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Current location: Scotland
Member since: Mon Sep 7, 2009, 12:57 AM
Number of posts: 5,975

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Trump dismisses the economic impact of climate change - except at his golf course


As Politico detailed during the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump International Golf Links sought to build a seawall to protect a golf course he owns in Ireland from “global warming and its effects.”

In a permit application for the wall, Trump International Golf Links cited scientific studies indicating that a rise in sea level could result in damaging erosion in a bay near the golf course.

“If the predictions of an increase in sea level rise as a result of global warming prove correct ... it is likely that there will be a corresponding increase in coastal erosion rates not just in Doughmore Bay but around much of the coastline of Ireland,” the application says. “In our view, it could reasonably be expected that the rate of sea level rise might become twice of that presently occurring. ... As a result, we would expect the rate of dune recession to increase.”

... Trump’s company even tried to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change in a brochure distributed to people living in the area around the course.

Trump’s company has warned not only the county council of the perils of climate change, but also local residents. An appendix to TIGL’s planning application includes a scan of a brochure that the company has distributed to residents to make the case for building the proposed coastal protection works. The heading of one page — emblazoned with a “Trump Doonbeg” logo — is “Need for Coastal Protection.” The page lists four bullet points, the last of which is, “Predicted sea level rise and more frequent storm events will increase the rate of erosion throughout the 21st century.”


well, you sort of have a valid point, but not quite.

Prime Minister at the time David "I'm outta here" Cameron forbade any civil servant from doing any forward planning for the possibility of a pro-Brexit vote. They could think about it, but they weren't allowed to write anything down.

But the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time, George Osborne, did make some dire predictions about the possible aftermath. Many other experts and specialist bodies also carried out analyses (including the Scottish Government, which has been ahead of the game on Brexit all along, and still is), and many voices in the Remain camp saw what would result quite clearly (including not a few UK DUers).

During the campaign, they were dismissed as "Project Fear", the term "fake news" not having gained currency yet. Others in the hard-line Brexit camp felt that any economic downsides were irrelevant because what mattered was "taking our country back". Some went so far as to argue that the UK had gotten "too soft", and a period of economic pain and struggle would be good for the national soul.

Even after the vote, Theresa May's government failed to carry out any detailed analyses. Brexit secretary David Davis repeatedly claimed they had drawn up impact papers, but when parliament finally demanded to see them, it turned out they didn't exist:

David Davis told a committee of MPs on Wednesday that the UK government had produced no economic forecasts on the likely impact of Brexit on various sectors of the economy.

It seemed to stand in marked contrast to many of the things he had said before about analysis being carried out by his Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU).

See if you can identify where and when Davis has previously talked about the impact studies and analysis being carried out on a sectoral basis.


I've no idea what Davis did during his time in office, but he seems to have been positively Trumpian in his work ethic.

So the impact papers had to be hastily cobbled together with all the insight of a team of under-performing high-schoolers:

The threadbare state of government preparations for Brexit was exposed on Thursday as civil service reports once heralded for providing “excruciating detail” on the impact of leaving the EU were criticised for containing little more than padding, repetition and plagiarism.

Months of pressure for disclosure of the economic analysis culminated, several hours before the Christmas parliamentary recess, with the publication of most of the 850 pages recently provided to a Commons select committee by the Brexit secretary, David Davis.

Davis had previously claimed there was extensive Whitehall analysis of “about 50 cross-cutting sectors, [for] what is going to happen to them”. But when a Labour-led vote demanded these forecasts be released to MPs, the Brexit secretary said he had been misunderstood and told the committee no impact assessments existed, only analysis of each sector’s current dependency on the EU.

Nevertheless, the limited nature of the unredacted civil service reports that were finally made public on Thursday left many observers shocked. “There is little overarching analysis by the government, ” said Lord Jay, the former head of the Foreign Office who is now acting chair of the Lords Brexit committee. “No conclusions are drawn with regard to the UK’s future relationship with the EU.”


It's only in the last few months, as the deadline pressure has mounted, that the details have seriously been revealed and discussed. And none of it's comforting.

How will your MP vote on Theresa May's Brexit deal?

Between the opposition, the DUP and rebels from the pro and anti-EU wings of her party, May faces an uphill battle getting her deal through parliament

There are many more MPs who say they will vote down the deal than vote for it.

