Monday Reads: Losing Ground but Finding Strength

Coyote Buttes South. Photo: John Fowler

I keep fighting back the urge to sing “It’s the end of the world as we know it” even though it seems like that way on so many fronts. The most dreadful of all gaslighting tricks fills the airwaves.  Brett Kavanaugh and his republican enablers are pretending that they are the victims of women’s hysteria while Dr. Ford can’t return to her home because of actual threats. Then, there are the rest of us. The people that aren’t white males or white male enablers.  How many more rights can they strip?

We’re looking to a future of having our voting rights stripped, our right to self determine our access to health care removed, and the enabling of police to shoot unarmed black men while white men complain they can’t watch their football without seeing folks bending a knee to remind them of the injustice. We’re looking to a future of likely seeing a President put above the law even though his obstruction of justice, theft of public property, and cooperation with Russian agents is there for nearly all to see. We’re going to continue to watch children and babies thrown into tents in the middle of deserts and jail cells after being ripped away from their parents.  We’re going to see the folks that need protection from our bad foreign policy flee to our borders only to be incarcerated for asking for refuge. We’re looking to losing spouses, jobs, and rights because of who we love and wish to marry.  In each of us, there is all of us.

We have to take one of the Houses of Congress away from the Republicans to turn this around.

There are other things we have to turn around too and I fully admit that I’ve thrown myself at the wall a few too many times to rise again. And yet, like every one else, I must.  We must.

Buffalo in Yellowstone National Park

From WAPO: The world has just over a decade to get climate change under control, U.N. scientists say. “There is no documented historic precedent” for the scale of changes required, the body found.”

The world stands on the brink of failure when it comes to holding global warming to moderate levels, and nations will need to take “unprecedented” actions to cut their carbon emissions over the next decade, according to a landmark report by the top scientific body studying climate change.

With global emissions showing few signs of slowing and the United States — the world’s second-largest emitter of carbon dioxide — rolling back a suite of Obama-era climate measures, the prospects for meeting the most ambitious goals of the 2015 Paris agreement look increasingly slim. To avoid racing past warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) over preindustrial levels would require a “rapid and far-reaching” transformation of human civilization at a magnitude that has never happened before, the group found.

Gros Morne National Park

NYT: Major Climate Report Describes a Strong Risk of Crisis as Early as 2040″

The report, issued on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders, describes a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040 — a period well within the lifetime of much of the global population.

The report “is quite a shock, and quite concerning,” said Bill Hare, an author of previous I.P.C.C. reports and a physicist with Climate Analytics, a nonprofit organization. “We were not aware of this just a few years ago.” The report was the first to be commissioned by world leaders under the Paris agreement, the 2015 pact by nations to fight global warming.

The authors found that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, the atmosphere will warm up by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above preindustrial levels by 2040, inundating coastlines and intensifying droughts and poverty. Previous work had focused on estimating the damage if average temperatures were to rise by a larger number, 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), because that was the threshold scientists previously considered for the most severe effects of climate change.

The new report, however, shows that many of those effects will come much sooner, at the 2.7-degree mark.

Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming

The Guardian: “We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN”

At 2C extremely hot days, such as those experienced in the northern hemisphere this summer, would become more severe and common, increasing heat-related deaths and causing more forest fires.

But the greatest difference would be to nature. Insects, which are vital for pollination of crops, and plants are almost twice as likely to lose half their habitat at 2C compared with 1.5C. Corals would be 99% lost at the higher of the two temperatures, but more than 10% have a chance of surviving if the lower target is reached.

Sea-level rise would affect 10 million more people by 2100 if the half-degree extra warming brought a forecast 10cm additional pressure on coastlines. The number affected would increase substantially in the following centuries due to locked-in ice melt.

Oceans are already suffering from elevated acidity and lower levels of oxygen as a result of climate change. One model shows marine fisheries would lose 3m tonnes at 2C, twice the decline at 1.5C.

Sea ice-free summers in the Arctic, which is warming two to three times fast than the world average, would come once every 100 years at 1.5C, but every 10 years with half a degree more of global warming.

l Capitan looms over the Merced River in California’s Yosemite National Park.

