Pre-Election Gnuz

It’s a week away from one of the biggest turning points in our history and here’s what’s at stake:

Planet has only until 2030 to stem catastrophic climate change, experts warn
H/T CNN
We have from now until a newborn goes to middle school to turn this around.
We need leadership that vows to put solar shingles on every roof in America, ban fossil fuel burning cars within five years, put wind powered turbines every place the wind blows.
For starters.
Consumption needs to come down to sustainable levels. Capitalism isn’t going to get that done.
Your thoughts?

And,
Trump isn’t to blame. His entire party is.
H/T WaPo
Sheep to the slaughter. Lemmings first class.

Finally,
WATCH: Russia expert explains how Trump’s anti-Semitic rhetoric is ‘straight out of Putin’s playbook’
H/T Raw story
It’s a damn shame this president’s tax reuturns are available to show he’s in Putin’s pocket.

Open Thread, pick it up and run with it!

RUCerious @TPZoo

Happy GNU YEAR – It Be 2018!

And, on this inaugural day of the year, here’s the GNUZ!

Eastern U.S. braces for the most frigid start to new year in decades: Here’s how cold
H/T WaPo
Now, That’s Cold, frigid, biting, bitter, freezing effing COLD. Stay safe all you’ze out there!

And,
New image from NASA shows massive iceberg in Antarctica melting
H/T Raw Story
Climate Change…not just global warming, extremes in Cold and Hot, read all about it. Understand it. But that’s apparently too much to ask of the sitting on his Mar-a-GoGo Butt, prezidunce.

Finally, I vowed to not put up yet another article about hewhoshouldnotbenamed… so…
Does the White Working Class Really Vote Against Its Own Interests?
H/T TPM
Screw to be, or not to be…
Are working-class white voters shooting themselves in the foot by making common cause with a political movement that is fundamentally inimical to their economic self-interest?
THAT is the question.

Open Thread, Start off the New Year with a song in your heart and a beer in your hand!

RUCerious @TPZoo

The Watering Hole; Thursday October 27 2016; Climate Disruption and Denial

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.
(William Wordsworth, from “Lines Written in Early Spring”)

I recently ran across this, a journalistic outline and review of Donald Trump’s energy “policy” proposals. The article points out that

In his plan, Trump promised to lift restrictions on the production of shale, oil, natural gas, and “clean” coal. He also promised to lift “roadblocks” to “vital” energy infrastructure projects, “like the Keystone pipeline.” And he pledged to cancel payments to the U.N. climate change programs, saying he would instead funnel that money back to clean water and infrastructure projects.

This is far from the first time Trump has promised to enact policies that would effectively halt — if not completely dismantle — much of the environmental progress championed by President Obama. And his promises here dovetail nicely with earlier policy ideas: open up federal lands for unfettered coal extraction, support offshore oil drilling, and generally move away from any kind of international climate cooperation.

As far as I’m concerned, that set of Trumpian proposals — were they to be carried out –would be the equivalent of a policy whose ultimate purpose might as well be to dismantle the whole country, break it into a thousand pieces, then sell them to whomever and brag about how much money we’re bringing in from those international markets. The Trump solution to everything seems to be to disallow logic, disallow science, and allow only greed and destruction (there’s money in it) — in order to, of course, ‘Make Amurkkka Great Again’ in the process.

Problem is, the guy’s a fool and has no concept of anything other than how to lie, cheat, steal, and cover it all up.

The fact of the matter is simple: extraction of fossil fuels is destructive to the environment from virtually any perspective. Mining leaves obvious scars on the land and its debris messes up rivers and the streams that feed them. Fracking can cause both subsurface water pollution and earthquakes. Oil, once removed from underground, can be a deadly surface pollutant via virtually any means of transport and/or storage. And burning fossil fuels causes air pollution in the short term, and courtesy of the conversion of virtually all “harvested” fossil carbon into atmospheric Carbon Dioxide, causes global warming and climate change which can and WILL ultimately, if not stopped, put the entire of the planet’s biosphere and every life form implicit therein at severe risk.

For far too many, the easy way around that problem is simple: denial. Humans aren’t causing the climate to change. The climate is always changing. Only god is powerful enough to change the earth’s climate. It still snows in the winter, right? There’ve always been droughts, floods, hurricanes, hot spells, cold snaps. Nothing new there.  And, of course, the warming oceans, the acidification of the oceans via atmospheric CO2 absorption and the consequential decline of coral reefs, the ice-free Arctic, the melting glaciers everywhere, the melting of Antarctic ice shelves — all meaningless because “we got snow last February” and “it was hot last summer” and that proves there’s no such thing as climate change. Oh, and as Carly Fiorina has noted, the main reason for California’s water shortage has nothing to do with decreased precipitation, it’s because the dams aren’t high enough and the reservoirs aren’t nearly as big as they could be. Damn environmentalists.

