Democratic Debates – 2

Kamala Harris won the ‘remember me’ contest with her impassioned description of being bussed to school. It also pointed out something about Joe. Joe is an old school politician. His career was in a time when legislators were collaborators and in public, at least, dialogue was polite. Make no mistake, Joe is a seasoned politician but his perspective on the realities of Congress does not match the Congress of the 21st century. Today party politics is a dirty business devoid of statesmanship. What counts is raising lobby money and voting a hard line in an effort to beat the other party.

Donald doesn’t help. He provides no reasoned leadership to help balance the agenda of Congress. Congress is no more sophisticated than dodge ball. One could legitimately say that the Federal government is in disarray – including the Supreme Court who, similar to the political parties, produces decisions that don’t help the nation.

Many sociologists blame all this dysfunction on the high speed shift of world politics, technology, the Internet, morphing economics, and an over extended era of out-of-date mores. In the gap between yesterday and tomorrow, plutocracy and authoritarianism grow like nasty weeds in the garden of democracy.

It is a good sign that 15.3 million people viewed debate number one. The electorate has a degree of awareness that the 2020 election is not just another election. With a single election, a broken government must be repaired and a new leader must be found to steer the ship of state into the troubled waters of tomorrow.

Simultaneous to the time of the election, Congress must, must create a new economic direction. At the moment, the only concept on the table is the Green New Deal. It will restore honest jobs and wages to a lean working class; it will set an agenda for technology; it will redirect energy resources away from fossil fuels; most importantly, it will focus the nation’s attention on a war greater than any in history: climate change.

22 republican senators face reelection in 2020. Even more important than defeating Donald – if that can be imagined – is to take the Senate out of the hands of republicans. Republicans need time to reflect on how the world has shifted the concept of conservatism – else they will only increase the pain of dealing with rapid change.

Ancient Mariner

 

Climate

Climate change isn’t just an issue in the western hemisphere or in big cities.

The Indian Sundarbans—a 4,000-square-mile archipelago that has been designated a World Heritage site[1], sits on the Bay of Bengal and is shared by India and Bangladesh. The region has a rich ecosystem that supports the world’s largest mangrove forest and several hundred animal species, including the endangered Bengal tiger. It is home to approximately 13 million people.

All of this could disappear in just a few decades. The Sundarban archipelago is one of the most vulnerable areas to climate change in the world; 70 percent of the land is just a few feet above sea level. In some parts of the region, the sea already is advancing about 200 yards per year. Mousuni Island, in particular, is experiencing the worst effects of the changing climate. Coastal erosion, floods, salinity ingression, and increasingly violent storms have rendered most of the land barren.[2] [Atlantic video]

How does one relocate 13 million people?

Further . . .

According to a new report from the United Nations, the population of the planet could rise from its current 7.7 billion to 10.9 billion by the year 2100. [Fivethirtyeight.com]

It occurs to mariner that climate change is extremely pervasive not only to physical stuff like buildings, roads or financial stuff like economic stability but to the scale of managing humans – moving them around, feeding them, housing them, sustaining social functionality – is a massive problem governments haven’t thought about. It makes the current global immigration issue look miniscule.

It occurs to mariner as well that individual governments are charged first with the wellbeing of their own population and economy which automatically creates political conflict when addressing the hardships of other countries in the same bind. Let’s hope the United Nations is up to overseeing a truly global confrontation above and beyond national sovereignty.

And last . . .

Permafrost in the Arctic is not so perma anymore. A University of Alaska Fairbanks team on expedition in the Canadian Arctic was “astounded” to find that permafrost there was thawing 70 years earlier than predicted. The permafrost — “giant subterranean ice blocks” — had been frozen solid for thousands of years. [The Guardian]

Ancient Mariner

 

[1] a natural or man-made site, area, or structure recognized as being of outstanding international importance and therefore as deserving special protection. Sites are nominated to and designated by the World Heritage Convention (an organization of UNESCO).

[2] To view video, see https://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/591832/climate-refugees/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=video-series-editors-picks&utm_content=20190618&silverid-ref=NDkwMjIzMjA1Mjg2S0

In the News

֎ [Newsy] New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that would eliminate religious exemptions for children’s vaccinations amid an ongoing measles outbreak. Under the new law, children who attend school or daycare can only be exempted from vaccine requirements if they have a medical reason. In a statement, Cuomo said: “The science is crystal clear: Vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to keep our children safe. This administration has taken aggressive action to contain the measles outbreak, but given its scale, additional steps are needed to end this public health crisis.” Opponents of the bill say it violates religious freedoms and that they’ll continue to fight for their rights. The U.S. is currently facing one of the worst measles outbreaks in decades. In Rockland County, New York, there have been more than 260 confirmed cases since June 12.

Vaccination is a classic example of confrontation between freedom of religion and freedom of state. The largest religions address the common good in their doctrine but there are uncountable variations and assumptions in religious practice. The same is true of most governments; they are founded on principles of common good but the interpretation of common good runs to irrational extremes.

Common good must prevail else humanity may not survive. At its simplest, humans are a tribal species. Sans an available vaccine, the black plague wiped out sixty percent of Europe’s population in the fourteenth century. Regarding the issue of vaccination, whose freedoms take priority? Solutions require some doctrinal or legislative adjustment; whose common good is more important? Can one imagine a Venn diagram solution? Mariner leaves this issue with the reader to reconcile.

Ancient Mariner

Are Government Budgets Adequate?

Mariner, like many citizens, notices that the 114th Congress (January 3, 2017, to January 3, 2019) left the nation $21,683,971,652,591.44 in debt. For clarification, that’s 21 TRillion; it’s a record; Republicans held both houses, which is ironic. Despite this indebtedness, Republicans along with Donald fight to keep tax policies in place that guarantee insolvency without even considering new costs related to infrastructure et al. However, the grenade in the well is not any current budgetary conflict. It is the cost of climate change. The next paragraph is the latest assessment and targets thirty years from today:

֎ [curbed.com] A growing body of work underscores the dangers facing coastal real estate. In addition to the “Underwater” report, the U.S. government’s most recent National Climate Assessment found that between $66 billion and $106 billion of real estate will be below sea level by 2050, and that within an eighth of a mile of U.S. coastline lie businesses and homes valued at a total of $1.4 trillion [will be below sea level].

That’s current value. What would it cost for mariner or the reader to trash their current residence (who wants to buy a home underwater?), purchase new property in an increasingly competitive real estate market, and build a comparable home at three times the original cost? If mariner figures rightly, the cost is more like $4.6 trillion. These stakes are too rich for state governments to even imagine what could be underwritten by a state tax base.

Racist conservatives are discontent with the rate of immigration on the southern border. Wait until they realize that a wholly American emigration of 280,000 citizens will encroach on everyone’s backyards. Housing, already a troublesome topic, will suffer its own tidal wave of space, cost and adequacy.

Mariner’s assumption is that the US will suffer severe solvency issues (spelled ‘depression’) if the tax code is not seriously retargeted to garner trillion dollar amounts to cover costs above and beyond infrastructure and discretionary spending – to say nothing of building a wall and going to war with somebody, anybody will do.

Ancient Mariner

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 geometric, 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.

– – – –

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]

– – – –

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.

– – – –

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]

– – – –

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