A Comedy of Terrors — Part Two

Everybody, all together now, repeat after Donald Trump and his clownvention shills:

“Be afraid! Be very afraid! Be like you never knew how much afraid you can be. Something is verrry wrong here. And our government doesn’t even know what it is! Can you believe that? Or, maybe they do know what it is. And aren’t saying. Because if they said it, Obama’s attempt to stick us with a lyin’, crooked Hillary puppet would come crashing down, just like all their other stupid schemes. They’d rather have a dead country than reveal everything they’re hiding in their dead administration. We have to stop them! We have to find out the truth! If you love our country, the only way to find out what’s wrong is to vote for me! That’s ME, with a capital ME, and it rhymes with T, which stands for Trump, which is a warning of the TERRORS that we’ll face without a really strong man as our Commander-in-Chief. A man, folks. Like me! With big hands. Not a lyin’, crooked old woman who oughtta be locked up.”

OK, OK, dear readers, I apologize but I couldn’t resist. If the above is absurd, that’s because the Donald is absurd. He wants us quaking in our flip flops so he can persuade us he’s the man for a job that, buckle up, gals and guys, may not need doing.

Huh?

Yeah, you read me right: notwithstanding all the panic talk shouted at us by the Trumpeters these past few days, the country is actually in pretty good shape.

Consider the economy that is slowly but steadily recovering from the Republican financial meltdown of 2008. President Obama gets full credit for saving our country (along with the global financial system) from a devastating recession or worse. The President could have achieved a great deal more if the Republican-controlled Congress had chosen to do their job instead of plotting and scheming to stifle Obama’s agenda. For example, they could have helped the Administration ramp up clean technologies, instead of spending the past three years trying to ensure Senator Clinton will not win the present election.

Oh, and for those in the One Percent, a little reminder: the stock market is trading at historically high levels. When Trump and his Republican parrots squawk that Hillary means four more years of President Obama, you can project another solid growth period in your assets, and thus know all you need to know.

Meaning the last thing we need now is to put a big orange-topped wannabe dictator into the White House, so he can cut the taxes on the super-rich and expand the military budget and start the same old Republican trickle-down scam all over again.

So there is no reason to fear for our growing economic health. In fact, the eight Obama years, including four with the highly competent assistance of Secretary Clinton, have brought the country back, and provided a foundation for continuing growth and progress on social and economic justice.

As to being afraid of ISIL, and Donald’s adolescent claim he knows more about defeating them than our Generals do, we should remember that when Hillary Clinton left her hugely successful tenure as Secretary of State, ISIL didn’t even exist as an organized threat.

The truth is that the rise of ISIL occurred rapidly on the edges of Iraq and Syria, as ex-Sunni insurgents and de-commissioned Iraqi Army officers took advantage of the parallel deteriorating political and security situations in Iraq and Syria. In a very short time they had managed to grab control of oil-rich territory and the key Syrian city of Raqqa. The U.S. government was as surprised by ISIL’s early success as everyone else in the region.

And Hillary Clinton had absolutely nothing to do with it. Nada. Zip.

Those who childishly need someone to blame in our government will have to be satisfied with pointing fingers at the CIA and Defense folks. But a more rational observation is to note that Clinton had advocated more aggressive support of the Syrian rebel forces while she was in office. There’s at least some chance that had she been on deck in 2013-14, we might have made moves to stymie the explosive growth of the ISIL cancer.

In the past three years, the Obama administration has pursued a mostly effective strategy of first, containing the main center of ISIL’s control, in Northwestern Iraq and Northeastern Syria, then following up with cutting off the pirated oil revenues used to fund ISIL’s operations, and, in the last 24 months, used our drones and air strikes along with Special Ops teams to kill many of the top-level ISIL commanders. This, while continuing the same strategy to contain the remnants of Al Qaeda. Defeating these sources of Islamic terrorism takes patience, not promises.

Trump and his bomb threats and unbelievable ignorance of Middle Eastern affairs would set this growing record of success back, not move us forward.

With Trump’s callous attempts to fan the flames of jingoistic hatred and fear of immigrants, here, too, he’s nothing but an opportunistic demagogue. Obama has also brought undocumented immigration down to its lowest level in nearly three decades. He didn’t need a wall, just hard work and common-sense policies.

As far as the refugees trying to escape the violence of religious war in the Middle East are concerned, under Obama the process of vetting immigrants has become even more rigorous than under the Bush administration.

But what about the threat of more mass ISIL-inspired shootings and bombings in our own backyard? We must openly acknowledge that there will be more such attacks, in spite of the best efforts by our security people, working in close cooperation with their counterparts in other countries. Let’s not be evasive: we’re in a long term struggle with a large minority of Muslim believers scattered across Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. These jihadists believe that killing non-believers is not only permitted under their code, but demanded by their seventh century version of God.

