We must talk

Everyone is aware of the topic ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming’. The difficulty is that there is no actual definition, experience or data that defines these terms. Clouding the dialogue is conflict between naysayers, entrepreneurs, ostrich heads, unprepared government representatives and science. The casual attitude by most around the world is, “Well, maybe. But it’s too far in the future for me to worry about.”

The reality is that climate change officially began with the first report of atmospheric modification back in 1853. The primary culprit is known today as burning fossil fuels. What is hard to accept is the gradual change – ever so slight – of weather, planet behavior, environmental degradation and other subtleties such as the effect of eliminating forests, open chemical drainage and destroying estuaries and tidal plains in the name of real estate development.

A record-setting amount of damage has occurred across the planet – including the United States – that no longer can be denied. Something is different. It is destructive, expensive and takes lives. Storms are stronger; rain is heavier; drought is prolonged; atmospheric quality affects health. If mariner may use an analogy, visiting with a cow and calf is pleasant until more cows come running; and even more cows come running. A pleasant interlude with one cow becomes a life-threatening stampede. Since about 1970-90, the rate of change has shifted slowly from arithmetic to algebraic, that is, the rate of change was moving along at 1,2,3,4,5,6…. Recently, the rate of change has shifted to 1,2,4,8,16,32….

Even the US Congress, bless them, is preparing a disaster relief bill with a budget in the billions and both parties are collaborating. Climate change must be serious!!! The cost of climate change perhaps is the most threatening aspect, capable of bringing the nation’s economy to its knees.

USNews just released an article that begins to provide measurable data. A summary is below; remember that when the term “in the next century” is used, that doesn’t mean it will start in the next century; it indeed already has begun. Metaphorically, the cows already are multiplying.

[USNews] A report released Tuesday in the journal Environmental Research Letters found that the homes of nearly 3.9 million Americans are at risk of flooding by the next century if the sea level rises one foot, as many climate scientists have predicted. While usual suspects such as New Orleans, southern Florida and the Manhattan section of New York City are at great risk, some more surprising areas also have large populations living less than a meter above sea level. Ben Strauss, director of the Program on Sea Level Rise at Climate Central, told us which states are most at risk of devastating floods during the next 100 years.

Georgia – 28,000 people living in 127 square miles of low-lying land are at risk of being flooded.

Massachusetts – Only about 32 square miles of Massachusetts is vulnerable to being flooded, but it’s a dense area, with about 52,400 people at risk.

North Carolina – 58,000 people living in more than 40 towns and municipalities in North Carolina are in danger of flooding, according to Strauss’ report. The state is prone to hurricanes, although it has largely avoided major damage in recent years.

South Carolina – In 1989, hurricane Hugo pounded downtown Charleston with five-foot high walls of water, damaging three quarters of homes in the historic district. Strauss says the area is especially vulnerable to flooding. In the state, 60,000 residents live in dangerous low-lying areas.

Virginia – Strauss says Norfolk is at the most risk in Virginia—about 75,000 people live in the state’s 120 square miles of low-lying dry land.

New Jersey – New Jersey only had 67 square miles of dry land in the “danger zone,” but more than 154,000 people live in those areas, putting the Garden State at risk.

New York – Last month, a researcher said that storm swells could easily devastate Manhattan over the next 100 years, and Strauss wrote that the city had a “one-inch escape from Hurricane Irene.” Manhattan has sea walls, but with 300,000 people living less than a meter above sea level, they’re at risk, Strauss says.

California – “In southern California, you never think of coastal floods,” Strauss says. Southern California often gets storms that push the high tide line three feet above sea level, but it rarely goes above that. “By middle century, when you have a foot of sea level rise, they’ll be seeing water to four feet regularly. There’s a lot of development and assets between three and four feet,” Strauss says, adding that relatively flat areas such as Huntington Beach and Long Beach are at the most risk. More than 325,000 people live less than a meter above sea level.

Louisiana – “The odds for extreme coastal floods have already increased dramatically for most locations we’ve studied,” says Strauss. No one knows that better than the people of Louisiana, who were devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. More than 888,000 people live in the 1,180 square miles of dry land less than a meter above sea level, by far the largest vulnerable area in the United States.

Florida – More than 1.6 million people live in the 638 square miles of Florida’s coast that are less than one meter above sea level. Strauss says South Florida will likely have to migrate to higher ground, because the bedrock off the coast of Miami is “like Swiss cheese,” making it impossible to build a sea wall.

