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FWIW, The Day After [Nov. 9th, 2016|02:43 pm]
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I realize most of my f-list is probably feeling shell-shocked and sucker-punched right now, so I'm coming out of LJ-hibernation to offer a few reasons why you might, instead, feel guardedly optimistic that this was for both the short and long term good:

(1) For all everyone worried about Trump being dangerous and unstable, Hillary was the one backed by the architects of the Iraq war. She was backed by Kissinger, who was responsible for Pinochet and massive horror in Cambodia. She was the primary party responsible for the Libyan invasion, and was for a right wing coup against a democratically elected government in Honduras. Combine all this with a seemingly fervent desire to either play chicken with or actually start a shooting war with Russia (backed, again, by all the architects of the Iraq war and most members of the Obama administration), she was the real threat for WWIII, and best case scenario she would've restarted a smoking hot version of the cold war. I didn't miss the cold war and am unhappy our MIC brought it back. (I wrote in Bernie, but if forced to choose between the two major party candidates, I would have voted for Trump in great part because of this single issue)

(2) For a long time, the Dem establishment has been pretending to want different things from the Republican establishment, and visa versa, yet they mostly do the same thing (I will grant you, Obama was a vastly more competent version of Bush/Cheney, but essentially, after running on hope & change, he was just a more competent version of same). The Dems give different and better speeches, but unless you think elections should be all about virtue-signalling (look! my speech checked all the write ticky boxes!), we were not being given good choices on policy. This SHOULD alert both establishments that this is no longer the case, and force them to start giving us real choices.

(3) Both the Dem and Republican establishments clearly hate the working class, and care about nothing but further enriching a bunch of already rich sociopaths. This election will, hopefully, clear out the dead wood and give us a chance to get good people running the party, who will get us back to our new deal roots, as opposed to a bunch of scumbuckets who try say things like "just accept that the good times are never coming back except at the top but hey, we have the right diversity breakdown at the top so get over your desire for a decent life and vote for us unless you are a bigot" (obviously, if you think Schumer and Obama have been doing a great job, and enjoy reading Matty Yglesies, we don't have much to say to each other and my little essay is not going to be of much comfort) This COULD mean the democrats will put up more people like Bernie (and not cheat them!) and fewer people like Patrick Murphy (speaking of people I'm so glad they lost!) Also, "the working class is stupid and bigoted but you can prove you are one of the less stupid and bigoted ones but voting how we tell you!" will probably NEVER be a winning electoral strategy. It is, itself, a deeply bigoted and wrongheaded narrative exemplifying a bigoted and wrongheaded worldview. This gives the dem a chance to develop a more accurate, less asinine, possibly winning one for the future.

(4) Yes, you can pick out a cajillion stupid things Trump has said. It's also obvious he doesn't mean half of them. (I am NOT excusing him for saying them, or trying to argue that he is a nice person, or that in a normal version of reality I would be pointing to him as a lesser evil choice for president). One popular meme is that this is some kind of triumph for racism. Trump actually got a higher percentage of black and latino votes than GOP choices have gotten for the past 12 years. And I can't tell you how many Muslims in my twitter timeline said some variation of "I'm voting 3rd party because I'm afraid Trump will deport my relatives, and I'm afraid Hillary will kill them." For every stupid thing Trump has said that indicates a potential to harm, Hillary has been involved in policy which has actually caused harm. There's no question about meaning there.

(5) Trump might REALLY oppose or void the TTP, TTiP, TISA etc. This is a good thing he has said. These are awful giveaways of national sovereignty to multinational corporations whose passage, barring immediate voiding, would basically destroy any hope for the future of the biosphere, and for the lives of the working class. I strongly dislike Trump for being a global warming denier, but Hillary/Obama were enacting the policies that locked the world into a death spiral. Maybe Trump will do better. (this was the second of my 3 main reasons for preferring this outcome))

(6) The Democratic primary this year involved the most blatant cheating I have ever seen. Hillary winning would have assured the Dems kept putting up their corporate conservadems and cheating to make sure they won. Hopefully this will stop that. (or, as I said elsewhere last night, "Schadenfreude for the win!")(this was my 3rd reason for preferring him)

(7) While I don't think Trump actually wanted or expected to win, I think he will actually try to do a good job, and he's not an idiot or incompetent (I think he just proved that with his series of wins). Given that he has taken different sides on practically every issue, who knows what he actually thinks, or will do, but there is at least a possibility he will actually do a good job. I said before the election that I think we are all screwed no matter who wins, and someone on my favorite political website last night said "My greatest fear is that one of them will win" but maybe, just maybe, he will be more concerned with a legacy of accomplishment than making sure he has good seats sociopathic cocktail parties after he's out of office. We can hope.
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2d in my "letters from scientists" climate change series [Sep. 1st, 2015|05:05 pm]
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Taking one letter at a time from here:

Sometimes I have this dream.