This deep-seated hatred isn’t aimed at Americans so much as the values we share with other “Western” countries. Fundamentalist Muslims are threatened by our adherence to personal freedom, free speech, democratic rule, the equal rights of girls and women, and an open society. This hatred won’t go away, and it won’t dissipate unless and until reform-minded Muslims and Mullahs manage to get control of their communities. We need to confront this animosity with intelligence, with understanding of history and culture, with substantial security budgets, and with patience: the struggle within the global Muslim culture will likely take an hundred years and more to exhaust itself. During those decades, a large number of non-Muslims will be slaughtered by the Islamic fanatics, but far more victims will no doubt be their Muslim “brothers”, killed for simply opposing the dictates of the religious dictators who want to live in the eighth century rather than the 21st.

Figuring out how to contain this jihadist anger and gradually defeat it at its source will take a sustained effort by a non-UN authorized alliance of determined westernized countries. Trump can do nothing to speed up this process; the only likely effects of a Trump presidency would be be to undermine this vital cooperative defensive campaign.

In the meantime, we need to cope with domestic terrorist threats more effectively. The first step is to face the fact that the recent so-called “terrorist” mass shootings were actually hateful gun crimes by home-grown hate-driven perpetrators, not fiendish plots by American-hating jihadists pulling puppet-like strings away off in an underground bunker in Syria.

Donald dwells on the fear of the inevitable coming spate of attacks, while failing to offer even one practical, implementable policy to prevent them and deal with the ones we fail to stop.

His new Republican pals agree with him: say anything, do anything, promise anything, but at all cost never say the truth. The mass attacks we have faced have all been gun crimes, or would have been, had the Republican-controlled Congress had the courage to enact the same kind of tough, fair gun regulations every other advanced country employs.

Rather than putting Trump and the McConnell/Ryan/Priebus gang in charge next January, it would be far more effective to elect a progressive Democratic Senate and House of Representatives to support Clinton in her determination to stop gun violence. We can only deal effectively with terrorism if we start at home, by breaking the NRA stranglehold on our government.

A Comedy of Terrors — Part One

The less said about the first day of the Republican Party marriage ceremony to Donald Trump, the better, for both parties to the deal.

We’ll have much more to say in a follow-up post about the Trump Campaign of Fear and Loathing, and the scary speeches of the first and second evenings. But the first day featured three extraordinary events that demand our immediate attention.

The first occurred when, soon after the doors to the convention center opened, Trump’s most senior guy, Paul Manaflirt, attacked John Kasich. the governor of Ohio, for failing to show up in Cleveland to welcome the Trump circus. This, after Kasich had repeatedly made clear that he has no intention of supporting Trump’s candidacy. What makes Manafart’s tirade extraordinary is his dumb decision to attack the extremely popular governor on his home turf. Ohio is still rated a toss-up state by most pundits and pollsters, so one would expect the Trumpeters to try and patch up their differences with Kasich. Instead their campaign boss goes out of his way to step on Kasich, and the toes of the politically savvy Ohio Republicans, the very folks who Trump will need to carry the state in November. I can hear the state tipping to Senator Clinton even now…

After Mr. Manaflub’s attack on the Ohio governor, the second event unfolded. It concerned a mid-afternoon attempt by non-Trump delegations in several states, who’d sought to bring an issue to the convention floor. When stymied by the Trump/Preibus Chair flunky, the delegates made a perfectly legitimate request for a role-call vote. After a voice vote imposed on the body from the rostrum, the Chair simply used the ancient tactic of announcing that, in his judgment, the “Ayes” had it. No role call would be permitted, in short, prompting delegates opposed to Trump from Colorado and several other states to walk out of the hall.

Hey, it’s a political convention, right? The Chair steam-rolled the “minority”. Happens all the time in these uniquely American political conventions. So, no big thing, just a rather mild example of a floor-fight amongst opposing delegates. What made the dust-up extraordinary is that Mr. Manafort surely had anticipated this protest on the part of the “Never Trump” faction, yet had made no move to deal with the mini-rebellion in a less arrogant manner.

These conventions are supposed to showcase each party’s well-oiled campaign machine, appealing agenda, positive focus, and unified national party team. Instead, this opening skirmish demonstrated that, once again, the Trump campaign is run and staffed by amateurs who are long on offensive declarations and short on preparation. It comes after the previous week, when its platform committee issued perhaps the most backward-facing, divisive, party platform in 40 years. It revealed to all that unification remains the most important challenge to the mis-managed Trump campaign, since the 60% of Republican and Independent primary voters who opposed Trump’s candidacy through the winter and spring are still not planning to vote for the ticket in November.

