Friday, August 31, 2012

Justice Department launches ad campaign

The Examiner

For the first time in the history of the agency, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched an ad campaign featuring a sitting attorney general speaking to Americans about the need to protect endangered children.

This reporter saw the ad for the first time last evening.
The series of ads comes at a curious time in American politics. The U.S. presidential election is less than three months away. The DOJ is under intense fire due to the Fast and Furious scandal. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the DOJ issued his first draft report on Fast and Furious this week, and leaks from DOJ indicate that already the report has created a flurry of activity as officials scurry about attempting damage control.
DOJ officials have one month to pour over the OIG report, providing their feedback, prior to its release to Congress, the media, and the public.
Yet as if to get a head start and gain the upper hand in the court of public opinion, Holder launches a massive ad campaign touting the agency's work and focusing on the need to "protect the children."
No one would argue that vulnerable children do not need to be protected. But why is this suddenly the focus of an ad campaign during an election year? Is there some reason that now is the time to step up such efforts? Are there statistics showing that suddenly, out of the blue, multimillions more children are now in harm's way within, say, the last six months?
In all likelihood, children are in no more danger now than they have been at any other time during the Obama presidency.
The thing that has changed, however, is the president's likelihood of being reelected. National opinion polls are skewed toward Democrats and are thus unreliable. Americans in the heartland and in the small towns and cities that dot the landscape all across the nation know in their hearts that this president has failed to deliver on his promises. He did not, as he promised, lower unemployment below 8 percent. He did not, as he promised, fix the economy. He did not, as he promised, make sure that the elderly will be secured in the national safety net for decades to come. Instead, he robbed the Medicare program of nearly 800 billion dollars in order to fund ObamaCare, placing the Medicare program in a highly vulnerable position going forward.
In addition, the president faces a Republican ticket that headed out of Tampa in a very strong position. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan did what they had to do to define themselves and their positions on the issues. Nothing at the Republican Convention gave the impression that this team is not ready on day one to begin to clean up the mess that Obama has made worse.
Thus, the only explanation for the DOJ ads is that they are part of the Obama reelection campaign without identifying themselves as such. And the taxpayers are footing the bill.
A new entry in my regular series Musings After Midnight is now posted at my blog, The Liberty Sphere. It's titled "With All of THIS Going On, It's Enough to Make a Normal Person Become a Conspiracy Theorist." Don't miss it!

RNC "Scripted" Rules-Reality Check takes a look at how the most controversial rule change in party history was not legitimately passed

RNC Teleprompter Had the Results of the Vote Before the Vote Was Taken

Daily Paul
Here is what you did not see on the "mainstream" news media. The teleprompter had the results of the vote before the vote was taken.
Text: in the opinion of the Chair, the "ayes" have it! Go to the 2:00 minute mark to see the pre-fabricated "opinion of the Chair"

[Washington Examiner] Aug 30, 2012
"RNC Chairman Reince Preibus and House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesdayrailroaded the party’s grass roots in order to shut down any debate over rule changes or the decision to unseat 10 Ron Paul delegates elected in Maine.
I was on the floor at the time, and I saw these party leaders chairing the convention simply ignore points of order and objections. They also ruled that the Ayes had won a voice vote when the Noes pretty clearly shouted louder. It’s hard to get more undemocratic than simply making up the results of a floor vote." ~ Timothy P. CarneyRead more

Dempsey Backs Away from Obama’s Threat to Intervene in Syria

Dempsey warned against the viability of creating safe zones and helping bring rebels with terrorist ties to power in Syria

John Glaser

The top general of America’s military on Thursday backed away from President Obama’s threats to intervene militarily in Syria against the Assad regime, warning that the worst-case scenario would be some kind of failed state in the embattled country.
Chairman of the Joint Chief’s of Staff General Martin Dempsey stressed while on a trip to London that direct military action in Syria, even simply no-fly zones, might be beyond the US and NATO’s capabilities and counter to their interests.
Last week President Obama warned that his “calculation” to refrain from direct military intervention in Syria “could change” if Syria’s chemical or biological weapons begin “moving around or being utilized,” describing the WMD issue as a “red line” that would prompt direct military action, like setting up safe zones, no-fly zones, or worse.
But Dempsey explained it wouldn’t be that easy. He said frequent comparison of the Syrian situation with that in Libya, where a “no-fly zone” was imposed following a United Nations resolution, is at best a source of “amusement.”
General Dempsey warned that possible safe zones for refugees were not being considered for inside Syria, cautioning that imposing them could open the path to a breakout of war.
“If you chose to establish [a safe zone/no-fly zone] you would assume the responsibility for protecting it. If you are tasked to protect it you have to look at those who might seek to attack it or to influence it and that could take you, depending on weapons systems, it could take you to a limited no-fly zone it could take you to the point of having to interdict air and ballistic missile systems,” he said.
As far as forcibly ousting the Assad regime, Dempsey said, such a move would be far too destabilizing. He said a failed state in Syria would be the worst-case scenario and warned against allowing armed extreme jihadists and rebels with ties to al-Qaeda to increase their influence and expand control in a post-Assad Syria.

