Thoughts After the Parkland Shooting Funerals I’ve Seen in the News

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This was written by me last night / early this morning –

Parkland and America in Mourning – 

I watched the burial today from one of the JROTC students as his casket was being un-draped by the American flag to be lowered into the ground. I tweeted a reply on the tweet with its video clip of it – These children should not be there. It is so wrong. – without saying the fifty other things my mind could see that this young man and all the others killed in Parkland should be alive today doing, walking through their lives, not laying in a casket gone to all of us and their families. It should not have ever been this for their lives.

And what does it matter what I say, on another day from this one, another young man disenfranchised and emotionally charged beyond our help will choose to do it this way again, just as they already have done in our country’s not so distant past several times over.

Is it fair to blame it on the emotional characteristics of our differences or on the weapons used? Even with everything to provide background checks, illegal guns and ammunition are bought – and other kinds of weapons made by those who choose to do this.

But it didn’t start to happen in an instant. These young men who have committed these mass shootings didn’t start the day before or a week before the event.

Often mental health systems and drugs were already in their lives and in use by them even when they committed these horrors. Did those make it worse or more likely?

Was everything we’ve put in place basically useless to help these young men do something else instead, long before they came to this point? Obviously, yes.

Is it right to blame video games or guns or mental illness as the cause when so very many people, including young men have all of these things and never commit some horrific killing rampage on anyone?

Do we really not have anything effective in place to give people the skills and the emotional wherewithal to work through their personal crises any better than this and long before they start buying every weapon they can get their hands on with the constant fantasy of using them? Really? Is that where we are?

That nothing constructive with any real positive force comes close enough to them for this path to be veered off or guided into something more productive, practical and constructive for them and for us? Is that where we are and the best we can do?

Answers At All?

It must be obvious that people engaged in the building of their lives and the real possibilities of their dreams coming to fruition, do not need nor desire to go get a gun and start shooting people.

And, especially when their energies and their goals can be realized in practical ways with their efforts applied to do so – people engage in these constructive types of activities and work on these efforts rather than fulfilling some violent, get back at the world scenario.

But, when every avenue is thwarted or not producing expected results time after time after time and, nor are the possibilities of those efforts being able to achieve any of those things to build one’s life and dreams, what are people going to do? What can be realistically expected for people to do besides becoming in some way destructive, rather than constructive especially as those energies continue to be thwarted or utilized with no success at all?

What happens to the one who is desperate to be loved, who lives in a world today where no real connections are possible with others and no opportunities exist for them to build a jointly beneficially loving and supportive interaction with others – what then? Where do those energies go after repeatedly failing to make any opportunities for connections, for love, support, friendship or belonging?

What happens to the one who wants and needs to earn a living and there is thwarted as well, in the exclusiveness of that because of the way America is today? What then?

What happens to the one longing for respect and status where the world as it is now in America offers little to no opportunities to build and get those either, unless being born into wealth has given an unnatural step towards those doors of options?

What happens to the one wanting to have a house to call home, not as an investment property – but a real home where today, nearly all houses cost far beyond the wages offered by any but a few jobs that are beyond what most people can get? And in every business and industry, even more of those opportunities are disappearing to automation, business decisions to restructure and close business operations.  Add to that, the thousands of jobs being lost or taken by the numerous bankruptcies that our businesses and industries continue to have which are taking those jobs away in great numbers, continuing to take factories out of our country and giving massive bonuses to executives and shareholders while laying off workers and stagnating or even, lowering wages and benefits to employees.

What happens in our nation where communities are no longer real communities anymore but simply a lot of houses in one place where people live and drive their cars into and out of, to shop at stores nearby and eat out but where rarely, if ever, find it socially appropriate to even speak to one another, let alone to engage long enough to build real and lasting friendships.

What happens where nearly every single person who wants to have a marriage, a home together with someone and build a life together is thwarted at every moment and with every attempt to make that happen by the new constraints of our society’s disconnections from one another generally? What then?

My Daughter Read This and Said – Yeah, but There Aren’t Any Solutions You Give –

And sometimes, I really do think up ways to help, share them on this blog and other places, even help get those things put into practice so they work, but today I am acutely aware of what many people in similar situations to mine are experiencing – this covers my thoughts on it today –

I’ve worked and worked hard for a long time getting absolutely nowhere with no real results from it that can provide for me. And, I’ve helped others along the way – as sometimes as well, people have helped me.

But I have discovered this also and I’ve been ignoring it from others for a long time – which is the prevailing attitude in America right now, as well as in my own family and communities which expresses what I’m hearing explained to me when I need to get any help – (from those who could help) – and my comments about it –

Explain To Me How These Attitudes Help Anybody – That is My Question

So, you don’t want to help a person who IS TRYING – and especially if they’ve been trying to accomplish something to help themselves for a long time and failing.

 

And, you don’t want to help a person who IS NOT TRYING – and especially if they’ve never even showed that they are trying to help themselves or have given up.

 

BUT, you claim to be a person who wants to help. What are the determining factors on that help?

 

You DON’T want to help anyone who needs it, because they are needy – why bother.

 

You DON’T want to help anyone who doesn’t need it, because there would be no point to your helping.

 

AND, unless the needy person who needs some help: looks, acts and speaks like they don’t need it, you aren’t about to help them either. 

Oh wait – if they look like they don’t need help – you wouldn’t help them anyway.

 

That about says it.

 

Now, I’m saying it back to you – 

Fix it your own damn self.

I’m busy.

 

  • Cricketdiane, 02-21-2018

 

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Defining What Causes Mass Shootings Goes Beyond Guns and Mental Health

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Again, we have had a horrific shooting at a school in America. There are a lot of people screaming their thoughts about it today and every day since it happened.

 

I know that people want to help. And, it is easy to say that because of a gun, because it was an assault rifle, because people can buy these weapons – that is what must change.

 

It might help and it might not, but long before that, people need to know that there will then be other weapons, other ways to do it.

 

And, there are people screaming right now about mental health or mental disorders being the problem or “issue”. But, what if it isn’t that, considering how many people with those issues either get some help for them or find other constructive and non-harmful ways to resolve those mental “issues” without shooting or hurting anyone. There are millions of people doing that, in fact.

 

But, what if the real reason these young men are stepping off the edge of reason and sanity to find a gun and equip it with thousands of rounds of ammunition has nothing to do with being able to get the gun nor the mental health industry who has many times been serving these same young men who’ve committed these mass shootings?

 

What if it is something else that indicates an underlying massive real cause of pushing many people including these men into a desperate anger and frustration that makes it seem to them that they have nothing to lose and can’t stand feeling that way another moment? Or, that they must get even and take it out on others to fix it and make those feelings and thinking change or go away, be satisfied that they’ve done something about it no matter how wrong they know it to be in doing it that way?

 

Our society in America has completely disenfranchised entire groups of our nation’s people. Most of us don’t do this as our reaction to that fact, but not everyone’s reaction is going to be the same.

 

Have we been throwing money at mental health programs hoping some psych drugs and a therapist can get people including these young men okay with never being anything but poor, or ever to be able to accomplish anything, or for their entire lives to experience being excluded and rejected from fully participating in having things and doing things with their lives?

 

Is it really right to believe that some mental health approach is going to fix it all and there will no longer be any responsibility on ourselves, in our communities and in our nation towards people who are never going to live out the expectations of the American Dream for themselves the way things are now?

 

When there are no jobs available to them but those which won’t pay the support of living independently and doing well for themselves? When there are no real ways to build friendships that are stable and rational nor to have healthy relationships with a girlfriend or boyfriend blossom into the kind of real relationship everyone has seen and read about where couples build their lives together?

 

When there are no opportunities to have a home, to have a network of supportive and encouraging people they know or to have opportunities to make money, build to have their dreams realized as once was possible in this country?

 

When there is obviously no way for the principles of fairness and equal opportunities to all Americans to be practiced in this environment of all the resources and opportunities being isolated and available to only a few at the top rungs of our society?

 

Across this country for years now, our young men especially, have been reaching out to extremist groups from criminal ones to religious ones to white supremacist and racially charged groups to massive underground subcultures to find there – a sense of belonging, acceptance, purpose and value for who they are.

 

It is obvious they didn’t get that from us as a community or as a nation, otherwise these young men and others would not have sought to find it there in extremist groups. And, the groups know that their members are becoming weapons in their own arsenal for whatever purposes and agendas these groups serve. None of it is a building, constructive, strengthening lives and communities agenda either.

 

Every time there is a mass shooting or horrific crime of this magnitude, we ask ourselves again about access to guns and suggest mental illness has made this happen. Maybe this time it is finally a moment to take a look at, why is it happening in our country and what we can do to form options that leave guns and going crazy over all this stuff wrong in people’s lives from being the only choices left for them.

 

  • Cricketdiane, 02-19-18

Guns, Gun Violence, Mental Health and Disenfranchisement

 

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As the Dow drops value today –

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As the Dow drops value today and last week’s two ending days of trading, the questions I have are –

  1. Dissonance in the economy shows up in job losses, layoffs, store and business closings, bankruptcies, share dividends being increased as well as execs bonuses even as those bankruptcies are underway or about to be underway, is this normal?
  2. Dow is overvalued from synthetically adding tax cuts into the revenues, but layoffs at those same companies receiving massive breaks on taxes are still occurring along with restructuring despite profitability, is that the way business was expected to respond to those tax cuts and if not, why not?
  3. As the Dow drops over the last three trading days in significant shifts, rumors of increased bond rates are hovering in the financial press outlets, but has that happened or simply feared?
  4. Did these large point drops in the stock markets happen because US markets are having international resources and investors pulling out of our markets or is it associated with the recent news which occurred on the same day as the first slide, that the US will have to borrow double (or more) than what was expected.
  5. Is the volatility in the US dollar that has been seen since just before Davos a couple weeks ago along with Trump and Mnuchin said about it created part of an image that the US administration is intentionally manipulating currencies and with the refusal to continue Yellen at the helm, obviously intending to manipulate markets as well through raising interest rates arbitrarily.CricketDiane 2017 NYC Wall Street Stock Markets 1DSC02119-2
  6. My other significant question – have any dollars or profits been repatriated to the US economy and employment picture at all as promised by the GOP and Trump with the tax cuts that knocked $1.5 Trillion dollars from our infrastructure that is most heavily impacted by those same businesses, and from our economy if those tax savings are moving elsewhere as well?