I’m going for a hike and discover a remote farm house on fire.

Children are calling for help from the upper windows. So I call the fire brigade. But they don’t come, because some mad person keeps telling them that it is a false alarm.

The situation is getting more and more desperate, but I cant convince the firemen to get going.

I cannot wake up from this nightmare.

Stefan Rahmstorf.

Professor Stefan Rahmstorf
Head of Earth System Analysis
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
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1st in a new series of happy, optimistic blog posts! [Aug. 20th, 2015|10:18 pm]
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I found this link on twitter, and I went there. It is a site that asks scientists to send in letters describing how they feel about climate change, then publishes the letters.


I plan to start posting a letter at a time on a semi-regular basis. On the one hand, I may be breaking some copyright laws by posting letters in their entirety. On the other, I gather getting these views out is rather the point, and I don't know how many people would bother clicking on the link or reading the letters if they did, and the situation is somewhat dire, so . . . until such time as I get either a polite request or a cease and desist notice, here are a couple to start with, just to get going. The first is most similar to my own thoughts, the second is a bit more whimsical and more the thing most of my readers would write (if you are still there) but equally to the point.

Here goes:

Dear Joe,

My overwhelming emotion is anger; anger that is fueled not so much by ignorance, but by greed and profiteering at the expense of future generations. I am not referring to some vague, existential bonding to the future human race; rather, I am speaking as a father of a seven year-old girl who loves animals and nature in general. As a biologist, I see irrefutable evidence every day that human-driven climate disruption will turn out to be one of the main drivers of the Anthropocene mass extinction event now well under way.

Public indifference and individual short-sightedness aside, I am furious that politicians like Abbott and his anti-environment henchman are stealing the future from my daughter, and laughing about it while they line their pockets with the figurative gold proffered by the fossil-fuel industry. Whether it is sheer stupidity, greed, deliberate dishonesty or all three, the outcome is the same – destruction of the environmental life-support system that keeps us all alive and prosperous. Climates change, but the rapidity with which we are disrupting the current climate on top of the already heavily compromised environmental health of the planet makes the situation dire.

My frustration with these greedy, lying bastards is personal. Human-caused climate disruption is not a belief – it is one of the best-studied phenomena on Earth. Even a half-wit can understand this. As any father would, anyone threatening my family will by on the receiving end of my ire and vengeance. This anger is the manifestation of my deep love for my daughter, and the sadness I feel in my core about how others are treating her future.

Mark my words, you plutocrats, denialists, fossil-fuel hacks and science charlatans – your time will come when you will be backed against the wall by the full wrath of billions who have suffered from your greed and stupidity, and I’ll be first in line to put you there.

Professor Corey Bradshaw
Director of Ecological Modelling
The University of Adelaide


Dear Earth,

Just a quick note to say thanks so much for the last 4 billion years or so. It's been great! The planetary life support systems worked really well, the whole biological evolution thing was a nice surprise and meant that humans got to come into being and I got to exist!

I’m really sorry about the last couple of 100 years – we’ve really stuffed things up haven’t we! I though we climate scientist might be able to save the day but alas no one really took as seriously. Everyone wants to keep opening new coal mines and for some reason that escapes me are happy to ignore the fact that natural gas is a fossil fuel. Well, no one can say we didn’t try!

You’re probably quietly happy that “peak human” time has come and gone and it’s kind of all downhill for us now, though I guess you’re more than a bit miffed at what we’ve done to your lovely ecosystem (the forests and corals were a really nice touch by the way) and sorry again for the tigers, sharks etc.

In case you were wondering, our modeling suggests that your global biogeochemical cycles (especially the carbon one) should reach a new dynamic equilibrium in about 100,000 years or so. I guess it will be a bit of a rocky road until then but, oh well, no one said the universe was meant to be stable!

All the best and do try and maintain that “can do” attitude we love so much.

Prof Brendan G. Mackey, PhD
Director Of Griffith Climate Change Response Program
Griffith University

30 July 2014
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Some things I wish Americans were better informed about . . . [Jun. 6th, 2015|02:58 pm]
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(1) The world outside our borders.

Probably about half of us know there were some big elections in the UK not that long ago. I hope. Not sure about this. A double digit percentage of that half might be able to tell you who the SNP are, but I doubt it. Hell, I had never heard of the Plaid Cymru until the run up to said election, still don't know much about them, and still don't know what the differences between the Scottish and English greens are, just that differences exist (and this latter knowledge is entirely due to reading a stray remark on a fiction writer's blog) .

