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Aug 20, 2017, 07:46 AM
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 51 
 on: Aug 17, 2017, 05:04 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
Hundreds of cities expected to be inundated by end of century due to climate change

International Business Times
13 Jul 2017 at 07:47 ET         

Almost a month after the U.S. announced its exit from the Paris Climate Agreement, a new study has come up with the list of cities that are likely to get affected in the next hundred years if immediate steps are not taken.

According to a study released Wednesday, cities along the Jersey Shore and in parts of North Carolina, South Louisiana, and neighboring areas that have been known as vulnerable from years are expected to be inundated by 2035.

By 2060, cities like Galveston, Texas, Sanibel Island, Florida, Hilton Head, South Carolina, Ocean City, Maryland, and many others along the Jersey Shore can meet the same fate.

According to the list, more than 50 cities with a population of more than 100,000 could be affected by the end of the century. Cities like Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and four of the five boroughs of New York will be inundated.

While the cities on the west coast are not expected to face the brunt over the next few decades, places like San Francisco and Los Angeles will be on the list by 2100. "This research hones in on exactly how sea level rise is hitting us first. The number of people experiencing chronic floods will grow much more quickly than sea level itself," Benjamin Strauss, vice president for Sea Level and Climate Impacts at Climate Central said in reaction to this study, CNN reported.

According to the study, there are three different sea level rise scenarios.  There is a “high scenario” in which emissions rise through the end of the century and ice sheets melt faster to yield about 6.5 feet of sea level rise.  Secondly, there is an “intermediate scenario” that projects carbon emissions peaking around mid-century and about 4 feet of sea level rise globally with ice melting at a moderate rate that increases over the time.  And lastly, there is a “low scenario” that assumes carbon emissions decline steeply and warming is limited to less than 2 degrees Celsius—in line with the primary goal of the Paris Climate Agreement.

By 2035, about 170 communities will face chronic inundation and possible retreat from affected areas under the intermediate or high scenarios, the study says. The number will rise to about 270 communities by 2060. The number can also go up to 360 under the "high scenario" situation. About 40 percent of chronically inundated communities in either of the three scenarios would see at least half of their land flooded. By 2100, as many as 490 communities will face the brunt, the study added.

The study, however, says that if we act today to achieve the temperature and emissions reductions goals as mentioned in Paris Climate Agreement and succeed in slowing the acceleration of sea level rise, around 380 communities can be saved from the side-effects.

The study states serious human consequences can be avoided if the reducing global warming emission is made a national priority. The U.S. can still make deep cuts in heat-trap6ping emissions and contribute to global efforts to limit climate change.

 52 
 on: Aug 17, 2017, 04:58 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
Electric flying car that takes off vertically could be future of transport

German company Lilium beats Google and Uber to successfully test a VTOL jet that could be used as a city taxi

Staff and Reuters
8/17/2017

The once fanciful concept of flying cars appears to be a step closer to reality, after a German company completed successful test flights of a “flying taxi”.

Munich-based Lilium, backed by investors who include Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström, said the planned five-seater jet, which will be capable of vertical take-off and landing, could be used for urban air-taxi and ride-sharing services.

In flight tests, a two-seat prototype executed manoeuvres that included a mid-air transition from hover mode – like a drone – to wing-borne flight - like a conventional aircraft, Lilium said.

Lilium’s electric VTOL jet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohig71bwRUE

Potential competitors to Lilium Jet include much bigger players such as Airbus, the maker of commercial airliners and helicopters that aims to test a prototype self-piloted, single-seat “flying car” later in 2017.

The Slovakian firm AeroMobil said at a car show in Monaco on Thursday it would start taking orders for a hybrid flying car that can drive on roads. It said it planned production from 2020.

But makers of “flying cars” still face hurdles, including convincing regulators and the public that their products can be used safely. Governments are still grappling with regulations for drones and driverless cars.

Lilium said its jet, with a range of 190 miles and cruising speed of 186mph, is the only electric aircraft capable of both vertical take-off and jet-powered flight.

The jet, whose power consumption is comparable to an electric car, could offer passenger flights at prices comparable to normal taxis but with speeds five times faster, Lilium said.

Other potential rivals include the crowd-funded e-volo, a firm based near Mannheim that has said it expects to receive special regulatory approval for its two-seat “multicopter” with 18 rotors to be used as flying taxis in pilot projects by 2018.

Terrafugia, based outside the US city of Boston and founded 11 years ago by MIT graduates, aims to build a mass-market flying car, while the US-Israeli firm Joby Aviation has said it is working on a four-seater drone.

Google, Tesla and Uber have also reportedly shown interest in the new technology.

Click to watch: <iframe src="https://embed.theguardian.com/embed/video/world/video/2017/apr/21/flying-cars-test-flight-is-a-success-says-german-company-video" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

 53 
 on: Aug 17, 2017, 04:55 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

Smart or dumb? The real impact of India’s proposal to build 100 smart cities

The country's ‘vertical with a vengeance’ plan will not solve many of the problems it aims to address

Hugh Byrd
Independent
8/17/2017   

In 2014, the new Indian government declared its intention to achieve 100 smart cities. In promoting this objective, it gave the example of a large development in the island city of Mumbai, Bhendi Bazaar. There, three-to-five-storey housing would be replaced with towers of between 40 to 60 storeys to increase density. This has come to be known as “vertical with a vengeance”.

We have obtained details of the proposed project from the developer and the municipal authorities. Using an extended urban metabolism model, which measures the impacts of the built environment, we have assessed its overall impact. We determined how the flows of materials and energy will change as a result of the redevelopment.

Our research shows that the proposal is neither smart nor sustainable.

Measuring impacts

The Indian government clearly defined what they meant by “smart”. More than half of the 11 objectives were environmental and main components of the metabolism of a city. These include adequate water and sanitation, assured electricity, efficient transport, reduced air pollution and resource depletion, and sustainability.

We collected data from various primary and secondary sources. This included physical surveys during site visits, local government agencies, non-governmental organisations, the construction industry and research.

We then made three-dimensional models of the existing and proposed developments to establish morphological changes, including building heights, street widths, parking provision, roof areas, open space, landscaping and other aspects of built form.

Demographic changes (population density, total population) were based on census data, the developer’s calculations and an assessment of available space. Such information about the magnitude of the development and the associated population changes allowed us to analyse the additional resources required as well as the environmental impact.

Flow-on effects of high-rise housing

In order to compare the environmental impact of the new development with the existing housing, it is useful to measure it in terms of changes per capita or unit of floor area.

The redevelopment of Bhendi Bazaar would result in a population increase of about 25 per cent. Our research indicates that metabolism does not increase linearly (on a per capita basis) with density, but accelerates instead.

Water consumption and waste water production per capita is likely to increase by 155 per cent, largely because of the potential for more appliances and bathrooms in the towers. Rainwater harvesting, a compulsory requirement, is likely to reduce to less than half (45 per cent) as the roof catchment area of towers is smaller than that of the existing housing.

