…to be clear [DOT 2/11/21]

words mean things...

…I know it’s a bit daft to be out here moaning about things people do to torture language while throwing ellipses around with unwarranted abandon & failing to appropriately capitalize stuff on a regular basis…but…well…I’m gonna do it anyway & short of a sudden rush of volunteers to concoct something to sit between the title & the comments on the DOT posts…yeah…there’s not a whole lot to be done about that…though I’d argue that perhaps there ought to be…of which more, anon

The defining choice facing leaders in Glasgow this week at Cop26 is whether to sugar-coat reality or be honest about the climate emergency, and demand the action that will be necessary to confront it. If we are to have any chance of preventing catastrophe, we must choose truth and candour.

The most important truth is the maths. For all the millions of words spilled about this summit, not enough has been done to spell out its central task. Many leaders say we need to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, but few say out loud what that means.

We know from the UN’s figures that after the Paris accord of 2015, the world was heading for something like 53 billion tonnes of emissions in 2030. To keep global heating in line with 1.5C degrees, we need to cut emissions to 25 billion tonnes by then. There is an emissions gap of 28bn tonnes to be cut in this decisive decade. These numbers should be in the minds of everyone who cares about our planet’s future.

The world has taken important strides forward in recent years. But the unfortunate reality is that the pledges made in advance of Cop26 amount to a cut of just 4bn tonnes. This leaves an aching emissions gap within which climate catastrophe would occur – putting us on track to a devastating 2.7C. This maths matters more than anything, and should shape our response to what countries announce at Glasgow. According to the respected Climate Action Tracker, no G20 country is doing enough.
We are all desperate for success over the next fortnight. But as we approach this crucial summit, those of us who are not in government have one power those in office will find it hard to fully embrace: the power to tell the truth about our progress in this decisive decade, however uncomfortable that may be.


…that effort from the guardian is written by (or at least delivered under the name of) ed milliband…who has a brother many people consider more charismatic but who he defeated in an ultimately successful bid to be leader of the labour party that put him in the opposition benches through dave cameron’s spectacular shitshow of hubris…so while he makes some fairly sound points about some things we ought to consider urgent & how the things that are said about them by those in power are often a lot of mutually approved commitments filed under “more honoured in the breach

[…so this part may not make a heap of sense if you didn’t click that last link…but the thing about that phrase is that it’s a quote from shakespeare…& the meaning we commonly attribute to it(…indeed the meaning I’m going with there)…is in fact pretty much the opposite of the meaning it originally held in the text…true story…so…anyway]

…the not-being-in-power part might give ed there more of a free hand to say some stuff more honestly than…say…boris is likely to…but…there’s still a reason that the guardian ran an article with that byline…& it isn’t because the guy is a world-renowned climate scientist…as it happens he’s “shadow minister for business, energy & industry”…while boris’ “international environment minster” would be one zac goldsmith…& the guardian also ran something under his name

This morning, at the all-important Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow, the prime minister is urging world leaders to commit to take radical action to reverse the catastrophic degradation of the world’s forests. It is hard to exaggerate the importance of what he is asking.

Put simply, there is no credible response to the climate crisis – or to so many of the biggest challenges we face – that does not involve protecting and restoring nature on a massive scale.

That shouldn’t need saying, but modern industrial society is only just beginning to comprehend, let alone internalise, what indigenous peoples have always known: our lives and economies, our cultures and identities, are indivisibly connected with the natural world.
On their own, such declarations are not enough, but we have also mobilised unprecedented finance commitments – $19.2bn, including $12bn from governments, for our global forest finance pledge, at least $7.2bn of private investment and billions of dollars from philanthropists.
And we have pressed the big multilateral development banks, including the World Bank, to commit not only to aligning their policies with the Paris goals, but to reconciling their entire portfolios with nature. It is right to insist that the public money we invest through them should support the public good, not undermine it.

Currently, incentives in favour of destroying forests outstrip incentives to protect them by 40 to 1. So we are using every lever we have to increase investment from all sources – public, private and philanthropic – to shift those incentives towards renewal.
Finally, if we want to protect and restore nature at scale, we need to back the indigenous communities that have defended their forest homes for generations, without meaningful support or recognition and often in the face of chronic danger. Indigenous people’s lands are home to more than a third of the world’s intact forest landscapes and almost a quarter of the carbon stored in the world’s tropical forests. And today, we have secured $1.7bn to help those communities secure tenure of the land that is by rights already theirs.