New blockbuster paper finds man-made CO2 is not the driver of global warming

The Hockey Shtick

An important new paper published today in Global and Planetary Change finds that changes in CO2 follow rather than lead global air surface temperature and that "CO2 released from use of fossil fuels have little influence on the observed changes in the amount of atmospheric CO2" The paper finds the "overall global temperature change sequence of events appears to be from 1) the ocean surface to 2) the land surface to 3) the lower troposphere," in other words, the opposite of claims by global warming alarmists that CO2 in the atmosphere drives land and ocean temperatures. Instead, just as in the ice cores, CO2 levels are found to be a lagging effect of ocean warming, not significantly related to man-made emissions, and not the driver of warming. Prior research has shown infrared radiation from greenhouse gases is incapable of warming the oceans, only shortwave radiation from the Sun is capable of penetrating and heating the oceans and thereby driving global surface temperatures. 

The highlights of the paper are:

► The overall global temperature change sequence of events appears to be from 1) the ocean surface to 2) the land surface to 3) the lower troposphere. 

► Changes in global atmospheric CO2 are lagging about 11–12 months behind changes in global sea surface temperature. 

► Changes in global atmospheric CO2 are lagging 9.5-10 months behind changes in global air surface temperature. 

► Changes in global atmospheric CO2 are lagging about 9 months behind changes in global lower troposphere temperature. 

► Changes in ocean temperatures appear to explain a substantial part of the observed changes in atmospheric CO2 since January 1980. 

► CO2 released from use of fossil fuels have little influence on the observed changes in the amount of atmospheric CO2, and changes in atmospheric CO2 are not tracking changes in human emissions.
Figure 1: Annual temperature change of global ocean temperatures, global surface temperature and atmospheric CO2 December 1981 - December 2011. (Blue is the sea surface, red is the global surface temperature, green is CO2 level in the atmosphere). We see that the change in ocean temperatures (blue) occur systematically before changes in CO2 (green).
The phase relation between atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperature

  • a Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1047 Blindern, N-0316 Oslo, Norway
  • b Department of Geology, University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), P.O. Box 156, N-9171 Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway
  • c Telenor Norway, Finance, N-1331 Fornebu, Norway
  • d Department of Physics and Technology, University of Tromsø, N-9037 Tromsø, Norway


Using data series on atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperatures we investigate the phase relation (leads/lags) between these for the period January 1980 to December 2011. Ice cores show atmospheric COvariations to lag behind atmospheric temperature changes on a century to millennium scale, but modern temperature is expected to lag changes in atmospheric CO2, as the atmospheric temperature increase since about 1975 generally is assumed to be caused by the modern increase in CO2.In our analysis we use eight well-known datasets; 1) globally averaged well-mixed marine boundary layer CO2 data, 2) HadCRUT3 surface air temperature data, 3) GISS surface air temperature data, 4) NCDC surface air temperature data, 5) HadSST2 sea surface data, 6) UAH lower troposphere temperature data series, 7) CDIAC data on release of anthropogene CO2, and 8) GWP data on volcanic eruptions. Annual cycles are present in all datasets except 7) and 8), and to remove the influence of these we analyze 12-month averaged data. We find a high degree of co-variation between all data series except 7) and 8), but with changes in CO2 always lagging changes in temperature. The maximum positive correlation between CO2 and temperature is found for CO2 lagging 11–12 months in relation to global sea surface temperature, 9.5-10 months to global surface air temperature, and about 9 months to global lower troposphere temperature. The correlation between changes in ocean temperatures and atmospheric CO2 is high, but do not explain all observed changes.