Globally, there are ten nations that may not survive economically:

Bangladesh – Climatic changes: A tropical monsoon country, Bangladesh is prone to floods, tropical cyclones, and tornadoes, which occur almost every year, and now the low-lying country is suffering increased rainfall, cyclones and rising sea levels. Over the coming decades it is estimated that 20 million climate refugees will emerge from Bangladesh.

Guinea Bissau – Not to be confused with Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, or Papua New Guinea, Guinea Bissau is soon to be placed on the map in its own right, no longer to be mixed up with other similar-sounding countries.

Guinea Bissau experiences a monsoon-like rainy season alternating with hot, dry winds blowing from the Sahara. Rainfall has become irregular and unpredictable. The coastal lowlands are exposed to increasing rising tides due to thermal ocean expansion, which in turn increases the risk of flooding. Damage to infrastructure and loss of water security are already felt keenly, as is the loss of food security due to the loss of fish stocks and coral reefs, soil degradation and decreased agricultural yields. Guinea Bissau already is heavily dependent on foreign aid.

Sierra Leone – Sierra Leone’s climate is tropical, with a rainy season and a dry season which brings cool, dry winds from the Sahara. The population is now threatened by climate change-related droughts, storms, floods, landslides, heatwaves and altered rainfall patterns. Crop production is highly vulnerable to prolonged droughts interspersed with heavy rainfall, rendering Sierra Leone another country at high risk from threats to food and water security.

Haiti – Haiti’s climate is characterized by two seasons: the wet and the dry. Heavier rainfall is now occurring in the wet season, hurricanes are more frequent and less predictable, and sea level rise is a major concern. Climate projections, however, indicate a hotter and drier future for Haiti with decreased precipitation overall. Unseasonable droughts have caused widespread crop failure in recent years. Less than 2% of Haiti’s forest cover remains since the 1915-1934 US occupation, which oversaw the majority of deforestation due to concentrated land ownership for plantations.

South Sudan – South Sudan’s climate is tropical equatorial with a humid rainy season – with vast amounts of precipitation – and a drier season. However, climate change has delayed and shortened the rainy season, and drought has become an increasing concern.

Nigeria – Nigeria’s oil-based economy is set to suffer greatly, likely impacting the funds required to address climate change. Nigeria is already experiencing drier weather, particularly in the northern Sahel region, and droughts are increasing in frequency and severity.

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – The DRC is the richest nation on earth in terms of natural resources, and the most biodiverse African country, yet one of the poorest nations on Earth, with 70% of the population living below the poverty line. The predicted increase in frequency of floods, droughts and heatwaves, is expected to impact agricultural productivity and livelihoods. Deforestation and land degradation due to mining are exacerbating these climate-related disasters

Cambodia – Climate change is expected to amplify already existing problems of water scarcity, agricultural failure and food insecurity. Extreme flooding is predicted to endanger the agriculture that supports the majority of the population. Extreme heat is also predicted.

Philippines – The term super-typhoon is set to become a fixture in climate-related vocabulary. Rising sea levels place the Philippines in a particularly vulnerable position, and increase the threat of storm surges that inundate vast coastal regions, threatening their populations who will be forced to migrate en masse if they are to escape the effects of food insecurity and loss of shelter and livelihood that result.

Ethiopia – Small-scale farmers – which make up 85% of the Ethiopian population – are expected to bear the brunt of climate change-induced drought in Ethiopia, resulting in water scarcity and food insecurity. Crops have failed and cattle are dying; it is probable that Ethiopia will experience more famines on the scale for which the nation is famed.

Mariner is confident of two situations occurring: Even as the world has not figured out how to deal with emigration, emigration will continue to worsen especially in a decade or two when the effects of climate change dramatically change weather patterns; migration of US citizens will cost billions and affect everything from housing to jobs. The second is a global depression. GDP will suffer significantly at the same time the cost of climate change is beginning to affect national economies.

Thanks to USNews, Shift Magazine and Maplecroft.com for providing much of the detail in this post.

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OF NOTE

Barbara Res, a construction manager in the early 1980s, recalled:

“We met with the architect to go over the elevator-cab interiors at Trump Tower, and there were little dots next to the numbers. Trump asked what the dots were, and the architect said, “It’s braille.” Trump was upset by that. He said, “Get rid of it.” The architect said, “I’m sorry; it’s the law.” This was before the Americans With Disabilities Act, but New York City had a law. Trump’s exact words were: “No blind people are going to live in this building.” [June Atlantic]

Ancient Mariner

Did you know?

Day to day, we forget that if the billions of years of life on Earth were scaled to a twenty-four hour day, our settled civilizations began about a fifth of a second ago. [Falter, McKibben]

This implies that the existence of humanity, regardless of many years of human life ahead, is but a microscopic blip in the history of the Planet. The dinosaurs (during the Mesozoic Era inclusive of the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods) existed for over 170 million years. So far, the Homo clan has existed for 2.2 million years; modern humans, the troublesome sapiens kind, have existed only for 200,000 years.

