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Showing posts from December, 2016

Trumpelstiltskin

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Once upon a time (November 2016, to be precise) there was a people, 99% of whom were poor, but who had beautiful children. Now it happened that they got into a conversation with the Federal Reserve, and to make an impression on them they said, "We have children who can make America great again."
The head of the Federal Reserve said to the people, "That is an art that I really like. If your children are as skillful as you say, then I will create mountains of debt and put them to the test."
When the children came of age, their parents encouraged them to get college degrees with the easy money dispensed by the Fed.  They were rewarded with mediocre jobs. The bankers said, "Get to work now. Work night and day, and if by the end of each month you have not spun straw into gold, so to speak, then you will have to die." Then the college grads were all alone.
The poor people's children sat there, and for their lives they did not know what to do. They had no id…

The Greatest

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The richest man in the world may be Vladimir Putin, according to financial executive Bill Browder. While the wealth of their country is siphoned off to secret Swiss bank accounts, everyone but the oligarchs struggle to scratch out a living, just as the Russians have throughout history.

Donald Trump would naturally admire the richest man in the world and, since he is taking over leadership of the richest country in the world, would naturally consider it quite appropriate that he would be the rightful recipient of that honor, given enough time to exact all of the tribute possible from his loyal subjects. Until he was elected President, all he had to work with were a smattering of resorts, hotels, a school, sundry consumer product lines, and the Trump Foundation. It turns out that he used the foundation to support anything Trump, just as the name implies.

If he is anything like his pal, Putin, the Trump Foundation was just a warm-up. At 71, he really needs to kick it into high gear in or…

Do and/or Die

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Peter Wadhams has ample reason to believe that when a truck ran him off the road, it wasn't just an accident. The Cambridge professor is a recognized and outspoken Arctic sea ice expert who is calling for a dramatic curtailment in fossil fuel use, lest the arctic meltdown shift into a cataclysmic series of positive feedback loops. At one point, the professor speculated that oil industry or government agencies had hired the driver to kill him, just as three other sea ice scientists encountered suspicious demises in the past few years. Causes of their untimely deaths were ascribed to falling down stairs, lightning, and vehicular collision while biking.

Death threats and assassination are nothing new to climate and environmental activists. The least you can do when so threatened is to put it on record, prompting an investigation if you are killed. Professor Michael E. Mann, famous for the hockey-stick graph of global temperatures, recently leveraged his potential martyrdom in a push …

Chasing Windmills

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We know President-elect Trump finds wind power disturbing, especially when viewed from his golf resort in Scotland. He also fails to see the urgency of getting off fossil fuels, and seeks to exploit all manner of polluting and clean technologies to grow the U.S. economy. His pick for Secretary of the Interior, +Congressman Ryan Zinke (MT), seems to be less hostile toward climate-conscious measures, which is some relief since he will head the department which oversees offshore wind infrastructure.

The first U.S. installation of an offshore wind facility started regular operation last week with five big wind turbines supplying Block Island, RI. With its slow start, offshore wind must be added more quickly than land-based and other renewable technologies in order to become 19% of total electric capacity for coastal states by 2030 as proposed in the Green New Deal. The GND goes into some detail about the need for help from the government to overcome market impediments in order to allow sc…

Trump's Biggest Gamble

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As the Trump team prepares to dismantle every U.S. mechanism for reducing climate change, there will be dramatic responses by those who understand the urgency of the problem. We are already seeing the early stages of war breaking out between climate savvy entities and the climate-ignorant Trump team. The Energy Department, NASA, NOAA, and the state of California are all resisting moves by the incoming administration to quash U.S. participation in the fight to save the planet.

Ignoring the problem in the U.S. for four years would make it ever more doubtful that humans and a multitude of other species will survive the century. As data is accumulated and analyzed, new positive feedback loops are seen to emerge in the developing drama of Earth's ecosystem. These include recent concerns that soil biota populate excessively in a warming environment and that lakes and chutes under the East Antarctic ice shelf could contribute to more rapid sea level rise. Another term for "positive …

Trump's Worldview

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There is an urge many of us feel to attribute benevolence to our highest leaders. When Donald Trump says his job creation and economic performance is going to be a beautiful thing to watch, we want to believe that he is thinking of his people, like Santa working hard all year round so everyone down below will get to enjoy the surprises he has to bring.