Of course, we know well that promises are only valuable in so far as they are honoured, and that the gap between where we are now and where we need to be by the end of this decade is vast. So in the weeks, months and years ahead, the UK will do everything we can to maintain momentum, inject real accountability and catalyse action. But combined, the commitments to protect the world’s forests made at Cop26 in Glasgow today go far, far beyond anything we have seen before, and represent the turning point we urgently need for our forests, and by extension for our shared future.


…& then wrote some more about it

Saving the world’s forests will be one of the cornerstone achievements of the Cop26 climate summit, the UK environment minister Zac Goldsmith has said, with some of the biggest forested nations and consumers of forestry products signing up to an “unprecedented” conservation deal.

On Tuesday, more than 100 world leaders will commit to halting and reversing deforestation and land degradation by 2030, backed by nearly £14bn in public and private funding. Major producers and consumers of deforestation-linked commodities including Indonesia, China, Brazil and the US have put their name to the deal, which aims to curtail the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.
“The different parts of the package are mutually reinforcing,” said Goldsmith. “We are sending a very serious signal to the markets, we have a good pledge from buyers. The market has been blind to the value of the environment … The [current economic] incentives to deforest are 40 times bigger than the incentives to keep healthy forests, so changing that is difficult.”
“There are some surprising countries in there, and this is a pretty bullish pledge,” said the Conservative peer, though he declined to name any countries. “We have managed to persuade some of the trickier customers to come on board.”

…which no doubt sounds…promising…promising seems like a good word for it…because at the end of the day most of it boils down to promises…& in a world that relies as heavily as we do on currency we probably ought not to underestimate what can be accomplished in the name of a promise that is believed…though…again…not exactly a climate scientist

Goldsmith, son of the late billionaire financier Sir James Goldsmith, has long been a notable environmentalist, a former owner of the Ecologist magazine and a campaigner and philanthropist for conservation projects. His political career as an MP, which included a campaign running against Labour’s Sadiq Khan to be London mayor that was marred by accusations of Islamophobia, was ended by defeat in the 2019 election. Soon afterwards he was put in the Lords, controversially, by Boris Johnson. He was charged by Johnson, an old friend and fellow old Etonian, with what he said was a personal passion for protecting nature and combating the loss of species and habitats.


…& unprecedented is a term that comes up a lot in relation to the climate thing…but…while we’re somewhere in the vicinity of talking about precedents

With its two swimming pools, organic farm and private woodland, it may have seemed the ideal place to escape for a prime minister hoping to get away from it all.

But the sprawling Marbella estate where Boris Johnson ha[d] been staying this week [in October] may be an awkward reminder of the questions he faced – and managed to avoid – in the wake of the Pandora papers revelations last week.

Documents seen by the Guardian indicate the luxurious villa, lent to him by environment minister Zac Goldsmith, has been held by an opaque offshore structure based in multiple tax havens.

The papers suggest the minister and his family may have owned the property through a Maltese company held by companies in the Turks and Caicos Islands and administered by a wealth planning firm based in Switzerland.

Goldsmith refused to answer questions about the arrangements, though his spokesperson did not issue a denial.
The documents also raise questions about whether Goldsmith, a senior government minister who was appointed by Johnson to the House of Lords in 2019, holds valuable and income-generating assets offshore.


…so…to be honest the people trying to give boris grief about flying back to london when he leaves glasgow are kind of missing the forest for the trees…& although I dare say that zac might very well believe a lot of what he says in that article…I can’t shake the feeling that he also happens to have a lifetime’s experience in saying approximately the right things about the environment while doing-very-nicely-thank-you-very-much from “the way things work” among folks who are about as far removed from a chronically endangered indigenous people as it is possible to be…& stark as much of the rhetoric spouted by various leaders (before they all head home & leave the negotiators to try to figure out how to have something to show for the conference) may have been

‘We are digging our own graves’: world leaders’ powerful words at Cop26 [Guardian]

…I can’t shake the feeling that we’ve known all this stuff for years…decades even…&…well…more honoured in the breach than the observance & all that sort of thing…& it’s not as though “most people” haven’t got the message

Most people, everywhere: the biggest ever opinion poll on climate change, for the UN Development Programme, found two-thirds saying it is a “global emergency”. Across 50 countries, a majority in every one agreed. Both the young and the old agreed: 69% of those aged 14-18 and 58% of those over 60, indicating there is not a huge generational divide.


…& yet…here we are…in a situation where even if all these nations actually were on course to achieve the commitments made thus far…which they pretty much universally aren’t

If the world’s nations keep all the promises to cut carbon emissions they made under the 2015 Paris agreement, temperatures will still rise by around 2.7 degrees Celsius (nearly 5 degrees Fahrenheit) by the year 2100, U.N. scientists estimate. That is better than the 4 degrees Celsius once projected — emissions in the United States, Europe and Japan have fallen somewhat — but still well beyond the disaster threshold. As it is, even those commitments are not being met so far.

The smart money on climate seems to be barely mitigated doom [WaPo]

…they still add up to falling short of where we need to get

It’s time to acknowledge a difficult truth: our democracies are failing us on the climate crisis. As world leaders prepare for the crucial Glasgow summit this weekend, rhetorical commitments abound. But no government has a plan compatible with the goal that they have all agreed is critical to our collective future: limiting global average temperature rises to 1.5C. In some democracies, such as the UK, there is at least a consensus that something must be done; in others, such as Australia, Canada and the US, political debate rages over the most fundamental questions. Faced with a problem of these proportions, some are running out of patience. The veteran Earth scientist James Lovelock puts his faith in eco-authoritarianism. Climate change is so severe, he has said, that “it may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while”.
Yet proposals for some sort of eco-authoritarianism raise more questions than they answer. How, exactly, do we move beyond democracy? Who appoints the experts? Scientists may have evidence at their disposal, but how would they make deeply social decisions about who wins and who loses? Under whose authority would they regulate, and how exactly would that regulation happen – how would laws be made? The best that can be said about these proposals is that they gloss over the complex realities of political, social and legal change.
My experience leads me to a very different conclusion to that of the eco-authoritarians. The data just doesn’t support the picture of an uncaring or uninformed public. Research consistently shows high levels of concern about climate change, across different ages, demographic groups and parts of the world. Yet this concern is coupled with a deep mistrust in government and political elites, and a breakdown in the means by which people’s priorities are translated into political action. To generalise, we have a population that is cynical yet concerned about the climate, frustrated with the inability of politicians to act decisively in the face of growing climate impacts.

Could it be that the problem here is not too much democracy, but too little? What if we were to begin with the assumption that people can and do make sensible decisions if they have the evidence and the influence that they need? That if we designed a meaningful dialogue between citizens, experts and governments, we would get better outcomes?
What is necessary, then, is not to dispense with democracy, but to double down on it. Seeing climate change not as something that can be solved by experts, nor through individual sacrifices – but by the negotiation of a new sort of social contract between people and the state. The novelist Amitav Ghosh refers to our current climate predicament as a “great derangement”, a collective reluctance to face up to the reality of how the crisis will affect our lives. Pretending that we can bypass people and democracy is, to my mind, the ultimate derangement.


…& I don’t know about you…but when people tell me about how a better way to go involves letting “the market” incentivize itself…I don’t feel like that’s particularly done a better job than the politicians in terms of past form

How will this age be remembered? After the stone age, the bronze age, the steam age and the information age, what material or innovation will most define the current era? According to a new exhibition at the Design Museum, the most ubiquitous hallmark of the Anthropocene is not a gamechanging material, nor the mastery of technology. It’s trash.

“We are arguably living in the waste age,” says Justin McGuirk, the London museum’s chief curator, who has spent the last three years rifling through rubbish with co-curator Gemma Curtin to put together this timely show. “The production of waste is absolutely central to our way of life, a fundamental part of how the global economy operates. We wanted to show how design is deeply complicit in the waste problem – and also best placed to address it.”

Opening on the eve of the Cop26 climate summit, Waste Age is a powerful wake-up call, not so much to consumers, but to the manufacturers, retailers and, most crucially, government regulators. It is not intended to be a slap around the face for buying that takeaway coffee on your way to the museum, or forgetting your cotton tote bag yet again, but an eye-opening look at the sheer scale of the issue, and the people working on ingenious solutions.

