Wednesday, August 30, 2017

After 'Harvey' , Demise Of Flood Insurance Closer Than You Think

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Scene of flooded homes just outside Houston after Harvey Struck.

Few people may know, but the last bastion of insurance for protection against floods ends on September 30th. On that date, according to a WSJ article yesterday ('New Dangers For Flood Insurance', p A5), the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) - created 50 years ago - is scheduled to expire.  Indeed, it "has just $5.8 billion left it can borrow from the Treasury to meet new claims, according to January figures reported to congress".  Many citizens in flood prone areas buy these government policies - from the NFIP- through private insurers which are then compensated for that service.

The program itself was created  because no private insurer was willing to risk having to pay out for catastrophic flood losses.  This was after the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927.  As for the NFIP, it could be inundated with billions of dollars in new claims in the wake of Harvey's colossal rainfall - which is still adding up.

The question for lawmakers now is whether to designate a more comprehensive fix to return the NFIP to solvency, or merely attempt a temporary renewal.  According to Sen. Bill Cassidy (R, La.) quoted in the article:

"From a public policy perspective, Hurricane Harvey reinforces the narrative of why the national flood insurance program is so important and needs to be addressed."

Financially speaking the program is in trouble and insolvent. It already has a debt of nearly $25 billion from earlier climate disaster, much of it from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, then Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

The WSJ piece notes that it will "take days if not months, for claims to emerge from Hurricane Harvey".   Also, more than 200,000 homes could be at risk along the TX coast, this from information and analytics firm Core-Logic .  Noteworthy also is that in 30 Texas counties there are nearly 450,000 policies covering $125 billion in insured value. More than half that value is in heavily populated Harris County.

Another aspect hitherto unmentioned  is that a new Texas law goes into effect Friday which may toss all hopes of decent insurance payouts into the crapper. This law- House Bill 1774 - will make it harder for Texans to receive insurance payments.  According to a WSJ article yesterday  ('Harvey Intensifies Debate On Texas Law That Begins Friday', p. A4):

"the new law applies to a variety of property damage involving 'forces of nature' such as lightning, hail, rainstorms, flood, wind, snowstorms, tornadoes, wildfires - or hurricanes".  Adding:

"The goal is to cut down on excessive lawsuits, many related to hail storms"


"The new law shrinks the penalty interest rate insurance companies must pay out if they make late payments to Texans"

That rate is currently around 18 percent but drops to ten percent by Friday.

It is clear the bill is business friendly and Houstonians and others may find to their detriment how adversely it affects them if they don't file initial insurance paperwork by Friday.

Apart from the Texas bill, make no mistake that lawmakers will be under pressure when they return to Washington next week to extend the NFIP after the flooding disaster witnessed in Texas and now Louisiana.  The urgency is all the more evident given the program only has $1.7 billion to p[at claims according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency which manages the program.

According to another WSJ piece ('Lawmakers Facing Financial Challenges', Aug. 30, p. A3):

"Congress will likely have to raise the program's borrowing authority should claims exceed the current cap.

This is a contentious issue indeed given it comes close to when the debt ceiling needs to be raised (with many conservatives against it) and also many of the same ilk have opposed federal aid after superstorm Sandy slammed the East coast in 2012.  Houston businesses are also likely to take a colossal hit, given the NFIP only covers a relatively small fraction of total losses. In one case cited in the Journal from a Houston business owner's losses in April floods last year, the damage inflicted exceeded the coverage maximum for most of the owner's buildings. The $500,000 maximum for equipment fell short by $200,000 alone.  This is a story bound to be repeated this time,

Will tens of thousands of Texans be left high and dry financially after Sept. 30th? We will have to wait and see, but the indicators aren't very encouraging.

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Do Joe Arpaio Fans Grasp That By Accepting Pardon He's Admitted Guilt?

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"BWAAHAHHAAAAA! Say it ain't so, Joe!"
When George Bush Sr. pardoned Cuban right wing terrorist Orlando Bosch, everyone with head screwed on straight knew it meant Bosch had accepted his guilt for multiple terror acts in the hemisphere.  This included the bombing of Cubana Airlines Flight 455 in October, 1976 which he planned with Luis Posada, e.g.

No one was fooled, at least those who didn't have brains jacked by disinformation.  Even Bosch himself in a later interview fessed up that "all Castro's planes were warplanes".   Meaning he was also entitled to blow a commercial flight out of the sky with 73 innocents, as well as a MIG- 21. As even former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh put it, Bosch was an "unrepentant terrorist."

The fact is that anyone given a pardon and accepting it immediately also dons the mantle of guilt. This applies to renegade scofflaw Joe Arpaio as much as Orlando Bosch.   In this case, Trump actually hung a millstone around his top butt kisser's neck. He clearly is unaware that the acceptance of a pardon is an admission of guilt.  Thus, by stupidly issuing a pardon for Arpaio on Friday night  Trump got him to confess his guilt by accepting that pardon.

Of course, errant fake news Trumpies and Arpaio cheerleaders will rabidly deny this, but that's no small wonder since they know little about legal and historical precedent anyway.  But if these deluded acolytes of Trump and Arpaio could bestir themselves to research it, they'd learn that 102 years ago the Supreme Court asserted "a pardon carries an imputation of guilt and acceptance of a confession of it."

No surprise then, that the one thing you won't hear from Presidents who pardon (like George Bush Sr. in the case of Orlando Bosch) is that the person pardoned did nothing wrong.  The reason? The person pardoned has just admitted guilt by accepting the pardon, as opposed to refusing it. 

Trump himself, two days ago, did himself no credit by offering a childish defense of his pardon of Arpaio more in line with a 10 year old making excuses.  In that presser, Trump didn't actually defend his pardon but attacked the "bad pardons' issued by previous presidents. He included cases that weren't pardons at all, again showing this buffoon's abysmal level of historical and legal education.  For example, granting of clemency is not the same as a pardon, say in the case of the clemency granted Bradley -Chelsea Manning by President Barack Obama.

Thus, the clemency was granted only after Manning had already served seven years. Noteworthy by its absence was any mention of Bush Jr.'s commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence, for perjury and obstruction of justice.  Again, a commutation of a sentence is not the same as a pardon. Bush Jr. refused  to actually pardon Libby because he didn't want to eliminate the finding of guilt - but he did want to eliminate the prison sentence. There is a difference which Trump, Arpaio cheerleaders and others appear not to grasp.

