Thursday Reads: Let’s Hear It For the Kids!

Jamie Margolin (foreground) and other young climate activists in Olympia on Monday

Good Afternoon!!

We had another unbelievable breaking news day yesterday. I’m beginning to think this is going to continue until we somehow get rid of Trump. Tomorrow is Friday–the day when the news comes in a flood. Remember the old days when Friday was “news dump” day because people supposedly weren’t paying attention?

But today I want want to begin with an important story that isn’t about Trump and his incredibly dysfunctional White House. I get so obsessed with the Russia investigation news, that I forget there are other life and death issues to examine.

Teenagers are not only leading the way on gun control, they are fighting to save the environment. Grist: Meet the teens schooling us on climate.

Generation Z — millennials’ younger brothers and sisters — are increasingly finding their voices in the Trump era, expanding media-savvy campaigns for racial equality and gun control to encompass climate change. A group of high school students are now planning a nationwide series of climate marches on July 21, when they will confront lawmakers in Washington, D.C., with a list of their demands for a livable climate.

Jamie Margolin

“I’d say I do about three hours of conference calls every single day,” says the lead organizer of the march, Jamie Margolin, a 16-year-old high school sophomore in Seattle. “I’m not new to the climate activism world.”

It’s true. Margolin is one of 13 young plaintiffs suing Washington state government for not taking sufficient action to address climate change. She frequently spends lunches answering emails instead of hanging out with friends. And the Seattle teen is not an anomaly: Statistically, young women of color like Margolin are the demographic most engaged on climate issues.

Margolin started planning the upcoming climate march, which she calls “Zero Hour,” last August, after the Trump administration announced its plans to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. She recruited Mrinalini Chakraborty, head of strategy for the national Women’s March, to help the students file for permits and plan logistics. Now, the organizing committee includes dozens of youth from Connecticut to California. The official website for the march launched last week.

Now, the group is drawing inspiration from the teen-led movement for federal gun control in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Margolin was particularly impressed when the Parkland students confronted lawmakers about accepting money from the NRA — which produced some predictably awkward stammers. Her team is considering making similar demands for politicians to refuse money from the fossil fuel industry.

Read more at Grist..

More on the lawsuit from KUOW: 13 kids sue Washington state for life, liberty and a livable climate.

Thirteen kids are suing the state of Washington and its governor to protect their generation from climate change.

The plaintiffs range in age from 7 to 17.

Their suit, filed Friday in King County Superior Court, says Gov. Jay Inslee and state agencies are violating the constitutional rights of a generation by continuing to let dangerous amounts of carbon dioxide into the sky.

“They are not taking nearly enough action to fight climate change, which my generation is going to suffer from,” 16-year-old plaintiff Jamie Margolin of Seattle said.

The high-school sophomore at Seattle’s Holy Names Academy also founded the group Zero Hour, which is organizing a youth climate march this summer in Washington, D.C.

Somerville, MA High School students sat in silence Wednesday morning to honor the Florida high school shooting victims and call for gun control reform (WBZ-TV)

The students in my nephew’s high school–Cambridge Rindge and Latin–are walking out today to show solidarity with the Parkland kids. Students from other schools around Massachusetts and the rest country had walkouts yesterday. Good for them! I had dinner with my “Generation Z” nephews last night, and they are very concerned about the gun issue. Their mother is quite involved in environmental activism, so they have already participated in many of her activities.

I know we can’t expect kids to save us, but I’m glad to see this youth activism. I hope it translates to voting in the years to come.

Unfortunately, no issue these days is really divorced from the Russia story. It appears that Russians have even gotten involved in trying to influence Americans’ attitudes about climate change. The Washington Post: These provocative images show Russian trolls sought to inflame debate over climate change, fracking and Dakota pipeline.

Russian trolls used Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to inflame U.S. political debate over energy policy and climate change, a finding that underscores how the Russian campaign of social media manipulation went beyond the 2016 presidential election, congressional investigators reported Thursday.

The new report from the House Science, Space and Technology Committee includes previously unreleased social media posts that Russians created on such contentious political issues as the Dakota Access pipeline, government efforts to curb global warming and hydraulic fracturing, a gas mining technique often called “fracking.”

One Facebook post created by a Russian-controlled group called “Native Americans United” shows what appears to be a young girl in a braid peering out over an unspoiled prairie. “Love Water Not Oil, Protect Our Mother, Stand With Standing Rock,” a reference to an Indian tribe that opposed the Dakota Access pipeline. The post also said, “No Pipelines. No Fracking. No Tar Sands.”

Internet Research Agency (troll factory) in St. Petersburg, Russia

The 21-page report drew from documents submitted in the fall by Twitter and Facebook, which owns Instagram, for congressional investigations into the social media influence campaign during the 2016 presidential election. Those probes focused on the efforts by the Internet Research Agency, a troll farm in St. Petersburg that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III indicted in February for disrupting and influencing U.S. politics.

The committee’s report found that between 2015 and 2017, more than 9,000 posts and tweets dealt with U.S. energy policy produced by 4,334 Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts controlled by the Internet Research Agency. Twitter told the committee that more than 4 percent of tweets produced by the Russians dealt with energy and climate issues.

And as we know, Trump is not going to do anything to discourage this Russian manipulation.

