Archive for the ‘trump administration’ Category

White House refuses to sign international statement on online extremism

May 15th, 2019
White House refuses to sign international statement on online extremism

(credit: Matt Wade)

The Trump administration will not sign an international pledge by governments and online services to combat extremist content online. The Christchurch Call is named after the New Zealand city where a terrorist livestreamed the shooting deaths of 50 Muslims in March.

The statement is being formally released today as part of an international summit in Paris. It will bear the signatures of more than a dozen nations, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Leading technology companies, including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter, have also signed on. But not the US government.

"The United States stands with the international community in condemning terrorist and violent extremist content online in the strongest terms," the White House said in an emailed statement Wednesday. The US government says it will "continue to support the overall goals reflected in the Call," however, it is "not currently in a position to join the endorsement."

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Posted in Christchurch shooting, Donald Trump, Facebook, new zealand, Policy, trump administration | Comments (0)

Appeals court rejects government bid to reverse AT&T/Time Warner deal

February 26th, 2019
Appeals court rejects government bid to reverse AT&T/Time Warner deal

Enlarge (credit: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

A federal appeals court has upheld AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner, dealing a blow to Trump administration lawyers who had tried to stop the deal.

The Trump administration sued to stop the deal back in 2017, arguing that having AT&T as a corporate parent would give Time Warner too much leverage in negotiations with other cable and satellite network providers. A trial judge, Richard Leon, rejected that argument last June. Now his ruling has been upheld by the DC Circuit Appeals Court.

Media conglomerates like Time Warner engage in periodic negotiations with distributors like Comcast and AT&T. In these negotiations, each party threatens to end their relationship if they don't get favorable financial terms. But each party also has an incentive not to take too hard a line because failing to reach an agreement could mean a content blackout that's expensive for both sides.

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Trump climate advisory panel structured to avoid public records

February 25th, 2019
A global snapshot of the Vegetation Sensitivity Index (VSI) from 2016. The VSI measures environmental sensitivity to a changing climate, using satellite data gathered between 2000-2013 at 5km resolution. Areas in green are covered in vegetation that is the least sensitive to changes. Areas in red show the highest sensitivity. Grey areas are barren land or ice covered. Water is blue.

Enlarge / A global snapshot of the Vegetation Sensitivity Index (VSI) from 2016. The VSI measures environmental sensitivity to a changing climate, using satellite data gathered between 2000-2013 at 5km resolution. Areas in green are covered in vegetation that is the least sensitive to changes. Areas in red show the highest sensitivity. Grey areas are barren land or ice covered. Water is blue. (credit: Sedon, et. al.)

As we reported last week, the White House hosted a cross-agency meeting regarding a plan to create an advisory committee specifically to attack the conclusions of its own climate scientists. Details of that meeting, and the plan that ensued, are now starting to leak out.

To begin with, The Washington Post indicates that the motivation for the effort was made clear during the meeting: Trump was upset by the release of the National Climate Assessment. The report is required by law, and its conclusions were solidly within the mainstream of the scientific community's conclusions on the climate, leaving very little room for attack. So, the White House has decided to select a group of government scientists that include members who are skeptical towards its conclusions.

The group will be structured so that it can do its work off the record. The Post notes that a formal Federal Advisory Committee would include having meetings in public and creating extensive public records of its deliberations. As a result, the new plan is to create an ad-hoc working group instead, which avoids the need for any public disclosure.

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Posted in anthropogenic climate change, climate change, Climate science, Policy, science, trump administration | Comments (0)