It is also noteworthy that Bush Jr. did not eliminate Libby's obligation to report to a probation officer for two years, or to cough up the $250,000 fine imposed. He also didn't eliminate Libby's actual sentencing before the commutation. Bush Jr. then clearly allowed the legal process to come to a conclusion. For all these reasons it is clear why Trump never mentioned the commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence by his Repuke predecessor.

Why not mention the Libby commutation along with Obama's issuance of clemency for Manning? It seems an inconsistent omission. But to many it is fairly evident that Trump is saving the Libby precedent for when HE needs it. That is. for when he pardons someone in his administration - say Jared Kushner or others- for crimes to with money laundering, perjury or whatever the Trump-Russia collusion case.

But with the Arpaio pardon, Trump-  the Chief Scofflaw -  did something no other president has done, which was to step into a case between sentencing and conclusion - never allowing the case to arrive at its final reckoning.   More worrisome, Trump may be communicating to prosecutors - using this pardon - that he isn't bothered by potential indictments, say for obstruction of justice.  The problem with that is that the Arpaio pardon may be the last nail in Trump's coffin for impeachment at least, and maybe at least conviction for obstruction of justice.

Meanwhile, Trump was in Houston yesterday with his white "USA" hat, purely for the superficial optics. No sign of him hugging a crying mother, shaking a flood victim's hand or asking a senior how they were doing after a perilous recue. NO sign of empathy - only ego. The best this orange hued mutt could do was hold up a Texas flag as if that was going to solve all the state's problems. 

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Left Needs To Stop The Incessant Infighting At Rallies, Protests

Scenes at Left -Liberal rally in Colorado Springs Sunday

The Left needs to get its act together and cease infighting. While the Nazis and White supremacists have evidently managed that feat with their Charlottesville marches, the Left appears to have a much longer way to go.

Particularly disheartening was to read in The Colorado Springs Independent ('Infighting Taints Rally'. Aug. 22-29, p. 17)  about an activist rally last Sunday in the Springs which descended into infighting, cross chants and shouting spats. While there were some "empowered moments, impassioned speeches and private conversations"  the "infighting left many attendees feeling disheartened."

What gives? Basically, the article pointed to "philosophical and tactical differences" between different Left groups including: the Colorado Springs Socialists, the Democratic Socialists of America, Industrial Workers of the World, Antifa, and the Greens.

According to the COS Indy report, the "source of consternation was the apparent failure of attendees to properly commemorate Heather Heyer, the young woman mowed down by a neo-Nazi in Charlottesville"

This alone is inexcusable as a "difference maker".  There should have been no issues of divergence on Ms. Heyer being commemorated and it ought not have taken some special 'contract' to agree on the form. Thus leftists bristled at the idea that liberals would co-opt her as a martyr, whether unwittingly or not.  Heated arguments broke out, too, over whether a prayer was appropriate at a political event and  
whether a combat veteran ought to lecture the crowd about nonviolence

That the Left factions couldn't even unify on this basic aspect of a memorial is not only disheartening but downright depressing. One of the white supremacists  (Chris Cantwell) featured in the HBO VICE episode on Charlottesville, e.g.

claimed "our opponents have more trust in each other". Well from the display on Sunday it doesn't appear so!

Evidently one group insisted that since Ms. Heyer was part of an actual activist bloc she ought to have been noted as a "comrade" not merely an "ally". Others maintained they weren't so sure of Heyer's activist bona fides so that the commemoration describe an "ally" only. Talk about arguing about tweedledee and tweedledum!

The most prolonged dispute broke out when a Socialist called out a solitary man in the crowd as an undercover cop. (Local socialists have reason to look out for infiltrators.) The interruption escalated into dueling chants of “cops get out” and “love lives here,” with people on both sides becoming exasperated and then furious. 

 None of this baloney ought to have happened, and the fractious images merely serve as fodder for the Right's claims that the Left are not about putting the nation's interests first. There is also the sad spectacle of Antifa members whacking racists or macing them without being provoked or defending other weaker protesters as in Charlottesville.  Antifa needs to grasp that images of unprovoked violence do not help the Left cause. Yes, bash a Rightie or Nazi over the head - but only IF he is trying to gouge a young female protester's face with a stick or beat a black protester with a bat.  That is what we term "self defense" or defense of weaker allies.  But don't go out looking for Nazis to attack without cause.

The COS Indy piece went on to note:

"In broad strokes, the debate playing out in the resistance movement revolves around the efficacy of nonviolence, though it’s more nuanced than it may seem. When a white guy flies a neo-Nazi flag, is he inciting violence? And, if so, does that justify punching him in the face? Or, do pacifists have the right to tell Antifa not to practice self-defense? Does bringing a firearm to a rally prevent or invite harm? Can you share a movement with those whose tactics you wouldn’t yourself choose? And, of course, what would the exalted Martin Luther King Jr. say about all this?"

These are all questions that Left activists at coming protests and rallies need to answer sensibly, and the sooner the better!

Monday, August 28, 2017

NO! Nazis Merit No First Amendment Protections

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Nazi filth - such as these at Charlottesville-  do not merit first amendment protections given if they ever came to power they'd abolish them.

Walk down any city street in Frankfurt, Munich, Cologne or Bonn and you cannot help but notice there is robust free expression. Merely engaging German citizens of any of these burgs for a few minutes discloses it.   But one thing you will never hear is any defense of Nazi memes, nor will you see Nazi flags - unless you can locate a WW II museum. Indeed, even the effort to spread such toxic nonsense can earn the person a year or more in prison, and significant fines.

Have the Germans gone bonkers? Have they gone over the top? No, they merely learned from bloody, barbaric experience after 6 million Jews were dispatched in Hitler's death camps, and tens of millions perished in bloody fashion around the world - with over a million Germans who had to pay for Hitler's insanity. Germans learned enough from their history not to be so daft as to enable toxic memes and mind viruses under the pretentious baloney of "free speech".

In May, 1985, near Bielefeld, Germany, I met with two former Wehrmacht soldiers who themselves had resolutely refused to join the Nazi party. (About 5 percent did join to receive perks the others did not such as extra rations, clothes etc.)
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In Teutoburger forest with Dieter, left, and Hans, right - along with our translator Reinhardt.

The two former soldiers, Dieter and Hans, were part of a German choral group my wife Janice was then performing with. Anyway, we went to the Teutoburger Forest where one battle was fought near the end of the war.  When I asked Dieter and Hans about the Nazi influence in Germany they responded almost in unison:

"We learned to our lasting shame that the Nazis took advantage of our freedom principles (associated with then Nuremberg democracy) to put themselves in power and stay there long enough to destroy Germany and Europe. We now know much better!"

They were referring to how Hitler and his  Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei  or Nazi party used the democratic process itself to catapult Hitler into power and then used the mechanics of then Nuremberg government and the Reichstag to destroy all principles of free expression using the Enabling Act. See e.g.

THIS is specifically why the Nazi party, Nazi offshoots or Nazi spokesmen cannot be allowed the privilege of free speech or protections under the First Amendment. Why?  Because we already know from history (in 1930s Germany)  the template they would use against our democratic, constitutional edifice. Simply put, we can't take the chance that history will repeat, ever again.

But Americans, having never undergone what Germany did, simply don't get it. Even the brightest - like fellow members of Intertel, fail to grasp why the Germans are as tough on speech as they are. Back in November last year I cited the words of fellow member Steve Mason writing in an essay: 'Dangerous Ideas', (Integra, Nov.-Dec, .p. 18) :

"Here's a really Dangerous Idea: The Holocaust is a hoax. It must be a Dangerous Idea because simply repeating those five words will get you jailed in  more than a dozen countries, including: Belgium, France, Germany, Romania and Poland."

Mason then made an absurd parallel putting the "holocaust hoax" on the same "dangerous idea" level as the Apollo Moon landings hoax. In the latter case,  citing all kinds of nonsense "evidence", e.g. American flag "rippling" on an airless world, from idiot lunar landing hoax websites.

This analogy showed Mason lacked any balanced rational insight to compare these two. In effect, comparing the claim of hoax for an actually recorded historical genocide to a nonsense claim which is easily refuted by reference to lunar laser ranging experiments - only made possible by the fact laser reflectors were left on the lunar humans.

Mason appeared to regard both ideas as merely equally "goofy". He scribbled, in regard to the lunar landing deniers (p. 21):

"The last I heard no one was locking them up.  Being goofy isn't against the law, so what is it about questioning the death camps that creates such a stir?"

Totally missing the point of why a serious distinction must be made. The upshot of actual German history, as my German sister-in-law Krimhilde put it, is that even frivolous dismissal of the holocaust plays directly into the neo-fascist platforms, as we beheld in Munich back in 2013, e.g.

The Germans today take heed of George Santayana's famous words "those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it." They would rather err on the side of legal heavy handedness than regret it later when a future Fuhrer tries to duplicate the inhuman acts of the earlier one.  Impossible? Then read the Financial Times article below ('Ideas That Fed The Beast of Fascism Flourish Today') on how the same forces active in Europe in the 1930s are also present today:

The nations that prosecute holocaust denial do so in order to impose a painful reminder that one cannot just lie about the past as a cynical way to sweep it under the rug to thereby better enable similar horrors in the future.  To put it another way: They already experienced the horrors once,  they have no intention to do so again! Thereby harsh laws punishing the denialists (who effectively diminish the holocaust)  are intended to send an uncompromising message: "You spread this crap - undermining the historical truth- at your own peril. We will not tolerate your lies here!"

The same goes for racial supremacy doctrines such as today's Neo-Nazis spout. They can't be allowed to gain any more of a foothold in a nation already riven by race. The Nazis especially can't be allowed a say - in a park, city town hall or anywhere - because we know they are now also about enacting policy with an ally in the White House. (WSJ, Aug, 17, p. A1)  The Nazis cited in the piece also made it clear they no longer aspire merely to more marches and rallies but policy changes.  These could include everything from limiting immigration, especially of Mexicans and Muslims, to building a border wall using taxpayer money, to fielding a new "security" arm similar to the Nazi Gestapo.

A recent WSJ interview ('The First Amendment Is For Nazis Too', Aug. 26-27, p. A11)  with legal academic  Richard A. Epstein saw him trying to argue that even Nazis deserve first amendment protections. This coming from a Jewish academic who appears to have unlearned or forgotten the lessons of history, period.   He argues in abstract jargon about the "solipsistic left" and "nonactionable offense" but has no clue what these terms really mean - say as they applied when the Hitlerites used their speech to take over Germany.

He expostulates:

"There are certain harms that are nonactionable and offense is one of them. If I say something that you find truly offensive, you may protest, you may speak - but what you may not do is to sue me in order to silence me, or to get compensation from me. Counter speech is the appropriate remedy under these circumstances, suppressing speech isn't"

Which I can agree with  in nearly all circumstances - but not all.  That includes holocaust denial as well as circulation of Nazi memes and mind viruses including the proposed extermination of all untermenschen (inferior humans) and also the open advocacy of policies that would terminate the very free speech those like Epstein argue for.   Those were the same policies advocated by Adolf Hitler, as evident in his Mein Kampf, as well as promulgated by current Nazis. In Germany these riff raff are sued, fined or locked up and that ought to be a standard applied here too,.

If an ideology (like Nazism)  ultimately seeks to destroy the very  'free speech' it currently claims to use (under the 1st amendment)  we are now in a meta-context.  This is exactly the meta-context Hitler and his bunch methodically employed in the early 1930s to convert Germany to a one-party state with NO subsequent free speech for anyone but the Fuhrer - and certain of his groupies - like Joseph Goebbels and Rudolph Hess.

As my German friend Reinhardt put it, if an ideology has as its ultimate goal the extirpation of the very speech it uses currently to spread hate, it cannot be allowed circulation. It then becomes no different from the smallpox virus - say released by insane people under the doctrine that "all living things or potential living things, like viruses, have the right to survive and compete for existence in our world". 

In his WSJ interview Epstein claims:

"Freedom of speech means that you have the right to use your own resources to advance your own causes. But it doesn't give you, in the name of free speech, the right to take somebody else's telephone, somebody's house or somebody's anything to use for your own purposes"

Thereby making the point that freedom of expression is "embedded in the much larger and comprehensive system of property rights".

