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Dr. Fauci warns of COVID 'surge upon a surge' after Thanksgiving

November 29, 2020 in Blogs

By Marissa Higgins

Appearing on ABC’s This Week on the Sunday morning after Thanksgiving, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and voice of reason amid the novel coronavirus pandemic dropped some harsh realities on viewers—but also reminded us that we can make better choices starting, well, today. In speaking to host Martha Raddatz about our rising case numbers, Dr. Anthony Fauci said “there almost certainly is going to be an uptick because of what has happened with the travel” over Thanksgiving. He also chatted with Raddatz about the COVID-19 vaccine, reopening schools, and the next stage of the holiday season: Christmas and New Year’s.

Given that we already know people planned to travel and gather for Thanksgiving, many of us are wondering—and worried—that people are planning to repeat the pattern just one month from now. But as Fauci urged viewers, “We’re going to have to make decisions as a nation, state, city and family, that we’re in a very difficult time and we’re going to have to do the kinds of restrictions of things we would like to have done, particularly in this holiday season.” Basically, now is not the time to shrug our shoulders and admit defeat in the face of worsening numbers.

“We may see a surge upon a surge,” a few weeks down the line, Fauci said, stressing that “we don’t want to frighten people, but that’s just the reality.” Fauci shared that as we enter a colder weather season, as well as a bigger holiday season with people traveling back and forth, he doesn’t foresee relaxed guidelines or restrictions when it comes to facing the virus.

Fauci also brought up hope for a vaccine in the near future, citing the end of December as a starting point for top priority individuals, and then progressively more people receiving vaccinations through March.

When asked about legal barriers in terms of pandemic restrictions, Fauci put it simply when he said there’s nothing he personally can do about it. He stressed that no matter who you are, or where you are, if you have a congregate setting of people—especially if they are inside, …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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One in five countries at risk of ecosystems collapsing — here’s what that might look like

November 29, 2020 in Blogs

By The Conversation


Anna LoFi/Shutterstock

John Dearing, University of Southampton

One in five countries are at risk of their ecosystems collapsing, threatening more than half of global GDP (US$42 trillion, or £32 trillion), according to recent research. This scary sounding statistic raises all sorts of questions. What does “ecosystem collapse” actually mean? What causes an ecosystem to collapse and how do we know when it’s happened? Perhaps most important of all, what comes next?

Ecologists use the term “collapse” to describe a process resembling a failed soufflé or a burst football. When ecosystems collapse, they rapidly lose their structure and function, with dramatic changes to their size or extent, or the species that comprise them. These losses tend to homogenise and simplify the ecosystem – fewer species, fewer habitats and fewer connections between the two.




Read more:
Live fast, die small: how global heating is simplifying the world’s ecosystems


Controlling the collapse

When mature forests collapse, they usually transition to more open woodland with scrub and grasses, depending on the grazing animals present and the climate. A vibrant coral reef becomes an ossuary of rubble, which slowly wears away. In kelp forests where sea otters have been hunted out, unchecked sea urchins can overrun the seaweed, creating a desolate plain with few species known as

On the left, a vibrant kelp forest. On the right, the aftermath of sea urchin overgrazing.

Andrew B Stowe & Zaferkizilkaya/Shutterstock

These changes effectively mean that the original ecosystem has become locally extinct. The services which it might previously have supplied – food, carbon storage or water filtration – are lost or diminished. But “collapse” remains a vague term, as the causes and final outcomes differ from ecosystem to ecosystem.

For humans, not all ecosystem changes are bad or recent. People have relied on modifying ecosystems for millennia – draining wetlands, damming rivers, felling forests – to create new farmland. These environments are maintained in an artificially collapsed state for the benefit of maximising a particular form of food and fibre.

They could collapse further if, for example, wind and rain eroded enough soil to shift farmland to a barren state with little or no ecosystem services – think the Dust …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Congressional deadlock doesn't mean total paralysis. Here's how Biden can change US with executive action

November 29, 2020 in Blogs

By Paul Rosenberg

Ever since Joe Biden was declared president-elect, a new subgenre of stories has appeared about his forthcoming use of executive actions, in the New York Times, the Washington Post, NBC, CNN, NPR, The Hill, Mother Jones, Vox, etc. Some of these stories are standard issue — executive action is part of any new administration making its mark on the world, and prominent issues tend to draw special attention. But this year, the stories are more complicated, given the combination of Donald Trump’s legacy, the sheer number of outstanding crises and the gridlocked, uncertain state of government.

