AuthorTopic: Knarf's Knewz Channel  (Read 1678636 times)

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U.S. eases firearms export rules, officials say
« Reply #15075 on: January 17, 2020, 07:01:51 PM »
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. firearms makers will be able within days to export as much as 20% more guns, including assault rifles and ammunition, under rules the Trump administration announced on Friday.

The change, which had been contemplated for more than a decade, will officially move oversight of commercial firearm exports from the State Department to the Commerce Department, where export licenses will be much easier to obtain.

The move here by President Donald Trump's administration will generate business for gun makers such as American Outdoor Brands Corp (AOBC.O) and Sturm Ruger & Co (RGR.N), while increasing the sale of weapons abroad. Relaxing the rules could increase foreign gun sales by as much as 20%, the National Shooting Sports Foundation has estimated.

The Department of Commerce is “better oriented for the kinds of licensing requirements that we are going to be enforcing.” Rich Ashooh, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration told reporters in a conference call.

A draft of the rules was published on Friday, with publication in the Federal Register expected next week, said Clarke Cooper the State Department’s Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs.

“While we are providing industry a some regulatory relief and a cost savings, it does improve enforceability,” Cooper said.

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the administration “is choosing a path that puts the gun industry’s profits ahead of the safety of families.” The guns “are easily modified, diverted, and proliferated, and are the primary means of injury, death, and destruction in civil and military conflicts throughout the world.”

U.S. Representative Ted Lieu, a California Democrat, called the move “bad,” at Tuesday’s Forum on the Arms Trade Annual Conference, in comments that echoed arms control advocates. Under the change, Lieu said, more weapons will be sold overseas and “give Congress even less authority as a check and balance on those sales.”

Under the new rule, 3D printed guns will still be regulated. “This control will help ensure that U.S. national security and foreign policy interests are not undermined by foreign persons’ access to firearms production technology,” a version of the rule posted on the Federal Register said.

Reuters first reported on the Trump administration's interest in the oversight shift in 2017 here The action is part of a broader Trump administration overhaul of weapons export policy here.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-firearms-export/u-s-eases-firearms-export-rules-officials-say-idUSKBN1ZG26F?il=0&utm_source=reddit.com
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Bank of England to consider adopting cryptocurrency
« Reply #15076 on: January 23, 2020, 05:14:52 AM »
BoE one of central banks weighing potential benefits amid decline of cash and emergence of Facebook’s libra

The Bank of England will examine how Britain could adopt a bitcoin-style digital currency as part of a global group of central banks that have joined together to examine the possible pitfalls of relying on electronic money.

Bank officials will meet with the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank (ECB), the Sveriges Riksbank, the Bank of Canada, the Swiss National Bank and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) to pool research and experiences of the potential for a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

The BoE deputy governor Sir Jon Cunliffe will co-chair the group with Benoît Cœuré, a former ECB board member and head of the BIS innovation hub.

The move comes amid the emergence of private sector digital currencies, such as bitcoin and Facebook’s libra, which is due to be launched this year.

Facebook’s plans for its libra coin and a digital wallet have caught the attention of regulators and central banks worldwide, with Threadneedle Street being among those vowing tough new rules.

The BoE was among several central banks to warn that libra would need to be regulated, leading many supporters to end their relationship with the digital currency.

The idea of a central bank digital currency has been increasingly mooted worldwide to help improve payment systems and cross-border transactions.

The Bank said the new working group would look at “CBDC use cases; economic, functional and technical design choices, including cross-border interoperability; and the sharing of knowledge on emerging technologies”.

It will also work closely with other global forums and groups, such as the Financial Stability Board and the committee on payments and market infrastructures (CPMI), which is also chaired by Cunliffe.

Just last month, Sweden’s central bank said it would sign a deal with the consultancy firm Accenture to create a pilot platform for a digital currency, known as the e-krona.

The Riksbank has been exploring the idea of its own digital currency for some time, especially given the rapid decline in the use of cash in Sweden.

The European Central Bank has also been investigating the possible benefits of CBDC since last year.

Fran Boait, executive director of Positive Money, said policymakers had been slow to realise how much enthusiasm there was for digital money.

“They have been asleep at the wheel over the future of our money system being determined by a small number of banks, payment companies and now tech giants.

“The rapid decline of cash and threat of private digital currencies like Facebook’s libra have served as a much-needed wake-up call, but central bankers have a lot of catching up to do.

“Central banks need to accelerate plans for a central bank digital currency, which would both ensure that people have the choice of a safe public banking option and prevent our monetary system being completely surrendered to unaccountable private interests. This new group must serve as a vehicle for doing so.”

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/jan/21/bank-of-england-to-consider-adopting-cryptocurrency
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Get an economics degree Greta, then let's talk: U.S. Treasury chief
« Reply #15077 on: January 23, 2020, 05:17:26 AM »
DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - Just when the Swiss mountain spat between U.S. President Donald Trump and Greta Thunberg seemed to have blown over, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin took a new dig at the young climate activist on Thursday.

Asked during a news conference about Thunberg’s call to divest from fossil fuels, Mnuchin said: “Is she the chief economist? ... After she goes and studies economics in college, she can come back and explain that to us.”

Mnuchin’s quip came two days after Trump and Thunberg sparred indirectly at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos. After Trump said the U.S. had committed to joining the one trillion tree initiative, Thunberg retorted that fixing the climate crisis was not only about trees.

Before he left Davos, however, Trump seemed to extend an olive branch, saying he wished he had seen Thunberg speak.

Addressing the Trump administration’s stance on climate, Mnuchin said the U.S. position had been “misunderstood.”

“There is a real misinterpretation of the U.S. policy. Let me be very clear: President Trump absolutely believes in clean air and clean water and having a clean environment.”

