All posts by Robert Hunziker

The Negan Syndrome

Overnight, like a flash of light, the far right took another big step forward on the world stage. Brazil’s latest voting results as of October 7th are testimony to the grinding power and overwhelming influence of the irrepressible far-right, a worldwide phenomenon that brings in its wake the death knell of liberal democracy, aka the establishment, aka neoliberal globalism pick one the same as another.

Like a powerful grinding machine that never lets up, far-right-wingers are gaining ground in key political battlegrounds across the globe. And, guess what? They’re popular, very popular. People like them and vote for them. It’s why they’re winning big, very big!

It’s only too obvious that voters like the roughness and toughness of far-right candidates, similar to the ornery, conniving Negan character in the wildly popular (in the recent past) The Walking Dead TV series that clearly revealed, for all to see, no compunction whatsoever about bashing in the heads of iconic establishment characters, utilizing “Lucille,” Negan’s baseball bat wrapped with barbed wire.

As one of the great villains of all-time, Negan mercilessly bashed-in the heads of Abraham and Glenn, two favs of the long-standing TV series, while they sat on their haunches, hands tied behind their backs. Did the TV audience watch without covering their eyes, and how many were wide-eyed and filled with great anticipation and intrigue over the upcoming bloody disfigurations.

It is instructive that Negan’s victims were defenseless with hands tied behind their backs in a lineup including the TV series established characters, from Rick to Carol to Daryl, grieving in the wide open spaces as Negan’s boorish crew “the Saviors” stood by as their leader swung Lucille (named after Negan’s wife) before stopping at the first victim: Whack, Whack, Whack, followed by a strange lowly gurgle.

The juxtaposition of Negan taking down establishment actors of the TV series to Trump taking down America’s establishment leaders at the Republican presidential debates is too perfect to pass up.

Thereafter, the highest-ranking Democrat fell in similar vein as Trump stalked Hillary’s every move, in Negan’s irritating fashion, at every chance in public debate. Voters ate it up, not missing a beat and cast their votes based upon manliness.

Notably, the Negans of the world are very popular. People vote for them. Their underlying message is deadly as for the established order, Democrat or Republican or Social Democrat, whichever, and anything “establishment” is red meat.

Wherefore, Brazilian Congressman Jair Bolsonaro takes center stage. He is running for the presidency of the fifth largest country in the world (population 210M). They call him “Brazil’s Trump,” but he is more Negan than Trump.

Bolsonaro one-ups Trump on multiple levels similar to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte or Egyptian dictator General Abdel El-Sisi. Similar to Duterte, Bolsonaro proposes to unleash the military and police into the nation’s slums to “indiscriminately murder anyone suspected of being a criminal.” Kill them!

And, just for good measure, he has also put a target on the chests of several mainstream Brazilian politicians “to be killed!” Down with the establishment. Kill them!

Bolsonaro is the “Negan of Brazil” and looks promising to be elected el presidente on October 28th. In fact, it’s almost a given that he’ll become the new president, running against the leftist candidate in the runoffs ex-São Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad.

Bolsonaro “crushed it” in recent runoff elections, gaining a mind-boggling 60% of the votes in the State of Rio de Janeiro. Not only, his party swept to victory all across the country, registering shockingly high margins of victory. It stunned the establishment into a state of abysmal silence, somewhat similar to Trump’s eye-bulging surprise win.

For example, former President Dilma Rousseff, who had a strong lead by wide margins in polls for a Senate seat, was decimated; fourth place behind two far right wing candidates. She was creamed!

Remarkably, Bolsonaro couldn’t be stopped by a knife wound to the gut in early September (putting him in intensive care), or by hundreds of thousands of women publicly demonstrating against his merciless misogyny (late September), or by mainstream journals like The Economists labeling him “Latin America’s Latest Menace” or by The New York Times declaring “Brazil Flirts With a Return to the Dark Days” all of which seemed to drive more voters to booths en masse.

The bitter truth is that Brazilian voters casts ballots in opposition to the establishment ruling class that has failed them on many levels. This modus is all too familiar worldwide as the establishment throughout the world caves-in time and again in the face of a distraught working class that has lost all hope.

As for one fitting example, Obama won on promises of hope. His most effective electioneering ploy was the iconic “HOPE” poster designed by street artist Shepard Fairey. Voters reached out to that message but to no avail.

The “deplorables” (Hillary Clinton’s biggest mistake and a misnomer) are, in fact, voters found in large numbers everywhere from the Philippines to the United States to Brazil. In the U.S. they embraced Trump with fervor, and he awkwardly addressed some of their grievances, like unfair trade blamed for loss of good-paying jobs. It is true. Good-paying jobs have gone offshore for more than a generation, exported to the lowest common denominator of wages and benefits. The lower, the better. This has gone on now long enough to sink into the fabric of working class mentality: They’ve been screwed, and after a while it hurts, a lot, and they know it and vote it!

The backlash against liberal democracy’s nightmarish creation called “neoliberal globalism” is fierce and deep and bitter. That backlash knows no boundaries because hope is as dead as a doornail. Hope is the final frontier of political leadership, but Obama bushwhacked hope. Ipso facto, Trump unwarily stumbled into riding on a wave of fierce backlash by the workers of the world, which includes all classes below the elites; take notice.

The frustration is everywhere as the far-right mushrooms in popularity throughout the world, Albanian National Front Party, Peoples Reconstruction Party (Argentina), National Socialist Movement of Denmark, European Alliance for Freedom, National Front (France), National Democratic Party of Germany, Golden Dawn (Greece), Icelandic National Front, American Freedom Party (U.S.), National Front (UK) amongst many, many more, all enlarging like the spread of an uncontrollable breakout of the plague that decimated the European continent in the 14th century.

Alternative for Germany (far right) is now Germany’s second most popular party behind Chancellor Merkel’s coalition government. And in Italy, the Interior Minister Matteo Salvini is the poster boy for Europe’s resurgent far-right. According to a Bloomberg analysis, support for far-right parties is at a 30-year high as one of the biggest motivators; i.e., migrant arrivals, has dropped off precipitously.  Yet, national populism is strongest where the fewest refugees or migrants arrived, for example, in Hungary.

Not only that, but in America Black, Latino, and Asians are joining multiracial right wing groups. This strange paradox is really no paradox at all according to Yale associate professor Daniel Martinez-HoSang, author of Producers, Parasites, Patriots: Race and the New Right-Wing Politics of Precarity, (University of Minnesota Press, April 2019, in hardcover).

Martinez-HoSang describes a multiracial far-right that is equally far-right in terms of beliefs, hierarchy, embracing violence, necessity of strong state authority, but remarkably not clashing with belief in a white ethnostate. It’s a clever political twist unified by allegiance to strongman personalities.

With hindsight, it is fascinating that the Trump presidential campaign identified a huge overlap with the audience of The Walking Dead as potential Trump voters. During the election campaign they committed funds heavily to Trump ads during The Walking Dead TV series and on social networking to fans of the program.

In like spirit, The Walking Dead was all about a life-and-death struggle between the “I” and the “Other,” fear of strangers, enclosing of borders, and strong statehood over universal values. Significantly, strongman Negan ruled by fear, similar to what underlies an embarrassing cave-in by the Congressional Republican acquiescence to Trump, similar in fashion to reverence for Negan by the Saviors.

Meanwhile, Brazil’s strongman Bolsonaro is the embodiment of the brutish Negan Syndrome as he willy-nilly dictates death warrants but still garners votes galore. He buries establishment candidates.

And, not to forget that Trump did say he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters. Similar to Bolsonaro, he was right. Fascinatingly, Trump thoroughly, very assiduously understands the Far Right, maybe better than Bolsonaro or Duterte or El-Sisi. Imagine that!

Peak Carbon Emissions By 2020, or Else!

World greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2020, or it’s lights out!

That’s the message from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), which has come out from under the shadows of Paris 2015 swinging like a heavyweight champion boxer, and, in fact, they’ve taken the gloves off in preparation for bare-knuckled fisticuffs.

The world’s leading scientists met at the Forty-Eighth Session of the IPCC and First Joint Session of Working Groups I, II, and III, 1-5 October 2018 in Incheon, Republic of Korea and openly declared that civilization is on track for collapse because of reckless use of fossil fuels, unless the beast is corralled, meaning start reacting now, no more waiting around!