And yet Epstein appears to forget, or never processes, that this is exactly what the German Nazis did to the Jews. First, they used the very free speech allotted them by Nuremberg democracy to get enough people to believe in them and vote for them in the 1932, 1933 elections.  (In the elections held in March, 1933, a record 88.8 % of the electorate turned out, and 39, 343, 331 votes were cast. The National Socialists received 17,277,328 or 43.9 percent, entitling them to 288 deputies in The Reichstag.) Then, once in total power- after Hitler became Chancellor -  they terminated all extant liberties and the laws on which the German parliament (Reichstag) was based. (Google 'Enabling Act')  Then, they seized all Jewish property - including businesses, homes and bank accounts. And finally - they dispatched those dispossessed Jews to concentration camps where they were exterminated as "untermenschen", e.g.

Scene outside of Mauthausen concentration camp photographed by Russian soldiers who liberated that camp in 1945

THIS is precisely why NO Nazi ideas or memes must ever be permitted the "oxygen" of free speech to spread, ever again. Like the smallpox virus it must be isolated and kept at bay with a zero tolerance policy. Epstein himself is a blatant fool for even remotely considering modern day followers of this bestial philosophy to air their toxins.

Epstein, vaunted legal guru that he is, is also totally wrong about Google's firing of James Damore, the right wing nitwit who posted a ten page memo trying to tie women's job performance to their biology and innate mental aptitude. He insists (ibid.):

"Google is basically massively intolerant.  Here was a guy a data analyst, wo was not even against diversity. He said he wasn't".

Disclosing a naivete on a par with awarding Nazis free speech.  In fact, any person with more than air between the ears reading Damore's memo saw exactly how opposed to diversity he was, no matter what he "said". (Hitler also "said" he'd lead his countrymen to a greater, more enriched future and 'Lebensraum'. How did that turn out?)

As for firing Damore, Google was perfectly entitled to do so. In the case of 'Waters v. Churchill' the Supreme court made clear that an employee's speech is not protected if the employer  believes the speech might interfere with the efficiency of the employer's operationsSince it is clear that allowing Damore's presence (after his memo went viral) would definitely undermine Google's efficiency of operations, it was clear Google had to give this right wing troll the heave ho, all the Right's whining aside.

Let me add here, for completeness, that preventing Nazis  "oxygen" for their speechifying need not depend on the feds to achieve it. We've already  shown here in Colorado Springs how a simple boycott can persuade a major resort to ditch plans to provide these vermin a platform. See e.g.

The beauty of the Springs boycott is that no one was really trying specifically to take away the "speech rights" of the Nazis and white supremacists, merely their platform, their venue. The could have chosen another one but up to now have decided not to.   This may be all the alert and aware citizen can do now to halt the spread of these virulent memes - but in the COS case, it was enough.

Hurricane Harvey - A "Greenhouse Effect" Driven Storm?

Hurricane Harvey looms off the coast of Texas, as seen from aboard the International Space Station.
Hurricane Harvey seen from space. The storm exceeds 600 miles in diameter.

As we beheld yesterday afternoon via numerous news sources (all real, none fake) metropolitan Houston is basically underwater, flooding from intense and prolonged rains from Hurricane Harvey. How did such preternaturally profound storm rains come to be?  As I've posted previously, the nature of the greenhouse effect is that human burning of fossil fuels such as oil, coal, lead to specific gas byproducts- namely methane and carbon dioxide - diffusing into our atmosphere. Even incremental enhancements of their concentrations can convert the atmosphere into a greenhouse, thereby preventing a portion of solar radiation from escaping and hence trapping heat.

Melting ice caps play a role in this though many are cheering the melting to speed up to permit an "Arctic passage". Bad idea!  This reduces the albedo or reflectivity of the Earth's surface - leading to increased absorption of solar radiation-  and even less escaping into space. Thus the terrestrial greenhouse gets ramped up.

The overall effect of the greenhouse is warmer air which can hold more moisture. In addition, the warmer atmosphere causes evaporation to happen more rapidly. However, that alone doesn't explain the full role of the greenhouse effect on Harvey.  Another consequence of greenhouse warming is that the oceans are absorbing CO2 and also becoming warmer- which in turn raises sea surface temperatures.

In effect, a large portion of Harvey's energy was fueled by very warm Gulf temperatures which rose to between 2.7 F and 7.2 F above average. Because of these high Gulf surface temperatures the original Tropic Storm Harvey progressed to a Cat 4 hurricane in barely 48 hours.

Climate scientist Michael Mann, writing in the Guardian UK, also makes the following apt physics observations:

"There is a simple thermodynamic relationship known as the Clausius-Clapeyron equation that tells us there is a roughly 3% increase in average atmospheric moisture content for each 0.5C of warming. Sea surface temperatures in the area where Harvey intensified were 0.5-1C warmer than current-day average temperatures, which translates to 1-1.5C warmer than “average” temperatures a few decades ago. That means 3-5% more moisture in the atmosphere.

That large amount of moisture creates the potential for much greater rainfalls and greater flooding. The combination of coastal flooding and heavy rainfall is responsible for the devastating flooding that Houston is experiencing.

Not only are the surface waters of the Gulf of Mexico unusually warm right now, but there is a deep layer of warm water that Harvey was able to feed upon when it intensified at near record pace as it neared the coast. Human-caused warming is penetrating down into the ocean. It’s creating deeper layers of warm water in the Gulf and elsewhere."

The reference to the Clausius -Clapeyron equation is important moving forward. Since we know now the warming increment is likely to hit 4C by 2050, contradicting the 2C by 2100 nonsense, we know these monster rain storms will grow worse.  For a 3.0 C increment over what we are dealing with now that means and 18 percent increase in the average atmospheric moisture content. That in turn translates to deluges such as we're witnessing in Houston 5 to 6 times a year or more, merely in the continental U.S.   (The rest of the planet will also be subject to them, especially the monsoon prone regions of southern and southeastern Asia).

Prof. Mann adds this point (ibid.)

"Harvey was almost certainly more intense than it would have been in the absence of human-caused warming, which means stronger winds, more wind damage and a larger storm surge. (As an example of how this works, we have shown that climate change has led to a dramatic increase in storm surge risk in New York City, making devastating events like Hurricane Sandy more likely.)

Finally, the more tenuous but potentially relevant climate factors: part of what has made Harvey such a devastating storm is the way it has stalled near the coast. It continues to pummel Houston and surrounding regions with a seemingly endless deluge, which will likely top out at nearly 4ft (1.22m) of rainfall over a days-long period before it is done.