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-davos-meeting-greta/get-an-economics-degree-greta-then-lets-talk-u-s-treasury-chief-idUSKBN1ZM0ZL?utm_source=reddit.com
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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China orders 'unprecedented' lockdown of two cities at virus epicenter
« Reply #15078 on: January 23, 2020, 05:23:50 AM »
BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Thursday locked down two cities at the epicenter of a coronavirus outbreak that has killed 17 people and infected nearly 600, as health authorities around the world took action to prevent a global pandemic.

Health officials fear the transmission rate will accelerate as hundreds of millions of Chinese travel at home and abroad during week-long holidays for the Lunar New Year, which begins on Saturday.

The previously unknown virus strain is believed to have emerged late last year from illegally traded wildlife at an animal market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

Most transport in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, was suspended on Thursday morning and people were told not to leave. Hours later, neighboring Huanggang, a city of about 7 million people, announced a similar lockdown.

“The lockdown of 11 million people is unprecedented in public health history, so it is certainly not a recommendation the WHO has made,” Gauden Galea, the World Health Organization’s representative in Beijing, told Reuters.

Other cities were also taking steps to restrict movement and contact. Nearby Ezhou shut its train stations. The capital Beijing canceled major public events, including two well-known Lunar New Year temple fairs, the state-run Beijing News said.

Airports worldwide were screening passengers arriving from China.

There is no vaccine for the virus, which can spread through respiratory transmission. Symptoms include fever, difficulty in breathing and cough, similar to many other respiratory illnesses.

Preliminary research suggested it was passed on to humans from snakes, but government medical adviser Zhong Nanshan has also identified badgers and rats as possible sources.
WHO MEETING

The WHO has said it will decide on Thursday whether to declare the outbreak a global health emergency, which would step up the international response.

If it does so, it will be the sixth international public health emergency to be declared in the last decade. A WHO news conference is expected some time after 1800 GMT.

Chinese authorities gave no new details on the numbers of virus infections but it has been reported in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Of eight known cases worldwide, Thailand has confirmed four, while Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States have reported one each.

Authorities had confirmed 571 cases and 17 deaths by the end of Wednesday, China’s National Health Commission said. Earlier, it said another 393 suspected cases had been reported.

In a report on Wednesday, Imperial College London said it estimated a total of 4,000 cases of the coronavirus in Wuhan alone as of Jan. 18, an infection rate based on the number of cases reported in China and elsewhere.

Wuhan shut down all urban transport networks and suspended outgoing flights from 10 a.m. (0200 GMT). Domestic media said some airlines were operating after the deadline, however.

Wuhan’s Hankou rail station was nearly deserted, with gates blocked, state broadcasts showed. The government urged citizens not to leave the city.

State media reported highway toll booths around Wuhan were closing down, which would effectively cut off road exits. Guards were patrolling highways, one resident told Reuters.

As the city slipped into isolation, residents thronged into hospitals for checks and scrambled for supplies, clearing out supermarket shelves and queuing for petrol.

Authorities in Huanggang ordered indoor entertainment venues including cinemas and internet cafes to close.
FACE MASKS

In contrast with its secrecy over the 2002-03 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that killed nearly 800 people, China’s Communist Party government has provided regular updates to avoid panic ahead of the holidays.

During a visit to Wuhan, Vice Premier Sun Chunlan said authorities needed to be open about the virus and efforts to contain it, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Some experts believe the new virus is not as dangerous as previous coronaviruses such as SARS and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which has killed more than 700 people since 2012.

“The early evidence at this stage would suggest it’s not as severe,” Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy told reporters.

Despite China’s response, world shares fell on Thursday, led by the biggest tumble in Chinese stocks in more than eight months, as concern mounted about the outbreak. China’s yuan fell to a two-week low. [MKTS/GLOB]

The economic impact of such outbreaks are hard to quantify but a 2006 estimate by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) calculated that SARS shaved just over 1 percentage point off the GDP of China in 2003.

InterContinental Hotels and Hyatt are allowing guests to change or cancel stays at most Chinese hotels.

Many Chinese were cancelling trips, buying face masks and avoiding shopping centers.

The release of seven movies over the Lunar New Year has been postponed. The holiday is the high season for distributors and cinemas attract huge crowds.

Airports globally, including in Britain, stepped up screening of passengers from China and the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said the further global spread of the virus was likely.

“All the fatalities have so far been contained to mainland China, however, this is a rapidly developing situation and the number of deaths and the number of cases is likely to be higher than those that have been confirmed so far and I expect them to rise further,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the British parliament.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-health/china-orders-unprecedented-lockdown-of-two-cities-at-virus-epicenter-idUSKBN1ZM087?utm_source=reddit.com
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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‘Marry-your-rapist’ bill to be introduced by lawmakers in Turkey
« Reply #15079 on: January 23, 2020, 05:29:41 AM »
Critics argue legislation legitimises child marriage and statutory rape


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‘Marry-your-rapist’ bill to be introduced by lawmakers in Turkey

Critics argue legislation legitimises child marriage and statutory rape

    Maya Oppenheim
    Women's Correspondent @mayaoppenheim
    16 hours ago
    47 comments

A law which would allow men accused of having sex with girls who are under 18 to avoid punishment if they marry their victims is set to be introduced to parliament in Turkey.

The controversial so-called “marry-your-rapist” bill, which lawmakers are planning to introduce to Turkish parliament at the end of January, has sparked fury among women’s rights campaigners in the country.

Critics argue the legislation, which the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is urging the government to axe, not only legitimises child marriage and statutory rape but also paves the way for child abuse and sexual exploitation.

A similar bill was defeated in Turkey in 2016 after national and global outrage. The legislation would have only pardoned men if they had sex without “force or threat”.

United Nations agencies warned the bill would generate a landscape of impunity for child abuse and leave victims vulnerable to experiencing additional mistreatment and distress from their assailants.

“Marry-your-rapist” bills have been seen across the world and are pushed in the name of protecting and safeguarding family “honour”.

Suad Abu-Dayyeh, a campaigner who specialises in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan for Equality Now, a non government organisation which aims to promote the rights of women and girls, said it was "shocking" politicians are trying to pass a bill that "provides impunity for perpetrators of child sexual exploitation".