Residential electricity consumption per capita is predicted to increase by 30 per cent. In commercial and retail spaces, electricity use will more than double per unit of floor area (an increase of 226 per cent). This is primarily because of the increased requirement for air conditioning in the towers, but also because of the need for more lighting, ventilation pumping and lifts in the common areas and basements.

Carbon dioxide emissions more than double as electricity consumption increases, resulting in a 43 per cent increase in per capita emissions. However, emissions from transport increase by 176 per cent per capita because the development leads to more private car ownership, with 3,000 car spaces where there were none before.

All this is happening is a city that already rations water to a few hours per day and where electricity blackouts are common because of insufficient supply. Only about 20 per cent of sewage is treated. The rest discharges into the Arabian Sea. Landfill sites have already outlived their carrying capacity.

Verticality and vulnerability

The quest to make cities smart and liveable has been promoted alongside increased population densities and urban compaction. We argue that this planning goal is reaching a point where resources are inadequate for the functioning of a city.

Case studies such as Bhendi Bazaar provide an example of plans for increased density and urban regeneration. However, they do not offer an answer to the challenge of limited infrastructure to support the resource requirements of such developments.

The results of our research indicate significant adverse impacts on the environment. They show that the metabolism increases at a greater rate than the population grows. On this basis, this proposed development for Mumbai, or the other 99 cities, should not be called smart or sustainable.

With policies that aim to prevent urban sprawl, cities will inevitably grow vertically. But with high-rise housing comes dependence on centralised flows of energy, water supplies and waste disposal. Dependency in turn leads to vulnerability and insecurity.

Suburbia offers some buffer. Water and power can be collected from individual roofs and food produced in individual gardens. However, we argue that vertical urban form on this scale offers little resilience.

Hugh Byrd is a professor of architecture at the University of Lincoln. This article first appeared on The Conversation (theconversation.com)

 54 
 on: Aug 17, 2017, 04:51 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
SPIEGEL ONLINE
8/17/2017

'I Just Made It All Up': A Sioux Family Fights Apparent Miscarriage of Justice

By Jasmin Lörchner

Four Sioux from South Dakota have spent the last 23 years in prison, convicted of raping their nieces. Although witness statements were withdrawn, they have never been acquitted. This apparent miscarriage of justice is rooted in a climate of prejudice against Native Americans.

Donovan Rouse committed suicide on April 12, 2017, after 23 years of drowning his sorrows and fighting his demons. He'd tried before, once slitting his wrists and once stabbing himself in the neck with a pair of scissors. Those times, he survived. But on a gray Sunday in April, he took an overdose of pills and silenced his demons forever.

The demons' name was guilt.

At the age of nine, Donovan helped put four of his uncles behind bars. Desmond and Jesse Rouse, Garfield Feather and Russel Hubbeling, who belong to the Yankton Sioux tribe, went on trial in South Dakota in 1994, charged with repeatedly and brutally raping Donovan's sisters and cousins -- five girls, aged between 20 months-old and seven.

The children gave evidence in court, stating that the men had raped them after tying them to beds. Two doctors confirmed they had vaginal and anal wounds. A psychologist attested they were suffering from post-traumatic stress. The jury was in no doubt that the men were guilty. Desmond Rouse was sentenced to 32 years in jail; his brother Jesse got 33 years and Garfield Feather and Russel Hubbeling both got 30 years.

All four continue to this day to proclaim their innocence. In October 1996, Donovan and his cousin Thrista admitted to having fabricated the charges against their uncles. All the children who gave evidence went on to retract their statements.

"It was a big old lie," said Donovan.

"They was (sic) asking a bunch of questions and I didn't know what to say," says Thrista. "So I just made it all up!"

Serious Doubts About Ruling

All the appeals were rejected. At a hearing in 2001, the court refused to recognize that the children's statements had been revoked. The four men remain behind bars and the state of South Dakota still maintains they are guilty.

But recent expert reports raise serious doubts about the court ruling. Moreover, the investigators' methods, the questioning of the children and the fact the doctors who examined them were apparently not qualified, all add up to a grave miscarriage of justice -- one that began in 1994 and has yet to be resolved.

The case has been picked up by the Innocence Project of Texas, which provides assistance to citizens convicted of crimes they did not commit. "The trial was very unfair," says lawyer Mike Ware. "Inaccurate information was presented as facts in order to get a conviction."

After a number of transfers, Desmond Rouse is currently in the Federal Correctional Institution in Englewood, Colorado. It's a low-security jail, and he appreciates every ounce of freedom conceded to him. "I can see the mountains. I can even hear the birds singing," Rouse wrote in an email to DER SPIEGEL.

Garfield Feather has been held in nine federal prisons and spent most of that time in solitary confinement -- for his own protection. Someone like him, sentenced for child rape, is considered the lowest of the low in the prison hierarchy. "I am very fortunate to be here today," he says when asked how he's treated by other inmates.

Mike Ware was the only attorney willing to take on the case. It's a child abuse case. There is no DNA evidence that could exonerate the men. They are all Sioux, and the sorry truth is that US society cares little for their fates. Getting them out of jail is no easy task.

Deep Prejudice

In the Rouse case, prejudices against Native Americans surfaced during the trial time and again. The state prosecutor painted them as hardened alcoholics, while the court marshals told passersby ahead of the judges' ruling that they were "just some guys going to the pen for rape" During their deliberations, the unanimously white jury apparently made racist jokes, although they later denied having done so.

"It was like the deep South against the blacks," says psychologist Hollida Wakefield, who followed the trial in 1994.

It all began when 5-year-old Rosemary Rouse was taken into state care on Nov. 8, 1993, after complaining that her grandmother, with whom she lived, was mean and didn't feed her. No one took a statement from her grandmother, who was accused of neglect.

Neglect is a common charge leveled against indigenous families in South Dakota when their children are taken away by social services. While cases of neglect obviously do exist, it is also fair to say that, in those days, social workers often lacked the training and sensitivity to understand family structures in Native-American tribes. The social worker in the Rouse case had previously worked in a casino.

The federal government passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) in 1978 to protect Native-American families. It states that Native American children removed from their families should be placed with relatives, members of its tribe or of other indigenous tribes rather than in a Caucasian foster home.

But for years, South Dakota has failed to abide by ICWA. The state sweepingly labels Native-American children as having "special needs." This in turn helps the state to cash in on significant extra payments from the federal government in Washington to the state and foster families who provide care for special needs children. "South Dakota has an outstanding level of ICWA misuse," says Patricia Shiery. As a state legislator at the time, she made a futile attempt in 2011 to revise the "special needs" passage in the ICWA to reduce the negative impact of the foster care incentive on Native-American families.

Did this background play a role in the investigations against the Rouse clan?

Two months after Rosemary was removed from her grandmother's care, her foster mother Donna Jordan told authorities that she believed the girl had been sexually abused. Days later, on Jan. 11, 1994, social workers, officers with the Bureau of Indian Affairs Police and FBI agents paid a visit to the Yankton Sioux reservation and removed 11 children from the care of the Rouse family, including Donovan, his siblings and his cousins.