Peak emissions must be achieved by 2020, a slap in the face wake-up call issued by the gathering of scientists in South Korea, They intend to change the course of history, or so they claim. Along those lines, 1.5C is an absolute guardrail not to be crossed (not their words but it’s what their analysis implies). Not a bad idea and worthy of deeper analysis, and it is much stronger than previous pronouncements.

At first blush, peak GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions by 2020 seems nearly impossible to achieve, but it’s a decent idea and jam-packed full of strong motivation, like all hell breaks lose without immediacy of action. In a BBC interview, Heleen de Coninck, a Dutch climate scientist, said:

The decisions we make now about whether we let 1.5 or 2 degrees or more happen will change the world enormously.

In years past, the IPCC viewed the next century as the timeline for deep reckoning when the climate monster would be most threatening. That’s been amended in a big way. Now, trouble is only decades away, and maybe only a few, not several.

According to Bloomberg News, the dictum issued by IPCC to avoid outright catastrophe the world community must invest $2.4 T (trillion) in clean energy every year through 2035 and cut coal-fired power down to as close to zero as possible by 2050.

Also, it’s absolutely necessary to quickly develop functioning technology to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, an enormous undertaking that might or might not work. Nobody knows because it’s never been done to scale. It may require almost as much infrastructure as needed by the fossil fuel industry to emit the CO2 in the first instance. In a word, overwhelming!

Or, looked at another way, according to the renowned physicist Klaus Lackner’s analysis of what’s required for direct carbon removal:

If you built a hundred million trailer-size units you could actually keep up with current emissions.1

Ergo, one hundred million trailer-sized units, assuming 55-foot trailers (the size of each carbon removal apparatus), end-to-end would extend 42xs around the planet. Oops… on to another subject!

According to Bloomberg/NEF (New Energy Finance- BNEF), world investment in clean energy during the first six months of 2018 was $138.2B, and last year the number was $333.5B of which China accounted for $132.6B. It’s taken more than a decade to get up to $300B/yr. and now they insist it goes to $2.4Trillion/yr. And, it sounds as if it must happen almost immediately. Good luck with that!

However, BNEF has qualms about the reality of enough political mojo for that to happen. For example, as things stand today, world energy research orgs forecast future energy mix as: “Coal is expected to remain the largest source of power globally” into the near future. Cough, cough!

In order to curb fossil fuel use, the IPCC generals (climate scientists) leading the charge to world salvation insist that the world community invest $2.4T per year for the next 17 years. That means renewable investments need to increase 7-fold/yr., and that brings to mind a slew of numbing questions, including:

(1) Is it possible to achieve $2.4T/yr. without a worldwide “Marshall Plan” type of collaboration among all nations, especially the big boys/gals?

(2) Do renewable manufacturers have enough capacity?

(3) Where will the funds come from to finance $2.4T/yr.?

(4) Who’ll take charge and organize the worldwide effort?

(5) Will the United States participate? It is the second largest emitter of carbon in the world, keeping in mind the Trump administration is all-in 100% behind fossil fuels and a very strong advocate of “clean coal,” one of the biggest all-time hyperboles. Which is so utterly stupid that it is nearly impossible to quantify its ranking amongst leading lame brain statements of all time.

Meanwhile, the U.S. pokes a very big fat stick into the spokes of the IPCC’s wheelhouse. As long as Trump and Co. remains in charge, climate change is off the table, no discussion, no collaboration with the world, leading to another question: (6) Who will replace the enormous shortfall of funding of the United States?

Furthermore, the authors of the report assume world governments will embrace their sense of urgency; however, that’s likely an uphill battle in spite of their extreme dire warnings; e.g., (1) count Trump out of the mix; (2) Jair Bolsonaro, who leads the polls for the first round in Brazil’s presidency, threatens to withdraw the country from the Paris climate agreement, and he intends to open up the rainforest wide-open to agribusiness; (3) the UK is pushing ahead with gas fracking; (4) Norway is exploring for oil in the Arctic; (5) Germany (renewables galore Germany? hmm) wants to tear down Hambach forest to extract coal; (6) Russia’s Putin makes Trump look like a lightweight. Where does the rubber meet the road?

The IPCC report says global emissions must be cut 45% below 2010 levels by 2030 (whew!), requiring rapid, far-reaching transitions in “all aspects of society.” Every country in the world will require an entire suite of new regulations and behavioral changes. Which is one more reason why the U.S. will not participate, as Trump and Co. are regulatory assassins, not conformists. And, as for Putin, well, forget it.

Bottom line: The IPCC group better kick butt and get moving asap because irreversible tipping points that fuel runaway global warming, or cause similar levels of crises, are already popping up all over the place: (1) Alaska permafrost erupting, (2) Siberian permafrost erupting, (3) Arctic ice loss threatens massive GHG breakout, (4) West Antarctica ice sheets dropping like flies, (5) Totten Glacier/East Antarctica moving way too fast for comfort, (6) melting headwater glaciers endanger major rivers of the world like Lancang in China, (7) the Amazon Rainforest mind-blowing triple-100-yr. droughts all w/i 10 yrs., (8) the Colorado River Basin down 40%, (9) ocean plankton down 45%, (10) Great Barrier Reef major die-offs, (11) loss of glacial water towers in Andes, (12) ocean acidification threatens sea life, (13) depletion of Great Kelp ocean forests, and more and more. The number of vulnerable ecosystems overwhelms the imagination. It is staggering!

In fact, ecosystems are under stress like never before throughout human history, ever since fire was first discovered. It’s little wonder that the world’s scientists are putting out a clarion call to save civilization. Here’s guessing they experience sleepless nights, night after night after night for too long now. It gets tiring. They’re likely fed up, fired up, and mad!

Of note: It’s important to realize that only scientists see the advent of ecosystem deterioration/collapse. Because it happens where nobody lives and nobody travels, with the exception of an occasional scientist on expedition, assuming they can be pulled away from “modeling” on PCs.

As for one helpful solution, maybe invite America’s Congress to ride along on a field trip to sensitive ecosystems that are starting to collapse or, in fact, already collapsing. Simply have a congress person throw a dart at the globe and then go to wherever the dart sticks… odds are very good that they’ll hit a collapsing ecosystem, or at the least, an ecosystem that is getting ready to collapse, assuming the dart misses the big population regions where no major ecosystem collapses occur in plain sight because people don’t huddle together to live in Antarctica, the Arctic, the Amazon rainforest, the ocean (2/3rds of the planet), or Siberian permafrost.

Postscript:

According to EarthJustice, Brett Kavanaugh sided with corporations/industry to remove EPA protections for clean air and water in 89% of his cases, and 96% of his cases ruled against wildlife protections, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. Now he’s a member of the Supremes! Ipso facto, bad beginnings make for bad endings!

  1. Elizabeth Kolbert, “Can Carbon-Dioxide Removal Save the World?” The New Yorker, November 20, 2017.

The Indy 500 Polar Ice Cap Marathon

Eureka! The Vavilov Ice Cap set unheard of speed records a couple of years ago in a massive “surge” and left climate scientists… well, speechless!

The Vavilov Ice Cap, located in the Russian High Arctic has, for years, cruised along at a speed of about 2 inches per day. But, along the way it was the recipient of an anthropogenic turbo-charged-CO2 infusion (scientists didn’t say that), setting all-time world speed records of 82 feet per day in a massive “surge.”

Hand-wringing scientists were aghast, confused. After all, ice caps are supposed to move by “inches,” not by 82 feet per day! Especially considering the mean average annual temperature at Vavilov Station of −16.5°C. Which is b-b-brittle cold.

Additionally, ice caps are very stable. The term “ice cap” refers to a specific type of glacier, a stable slow-moving glacier. That’s how it’s always been, until Vavilov hit the scene!

Vavilov Ice Cap is on October Revolution Island in the Arctic between the Kara Sea and Laptev Sea. It is a polar desert where frigid temps and dry weather should keep ice firmly tethered to bedrock. But, not Vavilov; it’s like a wild horse. As September 26, 2018, it is slipping/sliding at 15-35 feet per day, much faster than its long-term average of 2 inches. The Vavilov is 1,000 to 2,000 feet or 1/3rd of a mile thick, covering over 700 square miles.

