Trump has spouted more vitriol. Words that pop from the depths of his mind and find the light of social media and news outlets without any thought being given to them. Words that slip past the conscious mind and thereby reveal the inner Trump. More words that bode ill for us. More words that bode disaster for the children and grandchildren of my generation. Words that, if they have any design at all, are designed to appeal to “Trump’s Chumps,” the ignorant, unwashed, biased masses which narrowly put him in office.
"Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag — if they do, there must be consequences — perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!" Trump said in a tweet.
In response, Mitch McConnell said, "The Supreme Court has held that that activity [burning an American flag] is a protected First Amendment right, a form of unpleasant speech…”
He added, “…in this country we have a long tradition of respecting unpleasant speech.”
We all know (or should know) that the First Amendment to the Constitution, the first Amendment in the Bill of Rights, ensures freedom of religion, speech, and the press. To refresh our memories, here is the complete Amendment:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for redress of grievances.”
Trump is so far off base he’s leaning against the outfield fence. McConnell, bless his heart, was right (for a change). In the first place, burning the American flag, as unpleasant or traumatic as that is to many people, is a form of speech protected by the Constitution and two rulings of the Supreme Court.
In the second place, the Supreme Court has ruled that the Constitution prohibits the removal of the citizenship of a natural-born American.
What I am trying to show, and believe I succeeded in showing, is that once again Trump shows us he is a loose cannon, rolling around the deck of the Ship of State, crashing into bulkheads of law and custom that have protected us for more than 200 years.
There are many, many people who can craft their words better than I can. One is David C. Cole, a law professor at Georgetown University who co-wrote the Supreme Court briefs on flag burning. He said, “To me it is deeply troubling that the person who is going to become the most powerful government official in the United States doesn’t understand the first thing about the First Amendment…”
I can only say, “It is more important to protect the rights enshrined in the Constitution than to pander to the inflated ego of a narcissist.” Visualize the world that will exist for your children and grandchildren if Trump and the increasingly sycophantic Congress and press are able to remove First Amendment protections? Visualize George Orwell’s “1984” on steroids.
What do sunspots have to do with anything?
To bring us up to date, all the heat Earth gets is from the sun. A couple of posts ago, I explained how changes in Earth’s orbit and the tilt of its axis over years, decades, and centuries result in changes in the amount of heat received and absorbed. That blog concluded with, “It’s the sun, but it’s also sunspots.”
When there are more sunspots, the sun puts out more heat. Sunspots are dark, so this may be counterintuitive, but think of the sunspots as geysers… like Old Faithful. They draw to the surface hot material from inside the sun.
Records of sunspots have been kept by Korean astrologers since about 800 B.C.E. The first Western record is a drawing by a monk, John of Worcester, in 1128 C.E.
Since about 1600 C.E., after the invention of the telescope, detailed records have been kept. It was discovered that the number of sunspots is not constant; it varies in an eleven-year cycle. Superimposed on that is a 90-year cycle. When the 11 and 90-year cycles of high and low sunspot numbers coincide, there will be an unusually large or an unusually small number of sunspots.
Sunspot records from 1600 C.E. have been correlated with two significant weather anomalies: the Maunder Minimum (about 1645-1715 C.E.) and the Dalton Minimum (about 1800-1820 C.E.). During those two cold periods, the number of sunspots dropped significantly—to nearly zero during the Maunder Minimum. Temperatures dropped, too. [Remember: “Correlation does not necessarily imply causation.” There may have been other factors at work.]
The Maunder Minimum is associated with a series of exceptionally cold winters, often called “The Little Ice Age.” The Dalton Minimum has been popularized by “The Year Without a Summer.”
During the Little Ice Age, mean annual temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere were about 0.6 degrees Celsius lower than the thousand-year average. This was enough to expand glaciers in Europe, New Zealand, Alaska, and the Andes. During 1816, The Year Without a Summer, global temperatures were as much as three degrees Celsius lower than average. That was enough to create widespread food shortages, famine, and disease.
Temperatures were generally less than one degree Celsius lower in Western Europe and North America, and were as much as a degree warmer [sic] east of the Urals.
