AuthorTopic: Knarf's Knewz Channel  (Read 1583187 times)

Online knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 13009
    • View Profile

XR protesters getting carried away.

After occupying parts of central London over two weeks in April, Extinction Rebellion’s (XR) summer uprising has now spread to Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds and Bristol. All these protests involve disruption, breaking the law and activists seeking arrest.

Emotions are running high, with many objecting to the disruption. At the same time, the protests have got people and the media talking about climate change. XR clearly represents something new and unusual, which has the power to annoy or enthuse people. But what led it to adopt such disruptive tactics in its efforts to demand action on climate change?

XR is accused of being an anarchist group in a report from the right-wing think-tank Policy Exchange. To actual anarchists, that is laughable. XR strictly adheres to non-violence, seeks arrests and chants “we love you” to the police. This contrasts starkly with anarchists’ antagonistic relationship to the state and its law enforcement.

The movement claims to practice civil disobedience – but that is also a confusing label. Civil disobedience developed during the 20th century as a way of understanding and justifying law-breaking protests in liberal democracies. Much of this was in relation to the US civil rights movement. Liberal political thinkers like Hannah Arendt and John Rawls explored when and how disobedience was legitimate in a democracy.
The misfit rebellion

In some ways, XR fits with liberal civil disobedience. That disobedience should always be a last resort chimes well with XR’s claim that time is running out and traditional campaigning has proven unsuccessful. The voluntary arrests resonate with the liberal onus on open and conscientious law-breaking that accepts law enforcement.

But on two other crucial points, XR breaks with the liberal civil disobedience tradition. For one thing, civil disobedience is generally aimed at showing the majority of the public that specific laws are unjust. XR does not seem to focus on this majority-building. It does not engage in discussion with climate change deniers, and its disruption antagonises people who do not share its fears and frustration with the inaction of governments.

Instead, XR’s tactic is to get a significant but still small part of the population to participate in disruption. The movement aims to get 3.5% of the population so incensed that they take to the streets. It does not aim to convince 51% that this is the right thing to do.

Liberal civil disobedience maintains an overall “fidelity to law”. In other words, it is considered okay to break certain unjust laws, as long as you respect the state’s laws generally. The aim is then to get the state to have better, more just, laws.

But for XR, the social contract has already been broken. The state has failed to take necessary action on climate change, thereby putting its citizens at risk. Disruption and law-breaking are therefore justified.
Talkin’ ‘bout a revolution

XR’s tactics are not based on how social movements have achieved policy change in liberal democracies. It is based on how dictatorships have been toppled. It draws directly on Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan’s book Why Civil Resistance Works, where they argue that non-violence is more effective than violence. The XR tactic is therefore based on how to achieve revolutions, not on how to get governments to respond to the will of the majority.

There are reasons to be sceptical about the relevance of this research, when it comes to addressing climate change. The 3.5% figure applies to such a small number of historical cases that no conclusions can be based on it. More importantly, perhaps, in most cases of regime change, not much else changes. Most in XR see saving the world as incompatible with capitalism as a system that depends on economic growth on a finite planet. Most cases of regime change on the Chenoweth and Stephan list have not resulted in abandoning capitalism – quite the opposite.

There are, however, good reasons for why XR’s radical tactics resonate with so many. People experiencing climate change through hot summers and other extreme weather events increases the sense of urgency. More importantly, perhaps, in an era of political polarisation, more extreme action becomes more likely. The trust in the state and its politicians has eroded on both the left and right across Europe. In the UK, this has been made worse by the politics of Brexit .

Law-breaking then becomes a more likely form of protest. One of XR’s spokespeople wrote on The Conversation that “the chances of … succeeding are relatively slim”. But since many in XR foresee societal breakdown as a result of climate breakdown, the cost of getting a criminal record diminishes. And if they continue to make the protests a bit of a festival, then the chances are we’ll see more disruption from Extinction Rebellion – even if it does alienate many others.

https://theconversation.com/extinction-rebellion-uses-tactics-that-toppled-dictators-but-we-live-in-a-liberal-democracy-120602
Everything, I mean EVERYTHING, is a BIG FUCKING MESS!!

Offline Surly1

  • Administrator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 16509
    • View Profile
    • Doomstead Diner

//
XR’s tactics are not based on how social movements have achieved policy change in liberal democracies. It is based on how dictatorships have been toppled. It draws directly on Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan’s book Why Civil Resistance Works, where they argue that non-violence is more effective than violence. The XR tactic is therefore based on how to achieve revolutions, not on how to get governments to respond to the will of the majority.

Law-breaking then becomes a more likely form of protest. One of XR’s spokespeople wrote on The Conversation that “the chances of … succeeding are relatively slim”. But since many in XR foresee societal breakdown as a result of climate breakdown, the cost of getting a criminal record diminishes. And if they continue to make the protests a bit of a festival, then the chances are we’ll see more disruption from Extinction Rebellion – even if it does alienate many others.


I would suggest that XR's tactics are correct, because it is a myth that we still live in a "liberal democracy..." even absent the coming of the orange shitgibbon. After such "improvements" as the USA PATRIOT Act, warrantless wiretapping, corporate harvesting and use of our data, relentless marketing and militarization of our lives, plus a whole host of local and state laws making it difficult if not impossible to collect rainwater, grow your own food on your property or live off the grid, it's pretty clear that whatever dystopia we're living in, to ain't a "liberal democracy."
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Online knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 13009
    • View Profile
The Disturbing Sound of a Human Voice
« Reply #13442 on: July 18, 2019, 05:48:18 PM »
Hearing people talk can terrify even top predators such as mountain lions, with consequences that ripple through entire ecosystems.


Mountain lions found the sound of human poetry disturbing.



In the summer of 2017, the mountain lions, bobcats, and other residents of the Santa Cruz Mountains were treated to the dulcet tones of the ecologist Justin Suraci and his friends, reading poetry. Some of the animals became jittery. Others stopped eating. A few fled in fear.

Suraci, who’s based at the University of California at Santa Cruz, wasn’t there to see their reactions. He and his colleagues had strung up a set of speakers that would regularly play recordings of human speech in an area where people seldom venture. And they found that, the quality of the poetry aside, even the gentlest of human speech can make wild animals—even top predators—unnerved and watchful, in ways that shake entire food webs. It’s the clearest demonstration yet that we are among the scariest of animals—a super-predator that terrifies even the carnivores that themselves incite terror.

Even when predators aren’t killing anything, their tracks, smells, and sounds can instill a state of simmering unease in their prey. This creates what ecologists call a “landscape of fear”—a mental map of risk that affects how hunted animals move over physical terrain. For example, in 2016, Suraci and his adviser, Liana Zanette, from Ontario’s Western University, showed that raccoons in the Gulf Islands spent less time foraging on local beaches if they heard recordings of dogs. And because the raccoons skedaddled, the rock pools filled with more fish, worms, and crabs. Fear reshaped the entire beach.

Similar studies have shown that animals react very strongly to the perceived presence of spiders, hawks, sharks, and wolves. But what about humans? We kill many animals at much higher rates than their other natural predators, and we’re unusual in taking out those predators too. “We might expect animals to fear us, as any prey fears its predators,” says Suraci.

His team has shown that they certainly do. In an English forest, the researchers played the sounds of various carnivores to local badgers. The badgers ignored the sounds of wolves entirely and were mildly concerned by the growls of wolves and bears. But they were profoundly disturbed by human speech, even the genteel tones of some BBC documentaries and a reading of The Wind in the Willows.