► The overall global temperature change sequence of events appears to be from 1) the ocean surface to 2) the land surface to 3) the lower troposphere. ► Changes in global atmospheric CO2 are lagging about 11–12 months behind changes in global sea surface temperature. ► Changes in global atmospheric CO2 are lagging 9.5-10 months behind changes in global air surface temperature. ► Changes in global atmospheric CO2 are lagging about 9 months behind changes in global lower troposphere temperature. ► Changes in ocean temperatures appear to explain a substantial part of the observed changes in atmospheric CO2 since January 1980. ► CO2 released from use of fossil fuels have little influence on the observed changes in the amount of atmospheric CO2, and changes in atmospheric CO2 are not tracking changes in human emissions.

Mexican court throws out election challenge, sparking riots

Russia Today

Enraged protesters gathered in the capital of Mexico following a court decision to disregard a challenge to Enrique Pena Nieto’s presidency. The newly-elected president was accused of money laundering and buying votes.

Hundreds of angry activists hurled stones, eggs and bottles at the police and the court building, and shouted slogans calling for a revolution. They brandished banners, saying “we demand this dirty election to be overturned,” and “Pena is not our president.”

The protesters knocked down metal barriers that had been erected around the court and brawled with the riot police who had assembled there.

Presidential election runner-up Andres Manuel Obrador accused Nieto and his Institutional Revolutionary Party of buying five million votes and courting voters with presents of supermarket gift cards, fertilizer, cement and livestock.

The electoral tribunal dismissed the claims on the basis there was not sufficient evidence to overturn the vote.

“After an examination of the evidence, we can confirm that constitutional principles were observed during the election,” tribunal member Salvador Nava said.

The Tribunal’s verdict sparked outrage among opposition activists, with Ricardo Monreal, a campaign coordinator for a leftist coalition, condemning the decision as “the verbal diarrhea of men who are paid millions of pesos and don’t work for the interests of the people.”
“They are fraudsters in the guise of learned men who are going to bury our constitution and become the vilest band of hucksters in the history of our country’s democracy,” Monreal said.
Pena Nieto won the Mexican election on July 1 by roughly 3.3 million votes, rejecting Obrador’s claims of fraud. Nieto’s victory sparked mass protests in Mexico City and calls for a recount.
Nieto will assume the Mexican presidency on December 1. His government has promised greater political transparency, and to modernize the country’s antiquated labor laws in an attempt to revitalize the Mexican economy.

Demonstrators remove a fence outside the Federal Electoral Tribunal 

A masked protester waves in front of a police line during
a demonstration outside Mexico's electoral court in Mexico City August 30, 2012

Protesters wave in front of a police line during a demonstration
 outside Mexico's electoral court in Mexico City August 30, 2012

"Sunshade" to fight climate change costed at $5 bln a year

Editor's Note: Google alert climate change and global warming to realize the extent and scope of AGW propaganda. This is followed by selling us geoengineering or chemtrails. Why the insistence that there's no dissenting science on the cause of Global Warming?

FirstPost World

Planes or airships could carry sun-dimming materials high into the atmosphere for an affordable price tag of below $5 billion a year as a way to slow climate change, a study indicated on Friday.

Guns, rockets or a pipeline into the stratosphere would be more expensive but generally far cheaper than policies to cut world greenhouse gas emissions, estimated to cost between $200 billion and $2 trillion a year by 2030.

Transporting a million tonnes of particles to at least 18 km (11 miles) above the Earth every year to form a sunshade is “both feasible and affordable”, U.S. scientists concluded in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

The strategy, called “solar radiation management”, broadly imitates a volcanic eruption. The 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, for instance, blasted out a haze of sun-reflecting particles that slightly cooled the planet.

The authors did not examine whether such “geo-engineering” of the planet was a good idea. Other studies show it might have unwanted side effects, such as changing rainfall patterns.

“One attribute of solar radiation management is that it is quite inexpensive,” co-author Professor Jay Apt of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh told Reuters.

“That doesn’t mean it’s the preferred strategy.”


New aircraft, specially adapted to high altitudes, would probably be the cheapest delivery system with a price tag of $1 to $2 billion a year, they said. A new hybrid airship could be affordable but might be unstable at high altitudes.

A 20 km (12 mile)-long “space elevator” pipe hanging from a helium-filled platform was possible in theory but highly uncertain. Giant guns or rockets would be much more costly.