All this confusion and consternation would have been soon forgotten had the evening program of shouted Hillary hating drowned out the grumblers who’d been betrayed by the Republican National Committee that afternoon. And then would come the evening’s piece de resistance, the first national speech by Mrs. Mega-rich, the oh-so stylish and pleasant Melania Trump.

But it was not to be. The entire first day of shouting and fear-mongering was brought into sharp focus when Melania delivered a speech where the most moving and elegant phrases had been lifted almost word-for word from Mrs. Obama’s speech in 2008 in support of Barack!

The Trump campaign was utterly gob-smacked overnight and all through the second day, as, initially, Manafortress denied any such plagiarism, and decried the media for being so nasty to even suggest it. Finally, Wednesday mid-day, the third day of the Trump four day clownfest, the confession came, and a junior amateur speech writer fell on her sword. True justice would have called for Manafumble to apologize to poor Melania, the Party, and the country, then be fired by Donald–but we’d be foolish to expect Trump to do an honorable thing.

This third Monday incident was a reminder to all of us, as if we needed another one, just how callous and incompetent the Trump campaign and its leaders are. As will be discussed in a later post, they had planned a four-day marathon of hate, fear, and mistrust, all focused on Clinton and her supposed puppet-masters, Barack and Bill. Instead it has proved to expose the heartless. mindless, thoughtless nature of Trump, his minions, and his new Republican followers.

Before being gulled by the endlessly repeated Trump message of threats and a failed America, one might wish to question going forward how much Trump and his bumbling scheme team can be trusted, and if they are not to be feared far more than the woman who many have declared the most qualified person ever to run for President of the United States.

Your Truthteller wants to know…about deportation

Greetings, Mr. Trump. Here’s another question the press and TV folks haven’t gotten around to asking you yet. Actually it’s a bundle of questions, each focused on your promise to make America great again by deporting illegal immigrants.

If elected, when will mass deportations begin? By April 1, 2017? Later? How much later? What will be the number of deportations in the first year of your presidency? Will all undocumented persons be deported by the end of your first term?

Please include answers to these follow-up questions. Will children born in the U.S. (and therefore being citizens) be deported with their parent or parents? Suppose the home country of the deportee(s) refuses to accept their children? Will your administration have some solution for abandoned children in place before the mass deportations begin? What about the homes and businesses owned by the deportees? Will Trump Properties assume ownership?

Please submit your answers to the above questions before the end of August, 2016.

PS: We still haven’t received your answer to our earlier question of June 27th, regarding the SCOTUS decision throwing out the Texas attempt to close down women’s health care clinics. We realize you have a new issue with one of the Supremes, but that should not prevent you from giving us the simple “yes” or “no” we requested.

 

The Ten Basic Truths About Climate Change

truthteller future 01

Burn Baby, burn!

Donald Trump wants to tear up the Paris Climate accord; Hillary Clinton wants to implement it

Trump has no knowledge of climate realities, accepting in the absence of understanding the rabid ravings of a few energy industry-sponsored “deniers”, namely that global warming is a hoax. Clinton has done her homework and understands the conclusions of the overwhelming majority of expert in climate science, namely that global warming is real, is happening much faster than any previous such warming in the planet’s history, and that the cause of the resulting climate changes is our burning of fossil fuels.

Trump claims it’s not an issue; Clinton knows it’s the most important challenge our country and the rest of the planet have ever faced.

That difference alone would require any well-informed American voter to cast their November ballot for Clinton, no matter how much that voter may dislike Clinton, or her husband, or “establishment Democrats”, or Progressives, or sloppy email server management.

Whether one favors Clinton or not, the latest qualified national survey shows that 64% of Americans are now worried about the damage fossil fuel burning is doing to our planet. This, even though the media hasn’t effectively informed them about the critical dangers and risks we face, not just as a country, but as a species.

We’re confident the issue of climate change will be raised in the debates between the two candidates. But with the understandable level of public concern and frustration about the issue, with the complexities of the topic, and given the threat to action on climate change posed by Trump, we need to get the mitigation of climate change impact into the public discourse now, not later.

Plus, we have to acknowledge that Trump may be so afraid of showing his inability to take on Clinton mano a mujer that he will turn tail and refuse to debate her. The chances of any serious discussion about climate change during the campaign would then be zero.

How to inform the voters in time?

What can we do to help people quickly understand the main threats of global warming, and how climate change can be mitigated, especially when the subject is much more complicated than even our conflict with Islamic terrorists, or immigration, or jobs growth–not to mention all the disinformation about global warming spread by minions of the energy industries and their political allies for the past three decades?