MPs may support or oppose the bill for a number of reasons: those on the government payroll, including cabinet ministers, must support the bill or resign. Those who have already resigned from government on this issue can be expected to vote against, as can those who have already submitted a letter of no confidence in the prime minister. Those of all parties who are campaigning for a “people’s vote” are also expected to vote against.


Current state of play:

409 against the final deal

11 unconfirmed
90 Conservative
255 Labour
11 Liberal Democrats
35 SNP
3 Independents
10 DUP
4 Plaid Cymru
1 Green

230 support the final deal

54 unconfirmed
226 Conservative
1 Labour
1 Liberal Democrat
2 Independents

There's a table at the link of probable votes, searchable by MP name and constituency.

Note: The list is a work in progress. There's some doubt about he status a few of the MPs listed, and some may change stance before the actual vote, so click through above for updates.

Louise Mensch self-owns on forest floor raking

An hour or so ago, Mensch got incensed that a Twitter account she for some reason labeled a "bot" tweeted innocuously (and accurately):


Aki Heikkinen @akihheikkinen

We don't rake our forests here in #Finland.
Contemptor @TheContemptor

Trump: "You gotta take care of the floors. You know the floors of the forest, very important... I was with the President of Finland... he called it a forest nation and they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things and they don't have any problem."

Mench exploded:


Louise Mensch


Yes, you literally do. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5726490/

this account's bio says "Mostly Russian RTs" and it got 8,000 likes for something provably false in a second's googling.


*Why* doesn't anybody *ever* check https://helda.helsinki.fi/bitstream/handle/10138/15177/17-No%203_Lindholm.pdf?sequence=1

She followed this up by repeatedly insisting vociferously to anyone who pointed out the idiocy of the idea of raking hundreds of thousands of acres of forest: "No. Jesus! forest raking is not done by a fucking hand rake! Ignorance is not bliss!", "they don't rake with garden rakes! 'raking' is done with an attachment to machines".

One person who seemingly doesn't *ever* check - at least her own links - is Mensch.

The two reports she cites refer to small-scale experiments in improving forest diversity by selective raking of restricted areas, and have absolutely nothing to do with fire control (in fact, might make the risks worse by stimulating undergrowth). And the first one took place in the Czech Republic ...

A UN inspector came to investigate poverty in Britain - here's what he found

Philip Alston, the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, was scathing about the government’s cuts and welfare changes.

What does a 12-day trip around the UK looking into austerity, Universal Credit, child poverty and the impact of Brexit show you? That the “fabric of British society” is falling apart, and ministers are “in a state of denial”, according to Philip Alston, the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.

The human rights expert announced his findings at a press conference in London, after travelling all over the country – from assessing rural poverty in Bristol to visiting foodbanks in Newcastle, from speaking to schoolchildren in Scotland, discovering how devolution has to mitigate government policy in Wales, and hearing about hardship in Clacton, Belfast and Newham.

Alston took a dim view of what he saw, accusing the British government of breaking its human rights obligations, and finding austerity has inflicted “great misery” on UK citizens.


The article at the link quotes Alston's findings in detail. They are summarized under the following headings:

The UK is breaking human rights obligations

Government is ignoring how people will “suffer” from Brexit

Ex-Work & Pensions Secretary Esther McVey shrugged off Universal Credit domestic abuse risks

Universal Credit is “problematic”, “harsh”, “unnecessary” and “gratuitous”

Cuts and benefit changes are “ideological”

The DWP is misleading us on Universal Credit

…and on benefit sanctions, which are “counter-productive”

In fact, government ministers are “in a state of denial” about poverty

The state “does not have your back any longer”

Freezing benefits is hypocritical

The two-child benefit limit is like China’s one-child policy

British society is becoming “increasingly hostile” as its fabric is eroding

But other than that, everything's going swimmingly.

Black caucus members back Pelosi for speaker over [Fudge,] their former chair

Influential Democrats in the group aren’t willing to endorse Marcia Fudge.

Lawmakers in the Congressional Black Caucus back Nancy Pelosi for speaker over one of their own members, Rep. Marcia Fudge — a bad sign for the former CBC chair who’s considering a challenge to the California Democrat.

The CBC has been spoiling to elevate a group member into one of the top two positions in Democratic leadership for years, with current CBC Chairman Cedric Richmond writing as recently as two weeks ago that having a black speaker or majority leader was a top priority.

