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.
“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.
One of my correspondents told me that a member of a church choir, at a service in which the choir doesn’t wear robes (or, apparently, have a dress code) stood in front of the congregation wearing an “I am a deplorable” T-shirt. My correspondent wondered why no one objected.
This brought to mind an article a couple of days ago which addressed the question of why Trump's anti-Muslim remarks hadn’t been taken down by a social networking site since the site’s rules prohibit posts that denigrate anyone based on race, religion, etc. The site’s answer was that that taking down the remarks would have shut down an important debate among the site’s users.
The word "debate" has been coopted by people who don't know what it means, and who assume that the trash people sling at one another on line, and that the ad hominem attacks Trump has made on his detractors and his opponent constitutes debate.
If "Deplorable" had caused people to think, to debate, to question, I suppose the T-shirt is okay.
It is more likely, however, that those in the congregation who support Trump had their prejudices and biases reinforced and that those in the congregation who support Clinton had their prejudices and biases reinforced. Their minds are already made up, and there’s nothing likely to change them. Their hearts are hardened.
There’s an irony to this happening in a Christian church whose founding philosophy includes the story of how God kept “hardening the Pharaoh's heart” so that God could keep bullying the Pharaoh and the otherwise innocent Egyptian people. Yes, read the story (beginning in Exodus 7) closely. The Pharaoh was ready to give in several times, but God took away the man’s free will, made him change his mind, and sent another plague. If God were a middle-school student, today, he'd be suspended for the rest of his immortal life.
Should “churched” people support Trump? He did promise that if elected he would lift restrictions on non-profits and churches spending money on candidates campaigns and on making endorsements from the pulpit, opening up another avenue for elections to be bought.
On the other hand, Clinton has suggested she would attack “Citizens United,” the Supreme Court decision that allows nearly unrestricted anonymous money to be used to support candidates. It’s a nice thought, but it’s a “throwaway.” It's not going to happen. The Supreme Court almost never reverses itself. Congress might, if united, be able to do something to curtail “black money” in elections. But, since sitting congresspersons are the largest beneficiaries of that black money, it's not likely that they’d vote to curtail it. We're on the slippery slope, and gaining speed.
After writing this on Sunday, I wanted to find something in the news that was cheerful and upbeat with which to close.
Nothing from the UN News site except dire warnings and demands for more money.
"Discovery" reports Brazilian monkeys are making knives. Soon, they'll be killing one another with them (they already do so with rocks), and demanding a seat in the UN.
Nothing on "Spiegel" online... it's in German and I've forgotten too much. Wait... Google just translated it for me. Hmmm. Looks like the alt-right (Trump’s core supporters), the AFD, Le Pen, and others of that ilk are about to unite in a worldwide movement. Not good.
"Vietnam Breaking News" reports on an increase in global Daesh/ISIL attacks. Not good.
Checking Associated Press now... wait, please…
Yes! The Chicago Cubs are going to the World Series for the first time since 1945. Go Cubs!
We've had as presidents a crook, a cowboy, congenital idiots, and Casanovas. Perhaps it's time for a clown. That's the only reason I can see for supporting Trump. He's a loose cannon which will do unexpected and grievous damage to this country.
Mrs. Clinton showed her arrogance by using a private email server. I'm not nearly as worried about any secrets she may have leaked thereby. Politicians have been leaking secrets as long as there have been politicians and secrets.
The first time I was eligible to vote was 1968. I was in the Strategic Air Command at the time. SAC had been created and its ethos set by a couple of people. General Curtis LeMay I interacted with even though he had retired...he still used SAC's world-wide communications. Colonel Paul Chenchar was my Base Commander, and one of LeMay's right-hand men. I knew him quite well and considered him a mentor.
Anyway, I voted for the Goldwater-LeMay ticket thinking that although Goldwater was a little too far to the right, and LeMay was even farther to the right, they might actually straighten up the country.
The 1972 election (Nixon vs. McGovern) is a pale shadow of the current election. Nixon rose to power through the McCarthy purge, We should have known better. McGovern was an idiot.
1976 saw Jimmy Carter vs. Gerald Ford. Ford, of course, had inherited the presidency when Nixon resigned. Like most vice presidents, he was selected in large part because he didn't have the qualities to "challenge" the president. James Earl Carter, who insisted on being Jimmy, utterly disrespected the presidency when he insisted on carrying his own suitcase into the White House to show he was a "regular guy." His religion was another stumbling block to his thinking.
In 1980, we put a cowboy in office. Ronald Reagan was also a puppet. He was very good at speaking the words his handlers put in his mouth.
By 1984, Reagan had mesmerized the American people to the point that Walter Mondale had no chance whatsoever. And the country was not ready for a female VP.
George Bush was a shoo-in after Walter Mondale stepped on his tongue too many times. I was happy to vote for Bush.
In 1992, H. Ross Perot's independent candidacy cost Bush the election, and the philanderer Bill Clinton was elected. In my opinion, this was the beginning of the end.
Bob Dole had no chance in 1996, even if Perot hadn't tried, again. Dole was too damn old, and looked it. Clinton continued his orgies.
George W took us down farther when he was elected in 2000. Started wars to prove as certain part of his body was bigger than his father's. George W's motto: "You can't be a Commander-in-Chief if you don't have a war." Al Gore also stepped on his tongue a couple of times. I do, however agree with his position that global climate change, spurred by global warming that has resulted from the burning of fossil fuels since the beginning of the industrial revolution is going to continue to create global crises.
In 2004, John Kerry was shot down by some Vietnam Vets. Perhaps there was some truth at the root of their complaint, but they presented it using tools of propaganda, and not tools of logic. George W continued his destruction of the country by his warmongering.
We passed the tipping point sometime after the 2008 election which saw a Senator from Illinois, who had no experience in foreign affairs, receive the Nobel Peace Prize before he had done much of anything. (Wonder what that cost us.) BHO promised change, but never said what the change would be. Highly propagandized campaign. White Liberal Guilt generated more votes than Patriotism and POW could. Not disrespecting McCain, just stating facts.
2012 was another shoo-in. The country wouldn't accept a rich, disconnected Mormon.
Of all presidents since 1972, only one (George Bush the Elder) was Presidential. The others have been crooks, cowboys, congenital idiots, Christians, change-meisters, or Cassanovas. [Please note the alliteration.]
Which brings us to 2016. The two leading candidates incorporate the characteristics of all those C-words listed above. Giving Trump access to the nuclear launch codes is the stuff of nightmares; and, Clinton's private email server is a sign of her arrogance and disrespect for this country.
The country has crossed the tipping point; we are diving down the slope to perdition (secular, of course).
Registered Curmudgeon, scientist, skeptic, humanist, and writer.