She told The Independent: "I applaud the brave work of women’s rights campaigners in Turkey who are taking a stand against this discriminatory bill and pushing back again regressive forces that are seeking to remove current legal protections for girls. Similar 'marry-your-rapist' legal provisions have been on the statute books of countries across the Middle East and North Africa.

"Thanks to years of campaigning by women’s rights activists and lawmakers, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, and Palestine have all removed these loopholes in recent years. Rather than attempting to introduce legislation that harms women's rights and protections, Turkish lawmakers should take heed of these advances in repealing gender discriminatory laws.”   

While the legal age of consent is 18 in Turkey, a 2018 government report on child marriage estimates a total of 482,908 girls were married in the last decade.

Violence against women and girls is prevalent in Turkey – with 38 per cent of Turkish women having suffered physical or sexual violence from a partner according to the United Nations.

A campaign group called We Will Stop Femicide estimates some 409 women were murdered by a partner or a family member in the country in 2017 – a stark rise from the total of 237 four years beforehand.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said equality between men and women is “against nature” at a summit in Istanbul back in 2014.

The world leader said: “You cannot put women and men on an equal footing. It is against nature.”

He urged women to have at least three children and argued a woman’s life was “incomplete” if she did not reproduce back in 2016.

“A woman who says ‘because I am working I will not be a mother’ is actually denying her feminity,” he said. “A women who rejects motherhood, who refrains from being around the house, however successful her working life is, is deficient, is incomplete”.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/turkey-marry-rapist-bill-child-marriage-a9296681.html?utm_source=reddit.com
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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People still want plastic bottles, says Coca-Cola
« Reply #15080 on: January 23, 2020, 05:37:00 AM »
Coca-Cola will not ditch single-use plastic bottles because consumers still want them, the firm's head of sustainability has told the BBC.

Customers like them because they reseal and are lightweight, said Bea Perez.

The firm, which is one of the biggest producers of plastic waste, has pledged to recycle as many plastic bottles as it uses by 2030.

But environmental campaigners argue many Coke bottles would still go uncollected and end up in landfill.

The drinks giant produces about three million tonnes of plastic packaging a year - equivalent to 200,000 bottles a minute.

In 2019, it was found to be the most polluting brand in a global audit of plastic waste by the charity Break Free from Plastic.

But speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Ms Perez said the firm recognised it now had to be "part of the solution".
'Accommodate consumers'

Coke has pledged to use at least 50% recycled material in its packaging by 2030. It is also partnering with NGOs around the world to help improve collection.

However, Ms Perez said the firm could not ditch plastic outright, as some campaigners wanted, saying this could alienate customers and hit sales.

She also said using only aluminium and glass packaging could push up the firm's carbon footprint.

"Business won't be in business if we don't accommodate consumers," she said.

"So as we change our bottling infrastructure, move into recycling and innovate, we also have to show the consumer what the opportunities are. They will change with us."

Ms Perez said she respected the idealism of youth activists, such as 19-year-old campaigner Melati Wijsen, who with her sister Isabel, convinced the island of Bali to ban single-use plastic bags, straws and styrofoam last year.

Such plastics were clogging up the seas around Bali, harming marine life.

Ms Perez also said she agreed with calls for Coca Cola to reach its environmental goals sooner than 2030 - although she would not say whether she would step down if the plans failed.

"We have to reach this goal and we will - there's no question."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-51197463
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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‘Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine’: When Russian disinformation met a Trump obsession
« Reply #15081 on: January 23, 2020, 05:44:15 AM »
The Kremlin may have been laying the groundwork for blaming Ukraine for 2016 as early as 2015.

Three weeks after Election Day 2016, the Kremlin officially floated a theory that would ultimately lead to only the third presidential impeachment in U.S. history.

“Ukraine seriously complicated the work of Trump’s election by planting information” aimed at damaging his campaign chairman Paul Manafort, a spokeswoman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry told reporters on Nov. 30, 2016, accusing the Ukrainian government of scheming to help elect Hillary Clinton.

President-elect Donald Trump by this time was busy staffing up his incoming administration, and some of his top advisers, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner and incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn, were making overtures to Russia’s ambassador in the hopes of establishing a diplomatic backchannel to Moscow.

But as Trump himself would later complain, spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted in her Nov. 30 briefing that a smattering of Ukrainian officials had criticized him during the campaign.

“You probably remember that Ukrainian officials and diplomatic representatives abroad did not express their views or political assessments but openly insulted the person whom the American people elected their president. You may remember that they later tried to delete these statements from their social networks accounts and their sites, saying that they had been wrong and had rushed to conclusions,” she said.

    But that effort to shift blame may have started months earlier.

Zakharova’s claims seemed easy enough to shrug off at the time. It was not surprising that the Kremlin, highly skilled in the dark arts of dezinformatsiya, would try to shift blame to its adversaries in Kyiv.

But that effort to shift blame may have started months earlier. A review of Russian state media reports from the time and interviews with a dozen current and former officials and experts in Kyiv and Washington paint a more sinister picture: that Zakharova’s seemingly throwaway accusation was actually the culmination of a year-long effort to frame Ukraine for a Russian attack, ultimately leading to parallel efforts by Moscow and President Donald Trump to try to game the 2020 election by seeking dirt on former vice president Joe Biden.

Trump’s quest to absolve himself of the accusation that he cheated to win in 2016 would ironically culminate in his impeachment for what Democrats say are his attempts to cheat to win in 2020. As the Senate deliberates the president’s fate, Democrats see an “ongoing pattern of misconduct” that shows he is “an immediate threat to the nation and the rule of law.”

Cindy Otis, a former political and military analyst at the CIA who now leads the disinformation analysis program at Nisos, a cyber security firm, says that Moscow may even have planted the seeds even earlier than Zakharova’s news conference.