The stalling is due to very weak prevailing winds, which are failing to steer the storm off to sea, allowing it to spin around and wobble back and forth. This pattern, in turn, is associated with a greatly expanded subtropical high pressure system over much of the US at the moment, with the jet stream pushed well to the north. This pattern of subtropical expansion is predicted in model simulations. "

So we see here the other contributing factor to Houston's plight is the subtropical high pressure system over much of the U.S. keeping most of the monster storm in place. But again, this should not be confused with the intensity of the storm - tied to global warming - which was estimated yesterday at 1.2 inches of precipitation per hour for Houston.

Mann  emphasized that the greenhouse effect did not cause Harvey - a point I reinforce here- but it definitely exacerbated its impact on a major metropolitan area.

Given these storm deluges will become ever more frequent, what do major cities near large bodies of water plan to do about it? What do people living there plan to do? What will the federal government do, if anything? Well, we know so long as the top arsonist Scott Pruitt is in charge of the EPA not much will be happening other than lies and distortions about climate change. Sadly, in the Trump era most population centers will pay a heavy price.

Trump himself has cocooned inside his gilded enclave and only offers tweets to the millions suffering. He will have to do much better in the days ahead, or once and for all admit he's merely a self-obsessed, egotistic asshole.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Colorado Communities Ready To 'Go To War' Against State and Frackers

A drilling rig operates in Erie in 2015.
Frack operations just outside Erie, near Denver. These wells are ruining the life quality of homeowners and destroying home values.

Little wonder now we learn (Denver Post,  Aug. 24, p. 1A)   Colorado residents are fed up  and not going to take it any more.  They are fed up with what they see as the state’s failure to protect people and the environment and are now prepared to fight fossil-fuel development inside their towns by making new rules requiring odor control, bigger setbacks and company disclosure of underground oil and gas flowlines.

They better be loaded for bear because the industry and state government are ready to fight back. As far as the state is concerned, it doesn't give a rat's ass about citizens' well being, air quality or noise pollution. It's all about grabbing oil and gas and making as much money as possible.

According to Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) lackey Dan Haley in a Denver Post interview:

The odor ordinance? We will see how that is applied in Erie.  It clearly was an effort to go after oil and gas. It will have broader impacts if it is applied aggressively.”

Referring to an odor-control measure in Erie, that allows police to hit companies with tickets for foul fumes, and which takes effect next week.

And Thornton’s latest 750-feet setback and flowline-removal rule, Haley said, is a case where “you have a City Council passing illegal regulations after a very limited stakeholder process.”

Says WHO? Why is protecting life quality and health by employing rational offsets an "illegal process"? Other states (e.g. NY) and communities (Pittsburgh) already have totally banned fracking so why not any degree of leverage here in CO?

Haley again, showing the state's and industry's true stripes:

"Oil and gas is where it is. It has been there a long time. It does not respect municipal boundaries. And while locals certainly have control over land use and some surface issues, it is best because oil and gas is of statewide interest that the state is the regulator of this industry. If you create this patchwork of rules, you will cause millions of dollars of investment to go elsewhere.”

So, in other words, if you plunk  $700,000 down for a new home and oil and gas operations commence, with rumbling noise from drilling going on all day and night, tough luck! The oil and gas was there before your home and since the state has dibs on all of it. They get to do whatever the hell they want to get it, even intruding on your living space and fouling it up.

This is a big deal. Over the past year, based on Denver Post data (Business, Aug. 20, p. 4K): about 6 in every 10 new homes started  in metro Denver carried a price tag between $400,000 and $600,000. A record low 28 percent were priced under $400,000.  And as the piece noted, "calling a $400,000 home attainable" is a stretch.  To be specific, the annual income needed to qualify for a mortgage at that price - assuming a 10 percent down payment- would be $94,000. Add on the fact that the home is usually the biggest fraction of a family's net worth can you can understand why Coloradans are peeved at oil and gas operations encroaching.

You can also understand why more citizens want to hold the state and its legislators accountable. Erie, Broomfield, Thornton and Lafayette are each developing map submission rules, with leaders saying the fatal April 17 house explosion in Firestone makes this a no-brainer.  It should! Two people were killed in that explosion because a gas well pipe was not properly shut off. .Broomfield residents also will vote on whether to change their charter to require protection of health, safety and the environment as preconditions before drilling inside city limits can be done.

According to Erie trustee, Mark Gruber:

We have statutory authority over land use. All we’re asking the industry to do is what we ask everyone else to do in our town: Show us what you’re going to build. Just tell us what is underneath the ground. How does that impact your operations?"


What is happening in this state, especially in southwest Weld County, is that municipalities are having to pass ordinances based on legal positions that they believe are firm — with the knowledge that the Colorado Oil and Gas Association or the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will take them to court. It seems like anything anybody tries to do at the local level ends up in the Supreme Court of Colorado. That’s not a cooperative, partnering environment.”

Colorado Municipal League executive director Sam Mamet is even more direct:

"What is the concern? It is citizens who are concerned about the drilling activity and everything related to it that is affecting their daily lives.   The mapping issue, sadly, has been brought to the forefront because of Firestone. The state, as well as local governments, are driven primarily by one fact only: Nobody wants to see this tragedy happen again.”

Citizens are also frustrated that Colorado lawmakers have failed to address  their concerns about underground pipelines. Legislation that would have required oil and gas companies to disclose the location of each flowline, gathering pipeline, and transmission pipeline - died. The option to even  put information out on a public website with a searchable database faced industry opposition, was dead on arrival. Meanwhile, more and more homeowners find their biggest investments rendered worthless.

Erie residents filed more than 119 complaints about odors from drilling near homes before compelling local leaders to respond. According to Monica Korber, 57, part of a group that is pushing for the mapping requirement:

"You are sitting out on your patio and – whoof – it is  like you are at a truck stop. And it is causing respiratory problems. “I’ve never had asthma before. Now I have asthma.”

She carries an inhaler and said she is hoping local police will protect residents where state officials have not. Obtaining maps of underground pipelines is crucial to prevent worse harm, she said. Adding:

We’d simply like to know what we’d possibly be exposed to if there are leaks, and we don’t want to be another Firestone,”

Will the state comply? Based on past recent history it's doubtful. In every recent case, whether trying to impose a drilling moratorium - as Longmont has - or trying to increase well offsets, the state Supreme Court has ruled for the frackers, and COGA etc.

Trump Friday Night Pardon Of Joe Arpiggo Shows He Respects No Legal Process

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"Hey! If I wanna pardon my favorite butt kisser during a Cat 4 hurricane that's my business. I'm king of this country,  yuh know!"