Next, the team wanted to see whether a larger carnivore would behave similarly. In the Santa Cruz Mountains, they placed speakers at sites where mountain lions had killed large prey and were regularly returning to feed. When the cats approached, the team played either talking humans or croaking frogs. The frogs didn’t faze them. The human voices—including those of Rachel Maddow and Rush Limbaugh—made them flee more than 80 percent of the time.

“We thought it would be funny to play political commentators,” says Suraci. “But when we had to score the videos, and listen to Rush Limbaugh all the time, it wasn’t very enjoyable.” For their next experiment, he and his colleagues decided to use calmer fare, including poetry and nature writing that they themselves read aloud. They played these recordings through 25 speakers, covering a square-kilometer grid, and programmed them to play 40 percent of the time.

By tracking seven mountain lions that had been fitted with GPS collars, the team showed that the animals kept their distance from the grids, and moved more cautiously, when humans could be heard. Using camera traps, the team saw that medium-size carnivores were also perturbed: Bobcats became more nocturnal, skunks became less active, and opossums spent less time foraging. The only animals that benefited were mice and rats, which took advantage of the predators’ absence to expand their range and forage more intensely. To the rodents, the speakers provided a human shield.

“This study suggests that a conversation between two hikers can have a butterfly effect—a mountain lion moves more quickly, an opossum changes its feeding habits, deer-mouse activity increases,” says Kaitlyn Gaynor from UC Berkeley, who was not involved in the study. “People often fear large carnivores like mountain lions, but in reality, they are far more scared of us. And as this study suggests, their fear can reshape ecosystems.”

Crucially, these effects are separate from all the other things that humans do to animals, from destroying habitats to hunting them directly. Suraci’s studies show that through our mere presence, we can affect wildlife by changing the contours of their landscapes of fear. “We’re a very loud and big species,” says Suraci. “Much of what we do is potentially terrifying to wildlife, like industrial activity and vehicle traffic. We tried to get past all of that and isolate the perceived presence of humans, separate from all the other disturbing things we do. And the implication is that we don’t need to cut down the forest to have an impact on wildlife.”

That’s not to say that people must abandon all wild areas. If anything, it’s more important than ever for us to be connected to the natural world. “But there’s potential, in areas that are key wildlife habitats, to restrict activities during the day, or limit the numbers or timing of human access,” Suraci says.

Experiments like his give “an incredibly comprehensive picture of the reverberations of the human super-predator across the entire community,” says Meredith Palmer from Princeton University. “The next frontier is demonstrating if these changes are detrimental to the animals.” If they’re stressed, could they grow more slowly? If they spend more time hiding, could they miss out on mating opportunities? If they’re not foraging enough, would they die younger?

“Human-induced behavioral changes may be ultimately harmful to species and ecosystems if they make it harder for animals to survive and reproduce,” says Gaynor, “but a more optimistic takeaway is that they could actually enable large mammals to coexist with humans on an increasingly crowded planet.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/07/humans-predators-mountain-lions-landscape-of-fear/594187/
Everything, I mean EVERYTHING, is a BIG FUCKING MESS!!

Online knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 13009
    • View Profile
Trump's USDA buried sweeping climate change response plan
« Reply #13443 on: July 18, 2019, 05:52:35 PM »

The USDA’s climate resilience plan was supposed to be an update to a 2010 plan on climate science — a document that was released publicly during the Obama administration.

The Agriculture Department quashed the release of a sweeping plan on how to respond to climate change that was finalized in the early days of the Trump administration, according to a USDA employee with knowledge of the decision.

Staff members across several USDA agencies drafted the multiyear plan that outlines how the department should help agriculture understand, adapt to and minimize the effects of climate change.

Top officials, however, decided not to release the plan and told staff members to keep it for internal use only, the employee told POLITICO. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution.

The goal was to map out “the science that USDA needs to pursue over the next five to eight years for the department to meet the needs of the nation,” according to the plan, a copy of which was shared with POLITICO.

The revelation comes after a recent POLITICO investigation found that the department had largely stopped promoting its own scientific findings about the consequences of climate change. The USDA has also moved away from using phrases like climate change, climate, and greenhouse gas emissions in press releases and social media posts.

The scuttled plan, prepared in 2017, liberally uses those terms. The document also calls on USDA to help farmers, ranchers and forestland owners “understand their effect on climate change.”

A spokesperson for the department declined to answer specific questions about the plan but said that USDA has no policy in place to discourage dissemination of climate science or use of climate-related terms. The spokesperson also noted President Donald Trump repealed an Obama era executive order that required government agencies to conduct climate planning and that the current administration has different requirements in place.

The USDA’s climate resilience plan was supposed to be an update to a 2010 plan on climate science — a document that was released publicly during the Obama administration.

The plan had begun to go through an internal clearance process before a senior official quashed its release, according to the person familiar with the decision.

The 33-page plan sets ambitious goals for addressing a broad range of climate change effects. It proposes “moving agriculture and natural resource systems to carbon neutral and beyond” by reducing greenhouse gas emissions through practices such as increasing carbon storage in crops and soils.

It also notes the importance of studying the “human dimensions” of climate change — such as how it affects production, trade, pricing, and producer and consumer behavior.

The agenda proposes to make climate change “an explicit and functional component” of “all USDA mission areas through the timely development, delivery, and application of relevant science.”

The document acknowledges that climate change is already affecting farmers and ranchers as well as forests.

"Changing temperatures and precipitation, along with altered pest pressures, influence rates of crop maturation and livestock productivity," the document states.

"Forests are already experiencing increased disturbance, including widespread wildfires and pest-related die-offs, as a result of changing climactic conditions and prolonged drought," the plan continues. Elevated carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is already affecting the quality of grassland forage, the report notes.

But the plan also suggests farmers can make money by cutting greenhouse gas emissions and adopting practices that promote carbon sequestration.

The document also says that USDA should be working to "increase public awareness of climate change" and how it is likely to affect agriculture and forestry in particular.

News of the report comes as USDA’s chief scientist is scheduled to testify before the Senate Agriculture Committee this morning.

Scott Hutchins, deputy undersecretary for research, education and economics, is expected to field pointed questions from lawmakers about burying climate science at the department as well as on plans to relocate two research agencies out of Washington to Kansas City, as recently announced by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

Both those agencies — the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture — were cited as important partners in carrying out the climate change plan.

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/07/18/usda-suppresses-climate-change-plan-1598987
Everything, I mean EVERYTHING, is a BIG FUCKING MESS!!

Online knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 13009
    • View Profile
Anti-Feminism Has Officially Become More Popular Than Feminism
« Reply #13444 on: July 19, 2019, 08:10:57 AM »
The day that was always inevitable has finally arrived.

Despite the media, activists, Hollywood, and politicians all pushing it in everything from the news to the movies, feminism has never been able to achieve complete saturation within the populace. It was always coming off as entitled, unfair, and weak, all while trying to bill itself as a movement dedicated to building strong women who support equality.

The public learned that equality was never the goal and the pro-woman aspect fell apart in the face of the way the feminist movement treated women who disagreed with it. Feminism was always at war with femininity, and women weren’t into it for the most part despite the media portraying it as some super popular movement. In fact, not only were women not into it, feminism created too many enemies with its abrasive behavior, nonsensical belief system, and asinine demands.