Ambiguous Findings

Rosemary, Lucritia, Jessica, Fury, Thrista and Echo Rouse, accompanied by their foster mother, were only examined by pediatrician Richard Kaplan four days later. Almost all the girls accused an uncle of having molested them. Kaplan found evidence of slight bruising and redness but was unable to diagnose clear-cut sexual abuse. He referred the girls to a colleague.

On Feb. 11, 1994, gynecologist Robert Ferrell performed colposcopies, a procedure to examine an illuminated, magnified view of the cervix and the tissues of the vagina and vulva. The doctor failed to take any photographs during the examination. In court, he resorted to sketching the children's genitals to explain his conclusions.

Ferrell found notches, furrows and lines on the girls' hymens, which he took to be traces of earlier injury. He described "abnormal-looking hymens" and small tears that had healed on the girls' rectums as well as thickened wrinkles.

During the trial, Ferrell admitted that none of his findings, taken in isolation, sufficed as evidence of sexual abuse. The judge refused the defense's request that the children be examined by a specialist.

In 2014, Joyce Adams, a doctor who specializes in child abuse, wrote a report on Ferrell's diagnosis, describing his findings as within the span of normal anatomical structures. Adams has examined over 3,500 children and given evidence in more than 400 court cases. "If the medical evidence of Dr. Ferrell was given any weight by the jury in its deliberations, then these cases must be reassessed," she says.

The only evidence that still points to the men's guilt are the children's own testimonies. But new reports suggest that these were obtained under duress. The children were questioned at least three times by investigators and in the state prosecutor's office. They saw a therapist twice a week. In total, from the start of the investigation in January 1994 until the trial in July, they would have talked about the alleged abuse more than 25 times. All the while, they were completely isolated from their family.

"Tell us the truth. You can go home if you tell us the truth," was the message conveyed during their questioning, as Donovan and Lucritia would recall in subsequent years. The investigators showed them explicit anatomical pictures, the therapist gave them dolls so they could reconstruct what had happened. The accusations escalated with every session, with the children saying their uncles had raped their mothers, they had beaten up their grandmother, broken her arm. They even claimed their grandmother had touched them inappropriately.

"Lays think of memory as a cam recorder where you just hit the replay button and see everything that happened," says psychologist Hollida Wakefield. "That's a totally erroneous idea." As she points out, an experience is reconstructed afresh, each time a person recalls it. "It's a reconstruction, a process in motion and influenced by many things such as our own reflections and reactions of our peers," she says. Repeated questioning creates a sense of pressure and impairs memory, especially in cases of children who are interrogated without a trusted adult present.

False Memories

Child psychologist Maggie Bruck teaches at John Hopkins University. She has conducted numerous studies on the suggestibility of children and their credibility as witnesses. In her opinion, the Rouse children's statements were influenced by "highly suggestive circumstances that have been scientifically shown to lead to false accusations by young children."

Therapy notes also show that when the children took part in group sessions, it was striking that they made the same accusations as one another. Experts call this "cross-germination." When witnesses listen to other witnesses' statements, they can develop false memories. In 1994, the children's psychologist in the trial said she was only familiar with the term in the context of gardening.

During the trial, the state prosecutor asked the children "yes" or "no" questions. The defense was not allowed to challenge the children over contradictions in their statements. Donovan burst into tears in the witness box and went into shock. "I was so ashamed to lie in front of my uncles," he would later say.

Attorney Mike Ware is seeking to have the case reopened and wants to see the mens' full acquittal. In late April, for the first time, he visited Desmond Rouse in prison in Colorado.

After 23 years behind bars, he and the other three have grounds to be hopeful. Despite everything, they bear no grudge against the children. "My heart aches for what those children were put through by the federal authorities involved," says Garfield Feather. "So many lives were destroyed."

They were devastated to learn of Donovan's suicide. "His death leaves a empty space in my heart," says Desmond Rouse.

After Ware's visit, he wrote to DER SPIEGEL that he was optimistic that things might start to change for him and the others. But his experience with the U.S. justice system has left him traumatized. "I believed in truth and justice back then, " he wrote. "But after all that we've been through, I don't believe in it anymore. In America, truth and justice exists for some, but not for everyone."

 55 
 on: Aug 17, 2017, 04:48 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
Solar eclipses as lessons in lifting shadows of hate

Like the darkness of an eclipse, the dark mood of hate in the United States, stirred by right-wing protests, must be seen as fleeting.   

CS Monitor

August 17, 2017 —During a total solar eclipse in 1988, a remote tribe in the Philippines called the Tboli did what it had done for centuries during previous eclipses. The people rushed to make loud noises by banging gongs and drums. Despite some modern education in astronomical science, about half the tribe still believed an ancient myth that the sun might not shine again unless they made the clanging sounds.

This story about the human senses misreading a celestial event as eternal darkness might be useful as many Americans prepare to experience a total solar eclipse on Aug. 21. The United States now seems as much under a shadow of hatefulness as it will be Monday under the darkness of the moon’s shadow from Oregon to South Carolina. The hate is being measured in rallies by white supremacists, in hate crimes against minorities, in public diatribes against elected leaders, in internet postings by hate groups, and even in arguments between friends and neighbors. And this dark mood may seem as permanent as the eclipse did for the Tboli people.

Astronomy has liberated much of humanity from false beliefs about the motions of the stars and planets. Earth is no longer seen as the center of the universe. The sun is just another star. The planets do not foretell human events. The light of scientific understanding over the centuries even informs us today that the darkness of a total solar eclipse will last only about 2 minutes, 40 seconds. No gongs need to be banged on Aug. 21.

Is there a similar lightness of understanding to lift America’s dark mood of hate? It cannot easily be found among national politicians or on cable TV. Only a minority of Americans look to the current president for moral leadership. Social media accelerates hate speech more than it spreads bonds of affections. Counterprotests against the protests of hate groups may make a moral statement; but they may not make peace.

Lifting this gloom will take individual acts of faith that the natural affection among diverse people can return to the American landscape. Such moments of courage, understanding, and love are not as easily measured as acts of hate. Yet they are more real and eternal.

A good example was recorded in a New Yorker magazine article about the clergy of Charlottesville, Va., coming together before the Aug. 12 protests. The coalition of local faith leaders, who call themselves the Charlottesville Clergy Collective, wanted to be prepared for the right-wing march and the clash over the city’s Confederate monuments. On the morning of the protests, the group’s leader, Alvin Edwards of the Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church, invited people to a worship service to help bring calm to the event. “We were trying to be prayerful, and I’m grateful for that, because I believe it would have been worse if people hadn’t prayed,” he told the magazine.

Such goodness of thought, whether expressed in prayer or in daily activities, has the power to dispel a belief that hate is an everlasting presence. It may not be as loud as a gong. But it works just as well in brightening hearts eclipsed by dark moods.

 56 
 on: Aug 17, 2017, 04:41 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
NASA mission to Venus will explore weird atmosphere

International Business Times
17 Aug 2017 at 06:56 ET

NASA is on a mission to unlock the mysteries of the Venus atmosphere, sending a tiny satellite to Earth’s inward neighbor to investigate its clouds.