Back to Judge Bad News and Worse Temperament … Sarah Kendzior writes this for Canada’s Globe and Mail: “Kavanaugh’s appointment isn’t a step backward. It’s a head-first plunge into an ugly past”.

The confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh was, at heart, a referendum on the integrity of U.S. institutions and of the impunity of elites – and the U.S. failed. Senators who purport to believe in rule of law vouched for a judge who sees himself as above it. Senators who purport to believe in democracy honoured a man who degrades it, and did so in deference to a man seemingly attempting to destroy it – President Trump.

Checks and balances are nearly gone. The executive branch was long ago corrupted; the independent legislature neutered by a GOP majority nakedly seeking one-party rule. Until now, the judiciary had been the strongest bulwark against autocracy, having struck down many of Mr. Trump’s unconstitutional executive orders during his first year. The Trump administration responded by packing the courts, appointing right-wing judgesto lifetime appointments and purging attorneys they view as opponents. Justice Kavanaugh is the final nail in that coffin.

This is now Mr. Trump’s Supreme Court of the United States, run on white male entitlement and alternative facts. Justice Kavanaugh is expected to act as Mr. Trump’s legal lackey, exonerating him regardless of the charge or the evidence. His appointment may not only end the efficacy of the Robert Mueller probe, but curtail other attempts to prosecute Mr. Trump or his aides on state charges, due to a case, Gamble v. The United States, that the Supreme Court is set to hear this term.

Autocrats rewrite the law so they are no longer breaking it, and they hire and fire accordingly. This is why I have been warning for years that Donald Trump, whose seemingly autocratic consolidation grows stronger every day, was akin to a criminal able to someday select his own judge or delay his own trial – and now he has. This is why a purge of the FBI was followed by a sham FBI investigation into Justice Kavanaugh, reminiscent of those of authoritarian states, with key witnesses and evidence ignored.

For the President, the confirmation of this judge is a hand-picked gift, but for ordinary Americans, he marks the end of truths we deemed self-evident. Justice Kavanaugh marks the imposition of a corrosive new reality. The Supreme Court is likely to roll back decades of hard-earned rights, particularly voting rights, civil rights and women’s rights.

Also, a lot of Trump’s thug buddies in thuggish countries are disappearing journalists and others.




The silence is showing exactly what kind of country we’ve become.  We’re just another one of those ugly countries where the ruling class can’t possibly be bothered with human rights and hates the idea of a free press.

That’s all I can stomach today.

I’m trying to stay focused on the city around me because it’s kinda where I am right now and it appears the housing market has shifted against me in the last six months.  It’s one of those signs that tells me that the economy is likely to get pretty ugly pretty fast.   So, hug the ones around you, be thankful for what you have, and drag at least 10 people with you to the voting both in November.

It’s a matter of life and death for all of us.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

38 Comments on “Monday Reads: Losing Ground but Finding Strength”

  1. dakinikat says:

    • Enheduanna says:

      These men have no shame – he is deliberately using misogynistic terms including “clawing their way in”.

  2. dakinikat says:

    • Enheduanna says:

      Another horror this administration is shoving down our throats – ethnic cleansing. I can’t imagine the fear of not knowing when you are going to be rounded up and having to live like that..

      • NW Luna says:

        Why do news media use the term “ethnic cleansing?” These are stains to be washed out, these are people. They should be saying”‘genocide” instead.

        • Enheduanna says:

          I see your point Luna. But that is how tRump and his ilk think of it. They are trying to white-wash this country any way they can.

          • NW Luna says:

            I didn’t mean it was your fault for using it. I agree that Trump & his henchmen (and a few henchwomen) are all about white supremacy.

        • quixote says:

          I think there is a valid difference of meaning there. Both crimes against humanity, but slightly different.

          Genocide: trying to kill all members of a group. Poster boy, of course, Hitler.

          Ethnic cleansing: trying to get all members of a group out of your territory, but not caring if they live elsewhere. Recent examples, Serbian non-Muslims against Bosnians and other Muslims; Trump against everyone who doesn’t look like overcooked mashed potatoes.

          So, yes, they both target people for elimination based on groups they were born into, but fleeing can save lives in one case but not in the other (assuming the genocidal maniacs are successful). That seems to me like a distinction worth making.