Not only did Vavilov set all-time speed records but the scientists, after explaining they’ve never seen acceleration like Vavilov, raised a warning flag about the possibility that “other currently stable ice caps” may be more vulnerable than expected. Oh, really!1

They go on to say the rapid collapse of Vavilov has significant ramifications for glaciers in other polar regions, especially “those fringing Antarctica and Greenland,” where Sea Rise Monsters hang out.

Once again, similar to the same old story of scientists surprised by how fast things are happening, Vavilov caught them off guard: “Climate models don’t take this kind of surge into account.”2

Still, it’s important to realize that scientists have very limited historical data on glaciers in the world’s remotest locations, and without further study, the authors of the Vavilov report are reluctant to boldly claim that “climate change was/is the villain.” It’ll require considerable more study before drawing conclusions.

Yet, common sense would seem to indicate that some kind of warming is behind such an unusual shift in the speed. What else could it be? In time, more answers will become available. As for now, scientists are scratching their heads in disbelief.

Significantly, Vavilov breaks open a new dimension that should haunt the world’s major players. Previously, it was believed that large bodies of ice could only respond slowly to changing climate conditions. That’s dead wrong!

But then again, the entire Arctic is experiencing anomalous sea ice breakup of monstrous proportions. For example:

The oldest and thickest sea ice in the Arctic has started to break up, opening waters north of Greenland that are normally frozen, even in summer… a phenomenon scientists described as scary.3

Here are the gritty details: The Arctic sea north of Greenland has always, always, always been frozen rock solid, until now. Over the years, scientists labeled it “the last ice area,” a moniker that has now been crushed by global warming.

“Scary,’ wrote Thomas Lavergne, a scientist at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, in a retweet of a satellite-gif of the blue water penetrating white ice and exposing hundreds of miles of the Greenland coastline. “In February, the Kap Morris Jesup weather station in the region is usually below -20C, but earlier this year there were 10 days above freezing and warm winds, which unlocked the ice from the coast.”2

Whoa! Something is horribly amiss: It’s “usually below -20C” but instead it was above freezing for 10 consecutive days in February, in the middle of winter at the North Pole, and just to top off how ridiculous the year has been, an enormous ice cap elsewhere in the Arctic is moving at 15-25 feet per day after surging 82 feet per day!

The world is upside down and awry! You’ve gotta wonder: What climatic event(s) could possibly rival the implicit dire forecast of an ice cap speeding towards collapse?

Postscript:

Our globe is under new dramatic environmental pressure: our globe is warming, our ice caps melting, our glaciers receding, our coral is dying, our soils are eroding, our water tables falling, our fisheries are being depleted, our remaining rainforests shrinking. Something is very, very wrong with our eco-system.

— Richard Lamm, American politician, writer, attorney

  1. “Unprecedented Ice Loss in Russian Ice Cap”, University of Colorado at Boulder, EurekAlert! September 19, 2018.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Jonathan Watts. “Arctic’s Strongest Sea Ice Breaks Up for First Time on Record”, The Guardian, August 21, 2018.

Drought-Laden Rainforests

The world’s rainforests are under attack at a rate of 2.5 acres per second. Global warming and clear-cutting for growing palm oil and raising cattle are some of the biggest annihilators. The repercussions are devastating. For example, one of the consequences is harmful alteration of hydrological cycles for major grain-growing regions of the planet. But, that’s just the start of trouble.

Disrupted hydrological cycles, which are only now being disclosed by new research, are one example amongst many of the after-effects of stressed-out ecosystems as a result of (a) global warming, (b) turbo-charged climate change, and (c) the persistent human footprint. The awful truth is that ecosystems across the world are stressed-out like never before. But, nobody sees it.

Uncommonly stressed-out ecosystems occur most prominently where nobody lives, nobody sees, Antarctica, Tibetan glaciers, the Arctic, Siberian permafrost, Colorado River Basin, Alaskan permafrost Andes’ glaciers, Patagonia, Totten glacier, East Siberian Arctic Sea, ocean plankton, the Amazon rainforest. Who lives anywhere near those hot spots of ecosystem disruption?

Over time, the breakdowns turn more powerful, more dangerous, as a discordant world fails to come to grips with distinct risks of several tipping points simultaneously flaring up all at once. Such a horrific scenario could strike with the impact of a 7.5-mile-wide asteroid. The last time that happened 65 million years ago it was sayonara in a flash of geological time. If dinosaurs couldn’t handle it, well, as for Homo sapiens… hmm.

As a suggestion, maybe a world conference on “Impending Ecosystem Collapses” should be held, similar to Paris 2015, but titled: How in the hell did we let this happen? With a sub-conference titled: No-holds-barred capitalism’s infinite growth syndrome clashes with ecological preservation. Or, how about: Would capitalism-lite be better? Or, how about: Starting all over again?

Eliminating excessive amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere would be a good start, a big leap forward to curing a lot of ills, and should be combined with reforestation and an enforceable order to stop cutting down rainforests with reckless abandon. According to Global Forest Watch: “Deforestation in crucial tropical rainforests has doubled since 2008.” Much of it is illegal and linked to corruption.

“A growing body of evidence indicates that the continuing destruction of tropical forests is disrupting the movement of water in the atmosphere, causing major shifts in precipitation that could lead to drought in key agricultural areas in China, India, and the U.S. Midwest.”1

Not only is there a problem with the hydrology cycle, but also three 100-year droughts (the ones that are supposed to happen once every 100 years!) hit the Amazon Rainforest like clockwork 2005-2010-2015 over the past 10 years. That’s unprecedented. As far as science knows, it has never happened before! It’s kinda like an out-of-body experience, hovering over blackened tree stumps as far as the eye can see.

Three droughts within a decade should take your breath away. If it doesn’t, it’s because of a failure to tune in to the overbearing Great Acceleration, aka: human footprint, overrunning planetary resources. Therefore, a key determinate for society’s longevity will be whether ecosystems, such as the rainforests, hang in there without cascading into irretrievable impracticable no-go oblivion.

Subsequent to the 2005 Amazon rainforest drought:  ‘The biggest surprise for us was that the effects appeared to persist for years after the drought,’ said co-author Professor Yadvinder Malhi from the University of Oxford. ‘We had expected the forest canopy to bounce back after a year with a new flush of leaf growth, but the damage appeared to persist right up to the subsequent drought in 2010.2

Another big problem: One season of drought can reduce the CO2 absorption ability of the Amazon for years to come. But, three back-to-back-to back droughts! Whew – triple ouch! Over time, it becomes impossible for the world’s great rainforests to combat global warming. Instead of serving as a “sink of CO2,” the forests “emit CO2,” happening now. Try that one on for size Mister Runaway Global Warming. Hmm- fits like a glove.

According to a study by NASA, the Amazon drought, over a three-year span, lost 270M metric tons of carbon per year. It’s not supposed to work that way, folks. Part of the problem is global warming itself. A warming atmosphere shifts moisture away from the rainforest, which is the wrong direction!

Also, droughts self-perpetuate additional drought conditions, as a considerable portion of the rain that falls in a rainforest comes from water vapor that the trees release through their own leaves. But, dying leaves don’t release much water vapor, which shrinks the hydrological flow variability.

A recent study3  says:

Our work suggests that there is a possibility for even longer droughts, perhaps lasting multiple seasons or years, setting the stage for fires that could clear swaths of the rainforest.

Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory found that after the 2005 drought the most affected parts of the Amazon Rainforest lost 35 inches rainfall in years following.4

As it happens, ongoing destruction of rainforests represents one of the major impacts of the Great Acceleration or the human footprint eclipsing nature. Already, early glimpses of that footprint are found stamped onto the backsides of three unprecedented 100-yr. droughts.

Rainforest decimation is but one of many ecosystem perils that should land on the desks of every world leader: “Urgent – Do Something!” And, oh yeah, while your at it maybe put in a good word for clean renewable energy.

In lieu of today’s inordinately compressed timeline of climate change (many scientists say stuff is happening 10xs faster than ever before), risks of widespread collapsing ecosystems are now more pronounced than at any time since the discovery of fire. It’s not too difficult to point a finger at the prime movers and shakers; i.e., excessive greenhouse gases like CO2 and the pitched battle over infinite growth. Infinity is a lot.