“There’s been an evolution of the main narrative” tying Ukraine to the 2016 election, Otis said. She pointed to a March 2015 article in the Kremlin-funded outlet Russia Today that tried to connect former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the future Democratic presidential nominee, to the popular uprising against the pro-Russian Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych in 2013.

“The Russian narrative in 2015-2016 was that Clinton interfered in Ukraine, and that her campaign was being directed or driven by Ukrainian oligarchs,” Otis said.

As is typical of Russia’s disinformation operations, it hinged on a kernel of truth—the reports cited donations her charity had received from Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk beginning in 2008, which were initially reported by the Wall Street Journal.

“They really seized on that Wall Street Journal article,” Otis said, pointing to a chart included in the article listing “Ukraine” as the Clinton Foundation’s top donor that was widely shared by suspected Russian trolls and the far-right on social media.

But it wasn’t just isolated accounts accusing Ukraine of manipulating the 2016 election; lawmakers say they’ve seen signs of an organized, top-down effort directed by the Kremlin to create a false narrative and exonerate Russia.

“Trying to blame Ukraine for the interference is not inconsistent with Russian disinformation active measures,” said Sen. Angus King, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee who aligns with Democrats, said in an interview last month. “This is consistent with the Russian playbook.”

    The theory that Ukraine was responsible for the DNC hack was first floated by Trump’s own campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

That initial disinformation effort failed to catch fire, but it solidified a Clinton-Ukraine connection among some on the political fringes—the RT story was posted dozens of times in far-right, pro-Trump, and pro-Bernie Sanders Facebook groups between 2015 and 2019—and set the stage for another Russia-promoted conspiracy theory that continues to be amplified by Trump: that the Ukrainians hacked the Democratic National Committee with the help of a cybersecurity firm, CrowdStrike, and framed Russia.

The theory that Ukraine was responsible for the DNC hack was first floated by Trump’s own campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, recently released documents from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation show.

According to Trump’s deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates, the idea was seeded by Manafort’s business partner in Ukraine, a dual Russian-Ukrainian citizen named Konstantin Kilimnik who U.S. officials have linked to Russian intelligence. Manafort had worked with Kilimnik for years in Ukraine to prop up the country’s pro-Russia politicians, including the ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

“Gates recalled Manafort saying the hack was likely carried out by the Ukrainians, not the Russians, which parroted a narrative Kilimnik often supported,” reads a memo summarizing an April 2018 FBI interview with Gates, who cooperated with federal prosecutors and testified against Manafort in exchange for a more lenient sentence.

It’s not clear whether Trump was aware of Manafort’s alleged claims. During the campaign, the candidate largely cast doubt on Moscow’s meddling, the full extent of which was not yet known.

“I don't think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC,” Trump said at the first presidential debate on Sept. 26, 2016. “I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK? You don’t know who broke into DNC.”

In January 2017, however, when POLITICO published a story titled “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire,” some of Trump’s allies seized on elements of the reporting— sporadic criticism of the Republican candidate by Ukrainian officials and meetings with a DNC consultant—while ignoring the caveat that the investigation found “little evidence of such a top-down effort by Ukraine.”

Once he was sworn in, Trump had unfettered access to the unclassified intelligence that informed the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia hacked the DNC and interfered to help him win. But he still refused to believe it, preferring the unsubstantiated rumors about Ukraine’s attempts to sabotage his candidacy.

“He would almost never not bring it up,” one former White House official said of Trump’s fixation with the Ukraine conspiracy theory. “And that certainly continued the whole time I was there. It was Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine. You just couldn’t make him understand that’s not how it turned out.”

Suspicion of Ukraine already ran deep among some of Trump’s top advisers, according to another former White House official. “Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller had an enormous amount of distrust and suspicion toward Ukraine,” the former official said, and thought the Ukrainians were trying to get the U.S. to be more adversarial toward Russia.

“I thought it was odd, because it seemed obvious that Ukraine was someone we needed to be closely allied with,” this former official said.

    The origins of Giuliani’s private investigation are murky.

Early on in his presidency, Trump went as far as to ask the Justice Department, then helmed by Jeff Sessions, to investigate the issue of Ukrainian interference on several occasions, the formal official said. But DOJ would always decline, this person added, “because their sense was that Mueller was going to do it for them.” A DOJ spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

It would fall to Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to seek evidence implicating Ukraine in 2016 election meddling—a quixotic mission fueled by his client’s insistence on complete exoneration as his own administration deepened its probe into Russia’s very real involvement.

The origins of Giuliani’s private investigation are murky. David Ignatius, the Washington Post columnist, has pointed to June 2017 as the date when the former New York mayor traveled to Kyiv to meet with then-president Petro Poroshenko, who was scrambling to establish ties to the new U.S. president. There, Giuliani also met with Yuriy Lutsenko, the prosecutor who would later level various unsubstantiated corruption allegations against the Bidens.

For his part, Giuliani has described his efforts as an attempt to prove that Democrats “framed” Trump with the help of Poroshenko’s government, which both deny. “The collusion that they claim happened in Russia happened in the Ukraine with Hillary Clinton,” Giuliani has said.

It was clear to many government officials early on, however, that the theory was rooted in Russian disinformation and could even be part of an intelligence operation, said another person close to the White House. And intelligence officials have since briefed lawmakers on their belief that the theory is Russian propaganda, according to a person familiar with the briefings.

But Trump’s advisers soon gave up on trying to convince him of Russia’s role, said the first former official.

“Anything he associated with the intel community, he rejected pretty much out of hand because his sense was that the ‘Deep State’ had decided in some star chamber or secret meeting that they would feed intelligence to him that would cause him to make mistakes, and disprove a lot of his theories about what happened in the election,” the person said.

By March 2019, Trump was tweeting out headlines like “As Russia Collusion fades, Ukrainian plot to help Clinton emerges." Privately, he railed about Ukraine to U.S. diplomats, who were trying to arrange a meeting with Volodymyr Zelensky, the country's new president. "They tried to take me down," he said at one point.