Our approach is to start with a simple, brief, basic list of ten well-demonstrated scientific facts and observations.

Courageous men and women of science have done the heroic field and laboratory work to “prove” these findings; that’s not the purpose of this post. Nor will we defend the reasoning behind the conclusions listed here–readers can go to the sources and make up their own mind if our reasoning is sound.

All we’re trying to do here is summarize the truth about climate change in language the voters can understand. We have confidence that if they know the hard truth, they’ll vote for action to mitigate the disasters our children and descendants will face in the second half of this century and beyond.

The ten basic truths voters need to know

Let’s begin with the scientifically based truths:

1. Climate change is not a hoax

The changes in the Earth’s climate are observed facts. The only global warming hoax is the one that Exxon Mobil and the other fossil fuel companies have been perpetrating for fifty years, as they concealed their own research and sand-bagged climate science through false-front “scientific” so-called think tanks and the bought votes of politicians.

2. The climate, including both the atmosphere and oceans, is warming faster than our powerful models predicted just a few years ago

The sea and atmosphere are warming even more rapidly than was forecast just a few years back by officially sanctioned scientific sources sponsored by the UN. With improving techniques and measurement tools, scientists are discovering feedback loops, deep ocean relationships, and glacial melt phenomena not foreseen even five or ten years ago.

3. The climate is warming quickly mainly due to our use of fossil fuels

The evidence of this is now overwhelming. Readers who continue to deny this truth can Google ” fossil fuels global warming”.

The largely unspoken or unpublicized truths

4. The media is focused mostly on rising sea levels, not on the much more dire impacts of climate change

This is understandable, since those living on the world’s coasts and low-lying islands are the ones most visibly affected by rising sea levels and massive storms. Similarly, extended droughts get some coverage. The media are beginning to report the disaster facing coral and other oceanic species as the oceans warm.

But the vastly more threatening near-term impacts are the decline in potable water supplies, the destruction of the oceanic food chain, and regional climate impacts such as enormous regional droughts.

The human impact is rarely reported in the proper context of climate disruption. The media do not want to discuss the most dangerous likely outcome of climate change: the mass migration of millions of desperate people — not the ones moving from Miami or the Gulf Coast to higher ground, but the penniless millions in South Asia, and the starving millions in Africa, desperately trying to find food and water and shelter for their helpless families.

5. Little to no public attention has been focused on known potential methane release events

Methane is potentially roughly twenty times more deadly than CO2 as a greenhouse gas in the short term. If enough methane were to be “released” into the atmosphere at once, say, over a fifty-year span, the Earth’s climate would warm very much faster.

Scientists call the mass release of naturally stored methane an “event”, almost as if it was a minor or local phenomenon, akin perhaps to all the ice currently atop Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania melting, not seasonally, but for all time. Methane release events are anything but minor; they affect the entire planet.

These events occur when the arctic and/or deep oceans become warm enough to melt the huge quantities of methane frozen at the bottom of the sea. Equally threatening would be the release of millions of tons of methane currently suspended in the frozen tundra regions of North America and Siberia. Both types of methane release events are driven by global warming, so it’s likely our descendants will be hit by both types of events at once.

We know beyond any possible doubt or stupid “denial” that that the climate is warming fast. What we cannot yet see is how much faster it will heat up once we begin to experience one, or very likely, two methane release events concurrently.

The scientific question is how close are we to triggering the beginning of massive methane releases? How much more CO2 buildup in the atmosphere and oceans can the planet tolerate before we pass the methane release tipping point? Once the releases begin, it will be too late to avoid the worst consequences of our collective greed and foolishness.

6. Our ability to predict the pace of future warming is very much undermined by our lack of global research

There are many more threats to our collective survival. The coming methane release is but the scariest. All the risks and threats urgently demand study and measurement. But in the U.S., we’ve allowed the efforts of the climate researchers, our most critical scientists, to become political captives of a Republican-controlled, anti-science Congress. In turn, the Republican-controlled Congress is impeding the ability of other nations to effectively combat global warming.

The uncomfortable truth our leaders won’t talk about: how we allowed ourselves to get into this mess and put our planet at risk

7. The massive increase in the consumption of fossil fuels over the past 60 years has been driven by the massive increase in global population

Our blind, unreasoned, unchecked adherence to cultural tradition and religious dogma has resulted in a level of population that will soon reach 8 billion: about three times the number of mouths this planet can realistically support. These billions require energy to live. As their economies develop over time, they demand more energy per person.

If we have the objectivity to turn and look back, we can see how doubling our numbers from four billion to eight has brought us very close to or beyond the edge of sustainable human civilization. If we have the courage to look ahead, we’ll see how we’ve embarked on a course of species disaster.