Found a few things about this trying to answer my questions today and thinking about what it all will mean for our real economy and people’s lives. It is more than hits to people’s 401K’s that is happening here and the Dow’s massive sudden slide is just an indicator of what is significantly changing in our economy right now.

  • cricketdiane, 02-05-2018

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US on track to double borrowing in Trump’s first full fiscal year: report

http://thehill.com/policy/finance/372235-us-on-track-to-double-borrowing-under-trumps-first-year-report

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Stock Markets Tank, Extending Sell-Off

The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was off by nearly 4 percent on Monday. The weakness built off the previous week, when stocks had their worst performance in two years.

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According to the Guardian UK –

Stock markets continue to fall amid interest rate hike fears

US Federal Reserve expected to increase rates at faster pace than planned

Wall Street joined a rout of global stock markets, tumbling by more than 450 points by about 6.30pm (GMT) as investors contemplated the end of an era of cheap lending by central banks to boost growth. The slide in share values of America’s largest industrial businesses followed the dumping of shares on stock markets across Asia and Europe earlier in the day.

In London, the index of Britain’s top 100 companies stretched its longest losing streak since last November into a fifth day, following a 1.3% fall. The FTSE 100 index tumbled to 7,345, having peaked at almost 7,800 last month.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/feb/05/stock-markets-continue-to-fall-amid-interest-rate-hike-fears

 

&*&

New Fiscal Worry: Too Much Short-Term Borrowing as Deficit Climbs

Change is in response to the Federal Reserve’s moves to shrink bond portfolio and a fiscal outlook

Updated Jan. 31, 2018 6:27 p.m. ET

https://www.wsj.com/articles/treasury-plans-to-increase-size-of-debt-auctions-1517408688

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One quick note –

BTW, when bonuses are given to execs – it doesn’t stimulate the economy, nor provide profits for the company, nor sales because executives are not the ones buying the products and services that most companies and industries provide. Aside from the fact that ten executives with millions are not going to spend what 800 – 8,000 families spend with any corporation across all the markets the company serves. Just a thought.

  • cricketdiane

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Huge Businesses in America are Closing and Having Layoffs in Record Numbers Despite Profits

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US Layoffs 2017 / 2018 – as of January 30, 2018

Toys ‘R’ Us to close a fifth of its stores across U.S.

https://www.bizjournals.com/losangeles/news/2018/01/24/toys-r-us-to-close-a-fifth-of-its-us-stores.html

includes closing around 180 stores. That’s about one in five stores.

The large debts, including roughly $400 million that came due by the end of the year, mostly stem from “a $7.5 billion leveraged buyout in 2005 in which Bain Capital, KKR & Co. and Vornado Realty Trust loaded the company with debt to take it private,” according to Bloomberg.

Now in bankruptcy proceedings after paying massive bonuses of millions of dollars to top execs – didn’t include numbers of employees being laid off, but noted that massive layoffs had occurred early in 2017 as well.

This article listed the bonuses paid out to executives allowed by the bankruptcy court and those made before entering bankruptcy proceedings – despite huge layoffs, store closings and defaulting on some percentage of every debt.

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BIGGEST U.S. LAYOFFS IN 2017: MACY’S, J C PENNEY, HHGREGG TOP LIST, RETAIL JOB CUTS DOMINATE

https://americaclosed.com/biggest-us-layoffs-in-2017/

Macy’s alone is responsible for more than 10,000 job cuts as the company finds itself displaced by online shopping. The Macy’s layoffs are coupled with massive Macy’s store closures, with 68 shuttering in 2017.

J C Penney has also become the victim of poor sales and has therefore added to the growing number of retail layoffs.

The company cut about 5,000 jobs and shuttered 138 stores across the U.S

HHGREGG FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY, CUTS 5,000 WORKERS NATIONWIDE AND CLOSES ALL STORES

STATE FARM TO CLOSE 11 OFFICES, MORE THAN 4,000 FACE JOB LOSS, DISPLACEMENT

L Brands Inc (NYSE:LB), owner of women’s apparel chain The Limited, shut down all of its 250 stores across the U.S. and slashing 4,000 jobs.

The Wet Seal closing will encompass the remaining 171 stores after it a had closed two-thirds of its locations and laid off 3,700 workers two years ago as it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company is now defunct, with 3,000 workers without jobs.

Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW) found itself having to cut 2,400 workers as it struggles to keep up with the leader in the market,

HERSHEY LAYS OFF 2,700 AS A PART OF 2017 RESTRUCTURING PROGRAM

One of the largest mass U.S. IT layoffs in 2017, the 5,000 cuts coming out of HP amount to about 10% of the company’s total staff.

Eli Lilly and Co (NYSE:LLY) will be shedding 2,000 jobs in the U.S. as it seeks to save about $500.0 million annually.

Lots more great information in this article – worth reading. Explains why they had to layoff in these companies. Looking for numbers right now.

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AT&T LAYOFFS IN 2018 TO TAKE PLACE ACROSS MISSOURI, MICHIGAN, & 4 MORE STATES

https://americaclosed.com/att-layoffs-2018-missouri-michigan/

The telecom layoffs at AT&T are also hardly the only ones to be announced this year, with other telecommunication giants looking to make cuts in the new year.

About 332 people will be cut in the AT&T layoffs in 2018. About 245 will be cut from Michigan.

AT&T Layoffs in 2017: Hundreds of Job Cuts at Call Centers

The AT&T layoffs in 2018 follow hundreds of cuts made to the workforce this year.

In January 2018, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is planning to cut 190 employees at its Santa Clara, California office. These cuts are on top of the already 155 employees shed throughout 2017.

Includes exact numbers of job layoffs by state made by AT&T.

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Kimberly-Clark Announces Layoffs, Along With $3.3 Billion In Operating Profit

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Trump Promised to Protect Steel. Layoffs Are Coming Instead.

In September, ArcelorMittal, which owns the mill, announced that it would lay off 150 of the plant’s 207 workers next year.
Foreign steel makers have rushed to get their product into the United States before tariffs start. According to the American Iron and Steel Institute, which tracks shipments, steel imports were 19.4 percent higher in the first 10 months of 2017 than in the same period last year.
In 2008, before the financial crisis struck, the plant ran around the clock. Now, the mill coughs to life just five days a week, for eight hours at a time.
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Toys ‘R’ Us Has Laid Off Up To 15% Of HQ Employees

FEB 20, 2017

https://www.forbes.com/sites/tompopomaronis/2017/02/20/retail-under-fire-toys-r-us-has-laid-off-up-to-15-of-hq-employees/#7fa9b9125e2e

 This Friday, the company announced they had laid off between 10-15% of their home office employees out of Wayne, New Jersey — approximately 250 jobs were eliminated.

Toys “R” Us has been struggling financially for some time. In 2005, investors led by KKR & Co., Bain Capital and Vornado Realty Trust bought out the company for $6.6 billion. In 2016, the business refinanced its remaining $850 million debt load, allowing investors holding bonds maturing in 2017 and 2018 to swap their holdings for those maturing in 2021.

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Harley-Davidson closing Kansas City plant as motorcycle sales fall

Jan. 30, 2018

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2018/01/30/harley-davidson-kansas-city-plant-motorcycle-sales-fall/1078008001/

The Milwaukee-based company said its net income fell 82% in its fiscal fourth quarter to $8.3 million, compared with a year earlier. Earnings per share were 5 cents, down from 27 cents a year earlier. Revenue was $1.23 billion, up from $1.11 billion.

The earnings drop came in part because of a charge associated with President Trump’s tax cut and a $29.4 million charge for a voluntary product recall.

Harley-Davidson worldwide retail motorcycle sales fell 6.7% in 2017 compared to 2016. The company’s U.S. sales fell 8.5% and international sales were down 3.9%.

The company’s manufacturing consolidation includes plans to shift production from Kansas City, Mo. into its plant in York, Pa. About 800 jobs in Kansas City will be cut.

Harley’s foreign competitors have benefited from a strong U.S. dollar, as their overseas operations have made it more profitable to sell bikes in the U.S. at lower prices.

In some cases, Diedrich said, prices of Japanese motorcycles have come down 25% and discounts ranged up to $3,000 per bike.

Lots more in this article including what is expected to happen with other plants.

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What’s Happening to U.S. Companies? A Look at 2017’s Mass Layoffs

https://moneymorning.com/2017/01/13/whats-happening-to-u-s-companies-a-look-at-2017s-mass-layoffs/

Mass Layoffs in 2017 No. 2, Sears Holdings Corp. (Nasdaq: SHLD): After reporting dismal sales earnings, Sears announced on Jan. 6 it expects to shutter 180 stores by April – 108 Kmart locations and 42 Sears stores.

Mass Layoffs in 2017 No. 3, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT): The “everyday low-price” store will be slashing over 1,000 jobs in January, as reported by USA Today on Jan. 11.

Mass Layoffs in 2017 No. 5, General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM): The car manufacturer told Fortune that it would be shutting down five of its plants in 2017 – eliminating some 1,300 jobs – primarily to cut oversupply of sedans, which have fallen out of favor among U.S. consumers.

These cuts are in addition to the 2,000 workers GM announced would be let go in November 2016, also to take place in January.

Mass Layoffs in 2017 No. 6, Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE: P):  Today (Jan. 13) Pandora announced that it would be eliminating 7% of its workforce in a move to save nearly $40 million in operating costs. The music-streaming company had 2,219 employees as of Dec. 31, according to Benchmark Monitor.

Mass Layoffs in 2017 No. 7, Fitbit Inc. (NYSE: FIT): The wearable fitness tracker company announced in a press release on Jan. 30 it would be slashing 6% of its workforce, or 110 employees,

(and Hershey’s, Lowe’s, etc. mentioned elsewhere in this blog post.)

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General Electric to cut 12,000 jobs in power business revamp

Reuters

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/07/ge-announces-12000-job-cuts-at-ge-power.html

General Electric announced on Thursday it was axing 12,000 jobs at its global power business as the struggling industrial conglomerate responds to dwindling demand for fossil fuel power plants.