As Mark Twain put it, “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.”

There’s a new book concerning Climate Denial on the market, most ably described on this Think Progress link: Climate scientist’s new book says climate denial is ‘driving us crazy’. It’s written by climate scientist Michael Mann, and illustrated by Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, Tom Toles. Toles explains the idea behind using cartoons as a means to depict the reality of Climate Change when he points out that  . . .

[one of the things] a cartoon does is simplify and visualize and make the information a little more accessible. Climate is not as complicated a subject as everyone makes it out to be, and that’s one of the things a cartoonist can do is find the simple elements of it. There are many ways you can look at the problem, but they all can be simplified into imagery, or a few ideas that are helpful in explaining to a casual reader how the subject is constructed and why they should care about it.

Following is one of the many cartoons displayed in the Think Progress link, one that certainly summarizes the consequences of Climate Change, many of which we’re already witnessing today; events that will undoubtedly become far more obvious to far more people if Climate Change is allowed to continue unabated:

climate-forecast-cartoon

The bottom line is that, as Toles notes, “Climate is not as complicated a subject as everyone makes it out to be.” He’s spot-on correct, of course, and the thesis that even people of limited science knowledge and below average IQ should be able to grip both the causes and the consequences of Climate Change makes complete and total sense. The topic can be, as Toles’ cartoons most ably demonstrate, simplified to the point where even a political imbecile such as James Inhofe or Donald J. Trump might one day find the means to comprehend the tragic consequences of their own innate idiocy (I know, sometimes I tend to overreach, to exaggerate possibilities).

Michael Mann summarizes:

[T]here’s a chapter in the book: “Hypocrisy, thy name is climate change denial.” In my view, there is no greater example of hypocrisy today than the hypocrisy of fossil-fuel funded politicians who are doing the bidding of fossil fuel interests. With Hurricane Matthew, we’ve actually had some figures from the right-wing extreme of the news media — Matt Drudge and Rush Limbaugh — accusing the National Hurricane Center of inflating their estimates of the intensity of this storm for some purported political agenda to somehow convey the effects of climate change.

[. . .]

I’m reminded of a common trope that we see in Hollywood and on TV: There’s the hero and then there’s the shape-shifting villain, and the villain shape-shifts to look just like the hero, and there’s a third party that has to figure out which of them is really the hero. That’s sort of what we’re asking the public to do.

I couldn’t agree more, but find myself loathe to believe that knowledge-based common sense has even a remote chance of finding a home amongst ANY of this country’s right wing political extremists, Donald Trump and his myriad ‘Deplorables’ obviously included. “Man can’t change the climate,” they say. “Only God can do that.”

Right.

I think I’ll listen more to William Wordsworth:

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

Indeed.

******

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole; Friday September 23 2016; The Last “Bugs” of Summer

Fall has arrived, finally! There are flowering plants in full bloom, along with various little Arthropods on the wing, anxious to take full advantage of slowly waning sunlight and warmth — much to their collective delight, and to the everlasting benefit of the flowers. Life goes on, and if nature has her way, it will flourish.

Below, a small handful of photos from just the last few days of all that life-enhanncing activity.

2016-sep-bee-max-2442b

▲Not sure if this was Bee-1, Bee-17, Bee-29, or Bee-52, but here it comes! ▲

2016-sep-18-bee-in-max-2472

▲Bee refueling at “Hanger,” sotospeak▲

2016-sep-21-bug-max-sunflower-2482

▲Not sure the ID of this guy, only know he was close to a quarter-inch long▲

It’s also fall in the human world, of course, and in a leap year as well, which means there’s a national election coming up in somewhere around fifty days, an election which will choose our next President. Unfortunately, however, a high percentage of Americans no longer have the intelligence-driven capabilities of flowers and insects and have become known, instead, as Conservative Republicans. The problems of diminished intelligence are obvious everywhere, but can be, today, quite ably summarized by just a small handful of headlined links to more detailed analyses. For example, from the last few days of summer, 2016, these:

WorldNetDaily Explains Why It’s ‘Not Natural’ For A Woman To Run For President

Frank Amedia: God Has Called Trump To Tear Down Walls

Jim Bakker: Supporters Of The Constitution Are Mysteriously Dying

Tom DeLay: Obama Will ‘Go Down As The Worst President That Has Ever Served This Nation’