Maybe a quarter know there was a big upset in a recent Canadian election, tho I'm doubtful it's that high.

Getting outside the "English as primary language spoken" areas of the world, I would guess the number of Americans who would know what the hell you are talking about if you said "Syriza" would be well south of 5%. If you said "YPG" or "YPJ" the number would almost certainly be less than 1%, and probably a lot more of those on the conservative side of the spectrum than the left, which is so sad it makes me want to cry. You might get back up around 5% for "Yazidis".

Likewise politics, economics and animal rights and environmental issues on every other continent. Except Japan. We all know there was a bit of an issue in Japan with a nuclear reactor at some point in the recent past. And oh, Fair Trade. Most of us know "Fair Trade" labeling has something to do with other countries.

(2) Environmental issues.

There seems to be a concerted effort not to talk about climate change as a sociopolitical issue over here. Most people seem not to get how bad it is. Most people with the platform to inform others seem to actively avoid doing so. When someone tries, there seems to be an active effort to ignore them. I think this tactic likely to have exactly the same effect as closing your eyes and hoping it goes away when there really IS a super strong, super fast, hard to kill with any sort of weaponry kid eating monster with super great vision, hearing and sense of smell crawling out from under the bed wondering where its next meal is. Which fate all the people in power trying to ignore the issue completely, entirely and without reservation richly deserve. Sadly, the rest of us are stuck on the same planet with them, and we can't make them go away, and we don't have any way to take all the good stuff about the planet and go anywhere else either.

Most people don't know there are floating islands of garbage larger than Texas out in the ocean. Most people don't know about the likely upcoming extinction of coral reefs, and how much of them are already gone. Most people don't have the faintest clue how severe the overfishing problem is and how severely depleted the ocean is of practically everything. (Except human waste products! Those are ever growing!) Most people have no clue honeybees are at risk or why and how easy it would be to do something about it and how are our government is trying to take the head in sand / hide under pillow approach.

I belong to a couple of left wing political action mailing lists that frequently ask what I care about. They list a range of issues. Environmental ones are never on there. Climate change is never on there. Extinction events are never on there. That these should be trumping everything even from a purely self-interested, self preservation viewpoint apparently does not occur to whoever makes these lists, or they simply don't care, because ... tribalism? Paid off? Just plain stupid? I don't know. I am reminded of stories about how when Al Gore wanted to talk about climate change and the preservation of the natural world during the run-up to the 2000 elections, his handlers wouldn't let him. When he finally overruled them and insisted, they actively discouraged the media from covering such talks.

Obama, I will grant you, has talked about climate change a couple of times in order to criticize Republican stupidity. The media has covered this. He has then immediately proceeded to okay more offshore drilling, more fracking (so has supposedly left wing Cali gov. Jerry Brown) and offshore drilling in the arctic. Wow. That is so disgustingly cynical I don't have words. The media manages not to make any connection here.

(3) Trade.

Does even 20% of the country know the US was successfully sued for allowing "country of origin" labelling laws? (see also: efforts in this country to make it illegal to label something non-GMO and the like, which is also mostly unknown)

Meanwhile, something like 70-85% of Republicans even oppose the TPP. So do the vast majority of Democrats and Independents. But it's on the verge of getting through Congress, with nearly all Republican Senators and Representatives on board, and being pushed as hard as possible by Obama in public, and then you have crazy shit like Schumer and Pelosi pushing it as hard as possible behind the scenes while opposing it in public. It totally guts national sovereignty in favor of huge corporations. So, Shell or Monsanto or NIKE or China or More Toxic Than Thou Plastics Inc can sue the US for requiring labor standards, or labeling stuff fair trade, or what have you (see: Myanmar, and Obama's support for allowing said human slavery exemption to get them on board). And of course, no one is even allowed to see the damn thing. Except members of Congress. While being watched to make sure they don't take notes or make copies. Under penalty of something or another if they talk about it.

I don't think most people get the issues with this. It would be the second biggest fuck up since the Iraq War. (the biggest being, again, our failure to act on climate change) And the way it is being handled is . . . scary is sort of an understatement. I'm hoping the lack of mass outrage is due to ignorance. So yeah, this is something I wish more Americans knew something about.

(4) The importance of critical thinking skills. And the courage to use them. And not jumping to conclusions, or on bandwagons, and resisting tribalism and groupthink. And understanding gradations, and complexity, and the difference between being wrong and being evil, having some ability to tell when someone is one or the other.