There is scientific debate about the cause of extinction for dinosaurs. One or the other or both a large asteroid and/or excessive volcanic activity blocked the sunlight and caused atmospheric gases that made life impossible for dinosaurs – although virtually every other creature made it through this catastrophe in one way or another. The survival of other species suggests that the end of the Cretaceous Period was a slower change in the environment. Some scientists think while both catastrophes may have contributed to the extinction, they suggest the real cause was a more gradual shift in climate and changing sea levels.

Does that sound familiar? Humans are not blessed with asteroids but from time to time, large volcanoes have disrupted daily life around the planet. Just to be sure, though, humans have fossil fuels to create a warming climate and changing sea levels.

Another study suggests that the dinosaurs were overpopulated and suffering from disease and malnutrition during the end of the Cretacious. Humans have that covered, too, with excessive global population and intentional starvation across much of the Planet.

Mother Nature is not deterred from her strict laws for survival. Mother Nature is the spirit of the Planet – not of any life form per se. As to troublemaking humans, she says, “Capitalism, shmapitalism; profit, shmofit; AI, shmai – humans have never been in charge and never will be.”

Humans snub their noses and say they will leave Earth and live elsewhere in the cosmos. Where? On another planet?

Ancient Mariner

 

Oh My, Oh My

Not enough to worry about? Here’s more:

֎ A new paper, based on highly detailed observations taken using the Hubble Space Telescope, appears to confirm that everything in the Universe is expanding too fast – 9 percent too fast. [LiveScience.com]

֎ According to an annual Gallup poll of more than 150,000 people around the world, Americans are among the most stressed-out people on Earth. Fifty-five percent experienced stress during “a lot” of the previous day. That’s compared with 35 percent of stressed-out folks globally. [The New York Times]

֎ If you weigh the Earth’s terrestrial vertebrates, humans account for 30% of their total mass, and our farm animals for another 67%, meaning wild animals (all the moose and cheetahs and wombats combined) total just 3%. In fact, there are half as many wild animals on the planet as there were in 1970. [Falter, Has the Human Game begun to play itself out? Bill McKibben, Henry Holt]

֎ Earth Overshoot Day marks the date by which all of humanity has used more of our natural resources than the planet can renew in the entire year. In 2018, it fell on August 1. This means we are using the resources of 1.7 earths at present. We are using more resources than the earth can provide, largely through overfishing, cutting down our forests, and other unsustainable practices. [The Royal Gazette]

֎ Will we still be able to visit Treasure Island in the Bahamas when 80% of the islands will be under water by 2100? [Bahamas Association of Young Professionals]

֎A survey of nearly 800 top business leaders around the world listed global recession as their biggest concern for 2019. [Chicago Tribune]

֎The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is sounding the alarm on a potentially life-threatening super fungus spreading across the United States. The deadly yeast fungus is called Candida auris and it’s lurking in hospitals and nursing homes. Nearly 600 cases have been confirmed across the United States, the CDC reports. While a majority of those cases are in New York, Illinois and New Jersey, several other states have each reported at least one case. More than one in three people with an invasive Candida auris infection can die, according to Illinois health department officials.[KCCI8, Des Moines]

Ancient Mariner

A Seismic Shift

The United States, indeed the World, stands at the precipice of an historic change. Not just generational change; not just new electronic horizons; not just shifts in culture; not even the same climate. The United States as it has existed since the Second World War and especially since the 1980s will not exist in twenty years.

Mariner hasn’t surmised this future. It is the opinion of many intellectual and professional writers, leaders, scientists and philosophers – several with Nobel Prizes, many with Pulitzer prizes – all with concern whether we will be prepared for the seismic shift. At the moment, the US and State Governments, the oligarchical economy, the lack of plans for an economy that cares for the entire population not just the privileged, the standoff between climate change and fossil fuel economy, the dysfunctional education and job preparation institutions, and the symptomatic rise of identity isolationism all suggest the common man on the street is woefully exposed to the vagaries of change over the next twenty years.

If the citizenry is to minimize its exposure to poverty, environmental travesty and political failure, each citizen must make an effort to improve sociability in family, community and have a moral obligation to the nation and its citizens. Further, each person must educate themselves to the realities that will confront the nation over the next twenty years.

To suggest a tone for pursuit of quality understanding and insights, mariner offers three recent books that address the seismic shift. There are many more books and magazines that already provide a steady stream about the nation’s imminent future. Mariner also lists several broadcasting sources that are veritable libraries of quality discourse. Everyone must respond to the changes. Become conscious of social morality and become educated.

Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy: An Agenda for Growth and Shared Prosperity

by Joseph E. Stiglitz

Joseph E. Stiglitz is a Nobel laureate in economics, University Professor at Columbia University, and chief economist of the Roosevelt Institute.

“The United States bills itself as the land of opportunity, a place where anyone can achieve success and a better life through hard work and determination. But the facts tell a different story—the U.S. today lags behind most other developed nations in measures of inequality and economic mobility. For decades, wages have stagnated for the majority of workers while economic gains have disproportionately gone to the top one percent. Education, housing, and health care—essential ingredients for individual success—are growing ever more expensive. Deeply rooted structural discrimination continues to hold down women and people of color, and more than one-fifth of all American children now live in poverty. These trends are on track to become even worse in the future.”

Falter

By Bill McKibben.

Bill McKibben is recognized around the world for his dedication to the environment and health of the planet. He first warned of climate change 30 years ago and says its effects are now upon us: “The idea that anybody’s going to be immune from this anywhere is untrue.”

In his latest book, Falter, McKibben broadens the potential disruption to question whether the human race is in an end game.

The Second Mountain, The Quest for a Moral Life

By David Brooks.

David Brooks is a Canadian-born American center-right political and cultural commentator who writes for The New York Times. He has worked as a film critic for The Washington Times; a reporter and later op-ed editor for The Wall Street Journal; a senior editor at The Weekly Standard from its inception; a contributing editor at Newsweek and The Atlantic Monthly; and a commentator on NPR. Brooks is currently a columnist for The New York Times and commentator on PBS NewsHour.

“This book is meant to help us all lead more meaningful lives. But it’s also a provocative social commentary. We live in a society, Brooks argues, that celebrates freedom and choice, that tells us to be true to ourselves, to march to the beat of our own drummer at the expense of surrendering to a cause, rooting ourselves in a neighborhood, and binding ourselves to others by social solidarity and love. We have taken individualism to the extreme degree—and, in the process, we have torn the social fabric in a thousand different ways. The path to repair is through making deeper commitments.”

Other Media

Mariner’s opinion is that FOX, CNN and MSNBC are low quality sources for actual and meaningful information. Instead, try perusing the CSPAN video library or keep an eye for meaningful book reviews on CSPAN-BOOKS.

Check out NEWSY, a low budget news channel with no frills, just the facts, no pundits and ongoing insightful specials about issues of the day.

Check out PBS and NPR – not just the broadcasts but peruse the websites.

Mariner has mentioned previously The Atlantic, The Economist, The New Yorker and Scientific American Magazine as solid sources for insight into the reality of these times.

Check the New York Times for new books on important subjects.

How will Citizens prepare for the rapidly rising neo-Nazi presence in democratic nations? Even the US has a nationalist, racist President.

The bottom line – in the US at least – is an individual’s vote. Like a chess move, the vote must be played with insight and an awareness of future moves. Today’s US governments clearly are inept representations of a past that no longer applies. It is the reader’s job to vote for new values and knowledgeable representatives that will help everyone survive the seismic shift.

Ancient Mariner

Important but Unheralded News

2 times as often

[Wall Street Journal] Philadelphia has become the first major U.S. city to ban cashless stores, which have become a mini-retail fad in recent years. Stores say it saves them time; the city says it locks out poorer residents. The poorest Americans are nearly twice as likely to use cash as the richest ones.

Keep the change: Uber. Sweetgreen. Amazon Go. More businesses are opting to go cashless, and trends show Americans are hopping on board: In 2017, debit and credit card payments made up 48 percent of all transactions. Even more conventional restaurant and retail establishments have cut cash, citing increased efficiency and safety. But lawmakers at the local level are concerned that the cash-free economy will discriminate against low-income people. Philadelphia recently became the first city to ban cashless businesses, and San Francisco and D.C. are eyeing similar measures.

New York City is the latest to consider such a bill. With nearly 12 percent of its residents living unbanked—often people of color and undocumented immigrants—the policy brings a bigger question to life: Is refusing to accept cash a form of racial discrimination? “In the end, I think the need for equity outweighs the efficiency gains of a cashless business model,” says the city councilmember sponsoring New York’s legislation. “Human rights takes precedence over efficiency gains.” [1]

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27 universities

[The Wall Street Journal] At least 27 universities — including MIT, the University of Washington and the University of Hawaii, according to cybersecurity intelligence group — have been targeted by Chinese hackers on the hunt for research “about maritime technology being developed for military use.” The hacking group may be the same one that hacked Navy contractors last year, stealing submarine missile plans and other data.