Demand for new thermal power plants dramatically dropped in all rich countries, GE said, while traditional utility customers have reduced their investments due to market deterioration and uncertainty about future climate policy measures.

Hardly any new power station projects had been commissioned in Germany in recent years, GE said. Heightened Asian competition had also increased price pressures.

GE rival Siemens is cutting about 6,900 jobs, or close to 2 percent of its global workforce, mainly at its power and gas division, which has been hit by the rapid growth of renewables.

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Technology Layoffs Company List

https://www.channele2e.com/layoffs/

HP – 3,000 to 4,000

IBM – 10,000

(2017)

Cisco – 6,900

Cognizant – 2,600 to 5,200

Ericsson – 25,000

HP – 5,000

Lexmark – 700

McAfee –  less than 10%

Microsoft – 700

Oracle – 2,000

Rackspace – 6%

Ricoh – 5%

And others)(

https://www.channele2e.com/layoffs/

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CHK Norfolk/Southern

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Union Pacific to layoff 750 U.S. employees amid broader cost-cutting

AUGUST 16, 2017

Reuters

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-union-pacific-cuts/union-pacific-to-layoff-750-u-s-employees-amid-broader-cost-cutting-idUSKCN1AW2QW

(Reuters) – Union Pacific Corp (UNP.N) said on Wednesday it will cut roughly 500 management jobs and 250 railroad workers by mid-September as the No. 1 U.S. railroad continues broader cost-cutting.

The layoffs come as Union Pacific, like other major U.S. railroads, saw a resurgence in coal volumes this year but has been hit over the past two years by precipitous declines as utilities switched to burning cheaper natural gas and the strong U.S. dollar hurt coal exports.

(*(

SEOUL (Reuters) – When South Korea’s Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics last year announced plans to build home appliance factories in the United States, they hoped to sidestep any fallout from President Donald Trump’s “America First” manufacturing and jobs mantra.

Last week’s decision by the U.S. government to impose tariffs of up to 50 percent on imports of washing machines and key components showed that wasn’t to be.

The inclusion of hefty tariffs on components in particular had moved the goal posts in a long-running trade dispute, upending supply chains and threatening investment across other industries, officials from the companies and the South Korean government said.

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Carrier plans final layoffs at plant Trump vowed to protect: report

11/09/17

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/359545-carrier-plans-more-layoffs-at-plant-trump-struck-deal-with-report

More than 200 employees will lose their jobs in January, Fox News reported.

Earlier this year, the air conditioning company laid off 300 workers at the Indianapolis factory.

“This week, approximately 300 employees will leave Carrier as part of the previously announced plan to relocate fan coil manufacturing production lines,” Carrier said in a statement in July.

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Chevron announces employee layoffs

Oct 18, 2017

http://www.kerngoldenempire.com/news/chevron-announces-employee-layoffs/839453667

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – On Wednesday, Chevron announced to employees with the San Joaquin Valley Business Unit that it will implement a 26% reduction in the unit, applying across all field and office locations.

The layoffs, expected to take place in 2018, will affect locations in Kern, Fresno and Monterey Counties.

(Didn’t give numbers)

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More Layoffs Hit National Geographic

Another wave of reductions since Fox bought the media properties.

National Geographic Partners laid off people at its media properties Tuesday.
National Geographic Partners has laid off a good number of people since 21st Century Fox bought the National Geographic Society’s media properties in 2015. In November 2015 it announced plans to lay off about 180 people, and other layoffs have followed in less eyebrow-raising numbers.
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Lack of satellite orders triggers layoffs at Space Systems Loral

by  — 

WASHINGTON — Citing a long-term drought in satellite orders, Space Systems Loral has laid off a number of employees at its California satellite manufacturing facility, the company confirmed June 22.

In a statement to SpaceNews, SSL President John Celli said an “extended slowdown” in orders for geostationary orbit communications satellites led the company to this round of layoffs.

Company spokesperson Wendy Lewis said SSL was not disclosing the number of people laid off. A source familiar with the layoffs said about eight percent of the company’s workforce was affected, which would be on the order of 200 employees.

Other satellite manufacturers have also reported weak demand for commercial GEO satellites. “Last year, there were 14 new geosynchronous satellites purchased,” Dave Thompson, president and chief executive of Orbital ATK, said in a May 11 earnings call about the company’s quarterly financial results. “And at this point, my crystal ball for 2017 is somewhere in the 12 to 14 satellites, so not better than last year.” He added he hoped for a rebound in orders in 2018 or 2019.

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As U.S. military budget soars, Boeing workers face layoffs

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/inq-phillydeals/As-US-military-budget-soars-Boeing-chopper-workers-wait-for-deals.html

Even with an extra $52 billion for the world’s largest military in President Trump’s new budget — or the $60 billion Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is lobbying for — workers at Boeing Corp.’s war helicopter factory and division headquarters in Ridley Park, Delaware County aren’t sure they’ll all still be on the job next year.

“We’re hoping we get some money for the V-22 (Osprey) and the Chinook, our products here. But right now we’re in a little bit of a downturn,” said Mike Tolassi, president of United Aerospace Workers Local 1069, which represents around 1,370 of Boeing’s 4,500 workers at the complex, the largest industrial plant in the Philadelphia area.

“This past year we’ve been experiencing layoffs. I believe we’re gonna have another in April,” Tolassi added.

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Teva Pharmaceutical set for major layoffs in Israel, U.S.: report

NOVEMBER 23, 2017

https://www.reuters.com/article/teva-pharm-ind-redundancies/teva-pharmaceutical-set-for-major-layoffs-in-israel-u-s-report

Reuters

TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is expected to cut 20-25 percent of its workforce in Israel, where it employs 6,860 people, and a few thousand more jobs are to go in the United States, financial news website Calcalist said on Thursday.

The world’s largest generic drugmaker will send termination letters to “tens of percents” of its 10,000 employees in the United States in coming weeks, Calcalist said, citing people familiar with the matter.
Teva’s new Chief Executive Kare Schultz is working out the details with regional management in Israel and the United States, Calcalist said, adding that those set to be ousted include its chief scientific officer and president of research and development, Michael Hayden.
**

Cisco Systems announces 1,100 more layoffs

May 18, 2017

https://phys.org/news/2017-05-cisco-layoffs.html

Cisco Systems Inc. said Wednesday that it is laying off 1,100 more workers, deepening job losses at the internet gear maker battling declining revenue.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-05-cisco-layoffs.html#jCp

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A tsunami of store closings is about to hit the US — and it’s expected to eclipse the retail carnage of 2017

http://www.businessinsider.com/store-closures-in-2018-will-eclipse-2017-2018-1

  • More than 12,000 stores are expected to close in 2018 — up from roughly 9,000 in 2017, according to Cushman & Wakefield.
  • Among the companies most likely to file for bankruptcy within the next year are Sears, Bon-Ton Stores, Bebe Stores, Destination Maternity Corp., and Stein Mart.

2017 was a record year for both store closings and retail bankruptcies. Dozens of retailers including Macy’s, Sears, and J.C. Penney shuttered an estimated 9,000 stores — far exceeding recessionary levels — and 50 chains filed for bankruptcy.

But there’s still a glut of retail space in the US, and the fallout is far from over.

The number of store closings in the US is expected to jump at least 33% to more than 12,000 in 2018, and another 25 major retailers could file for bankruptcy, according to estimates by the commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield.

Nearly two dozen major chains including Walgreens, Gap, and Gymboree have already announced plans to close more than 3,600 stores this year.

When combined with last year’s record-high store closings, an even higher rate of closings in 2018 would push hundreds of low-performing shopping malls to the brink of death.

The commercial real estate firm CoStar has estimated that nearly a quarter of malls in the US, or roughly 310 of the nation’s 1,300 shopping malls, are at high risk of losing an anchor tenant.

That’s because the malls don’t only lose the income and shopper traffic from that store’s business; such closings often trigger clauses that allow the remaining mall tenants to exercise their right to terminate their leases or renegotiate the terms, typically with a period of lower rents, until another retailer moves into the vacant anchor space.

Simon Property Group, one of the biggest mall operators in the US, sued Starbucks this year after the coffee chain said it planned to close all 379 stores in its Teavana chain, 77 of which are located in Simon Property Group malls.

The mall owner demanded that Starbucks keep running the tea shops located in its malls, arguing in part that their closing would reduce traffic to surrounding stores.

A judge ruled in Simon Property Group’s favor in December and ordered Starbucks to keep operating the Teavana stores in question.

Whole Foods was also recently sued for closing a Seattle-area store, with the owners of the property fighting the company for breaking its long-term lease.

A judge has since ordered Whole Foods to reopen the store, which the grocer had closed in October.

There are also plenty of retailers, mostly discounters, that are growing their physical assets while others shrink.

Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Lidl, Aldi, Ross Stores, and TJ Maxx are planning to open hundreds of new stores next year.

**

Chevron announces first set of layoffs will occur in January; employees notified today

Nov 30, 2017

http://www.kerngoldenempire.com/news/chevron-announces-first-set-of-layoffs-will-occur-in-january-employees-notified-today/871072312

The reduction applies across all SJVBU field and office locations, including the field and office locations in Kern County, Fresno County and Monterey County, the company said.  The position reductions will occur in a phased approach between now and the end of 2018.

It is estimated that approximately 300 employee positions across the three counties in which SJVBU operates will be eliminated over the course of 2018 as part of this reorganization.

On Thursday, 100 employees of Chevron will be notified of their termination. However, these positions will not be eliminated until January 2018, the company said.

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UPDATE: Third round of layoffs for ESPN in November

The next round of cutbacks could come down in late November or early December, with 40-60 positions potentially being impacted, according to sources. The layoffs could hit both on-air TV/radio talent and behind-the-scenes production staffers.

Another source expects the flagship “SportsCenter” franchise to lose people in front of and behind the camera. “I see (ESPN) going down a path where they have less staff — and hire more production companies to provide programs and fill air time.”