8. Future population levels may be much greater than we’re being told

The U.N. and other official agencies assure us population growth is slowing and will soon “stabilize”. But there is no guarantee that the maximum population level will be reached as soon as hoped. Your Truthteller estimates “stabilization”–the leveling off of population growth–will occur much later in this century, at a population level close to or exceeding 14 billion. That would be some 30-40% higher than the levels forecast by the U.N.

Said more bluntly: our immediate descendants may be facing a global population well in excess of thirteen billion, as opposed to the nine or ten billion suggested by the “official” forecasters. No existing public policy deals with this probable reality.

9. The demand for energy in just a few decades will skyrocket

The growth will be due partly to the growing global population, but mostly due to the certainty that billions of today’s humans along with all the new ones will be working their way up the standard of living scale, and hence, up the consumption chain. They’ll be demanding cars, refrigerator-freezers, computer devices, and air-conditioning.

Even should the official “stabilized” population level of ten or so billion be correct, we will have stabilized at a level that demands twice as much food as we produce today, and consumes at least three times as much energy as we now use each year. If these new humans succeed in achieving even a modestly comfortable lifestyle, our collective energy use could be as much as five times the kilowatt-hours we consumed globally in 2015.

No one in authority is telling us how much more energy each year will be needed, or where it will come from. The U.N. and our governments refuse to deal openly with the realities of over-population. The fossil fuel producers supply energy consumption estimates, but they downplay the likelihood that their published forecasts are low.

10. The future our immediate descendants face is much darker than most people realize

While climate change is gradually working its way into the daily news cycle, the average person is still dangerously uninformed of the pressures placed on the land, sea, and other species as population continues to grow.

Even if we could supply cool air and electric transportation to ten or more billion people, we’d still face the problems of trying to feed them. We’ve already depleted the oceans of their fish stocks, already over-farmed the most productive lands, and already condemned billions to a miserable existence of perpetual undernourishment. The scarcity of fresh water will be even more pressing.

Electricity can feed our devices and support our lifestyle, but it cannot by itself fill our bellies. Yet still we refuse to face the consequences of our self-induced population madness.

Two more conclusions every voter needs to consider

To these ten stark truths we must add two assessments–well-reasoned suppositions that will very probably prove accurate over the coming decades.

One holds out a promise of saving our descendants from the horror of a hot, hungry world consumed by famine, disease, violence and human exploitation. The other starkly predicts why we are unlikely to act to save our own children and grandchildren in time.

First, the required energy to meet the coming massive increase in demand is reasily available, at low cost, without using fossil fuels or nuclear power

Although not publicized, the truth is that renewable and other non-carbon energy sources can be ramped up very much faster than governments and the great energy corporations want to say. It is realistically possible we could virtually end the burning of fossil fuels within the span of three or four decades, even while providing enough electrical power to meet the energy demand of four to six billion new urbanized consumers by around 2080. We can produce enough cheap electricity for all this even while providing massive power for water desalinization, recycling, and industrial-scale foods manufacturing.

It sounds hopeful. Until we consider your Truthteller’s second assessment.

We do not have the political will and organizational determination to achieve this green, clean future

The harsh truth is we have insufficient political will in the few semi-democratic countries to overcome the economic and legislative power of the global energy industry. The billion or so citizens of the leading OECD countries will not prove up to the challenge, leaving the ten or more billions in the impoverished and developing world to suffer the worst effects of global warming.

The fossil fuel companies know that if they can manage to delay political and regulatory action long enough, the inevitable explosion in energy demand will force us to allow them to keep on burning. They’ll be able to dig up and burn all the coal in all the corners of the Earth. With billions of new consumers desperately trying to acquire energy, the companies know they’ll be able to keep the price of energy electricity high enough to secure huge profits, while using their political power keep the alternative energy providers small. Will they be able to block all forms of alternative energy? No, they’re too smart; they’ll allow enough victories to lull the consumers in the relatively more comfortable countries into accepting the continuation of fossil fuels burning. The ten billion desperate consumers with zero political power will thus remain under the companies black thumb.

The energy industry giants know that their survival depends on keeping us ignorant about the bleak prospects for ours.

They understand the best delaying tactic is to ensure we continue to have powerless or downright stupid national and corporate leaders. Their strategy has paid off for two generations. And now, in the person of Donald Trump, they have an opportunity to literally halt all attempts by the U.S. to mobilize the other industrialized countries against this cataclysmic threat.

In follow-up posts, we’ll explain in more detail the looming threats to the survival of our civilization and thousands of other species.

