Climate disruption is not just the heat, it’s also the flooding

Devastating floods in western Europe exceed even worst climate change predictions

The new climate normal is frightening.

Climate scientists have warned for decades that emitting copious amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere would make extreme weather, such as floods and heatwaves, more common. But even they, whose predictions have often been labeled ‘alarmist’, were surprised by the extent of the destruction caused by killer floods in Germany this week or the North American deadly heatwaves, where temperatures were close to a staggering 50°C.

Western Europe is drowning

Heavy rains in the Rhine basin on Wednesday smashed precipitation records, leading to devastating floods that killed at least 100 people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes.  Nearly 900 army personnel have joined rescue workers in Germany since about 1,300 people were still reported missing.

Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia were hit by nearly 150 liters of rain per square meter within just 48 hours — that’s almost double the amount of rain normally recorded in this part of Germany for the entire month of July. The cost of the damage is likely to run into “billions of euros,” says Gerd Landsberg, head of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities.

Germany isn’t alone. Heavy floods have engulfed much of western Europe. At least two dozen people have died so far in Belgium. Wallonia, Belgium’s largely French-speaking region, is among one of the worst-affected areas where more than 21,000 people are currently without electricity.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said these recent days of heavy flooding in Belgium were the worst the country has ever seen.

The Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Switzerland are also affected. On Thursday, the Dutch province of Limburg was officially designated as a disaster zone.

. But even scientists are surprised “There is a clear link between extreme precipitation occurring and global climate disruption,” Professor Wim Thiery of Brussels University told The Associated Press, referring to recent extreme weather from western US and Canada to Siberia.

The link between man-made global climate disruption and the North American heatwaves is the strongest out of all the devastating freak weather seen this month. “They would be virtually impossible without global warming,” said Professor Stefan Rahmstorf of the University of Potsdam.

Concerning the floods and storms in western Europe, scientists will need more time to assess the extent to which the record downpour is owed to greenhouse gas emissions due to human activity. However, the off-the-charts nature of these floods indicates that climate change is very likely involved.

“With climate change we do expect all hydro-meteorological extremes to become more extreme. What we have seen in Germany is broadly consistent with this trend,” said Carlo Buontempo, the director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.

Climate models have been predicting extreme weather events such as the floods in northern Europe and the US heatwaves for years. The huge damage to property and human death toll serves as yet another warning that we should take the climate emergency very seriously.

Although the results of these climate models have been largely ignored or even called ‘alarmist’, they may actually be too conservative. Speaking to BBC News, former Met Office chief scientist Prof Dame Julia Sling said that scientists need more funding to make more accurate projections in the future.

“We need an international center to deliver the quantum leap to climate models that capture the fundamental physics that drive extremes”, Sling said. “Unless we do that, we will continue to underestimate the intensity/frequency of extremes and the increasingly unprecedented nature of them.”

A 2019 study found that climate change will probably make extreme heat conditions and their health risks much more frequent in almost every part of the US. By 2050, hundreds of US cities could see around 30 days each year with heat index temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, scientists said.

As previous records for extreme weather are broken on a yearly basis, it is becoming increasingly clear that we’re living through times of rapid climatic shifts. Last decade’s extreme weather may have just been the new normal for this decade. “Once-in-a-century” claims ought to be revised.

What will the next decade bring? Not good things, that’s for sure, unless we take urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The world has already warmed by about 2.16 Fahrenheit since the industrial era began and temperatures, and time is running out.

Edited from Tibi Puiu in ZME science news

Cannabis makes you run faster?!?

Standing here, I’d just say don’t judge me, because I am human,” Richardson said. “I’m you, I just happen to run a little faster.” Sha’Carri Richardson photo: Newsweek

The source of U.S. sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson’s anti-doping rule violation was not a missed drug test or forged hospital records. It was not an anabolic steroid like stanozolol or nandrolone. It was Cannabis. That left many most sports fans scratching their heads. In what world does Cannabis help people run faster? How could Richardson’s one month suspension, which the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced Friday, be the result of a substance that is legal in 18 states?