Scientists are trying to understand the how the atmosphere interacts with ultraviolet light because they have noticed a strange effect: According to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, something in the cloud tops absorbs light in this spectrum. They can see this when they view Venus across different wavelengths.

“Venus looks bland and featureless in visible light, but change the filter to ultraviolet, and Earth’s twin suddenly looks like a different planet,” NASA said. “Dark and light areas stripe the sphere, indicating that something is absorbing ultraviolet wavelengths in the planet’s cloud tops.”

That’s compared to other wavelengths of light, which are scattered or reflected back into space by the clouds of sulfuric acid.

But the source of that ultraviolet effect is a mystery. The CubeSat UV Experiment, or CUVE for short, plans to send a small satellite full of miniature instruments, like an ultraviolet camera and a telescope that contains a special light-gathering mirror, to Venus to get more information about the atmosphere.

“Since the maximum absorption of solar energy by Venus occurs in the ultraviolet, determining the nature, concentration and distribution of the unknown absorber is fundamental,” CUVE Principal Investigator Valeria Cottini said in the statement. “This is a highly-focused mission — perfect for a CubeSat application.”

NASA has previously sent probes to Venus, but none investigated this specific atmospheric effect. The CUVE satellite would take a year and a half to get to Venus and then spend about six months gathering data.

The CubeSats are nanosatellites that are created for specialized tasks and designed to be unobtrusive: They are only about 4 inches across, weigh about 3 pounds and hitch rides on rockets during previously scheduled launches, with other primary missions, to get into space.

According to NASA, they have the added benefit of helping the space agency test out new technologies in instruments and communications.

Although Venus is relatively close to Earth, compared to the size of the entire solar system, there is still much we do not know about that planet. One thing we do know is that it is scorching hot. Its thick atmosphere is mostly comprised of carbon dioxide and that gas, plus sulfuric acid in its cloud, traps heat on Venus in a much more extreme version of the greenhouse effect that we see here on Earth.

NASA called it “the hottest planet in our solar system, with surface temperatures hot enough to melt lead.”

It also rotates in the opposite direction from Earth, so slowly that Venus goes around the sun faster than it completes a rotation — a year on that planet is shorter than a day.

It’s possible that Venus, which is about the same size as Earth, once held water, although it’s long gone now. Scientists running computer simulations recently explained that depending on the evolution of the cloud cover and the atmosphere there, it would have been possible for Venus to be at just the right temperature earlier in its life to support liquid water. The ocean on the surface would have been thin, but would have been possible if Venus once contained just a third of the water that Earth currently has.

NASA has previously probed the habitability of Venus, and has suggested it is possible that there was a period of about 2 billion years in which there was an ocean and cooler temperatures on the surface.


 57 
 on: Aug 17, 2017, 04:37 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
Scientists solve the mystery of the ‘Frankenstein dinosaur’

by Chuck Bednar
Red Orbit
8/17/2017

An unusual species of ancient reptile dubbed the “Frankenstein dinosaur” because it seemed to be made up of parts from unrelated species  could be the missing link between plant-eaters and meat-eaters, according to research published Wednesday in the journal Biology Letters.

Known as Chilesaurus, the creature closely resembled a raptor but was actually an herbivore, Cambridge University Ph. D. student Matthew Baron and his colleagues reported in their new study. They believe it was one of the first ornithischians, a group of dinosaurs that had pelvic bones similar to birds and which included the Triceratops and the Stegosaurus.

Baron’s team analyzed data from more than 450 anatomical characteristics of early dinosaurs to place the Chilesaurus on the ancient reptiles’ family tree – and as they explained in a statement, it not only effectively fills a large gap between two of the major dinosaur groups, but also seems to explain how the divide between those two groups may have happened in the first place.

“Chilesaurus is one of the most puzzling and intriguing dinosaurs ever discovered,” explained study co-author Professor Paul Barrett from the London’s Natural History Museum. “Its weird mix of features places it in a key position in dinosaur evolution and helps to show how some of the really big splits between the major groups might have come about.”

Carnivorous dinosaurs, plant-eaters may have had common ancestor

Originally discovered in southern Chile and first described in 2015, Chilesaurus initially puzzled scientists because it possessed an unusual array of physical characteristics which made it difficult to place on the dinosaur family tree. For instance, the researchers said, its head resembles that of a carnivore, yet it had flat teeth that it would have used to grind up plant matter.

Likewise, as BBC News explained, ornithischians had long been viewed as a group of oddballs that were completely unrelated to other reptile of the era. However, the new study found that the Chilesaurus – which had legs like a Brontosaurus, hips resembling a Stegosaurus and a body and arms like those of a Tyrannosaurus rex – was a member of this group, suggesting that carnivores and ornithischians were more closely related than experts had previously believed.

“We had absolutely no idea how the ornithischian body plan started to develop because they look so different to all the other dinosaurs. They have so many unusual features,” Baron told the UK news outlet on Tuesday. “In the 130 years since the ornithischian group was first recognized, we have never had any concept of how the first ones could have looked until now.”

“Now that we think ornithischians and meat-eating dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus are related. Chilesaurus slots exactly in between the two groups. It is a perfect half-and-half mix,” he added. “So, suddenly in the new tree it makes a whole lot of sense.” Likewise, his co-author Barrett said that Chilesaurus should provide new insight into how the dinosaur groups split from one another and ultimately wound up evolving along different paths.

The findings suggest that the dinosaur family tree needs to be rewritten, and that both the bird-hipped and the lizard-hipped dinosaurs evolved from a common ancestor – a claim which runs contrary to more than 100 years of dinosaur evolutionary theory, according to the authors. They hypothesize that the two branches likely emerged due to dietary changes for Chilesaurus, as the creature changed from a meat-eater to a plant-eater, “possibly even out of necessity.”

 58 
 on: Aug 17, 2017, 04:35 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
Baby dolphin dies after tourists pull it from ocean for selfies

International Business Times
17 Aug 2017 at 05:48 ET               

A baby dolphin died Friday after several beachgoers in Spain pulled it from the water to touch and take selfies with it, according to the Washington Post. Beachgoers reportedly discovered the dolphin stranded on the beach, but they didn't immediately report their finding to local law enforcement.

Images of the incident hit the internet Tuesday, courtesy of Spanish nonprofit organization Equinac. Equinac, an avid supporter of marine animals and wildlife, shared several photos of beachgoers actions Friday to its Facebook page.

According to Equinac, "hundreds" participated and aided in the dolphin's death in Mojácar, a city along the southeastern coast of Spain. The organization reportedly became aware of the dolphin's death through a 112 call (the equivalent of 911 in the United States). Equinac claimed, "It took us 15 minutes to arrive, but the animal was already dead."

"The animal was subjected to the curious who wanted to photograph and touch it, and this is confirmed by the coordinator of the rescuers and by the own photograph that we attach, where children are seen touching the animal, accidentally covering the spiracle (orifice where they breathe )," Equinac said.