Let us note in passing that most criminal dictators in banana republics always pass their most odious dictates or mandates - or pardons (for fellow swine) - in the middle of the night or during catastrophes. In this sense the Swine-in-chief Trump followed suit last night in pardoning Joe Arpaio. Not only doing it while the nation was distracted by a major hurricane bearing down on Texas Gulf coast, but before the legal process itself had played out.

It is true that a presidential pardon is "absolute" but not true - as Trump will learn - that is has no consequences. In this sense, Trump has again cast presidential norms and standards aside since every other U.S. president has only used it AFTER the criminal process unfolds.  To do so pre-emptively is to circumvent the criminal justice process, to make a mockery of it. Showing once more Trump has zero respect for any institutions that would hold him in check. No, this asshole wants absolute power.

Almost as bad is the sheer cynicism of the timing: Trump using the onset of the most dangerous hurricane in 12 years to unveil the pardon of ex-Sherriff Joe Arpaio, and in so doing very clearly flouting the criminal justice process.  It sends a message to sheriffs and law enforcement officials - who may be found in violation of laws by judges - Trump has you back if said violations are about cracking down on immigrants.

So two things to understand:

- Formally his pardon is constitutional in the sense in the sense the Constitution gives a president this unilateral power. But that power was granted under the expectation it would be used with discretion - not as a "gift" to a butt kisser. (Arpaio was one of Drumpf's biggest cheerleaders and ass kissers during the '16 campaign.)

- Hence, given the latter part of the above is true, it is deliberately undermining the law itself in the sense that deploying the pardon power to side with a local sheriff over a judge - before the criminal justice process is even complete -  undermines the particular law being enforced.

Former White House Counsel Bob Bauer observed last night, after the pardon:

"It's constitutional in one sense but it will turn out to be very consequential in another. It is not a free pass for him.  

As for whether the formal pardon review process was followed, there is no indication of that at all. There is no indication in his statement, for example, that he had a recommendation from the Department of Justice.

It is also highly abnormal he reviewed the ground for pardon at a political rally, talking about this pardon as an act that should be 'particularly  interesting to the 'people in this room'. From there all the way to the release this evening I can't remember any exercise of the pardon power that is anything like this."

More worrisome, Bauer noted Trump may be communicating to prosecutors - using this pardon - that he isn't bothered by potential indictments - say for obstruction of justice. But as Bauer also pointed out, this "will not serve him well" when Bob Mueller and others are contemplating his motives.

In other words, assorted scofflaws across the nation, those who prize bending and breaking the law using badges - as well as inveterate Trumpies - will no doubt be delirious at Trump's pardon. For the rest of us it is another nail in the coffin of our democracy or what's left of it. The moral of the story in this case is just because pardon power is designated "absolute" doesn't mean it can never be abused - and Trump has emphatically abused his.

See also this essay on why Trump's pardon may precipitate a constitutional crisis:


"Here is the most logical way to view his pardon of Sheriff Arpaio: It is the latest and gravest step he has taken in his continuing efforts to undermine the rule of law. Obviously Trump delighted in fueling the racism of Arpaio’s supporters by pardoning this convicted criminal — he made that clear earlier this week during his repellent speech in Phoenix. But I am certain that is not the main reason for this heinous act.

For many weeks, Washington has been swirling with rumors that Mueller already has secured the cooperation of Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort in his investigation of the president. And Trump undoubtedly is more vulnerable to the testimony of these two men than he is to that of any other players in this fearful drama. Therefore, Trump must feel compelled to send this message through Arpaio’s pardon: The president is eager and willing to do the same thing for anyone who might be pressured into testifying against him."

Friday, August 25, 2017

Surprise! Physics Profs & Students Prefer Paper Textbooks To E-books

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The article in the current issue of Physics Today ('In The Digital Age, Physics Students And Professors Prefer Paper Textbooks', August, p. 30) really should have come as no surprise to most of us who have either taken advanced physics courses or taught physics.  Paper texts, after all, can easily be marked - including notes left in the margins, and problems partially worked out at the end of chapters.  One can also more rapidly recall a place in a paper text and flick pages in seconds to get there without having to resize screen dimensions etc. or deal with glitches on the text provider's website (One prof, Peter Shawhan,  from Univ. of Maryland - College Park advises all his students to get the paper textbook because it is "easier to navigate").

Of course, e-books are cheaper and that's a huge advantage. The author of the article , Melinda Baldwin, cites the textbook Physics for Scientists and Engineers  with Modern Physics by Douglas Giancoli, which sells for $326.00 compared to the e-text version at $115. 00. Plus, there's not that huge weight to have to lug.  (The paper textbook referenced  weighs in at 6.5 pounds with more than 1300 pages).   This is standard cost for most e -texts is roughly one third or one half the cost of spanking new physics text books.

But look further and you will also see the problems, including the issue of digital rights management, copyright etc.  Many e-texts, for example, can only be downloaded once and cannot be copied to a second device - say from a laptop to smart phone.  This applies as well to all those who have legally purchased the e-text.  Academic publishers may also require students to download proprietary software or apps to use their e-books. Others do not allow downloads at all, instead asking students to create an account on a website and then read the e-book in a browser window while on the internet. No taking the book with you to study anyplace.

Profs cited in the piece stated that the e-text restrictions "are often inconvenient for students and faculty members" who express frustration the books can't just be downloaded to laptops. By contrast, paper texts are totally portable (though heavy) so beat the e-books every time in the 'less hassle' category.

There are also other reasons paper textbooks are still king, according to Caroline Myrberg, an electronic resources librarian at the Jarolinska Institute in Stockholm. According to her (ibid.)

"Books have a static layout. Something that you read at the top on the left hand side will always be at the top on the left hand side, and that aids the memory"

Still, she notes that training and familiarity may be another key to reading preferences of both faculty and students. And Myrberg has shown that "readers who routinely use e-books retain information just as well as when they read print books.."

She adds:

"As long as reading on paper is the default for schools, it will be the default for schools".

Interestingly, a 2014 University of Kansas survey found that the physics and astronomy department had one of the lowest rates of e-textbook adoption at the school. More than 80 percent of physics students and faculty members prefer physical textbooks to electronic ones.

As for yours truly, I still have nearly every physics and astronomy textbook I have ever used, dating back to 1966. These include texts used in courses as well as those I used for teaching courses, such as Hugh Young's Fundamentals of Mechanics and Heat', e.g.

