1 percent of the uninsured even though they have only 35 percent of the US population. By 2016, as other states were making progress, their share of the chronically uninsured skyrocketed to 54.7 percent.

Put another way: by 2016, the per capita rate of chronically uninsured in the South was more than twice what it was in the rest of the country even though southern states could have reduced their uninsured rate practically for free. This is the triumph of Republican bitterness over human decency.

View original: 

Chart of the Day: Obamacare’s Triumph—Except in the South

Posted in FF, GE, LG, ONA, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Getting Scientists out of the Lab and Into the Street Is Harder Than It Sounds

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd”>

Caroline Weinberg, Valorie Aquino, and Jonathan Berman met online after Berman, a post-doc in physiology, created a Facebook group and web page to galvanize some of the protest energy among scientists after Trump’s inauguration. The three, who were in New York, New Mexico, and Texas, thought that scientists should organize a march to “call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence-based policies in the public interest.” Weinberg, a public health writer and researcher, and Aquino, who was finishing her Ph.D. in anthropology, volunteered to coordinate the planning. Almost overnight, the march became a viral social-media campaign.

The culmination of all their work will occur on Saturday, April 22, when the three volunteer co-chairs of the March for Science will witness the results of their first experiment in grassroots organizing—with anticipated crowds of hundreds of thousands of people in Washington, DC, and satellite marches in some 500 cities around the world, including in the Republican strongholds of Wyoming, Idaho, and Oklahoma.

The experience of pulling together this march, Aquino said, was tantamount to starting an NGO from scratch and immediately having “1 million members and running it with total strangers.” Weinberg told me over the phone in late February that the only reason she was able to get involved was because she “wasn’t working that day” and saw online chatter about the march. “We happened to be at the right place at the right time,” she said.

When they began to organize in January, they envisioned their march to be comparable to the Women’s March: a grassroots campaign that channeled the public’s anger into a productive movement for social change. President Donald Trump’s antipathy to science was clear before he took office, when he declared climate change was a hoax and appointed climate change deniers as his advisers. In just under 100 days as president, Trump has also alienated a much broader swath of the science and academic communities: He’s threatened to pull funding from the University of California-Berkley over anti-Trump protests; he aligned himself with anti-vaccine critics, proposed steep budget cuts to science agencies, wanted to eliminate or downsize science advisers’ role in the government, appointed Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and has sought to roll back agency work based on public health research.

Climate activists, who have organized similar marches since at least 2014, have planned their people’s climate march in DC and in 200 cities around the country one week later. Although the two marches have overlapping constituencies and purpose, those involved in the climate march focus on specific policy demands—fighting climate change—while the science march is vague, championing more public engagement, evidence-based policies, and science research. But during the evolution of the science march, the organizers have been forced to face some unexpected realities about the community it’s engaging. Weinberg noted the “origin story” of the march is the narrative of “unbelievable sprawling grassroots nature.”

Aquino and Weinberg had more flexible schedules (Berman worked nine-hour shifts in his post-doc) to fit into their suddenly packed days and were able to put their other priorities on hold. Aquino postponed finishing her Ph.D. a few months ahead of schedule, and Weinberg stopped her freelance income in order to dive into planning the big picture and wrestling with the many logistics of permits, volunteer coordination, and march routes. Less than a month after Berman started the March for Science Facebook group, the three organizers, with the help of about 40 volunteers, had cobbled together a hasty, decentralized infrastructure for the online platforms and hundreds of satellite marches that popped up. They added more experienced organizers who created a database—what Weinberg calls “some kind of magic program”—to locate volunteers with the skills to address inevitable fires and the daily tasks, such as doing outreach to high schools and colleges.

The organizers were not just planning a single march. Their goal was to build a movement of scientists and science-enthusiasts who take a stand when objectivity is under attack. In the process, they have struggled with growing pains, some predating the Trump administration. One is philosophical: What duty do scientists have to participate in a debate that politicizes and misrepresents scientific study? What responsibilities do scientists have as citizens?

For years, Republicans (and occasionally Democrats) have threatened to defund federal research and have resorted to cherry-picking scientific studies that support their conclusions. House Science Chair Lamar Smith has perfected this rejection of inconvenient scientific findings by popularizing the myth of a so-called pause in global warming. But organizers say the debate feels more urgent given this uniquely anti-fact White House and appointed climate change deniers.

“We’re all very nervous about entering into a territory where science is seen as being explicitly political,” Adam Frank, an astrophysics professor, tells Mother Jones, explaining an essay he wrote about the march that was published on NPR. Frank thinks scientists do need to protest but worries that overt politicization is “the worst thing that could happen to science. Last thing we want is science being aligned with one or another political perspective.” He sees that we’ve passed a tipping point of attacks “where scientists don’t know what else to do.”

In January after the inauguration, Robert Young, a coastal geologist, wrote in the New York Times that “trying to recreate the pointedly political Women’s March will serve only to reinforce the narrative from skeptical conservatives that scientists are an interest group and politicize their data, research and findings for their own ends.”

The organizers of the science march believe it’s their responsibility to wade into politics, but they have tried to balance on the nonpartisan tightrope. “I would actually argue that science is political,” Aquino said. “Scientific integrity goes beyond one person eroding it. It hits across both sides of the aisle and people who aren’t necessarily affiliated with a political party at all.”