How could the 21-year-old be effectively barred from competing in her primary event — the 100-meter dash — at the Tokyo Olympics, because of a drug that has not been proven to enhance athletic performance?

This week the chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties wrote a letter to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency on Friday to protest the suspension of track star Sha’Carri Richardson.

“This punishment, which is not supported by any scientific evidence, may prevent Ms. Richardson from competing in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics just after she inspired the country with her performance in the Olympic Trials last month. We urge you to reconsider the policies that led to this and other suspensions for recreational marijuana use, and to reconsider Ms. Richardson’s suspension. Please strike a blow for civil liberties and civil rights by reversing this course you are on,” Rep. Jaime Raskin (D-MD) wrote in a letter co-signed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

“The ban on marijuana is a significant and unnecessary burden on athletes’ civil liberties,” the representatives wrote. “The Committee on Oversight and Reform is the principal oversight committee of the House of Representatives and has broad authority to investigate ‘any matter’ at ‘any time’ under House Rule X,” the representatives noted.

sources: Raw Story, Newsweek, USA Today, NBC

Corporate money keeps flowing to the Sedition Caucus

After the traitorous Capitol insurrection on January 6th, two hundred corporations and industry groups said they would pause or altogether stop making political contributions to the 147 seditious members of Congress who voted against certifying the election and continue to propagate Trump’s Big Lie that led to the violent attack. In the months since the brutal attack, these corporate and industry interests have had to choose whether to do their part to uphold our democracy by turning off the flow of corporate donations to these members of the Sedition Caucus, or to continue to support them in order to seek political influence.

Many have failed this test, some reneging on a promise to change their giving while others made no commitment and are giving like nothing ever happened.

Here’s a list of the anti-democratic evil corperados, think about this next time you have a choice where to spend your money.

Koch Industries
iHeartMedia Inc.
T-Mobile / Sprint
General Electric *
Johnson & Johnson*
Rocket Mortgage
CVS Health
Home Depot*
General Motors*
Navient Corporation
Anheuser-busch Companies Inc.
Humana Inc.
Reynolds American Inc.
Deere & Company
JetBlue Airways*             

* Indicates a company that originally committed to ceasing contributions benefiting members who voted not to certify the election.

Source:  Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington 2020–2021 CFC 42218

The political party that condones violence

The Republican Confederacy

Longtime political observer Doyle McManus pointed out in a column for the Los Angeles Times, that the Republican leadership is finding itself trapped in a corner by the more extreme elements in the party — from far-right GOP lawmakers who excuse and /or deny violence and conservative voters who see no problem with it.

With Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) excusing and supporting the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan 6th and Rep. Andrew S. Clyde claiming the insurrectionists were merely “tourists,” Republicans are now confronted with the optics and reality of being the party that condones violence. Republicans refusing to take a firm stance against political violence is not a good sign for a party that just lost the Senate and the White House, insist McManus.

The problem is that a substantial number of the GOP’s most fervent supporters have said they are fine with the use of force to hold political power.

McManus points out that a significant chunk of the party’s most fervent supporters doesn’t think the insurrection was damaging or wrong, and they illustrate the GOP’s malfunction. At a time when the party needs every vote it can muster, it can’t risk alienating loyal supporters, even if they embrace violence. A survey by the conservative American Enterprise Institute after the riot in January, shows that 56% of Republicans agreed that the traditional (white) American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it. It’s these voters that are holding the party hostage as they try to woo voters back after four years of Trumpism.

The same poll reveals, 79% of Republicans said they still had a favorable view of Trump — and 36% said ‘very favorable.’ That consensus has made GOP politicians fearful of crossing Trump or questioning the actions of his most zealous supporters, including the Jan. 6 criminal insurrectionists. Republican officials in both Georgia and Arizona, where Trump is still agitating to reverse the election results, say their families have been physically threatened by Trump’s supporters.