Rand Paul: Obama Should Have Moved Us ‘Beyond Race’ But Race Relations Have ‘Gotten Worse’

Louie Gohmert: US Killed Al-Awlaki To Cover Up ‘All The Different People He Worked With In The Administration’

Gary Bauer: Donald Trump Might Be The Last Chance Conservative Christians Have To Save America

There’s another human problem, one that’s exacerbated by diminished intelligence; it’s the fact that human activities, unlike those of flowers and insects, are changing the planet’s climate — not for the better, but for the worse — to the point where unless corrections are made quickly, the entire biosphere of the earth will change to the point where it will have a severe impact on virtually every life form including flowers, insects, coral reefs, even the life form that will be the last to notice, i.e. Conservative Republicans.

Dangerous Denial of Global Warming

An open letter just issued by 375 members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and its foreign affiliates, including 30 Nobel laureates, warns that “rapid warming of the planet increases the risk of crossing climatic points of no return, possibly setting in motion large-scale ocean circulation changes, the loss of major ice sheets, and species extinctions. The climatic consequences of exceeding such thresholds are not confined to the next one or two electoral cycles. They have lifetimes of many thousands of years.”

They also took a direct swipe at Trump, saying “it is of great concern that the Republican nominee for President has advocated U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Accord. . . . Such a decision would make it far more difficult to develop effective global strategies for mitigating and adapting to climate change. The consequences of opting out of the global community would be severe and long-lasting – for our planet’s climate and for the international credibility of the United States.”

Surveys show that Republican are twice as likely as last year to express doubts about the existence of global warming, According to University of Michigan researchers, one factor may be their presidential candidate’s oft-repeated insistence that global warming is “a total, and very expensive, hoax!”

Here is a closer look at the climate policies of the major Conservative Republican candidate for President:

Donald Trump isn’t backing down from his terrifying climate policy

“We need an America-First energy plan,” Trump said. “This means opening federal lands for oil and gas production; opening offshore areas; and revoking policies that are imposing unnecessary restrictions on innovative new exploration technologies.”

If elected president, Trump has pledged to revoke both the Clean Power Plan and President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the cornerstones of Obama’s domestic climate agenda, and important signals to the international community of the United States’ commitment to climate action.

Trump has also promised to roll back the Waters of the United States Rule, which would extend drinking water protections for millions of Americans. Instead, he said that he would redirect the EPA to “refocus…on its core mission of ensuring clean air, and clean, safe drinking water for all Americans.”

IF human-caused climate change should become the engine fueling the earth’s Sixth Mass Extinction, the odds are very strong that most of what we know of flowers, of insects, of sea life, animal life, and plant life will disappear forever, and evolution will once again be challenged to bring life-on-earth back up to snuff by some point in the distant future. And with most life forms extincted because of Conservative Republicans, evolution will once again have to find a place from which to start its process. In the past, for example, one of the re-start life forms has apparently been the common cockroach from whose DNA has emerged the bulk of what some might call “higher life forms.” The problem is that there’s no guarantee that bugs, flowers, and other forms of intelligent life will re-emerge in that situation. It is fairly likely, however, that if life begins anew based on roach DNA, what we’ll end up with is a creature that more resembles today’s common roach than, say, either a bee or a flower. Something more like this would be a safer bet:

trumpthumb

▲The “First” Roach of Summer? Fall? Winter? Spring?▲

If that should happen again, well, I don’t wanna be here to see it, would prefer to remain extinct. Yuk. Life forms derived from roaches can be so deplorable.

******

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole; Friday May 27 2016; Climactic (Anthropogenic) Climatic Disruption

Climactic: consisting of, involving, or causing a climax.
Climax: the highest or most intense point in the development or resolution of something.

Climatic: of or relating to climate.
Climate: the composite or generally prevailing weather conditions of a region.

Disrupt: to cause (something) to be unable to continue in the normal way.

ACDAnthropogenic Climate Disruption: Climatic Disruption resulting from human activity; potentially Climactic.

These carefully rendered and ordered definitions were included here for the benefit of any Republican or Tea Party (Congressional Sens-Reps or their voters) that might happen to pass by — unlikely I know, but I always try to be fair and helpful when possible. [See also: The cult of ignorance in the United States: Anti-intellectualism and the “dumbing down” of America].

That said, a closer and finely detailed examination of Anthropogenic Climate Disruption data becomes more revealing with virtually every passing month.

1. From February 2014: The March of Anthropogenic Climate Disruption by Dahr Jamal begins by pointing out that 2013

. . . marked the 37th consecutive year of above-average global temperature, according to data from NASA.

The signs of advanced Anthropogenic Climate Disruption (ACD) are all around us, becoming ever more visible by the day.

At least for those choosing to pay attention.

I’ll not try to summarize Jamal’s paper here — much much more can/will be gained via a careful read. It is, though, an excellent summary of the consequences of ACD already in place back then.

2. Next, more than two years later (just this week, in fact) there’s this: Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Concentration Has Passed the Point of No Return, also by Dahr Jamal. It’s a lengthy essay that covers the gamut of climate change impacts visible today, and most certainly is well worth close and serious examination. Here is a brief quote that sets the stage:

Climate disruption only continues to speed up.

NASA recently released data showing that the planet has just seen seven straight months of not just record-breaking, but record-shattering heat. It is clear, through the space agency’s data, that this year we are already well on track to see what will likely be the largest increase in global temperature a single year has ever seen.

The NASA data also show that April was the hottest April ever recorded, as well as the fact that it crushed the previous April record by the largest margin of increase ever recorded.

That makes it three months in a row that the monthly record has been broken, and easily at that, by the largest margin ever. When record-smashing months started in February, it was then that scientists began talking about a “climate emergency,” and since then our situation has only escalated.

The essay is detailed, lengthy, and filled with links to supporting data sources that demonstrate beyond all doubt that these indeed are dire times, and that it may, in fact, already be too late for there to be any hope of turning things around. The sole (slightly) positive comment in the entire of the essay is this: “Recent polling shows that now half of all conservatives in the United States believe that ACD is real, which is an increase of 19 percent over the last two years.” Wow. Is that great news or what. Doesn’t include any conservatives I know, but any port in a storm is welcome.

Following is a graph, prepared by Ed Hawkins, that shows monthly global temperature changes since 1850:

It’s hard not to notice the jump, so far, in 2016 temperatures; the times, they really are a-changin’, or so it would appear to the trained eye.

But not all eyes are trained. On the other side of the coin live the deniers. I won’t go into extensive detail, just quote a couple of their most egregious fools to demonstrate just exactly how far-fetched the wingnut reality actually is. First, courtesy of Fox News, Jesse Watters explains his concern that public schools in Portland Oregon are no longer going to “teach” the nonsense that supports ACD denial:

One city school district is closing the book on any materials in the classroom that question or deny climate change. The board in Portland, Oregon unanimously approving a resolution that calls for removing books and course materials that suggests climate change does not exist or that people are not at fault for it. . . . Aren’t students supposed to learn how to ask questions? And now we can’t read a book that ask questions.

[. . .]

So getting out of the ice age, how did the Earth warm up after the ice age? There were no humans there with cars and factories. I mean, how did things warm up? These are questions that only I have the answer to. I should be teaching these courses. These aren’t that hard. It gets hot, it gets cold, this spring has been freezing. It’s not getting warmer, it seems like it’s getting colder. Am I wrong?

Yes, Watters, you’re wrong. Of course you’re wrong. You’re very very very wrong. But that, of course, is nothing new or unexpected.

Next, a word or two from that tremendously gifted master of everything, our massively educated and schemingly beautiful billionaire Republican, our loved-by-millions-and-soon-to-be-tremendous-President, Donald Trump.

“Any and all weather events are used by the GLOBAL WARMING HOAXSTERS to justify higher taxes to save our planet! They don’t believe it $$$$!”

This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop. Our planet is freezing, record low temps,and our GW scientists are stuck in ice.

“I think that climate change is just a very, very expensive form of tax. A lot of people are making a lot of money. I know much about climate change. I’ve received many environmental awards. And I often joke that this is done for the benefit of China — obviously I joke — but this done for the benefit of China.”

Meanwhile, back in the real world,

March 2016 temperature smashes 100-year global record

An illustration shows that 2015 was the hottest year since 1880.

Illustration shows that 2015 was the hottest year since 1880. (AFP/Getty Images)

The global temperature in March (2016) shattered a century-long record and by the greatest margin yet seen for any month. . . . Compared with the 20th-century average, March was 1.07C hotter across the globe, while February was 1.04C higher, and the trend continued in April. Apparently the overwhelming mass of global data has proven, beyond the barest shadow of a doubt, that ACD is, in fact, a FACT.

Or, as Trump put it,

“Global warming is based on faulty science and manipulated data
which is proven by the emails that were leaked.”

We’ll have to leave it there.

OPEN THREAD