Attacks on Science

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From Jenny Mulligan:

Attacks on Science

The Trump administration and 115th Congress have been actively dismantling science-based health and safety protections, sidelining scientific evidence, and undoing recent progress on scientific integrity.

We’ve seen this movie before. And we know how to fight back. We’re standing up for science. We’re inviting scientists to securely share information on scientific integrity abuses. And we’re encouraging our supporters to watchdog this administration and Congress, as we did during the George W. Bush administration and the Barack Obama administration.

Below is a running list of attacks on science—disappearing data, silenced scientists, and other assaults on scientific integrity and science-based policy. The list provides a representative sample of threats to the federal scientific enterprise.

Beyond this list, many other moves by the president and Congress degrade the environment for science and scientists in this country. For example, the president’s Muslim ban hurts science and scientists, including those working for the federal government.These actions are also important to document, and we continue do so on the UCS blog.

Share these stories on social media.  Tell us about case studies you think we should add through these encrypted channels.

 

White House officials stopped scientific information on climate change from being submitted in a written testimony to the House Intelligence Committee.


The EPA is ignoring scientists who say that data does not support its decision that several southeastern Wisconsin counties had not violated air pollution standards.


The CPSC did not consider scientific evidence in a decision to not recall a jogging baby stroller shown to harm children.


 

 

Here is what you can do about it:

  1. share this with your friends and social media contacts
Posted in Health Care, science, Uncategorized, vaccines | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Save the Children

Contributed by James Ewing (Watermill, NY).

Watch this powerful video from the border where Alyssa Milano is broadcasting live:

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Over the past year approximately 400,000 migrants have been detained by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP).They are primarily from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.

Customs and Border Protection Commissioner John Sanders recently said that the Border Patrol is holding 15,000 people, and the agency considers 4,000 to be at capacity.

On any given day, 2,000 children are in Border Patrol custody, and the problems are hardly confined to one facility…Legally, they’re not supposed to be held by border agents for more than 72 hours before being sent to the Department of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for finding their nearest relative in the US to house them while their immigration cases are adjudicated.

Almost all of these children have family members, including parents, in the United States, who are able to and want to take care of their children.


At the Border Patrol facility in Clint, Texas, some of the children are going weeks without enough food, water, or hygienic sanitation. Researchers report that kids are sick, caring for each other, and lack baths and diapers.


These kids and teens are being forcibly separated from their families. Which, in spite of Trump’s repeated claims to the contrary, has not been the norm in previous administrations.

Unlike privately contracted child detention facilities (which charge the US taxpayer up to $750 a day per child), Border Patrol stations like the Clint Detention Facilty, are federal facilities, exempt from state health and safety standards, according to Texas Department of Health and Human Services spokesman John Reynolds. Child abuse and neglect investigators are not allowed to investigate the stations because they not licensed by the state.

Law professor Warren Binford, saw a 4-year-old with hair so matted and dirty she thought it would have to be cut off. The child had not bathed in more than a week, she said. She witnessed a 14-year-old caring for a 2-year-old without a diaper, shrugging as the baby urinated as they sat at a table because she did not know what to do. Here, in a warehouse filled with filthy kids who had not bathed in days, some with lice and influenza, it was kids taking care of kids. There was no soap. And when she tried to find baby food, there was none of that, either. All they had was instant oatmeal for breakfast, instant soup for lunch and a frozen burrito for dinner, “every single day,”

The Trump administration argued before a Ninth Circuit panel Tuesday that the government is not required to give soap or toothbrushes to children apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border and can have them sleep on concrete floors in frigid, overcrowded cells, despite a settlement agreement that requires detainees be kept in “safe and sanitary” facilities.

A 14-year-old girl from Guatemala said she had been holding two little girls in her lap.
“I need comfort, too. I am bigger than they are, but I am a child, too,” she said.

“She’s suffering very much because she’s never been alone. She doesn’t know these other children,” said her father.