Kids can be seen accidentally covering the dolphin's blowhole, through which the animal breathes, in shared images. Blocking a dolphin's blowhole can cause stress, which increases its chances of experiencing cardiorespiratory failure. Taking photographs and touching the mammal will also send it into a high state of stress.

"Cetaceans are animals that are very susceptible to stress," Equinac continued. "Crowding them to take pictures and touch them, causes them a very strong shock that greatly accelerates a cardiorespiratory failure, which is what finally happened."

Beachgoers, while not responsible for the stranding, revealed that the dolphin may have been deserted after falling "sick or losing her mother."

The organization's post on the dolphin has garnered 836 likes and 446 shares. Facebook users also flooded the comments section of Equinac's post with criticism of the beachgoers' behavior.

One user wrote, "People need to start watching the animals instead of handling and stressing them out. Wildlife is not there for you to harm shame on anyone who does this to a poor innocent animal." Another simply added, "People suck...that's all."

Equniac shared an additional Facebook post about the dolphin Saturday. The organization wrote, "Do we have to continue to justify our anger? Does it have to be us, Equinac, the police, the lifeguards, the ones that teach many of you common sense?"

Equinac added, "We have put up a lot of publications of what is due and not to do...Ignorance has absolutely nothing to do with respect, empathy and logic."

This isn't the first time a dolphin has been bombarded with selfies by beachgoers. According to BBC, images surfaced in 2016 of people taking pictures with a stranded dolphin at an Argentinian beach. Argentinian beachgoers were criticized for allegedly removing a near-extinct Franciscan dolphin from the water to take pictures.

A baby dolphin, pictured July 15, 2007, died after tourists pulled it out of the ocean for selfies.

 59 
 on: Aug 16, 2017, 05:55 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
Obama's anti-racism tweet after Charlottesville is most liked ever on Twitter

More than 3 million people have endorsed the tweet, which quoted Nelson Mandela, after far-right rally in which woman was killed

Claire Phipps
Guardian
Wednesday 16 August 2017 09.47 BST

A tweet by Barack Obama condemning racism in the aftermath of a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, has become the most liked tweet ever, with more than 3 million social media users so far endorsing the sentiment.

The tweet, quoting the late South African president Nelson Mandela, read: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion.”

The former US president followed the tweet with more from Mandela’s autobiographical Long Walk to Freedom: “People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.

“For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Each has had more than a million likes, and hundreds of thousands of retweets.

Far-right protesters opposing the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E Lee from Emancipation Park rallied in Charlottesville on Saturday. Many waved burning torches and wore Nazi or other white supremacist regalia. They were met with counter-protests from antifascist campaigners, who were targeted by a man who drove a car into a group, killing civil rights activist Heather Heyer and injuring several more.

James Fields – who was was photographed earlier on Saturday standing with the neo-Nazi group Vanguard America – has been charged with a number of offences, including murder and malicious wounding.

In the wake of Heyer’s death, many in the US and across the world criticised a terse response from President Donald Trump on Twitter, followed by a press conference in which he failed to condemn white supremacists.

A day later, Trump did explicitly denounce “the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups”, but his words were undermined within hours when he staged an extraordinary press conference, in which he blamed violence “on many sides” and insisted that some of those at the Unite the Right rally were “very fine people”.

Many on social media pointed out the difference in tone between US presidents 44 and 45.

Six of the 10 most liked tweets of all time are by Obama, from his personal @BarackObama account and as @POTUS44.

The number of likes for Obama’s tweet has now passed the 2.7 million for singer Ariana Grande’s message in the wake of the bombing of Manchester Arena, where she had been performing. Twenty-two people were killed in the terrorist attack in May.

 60 
 on: Aug 16, 2017, 05:53 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
Charlottesville: Trump reverts to blaming both sides including 'violent alt-left'

US president defends far-right marchers and equates Confederate generals with George Washington and Thomas Jefferson

Ben Jacobs in Washington and Oliver Laughland in Charlottesville, Virginia
Guardian
Wednesday 16 August 2017 08.17 BST

Donald Trump has once again defended far-right protesters at the Charlottesville rally, saying they were not all neo-Nazis and white supremacists and laying the blame for the violence equally on what he called the “alt-left”.

The remarks – made during a rowdy press conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York – were Trump’s latest switch in stance since Saturday, when the civil rights activist Heather Heyer died after a white nationalist allegedly drove his car into a crowd in the Virginian city.

The US president was fiercely criticised for failing to condemn white supremacists in his initial response to Charlottesville, when he blamed the violence “on many sides”. On Monday, after a chorus of disapproval, he gave an apparently reluctant statement denouncing racism as evil.

But on Tuesday he reverted to drawing a moral equivalency between the far right and the counter-demonstrators.

“I’m not putting anybody on a moral plane,” he said. “You had a group on one side and group on the other and they came at each other with clubs – there is another side, you can call them the left, that came violently attacking the other group. You had people that were very fine people on both sides.

“Not all those people were neo-Nazis, not all those people were white supremacists. Many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E Lee. So this week, it is Robert E Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”

While all four men were slaveholders, neither Washington nor Jefferson rebelled against the US in an attempt to protect the institution of slavery from federal interference.

Trump declined to attack the so-called alt-right and sparred with reporters about what he termed the “alt-left”.

He urged reporters to define the “alt-right” to him and criticized the “alt-left” for “charging at people without a permit”. The counter-demonstrators “were very, very violent”, he said.

The president insisted to the assembled press that he knew more about the events in Charlottesville because he “had watched this very closely, much more closely than you people watched it”.
The president of the United States is now a neo-Nazi sympathiser

Trump added: “You had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists and the press has treated them absolutely unfairly.”

He did condemn James Alex Fields Jr, the man who drove a car into counter-demonstrators, saying he “is a disgrace to himself, his family and his country” and calling him “a murderer”.

The president’s remarks were, according to senior aides who spoke anonymously to CNN and NBC, not planned and surprised members of his staff who had hoped he would stick to talking about infrastructure.

He also fired back at media criticism of his initial response to the violence in Charlottesville on Saturday, when he condemned “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” rather than explicitly calling out neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

Trump said: “I wanted to make sure that what I said was correct, not make a quick statement. The statement I made on Saturday was a fine statement.”

The statement was widely criticized by lawmakers from both parties, including senior Republicans who were quick to describe the events as an act of domestic terrorism.

Trump, who said “before I make a statement I need the facts”, has long been prone to weighing in on breaking news events without the full information. In June, he condemned what he called “a terrorist attack” in the Philippines. The attack was actually a failed attempt to rob a casino in Manila.

In addition to his comments about Charlottesville, the president also weighed in on White House intrigue and seemed to throw into doubt the future of his top aide, Steve Bannon.

Although he said Bannon was “not a racist” and “I like Mr Bannon, he’s a friend of mine”, Trump did not offer any guarantees of job security to the former editor of the Breitbart news organisation. “We’ll see what happens,” Trump said of Bannon’s continued employment at the White House.

