One of my correspondents told me recently that it had taken Hitler less than three months to take absolute control of the German government. Although I have an understanding of the rise of the Nazi Party and Hitler, I was surprised by her statement, and did considerable research over the next two days.
She was right.
It took Hitler only 53 days from his appointment as Chancellor of Germany (30 January 1933) to become the virtual dictator of that country. That occurred with the passage of the Enabling Act (Ermächtigungsgesetz) on 24 March 1933.
Within months, he withdrew Germany from the League of Nations and began to increase the size of the German army.
He crushed opposition from within his own party during the Night of the Long Knives when between 85 and 200 people were fired with extreme prejudice (murdered), including Ernst Röhm, once a close friend who Hitler feared to have become a rival.
In the United States, we have a penchant for taking the measure of a president by watching his “First 100 Days.”
Are we that unobservant—or in the case of the current president, seemingly oblivious—that we can’t figure out what he represents and where he is headed?
Does Trump appear to be an incredibly clever politician or a moron? If the former, who among his camorra is the Grey Eminence?
Trump has already issued more Executive Orders (XO) than the previous president did in the same amount of time. It seems likely that Trump will set records for XOs (and judicial injunctions against them) for some time to come.
It is likely that two things are in play, creating a depraved synergy.
First, he really is a loose cannon with a disregard for the canons of law and custom. He’s operating from narcissism, anger, and hubris.
Second, he knows that he will be overturned in the courts and demonized by the popular press and the demonstrative public. However, he issues XOs (such as the ones on immigration and border control) to win support among Trump’s Chumps and fire them up against the courts and the progressive protestors.
Whether his actions are deliberate and clever, or simply thoughtless, he is Balkanizing America.
Is this fragmentation of America necessarily a bad thing? Not in Communist orthodoxy. Please recall that dialectical materialism (diamat), based on the writings of Karl Marx and Fredrich Engles, is a theory that political and historical events result from the conflict of social forces and can be viewed as a series of contradictions and their solutions. Diamat is the foundation of Marxism, and was officially adopted as a fundamental part of Russian communism. That doesn’t mean that the basic theory is flawed.
I’ll put it this way: if two people (or two centers of political power) have different opinions about something and they can solve the apparent contradiction, then they may reach a solution that works.
I think, however, that people often are too polarized and too attracted to single-issue politics for diamat to apply. For example, it would be difficult for the “Pro-Life” and “Pro-Choice” factions to speak to one another civilly since they have a deeply-rooted, fundamental disagreement. It appears from the demonstrations and donations to the American Civil Liberties Union these past few days, that there are very strong feelings on progressive side of the issue. It appears from Trump’s statements (and lies) and the statements (and lies) of his staff and sycophants in Congress to the press, that there are very strong feelings on the “conservative” side of the issue. Can dialogue, diamat, be applied to resolve this issue?
I am afraid that Trump will continue to create polarization that may become too great to allow a civil conversation, much less resolution. He is creating dissension; more, he is creating dissensus.
The XO on immigration, something in which the State Department is heavily vested, brought a thought about Trump and his nominee for Secretary of State, Tillerson. Their links to Russia and Putin reminded me of Richard Condon’s, “The Manchurian Candidate.” That raised the question: Is Trump a sleeper agent, a Raymond Shaw? If so, which of the congeries with which he has surrounded himself is the Queen of Diamonds? Which one is his KGB handler?
An armadillo is a stupid animal, the moron of the animal world. But even one armadillo can do an amazing amount of damage to a lawn. They blunder along, searching for grubs and digging cone-shaped holes to retrieve them.
In the words of H. L. Mencken, “On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
I will side with progressives against an armadillo.
It’s pretty obvious that the Trump administration isn’t bullish on addressing climate change. In fact, while Trump opposes any efforts to protect the climate, at times he seems absolutely clueless. For example, in response to a question about the human-caused (anthropogenic) contribution to climate change, Trump told the New York Times, “I'm looking at it very closely... I have an open mind to it. There is some, something.”