But in interviews with eight CBC members about Fudge's possible bid for speaker, all but two members said they would back Pelosi over Fudge. Other CBC members on Thursday tweeted or put out statements of support for Pelosi, including Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), the most powerful African-American in the House and a close friend and ally of Fudge.

"She knows that, she knows that, she knows I'm for Pelosi," Clyburn said of Fudge in a brief interview in the Capitol.


All other arguments aside, if Fudge can't carry her own caucus, well ...

Maybe he should ask Madame Tussaud's techs to make him an all-weather wig?

Not fake news:

Donald Trump’s Wax Figure Hair Is Actually Made Out of Yak and Squirrel"

Madame Tussauds in London unveiled President-elect Donald Trump’s wax figure Wednesday, the culmination of five months of work, CNN reports. The museum made four replicas of the figure: the original will remain in London while the rest were shipped to New York, Orlando, and Washington, D.C., and will arrive in time for Trump’s inauguration Friday.

According to Mashable, it took 20 artists and about $185,000 to get the figure done. Chief sculptor David Gardner told CNN he was “lucky enough to get some measurements from a sitting we had in 1997 at the Trump towers,” so building his body out wasn’t an issue. In fact, nailing the essence of Trump for his waxwork was easy “because of his character. It was almost as far as doing a caricature and bringing it back.”

It was Trump’s hair that was more problematic for stylists. For those who don’t know, Donald Trump’s hair has been a lacquered yellow-orange helmet molded to his head for as long as he’s been a public figure. Madame Tussauds was forced to call outside consultants (including a stylist from The Apprentice) to help recreate it.

Oh, and: "His hair is a mixture of human hair and yak hair. We use yak hair with people with white hair because human hair is not readily available," hairstylist Kelly Cox said. Also, his eyebrows are made of squirrel hair.


Main surprise to me was that it wasn't moose and squirrel.

Many of these myths began with Boris Johnson - or certainly the momentum behind them:

Johnson, sacked by The Times in 1988 for fabricating a quote, made his mark in Brussels not through fair and balanced reporting, but through extreme euro-scepticism. He seized every chance to mock or denigrate the EU, filing stories that were undoubtedly colourful but also grotesquely exaggerated or completely untrue.

The Telegraph loved it. So did the Tory Right. Johnson later confessed: 'Everything I wrote from Brussels, I found was sort of chucking these rocks over the garden wall and I listened to this amazing crash from the greenhouse next door over in England as everything I wrote from Brussels was having this amazing, explosive effect on the Tory party, and it really gave me this I suppose rather weird sense of power.'

Johnson’s reports also had an amazing, explosive effect on the rest of Fleet Street. They were much more fun than the usual dry and rather complex Brussels fare. News editors on other papers, particularly but not exclusively the tabloids, started pressing their own correspondents to match them. By the time I arrived in Brussels editors only wanted stories about faceless Brussels eurocrats imposing absurd rules on Britain, or scheming Europeans ganging up on us, or British prime ministers fighting plucky rearguard actions against a hostile continent.

Much of Fleet Street seemed unable to view the EU through any other prism. It was the only narrative it was interested in. Stories that did not bash Brussels, stories that acknowledged the EU’s many achievements, stories that recognised that Britain had many natural allies in Europe and often won important arguments, almost invariably ended up on the spike.


Trump at half speed (from Twitter)

Ran across this thread, and apart from being vaguely amusing, it's very telling:


Arlen Parsa voted! @arlenparsa

my favorite way to listen to the president is slowed down to 1/2 speed because it reveals how often times his logic is indistinguishable from that of a drunk person: pic.twitter.com/QiUb4CQdU9

It was followed downthread by this clip:


From the election trail via Twitter:


andrew kaczynski

Republican Congressman Jeff Fortenberry's office called the bosses of a University of Nebraska-Lincoln associate professor for liking a photo on Facebook of a picture of Fortenberry that was vandalized w/googly eyes and the caption "Jeff Fartenberry."


ETA the follow-up:


andrew kaczynski

Fortenberry's chief of staff emailed the school's dean to speak about it.


andrew kaczynski


To be clear, the professor was not involved in the vandalism of the sign. The congressman and his chief of staff are trying to get him in trouble for liking the photo on Facebook. That's it.

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