The event was intended to host an announcement of an executive order to speed the infrastructure permitting process. Trump stood flanked by the chair of the National Economic Council, Gary Cohn, and the treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, on one side and by the secretary of transportation, Elaine Chao, on the other. Both Cohn and Mnuchin are Jewish and Chao is Asian American.

The new chief of staff, John Kelly, stood off to the side, where he was photographed with his arms folded, holding his head down as he stared blankly at the floor.

    Kristin Donnelly (@kristindonnelly)

    John Kelly during the President's Q and A at Trump Tower pic.twitter.com/vxR3hTUqe3
    August 15, 2017

The event was cacophonous as shouted questions and irritated answers bounced off the marbled foyer outside of the golden elevators of Trump Tower, the scene of many memorable remarks by Trump, including his campaign announcement on 16 June 2015, when he claimed the Mexican government was deliberately sending criminals and rapists into the US.

Trump’s remarks on Tuesday met immediate criticism from both parties. Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, the most senior Republican on Capitol Hill, reprised remarks about his brother who died in the second world war.

“I was just eight years old when my older brother Jesse was killed in world war two,” Hatch wrote on Instagram. “As I said on Saturday, Jesse didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home. I will never hesitate to speak out against hate – whenever and wherever I see it.”

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida also criticized Trump’s remarks. The former presidential candidate tweeted: “The organizers of events which inspired & led to #charlottesvilleterroristattack are 100% to blame for a number of reasons.”

He went on to note: “Mr President,you can’t allow #WhiteSupremacists to share only part of blame. They support idea which cost nation & world so much pain.” And he added: “the #WhiteSupremacy groups will see being assigned only 50% of blame as a win. We can not allow this old evil to be resurrected.”

The House speaker, Paul Ryan, weighed in on Twitter as well, but did not directly mention Trump’s comments: “We must be clear. White supremacy is repulsive. This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity.”

On the left, the Democratic senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii tweeted: “As a Jew, as an American, as a human, words cannot express my disgust and disappointment. This is not my President.”

Trump’s press conference did draw praise from David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, who was one of the protesters in Charlottesville on Saturday. Duke tweeted:

    David Duke (@DrDavidDuke)

    Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville & condemn the leftist terrorists in BLM/Antifa https://t.co/tTESdV4LP0
    August 15, 2017

At the site of Heyer’s death in downtown Charlottesville, mounds of flowers and chalked messages of remembrance fanned out on the road. A lone trumpeter played a sombre tune, as word of Trump’s comments spread among those who had gathered to mourn. Rather than a sense of disappointment, many here had come to expect such divisive, off the cuff remarks.

Diane Townes, a 62-year-old African American working in education, said the comments were another example of Trump “shaming the victims”.

“Pouting and blaming is not the way to show an example to young people,” she said. “He opened the gateway to this with his own gestures during the campaign.”

Her son Mike Townes had heard the comments on the radio minutes before arriving at the memorial site.

“I’m actually glad he’s saying it,” Townes said. “It is showing this country who he truly is. He represents the people who came to my community as supremacists. David Duke was right about him.”

Eric Gilchrist, another mourner at the memorial, said: “We know that he is selfish and vain, but now I worry he is a sociopath, too. He needs to leave office.”

****************

Republicans denounce bigotry after Donald Trump's latest Charlottesville remarks

Reactions to president’s controversial press conference split party into those willing to condemn Trump by name and those who would not

Ben Jacobs in Washington
Guardian
Wednesday 16 August 2017 11.48 BST

Senior Republicans have lambasted Donald Trump after he once again drew a moral equivalency between the far right and counter-demonstrators during the deadly violence in Charlottesville on Saturday.

But some elected Republican officials responded to an extraordinary press conference in Trump Tower on Tuesday night by denouncing bigotry, in signs of a possible rift in the party.

No elected Republican officials went so far as to defend Trump outright after he insisted that not all of those participating in a Unite the Right protest against the removal of a statue of Robert E Lee were neo-Nazis or white supremacists.

After giving an apparently reluctant statement denouncing racism as evil on Monday, the US president reverted to his original response to the clashes on Tuesday, blaming both sides for the violence, during which a civil rights activist died.

“I’m not putting anybody on a moral plane,” Trump said. “You had a group on one side and group on the other and they came at each other with clubs – there is another side, you can call them the left, that came violently attacking the other group. You had people that were very fine people on both sides.”

The divide between those willing to condemn Trump by name and those who did not mirrored the Republican response to the president’s infamous comments on the Access Hollywood tape, far more than other controversies that have swarmed around the president.

John McCain was among those to criticize Trump by name. The Arizona senator tweeted:

    John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain)

    There's no moral equivalency between racists & Americans standing up to defy hate& bigotry. The President of the United States should say so
    August 16, 2017

His sentiments were echoed by one of Trump’s rival Republican presidential candidates, Jeb Bush, who said: “This is a time for moral clarity, not ambivalence. I urge President Trump to unite the country, not parse the assignment of blame for the events in Charlottesville.

“For the sake of our country, he must leave no room for doubt that racism and hatred will not be tolerated or ignored by his White House.”

Mitt Romney, the party’s nominee in 2012, said the president was wrong to blame “many sides”, tweeting:

    Mitt Romney (@MittRomney)

    No, not the same. One side is racist, bigoted, Nazi. The other opposes racism and bigotry. Morally different universes.
    August 16, 2017

Steve Stivers of Ohio, head of the national Republican congressional committee, which is responsible for keeping Republican control of the House, vented:

    Steve Stivers (@RepSteveStivers)

    I don't understand what's so hard about this. White supremacists and Neo-Nazis are evil and shouldn't be defended.
    August 15, 2017

His Senate counterpart, Cory Gardner of Colorado, said of Trump at a town hall: “What he did today goes back on what he said yesterday and that’s unacceptable. The president was wrong to do that.”

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida also called out Trump, tweeting: “Mr President, you can’t allow #WhiteSupremacists to share only part of blame. They support idea which cost nation & world so much pain.”

Congressmen Pat Tiberi of Ohio and Justin Amash of Michigan were among others who tweeted their disapproval, and congressman Will Hurd of Texas told CNN Trump should apologise for his statements.

However, many in Trump’s party restrained themselves from criticizing the president by name. The two top Republicans in the House of Representatives offered broad criticisms of bigotry. Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted:

    Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan)

    We must be clear. White supremacy is repulsive. This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity.
    August 15, 2017

Majority leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted: “Saturday’s violence and tragic loss of life was a direct consequence of the hateful rhetoric & action from white supremacists demonstrating.”

Ryan has been critical of Trump in the past. During the 2016 election he said comments Trump made about federal judge Gustavo Curiel were “the textbook definition of a racist comment”. But the Wisconsin Republican said he would still vote for Trump at the time.

Congressman Lee Zeldin of New York went further, telling Newsday: “These two sides are not equal. They are different. I would add, though, that it is not right to suggest that President Trump is wrong for acknowledging the fact that criminals on both sides showed up for the purpose of being violent. That particular observation is completely true.”

Three UN human rights experts issued a statement on Wednesday seeking an independent investigation into the deadly events in Charlottesville. The experts said they were “deeply concerned at the proliferation and increasing prominence of organized hate and racist groups” in the US, insisting that racist hate speech “must be unequivocally condemned.”

There was one GOP defender of the president. Former professional pundit and RNC spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany tweeted:

    Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany)

    President @realDonaldTrump once again denounced hate today. The GOP stands behind his message of love and inclusiveness!
    August 15, 2017

Trump’s press conference also drew praise from David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, who was one of the protesters in Charlottesville on Saturday. Duke tweeted: “Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville & condemn the leftist terrorists in BLM/Antifa.”

The president’s remarks were, according to senior aides who spoke anonymously to CNN and NBC, not planned, and surprised members of his staff who had hoped he would stick to the topic of infrastructure.

At the site where the civil rights activist Heather Heyer died in downtown Charlottesville, mounds of flowers and chalked messages of remembrance now fan out on the road. Many who had gathered on Tuesday night said they had come to expect such divisive, off the cuff remarks.

Diane Townes, a 62-year-old African American working in education, said the comments were another example of Trump “shaming the victims”. “Pouting and blaming is not the way to show an example to young people,” she said. “He opened the gateway to this with his own gestures during the campaign.”

Mike Townes, Diane’s son, had heard the comments on the radio minutes before arriving at the memorial site. “I’m actually glad he’s saying it,” he said. “It is showing this country who he truly is. He represents the people who came to my community as supremacists. David Duke was right about him.”

Eric Gilchrist, another mourner at the memorial, said: “We know that he is selfish and vain, but now I worry he is a sociopath, too. He needs to leave office.”

****************

The president of the United States is now a neo-Nazi sympathiser

Richard Wolffe

Donald Trump’s press conference was a grotesque display of empathy for violent racists. At least it united the Republicans in disgust at their president

Wednesday 16 August 2017 03.37 BST
Guardian

Donald Trump the neo-Nazi sympathizer has achieved what Donald Trump the president has singularly failed to do: unite the nation.

An immensely fractured country – riven by race, class, culture and politics – finds itself transfixed by one grotesque display of empathy for violent racists. These are the same violent racists whom White House aides previously called, in remarks that Trump read out loudly and very carefully: “criminals and thugs.”

But that was so Monday. One short day later, the leader of the nation – that daily proclaims its commitment to liberty and justice for all – declared there were “very fine people” in Charlottesville, who simply joined a neo-Nazi rally to protest about a statue.

“You had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest, and very legally protest – because I don’t know if you know, they had a permit,” Trump helpfully explained to the astonished press corps at Trump Tower. “The other group didn’t have a permit. So I only tell you this: there are two sides to a story.”

Sadly for Trump, there is only one side to the political reaction to his comments: sheer disgust. As an apologist for racist protestors – even though they obtained a precious permit – Trump has magically created a sense of spine in his own Republican party.

This is something of a biological miracle because people like Marco Rubio, his vanquished former rival – the man he used to deride as little Marco – was previously classified by entomologists as an invertebrate.

“Mr President, you can’t allow #WhiteSupremacists to share only part of blame. They support idea which cost nation & world so much pain,” tweeted the Florida senator. “The #WhiteSupremacy groups will see being assigned only 50% of blame as a win. We can not allow this old evil to be resurrected.”

    Marco Rubio (@marcorubio)

    Mr. President,you can't allow #WhiteSupremacists to share only part of blame.They support idea which cost nation & world so much pain 5/6
    August 15, 2017

Even in the abbreviated hashtag world of tweets, this counts for something. No doubt, Rubio will return to his spineless state when the next vote comes around. No doubt, he and his fellow Republicans in Washington will later excuse the abuse of a nation as the drunken talk of an otherwise good-hearted man.

But at this moment of testing, there is no excuse for standing on the sidelines in silence. Those who speak out deserve some praise for doing the right thing, if only to remember what the right thing looks like next month, when Congress returns.

So mazeltov to Paul Ryan for siding against the anti-Semites like this: “We must be clear. White supremacy is repulsive. This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity.”

    Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan)

    We must be clear. White supremacy is repulsive. This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity.
    August 15, 2017

Of course this country also stands for the statues of Confederate generals. In fact, those statues were themselves erected in a concerted effort to resurrect the old evil that Rubio describes.

There’s a reason why so many of them rose up in the 1920s, a generation or more after the Civil War. This was the era when the KKK was reborn, thanks in no small part to the new media of its day: specifically, the moving picture known as The Birth of a Nation.

Those statues were the larger-than-life resurrection of the dead and defeated Confederacy at a time when lynchings were the strange fruit of the south, and the civil rights struggle was led by a relatively new group known as the NAACP.

Those Confederate statues had nothing to do with the statues erected to commemorate the slave-owning founding fathers, as Trump argued on Tuesday.

“So this week it’s Robert E Lee,” complained Trump. “I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”

“You’re changing history,” he added. “You’re changing culture.”

Never mind that these statues themselves were an effort to change history and change culture. Never mind that the culture they represent was an abomination on America’s history and a moral affront to the values enshrined in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

There is no finer expression of the white supremacist mindset than this kind of cultural defense. The so-called citizens’ councils of the 1950s also argued they were just trying to protect their culture from sliding down the slippery slope of civil rights, integrated schools, voting rights and economic opportunity for minorities.

What drives Donald Trump to such extremes? Yes, we know he has a long history of racism: from his belief in the guilt of the Central Park Five to his announcement speech riff about Mexican immigrants as rapists. Yes, we know Ivana Trump said he kept a copy of Hitler’s speeches by his bedside.

But it would be an omission to leave out the driving force of his candidacy and his presidency: his visceral hatred of Barack Obama. Trump has no clear ideology and no clear purpose to his presidency, other than his obsession with overturning everything Obama stood for. His presidential campaign began with a racist lie about Obama’s birth certificate; his presidency continues to smolder with resentment about the enduring life of Obamacare.

As they say on Scandal, and in too many American homes for too long, you have to be twice as good as them to get half of what they have. How it must pain Donald Trump to know that his predecessor was twice as good at everything from inauguration crowds to legislative victories.

Let’s be honest. Trump’s sympathy for neo-Nazis is no more shocking than his pussy-grabbing boasts, his continued profiting from the presidency, his coddling of (and alleged collusion with) the Russians and his obvious obstruction of justice by firing the FBI director.

There is, amid all the random tweets and undisciplined press comments, a remarkable consistency to Donald Trump. He is the very man Hillary Clinton warned us that he would be.

How he can continue as commander-in-chief of the world’s most diverse military force is something of a mystery. How he can continue as the leader of a big tent Republican party is inconceivable.

Perhaps the civil rights movement itself holds some lessons of what lies ahead: the moment of most violent white-lash is the moment when civil rights takes its biggest steps forward.

When James Meredith enrolled as the first black student at the segregated University of Mississippi in 1962, there were riots from a white mob, quelled only by federal troops. After a year of studies, racial harassment and protection by US marshals, Meredith graduated in a peaceful commencement ceremony.