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Cars are killing us. Within 10 years, we must phase them out.

[The Guardian] Let’s abandon this disastrous experiment, recognise that this 19th-century technology is now doing more harm than good, and plan our way out of it. Let’s set a target to cut the use of cars by 90% over the next decade.

Yes, the car is still useful – for a few people it’s essential. It would make a good servant. But it has become our master, and it spoils everything it touches. It now presents us with a series of emergencies that demand an emergency response.[2]

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40 Years After The Vietnam War, Some Refugees Face Deportation Under Trump

The Trump administration is trying to convince Vietnam to repatriate some 7,000 Vietnamese immigrants with criminal convictions who have been in the United States for more than 30 years.[3]

[1] For full article see: https://www.citylab.com/equity/2019/03/cashless-cash-free-ban-bill-new-york-retail-discrimination/584203/?utm_campaign=citylab-daily-newsletter&utm_medium=email&silverid=%25%25RECIPIENT_ID%25%25&utm_source=newsletter

[2] For full article, see: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/mar/07/cars-killing-us-driving-environment-phase-out?utm_campaign=citylab-daily-newsletter&utm_medium=email&silverid=%25%25RECIPIENT_ID%25%25&utm_source=newsletter

[3] For full article see: https://www.npr.org/2019/03/04/699177071/40-years-after-the-vietnam-war-some-refugees-face-deportation-under-trump?utm_source=npr_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20190304&utm_campaign=breakingnews&utm_term=nprnews

The indifferent Species

[BBC] “The world’s most endangered orangutans could be pushed towards extinction after an Indonesian court approved a controversial dam project, say campaigners.

The 22 trillion rupiah ($1.5bn) dam will be built in North Sumatra’s Batang Toru forest.

The region is home to the Tapanuli orangutans, which were only identified as a new species in 2017.

Only 800 of them remain in the wild and they all live in this ecosystem.

One scientist, who acted as an expert witness in the case, told the BBC the move would “put the orangutans on a firm path to extinction”.

‘Worst area of the forest’

The billion-dollar hydropower dam, scheduled for completion in 2022, will be constructed in the heart of the Batang Toru rainforest, which is also home to agile gibbons and Sumatran tigers.”

–> There is no doubt in mariner’s mind that the human species is disassembling the Age of Mammals. And sea life. And birds. Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction – An unnatural History[1], documents the human’s childlike abuse of climate, habitat, and an alarming, almost unbelievable and unending list of extant species caused directly by human disregard for life.

Humans have assaulted the Planet’s willingness to harbor all life forms in a balanced and, albeit it competitive, a fair sharing of Earth’s global habitat. But humans, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, have met nature by population, by chemistry, and by destruction.

Even as the human species sits in the midst of a man-made climate disaster that kills from the deepest parts of the deepest ocean to the highest peaks of the highest mountain each and every day, humans, like little children, have no perspective on reality. What is important to Homo s. is insatiable consumption of resources for convenience and an artificial asset system consisting of economic engines that destroy the planet rather than heal it, force combative asset challenges on an environment that is not designed for continuous destruction in the name of meaningless, artificially measured profits.

In a past post, mariner listed the species that have disappeared by the hand of man. It ran for pages. Every human being should take Elizabeth Kolbert’s tour around the world to see the obnoxious behavior of humans as they deliberately destroy the planet’s evolutionary balance – at the cost of living creatures.

Dare mariner suggest our attitude toward our planet is similar to that of an incompetent, destructive, uncaring, selfish President of the United States?

Ancient Mariner

[1] The Sixth Extinction, An Unnatural History, Elizabeth Kolbert, 2014, Henry Holt and Company

The New Work Ethic

The only word to describe his history is the word bizarre

While Donald pretends to know what he is doing to stop the nuclear warhead plans in North Korea, he is working to provide nuclear warheads to Saudi Arabia where he and his son-in-law (and the New York Post) have financial interests. Nevertheless, someone nominated Donald for the Nobel Prize for Peace. If Donald could buy one, he’d have half a dozen by now – peace be damned.

– – – –

Alexander Hamilton?

[Atlantic] . . . If you want to understand Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s bid to remake the economy to fight climate change, you need to read Hamilton. . . Former Treasury Secretary Hamilton (Jan 11, 1755 – Jul 12, 1804) called for policies that sound familiar to us today. Like Representative Ocasio-Cortez, he wanted massive federal spending on new infrastructure. Like Donald Trump, he believed that very high tariffs can nurture American manufacturing. And like Elizabeth Warren, he was willing to bend the Constitution to reform the financial system. . .