Republicans are trying to tiptoe around a fundamental problem: Their candidate lost a presidential election, but he not only refuses to accept the voters’ verdict; he wants his party to ‘fight’ to restore him to power. They want to move past the embarrassment of Jan. 6, but that’s not going to happen, because face it, they are the party that condones extraconstitutional violence!

sources, LA Times and Raw Story

We’re beginning to see how dangerous militias will be

In an interview with the Daily Beast, a sheriff who oversees a region that is a hotbed of right-wing militia activity warned that what Americans witnessed on Jan 6th, when supporters of Donald Trump stormed the nation’s Capitol, was not a one-time thing and more attacks can be expected.

Spokane Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich noted the country is only now beginning to see what militias can do.

According to Druzin, “As sheriff of Spokane County in eastern Washington for the past 15 years, Knezovich certainly knows about extremism. He oversees law enforcement in the heart of militia country, just a short drive over the Idaho border from what used to be the headquarters for the neo-Nazi group The Aryan Nations,” with Druzin adding, “As the GOP continues its lurch off the deep end, with even some elected officials participating in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, and state party leaders making common cause with militias, Knezovich, a Republican, is an outspoken voice against far-right extremism.”

The sheriff, he notes, is no fan of protests from either the far right or the far left, writing, “Knezovich thinks America will be grappling with extremism for many years to come. But despite his stand against anti-government groups, he has also drawn the ire of social-justice advocates—and praise from some Republicans—for his habit of lumping in left-wing protesters with dangerous, far-right extremists.”

“These are tyrants, these are true dictators that want to pull our country apart,” Knezovich explained when discussing rightwing militias. “And they want to hide behind, ‘Well, America was born out of revolution.'”

According to Kate Bitz, of the anti-extremism watchdog Western States Center, Knezovich is a bit of a mixed bag, but definitely knows what he is talking about.

In an interview, she told the Beast, “Knezovich has really intimate knowledge of just how ugly things can get for local elected officials and law enforcement when anti-democratic groups begin to build real local power. He is a lot more vocal about this issue than many other local elected officials and law enforcement leaders, which is great,” before cautioning, “That said, his analysis of our local situation (in Eastern Washington) is very much wedded to this kind of ‘both sides’ conception of politics. So we’ve also seen him habitually describe groups that organize for racial justice as being supposedly equally dangerous to law enforcement as the far right.”

According to the report, the sheriff stated that more moderate voters need to hit the voting booths come election time, which would help tamp down the rise of extremist politicians who help to incite violence against the very government they are a part of which led to him discussing the Jan 6th riot that occurred after former president Donald Trump incited “Stop the Steal” rallygoers to march on Congress.

“What happened on January 6 was the worst thing that I think I’ve ever seen happen in my nation, because that threatened the entire stability of this nation,” he explained before predicting, “We will live through about 10 years of hard times, because that’s the cycle of these things. And we’re in at the very beginning of this.”

Raw Story – Daily Beast

Throw the EPD bums out

Eureka Police Officers Association President Terry Liles (accused in multiple questionable deaths and of being misogynist and racist) was sympathetic to Reyna-Sanchez and his wife, a dispatcher with the Eureka Police Department, according to emails the department released in response to a records request.

“I am so sorry for all that you are going through,” he wrote. “I hate that this is happening and I recognize how the timing sucks. I wanted to make sure you had a heads up. Please let me know if you need anything.”

Close ties among cops are not unusual. But the past two months have shown just how tight this fraternity of bad behavior is.

Capt. Brian Stephens, a key figure in the killing of young Tommy McClain, worked closely alongside Captain Patrick O’Neill who was finally put on leave after many questions about is conduct on and off the job have been raised over the years. Together, it was on them to oversee operations and address complaints that officers and the members of the public made. What a joke that’s foxes guarding the hen house for sure. Long time bad actor Stephens joined the department about the same time as Reyna-Sanchez, and the two have a bond that has led rank-and-file officers to doubt the point of making complaints at all, according to interviews and documents. Really! “Let’s snitch on Sanchez to Stephens that won’t be a bit dangerous.”

Patrick Bishop a close friend of Sanchez, who was working as a reserve officer, recently suddenly and quietly left the department. The drip-drip of bad news for EPD keeps going but we hear there’s a full reservoir of shit ready to break lose

There needs to be a thorough house cleaning at EPD with almost all of command staff ousted

Sacramento bee and anonymous sources

McConnell McCarthy and the seditious cowardly republicans

McConnell McCarthy with their “dear leader”

The cowardly Republicans’ constantly keep shifting explanations for why they don’t support the Capitol riot commission, it obvious there must be a deeper and far more sinister reason the party can’t get behind it, ignoring the fact that the Democrats gave them just about everything they asked for. The Democrats even included a questionable a power-sharing arrangement under which the GOP would have had a virtual veto power over subpoenas. The GOP would have had equal representation on the 10-member panel, as well as a say in any subpoenas it might issue. They could have obstructed to their hearts content.

These chicken shit Republicans just quake at the thought of doing anything that might cause Mt. Trump to get mad.  The more sinister reason to explain why they appear unconcerned about paying a political price for failing to acknowledge what happened on Jan. 6, is that a large portion of the GOP’s Trumpian base actually believe that the violent mob was justified in its effort to try and stop Congress as it conducted its certification of the electoral votes that made Joe Biden President.

A poll released by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute and the Interfaith Youth Core shows that these dangerous and conspiratorial beliefs are not just limited to the red state’s inbred backwaters. A shocking 20 percent of more than 5,500 adults questioned in all 50 states — and 28 percent of Republicans among them — said they agreed with the statement that ‘there is a storm coming soon that will sweep away the elites in power and restore the rightful leaders.’ The most alarming is that 15 percent overall and, 28 percent of Republicans, think that because “things have gotten so off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country.”

This is all completely on brand with the QAnon conspiracy theory, right down to the idea of “the storm” where Trump overthrows a shadowy cabal of demonic pedophiles ruling the country and declares martial law. What Republicans said with their cowardly and seditious vote on Friday is that they would rather encourage this thinking to grow within their base, and assume that it works to their political advantage, than to stand up a rebuke it as sedition, which it is.

edited from Raw Story

A call for another armed insurrection?

Most Americans are furious and disgusted after Senate Republicans Friday just after noon killed the proposed investigation of the January 6th insurrection, the bill already passed with a strong, bipartisan majority in the House, to establish a commission to investigate the lawless attack on the U.S. Capitol building, a violent and deadly insurrection incited by then-President Donald Trump. The vote was 54-35, with nine Republicans and two Democrats not showing up to vote. Six Republicans joined Democrats to vote in favor of the commission, but with the 60-vote filibuster threshold, the legislation failed. Thanks to Mitch Mcconnell who continues to try and protect his standing with Trump.  
If that wasn’t bad enough you’ve got alleged pervert Florida man republican Representative Matt Gaetz, who voted to overturn the election. Now the disgusting Florida man is openly talking about armed insurrection as he reportedly faces a federal investigation over child sex trafficking. “For all the fake news media, the Second Amendment is not about — it’s not about hunting, it’s not about recreation, it’s not about sports,” Gaetz said at an “America First” rally in Georgia. “The Second Amendment is about maintaining within the citizenry the ability to maintain an armed rebellion against the government if that becomes necessary,” Gaetz said. “….it sure is important to recognize the founding principles of this nation and make sure that they are fully understood.” In the same speech, he said there was an “obligation” to use the Second Amendment.
A clear call to arms for the unhinged rightwing

The party of authoritarian dumbass traitors

Dumbass SenatorTommy Tuberville gave a revealing comment about his opposition to legislation that would establish a commission to study the Jan. 6 insurrection, which has already passed the House of Representatives. The Alabama Republican said that he can’t support the commission “until they make it bipartisan.” WTF?

