Humint Events Online: October 2018

Saturday, October 13, 2018

CLIMATE CHANGE CATASTROPHE: BEYOND GENOCIDE

Just two years ago, amid global fanfare, the Paris climate accords were signed — initiating what seemed, for a brief moment, like the beginning of a planet-saving movement. But almost immediately, the international goal it established of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius began to seem, to many of the world’s most vulnerable, dramatically inadequate; the Marshall Islands’ representative gave it a blunter name, calling two degrees of warming “genocide.”
The alarming new report you may have read about this week from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — which examines just how much better 1.5 degrees of warming would be than 2 — echoes the charge.
“Amplifies” may be the better term. Hundreds of millions of lives are at stake, the report declares, should the world warm more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, which it will do as soon as 2040, if current trends continue. Nearly all coral reefs would die out, wildfires and heat waves would sweep across the planet annually, and the interplay between drought and flooding and temperature would mean that the world’s food supply would become dramatically less secure. Avoiding that scale of suffering, the report says, requires such a thorough transformation of the world’s economy, agriculture, and culture that “there is no documented historical precedent.” The New York Times declared that the report showed a “strong risk” of climate crisis in the coming decades; in Grist, Eric Holthaus wrote that “civilization is at stake.”
If you are alarmed by those sentences, you should be — they are horrifying. But it is, actually, worse than that — considerably worse.
That is because the new report’s worst-case scenario is, actually, a best case. In fact, it is a beyond-best-case scenario. What has been called a genocidal level of warming is already our inevitable future.
The question is how much worse than that it will get. Barring the arrival of dramatic new carbon-sucking technologies, which are so far from scalability at present that they are best described as fantasies of industrial absolution, it will not be possible to keep warming below two degrees Celsius — the level the new report describes as a climate catastrophe.
As a planet, we are coursing along a trajectory that brings us north of four degrees by the end of the century. The IPCC is right that two degrees marks a world of climate catastrophe. Four degrees is twice as bad as that. And that is where we are headed, at present — a climate hell twice as hellish as the one the IPCC says, rightly, we must avoid at all costs. But the real meaning of the report is not “climate change is much worse than you think,” because anyone who knows the state of the research will find nothing surprising in it. The real meaning is, “you now have permission to freak out.” As recently as a year ago, when I published a magazine cover story exploring worst-case scenarios for climate change, alarmism of this kind was considered anathema to many scientists, who believed that storytelling that focused on the scary possibilities was just as damaging to public engagement as denial. There have been a few scary developments in climate research over the past year — more methane from Arctic lakes and permafrost than expected, which could accelerate warming; an unprecedented heat wave, arctic wildfires, and hurricanes rolling through both of the world’s major oceans this past summer. But by and large the consensus is the same: We are on track for four degrees of warming, more than twice as much as most scientists believe is possible to endure without inflicting climate suffering on hundreds of millions or threatening at least parts of the social and political infrastructure we call, grandly, “civilization.” The only thing that changed, this week, is that the scientists, finally, have hit the panic button.
Because the numbers are so small, we tend to trivialize the differences between one degree and two, two degrees and four. Human experience and memory offers no good analogy for how we should think about those thresholds, but with degrees of warming, as with world wars or recurrences of cancer, you don’t want to see even one. At two degrees, the melting of ice sheets will pass a tipping point of collapse, flooding dozens of the world’s major cities this century. At that amount of warming, it is estimated, global GDP, per capita, will be cut by 13 percent. Four hundred million more people will suffer from water scarcity, and even in the northern latitudes heat waves will kill thousands each summer. It will be worse in the planet’s equatorial band. In India, where many cities now numbering in the many millions would become unliveably hot, there would be 32 times as many extreme heat waves, each lasting five times as long and exposing, in total, 93 times more people. This is two degrees — practically speaking, our absolute best-case climate scenario. At three degrees, southern Europe will be in permanent drought. The average drought in Central America would last 19 months and in the Caribbean 21 months. In northern Africa, the figure is 60 months — five years. The areas burned each year by wildfires would double in the Mediterranean and sextuple in the United States. Beyond the sea-level rise, which will already be swallowing cities from Miami Beach to Jakarta, damages just from river flooding will grow 30-fold in Bangladesh, 20-fold in India, and as much as 60-fold in the U.K. This is three degrees — better than we’d do if all the nations of the world honored their Paris commitments, which none of them are. Practically speaking, barring those dramatic tech deus ex machinas, this seems to me about as positive a realistic outcome as it is rational to expect. At four degrees, there would be eight million cases of dengue fever each year in Latin America alone. Global grain yields could fall by as much as 50 percent, producing annual or close-to-annual food crises. The global economy would be more than 30 percent smaller than it would be without climate change, and we would see at least half again as much conflict and warfare as we do today. Possibly more.
Our current trajectory, remember, takes us higher still, and while there are many reasons to think we will bend that curve soon — the plummeting cost of renewable energy, the growing global consensus about phasing out coal — it is worth remembering that, whatever you may have heard about the green revolution and the price of solar, at present, global carbon emissions are still growing.
Bookmark and Share
4 comments

Saudi Arabia, a Portrait in Evil

-- aided the 9/11 attacks and funded al Qaeda
 
-- armed and funded ISIS
 
-- got insanely rich from selling planet damaging oil
 
-- beheads political opponents
 
-- extremely repressive and misogynistic
 
-- have bought off Trump with massive purchases of his real estate.
 
-- keep America on their side by buying our debt and politicians and weapons
 
-- kill and dismember dissident journalists
 
FUCK SAUDI ARABIA.

Bookmark and Share
3 comments

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Again-- What Are They Thinking???

I'm still kind of amazed that Republicans are betting their whole future on Donald Trump, a fraud and crook of breath-taking proportions. They HAVE to know that this presidency won't end well, right? Either Trump is going down in total flames from his massive crimes or we will turn into an authoritarian kleptocratic repressive state run by white supremacists. Why would the GOP want either of these futures? Are they really this dumb or evil? Because there's no way American Democracy survives if Trump stays in power after 2020.

Bookmark and Share
2 comments

The Record Dow Drops All Belong to the Two Worst Presidents Ever

Trump and Dubya.

Today was 3rd biggest. Is a crash coming?


Bookmark and Share
0 comments

Sunday, October 07, 2018

The GOP Is an Enemy of Democracy -- and the Brewing Civil War

Twitter essay by Julius Ghost, worth the time to read:

"I'd like to speak the obvious necessary things about the Republican Party, the most central of which is that this is not an organization that is participating in democracy.

Rather, they are cynically utilizing our democracy's vulnerabilities.

The last two Republican Presidents to enter the White House did so without the popular vote.

The last Republican President to enter the White House with the popular vote did so in 1989.

Yet, when they win, they behave as though they have the mandate that comes with a landslide.
For example, they upend the healthcare program.

They give out trillions in corporate welfare.

They start torture programs.

They start surveillance programs.

They lie us into wars.
They gerrymander at every level they can. They deliberately disenfranchise. They make our elections so imbalanced they can get less votes than Democrats but win 60% of the seats.

They are not interested in democracy. They are not participating in a democracy.
When a Democrat actually does win the popular vote—by a lot—they behave as if they are a majority opposition.

They stall. They filibuster. They delay. They engage in deliberate sabotage to gain political advantage.

They are not participating in our democracy.
The reason the Russia thing matters isn't that Russia is taking us over.

Russia didn't capture the Republican Party. Russia just wants to upend Western Democracy, which happens to be exactly what Republicans also want.

So they were happy for the help, but they didn't need it.
Mostly, Russia doesn't even matter. They're mostly just a warning light, showing how hostile the GOP has become to our democracy, that they would become such natural allies.

Russia's basically just somebody paid to make a distraction while the heist team hits the bank.
Russia isn't taking over. *Republicans* are taking over.

It just so happens they both have pretty much the same mission with the same method: Destroy American democracy by exploiting its weaknesses.

So, what are those weaknesses?
Some of the weaknesses are structural, and designed to do what they're doing, which is to help wealthy landed white guys keep outsized representation against the 'threat' of demographic shifts.

The electoral college is one of these. The way the Senate is allocated is another.
I don't think we can do much about these structural weaknesses until we get supermajorities back.

But there are other weaknesses we can do something about now.

These are 'weaknesses' that in healthier times are strengths, that have been leveraged against us.
What are these 'weaknesses?' Here's a partial list:

* An appetite for compromise
* A mutual trust in the opposition's good intentions
* A desire to be fair
* An interest in keeping an open mind to other perspectives
* A desire to find common ground

These are all good things.
It cannot be overstated the extent to which the Republican Party has proved—PROVED—it has nothing but contempt for all of those things.

They prove that contempt by constantly and cynically using our desire for them to make us play by rules they have no intention of playing by.
They do not care about politeness—at all.
They don't care about finding common ground.
They don't care about what the people want.
They don't care about standards.

To name only the most glaringly obvious of all available tells, I'll refer you to the president they elected.
We have to recognize that they are not playing by the rules we love.

We HAVE to recognize that they are not playing by those rules.

And, since they are in power, that means those aren't the rules.
I think what we need to do is remember WHY we love those rules so much.

We love them because all these things—compromise, politeness, common ground, mutual belief in good intentions—are GOOD things, in healthy times.

In healthy times.

We love them because they indicate health.
I love taking a nice long run. I'll go ten miles.

One reason I love it is because it reminds me that I'm healthy. It's a VERY good thing. And it keeps me healthy.

But if I have a stress fracture, or pneumonia, a nice long run stops being a good thing.

So it is with our rules.
Finding common cause with our opponents is a VERY good thing in healthy times. It reminds us of our health, and increases it.

But finding common cause with an opponent is a very bad idea, if your opponent wants to stab your brother and sister to death.
If you're willing to find common cause with somebody who wants to stab your brother and sister to death, they will still welcome it.

They'll encourage it.

It's not because they value finding common cause with their opponents, though.
The Republican Party has said in plain language that they intend to stab our brothers and sisters to death.

They've PROVED it.

Our gay and trans and black and brown brothers, and all of our sisters.

I have no interest in finding common cause with Republicans.
There have been in the past political parties who have named every deviation from their desired norm as an anomaly to demonize and criminalize and marginalize.

The lesson of history has not been to find common cause with such a party.

I have no interest in finding common cause.
There have been in the past political parties who have selected an already vulnerable religious minority for vilification and scapegoating and expulsion.

The lesson of history has not been to find common cause with such a party.

So I have no interest in finding common cause.
There have been in the past political parties who have selected an already vulnerable ethnic minority for police menace and exportation.

The lesson of history has not been to find common cause with such a party.

So I have no interest in finding common cause.
There have been in the past political parties who have eroded democracy, and elected a foul-minded rally-throwing demagogue as their leader.

The lesson of history has not been to find common cause with such a party.

So I have no interest in finding common cause.
There have been in the past political parties who have separated children from parents forever, and kept them in cages, and pointed to law as justification.

The lesson of history has not been to find common cause with such a party.

So I have no interest in finding common cause.
There have been in the past political parties who have worshipped their flag while turning into the symbol of something foul. Who have worshipped the fear their military brings. Who have turned their police forces into armed forces.

I have no interest in finding common cause.
There have been in the past those whose only perceivable attitude toward their people was contempt, whose only perceivable value was greed for the few and control of the many, who harnessed dominant religion to achieve dark ends..

So I have no interest in finding common cause.
They are not playing by the rules. They have proved it. They have at times bragged about it.

They will be perfectly happy for us to go on playing by the rules, not because they love those rules, but because it'll make it so much easier for them to achieve their goals.
These are not healthy times. The activities of health will not increase our health during such times.

We need medicine. Truth.

We have to be willing to fiercely protect the most vulnerable.

Women
People of color
Muslims
Trans people
Gay people

And Democracy, too.
So, what am I saying? Be just as bad as them? Throw off all restraint and attack like barbarians?

Would that 'twere so simple.
We have to be better. Not better than *them.*

Better than *us.* Better than we've been before.

We have to take our medicine.

We have to understand that justice is more important than comfort.

We have to *insist* on it, even when there's a cost—and there is a cost.
We have to resist that urge to our old comfortable habits.

One of the least comfortable things possible is to plainly look at the bad intentions of those who mean harm.

We have to protect those who would be harmed, and insist on truth, whatever the cost. That is our medicine.
I agree with this. I have no interest in arguing with fascists, or with those who continue to want to apply the methods of health to unhealthy times.

Mobilize, find disaffected people and give them a vision of a society that works for them.

A) I’ve always wondered why “the US is not a democracy, it’s a Republic” was just as closely correlated with being an asshole as having a crusader profile pic, and I think it’s because those saying it are genuinely hostile to democracy.

B) No moreso than a dozen states with a combined population less than that of LA does now.

Tyranny of the majority is bad, but it doesn’t then follow that majorities are always bad.

And minority rule by white supremacy, which we now have, is far worse.

Say “we are a republic, not a democracy.”

Fine. I’ll grant the point. It’s a worthless point.

The republic is a worthless dictatorship and an unjust nightmare if it can’t support equal and fair democratic representation."

--------------------------------------------

I basically agree with all this, certainly what he says about the GOP and how they must be dealt with is spot on. His take on Russia is quite interesting and I don't disagree completely but still the idea that Trump is a foreign agent, is disturbing as fuck to me.
Bookmark and Share
1 comments

The Trump Administration Goes After China

Creepy ass shit here--
Vice President Pence is giving a speech today at the Hudson Institute.
Normally that wouldn’t get a lot of attention, especially with so much else going on. But this is a bigger deal than it might appear.
Seeing portions of the speech now on Twitter, it is crystal clear that the White House is trying to delegitimize the on-going Mueller probe by setting up China is the real meddler in US internal affairs and democratic practice.
Most importantly, they are claiming that China is working against Donald Trump in 2018 and 2020. This is a big, big deal and I expect they will be expanding on it in the coming weeks and likely going into 2020.

If the midterms go to the Dems, it's a given the Trump admin will say it was rigged by the Chinese. Will they cede power, is the real question?
Bookmark and Share
2 comments

Powered by Blogger