Also the superb textbook 'Spherical and Practical Astronomy' co-authored by the late Heinrich K. Eichhorn who used to be the chairman of the Dept. Of Astronomy at the University of South Florida
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These and other paper textbooks occupy proud places in my library and I make no apologies for preferring paper texts over e-books. Nothing can compare to the exhilaration of being able to select an old physics or astronomy text off the shelf, open its pages and feel the texture of the pages as one thumbs through and reads the words of masters - such as those of Martin Schwarzschiild in his 'Structure and Evolution of the Stars'.   Flicking through actual physical pages, and then reading segments, not only brings back memories (including of meeting Schwarzschiild at a conference in 1984) as well as reinforcing the continuity and endurance of paper texts.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Holman Jenkins Dismisses U.S. Nazis As "Mere Losers" - Why He's Not Credible

According to the WSJ's Holman Jenkins Jr., real Nazis who subscribe to Nazi ideals and memes don't exist in the U. S. of A. They are all simply run of the mill "losers".  As he writes in a piece from yesterday ('The Great Nazi Scare of 2017', p. A13), referring to the thousands of protesters in Boston last weekend who came out to oppose neo-Nazis, white supremacists:

":Leftists imagined themselves to be modern day versions of the Czech resistance or the Warsaw uprising, but it turns out they were the majoritarian mob shouting down a handful of losers who've been an execrable but small part of the American pageant for as long as most of us can remember."

Actually, little Holman suffers evidently from some memory lapses, or maybe just convenient omissions. First, the pro-Nazi side wasn't always merely a "small" or non-influential sector, but the German-American Bund and its nefarious networks probably came before Jenkins'  time.  So we give him a minor pass there. As for the "leftists" in Boston, he commits the fallacy of composition - attributing to the whole an attribute peculiar only to a minority. In fact, the majority of his "majoritarian mob" were simply ordinary citizens out to voice their protests against a noisome group. They were not card carrying members (like I am) of the Democratic Socialists Of America.

These people expressing their outrage did not fancy themselves part of any "Czech Resistance" (Google "Prague Spring of 1968") but rather American citizens out to voice their first amendment rights -which Holman seems to believe must only be exercised in the event of a monster scale rally on the other side. Maybe 100,000? I am not sure, but Jenkins' dismissive tone suggests he wants no protests unless the side protested against is an immense, immediate dire threat.  As he put it:

"The meeting ended early, the speakers were all drowned out. Nazis and white supremacists, if any were present,  were shown to be vastly outnumbered by Americans who reject such doctrines;"

Well at least here he properly cited "Americans" and not "leftists". But, of course, he's still a foolish twit. Waiting to protest until the vermin side metastasizes  to thousands is the error most Germans made in the early 1930s.  They laughed and hurled jibes about the "fools" marching in the streets causing trouble with Hitler, and never imagined that ten years later they'd hold power. OR, that these same riff raff would - in that power- use the very laws of Nuremberg democracy to destroy that democracy, via the Enabling Act.

And lest too many forget or were never aware, Hitler's National Socialist rabble began with only about twenty or so in a Munich Beer Hall.  This according to Konrad Heiden in 'The Fuhrer'.   As my late friend (and former Hitler Youth - by coercion)  Kurt Braun used to say: "Never, EVER, get complacent about a few Nazis!"   That was in 1978, in Frankfurt - while visiting Kurt and his wife, Ute. We were also shown archival films of how the Nazis and Adolf Hitler came to power. But to dolts like the WSJ's Jenkins we are "over reacting to Nazis" if thousands protest "against just a few"  - like in Boston last weekend.

This shtick is not new. If the Right can't win the narrative, say to come out directly against their more extremist sidekicks, they dismiss the threat of those extremists - to try and make it appear as though any opposition is foolish, over reacting and bordering on hysteria.   This is the sort of screwball premise Jenkins used in his piece to actually end up concluding it was the "minority" Nazis and white supremacists who needed protection against the "Majoritarian Mob".  But as Kurt would have said, if he was still alive observing events, "Would that such a majoritarian mob had shouted down the Nazis while still in their infancy in Germany!"

Well, yes, but we already know how that German history turned out when too many stood by, merely laughed at the jokesters wearing swastikas and did nothing. Even by the time the German capitalists like Krupp had tossed their lot behind Hitler, they still believed in their heart of hearts they could control him - after he became Chancellor. They had no remote conception that he'd use their own parliamentarian rules to destroy German democracy leading to a one party state.

"Oh, but that can't happen here! It's different!"

Those like Jenkins'-  and other pundits who seek to minimize the Nazi -white supremacist threat- would love for most people to buy into this codswallop. But the lessons of Germany in the 1930s disclose we'd be better off adhering to the maxim that "the price of liberty is eternal vigilance". Also, Jenkins and his allies appear to forget our present day, home grown Nazis already have a leg up on their German forbears. That is, they already have a friendly force occupying the peak of power, even controlling the nuclear codes.

We've also since learned how the neo-Nazis and other racist scum networked using the web (WSJ, Aug, 17, p. A1)  to mobilize the disaffected angry young whites (mainly males) including "white nationalists, neo-Nazis and defenders of Southern heritage"  to "maximize their opportunity to get their point of view across".   The Nazis cited in the piece also made it clear they no longer aspire merely to more marches and rallies but policy changes.  These could include everything from limiting immigration, especially of Mexicans and Muslims, to building a border wall using taxpayer money, to fielding a new "security" arm similar to the Nazi Gestapo.  Bottom line, as long as even ten thousand Nazis aspire to policy governance we can't relax. Hell, so long as ten aspire to such governance it is folly to let our guard down.

I'd go so far as to argue a version of Dick Cheney's "one percent doctrine" is applicable to the home grown Nazi terrorists. Recall that doctrine asserted if there is even a one percent chance of Pakistan helping Al Qaeda get a nuclear weapon the U.S. had to go all out to stop them. In the new incarnation, if there is even a one percent chance the U.S. Nazis and white supremacists can enlist Trump to help advance their agenda we citizens must go all out to stop it. That means assembling for a massive protest even if only ten neo-Nazis are speaking in a park. Nothing less will do, certainly so long as their enabler fouls the White House. (See the article link at very end.)

Jenkins wrote (ibid.):

"Majoritarian violence is the predominant risk even when its targets are people otherwise impossible to sympathize with".

