Repeal and Replace

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June 12, 2017

By Agnett Bonwitt, Managing Editor

Hell or High Water

Donald Trump’s actions leading up to and including him pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Change accord to further extend America’s greenhouse-gas frat party triggered several  impeachable offenses,  charges a Huffington Post op-ed piece last week written by Marjorie Cohn, Professor Emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

Quoting the Constitution as providing for impeachment of a president when he commits “High Crimes” and misdemeanors, Cohn argues that such infractions don’t necessarily have to include conduct punishable by criminal law. In fact, Cohn says that Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist No. 65 writes that misdeeds can be impeachable if they “proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust,” and “are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.”

Therefore, Cohn argues, Trump’s withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris climate deal is an impeachable, political offense since “he acted in  concert with 22 Republican senators, who collectively receive $10,694,284 in contributions from the coal and oil industries” and who “put their own political and economic interests above the safety, security and indeed survival of the American people and the entire planet.” Particularly egregious, Cohn notes, is that Trump’s new energy policies stumble far short of the Obama administration’s promise under the Climate Change deal to reduce carbon emissions 26 to 29 percent by 2025, while the second most polluting country on the planet will now at best cut greenhouse gas exhalations by 15 to 19 percent below 2005 levels.

In addition, Cohn charges that Trump’s conduct falls under “the abuse or violation of some public trust.” Continuing, she explains:

No individual embodies the trust of the public more than the president, who is elected by the people. When the people choose their president, they are entrusting that person with their security, well-being and survival. The voters trust the president to act in their best interests and protect them from harm. By withdrawing from the climate agreement, Trump is violating the trust that “We the People” have placed in him.

Finally, again quoting Hamilton, Cohn states that our Gasball-in-Chief deserves an impeachment nod for resulting “injuries done immediately to the society itself,” from the continuing contribution America will make as a gargantuan polluter to the Earth and ignoring the overwhelming red flags showing that we’re on the verge of a catastrophic life-ending epoch in our planet’s history. Punctuating this point, Cohn quotes Dahr Jamail’s analysis for Truthout, in which he reports, “Scientists have said that the U.S. withdrawal [from the climate accord] could add up to 3 billion tons of CO

2 into the atmosphere on an annual basis.” Further, Jamail adds, the anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) “is now recreating the conditions that caused the worst mass extinction event on Earth, the Permian mass extinction that took place approximately 250 million years ago and annihilated 90 percent of life.” Such “dramatic oceanic warming and acidification” he explains, “were key components of this extinction event, and these conditions align with what we are seeing today.”

I don’t know about you, but all this makes Trump’s arguably impeachable Comey/Flynn/Russia shenanigans look like running a stop sign, instead of a head-on collision of planetary proportions.

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Shooting the Moon

SpaceX founder Elon Musk dropped a tantalizing tidbit last week regarding the launch-ready timeline of the private space venture’s newest “Falcon Heavy” rocket. According to a tweet, Musk boasted that all elements of the  230-foot-tall booster “should be at the Cape [Canaveral] in two to three months, so launch should happen a month after that,” bringing Musk’s goal of blasting a private mission to the Moon by the end of 2018 one step closer. While most experts believe the gazillionaire entrepreneur is biting off more than he can chew, Musk is the first to admit he might be a bit overzealous: “We will probably fly something really silly on Falcon Heavy because it is quite a high-risk mission,” Musk said in March after the successful  SES-10 mission launch, which was the first to recycle a Falcon 9 booster. The high-tech mogul has yet to announce what that “silly payload” might be, however his firm one time launched a big wheel of cheese into orbit.  (And may we suggest a pink-frosted doughnut with sprinkles?)

The New Stuff

NASA has picked a new crop of 12 astronaut candidates from a record-breaking pool of more than 18,300 hopefuls. “You are the 12 who made it through, you have joined the elites, you are the best of us,” VP Mike Pence said at a ceremony introducing the new recruits last Wednesday. “These are 12 men and women whose personal excellence and whose personal courage will carry our nation to even greater heights of discovery.” In an NPR interview, spacefarer-in-training Jasmin Moghbeli, who will start her cosmic bootcamp at Johnson Space Center in Houston this August, spoke about what it takes to be selected for the final frontier (hint, hint – seven of the 12 rookies are military officers): “Start looking into science, technology, engineering, math, those kinds of fields,” the German-born, New York native explained, adding, “But whatever you do, love it.”

Making It Count

According to math wiz Carl DeVito, any attempted communication between Earthlings and intelligent ETs should be based on a shared “exo-arthimetic” language. DeVito, who is an emeritus faculty in the mathematics department at the University of Arizona in Tucson, has proposed such a universal numeric lingo, and recently detailed his concepts at the Astrobiology Science Conference held in April. According to DeVito, since mathematics is such an integral part of our humanity from science to the arts, such a system would have a high probability of being understood – or even familiar – to alien civilizations. For a more detailed explanation, click this NBC article by Leonard David of Space.com.

To The Wonder

Take a 2017 space sojourn with the spectacular video below created with recent fly-by photos of Jupiter by NASA’s state-of-the-art Juno probe. Produced by German mathematician Gerald Eichstaedt, who spent 60 hours stitching 36 stunning Juno pix, and London animator Sean Doran, who, according to Wired, took 12 hours smoothing and enhancing the clip’s 2,400 frames before adding the Ligeti’s Requiem soundtrack used in Stanley Kubriick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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