Four decades later, Meredith returned to see his son graduate with the top honors from the business school at Ole Miss. He said he was far more proud of his son than he was of his own time there.

For his part in changing its culture and its history, the university made an important statement about Meredith, the man it had so roundly abused: it installed a statue of him striding towards its entrance.

*********

Mr. Trump Makes a Spectacle of Himself

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
AUG. 15, 2017
NY Times
    
Here is one thing we are reminded of over and over about President Trump: The man simply cannot help himself — especially when cornered. Given one more chance to forcefully condemn the neo-Nazis and white supremacists whose rally in Charlottesville, Va., ended in violence and a counterprotester’s death, Mr. Trump angrily insisted, as he had suggested on Saturday, that both sides were equally to blame — a false equivalency that not just his critics but also an increasing number of his supporters have urged him to abandon.

The setting was a bizarre and contentious press conference at Trump Tower in Manhattan that was originally meant to be about infrastructure but quickly escalated into a shouting match about Charlottesville. Gone was the measured tone that the president’s aides had talked him into on Monday, when he said “racism is evil” and appeared to distance himself from his earlier claims about shared responsibility for the violence. In its place was a high-decibel defense of his original position, to which he added the claim that while there were “bad people” and “very fine people” on both sides, the “very, very violent” protesters on the “alt-left” who came “charging in without a permit” were at least as culpable as the neo-Nazi protesters.

In so doing, Mr. Trump took up many of the talking points of the white nationalists and far-right activists who have been complaining that the news media and the political establishment do not pay enough attention to leftists who call themselves anti-fascists. He also sympathized with the demonstrators’ demand — the announced reason for their rally — that Robert E. Lee’s statue in a Charlottesville park be saved. “Is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after?” However deep their flaws, though, Washington and Jefferson are memorialized as heroes of American freedom, whereas Lee symbolizes violent division. It was hardly a surprise, then, that David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader, tweeted to thank the president for his “honesty & courage” in denouncing “leftist terrorists.”

What is music to Mr. Duke’s ears is increasingly jarring to many conservatives, corporate executives and others who would be natural allies for a Republican president. Several business and labor leaders resigned from presidential advisory committees on Monday and Tuesday; Marco Rubio, a Trump-friendly senator, tweeted that the rally organizers were “100% to blame.”

Quick and unequivocal in his denunciations of anybody who dares to criticize him, be it Rosie O’Donnell or the executives leaving his advisory councils, Mr. Trump has repeatedly pulled his punches when it comes to white nationalists, alt-right activists and racists. During the presidential campaign last year, he disavowed Mr. Duke, who supported his candidacy, only under great pressure from other politicians and groups like the Anti-Defamation League.

Mr. Trump’s behavior has become distressingly unsurprising. His default position is retaliation; when threatened, he succumbs to bombast. Washington politicians had hoped the recent appointment of John Kelly, a retired Marine general, as his chief of staff would instill some discipline in his chaotic administration. With similar hopes, others are trying to get Mr. Trump to fire his resident provocateur, Stephen Bannon. But the root of the problem is not the personnel; it is the man at the top.

*************

Theresa May joins in cross-party criticism of Donald Trump speech

Main UK parties condemn US president for apparently equating Charlottesville racist protesters with civil rights activists

Andrew Sparrow Political correspondent
Guardian
Wednesday 16 August 2017 12.08 BST

Theresa May has joined politicians from the main parties in the UK in criticising Donald Trump for suggesting there was a moral equivalence between the Charlottesville racist protesters and those campaigning against them.

But the prime minister has not agreed to requests to cancel Trump’s planned state visit to the UK in the light of his latest comments, despite renewed calls for the honour to be withdrawn.

Asked about Trump’s claim that some of those taking part in the Charlottesville demonstration deemed as neo-Nazi were “very fine people”, May said they should have been condemned.

Speaking in Portsmouth at a ceremony to mark the arrival of the new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, May said: “I see no equivalence between those who propound fascist views and those who oppose them. I think it is important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far-right views wherever we hear them.”

Sir Vince Cable, the Lib Dem leader, renewed his call for the invitation of a state visit to be rescinded in the light of Trump’s remarks. But No 10 said May’s position had not changed, and that the offer of a state visit had been “extended and accepted”.

Cable said: “Donald Trump has shown he is unable to detach himself from the extreme right and racial supremacists. The fact he remains highly dependent on White House advisers from the extreme right shows he is firmly anchored in this detestable worldview.

“It would be completely wrong to have this man visit the UK on a state visit.”

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, had already called for the cancellation of Trump’s state visit. He is expected to comment further later on Wednesday.

Sajid Javid, the communities secretary, used Twitter to denounce the US president.

    Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid)

    Neo-Nazis: bad
    Anti-Nazis: good
    I learned that as a child.
    It was pretty obvious.
    August 16, 2017

The Scottish Conservative leader, Ruth Davidson, also condemned Trump’s comments.

    Ruth Davidson (@RuthDavidsonMSP)

    The President of the United States has just turned his face to the world to defend Nazis, fascists and racists. For shame.
    August 15, 2017

Sam Gyimah, the Conservative prisons minister, posted: “Words matter. Silence matters. We must call out hate – unambiguously – to preserve the free & tolerant society many have fought & die for.”

He added: “The ‘leader of the free world’ loses moral authority when he cannot call fascism by its name.”

Referring to the former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke, who welcomed Trump’s remarks, Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, said: “When the likes of David Duke praise you, you are on the wrong side. There are no ‘fine’ Nazis. We must all stand firm against far right.”

She added: “Some issues are just too fundamental for diplomatic silence. This is one of them.”

Nia Griffith, the shadow defence secretary, said: “A state visit by Donald Trump would shame this country and betray all we stand for. Theresa May should revoke the invitation immediately.”

Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, wrote: “Millions of Americans died fighting the Nazis in WW2, my husband’s dad fought alongside them with so many others, POTUS has brought such shame.”

The Labour MP Lilian Greenwood said Trump’s comments were “sickening” and a “new low”.

    Lilian Greenwood (@LilianGreenwood)

    A new low. Sickening. When will UK Govt admit he should never had been invited for a state visit? https://t.co/2F2RneJYtU
    August 15, 2017

Referring to a visa questionnaire given to tourists visiting the US, the Labour MP Chris Bryant wrote: “May cd rescue smidgen of moral authority now by rescinding Trump invite. After all US immigration ask ‘are u or have u ever been a Nazi?’”

At the press conference in New York, Trump said: “I’m not putting anybody on a moral plane. You had a group on one side and group on the other and they came at each other with clubs – there is another side, you can call them the left, that came violently attacking the other group. You had people that were very fine people on both sides.”

May invited Trump to the UK on a state visit – an honour normally not extended to presidents until they have been in office some years – when she first met him in the White House days after his inauguration, and he accepted.

At the time it was thought the state visit would take place in the autumn. But Trump has told May privately that he does not want to come if there will be big protests against him and no timetable has been announced for the visit.

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