This is no more than a transparent attempt to walk-back his firm and clear opposition to any attempts to protect the environment or deal with climate change. Before the inauguration, he repeated promises to cancel all “job-killing restrictions” that currently protect the environment, not just those that contribute to climate change. He promised to lift production limits on coal, to cancel payments to the UN climate change program, and to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.
What can we, as citizens, do?
First, we can discard any notion that God—any god—has anything to do with climate change, for good or for bad.
I’ve heard and read Christians in particular arguing many sides of the issue, based on how they choose to believe various parts of the Bible. Here are some of those arguments.
 God is in control. He’s letting this happen because we are sinful (allowing same-sex marriage, abortion, or contraception for example).
 God is in control. The only way to make things better is to pray to Him for relief. This is especially popular with a couple of Southern goobernors, who have asked the people of their states to pray for rain.
 God is in control and it would be arrogant to believe that humans could affect the climate. That belief threatens the sovereignty of God and is blasphemy.
 What appears to be a small minority, citing Genesis 1:28, suggest that God’s command to subdue Earth and have dominion over it means that humans are stewards of Earth and should do something about climate change.
Other people, some of whom are Christian or who believe in a creator-god, also believe that He or She set the universe in motion some 13.7 billion years ago with immutable natural laws, created humans with free will, then sat back to watch what we do with free will.
Using that logic, our destructive effect on climate comes from an interaction of natural laws with human free will. We of our free will burn coal and oil creating carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas. Natural laws explained by physics, chemistry, meteorology, and other sciences explain how CO2 and sunlight interact to warm the earth.
Other natural laws, some modeled quite well by climatologists, explain how that warmth melts permafrost, releasing methane (CH4) another greenhouse gas that creates more warmth in a positive feedback loop.
Warmth melts arctic ice, exposing more water that absorbs more sunlight warming more water in another positive feedback loop.
Warmth melts Greenland and Antarctic glaciers, contributing to sea level rise. Warmth expands the ocean (yes, it really does) contributing to sea level rise.
Warmth also causes the ocean to release CO2 dissolved in the water—another positive feedback.
There are other natural laws that come into play. They will be discussed in future blog posts.
Getting back to the original question. What can a citizen do?
We need to accept that we are responsible for the production of CO2 that is perhaps the greatest driver of climate change.
Suggesting a letter or email to the president or a member of a congressional delegation is pretty naïve. On the other hand, it couldn’t hurt. There are links at the bottom of the page that might help. Demand that we continue to fund climate change studies, especially the UN-chartered Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Demand that we sign-up to the Paris Climate Accord and its goals. Demand that the EPA be allowed to regulate CO2 as an environmental pollutant. Demand that coal production limits not be lifted, but enforced and expanded.
Suggesting recycling is pretty naïve, too. There are legitimate questions about the effectiveness of recycling anything other than aluminum cans, perhaps paper, and perhaps some plastic. On the other hand, recycling those three things might do more good than harm.
Suggesting conserving electricity at home is also naïve. We’ve probably gone about as far as we can, there: low-wattage fluorescent bulbs, unplugging the vampires (chargers for cell phones, tablets, etc.) when not actually in use, for example.
Suggesting conserving vehicle fuel by driving hybrid cars, smaller cars, carpooling, consolidating errands, eschewing drive-throughs at banks and fast-food places, is definitely naïve. The American love affair with the automobile, the desire to be in control, and the absolute necessity of lining up, engines and air conditioners running, to drop off and pick up children at schools that are already served by school busses… no, we will keep burning gasoline and diesel until that source of energy is exhausted.
Perhaps the best thing we can do as individual citizens is to learn not only what the government (the current administration and its congressional supporters) plans to do, but also about climate change. I’ve included a couple of links that might be of interest, including a leading site that offers arguments against global warming. I hope also that you will continue to read this blog. I plan to focus more on climate change, both historical and contemporary.
For a dystopian look at where unbridled climate change might lead, please consider purchasing a copy of “Holy Fire,” which you will find on the home page of this web site. Royalties are assigned to the Friends of the Peachtree City Library. Thank you for considering this.
Trump on climate change reported at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-37982000. See also many recent blog entries on this site.
How to write to Trump: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/write-or-call
How to find your Representative in Congress:
How to find your Senator:
Tips for writing letters to Congresspersons:
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: https://www.ipcc.ch/
Skeptical Science (“Pro” Global Warming): https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php
For a counter-view (“Anti” Global Warming): http://www.climate-skeptic.com/category/skeptic-summaries
Trump and his camorra lie and defend their lies with more lies. They deal not in truth, but in alternative facts, which are nothing but lies. Their behavior and the environment they have created is a frightening patchwork of lies, naked arrogance, and abuse of power and position to suppress free speech and enrich themselves.
It’s no wonder that George Orwell’s “1984” is currently Amazon’s bestseller.
My fear is that Trump’s coterie of vultures is buying the book thinking it is an instruction manual.
Will Trump create a Ministry of Truth? While truth seems to be anathema to the current administration, Orwell’s Ministry of Truth was dedicated to creating alternative history that supported the party line. Perhaps Trump will create a Ministry of Alternative Facts with the same mission.
In Winston Smith’s London, “nothing is illegal, since there were no longer any laws…” Trump and his gang of sycophants and plutocrats have given ample evidence that they think nothing is illegal if it will enrich them or enhance their power. Witness the delays in providing financial disclosures, Trump’s personal refusal to release his tax returns, the failure of Trump and several appointees to divest themselves of properties and income which bring them into a real conflict of interest and perhaps put them in violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution.
Trump and two highly visible spokespersons seem masters of “doublethink,” a feature of Winston Smith’s musings. Trump claimed that God stopped the rain specifically for Trump’s inaugural address, and that the sun came out. Both are lies. It rained on his speech, and the rest of the day in DC was overcast. His press secretary made clearly false and contradictory statements about the size of the crowds at the inauguration; a spokeswoman later declared those not to be untruths (i.e., lies) but “alternative facts” (i.e., lies).
Trump’s rhetoric (the art of effective or persuasive speaking or tweeting) nicely fits Winston Smith’s description of the speech during the “Two Minute Hate”—“so exaggerated and perverse that a child should have been able to see through it, and yet just plausible enough to fill one with an alarmed feeling that other people, less level-headed than oneself, might be taken in by it.”
There have been reports that some of Trump’s supporters have begun to question whether they were right to support him, and that some have left his camp. Not to fear. As Winston Smith said, “Always there were fresh dupes waiting to be seduced by him.”
It’s not hard to draw parallels between the Trump administration and the world of 1984. While the latter may seem implausible, even impossible, it is neither.
All quotations from “1984” are from the Kindle edition, downloaded 2017-01-25.
Trump and his people’s actions that I compare to themes from “1984” were taken from multiple news sources. A Google search can provide many legitimate news sources as references.
What might a four- or eight-year Trump administration’s denial of climate change and climate science do to the world your children and grandchildren will inherit? The best-case predictions are dire. This post is based on material from Yale University and a peer-reviewed paper published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. Links are at the end of the post.
First, let’s establish what Trump’s views are. Trump has called climate change a hoax and
bull --- t, created by and for the Chinese to harm American industry. Within a few hours of his inauguration, all climate data were removed from the whitehouse.gov web site. He has promised to gut the EPA’s climate science mission. More recently, he has muzzled government agencies’ and employees’ abilities to communicate with congress and the public. He has promised to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Accord.
On the Energy Policy page of the White House web site, Trump promotes “clean coal technology” * and shale oil. He expresses a commitment to eliminate the Climate Action Plan, the Waters of the U.S. Rule, and the United States’s involvement in the Paris Accords. He has overruled (as far as he can do so in an executive order) official objections to the Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines. He signed another executive order to “expedite” environmental reviews of new projects.
* There is no such thing as clean coal; it’s the dirtiest of all fossil fuels. Rebranding it “clean coal technology” doesn’t change the facts.
His attempts to normalize himself with the press and his opposition are quite unbelievable. They are contrary to everything he stands for and has stood for.
His denial of climate change, his commitment to pumping more CO2 into the atmosphere by promoting coal and other fossil fuels, and his suppression of voices of science and reason in the government let us know in no uncertain terms that dealing with climate change will not be a significant part of his administration.
