Koch Brothers Fuel the GOP’s War on Climate Science

Even as climate scientists affirm that climate change is intensifying hurricanes, Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans continue to deny that human activity is altering the climate. After Irma, reporters asked Trump on Airforce One if his views about climate change had been altered. Trump responded dismissively with the simplistic claim that “we’ve had bigger storms.” In this interview for The Real News, I speak to investigative reporter Bruce Livesey about the real reason for the Republicans’ detachment from reality: big money. My interview with Mr. Livesey can be seen here:


My Weekend With Irma

On the morning of September 5, 2017, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) declared Hurricane Irma to be the first Category 5 hurricane to form east of the Leeward Islands, with maximum sustained winds of 175 mph and even stronger gusts. By the evening on that day, Irma had strengthened further, with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph (nearly 300 kph). In a statement closing with “May God protect us all,” officials on the Leeward Islands urgently warned the public to seek protection from Irma’s “onslaught.”

Within 36 hours of the NHC’s dire September 5 announcement, Irma had reduced the island of Barbuda to “rubble”  and had obliterated St. Martin and St. Bart’s, provoking fears in St. Martin of a ‘civil war‘ for survival. Irma then showed “no mercy” to Anguilla and wreaked “absolute devastation” on the U.S. Virgin Islands, leaving “forests wiped out as far as the eye can see.”

By September 6, meteorologists were warning that Miami was increasingly likely to sustain a direct hit from Irma. The next day, I decided to go to Miami. Continue Reading ›

Humanity’s ‘Carbon Budget’ is Smaller Than Generally Believed

Distinguished climate scientist Michael Mann has co-authored a new study showing that humans have caused more warming during the industrial era than is generally believed. The implication of this finding is that the amount of carbon that humanity can burn without causing devastating climate change is even smaller than we previously were told. In this interview. I discuss this new study and its important implications with Professor Mann:


Canadian Food Inspection Agency Delays Release of Potentially Embarrassing Documentation for Over Two Years

In March 2017, Dr. David Kattenburg filed a complaint with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) regarding two wines produced in Israel’s illegal West Bank settlements. Those two wines were being sold in Ontario with false “Product of Israel” labels.

On July 12, 2017, Dr. Kattenburg learned from a post on the Facebook page of B’Nai Brith Canada that, on July 6, 2017, the CFIA had directed the Liquor Control Board of Ontario to order its wine vendors to cease the sale and importation of these settlement wines due to the fact that their labels were false.

The CFIA immediately came under intense pressure to reverse itself from the Israeli government and its advocates in Canada, including B’Nai Brith, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, and Liberal MP Michael Levitt. As a result of that pressure, the CFIA reversed itself less than 24 hours after Dr. Kattenburg learned of the CFIA’s initial – and correct – decision to bar the sale and importation of these falsely labelled wines.

Since then, Dr. Kattenburg has filed an appeal with the Complaints and Appeals Office of the CFIA in which he argues that the CFIA has capitulated to pressure from Canadian lobbyists for the Government of Israel and that the CFIA is improperly refusing to enforce Canadian consumer protection law. More detail regarding Dr. Kattenburg’s appeal can be found here.

On July 14, 2017, Dr. Kattenburg sent a request to the CFIA pursuant to Canada’s Access to Information Act (AIA). In that request, Dr. Kattenburg sought, among other documents,

(1) Copies of all emails, letters, and other communications regarding his complaint to the CFIA between CFIA personnel, officials of the Canadian government, and Members of Parliament;

(2) Copies of all emails, letters, and other communications regarding his complaint between CFIA personnel, on the one hand, and representatives or agents of B’Nai Brith Canada, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, or other advocacy Canadian groups or organizations, on the other hand; and

(3) Copies of all emails, letters, and other communications regarding his complaint between CFIA personnel and representatives of the government of Israel.