Through Week 7 of the 2017 season, ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” was the lone NFL TV package up in ratings, according to Austin Karp of SportsBusiness Daily. In September, ESPN’s “First Take” with Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman and Molly Qerim tripled the TV audience of FS1’s rival “Undisputed” with Skip Bayless, Shannon Sharpe and Joy Taylor (461,000 vs. 150,000 average viewers). With 96.9 million digital users, ESPN had five times as many unique viewers in September as Fox Sports.

But ESPN is struggling from the triple-whammy of a shrinking subscriber base, expensive billion-dollar TV rights for the NFL, NBA and other sports, and bloated talent costs. The network pays $1.9 billion annually for “Monday Night Football” and another $1.4 billion for the NBA. Don’t forget ESPN is still paying millions of dollars in severance costs to many of the 100 anchors/reporters laid off in late April.

Despite promising Madison Avenue at its upfront presentation that Mike Greenberg’s new solo morning show would debut Jan. 1, ESPN has pushed back the start date to the spring because of construction delays at its expensive new studios at South Street Seaport in Manhattan.

The ESPN workforce in Bristol, Conn., and around the country is still recovering from the layoff of 100 colleagues in late April. Unlike the previous downsizing of 300 behind-the-scenes producers, directors and staffers in October 2015, this year’s layoffs took out high-salaried TV talent and reporters, many with multi-year contracts. Many are still looking for their next gig.

http://www.sportingnews.com/other-sports/news/espn-layoffs-latest-news-rumors-firings-mike-greenberg-golic-scott-van-pelt-svp-jemele-hill/1js74yxvu7l0wz8g26kdwl7nd

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These 10 Major Retailers Might Not Exist in 2018

April 24, 2017

http://time.com/money/4752645/retail-stores-closing-declare-bankruptcy/

Retailers in the United States are filing for bankruptcy at a record pace.

Already this year, 14 retailers have declared bankruptcy, including the companies behind Payless, The Limited, and BCBG. That’s not far from 18, the total number of retailers that declared bankruptcy in 2016, according to insights from S&P Global Market Intelligence released last week.

Just days after S&P’s report was released, Bebe, which sells women’s clothing, announced plans to close all 168 of its stores. It is unclear if the company will sell clothes online despite the store closures, but S&P predicts the company has a high chance of filing for bankruptcy.

Here’s S&P’s full list, including the likelihood the companies will default in the next year:

  1. Sears Holdings Corp. (Sears and KMart)
    Probability of Default: 23.84%
  2. DGSE Companies Inc. (Dallas Gold and Silver Exchange)
    Probability of Default: 14.87%
  3. Appliance Recycling Centers of America Inc. (Appliance recycling service company)
    Probability of Default: 11.96%
  4. The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. (Bon-Ton, a department store chain)
    Probability of Default: 10.48%
  5. Bebe Stores Inc. (Bebe)
    Probability of Default: 10.06%
  6. Destination XL Group Inc. (Big & Tall Men’s Apparel)
    Probability of Default: 8.08%
  7. Perfumania Holdings Inc. (Perfumania.com)
    Probability of Default: 7.24%
  8. Fenix Parts Inc. (Automotive parts recycler)
    Probability of Default: 6.98%
  9. Tailored Brands Inc. (Men’s Wearhouse, Moores, Joseph Abboud)
    Probability of Default: 6.8%
  10. Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Inc. (Sears Hometown and Outlet)
    Probability of Default: 6.11%

http://time.com/money/4752645/retail-stores-closing-declare-bankruptcy/

**

39 J Crew Stores Closing By January 2018’s End

https://investorplace.com/2017/11/j-crew-stores-closing-in-january-2018/#.WnFc1qinGM8

J Crew is closing 50 stores in 2017

A number of J Crew stores closing by the end of January 2018 won’t make for happy holidays with those employees.

The J Crew stores closing news comes along with a poor third quarter for the retail company. This includes revenue for the period dropping 5% to $566.70 million. Comparable store sales for the quarter were also down 9%, which follows an 8% decline from the same time last year.

The company notes that the third quarter was particularly bad at its J Crew locations. This division saw sales in the quarter drop by 12% to $430.40 million. Comparable store sales were also down 12% after a 9% decrease in the third quarter of 2016.

J Crew also operates the Madewell brand of women’s clothing stores. This segment of its business actually performed well in the third quarter with revenue increasing 22% to $107.50 million. Its comparable stores sales for the third quarter of the year were also up 13% following a 4% increase during the same time last year.

https://investorplace.com/2017/11/j-crew-stores-closing-in-january-2018/#.WnFc1qinGM8

**

25 Biggest Layoffs in the Last Year

http://247wallst.com/special-report/2018/01/10/25-biggest-layoffs-in-the-last-year/

Regardless of the industry, the two main reasons businesses laid off large numbers of employees were companies shutting down or making cost cuts.

Among the companies paring workforces last year were some of the great names in American business — Westinghouse, General Electric, Macy’s, and Hershey.

The public sector also implemented cost cuts that resulted in layoffs in education and government. Private defense contractors such as Boeing trimmed jobs in 2017.

24/7 Wall St. used data provided by Challenger, Gray & Christmas to compile a list of the 25 biggest layoff announcements in 2017. Challenger, Gray & Christmas’ sources for layoff announcements included filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, WARN notices (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act), company press releases, and media reports.

These are the 25 employers who trimmed payrolls the most in 2017.

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CHESAPEAKE ENERGY LAYOFFS: 400 JOB CUTS, 330 IN OKLAHOMA CITY, DUE TO $9.9-BILLION DEBT

https://americaclosed.com/chesapeake-energy-layoffs-400-job-cuts-330-oklahoma-city-due-9-9-billion-debt/

The Chesapeake Energy job cuts are going to affect workers primarily in Oklahoma City. Of the 400 Chesapeake Energy layoffs, 330 of those cuts will come out of the Oklahoma City workforce.

“Over the last couple years, we have divested approximately 25% of our wells, primarily from non-core areas, as a key part of our strategy to reduce debt, enhance margins, and work within our cash flow.

Chesapeake Energy Stock Fell Nearly 44%, Debt Rises to $9.9 Billion in 3Q17

The recent quarterly result for the third quarter of 2017 showed a company that is taking on an increasing amount of debt, with the total amount having jumped to $9.9 billion in the quarter, compared to $9.7 billion the year before.

**

Updated: Banks Closed Record Amount of Branches in 2017

Increased Technology Spending Accelerating Pace of Closures
January 24, 2018
 U.S. banks accelerated their pace of branch consolidation last year, closing a net 2,069 locations, an 18% increase over the net number closed in 2016.

That pace of closures could speed up even more in 2018 as a number of bank holding companies reported plans to deploy a significant portion of expected savings from tax reform legislation enacted last month into increased spending on technology, expected to support increasing reliance on digital and mobile technology by bank customers to conduct more of their banking activity.

Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE:WFC) is the poster child of the movement. It closed a net of 194 branches last year – the highest among all U.S. banks — and it expects to close 250 branches or more in 2018, plus as many as 500 in each 2019 and 2020.

Banks closing the most branch locations (net) in 2017

  • Wells Fargo Bank, 194 (net closures)
  • JPMorgan Chase Bank, 137
  • The Huntington National Bank, 134
  • First-Citizens Bank & Trust Co., 127
  • Bank of America, 119
  • SunTrust Bank, 119
  • KeyBank, 112
  • PNC Bank, 109
  • Branch Banking and Trust Co. (BB&T), 92
  • Capital One, 73
JPMorgan Chase this week announced that it intends to expand its branch network into new U.S. markets, opening up to 400 new branches over the next five years. These new branches will directly employ about 3,000 people.
Still, JPMorgan Chase like other major national and regional banking companies, has been consolidating branches. Last year they closed 137 more branches than they opened. And since 2008, they’ve closed 1,467 branches and opened 1,251.
**

CSX LAYOFFS IN 2018: ABOUT 2,000 JOB CUTS EXPECTED AS PART OF COST-CUTTING MEASURES

In 2017, CSX railroad cuts amount to over 4,000 jobs and idled hundreds of locomotives, and now, CSX layoffs for 2018 are expected to involve an additional 2,000 employees.

Jacksonville, Florida-based CSX Corporation is one of the county’s leading transportation suppliers. The rail company operates more than 21,000 miles of track in 23 Eastern states and two Canadian provinces.

CSX’s cost-cutting measures led to the company laying off nearly 3,000 employees in 2017 and 1,000 external contractors and consultants.

CSX’s layoffs for 2017 began in February, when it announced it was cutting 1,000 management positions, most of which were in Jacksonville. Later, CSX announced it was continuing its streamlining efforts by laying off another 1,300 employees across all 23 states where it operates.

Despite laying off 2,300 people and taking nearly 900 locomotives and 60,000 freight cars out of service, it wasn’t enough.

In July, CEO Hunter Harrison announced even more layoffs were on the horizon. According to company spokesperson Rob Doolittle, as many as 700 were expected to be out of work. This raised the number of layoffs in 2017 to around 3,000.

CSX is eliminating the infrastructure it doesn’t need and consolidating operations. That includes shutting down most of the railroad’s 12 railyards.
In fiscal 2017, CSX reported revenue of $11.4 billion, a three percent increase over the $11.0 billion recorded in fiscal 2016. Full-year 2017 net income was $5.4 billion, or $5.99 per share. In 2016, CSX reported net income of $1.7 billion, or $1.81 per share. Adjusted for the impacts of the new tax law and the company’s restructuring charge, adjusted earnings per share were $2.30.
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hvsq42017

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chapter15filings2006-17

https://www.abi.org/newsroom/chart-of-the-day/chapter-15-filings-2006-17

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Sporty Fashion 2017 Style Set

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Sporty Fashion 2017 Style Set

Global March for Science April 22, 2017 Supports Science for Everyone and Appreciation for our Scientists, for Science and Evidence Based Facts

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Coming in just a few hours: reports on in Korea, Europe, North & South America. Science’s live blog:

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The listing page for March for Science Satellite Marches with more information about where to meet up and the events happening today, April 22, 2017 near where you live –

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  1. The Philippines joins to promote science & technology for the benefit of the Filipino people:

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科学者も反トランプで行進! Women’s Marchの次は「March for Science」!: トランプ政権発足から1週間、危機感すごいです。… GIZMODE JAPAN

Translate from Japanese

Photo published for 科学者も反トランプで行進! Women's Marchの次は「March for Science」!

gizmodo.jp

**

今天是地球日 – 这是个一年一度的环境庆祝活动,并且是花时间来评估保护我们星球天然礼物所需努力的时候。今年的地球日主题是“环境与气候素养”,世界各地都将庆祝这一主题。了解详情,请访问(英文):

Translated from Chinese by Wrong translation?