Trump evidently never let it go: In the infamous phone call with Zelensky last July that became central to his impeachment, the president asked Zelensky to work with Attorney General Bill Barr to “get to the bottom” of Ukraine’s supposed interference in 2016. (When the record of the call went public, the Justice Department swiftly denied any involvement on Barr’s part.)

The January 2017 POLITICO article has been cited repeatedly by GOP lawmakers throughout the impeachment inquiry as evidence that Kyiv meddled in 2016 using DNC consultant Alexandra Chalupa as an intermediary—much to the chagrin of Fiona Hill, a Russia expert who served on Trump’s National Security Council until July 2019.

    Hill accused Republican lawmakers citing the story of emboldening Moscow by pushing a “fictional narrative.”

In her public impeachment hearing last November, Hill accused Republican lawmakers citing the story of emboldening Moscow by pushing a “fictional narrative” that Ukraine interfered in 2016, though she acknowledged that certain Ukrainian officials were critical of Trump during the campaign.

“In the course of this investigation, I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests,” Hill said.

Daria Kaleniuk, executive director of the Ukraine Anti-Corruption Action Center (AntAC), said that Giuliani’s claims about the Bidens were part of a larger disinformation campaign “that was orchestrated years in advance.”

“It has been clear from Day 1 that the target audience of this campaign is not Ukraine — it’s America,” said Kaleniuk. “The goal has been to turn the U.S. establishment against us, making them believe that we are bad. Corrupt people are presented as heroes. And the ultimate winner is Russia.”

If so, the strategy has worked better than the Kremlin could possibly have imagined, with Americans sharply polarized over impeachment and aid to Ukraine now a partisan issue in U.S. politics.

In that post-election news conference in 2016, Zakharova, the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said something that sounds eerily prophetic in hindsight.

“The Ukrainian authorities’ attempt to play the victim is an old trick,” she said, “which usually brings good dividends.”

https://www.politico.eu/article/trump-ukraine-joe-biden-russian-disinformation-election-tampering/
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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"The security of civil society should not be entrusted to private equity."


Leaders of top NGOs are protesting the pending sale of the registry that operates the .org domain to a private equity firm.

The executive directors of 11 major international nongovernmental organizations on Wednesday added their voices to a swelling chorus opposed to the pending sale of the nonprofit registry that operates the .org top-level domain to a recently established private equity firm.

The NGO leaders came together at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland to unveil a letter (pdf) they sent Tuesday to Andrew Sullivan, president and CEO of the Internet Society (ISOC), and Göran Marby, president and CEO of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

ISOC established the Public Interest Registry (PIR), which operates the .org domain and could soon be sold to the private equity firm Ethos Capital. The $1.135 billion deal, announced in November 2019, must be approved by ICANN. Last week, amid growing public outrage, ICANN and PIR extended the review period until Feb. 17.

Critics of the sale include NGOs, tech leaders, U.S. lawmakers, U.N. special rapporteurs, and more than 21,000 people worldwide who have signed the "SaveDotOrg" petition. They have expressed concerns that Ethos' possible takeover of .org—which was created to serve nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations but is an open domain—could increase costs, create service problems, and lead to censorship by powerful corporate interests.

The new letter was signed by heads of Greenpeace International, Access Now, Human Rights Watch, the ACLU, the International Trade Union Confederation, Sierra Club, Amnesty International, Consumer Reports, 350.org, Color of Change, and Transparency International.

"Free expression around the world is increasingly endangered by government and corporate players, which is why we are joining other civil society organizations in making public our concerns over the .org sale," the ACLU's Anthony D. Romero said in a statement. "The internet is crucial to the integrity of civil liberties and human rights work, and also the safety of those doing it. The security of civil society should not be entrusted to private equity."

Brett Solomon of Access Now warned that "if .org is transferred to the private sector, it would inevitably make its way into the hands of those who stand to gain from its control and are willing the pay the price to have it—that could be, for example, the Saudi or Chinese government, or surveillance tech investors like Novalpina Capital."

"Certain public goods should never be for sale," according to Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch. As he put it: "We don't auction off the town square. Similarly, ICANN shouldn't approve the sale of .org, which is the essential haven where civic groups gather the world over."

NGO leaders emphasized in the letter that their groups "depend on stable and affordable .org domains" because ".org is the place where civil society and NGOs reside in the digital environment," and called on the heads of ISOC and ICANN to "stop this sale."

The letter explained:

    Both the physical and virtual world have become increasingly inhospitable and risky for civil society organizations who face constant surveillance, online censorship, and even more physical risks and legal restrictions on their operations and personnel. This proposed sale presents an additional danger to civil society and undermines the safety and stability of the digital space for countless nongovernmental organizations, their partners, and their broader communities.

    [...]

    We believe the ownership and management of .org is a significant human rights and social justice issue because this unique address is a critical channel for civil society to seek and receive information about human rights and other environmental and social justice issues, and to hold institutions accountable. The sale of .org could have generational impacts, should the governance and stewardship of .org end up under the control of private or other actors that could lead to financial or other barriers that would irreparably harm global civil society.

In addition to preventing the sale, the letter urged ISOC and ICANN leadership to "facilitate an open and transparent review of the circumstances that led to this proposal" and "adopt and implement safeguards to ensure that should there be any change in the ownership of .org in the future, that it not lead to increased barriers to entry online or instability for nonprofit civil society organizations."

Echoing those demands Wednesday, Patricia Moreira of Transparency International encouraged "those involved in this potential transaction to handle it in the open with maximum transparency and integrity."

The leaders of PIR, ISOC, and Ethos have all presented the potential sale in positive terms. BuzzFeed, which obtained and reported on the letter late Tuesday, published a lengthy response from the private equity firm which said that "Ethos, PIR, and the Internet Society stand firmly behind the merits of this transaction" and reiterated its claims that "this transaction serves the public interest in several important ways."