Some experts favour geo-engineering as a quick fix when governments are far from a deal to slow climate change that is expected to cause more heatwaves, floods and rising sea levels.

Senior officials are meeting in Bangkok this week for a new round of U.N. talks, aiming to agree a deal in 2015. Global greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise, with China, the United States and the European Union the top emitters.

Dimming sunlight would not, for instance, slow the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is making the oceans more acidic and undermining the ability of creatures such as mussels or lobsters to build their protective shells.

Co-author David Keith at Harvard University said there were serious risks in trying to dim the sun’s rays. But he said it might also “increase agricultural production by limiting impacts of climate change such as heat stress.”

Independent scientists were also cautious.

“Research into climate engineering, including cost, is vitally important,” said Matt Watson, a lecturer in Natural Hazards at Bristol University. “However, we must not get drawn into discussion where economics becomes the key driver.”

Apt said temperatures could jump sharply under suddenly clear skies if society spewed sulphur into the stratosphere for years but then halted, judging that disadvantages outweighed the benefits.

“Abrupt stopping of the delivery of particles to the stratosphere would cause very rapid climate changes,” he said. (Reporting by Alister Doyle; editing by Andrew Roche)

Council on Foreign Relations Marshals Public Opinion to Tout Syrian Destabilization

Global Research
James R. Tracy

In a recent article the influential Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) declares Americans are “appalled by the depredations of the [Bashar al-]Assad regime and seek its removal from power.” Short of committing troops, the US "[p]ublic wants tough action ... including the imposition of tougher sanctions, and the creation of safe havens to protect civilians,” the CFR's Stewart M. Patrick writes.

There are two underlying problems with this claim. First, the CFR is furtively exerting its own policy objectives by pointing to opinion polls the body has had a direct hand in creating. Second, the CFR is gauging the sentiment of a vastly disinformed public on a Syrian destabilization policy the organization vigorously advocates.

The more authoritative polling of US and international opinion cited in the piece was conducted by the CFR, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs (CFR's Chicago affiliate), and the University of Maryland’s Program on Policy Attitudes (PIPA). Despite its scholarly veneer, PIPA director Steven Kull and half of the research group’s board of advisers are CFR members. In addition, PIPA receives financial support from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Carnegie Corporation.[1]

Since its inception in 1921 the CFR has claimed to be “an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher.” Yet over the years the entity has recruited political and corporate leaders closest to the levers of institutional power, exerted decisive influence on US foreign policy throughout the twentieth century, was a central proponent of the postwar national security state, and “believes national boundaries should be obliterated and one-world rule established,” according to CFR historian Carroll Quigley.[2]

The CFR’s efforts to measure and tout public opinion regarding Syria is of particular concern since it has been a strong advocate of destabilizing the Assad regime through recruitment and support of death squads comprised of foreign Al Qaeda and Libyan Islamic Fighting Group mercenaries. “The influx of jihadis,” the CFR recently gloated, “brings discipline, religious fervor, battle experience from Iraq, funding from Sunni sympathizers in the Gulf, and most importantly, deadly results.”

This strategy has continued ceaselessly since February 2011 when the so-called "Arab Spring" began throughout the Middle East. An almost identical strategy was carried out concurrently in Libya, resulting in the August 2011 overthrow of the Muammar Qaddafi regime and its replacement with a fundamentalist Islamic state.

The CFR’s use and interpretation of opinion polling to justify continued terrorism against the Syrian people is illustrative of the psychological and rhetorical trickery employed by Anglo American power elites and their intellectual mouthpieces. Such efforts are intended to muddy the issues, confuse journalists, and thereby disorient the broader public—the same public the organization now solicits to endorse even more widescale bloodshed and destruction. For example, the CFR's Patrick claims Americans and their European counterparts are strangely “ambivalent” over what the next steps in Syria should be. “Americans support a no-fly zone in theory, though oppose bombing air defenses—a necessary component of establishing a no-fly zone.”

A much more honest and forthright line of questioning might include, “Do you believe the US and its allies should be providing the bulk of material and logistical support to Al Qaeda and related terrorist groups so they may carry out grievous atrocities against the Syrian civilian population en route to establishing a nightmarish theocratic state in Syria and throughout the Middle East?”