The exhibition begins with a useful reminder that we didn’t get here by accident. Humans are not inherently wasteful creatures. Throwaway culture was something we had to learn – indeed, it was a lifestyle choice, marketed from the mid-20th century onwards as a decadent release, following the austerity of wartime. It was the intentional opposite of “make do and mend”. One advert from the 1960s extolls the wonders of the new-fangled polystyrene cup: “New and very in! The party ‘glass’ you just enjoy … and throw away.” It hangs next to a plastic carrier bag from the 1980s, printed with descriptions of its many advantages over paper. Little did we know that, four decades later, the world would be consuming more than a million plastic bags a minute.

Generating waste, the curators argue, has long been a primary engine of the economy. The history of the lightbulb is an illuminating case in point. In the 1920s, bulbs were so long-lasting that they were deemed commercially unviable. General Electric, Philips and others formed the Phoebus cartel in 1924 to standardise the life expectancy of lightbulbs at 1,000 hours – down from the previous 2,500 hours. And so the culture of planned obsolescence was born. Almost a century later, similar practices continue: last year Apple agreed to pay up to $500m, after it was accused of deliberately slowing down older phone models to encourage consumers to buy the latest handsets.
“In many ways ‘waste’ is a category error,” says McGuirk. “It’s often perfectly good material that’s simply undervalued.” The exhibition includes designers who are already working on what a future of “above-ground mining” might look like, exploring how objects and buildings can be dismantled and their parts reused. There is the work of pioneering Belgian group Rotor, a team of architects who set up a demolition company to carefully remove materials and components from buildings slated for the wrecking ball.


…but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised…I mean, I took that header image from what I still think of as one of my favorite calvin & hobbes strips

…but honestly it’s getting harder to see the funny side

Only Boris just cannot do serious. He needs the attention. He needs the laughs. So he started what should have been a plea to world leaders to put aside their self-interest and work constructively together with a reference to James Bond. If he’d stopped at that, he might have got away with it. But Bertie Booster is compulsively needy. So the rest of his short speech was peppered with bad gags. Cows farting. Boris possibly still being prime minister in 2060 when he’s 94. Further references to not everyone being able to look like James Bond.

All of which was met with silence by the world leaders assembled in the marquee. And the quieter it got, the more desperate Johnson became. You could see the flashes of panic in his eyes. Which isn’t to say there wasn’t some good material in between the attempted laughs. There was an acknowledgment that the world was now in the last chance saloon and that children wouldn’t forgive the attenders in Glasgow if they blew it. That more ‘blah, blah, blah’ – Greta Thunberg TM – wouldn’t cut it. That action was needed now to save humanity.

“We can do it,” said Bertie Booster. And we can. Only you could tell from the response – or lack of it – that everyone was wondering if Johnson was the man to lead us to the carbon-neutral promised land. Boris had yet again misjudged his audience. They had come for gravitas and he was just too lightweight, too flippant, too obviously amoral for not just the most serious but also the only game in town.

If you’re after a good time vibe with nothing much at stake, then Boris is your man. When the stakes are this high, then not so much. Prince Charles even appeared to be checking his phone during Boris’s speech. Because at heart Bertie Booster is just another self-interested chancer. He can’t even talk the talk, let alone walk the walk. His budget last week – and it was his more than Brand Rishi’s – didn’t once mention the climate crisis. Indeed he even cut air passenger duty. Not to mention reopening coalmines.


…I won’t bore you with all the crap going on between the UK & (mostly) france about fishing rights but suffice it to say that “getting brexit done” continues to go swimmingly

Armed and masked men hijacked and set fire to a double-decker bus at dawn on Monday, fuelling fears of a fresh wave of Brexit-related violence in Northern Ireland.
BBC Northern Ireland reported claims from loyalists that they had carried out the attack to mark the passing of the 1 November deadline set by the DUP for walking out of the Stormont executive unless major changes to the Northern Ireland protocol had been secured.

Stormont’s infrastructure minister, Nichola Mallon, said two masked men “muttered something about the protocol” as they held the driver at gunpoint.


…& shows no signs of having precipitated any of the sort of dangerous instability in the region that has repeatedly been considered grounds to put troops on the ground in various bits of the world

The international community’s chief representative in Bosnia has warned that the country is in imminent danger of breaking apart, and there is a “very real” prospect of a return to conflict.

In a report to the UN seen by the Guardian, Christian Schmidt, the high representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, said that if Serb separatists carry out their threat to recreate their own army, splitting the national armed forces in two, more international peacekeepers would have to be sent back in to stop the slide towards a new war.
In his first report since taking up the post in August, Schmidt, a former German government minister, warned that Bosnia was facing “the greatest existential threat of the postwar period”.