Ethos added that "prices will stay low," pointing to its previous promise that "any annual price increase could be no more than 10% on average," honoring a longtime cap that ICANN scrapped last year despite widespread opposition. However, as Domain Name Wire pointed out Monday, "PIR rarely increased prices, let alone by 10%," and "had PIR increased its prices by 10% a year starting in 2007, wholesale .org prices would currently be $20.71, more than twice the current cost."

Despite reassurances from those pushing for the deal that the Ethos takeover would benefit .org owners, critics continue to organize in opposition to it. David Dayen, executive editor of The American Prospect—which has a .org domain and signed the "SaveDotOrg" petition—wrote Wednesday that "if the country has an interest in a vibrant internet, especially for nonprofits operating as a public service, registries should be public and impervious to this kind of capture. Even the threat of a .org takeover should never have occurred."

As Dayen highlighted, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network, Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, and other nonprofits are planning a Friday morning rally outside ICANN's offices in Los Angeles to protest the sale. At the event, organizers plan to deliver the "SaveDotOrg" petition, which declares that ".org must be managed by a leader that puts the needs of NGOs over profits."

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/01/22/stop-sale-11-ngo-leaders-davos-warn-against-pending-private-equity-takeover-org
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UK: Boris Johnson's deal 'crosses the Brexit finish line'
« Reply #15083 on: January 23, 2020, 06:00:57 AM »
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said "we have done it" after his Brexit bill was ratified by UK lawmakers. Five amendments were rejected, including provisions to reunite child refugees with families already in the UK.

The UK moved a step closer to its January 31 exit date from the European Union on Wednesday when the final Brexit legislation was ratified by the Houses of Parliament.

The bill will officially become law when it receives Royal Assent from Queen Elizabeth II, which could happen as early as Thursday.

"At times it felt like we would never cross the Brexit finish line, but we've done it," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement.

Earlier on Wednesday, the lower house of parliament, the House of Commons overturned changes the upper house, the House of Lords, had made to the legislation, including a clause to ensure protections for child refugees after Brexit.

Read more: Will Boris Johnson 'get Brexit done' in 2020?

The Lords could have sought to reinstate the changes, but decided not to, allowing the legislation to clear its final parliamentary hurdle in the UK. There will be a consent vote in the EU parliament on January 29.

MPs vote against refugee children being reunited with families

The House of Commons effectively stripped the Withdrawal Agreement Bill — which dictates the terms of the UK's exit from the EU — of five amendments.

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said the reunification of refugee children in EU member states with family members already in the UK was "ultimately a matter which must be negotiated with the EU, and the government is committed to seeking the best possible outcome in those negotiations."

Another amendment included registering the 3.6 million EU citizens living in the UK, which would have provided documents to ensure continuity of their residence in the country. However, that amendment was removed from the bill.

Broken promises?

In 2018, then-Prime Minister Theresa May pledged that, even in the event of Brexit, London would allow unaccompanied refugee children to be reunited with their parents in the UK.

The latest developments in the House of Commons have triggered anger from opposition lawmakers, with some accusing the ruling Conservatives of going back on their promises.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Conservative government are planning to "betray the commitments that have been made to the most vulnerable children of all," said Labour lawmaker Yvette Cooper.

https://www.dw.com/en/uk-boris-johnsons-deal-crosses-the-brexit-finish-line/a-52115965?maca=en-Twitter-sharing
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Economy failing on climate and equality: NGOs
« Reply #15084 on: January 23, 2020, 06:10:10 AM »
Paris (AFP)

The world economy is a direct cause of social breakdown and a key driver of climate change, a green coalition said Thursday launching the first assessment of how governments are regearing their economies towards sustainable growth.

The Green Economy Tracker assessed how countries are performing in five key policy areas, including tackling inequality and prioritising nature in the face of the systemic risk posed by warming temperatures and rising seas.

"Our global economy is not fit for purpose," said Oliver Greenfield from the Green Economy Coalition, speaking on the occasion of the initiative's launch in Davos.

"Inequality, poverty, climate change and biodiversity loss are not just connected. They arise from the same cause: how economies are organised, ruled and managed."

The global business elite are gathered in the Swiss alpine resort for the 50th edition of the World Economic Forum, and discussions so far have focused on the climate.

In its annual Global Risks Report surveying the main preoccupations of business leaders on the eve of Davos, the WEF said the top five global risks to the economy were all environmental.

Oxfam on Monday highlighted the growing gulf in wealth, saying that the number of billionaires had doubled globally and were now richer than 60 percent of the global population combined.

The GEC said governments needed to realise that climate and the economy were intricately linked, and that action to shore up one would have tangible benefits on the other.

"Within a generation we need to move to a green and fair economy that respect's natures limits and prioritises wellbeing," said Greenfield.

The tracker put Sweden at the top of countries surveyed for its national green economy plans, with France coming second.

But it highlighted that "few countries" had yet taken steps to ensure a fair transition away from fossil fuels for millions of workers whose jobs may be affected.

"People must see their lives improve -- so a just transition is not just an aspiration," said Guy Ryder, general secretary of the International Labour Organization.

"It is a prerequisite to ensure societal and worker support and therefore success."

https://www.france24.com/en/20200123-economy-failing-on-climate-and-equality-ngos
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Climate activist Greta Thunberg hit back at Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for saying she should not call for countries to divest from fossil fuels until she “goes and studies economics in college.”

“My gap year ends in August, but it doesn’t take a college degree in economics to realise that our remaining 1,5° carbon budget and ongoing fossil fuel subsidies and investments don’t add up,” Thunberg tweeted, including a video of a chart illustrating the rise in carbon emissions.

“So either you tell us how to achieve this mitigation or explain to future generations and those already affected by the climate emergency why we should abandon our climate commitments,” she added.

Mnuchin made the comment on Thursday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, saying in a press conference “is she the chief economist? Who is she, I’m confused."