[1] As James Petras observes, "The CIA uses philanthropic foundations as the most effective conduit to channel large sums of money to Agency projects without alerting the recipients to their source." Given that the CIA is actively supporting Syria's rebels, it is not unreasonable to surmise that interpretations of American public opinion may also be incrementally introduced into the public mind to eventually justify overt military action.

[2] Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time, GSG and Associates, 1966/1975, 955.

James Tracy is Associate Professor of Media Studies at Florida Atlantic University. He blogs at

Thursday, August 30, 2012

NATO caught sending 150 Tons of Weapons to Al-Qaeda and Terrorist Extremists in Syria

DOJ closes CIA interrogation probes without charges

Donovan Slack
John Durham
The Department of Justice announced on Thursday that it has closed investigations of CIA interrogations of detainees and will not press criminal charges.

The probe followed the death of two detainees while in U.S. custody overseas, and was spearheaded by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham of the District of Connecticut.

"I asked Mr. Durham to conduct this review based on existing information as well as new information and matters presented to me that I believed warranted a thorough examination of the detainee treatment issue," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “I am confident that Mr. Durham’s thorough reviews and determination that the filing of criminal charges would not be appropriate have satisfied that need. Our inquiry was limited to a determination of whether prosecutable offenses were committed and was not intended to, and does not resolve, broader questions regarding the propriety of the examined conduct.”

Holder's decisions in 2009 to renew probes into interrogation techniques authorized under former president George W. Bush had reportedly rankled some members of the intelligence community who feared it would undermine morale, including then-CIA director Leon Panetta. But Holder said in Congressional testimony earlier this year that "There were ....things that were done during the course of those interrogations that are antithetical to American values, that resulted in the deaths of certain people."
Full DOJ statement on the investigations' closure:

Statement of Attorney General Eric Holder on Closure of Investigation into the Interrogation of Certain Detainees 
The Attorney General announced today the closure of the criminal investigations into the death of two individuals while in United States custody at overseas locations.   Below is some background on the investigation and the Attorney General’s statement. 
On Jan. 2, 2008, Attorney General Michael Mukasey selected Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) John Durham of the District of Connecticut to conduct a criminal investigation into the destruction of interrogation videotapes by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). 
On Aug. 24, 2009, based on information the Department received pertaining to alleged CIA mistreatment of detainees, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that he had expanded Mr. Durham’s mandate to conduct a preliminary review into whether federal laws were violated in connection with the interrogation of specific detainees at overseas locations.   Attorney General Holder made clear at that time, that the Department would not prosecute anyone who acted in good faith and within the scope of the legal guidance given by the Office of Legal Counsel regarding the interrogation of detainees.  Accordingly, Mr. Durham’s review examined primarily whether any unauthorized interrogation techniques were used by CIA interrogators, and if so, whether such techniques could constitute violations of the torture statute or any other applicable statute. 
In June of last year, the Attorney General announced that Mr. Durham recommended opening full criminal investigations regarding the death of two individuals while in United States custody at overseas locations, and closing the remaining matters.   The Attorney General accepted that recommendation.   Today, the Attorney General announced that those two investigations conducted over the past year have now been closed.  
“AUSA John Durham has now completed his investigations, and the Department has decided not to initiate criminal charges in these matters.    In reaching this determination, Mr. Durham considered all potentially applicable substantive criminal statutes as well as the statutes of limitations and jurisdictional provisions that govern prosecutions under those statutes.    Mr. Durham and his team reviewed a tremendous volume of information pertaining to the detainees. That review included both information and matters that were not examined during the Department’s prior reviews.   Based on the fully developed factual record concerning the two deaths, the Department has declined prosecution because the admissible evidence would not be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt. 
“During the course of his preliminary review and subsequent investigations, Mr. Durham examined any possible CIA involvement with the interrogation and detention of 101 detainees who were alleged to have been in United States custody subsequent to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  He determined that a number of the detainees were never in CIA custody.  Mr. Durham identified the matters to include within his review by examining various sources including the Office of Professional Responsibility’s report regarding the Office of Legal Counsel memoranda related to enhanced interrogation techniques, the 2004 CIA Inspector General’s report on enhanced interrogations, additional matters investigated by the CIA Office of Inspector General, the February 2007 International Committee of the Red Cross Report on the Treatment of Fourteen ‘High Value Detainees’ in CIA Custody, and public source information. 
“Mr. Durham and his team of agents and prosecutors have worked tirelessly to conduct extraordinarily thorough and complete preliminary reviews and investigations.   I am grateful to his team and to him for their commitment to ensuring that the preliminary review and the subsequent investigations fully examined a broad universe of allegations from multiple sources.   I continue to believe that our Nation will be better for it. 
“I also appreciate and respect the work of and sacrifices made by the men and women in our intelligence community on behalf of this country.   They perform an incredibly important service to our nation, and they often do so under difficult and dangerous circumstances. They deserve our respect and gratitude for the work they do.   I asked Mr. Durham to conduct this review based on existing information as well as new information and matters presented to me that I believed warranted a thorough examination of the detainee treatment issue.  
“I am confident that Mr. Durham’s thorough reviews and determination that the filing of criminal charges would not be appropriate have satisfied that need. Our inquiry was limited to a determination of whether prosecutable offenses were committed and was not intended to, and does not resolve, broader questions regarding the propriety of the examined conduct.”