Thus, anti-feminism has now become more popular than feminism, and what makes this even more delicious is that BuzzFeed of all places has now had to recognize the fact.

Mark Di Stefano of BuzzFeed posted a tweet that shows some of the stats, putting the disbelief primarily on men.

Mark Di Stefano
🤙🏻
‏Verified account @MarkDiStef

NEW: Polling for @hopenothate conducted by @YouGov shows….
- A third of young man aged 18-24 believe feminism is demonising or marginalising some men.
- A staggering 46% of Conservative party members believe feminism has had a NEGATIVE impact on society.

from buzzfeed "A New Poll Has Found A Third Of Young British People Have Anti-Feminist Views"
https://www.buzzfeed.com/markdistefano/new-poll-third-young-british-males-anti-feminism


    247
    5:32 AM - Jul 15, 2019
    Twitter Ads info and privacy

277 people are talking about this

According to BuzzFeed, the group Hope Not Hate commissioned research to see where the idea of feminism lies with the populace and the results cause them to think that we’re slipping into the “far-right” due to the acceptance of “anti-feminism”:

    The survey, conducted by YouGov earlier this year, found 33% of people between ages 18 and 24 agreed with the statement “Feminism is to blame for making some men feel marginalised and demonised in society”.

    Across all age groups, 42% of men felt that feminism was marginalising and demonising some men, while only a quarter of women agreed.

I want to take a moment here to point out that anti-feminism is not a “far-right” idea. In fact, anti-feminism is geared more toward believing in equality for the sexes than feminism is, which constantly attempts to garner more gains for women while denigrating men with accusations of “patriarchal privilege” and constant claims of sexism over things like air conditioning. It’s ridiculously lazy to assume that any resistance to a leftist ideal such as modern feminism is a result of far-right plotting.

In fact, most people believe that sexual equality is a great thing, they just reject feminism as noted by the BBC, which found that 1 in 5 women in the U.S. and the U.K. identify as feminist, but that eight in ten believe in equality of the sexes.

Feminism hasn’t been popular to associate with, even when the third wave was in full swing a few years ago. Feminism has always been antagonistic in nature, and the constant denigration of society because it wasn’t focusing on what the feminist agenda wanted turned people off. It even went so far as to make itself the hub of intersectionalism, making everything under the sun a “women’s issue.”

Women have enough issues to deal with, they didn’t need more. What’s more, the fact that women who rejected feminist principles, even if it was the most minute, were lambasted and dragged over coals.

Feminism stopped being something to sign onto and started being something to resist very quickly.

And so, both women and men walked away from the circus show. Feminism might not be dead, not yet, but it does look corpse-like.

https://www.redstate.com/brandon_morse/2019/07/17/anti-feminism-officially-become-popular-feminism/
Everything, I mean EVERYTHING, is a BIG FUCKING MESS!!

Online knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 13009
    • View Profile
Forget 'manmade': Berkeley bans gender-specific words
« Reply #13445 on: July 19, 2019, 08:18:54 AM »
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — There will be no manholes in Berkeley, California. City workers will drop into "maintenance holes" instead.

Nothing will be manmade in the liberal city but "human-made." And students at the University of California, Berkeley, will join "collegiate Greek system residences" rather than fraternities and sororities.

Berkeley leaders voted unanimously this week to replace about 40 gender-specific words in the city code with gender-neutral terms — an effort to be more inclusive that's drawing both praise and scorn.

That means "manpower" will become "human effort" or "workforce," while masculine and feminine pronouns like "she," ''her," ''he" and "him" will be replaced by "they" and "them," according to the measure approved Tuesday by the City Council.

The San Francisco Bay Area city is known for its long history of progressive politics and "first of" ordinances. Berkeley was among the first cities to adopt curbside recycling in the 1970s and more recently, became the first in the U.S. to tax sugary drinks and ban natural gas in new homes.

Berkeley also was the birthplace of the nation's free-speech movement in the 1960s and where protests from both left- and right-wing extremist groups devolved into violence during a flashpoint in the country's political divisions soon after President Donald Trump's election.

Rigel Robinson, who graduated from UC Berkeley last year and at 23 is the youngest member of the City Council, said it was time to change a municipal code that makes it sound like "men are the only ones that exist in entire industries or that men are the only ones on city government."

"As society and our cultures become more aware about issues of gender identity and gender expression, it's important that our laws reflect that," said Robinson, who co-authored the measure. "Women and non-binary people are just as deserving of accurate representation."

When the changes take effect in the fall, all city forms will be updated and lists with the old words and their replacements will be posted at public libraries and the council chambers. The changes will cost taxpayers $600, Robinson said.

Removing gendered terms has been slowly happening for decades in the United States as colleges, companies and organizations implement gender-neutral alternatives.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom's wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, changed a Sacramento political tradition by adopting the unofficial title "first partner" instead of "first lady," saying it's more inclusive. The change reflected Siebel Newsom's experience as an actress and filmmaker focused on gender politics and inequality.

But formalizing the shift in the sweeping way that Berkeley is doing is "remarkable and sends a message," Rutgers University linguistics professor Kristen Syrett said.

"Anytime you're talking about something where gender is not the issue but you use a gendered term, that immediately sends a message of exclusion, even if it's a dialogue that has nothing to do with gender," said Syrett, who recently spearheaded an update to the guidelines on inclusive language for the Linguistic Society of America.

For Hel Baker, a Berkeley home caregiver, the shift is a small step in the right direction.

"Anything that dismantles inherent bias is a good thing, socially, in the grand scheme of things," the 27-year-old said.

"I don't, by any means, think this is the great championing for gender equality, but you gotta start somewhere," Hel added.

Lauren Singh, 18, who grew up in Berkeley, approved of the move, saying, "Everyone deserves to be represented and feel included in the community."

Not everyone agreed with the new ordinance. Laramie Crocker, a Berkeley carpenter, said the changes just made him laugh.

"If you try to change the laws every time someone has a new opinion about something, it doesn't make sense. It's just a bad habit to get into," Crocker said.

Crocker, 54, said he would like city officials to focus on more pressing issues, like homelessness.

"Let's keep it simple, get back to work," he said. "Let's figure out how to get homeless people housed and fed. He, she, they, it — they're wasting my time."

https://www.wtap.com/content/news/Forget-manmade-Berkeley-bans-gender-specific-words-512933661.html
Everything, I mean EVERYTHING, is a BIG FUCKING MESS!!

Online knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 13009
    • View Profile
Kazakhstan government is now intercepting all HTTPS traffic
« Reply #13446 on: July 19, 2019, 08:30:49 AM »
Kazakh government first wanted to intercept all HTTPS traffic way back in 2016, but they backed off after several lawsuits.

Starting Wednesday, July 17, 2019, the Kazakhstan government has started intercepting all HTTPS internet traffic inside its borders.

Local internet service providers (ISPs) have been instructed by the local government to force their respective users into installing a government-issued certificate on all devices, and in every browser.

The certificate, once installed, will allow local government agencies to decrypt users' HTTPS traffic, look at its content, encrypt it again with their certificate, and send it to its destination.



Kazakh users trying to access the internet since yesterday have been redirected to web pages that contained instructions on how to install the government's root certificate in their respective browsers, may it be a desktop or mobile device.

For example, this is the page shown by local ISP Kcell, and this is another one that Beeline is showing to its customers.
Kazakhstan government says it's for the best

Local ISPs started forcing their customers into installing the government's root certificate yesterday, following an official government announcement.