Well, boys and girls, I hate to have to tell you that there is no such thing as Santa Claus -- but there may be a Grinch. You can put aside any notions of Trump or his administration working on your behalf. He and many of his crew don't believe in that. They are objectivists, followers of the Ayn Rand philosophy that we should all be out to maximize our own happiness under laissez faire government with an economy in which "the lazy" fare not well at all.

Objectivism deplores the idea of sacrifice, so don't count on Trump or many of his cabinet to give up ongoing business interests in order to remain objective for the c…

It's Gonna Take a Lotta Love

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Russia's treachery in the campaign of The Don (our Big Twit, not their big river) is forgivable when viewed in context of the way the U.S., mainly under Ronald Reagan, brashly drove the U.S.S.R. into economic ruin. Russians and citizens of its former republics were thrown into dire circumstances as their economies collapsed. For the most part, they recovered. Now it's our turn. While economic collapse is pending for us and the rest of the world, we are faced with the more present danger of navigating through a sea of lies spawned from previous lies and from a profusion of liars made to appear acceptable by our prospective Dissembler-in-Chief.
Little Brother A culture of lying has brought us growing numbers of whack jobs like Dylan Roof and Comet Ping Pong Rambo, Edgar Welch - guys who latched on to fake news or warped values and became strategic corporals, taking abstruse memes off the Internet as statements of commander's intent. The establishment's reaction may favor …

The Big Twit

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Donald Trump is already beginning to measure up to one of his presidential models. Like Ronald Reagan before him, he adroitly falls back on the plea of ignorance, as in his Time "Person of the Year" interview in which he claimed that he did not believe that Russia interfered in the election. Where you stand depends on where you sit, and sitting in the cat-bird seat means that Trump doesn't have to take a stand on much of anything that doesn't comport with his own designs.

His designs appear to lean toward undermining democracy in America, just like the Russian cyber-warriors he tacitly defends. He and his party have nearly squelched the recount efforts aimed at reforming our election process to be more equitable and less prone to gaming. His high tempo tweeting habit gives him a special connection to a significant segment of the American public - setting him up to be some sort of Dear Leader, but undermining the traditional connection of lawmakers to their constituen…

The Truth Shall Set You Free

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The disclosure of how Russian hackers have systematically undermined democracy in the U.S. by flooding the Internet with false or misleading stories has unmoored me. Not that I think the U.S. doesn't sometimes intentionally deceive Russians, but it would be hard to curate a portfolio of our blatant lies on the Internet as mendacious as that of the Russians. Besides, information fed to the Russian people weighs far less than that fed to the American public, since Russians are less empowered than U.S. citizens to influence or participate in their government. It's OK, though. I get it. Even if your country is defeated economically, information is one other means to conduct a cold war.

The cold war was plainly on again after Russia helped take down Malaysian flight MH17 over Ukraine. It was then that I noticed many of the websites that I was using to help make sense of current events accepted the Russian version of things with no hesitation. Regardless, I persisted for years in re…

The Storm before the Calm

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If you think that the suspicions of a Russia-hacked election are overblown, I'll go you one better - Trump is an unwitting Russian agent (or useful idiot, if you prefer) in their campaign to reclaim Eastern Europe. Not that I particularly care who has dominion in that part of the world (as long as they are civil), but Russia's prize is more valuable than the grave of civilization we are fighting for in the Middle East.

In the climax phase of the 4th Turning, we can expect a big war to occur. The trouble with Hillary's ken of going head-to-head with Russia over their jealous urge to retake old territory is that we would risk starting a major nuclear war. A major non-nuclear war in the Middle East is preferable, and that is the likely course a Trump administration will take. If the Trump's election is overturned, we might sooner find ourselves in a civil war, with all of our "well regulated" militias ready to stand their ground regarding who should run the repu…