Today is Earth Day-this is an annual celebration of the environment and take the time to assess the efforts needed to protect the natural gifts of our planet. Earth Day theme this year is “environment and climate literacy”, all over the world will be celebrating this theme. For more information, please visit (in English):

Photo published for Earth Day 2017 | Environmental & Climate Literacy | March for Science

earthday.org

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Proud to be part of a rally here in !

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Our friends in other cities & countries around the world yet to this We continue to support you from 👏

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  1. Thank You All Who Came to in Brisbane Today. A Huge Crowd Gathered! Stay Tuned, We’ll Share More Including Today’s Talks!

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  2. Global March for Science April 22, 2017 Supports Science for Everyone and Appreciation for…

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at Te Papa Museum Wellington New Zealand

Anirban Maitra Retweeted Kailey Carruthers

We need a for Hello tomorrow New Zealand!

Anirban Maitra added,

Mather A Khan Retweeted Moata Tamaira

kickstart in New Zealand where it’s already April 22.

Mather A Khan added,

The first official is kicking off now in New Zealand! Go !

Off to March for Science this morning in New Zealand

Sean Geoghegan Retweeted March 4 Science CHCH

The start of the celebrations on Saturday 22 April with our firm friends from New Zealand marching ahead of

Sean Geoghegan added,

Fibulous beast Retweeted March for Science

Is anyone organising a in New Zealand?

Fibulous beast added,

Our PM has no spine, but New Zealand Scientists are marching with you USA !

Von Grumpypants Retweeted March for Science

I will organise a solidarity event here in New Zealand, once we have a date!!

Von Grumpypants added,

**

Sceptical Scribe Retweeted Washington Post

Sceptical Scribe added,

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Egon Willighⓐgen Retweeted Science March NL

indeed, good morning! Happy day!

Egon Willighⓐgen added,

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Rami Mandow Retweeted Sailor Brendan

Wonderful! If I was not injured I’d be there!

Rami Mandow added,

**

Christian Hof Retweeted ScienceMarch Ffm

Auf dem Weg aus Wien zurück nach zum . Für faktenbasiertes Handeln & die Freiheit der

Christian Hof added,

Translated from German by Wrong translation?

On the way from Vienna back to to the . For fact-based action & the freedom of

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tirinha: no encontro de duas ruas um grupo grande anda com uma faixa escrito marcha pela ciência e na outra rua um grupo menor está com uma faixa escrita marcha por fatos alternativos

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Retweeted

Once factual data is quoted

Some will summarily note it

Trumpsters refuse

Call it Fake News

Then denigrate those who report it

**

The ‘war on science’ doesn’t just hurt scientists. It hurts everyone.

Washington Post

April 21 at 3:54 PM

Hundreds of thousands of people will march for science this weekend in cities around the world in what is arguably the largest scientific event in history. This March for Science is a direct response to recent attacks on our scientific institutions — on climate and environmental science in particular (including many of the scientists who do this work) and even on the value of evidence-based decision-making by our elected officials.

[ . . . ]

These discussions are necessary because the “war on science” is, for the most part, really a war on public science — that is, science for everyone. Today, the majority of scientific research in the United States is publicly funded, administered through the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA and other agencies. Much of this research takes place in state and federal institutions, including universities and national laboratories. This taxpayer-funded science has a mandate to support the national interest. It is science of, by and for the people.

(etc.)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-war-on-science-doesnt-just-hurt-scientists-it-hurts-everyone/2017/04/21/dd243fe0-26ba-11e7-bb9d-8cd6118e1409_story.html?utm_term=.9e56fc37673c

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 🔬Samantha Yammine Retweeted ScienceMarchToronto

Proud to make more accessible via livestreams: 🕐 11am-1pm EST

 🔬Samantha Yammine added,

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I like big brains and I cannot lie.

Photo published for The 31 best signs people will be carrying at the March for Science

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today, a wave of enlightenment shines over Earth, showing us what our bright future can be like!

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&*&

War on Science in America Defunding Programs and Altering Intellectual Freedoms of Science

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LEAD’S HIDDEN TOLL

Hundreds more lead hotspots are identified as Trump prepares to gut programs

Trump’s budget would cut at least $4.7 billion from programs at HUD and the EPA that support healthy housing and lead pollution cleanup efforts, a Reuters analysis found

http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-lead-states/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social

agencies

(from the Reuters article link above – near the bottom of the article – well worth reading)

http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-lead-states/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social

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A.A.A.S. Declares for Intellectual Freedom – 1934

(from Science News reprint 04-21-2017)

A.A.A.S. Declares For Intellectual Freedom – 1934

A firm, outspoken protest upon such inroads upon intellectual independence as are being made in Germany and other parts of the world today was one of the most important results of the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science at Boston.

The resolution adopted by this principal organization of the nation’s scientists will also be read with significance in some parts of our country where with less openness and without a flying of banners of oppression damaging curtailments of intellectual freedom have been made.

Headed “A Declaration On Intellectual Freedom,” the pronouncement reads:

“The American Association for the Advancement of Science feels grave concern over persistent and threatening inroads upon intellectual freedom which have been made in recent times in many parts of the world.

“Our existing liberties have been won through ages of struggle and at enormous costs. If these are lost or seriously impaired there can be no hope of continued progress in science, of justice in government, of international or domestic peace, or even of lasting material well-being.

“We regard the suppression of independent thought and of its free expression as a major crime against civilization itself. Yet oppression of this sort has been inflicted upon investigators, scholars, teachers and professional men in many ways, whether by governmental action, administrative coercion, or extra-legal violence. We feel it our duty to denounce all such actions as intolerable forms of tyranny.

“There can be no compromise on this issue for even the commonwealth of learning cannot endure ‘half slave and half free.’

“By our life and training as scientists and by our heritage as Americans we must stand for freedom.”

Science News Letter, January 13, 1934

 

Reprinted online at Science News 04-21-2017

https://www.sciencenews.org/sites/all/libraries/pdf.js/web/viewer.html?file=https://www.sciencenews.org/sites/default/files/main/articles/pdf/00964018.ap070171.07a00090.pdf#page=1&zoom=130,0,568

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(Below this article from 1938 is the manifesto that was signed by these scientists and which very well applies today against the current war on science happening from the Trump and GOP administration in power both in the Federal government and in the majority of state governorships and many state legislatures.)

Group of Scientists Issue Anti-Fascist Manifesto – 1938

Three Nobel Prize Winners, 64 Academicians, and 85 College Presidents Among the 1,284 Signers

Counting among its 1,284 signers, three Nobel prize winners, 64 members of the National Academy of Sciences and 85 college presidents, a ringing denunciation of Nazi and Fascist attacks on scientific freedom was issued by a committee of distinguished American men of science.

“We publicly condemn the Fascist position toward science . . . . In the present historical epoch democracy alone can preserve intellectual freedom,” the manifesto states.

 

Citing ruthless Nazi persecution of scientists – 1600 teachers and scientists had been driven from their posts by the fall of 1936 – the manifesto asserts that “any attack upon freedom of thought in one sphere, even as non-political a sphere as theoretical physics is in effect an attack on democracy itself.”

Persecution of Jews and “racial” theories of science, publication of one of which furnishes the occasion for this document, are condemned in no uncertain terms. “The racial theories which they (the Fascists) advocate have been demolished time and again.”

The three Nobel prize winners who are among the signers are Dr. Irving Langmuir, associate director of the General Electric Research Laboratory and chemistry prize winner in 1932; Prof. Robert A. Millikan, director of the Norman Bridge Laboratory of Physics, California Institute of Technology and 1923 physics award recipient; and Prof. Harold C. Urey, Columbia University physical chemist honored with the 1923 chemistry prize for the discovery of heavy hydrogen.

The signers, who represent 167 universities and research institutes through the country, pledge themselves to bend their efforts to prevent themselves or America from suffering a similar fate.

The sponsoring committee and the list of signers itself are studded with the names of the noted figures of American science, including many present and former presidents of leading scientific societies. Among the signers and a member of the sponsoring committee is Prof. Wesley C. Mitchell, Columbia University economist who is president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Prof. Franz Boas, former president of the AAAS and the dean of American anthropologists, is a member of the sponsoring committee, as is Prof. Urey. Others on the committee are Prof. Karl M. Bowman of New York University and director of the division of psychiatry of the New York City Department of Hospitals; Dr. John P. Peters of Yale University and secretary of the Committee of Physicians which has been battling the American Medical Association on behalf of group medical care. Dr. Henry E. Sigerist, director of Johns Hopkins University’s Institute of the History of Medicine; Prof. D. J. Struik, Massachusetts Institute of Technology mathematician and editor of “Science and Society”; and Dr. Milton C. Winternitz, professor of pathology and former dean of the Yale Medical School.

Besides those named above, some of the prominent signers include Dr. Karl T. Compton, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Prof. Anton J. Carlson, University of Chicago physiologist; Prof. Clark Wissler, Yale University anthropologist and curator-in-chief of the department of anthropology at the American museum of Natural History; Prof. Edwin G. Conklin of Princeton, past president of the AAAS and president of Science Service; and Prof. Walter B. Cannon of Harvard, co-chairman of the Medical Bureau and north American Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy.

Science News Letter, December 24, 1938

From Science News 04-21-2017

https://www.sciencenews.org/archive/group-scientists-issue-anti-fascist-manifesto

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Manifesto by 1,284 Noted U.S. Scientists Denounces Racialism, Fascist Position on Science

December 11, 1938

NEW YORK (Dec. 9)

The fascist position toward science and the racial theory were denounced today in a manifesto signed by 1,284 American scientists, including three Nobel prize winners, which summoned their colleagues to the defense of democracy to avoid the fate of scientists in totalitarian states.