In a statement posted on its website, the Kazakh Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace said only internet users in Kazakhstan's capital of Nur-Sultan will have to install the certificate; however, users from all across the country reported being blocked from accessing the internet until they installed the government's certificate. Some users also received SMS messages on their smartphones about having to install the certificates, according to local media.

Ministry officials said the measure was "aimed at enhancing the protection of citizens, government bodies and private companies from hacker attacks, Internet fraudsters and other types of cyber threats."
Government previously failed in 2015

The Kazakh government first tried to have all its citizens install a root certificate in December 2015. At the time, it ruled that all Kazakh user had to install their root certificate by January 1, 2016.

The decision was never implemented because the local government was sued by several organizations, including ISPs, banks, and foreign governments, who feared this would weaken the security of all internet traffic (and adjacent business) originating from the country.

At the same time in December 2015, the Kazakh government also applied with Mozilla to have its root certificate included in Firefox by default, but Mozilla declined.

Currently, browser makers like Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla are discussing a plan of action on how to deal with sites that have been (re-)encrypted by the Kazakh government's root certificate. No decision has been reached, at the time of writing.

https://www.zdnet.com/article/kazakhstan-government-is-now-intercepting-all-https-traffic/
Everything, I mean EVERYTHING, is a BIG FUCKING MESS!!

Online knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 13009
    • View Profile
The Sea Is Consuming Jakarta, and Its People Aren't Insured
« Reply #13447 on: July 19, 2019, 08:36:41 AM »


Jakarta is sinking at the worst possible time. As sea levels creep higher, the coastal megalopolis continues to pump too much water from its underlying aquifers, and consequently the land is collapsing by almost a foot a year in some places. A modern city, home to 10 million people, is in danger of disappearing: According to one researcher’s models, 95 percent of north Jakarta could be submerged by 2050.

It’s a slow-motion disaster made all the more dire by the fact that very few people in Jakarta have insurance, one of the handful of things that can help a population ride out rising seas and fiercer storms. Just how small is Indonesia’s insurance industry? Well, it has 300 fully accredited actuaries—the professionals who calculate risk—a number it's scrambling to boost. In Canada, that number is 3,400, and it’s got a seventh the population that Indonesia has. And, of course, its capital city isn’t sinking and flooding the way Jakarta is.

To make matters worse, Jakarta’s poorest and most vulnerable residents—those least able to afford insurance—often live in the most flood-prone places. Cultural and religious factors also play a role: Indonesia is a Muslim-majority country, and some Muslims see conventional insurance products as counter to their faith. (Some companies offer sharia-compliant policies.)

“Yes, some Muslims might find insurance inappropriate, but to me it is more because of a lack of financial literacy,” says Iene Muliati, a fellow of the Society of Actuaries of Indonesia. “They don’t understand why the product is important.” In addition, Muliati says, there is an expectation that family members will look out for each other.

But Indonesians, and indeed all of humanity, haven’t seen a crisis quite this daunting. The sea is swallowing up the nation's 17,000 islands, so families can’t just move down the street to escape danger. They’ll need money to relocate and find new livelihoods—money that insurance can provide.

A solution here might be microinsurance, an affordable way for low-income people to protect their crops and homes against disaster, right through a mobile phone. “But again, if people don’t understand why they need the product, and if they don’t have disposable income, they won’t buy it,” says Muliati.

Complicating matters further is the fact that insurers—not only in the developing world but all across the planet—have already started avoiding certain areas or jacking up their premiums. “Increasingly, what you're finding is that insurance is becoming unavailable to people,” says Blair Feltmate, head of the Intact Centre for Climate Adaptation at Canada’s University of Waterloo. “The amount they would have to pay in premiums becomes logarithmic—in other words, it's off the charts.”

But the insurance industry doesn’t exist to not sell insurance. “That's the equivalent of McDonald's saying, We’re not going to sell hamburgers,” says Feltmate. “The business of insurance is to sell insurance.” The question now is how you peddle risk mitigation in a world of ever more unpredictable risks.

In Canada, for instance, climate change is fueling extreme rain events, inundating cities like never before, in large part because natural buffers like marshes and forests have been stripped away by development. The obvious solution is adaptation—not only cutting greenhouse gas emissions quickly and dramatically but also reinforcing cities against rising seas and extreme weather events. It’s a good investment, really: A dollar spent on adaptation saves between 4 and 10 dollars in recovery efforts when disaster rolls through, according to Feltmate.

But not every nation has the funds, or the political will, for such pursuits. (Even the famously progressive Californians can't agree how to fight rising seas.) At the moment, Muliati says, Indonesia’s approach is “not really preventive; it's more responsive.” That’s true “even in the areas like Jakarta where we know the land is below the sea.”

Still, Indonesia is taking steps to prepare itself for the coming decades. Last year, the government announced that it would start insuring public buildings to better prepare for disasters. And by 2021, the University of Waterloo is aiming to produce 745 new graduates in actuarial science through its Risk Management Economic Sustainability and Actuarial Science Development in Indonesia program (aka READI).

“It has only really been in the last five years or so that not just Indonesia but the world has more or less shaken its head and said, Yeah, this is a real problem,” says Jean Lowry, project director of READI. “The insurance sector, and actuaries in particular, are all fact-based. You can't sell them on anything unless they see the numbers.”

Take it from one of the businesses with the most to lose: The climate reckoning has come.

https://www.wired.com/story/jakarta-insurance/
Everything, I mean EVERYTHING, is a BIG FUCKING MESS!!

Online knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 13009
    • View Profile
4 crazy things that are happening in the Arctic right now
« Reply #13448 on: July 19, 2019, 08:43:05 AM »


A number of unusual events are sweeping across the Arctic as global warming disrupts weather patterns, the landscape, and the way of life in the icy wilderness.

Earth’s average surface temperature has risen by 1°C since the 1880s, driven largely by man-made greenhouse gases. And the world keeps on warming: the past five years have, collectively, been the hottest on record, according to NASA figures.

The Arctic is feeling the effects more than anywhere on Earth. While this is providing scientists with a wealth of information to help in their fight against climate change, it’s also having some strange consequences.

Here are four ways our warming world is affecting the region.

1) Starving polar bears are travelling vast distances to Russian cities

Residents of Norilsk, a small industrial city in northern Russia, were greeted by the sight of an emaciated polar bear stumbling through the streets. According to the Siberian Times, the exhausted animal is thought to have travelled up to 1,500km from the Arctic Ocean, crossing the vast Taymyr Peninsula into Russia to find food.

The last time a polar bear made this epic journey was in 1977, when it was shot by authorities to protect local residents. But the latest visitor will likely be sedated and returned home or housed in a zoo.


Maximum Arctic sea ice extent 2018-2019.

As the above chart shows, maximum Arctic sea ice reached 14.78 million square kilometres of the Arctic Ocean surface in March 2019, the seventh lowest on satellite record.

Arctic sea ice provides a natural hunting ground for polar bears and also contains an algae essential to their diet – comprising up to 70% of their total food intake in some cases. Over the past two decades, the sea ice has been shrinking faster each year, leaving the animals hungry. There is little to eat in the summer months, forcing the starving bears to venture further afield to survive.