“Try to imagine what it’s like for these children, not as a parent, but as one of the children.  To be hungry, without anyone to help you, to be abandoned to filth with no way to get clean, to be trying to take care of yourself and children who are even younger that you are, to be confused about what might happen next and to be terrified that you will never be loved or cared for by anyone again.” (Unknown Field notes)

“In my 22 years of doing visits with children I have never heard of this level of inhumanity”— Holly Cooper—UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic

While existing aid levels to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras will not be reduced this year, the Trump administration “will not provide new funds for programs in those countries until we are satisfied that the Northern Triangle governments are taking concrete actions to reduce the number of migrants coming to the U.S. border, said State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus. ‘This is consistent with the president’s direction and with the recognition that it is critical that there be sufficient political will in these countries to address the problem at its source.’ ” Washington AP 6/18/1

At least 24 adults and 6 children have died in US custody under Trump’s border policies.

“The death of a child is always a terrible thing, but here is a situation where, because there is not enough funding they can’t move the people out of our custody,” says outgoing CPB Commissioner John Sanders.


The victims from upper left (clockwise): Wilmer(2), Darlyn (10), Carlos (16)  ,Mariee (20 mos), Felipe (8), and Juan (16)

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By the way, Perry Gershon has it right regarding potential solutions.

Lee Zeldin parrots the Trump and FOX line.  What a disaster.  Think about it in November 2020.

Here is what one Candaian thinks:

 

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and here is what you can do right now:

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Posted in Civil Rights, Family Issues, ICE, immigration/deportation, perry gershon, Uncategorized, Zeldin | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Thank you for caring.” The benefits of changing your mind about climate.

Thank You for Caring.   Her clear, youthful voice floated up to the trees above us.  Sincere words of a college freshman, Ashley Ambrocio, who had stepped up to the mic, smiling, soft brown curls escaping her pulled back hair.   It was a Friday noon, about 75 of us were assembled at Southampton Town Hall park, a show of support for students striking world-wide for climate action.

What did she mean?  I looked around.  We were writers, artists, a retired school principal, a minister, a surfer, a landscaper, a nuclear engineer, gathered for a rally.  A white pickup, bannered with Drawdown East End Global Climate Strike, parked earlier in the circular drive, worked as a message-backdrop for our speakers.  Dorothy Reilly, Drawdown East End’s originator had scouted the spot, and I had helped color in her lettering. The mostly white-haired crowd was dotted with about a dozen school age kids. They brought home painted signs: Help fight against global warming.  Save the environment.  Ashley’s was neon pink.

Thank you for caring.  I started.  Maybe these young people think we don’t care?  Our silence.  Our inability to focus on climate change.  To talk about it.  That we don’t care?  Not caring, avoiding, doing nothing — will this be our generational legacy?

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Her words seemed a wake up call, like one of those hashtags twittering around the globe, communiques from her generation alerting us to the crisis, the urgent need to act — #FridaysForFuture #ActOnClimate — to create conversation, community, connection.

Ashley spoke about the need to talk about the climate crisis.  Make it real.  I leaned in to catch her words.  She sounded upbeat, appreciating our support. That we wanted to do something.

“Staying home and complaining will not change anything, but coming out to these events can,” she said to the East Hampton Star, and to the East End Beacon.

This is Drawdown East End.

Or one sliver of it anyway.

One slice of the pie — a rally, a film festival being planned, a community compost in the works — rays streaming from a central hub, activated by a core concern, the heart of something called Drawdown. 

Have you ever read a book or watched a talk that gave you an “aha” moment — changed the way you viewed a situation, helped you solve a seemingly unsolvable problem?    

img_1945-1That is what happened to me, and many of us who spoke at that May Friday gathering.  A stunning new book has radically changed our view of the climate crisis.  Crisis yes, but do nothing?  No.  Why not see this as an opportunity — to build, innovate and effect change? Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming tells us how. 

Yes.  Reverse.  

Fact:  We have existing today methods and practices when scaled up can not only reduce our overload of atmospheric carbon, but draw it down to safe levels.  It’s the power of scale. 

 Drawdown in a Nutshell.