All of which brings to light the highly controversial Stern Review: The Economics of Climate Change, 2006 (more relevant today than back in the day). The British government requisitioned the high-powered study to calculate the economics of climate change. The landmark 700-page report, stated: “Climate change is the greatest and widest-ranging market failure ever seen.”

The Stern Review also ticked off a handful of consequences, assuming a “worst-case basis” and “business as usual,” meaning no effort by the nations of the world to rein-in greenhouse gas emissions. Some of the mentions include, sea level rise possibly as high as 10-15 feet (remember- “worst-case basis”) in a few decades, Florida, NYC, and London likely flooded at various stages, and massive water-food shortages throughout the world, assuming temps run up 2C-5C during the century. And assuming “business as usual.”

Additionally, according to the report: Deforestation is responsible for more emissions than the transport sector, and a number of studies suggest “Amazon rainforest could be vulnerable to climate change, with models projecting significant drying in this region.” (a prophetic statement 12 years ago)

In sum, and relevant to all of the above, according to Mauna Loa Observatory as of September 23, 2018 Atmospheric CO2 registers 405.5 ppm versus 381.82 ppm twelve years ago.

As an aside, following the asteroid collision 65mya within a period of 100,000 years, CO2 increased at rate of 0.2ppm/yr taking temps up 5C. Today we’re at “2.3 ppm/yr or the highest growth rate ever seen in modern times,” according to Carl Edward Rasmussen, University of Cambridge, September 2018.5 That’s more than 10xs.

Apologies to Sir Nicholas Stern, as contrary to admonitions in his 700-page report, free-market globalists have cranked up the dial for CO2 up-up-and-away, forever more! Infinite growth!

“Biz as usual” prevails.

What was it Sir Nicholas Stern said about the “worst-case basis”?

Postscript:

Every tree in the forest is a fountain, sucking water out of the ground through its roots and releasing water vapor into the atmosphere through pores in its foliage. In their billions, they create giant rivers of water in the air – rivers that form clouds and create rainfall hundreds or even thousands of miles away.

But as we shave the planet of trees, we risk drying up these aerial rivers and the lands that depend on them for rain. A growing body of research suggests that this hitherto neglected impact of deforestation could in many continental interiors dwarf the impacts of global climate change. It could dry up the Nile, hobble the Asian monsoon, and desiccate fields from Argentina to the Midwestern United States.

— Fred Pearce, eminent UK author and science journalist

  1. Fred Pearce, “Rivers in the Sky: How Deforestation Is Affecting Global Water Cycles”, YaleEnvironment360, July 24, 2018.
  2. Malhi, et al, “Effects of Drought in the Amazon Persist Years Later”, Oxford University, 2018.
  3. “Amazon Outlook —Continued Warming, Multiyear Droughts,” Water Resources Research, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, July 10, 2018.
  4. Yan Yang, et al, “Post-Drought Decline of the Amazon Carbon Sink”, Nature, 2018.
  5. Carl Edward Rasmussen, University of Cambridge, September 2018.

Understanding Climate Change and Global Warming

There are no hidden secrets about anthropogenic global warming. It’s everywhere, wherever one looks! After all, the People’s Climate March (311,000) in 2014 organized by 350.org (Bill McKibben) was one of the biggest rallies ever held in NYC.

Also, worldwide exposure was ubiquitously on display at the Paris Agreement/2015 assemblage to tackle climate change, involving all of the nations of the world, in full living color.

Name another event that garners more worldwide attention than “climate change” and its kissing cousin “global warming.” They’ve become the equivalent of “brand names” all on their own, superstars, Madison Ave not needed. Move over Coke, global warming has top billing!

But wait!  There’s a problem.

Few people really, truly understand climate change/global warming because of scientific gobbledygook that confuses, for example: (1) Unique language- “positive feedback loops” or “albedo” (2) Extent-  “slowing thermohaline” (3) Measurement- “Keeling Curve” (4) Tipping points “methane clathrates” (5) Geological cycles such as “Holocene.” Or, how about Anthropogenic or Pleistocene?

Those unfamiliar exotic words are unique to climate science but foreign to the Average Joe, thus overwhelming and feeling kinda dumb. Accordingly, how can people discuss or ponder the issue? They can’t! And, they don’t! Ipso facto, the biggest problem haunting public perception of climate change is raw ignorance.

Granted public opinion polls show people strongly favor tackling climate change, and they’re hip to the idea of strong opposition to the global warming monster (but, who isn’t!) Then again, it doesn’t matter if they’re 99% because America’s Congress and WH are all-in 100% for fossil fuels, “let the chips fall will they may.”

In fact, America’s Congress has never ever tackled the global warming issue, but yet Wal-Mart’s “Project Gigaton” plans to go 50% solar by 2025. Both Target and Wal-Mart are already, right now, in the thick of installing solar energy systems like crazy. What a bizarre stark contrast to America’s dumbheads on Capitol Hill!

Still, lack of understanding is a major obstacle to getting the public onboard the climate change bandwagon. Ignorance is an enormous impediment that pushes people away. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people are left standing in the dust, but what if it’s possible to capture them? Think of the power behind hundreds of thousands of eco warriors as an unstoppable force.

America’s battle for sanity needs eco warriors and not easily targeted polling numbers that don’t have bite! Blah blah blah polls don’t put one boot on the ground.

Author/futurist Guy Lane intends to change all of that.

Ergo, his brilliant, self-educating book, What Comes Next is packed full of great explanations that are simple and friendly to use and easily understood. It’s a fun book to read because the reader suddenly feels “very smart” and “well informed.” Thank heavens, a book that actually makes people smart about a complex subject. What a relief!

Assuming What Comes Next was a movie, rather than a book, it would be a “must see film.” It is crisply written and easy to understand with a plot that covers significant aspects of climate change by putting the reader smack dab in the midst of “how to change the world.”

The following is a fictional movie trailer voice-over, and it’s in Guy Lane’s own words, straight out of his book:

Over the past 30 years of my research into changing the outcome I have found many horrid things that threaten to kill off human civilization, including the Blue Ocean Event. But I have also come across ideas that we could use to save ourselves from the worst fate. Plus, I have invented some ideas, too.

These ideas might help us learn to swim, like the inflated bags you can connect to your arms, Water Wings, some people called them. Or Floaties. Let’s call them Floaties. These ideas advise the actions we could take to avoid drowning, to start floating and, maybe even swimming.

Imagine for a moment that we ditch the psychopaths who run the world so badly and set a path that is good for all of us. Our mission is to foster a Class 5 Planet…

Yes, Guy Lane not only smoothly explains the uniqueness and complexities of climate change, ironing out all of the strange lingo, making readers sharp as a tack, but without diminishing the seriousness of danger inherent to the global warming leviathan, offering unique ways for people to get involved, as they transform into eco warriors.

Lane laces the book with “imagination,” meaningful ways to solve the problems so the “reader” can personally feel involved and self-satisfactorily smile as an advocate, thereby adding substance to their lives. That’s the consummate feel good experience.

What Comes Next is a distinctive tome because it not only takes the reader on a harrowing trip into the grisly dank depths of our troubled world but also uplifts the reader to a glowing realization that it doesn’t have to be that way. This is the single most important message in Lane’s book, as it spreads apart dark rumbling clouds, opening up to spectacular iridescent rainbows that radiate wonderful dreams.

By that, Guy Lane is the epitome of unvarnished optimism wrapped around the ugly gory details of a failing biosphere that may, in fact, actually fail, and he does not back away from that conclusion. Therein his true warrior grit and spirit comes to the fore, providing a way out of the morass in Part 7, “Learning to Swim”. Then, there is light at the end of the tunnel, but it is flickering, albeit barely.

The heart and soul of this instructive book takes readers on a feel good ride whilst proffering an easy to read understanding of the vast multitudes of climate change headaches.

Lane’s book is a splendid gift for all who want to learn how to feel comfortable about discussing the most profound issue of our times. He’s empowering people to achieve personal satisfaction and meaningfulness in the context of a very challenging world.

That’s accomplishment!

Postscript:

I make no guarantee that we will achieve a better world; it may be too late for that. But I will show the way.