…anyway…despite how it looks so far I haven’t just been looking at the guardian…& while it’s not just the climate stuff that seems to be taking its lead from that strip when it comes to making language an impediment to understanding…it seems fair to say that it’s never been more true that the devil’s in the details

The compromise, which would allow Medicare to negotiate some prescription drug prices but significantly scale back Democrats’ earlier ambitions, comes after the White House abandoned a drug-pricing initiative in its social-spending package after acknowledging it lacked the votes. That decision last week prompted a barrage of complaints from patient advocates and liberal Democrats, who argued the party was ditching a key promise to voters and setting itself up for disaster in next year’s midterm elections.
But Sinema and Peters have remained noncommittal, frustrating leaders who had originally envisioned a much more expansive package that would have required the federal government to negotiate the prices of at least 50 drugs per year and penalize manufacturers that refused to comply. That package, known as H.R. 3, was passed by House Democrats in the last Congress and embraced by President Biden this year.

Sinema’s and Peters’s offices did not respond to specific questions about the proposals.


Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia raised new doubts on Monday about an emerging compromise on a $1.85 trillion climate change and social safety net bill, warning that he had serious reservations about the plan and criticizing liberals in his party for what he called an “all or nothing” stance on it.

Mr. Manchin’s broadside, delivered during an appearance in the Capitol, threatened to upend the Democratic Party’s ambitions to vote this week on President Biden’s top two legislative priorities, even as lawmakers were gathering for what was supposed to be a momentous week for the president’s ambitious domestic agenda.

It came as congressional negotiators were closing in on a final deal on the social policy and climate legislation, which progressives have called a prerequisite to supporting a separate, $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.
But Mr. Manchin may well have upset the final push toward passage this week. The substance of his remarks was not considerable; he has raised concerns for months about the fiscal and economic impact of the social policy bill, and other lawmakers have echoed his desire to see its full text and official cost before supporting it. It also reflected similar requests from some House lawmakers, who are set to vote first on the broader social policy bill.

But Mr. Manchin’s tone revived some fears among House Democrats that his vote might not be winnable. Democrats have shrunk their proposal considerably — from $3.5 trillion to about half that size — largely to win his support and that of Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, another centrist holdout.

Manchin Raises Doubts on Safety Net Bill, Complicating Path to Quick Vote [NYT]

…& where the language thing is concerned…the supreme court might be leading the field?

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to decide whether the public has at least a limited right to review the decisions of a largely secret federal surveillance court whose influence has been growing.

The justices turned down a request from the American Civil Liberties Union and others to review a ruling that denied access to decisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). That court said it lacked authority even to consider a public claim under the First Amendment to its secret decision-making.
Privacy advocates have criticized the court as a rubber stamp, because judges hear only the government’s request. Most subjects never know they are targets or what the government told the judge. In 2019, for instance, judges approved 952 applications in whole or with modifications, while denying 58 in whole or in part.
Besides other free-speech advocates, the ACLU’s challenge was supported by news organizations, including The Washington Post, and some former high-level national security experts.
“The basic, longstanding premise of public access to judicial opinions does not cease to apply merely because the judicial opinions of the FISC relate to surveillance, intelligence, and national security,” they wrote.

In a short dissent, Gorsuch said they had a point.

The government makes “the extraordinary claim that this Court is powerless to review the lower court decisions even if they are mistaken,” he wrote in an opinion joined by Sotomayor. “On the government’s view, literally no court in this country has the power to decide whether citizens possess a First Amendment right of access to the work of our national security courts.”


After almost three hours of lively arguments on Monday at the Supreme Court, a majority of the justices seemed inclined to allow abortion providers — but perhaps not the Biden administration — to pursue a federal court challenge to a Texas law that has sharply curtailed abortions in the state.
A decision to allow a challenge would not conclude the case or address whether the law itself is constitutional. Instead, it would return the case to lower federal courts for further proceedings. Moreover, it was not clear whether, if the court allowed either the providers or the administration to sue, it would temporarily block the law while the case moved forward.