Beginning about 1900, the number of sunspots has been unusually high. This period has been nicknamed the Modern Maximum. It is a fair hypothesis to suggest that global warming is due in part to the increased energy from the sun caused by sunspots. However, since the most recent maximum (2000 C.E.), the number of sunspots has declined dramatically, and we are moving into a “solar minimum.” So far this does not seem to have affected the continuing rise of global mean temperatures. There are many things going on besides sunspots.
A few scientists have predicted, based strictly on sunspot activity, that temperatures on Earth around 2030—2040 may resemble those during the Maunder Minimum. Remember… that’s the “Little Ice Age” period.
That would be bad news, because it would offer a false sense of security with respect to global warming and global climate change, and would allow “climate deniers” to say, “We told you so!” without truly understanding the science. At worst, it could throw Earth into another ice age. Further, as the number of sunspots goes down, the high-ultraviolet radiation from the sun increases (good news for sellers of sun block and for dermatologists). The sun’s heliosphere shrinks, allowing more cosmic rays to reach Earth. But sun block, even SPF 100, won’t stop cosmic rays or the secondary X-rays they produce.
On the other hand, there is already evidence that lower sunspot activity and a shrunken heliosphere may reduce the energy of solar flares, which have been known to interfere with electrical power systems, communication satellites, aircraft radios, cell phone signals, and other electrical systems on Earth. That’s good news.
The sun is the source of all heat that Earth receives. We have seen how changes in Earth’s orbit and the tilt of its axis affect how much energy is received and absorbed. We have seen that the amount of energy coming from the sun is not constant.
The next question is, “What does Earth do with this energy?” That will lead to a discussion of Greenhouse Gasses. We’ll look at that in the next post.
Note: The Year Without a Summer was exacerbated by (some volcanologists say “caused by”) the eruption of Mt. Tambora in 1815. Sulfur dioxide injected into the atmosphere reduced the amount of sunlight that penetrated. We saw similar reductions in sunlight following the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991.
http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=10571 [2013-03-28 This is an old article, but it has a graph of sunspot activity from 1900—2012 C.E.]
http://www.sws.bom.gov.au/Educational/2/3/6 [2016-11-24 Sunspot numbers by year from 1700 to 2013]
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/ [2016-11-24 Global mean temperature anomaly estimates based on land and ocean data]
http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/1997/fs113-97/ [Mt Pinatubo 2016-11-22]
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2007AGUFMPP31E..07S [Mt Tamboro]
“Give the schmuck [Trump] a break”
One of my correspondents recently wrote those words to me. My reply? No, I will not give Trump a break. That presupposes I see something good in him, something that will come out if only I will put aside all his venom and vitriol and allow him to re-group and normalize himself with the press.
I am not willing to allow him to alter his public persona to fit what he now thinks is correct. I am not willing to allow him to hide himself behind a façade of respectability. I am not willing to allow him to invoke the sanctity of the office of President of the United States to cloak his evil.
To reiterate what I’ve said, before: Trump has brought to this country a kakistocracy: a government by the least qualified and worst persons possible. His selection of Myron Ebell, labeled a “climate change denier” and a “shill for the energy industry” to head the EPA transition team is just the latest example.
Those of you who elected Trump, please look at your president in the light of his statements of belief. Can you imagine what would happen should he meet with German Chancellor Merkel and try to grab her p…y? Or would he dismiss Queen Elizabeth by saying that she didn’t appreciate his male attractiveness? Is this the person you want to be establishing foreign policy for this country?
Trump has denied climate change. Trump said that he would support “clean coal.” Come on, idiot Trump. There’s no such thing as clean coal. Without getting into the cost in human lives through mine accidents and black lung disease there is no such thing as “clean coal.” Coal produces, depending on the grade of coal, between 200 and 250 pounds CO2 per million Btu (a measure of energy created). That is more than any other fossil fuel. There is nothing that can be done to change that. It’s basic chemistry. It’s a fact that cannot be changed by Trump or any climate denier.
In his YouTube speech a few days ago, Trump touted “clean coal.” Either he’s willfully ignorant, or he is a liar. There is no such thing as clean coal.
No, Mr. Trump. Not only will I not grant you a break, but until you discover the “Alien and Sedition Acts,” and decide to implement them as part of your kakistocracy, I will write.