For the curious Project Drawdown complete with useful tedtalks and podcasts, gives a fuller picture of an interlocking and very do-able system.  What is Drawdown?  My 3-point synopsis:

  • the point in time where carbon begins to draw down from the atmosphere to safe healthy levels.  It is a reachable goal. 
  • a path, a roadmap  — 100 top solutions, best-practices and technologies we already use now, when scaled up can achieve drawdown (in two ways: 1) not emit carbon by substitution with clean energy, efficiency, reduction, conservation, and 2) bring carbon overload down and sequestered back into soils.)  Actions that can be taken personally, locally, and on a national level that all fit together to reverse global warming. 
  • a philosophy — a new way of seeing.  As Hawken says in a NYT interview, “a primary goal” of his research, book, and website “is to help people who feel overwhelmed by gloom-and-doom messages see that reversing global warming is bursting with possibility.” He sees this moment as an invitation to invent and create, to move into a renewable energy economy humming with innovation, and its cascading health and security benefits.  Rather than game over, it’s “Game on!”

I didn’t know much about Paul Hawken, the editor who summoned over 200 leading scientists, economists and research fellows to peer-review the 100 reversing solutions, but gardeners know him from Smith & Hawken fame.  He is also author of a popular college textbook, The Ecology of Commerce.  His compendium of carbon-drawdown fixes complete with benefit and cost analysis is very credible.

Game On.

So a cluster of us are meeting at the Southampton Library to discuss ways to bring Drawdown into our lives.  It surprised us to learn that the top 100 solutions are both tech and non tech. Some are focused on wind, solar, building materials and refrigerants (i.e. tech), others, amazed that non-tech fixes are equally important, are delving into the chapters on food, farming and forestry, even, yes, educating girls. (More on this in future posts.) 

The exciting part is realizing our personal acts matter. What we do daily can lead to drawdown.  It’s a bit like learning a new language, or seeing through a new frame, “through the lens of Drawdown” says Dorothy. 

For example, a big piece of the carbon puzzle is food waste.   Did you know that in the US we waste 1/3 of our food?  Thus reducing food waste is ranked as Drawdown Solution #3 reducing 70.53 carbon gigatons.   If we started to reduce our food waste, just by 50%, we would reach drawdown. If we do it better, we reach it faster.  Again, the power of scale. 

Here’s another big pay off.  Once you see drawdown as visible, a reachable goal, how all the dots are connected, the true costs and benefits of our actions and inactions, the power of our purchases, then you can make meaningful choices about how you want to live.  You start to see how what you do leads to (or not) drawdown.  In many cases you find it’s healthier, cheaper and, you know, kind of fun and creative.   Choose a food or energy remedy, make it a habit, tell your friends about it, call it a drawdown solution and, then, see if the millennials in your life, who have so much to lose by our silence and inaction, notice that you care.

Hey, game on!  

What can I do?  

Talk about it.  I find useful Drawdown’s 3 levels of engagement:

1) Personally & with your family  –  First, talk about the climate crisis, hear about how others are feeling.  And while you’re at it, take a stab at reducing your food waste. 

2) Community – talk about it, with your friends, in your community.  Ask your favorite news-source to cover climate crisis solutions.   Actually there is a lot happening locally (including the start-up of a sister Drawdown North Fork.)

3) Worldwide – if you look, you will find lots of good news and conversation including 2040 a new film featuring Drawdown.

Heads up, some upcoming events.

  • Free public series Diving into Drawdown, Rogers Memorial Library, Cooper Hall Board Room, Mondays, September 9, 30, October 7, 28, 2019. Two sessions:  1) Intro into Drawdown 10:30am-11:30am.  2) Solutions Sessions  11:30am -12:30pm. First solution discussion: Energy.  Registration is required: www.myrml.org or call 283-0774 x 523.
Posted in climate change, economy, Environment, Paris Climate Accord, science, sustainable energy | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Drumbeat of War

John Bolton is at it again.  Watch the video and then please share !

From:  https://www.facebook.com/moveon/videos/2379403038949493/?v=2379403038949493

 

Posted in Trump, Uncategorized, war, Zeldin | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Measles Epidemic

CDC: vaccines for your children.