He then proceeded to use mealy-mouthed lingo to try to paint events in Charlottesville in a less defined form, i.e. "first reports are unreliable", "manipulating news-related symbols in way that pleasure their target audiences" etc. - in other words seeking to support Trump's narrative that violence was equal and occurred on "many sides".   In Jenkins' later words:

"For the record, Donald Trump's press conference is available in its entirety online and takes 23 minutes to watch. He did not fail to denounce Nazis and racists"

Yeah, but he diluted the impact by including "on many sides".  Also, he earned the cheers of the same Alt-Right bunch who dismissed his words being aimed seriously at them.  See e.g. Richard Spencer's reaction here:

Make no mistake these riff raff already have a pal in the WH and they know it. This is why we can't go lightly or ignore the home grown Nazis so long as Trump occupies the Oval Office.

See also:


"The slide towards bleak historical periods can be difficult to recognize in the moment — often it only seems obvious in retrospect. But it’s hard to miss in the U.S. in this early part of the 21st century.

Dangerous signs are everywhere. In the New Yorker, Robin Wright writes of a coming Civil War. Holocaust survivors are issuing warnings about the similarities of this period to the rise of the Nazi era.

While no two events are the same, there are lessons and events in history that can be used to shine a light on the present. Those lights, if we choose to follow them, can guide us to avoid the tragic errors of the past"

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Colorado Springs Succeeds In Barring Neo-Nazis & Racists From Holding Resort Conference

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Some of the neo-Nazi swine who had planned to attend a conference in the Springs early next year. Now it's cancelled, thanks to aroused and energized citizens.

As John 'Hannibal' Smith from the A-Team (TV series)  used to say: "Isn't it great when a plan comes together?"  In the current case, the plan was to bar all the neo-Nazis, proto-Confederates and their VDARE White Supremacist ilk from attending a conference in April next year.  We first learned about these plans in a Colorado Springs Independent notice (Aug. 16-22, 'White Supremacists Headed For Springs Resort', p. 14), wherein VDARE invites racists and Nazis to "Join us for a weekend of candor, fellowship and our top notch speakers to celebrate a weekend of white identity".

But many COS citizens took note and vowed "No way!".  Especially after the brutal violence on display in Charlottesville, aroused citizens came together and pressed - using the threat of boycott - for the Cheyenne Mountain Resort to call it off. Thankfully, based on news in the Colorado Springs Gazette (and Denver Post) two days ago, the Resort has complied..

Now we don't have to deal with the Nazi filth and their Confederate allies mucking up our streets and defiling our town and citizens.   The murder of Heather Heyer in the Charlottesville conflict definitely set things off but that wasn't the only thing.

We'd also since learned how the neo-Nazis and other racist scum networked using the web (WSJ, Aug, 17, p. A1)  to mobilize the disaffected angry young whites (mainly males) including "white nationalists, neo-Nazis and defenders of Southern heritage"  to "maximize their opportunity to get their point of view across".  While dopes like Holman Jenkins, Michelle Malkin and other trolls have sought to minimize the Nazi -fascist threat, the WSJ piece makes it clear these assholes could number in the tens of thousands  For historical reference, when Hitler launched his agenda he commanded barely 100 S.A. thugs As my late friend (and former Hitler Youth - by coercion)  Kurt Braun used to say: "Never, EVER, get complacent about a few Nazis!"  But dolts like the WSJ's Jenkins insist we are "over reacting to Nazis" if thousands protest "against just a few"  - like in Boston last weekend. Clearly, Jenkins doesn't know history if it bit him in the ass.

Well the Nazis will not darken doors or streets, in our fair city anyway, especially also after a number of hate crimes reported in the local papers.  In one such desecration, Temple Beit Torah - a Jewish reform synagogue - was targeted with anti-Semitic graffiti. This included a swastika as well as Nazi salute (though misspelled "Sig heil") on the Temple sign.  In another incident, the N-word was scrawled in ugly letters across a neighbor's motor vehicle.

These incidents, combined with the report of the true facts (COS Indy, Aug 16-22, p. 6) on what transpired in Charlottesville, led the town's activated citizenry to see red. In the last case we learned  how white supremacists and Nazis with helmets - some with homemade shields bearing the insignia of the racist group Vanguard America - waylaid innocent counter protesters.  Then:

"After a swirl of violence and swinging sticks, three of the counter protesters were left with bloody faces - and the racists deliberately targeted women's faces with their sticks"

It was only at that point, including seeing the maggots spray mace on female protesters' faces, that ANTIFA realized it had to act. Hence, they realized the need to defend weaker protesters against the racist rabble, including becoming more aggressive to stop the Nazi onslaught. (Battles described as "brutal, bloody and chaotic") A newspaper photo of a racist beating a non-violent Antifa protester is shown below (from COS Indy):

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To those who yelped in the aftermath "both sides were violent". Well yeah, as in WW II BOTH sides were violent! Allies vs. Nazis, BUT only one side were the good guys!

ANTIFA also (on Saturday) defended African-Americans singing "This Little Light of Mine" in Emancipation Park and also "burned right wing flags".   B y 1:35 p.m. they felt they driven the racists out of town, but then five minutes later James Fields committed his domestic act of terror, killing Heather Heyer.

Witnessing the hard core antics and rhetoric of the white supremacists and Nazis on the new VICE episode, e.g.

sealed it and sealed the fate of whatever "conference" these brigands had planned in April next year. By early this week, Cheyenne Mountain Resort called it off.  Read more here:

See also:


"On May 10th of this year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI issued a Joint Intelligence Bulletin titled "White Supremacist Extremism Poses Persistent Threat of Lethal Violence." The report aimed "to provide new insight into the targeting preferences of white supremacist extremists and the state of white supremacist extremism violence in the United States." Based on an assessment of white extremist violence between the years 2000 to 2016, the report declared that "lone actors and small cells within the white supremacist extremist (WSE) movement likely will continue to pose a threat of lethal violence over the next year.

What the report did not anticipate were "United the Right" rallies like the one in Charlottesville, Virginia, where many tentacles of the white nationalist movement held a well-organized, violent and coordinated display of strength.

Rallies of white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, militia members, alt-right supporters, and neo-Nazis, similar to the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which resulted in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, and the injuring of nearly two dozen other counter-protesters, will almost assuredly be coming to your town or a town near you."