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New Research: Climate change is “an existential national [and global] security risk” that “threatens the premature extinction of Earth-originating intelligent life.” (a long rant by me!)

2019-12-11

I came across this article in “Futurism” today.  It’s dated June 3, 2019, which is several months ago, but it just appeared to me today.  I’ve been following the “Apple” news feed since last spring, when I got a new phone, which happens to be an Apple XR.  So I don’t know why I wasn’t alerted to this sooner, but it doesn’t make any difference because it’s already too late.

Quoting from the article, again: “A distressing Australian climate change analysis has some bad news: human civilization is set to collapse by 2050 if [we] don’t grapple with the imminent threat of climate change.”  By “grapple” the author means “take effective (and drastic) action to reverse the increasing level of CO2 (and methane) in the air.”

As you may (or may not) know, CO2 concentrations in the air have been going up since roughly 1750 or 1800, and as a result, average temperatures have been going up since the early part of the twentieth century.  Before humans, CO2 levels in the air varied between about 200 and 280 parts per million (ppm) for the last couple of million years.  Never, at least in the last 800,000 years, has CO2 gone above 280 ppm.  CO2 levels have been closely related to average temperatures; low CO2 means colder averages, and higher CO2 means hotter temperatures.  Sea levels have also gone up and done in close relation to CO2, with very low levels resulting in freezing more ice at the poles and lowering sea levels; now the sea is rising and swallowing coastal areas.

Average temperatures have gone up about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the last couple of hundred years, and now it seems that every year sets a new record for the hottest average in human experience.  People are noticing.  There are droughts on land, especially near the Equator, and people are leaving those areas because they can’t successfully farm.

Human movement is experienced as “refugee crises”.  The government, especially the US government, has reacted negatively to these movements.  Our president has made his reputation as a cruel proponent of limiting migration.  On top of his attempts to prevent illegal immigration, he has drastically limited legal migration.  A few years ago, it was common to allow 100,000 people a year to legally (after years of delays and red tape) enter the US; this year, the president has set a goal of 18,000 legal refugees.  Because of increased “vetting”, he may succeed in reducing that number simply by delaying processing.

But all that is beside the point.  Even if the president were the greatest humanitarian in the world, he/she would not be able to achieve a significant improvement in the overall status of the human race.  Even if he were to wake up tomorrow with a changed heart, he would still not be able to change the minds of the one-third of the American public who don’t believe that climate change is even happening, much less that we should do anything about it.

He’d have to start by changing Fox News, which daily spouts malicious propaganda against the scientists who have been warning us for the last fifty years.  He’d have to change the hearts of at least fifty-three senators who follow the Republican party line that insists oil is good for us and coal can somehow be made “clean”.

Worst of all, the only really effective measures are so drastic that it seems unlikely that a democratic society could enact them.  The most likely nation to be effective, if they were to join in battle against the climate apocalypse, is the totalitarian society of China (People’s Republic of).  That is because they have, first, a long-term view of their existence that clearly countenances the challenge of climate change.  There is no short-termism in Chinese politics because the government has eliminated term limits for their leader (the Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, among other titles he holds).  The leader is relatively young and has plenty of close relatives to be concerned about, so he is more likely to think about survival past 2050.

The second reason that the Chinese have a better chance than we do is because they have a highly developed propaganda apparatus along with an intense censorship system– thus, they are more likely to be able to shape public opinion about the necessity for drastic changes.  I’m not saying this is a “good” thing, but I am saying that it is more likely to lead to survival for a larger number of Chinese people and a larger proportion of Chinese civilization relative to “Western” civilization.

The third thing the Chinese have going for them is an intense focus on manufacturing in their economy.   The “free trade” agreements enacted over the last thirty years have stimulated Chinese manufacturing and led to an export-oriented economy.  One of the things we will need a great deal of is certain manufactured goods: electric cars, photovoltaic cells (that convert sunlight directly to electricity), and the infrastructure that will distribute that electricity.

So, in conclusion, the future looks bleak.  Especially for Western freedoms, which under these circumstances look like the freedom to starve, roast, and drown as a result of climate change.  China will take over the world and force everyone to live under a system of totalitarian government.  Places that don’t adapt to Chinese control will be in continual conflict with the Chinese or will simply be wiped out.