But hopefully, thoughtful readers of these ten truths about climate change will now understand why U.S.-sponsored and OECD-led action to end the burning of fossil fuels is far and away the greatest issue of the 2016 election. They’ll see how this election may well prove to be our last chance to turn humanity away from the path to its own destruction. They’ll conclude that only under Clinton’s proven leadership and consensus-building skill do we have a chance to convert our leading economies to alternative energy supplies. They’ll realize that she must have the bipartisan support of a Congress no longer controlled by the climate deniers and energy industry toadies.

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Where this list of climate truths comes from

Our book series on climate change and sustainability economics will be published hopefully in the coming year and 2018. For now, we’re intensely busy with the more immediate issues of the 2016 U.S. election cycle, so we must limit our exposition of the climate issue to the contrast between a seriously concerned Clinton and an absurdly ignorant Trump.

Since our intent is to stimulate thought and discussion among the voters, we’ve held back on our extensive quantitative analysis of the impact of further population on energy consumption for now. We’ve also deferred for now the explanation how we can scale up clean, renewable energy very much faster than even a proven genius like Elon Musk may have dreamed. For now, readers only need accept that our (and other) realistic, cost-effective energy solutions are available using presently available, proven technologies.

Suffice to say the sources for all these facts and conclusions are publicly available, in research papers and databases that are mostly not pay-walled. (We’ll be publishing over a thousand online links in our upcoming book series, so non-technical readers, parents, teachers, and business people will be able to quickly investigate the sources directly, and draw their own conclusions.)

Words for the Activists

Many who are actively trying to mitigate climate change are opposed to any discussion that suggests it is inevitable we’ll continue to see the growth in energy consumption. They assume this means that programs to reduce CO2 and industrial methane emissions will somehow be undermined by the politicians, at the behest of the fossil fuel companies. The truths enunciated here in no way discourage emission-reduction programs; they do suggest however that we must do far more than simply focus on taking carbon-based energy off the market.

Activists also often refuse to consider the realities of “climate engineering” in discussions of mitigation. The truth is that humans have been engineering the climate in an organized way ever since the beginning of the Neolithic age. The issue is not how to avoid the engineered production of energy at all costs, but how to manage the costs, producing energy that is clean, safe, and cheap, cheap enough to drive the fossil fuels industry out of business.

My analysis emphasizes the economic costs and risks of climate change, not individual human or entire species tragic outcomes. Plenty of others will find and document the awful results of past, present and likely future unconscionable human stupidity. Similarly, in analysis and discussion of mitigation efforts, I consider the political barriers to action right along with the perceived economic ones. It is common among activists to build their case on the premise that “we” must do this or stop doing that. They almost never suggest how “we” could actually change entire economies. They usually fail to confront the fact that regulatory force is the only way to make all these “musts” actually happen. They avoid the real challenge, namely that “we” cannot command “they”.

Words for the naysayers

You’re free to dispute the truth or probable truth of these ten statements, of course–but not with your Truthteller. It’s OK to not be aware of factual science, logical reality, and energy realities; but it’s not OK to waste our time. I’ve done my homework on climate and economics for decades. If you think I’m wrong I invite you to go to the sources and do the same. If you think quoting from the denier cabal passes for sound argument, think again. These are the bozos who’ve tried to block all rationale public discussion and political action on climate change; who’ve undermined the work of tens of thousands of climate researchers around the globe; and who even now refuse to face the hot reality all of us can see and feel.

The authors of the studies, analyses and exhausting, often dangerous fieldwork that collectively comprise the sources you’ll be trying to disprove are the folks you want to debate. Spoiler alert: you cannot argue with a fact; you can only deny it or try to cover it up, just as Exxon-Mobil did for fifty years.

Feedback and useful questions are always welcome. Hate mail is welcome, too; we have excellent garbage collection services here.

 

What climate change?

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Mumblin’ Mitch:

“Ahhh-humpfh…I’ll be down in the creek with the rest of the turtles in case anyone wants to schedule a vote on emails.”

Blinded Priebus:

“Climate change? I called Mr. Trump to find out if we need to make up a reason we don’t need to worry about it, and when he wouldn’t take my call, I called Senator Imhofe, but he was trying to get his airplane out of a ditch, so I talked to Dr. Hansen who told me it was changing, but only for people who could understand why, and not to worry my Priebus little head about it.”

Denyin’ Ryan:

“Poppycock! The climate’s always changing, except when it’s not, and next year we’ll set up a Special Climactic Event Investigations Committee and run tests in the Watergate Hotel using a dozen of our most senior Members to prove conclusively that it’s not, but if it is, the Committee’ll find out how Hillary has concealed that fact by discarding thousands of emails.”