References and notes:
Petroleum coke, a byproduct of oil refining (and of processing the Alberta tar sands) produces about 225 pounds of CO2 per million Btu. It offers significant environmental hazards in its processing, storage, and use. Most is used in China, India, and South America.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xX_KaStFT8 [accessed 2016-11-23]
Today is Thanksgiving, the day we give thanks for… what? For the day that settlers from England gave smallpox to the aboriginal inhabitants of this continent?
Are we thankful that we are the greatest nation on Earth, before falling asleep in front of a 54-inch HDTV made in China or Korea, and showing a gladiatorial game?
As an aside, the flyers in my mailbox this week are pushing both snack food and anti-acids. Am I the only one who sees the irony?
What do we have to be thankful for?
First, the USA is still the best place on Earth to live. Except perhaps Canada, which has universal health coverage of the sort that the Republican Party and Trump would like to destroy.
Okay, it’s a lot colder in Canada and their definition of “football” is, well, not quite what we think. I’m reminded of the apothegm: “Soccer is football for gentlemen; football is football for idiots.”
Don’t get me wrong. I am a patriot. I’m pretty sure that the United States is the best place on Earth to live. On the other hand I understand the fallacy in the notion of, “My country, right or wrong.”
Make no mistake. We’ve been wrong. We adopted a constitution that enshrined slavery. Then we fought a war over this flaw in our constitution and then amended the constitution to prohibit involuntary servitude except for criminals. Then, we took advantage of that loophole and ran the steel mills of Birmingham and cotton plantations of Mississippi with what amounted to slave labor.
Our Supreme Court once ruled that women, by their very temperament, could not be lawyers. The Jewish bible, whose influence is unfortunately revered by today’s fundamentalists, sets the value of a woman at 60% that of a man—and women’s salaries still reflect that ancient, masochistic value. We elected to be our president a man whose statements clearly show he does not respect women.
We passed a constitutional amendment that prohibits restrictions on voting based on race. When white supremacists implemented poll taxes to stop Negroes from voting, we passed another amendment to stop that.
However, when white supremacists and Republicans make it difficult for persons of color to vote by restricting early voting to work days and by limiting places for early voting, no one spoke out, and the Supreme Court failed to stop this. This, by the way, is the situation today. As of 2016.
It’s obvious that we have not gone very far past the prejudices of the late 19th century. It’s obvious that institutional and individual racist views persist.
I see this when a local elected official denigrates apartment complexes. His argument that apartments “decay faster” than individual homes is specious. His real concern is that “apartments” means “Section 8” which means “poor, black.” Can you say, “dog-whistle?” *
By the way, the expression, “My country, right or wrong,” is often attributed to Carl Schurz, in 1812. But what he said was, “My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.”
The outcome of the recent presidential election and the ongoing transition show me that as a nation we seem to have lost sight of the second part of Schurz’s toast.
Notes and references.
I don’t want to say, “Indians,” since that perpetuates an error on the part of Columbus and others. I don’t want to say “Native Americans,” because technically, having been born in this country I am a native American, but not an enrolled member of any nation or tribe. I’ll use the more technical term, “aboriginal,” meaning “before the origin”—of recorded history, at least.
* Dog whistle is a strategy of communication that sends a message that the general population will take a certain meaning from, but a certain group that is "in the know" will take away the secret, intended message. Often involves code words.
For example: Republicans say they want to make civil rights for gays a state issue, which is really just a dog whistle strategy for saying that they will refuse to grant equal rights on a federal level.
The series, “It’s All About the Children—Climate” will resume no later than Saturday with “Sunspots.”
The law of unintended consequences strikes, again. The Trans-Mountain Pipeline, proposed by Houston-based, Kinder Morgan, would transport sludge [“diluted bitumen”] from the Alberta, Canada tar sands to Vancouver, BC to be loaded into tankers for export to foreign markets. This would result in a six-fold increase in the number of tanker ships using the port.
Problem 1. Increased “chance of oil spills in the seasonal habitat of the endangered Southern Resident killer whale population.” That’s easy to dismiss. Killer whales are endangered? Serves them right.
Problem 2. The additional ships would add their noises, especially the sounds of their propellers, to the already cacophonic waters. Whales do sing. They do communicate with one another. These sounds can travel over as many as twelve square miles of ocean. Except that noise pollution from ships reduces that to something like three square miles. Oh, and the whales also use their song to find mates. Too much noise, no mating. No mating, no more whales. Problem solved, right?