When the comment was shared on Twitter, Tuberville rightly became the subject of mockery. In the short time since he won his first election in 2020, he’s become known for making dumbass obtuse comments — including the revelation that he didn’t know the three branches of American government. His new comment is similarly ridiculous, because the commission he’s discussing is absolutely bipartisan in every meaningful sense. It will be split evenly between Republican and Democratic appointees, who jointly share subpoena power. It was the result of bipartisan negotiations. And it won bipartisan support in the House, with 35 Republicans along with all the Democrats voting in its favor.

Tuberville’s comment is patently ridiculous — the commission is already bipartisan, so if his answer were honest, he should already support it.

It was a revealing answer nevertheless. It clarified just how disingenuous the opposition to the commission has become among Republicans. Because while other Republicans gave excuses for opposing the commission that were less ham fisted than Tuberville’s, they were, in truth, just as much contrived BS.

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, for example, cooked up the bizarre concern that precisely because the commission requires bipartisan support to issue a subpoena, it will allow Democrats to leak when any subpoena fails to get approval, thus casting aspersion on the target. This explanation for opposing the commission is just as phony as Tuberville’s because surely Rubio wouldn’t want a commission where Democrats could unilaterally issue subpoenas. The only conclusion can be that he won’t support a commission at all, even though he won’t admit it that straightforwardly.

Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins has raised concerns that the commission will extend its work into 2022 — even though the legislation specifically calls for it to be done by the end of 2021 (a condition some argue makes the investigation too truncated.) There’s no good reason for limiting the timeline so dramatically, but Republicans fear that the commission’s work could impact their party negatively in the 2022 election. Of course, they had no qualms when Attorney General Bill Barr suggested he might release a report on the investigation into the origins of the Russia probe in the run-up to the 2020 election.

Rubio and others, such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have suggested that the existing investigations into Jan. 6 are sufficient and that the commission is unnecessary. But this explanation doesn’t track, either. The Justice Department investigations are about the crimes that were committed, but they aren’t designed to examine non-criminal behavior that might have contributed to the attack or to share broader lessons about the events as a political matter for Congress and the country. Specific investigations about security failures at the Capitol are important, but they won’t have subpoena power or address the threat to democratic stability. And existing investigations within congressional committees are, in fact, controlled by sitting elected Democrats, so they won’t have the independence, bipartisanship, and authority that the commission would have.

The fact is this: Republicans can’t say what they really think, which is that they don’t want a commission because they’re not concerned with finding bipartisan solutions to the violence, authoritarianism, and anti-democratic sentiment that their party has cultivated and now stands for.

edited from Raw story

MTG the wingnut voice of the Republican Party

The voice of the MAGA Republican party, Georgia’s “terrorist barbie” Marjorie Taylor Greene Railed in opposition to creating a commission to study the white supremist Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. In a typically off the rail’s speech on the House floor, Greene tried to argue that somehow Black Lives Matter protests are also an “insurrection.” “I rise in opposition to a commission to study the events of Jan. 6th as well as spending $2 billion in security supplemental,” she complained. After a long-winded attempt to link what happened during the protest in summer of 2020 after the death of George Floyd to an insurrection, she pleaded for a commission to study the what she falsely claimed were violent BLM and antifa mobs that plagued American cities this past summer. Then of course Greene went on to defend the people who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6. “The people that breached the Capitol on Jan. 6 are being abused,” she said. “Some [are] even being held for 23 hours a day in solitary confinement.”Also, who killed Ashli Babbitt (the rioter that was shot breaking to a protected shelter inside congress) and why is that not being revealed?” Greene asked. “Does her family not deserve justice? And lastly, when will the witch hunt of Donald J. Trump come to an end and all of those who support him?”
She represents the heart and soul of the republican party, these people need to all be held to answer for their participation in the insurrection, especially Marjorie Taylor Greene who guided the traitors.