Geographically Challenged GOP Members Forced to Remind Themselves of Their Country of Origin

Editor's Note: The only close comparison to this phenomenon is the "Twit of the Year" award depicted by Monty Python in the 70's. While quashing dissent in a way that is remarkably un-American, they collectively remind themselves of their country of origin. Bravo!

Activate (?) your science

Climate Etc.
Judith Curry

We need bold science and bold action.   There is a vital role for governments to play, but equally importantly is the role of academia, civil society, and industry.  Harnessing that collective commitment is underway – but it remains to be seen if changes will be rapid and substantial enough. Her Excellency noted in her powerful opening remarks that there is a significant gap between the accelerating pace of degradation and the rate of effective response.
Each of you here can influence the rate of response by activating your science.  - Jane Lubchenco, NOAA Administrator

NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco gave the keynote presentation at the recent   International Coral Reef Symposium in Cairns, Australia.   The text of the speech is found here.  Some excerpts:

Scientists – YOU and I ! –  with our knowledge of the threats, consequences, and likelihood success of options for solutions, have a particular responsibility to share our findings broadly, develop useful and useable decision-support tools, team up with local communities and industry partners, and help craft practical solutions.

Your knowledge and your passion are sorely needed.  But your knowledge must be shared in ways that are understandable, credible and relevant to decision-making at multiple levels.  Learning to become bilingual – to speak both the language of science and the language of lay people is a skill more scientists need to learn.  You’ve all heard the phrase ‘learn by doing’?  The same applies to teaching: ‘teach by doing…not by preaching.’

This is, in fact, happening in many parts of the world. Scientists, communities, NGOs, industry and governments are collaborating to develop management solutions that provide for immediate local needs and enable healthy, resilient reefs. These are powerful, hopeful signs, they are simply not at the scale commensurate with the threats.

This is a story of leadership, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary partnerships across many types of partners, peer learning, and science to develop and implement creative solutions that address food security in the face of climate change and ocean acidification.

The world, its coral reefs and the millions of people that depend upon them need more bold action – action that is science-and ecosystem-based,action that is embraced locally and nationally, action that values tomorrow as well as today. And we need bold science – science that is use-inspired: i. e., it is cutting-edge but relevant and focused on solutions. 

Each of you here can influence the rate of response by activating your science.

I invite you to do more than create new knowledge.  Share it! Put it to use with partners and a sustained engagement.

In short, activate your science.

Donna LaFramboise doesn’t like what Lubchenco had to say:

In Lubchenco’s universe there is apparently no danger of scientists going overboard, of unconsciously biasing their research. She seems to think that earning a scientific degree somehow transforms individuals into infallible beings who will never fall victim to self-delusion, whose judgment will always be impeccable.

The latest issue of Nature Climate Change has an article by Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows entitled A new paradigm for climate change that make similar points:

How climate change science is conducted, communicated and translated into policy must be radically transformed if ‘dangerous’ climate change is to be averted.

We urgently need to acknowledge that the development needs of many countries leave the rich western nations with little choice but to immediately and severely curb their greenhouse gas emissions. But academics may again have contributed to a misguided belief that commitments to avoid warming of 2 °C can still be realized with incremental adjustments to economic incentives. A carbon tax here, a little emissions trading there and the odd voluntary agreement thrown in for good measure will not be sufficient.