The law, which went into effect on Sept. 1, was drafted to evade review in federal court, a goal the state has so far achieved.[…]

There is little question that the ban itself is unconstitutional under two key Supreme Court precedents, Roe v. Wade in 1973 and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992. Those rulings prohibited states from barring abortions before fetal viability, or about 23 weeks.

The question for the justices was whether abortion providers and the Biden administration are entitled to challenge the law in federal court. Officials in Texas say the novel structure of the law, known as Senate Bill 8, forbids such challenges.
Justice Kavanaugh appeared most interested in whether the justices could find a way to permit the abortion providers to pursue their challenges by suing state officials even though the law was written to try to preclude that approach, notably by barring state officials from enforcing it. The providers instead sought to sue state judges and court clerks.
The Texas abortion providers should be able to sue at least court clerks, he suggested.

For her part, Justice Barrett took issue with the state’s assertion that providers could adequately challenge the law by violating it, getting sued and defending themselves by arguing that the law is unconstitutional.

“The full constitutional defense cannot be asserted in the defensive posture, am I right?” she asked.
The four justices who dissented in September — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — did not seem to have changed their minds about the law. And Justices Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil M. Gorsuch asked questions that suggested they thought the federal courts had no role to play.
“Assume that the bounty is not $10,000 but a million dollars,” Chief Justice Roberts said, adding, “Do you think in that case the chill on the conduct at issue here would be sufficient to allow federal court review prior to the end of the state court process?”

Mr. Stone [the solicitor general for the state of Texas] said no. That answer did not seem to satisfy the chief justice.

“Nobody is going to risk violating the statute,” he said, “because they’ll be subject to suit for a million dollars.”

Mr. Stone said the Texas law “is capped at much less than that.”

“Yeah,” Chief Justice Roberts said, a little irritated. “My question is what we call a hypothetical.”
“The fact that after all these many years, some geniuses came up with a way to evade the commands of” an important precedent, [Justice Kagan] said, and “the even broader principle that states are not to nullify federal constitutional rights and to say, ‘Oh, we’ve never seen this before, so we can’t do anything about it’ — I guess I just don’t understand the argument.”

Solicitor General Elizabeth B. Prelogar, representing the federal government, said the Texas law was designed “to thwart the supremacy of federal law in open defiance of our constitutional structure.”

“States are free to ask this court to reconsider its constitutional precedents,” she said, “but they are not free to place themselves above this court, nullify the court’s decisions in their borders, and block the judicial review necessary to vindicate federal rights.”
“You say this case is very narrow, it’s rare, it’s particularly problematic,” Chief Justice Roberts said. “But the authority you assert to respond to it is as broad as can be.”

Justice Kavanaugh said there were potential ways to allow the providers’ case to proceed.

“Your case, by contrast,” he told Ms. Prelogar, seems “just different and irregular and unusual, and we don’t know where it goes.”


…now, I don’t claim to be any kind of expert about more or less any part of what makes up this debate

…but from the perspective of just trying to understand the (for want of a better term) plain language of the thing

…there’s a law that has by any estimation been quite clearly drafted in an explicit attempt to break as many things as possible…even barratt effectively admitted that she wasn’t blind to the way in which those who seek to oppose it are denied recourse to do so in full measure

…but there’s still several bench warmers who seem quite happy to suggest that states should be able to defy federal law with some impunity provided they’re sufficiently mealy mouthed about it

…& brett-likes-beer seems to think that it’s fine to have somebody get sued by somebody provided it’s not the federal government suing the state but providers suing clerks

…which even by his standards is surely some epic man-splaining bullshit that actively seeks to miss pretty much every point laid before him

…that one’s a thread, by the way…& it looks to end with this gem

…maybe they should let elie’s mom decide more stuff

With new grass-roots and advocacy organizations, better financing, and stronger support from the Democratic Party, [the gun safety movement] has, arguably, never been stronger. But on Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear a case that is likely to call into question many of the reforms at the top of the movement’s agenda.
The New York case could also signal the beginning of a new era of judicial hostility to gun laws, especially to the bans on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines that the reinvigorated gun safety movement has fought so hard to get enacted. With a single decision, the Supreme Court majority could transform life in many American cities — and stymie the growing political movement for gun reform.
By law, A.T.F. is prohibited from using electronic databases to trace guns found at crime scenes and barred from electronically searching the records it does have. So when a gun is found at a crime scene, agents have to travel to individual gun stores and sort through boxes of documents to find out who bought it. A.T.F. is also prohibited by law from making more than one unannounced, warrantless inspection per year of any licensed gun dealer. And A.T.F. is still operating with roughly the same number of employees it had in 2001, and about 20 percent fewer inspectors, even though the number of guns in the United States has skyrocketed, and we now average at least 30 million gun sales a year. In a country where there are now more licensed gun dealers than branches of Starbucks and McDonald’s combined, these artificial restraints on A.T.F. should be lifted.