Yet most, though not all, of these accounts tend to miss one crucial point: Biden has enormous power to shape a governing agenda, regardless of anything Congress might do — not just in one or two areas, but across the entirety of government. This point was first forcefully made 14 months ago, when the American Prospect rolled out what executive editor David Dayen dubbed “The Day One Agenda.” This power does not reside primarily in the showy executive orders that Trump is so fond of signing, but rather in the matter-of-fact texts of laws passed by Congress over the long course of American history — specific grants of authority that are just sitting there, waiting to be exercised.

Not only is there tremendous agenda-setting power at the president’s disposal, but a more recent Day One Agenda article, “Joe Biden’s Four-Year Plan,” underscored how such actions could help create a new governing coalition of engaged voters, much as Social Security and Medicare did in previous generations. Of all the articles published about executive action recently, Dylan Matthews’ “10 enormously consequential things Biden can do without the Senate” in Vox stands out for grasping the breadth of possibilities, and explicitly drawing on the Day One Agenda. But it retains a typical Vox “here’s some stuff” tone — it’s absorbed in policy details, and divorced from the practical political considerations that have motivated the Day One Agenda all along.

Dayen told me in a recent interview that the idea started with “understanding the function of a president.” He …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Expert breaks down the ultimate goal of Trump’s ‘classic Russian-style disinformation campaign’

November 29, 2020 in Blogs

By Elizabeth Preza

Jonathan Rauch, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, spoke with CNN’s Brian Stelter on Sunday to explain the ultimate goal of President Donald Trump’s false accusations of a rigged and stolen election.

Rauch was asked by Stelter if the issue is Trump is simply trapped in the delusion that he actually beat President-elect Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

“Is delusion a fair word for these election lies?” Stelter wondered.

“No, actually, I don’t think it is,” Rauch replied. “It’s hard to know what’s going on in the mind of the president, but you don’t really need to. What you need to know is that what he is running right now is a classic Russian-style disinformation campaign of a type known as the firehose of falsehood. That’s when you utilize every channel, not just media, but also the bully pulpit, even litigation to push out as many different stories and conspiracy theories and lies and half-truths as you possibly can in order to flood the zone if with disinformation.”

“The goal here is to confuse people, and he is doing very well at that,” Rauch continued. “This is classic propaganda tactic. he is very good at it. doesn’t matter what’s going on in his head. what matters is what he is doing.

Rauch described Trump’s tactic as “information warfare,” arguing he’s “manipulating and organizing the social environment and the media environment to confuse and discombobulate [his] enemies, to isolate them, to demoralize them so they don’t know what’s true or false anymore, they get very frustrated.”

Stelter then asked if the issue is that Trump is engaging in a “massive conspiracy theory” which in turn creates a “collective identity” among his supporters. Rauch disagreed with that suggestion.

“There actually is no theory here,” Rauch replied. “In a fire hose falsehood campaign, it’s not about having one idea and pumping it out consistently. It’s about throwing spaghetti against the wall. It’s anything and everything. It can be wild. iI can be random. It’s to create confusion and epistemic chaos. That’s what we are seeing. That’s very hard for democracies to deal with it.”

Watch the interview below, via CNN:


‘Firehose of falsehood’

youtu.be

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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CNN host cuts off GOP senator to fact-check him on Trump lawyers’ voter fraud claims

November 29, 2020 in Blogs

By Tom Boggioni

During a long interview with Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, CNN host Dana Bash was forced to cut off the Republican when he cast doubt on the 2020 election results to point out there are no credible reports of massive election fraud.

Discussing Donald Trump’s lawyer’s attempts to get thrown out, the topic turned to Georgia and the vote recount that still showed former Vice President Joe Biden pulled off an upset in the state.

“Do you, Roy Blunt, as not just the former secretary of state of Missouri, as the [Senate] Rules chairman, you have a bird’s eye oversight view of the elections, do you think it was rigged? Yes or no?” the State of the Union host pressed.

“I don’t think it was rigged but I do think there was some things that were done that shouldn’t have been done and I think there was some element of voter fraud as there is in every election but I don’t have any reason to believe that the numbers are there that would have made that difference,” he replied.

“I do wish in Pennsylvania — when they were opening all of those ballots, they would have let people see that they were checking the signatures. When you send ballots out to people that you don’t know if they are still there or not and they come back and you don’t check the signatures that is a huge problem but I don’t think we have demonstrated it’s a size of a problem that would change the result, ” he added as Bash attempted to speak over him and then cut him off.

“Okay, senator, just to put a button on that, there is no evidence that people didn’t see signatures,” Bash lectured. “In fact, the state supreme court and now federal court have both thrown out the notion — that that didn’t happen.”

Watch below:


CNN 11 29 2020 09 17 56

youtu.be

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Source: ALTERNET