Scientists may argue that it is not our responsibility anyway and that it is politicians who are really to blame. The scientific community can meet next year to communicate its latest model results and reiterate how climate change commitments and economic growth go hand in hand. Many policymakers (and some scientists) believe that yet another year will not matter in the grand scheme of things, but this overlooks the fundamental tenet of climate science: emissions are cumulative.

There are many reasons why climate science has become intertwined with politics, to the extent that providing impartial scientific analysis is increasingly challenging and challenged. On a personal level, scientists are human too. Many have chosen to research climate change because they believe there is value in applying scientific rigour to an important global issue. It is not surprising then that they also hope that it is still possible to avoid dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. However, as the remaining cumulative budget is consumed, so any contextual interpretation of the science demonstrates that the threshold of 2 °C is no longer viable, at least within orthodox political and economic constraints. Against this backdrop, unsubstantiated hope leaves such constraints unquestioned, while at the same time legitimizing a focus on increasingly improbable low- carbon futures and underplaying high- emission scenarios.

On a professional level, scientists are seldom trained to engage with policymaking; where opinions are encouraged and decisions informed as much by ideology as by judgement of the science, economics and so on. Policymaking is necessarily a messy process. Scientists, however, often assume that the most effective way of engaging is by presenting evidence, without daring to venture, at least explicitly, broader academic judgement. Perhaps, for narrowly defined disciplinary study, this is entirely appropriate. Yet many highly respected researchers are emerging with interdisciplinary expertise. Academic training has begun to foster the ability of researchers to embed quantitative analysis within a wider sociopolitical and economic context. Nevertheless, reluctance to proffer academic judgement confidently remains, particularly when such judgement raises fundamental questions about the viability of so-called real-world economics.

Apple Rejects App That Tracks U.S. Drone Strikes

Chris Bonnington

It seemed like a simple enough idea for an iPhone app: Send users a pop-up notice whenever a flying robots kills someone in one of America’s many undeclared wars. But Apple keeps blocking the Drones+ program from its App Store — and therefore, from iPhones everywhere. The Cupertino company says the content is “objectionable and crude,” according to Apple’s latest rejection letter.

It’s the third time in a month that Apple has turned Drones+ away, says Josh Begley, the program’s New York-based developer. The company’s reasons for keeping the program out of the App Store keep shifting. First, Apple called the bare-bones application that aggregates news of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia “not useful.” Then there was an issue with hiding a corporate logo. And now, there’s this crude content problem.

Begley is confused. Drones+ doesn’t present grisly images of corpses left in the aftermath of the strikes. It just tells users when a strike has occurred, going off a publicly available database of strikes compiled by the U.K.’s Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which compiles media accounts of the strikes.
iOS developers have a strict set of guidelines that must be adhered to in order to gain acceptance into the App Store. Apps are judged on technical, content and design criteria. As Apple does not comment on the app reviews process, it can be difficult to ascertain exactly why an app got rejected. But Apple’s team of reviewers is small, sifts through up to 10,000 apps a week, and necessarily errs on the side of caution when it comes to potentially questionable apps.

Apple’s original objections to Drones+ regarded the functionality in Begley’s app, not its content. Now he’s wondering if it’s worth redesigning and submitting it a fourth time.

“If the content is found to be objectionable, and it’s literally just an aggregation of news, I don’t know how to change that,” Begley says.

Begley’s app is unlikely to be the nextAngry Birds or Draw Something. It’s deliberately threadbare. When a drone strike occurs, Drones+ catalogs it, and presents a map of the area where the strike took place, marked by a pushpin. You can click through to media reports of a given strike that the Bureau of Investigative Reporting compiles, as well as some basic facts about whom the media thinks the strike targeted. As the demo video above shows, that’s about it.

It works best, Begley thinks, when users enable push notifications for Drones+. “I wanted to play with this idea of push notifications and push button technology — essentially asking a question about what we choose to get notified about in real time,” he says. “I thought reaching into the pockets of U.S. smartphone users and annoying them into drone-consciousness could be an interesting way to surface the conversation a bit more.”

But that conversation may not end up occurring. Begley, a student at Clay Shirky’s lab at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, submitted a threadbare version of Drones+ to Apple in July. About two weeks later, on July 23, Apple told him was just too blah. “The features and/or content of your app were not useful or entertaining enough,” read an e-mail from Apple Begley shared with Wired, “or your app did not appeal to a broad enough audience.”

