Category Archives: History

Julian Assange to testify before Congress?


Well certainly not in person unless there is an immunity deal.

Assange is to the internet what Luther was to the printing press. These are folks who grasp the implications of spreading the light and are willing to risk some serious privation to do it. Not many of those folks in history.

If congress wants to know the role Assange played in the 2016 US election, a few minutes on YouTube should give plenty information of his position on this question. (It's not like no one has thought to ask him about this before.)


“He Fears For His Life”: President Trump Trying His Best to Not End Up Assassinated Like Kennedy


The following is a excerpt from Russia's most popular political program. They are discussing the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki. The main character holding forth is a film / theater director who see the world as huge dramas. And to him, Helsinki is where Trump exposed himself as someone who like most Americans, is sick to death of the Empire. No wonder nearly everyone in DC was screeching treason.
Karen Shakhnazarov, director, People's Artist of Russia: "The most striking thing about that meeting is that it was organized not for the sake of Syria, Ukraine or Crimea, but for Mr. Putin to tell the American electorate: "Trump isn't our agent, trust me, you have my word." That's what Trump actually wanted from the meeting because the press conference revealed this underpinning."

Lots of folks dare call it treason


Trump really laid a turd in the punch bowl when he announced to the world that he trusted the word of Vladimir Putin over his own "intelligence" experts on Russiagate. The defenders of the conventional wisdom will be shaking with rage over that one for a long time—with "Progressives" leading the charge. Robert LaFollette (one of the founders of the Progressive movement) had his political career destroyed because he voted in the Senate against the USA entry into WW I. Pretty sure he would not have approved of the current war-mongering lynch mob.

For a guy with a reputation for lying, this was as close to the unvarnished truth as we have heard from a USA president since at least Carter. The Empire runs on lies—can't let any honesty creep into the conversation. And I am not sure what came over Trump but I'll chalk it up to Finland—the Nordics are notoriously honest and uncorrupt so maybe the air helped.

Because there is absolutely no hard evidence to back up the Russiagate claims, I always assumed that the backers of the narrative would eventually see the light and sheepishly re-enter a world where evidence still means something. But it hasn't happened yet and the unfounded accusations have been going on for almost two years.

Treason? Get A Life!

July 17, 2018, Raúl Ilargi Meijer

Yeah, just keep ’em coming, right, so that when the last one falls flat on its face people will have already forgotten about it and instead focus on the new one. It’s been the modus operandi of the US MSM ever since Donald Trump emerged as an actual presidential candidate, and they haven’t let go.

They realize by now that it divides the nation, it costs them a large chunk of their potential readers and viewers, and creates chaos all around, but the bottom line is it makes them money. Because those people who fall into the echo chamber trap, tumble into it fast and furious, and will gladly pay to read yet another installment of how bad the man really is.

But it is getting out of hand, guys and gals, it is becoming a real and present danger to the -formerly- United States. The anti-Russia propaganda machine far predates Trump, but manufacturing an ever closer link between the two has proven to be a masterstroke of media genius.

That Vladimir Putin is an existential threat to the US and indeed the entire western world is a narrative taken straight out of Edward Bernays’ playbook. And it works like a charm. The problem is, it is also the biggest threat to peace anywhere on the globe that we have ever seen since WWII.

Putin is a patriot who came to the fore in mostly unexplained ways, named by American puppet Boris Yeltsin as his successor, only to save his country from US-induced plundering and restore Russia as a functioning country. Far from perfect, but functioning. Don’t forget that Russian life-expectancy fell by many years in the post-Gorbachev era. And then look now.

Yes, Putin uses some hard-handed tactics from time to time. He has no choice: the US threat to Russia is an ongoing one. There’s still a huge economic threat, of which US sanctions are but a minor part, there’s an intelligence threat, there’s NATO encroaching upon Russia’s borders.

Thus far, Putin has been able to counter them all. And his popularity among Russia’s population is far higher than that of any western politician. His people understand and recognize what he’s done and why he’s done it. He refuses for his country to be overrun and sold off to the highest bidders.

Just a few of the points of contention: Crimea – The US tried to take away Russia’s only warm water port. Putin countered with what through non-western eyes was tactical masterpiece; no violence, no shots fired, an election that saw an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted to (re-)join Russia.