2) Wildfires are choking Alaska

For the first time in almost 100 years, Alaska is experiencing average July-to-June temperatures above freezing. The unseasonable heat is thawing and drying vast tracts of the far-northern snow forests, leaving the tundra susceptible to wildfires, which ravage the land.

The changing climate is also responsible for a growing number of thunderstorms, with lightning strikes sparking many blazes. So far in 2019, more than 60 large fires have swept across Alaska – more than any other US state.

Satellite monitoring shows blazes starting earlier in the year, spreading further north into the Arctic region and burning with increased intensity, in line with predictions from climate change models. Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann told Inside Climate Change: "When it comes to the Arctic heatwaves, the wildfires, am I surprised? No – this was long predicted. Am I worried? Yes."

3) Permafrost is melting 70 years ahead of schedule

A recent Arctic expedition found alarming rates of decline in Arctic permafrost, which is melting far faster than scientists had predicted.


The growing intensity of summer temperatures across the region is destabilizing giant subterranean ice blocks that have remained frozen for millennia. Rapid thawing could release vast quantities of heat-trapping gases, further exacerbating the rise in the atmosphere’s temperature.

“What we saw was amazing,” Vladimir Romanovsky, a professor of geophysics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and one of the expedition’s researchers, told Reuters. “It’s an indication that the climate is now warmer than at any other time in the last 5,000 or more years.”

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/07/4-crazy-things-that-are-happening-in-the-arctic-right-now/
Everything, I mean EVERYTHING, is a BIG FUCKING MESS!!

Offline Surly1

  • Administrator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 16509
    • View Profile
    • Doomstead Diner
Re: Anti-Feminism Has Officially Become More Popular Than Feminism
« Reply #13449 on: July 19, 2019, 08:51:19 AM »
The day that was always inevitable has finally arrived.

Despite the media, activists, Hollywood, and politicians all pushing it in everything from the news to the movies, feminism has never been able to achieve complete saturation within the populace. It was always coming off as entitled, unfair, and weak, all while trying to bill itself as a movement dedicated to building strong women who support equality.

The public learned that equality was never the goal and the pro-woman aspect fell apart in the face of the way the feminist movement treated women who disagreed with it. Feminism was always at war with femininity, and women weren’t into it for the most part despite the media portraying it as some super popular movement. In fact, not only were women not into it, feminism created too many enemies with its abrasive behavior, nonsensical belief system, and asinine demands.

Thus, anti-feminism has now become more popular than feminism, and what makes this even more delicious is that BuzzFeed of all places has now had to recognize the fact.

Mark Di Stefano of BuzzFeed posted a tweet that shows some of the stats, putting the disbelief primarily on men.

Mark Di Stefano
🤙🏻
‏Verified account @MarkDiStef

NEW: Polling for @hopenothate conducted by @YouGov shows….
- A third of young man aged 18-24 believe feminism is demonising or marginalising some men.
- A staggering 46% of Conservative party members believe feminism has had a NEGATIVE impact on society.

from buzzfeed "A New Poll Has Found A Third Of Young British People Have Anti-Feminist Views"
https://www.buzzfeed.com/markdistefano/new-poll-third-young-british-males-anti-feminism


    247
    5:32 AM - Jul 15, 2019
    Twitter Ads info and privacy

277 people are talking about this

According to BuzzFeed, the group Hope Not Hate commissioned research to see where the idea of feminism lies with the populace and the results cause them to think that we’re slipping into the “far-right” due to the acceptance of “anti-feminism”:

    The survey, conducted by YouGov earlier this year, found 33% of people between ages 18 and 24 agreed with the statement “Feminism is to blame for making some men feel marginalised and demonised in society”.

    Across all age groups, 42% of men felt that feminism was marginalising and demonising some men, while only a quarter of women agreed.

I want to take a moment here to point out that anti-feminism is not a “far-right” idea. In fact, anti-feminism is geared more toward believing in equality for the sexes than feminism is, which constantly attempts to garner more gains for women while denigrating men with accusations of “patriarchal privilege” and constant claims of sexism over things like air conditioning. It’s ridiculously lazy to assume that any resistance to a leftist ideal such as modern feminism is a result of far-right plotting.

In fact, most people believe that sexual equality is a great thing, they just reject feminism as noted by the BBC, which found that 1 in 5 women in the U.S. and the U.K. identify as feminist, but that eight in ten believe in equality of the sexes.

Feminism hasn’t been popular to associate with, even when the third wave was in full swing a few years ago. Feminism has always been antagonistic in nature, and the constant denigration of society because it wasn’t focusing on what the feminist agenda wanted turned people off. It even went so far as to make itself the hub of intersectionalism, making everything under the sun a “women’s issue.”

Women have enough issues to deal with, they didn’t need more. What’s more, the fact that women who rejected feminist principles, even if it was the most minute, were lambasted and dragged over coals.

Feminism stopped being something to sign onto and started being something to resist very quickly.

And so, both women and men walked away from the circus show. Feminism might not be dead, not yet, but it does look corpse-like.

https://www.redstate.com/brandon_morse/2019/07/17/anti-feminism-officially-become-popular-feminism/

Horseshit.

Redstate is just an Erick Erickson masturbatory fantasy. Erickson is another garden variety conservative evangelical blogger whose hobby is counting his chins.

If feminism is in bad odor with mouth breathers, it's only because the monied elites have spent the last 40 years demonizing it like they have , "socialism."
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Online knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 13009
    • View Profile
Trump policies push parts of Florida and Texas to endure five months a year of a heat index over 100 degrees.


The current heat wave will set records around the country.

Most of the country is entering into the first few hours of a blistering heat wave that will extend well into the weekend.

Dangerous combinations of high temperatures and humidity will push the “heat index” (what the temperature “feels like”) past 100 degrees Fahrenheit from the Dakotas down to Texas and across to Maine and Florida, an area encompassing well over half of the country’s population.

But as countless studies have made clear, the kind of extreme heat waves this country, Europe, and elsewhere have been experiencing this summer and last have been made more intense and more likely thanks to human caused global warming.

Even worse, if we fail to significantly curb emissions of carbon pollution — which is the current plan put forth by President Donald Trump’s climate policies — then these severe and deadly heatwaves will become the normal summer weather over the next few decades.

In fact, a peer-reviewed study published this week warns that if we don’t reverse emissions trends quickly and sharply, we will see a rise in unprecedented heat waves that will “break” the National Weather Service’s heat index scale.

The researchers warn we will face extended scorchers more brutal than the United States has ever experienced before. In several decades, parts of Florida and Texas could experience a heat index for five or more months per year exceeding 100 degrees, “with most of these days even surpassing 105 degrees.”

The administration’s own studies confirm this. Typical five-day heat waves in the U.S. will be 12 degrees warmer by mid-century alone, according to the U.S. National Climate Assessment (NCA), which the White House itself reviewed and approved last November.

Other studies also show the devastating heat-related impacts the nation and the world face from Trump’s policies of abandoning the Paris climate deal, undoing Obama-era climate rules, and boosting carbon pollution.

For instance, America (and much of the world) will start seeing monster “humid heat waves” — where the heat index hits a potentially fatal 131 degrees — every other year by century’s end.

Heat wave records have been breaking at an astonishing rate in recent days around the country and around the globe.

We know that human-caused (anthropogenic) carbon pollution and global warming is now the leading factor driving such records. A 2016 study in Nature Scientific Reports, led by climatologist Michael Mann, concluded, “In summary, our results suggest that the recent record temperature years are roughly 600 to 130,000 times more likely to have occurred under conditions of anthropogenic [climate change] than in its absence.”