Finally, on Aug. 27, Apple gave him yet another thumbs down. But this time the company’s reasons were different from the fairly clear-cut functionality concerns it previously cited. “We found that your app contains content that many audiences would find objectionable, which is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines,” the company e-mailed him.

It was the first time the App Store told him that his content was the real problem, even though the content hadn’t changed much from Begley’s initial July submission. It’s a curious choice: The App Store carries remote-control apps for a drone quadricopter, although not one actually being used in a war zone. And of course, the App Store houses innumerable applications for news publications and aggregators that deliver much of the same content provided by Begley’s app.

Wired reached out to Apple on the perplexing rejection of the app, but Apple was unable to comment.
Begley is about at his wits end over the iOS version of Drones+. “I’m kind of back at the drawing board about what exactly I’m supposed to do,” Begley said. The basic idea was to see if he could get App Store denizens a bit more interested in the U.S.’ secretive, robotic wars, with information on those wars popping up on their phones the same way an Instagram comment or retweet might. Instead, Begley’s thinking about whether he’d have a better shot making the same point in the Android Market.

Federal court says Arpaio can be sued in arrests of newspaper officials

Cronkite News
Khara Pershad

A divided federal court reinstated a lawsuit Wednesday against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio by two Phoenix New Times editors, who say they were targeted for late-night arrests because of stories critical of the sheriff.

New Times owners Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin said the 2007 arrests by the sheriff’s “Selective Enforcement Unit” violated their constitutional rights to free speech and against false arrest.

A previous court had said Arpaio could not be sued. But the full 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that ruling Wednesday, saying Arpaio and Phoenix attorney Dennis Wilenchik, a special prosecutor appointed to investigate the editors, did not enjoy immunity from being sued for their actions.
The court also said Maricopa County could be sued in the incident.

But it said that former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas could not be targeted in this suit because he enjoyed absolute immunity in his role as a county official.

Attorneys on both sides of the case could either not be reached for comment Wednesday or they declined comment, saying they needed more time to go over the 72-page ruling.

“We’re trying to determine what would be the legal ramifications,” said Cari Gerchick, a Maricopa County spokeswoman, adding in a later email that the office would not “have a substantive response for at least a few days.”

The long-running feud between the sheriff and the paper was sparked by the paper’s decision in 2004 to publish Arpaio’s address after he removed it from public documents regarding his real estate holdings. According to court documents, Arpaio said it was to protect his family, but the newspaper showed that the information was readily available on other public documents.

That began a multiyear effort by Arpaio to go after the paper under a state law prohibiting the publication of a law enforcement official’s personal information if it poses a threat to him or his family.

Despite pressing the issue with prosecutors in Maricopa and Pinal counties, Arpaio could not get them to bring charges. Finally, in June 2007 Arpaio and Thomas brought in Wilenchik, a former associate of Thomas’, to act as special prosecutor in the case.

Wilenchik submitted two subpoenas demanding documents and confidential sources from the New Times, even though he never presented the subpoenas to a grand jury.

In October 2007, the paper published parts of the subpoenas. That led to the the dark-of-night arrests of Lacey and Larkin at their homes on charges of violating grand jury secrecy.

Thomas fired Wilenchik shortly after, saying the arrests were the “wrong way” to bring a prosecution, according to the court opinion.

Lacey and Larkin filed suit in April 2008, claiming  retaliation, false arrest, selective prosecution and conspiracy.

In June 2011, a three-judge panel of the appeals court said Arpaio, Wilenchik and Thomas had immunity on most charges, but the full court reversed much of that decision Wednesday.

It did uphold the panel’s decision to toss out malicious prosecution claims against all the defendants, noting that Lacey and Larkin had not been prosecuted.

The court said immunity was called for in Thomas’ case, since prosecutors would be unable to do their jobs if they had to worry about being sued over their actions later.

In a sharply worded dissent, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski said that Thomas should not enjoy immunity for appointing a special prosecutor who Kozinski called a “cat’s paw” for the prosecutor’s office.

“There is absolutely no justification for giving Thomas absolute immunity for the non-prosecutorial and self-serving act of appointing Wilenchik to do his dirty work,” Kozinski wrote.

In a separate dissent, Judge Richard C. Tallman said qualified immunity should have been granted to all the parties, noting that public officials must have “breathing room to make reasonable but mistaken judgments about open legal questions” in the course of their business. He was joined by two other judges in his dissent.