…I’ll admit I’d be more than a little curious to hear what she thought about that, for example?



  1. For another peak into how awful the political desks are at some of the biggest outlets, check out the latest mess by Jeremy Peters at the NY Times.


    So many problems. This isn’t a case of a simple low level slipup, like misspelling a name. This is failing to do any fact checking of the individual whatsoever.

    It could be a basic failure of reasonable skepticism — why even think someone at a GOP rally isn’t a Republican?

    Or is it, very possibly, a case of a prewritten narrative seeking out confirming data?

    As Daily Kos points out, this is the second time in two weeks the Times political coverage has done this, Peters has done this himself before, and the Times has regularly written other pieces — including their notorious diner safaris —  with other people claiming to be party switchers who turn out to be GOP activists.

    Anyone who knows the history of the GOP going back to at least Nixon knows a running theme is using fake claims of party switchers to troll the press. Is the NY Times political deak ignorant of history, or complicit in it? Are they simply meeting these people by chance over and over, or are they prearranging these interviews with GOP sources in DC?

    What furthers the problem is when Peters engages pissily with critics on Twitter, the Times management ignores it, while it is an offense that triggers discipline or even firing for other political points of view.

    The Times is doing this on pupose. This isn’t passive voice being broken, it’s deliberate. And their cozying up to GOP activists in an era when the GOP is launching unprecedented efforts to use government power to attack the First Amendment is nuts.

    • …it’s a problem, for sure…we rely on the press (at least to some extent) to inform people…& it would help a lot if they were a bit more rigorous about how they go about it…I think the sort of thing you’re talking about can to a degree be parsed by considering who might best be served by the narrative being offered…which is by no means ideal but at least comprehensible after a fashion…whereas although it’s in many respects a facetious example I’d argue that stuff like this is as big a problem

      Appearing to confuse Scotland’s two biggest cities on Monday, Mr Blitzer tweeted an image of himself in front of Edinburgh Castle, where he said Cop26 was happening.

      …in that it seems to imply that there’s no real need to be accurate so long as most of your audience isn’t likely to notice…no matter that to anyone with a degree of familiarity concerning the things you’re talking about is instantly going to recognize that you don’t appear to know what the hell you’re talking about

      …I’m not trying to defend the stuff you’re complaining about…just wondering if trying to fix that is running before we can walk while reporters remain content to make factual errors that don’t have so much as a hidden agenda to motivate them?

      • I think the problem sometimes can be basic reporting, and other times it’s deeper, and while tightening standards for getting facts right is important, it will never fix the political desk at the NY Times.

        The Times actually enforces its basic factual standards fairly well. They openly accept corrections as far as spellings, dates, and titles. But what their critics constantly point out is when a factual error undercuts a key conclusion, they correct the fact but leave the conclusion unchanged.

        They will say Pelosi being the *first* Speaker to do X is evidence of Y, and when it’s pointed out that Paul Ryan did X first, they’ll simply change it to read Pelosi doing X is evidence of Y.

        What this establishes is how for the NY Times political desk, so often evidence gathering is only used to fit conclusions, when basic journalistic standards demand the exact opposite.

        Notoriously they settled on a narrative about Hillary Clinton which resulted in endless stories which were nothing more than efforts to find facts to plug in, all the way down to Patrick Healy’s noxious piece about Clinton’s laugh.

        They’re pretending that they are scientists carefully sifting through the data, but unlike a lot of actual reporters at the Times, they’re basically like lawyers picking and choosing witnesses for a verdict they have already decided they want.

        Facts obviously still matter for attorneys, but spin is part of the business. But unlike the Jonathan Martins, attorneys at least don’t pretend to be scientists.

        • And now that kind of garbage approach of tweaking the stated facts but leaving the framing is exactly what they’ve done.

          The Times all the way up to the top has a hard bias in the belief that the left is a censoring enemy, which is why they give front page exposure to this supposed party line moderate who claims — without evidence — he has been alienated by CRT.