The extreme heat waves in Europe, Asia, and now the U.S. are driven by “persistent (‘stuck’) extreme weather patterns,” as Mann explained to ThinkProgress in an email. His research and others have shown that “a widely meandering, slowed jetstream” favors these stalled weather extremes and that “this pattern is favored by human-caused climate change, giving us more frequent persistent weather extremes like we are seeing right now.”

So, what about the future?

The congressionally-mandated NCA — the “authoritative assessment of the science of climate change, with a focus on the United States” — projects under its “higher emissions” scenario a stunning 8 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit average warming over the interior of this country by late in the century.


PROJECTED CHANGES IN ANNUAL AVERAGE TEMPERATURES (2070–2099) WITH STRONG CLIMATE POLICIES (LEFT) AND WITH President Trump's CURRENT POLICIES (RIGHT)

But the NCA also makes clear that temperature extremes rise at an even faster rate than average temperatures.

For instance, the average temperature over the country is projected to rise about 9 degrees by late in the century (2071-2100) in the high emissions scenario, which is one where the Paris climate agreement fails and climate action stalls.

But, also under this scenario, the temperature of the warmest five-day period during a once-in-a-decade heat wave is projected to rise some 12 degrees just by mid-century (2036–2065). So we’ll soon be suffering through even worse heat waves than we are now seeing — and our children will see even more devastating ones.

The NCA scientists explain that to achieve the low-emissions scenario, not only does every nation — including the United States — have to meet its Paris climate pledge. But, we all also have to keep ratcheting down the targets “with continually increasing ambition” until global emissions of carbon pollution are near zero by century’s end.

Current extreme heat waves — and the droughts and wildfires that accompany them — are already wreaking havoc on this country and the world.

Tragically, Trump’s policies will make such heat waves simply the normal climate, bringing with it new monster heat waves and catastrophic impacts.

https://thinkprogress.org/call-it-the-trump-heat-wave-the-current-scorcher-is-just-a-taste-of-whats-coming-8fa8f1ad6f0f/
Everything, I mean EVERYTHING, is a BIG FUCKING MESS!!

Online knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 13009
    • View Profile


Australians like democracy, just not the version we have

Late last year the Democracy 2025 project of the Museum of Australian Democracy and the University of Canberra released a major piece of research finding that trust in democracy in Australia has plummeted from 86% in 2007 to 41% in 2018.

Through quantitative and qualitative research over many years, they found compelling evidence of an increasing trust divide between government and citizens. This was reflected in falling trust in politicians, political parties and other key institutions (especially media), and a lack of confidence in the capacity of the government to address the public’s concerns.

Importantly though, the researchers found strong ongoing support for the principles of democracy.

Together, these seemingly contradictory statements show Australians like democracy, just not the version we have – our systems and our institutions of government are not doing the job we need them to do.

This is vital, because it points us to what we need to do in response. After a centuries-long struggle to demand democratic franchise for more and more people, we’ve become complacent as those in power have made that franchise less and less meaningful. We now need to re-engage people in democratic decision-making about our common future; we have to re-enfranchise ourselves by truly cultivating democracy.

Disenfranchisement is clearly one of the central phenomena of global politics today. It sits behind Trumpism and the Brexit slogan “Take Back Control”, as well as leftwing movements such as Occupy and Podemos, Naomi Klein’s articulation of a growing “corporatocracy”, and the rise of new commons-based politics in communities around the world. I have seen it rising (and being deliberately stoked) over 20 years of involvement in and observation of politics. And I’ve written about it and made it a focus of my work here at the Green Institute.

But it’s one thing to be aware of it and another altogether to be confronted by it, day in day out, in countless conversations, as a candidate running for election in what is probably among the most politically engaged electorates in the country.

The strong message coming from people I speak to is that politics is irrelevant to them, that it’s a waste of time, that it can’t and won’t make any difference. This wasn’t just people not paying attention to politics because they’ve got better things to do in their busy lives. It was an active choice not to engage, because they felt disgust and disdain for it. From Watergate to the deregulation of the banks, from poor planning decisions to the failure to act on the climate emergency, they saw no reason to have faith that voting would have any real impact on things that matter to them.

This sentiment goes some way to explaining what happened at this election. With Labor presenting a confusing and conflicted vision under an uninspiring leader and the Coalition being a farce, the combined major party vote fell to below 75% for the first time since our modern party configuration developed post-war; this is down from 77% in 2016, 79% in 2013, 81% in 2010 and 85% in 2007. In this context, a scare campaign backed by two billionaires (Clive Palmer and Rupert Murdoch) swung enough preferences to the right to enable an unpopular Coalition government to scrape back in above an even more unpopular Labor opposition.

It’s important to emphasise that this is a phenomenon of disengagement from politics, not from the world. Reflecting the Democracy 2025 analysis, a huge number of people I spoke to were deeply concerned about issues – climate, housing, refugees, inequality – but felt that democratic politics as it currently exists is so flawed as to make engagement with it pointless and depressing. Protest movements are big and growing. Community activism at various levels is tremendous. People care. They just don’t believe our politics will change anything. And, honestly, right now, who can say they’re wrong? Politics isn’t working for people, and it sure isn’t working for the planet.

The collapse in faith in our democracies isn’t an accident. It’s one of the central victories of the neoliberal project, delivered through two generations of privatisation, outsourcing and deregulation, underfunding of government services (locked in by tax cuts), restricting freedom of information, targeting whistleblowers and raiding the media who report on them, delegitimising and gagging public interest advocacy, and criminalising protest.

By pushing people out of democratic engagement, and undermining the role of government itself, it has relegated any conception of power to the level of individual action and consumer behaviour. Collective political action is dismissed and shut down at all costs.

Our current situation is dangerous not simply because people are disengaged, but because it’s symptomatic of a deliberately created vicious cycle. Disengagement is rampant because citizens correctly identify that our political system isn’t working for their benefit, but when those citizens are nudged, goaded or actively railroaded into disengaging further, it becomes that much easier for politics to deliver for the already rich and powerful. Politics today relies hugely on the fact that most people don’t know most of what’s going on so as to get away with stuff that couldn’t be done under real scrutiny. Decisions are made for narrow interests at the expense of the common good, and deep reforms necessary to care for people and the planet are shoved off the table.

Even worse, the extreme right capitalises on this by identifying the disenfranchisement and misdirecting public anger away from the real causes and towards some scary “other”. They give people the cathartic option of kicking out, punching down, messing stuff up for the sake of it. The populist “anti-politics” frame is constructed by the right in this context to further undermine faith in democracy and lead to autocratic answers.

For those of us who do care about people and the planet, our task is the opposite. We need to reinvigorate democracy by actively enabling people to take back their power to work for the common good.

This is not about somehow trying to convince voters that politics as it stands is worth paying attention to – it clearly isn’t. Neither is it solely about addressing corruption and seeking to get money out of politics, nor, on the other hand, about defending advocacy, whistleblowing and protest, although all these are critically important.

More deeply, our task is to cultivate a new politics, from the grassroots up, that is capable of re-engaging people because it depends on engaging them instead of pushing them away. It’s about seeing democracy as a muscle which we need to exercise in order to build core strength. It’s about cultivating ethics and mechanisms of participation, interdependence, interconnection, resilience, that actively bring the community in, inviting everyone to be part of making the decisions that shape our common future. Vitally, this is about more than “consultation”, or “direct democracy” referenda and popular votes on issues. It’s about creating meaningful forums for deliberation – discussing ideas deeply, with expert advice and facilitation, enabling people to come up with creative solutions which satisfy as many people as possible.