Beware of the underdog

Thanks to Donald Trump’s two great strengths, his precision-guided aim when he shoots himself in the foot, and his consistent ability to shout gibberish the moment he looks away from his teleprompter, he is very close to becoming a figure of national and global ridicule as well as the greatest man in the known universe.

Yet underneath this bumbling, dangerously thoughtless, self-centered facade lurks a venal, petty, vindictive man who genuinely believes he deserves to be President because he crushed sixteen real Republicans with his lies, insults, absurdly stupid or false claims, and the willing complicity of the TV media.

All clever critiques aside, the Progressive coalition forces need to remind themselves every day of every week until November 8th that this charlatan is a successful mass-audience TV entertainer, capable by nature of turning any given event or setback to advantage. He has the snake-oil salesman’s knack of persuading his audiences that his words are true and credible — at least until he can jet out of town and on to the next arena of suckers.

Over the past year of observing — and being trampled by — the Trump parade, many others have warned: do not underrate him, and do not underrate the gullibility of the American voter!

Right now, going into the conventions, Trump looks like a wounded warrior. We see a steady march of leading Republicans announcing their support for Clinton. Nate Silver, the polls-reading guru, launched his 2016 election website yesterday with a probability that Clinton has an 80% chance of beating the TV buffoon. Our own “Battleground Scorecard” analysis of her chances makes Silver’s probability seem conservative.

Past U.S. elections should remind us that seemingly relentless trends can be stopped in their tracks. It happens when an unpredicted event suddenly changes or even reverses the perceived appeal of the two contestants. Or when voters conclude that the putative winner is somehow taking unfair advantage of the losing opponent. Or when those in the lead are not listening to the real frustration, anger, hopes and fears of the voters they confidently expect to support them: “But really!” we say amongst ourselves, “All those voters would never allow this odious fraud to become President!”,  as we polish the champagne glasses in anticipation of the night of November 8th.

Not listening to the pain of the past of your supporters is the easiest way to lose their support in the future. Worse, it sets them up as easy targets for a manipulator like Trump.

Over these long months we must all be extra careful not to allow the wounded warrior to re-package himself as the presumptive underdog of the Republican Party. The Donald is adept at costume changes, just as he is quick to reverse his stated “policies”, or at inventing claims about himself or others to justify his irrational rants.

By all thoughtful assessments, he is mad. So, yes, help him paint himself as a mad dog. But do not let him become a mad underdog.

Americans love underdogs. We love the downtrodden when they rise above their circumstances. We root for the victim of evil exploitation when she or he fights back, and we applaud even more when the fight seems hopeless. We love rebels, the ones who take up a noble cause, sacrificing themselves in the interest of others, the ones who fight the “establishment” so their followers will have a chance for a better life.

Do not allow the actor Trump to assume the role of underdog in this fight for the future of our country. He is not downtrodden — he lives in a golden palace high above our greatest city, sneering at the truly downtrodden on the streets below. He is not a victim; he’s a victimizer, intent on defrauding millions of desperate folks of their hopes for a decent life and safe home for their families. He is not a rebel, not by any definition; he’s a complete conformist to the standards of the Legion of Greed. All he’s sacrificed in this campaign is a few rounds of golf at the dozens of golf courses he owns.

Yes, there are underdogs in this election — not Donald Trump but the very people he threatens with his Future of Fear, then woos with his impossible claims of a fantasy stage-set greatness they’ve never experienced. His target audiences are the true underdogs in our society, the people who’ve bought into decades of Republican trickle-down, dumb-down economics. They are the ones we need to be rooting for and working to include in our vision of a progressive America.

If Clinton wins, then we can begin to tear down the accumulated barriers to growth and success that block their way.

But helping them fulfill their hopes then can only be assured if we pay attention to their anger and worries now.

The Three Amigos — Going down (ballot)

H-S-S FIN 20160623

How to support without endorsing

Overheard in the third stall of the Capitol’s Special Reserved Transwhomever Restroom:

Blinders Reince: “Guys, stop dithering! We have to have a standard response that all our down-ballot candidates can use. We must give them some space that isn’t tainted with Agent Orange, right? So, what do they say when they’re asked if they support Mr. T?”

Denyin’ Paul, via his cell phone: “They should say, ‘I’m a totally loyal Republican. I support our Party’s candidates in Illinois (or whichever state they call home.)'”

Blinded Reince: “But what do they say about Trump?”

Denyin’ Paul: “Read the above. Full Stop. Do not sit on the floor of the House.”

Blinders Reince: “Jeez, Mr. Sneaker, that’s really not answering the question.”

Denyin’ Paul: “I told you Reince! Never call me that. No one was sneaking out of the House that night! We finished the business of the House and we all had planes to catch, period. End of story.”

Blinded Reince: “Right. At three AM…Mitch, which answer do you vote for?”

“Zzzzz…Hmmmpf…Zzzzz”

Blinded Reince: “Mitch! Wake up! We need to know how you vote on this.”

Mumblin’ Mitch: “Hmmmpf…Ah-ah-ahhh-hum…Wh-wh-what ‘vote‘? We have no votes scheduled today in the Senate except for the ‘No’ votes. Ah-ah-humpf. What vote are you speaking about? And do you have to speak so loudly about this so-called ‘vote’? And where is my favorite ‘Dumbo’ blankie?”

Blinders Reince: “You left it on your office sofa, Senator, just next to your ‘Tommy the Toddlin’ Turtle” pillow. We need to vote on what our candidates say when the totally biased liberal press ask if they support our national candidate.”

Mumblin’ Mitch: “Meaning, ahum, him?”

Blinders Reince: “Dammit, Senator! We tried to get Romney to take him on, remember? Look how that worked out. Now we have to protect the small fry around the country. You don’t want to lose your majority, right?”

Mumblin’ Mitch: “Hmmmpf…Ah-ah-ahhh-hum…”

Blinders Reince: “Well?”

Mumblin’ Mitch: “What does Ryan say? And why isn’t he here?”

Blinders Reince: “He had to workout. But he’s on the phone, here, see?”

Mumblin’ Mitch: “Ah-ah-ahh…Nope.”

Blinders Reince: “He must have turned the camera off. Just tell us what you think the Party party-line should be?”

Mumblin’ Mitch: “Hmmmpf. They can say, ‘We are the Party of Lincoln, except we’re true Conservatives, unlike that long, tall, Liberal with his stovepipe hat and hard to understand stories and speeches.’ I mean, golly, ‘…of the people, by the people, for the people’? It can’t be all three! A real leader has to choose!”

Blinders Reince: “Yes, Senator, but what do we choose when it comes to Trump? What is a Republican running for the House or Senate to say while he or she is running away from the Bloviater in Chief?”

Mumblin’ Mitch: “I support him, and I support all his positions the Party says we support. And I even bought a red baseball cap, even though I don’t much care for baseball, and the size ‘S’ was still too big for my head.”

Blinders Reince: “OK, Senator, but do you endorse him?”

Mumblin’ Mitch: “I do if at least sixty others do.”

Blinders Reince: “Yes, dammit! But what if they ask ‘Will you vote for him’?”

Mumblin’ Mitch: “HMMMMPFF! How dare you! That, Sir is an invasion of my privacy as a citizen of Washington D.C.! You have no right to that sacred information.”

Blinders Reince: “Hey! That’s pretty good, Senator. It’s a lot better than Mr. Sneaker’s idea. Gets us up there on the high ground. But I think you meant to say ‘Kentucky’, not Washington.”

Denyin’ Paul: “Dammit! I told you Reince! Never call me that!”

Blinders Reince: “OK, OK, Paul, just bangin’ your gavel. How’s the weather there in Wisconsin?”

Denyin’ Paul: “Under House Rule 4812-A, that information will be released after review by the House Rules Committee. Thank you for you patience.”

Blinders Reince: “OK, Mr. Sn…I mean Speaker. But really, just between us, are you going to actually vote for Agent Orange?

Denyin’ Paul: “Do you promise on your undersized executive chair not to tell more than 500 other elected Republican office-holders?”

Blinders Reince: “I promise, Mr. Speaker, really and truly.”

Denyin’ Paul: “Under Party Rule 2427, that information will be released after thorough consultation with the Republican Party Rules Committee on July 19, 2016, assuming the Cleveland Police Department has cleared away the mess of thrown folding chairs and Persimmon Plum Smoothies and we have thereby regained possession of the executive conference room in the Quicken Loans Arena, or a convenient alternative secret meeting location nearby. Thank you for you patience.”

 

Seen on a Shirt — 4

I’m for Trump — What could possibly go wrong?
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the secret of my success is not to tell people the secret of my success
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the Senate is a club, and we are not in it

Your Truthteller wants to know… about Texas

Greetings Mr. Trump. Here’s a question the press and TV folks haven’t gotten around to asking you yet.

Do you concur with the five to three vote U.S. Supreme Court ruling negating Texas’ restrictive laws regulating the rights of women to control their own reproduction choices?

Please make that a “yes” or a “no”. If you don’t understand the question, just say, “Don’t understand the question. Is this maybe about the Brexit thing?”

Please answer within ten days. If you fail to answer then we’ll conclude you have no intention of answering, and that refusal shall be distributed as your response.

Have a nice Day Number 132!