Weinberg noted, “If you believe in scientific research and evidence-based policy. You take a stand for that and take a stand for what you believe in.”

Then there is the problem of diversity within the scientific profession. Many of the public figures discussing the march are white men. In some respects, the science march has become a microcosm of the criticism STEM initiatives and academia have received for being far too white and male.

BuzzFeed reported on the time the organizers’ attempted to address concerns about diversity by forming a committee and issuing a diversity mission statement. Conservative outlets, such as the National Review, have seized on these statements to claim the march is much more about the left co-opting science for political gain. Steven Pinker, a best-selling author and Harvard University professor of psychology, gave this faction a boost, tweeting in January that the march “compromises its goals with anti-science PC/identity politics/hard-left rhetoric.”

But the criticism comes from both sides. At least one early collaborator has distanced herself from the march, claiming that disorganization, clashes of vision, and micromanagement left the march doing too little to include diverse voices:

Gill did not return a request to explain further. Aquino had alluded to some infighting in an earlier interview back in February, noting that some of her 18-hour days were as much about handling “some kind of meltdown and crisis” as they were about organizing the big picture. Since then, organizers have brought on more than 200 partners. They range from science celebrities—Bill Nye the Science Guy, for instance—to nonpartisan academic institutions, like the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as more overtly political groups, like Tom Steyer’s climate advocacy arm, NextGen Climate. Beyond the dozens of partner organizations, they have put forward a set of basic principles supporting science. They have also managed to raise $1 million for the day’s costs and beyond, by selling merchandise and through sponsorships.

They have all tried to plan the next steps for their newly recruited activists after the march is done. “I’ve never really gotten to step back and really consider all this from a 30,000-foot view,” Aquino said. She hardly expects any overnight change in politics or among scientists, but added, “I’ve never seen such a united front in the science community and science supporters.”

Visit link: 

Getting Scientists out of the Lab and Into the Street Is Harder Than It Sounds

Posted in alo, Casio, Citizen, FF, GE, LAI, LG, ONA, PUR, Radius, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Not-So-Crazy Plan to Get Trump’s Taxes

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd”>

Unless you filed for an extension, your federal tax returns are due Tuesday night before midnight. Traditionally, it’s around this time that presidents make their own tax returns public as well—in part because presidents have a vested interest in maximizing federal revenue by encouraging people to file their taxes. On April 15, 2016, for example, President Barack Obama posted his 1040 on WhiteHouse.gov, revealing that he and Michelle Obama had earned $436,065 the previous year and had paid $81,472 in taxes. We also learned that they gave $64,066 to various charities, including Habitat for Humanity, the Beau Biden Foundation, and Mujeres Latinas en Accion.

President Donald Trump, however, appears set to end this tradition. He refused to produce his tax returns during the presidential campaign, claiming that he couldn’t do so because he was under IRS audit. Trump has never produced a letter from the IRS that would confirm the audit. It wouldn’t matter anyway—an audit doesn’t preclude anyone from releasing their tax returns. Press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters at a briefing on Monday that Trump was already under audit for 2016. Fun fact: Presidents are audited by the IRS each year; it’s the law.

Maybe there’s another way, though. Lawmakers in more than two dozen states—mostly Democrats, but a few Republicans—have introduced bills intended to compel Trump to do what mass demonstrations and public shaming have thus far failed to accomplish. As written, the bills would require all candidates for president to release income tax returns in order to appear on that state’s ballot. New Jersey’s bill passed both houses of the state Legislature last month, although Republican Gov. Chris Christie is unlikely to sign it into law. The effort bears some similarity to a push by conservative lawmakers ahead of the 2012 election to force Obama to release his long-form birth certificate in order to appear on the ballot. (Obama had already taken the unusual step of releasing his short-form birth certificate, but many conservatives, including Trump, continued to insist that he may not have been born in the United States and might not, therefore, have been a legitimately elected president.)

All well and good—but would a tax return requirement be constitutional? A trio of experts—Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe; Norm Eisen, chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington; and Richard Painter, the former ethics chief in George W. Bush’s White House and a CREW vice chair—penned an op-ed for CNN asserting that these bills would be legal. Although courts have held that states cannot add additional “qualifications” to races for federal office—for instance, a state can not impose its own term limits for senators—they do grant states some latitude in deciding which candidates’ names are printed on the ballot.

They write:

Unlike prohibited qualifications, these laws do not impose substantive requirements on candidates beyond those imposed by the Constitution itself; that is, these laws do not limit which candidates may run for office based on any particular information in their tax return. Thus, they do not create an insurmountable barrier in advance to any set of individuals otherwise qualified under Article II of our Constitution. Instead, these laws require federally qualified candidates to comply with a relatively minor process of tax disclosure.

In other words, mandating tax returns might be fine; any conditions about what those tax returns actually say would be too onerous.

But the constitutional question is hardly settled. Pepperdine University law professor Derek Muller wrote in the New York Times that such measures were “probably unconstitutional,” arguing that “the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that states can’t use the ballot as a political weapon.” And in some cases, as with the previous demands for a birth certificate, legislators aren’t even hiding their intentions. New York’s version of the tax-returns requirement is called the Tax Returns Uniformly Made Public Act—or TRUMP Act, for short.

Original source: 

The Not-So-Crazy Plan to Get Trump’s Taxes

Posted in Citizen, FF, G & F, GE, LAI, LG, ONA, Radius, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment