September 4, 2022

Posted by orrinj at 8:24 PM


Chile expected to reject overhaul of dictatorship-era constitution (AFP, September 4, 2022)

Chileans head to the polls on Sunday to choose whether to adopt a new constitution that aims to shift its market-driven society into one that is more welfare-based, while enacting broad institutional reforms.

Although Chileans previously voted in droves for a rewrite of the current constitution -- adopted in 1980 during Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship -- opinion polls suggest the new text will be rejected.

Pinochet saved the country. Just compare the GDP to Cuba's.

Posted by orrinj at 8:21 PM


More than a third of senior pastors believe 'good people' can earn their way to Heaven (Ian M Giatti,  04 September 2022, CT)

At least a third of senior pastors in the United States believe one can earn a place in Heaven by simply being a good person, according to a nationwide survey.

A god we can manipulate is obviously comforting, just not God.

Posted by orrinj at 6:54 PM


Researchers discover a way to extract more than 95% of uranium from seawater (B. David Zarley, 9/04/22, Big Think)

The power behind nuclear power comes from rending uranium atoms; a tiny amount of the element unleashes energy many magnitudes greater than other fuel sources. 

Uranium occurs naturally in rocks, soil, and water, but is generally extracted at scale from uranium mines -- which is considered a finite resource. 

There's another source of uranium, a vast source: the ocean. The trick is getting it out.

Nuclear power requires uranium, which is considered a finite resource.

Now, a team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Pune have created a gel that pulls over 95% of uranium from seawater.

Their technique "introduces the concept of extracting uranium from natural seawater may lead to an unlimited supply of uranium at an economically affordable cost," principal investigator and IISER chemistry professor Sujit K. Ghosh told

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Building a zero emissions grid in US in just 13 years would save $US1.2 trillion (Giles Parkinson, 4 September 2022, Renew Economy)

A landmark new study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the US finds that if the world's biggest economy decarbonises its grid in just 13 years it would save up to $US1.2 trillion in avoided health and climate costs.

The new study, done in conjunction with the US Department of Energy, plots a range of scenarios on how to reach net zero emissions on the world's biggest grid in just 13 years.

Three of the four scenarios require additional power systems costs of between $US330 billion and $US400 billion, while a fourth - limited by transmission constraints and amount of wind that can be deployed - requires more storage, and more nuclear, that doubles the cost to around $US740 billion.

But each of the scenarios delivers considerable more benefits in avoided health impacts and climate change because it shuts down the combustion of fossil fuels for electricity.

According to NREL, those savings from a net zero grid include avoiding 130,000 premature deaths, saving up to $US400 billion, with a further saving of more than $US1.2 trillion when factoring in the avoided cost of damage from the impacts of climate change.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


'A white nationalist pyramid scheme': how Patriot Front recruits young members (MacKenzie Ryan,  2 Sep 2022, The Guardian)

Undergirding Patriot Front's activities is a rigid, top-down hierarchy, researchers say.

Rousseau is at the head. Lieutenants run departments of the group, including media production, recruitment and online security. Fifteen regional network directors organize local and national activities, and supervise members.

Once recruits become members, they are required to attend monthly roundups, hit a weekly activism quota, and show up to demonstrations, according to Moon. If they don't, Rousseau expels them from Patriot Front.

Internal chats obtained by extremist experts show members complaining about the ongoing expenses they incur paying for stickers, stencils and other mandatory propaganda materials, which Rousseau charges them for.

Rousseau charges members a premium for Patriot Front propaganda material, Tischauser said, adding that network directors are expected to push members to purchase flyers to go on several flyering runs a month. "In this sense, Patriot Front is close to a white nationalist pyramid scheme," Tischauser notes.

The tightly organized structure enables Patriot Front to be responsible for up to 14 hate incidents a day, according to the ADL. Under the direction of network directors, Patriot Front members defaced 29 murals honoring Black history, LGBTQ+ pride, migrant history and police shooting victims, said Tischauser. [...]

Recent events have somewhat disrupted the group's carefully constructed image. Earlier this year, the leftwing non-profit Unicorn Riot leaked the group's internal audio and chats, which helped investigators discover the identity of the national team, regional directors and many other members. And following the arrest in Coeur d'Alene, all 31 names of arrested members were broadcasted and published in local media outlets, along with their mugshots.

"They got kind of the opposite of what they wanted: they weren't able to disrupt the LGBTQ Pride events, and they got a whole lot of mainstream media attention," Piggott said.

The Idaho arrests also exposed that their members flew into the state from different parts of the country, Piggott added. "It lifted the veil a bit. They may not have the numbers they say they have."

While the racism is the Right's brand, nothing so clearly defines them as their entirely justified panic that they are not men. 

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Trump brands Biden 'enemy of the state,' says FBI raid was an 'abuse of power' (ANNE LEBRETON, 9/04/22, AFP)

 Donald Trump branded Joe Biden an "enemy of the state" Saturday, as he hit back at the US president's assertion that the Republican and his supporters are undermining American democracy and slammed last month's FBI raid of his Florida home.

Making his first public appearance since the August 8 raid, Trump said the search was a "travesty of justice" and warned it would produce "a backlash the likes of which nobody has ever seen."

Threats of further violence become him and his sycophants.

Blocking Kiwifarms (Matthew Prince, 9/03/22, Cloudflare)

Kiwifarms has frequently been host to revolting content. Revolting content alone does not create an emergency situation that necessitates the action we are taking today. Beginning approximately two weeks ago, a pressure campaign started with the goal to deplatform Kiwifarms. That pressure campaign targeted Cloudflare as well as other providers utilized by the site.

Cloudflare provides security services to Kiwifarms, protecting them from DDoS and other cyberattacks. We have never been their hosting provider. As we outlined last Wednesday, we do not believe that terminating security services is appropriate, even to revolting content. In a law-respecting world, the answer to even illegal content is not to use other illegal means like DDoS attacks to silence it.

We are also not taking this action directly because of the pressure campaign. While we have empathy for its organizers, we are committed as a security provider to protecting our customers even when they run deeply afoul of popular opinion or even our own morals. The policy we articulated last Wednesday remains our policy. We continue to believe that the best way to relegate cyberattacks to the dustbin of history is to give everyone the tools to prevent them.

However, as the pressure campaign escalated, so did the rhetoric on the Kiwifarms site. Feeling attacked, users of the site became even more aggressive. Over the last two weeks, we have proactively reached out to law enforcement in multiple jurisdictions highlighting what we believe are potential criminal acts and imminent threats to human life that were posted to the site.

Legal Experts Mock McCarthy Putting Garland And Wray 'On Notice' (David Badash, September 04 | 2022, National Memo)

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), in an apparent effort to protect Donald Trump, is now attempting to bully Attorney General Merrick Garland and Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Chris Wray into undermining the U.S. Dept. of Justice's criminal investigation into the former president's unlawful retention and refusal to return stolen White House records including secret defense and national security documents classified at the highest levels.

In a letter to both law enforcement leaders dated Friday, McCarthy threatens them with powers he does not have, and legal and government experts are mocking him as a result. [...]

Steve Vladeck, a University of Texas School of Law law professor with a focus on national security writes: "As separation-of-powers debates go, I'm usually pretty pro-Congress. And even *I* don't think that Congress has the constitutional authority to demand 'all communications and documents' from the Executive Branch relating to an ongoing criminal investigation."

Former CEO and Editor of the publisher of Foreign Policy Magazine, journalist, podcast host, former Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce, and foreign policy, national security and political affairs analyst and commentator David Rothkopf mocks McCarthy, saying, "Er, nope. That's just not something you have the power to do."

Former Assistant United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey Mitchell Epner rhetorically asks, "Does Kevin McCarthy believe that AG Merritt Garland is unaware that the House GOP does not have subpoena power? McCarthy's statement that "they must provide all communications and documents relating to the raid" confuses his wishcasting with enforceable demands."

Former DOJ Inspector General and Asst. U.S. Attorney at SDNY Michael Bromwich writes, "Oversight over ongoing criminal investigations simply doesn't happen, unless you want to kill the investigation. This is dishonest and disingenuous grandstanding for an audience of one."

"Kevin McCarthy wants the FBI to stop investigating where 80 classified/military aide documents disappeared," notes national security journalist Marcy Wheeler.