The manifesto was made public by a committee of prominent scientists headed by Prof. Franz Boas, dean of American anthropologists, who said. “The present outrages in Germany have made it all the more necessary for American scientists to take a firm anti-fascist stand. We are sure that the great majority of German scientists and the German people as a whole abhor fascism. The thousands of teachers and scientists who have been exiled since Hitler came to power bear testimony to the incompatibility of Fascism and science.”

“Our manifesto,” Dr. Boas Added, “declares that we scientists have the moral obligation to educate the American people against all false and unscientific doctrines, such as the racial nonsense of the Nazis. The agents of fascism in this country are becoming more and more active, and we must join with all men of good will in defending democracy today if we are to avoid the fate of our colleagues in Germany, Austria and Italy.

The other members of the committee making public the manifesto are professors Karl M. Bowman, New York University psychiatrist; Wesley Clair Mitchell, Columbia University economist; John P. Peters, Yale University medical scientist; Dr. Henry E. Sigerisy, John Hopkins University medical scientist; D. J. Struik, Massachusetts institute of technology mathematician; Harold C. Urey and Milton C. Winternitz, Yale Pathologist.

UREY, MILLIKAN, LANGMUIR AMONG SIGNERS

The three Nobel Prize winners signing the manifesto are prof. Urey, Columbia University chemist; Prof. Robert A. Millikan, California institute of technology physicist, and Dr. Irving Langmuir, chemist. The signers include 64 members of the National Academy of Sciences.

The manifesto follows:

“In an article entitled ‘the pragmatic and dogmatic spirit in physics,’ which appeared in the April 30 issue of nature (with strong editorial disapproval), wide publicity is given to the official nazi position on science and scientific research. In essence, the article is an attack on all theoretical physics, and, by obvious implication, on scientific theory in general. It introduces the official racialism of the Nazis to divide physicists into good, i.e. non-theoretical and ‘Aryan,’ and bad, i.e., theoretical and Jewish. Similar notions have appeared in many popular magazines and scientific journals in Germany, in the addresses and writings of the Minister of education, of university rectors and deans, of scientists and non-scientists. apart from racial theories, furthermore, science and art are subject to ruthless political censorship. These ideas have found concrete expression in the dismissal and persecution of over 1,600 teachers and scientists (By the fall of 1936) from German Universities and research institutes (and now Austria and Italy too), and in the restriction of higher education to students having the ‘proper’ political and racial qualifications.

GOAL OF SCIENCE STRESSED

“American scientists, trained in a tradition of intellectual freedom, hold fast to their conviction, that, in the words of the resolution adopted by the American association for the Advancement of Science, ‘Science is wholly independent of national boundaries and races and creeds and can flourish only when there is peace and intellectual freedom.’ If science, to quote the AAAS resolution again, is to ‘continue to advance and spread more abundantly its benefits to all mankind — and who can attack that goal — then the man of science has a moral obligation to fulfill. He must educate the people against the acceptance of all false and unscientific doctrines which appear before them in the guise of science, regardless of their origin. only in that way can he insure those conditions of peace and freedom which are essential for him and for the progress of all mankind.

“It is in this light that we publicly condemn the fascist position towards science. The racial theories which they advocate have been demolished time and again. We need only point to the work of Heinrich hertz in physics, fritz Haber and Richard Willstatter in chemistry, Ludwig Traube, Paul Ehrlich, and August Wassermann in biology and medicine, all German Jews and all empirical scientists. The charge that theory leads ‘to a crippling of experimental research’ is tantamount to a denial of the whole history of modern physics. From Copernicus and Kepler on, all the great figures in western science have insisted, in deed or in word, upon the futility of experimental research divorced from theory.

“We firmly believe that in the present historical epoch democracy alone can preserve intellectual freedom. Any attack upon freedom of thought in one sphere, even as non-political a sphere as theoretical physics, is in effect an attack on democracy itself. When men like James Franck, Albert Einstein, or Thomas Mann may no longer continue their work, whether the reason is race, creed, or belief, all mankind suffers the loss. they must be defended in their right to speak the truth as they understand it. If we American scientists wish to avoid a similar fate, if we wish to see the world continue to progress and prosper, we must bend our efforts to that end now.”

http://www.jta.org/1938/12/11/archive/manifesto-by-1284-noted-u-s-scientists-denounces-racialism-fascist-position-on-science

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Science March Sign Making Event at The New York Academy of Sciences and Communicating Science Workshops

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The New York Academy of Science March for Science Signmaking Event 5a CricketDiane 2017 AprilThe New York Academy of Science March for Science sign making event was held yesterday in Manhattan.

http://www.nyas.org/default.aspx

Workshops to help scientists and engineers pitch their science more effectively were held by 500 Women Scientists organization in a separate room at the same time.

https://500womenscientists.org/

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The New York Academy of Science March for Science Signmaking Event 3a CricketDiane 2017 AprilThe New York Academy of Science March for Science Signmaking Event 2a CricketDiane 2017 April

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The workshops were expressed as scientists pitching their science and were intended to help communicate more effectively with non-scientists. The one I attended of the three scheduled times was an interesting round table style event with great information and ideas.

As I was there to understand how to more effectively communicate to scientists, the science community, engineers, architects, scholars, researchers, academics and applied science fields, why they should get out and march for science – the ideas that shaped my thinking from the workshop are stunning, to say the least.

I discovered that many people engaged in these fields live in something of a bubble but not because the information about people around them isn’t there, but because it is ignored. Maybe I don’t know how many scientists and engineers that I know or meet, or my neighbors know or meet every day or within our daily lives – neither do scientists and engineers know that beyond the few people they are interacting with daily assumed to know science – they’re ignoring the multitude of people they see and come in contact with – who don’t.

That is a problem.

If I see 50 people today, and 43 of them don’t know much of anything about science or haven’t really made the connection between their own lives and the science / engineering & technologies making it possible around them, then what is the true reality of the situation? Am I really in a bubble because I’m only interacting with the seven of the 50 who had common ground with me? Or only the 3 of those 7 that I already knew? It is an interesting question and I discovered that scientists and engineers / architects and academics may be living in self-constrained bubbles not realizing that the rest of us are here too, didn’t study those specialties and may very well not understand them but need to or want to. Or, at the very least, to we may want and need to understand how those sciences and engineering disciplines are valuable to us, enhance our lives, and that, in fact, we are relying on and using the advantages of them every day.

Without the understanding of the physics of combustion, our cars don’t go anywhere. Without getting the dynamics of that combustion harnessed appropriately, not only do our cars not go, but they become a dangerous combination rather than an effective one for transporting us where we want to go. We marvel at helium balloons for celebrations and birthday parties with its lighter than air quality, but never think about the discoveries from science and engineering that developed them and shaped things we could use from those discoveries. Scientists and engineers can point out those things to us in our interactions with them because they do think that way about it and do know – but they’re not.

In the workshop, I also learned that scientists are apologetic about their intelligence and studying to enhance it – to reach for genius within themselves and within their lives where many of us have not thought that important enough to us to do. I’m ashamed that scientists, engineers, researchers, academics or anyone would need to feel that way. Maybe I’m alone in being proud of them working to bring their mind to greater capacity to learn and to understand what is known, to discover beyond those things to develop things that can be done with it all and to strive for greater use of their intelligence and intellectual faculties. It is more than admirable, it is what we should want as a nation and as a community, for every individual to strive to excellence, to learn, to enhance their mind’s capacity to learn and to grasp what science and engineering has already discovered – and to move that beyond where we are today. It should be cherished and supported – every kind of genius and brilliance, not shamed. And, yet it is shamed in our society and I wish that were not so. It could be celebrated rather than shunned.

So, our science community, scientists, intellectuals, academics, engineers, architects and applied scientists may not be interacting with the solid communities of support around them in real daily life, because we don’t act very supportive when they talk and we feel stupid. Or because we know how smart they are and feel stupid when we as fellow community members come into contact with them. But to me, I’m inspired by them to accept that we are all stupid, including me – on so many things and so many levels with many things yet to learn all the time, and it helps me to want to put the time, the work, the effort and the perseverance in that it takes for me to be smarter, learn and think with greater capacity. And, yes – it still makes me feel stupid, but that’s okay.

The workshop helped the group of people who came to understand how to communicate science and engineering to non-scientists and the public. I heard suggestions that were brought into real terms, like describing the warming and more acidic oceans as a place the fish who live there can’t leave simply because conditions become untenable. Well, they didn’t put it quite like that, but the analogy was perfect for communicating the real problems of changes to our oceans. And, I discovered that the science community has many efforts to try and engage with the public but are not getting the audiences that need to engage with them from the general public and communities within it.

Also, I discovered that scientists don’t understand how many of us just don’t get it when it comes to scientific and engineering things. And, across disciplines – many of the scientists and engineers I’ve met including at the workshop and sign making event, don’t get the science and engineering from the other disciplines around them – whether it is that cooking is literally chemistry, or that people are using technology when they turn the key in their car and it works.

The March for Science on April 22 is hosting a lot of groups that are making efforts to engage the public about why science is important and in support of evidence-based facts, rather than alternative facts altered by the political agenda or business needs of the moment. In the workshop, when I said “evidence based facts”, several scientist laughed and the moderator said, “has it really come to that – we have to call it evidence based?” And, I thought – where have you been that you don’t know that?

It is time for scientists and engineers of all disciplines to take a hard look at what is happening in the real world around them, because it is far more pervasive a problem than budget cuts to science funding. Entire areas of research are being denied, excluded or altered for political purposes and business needs of the short term. Areas and specifics where statistical data had been collected in various forms are being changed to suit making the numbers look better, demographics look better, economic outlooks appear better or to redefine groups of information and statistics entirely.

Not only climate research and ocean research are being de-funded, but allowed focuses of study are being put in place to deny much of the possible research yielding facts that would be unsettling to the current political agenda or to the businesses and corporate interests supporting them. Scientific policy is being made by non-scientists, many of whom do not value science or engineering – even as their lives and business interests rely on them without realizing it. Forensic science tools, programs and research are being discarded in favor of other methods more politically motivated than factual.