I don’t like this prediction.  I like freedom, the freedom to express your own opinion, the freedom to do things that  you want to do, the freedom to be sad or upset or frustrated or just plain depressed.  But freedom in this situation is simply the freedom to become extinct.

In order to survive, we must be “gung ho”– a Chinese or Japanese expression which means “work together”– literally “gong”: ‘work’ and “he”: ‘together’.  Currently the phrase has the American meaning or “overenthusiastic” or “overzealous”.  According to Wikipedia, gung ho is a shortened version of “gōngyè hézuòshè ” which means “Chinese Industrial Cooperatives”.  Wikipedia says that the term is an Americanism, borrowed from the Chinese during WW II by the commander of the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, Major Evans Carlson.  He used the term to refer to the working spirit of the Chinese during their defensive war with Japan, when they made up for a lack of equipment and machinery by using human-power.  He tried to imbue the same spirit into his troops and used it as a sort of battle-cry: “Gung ho!”

Perhaps we should say, “We are free to criticise and discuss issues up to the point where a final decision has to be made.  After that, we need to work together and avoid propaganda and lies that prevent us from seeing our challenges clearly.”  That’s not how the Chinese government sees it, but we don’t have to agree with them.  We do, however, have to adapt to survive or we will be dead, permanently, replaced by a people controlled by a totalitarian government that tells everyone what kind of car they have to drive and what kind of light-bulb they can use.

Seriously– can you believe that the right-wing propaganda outlets and the president himself are trying to reverse decisions made by the previous administration to promote vastly more efficient, and hugely longer lasting light-bulbs?  The promotions were not unconstitutional nor a pinch on anyone’s freedom to waste money on inefficient, short-lived incandescent light bulbs.  It gets worse– can you believe that the president is trying to reverse standards on flush toilets that reduce the amount of water wasted with each flush?  “Because you have to flush ten or fifteen times.”

And worst of all: and this is not made-up, it is a direct quote from our unloved leader’s lips: “The noise from windmills causes cancer.”  At this point, every human with an eighth-grade education should be able to it up and say: “That’s utterly ridiculous and an obvious lie.  What other lies is our so-called president telling us?”

My (our) Nightmare: What if he wins, again? 630 words on how bad it could get.

2019-12-04

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com)

Current political theater leads us to predict, with some good confidence, that He will be impeached in the House and “exonerated” in the Senate, probably by mid-February.  The pressing need for speed in this case appears to be that several current Senators are running for President and don’t need to be sitting in the Senate all day every day going through already damning evidence that won’t turn the heads of 53 Senators by a single degree…

Therefore, if He’s not going to be convicted, what’s the point? of impairing the campaigns of some six Senators who are trying to throw him out of office electorally, in the only contest that has a good chance of succeeding.  Thus thinks Ms. Pelosi.

However, there is the issue of additional testimony by those who can’t be moved in time for the House to hear it.  Chief Justice Roberts will be presiding over the Senate trial, and there is hope that he can compel the testimony of such miscreants as John “hand grenade” Bolton (speak of the pot calling the kettle black).  If, by request of Democrats or on his own initiative, he issues a ruling that the crime/fraud exception to any executive privilege applies to the compelled testimony of Bolton, McGahn, Pompeo, Giuliani, et al, it could amplify the intensity of the testimony.

Then there is Lev Parnas.  He has already turned over audio and video recordings of Giuliani and his boss.  What if there is audio of his temporary President-ness telling Giuliani, “I wanna squeeze Zelenskiy like an orange, I mean really extort the *** out of the mother****.”??  Wouldn’t that be as good as the Nixon tapes?  Who knows?  Even that might not be enough to turn Republican heads.

The mother of all nightmares, though, begins with impeachment and failure to convict.  It leads through to the Presidential election next November and the dread turn– He wins, again, by pulling Wisconsin out of a hat and holding on to a few other key states.  What will happen next is an unstoppable slide into a crippled federal government and a temporary, permanent disenfranchised majority of the people– An increase in the already historically high level of income and wealth inequalities, violent behavior by police and immigration officers, riots, an economic crash even, and the demise of the Roe v. Wade protections.