Under section 7 of the AIA, the head of a government institution like the CFIA is required to give access to the requested records within thirty days after the request is received. The 30-day requirement is, however, subject to certain exceptions. One such exception is set forth in section 9 of the AIA, which provides that the head of a government institution may extend the time limit set out in section 7 “for a reasonable period of time” (emphasis added) if the request is for a large number of records and meeting the original time limit would unreasonably interfere with the operations of the government institution, or if consultations are necessary to comply with the request that cannot reasonably be completed within the original time limit.

On August 17, 2017, Dr. Kattenburg received a letter from the CFIA in which it advised Dr. Kattenburg that it was taking a time extension of up to 800 days and that the revised  due date for completing the processing of Dr. Kattenburg’s request is October  28, 2019. Notably, the next federal election in Canada is scheduled to occur on October 21, 2019 – one week before the CFIA’s revised due date for completing the processing of Dr. Kattenburg’s request.

As a result of the CFIA’s attempt to delay the release of these potentially embarrassing documents for an inordinate period of time, I have filed a complaint on behalf of Dr. Kattenburg with Canada’s Information Commissioner. The text of that complaint is reproduced below, in full. Continue Reading ›

Are Irma-like Super Storms the ‘New Normal’?

Hurricane Irma, the second powerful Hurricane to threaten the U.S. in weeks, is causing apocalyptic devastation in the Caribbean as it barrels toward southern Florida.  On the Real News, I discuss with distinguished climate scientist Michael Mann whether Irma-like super-storms are the ‘new normal.’

The interview can be seen here:


DAPL Company Levels RICO Charges Against Greenpeace

Donald Trump’s go-to law firm, Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, has filed a “jaw-dropping” $300 million racketeering lawsuit against Greenpeace USA on behalf of the ruthless Dakota Access Pipeline owner, Energy Transfer Partners. In this interview for The Real News, I discuss with the general counsel of Greenpeace USA how Trump’s lawyers are making America’s most despised profession look even worse:


Chrystia Freeland, George Soros and the Ethics of Evidence-Based Reporting

On September 4, 2017, Moscow-based reporter John Helmer published his latest in a series of articles on Canada’s Foreign Minister, Chrystia Freeland. Entitled “Canadian Foreign Minister Freeland Hid Light Under Bushel Until Toronto Globe and Mail Exposé,” Mr. Helmer’s article explores the revelation in an August 16, 2017 exposé in Canada’s Globe and Mail that, at the time she entered Canadian politics, Freeland had a “deal” for a “sort of authorized biography of George Soros.”

At the end of his September 4 article, Mr. Helmer states that, in mid-August, I “commissioned” a report from him “on the new evidence on Freeland”. Describing me as a “Canadian politician” who “doubles as a reporter, interviewer and member of the Board of directors of The Real News Network” (TRNN), Mr. Helmer writes:

Lascaris recorded a 30-minute interview with me on August 21. At first he delayed its broadcast claiming he was “fact-checking”. Lascaris then claimed that Soros had issued a “definitive rejection” of the reported deal with Freeland, and cancelled the broadcast. He and his TRNN colleagues refuse to reveal the email exchange with Soros.

Lascaris added last week that he hasn’t had time to check with Freeland on her side of the Soros deal, or her Ukrainian sources of income and real estate. His reasons, he said, is that “both of my kids are leaving home to go to university and I am moving them into their new accommodations far from home. I am not going to drop everything and neglect my family’s needs to respond immediately to your email.”

Mr. Helmer has been instrumental in exposing skeletons in the Freeland family closet. Among other things, Helmer’s investigative reporting has helped uncover that Ms. Freeland’s grandfather, Michael Chomiak, was a Nazi collaborator, and that Freeland misrepresented her grandfather’s sordid past when confronted with evidence of his Nazi sympathies.

Nonetheless, despite his journalistic contributions, Mr. Helmer’s account of his interactions with TRNN suffers from serious inaccuracies and omissions. Continue Reading ›