And, the US population at a time when to be competitive – must be well educated to a college level or above and have a solid understanding of math, physics, science, scientific method, reasoned and critical thinking, technology, finance, economics, basic engineering, computer coding and business how-to, is lagging behind nearly every other nation in the world. The adult population in the US from elderly to working adults to young adults just entering the job market require these levels of education and skills to be competitive, employable and have the global opportunities that exist in order to survive with a basic sustenance to support living. But, the vast majority of Americans – do not have even the most modest level of those skills, education and applied use of them. And, yet we could – and our science communities can help because they know how important it is.

  • cricketdiane 04-19-17

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March for Science / Science March – April 22, 2017

https://www.marchforscience.com/

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Trump and GOP War on Science to Change Reality By Destroying or Altering Scientific Research, Data and Facts

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At Trump’s EPA, Less Science and More Industry

April 4, 2017, 6:00 AM EDT April 4, 2017, 9:56 AM EDT
  • GOP lawmakers are changing role of research in rule making
  • EPA advisory boards would include industry representatives

Congress and the Trump administration are planning sweeping changes in how science is used to govern public health.

[ . . .]

President Donald Trump has vowed to flatten regulatory hurdles for American business, and Congress’s proposed EPA rules for science would make commerce easier.

[ . . .]

The bills “really pull the rug out from under the independence of the scientific process,” said Thomas Burke, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore and former EPA adviser. “We’re going to turn back the clock on public health. This is the most devastating blow I’ve ever seen.”

[ . . . ]

That was Smith’s rationale for the Honest Act, which the House passed 228-194 on Wednesday. It would bar the EPA from creating any regulation based on data that’s not publicly available or can’t be replicated.

The law would mean eliminating studies that cite epidemiological research, such as the one that led to the banning of the pesticide DDT, which was shown to cause cancer in humans and deadly effects in birds like bald eagles. Leaded gasoline was also taken off the market due to epidemiological research, which exposed its link to brain damage in children.

[ . . . ]

A day after the House approved the Honest Act, the EPA Science Advisory Board Act passed 229-193, allowing industry representatives to serve without special permission, while excluding scientists whose research receives EPA funding. Doing that would prevent extreme views, according to its sponsor, Oklahoma Republican Representative Frank Lucas.

The bill “makes it easier for industry representatives with conflicts of interest to serve on advisory boards at the EPA while making it harder for scientific experts, all while slowing the regulatory process,” Johnson said in a statement.

(etc.)

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-04/research-that-saved-the-bald-eagle-at-risk-as-new-epa-settles-in

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Most Americans Oppose Climate Science Cuts

Fifty-nine percent of voters want the U.S. to do more to address global warming

The vast majority of voters do not support the deep cuts to climate science funding now being proposed in Washington, a new poll has found.

Three-quarters of voters think it is a bad idea to cut money for climate research, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released yesterday. Sixty-five percent say they believe climate change is caused by human activity, which the majority of scientists in the field concluded years ago, but American politicians have been slow to accept.

Meanwhile, the number of voters who say they are “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about climate change has increased to 76 percent, up from 66 percent in December 2015.

[ . . . ]

Meanwhile, the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress have proposed cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in climate change research. The cuts are spread across U.S. EPA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, the Department of Energy, and others.

Some GOP lawmakers, including Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, who chairs the House Science Committee, have said federal climate science has become too politicized. Smith has proposed eliminating federal money for NASA earth-observing missions and restraining the role of science in EPA policymaking.

“We’re not spending money on that anymore,” Trump budget director Mick Mulvaney recently told reporters about climate science. “We consider that to be a waste of your money.”

(etc.)

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/most-americans-oppose-climate-science-cuts/

from Climatewire with permission from E&E News. E&E provides daily coverage of essential energy and environmental news atwww.eenews.net

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GOP’s hostility to science mostly about money

Not to worry. President Donald Trump has told us that climate change is merely a hoax invented by the Chinese. (It’s not clear what the Chinese would gain from such a ploy.) And to prove that he hasn’t the slightest interest in the warnings of climate scientists, he has gone briskly about the business of dismantling the regulations President Barack Obama painstakingly put into place to try to mitigate the effects of global warming.

Once upon a time, Republicans considered themselves a party of ideas, of vision, of rational decision-making. They employed reason and lauded fact. They embraced scientific discovery. Not anymore.

Among the most worrisome trends — and there are many — seen in modern-day Republicans is their repudiation of science. The party has become a redoubt of fact-free propaganda, asinine conspiracy theories and foolish assumptions. There may be a significant group among them who still believe in scientific discovery, but they are largely silent, content to allow the flat-earthers lead the way.

[ . . . ]

Meanwhile, so far, Trump has failed to fill important scientific posts in his administration. He has, however, signaled an aggressive turn against scientific evidence. During the transition, for example, Trump’s team requested the names of Energy Department staffers who had worked on climate change. To their credit, higher-ups in the department declined to honor the request.

[ . . . ]

Since the 1970s, fossil-fuel companies and other pollution-producing industries have invested heavily in campaigns to cast doubt on the science of climate change. Titans of those industries, such as Charles and David Koch, also have invested heavily in politicians who would do their bidding — which means allowing certain industries to pillage and pollute as they like.

(etc.)

http://www.pressconnects.com/story/opinion/columnists/2017/04/03/gops-hostility-science-mostly-money/99963110/

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A climate of lies: Denialism goes wider, and weirder, as Trump amplifies Republican mendacity

Climate-change denialists were already terrible, but they’ve grown bolder and more bizarre in the age of Trump

Perhaps the best way to understand the presidency of Donald Trump is to recognize that he’s building on and advancing the already advanced authoritarian tendencies of the Republican Party. Nowhere is this more obvious than when it comes to climate change denial.  Even before Trump was elected, a whopping 84 percent of the conservative Republicans polled by Pew Research refused to accept that climate change is real and caused by human activity, and even 65 percent of the moderate Republicans surveyed rejected the facts.

[ ,. . . ]

On Wednesday Rep. Lamar Smith, the climate-change denialist who chairs the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, ridiculed one of the foremost peer-reviewed scientific journals in the world, Science.

[. . . ]

But with Trump in the White House, it’s no surprise that other Republicans feel emboldened in their dishonesty, denying not just scientific data or research but even their own words. Denying something he’s been caught saying on tape is a common habit of Trump, after all.

[ /. . . ]

To the authoritarian, “truth” does not flow from empirical or verifiable reality but instead is determined by those whom the authoritarians deems to be the proper leaders. (Usually a self-appointed designation.) Reality is what Smith or Trump or whatever Republican demagogue says it is, not your videotapes or scientific evidence.

[ . . . ]

Take, for instance, this amazing story from Pennsylvania, where state Sen. Scott Wagner — who likes to say “Donald Trump is a visionary and he’s a leader” and who is hoping to be the Republican nominee for governor — got downright trippy with the climate-change denial, according to NPR’s StateImpact:

“I haven’t been in a science class in a long time, but the earth moves closer to the sun every year – you know, the rotation of the earth,” Wagner said in an event organized for county commissioners opposed to natural gas drilling regulations. “We’re moving closer to the sun.”

That bears no relationship to reality. In fact, the Earth’s orbit (which is what Wagner probably meant by “rotation”) is literally what keeps it from plummeting toward the Sun. But that’s just centuries-old knowledge, demonstrated through mathematics and observation, so not relevant in our age of Trumpism.

“We have more people,” Wagner added, continuing his imaginative foray into science. “You know, humans have warm bodies. So is heat coming off? Things are changing, but I think we are, as a society, doing the best we can.”

(etc.)

http://www.salon.com/2017/03/31/a-climate-of-lies-denialism-goes-wider-and-weirder-as-trump-amplifies-republican-mendacity/

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GOP-backed measures seek to rein in science used at EPA (Update)

February 8, 2017 by Michael Biesecker

[ . . . ]

A separate measure would revamp the makeup EPA’s Science Advisory Board. Republicans say the board has been historically stocked with scientists who receive federal research grants, which they allege presents an improper conflict of interest.

“In recent years SAB experts have become nothing more than rubberstamps who approve all of the EPA’s regulations,” Smith said. “Simple changes, such as eliminating conflicts of interests, adding more balanced perspectives and being more transparent can go a long way to restoring the agency’s credibility.”

Democrats suggested the Republicans are seeking to stock the board with scientists paid by industries regulated by EPA.

Former Democratic Congressman Rush Holt, a physicist who is CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, warned that politicians should refrain from meddling.

“Scientists—whether in industry, academia, or the government—must have confidence that they can conduct their work in an atmosphere free of intimidation or undue influence,” said Holt, who testified at the invitation of the committee’s Democrats. “Policymakers should never dictate the conclusions of a scientific study, and they should base policy on a review of relevant research.”

https://phys.org/news/2017-02-gop-backed-rein-science-epa.html

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Republican culture of irrationality supports Trump’s lies, manipulations

By Advocate-Messenger

Published 7:50 am Saturday, April 1, 2017

By BRIAN COONEY

Contributing columnist

The dishonesty of the Trump presidency endangers our nation in two ways. First, Trump continues to be what he’s been all his adult life: a serial liar. As a result, he is quickly losing credibility at home and abroad. Second, as evidenced by his administrative appointees and proposed budget cuts, he is suppressing information about, and planning for, the global instability threatened by climate change. These two behaviors are supported by a culture of irrationality embedded in the Republican base.

[ . . . ]

In its potential for catastrophic harm, Trump’s worst lie is his repeated claim that climate change is a “hoax.” He knows better. In 2009, Trump and his children signed an open letter in the New York Times to President Obama saying “We support your effort to ensure meaningful and effective measures to control climate change … Please allow us, the United States of America, to serve in modeling the change necessary to protect humanity and our planet.” As recently as the spring of 2016, Trump applied to the Irish government and to the Clare County Council for permission to build a seawall to protect his golf course from “global warming and its effects.”

Trump’s recently announced budget would cut climate change research and preventive programs throughout the federal government, including a 31-percent reduction at the EPA. As Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, made clear at a press conference on March 16: “Regarding the question as to climate change, I think the President was fairly straightforward — we’re not spending money on that anymore; we consider that to be a waste of your money.”

This is irrational. The American Association for the Advancement of Science, in a statement (AAAS) cosigned by 17 other scientific organizations, has said that at least 97 percent of actively publishing climate scientists agree that “climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver.”

[ . . . ]

https://www.amnews.com/2017/04/01/republican-culture-of-irrationality-supports-trumps-lies-manipulations/

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The Mercers, Trump mega-donors, back group that casts doubt on climate science

March 27

The atmosphere was buoyant at a conference held by the conservative Heartland Institute last week at a downtown Washington hotel, where speakers denounced climate science as rigged and jubilantly touted deep cuts President Trump is seeking to make to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Front and center during the two-day gathering were New York hedge fund executive Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah Mercer, Republican mega-donors who with their former political adviser Stephen K. Bannon helped finance an alternative media ecosystem that amplified Trump’s populist themes during last year’s campaign.

[ . . . ]

Half a dozen Trump transition officials and administration advisers attended the gathering, including Myron Ebell, director of energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who headed Trump’s EPA transition team.

[ . . . ]

Kenneth Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, said Heartland “has a long history of promoting ‘alternative facts’ about climate change as well as crank climate denialist theories that are far out of the mainstream scientific consensus.”

Kimmell said the fact that key Trump administration officials are embracing some of their theories is alarming.

“It is distressing to see us going backwards on basic climate science,” he said.

[ . . . ]

Several organizations that have received funding from the Mercer foundation helped sponsor the Heartland conference, including the Media Research Center, the Heritage Foundation and the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, a small group based in Bellevue, Wash., whose vice president once vowed to “destroy environmentalists by taking their money and their members.”

The gathering drew about 300 people to the Grand Hyatt, whose corridors buzzed with chatter about carbon levels and “fake” climate science. A man marketing the film “Climate Hustle” bore a sign that read, “Hello, My Name is Al Gore.”

The overarching theme of the two-day gathering: that fossil fuels and elevated levels of carbon dioxide actually benefit human health, the environment and regional stability.

(etc.)

2300-mercerbannon-donations-foundation-v3

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/the-mercers-trump-mega-donors-back-group-that-casts-doubt-on-climate-science/2017/03/26/dc1fde86-109b-11e7-9b0d-d27c98455440_story.html?utm_term=.3eff307aed05

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March For Science Warns that Without Truth and Transparency, Authoritarianism Can Take Over

Posted April 12, 2017

Alarmed by the anti-science stance of the Trump administration – in sync with many Republican Party leaders in Congress and across the country – scientists and their allies have organized the March For Science, which will take place on Earth Day, April 22 in Washington, D.C., and over 400 other major cities across the U.S. and abroad. Organizers of the action say their mission is to: “Unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest.”

[ . . . ]

Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Dr. Sarah Evanega, director of the Cornell Alliance for Science, who talks about the principles and objectives of the April 22 March For Science. [Rush transcript]

DR. SARAH EVANEGA: It’s an unprecedented time, certainly truth itself is under threat and that really threatens the very tenets of democracy. Science, one could argue, and democracy go hand in hand because truth is essential for reason to debate and democracy – without truth and transparency, and the methods inherent to science, democracy is debased and potentially, a creeping authoritarianism can take over.

So, it is a challenge, and it comes at a time where we have unprecedented challenges. Never before have we needed science and innovation in light of the challenges we face around climate change and global food insecurity and so, this sort of threat to science comes at a time when we need science and we need fuel innovation more now than ever.

[ . . . ]

http://www.btlonline.org/2017/seg/170421cf-btl-evanega.html

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EPA busy scuttling rules, planning cutbacks, amid pro-business shift

Updated on April 16, 2017 at 10:22 AM Posted on April 16, 2017 at 6:30 AM

But to really get a feel for the pro-industry revolution underway inside the nation’s primary environmental watchdog, go to West, a town of 2,800 in sun-baked Texas. A 2013 explosion at a fertilizer plant flattened parts of the city, killing 15 people — 10 of them firefighters — and injuring 200 others. The volunteers had no idea that the tons of ammonium nitrate stored on site could explode.

The blast registered 2.1 on the Richter scale.

In response, the EPA early this year adopted new rules requiring plant owners to disclose the presence of dangerous chemicals to the locals and coordinate with emergency responders. The chemical industry objected, saying it was too expensive and potentially dangerous to force that kind of disclosure.

Late last month, with the Trump administration in charge, the EPA ditched the rule.  “We want to prevent regulation created for the sake of regulation by the previous administration,” said Scott Pruitt, the agency’s new director.

(etc,)

INTERIOR

BLM ‘priority’ list pushes drilling, wall — leaked docs

 

March for Science April 22

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The March for Science is being organized for April 22, 2017 and a Climate March is set for April 29, 2017.

Divide and conquer are being used on us to keep our voices and our knowledge out of being joined together for many of these organizing marches.

Many people have asked me why scientists would march at all and for what reason. There is an outright war on science right now and on scientific facts as facts that require a real response from the majority of people who believe evidence based facts and science are critically important.

For too long, scientists, engineers, academics, architects and researchers have simply focused on funding and the science or engineering they were doing. But underlying those efforts was the assumption that we had all agreed on the basic integrity of facts and accurate data as a premise.

Now, we are challenged as a community of scholars and those in the practice of science and its applications, to fight for the substance and importance of that very premise – that evidence based facts are facts and that it is not acceptable to politically alter those facts to suit a given purpose of the moment.

Don’t tell me that, “I’m not a scientist, so it doesn’t matter to me.” It does and will affect everything for scientific fact to no longer be accepted as facts.

Don’t tell me that, “if this effort fails to support some other aspect about diversity or inclusion that you can’t support it.” Stand up and let this opportunity do both.

This is far more basic than that although welcoming to include diversity and inclusion within this effort to stand up for science and evidence based facts, scientific method and respect for its rigorous path to accuracy, peer review and repetition of results before acceptance.

What stops this full on assault against the facts as facts – if not ALL of us standing up who have a vested interest in science, scientific integrity and the importance of facts as accurate and not distorted or altered to suit politics or business or ideologies of the moment.

I said to someone recently that never in our lifetimes have we had to fight for the basic premise of facts as facts. But, that was wrong. Scientists had their work denigrated, funding removed, careers and reputations destroyed by political administrations seeking to undermine facts about climate changes, global warming, ecological harms being done to communities and regions, sea level rise and ocean changes. That fight went unmatched by science activism during many years of previous administrations in America and globally when the data could have been used to make a difference.

Today, in federal agencies and funding sources from the federal government under the Trump administration and GOP held Congress and Senate, permanent changes are being made to science, science funding, scientific data, scientific research, how scientific research and data are gathered, what can be discovered from that data officially (or not), scientific committees and departments, and what scientific data will be kept, made public, published and archived by the federal government.

Where scientific fact disproves or fails to support some political or business agenda or purpose, the agency heads and White House liaison teams from the Trump administration are intent on destroying the science and altering scientific data rather than developing helpful and appropriate policies that would be derived from those facts.

Not collecting the data through NOAA satellite programs and cutting those programs will not alter climate change, rising CO2 levels, rising sea levels, arctic ice destruction, warming ocean currents, changing atmospheric conditions from pollutants. But, that is the answer of the administration in control now – simply don’t collect the data, don’t let scientists work with that data and don’t allow publication of that information and its scientific study – then climate change will go away. It doesn’t work that way, but that is the choice the current administration and Congressional and Senate decision makers are using.

Engineers, architects and applied sciences will have as much, if not more problems with data and scientific facts being made over in the image of political and business ideologies as it is happening now. These disciplines rely on the underlying sciences, scientific principles, accurate data and facts as known quantities to use in their work. Without accuracy, anything engineered, built, created by applied science disciplines is in jeopardy. No one wants loosy-goosy data building a structure that is intended to house people and their lives, contain businesses and their activities that is intended to be safe.

Right now, the Trump and GOP in federal administration and legislature positions of unfettered power, are changing not only scientific access and resources, they are changing the way data is collected at the Bureau of Economic Analysis, included what data will no longer be collected. The forensic science arm of the Department of Justice is being changed, de-funded and in some ways disbanded. Research at the EPA and NOAA, NIH and other federal agencies are being de-funded of grant allotments, in fact entire programs of study and research are disappearing. Part of this is being done through budget cuts, Trump appointed agency heads and liaison teams within the agencies, through the OMB and by Congress and Senate rolling back programs from the previous administration plus cutting programs through the upcoming budget legislation.

For some years, it has been the case, that a portion of propaganda and lobbying has been aimed at falsifying facts, dismissing facts, undermining facts and data, discrediting scientific facts for the purpose of politics and business. In some ways, this right wing thinking is desperate for science and scientific facts to accomplish business purposes and political projects, but desires control over what facts, how those facts are interpreted, and now – having come full circle, are exerting control over supporting only what agrees with what they believe to be the case whether any facts support that or not. Then those facts that do not support what they believe are discarded and discredited as a lie becomes the only allowable truth. That’s where we are now.

Scientists and engineers, architects and the general public, academics and scholars, educated and non-educated citizens alike, need to stand with us to support science for the March for Science, April 22 and for the Climate March on April 29, because science is important and evidenced-based facts are critical to good decision making.

Yes, we need more diversity in science. Yes we need more inclusion in engineering and the fields of architect, developer, builder. Yes, we need more science education across our entire population including our adult population. Yes we need more support for science, engineering, technology, mathematics – and the arts. Yes we need an education system that pulls all of us into a higher level of direct education that we don’t have now.

And, yes we need decision-makers to accept scientific facts as facts, that evidence-based factual information are the facts we accept and work with and agree upon as facts, that we do not accept lies as facts to suit the politics or business needs of the moment, and that decision-makers grounded in reality are critical to good policies, good administration, good thinking and sound judgment.

And, yes – we need to stand together and say that science is important and scientific facts are not constructs of politics, nor will we allow them to be.

  • cricketdiane, 04-16-2017

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A Running List of How Trump Is Changing the Environment

The Trump administration has promised vast changes to U.S. science and environmental policy—and we’re tracking them here as they happen.

 

https://phys.org/news/2017-02-gop-backed-rein-science-epa.html

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