Not really. It’s a bit of hyperbole, but it’s been said that Earth could support life with only three species: brown rice, humans, and dung beetles. It wouldn’t be much of an existence… no Trump monuments to himself, for example… but life could survive.
Biodiversity is often taken as a buzzword of the eco-freaks. I am not an eco-freak. I enjoy a good steak, even though I know the steak’s carbon footprint is many times larger than that of an aubergine cutlet of the same mass. I love my air-conditioning in both home and car. And I keep my computer operating twelve-plus hours per day.
On the other hand, I understand that biodiversity may be essential to the survival of the human race, of the children and grandchildren of my generation. From where will their food come after we have over-fished the Grand Banks and other fishing grounds? From where will their bread come after we have burned the farms of the Midwest from the face of Earth by warming the world? From where will come the vaccines and medicines to counter the new diseases that are daily being unleashed as we alter the climate?
Problem 3. If Canada ships the sludge overseas, it will likely mean less gets to the US. Which means, ultimately, higher prices for petroleum products. You know, the stuff you pump into your car. (Perhaps that got your attention.)
This is a break from my series on climate, focusing on the sun. But it’s still “All About the Children.” Sunspots will continue, probably tomorrow.
In my last blog, I said that the only thing that heats Earth is the sun. That is not quite true. In the spirit of full disclosure, residual radioactivity in Earth’s core does supply some heat, mostly to hydrothermal vents and volcanoes. A lot of additional energy is provided by the hot air of politicians’ speeches. Still, “It’s the sun.”
Why, then, might Earth be warming? Is the energy we get from the sun changing? Is Earth doing something different with that energy? Answer: yes, to both.
Again, this isn’t rocket science or nuclear physics. But it does require that you pay attention and think a little bit.
Earth’s North Pole points toward a star we have cleverly named the North Star or the Pole Star. At some point, we may become more clever and name it the North Pole Star.
Earth’s axis is tilted (about 23.44 degrees at present) with respect to its orbital plane, so that part of the year the northern hemisphere is tilted toward the sun (summer) and part of the year the northern hemisphere is tilted away from the sun (winter). The southern hemisphere, not to be outdone, has the same seasons, but reversed.
Because the North Pole Star is so far away, it seems that the North Pole always points toward it. But while this is going on, Earth acts like a child’s gyroscope. In its travels about the sun, the place in the sky toward which the North Pole points rotates in a circle that takes about 26,000 years to complete. The North Pole Star will be a different star in not so many years. In fact, that’s happened several times in recorded history. This movement is (gyroscopic) precession.
In addition to precession, the axis of Earth “wobbles” in about an 18-year cycle (“nutation”) meaning that every 18 years or so the tilt toward the sun in summer is a tiny bit greater, and the tilt away from the sun in winter is a tiny bit less. Nine years afterwards, the tilt toward the sun in summer is a tiny bit less, and so on.
The orbit of Earth is an ellipse—a slightly squeezed circle. The amount of squeeze is measured as the eccentricity of the orbit. And that changes slightly in a 413,000 years-or-so cycle. Other aspects of the orbit with different periods combine to produce a cycle of about 100,000 years.
The combination of precession and orbital eccentricity then combine to create a roughly 21,000-year cycle. What this boils down to is that different hemispheres (northern, southern) get different amounts of light and heat from the sun and that amount changes in a 21,000 year cycle.
Because there is more land in the northern hemisphere than the southern, and because land absorbs sunlight better than water, today Earth absorbs more heat from the sun than it did about 10,500 years ago, and more than it will in 10,500 years.
In about 10,500 years, the “summer” and “winter” tilt will be reversed, and June and July will be winter months in the northern hemisphere, and December and January will be summer months. Australia may see a White Christmas—if we haven’t destroyed Earth before that.
Around 1920, an astronomer/geophysicist, Milutin Milanković merged these cycles mathematically and plotted them on graph paper. His hypothesis was that these cycles affected the amount of energy reaching and being absorbed by Earth, and therefore, affected global temperatures. A study of ice cores has validated this hypothesis, although there remain some questions that have yet to be answered. Milanković’s cycles are important, but are not the entire answer.