— Guy Lane, Australian Sustainability Specialist and Fiction Writer

Extremely biased additional info: Boot Congress!  Vote for non-incumbents, but vote “yes” for incumbent Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) whose wife Sandra (Ph.D. marine biology) is chief scientific officer of AltaSea – very cool. The planet needs them, badly.

An Unforeseen Climate Beast Awakens!

East Antarctica is a big-time global warming player. Nothing is comparable. It is the world heavyweight, and nothing can impact the world with so much calamitous clout. As such, it would be a huge mistake to discount its capability to turn mean-spirited, striking all of a sudden, catching scientists and humanity unawares. In fact, it’s already turning heads, and it alone is equivalent to 170 feet of water.

Disturbingly, early signals of destabilization have been detected at Totten Glacier/ East Antarctica, where, according to accepted science for years and years, we are not supposed to worry until the next century. Scientists have always said East Antarctica’s a “not to worry region,” nearly impervious to the impact of climate change.

However, along those lines, over time it’s becoming increasingly evident that one of the horrors of the global warming story is a failure of mainstream science to know what’s really going on in a timely fashion, always late to the party. Repercussions could be cascading ecosystems crushing societal norms and flooding of the great cities well ahead of any kind of preparations, such as building dykes around major urban centers.

Here’s what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the prototype of mainstream science-lite, has said regarding the outlook for Antarctica:

In 1995, the IPCC projected “little change in the extent of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets… over the next 50-100 years”. The 2001 IPCC report suggested that neither the Greenland nor the Antarctic ice sheets would lose significant mass by 2100. The 2007 IPCC report said there were “uncertainties… in the full effects of changes in ice sheet flow”, and a suggestion that “partial loss of ice sheets on polar land could imply metres of sea-level rise… Such changes are projected to occur over millennial time scales”. The reality is very different.1

Furthermore, the 2014 IPCC report said that Antarctica’s contribution to rising sea levels would “not exceed several tenths of a meter… during the 21st century.” Wrong again!

The fate of the world’s coastlines has become a classic example of how the IPCC, when confronted with conflicting science, tends to go for the ‘least drama’ position… Yet extraordinarily, the 2014 IPCC assessment report repeated the mistake and actually produced a numerically smaller figure… despite mounting evidence of polar ice-mass loss.2

Meanwhile, as the IPCC twiddled its thumbs, West Antarctica’s meltdowns turned serious, losing three massive ice shelves 1995- 2002- 2017, the third loss a one trillion ton behemoth, forcing National Geographic to redraw the World Atlas. Somebody noticed!

Now, there’s this: The Totten Glacier in East Antarctica is destabilizing. It alone carries enough ice melt (16 feet) to flood NYC and Tokyo, forget Miami, it’s already a goner. Totten is less than 10% of the mass of East Antarctica. Still, Totten brings more potential sea level rise than all of West Antarctica, where major destabilization of glaciers continues ongoing with gusto.

According to a recent telling article in Geophysical Research Letters: Yara Mohajerani, Isabella Velicogna, and Eric Rignot, “Mass Loss of Totten and Moscow University Glaciers, East Antarctica, Using Regionally Optimized GRACE Mascons,” July 25, 2018: Totten lost 18B tons of ice every single year from 2002-2016, a clear signal that risk of inordinate sea level rise is now officially “on the move.”

“Both of these glaciers are vulnerable to the intrusion of warm ocean water and hold considerable potential for sea level rise,” said co-author Eric Rignot, Donald Bren Professor and chair of Earth system science at UCI. “This work highlights that East Antarctic glaciers are as important to our future as those in the continent’s western regions.”2

To say that is surprisingly bad news is comparable to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster’s surprisingly bad news, both ecosystem degradations have potential to “come down like a ton of bricks on civilized society.”

For overall perspective, Antarctica is the world’s largest desert at 5,400,000 square miles (the United States is 3,500,000 square miles). It is the highest, driest, coldest, windiest, brightest of the seven continents, roughly the size of the United States and Mexico combined, and almost completely covered by a layer of ice that averages more than one mile in thickness and up to three miles in some areas. The ice has accumulated over millions of years through snowfall. It represents 90% of the ice on Earth and would raise sea levels worldwide by over 200 feet were it to melt.

East Antarctica has been quiescent for centuries upon centuries… until now. It is the one piece of the climate puzzle that scientists don’t want to see turn ugly, so fast. But, it is misbehaving very, very badly and sending up smoke signals that humanity best get its act together soon and halt CO2 emissions or buy lots of scuba gear.

Not only is The Big Kahuna or East Antarctica starting to shake, rattle and roll, it’s kissing cousin West Antarctica has already been on a roll for some time now. The “Mass Balance of the Antarctic Ice Sheet from 1992 to 2017,” Nature, 219-222 (2018) shows the rate of ice loss from West Antarctica increasing three-fold over the past 15 years. That’s a lot. No science models came close to predicting that rate of increase since 1992, 2002, or 2012 (every 10 years), but it was and still is happening at ever-increasing rates of speed.

Time and again the same storylines about “scientists surprised by how much faster the climate system is changing… way ahead of the models,” should start sinking in that anthropogenic climate change is on the march in a big way. Yet, leadership, especially in America, is as cavalier about the risks as General Custer was when informing his courier: “It looks like we caught ’em sleeping.” It is axiomatic that wipeouts are never anticipated!

According to James Hansen of Earth Institute – Columbia University, whose strong ethical straightforward honesty was totally unacceptable (actually taboo) for the Bush/Cheney administration: “The last time that ice sheets disintegrated 14,000 years ago, sea level went up (on average)… one meter (3.3 feet) every 20 years.”3  Oops!

Totten is an early warning signal clanging loud and clear.  If ignored, it’s comparable to Custer’s courier riding off in the distance to inform reinforcements of “good news.” Somebody somewhere, everywhere, better start planning to move to higher ground or building dykes, or do something other than sit around waiting for additional stronger evidence that impending worldwide chaos is right around the corner. Wipeouts are never anticipated. If it were otherwise, they’d never happen.

  1. David Spratt & Ian Dunlop, What Lies Beneath. “The Understatement of Existential Climate Risk, Breakthrough”, National Centre for Climate Restoration, September 2017.
  2. Ibid.
  3. The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media, December 2013.

Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?

The Paris Agreement of 2015 remarkably brought together all of the nations of the world, except for the United States after Trump cancelled, in a concerted effort to combat the dire consequences of global warming, which on a worst-worst-worst case basis could lead to human extinction; although, not many climate scientists discuss that possibility.

But, it really could happen.

But then again, when?

Meanwhile, the Paris Agreement is constantly being scrutinized because it is well understood that if the science about the timing of not exceeding 1.5C, or maybe 2C, is correct, then humanity doesn’t have many shots, or much time, at fixing this monster before it grows totally out of control, and then human extinction will reluctantly need to be factored into climate models… for the first time ever! Nobody wants that to happen.

Meantime, climate complexities, as they relate to the Agreement, are starting to throw poisoned darts at Paris/2015 and hitting bull’s-eyes.

After all, since the very beginning, the Agreement was not on solid footing, as, for example: Dr. James Hansen, one of the world’s foremost climate scientists, “nailed it” when, immediately on the heels of the climate accord, he said:

It’s a fraud really, a fake. It’s just bullshit….

The famous or infamous, depending upon one’s viewpoint, Paris Agreement uses “linear relationships” in calculating cumulative CO2 emissions and global temps with the goal of holding temp increases to less than 2C vis-à-vis pre-industrial but preferably below 1.5C. Otherwise, all hell breaks loose. Disconcertingly, some climate scientists take issue with the data assumptions in Paris/2015, as way too timid. (See Postscript for alarming current status report on atmospheric CO2)

In that regard, a new study has already plugged some of the holes in the Paris Agreement, or maybe drilled new holes, by looking at “non-linear feedback” phenomena of CO2 and methane emissions via permafrost, which is seldom, if ever, considered in projections of future global warming. Hmm!

For example, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) recently published in Nature Geoscience: T. Gasser et al, “Path-dependent reductions in CO2 emission budgets caused by permafrost carbon release“, Nature Geoscience (2018).

The upshot of the study’s inclusion of permafrost into Paris emission budgets demonstrates that Paris climate targets could/might/most likely will be exceeded “sooner than expected.” That’s not good, especially for policymakers, meaning nation/states, which use Paris/2015 as a roadmap for cutting CO2 emissions.

Significantly, the IIASA study is not “crying wolf.” Aesop’s fabled Boy Who Cried Wolf is nowhere to be found in this grisly tale.

Above and beyond that IIASA study, the UK’s Centre for Ecology & Hydrology also published a study dated July 2018: Edward Comyn-Platt et al, “Carbon budgets for 1.5 and 2 °C targets lowered by natural wetland and permafrost feedbacks”, Nature Geoscience (2018).

Somewhat similar to IIASA’s findings, the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology analyzed wetlands and permafrost, concluding: Global fossil fuel emissions will have to be reduced by up to 20% more than previous estimates to achieve Paris temp targets because of natural greenhouse gas emissions from permafrost.

Arithmetically, a reduction of 20% is equivalent to 5-6 years of current human-caused carbon emissions. That’s a lot! Hence, it throws off calculations for every country’s voluntary plans to cut emissions (Paris/2015 cuts are voluntary, not mandated… Oh, well! C’est la vie!)

As such, nations to the Agreement need to go back to the drawing boards. Will they?

And, as for further dispensing of The Boy Who Cried Wolf analogy, a third permafrost study was released September 4, 2018: S. Serikova et al. “High riverine CO2 emissions at the permafrost boundary of Western Siberia“, Nature Geoscience (2018).

This study demonstrates how Western Siberian rivers actively process and release a large portion of the carbon received from degrading permafrost, an unexpected finding that emphasizes how changes in the Arctic exert strong negative influence on the climate system with far-reaching consequences for the world.

All of the above-mentioned deficiencies in the science utilized for the Paris Agreement makes the original analyses suspect, or when looked at from another angle, gives the entire Agreement a bad odor. (Recall that Dr. Hansen called it “bullshit.”) In other words, by all appearances, if nations actually follow the precepts of Paris/2015, they’ll come up short. Not good and extremely perilous.

The Paris/2015 complexities are only too obvious, and as such it is incumbent upon the nations of the world to achieve much, much deeper cutbacks than ever realized in CO2 emissions (as well as remove CO2 from the atmosphere, hopefully, fingers crossed, knock on wood, but who knows?) in order to prevent the onset of a hothouse planet scorching crops across the mid latitudes and thus forcing humanity into a massive panic mode that would likely make the French Revolution look like a cake walk. Back in the day (18th Century) heads rolled by the thousands (elite aristocrats, which were standout targets at the time) along the Place de la Concorde where today the Obelisk of Luxor marks one of humanity’s bloodiest spots of final resting.

After all, somebody has to pay the price when society turns upside down because of massive starvation that drives humanity into a state of utter madness. Unfortunately for rich people, their gated communities happen to be low-hanging fruit and easy, predictable targets for release of pent up anger by masses toppling iron gates, similar to the storming of the Bastille (1789). Sorry, but that’s just the way it is when the going gets rough and tough with starving pissed off people.

Of interest, all of today’s teeth-gnashing over global warming was foreseen as far back as 1975 by Wally Broecker (Columbia Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory), whose paper in August 1975 “Are We on The Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming” published in Science was the first official use of the term “global warming,” as he correctly predicted an overall 20th Century global warming of 0.8ºC due to CO2, and he worried about the consequences for agriculture and sea level rise, meaning more trouble to come in the 21st Century.

How does Broecker weigh in on today’s global warming juggernaut?

Here’s Broecker, “the grandfather of global warming,” quoted in 2017:

In 1950s, when I was in graduate school, we got 15 percent of our energy from renewables and nuclear, and 85 percent from fossil fuels. Today it’s the same. Both of them have been increasing at 3 percent a year. Renewables and nuclear are not changing in their percentage share. And in order to stop the CO2 from rising we have to go to a factor-of-ten reduction in fossil-fuel burning — at least a factor of ten. And that means changing all the world’s infrastructure.”1

That’s a Bunyanesque task.

Is the world up to it? Hmm.

So far, in spite of worldwide agreement to do something to prevent global warming’s most destructive potential, or, God forbid, human extinction, the outlook as of today is downright dismal; in fact, really lousy! Prepare to batten down the hatches! (See Postscript)

In a nutshell:   “The rate of CO2 growth over the last decade is 100 to 200 times faster than what the Earth experienced during the transition from the last Ice Age,” Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, commenting: “This is a real shock to the atmosphere.”

Wait ‘til the aftershock hits humanity.

Postscript:

What does the data tell us? It shows that all is not well in the state of the atmosphere! In order to prevent further warming, the carbon dioxide levels must not grow any further. On the growth curve, this corresponds to the curve having to settle down to -0- ppm/y. There is absolutely no hint in the data that this is happening. On the contrary, the rate of growth is itself growing, having now reached about 2.3 ppm/y the highest growth rate ever seen in modern times. This is not just a “business as usual” scenario, it is worse than that, we’re actually moving backwards, becoming more and more unsustainable with every year. This shows unequivocally that the efforts undertaken so-far to limit green house gases such as carbon dioxide are woefully inadequate.

Carl Edward Rasmussen, University of Cambridge, September 14, 2018

  1. David Wallace-Wells, “The Man Who Coined the Term ‘global Warming’ on the Worst-Case Scenario for Planet Earth,” Daily Intelligencer, July 19, 2017.

The Elite World Order in Jitters

According to a brand new book by Peter Phillips, the world is now controlled by a handful (actually several handfuls) of powerful/rich elites via interlocking capital exchanges spanning the globe.

This ultra small coterie dictates world events and expects results. However, they are painfully aware that forces from down below are growling, growing restless, very restless indeed!

Thus, Phillips’ riveting story of world domination by elites, a thoroughly researched analysis from A-to-Z, Giants: The Global Power Elite, Seven Stories Press, 2018.

Phillips forewarns on behalf of ninety-nine percenters (99%):

There is growing concern among reformist elements of the transnational elite that unchecked inequality threatens the stability of global capitalism and that there must be some sort of redistribution. These elites have been scrambling to find ways to reform the system in order to save capitalism from itself and to undercut more radical challenges from below. (p. 18)

Meantime, and along the way according to Phillips, wealth concentration has gone ballistic like a moonshot! In January 2016 only 62 people held as much wealth as one-half of the entire world, but within one year, by 2018, that figure narrowed to 8 people with as much wealth as one-half of the entire world. Stop and think about the implications. Is something about that awry, amiss, or maybe nonsensical?

Wealth concentration is happening so rapidly that it is feasible that someday soon one man will hold more wealth than half the humans in the world. (p. 21)

Wow-Wow!

Is capitalism starting to “stink up the place” with wealth cumulation madness? Can the world community live with this or will there be an uprising as the elite’s bold rapaciousness increasingly turns into a public image of the Wicked Witch of the East?

Early on, Phillips explains the raison d’ê·tre for his wonderful beautifully written tome. It’s all about a discovery process to promote “greater democracy and equality” by explaining the vast wealth differences and the mechanisms of power behind the giants of capitalism. That is the crux of his work.

In his words:

“Understanding how power and inequality is sustained can perhaps offer us opportunities to fight for and win democracy and equality in today’s world.” (p. 22)

The harsh reality, however, is that Phillips’ greatest wishes may not materialize, meaning forget about the great democracy revival, no equality, nada, as the world turns, wiping-out all of the vestiges of democracy and equality. In point of fact, the loss of the effectiveness of democratic institutions (already) brings in its wake ironclad statism leading to purest of fascism, thus playing directly into the hands of the powerful elite, as their wildest dreams come true.

What are those wildest dreams?

Their brand of roughshod capitalism plays tough and requires strict subordination as jobs are shifted to low labor costs, fewer regulatory, lower environmental control regions of the world so that profit margins remain robust. This has been ongoing for over a generation. In order to maintain “roughshod capitalism” militantly strong statism is an absolute requirement.

Along the way, the rug is pulled out from under livelihood for labor, loss of decent pay, stripped benefits, bringing in its wake guaranteed loss of self worth plus degradation of dignity, which in turn spirals downwards into extremely deep fits of anger, elect Trump, “hate others,” tough language, glorify the strong man/nation/state as the only apparent pathway to retrieve loss of dignity.

By default, as surely as night follows day: “It has become clear that the Global Power Elite uses NATO and the US military empire for its worldwide security” as countries shift from the “social welfare state to the social control (police) state.” (p. 226)

This conversion to strict statism is happening worldwide zip zip zip with lightening speed. Unfortunately if it continues on pace, it does not leave much room for Phillips’ hoped for reform of the global elite, meaning a return to a semblance of democracy and equality and good-paying jobs.

Phillips describes an elite world order, similar to observing an iceberg. Only the top 10-15% is visible. In the US, for example, there are two governments, one that’s visible that citizens are familiar with and a parallel top-secret org “visible to only a carefully vetted cadre” combined with global intelligence agencies working together as Deep State Networks. (p. 231)

The principals of this leviathan cadre are all interrelated as they literally control the world order, inclusive of everything from advertising for consumer goods to outer space missions.

Here’s one example, among many, demonstrative of how the sealed-tight world order network came into being, as explained by Phillips: In the mid 1970s at a time when the CIA was still subject to restrictions imposed by Congress and enforced by the president, intelligence officers of several major countries, including France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and others, met at the Safari Club in Kenya with former CIA Director George H.W. Bush “to overcome constraints imposed by Washington, D.C.”

The outgrowth of that meeting was establishment of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) as the depository for funds for “off the books,” secretive covert operations, thus forming a Supranational Deep State that works willy-nilly outside of the bounds of nation/state control. (p. 232)

That’s but one example of several that delves into the how, where, and why today’s elite global power structure evolved into a covetous rapacious all-powerful behemoth.

This book skillfully weaves together all of the variant pieces of the elite world order, including names and positions, which leads one to question the validity of Phillips’ concept of a “top-secret elite global force,” as his book clearly outlines its entirety for all to see, full Monty!

Yes, of course, identifying the elite core is one thing, but carrying out policy is quite another, presumably the “top-secret” part.

Phillips does a remarkable job of pulling together all of the pieces into one webbed fabric of ironclad control over the mind, spirit, behavior, and livelihood of the world’s 99% via an elite core smaller than the quintessential, iconic 1%.  (Suspiciously, a perfect depiction of George Orwell’s 1984)

Giants: The Global Power Elite (2018) is a mysteriously alarming formidable story.

Interestingly, Phillips’ book ends with “A Letter to The Global Power Elite,” asking them to change the ways of the world socio-economic system:

We absolutely believe that continued capital concentration and neoliberal austerity policies only bring greater human misery…. Wars, covert actions, externally-induced regime changes, propaganda media, and technological surveillance, all in the name of protecting the freedom to do business, is hurting humankind and will be stopped. (p. 320)

That’s heavy stuff!

And this:

The change that needs to come to insure trickle-down becomes a river that is real and adequate for all human needs is not billionaire philanthropy, where the power elite handpick their beneficiaries, but rather the restructuring of capitalism itself. (p. 306)

That’s heavier stuff!

And, of course, there’s always the fallback position, assuming people get pissed off enough, the old fashioned 18th Century French way.

Postscript:

People do not judge in the same way as courts of law; they do not hand down sentences, they throw thunderbolts; they do not condemn kings, they drop them back into the void; and this justice is worth just as much as that of the courts.

— Maximilien Robespierre, 1758-94 (Beheaded 28th July, major figurehead of French Revolution & Reign of Terror (17,000 executions) member of the Estates-General, the Constituent Assembly, and the Jacobin Club and outspoken advocate for the poor and for democratic institutions and campaigned for universal male suffrage in France, price controls on basic food commodities and the abolition of slavery in the French colonies and an ardent opponent of the death penalty, but played an important role in arranging the execution (beheading) of King Louis XVI (1793) which led to the establishment of the French Republic.)

Homespun Terrorism

For years now NSA and the Pentagon have feared foreign terrorists poisoning aquifers and municipal water supplies.

Come to find out, forget those foreign terrorists!  The poisoning is already happening, internally, homespun! ISIS and al Qaeda are not needed. We’re poisoning our own people without the assistance of professional terrorists.

It’s homespun terrorism, right here in the good ole US-of-A, and the Trump administration is turbo-charging that terrorism by hacking apart the EPA.

Want proof: Ask any long-standing EPA employee about it: They’re aghast!

Trump’s motto: “Make EPA Ineffective Again.”

The Trump administration, after heavy lobbying by the chemical industry, is scaling back the way the federal government determines health and safety risks associated with the most dangerous chemicals on the market.1

Here’s what citizens need to know about Trump’s EPA Wrecking Crew: The new mandate at EPA is to focus on “possible harm caused by direct contact with a chemical in the workplace or elsewhere,” meaning that once disposal of chemicals takes place there is no longer a cause for restricting or banning the toxic chemical.

According to the New York Times’ article:

The E.P.A. has in most cases decided to exclude from its calculations any potential exposure caused by the substances’ presence in the air, the ground or water.

Or, here’s another way to look at it: If toxic chemicals happen to show up in your drinking water, well, too bad!

In that regard, it just so happens that a North Carolina resident named Emily Donovan recently appeared before a congressional subcommittee EPA hearing and asked this revealing question: “Who in authority can tell me if the 16 mystery PFASs I found in the tap water at my children’s public school are safe to drink?”2

The answer to Ms Donovan’s question: Nobody knows for sure if the water at her child’s school is safe to drink, but it does contain 16 different alliterations of base chemicals PFAS.

Wow! “Sixteen mystery PFAS chemical compounds,” and nobody knows if that drinking water is safe for children… It’s not!

Emily Donovan lives near Cape Fear, NC where discharges from chemical plants are responsible for high levels of PFAS or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluorralkyl chemical substances. Recent government testing shows PFAS to be dangerous to health “at much lower doses than previously thought,” as well as linked to cancer. But not to worry, Trump (cough, cough) is in charge now.

In point of fact, PFAS is one of the biggest emerging health threats to public water systems throughout America. Whew, not to worry, Trump is in charge now! And because of its pervasiveness, it’s now a bipartisan issue in Congress. That’s an unbelievable accomplishment!

For example, in a Congressional subcommittee meeting about the EPA’s handling of toxic chemicals, the following was said by a representative: “What is the timeline?’ asked Republican Rep. Tom Upton of Michigan, who spoke of one community in his state ordered not to drink its contaminated water for nearly a month this summer.”3

Imagine no faucet water for a month… think about it! Who’d want to drink it thereafter, forever thereafter?

Republican Congressman Upton also released a report showing groundwater at the military base in Battle Creek, Michigan with PFAS levels “up to 757 xs higher” than EPA safety standards. That’s enormous: Multiply 757 times a salary of $25,000; it equals $19 million in salary; 757xs anything is big, especially when it comes to toxic chemicals! That’s a disaster-plus-plus scenario!

Not only that, peer-reviewed studies of tens of thousands (10s of 1,000s) of people in the Ohio River Valley exposed to PFAS found “probable links to kidney cancer, testicular cancer, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, hypertension and high cholesterol.”3

But not to worry, Trump’s (ahem!) in charge now.

According to Peter Grevatt, head of the EPA’s water division, the EPA is considering formal declaration that the specific PFAS, although no longer manufactured, be classified as hazardous substances. Really?

That’s the good news!

Here’s the bad news: Mr. Grevatt claims the aforementioned PFAS compounds are not… “the no. 1 challenge we face.”

A much bigger problem exists: Tens of thousands (10s of 1,000s) of versions of PFAS exist actively today, widespread throughout the country. In other words, the toxic chemical juggernaut is totally out of control, dispersed throughout the USA, similar to turning armies of ISIS lose on American communities, but in this case Made in America.

Not only, but according to the Environmental Working Group, the EPA itself, on an internal basis, piles danger upon danger: “The Scariest Trump Appointee You’ve Never Heard Of” is Nancy Beck straight out of the American Chemistry Council ($9 million lobbying, mostly to Republicans) to serve as Deputy Assistant Administrator of the EPA to: “Protect you, your family, and the environment from potential risks from pesticides and toxic chemicals.”4  You’ve gotta be kidding!