Recently, two climate scientists have said that such a delay in addressing climate change, specifically mitigation of CO2, “could lead to substantially exceeding global temperature limits… .” They suggest that four-to-eight years of inaction could result in a fifteen-to-twenty year (or more) setback in attempts to keep Earth’s temperature from rising beyond the 2C* limit established in the Paris Accord.
* A two-degrees-Centigrade rise in average global temperature is presently thought to be the most the planet can absorb without catastrophic results. The desired goal is no more than a 1.5 degree Centigrade rise.
The scientists say that “even if emissions were to decrease… after eight years, it could take an additional 15-25 years for emissions to get back to current levels…” But this assumes greater efforts toward carbon reduction and carbon sequestration in the future than are currently expected.
The global average temperature rise since the beginning of the industrial age has already reached one degree Centigrade. Scientists are largely in agreement that one more degree would result in catastrophic increases in storm intensity, heat waves, droughts, and extreme cold. No, it’s not “global warming,” it’s global climate change, and the one degree rise in temperature is responsible for the very cold Arctic Vortex.
The amount of carbon that the atmosphere can hold before the 2C limit is exceeded is called the “carbon budget.” The budget for the 2C limit is 1,000 billion tons of CO2. We’ve already used 600 billion tons.
If Trump succeeds in pushing coal and shale oil, we can expect a significant investment in those fuels and in power plants that use those fuels. Even after a Trump defeat at the polls, those investors would expect and be allowed to continue to profit from them. Trump’s destructive policies would live long after his administration.
Further, the climate has a form of inertia that would make the damage done during a Trump administration continue to grow for years, perhaps decades.
Physical inertia is what keeps a pool ball rolling after it’s hit. It’s what keeps your car rolling on a level road after you take your foot off the gas. Climate system inertia isn’t the same.
One example of climate inertia is that even if CO2 were stabilized (no net emissions—something not considered possible anytime soon), there is already enough CO2 in the atmosphere to keep temperatures rising in small increments for years. Another example is that major melting of sea ice in the Arctic and ice shelves in the Antarctic create changes in ocean circulation patterns that can further disrupt climate.
What will be the likely results of the Trump climate policy? Here are a few of which I have high confidence. There are others, and I will address them in the future.
Figure 1 Florida after a 5 meter rise in sea level
Trump on Climate, White House web site: Blog Post 2017-01-22
Effect of Trump’s Climate Denial
Climate System Inertia
Despite attempts by Trump and his camorra to normalize themselves by waffling on climate change, the immediate purging of the whitehouse.gov website of climate science information and the posting of his energy plan show Trump’s true colors.
The “Trump version of reality” is at www.whitehouse.gov, especially the “America First Energy Plan” page that says, in part, “…Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and Waters of the U.S. Rule… committed to shale oil [“fracking”]… clean coal technology… reviving [the] coal industry…”
There is no such thing as “clean coal.” It is the dirtiest of all fossil fuels, and rebranding it “clean coal technology” doesn’t make it any cleaner. Action on climate change and to protect the waters of the United States is neither harmful nor unnecessary. Saying so doesn’t make it so. Perverting the Bully Pulpit to say it so doesn’t make it so.
The Trump energy plan is 380 words long. It uses the word “America” ten times. It’s a propaganda puff piece. It promises to gut the Environmental Protection Agency’s climate science mission. I predict that climate science activities of the US Coast and Geodetic Survey will also suffer. (In fact, I predicted that in my dystopian novel, “Holy Fire.” Please see the home page of this web site.)
The USGS reports earthquakes worldwide every day on their web site. This includes earthquakes linked to fracking. How long do you think they will be allowed to do that?
Trump has for years been a denier of climate change and of the science of climate change.
Trump has called climate change a “con job,” a “hoax” and “bull ---t.” He has said that it “was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” His nominations of Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State and of Scott Pruitt as EPA Administrator suggest that those words are what he believes. His attempts to “walk back” his opposition to the Paris climate pact, the role of the Chinese, and the anthropogenic component of climate change appear to be an attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the American people.
His energy plan is another attempt to do just that. The most frightening thing is that he is likely to get away with it.
What effect will a four-year denial of climate change, science, and reality have on the world’s climate? On the lives and health of you, your children, and your grandchildren? Please check this blog page in a couple of days.
Meanwhile, please consider pursuing some of the references.
* The Obama Administration’s June 2013 “Climate Action Plan” no longer appears on whitehouse.gov, but a .pdf copy is available at https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/image/president27sclimateactionplan.pdf
www.whitehouse.gov A search of the site using the word, “climate” got two hits from history (c. 1933 and c. 1961 in the biographies of two First Ladies). The only current hit was from the “America First Energy Plan,” in the sentence: “…Trump is committed to eliminating…the Climate Action Plan…”
Trump on “clean coal,” climate change denial: Blog Posts of 2016-12-13
Trump on climate change and cabinet nominations: Blog Posts of 2016-11-18, 2016-12-19
Trump on Paris Agreement on climate:
Republican Party platform on fossil fuels and climate change: Blog Post 2016-11-18
The science and reality of climate change:
Blog posts of 2016-12-07, 2016-10-21
But I do have T-shirts that advertise my second novel, “The Stuff of Life.” (You can read more about that on the home page.)
These T-shirts read, “You are the product of 13.7 billion years of cosmic evolution,” and point to this web site.
Recently, I was in a waiting room at the hospital. A fellow who saw me come in, and who had read the message on the shirt, asked, “What does that mean?” Before I could answer, he said, “You don’t believe that, do you?” Apparently in the microsecond between his first and second questions he had deciphered the meaning of the words and decided he disagreed with them.
I tried to answer his questions as briefly as possible.
“It means that about thirteen point seven billion years ago, nothing became something when a burst of energy flared into existence. It’s sort of like, ‘Earth was without form, and void, and God said, “Let there be light.”’ I call it the Big Bang.
“The Big Bang didn’t explode into space, it created space and time. That’s why I said, ‘nothing became something.’
“Over millions of years, the stuff created at the Big Bang became stars, planets, and moons. Sort of like, ‘Two great lights were made; one to rule the day and one to rule the night.’
“There are trillions of stars and probably trillions of planets. On this planet—and maybe others—chemicals, molecules, started hooking up and eventually became living things. They grew and evolved, becoming all the life we see around us, including ourselves. It’s like ‘…grass, herbs, fruit trees…cattle creeping things, and man, male and female.’”
“Yeah,” he said. “But do you believe that?”
To this, I gave my stock answer. “It’s not really a matter of belief. It’s a matter of science. I know just enough about science, the scientific method, and the sciences of cosmology, astronomy, biology, embryology, geology, paleontology, and half-a-dozen others to accept that the story I told you is the best, and probably the only explanation for our existence.”
That didn’t go over very well. He accused me of being an atheist. True, but not something to be denigrated by the way he said it, and his use of the F-bomb was entirely uncalled for.
A year ago or so, I bought a couple of T-shirts with the Christian fish symbol so often seen on the backs of automobiles *. Mine had legs and the word, “Darwin” inside the fish. I’ve stopped wearing these. Why? Because I don’t want people to think that I worship Darwin (or evolution). As I have said elsewhere, “Religion is based on faith, and faith is desperately wanting to believe something that you want to be true, but you cannot prove.”
* (These images of the fish seem to violate the Second Commandment, which prohibits graven images, and Deuteronomy, 4:15-26 which specifically prohibits “the likeness of any fish.”)
I’d rather stick to science, and accept only those things that can be demonstrated, seen, or proven or—especially in cosmology—hypothesized through mathematical models.
If this little essay has piqued your interest (whether in agreement or disagreement), please do two things:
(1) Order a copy of “The Stuff of Life” from Amazon.com at this link:
[That’s a heck of a link. Try searching at Amazon.com at “Paul Lentz author.” Might be easier.]
(2) Read one of the following books. You can find them all at Amazon.com in the Kindle store.
The Oxford King James Version of the Bible (which is in the public domain and which should be free).
For a discussion of the Big Bang and evolution, I recommend the following, most of which I read in Kindle editions:
Coyne, Jerry. “Why Evolution is True.”
Gould, Stephen J. Virtually anything he’s written. Check Amazon.com.
Hawking, Stephen and Leonard Milodinow, “The Grand Design.”
Krauss, Lawrence. “A Universe from Nothing: Why there is Something Rather than Nothing.”
Rees, Martin. “Just Six Numbers: “The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe.”
Tyson, Neil deGrasse. “Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution.
If you can find it, I also recommend Carl Sagan’s original “Cosmos” and, more easily found, Neil Tyson’s remake of that series.
Trump said that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is “obsolete.” He also charged that only five of the 28 members were paying their “fair share” of NATO’s costs.
He’s half right. NATO, itself, said that only five member-states had met the defense-spending goal of 2% of Gross Domestic Product in the past year.
On the other hand, Trump’s claim that NATO is obsolete is rubbish. It should be clear to anyone with even the slightest grasp of international affairs that NATO is perhaps more important, now, than it has been since the presumptive end of the Cold War.
I say “presumptive” and claim that the Cold War never ended. The fall of the Soviet Union—the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)—was followed by the rape of Russia by the remnants of the Soviet Committee for State Security (better known as the KGB). One of the most notorious KGB thugs is now running Russia with more absolute power than was exercised by any Tsar. Make no mistake: Putin wants to reclaim all the countries that once were part of the USSR, and more. He wants to break up the European Union and break the United States.
Does anyone remember, “United we stand; divided we fall”? Putin knows that, and so does Trump. They seem to be allied in an attempt to break NATO and the European Union, and perhaps the United States.
Does anyone really think Trump is going to bring people together when he has an established record of scorning women, Muslims, Latinx, African-Americans, the disabled, and anyone who dares challenge him?
Getting back to NATO, General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, at a confirmation hearing, said that NATO was central to the defense of the United States. Trump says one thing; Mattis says another. Makes one wonder which inmate is running this particular asylum.
(You remember Mattis, don’t you? He’s the one who said, “It’s fun to shoot some people” and “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”)
Perhaps the worst news this week is that Trump promised to “keep” Twitter after he is inaugurated, because, “I can go bing, bing, bing” in response to “dishonest” news.
Dishonest news, and anyone who dares criticize or disagree with him.
Emile Zola is famous for J’Accuse…!, a letter to the editor of L’Aurore in which he accused the French government of anti-Semitism and the unlawful jailing of Alfred Dreyfus. There is a time to criticize. There is a time to speak out. There is a time to accuse. But to use what has become an electronic Bully Pulpit to castigate, to sling ad hominems, to belittle critics, and to lie is a stone cold attack on free speech. Mr. Trump, the Bully Pulpit of the presidency does not give you license to bully.
Zola: start at Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J'accuse) and follow the links at the end of the article.
Bully Pulpit was coined by President Theodore Roosevelt to mean the White House as a place from which he could speak and be heard. Google the term, and follow the links.
Mattis quotations: https://www.conservativereview.com/commentary/2016/12/9-of-the-most-memorable-things-mad-dog-mattis-has-said (and elsewhere)
One of my correspondents recently told me she had seen Carolina Blue Birds and Golden Finches at her feeders much earlier (January) than she remembered ever before. A journal article a few days before that had reported migrating birds being spotted in Chicago (of all places) weeks earlier than normal. One can find (an easy Google search) reports of many other species including butterflies and reindeer migrating earlier and moving higher in mountains. There are also reports of tree lines on mountains rising to higher elevations. (Except, perhaps in Queensland, where abnormally high temperatures and drought are destroying the rainforests. Rainforests in Australia? Who’d a thunk it.)
Perhaps more important, The British Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), which monitors fish populations in the North Sea, reports that squid and other warm water fish (sardines and anchovies, e.g.) are flourishing in the once-cold waters of the North Sea. CEFAS also reports that cod, a common part of fish and chips, are migrating northward, toward Norway. It has been suggested that Britain’s signature dish may become squid and chips.
All of these migrations are evidence of global climate change. There can be no question that climate change is a fact. The only areas that can be open for discussion and questioning are (1) what will the future bring, and (2) what have humans done to cause this and what must we do to ameliorate it?
The unusual weather being experienced in the US and Europe is further evidence of climate change. The North American Continent is presently under the influence of a La Niña event, one aspect of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Georgia is experiencing an unusually warm and dry winter. Temperatures in the Atlanta area are predicted to break 70 degrees F, today, for example. *
Storms get their energy from heat, and Earth is warming. That's the simple explanation. True, but not complete. For example, the ENSO is driven by heat and has a tremendous effect on weather in North America. The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) also called the “thermohaline circuit” and which includes the Gulf Stream, is a huge ocean current that is driven by differences in temperature between the Atlantic Equatorial Current and the waters of the North Atlantic, cooled by the Greenland and Labrador Currents. The AMOC has a lesser effect on our weather, but could have catastrophic effects on both North America and Europe if it ever failed.
A recent peer-reviewed prediction suggested that the AMOC could fail in 300 years. For a nation which seems to be unable to think beyon the next presidential election, that’s probably much too far away to even think about. Certainly none of this is important to Trump or Trump’s Chumps, to the point that they would endanger not only this country but the world in their pursuit of wealth and power.
* Temperature of a single day is an anecdote, and the plural of anecdote isn’t data (despite what too many politicians seem to believe, but that’s another subject).
References (Google anything else that you question.):
One of my correspondents in Montana recently sent to me an email in which he bemoaned the apparent lack of integrity in the transition of Trump from reality TV star to POTUS. He (the Montanan) cited recent news reports about the apparent conflicts of interest among Trump, his family, and their new positions as the Royal Family of the Kingdom of the United States of America. He (the Montanan) cited reports that offices of ethics had not received statements from a number of Trump’s nominees to the coterie of vultures with which he is surrounding himself. He (the Montanan) cited things we’ve all read (but may have forgotten), such as Trump’s stated demand to move commercial aircraft flight paths to keep down the noise at Trump’s Florida resort and golf course. The list goes on.
What my friend doesn’t realize is that Trump and his family and fellows are acting with integrity. Yes, they do have integrity.
Integrity, closely defined, means “adherence to a particular code of ethics or morals.” By that legitimate definition, Mario Puzo’s godfather had integrity. By that definition, the National Socialist Parties of Germany and Italy had integrity. By that definition, Trump and his supporters have integrity.
The Trumpsters are adhering to their code. To introduce that code, I ask you to please recall H. L. Menken’s statement, “No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me--has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”
Sadly, if we remember this thought at all, we tend to remember only the first part, about not losing money. We equate it with P.T. Barnum’s saying that, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” We know, of course that we are not unintelligent and surely we are not suckers, so we tend to dismiss the entire notion. The second part, about getting re-elected has been lost. (I am not a conspiracy theorist, so I won’t say it has been suppressed, although my Montana correspondent might want to disagree.) We do ourselves, our country, and our civilization a disservice by ignoring the apothegms of Menken and Barnum.
Trump’s team does have integrity, for they are committed to their code. For example, they are committed to keeping and increasing their power and wealth. They are committed to continuing and expanding the destructive disparity of income and wealth between themselves and the rest of us. They are committed to using the powers of the US Government to legitimize their theft of labor and money to their own ends. They are committed to a self-aggrandizement that hasn’t existed since the days of the Robber Barons.
How many of you have decided at this point that I am a progressive (the current euphemism for “liberal”)? Don’t bother to raise your hands; I can’t see you.
You would be wrong. I simply try to apply the precepts of David Abelard to everything I read and hear. You will find the precepts at my blogs of 2016-12-15 and 2017-01-08.
I try to recognize the perceptual filters I have created in my mind, and seek to ensure that they are protecting ideas that are valid. You will find more about these filters at my blogs of 2016-08-21, 2016-08-15, and 2016-07-24.
Our nation, our way of life, and perhaps the future of intelligent life on Earth stand at the crossroads. Trump is leading us to perdition.
Menken quotation: 'Notes On Journalism' in the Chicago Tribune (19 September 1926)
Barnum quotation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/There's_a_sucker_born_every_minute [He may not have said this, but it is popularly attributed to him.]
Registered Curmudgeon, scientist, skeptic, humanist, and writer.