There are some remarkable examples of this going on around the world already that we can use as the seeds to grow new, reimagined democracies around.

Here in Australia, the most exciting example is the participatory Voices for Indi campaign that elected independent MP Cathy McGowan twice and made history by electing Helen Haines to succeed her. Through kitchen table conversations, deep engagement and an ethic of “radical trust”, they developed a platform, selected appropriate candidates and built mechanisms for ongoing feedback and participation in the community and in parliament itself. We dipped our toes in that stream through the People In participatory democracy project as part of my candidacy for the seat of Canberra at the recent election. This involved a series of public meetings, small and large, inviting Canberrans to help co-design mechanisms for citizens to take part in making the decisions that matter in their lives.

Various Australian jurisdictions have also experimented, more and less successfully, with citizens’ juries and assemblies, which are building a head of steam around the world. Most famously, South Australia used the process, which involved a randomly selected group of citizens brought together and provided with access to expert advice, to resolve the question of whether or not to build a nuclear waste dump in the state. Against the will of the government and opposition, the jury said a very clear “no”, killing the idea stone dead.

In Ireland, a Citizens’ Assembly facilitated the process to remove the constitutional ban on abortion and to legalise equal marriage, both then ratified by popular referenda. Both Scotland5 and Belgium6 are now moving to institute standing Citizens’ Assemblies to feed ideas into, and guide the debates in, the elected parliaments.

Deep democratic participation has been at the heart of many of the radical left movements in recent years, from Occupy to the Arab Spring to Spain’s Movement of the Squares. This last, the popular response to the horribly destructive austerity politics following the 2008 crash, led directly to the grassroots, participatory politics of Barcelona En Comu (Barcelona In Common), which won the mayoralty for Ada Colau in 2016 and recently beat the odds to retain control.

The brilliance of Barcelona En Comu is the successful mobilisation of grassroots groups – cooperatives, advocacy groups, community gardens – into a political movement with an explicit goal of building community cohesion through democratic participation. Imagine if, here in Australia, we pivoted the targeted outreach and community organising campaigns that advocacy and protest groups run towards true community building. Imagine if, instead of talking about just transitions for coal workers, we created the space for the communities to discuss and plan their own futures. Imagine if we worked with the vast array of food and housing co-ops, community gardens, Buy Nothing Groups, repair cafes, to bring people together around a shared vision, modelling new democratic norms, building the road by walking it.

These participatory, community-building projects, from sharing groups to citizens’ assemblies, are the next big struggle for franchise. They reduce inequality, reduce environmental impact, create resilience we desperately need in the face of climate disruption, and vaccinate against the rise of the extreme right. They directly confront disenfranchisement by directly re-enfranchising people – enabling us to play a real role in determining our common future.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/commentisfree/2019/jul/19/australians-faith-in-politics-has-collapsed-how-can-we-reimagine-democracy
Everything, I mean EVERYTHING, is a BIG FUCKING MESS!!

Online knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 13009
    • View Profile
Iran says its seizure of British ship a ‘reciprocal’ move
« Reply #13452 on: July 20, 2019, 05:59:21 AM »
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A powerful council in Iran said Saturday the country’s seizure of a British oil tanker in the strategic Strait of Hormuz was in response to Britain’s role in impounding an Iranian supertanker two weeks earlier.

Spokesman of Iran’s Guardian Council, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, was quoted in the semi-official Fars news agency saying “the rule of reciprocal action is well-known in international law” and that Iran’s moves to “confront the illegitimate economic war and seizure of oil tankers is an instance of this rule and is based on international rights.”

The council rarely comments on state matters, but when it does it is seen as a reflection of the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s views. That’s because the council works closely with Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters.

The free flow of traffic through the Strait of Hormuz is of international importance because one-fifth of all global crude exports passes through the waterway from Mideast exporters to countries around the world.

The British-flagged Stena Impero was seized by Iran on Friday evening with a crew of 23 crew aboard. None are British nationals. Maritime trackers show it was headed to a port in Saudi Arabia.

Two weeks earlier, Britain’s Royal Marines took part in the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker carrying more than 2 million barrels of Iranian crude by Gibraltar, a British overseas territory off the southern coast of Spain. Officials there initially said the July 4 seizure happened on orders from the U.S.

Britain has said it would release the vessel if Iran could prove it was not breaching European Union sanctions on oil shipments to Syria. However, on Friday, a court in Gibraltar extended by 30 days the detention of the Panama-flagged Grace.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif characterized the seizure of Iran’s tanker as “piracy.” In comments on Twitter, he wrote that the U.K. must cease being an accessory to the “economic terrorism” of the U.S. — a reference to sweeping American sanctions on Iran.

Iran’s subsequent seizure of the British tanker was seen as a significant escalation. Germany and France have both condemned the move, with Berlin saying it undermines all efforts to find a way out of the current crisis.

In London, Tom Tugendhat, the chairman of Britain’s House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, said military action to free the British tanker would be “extremely unwise,” especially because the vessel was apparently taken to a well-protected port.

Current tensions have been escalating since President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and imposed economic sanctions on Iran, including its oil exports.

In May, the U.S. announced it was dispatching an aircraft carrier and additional troops to the Middle East, citing unspecified threats posed by Iran.

The ongoing showdown has caused jitters around the globe, with each maneuver bringing fear that any misunderstanding or misstep by either side could lead to war.

In June, Iran shot down an American drone in the same waterway, and Trump came close to retaliating but called off an airstrike at the last moment. Just this week, Washington claimed that a U.S. warship downed an Iranian drone in the strait. Iran denied that it lost an aircraft in the area. There have also been attacks on oil tankers in recent weeks that the U.S. blames on Iran — an allegation denied by the Islamic Republic.

Stena Bulk, the owner of the seized British tanker, said the vessel’s crew members are of Indian, Filipino, Russian and Latvian nationalities. Iranian officials say the crew remain on the tanker.

The state-run news agency IRNA had reported earlier Saturday that Iran seized the British-flagged vessel after it collided with an Iranian fishing boat — an explanation that portrayed the seizure as a technicality rather than a tit-for-tat move.

The company that owns the ship said the vessel was in full compliance with all international regulations when it was intercepted Friday by “unidentified small crafts and a helicopter” during its transit through the Strait of Hormuz.

The comments Saturday by the Guardian Council reflect how prominently Britain has featured in the rising U.S. tensions with Iran.

There was a brief standoff between the British navy and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessels recently. The British navy said it warned three Guard vessels away after they tried to impede the passage of a commercial British tanker that the navy was escorting.

U.K.-flagged vessels represented less than 0.6% of the 67,533 ships sailing through the Strait of Hormuz in 2018, with 427 transits, according to maritime publication Lloyd’s List, quoting research from Russel Group.

Iran’s government has desperately tried to get out of the economic chokehold, urging the other partners in the nuclear deal, particularly European nations, to find ways around the U.S. sanctions.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is mulling a proposal called the Sentinel Program — a coalition of nations working with the U.S. to preserve maritime security in the Persian Gulf and keep eyes on Iran.