          They hired Michael Powell to write polemics about the left which ignore the right and regularly put him on the front page, despite his demonstrated reporting lapses, instead of in the opinion section.

          Part of the problem is reporters, but much worse it’s a symptom of deep ideological rot, and I’m sure a piece of it is cultivating a certain part of their subscriber base too, although there would be other ways to do it in less malignant ways.

    • I don’t read the NYT regularly and had no idea who Jeremy Peters is.

      He has a wiki page. When he’s not rooting out Republican activists to tell him that they were loyal Hillary-Biden voters:

      He currently lives in Manhattan with his husband [That’s nice! Me too!], Brendan Camp,[8] a dermatologist [Even better. I wish Better Half was a dermatologist.] and amateur photographer whose work has been published alongside some of Peters’ articles for the Times travel section.[9]

      Classic New York Times. Presumably the travel articles are funded by the Times, and there’s compensation for the accompanying photographs. Happy are those “amateur photographers” who are married to employees of the New York Times who occasionally contribute travel articles.

    • It’s because political desks — and we’re singling out NYT’s here but it’s true across the board — are only capable now of writing tiresome and unnecessary palace intrigue stories dressed up as political analysis. They’re not just uninterested in writing news, they’re actively incapable of producing it! All of the interesting Trump stories from the NYT were from the news desk.

  2. I don’t know why I find this so funny, Every week it seems we get some De Blasio clowning so maybe after eight long years I’m just hardened against it:


    Today is Election Day so soon enough we will have a new Mayor-elect. Maybe not tomorrow because of all the “absentee” voting (I am one of those voters) but Fort Lee, NJ resident Adams seems to have such a commanding lead over Red Beret Sliwa they might just call it after the polls close.

    In New York solons of both parties try to make it as difficult as possible to vote, the better to protect their incumbents by getting turnout as low as possible. Party primary challengers are about as welcome as bedbugs. Everyone is upfront about this. Jay Jacobs, the State Chair of the Democratic Party (you might remember him: he’s the one who indirectly compared the winner of Buffalo’s Democratic mayoral primary, India Walton, a Black single mother, to David Duke, explaining why he wouldn’t endorse the winner of Buffalo’s Democratic mayoral primary let’s emphasize that), has said many times that Democrats need to be “united” and not “squander” resources in the distasteful defense of their seats during a primary. AOC might disagree.

    Anyway, there are five ballot questions and one asks, among other things, whether New York should allow mail-in voting. How this got to be a ballot question I don’t know because mail-in voting has shown to increase participation, which is the absolute last thing most New York officeholders want. Pre-pandemic it was almost impossible to get an absentee ballot but Emperor Andreus Marcus Maximus allowed an expansion by adding Covid-related precautions. But that was at his whim, and the ballot question would make this law. I, of course, voted yes.

    Finally, good luck Virginia.

    • I held off on returning my absentee ballot until last week because I needed to see a poll verifying Eric Adams’s lead before I could proceed to vote for someone else. And then Ballot Measure 1 had so many pieces to it, I spent a good amount of time drilling down into potential consequences of the bits that weren’t as clearly beneficial as the rest.

      Ultimately, none of this is as potentially momentous as the outcome of the Buffalo mayoral race. But instead we get….Eric Adams.

  3. Yeah, The Guardian is going full-court press on the Cop26. I appreciate it, but at the same time, I’m already expecting nothing significant to happen. I hate pessimism, except when it’s warranted.

    Alito: [interrupting] “yes I understand that.”

    Oh god, yes, this. Until recently I had to deal with a department head who did this to f-cking everyone. If you freaking know everything, then why are you wasting our time? I wanted to send him an anonymous e-mail that said, “You somehow make pointless meetings even more pointless. Ass.”

    • Elie Mystal is brilliant, and he’s right that Kavanaugh is nothing more than a Joe Thiesman jersey underneath that robe.

      It’s an indictment of the entire credentialling process at the heart of the elites in this country that Kavanaugh was elevated, whkle Mystal stays mostly under the radar.

      And it’s obvious that so much of the right wing campaign against liberal free speech under the guise of anti-PC is an effort to promote Kavanaughs at the expense of Mystals. And what adds to the problem is how supposedly liberal concern trolls join in the feeding frenzy — they have their own anxieties about their place in the hierarchy to defend.

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