“Hamilton, in short, successfully used the power of the federal government to boost manufacturing, to pick winners and losers, and to shape the fate of the U.S. economy. He is the father of American industrial policy: the set of laws and regulations that say the federal government can guide economic growth without micromanaging it. And the Green New Deal, for all its socialist regalia, only makes sense in light of his capitalistic work.”[1]

–> Over most of the Nation’s history, manufacturing was the source of GDP. The North American continent was rich in every conceivable commodity from agricultural crops to steel. The corporate world earned its profits by engaging in manufacturing and innovations in manufacturing from plows to rocket ships. Over the decades, it was noticeable than everything from doilies to washing machines to automobiles left the US bound for other national economies. Since the Reagan Doctrine in the 1980’s, corporate profit has been made from investment first and only indirectly from manufacturing. Now, in an age when manufacturing salaries are a shadow of the past, when an age of investment oligarchs has emerged, and the Nation’s government follows money rather than statesmanship, it may be time to cancel the Reagan Doctrine and return to a manufacturing economy.

But the twenty-first century is not your grandfather’s world of manufacturing. If the fact that 195 nations signed the Paris Accord on Climate Change is anything to go by, there is a new market environment that will provide new demands, new products, and especially a new way in which the world must approach its global economies.

Al Gore years ago made a prediction: “When Americans understood what climate change would mean for their children and grandchildren,” the former vice president warned, “they will demand that whoever is running for office, whoever is elected to serve, will have to respond.”

The new manufacturing policy of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others is based on different things than dishwashers: What will the US economy have to generate and reinvent in order to relocate New York City, Miami, and New Orleans among dozens of other cities that will be swamped by rising oceans? How will manufacturing transfer from fossil fuels to other forms of energy? How imposing will the new climate be that American infrastructure must be retooled with new processes, new inventions and new economic methods for providing salaries and welfare during a time when big hurricanes are nothing compared to the damage of a two-foot rise of ocean front along the Atlantic Coast? How will international policy change as whole nations disappear beneath the waves? How will economies be restructured to survive as Artificial Intelligence arrives and changes the workplace?

Perhaps it is time to go back to the history books. What was important to the founding fathers that we have ignored in the last sixty years? How would Alexander have handled things? Is our current Congress capable of refocusing on a new future not run by investment but by, as the Amish would suggest, putting its shoulder to the wheel and solving new problems?

Whatshisname is a pain in the ass but it is Congress that must take action. Mariner is pleased by the new blood in Congress. Let’s pray the new mindset grows. Alexander would be proud.

Ancient Mariner

[1] https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/02/green-new-deal-economic-principles/582943/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=atlantic-daily-newsletter&utm_content=20190219&silverid-ref=NDkwMjIzMjA1Mjg2S0

Advocacy, a Home Activity

Today’s post is a reprint from June 14, 2015. Mariner rarely if ever has republished; a reader can always browse the categories. This post was the first in a twelve part series of posts about individual advocacy, how advocacy is an ingredient in a satisfying life and a means of bringing order to that life. He feels the subject of personal advocacy provides a healing salve for the turbulent times everyone experiences today. The series deals with the relationship between mankind and his environment, treatment of animals and pets, how he should eat, and what can a person do at home that promotes order and personal meaning.

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Standing in the Penumbra of Advocacy at Home

Penumbra is the word of the day. The mariner doubts it will be replaced by “get” or “got.” The general meaning is to stand in the shadow of something. More than just a shadow, it alludes to a shadow that doesn’t have an edge like a person’s shadow or the shadow of a building. An example may be an eclipse or, on a sunny day, standing beneath an altocumulus cloud – high enough that its shadow line is diffused by the time it reaches the ground.

The mariner will confess that penumbra is not one of his usual words. He doubts there are very few except scientists who need a word like penumbra. It is a word the mariner remembers from something he read long ago; it comes to mind whenever the word “eclipse” is mentioned.

It is the appropriate word for our thoughts about the Advocacy at Home (AH) series of posts. AH sets an advocated form of behavior; it sets standards for that behavior. AH is, in fact, a law book. It is a law book without an end.

There is no line between advocacy and no advocacy. We may have a lifestyle that involves low grade advocacy, that is, taking note of an issue and having an opinion, and then have something else catch our attention. We may have strong feelings about a subject, idea, or activity and may physically react in some way to counter the situation. But there always is advocacy; else, prejudice and accomplishment would not exist.

The mariner looks back at the brutality and stupidity of Homo sapiens referenced in AH. Humans are no different than any other animal except humans are capable of malice aforethought, destroying just to destroy, or destroying because it is easier than assuring optimum or fair conclusions. Defenders of this characteristic claim it is done in the name of progress – akin to Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest.’ Progress for whom? Perhaps not progress for humans. Malice aforethought is part genetic and part sociopathic.

Referenced in the post, Po Pouree, from letters to the editor in Scientific American, Robert E Marx responded to an article about why Neandertals became extinct (apologies for repetition of earlier posts):

“Kate Wong’s suppositions about what brought about Neandertals’ extinction in “Neandertal Minds” are contrary to the known history of anatomically modern Homo sapiens [that is, us]. Her assertions that Neandertals were just out competed and that the 1.5 to 2.1 percent Neandertal DNA within people outside of Africa is the result of occasional “dalliances” would be historically unlikely.

The most likely scenario would involve waves of immigrating anatomically modern humans taking over land and causing death by plunder and disease, as Europeans discovering the New World did. And it would be naïve to think that our Neandertal DNA was the result of consensual dalliances when rape went hand in hand with pillage of every other civilization.”

From Walt Kelly’s comic strip, Pogo, April 22, 1970.

Putting aside our treatment of other species, consider how we treat human beings – our own species.

John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834-1902). The historian and moralist, otherwise known simply as Lord Acton, expressed this opinion in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

The letter was written at the end of the Victorian era when the Edwardian era was emerging and which peaked during the years of 1901 – 1910, then slowly disappearing as the First World War drew near. That was a time very similar to the United States today: a very few were incredibly wealthy and the rest of Great Britain was in a crisis.

Is it true that if the reader or the mariner were given absolute power, we would be “bad men?” At the least, would we be immoral? Would our arrogance and indifference be obvious? Vladimir Putin has absolute power. Would he be less immoral if he had no power? Assume we had absolute power over one person. Would we abuse that person? Would we, in a twisted desire for absolute power be like Phillip Garrido, who kidnapped and kept Jaycee Dugard in a backyard shed for 18 years and had two children by her? Famous studies of power over another person show that, indeed, immoral if not violent behavior will occur.

What is it about power that is so destructive?

The oldest reference to rule by law was written by the reformist King Urukagina of city-state Lagash in Mesopotamia during the 24th century BC. It consisted of a list of rules that were generally beneficial to the very poor and the labor class. The rich were curtailed in their abuses by what the mariner calls “Clintonesque restraints,” that is, in exchange for paying silver to their laborers, one could have 1,500 sheep instead of 500. Good people die young – King Urukagina was overthrown seven years later by his neighbor city-state Urek.

The reader would think, after 4,600 years, humans would have mastered the three elements of ruling by law. The three elements are power, intervention of power, and individuals. If intervention or individuals weren’t present, who would need rule of law? Perhaps the less powerful would lust after those who may be more powerful. Intervention would become battles between powerful people and individuals would become a commodity like chickens. Isn’t that called the Dark Ages (500 – 1100 AD)?

The reason for this run around Robin Hood’s barn is to highlight the similarities between AH and rule by law. We must be firm, committed and assertive in our AH laws. It is the only way to fix our dysfunctional nation.

Earlier it was mentioned that there were three elements to rule by law: power, intervention of power, and individuals. The dysfunction in the US is that it is the powerful that write the rules for intervention of power. Individuals are out of the loop. So AH is a beginning. The more individuals that create their AH rule books and enforce them, the sooner individuals may take their place in the triumvirate known as rule of law.

– – – –

To read other parts of the advocacy series type ‘advocacy’ in the search box on the Home Page.

Ancient Mariner

Of Our Time

֎1/3 OF ITS GLACIERS

One-third or more of the Himalayan ice cap is “doomed to melt due to climate change,” according to a new report called The Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment. They’ll be gone by the year 2100, the report finds, affecting hundreds of millions of people who rely on the glaciers as “a critical water store.” [The Guardian]

[[One might ask what the real price of a barrel of crude oil is.]]

֎59 NEW EMOJI

The Unicode Consortium, which is in charge of such things, has announced 59 new emoji along with 171 new variations on existing emoji. The new ones include a deaf person, people in wheelchairs, people with probing canes, a mechanical arm and leg and service dogs. They also include an otter, a sloth, an orangutan, an ice cube, garlic, falafel and a ringed planet. [The Verge]

[[Verbs! Where are the verbs? And adjectives!! Farewell, art of nuance.]]

 ֎DONALD IS GOOD AT SOMETHING

President Donald is first in his class . . . of worst Presidents in the history of the United States. Still adding to his achievements, already he tops several websites documenting US Presidential history.

A few others courtesy of WorldAtlas:

James Buchanan, Jr., a Democrat, was the 15th President of the United States, and held this prestigious post from 1857 to 1861. President Buchanan not only failed to broker peace between a divided nation, but also ended up alienating members of both warring factions. Many still blame President Buchanan and his ineffective presidency for failing to prevent the outbreak of the Civil War, with some even referring to the devastating national conflict as “Buchanan’s War”.

Warren G. Harding. The 29th President of the US was Warren G. Harding, who held office from 1921 to 1923. After his death stories of corruption and scandal became rampant. Aside from his actual political policies Harding’s personal life was marred by tawdry revelations of his extramarital affairs with numerous women. In terms of issues related to governing the country, President Harding ran into trouble with his mishandling of the Teapot Dome oil reserves which also proved quite scandal-worthy for his administration.

Andrew Johnson. After Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, Andrew Johnson was sworn in as the 17th head of state. Johnson, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, governed the country from 1865 to 1869. Due to a violation of the Tenure of Office Act, he was impeached in 1868. Acquitted by the Senate, however, Johnson was able to remain in office. President Johnson was unpopular for opposing measures, such as the Fourteenth Amendment, which were aimed at affording ex slaves with US citizenship.

Ulysses S. Grant. Republican Ulysses S. Grant who served as the head of state from 1869 to 1877. President Grant’s accomplishments during his two terms in office include overseeing the reconstruction in the southern states, dismantling the Confederacy, as well as supporting civil rights for black citizens. Perhaps the most significant cause of Grant’s downfall and reputation as a poor leader is due to the many allegations of corruption and financial misconduct which plagued his administration.

Herbert Hoover. Herbert Hoover served as the 31st President of the United States during the Great Depression, serving between 1929 and 1933. Hoover was criticized for being a poor communicator who many Americans perceived as cold and uncaring. Although the timing of his presidency was unenviable, his political policies were accused of actually worsening the Depression. Interestingly, Hoover had won in a landslide victory.

[[The majority of the worst Presidents are on the list because they bucked the founding principles of equality, justice by law, and criminal activity on the side along with philandering. Donald appears to be an appropriate nomination.]]

֎Finally, mariner wants to suggest that measuring wages versus inflation, the popular way for pundits to determine wage quality, is misleading. In ordinary times, these measurements would reflect reality. However, the flow of profit is so skewed to the super wealthy that inflation becomes irrelevant. The measure of wage quality should be measured against the Gross National Product (GDP) – a value in which the US working class does not participate. Wages versus inflation has been out of kilter since the 1980’s and has little meaning. Salaries are a built-in overhead. All profits, virtually 99%, and a factor of GDP, are kept by corporations and oligarchs.

Ancient Mariner

 

Changing World

Mariner suspects that Venezuela may go the way of Cuba. In the future G5 computer world, liaisons between nations will become necessary for survival (TPP was an early experiment and the European Union even earlier). The continents form a natural divergence that suggests how future liaisons may develop. It is important to utilize continental influence; China with its Belt Road program already has made inroads including Russia, the Balkans, the Pacific Rim and Southeast Asia. Putin will participate with China as a subordinate unless he is able to reconstruct the Soviet Union. It behooves the US to be cooperative with Canada, Mexico, Central America and South America. The following news item puts the US on its heels in South America.

20 tons of gold

Venezuela, according to a lawmaker there and a Bloomberg source, has set aside 20 tons of gold, worth about $840 million, ready to load into a Russian Boeing 777 in Caracas. Where is the haul headed? No one seems to know. Venezuela does owe billions of dollars to Russia and China, and “also needs hard currency to buy food for its starving people.” [Bloomberg]

Which way is North?

It’s no news that the North and South poles are moving; long-term records from London and Paris (kept since 1580) show that the north magnetic pole moves erratically around the rotational north pole over periods of a few hundred years or longer, Ciaran Beggan, a geophysicist with the British Geological Survey who is involved in WMM updates, told Space.com in an email. He cited a 1981 study from the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London.

Will Santa have to move to Antarctica? This is a thought to consider if the Earth’s magnetic field continues to become more active. Mariner has written about pole reversal in previous posts, covering the news item that compasses in the South Atlantic don’t work accurately for airliners flying there. Note this news item from LiveScience, among many other sources, makes note of the phenomenon. For the reader’s search engine: earth magnetic field reversal.

But what’s really catching attention is the acceleration in movement. Around the mid-1990s, the [North magnetic] pole suddenly sped up its movements from just over 9 miles (15 kilometers) a year to 34 miles (55 kilometers) annually. As of last year, the pole careened over the International Date Line toward the Eastern Hemisphere.

 Ancient Mariner