Another life and death issue that we don’t focus on enough is what Trump might do in North Korea. National security expert Gordon Kahl highlighted is scary NYT story on Twitter: U.S. Banks on Diplomacy With North Korea, but Moves Ahead on Military Plans.

A classified military exercise last week examined how American troops would mobilize and strike if ordered into a potential war on the Korean Peninsula, even as diplomatic overtures between the North and the Trump administration continue.

The war planning, known as a “tabletop exercise,” was held over several days in Hawaii. It included Gen. Mark A. Milley, the Army’s chief of staff, and Gen. Tony Thomas, the head of Special Operations Command.

They looked at a number of pitfalls that could hamper an American assault on North Korea’s well-entrenched military. Among them was the Pentagon’s limited ability to evacuate injured troops from the Korean Peninsula daily — a problem more acute if the North retaliated with chemical weapons, according to more than a half-dozen military and Defense Department officials familiar with the exercise.

Large numbers of surveillance aircraft would have to be moved from the Middle East and Africa to the Pacific to support ground troops. Planners also looked at how American forces stationed in South Korea and Japan would be involved.

Pentagon officials cautioned that the planning does not mean that a decision has been made to go to war over President Trump’s demands that North Korea rein in its nuclear ambitions.

Gordon Kahl’s interpretation:

As I said at the beginning of the post, there is an unbelievable amount of Trump mess/Russia News. Here are some links to check out today:

The New York Times: Senate Intelligence Leaders Say House G.O.P. Leaked a Senator’s Texts.

Olivia Nuzzi at New York Magazine: The White House Didn’t Break Hope Hicks Overnight.

CNN: Former Trump campaign official said Mueller’s team asked about Hicks.

CBS News: Hope Hicks refused to answer whether “a litany” of Trump associates asked her to lie.

CNN: White House furious at embarrassing stories about HUD, Secretary Ben Carson.

Jonathan Chait at New York Magazine: How Trump’s Saturday Night Massacre Might Start With Jeff Sessions.

The Washington Post: Is Jared Kushner using the White House as his own personal boardroom?

Marcy Wheeler at The New York Times: Has Jared Kushner Conspired to Defraud America?

The Washington Post: Questions linger about how Melania Trump, a Slovenian model, scored ‘the Einstein visa.’

What stores are you following? Please share!



21 Comments on “Thursday Reads: Let’s Hear It For the Kids!”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Enjoy your Thursday. We on the East Coast are expecting a “dangerous nor’easter” and bombogensis starting tomorrow.

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    Hope Hicks would not have achieved a place at the elbow of President Psychopath had she not had a pretty face. Her qualifications are nil. Her experience limited. Her beauty a blessing in how to get ahead.

    Anyone who signed on to work for this administration, particularly after having spent time with that lying sack of pus, and more so since the Access Hollywood tape, deserves whatever he/she has coming. In doing so you have just kissed your integrity goodbye.

    She was his “closest confidante”, telling him what exactly? How great he is? How smart? How handsome? How effective? What could a 29 yr old with zero experience offer that nitwit that made her so “valuable”?

    Lies. This is all this administration produces. I want Mueller to put an end to this criminal cabal and hope we never see its likes again. And if that means it gathers up Hope Hicks and the rest of those enablers, so be it.

    • Enheduanna says:

      No sympathy here either, although I’m sure it was very heady and at her age hard to say no. She’d been working with the family for some time. She also apparently comes from a liberal family – so not sure what she thinks about his politics. I hope she “wises up” soon for her own sake.

  3. Enheduanna says:

    I am loving those kids out there taking it to the streets. I worry there is no future for them at all though. I seriously think we are cooked as a species.

    • quixote says:

      I don’t remember people being this gung-ho about The Kids in, well, ever. I wonder if it’s mainly because the Chattering Classes are old enough at this point that they’re taken with their grandkids following in what they think are their footsteps.

      I mean, honestly, good for the highschoolers and they’re pointing up how supine the olds have been (except the Women’s March…), but the only thing they’re dealing with that idealistic kids didn’t have to before is death threats and slander from sickos.

      That’s obviously huge, and they deserve a lot of credit for handling themselves so well in the face of it.

      But being idealistic young people? Once upon a time, that was supposed to be the norm.

      • NW Luna says:

        idealistic young people? Once upon a time, that was supposed to be the norm.

        I hope this is a sign of return to that norm.

    • quixote says:

      Enheduanna, the projections I’ve seen assuming a business as usual scenario (ie worst case) is the death of about half the world’s population, huge disruptions from population movements and wars due to famines and flooding, and a regression of technology to an approximately 1900s level. That level of tech may sound overly optimistic until you remember that most working class people used outhouses then.

      So, yes, huge impacts lasting for centuries or even millenia, but far from the end of the species.

      Now, if we were sensible and worked hard on drawing back from the brink, starting yesterday, we’d hardly even notice the adjustments once we were used to them.

      I hate to think what sorts of stories the next civilization will be telling about this one as they wait for the honey wagon to roll around.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    MSNBC reports that Mueller is getting ready to indict the Russians who hacked the DNC and Podesta emails. That’s bad for Trumpy.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    This is scary:

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Rick Gates cancelled his trip to Boston with his family because of warnings that Russian mafia types in Boston might target him.

    CNN: Rick Gates tells judge he’s canceling trip due to threat invoking Russian mafia

  7. bostonboomer says: