Our picksIt’s 2016 all over again; lethal climate change; Greenland’s Cold War secrets, and more

Published 14 June 2019

·  To Congress: If Russians seek to provide dirt, make it a requirement to report!

·  It’s 2016 all over again

·  Trump’s electoral shenanigans are getting worse

·  A victim of terrorism faces deportation for helping terrorists

·  Will climate change kill everyone — or just lots and lots of people?

·  The top secret Cold War project that pulled climate science from the ice

It’s 2016 all over again (Peter Nicholas, The Atlantic)
Somehow President Trump hasn’t yet absorbed that embracing foreign interference in an election can bring about a world of hurt.

Trump’s electoral shenanigans are getting worse (David A. Graham, The Atlantic)
Having exploited foreign assistance in 2016 and gotten away with it, the president is already trying it again in the 2020 race.

To Congress: If Russians seek to provide dirt, make it a requirement to report! (Jennifer Daskal, Just Security)
Shockingly – if anything shocks anymore – President Donald Trump told ABC news Wednesday that he need not tell the FBI if the Russians once again reached out with an offer of “dirt” on his opponents in the race for president.  When Trump was told that Christopher Wray, the FBI director the president himself appointed, said last month that this kind of attempted foreign election interference was something that should be reported to federal law enforcement, Trump’s response was: “The FBI Director is wrong.”
The good news is that Congress is already working on this issue. The Anti-Collusion Act, introduced Wednesday by Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), would require everyone running for federal, state, or local office to report offers of assistance from a foreign government or agent of a foreign government to the Department of Justice. These “suspicious activity reports,” as they are labeled within the bill, are required when, among things, suspected foreign powers offer opposition research, polling data, and other information reasonably believed to have been acquired via unlawful means.
The legislation also prohibits candidates from sharing this kind of information with foreign governments or their agents. And it backs up this prohibition with fines and even possible jail time.
Malinowski’s bill is one of many currently circulating in the House and Senate (including legislation introduced by Democratic Senators Mark Warner (D-Va.),  Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) that would strengthen our election laws, ensure the FBI gets access to the kind of information needed to identify and protect against outside efforts to meddle, and prohibit campaigns and their affiliates from sharing private polling data with foreign adversaries. Other pieces of legislation are focusing on the related issues of election system security.  (The Washington Post details key efforts here.) It is critical that these efforts protect against foreign election interference, without also inadvertently labeling all foreigners suspect or stamping out all foreign speech. Malinowski’s bill strikes the right balance in that regard.
Sadly, the president’s comments last night are a sharp reminder as to why any of this is needed.

A victim of terrorism faces deportation for helping terrorists (Jenna Krajeski, New Yorker)
Kidnapped and forced into servitude by guerrillas in El Salvador, Ana escaped and sought asylum in the U.S. Now the government, citing an ever-expanding antiterror provision, plans to send her back.

Will climate change kill everyone — or just lots and lots of people? (Kelsey Piper, Vox)
The debate over whether climate change will end life on Earth, explained.

The top secret Cold War project that pulled climate science from the ice (Jon Gertner, Wired)
In 1961 the US military was proposing something called the Iceworm system: a nuclear arsenal of 600 ballistic missiles, trained toward the Soviet Union, which would be in constant motion by rail under the Greenland ice sheet. Iceworm was never built. The military soon understood that Camp Century, where the missiles were to be stored, was doomed. At best it would last 10 years, they acknowledged, at which point the overburden of snow would push down on the roof, compress the walls, and thus destroy it.