As of April 29, 2019,

CDC (Centers for Disease Control) officials say measles cases have broken a 25-year-old record, with at least 704 sickened by the highly contagious disease

More than 500 of the people infected with the measles virus were not vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Sixty-six people have been hospitalized, and one-third of the cases are children under 5.

This year’s outbreak represents a huge setback for public health after measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000.

Think about this: “more than 500 (of 704)  were not vaccinated”.

Think about the risk this represents to your children and grand children.  Unvaccinated individuals represent a potential public health hazard no different than people infected with scary bugs like Ebola, or Marburg virus, or HIV, etc.  When I was a kid in the 1950s our parents were scared of polio and small pox.  They were more than eager to get everyone in the family vaccinated.  They stood in long lines to get a polio vaccine.

Now we have an organized anti-vaccine campaign #anti-vax.  It latches on to scary reports such as the myth that vaccines cause autism, a multiply debunked theory based on a fraudulent British report.

My ire is reserved for those that try to gain political followers/clout by gaming the anti-vaccine movement.  Donald Trump is at the head of this list.  Just follow his tweets on the subject, or watch this

“Trump claims vaccines and autism are linked but his own experts vehemently disagree”

Ofcourse he has modified his position most recently for political expediency.

Now, he claims, he is all for vaccinating kids, but not in a “single massive dose”…?  When was the last time DT went to see a pediatrician?  It is many visits, all spaced out to maximize the effect for each vaccine: the protection, and the safety to the patient.  Donald should keep his ignorant mouth closed.  I don’t tell my car mechanic how to fix my car and Donald should not tell an army of federally funded experts how best to immunize the population.

As an immunologist (with 40+ years of professional experience) I can attest that vaccines have arguably saved more lives than any other medical intervention in the history of medicine!  Just think about eradicated scary diseases like polio and small pox.  And, yes, measles too was declared “eradicated” untill the likes of DT and his #antivax friends.  Their irresponsible tweets and messages are in part the reason why measles has made a comeback.  Let them go live on an quarantined island far away, together with small pox, and polio, and measles and every other nasty bug.

The science of vaccines is best left to the experts.  The pathogens are always evolving and changing.  Take influenza for example, for which we get a new vaccine every year.  Vaccine recommendations for children and adults are also constantly modified and it is challengeing for health care providers to keep updated.  Politicians and political advocates such as #antivax ‘ers, have no role in this process.

 

Read more here:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/rfk-jr-has-spread-dangerous-misinformation-about-vaccines-his-family-says-2019-05-09

 

 

Posted in Health Care, Trump, Uncategorized, vaccines | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Trump era feels like a state of emergency

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Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/31287805@N04/37680955841/

 

Letter published in the Boston Globe Sunday, April 28, 2019:

Continue the unfinished business of the Mueller Report

Liz Goodwin and Jess Bidgood’s article “Peril for Trump in Mueller aftermath” (Page A1, April 21) was a relief. The Mueller report confirms the need to keep investigating Donald Trump’s wrongdoings. Congress has been handed a directive to continue the unfinished business necessary to change the dangerous course this country is on due to a reality show called the Trump presidency.
Investigating the investigators is a smoke screen. Trump’s uncontrollable impulse to settle scores will cause him to self-destruct. Although he may not have colluded with the Russians’ election interference, he certainly collided with it and accepted the benefits. You don’t have to murder someone committing political suicide. Trump usually cites “everyone” when he tries to make up support for many of his ill-advised ideas. This time we all know he obstructed justice. Now we have a chance to do something about it and save our country.
We have come a long way from George Washington, who could not tell a lie, to a president who cannot tell the truth.
Steven A. Ludsin
East Hampton, N.Y.
Posted in Russian connection, Trump, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Deep Canvassing

What is “Deep Canvassing”?

Changing the Conversation Together (CTC) is an organization of concerned citizens working to combat the politics of hate and uphold checks and balances.

Using the evidence-based strategy of deep canvassing CTC played a critical role in helping Democrat Max Rose achieve an unlikely victory in New York’s 11th Congressional District.

Now, they will build on that success to mobilize a corps of deep canvassers in swing states to elect qualified candidates in 2020.