And . . . I'm getting less angry and more sad, so going to stop listing stuff now. There is more. And I'm very very sure there's lots more I don't know even know about, cause not a whole lot of free time and don't want to spend all of it trying to find every corner of real news, since mainstream news is ... verging on totally useless?

Ppeople should be able to be reasonably well informed if they check out an hour or two of mainstream news every week. And they are not. A lot of this vast ignorance comes back to our mainstream media. They are basically traitors to humanity and the world, with what they spew and how they present things. From passing off (demonstrably false, which they had to have been complete idiots not to know) Bush administration propaganda as fact during the run up to the Iraq War to the concerted effort to ignore or minimize world threatening problems such as climate change to crap such as the admission by many political journalists that they actually let what kind of food they got from different candidates on the presidential campaign trail affect how they covered the candidates/issues, Western and especially American journalists have grossly violated the public trust. Our corporate media likes to think it is better than Dick Cheney and the neocons, but it isn't. Not that this makes them different from most other people who have had any major responsibility in the past 40 years, but unlike corporate execs, billionaires, and politicians, they are not getting rich off this. All they are doing is getting to suck up to rich people and demonstrate their boot-licking skills. That is . . . pathetic as much as it is anger inducing and disgusting. Anger inducing and disgusting with regard to the effects on the rest of us, and just . . . pathetic when it comes to what it says about them.
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This may be worth noting: [May. 5th, 2015|10:53 pm]
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It is apparent to most people across the globe that organizing political and social behavior around the dictates of the marketplace has proved to be a disaster for working men and women. The promised prosperity that was to have raised living standards through trickle-down economics has been exposed as a lie. The corporate state, understanding that it has been unmasked with the rise of unrest, has formed militarized police forces, stripped us of legal protection, taken over the legislative bodies, the courts and mass media, and built the most intrusive system of mass surveillance in human history. Corporate power, if unchecked, will suck every last bit of profit out of human society and the ecosystem before collapse. It has no self-imposed limits. And it has no external limits. Only we can create them.

Chris Hedges, here:

Not agreeing with all of his specifics, but the general principles, yeah. Re: specifics, for example: unlike Hedges I am somewhat more optimistic about changing parties from within (i.e. if Sanders actually wins, that would be friggin awesome, & I am not entirely convinced that Hilary couldn't transform into a good candidate who would be a sufficiently good president under the right circumstances*).

(Parenthetical Addendum since I didn't post this when I wrote it, which turns out to be a good thing:


Thankfully people in Canada are less easily manipulated than Americans, and don't vote based only on who the media tells them can win, and would rather spend their energy investigating reality & see good policies enacted than spend on all their time justifying why had to vote for who the media told them to or else someone even worse woulda won.)

Also wanted to point those who, like me, find the general discussion of the election to be almost entirely couched in completely useless horse racing terms (and I like horse racing, but this is not the point, elections are not horse races and have an entirely different set of consequences, or at least should and if they don't, that's something that needs to be changed immediately, or else quit pretending and quit having them) like "will the changing demographics that favor the democrats win out over the one party fatigue that favors the republicans?" or "is Hilary** likable enough?" (cos ... she's not but Ted Cruz is? oooookaaaaay . . . ) toward some places that cover actual issues.

My personal favorites at the moment are Ian Welsh & Naked Capitalism. Anyone else wanna recommend anything?*** & ****

*Disclaimer: I am highly, highly unlikely to vote for Hilary unless she runs a very different campaign than I expect. Vague platitudes in the right direction will be insufficient. (see: Obama's last 8 years. If you think these have been a good eight years, I . . . will refrain from saying what I actually think in case someone I actually like has not been paying attention) What is needed will be a commitment to several courses of action I feel necessary, with some actual specifics, that is so firm it will be more or less impossible to back out of without an immediate fall from grace. I do not expect this to happen.

** Further Hilary thought: When I read the people who don't like her, I generally think they are stupid & awful & highly sexist and it makes me want to defend her. When I read the people who support her by way of trashing all possible other ways of voting, I think they are stupid & awful & it puts me in mind of less enthusiastic but equally nasty Obamabots from 2008 and it makes me think nearly everyone is hopelessly stupid and easy to manipulate. The majority of both groups make wonder if the dude who got on the plane at the end of 12 Monkeys had the right idea. Don't be one of those people.

*** If you are not American, neither is Ian. & Naked Capitalism covers Europe quite a lot, in addition to the US.

**** It should go without saying that I am not in lockstep with either place, or any candidate, and do not endorse everything said by anywhere, but the world being what it is these days, maybe it needs to be said. So, said. There.
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Oh, it's Earth Day. [Apr. 22nd, 2015|02:31 pm]

Kinda sad that we need such a day. Okay, sad is woefully inadequate, even when used as deliberate understatement. Tragic? Enraging?

In other thoughts on the state of the world . . . doesn't really matter where you go, tragic and enraging are prominent. Along with inspiring, but most people focus way too much on that and then spend their energies avoiding the other. I get that life sucks for lots of people and it's a nightmarish struggle just to survive, and they need breaks from the suckitude where they can get them just to get through their days, and I'm not talking about those people. Other people spend a truck load of time actually doing something worthwhile, and I'm not talking about them, either.

Forgive the unpleasantness. I am just kinda freaking out that I come on live journal today during downtime and find pretty much nothing on this subject. Western Black Rhino just went extinct, who cares? Northern White Rhino about to, who cares? Honeybees & Monarch butterflies disappearing like ice in July, and we more or less know why and are actively avoiding doing anything about it? Fracking here, fracking there, oil drilling heading for the arctic thanks to the prez that democrat partisans will frequently defend to the death, who cares? California running out of water, 80% of that water being used for agricultural purposes, a huge chunk the produce grown in the US coming from cali, and a whole bunch that is shipped elsewhere, sinkholes popping up hither and yon, a short term only solution would be to drain lots of rivers dry that would cause many many species to go extinct right away and only postpone the inevitable briefly but here one does have to care lest one mention that the planet has way, way, waaaaaay too many people on it, cause in some parts of the left saying this is considered a bad thing? Because some idiots claim the entire world population could live comfortably in India if we all did it right? (I've also seen Indonesia used for this purpose, tho that is probably someone being confused about sources. Not that either source makes any sense AT ALL. Those places are overcrowded NOW and species are going extinct like wildfire there NOW, you fucking idiots)

I shall rant more later, maybe. Or not.
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Post script to f-locked entry [Apr. 18th, 2015|01:51 pm]
Just finished a book in which identifying people's greatest fears was very, very important. (not saying which book because it's kind of a spoiler just to say that next to the title)

There really is nothing else that is worse or more to be feared than failing those you care about. Seriously. Nothing. Drowning/suffocating/falling from a great height/burning to death etc? However awful those would be (and I have a very good imagination and a humongous fear of heights and have been worried about making it back to the surface in time whilst swimming alone and once woke up unable to breath, so a fair idea to base my imagining on for some of these things), not even in the same ballpark. Not close.
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And then there were two [Mar. 28th, 2015|01:57 pm]
Or none, depending on how one is counting.

Marley is gone as of yesterday afternoon. She deserved better and I feel like I let her down. She was one of the sweetest, most sensitive and loving dogs ever. Pits really get a bad rap. If they are not abandoned or abused (and oft times even if they are), they could not be more affectionate and caring. Despite my mentioned concerned from a couple of days ago, I really wasn't that worried about her. At some point I shall explain why.

Life is a cruel cheat and a nasty trick. If anyone is orchestrating certain sequences of events, retribution is in order.

Recent Reading [Mar. 19th, 2015|04:15 pm]

Currently in middle of: The Jennifer Morgue, by Charles Stross
Most recently finished: The Mime Order, by Samantha Shannon
Next Up: The Peripheral, by William Gibson

Favorite book read last year (since it's been a while): The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
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Meme again, Day 2 (long about 2 weeks after day one?) [Mar. 19th, 2015|01:33 pm]

Day 1 - Ten random facts about yourself
Day 2 - Nine things you do everyday
Day 3 - Eight things that annoy you
Day 4 - Seven fears/phobias
Day 5 - Six songs that you’re addicted to
Day 6 - Five things you can’t live without
Day 7 - Four memories you won’t forget
Day 8 - Three words you can’t go a day without
Day 9 - Two things you wish you could do
Day 10 - One person you can trust

From the most basic & trivial but without which there would be no organic lifeform version of moi to that which makes life worth living . . .

(1) Breathe/Eat/Drink/Consume Nutrients
(2) Excrete
(3) Think/Ponder
(4) Read
(5) Worry (I'm pretty sure)
(6) Get angry (I think; maybe I missed a day somewhere)
(7) Appreciate something beautiful and wondrous and just kinda neat. Cause, hey, look around. Even in a city, I expect this is impossible NOT to do. Outside the city, if you notice things and aren't suffering from clinical depression or something, I mean, hell, even if I am depressed and miserable and worried and angry, how is this possible not to do at least a few times every day?
(8) Laugh/Smile/Love
(9) Spend time with my SO and our canine.
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