Some people would do just fine in a second term by the most corrupt, dishonest president in American history.  These people would be white, healthy, wealthy, and mostly male.  Others would not do so well– poor, brown people with disabilities, for example.  The worst effect would be on the federal government itself: many sincere, dedicated professionals would be forced to leave, and those who remain would be handicapped and isolated in departments that are shadows of their former selves.

The president’s henchmen, Steve Miller chief among them, have already reduced or simply eliminated many troublesome divisions.  In some cases, the eliminated groups have not been replaced, nor has their work been passed to others; the hatchet-wielders have allowed their functions to be completely lost.  Their clear priorities have been to make it impossible for the government to function as it did in the past.

Thus, if He is re-elected, the federal government as we know it will be gone in four years, replaced by a barely functional system to collect and distribute Social Security pensions attached to a muscular military and no State Department.  This is the nightmare that haunts me on alternate nights.  The dream on the other nights is just as bad, only it involves the Earth becoming nearly uninhabitable as billions of people starve, coastlines are washed away, and average temperatures rise 5 degrees Celsius by 2100.  Between the two of these, I’m not sleeping so well lately.

“[redacted] knows that simple and clear slogans, repeated relentlessly, can have an effect. The Democrats should just call this what it is. It’s bribery.”

2019-11-12

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com)

This statement was made in an article that came through the Apple online free news service as CNN Politics in a comprehensive article titled “The Case For and Against Impeaching President [redacted]” and was attributed to CNN contributor Paul Bergala, who was a senior Clinton advisor during Clinton’s impeachment twenty years ago.

Comment of the Day: There are four issues that bind R voters to…[redacted]: Abortion, anti-taxes, guns, and racism.

2019-11-07
(photo courtesy of pixabay.com)
BSargent
Berlin, NH

 I live in [redacted] country, rural northern New England. As an older white guy I know and am friendly with and do business with a fair number of folks who have [redacted] bumper stickers and [redacted] yard signs from three years ago. I get to listen to what people say when they think everyone’s a [redacted] supporter. There are four issues that bind R voters to their party and to [redacted]: Abortion, anti-taxes, guns, and racism. They also get vicarious pleasure from [redacted]’s intentional cruelty, as if this were just reality TV or a (phony) wrestling match. I’ve tried to carefully raise issues with my R friends and associates, some of whom would do anything to help any individual in need, regardless of party or skin color. They know he’s a liar and don’t care–they think all the Ds/liberals/leftists gnashing of teeth makes having [redacted] worth it. As long as he pokes his finger into our eyes, as long as he sticks it to Blacks and Latinos, as long as he appoints sexist judges, they will support him. They have no interest in listening to reason and the more we complain about [redacted], the more they embrace and defend him.

[redacted] re Ukraine government: “They are horrible, corrupt people. They tried to take me down.” (Why does he hate the Ukrainians? A few thoughts.)

2019-11-03

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com)

This quote comes courtesy of the Washington Post and an article about the irrational hatred of a certain president for the country of Ukraine.

The president* of the United States has believed in a conspiracy theory regarding the Ukrainian government since early in his administration and possibly even before his election.  Notes taken by FBI agents of interviews with Rick Gates, the deputy to Paul Manafort, show that key figures around the candidate* pushed the unsupported theory that the Ukraine government was responsible for the hacks of Democratic servers.  This included campaign advisors who became, at least briefly, national security advisors.

The interviews with Rick Gates also revealed that high level figures like the sons of the candidate speculated as to how they could obtain copies of the purloined emails.  Again, the man who briefly became national security advisor was tapped, “because of his Russian connections”, to try to obtain emails not yet released and information as to when they would be released.  There was apparently no definite evidence that advance knowledge was ever obtained except in the case of the Republican National Committee (RNC), which might have learned ahead of time when releases might occur.