 

Here is an example of Deep Canvassing puyblished in The Nation by Adam Barbanel-Fried who is a professional organizer with over 18 years of experience organizing throughout the United States and abroad.

The Conversations Democrats Need to Be Having

The danger of a continued Trump presidency is too dire to spend our limited resources on internal fights. April 12, 2019

This November, the day before the midterm election, I spoke with a retired police officer in Staten Island, New York, who’d voted for Trump. Let’s call him Tom. Tom didn’t regret voting for Trump. He was a Republican-leaning swing voter. Most progressives would have moved on. After a year of talking to swing voters in this swing district, however, I sensed tension within Tom.

“Are you satisfied with Trump when it comes to basic decency?… Does he meet the standard of decency you set for yourself?” I asked. Tom said no. We talked. We listened. We swapped stories. We bonded over shared concerns, specifically as fathers of daughters. As we bonded, he opened and allowed that Donald Trump is a nasty bully encouraging extremism. Eventually, Tom went from saying he didn’t regret voting for Trump, to joking that he voted for Trump in jest thinking Trump couldn’t win, to finally, uncomfortably, admitting that he couldn’t look his teenage daughter in the face and say he was proud of his choice. Originally leaning Republican, he found himself agreeing with the need for checks and balances and leaning Democratic.

The technique I was practicing in my 15-minute conversation with Tom is called “deep canvassing.” There is a growing body of work pointing to it as the way to engage swing voters and nonvoters, and move them in the progressive direction. While most door-to-door canvassing focuses on speedy interactions with your base to increase turnout, deep canvassing is a more relational form of voter engagement which leads to respectful conversation. It is also the most effective form of voter persuasion ever measured. In 2017, I and my colleagues launched Changing the Conversation Together, and spent 13 months “deep canvassing” swing voters helping Democrats win one of the biggest upsets in the midterms. We trained volunteers in storytelling, empathetic listening, and engaged conversation to help voters connect their personal experience to politics. We spoke to nearly 1,900 voters, helping the Democrat win Staten Island by 1,100 votes. Despite the trend to vote Democratic, our post-election study showed that the voters we canvassed were 14 percent more likely to vote and 20 percent more likely to vote Democratic than their non-canvassed neighbors.

In targeting voters traditionally neglected by Democratic campaigns, we exploded the myth that Trump voters are unmovable. While some fit that description, we also found Trump voters and nonvoters regretting their decisions. We met people with traditional leanings that hadn’t digested how the president emboldens hate groups and undermines a basic sense of decency. Many, upon reflection, were frightened by all the trends unleashed and agreed on the need to put these trends in check.

Since November, our young organization’s success has led to inquiries from around the country. Activists, organizations, and campaigns from Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and West Virginia have reached out for advice. Some traveled to New York to train with us. They, like us, want to do this work and want to do it now.

Meanwhile, the presidential election is 20 months away. Unfortunately, while scientific studies consistently show high-quality, in-person conversations outperforming every other form of voter engagement, the Democratic nominee will likely raise over $500 million and spend it mostly on TV ads in the few months before the election. Before the nominee is chosen, millions of dollars will be targeted at Democratic primary voters, but most of this activity will not engage the swing voters who frequently decide the general election. The eventual nominee will likely hastily assemble a team in the last three or four months of the campaign focused on mobilizing the Democratic base. While the midterms showed the Democratic nominee may have a good chance to win, incumbent presidents often bounce back from midterm losses to win reelection. In this high-stakes environment, there is important work to do.

Democrats, ask yourself this: With all that is at stake, are you going to wait until fall of 2020 to think about reaching swing voters who may decide the election? There are millions of volunteers who want to help—will they be offered the highest quality training to convert their energy into meaningful action?

While Democrats have an important decision to make about who can best lead them, the danger of a continued Trump presidency is too dire to spend our limited resources on internal fights. We need to start training volunteers and talking to prospective voters about what’s at stake now. We are getting to work. We hope we’re not the only ones.

Posted in Canvassing, Trump, Uncategorized, Zeldin | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments