Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Yes, Donald...Bernie Sanders is a communist but not a Communist, a Marxist but not a Leninist

At a rally in Cleveland on March 12, 2016, then primary candidate Donald Trump noted that Bernie Sanders is a communist:

   " Hillary cannot seem to win, even against a communist," Trump marveled. He said it's a wonder how "in our great, great world that a communist cannot be beaten by Hillary Clinton. It’s terrible."

    Trump added, "Wouldn’t it be fun to meet Bernie in the finals."

Fast foward to February 2, 2020, now-President Trump in a pre-Super Bowl interview said:

    “I think he’s a communist. I mean, you know, look, I think of communism when I think of Bernie.”

    “Now, you could say socialist, but didn’t he get married in Moscow? I think of Bernie sort of as a socialist but far beyond a socialist. At least he’s true to what he believes.”

A week later, we were offered this:

    “Obviously I am not a communist,” Sanders told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday,” adding that Trump “maybe doesn’t know the difference.”
    Sanders has described himself as a "democratic socialist."
    Sanders also said Trump was a “pathological liar” for suggesting that he got “married in Moscow.” Sanders said he was in Russia to participate in a sister city program.

This week Washington Post Columnist Megan McArdle offered an opinion in Bernie Sanders is not just a garden-variety social democrat:

    The world of comic books, in which characters are constantly dying and being revived or reinvented for a new legion of fans, eventually had to invent a concept known as the “retcon” — short for “retroactive continuity.”
    You’ll have noticed the phenomenon in film and television even if you never knew its name: “retconning” means altering an already-established past story line, to cover up growing plot holes or simply to free an author to craft a more enjoyable narrative in the present, one unhindered by the back catalogue.
    The term has obvious applications to modern politics. As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) looks increasingly likely to win the Democratic nomination, left-of-center people are anxious to downgrade Sanders’s self-described socialism into something more politically palatable — like Great Society liberalism, or perhaps, at maximum, a Nordic-style welfare state.
    In this, they struggle with an inconveniently well-documented Early Bernie Sanders, with his calls to nationalize “utilities, banks and major industries,“ his kind words for left-wing dictatorships, and his “very strange honeymoon” in the U.S.S.R. — where he blasted U.S. foreign policy before returning home to say “Let’s take the strengths of both systems. … Let’s learn from each other.”
    One should be forgiven almost any number of youthful flirtations with bad ideology. But Sanders was in his early 40s when he went gaga for Nicaragua’s brutal Sandinista regime, and 46 during his sojourn on the Volga. In February 2019, when he was refusing to describe Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro as a “dictator,” Sanders was 77.

And so here we are in February 2020 about to confront the truth about Bernie, the truth explained here on Monday, May 23, 2016, in So Bernie-the-Stalinist has been vetted and would do well against Donald in swing states like Ohio?.

Of course Bernie is not a Stalinist. He and his supporters try to sell him as a "democratic socialist" sorta, kinda like a member of the British Labour Party. Fortunately for them, about 99% of Americans know nothing about the Labour Party. Notice the italics-added detail in the Wikipedia description:

    The Labour Party is a centre-left political party in the United Kingdom that has been described as an alliance of social democrats, democratic socialists and trade unionists.

You see, there are social democrats and then there are democratic socialists and they are not the same. Bernie says he is a democratic socialist. So let's look at the two terms as they are explained in the Wikipedia entries linked above:

Social democrats advocate social democracy, a political, social and economic philosophy that supports economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a liberal democratic polity and a capitalist-oriented economy. The protocols and norms used to accomplish this involve a commitment to representative and participatory democracy, measures for income redistribution, regulation of the economy in the general interest and social welfare provisions. It
  • aims to create the conditions for capitalism to lead to greater democratic, egalitarian and solidaristic outcomes;
  • is characterized by a commitment to policies aimed at curbing inequality, eliminating oppression of underprivileged groups and eradicating poverty as well as support for universally accessible public services like care for the elderly, child care, education, health care and workers' compensation.
That is not Bernie. Bernie insists he is democratic socialist.

Democratic socialists advocate democratic socialism, a political philosophy supporting political democracy within a socially owned economy, with a particular emphasis on workers' self-management and democratic control of economic institutions within a market socialist economy or some form of a decentralized planned socialist economy. Democratic socialists argue that capitalism is inherently incompatible with the values of freedom, equality and solidarity and that these ideals can only be achieved through the realization of a socialist society. Although most democratic socialists seek a gradual transition to socialism, democratic socialism can support either revolutionary or reformist politics as means to establish socialism.

Unfortunately for Bernie, democratic socialism falls clearly within Wikipedia's initial broad definition of  small-c communism as, "a philosophical, social, political and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is a socioeconomic order structured upon the ideas of common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money and the state."

In other words, Trump is correct when he says about Bernie: "I think of communism when I think of Bernie.... I think of Bernie sort of as a socialist but far beyond a socialist. At least he’s true to what he believes."

When confronted with a social democrat ally, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, telling the HuffPost that a worst-case scenario with Sanders in the White House is a compromise on health care that ends up adding a public option, Bernie objected outlining his democratic socialist (communist) proposal as explained in Politico:

    “But my view is that Medicare for All, the bill that we wrote, is in a sense already a compromise,” Sanders said.
    He added that the proposal has a four-year transition period that would bring down the age required for Medicare eligibility from 65 to 55 to 45 to 35.
    “And then we cover everybody,” Sanders said. “No more premiums. No more co-payments. No more deductibles. No more out-of-pocket expenses. And we’re gonna fund it publicly, and, for the average American, it will be a significant, significant reduction in his or her health care costs.”

This writer has on more than one occasion suggested that dropping the age requirement in Medicare might be the only real solution to the health care problem. But Sanders failed to say what needed to be said - no more health insurance companies and all medical providers of all kinds will be controlled by a federal government-controlled bureaucracy. And that is clearly not the only way social democrats might provide universally accessible health care. But it is the only way a democratic socialist (small-c communist) would address the subject...and most other subjects.

The differences between all the socialism, communism, and Communism. It's complicated. With The passage of time much seems to get lost, particularly the simplest of facts that could inform us.

Most do not know that Lenin was 13 the year Marx died - they weren't buddies, they lived totally different lives in totally different times. Marx was a German philosopher, a theorist living in Britain. Lenin was a Russian revolutionary who wrote some ideas adapting Marxist theory to support a violent revolution. Marx was a small "c" communist, Lenin was a large "C" Communist, the ideology that permeated a nation-state, the Soviet Union.

Marx built on and critiqued the most well-known political economists of his day, the British classical capitalist economists Adam Smith and David Ricardo.

According to orthodox Marxist theory, the overthrow of capitalism by socialists in contemporary society is inevitable. Marxists believe that a socialist society is far better for the majority of the populace than its capitalist counterpart.

The German Ideology, a set of manuscripts written by Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) in 1846 but not published until 1932, explores the reality that in ruling the material force of society, the ruling class is simultaneously the ruling intellectual force of society.

The ruling class controls the production and distribution of ideas of their age. As the ruling class changes with time, so too do the ideals and the new ruling class must instill upon its society its own ideas which will become universal.

The ruling ideas are thought to be the universal interest. However, it is an illusion that the ideas of the ruling class are the communal interests. This system will forever remain in place so long as society is organized around the need for a ruling class. In other words, communal interests must be organized around the community at large.  A thoughtful, though perhaps quaint, mid-19th Century take on the world.

In the 20th century, Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924) developed Leninism. an adaptation of Marxism to the socio-economic and political conditions of Imperial Russia (1721–1917). This body of theory later became the official ideology of some Communist states.

In his 1917 publication in The State and Revolution Lenin explicitly discusses the practical implementation of "dictatorship of the proletariat" through means of violent revolution. Lenin further explained: "Dictatorship does not necessarily mean the abolition of democracy for the class that exercises the dictatorship over other classes; but it does mean the abolition of democracy (or very material restriction, which is also a form of abolition) for the class over which, or against which, the dictatorship is exercised."

Bernie is stuck on the Marxist thoughtful, though perhaps quaint, mid-19th Century take on the world. So are a fair number of college students in each generation, including today.

But most Americans are not comfortable with the democratic socialist take, though they are accepting of the need for some action consistent with social democracy. The problem is Bernie, by his own adamant insistence,  wants us all to know he is a democratic socialist which unfortunately means he is a small-c communist.

Polling indicates Bernie has a fair chance to become the Democratic Presidential nominee.

If Trump doesn't shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, or maybe even if he does, the path is pretty clear for hiim to beat Bernie. At least in the America I think I understand.

Monday, February 17, 2020

About the frustrated feelings of lefty Democratic ideologues regarding Mike Bloomberg's rise

Many California Democrats recently received the above mailer. The 2020 California Democratic primary will take place on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, one of 14 contests scheduled on what is referred to as Super Tuesday.

Bloomberg is on the ballot. Apparently he's for Quality Healthcare, Climate Action, World-Class Schools, and Gun Safety. So am I. And he says he "got it done." Hmmm

As noted here previously in It's hard not to endorse Michael Bloomberg if you believe the climate crisis - without the fog of asperational socialism - is the issue that matters. Bloomberg is a national leader in battling the climate crisis and has put his money where his beliefs are.

Regarding "Gun Safety" Bloomberg is the founder of Everytown for Gun Safety. Per Wikipedia:

    Everytown for Gun Safety is an American nonprofit organization which advocates for gun control and against gun violence. Everytown was created in 2013 when Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America joined forces. Everytown for Gun Safety is largely financed by Michael Bloomberg, who also founded the group.

As noted by CNBC Mike Bloomberg’s gun-control group just vastly outspent the NRA to help Democrats win in Virginia

Regarding the statement about his role as New York's Mayor in "Quality Healthcare" the best review is that in PolitiFact's Bloomberg on health care: Translating his mayoral record to the national stage.

We also have the statement about his role as New York's Mayor in "World Class Schools" including "raising teachers salaries 43% and graduation rates 42%." Regarding graduation rates and claims about minority students, the best review is that in PolitiFact's review which set the meter at mostly true. Regarding teachers salaries, one source explains:

    No one drew Bloomberg’s ire more than the United Federation of Teachers. At first, he worked collaboratively with the union, arriving at a contract agreement well ahead of schedule that boosted base pay by 43 percent. The longest-serving teachers could now earn more than $100,000.
    But that was the last contract they agreed to. Moving forward, virtually every piece of Bloomberg’s agenda stoked outrage from the teachers union, which he once likened to the National Rifle Association.
    He proposed a simple eight-page contract to replace the UFT’s doorstop-sized agreement, pushed for merit pay — a third rail for the union — and mused about firing half of the city’s teachers.

Further if you Google StudentsFirstNY Bloomberg you can read more about Bloomberg's education policies.

Essentially, Bloomberg has a defensible record regarding Quality Healthcare, Climate Action, World-Class Schools, and Gun Safety. No other Democrat running in the Democratic primaries has any kind of record on these and other subjects that even approaches that of Mike Bloomberg. That, of course, is a potential problem because Bloomberg held the top position in a government providing a myriad of services and policies to 8 million diverse people and therefore made some mistakes.

In The Philadelphia Inquirer this week the national opinion columnist Will Bunch expressed his frustration he and other lefty ideological Democrats are feeling regarding Mike Bloomberg.

Before discussing that, it should be made clear that in January Bunch indicated his intention "to vote for Warren when the primaries come to Pennsylvania in late April, because I think she’d be a tad better than Sanders at getting progressive things done and because I see my vote as a statement against the fear and misogyny that grip America."

Ironically, in the article linked above Bunch wrote how unfair it was for pundits to compare Sanders with Trump just because both are catering to the more ideologically committed populist wings of their respective parties.

In this week's article he compares Bloomberg to Trump in campaign style because Bloomberg is spending money in a sophisticated way which is leading to a time when "all future presidents will be decided by who has the hippest Instagram memes or the cruelest Twitter putdowns, paid for either by the obscene personal wealth of sweatshop capitalism or by selling out to the highest bidder, even if that’s a foreign adversary like Russia." In using "sweatshop capitalism" Bunch clearly lets his commitment to anti-capitalist leftist ideology take over.

And yet, Bunch offers us this:

    But Bloomberg seems to be playing chess while the other Democrats are jumping slowly around a checkerboard, one square at a time. In the large March primary states where Bloomberg is first competing, he’s already moving into the lead — with a lot of room for growth if Biden, who was the front-runner in these states, continues to fade and if those Facebook, radio and TV ads keep coming. He already leads in Florida, a big state that votes March 17, and in Arkansas, one of a number of March 3 Super Tuesday states where Bloomberg has been campaigning while the other Democrats clubbed each other in Iowa and New Hampshire.
    His campaign’s unconventional late-entry strategy has so far kept him off the debate stage, where Bloomberg would have to defend his record as mayor and businessman, while swamping the ad market where he fully controls the message. And — contrary to the conventional wisdom of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other moderate Dems that voters only want to hear about health care — Bloomberg’s message is what folks really want to hear, which is getting in the face and under the skin of their tribal enemy, Trump.
    Last week, Bloomberg probably gained five more points in the polls by giving it back to the president — who’s been tweeting a lot about his former golf partner, calling him “mini Mike” even though Bloomberg isn’t that short — and attacking him on Twitter as a “carnival barking clown." Even some who’ve been cynical about the (real) billionaire’s campaign cheered his New York chutzpah. Maybe Democrats don’t really want to talk about Pell grants; they just want to see The Apprentice crushed in the November sweeps.

I don't know about other Democrats, but for this writer Bunch is correct that we experienced Democrats "just want to see The Apprentice crushed in the November sweeps." Beating Trump is all there is when looking at the Democratic primary candidates.

It is foolishness to make choices on such things as Presidential candidates talking about Pell Grants, a federal grant program for college students named for U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell (RI),. Virtually no on knows if and when significant changes can be made to college funding because it is Congress - Representatives and Senators hence Pell's name on the program - that establishes and funds such programs, not the President.

It's not that this writer intends to vote for Bloomberg on March 3. It is a decision that need not be made until March 3.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

The promise of 5G, whether real or not, has been delayed by the diseases Coronavirus and Trump

This past week the GMSA announced the cancellation of the Mobile World Congress 2020 which was to have been held in Barcelona between February 24th and the 27th. Fear of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) prompted the cancellation. Everyone has read all the news reports about the cancellation, but we'll recap the story.

The GSM Association with its Head Office located in London (commonly referred to as the GSMA and originally Groupe Spécial Mobile) is a mobile network operators industry organization that represents the interests of 750 worldwide mobile operators members and 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem associate members.

The annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) is the chance for thousands to gather for partnerships, deals, and product launches. All of the Chinese major smartphone brands were to appear at the MWC 2020.  But then South Korea's LG pulled out of MWC earlier this month, and China's ZTE canceled a planned press event expressing Coronavirus fears.

Sweden's Ericsson, one of the largest exhibitors at MWC and one of two 5G equipment manufacturers outside of China, also withdrew from the show followed by Finland's Nokia, the other 5G equipment manufacturers outside of China. Nvidia, Intel, Vivo, Sony, Amazon, Cisco, BT, and NTT Docomo and many others all followed.

The implementation of 5G technology has become controversial. Last February the post here 5G Technology: it may start a world war, it won't be available to all, you don't need it, it is important to corporate interests and government. Why is that? explained the absurdity of the Trump Administration's viral attack on Europe and the rest of the world over 5G implementation.

The two viral attacks, COVID-19 and TRUMP-2020, have seriously impeded the implementation of 5G, not that it matters to most of us.

The consulting firm McKinsey & Company analyzed the investment cost versus benefit of 5G rollout and cautioned against jumping in with both feet. While Telecom companies "know that it will open opportunities to capture value from new 5G use cases and widespread adoption of the internet of Things (IoT) ... they are keenly aware that they'll have to increase their infrastructure investments in this technology. Meanwhile, operators will still have to upgrade their 4G networks to cope with growing demand. In an analysis of one European country, we predicted that network-related capital expenditures would have to increase 60 percent from 2020 through 2025, roughly doubling total cost of ownership (TCO) during that period."

Still, the delay of the implementation of 5G industrial processing control applications outside of China should be a concern.

What should be of even greater concern to Congress and the President is why no American company took on the challenge of designing and manufacturing 5G equipment. Oh, wait. from an April 24, 2008 NASA news release:

    MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. -- NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., and m2mi Corp., Moffett Field, Calif., announced Thursday they are taking a revolutionary step forward in improving telecommunications and networking....
    Under the agreement, NASA and m2mi will cooperate to develop a fifth generation telecommunications and networking system for Internet protocol-based and related services. The cooperative effort will combine NASA's expertise in nanosensors, wireless networks and nanosatellite technologies with m2mi's unique capabilities in software technology, sensors, global system awareness, adaptive control and commercialization capabilities. Fifth Generation, or 5G, incorporates Voice Over Internet Protocol, video, data, wireless, and an integrated machine-to-machine intelligence layer, or m2mi, for seamless information exchange and use.
    "This initiative shows great promise in revolutionizing mobile communications critical in meeting future needs," said Badri Younes, NASA deputy associate administrator for Space Communications and Navigation. "This project also will leverage m2mi's capabilities in software expertise to automate global system awareness and provide intelligent adaptive control."

Machine-to-Machine Intelligence (M2Mi) Corp. is currently located in Mountain View, California.

This whole subject area is, of course, intensively explored in the 2020 Presidential and Congressional campaigns along with the climate crisis because unlike health care insurance and free college they will significantly impact the lives of those in the Millennial and GenZ generations, the people known as children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews to the rest of us.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Ignorant pro-tariff Republicans gave us The Great Depression and the carnage and devestation of WWII. The voting public loved them in 1929.

Almost a century before Trump, the League of Nations' World Economic Conference met at Geneva in 1927. Its final report stated: "the time has come to put an end to tariffs, and to move in the opposite direction." Nonetheless, a Republican Congress led by Reed Smoot and Willis C. Hawley locked the world into a nationalist economic agenda. The Tariff Act of 1930, commonly known as the Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act, was the second highest tariff increase in United States history.1

In the 1928 presidential election, soon-to-become-President Herbert Hoover (who had never held an elected office!) promised to help farmers by increasing tariffs on imported agricultural products. After winning, Hoover asked Congress to implement his promise.

Reed Smoot was a Republican from Utah and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Willis Hawley, a Republican from Oregon, was chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Four months before the 1929 economic crash beginning The Great Depression, in May 1929 with Hawley leading the way the House passed a bill increasing tariffs on both agricultural and industrial goods. With The Great Depression under way, the Senate debated its bill until March 1930 when it adopted its version. A conference committee unified the two versions, largely by raising tariffs to the higher levels in the House bill. The bill was signed by President Herbert Hoover on June 17, 1930.

Some statistics from around that time seem as if they might be related to the Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act:
  • In 1929 when Hoover was sworn in and prior to the September market crash, the unemployment rate in the United States was 3.2%. 
  • In 1930, the first year of The Great Depression the unemployment rate was 8.7%. 
  • By 1932, the year Hoover, Smoot, and Hawley lost their reelection bids, the unemployment rate was 23.6%. 
  • In 1933 it reached 24.9%. 

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Democratic Congress passed Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act of 1934. But retaliation by other countries and the further growth of nationalism around the world had its continuing impact. U.S. unemployment remained above 15% until WWII when about 16 million Americans began serving in the U.S. military out of about 85 million of working age. With about 20% of the work force in the military, the need to expand war related production resulted in an unemployment rate below 2%  in 1943 through 1945.

History does not literally repeat itself, common belief notwithstanding. Trump did not implement his tariffs at the beginning of a depression. But nationalism has a way of ending up in economic disruption and war. It's just difficult to predict what events will occur that will impact the world and how trends will exacerbate or ameliorate the impact of those events.

What we do know Climate Change, more correctly viewed by humans as a global climate crisis, is occurring. As noted in previous posts, agencies of the United States government and the Chinese government have accepted as inevitable a near-maximum catastrophic impact from Climate Change. A May 2018 Chinese study corresponds to July 2018 official projections accepted and published by the Trump Administration.

Of course, almost no living person in the Baby Boom generation (or older) will be alive to experience the full catastrophic impact even in the earliest year of the Chinese models - 2064. And at least half of the Gen X generation will be gone before the Chinese model "most likely" full catastrophic impact year - 2084.

Climate Change is not the only trend with significant potential to exacerbate or ameliorate the impact of future events. As noted in the previous post, "space-based economies" are evolving around the world with varying mixes of private sector and national governments participation.

Donald Trump pushed for, and got, a Space Force in the American military. Of course the Chinese People's Liberation Army has both a rocket force – the strategic and tactical missile operator – and a strategic support force, which is in charge of cyber, space, and electronic warfare. (Fortunately, neither chose to name a military branch Starfleet.)

So what can be the expected result of mixing into all this Trump's nationalist economic agenda? A 21st Century world wide economic collapse? A 21st Century world war? History does not literally repeat itself, so we don't know. Could there be a war in space over the vagaries of space-based economies?

One thing we should know. In a world threatened by a climate crisis resulting from world-wide human behaviors and with nations establishing space warfare military branches in the context of private sector expansion into space, nationalism is even less desirable and more dangerous than it was when Hoover, Smoot, and Hawley pretended they understood what was best for the next decade.

Even the right-wing conservative Washington Examiner noted; "The Trump administration is scheduled to raise tariffs on Chinese imports on Sunday to rates not seen since the notorious Smoot-Hawley tariffs enacted in 1930."

The sad thing is the voting public loved the nationalist pro-tariff rhetoric of Hoover, Smoot, and Hawley in 1929 set in a context of expanding nationalist sentiment world wide. Today the voting public loves the nationalist pro-tariff rhetoric of Trump Republicans set in a context of expanding nationalist sentiment world wide.

History does not literally repeat itself, but....


  1. It should be noted that the tariff proposals came at the end of a decade that began with the U.S. Senate's failure to ratify The Treaty of Versailles ending WWI and a reassertion of nativist and inward-looking isolationist policy supported by the rise of The Irreconcilables.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Space is becoming mainstream as space-based economies have ceased to be science fiction.

For fun this aging blogger gets email from Access Intelligence, LLC., a group that creates conferences, meetings, whatever. It keeps me aware of what an old retired guy would otherwise not know is going on. I don't go to the events, I just read about them.

One of their conferences is called CyberSatCom which this year will be held May 13-15. One item on the agenda caught my eye:
As space becomes more mainstream, space-based economies are no longer the stuff of science fiction, and new industries are starting to emerge. We’ll take a deep dive into the potential of areas such as energy from space, drug manufacturing from space, asteroid mining, and strive to answer the question “how do we create a more secure space environment?”​
We all know that Elon Musk's SpaceX, Richard Branson's OneWeb, and Jeff Bezos' Kuiper are moving the low earth orbit satellite concept from "interesting idea" to implementation. But "space-based economies" is a broader concept that for me was limited to the scifi show "The Expanse" on Amazon

I guess being a member of the "Silent Generation" one other agenda item tells me where I stand time-wise:
Generation Z and Millennials have been raised in an “always connected” world, and they are next in line to make sure satellite and space assets stay secure. How are the next generation preparing for the cyber security world and what do they see as future threats in the space environment? Join students and young professionals as they discuss their views on challenges, cyber threats and the general landscape of the future space environment.​
I know I will not, and would not want to, live to be 105. But despite having to experience more of the climate crisis, space-based economies may be the one new trend I would like to watch evolve over the next 30 years - although "The Expanse" isn't such a bad way to speculate about it.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

More imaginary threats from the Peoples Republic of China in the world According to Trumpists


We all should have many concerns about the policies and practices of the Trump Republicans in the Administration and in Congress.

Most certainly the Trump Administration has successfully initiated a process to systematically end all federal regulatory efforts to minimize the impacts of American economic habits on the environment. This is being done to maximize the profits of traditional American companies such as coal and oil companies. This will have, indeed already has had, a long term negative impact on Climate Change.

But sometimes it is difficult to understand what the long-term goal is as reflected in statements made by Trump Administration officials. One of those puzzles is the constantly repeated statements expressing threats, mostly imaginary, America faces from China.

This past week Attorney General William P. Barr repeated the warning that allowing China to establish dominance of 5G telecommunications networks was a “monumental danger” as Beijing could use the technology for monitoring and surveillance. However, according to Barr the threat is much worse than that.

“Our economic future is at stake,”  Barr said in a speech delivered during a conference in Washington on threats that China poses to the United States. “The risk of losing the 5G struggle with China should vastly outweigh other considerations.”

Well, it is true that China's dominance of 5G is a temporary risk. After all, China’s science and technology ministry announced in November that it has formed two teams to oversee the research and study of 6G, marking the official start of a state-backed effort to accelerate the development of the technology. One team consists of government departments who will be in charge of pushing through the execution of 6G technology, while the other consists of 37 experts from universities, science institutions and corporations, who will provide technical advice for the government’s major decisions on 6G.

Not Barr nor any other Trump Administration Official has proposed chunking up a few billion dollars for a similar 6G program in the U.S. even though no U.S. firm manufactures 5G equipment.

But perhaps the most amusing anti-Chinese publicity, because of the sheer stupidity it reflects, is that this past week 35 Republican senators and representatives wrote to Barr demanding that the China Daily newspaper be investigated and labelled a foreign agent. They called on the Department of Justice to “clamp down on Chinese propaganda”, investigate the media organisation’s “important role in China’s foreign disinformation campaign” and address its “repeated violations” of a US law requiring that foreign lobbyists register and provide detailed reports on their financial activities.

From Wikipedia: "China Daily is an English-language daily newspaper owned by the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China and published in the People's Republic of China." Of course, it's as source of Chinese Communist Party propaganda. Who would see it any other way?  Oh well, Congress has nothing important to do....

It appears that the basic fear of China is that their economic power is growing compared to the U.S. But that's not reflective of the truth. As explained here last April:

Then there is the idea that we're in a competition with China to remain the world's economic leader. China and the U.S. already share the status of having the world's largest economy....

Apparently this makes some American competitive-Type-A personalities nervous. It shouldn't. Let's just say for argument's sake that that the U.S. and China were to have the same size economy - GDP measured in money. China has four times the population as the United States. So in our hypothetical situation of same size economies, China's economy on a per-capita basis is one-fourth that of the U.S. China has a long ways to go to be competitive with the United States, unless of course we make our own economy collapse...which is possible.

It's difficult to understand why Barr, who is a grandfather, sees China and 5G as the important subject. While Barr is worth around $40 million he is not a billionaire. How he envisions the lives of his grandchildren in a 2070 world amid the climate crisis he did nothing to prevent is hard to imagine.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

So Bernie-the-Stalinist has been vetted and would do well against Donald in swing states like Ohio?

"I think he’s a communist. I mean, you know, look, I think of communism when I think of Bernie," Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity in an interview that aired prior to Super Bowl LIV.

Because of Trump's comment, this May 23, 2016 post is being repeated to remind Democrats just how vulnerable Sanders is. In my  humble opinion, in a one-on-one contest for President there is a good chance I could beat Bernie. I have no doubt that, unless he shoots someone's grandma in the middle of Fifth Avenue, Trump can beat Bernie.

Bernie Sanders insists as a Presidential candidate he has been sufficiently vetted to be the Democratic nominee against Trump.

Let's look at what would be his greatest weakness against Trump - as a young man Bernie was trained in "socialism" at a Stalinist Communist kibbutz in Israel.

Now I don't care about this. But it's a sure fire truth that would kill Bernie in middle-of-the-road America. You don't have to take my word for it.

Let me first tell you about The Forward, so you can be assured of the accuracy of the source that broke the story which was only briefly and vaguely explained in American newspapers such as the New York Times with the headline Bernie Sanders’s Kibbutz Found. Surprise: It’s Socialist and on CNN How did a socialist kibbutz influence Bernie Sanders? but has never been reported on ABC, CBS, or NBC nor in any AP, Reuters, or UPI wire story.

About The Forward which the New York Times article calls "a New York-based Jewish newspaper", from its website:
The Forward delivers incisive coverage of the issues, ideas and institutions that matter to American Jews. Its rigorous reporting and balanced commentary on politics, arts and culture have won numerous awards year after year, including repeated recognition by the Society of Professional Journalists.

Founded in 1897 as a Yiddish-language daily, the Forward soon became a national paper, the most widely read Jewish newspaper anywhere. By the 1920s its circulation outstripped the New York Times. It chronicled the events that affected a population of immigrants eager to earn their place in American life, and published regional editions around the country before any other newspaper.

The English Forward was launched as a weekly in 1990. Its perspective on world and national news, and its unparalleled coverage of Jewish arts culture and opinion have made it the most influential nationwide Jewish media outlet today. More than a million unique visitors turn to each month for award-winning news, thoughtful commentary, and captivating videos. More than 50,000 subscribers receive e-newsletters that highlight the latest stories and areas of special interest like Arts & Entertainment and Food & Drink.

The Forward has always been a nonprofit association and is supported by the contributions of its readers.
On September 3, 2015, the story My Quixotic Hunt for Bernie Sanders' Kibbutz appeared in The Forward, written by Naomi Zeveloff who's bio on the site explains:
Naomi Zeveloff is the Middle East correspondent of the Forward, primarily covering Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

Formerly the deputy culture editor of the Forward, she was awarded a 2012 Newswomen’s Club of New York prize for her coverage of the Sandy Hook shooting. Previous to the Forward, she worked as a reporter at alternative newsweeklies and political news sites in Utah, Colorado and Texas. Her writing has also appeared in Salon, The Daily Beast and Guernica.

She holds a Master of Arts degree in political journalism from Columbia University. The only Forward staffer from Utah, she is responsible for bringing Western Wear Wednesday to the office.
In her September 2015 article Zeveloff begins:
It’s a constant of virtually every profile written about Bernie Sanders: Shortly after college, the Vermont senator now running for president volunteered at an Israeli kibbutz.

Depending on the writer, this detail might speak to Sanders’s Jewish identity, his stance on Israel, or his socialist values. Were any or all of these honed in the communal agrarian idyll of 1960s Israel? No reporter or analyst has been able to fully address this question because no one has been able to pin down which kibbutz Sanders volunteered at for several months in 1964, after his graduation from the University of Chicago. Including me.

On my part, it’s not for lack of trying. Not even his brother, Larry Sanders, knows, despite the fact that he himself volunteered at two kibbutzim in Israel — Matsuva in the North and Yotvata in the South — and even met his first wife in Israel. Larry Sanders never visited Bernie Sanders on the kibbutz, but he said that it was a formative experience for his brother.

The name of Sanders’s kibbutz might seem like a minor detail, but it’s important. Among other things, it could build on our understanding of his formative years before he became a populist firebrand filling stadiums across America as Hillary Rodham Clinton’s main challenger in the Democratic primary race. Was it one of the hard-left kibbutzim of that era affiliated with the Marxist political party Mapam? Or was it one of the more moderate socialist communities affiliated with the ruling Mapai party?
Let's keep in mind that after failing to find the kibbutz, Zeveloff states: "And in case you’re wondering, I did ask the Sanders campaign. No one ever responded."

Then on February 4, 2016, another article by Zeveloff appeared Revealed at Last! Inside the Kibbutz Where Bernie Sanders Lived and Learned Socialism in which she tells us:
The Democratic Party’s socialist presidential candidate, it turns out, volunteered at Kibbutz Sha’ar HaAmakim, near Haifa in northern Israel, in 1963.

Sanders’ time on the kibbutz, where he lived for a few months with his ex-wife, Deborah Messing (born Deborah Shiling) is referenced in virtually every profile of the candidate.

Founded in 1935 by Romanian and Yugoslavian Jewish immigrants, Shaar HaAmakim was part of Hashomer Hatzair, a socialist youth movement. The kibbutz was affiliated with Mapam, a political party to the left of Labor.

“The kibbutz was a full commune,” said Irit Drori, a 72-year-old former secretary of the kibbutz. Typical of the time, children were raised in a dormitory apart from their parents, who lived in small apartments.

The kibbutz founders had a strong admiration for the Communist system in the Soviet Union.

“Today we know how many were killed there in the gulags, but when the kibbutz was founded, they believed that from Russia will come the truth,” she said. “They called Stalin the ‘Sun of the Nations.’”
Beginning the next day, the right picked up this news as explained in this article attempting to defend Sanders' Israel experience in The Forward Bernie Sanders Stint at 'Stalinist' Kibbutz Draws Red-Baiting From Right which tells us:
It didn’t take long after news broke that Bernie Sanders had volunteered decades ago on a hard-left kibbutz in Israel for right-wing critics to start lobbing ever-scarier adjectives at him.

“Bernie Sanders’s 1963 stay at a Stalinist kibbutz,” was the title of Thomas Lifson’s piece on the site American Thinker, posted soon after the kibbutz was identified after months of mystery. Over at Frontpage Magazine, Daniel Greenfield’s article ran under the headline: “Bernie Sanders Spent Months at Marxist-Stalinist Kibbutz.”

The descriptions seem damning, especially from the perspective of more than 50 years since Stalin’s death and the world’s absorption of the reality of his murderous, dictatorial and anti-Semitic regime. Yet at the time, as the two right-wing websites point out, Hashomer Hatzair, the kibbutz movement that Sha’ar Ha’Amakim belonged to, had quite a different perspective.

On the day of Stalin’s death, March 5, 1953, the front page of Al Hamishmar, the movement’s newspaper, carried a photo of the late Soviet leader under a full-width headline: “The Progressive World Mourns the Death of Stalin.” Greenfield at Frontpage concludes: “Bernie Sanders wasn’t there because he liked Israel. Hashomer Hatzair did not like Israel. It ultimately wanted to destroy it.”
So, Bernie Sanders campaign argues that he has been sufficiently vetted, yet Bernie wasn't asked by the hosts or moderators about what Larry Sanders called "a formative experience for his brother" at any of the following debates which occurred after the news report on the kibbutz:
  • February 4, 2016 – Durham, New Hampshire - hosted by Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow, broadcast by NBC News.
  • February 11, 2016 – Milwaukee, Wisconsin - hosted by PBS NewsHour anchors Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff, it aired on PBS and was simulcast by CNN
  • March 6, 2016 – Flint, Michigan - hosted by Anderson Cooper and aired on CNN
  • March 9, 2016 – Miami, Florida - Sponsored by Univision and the Washington Post, moderated by Jorge Ramos and broadcast on Univision
  • April 14, 2016 – Brooklyn, New York - Moderated by Wolf Blitzer and broadcast on CNN
In addition to the main debates, there were eight live forums during which no one asked Bernie about his kibbutz experience. Some vetting process!

If Bernie became the nominee, at this point he could do all the 'splaining he wants, Lucy," but this information when finally reported accurately and factually by the mainstream news media after the Trump campaign attacks him would end Bernie's chances in Ohio, Florida, and most other swing states, and might cost him some normally Democratic states.

And in case there is some doubt that the attack by Trump would occur, we have this from the Washington Post about historian, poet, and journalist Robert Conquest The man who helped kill the Soviet Union with information that ends with:
Conquest lived to see a current U.S. presidential candidate, a senator, who had chosen, surely as an ideological gesture, to spend his honeymoon in the Soviet Union in 1988. Gulags still functioned, probably including some of the “cold Auschwitzes” in Siberia, described in Conquest’s “Kolyma.” The honeymooner did not mind that in 1988 political prisoners were — as may still be the case — being tortured in psychiatric “hospitals.” Thanks to the unblinking honesty of people like Conquest, the Soviet Union now is such a receding memory that Bernie Sanders’s moral obtuseness — the obverse of Conquest’s character — is considered an amusing eccentricity.

Finally we have this list from Investor's Business Daily to further advise Trump's attack:
Sanders has a long resume of radicalism. Here’s the rest of Sanders’ subversive past the media are keeping under wraps:

1963-64: He joined the Young People’s Socialist League, the youth wing of the Socialist Party USA. Sanders also organized for a communist front, the United Packinghouse Workers Union, which at the time was infiltrated by hardened Communist agents and under investigation by the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

1971-76: Sanders helped found the socialist Liberty Union Party in Vermont, where he ran for governor and senator while calling for the government takeover of the medical industry and “all privately owned electric utilities,” as well as the “nationalization of the oil industry” — “without compensation to the banks and wealthy individuals who own them.”

Sounding like Lenin, he also demanded the government actually seize corporate assets and the wealth of billionaires, namely the Rockefellers, and redistribute it “for all people.”

1977: As founder of the socialist American People’s Historical Society, Sanders produced a 30-minute color documentary exalting his hero, socialist revolutionary Eugene Debs, who was jailed under the Espionage Act. (Today he keeps a portrait of Debs on his Senate office wall.)

1979: Sanders penned a piece for a local leftist rag arguing for the public takeover of the television industry, banishing commercial advertising and putting content under control of the government, a la Pravda.

1981: As Burlington’s new mayor, Sanders announced he didn’t believe in private charities and favored disbanding them, explaining government should be responsible for all social welfare and charity.

1981: Sanders adopted a Soviet sister city outside Moscow, as well as a city in Nicaragua to support the communist Sandinista revolution there.

1985: Sanders invited officials from the Soviet Union and communist China to stop by his office, while proposing that Washington divert military defense funds to “pay for thousands of U.S. children to go to the Soviet Union.”

July 1985: After passing a resolution pledging Burlington would defy President Reagan’s embargo on communist-controlled Nicaragua, Sanders traveled to Managua to attend, along with Soviet officials, an anti-U.S. rally sponsored by the Sandinistas.

He reportedly stood with a crowd that chanted, “Here, there, everywhere, the Yankee will die.” His trip was said to have been paid for by the Sandinista government. Sanders, in turn, invited Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega to visit the U.S.

1985: In a letter to the Sandinistas, according to the New York Post, Sanders pledged his support for their “struggle,” calling it a “heroic revolution” while accusing the Reagan administration of engaging in “terrorist activities.”

1985: In an interview with Vermont government-access TV, Sanders claimed: “The Sandinista government has more support among the Nicaraguan people — substantially more support — than Ronald Reagan has among the American people,” even though Reagan had just been reelected in a historic landslide.

1985: In the same interview, he praised Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, claiming “he educated their kids, gave their kids health care, totally transformed society.” He later showed his affection by traveling to Havana and meeting with its mayor.

1985: In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Sanders proclaimed: “The whole quality of life in America is based on greed. I believe in the redistribution of wealth in this nation.”

1988:  One day after wedding his second and current wife, Jane Sanders, the two traveled to the USSR for their honeymoon. Upon returning, Sanders praised communist health care and housing, noting “the cost of both services is much, much higher in the United States.”

1989: With the West on the verge of winning the Cold War, Sanders addressed the national conference of the U.S. Peace Council — another known front for the Communist Party USA, whose members swore an oath to “the triumph of Soviet power in the U.S.”

The Clinton Campaign, much vilified by Sanders and his supporters, has taken the high road and ignored this. That was probably a mistake.

The headlines should have been about Mayor Pete Buttigieg winning (nearly?) in Iowa. They weren't.

Did you know that going into the Iowa Democratic Caucuses that almost everyone - polls, pundits, reporters, etc. - expected Pete Buttigieg to run fourth behind Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren, and more or less tied with Amy Klobuchar? Well, everyone but Buttigieg.

Did you know that it appears that Pete Buttigieg (aka Mayor Pete) likely will get the same number of delegates from Iowa as Bernie Sanders because they are more-or-less tied for first?

If you didn't know, it isn't surprising. Mayor Pete should have been the headline. But because of some snafu in the Iowa system, he wasn't. Or maybe because he is centrist and gay, the press doesn't consider him a viable candidate.

All of it just reminds me of the weirdness of the Democratic Party Presidential Candidate selection system.

And it reminds me of the resentment Californians feel every four years. The New Hampshire primary is next. Really? There are 8 counties in California larger than New Hampshire and 3 counties in California larger than Iowa. Both New Hampshire and Iowa are 90% non-Hispanic white while California is 38% non-Hispanic white. And then there is this:

Still it is interesting. Mayor Pete is the most capable of the Presidential candidates who were considered in the Iowa Caucuses. He's smart, well-spoken, well-educated, a veteran, and not at risk of senility in the next four years.

Folks in Iowa must have been aware that Mayor Pete is a Millennial. Sanders and Biden are members of the Silent Generation. Warren and Klobuchar are Baby Boomers. There are no GenX-er's in that group which is just wrong. Clearly, Mayor Pete is young. If elected he would be four years younger than Jack Kennedy was in his first year of office.

Mayor Pete is considered unelectable because he's gay. Of course, Kennedy was considered unelectable because he was Catholic.

As a member of the Slient Generation, I just might vote for Mayor Pete. We members of the Silent Generation are too old.

Monday, January 27, 2020

It's hard not to endorse Michael Bloomberg if you believe the climate crisis - without the fog of asperational socialism - is the issue that matters.

If you weren't aware of it, Michael Bloomberg has secured the endorsements of the mayors of three major cities in California – Stockton, San Francisco, and San Jose.

Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs stated: ""I am excited to endorse Mayor Bloomberg for President as he has the record, the relationships, and the resources to defeat Donald Trump and reclaim our democracy." Following his endorsement, Mayor Tubbs was also named a national co-chair of the Bloomberg presidential campaign.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed said on Facebook that she is backing Bloomberg because he “is the only candidate for president with a real plan for African Americans”, touting his Greenwood Initiative to increase black home ownership and the number of black-owned businesses.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a statement "Mayors don't have the luxury of hyperpartisan tongue-wagging, they have to solve problems and get things done."

And in Bloomberg snags fifth congressional endorsement in Politico Monday, we learned that Rep. Scott Peters of California's 52nd Congressional District endorsed Mike Bloomberg citing Bloomberg's plans to fight climate change and spiraling gun deaths.

Given the importance of the climate crisis, this writer could not simply ignore these endorsements simply cannot be ignored. Bloomberg has been a big player in climate policy.

In 2015 Michael Bloomberg, as the U.N. Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change along with Mayor Anne Hidalgo of Paris hosted the Climate Summit for Local Leaders a gathering of Mayors and others as part of the meeting that resulted in the Paris Accord. At that gathering, Bloomberg told the attendees: “You were not elected to ask the public where they want to go, you were elected to have a vision about what is right for the people you serve, and then to convince them to follow you to a better life.”

Prior to that meeting, on October 8 Bloomberg and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson were interviewed by WBUR's Here & Now host Jeremy Hobson. You can listen to that interview using this link.

In response to President Trump's announced withdrawal of the U.S. from that Paris Accord, in July 2017 Bloomberg and California Governor Jerry Brown launched The America's Pledge initiative which (funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies Support LLC,) aggregates, quantifies and publicizesthe actions of states, cities and businesses and other non-national actors in the United States to achieve the Paris climate accord goals.

In 2019 a Los Angeles Times article explained:

    Despite President Trump‘s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, the United States hasn’t completely abandoned the landmark international agreement.
    More than 400 city leaders have joined the Climate Mayors association, and 25 states and territories have joined the U.S. Climate Alliance. Both organizations have vowed to uphold the country’s Paris pledge.
    Many city, county, state and tribal governments have also signed the We’re Still In declaration, which reiterates support for the accord. So have 2,200 businesses and investors, 350 universities and 200 faith groups.
    Together, these players account for almost 60% of the U.S. economy, half the country’s population, and 37% of its greenhouse gas emissions, according to an assessment by America’s Pledge, an initiative focused on sub-national climate actions led by former California Gov. Jerry Brown and ex-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
    If this collection of governments and organizations were their own country, they would be the world’s third-largest emitter.
    In a 2018 analysis, Frisch and her colleagues found that existing commitments by sub-national actors could achieve two-thirds of the emissions reductions called for in the U.S.’s Paris pledge. Broader participation and additional measures, like rapid retirement of coal-fired power plants, could bring that number close to 90%.
    Under Obama, the U.S. had promised to get emissions 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025. The country is already almost halfway there, although emissions rose in 2018 for the first time in three years.
    To tackle the other half, all eyes are now on cities, states and businesses.

The The America's Pledge website offers a lot of information, some of which is summarized by the graphics below:

We are confronted with a lineup of candidates running in the Democratic Presidential primaries. Unfortunately, early on many have signed on to the "Green New Deal" proposal of self-declared socialists Senator Bernie Sanders and first-term Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez which entwines socialist asperational goals into climate crisis policy. Senator Elizabeth Warren, has offered proposed complex economic policies designed to reduce carbon pollution.

I'm not quite sure what this all has to do with the Presidency. No one who understands American government can believe that complex economic goals, particularly socialist ideas, can be easily achieved by a President. Any policy to implement the goals must be approved by the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate - you know, Congress. Just ask Obama how limited Presidential powers are when trying to get, say, a health care agenda passed in Congress with a Democratic majority in both houses.

For this writer, there is only one problem facing the people of the world, including Americans. That problem is the climate crisis.

As outlined above, only one candidate in the Democratic Presidential primaries has provided leadership to help American states, local governments, and private companies and citizens successfully act to reduce climate change. That candidate is Michael Bloomberg.

Of course Bloomberg is a billionaire. And as Mayor of New York, he was not the most socially sensitive of government officials. And he is most certainly not a socialist.

But when it comes to federal policy, at some point we might want to consider some things. For instance, what are the likely cost increases for health care going to be from climate change? Considerable evidence has already been gathered. One study examined 10 climate-sensitive events during 2012 that led to 917 deaths, 20,568 hospitalizations, and 17,785 emergency department visits, along with other health-related expenses, totaling nearly $10 billion (in 2018 dollars) in health-related costs.

Many types of health problems linked to 2012 climate-sensitive events that extended way beyond what typically comes to mind including pregnancy complications, carbon monoxide poisonings, and kidney disease complications, all linked to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey and New York.

Wildfire-driven air pollution in Colorado and Washington caused hundreds of premature deaths. Harmful algal blooms in Florida resulted in a large number hospital admissions and emergency room visits.

In other words, while there’s growing scientific evidence on the health impacts of climate change across the country, regarding your children's health apparently some of the candidates are committed to bogging Congress down in arguing over whether to abandoned Obamacare for a single-payer system. What was that story about a government leader fiddling while Rome burned?

All this leaves this writer wondering if Bloomberg might not be the best choice, not just because he has a lot of money to use to challenge Trump, but because he might be the best leader to get the U.S. government back on track to fight the climate crisis.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

A depressing climate crisis update to all: When we fixed the ozone problem we made the greenhouse gas problem worse. Can humans solve the problem?

If you are old enough you might remember that hole in the ozone layer that appeared over Antarctica in the 1980s. In 2019, NASA announced the "ozone hole" was the smallest ever since it was first discovered in 1982.

The main cause of ozone depletion and the ozone hole is manufactured chemicals, especially manufactured halocarbon refrigerants, solvents, propellants and foam-blowing agents (chlorofluorocarbons referred to as ozone-depleting substances (ODS). We fixed it through the adoption of the Montreal Protocol in 1987, which bans the production of CFCs, halons and other ozone-depleting chemicals.

So we can fix things, right? Uh, well....

We first world humans didn't give up anything to fix it. We can't and don't. Instead we substituted hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) so that we didn't have to go a day without refrigeration or air conditioning and whatever. And third world folks embraced our selfishness brilliance by using HFC's in their expanding economies.

Funny thing. HFC-23 used in refrigerators, inhalers and air conditioners turns out to be a potent greenhouse gas. And after folks around the world agreed in 2015 to drastically reduce emissions of HFC, a study published this month in Nature Communications titled Increase in global emissions of HFC-23 despite near-total expected reductions tells us "atmospheric observations show that emissions have increased and in 2018 were higher than at any point in history."

Of course as noted here previously leaks of the little-known gas Sulphur hexafluoride, or SF6, are rising as an unintended consequence of the green energy boom and it is 23,500 times more warming than carbon dioxide (CO2).

And as noted here previously all the devices used by GenZ's and Millennials, and the rest of us, are supported by an infrastructure that spews out carbon dioxide, a key source of temperature increases in the past 10 years.

It really seems like when addressing environmental problems we don't understand what we are doing and what needs to be done.

It is tempting to accept the point-of-view of Donald Trump expressed at this week at World Economic Forum in Switzerland:

    This is not a time for pessimism, this is a time for optimism. To embrace the possibilities of tomorrow, we must reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse. They are the heirs of yesterday’s foolish fortune tellers.
    They want to see us do badly, but we don’t let that happen. They predicted an overpopulation crisis in the 1960s, mass starvation in the 70s, and an end of oil in the 1990s. These alarmists always demand the same thing: absolute power to dominate, transform and control every aspect of our lives. We will never let radical socialists destroy our economy, wreck our country or eradicate our liberty.

The problem is neither Trump nor I will live to see the real impact of the climate crisis. Truthfully it will be those of GenZ and their children and grandchildren. Speaking for them in Switzerland, Greta Thunberg said: “Our house is still on fire. Your inaction is fueling the flames by the hour,and we’re asking you to act as if you love your children more than anything else.”

Who is right? Perhaps we should consult some Koalas in Australia....

Monday, January 13, 2020

A depressing climate crisis update to all: Rising ocean temperatures will increase violent deaths!

One-third of the total human population lives within 60 miles of an ocean coastline, two-thirds live within 300 miles, and four-fifths live within 500 miles. Humans tend to not get far away from water. Historically, when they moved away from oceans they tended to follow rivers. So the story above matters to humans. It explains:

    The new analysis shows the past five years are the top five warmest years recorded in the ocean and the past 10 years are also the top 10 years on record. The amount of heat being added to the oceans is equivalent to every person on the planet running 100 microwave ovens all day and all night.
    The results show heat increasing at an accelerating rate as greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere. The rate from 1987 to 2019 is four and a half times faster than that from 1955 to 1986. The vast majority of oceans regions are showing an increase in thermal energy.

An accompanying article is headlined Climate crisis likely to increase violent deaths of young people – report.  It asserts: "Rising temperatures caused by global heating are likely to increase deaths from road crashes, violence, suicides and drowning, according to new research, and will affect young people most."

By "young people" one can conclude from a graph in the article that its folks age 15-75 and far more men than women.

One might want to believe that the U.S. population is not as concentrated by the oceans as other parts of the world.

Yeah. Hey, Chicago a long ways from any ocean. Except, of course, the Great Lakes are right there. And, of course, as the Detroit News and others noted last year  Report: Great Lakes warming faster than rest of U.S. So if you add the states with beach frontage on the Great Lakes to those with beach frontage on the oceans, you have about 80% (aka four-fifths) of the American population).

As noted here in 2018 "no one is mentioning the many, many American billionaires quietly investing in expensive homes on hundreds or thousands of acres of ranch land in the area of the Eastern Slope of the Continental divide." They are buying for the future in states without beaches. Of course, most already own property in states with beaches - frequently homes on the beaches. But it doesn't hurt to have a little "get away" for their kids and grandkids.

You don't get to be a billionaire by ignoring facts like the oceans are heating more rapidly now that we missed the chance Al Gore gave us in the 1980's to do something about Global Warming, in fact heating four and a half times faster in the period from 1987 to 2019 than they did from 1955 to 1986.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

A depressing climate crisis update to all. Victoria Police Facebook post: "You are in danger and need to act immediately to survive. It is too late to leave."

The 2019–20 Australian bushfire season is of cataclysmic proportions as it has burned an estimated 21 million acres (32,000 square miles), destroyed over 2,500 buildings (including over 1,900 houses) and killed 25 people as of 5 January 2020. Much of the burned land is bushland, forests and national parks, home to the country's beloved and unique wildlife. This event is due to the climate crisis created by 20th Century human civilization. But the victims here are koalas, kangaroos, and other wildlife.

For some perspective we should note that the 2018 California wildfires consumed 2 million acres and the 2019 Amazon rainforest wildfires burnt 2.2 million acres - each just 10%± of this year's Aussie bushfires. And, of course, the Australian fires are still burning.

In What Will Another Decade of Climate Crisis Bring? in this week's The New Yorker Elizabeth Kolbert, whose multiple award-winning (including a Pulitzer Prize) climate writings have been quoted here extensively, expressed frustration:

    ...If in the past year (or the past decade) the world began to understand how dangerous climate change is, it certainly didn’t act like it. In the past ten years, more CO2 was emitted than in all of human history up to the election of J.F.K.
    In 2015, in Paris, world leaders, including President Barack Obama, committed to holding the average global temperature increase to “well below 2°C.” They never committed to how they were going to do this, however, and last month, in Madrid, the creaky machinery of climate diplomacy came very close to breaking down altogether. The Trump Administration, which has filed to withdraw the United States from the Paris agreement, and the [Australian Prime Minister Scott] Morrison government, which wanted to use an accounting trick to fulfill its Paris commitments, were explicitly blamed for the stalemate. Many commentators noted the irony of the situation. A headline in the Guardian put it this way: “AUSTRALIA TOOK A MATCH TO UN CLIMATE TALKS WHILE BACK HOME THE COUNTRY BURNED.”
    Every decade is consequential in its own way, but the twenty-twenties will be consequential in a more or less permanent way. Global CO2 emissions are now so high—in 2019, they hit a new record of forty-three billion metric tons—that ten more years of the same will be nothing short of cataclysmic. Unless emissions are reduced, and radically, a rise of two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) will be pretty much unavoidable by 2030. This will make the demise of the world’s coral reefs, the inundation of most low-lying island nations, incessant heat waves and fires and misery for millions—perhaps billions—of people equally unavoidable.

The climate crisis - Climate Change, Global Warming - is an ongoing worldwide cataclysm which in geological time is extremely fast- moving. It is an unprecedented speed, albeit not quite as fast as that ultimate bad day for the dinosaurs sixty-six million years ago when a devastating asteroid impact occurred near the Mexican town of Chicxulub. In geological time there is little difference between that event and the current climate crisis.

Unfortunately the common human perception of time considers a generation (20 to 30 years loosely defined) as a significant period of time. In that context, for the general population of the first world there can never be a generally accepted climate "crisis."

The term "crisis" means the "turning point." In the context of Climate Change it is a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future experiences will be worse.

As noted by Kolbert, it is true that "in the past ten years, more CO2 was emitted than in all of human history up to the election of J.F.K." But in the case of Climate Change, for the past 60 years every day has been, and every day hence will be, a "turning point" as pollutants have accumulate in the atmosphere making all future experiences worse.

In this context, the first knowledge of such turning points occurred decades ago for Al Gore's generation. In 2009 in an appearance on the NBC sitcom "30 Rock", using the term climate crisis Gore summarized what he had been saying for three decades:

    If we're going solve the climate crisis, we've got to change more than the lightbulbs and the windows. We've got to change the laws and the policies through collective political action on a large scale.

Another term is evolving in the legal community.  "Climatic Conditions" refers to the frequency and severity of hurricanes, tornadoes, fifty (50) year or greater floods as defined prior to the year 2000 by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), ecological drought as defined by the USGS,  heat waves, and other weather events such as temperature, wind, precipitation (rain, snow, ice, hail), lightning, etc. To the extent such events are similar, reoccurring, unusually severe events, and increasing in frequency, it can be said that Climatic Conditions have changed or were previously misrepresented.

The important thing to understand about the evolving legal term is that it is occurring within the American legal community. Along with the U.S. military acting to adapt to Climate Change, this should tell Americans that the climate crisis is real within the important institutions which sustain the structure of our lives despite politics and democracy.

Three responses to the climate crisis are possible:
  1. let individuals, families, and corporations adapt their lives to both weather events and economic disruption by making changes in where they live and changes in standard of living and by accepting the statistics and reality of poorer health and reduced lifespans;
  2. have society and government attempt to provide relief to those experiencing the impacts of the catastrophe; and/or
  3. have society, primarily through government, collectively attempt to reduce the scope and/or depth of the catastrophe.
In the past decade the first response has been the experience for millions of people and in the future will be the experience of millions of more people.

In the past decade the second response has resulted in limited relief and an increasing struggle to deal with an ever-greater number of events and the costs thereof.

In the past decade attempts at the third response have proved futile. Greta Thunberg notwithstanding, there is no indication that situation will change as new generations assume power and responsibility.

The overwhelming difficulty is that collective action would require a significant reduction in the standard of living for the first world population. And for first world people that would only happen if a clearly defined "crisis" or 'turning point" could be seen - a Germany invades Poland or Japan bombs Pearl Harbor type of event.

In geological time, it is becoming clear that an irreversible turning point occurred sometime around the beginning of this new millennium. There is no hour or day, or week, or month, year, or decade in which that happened. Scientists dealing with geological time frequently define beginnings and ends in terms of more than 1,000 years. It is nearly impossible for most people to shift their perception framework from months and days to millenniums and centuries. We do not live for or plan for a time in excess of 100 years from now. So we cannot adjust downward our current standard of living for someone who will be living in the year 2150.

Unfortunately, despite leadership efforts to deal with the climate crisis, much of the population of California lives in areas that already have exceeded the threshold set in the 2015 Paris climate accord provision to keep average warming “well below” 2 degrees Celsius:

The truth is best expressed in the article referenced above by Santa Barbara County farmer Guner Tautrim while describing a weather event: “I call what’s happening here ‘global weirding,” His farm was deeded to his family as a Spanish land grant more than two centuries ago. No one believes that his family back then should have taken action to prevent the world from becoming what it is today.

The article also noted that offshore the warming ocean has depleted kelp forests and the shelled creatures that lived in them which are food for numerous larger species which relates to the fact that 13 dead whales washed ashore in San Francisco Bay in 2019, many of which had completely empty stomachs.

The difference between humans and the dinosaurs is that the dinosaurs did not knowingly cause their catastrophic event. Humans in the first world both individually and in groups are knowingly causing their event tweet-by-tweet. Those tweets symbolize something called "a lifestyle" which for thousands of people around the world each year results in "a deathstyle." The fact is "the internet" is the source of massive amounts of carbon.

As noted in last year in The Guardian, if every adult in the UK sent one less email each day it "would save more than 16,433 tonnes of carbon a year – equivalent to 81,152 flights to Madrid or taking 3,334 diesel cars off the road."

You see, Greta Thunberg's choice to sail rather than fly was truly symbolic. Yes, it was symbolic about the subject of transportation and the related carbon footprint.

Unfortunately, it was also symbolic of how just one person can stimulate millions of people to use electronic technology infrastructure to communicate about her thereby making the result of Thunberg's trip across the Atlantic the equivalent of hundreds-of-thousands of flights from London to New York.

"In the past ten years, more CO2 was emitted than in all of human history up to the election of J.F.K." Do you really think that is because of foolish people driving diesel vehicles? Or could it be because of smart phones and other devices? Who is to blame?

The inconvenient truth is that humanity will be unable to stop its inevitable ongoing progress towards a worldwide climate cataclysm which will leave not only whales but most larger mammal species extinct because of empty stomachs...well...only those that haven't been incinerated in wildfires.