Ms Toxicity Nancy’s career includes: (1) crafting political agendas for the chemical industry for years; (2) reprimanded by a congressional committee for “very disturbing attempts to undermine EPA science”; (3) serving as a vocal critic of EPA safety findings in the face of “her own fundamentally flawed approach to chemical safety issues.”3

During the G.W. Bush administration, she was criticized by the National Academy of Sciences for her “fundamentally flawed approach to chemical science.”  Now, she’s in charge!

“Beck has been described as a “powerful critic” of EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System, or IRIS program, which researches chemical toxicity. IRIS assessments have traditionally played a big role in informing the rules that EPA and state governments adopt to protect people from toxic chemicals.”3

Well, well, well… now that members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have finally started to wise-up as to the depth and breadth of America’s toxic chemical problems, poisoning its own citizens, the Trump administration installs the archenemy of the “strongest and best EPA rulings.”

Good gracious! People should assemble in the streets and demand a recall! After all, it is known that EPA career-employees have expressed “concern,” actually “deep concern” about changes in implementation rules since Beck arrived.5

Not only is Toxic Nancy in charge but also timeliness now becomes a critical issue as school officials wonder about toxic water at fountains in school hallways. The new school year just started.

“How do we create that sense of urgency?” Rep. Debbie Dingell, a Michigan Democrat, asked Peter Grevatt, head of the EPA’s office of drinking water. ‘PFAS in Michigan is scaring people more than the Flint water crisis.”3

Maybe Trump should hold one of his infamous political rallies in Flint. He could have those life-sized poster boards of supporters in the background standing behind him (many of the supporters standing behind him are cutout poster boards of people) hold up signs saying, “Trump for Clean Water.”

Wonder if Michael Moore could be convinced to stand amongst the cutout poster boards of people in the background behind Trump? That would be special and, of course, very convincing of Trump’s sincerity.

A smiling Michael Moore (maybe a poster board cutout of him, maybe not) standing behind Trump, holding up a sign: “Trump for Clean Water.”

Postscript:

Unacceptable levels is powerful. It tells the story of toxic chemicals in just about every aspect of our lives, and the egregious lack of regulation. Our ability to protect our families is at stake.

— Joan Blades, Progressive Political Activist

  1. Eric Lipton, “The Chemical Industry Scores a Big Win at the E.P.A.”, The New York Times, June 7, 2018.
  2. “Congress Wants EPA to More Quickly Regulate Unsafe Chemicals”, AP News, September 6, 2018.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Melaine Benesh, Legislative Attorney, Environmental Working Group, May 2, 2017.
  5. Politico.

Billionaires Plan Escape From Apocalypse

Well, the harsh truth about the integrity and fortitude of billionaires is finally out in the open for all to see, and the results are repugnant: Billionaires are gutless, chicken-hearted cowards. The proof is found in the pudding as several Silicon Valley billionaires purchase massive underground bunkers built in Murchison, Texas shipped to New Zealand, where the bunkers are buried in secret underground nests.

All of which begs this question: What’s with capitalism/capitalists? As soon as things turn sour, they turn south with tails between their legs and hightail it out of Dodge. However, they feast on and love steady, easy, orderly avenues (markets) to riches, but as soon as things heat up a bit, they turn tail and run.

History proves it time and again, for example, FDR rescued capitalism, literally rescued it, from certain demise by instituting social welfare programs for all of the citizens as capitalists fled and/or jumped off buildings.

Then during the 2008 financial meltdown capitalists were found curled up in the corners of rooms as all hell broke lose. Taxpayers, “Everyday Joes,” had to bail them out with $700B in public funds, and even more after that. All public funds! Taxpayers, average Americans, bailed them out!

Capitalists can’t take the heat as well as gritty American industrial workers that ended up bailing them out of the “jam of the century.” As explained by Allen Sinai chief global economist for Decision Economics, Inc, discussing Milton ‘laissez-faire’ Friedman’s free-market dogma vis a vis the 2008 economic meltdown: “The free market is not geared to take care of the casualties, because there’s no profit motive.”

The chicken-hearts from Silicon Valley already have Gulfstream G550s ($70M each) readied at a Nevada airstrip for the quickie escape journey to NZ.

Escape, from what?

Well, of course, the 99%, you silly!

This revelation comes from Robert Vicino, founder of the Vivos Project, a builder of massive underground bunkers who claims the Silicon Valley elites developed detailed plans to flee to New Zealand while attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland where the world’s richest biggest kahunas meet every year to take victory laps and discuss future biz battles.

According to Vicino: “They foresaw a revolution or a change where society is going to go after the 1 per centers. In other words, them.”1

Maybe a copy of Jean-Paul Marat’s Chains of Slavery (published 1774) was passed out as bedtime reading material at Davos. Surely a radical political theorists like Marat’s verbal flailing of “princes/aristocrats” with extremely harsh mean-spirited judgment must have dealt them a sleepless night or two.

And maybe the nighttime reading packet also included Victor Hugo’s Ninety-Three (published 1874), which discussed the beheading of King Louis XVI, the Terror, and the monarchist revolt that was brutally suppressed by the new Republic. Heads rolled!

Whatever the source or reason, something happened to flush-out these yellow belly lily livered fraidy-cats, out into the open, but actually deep underground where they’ll live in constant fear that the 99% will hunt them down. Lest they forget, when mobs ruled France, thousands of aristocrats lost their heads to the guillotine, not a fun prospect, which likely has today’s billionaires shaking in their Lucchese boots. Otherwise, why the elaborate plans?

The sorriest part to this story has everything to do with the “privileged” aspect embedded in the glory of capitalism, which ratchets upwards in lock step with vast monetary accumulation. The formula seems to be that the more money one has the more “privileges” one is entitled to at the expense of everybody else, same as 18th century France in Hugo’s Ninety-Three, wherein an aristocrat’s carriage hit and ran over (and killed) the child of a poor family but the aristocrat, without hesitating, kept on going lickety-split to his estate to hide behind locked gates, which is another example of a yellow belly lily livered chicken that can’t take the heat when times get rough.

Evidently, money doesn’t equate to toughness because a principled billionaire would stay back and help in times of trouble, not run for cover. Billionaire plans to escape as soon as things turn rough is a sure sign of weak-kneed namby-pamby pansies on the premises!

Victor Hugo comprehended the French Revolution very well. The aristocrats, whilst prancing about in goofy ruffled clothes and sprayed with perfume and riding in golden carriages, turned up their noses at the masses, looking down upon them with contempt. No help for the starving. In turn, their hubris turned hungry masses into a machine of mass murder as they roamed the streets in search of some dignity, similar to America’s bereft industrial cities today; loss of dignity turns people into something different, nothing to lose, anger, elect Trump, get really mad, do crazy things. In Paris in the 18th C they killed the rich, with abandon.

Actually, billionaires today have much more to consider other than a French Revolution-style uprising that targets the one-percent (them). There are other factors at work like nuclear war, a killer germ, or climate Armageddon, when every street turns dangerous with gangs trolling for food and gasoline and ammo and rich people.

Solving all of those nasty problems, New Zealand allows émigrés to buy residency via investor visas. As a result, super wealthy Americans have poured a fortune into the country and whenever possible acquire palatial estates. For example, James Cameron of Titanic fame bought a mansion at Lake Pounui.

Sotheby’s claims several well-heeled Americans have bought multimillion-dollar properties in the Queenstown area over the past two years. Maybe these billionaires are privy to information of a pending alert or upcoming disaster. Who knows?

Peter Thiel, the PayPal billionaire and renowned super-super-super libertarian and unapologetic Trumpster love-fester achieved New Zealand citizenship in only 12 days and bought not only his citizenship but a $13.8M estate in Wanaka, a lakeside community.

According to a phone interview with the former PM of New Zealand John Key:

If you’re the sort of person that says I’m going to have an alternative plan when Armageddon strikes, then you would pick the farthest location and the safest environment – and that equals New Zealand if you Google it… It’s known as the last bus stop on the planet before you hit Antarctica. I’ve had a lot of people say to me that they would like to own a property in New Zealand if the world goes to hell in a handbasket.2

Hence, when Armageddon hits, all of the billionaires will huddle together in New Zealand.

That’s real creepy!

  1. Olivia Carville, “Wealthy Americans Have Stepped up Investment in New Zealand. Parliament Votes to Ban Foreigners From Buying Bolt-Hole Homes”, Bloomberg LP, September 5, 2018.
  2. Ibid.