The U.S. is also sending several hundred troops as well as aircraft and air defense missiles to Iran’s rival, Saudi Arabia, as part of its increased military presence in the region. The move has been in the works for several weeks.

King Salman approved hosting U.S. armed forces in the kingdom “to increase joint cooperation in defense and regional security and stability,” a statement in the state-run Saudi Press Agency said.

https://www.apnews.com/6c36f5aa1ba942569e5efcfd48e33324
Everything, I mean EVERYTHING, is a BIG FUCKING MESS!!

Online knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 13009
    • View Profile
Sanders Campaign Battles With Staff Demanding $15 Hourly Pay
« Reply #13453 on: July 20, 2019, 06:08:14 AM »
Which Candidate Says Should Be Federal Minimum


Democratic presidential hopeful and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks on healthcare at George Washington University July 17, 2019 in Washington, DC. Sanders renewed his campaign promise from 2016 to provide a single payer system of healthcare for all Americans.


Campaign workers for Bernie Sanders have taken aim at one of the senator's key policies in his 2020 presidential run — raising the federal minimum wage.

According to The Washington Post, some members of Sanders' campaign team have been lobbying to raise their wages so that they make the $15 hourly rate that the Vermont senator has frequently called for both on the campaign trail and in Washington D.C.

The Post obtained a draft of a letter that the campaign's union planned to send to Sanders' campaign manager Faiz Shakir which read in part that workers "cannot be expected to build the largest grassroots organizing program in American history while making poverty wages. Given our campaign's commitment to fighting for a living wage of at least $15.00 an hour, we believe it is only fair that the campaign would carry through this commitment to its own field team."

The letter states that field organizers are working at least 60 hours a week, which lowers the average per hour pay to $13 an hour.

UPDATE (7/19 3:20 p.m.): The Sanders campaign said it will reduce staff hours to ensure everyone makes $15 an hour.

"Many field staffers are barely managing to survive financially, which is severely impacting our team's productivity and morale. Some field organizers have already left the campaign as a result," the letter said,

According to documents reviewed by the newspaper, the issues regarding wages extend back to May 2019, though talks between the campaign union and Shakir appear to be ongoing. It is unknown if Sanders is aware of the requests from campaign workers.

Sanders' campaign became the first to unionize, a move which was publicized in Mach 2019, just weeks after the senator announced his 2020 presidential run. Since then, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro have both unionized their campaign workers.

According to the agreement made between Sanders campaign and the union, which began on May 2, field workers were to be paid $36,000 annually rather than by hours worked. However, on May 17, the Post states that Shakir recommended that field organizer pay be raised to $42,000 during a staff meeting. In the same meeting, he also suggested that the work-week be extended to six days a week the union's letter said.

According to the Post, the union rejected Shakir's plan, in part because of the healthcare costs that would fall to the campaign workers to pay.

This month, workers used Slack — an instant messaging service utilized by many companies and organizations, including the Sanders' campaign — to express distress at not being paid a "living wage."

"I am struggling financially to do my job, and in my state, we've already had 4 people quit in the past 4 weeks because of financial struggles," one worker told Shakir via the service, according to the Post.

Another said he needed a raise, "because I need to be able to feed myself."

Shakir later responded to the messages, the Post said, telling workers they were owed an explanation about where things stood between the campaign and the union. He also expressed disappointment in the union voting against raising wages, saying, "I have no idea what debates and conversations were had, but candidly, it was a disappointing vote from my perspective. But the campaign leadership respected the union process and the will of the membership."

According to the Post, the union plans to send a new proposal to the Sanders campaign that includes a $46,800 salary for field organizers and $62,400 for regional field directors. Regional directors currently make $48,000 a year.

The proposal also asks for the campaign to pay 100 percent of healthcare costs for workers who make less than $36,000 a year, and to pay 85 percent for those who make over $36,000.

The news over the negotiations come after the House of Representatives passed a bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Following the vote, Sanders posted on Twitter to praise the House for passing the bill.

https://www.newsweek.com/sanders-campaign-battles-staff-demanding-15-hourly-pay-which-candidate-says-should-federal-1450103



Everything, I mean EVERYTHING, is a BIG FUCKING MESS!!

Online knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 13009
    • View Profile
DC to feel almost as hot as Death Valley on Saturday
« Reply #13454 on: July 20, 2019, 06:15:55 AM »
The northeastern United States will sizzle this week as summer heat builds to near-record levels in some places, with many metropolitan areas experiencing the hottest air temperatures of the summer so far as a heat wave envelopes a wide swath of the United States.

In the nation's capital, AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures on Saturday are forecast to reach 110 F, just 2 degrees shy of the RealFeel Temperature forecast for Death Valley, California, on the same day.

Washington, D.C., will also swelter with a forecast high of 100; however, the nation's capital likely won't break its daily and all-time high of 106 hit on July 20, 1930, about 12 years after the mercury hit 106 in 1918. However, this is forecast to be the first triple-digit heat to grip the nation's capital since the summer of 2016.

While actual temperatures will be higher in Death Valley, humidity levels will make it feel as hot or hotter than the Southwest in parts of the Central and Eastern states.

"The combination of sunshine, temperature, humidity levels and other factors will push RealFeel Temperatures well into the danger level past 105 degrees during the late morning and afternoon hours," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson cautioned.

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a heat emergency on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Philadelphia and New York City followed suit and declared emergencies due to the heat. According to a press release New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's office, approximately 500 cooling centers have been activated around the city.

“Extreme heat is dangerous, period,” de Blasio said in a statement. “I urge all New Yorkers to exercise caution this weekend as temperatures near 100." He added, "We are deploying all resources at our disposal to ensure New Yorkers remain safe and cool during extreme heat.”

Intense July sunshine combined with a northward retreat of the jet stream will allow an impressive heat wave to build even for midsummer standards for many locations across the Northeast.



"Actual temperatures in some of the major cities, such as Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City are likely to peak within a few degrees of the century mark at the peak of the heat wave this weekend," Anderson said.

At this level, temperatures will be 10-15 degrees above average even for the middle of the summer.

"Cooling demands will surge with the intense heat wave," according to AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.

Among the cities that could break or challenge records on Saturday is Manchester, New Hampshire, which is forecast to hit the century mark. The daily record high in Manchester for July 20 is 94 F set in 1949. Manchester's all-time record is 103, set on July 22, 2011.

As hot as it will be this weekend in the New York City area, the Big Apple's all-time high temperature record of 106, set on July 9, 1936, is not in danger of falling.

With a forecast high of 100, Philadelphia could break its daily record high of 99 on Saturday. The RealFeel Temperature will be sweltering as it climbs near 110. The City of Brotherly Love hasn't recorded triple-digit heat since July 2012.



Other spots on the East Coast that will feel the heat and challenge records on Saturday include Richmond, Virginia, which is forecast to hit 101. Its record high for the day is 103. Most places won't set all-time or monthly heat records.

While a weak sea breeze will keep the immediate beaches slightly cooler, temperatures are still likely to approach 90. However, the surf zone will provide some relief with ocean water temperatures ranging from the lower 60s in southern Maine to the lower 80s in southeastern Virginia. Water temperatures in Lake Erie are generally in the 70s, while waters in Lake Michigan range from the lower 60s to the lower 70s.

https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/hottest-weather-of-season-on-tap-for-northeast-as-record-challenging-heat-wave-builds/70008824
Everything, I mean EVERYTHING, is a BIG FUCKING MESS!!