“After she goes and studies economics in college she can come back and explain that to us,” he added.

Thunberg, while participating in a climate forum in Davos on Tuesday, said world leaders’ inaction on climate issues is “fueling the flames” of climate change.

“You might think we’re naive but if you won’t do it, you must explain to your children why you’ve given up on the Paris agreement goals and knowingly created a climate crisis,” she said.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) also defended Thunberg, tweeting "If you don’t have an economics degree like Greta, they’ll mock you for not having one. If you DO have one, as I do, they’ll claim it’s illegitimate." The two met in a video conversation last summer.

https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/479588-greta-thunberg-hits-back-at-mnuchin-doesnt-take-a-degree-to-know
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In a wide-ranging speech to the General Assembly, the UN chief outlined strategies to address what he called the “four horsemen in our midst”, and he urged countries to take advantage of the UN’s 75th anniversary year to secure a peaceful future for all people.

“These four horsemen…can jeopardize every aspect of our shared future”, Mr. Guterres warned.

“That is why commemorating the 75th anniversary with nice speeches won’t do.  We must address these four 21st-century challenges with four 21st-century solutions.”

Global tensions mounting
For the Secretary-General, global tensions are at their highest level in years, making the risk of fracture real.

Although developments such as the formation of the Constitutional Committee in Syria and the recent Berlin conference on Libya are signs of hope, he stressed that “we have our work cut out for us”.

Mr. Guterres underlined the central role of prevention in UN engagement in the peace and security dimension, and emphasized the need to focus on the root causes of crisis and upheaval.

“We must strengthen our mediation capacity and our tools for sustaining peace, leading to long-term development”, he added.

“We need to create the conditions for effective peace enforcement and counter-terrorism operations by our regional partners, under chapter VII of the Charter and with predictable funding. This is especially true in Africa, from the Sahel to Lake Chad.”

Our planet is burning
On climate change, the science is clear, Mr. Guterres stated. 

“Rising temperatures continue to melt records.  The past decade was the hottest on record.  Scientists tell us that ocean temperatures are now rising at the equivalent of five Hiroshima bombs a second.  One million species are in near-term danger of extinction. Our planet is burning”, he told ambassadors.

Yet, in the midst of the crisis, some leaders “continue to fiddle”, he said, as evidenced by the outcome of the last UN climate conference, known as COP25, held in Madrid in December.

But the Secretary-General is adamant that the climate battle can be won as people everywhere “get it”, while the overwhelming majority of scientists are clear there is still time to act.

“At the next climate conference - COP26 in Glasgow - governments must deliver the transformational change our world needs and that people demand, with much stronger ambition – ambition on mitigation, ambition on adaptation, and ambition on finance,” he stated.

A call for fair globalization
The third horseman—deep and growing global mistrust—can be defeated through fair globalization, boosting economic growth and preventing conflict.

Back in 2015, world leaders adopted an agenda to bring about a more just and fair planet for all.  This year, the UN has launched a Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the 2030 deadline.

“Throughout the Decade of Action, we must invest in the eradication of poverty, in social protection, in health and fighting pandemics, in education, energy, water and sanitation, in sustainable transport and infrastructure and in internet access”, said the Secretary-General.

“We must improve governance, tackle illicit financial flows, stamp out corruption and develop effective, common sense and fair taxation systems. We must build economies for the future and ensure decent work for all, especially young people. And we must put a special focus on women and girls because it benefits us all.”

The Secretary-General also encouraged leaders to work to rebuild trust, including through listening to their citizens and harnessing ideas for change and other constructive solutions put forward by youth.

Taming the ‘Wild West of cyberspace’

Bringing light to the dark side of the digital world will require action on several fronts, including in the labour market as automation will displace tens of millions of jobs in the next decade.

The UN chief recommended that education systems be redesigned to address this reality by teaching people how to learn across the course of their entire lives.

“We also must usher in order to the Wild West of cyberspace,” he said.

“Terrorists, white supremacists and others who sow hate are exploiting the internet and social media. Bots are spreading disinformation, fueling polarization and undermining democracies. Next year, cybercrime will cost $6 trillion.”

Mr. Guterres highlighted the UN as the platform to bring together governments, the private sector, civil society and others to counter what he called “digital fragmentation” through global cooperation.

The “alarming possibilities” of artificial intelligence also must be addressed, and he appealed to countries to immediately ban lethal autonomous weapons, also known as killer robots.

“Lethal autonomous weapons - machines with the power to kill on their own, without human judgement and accountability - are bringing us into unacceptable moral and political territory”, he warned.

https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/01/1055791
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US general says troop surge in Middle East may not end soon
« Reply #15087 on: January 23, 2020, 06:05:05 PM »
ABOARD THE USS BATAAN (AP) — Over the past eight months, the United States has poured more than 20,000 additional troops into the Middle East to counter the escalating threat from Iran that peaked with the recent missile attack on American forces in Iraq.

Despite President Donald Trump’s pledge to bring troops home, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East on Thursday said the most recent forces to enter the region could be there for “quite a while.”

“You’re here because I requested that you come,” Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie told sailors and Marines aboard the USS Bataan amphibious assault ship, his voice booming over the ship’s loudspeaker. “I’m not sure how long you’re going to stay in the theater. We’ll work that out as we go ahead. Could be quite a while, could be less than that, just don’t know right now.”

The Bataan and two other U.S. warships moved into the Middle East on Jan. 11. By Thursday, they were in the north Red Sea, roughly 50 miles south of the Sinai Peninsula. They are the latest additions to America’s troop presence in the region. Since May, their numbers have grown from about 60,000 to more than 80,000.

Those increased deployments came despite two significant hurdles: Trump’s persistent pledge to end the wars and bring troops home, and U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s insistence that U.S. forces be shifted to the Asia-Pacific as a bulwark against threats from China.

In making its case for troops in the Middle East, the U.S. military points to Iran’s Jan. 8 launch of as many as two dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases where U.S. troops were stationed. The attack was in retaliation for a U.S. drone strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s top general.