Connected to Crimea is Ukraine. Putin had -and has- to protect Russian-speaking people in the region. Who were going to be under threat from the very dubious, neo-nazi linked government installed by the US after the coup. All Putin has been able to achieve so far is a very brittle stand still. But ‘his’ people in Eastern Ukraine have strong links to the Russian area just across the border. He’s not going to sell them out.

Connected to Ukraine is MH17. The Netherlands commemorates the victims of the shooting down again today. Several years of investigating have come up with no conclusive proof, even if they say it has. The problem is that the investigation was -is- led by The Netherlands itself. You don’t let the biggest victim conduct an investigation.

What’s worse: the Ukraine was actively involved in the investigation, even when it was a potential culprit. Try to write that scenario into the plot of one of your favorite TV crime series. Won’t fly.

Then the novichok ‘events’ in the UK. Again, no evidence, but tons of allegations. And if Russia says it’s not guilty, everyone says and writes: of course they would say that. They get accused anyway. Still, no evidence is no evidence. the time that intelligence agencies were believed on their word is over. And they did it to themselves.

In the regard, it’s useful to see that Robert Mueller was one of the people who ‘swore’ that the Weapons of Mass Destruction ‘evidence’ against Saddam Hussein was real. We now know it was complete and utter fiction. Intelligence has overplayed its hand, and they won’t get it back for a long time.

People now realize they cannot be trusted. Well, not those who read and view the MSM, but then that’s sort of the entire point, isn’t it? That’s where the dividing line is being drawn. The CIA, FBI et al present a view of the world in concoction with the media that they think a sufficient number of people will swallow, and that’s really all they care for.

And boy, it is successful. The vitriol spewed over the Helsinki summit is something to behold. #TreasonSummit was a trending hashtag. For a meeting that was long overdue and aimed at calming down tensions. The by now very poorly named ‘social’ media play an ever bigger role in these things.

People can say whatever they want on them, without feeling they’ll ever actually be tested on their claims. One after the other, and each one trying to outdo the last. It all leads up to one particular worldview at the exclusion of all others. And again, that is very dangerous.

Mueller’s indictment of 12 Russians, which just happened to coincide with the first meeting of American and Russian presidents in an exceptionally long time, has been shot full of holes by many commentators, see for instance Adam Carter and Aaron Mate, but those views won’t make it to CNN or the NYT.

But despite the fact that the indictment is hollow and riddled with holes, it’s been a large part of why people call Trump a traitor for meeting with Putin. It ties together their opinions, carefully built along Bernays principles over the past two years. It’s a Matrix, it’s a trap. But then they throw in another story, of a 29 year-old Russian(!) girl arrested for allegedly setting up links between Russia and the NRA when she was 24 or so, and that replaces the Mueller indictment in most attention spans. And so the carrousel goes on. The torture never stops.

See, the idea is that you get yourself informed and then form your own opinion. Not that you let others pre-cook and pre-chew your opinions for you. Still, once you’re inside the deafening echo chamber, that’s what inevitably happens. Because there’s so much one-sided innuendo in there, your head aches and you just give up all resistance. Just to have a quiet moment.

And so very many Americans end up believing that indeed their president is guilty of treason. Because so many pundits claim that he is. But how many of them understand what treason really is, how serious an allegation it is? Is doesn’t really matter anymore, does it? Because all those others say he is, and they can’t all be wrong. And the echo chamber gives you a headache.

This is where I should say that somebody better do something about this, but it’s hard to see what. The divide has grown into a chasm. And that both sides are equally to blame for that doesn’t excuse either side’s wilful blindness. But yes, I hear you, it makes them money.

Still, if a US president can no longer talk to another president without being accused of treason, you’re in a scary predicament.

At some point you’re going to need real proof. And Bob Mueller is not going to get it for you. That’s what his indictment of the 12 Russians, as well as the moment he released it, makes abundantly clear. Mueller is -forever- going to hide behind the ‘Trust me, I’m the FBI’ line. Well, he betrayed you before. Wisen up. Demand evidence.

We know Mueller betrayed America when he made false claims over WMD. We have no evidence that Trump betrayed his country, we have only allegations. He may be a poor choice for president, but that’s not the same thing. more

NPL in North Dakota (cont.)


Last Thanksgiving, Tony produced a short post on the Nonpartisan League. Think of this as an update. I happen to think the history of the NPL is important because it shows how effective a movement can be if they have a workable agenda. Instead of running against parties and personalities, an agenda-driven party wins because they are FOR something. Even better, an agenda usually outlives even the best supporters. And the State Bank of North Dakota is arguably the best political idea Progressives ever had—the signal accomplishment that lives on to this day.

WHEN NORTH DAKOTA FARMERS BLEW UP PARTISAN POLITICS

By Focusing on Economic Cooperation, Early 20th-Century Small Landowners Pushed Back Against Crony Capitalism

by MICHAEL J. LANSING | MAY 18, 2018

In a nation that envisions innovation as the domain of Silicon Valley start-ups, most dismiss North Dakota as flyover country. Yet the state’s history shows it deserves more credit as an innovator. A little more than 100 years ago, North Dakota’s farmers, challenged by economic hardship and indifferent politicians, invented a nonpartisan approach to elections that was as elegant and powerful as it was novel.

Today, Americans politics are partisan and polarized. But as a political movement made up of lower-middle-class farmers, the Nonpartisan League (NPL) took advantage of the direct primary—a new innovation at the time—to bypass entrenched politicians and parties.

During the early years of the 20th century, a broad impulse for popular government transformed election law—particularly primaries—in many northern and western states, but North Dakota took it further than some. Rejecting the notion that politics belonged only to professionals, citizens put themselves in the thick of things—replacing the mediating force of a political party with a self-organized polity. Parties, which had formerly controlled candidate selection, remained powerful, but voters could now challenge the establishment players who often used backroom deals and convention shenanigans to stay in power

From the start, the movement backed anyone who supported farm-friendly economic policies, regardless of that candidate’s party affiliation. Later this alternative to politics-as-usual famously established state-run industries, but also—as a correspondent in The Nation noted in 1923—ensured that “a sentiment and point of view had been established in the minds of hundreds of thousands of farmers and ranchers.” By empowering regular citizens across the West and Midwest to see themselves and their society anew, it created a resurgence of “We the People” government that sits at the heart of the nation’s best democratic traditions.

North Dakota was especially ready for political reform because of its history. Established in 1889, it had an almost entirely agricultural economy, giving the outsiders who transported and processed the crops it grew outsized political influence. Talk of cronyism and the indirect control of state politics by Minneapolis-based companies defined life in the capital, Bismarck, from the start.

Agitators for change found a ready audience for basic political reforms, but few imagined that the state’s farmers could transcend their many differences to organize the way they did. The farmers were far from homogeneous, but included Icelanders, Czechs, Germans from Russia, Norwegians, Irish, Ukrainians, Swedes, Germans, Danes, Hungarians, native-born Americans, and a handful of African Americans. They were all settled on land that had been taken from Native Americans. In some rural districts, distinct congregations of Protestants and Roman Catholics and Jews jostled up against each other, while outside Ross, North Dakota, a small community of Syrians practiced Islam. In fact, census data show that North Dakota had the highest proportion of foreign-born residents of any state in the country before World War II.

Despite their differences, by the early 1910s, farmers across the vast wheat belt of western Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and eastern Montana all faced a common problem: the overwhelming economic clout of the Minneapolis-based flour millers and wheat traders who dominated agricultural commodities markets. Grain farmers who shipped their products to Minneapolis for processing—nearly all of them—saw little of the profit that their wheat ultimately produced. Crop prices, controlled by milling and transportation companies, were low. Transportation costs, set by railroad companies, were exorbitant. The combination left farmers cash-strapped. As the rest of rural America experienced an agricultural boom, failed mortgages and hard times defined farm life on the Northern Plains.

Abhorring electoral politics, which they saw as sullied by corruption and power, wheat farmers in North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Montana responded to their economic plight by organizing themselves into cooperatives, attempting to build power without getting involved in politics. They hoped that cooperatives might create a more equitable marketplace, one in which farmers might hold even odds to support their families. Their Equity Cooperative Exchange brought smallholders together to create democratically-run, customer-owned grain elevators across the Northern Plains. Farmer-owners made sure that more of the profits from wheat stayed in farmers’ pockets.

But in the 1910s the Exchange, realizing local organizing had its limits, tried to expand its reach by establishing a large terminal grain elevator to compete with those run by large corporations. Minneapolis-based companies responded by refusing to permit the Equity Cooperative Exchange to trade in that city’s wheat market. So, in 1915, the group’s leaders turned their attention from economic cooperation to state-level politics. Public policy, however flawed, seemed to offer the only avenue for change.

In North Dakota—and soon thereafter, in other states—wheat farmers used the Equity Cooperative Exchange as the foundation for a new political organization: the Nonpartisan League. The NPL built on existing relationships to encourage farmers to prioritize shared economic self-interest over ethnic, cultural, and religious divides. It also pushed farmers directly into electoral politics. Members canvassed door-to-door to recruit, ensure turnout at political rallies, and create an audience for the NPL newspaper. During election seasons, NPL people held their own members-only precinct caucus meetings and identified citizen-candidates to run for office. They quickly began to see themselves as political actors.

Platform-oriented rather than candidate-based, the NPL endorsed farmers for state offices, and supported the creation of a state-owned bank, grain elevator, and flour mill. And seeing their concerns reflected in electoral politics ensured that North Dakotan farmers responded enthusiastically at the polls. In 1916, NPL candidates won the governor’s race, the contest for attorney general, and the majority of seats in North Dakota’s House of Representatives. By 1918, they held those state-wide offices and seized a majority of seats in the state Senate as well.

Finally empowered to make their platform real, the newly elected farmers moved quickly to sidestep the large millers and traders in Minneapolis. They established a state-run terminal grain elevator and matched it with a state-run flour mill, keeping more profits from processed wheat in North Dakota. Leaguers also created a state-owned bank that allowed local lenders to reject financing from out-of-state interests. After taking hold of North Dakota’s state government in 1918, the NPL spread to twelve other states in the West and Midwest, and two Canadian provinces.

Misunderstood—then and now—as socialists, the NPL farmers remained avowedly nonpartisan. They held no ideological commitment to big or small government. They just saw government as the means to represent and institute the people’s will, rather than the interests of the powerful.

Too often belittled, this vision of citizens as more than just voters lies at the heart of a wide range of American movements for change—from 19th-century Grangers and Populists, to labor organizing in the 1930s, to the Black Freedom Movements of the 1950s and 1960s. It’s a tradition that encourages regular people to work across their differences to solve common problems.

In North Dakota, the NPL’s successes inspired broader change. Initially, for example, the group ignored farm women, who sought agency in their private and public lives, but its insistence on a participatory civic culture inspired women to organize NPL auxiliaries that engaged in fund-raising and civic education. One woman in Montana reported that “we are not going to talk about recipes for rhubarb conserve” but instead would discuss “the great battles for human rights so that we can vote straight when the time comes.”

After 1920, the women’s votes became more important than ever, as corporations in Minneapolis and established politicians began pushing back against the NPL, rightly seeing it as a threat.

Establishment foes attacked the League and its members at every turn, declaring it to be anti-war, and thus anti-patriotic—a serious charge after the U.S. entered World War I in 1917. Though many Leaguers opposed the potential for war-profiteering and heavy casualties, they consistently did their patriotic duty. Nonetheless, in Minnesota, South Dakota, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, and Idaho, Leaguers remained suspect and faced direct challenges to their civil liberties. Local law enforcement denied the NPL the right to hold public meetings. Organizers were seized by mobs, tarred, and feathered.

In the meantime, in North Dakota, where the NPL-controlled statehouse ensured that local law enforcement would not engage in unconstitutional activities, autocratic League leaders made poor decisions that led to internal dissent. The head of the Nonpartisan League, a former farmer named Arthur Townley, alienated opponents and League members by proposing controversial business schemes that went beyond the organization’s stated aims. Put off by such behavior and new policies they saw as overreach, some NPL farmers turned against the movement—and as a result, in 1921, North Dakota held the nation’s first recall election. Many NPL officials, including the state’s citizen-farmer governor Lynn Frazier, lost their seats.

Never again would the League run the state. Yet its influence remained. A year after his recall, Frazier, still representing the NPL, was elected to the U.S. Senate. During the 1930s and 1940s, the Nonpartisan League persisted as a wing of the Republican Party. In 1956, it merged with North Dakota’s Democratic Party, still known today as the D-NPL. North Dakota’s state-owned bank, flour mill, and grain elevator continue to thrive. Soon marking their centennial, these institutions stand as a concrete testament to the Nonpartisan League and its lasting—and innovative—vision of nonpartisan, cooperatively organized, citizen-centered politics. more

James Hansen 30 years on




I remember James Hansen's 1988 testimony in front of the Senate as if it were yesterday—has it really been 30 years? Hit me like a lightening bolt. Most importantly, Hansen had instant credibility with me because I knew his backstory. We who live in the world powered by our land-grant universities like to tout the contributions of these revered institutions. James Hansen was one of us. He was the fifth child of dirt-poor tenant farmers in Iowa. But because of public schools like the University of Iowa he would graduate as a world-class scientist. In fact, he became one of James van Allen's fair-haired boys. Yes the guy who got his name on the Van Allen Belts was an astrophysics professor at Iowa. (NOW do you see why folks around here get touchy about insults to the land-grant university?)

Hansen must lead a miserable existence. He knows that while there are variations on the outcome of climate change, none are good. And as it gets increasingly worse with nothing more interesting happening than agreements to try to do better, it must get cripplingly frustrating. Compared to the problem, this is about on the same level as calling for prayer meetings. But as his frustration has grown over the years, he has engaged in symbolic actions like getting arrested at the White House. Don't blame the man but climate change is not a matter addressed with the tactics of Gandhi's Salt March.

My take is that climate change is a problem that lives at the intersection of technology and economics. Hansen is a true scientist and sometimes we forget that this is a different occupation from Progressive economist, industrial designer, or civil engineer. His revelations on climate change were sourced in his investigations of the atmosphere of Venus. World-class science. For this, Hansen is forever forgiven for tactics born of frustration. I just wish that once in a while, he would sound a bit more like that other towering intellect from Iowa, Henry Wallace.

Ex-Nasa scientist: 30 years on, world is failing 'miserably’ to address climate change


James Hansen, who gave a climate warning in 1988 Senate testimony, says real hoax is by leaders claiming to take action

Oliver Milman in New York 19 Jun 2018

Thirty years after a former Nasa scientist sounded the alarm for the general public about climate change and human activity, the expert issued a fresh warning that the world is failing “miserably” to deal with the worsening dangers.

While Donald Trump and many conservatives like to argue that climate change is a hoax, James Hansen, the 77-year-old former Nasa climate scientist, said in an interview at his home in New York that the relevant hoax today is perpetrated by those leaders claiming to be addressing the problem.


Hansen provided what’s considered the first warning to a mass audience about global warming when, in 1988, he told a US congressional hearing he could declare “with 99% confidence” that a recent sharp rise in temperatures was a result of human activity.

Since this time, the world’s greenhouse gas emissions have mushroomed despite repeated, increasingly frantic warnings about civilization-shaking catastrophe, from scientists amassing reams of evidence in Hansen’s wake.

“All we’ve done is agree there’s a problem,” Hansen told the Guardian. “We agreed that in 1992 [at the Earth summit in Rio] and re-agreed it again in Paris [at the 2015 climate accord]. We haven’t acknowledged what is required to solve it. Promises like Paris don’t mean much, it’s wishful thinking. It’s a hoax that governments have played on us since the 1990s.”

Hansen’s long list of culprits for this inertia are both familiar – the nefarious lobbying of the fossil fuel industry – and surprising. Jerry Brown, the progressive governor of California, and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, are “both pretending to be solving the problem” while being unambitious and shunning low-carbon nuclear power, Hansen argues.

There is particular scorn for Barack Obama. Hansen says in a scathing upcoming book that the former president “failed miserably” on climate change and oversaw policies that were “late, ineffectual and partisan”.

Hansen even accuses Obama of passing up the opportunity to thwart Donald Trump’s destruction of US climate action, by declining to settle a lawsuit the scientist, his granddaughter and 20 other young people are waging against the government, accusing it of unconstitutionally causing peril to their living environment.

“Near the end of his administration the US said it would reduce emissions 80% by 2050,” Hansen said.

“Our lawsuit demands a reduction of 6% a year so I thought, ‘That’s close enough, let’s settle the lawsuit.’ We got through to Obama’s office but he decided against it. It was a tremendous opportunity. This was after Trump’s election, so if we’d settled it quickly the US legally wouldn’t be able to do the absurd things Trump is doing now by opening up all sorts of fossil fuel sources.”

Hansen’s frustrations temper any satisfaction at largely being vindicated for his testimony, delivered to lawmakers on 23 June 1988.

Wearing a cream-coloured suit, the soft-spoken son of Iowan tenant farmers hunched over the microphone in Washington to explain that humans had entered a confronting new era. “The greenhouse effect has been detected and it is changing our climate now,” he said.

Afterwards, Hansen told reporters: “It is time to stop waffling so much and say that the evidence is pretty strong that the greenhouse effect is here.” He brandished new research that forecast that 1988 was set to be the warmest year on record, as well as projections for future heat under three different emissions scenarios. The world has dutifully followed Hansen’s “scenario B” – we are “smack on it” it, Hansen said last week – with global temperatures jumping by around 1C (1.8F) over the past century.

These findings hadn’t occurred in a vacuum, of course – the Irish physicist John Tyndall confirmed that carbon dioxide is a heat-trapping gas in the 1850s. A 1985 scientific conference in Villach, Austria, concluded the temperature rise in the 21st century would be “greater than in any man’s history”. The changes in motion would “affect life on Earth for centuries to come”, the New York Times warned the morning after Hansen’s testimony.

Three decades of diplomacy has blossomed into an international consensus, albeit rattled by Trump, that the temperature rise must be curbed to “well below” 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial times. But in this time emissions have soared (in 1988, 20bn tons of carbon dioxide was emitted – by 2017 it was 32bn tons) with promised cuts insufficient for the 2C goal. Despite the notable growth of renewable energy such as solar and wind, Hansen believes there is no pathway to salvation without a tax on carbon-producing fuels.

“The solution isn’t complicated, it’s not rocket science,” Hansen said. “Emissions aren’t going to go down if the cost of fossil fuels isn’t honest. Economists are very clear on this. We need a steadily increasing fee that is then distributed to the public.”

Hansen faced opposition even before his testimony – he recalls a Nasa colleague telling him on the morning of his presentation “no respectable scientist” would claim the world is warming – and faced subsequent meddling and censorship from George HW Bush’s administration.

He eventually retired from Nasa in 2013 and promptly reinvented himself as an activist who was arrested, wearing his trademark hat, outside the White House while protesting against the Keystone oil pipeline.

The dawdling global response to warming temperatures means runaway climate change now looms. The aspirational 1.5C (2.7F) warming target set in Paris could be surpassed by 2040. Huge amounts of ice from western Antarctica are crashing into the ocean, redrawing forecasts for sea level rise. Some low-lying islands fear extinction.
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“It’s not too late,” Hansen stressed. “There is a rate of reduction that’s feasible to stay well below 2C. But you just need that price on carbon.”

John Holdren, who was Obama’s chief science adviser, told the Guardian that the Paris agreement achieved what was possible without support from Congress and that legally binding lawsuits would be “problematic”.

However, he added that while he had reservations about Hansen’s policy ideas he was one of the “true giants” of climate science.

“Poor Jim Hansen. He’s a tragic hero,” said Naomi Oreskes, a Harvard academic who studies the history of science. “The Cassandra aspect of his life is that he’s cursed to understand and diagnose what’s going on but unable to persuade people to do something about it. We are all raised to believe knowledge is power but Hansen proves the untruth of that slogan. Power is power.”

That power has been most aggressively wielded by fossil fuel companies such as Exxon and Shell which, despite being well aware of the dangers of climate change decades before Hansen’s touchstone moment in 1988, funded a network of groups that ridiculed the science and funded sympathetic politicians. Later, they were to be joined by the bulk of the US Republican party, which now recoils from any action on climate change as heresy.

“Obama was committed to action but couldn’t do much with the Congress he had,” Oreskes said. “To blame the Democrats and Obama is to misunderstand the political context. There was a huge, organized network that put forward a message of confusion and doubt.”

Climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer, who testified at the same 1988 hearing about sea level rise, said the struggle to confront climate change has been “discouraging”.

“The nasty anti-science movement ramped up and now we are way behind.”

“I’m convinced we will deal with the problem,” he said. “[But] not before there is an amount of suffering that is unconscionable and should’ve been avoided.” more