These interview transcriptions were released on a judge’s order, as part of a gradual release of most or all of the Mueller investigation unpublished transcripts.  The releases are still heavily redacted to remove the names of current subjects of investigation and other key leads.  This was the first release, and it happened to contain most of the interviews with Rick Gates; releases will continue monthly for the next eight years, according to the judge’s order.

The degree and duration of [redacted]’s apparent visceral hatred of Ukraine and its government has never been made public before.  It is truly shocking, in an age of shocks, that this animus against Ukraine is so deep and so long-lasting, and what is worse, so resistant to change.  The result of this bias is the naked abuse of political power against the Ukrainians.

From his point of view, [redacted] has done nothing wrong by openly twisting the Ukrainian arm for his personal political gain.  The fallback position of the Republican majority in the Senate will be that it was wrong, but not so bad as to be impeachable.  Sort of like the fallback Democratic position in the Clinton impeachment: wrong, but not impeachable because it was personal, not government business.  Except that this fallback is saying that the use/abuse of political power by with-holding vital military aid to a front-line democratic country to demand the announcement of an investigation into his political rivals isn’t such a bad  thing.  Not so bad?  When Ukrainian soldiers have been killed because they don’t have enough Javelin anti-tank missiles to fend off Russian militia attacks, not so bad?  I beg to differ.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman: an active duty serviceman honorably a obeys lawful subpoena, to testify to his witness to the illegal acts of his commander-in-chief. Republicans try to smear him.

2019-10-29

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com)

Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, who was born in Ukraine and brought out of the Soviet Union by his family at age 3, is being slandered as too concerned with the welfare of Ukraine, among other things.  He has been described as a “Never-[redacted]” by [redacted] himself.  What could be worse, as he is “human scum” by that association?

John Yoo, already notorious for drafting a memo justifying torture, described Vindman as “treasonous” for supposedly being more concerned about the welfare of Ukraine than that of the US.  Although how the behavior of the president* intersects with the welfare of Ukraine is not clear, other than that $400 million in military aid was being with-held.  Surely the welfare of Ukraine and of the US are linked when the US gives Ukraine $400M in weapons to defend against the Russians and save a Western-style democracy  Are they implying that Vindman was so unhinged by the prospect of losing the aid for his country of birth that he decided to slander the president* as revenge?  Apparently.

Vindman may not be a wonderful guy or even a great conversationalist, but he is a veteran with multiple foreign deployments and a Purple Heart for wounds received in an IED explosion in Iraq.  He is still on active duty and was deployed to the National Security Council in the White House.  His family is Jewish, which is apparently why they emigrated from the Soviet Union– a number of Jews were allowed to emigrate from the USSR to get rid of them, due to pervasive occult anti-Semitism and the perception of all Jews as dissidents.

He is said to be resolutely apolitical and has stressed his “sacred” duty to the United States on multiple occasions.  He was “concerned” by the meeting he had with Gordon Sondland and others in which he heard that there was a quid pro quo, and reported his concerns to a ranking lawyer in his chain of command.  He reported a second time after he listened in at the Situation Room on the notorious July 25 phone call.  His complaints seem to have gone nowhere, although those of the still-anonymous whistle blower(s) have finally reached Congress.

This is what the Republicans are claiming is the “fruit of the poison tree” in the House impeachment inquiry.  By claiming that the inquiry is fatally flawed from the beginning (as if he hadn’t been read his rights or had evidence seized without a warrant) they can avoid discussing the actual evidence, which has been voluntarily made public by the president* himself.  They can pretend that the pending all-House vote on the impeachment inquiry doesn’t make it legitimate by claiming that somehow the “rights” of the victim-in-chief have been violated so he should be allowed to walk free for homicides committed in plain sight of multiple witnesses.

 

Anonymous Republican strategist: “If they say something in defense of the president or against the impeachment inquiry now, will they be pouring cement around their ankles?”

2019-10-28

(cartoon courtesy pixabay.com)

Starting with “no quid pro quo” and continuing to “yes, it’s a quid pro quo, but that’s OK” and going on to who knows what?  Republicans are fearful of the other shoe falling.  What else has he done that we don’t know about yet?

(“cement around the ankles” is courtesy of the Washington Post yesterday…)