It’s still the sun, but it’s also sunspots.
We’ll look at those in the next post.
Gyroscopic precession: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ty9QSiVC2g0 [accessed 2016-11-18]
For an understandable explanation of Milanković cycles, and some excellent images, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovitch_cycles
In something of an irony, in May 2016, Donald Trump, who has labeled climate change a "con job," a "hoax" and "bull ---t," applied to build a wall along a luxury golf course that he owns in Ireland that is threatened by rising seas caused by climate change.
The Republican Party Platform reads, in part, “Climate change… is the triumph of extremism over common sense… We support the development of all forms of energy… including coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear power, and hydroelectric… we support [fracking].” The platform’s support for renewable energy would be limited to private capital. Later, the platform reads, “The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC} is a political mechanism, not an unbiased scientific institution… We reject the agendas of both the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement… We demand an immediate halt to U.S. funding for the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change…”
And we put these people in control of our government, to the ultimate detriment of the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of my generation.
Earth’s climate achieved a balance shortly after the last ice age. How this happened is not rocket science. It’s basic chemistry, biology, and geology.
For eons, microscopic sea creatures busily absorbed Carbon Dioxide (CO2) from the ocean when creating their tiny shells of calcium carbonate (CaCO3), which settled to the ocean bottom, were compressed, and became limestone. Meanwhile, termites in tropical regions were busily creating CO2. Volcanoes were occasionally spewing CO2, Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) and particulates into the atmosphere. Subduction of tectonic plates (slowly, to be sure) was sliding limestone on the ocean floor under continental plates where some was eventually spewed back into the atmosphere from volcanoes as CO2. The orogenies that built mountains (also slowly) occasionally exposed limestone to erosion, returning some CO2 to the air. Trees absorb CO2 from the air, die, rot, and return that CO2 to the air, unless they are buried for millennia and turn into peat and coal.
There are many natural sources of CO2. There are many natural sinks for CO2 and Earth had achieved something of a balance before we (humankind) began burning, in a century-and-a-half, fossil fuels that had been laid down (thereby capturing carbon) for millennia.
We have measured the amount of CO2 in the air, and have seen it increase steadily. We have measured this directly on top of a mountain in Hawaii since about 1958. There has been a steady rise from less than 320 parts per million to over 400 parts per million.
We have measurements from Antarctic and Greenland ice cores of CO2 in the atmosphere going back to at least 425,000 B.C.E.
We know the CO2 that comes from burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas/methane) is demonstrably different from CO2 from current, natural sources. The simplest way to determine this is to look at the amount of Carbon 14 in the CO2. “Younger” CO2 has a large amount of Carbon 14. Carbon 14 has a half-life of 5,700 years, and does not exist in fossil fuels that are millions of years old… such as coal, laid down during the Carboniferous Period (c. 359—299 million years B.C.E.)
The correlation between rising atmospheric CO2 and rising temperatures has been measured and plotted since about 425,000 B.C.E. It’s a fact.
Earth is warming. That too, is a fact.
What is the source of the heat? The sun, only the sun, and nothing but the sun. And that will be the topic of the next post.
“Republican Party Platform 2016” downloaded 2016-08-07
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/donald-trump-12-outrageous-moments-article-1.2714391 [Accessed 2016-11-16]
I have been a student of weather and climate ever since I became a private pilot and realized that my ability to predict weather was a life-and-death matter on cross-country flights. I have read and studied many references since before “global warming” and “climate change” became issues.
I am so very happy to have correspondents who are smarter than I, and who can punch through my sophomoric rhetoric to identify what is really important.
In my last post, I noted that at age 72 I was little concerned with the world that Trump and his ilk will create. Correspondent SM wrote that while she had at first expressed a similar view, she soon saw that as a froward “…all about me” feeling.
She was spot on. It’s not about me, or her, or you, if you’re older than the millennials.
It’s about the millennials and those younger than they. It’s about the mess we, their progenitors and forerunners have left them.
Do you know that children born in the USA in the past 10—20 years, and who are being born today, have a lower life expectancy than their parents? Do you know that the infant mortality in the United States is higher than in most of the other so-called “developed” countries? Do you know that tens of thousands of children in this country go to bed hungry or not knowing where their next meal will come from? Do you know that millions of children are at risk of measles, influenza, and other communicable diseases because some parents are allowed to enroll their children in public schools without vaccination?
The question of individual rights versus government mandates is a difficult one. For example, science has proven to the satisfaction of anyone with a grain of intelligence that vaccinations save lives and that vaccines are so seldom harmful that the reward of vaccination is worth the risk. Yet parents are allowed to send unvaccinated children to schools, endangering other children, based solely on the parents’ claim to believe in the Bible. In the first place, the Bible doesn’t say anything about vaccination. In the second place, it isn’t a science textbook, but the perverted words of a fictitious history of a tribe of goat-herders a few thousand years ago in the Middle East. Other unvaccinated children are enrolled because their parents have been brainwashed by pseudo-science, or worse. These parents knowingly or in their fundamental ignorance are endangering others’ children. And our government condones and supports this. Too many lawmakers and judges are either similarly brainwashed or are afraid of the power these people wield at the polls.
Why might this be?
Partly, because country has reared at least three generations of people who were not taught critical thinking. How many high-school graduates could define or give an example of a syllogism? If they could give an example, how many could then explain or describe what it means or how to apply to real life the classic syllogism, “All men are mortal. Socrates is a man; therefore, Socrates is mortal.” How many could identify from examples any one of dozens of fallacies of logic? How many could identify any of the recent presidential candidates’ statements as ad hominems? (How many even know what that phrase means?)
How many high school sophomores know that the word “sophomore” comes from ancient words that translate to “wise fool”?
[It's actually more complicated than that. The closest source-definition I found was of sophist, a person who reasons with clever but fallacious arguments. By that definition, Trump is a sophist. And although I am a solipsist, I cannot disappear him.]
As important is “healing” the nation following the election of Trump, the naïve call, “Why can’t we all just get along?” is not enough. It will require action by people of conscience, of intelligence, and of an innate understanding of right and wrong.
As important is “healing,” there are things about our president-elect that we must never forget. For example:
He mocked Serge Kobaleski, a newspaper reporter who suffers from a congenital joint condition (arthrogryposis) that affects the movements of his arms. Later, despite video of Trump’s mocking going viral, he denied mocking the reporter.
He called Clinton, “nasty woman.” That, by the way, is ad hominim. Other of his ad hominems include: “Lyin’ Ted” (Ted Cruz), “Little Marco” (Marco Rubio), “Crooked Hillary” (Hillary Clinton) and “Goofy Elizabeth Warren.”
He said that a registry of all Muslims in this country “is something we should start thinking about.” Elsewhen, he called for “A total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
He attacked US District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, a natural-born American citizen, suggesting the judge’s Mexican heritage made him unsuitable to preside over lawsuits against Trump University. “The judge is of Mexican heritage. I’m building a wall.”
Following the shootings at the Pulse Nightclub, and after the gunman had been identified, Trump tweeted: “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance…”
He also said:
“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue, shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” (What does this say about his opinion of those who voted for him?)
“I will build a great wall – and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me—and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
“An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that Barack Obama’s birth certificate is a fraud.”
“I would bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”
“All of the women on ‘The Apprentice’ flirted with me—consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.”
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. … They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with [them]. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Of John McCain, a former Prisoner of War, Trump said, “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
“It’s All About the Children” will continue. I will try to post every second day. Please check back, and please take a look at the description of “Holy Fire” on the home page of this site and on Amazon.com. Thank you.
Yes, froward is a word. It’s the opposite of toward. As in, to and fro. MXMX
References, all accessed 16 November 2016. (I have selected a number of British news sources because I find them generally less biased toward the US left or right than any US media.)
(Although I think the Juffington Post leans a bit to the left, the quotations were factual and verified from other sources.) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/worst-trump-quotes_us_5756e8e6e4b07823f9514fb1
“Kakistocracy,” meaning “government by the least qualified or worse persons,” comes to us from the Greeks. “Kakistos,” meaning “worst, is the superlative form of the adjective, “kakos,” meaning “bad. We credit the Greeks for inventing democracy. We might also give them credit for being able to separate bad government from good.
Greek democracy was not perfect. For example, slaves, women, and children were not enfranchised. Not much different from the USA today. Persons of color and the poor, in particular, are disenfranchised by (usually Republican) governments’ reducing locations for advance voting, limiting advance voting hours to work-days, and making it difficult to obtain official government identification.
When the Soviet Union was breaking up, and then turning itself into the Russian Federation, I joked that “Kakistan” was one of the provinces spun off. “Stan,” in this context of course means “home of the.” Pakistan is the home of the Paks; Afghanistan, of the Afgans. By extension, Kakistan would have been home of Kaka. And of course, we all know that childens’ euphemism for excrement or feces.
Onece, I thought President Obama was responsible for the Balkanization of the United States, for the burgeoning conflict between Blacks and Whites, the quickness of police officers of all races to “shoot first and ask questions later” especially when addressing a Black, and for the strengthening of the Alt-Right.
The election of Trump despite his words and behavior during the campaign and despite any serious plans for the future, the activities of the most radical of his supporters, the actions of Republican-controlled states in limiting and discouraging voting by minorities, Trump’s appointment of Stephen Bannon (former head of Breitbart) as his chief strategist—all these things tell me I was wrong.
The mindless hatred was there, all along, simmering in the cauldron of ignorance and the cesspit of bigotry throughout the nation, waiting only for a demagogue to be elected President of the US and give it the imprimatur of his office.
I am 72 years old and have been diagnosed with several potentially fatal diseases (other than “old age”). I used to think that the collapse of civilization would not occur until after my death. However, I’m beginning to think that given four years of a Trump administration, the inevitable collapse may occur before my 76th birthday.
By the way, I don’t like Clinton, either, so please don’t brand me a libsymp or a Democrat.
Kakistan is not, after all, a former Soviet territory caught between the European Union and the dictator of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, former KGB Colonel whose power is greater than that wielded even by the Tsars. Kakistan is a soi-disant republic that occupies the center of the North American Continent.
For a treatment of a still-potential apocalyptic dystopian future, please see “Holy Fire,” featured on the home page, and available at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle.
A tip of the hat to Anu Garg’s “A.Word.Day at Wordsmith.org, for his post on 14 November, and Dan Warner in the Fort Meyers News Press, on 17 January 2016 for keeping the word, “kakistocracy” alive.
“Bigotry is the anger of ignorant men.” Someone wiser than I said that. It’s an apothegm—a “saying” that isn’t a law of nature or a mandate from a god. Like many such, it may contains grain of truth. Perhaps it can offer a place for discussion and understanding.
In my opinion, our president-elect is a bigot and has demonstrated that sufficiently. He mocked a disabled reporter, publically. I assume he knew that his disgusting parody would be picked up and repeated. Why would he do something like that? Because for his core supporters and voters—people as ignorant and angry as he—it wouldn’t matter.
He treated women as little more than mobile ovaries (and other less polite parts of their anatomy) created for his pleasure. I grant him that privilege. After all, he is the product of his genetic heritage, in which the strongest male impregnates the most females and thereby ensures the survival of his genes. It’s the same argument that has been used to justify rape. I remember a line from a song from the 1960s: “Seduction is for sissies; he-men like their rape.” (Actually, that’s pretty frightening.)]
He assumes… I don’t quite know how to say this… He assumes that people of color? Not quite right. Hispanics? Not inclusive enough. Blacks? Still not inclusive enough. I guess the best way to say it is that he assumes that anyone who isn’t like him is not likeable. A nation of bigoted, angry white men is also pretty frightening.
At the time of the Great Depression of the 1930s that followed the Farm Crisis of the 1920s, the United States, Germany, and Italy were in pretty much the same shape.
Germany and Italy became Fascist states, ruled by dictators. The United States kept its democratic government (although Roosevelt tried to stack the Supreme Court in a way that would have given him greater powers). Democracy survived.
At present, the United States is at a crossroads. Yes, that’s a cliché; I know that. I see before us two roads. One leads to the preservation of Democracy; one leads to a dictatorship of the great unwashed—the dictatorship of ignorant men.
I’ve said this before: the barbarians are at the gates. They’re not Blacks, Hispanics, or Muslims. They are ignorant and they are white. They are dressed not so often in white sheets with Christian crosses as in business suits.
Registered Curmudgeon, scientist, skeptic, humanist, and writer.