“Iran continues to pose a very real threat,” McKenzie told reporters traveling with him to the Bataan. “I do believe that they are deterred right now, at least from state-on-state actions by our response. And so I think that while that threat remains, I think we’re in a period where they’re certainly not seeking to escalate anything.”

He added, however, that Iranian proxy forces, who may strike with or without direction from Iranian leaders, still present a threat. He noted that Iranian attacks against Saudi Arabia last fall came as a surprise.

“Iran is very hard to read,” McKenzie said. “So I would say the fact that things are quiet for a while does not mean that necessarily things are getting better.”

To help deter additional Iranian attacks, McKenzie asked to have the USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, which includes two other ships and a Marine Expeditionary Unit, divert from their original mission in Europe and go through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea. There are about 2,500 Marines and 1,500 sailors on the three ships.

That decision is the latest move since May to bolster the American presence in the region, including the deployment of the 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne division, to Kuwait and Iraq after the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad was attacked. The U.S. also moved an aircraft carrier into the region last year. It has left and was replaced the USS Harry S. Truman. The Pentagon has sent additional fighter jets, bomber aircraft, and Patriot missile batteries to Middle East to provide additional security for U.S. troops and allies and as a show of force to deter attacks by Iran.

Those moves have increased the U.S. troop strength in the region to more than 83,000, based on numbers from several U.S. officials and other government agencies that track military movements.

Asked about the increase, McKenzie said he understands the demand for troops in other parts of the world, and he has had discussions with Esper about the level of risk in the Middle East.

Esper, who has approved the moves, is looking closely at worldwide deployments in a broader effort to meet the needs of the national defense strategy that identified China and Russia as the key future threats. Even as McKenzie was traveling to the Bataan, Esper was in Florida telling reporters that Russia and China are “mission number one.”

“There’s only a finite number of dollars, a finite number of troops, so I’ve got to figure out, where is the best place to put them? I’ve articulated in the past that I want to either return forces to the States to improve their readiness, or redeploy others” to the IndoPacific, Esper said.

Trump has argued that the U.S. must get out of the “endless wars” in the Middle East. But he has also singled out Iran as a malign influence in the region, and after the Iranian missile strikes, was quick to threaten revenge.

After hundreds of Iranian-supported militiamen breached the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad in early January, Trump tweeted, “They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat. Happy New Year!” Trump also approved the airstrike on Soleimani, which triggered the Iranian reprisal. Some U.S. troops were flown out of Iraq for evaluation of concussion-like symptom after the missile strikes.

Senior U.S. officials have noted the relative calm after the Iranian strikes, saying both the U.S. and Iran want to deescalate tensions.

But McKenzie said that while the U.S. wants to be “coolheaded,” he worries that cooler heads may not prevail in Iran.

So when he went to the microphone on the Bataan, where Marine Harrier jets intermittently roared down the ship’s deck into the air, he issued a warning.

“You need to be ready because I may need to employ you on very short notice and on some very difficult missions,” he said.

https://apnews.com/2208d8645ac0437024ac71c06fcfb8e1
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Climate activist Greta Thunberg hit back at Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for saying she should not call for countries to divest from fossil fuels until she “goes and studies economics in college.”

“My gap year ends in August, but it doesn’t take a college degree in economics to realise that our remaining 1,5° carbon budget and ongoing fossil fuel subsidies and investments don’t add up,” Thunberg tweeted, including a video of a chart illustrating the rise in carbon emissions.

“So either you tell us how to achieve this mitigation or explain to future generations and those already affected by the climate emergency why we should abandon our climate commitments,” she added.

Mnuchin made the comment on Thursday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, saying in a press conference “is she the chief economist? Who is she, I’m confused."

“After she goes and studies economics in college she can come back and explain that to us,” he added.

Thunberg, while participating in a climate forum in Davos on Tuesday, said world leaders’ inaction on climate issues is “fueling the flames” of climate change.

“You might think we’re naive but if you won’t do it, you must explain to your children why you’ve given up on the Paris agreement goals and knowingly created a climate crisis,” she said.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) also defended Thunberg, tweeting "If you don’t have an economics degree like Greta, they’ll mock you for not having one. If you DO have one, as I do, they’ll claim it’s illegitimate." The two met in a video conversation last summer.

https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/479588-greta-thunberg-hits-back-at-mnuchin-doesnt-take-a-degree-to-know

The stance that the Fox News crowd is taking against Greta Thunberg is so obviously scientifically bereft and morally indefensible that only the dumbest people will buy into their pushback.

Like the Gun People last week in Richmond, some people will just continue to grasp at the most tenuous of fairy tales.

QAnon, the 2nd amendment, evangelical Christianity, angels, compassionate conservatism and all that sort of BS.

When CLIMATE CHANGE (not measurable by most idiots) turns into REALLY BAD WEATHER and LOCAL FLOODING AND TORNADOES,  most people start to wise up. I think consciousness about climate change is steadily increasing, and Greta is a lightning rod.

I feel sorry for her that she has decided to be a martyr for the cause though. I expect it won't make her life better in any way over the course of her lifetime. It's a very heavy mantle that she has chosen.

I expect Greta to be a rising star for some years ahead, and she'll look smarter and smarter as the years go by.
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When CLIMATE CHANGE (not measurable by most idiots) turns into REALLY BAD WEATHER and LOCAL FLOODING AND TORNADOES,  most people start to wise up. I think consciousness about climate change is steadily increasing, and Greta is a lightning rod.

I feel sorry for her that she has decided to be a martyr for the cause though. I expect it won't make her life better in any way over the course of her lifetime. It's a very heavy mantle that she has chosen.

I expect Greta to be a rising star for some years ahead, and she'll look smarter and smarter as the years go by.

Greta is Autistic.  High functioning, but still autistic.   I doubt the pushback bothers her at all.  She is like Rain Man.  Totally focused on just one thing.

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