          Even better, of course, would be a world where we didn’t even need to think about hell.

  3. dakinikat says:

    • NW Luna says:

      In China, “bringing trouble” on oneself usually means the government thinks the person is close to their dirty secrets.

  4. dakinikat says:

  5. dakinikat says:

  6. dakinikat says:

    • NW Luna says:

      And we heard about the Alfa Bank server anomalies back before the election!So now it’s not a conspiracy theory, it’s almost certainly real.

      • quixote says:

        Yup. October — OCTOBER — 2016 Was a Trump Server Communicating With Russia? by Franklin Foer in Slate. And I believe there was also an earlier story a few weeks (?) before.

        Paul Vixie, in the quote below, is a towering figure in the development of the internet, sort of like quoting Einstein about physics.

        Earlier this month, the group of computer scientists passed the logs to Paul Vixie. In the world of DNS experts, there’s no higher authority. Vixie wrote central strands of the DNS code that makes the internet work. After studying the logs, he concluded, “The parties were communicating in a secretive fashion. The operative word is secretive. This is more akin to what criminal syndicates do if they are putting together a project.” Put differently, the logs suggested that Trump and Alfa had configured something like a digital hotline connecting the two entities, shutting out the rest of the world, and designed to obscure its own existence.

        I still blame Obama for not using his emergency powers as President to get at the truth behind this. Partisan optics be damned. The country was/is under goddamn attack.)

        • NW Luna says:

          I remember Vixie’s name! I’m pretty sure there was something earlier than Oct., but right now I’m too exhausted to go look for it. There’s so much shit which was out there earlier about Trump and Americans, We. Told. You. So.

      • dakinikat says:

        don’t forget this

        Senate Confirms Trump DOJ Nominee Who Represented Russian Bank in 2017

        Leading Democrats in the chamber wrote a letter to the president last week arguing Benczkowski cannot “credibly oversee” the DOJ Criminal Division’s involvement in Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation and the criminal investigation of Michael Cohen, the president’s former personal lawyer.

        • NW Luna says:

          Saw that yesterday. I’m not holding my breath he’s going to recuse himself, not that he should have been picked anyway. It’s the fox guarding the chickenhouse.

  7. dakinikat says:

    A Woman Can Never Be Likable Enough
    From an early age, we’re taught to please men. What if we got angry instead?
    By Katha PollittTwitter

    These are the rules of The Patriarchy that the #MeToo movement has exposed: the education, extracurriculars, service projects, credentials—they were never what being a girl was all about. Being a girl is about pleasing men: What they think of you and want from you and how you negotiate that in a world that does not want to hear about the darker side of what that can mean. You can be a world-class athlete, like those Olympic gymnasts, and still be molested by your doctor—and nothing will be done about it for years. You can be fantastically talented and lose your career if you don’t play along with Harvey Weinstein or Les Moonves. You can get a unionized factory job with decent pay and still be groped and insulted by both your boss and your fellow workers. You can get straight As and a great job and still feel you have to give your date a blow job because he expects it, and it just seems simpler that way—and maybe safer, too. You wouldn’t want him to think you were a tease or a bitch. Because from the moment you were born, you were told in a thousand ways that men liking you was the real measure of your value in the world. And without even realizing you were doing it, you learned to make yourself likable. To attract men, to disarm them, to manage them, to comfort them.

    • NW Luna says:

      And so that patronizing and anger-producing “Smile” command. This pissed me off even in childhood. Why should I smile at someone else’s bidding? Yes, I was a troublesome child.

    • roofingbird says:

      I don’t know why they had to reprise that particular phrase. It pissed me off when Obama called Clinton “likeable enough” in 2008, when the Nation was all for him. Then they have the nerve to usurp and manipulate the phrase for their own purpose? Herding.

  8. joanelle says:

    I just got a call from the DNC, looking for money. I told her that if they spent half the time they spent on calling for money on speaking out for us, focusing on the realities of our lives and solving our issues, perhaps they’d get more support. The gal on other end of the call became very attentive and asked for specifics.
    I am so sick of those fundraising calls. We’re both retired and live on a tight budget.

  9. teele says:

    I tried to call the offices of my republican congressman today to ask when he planned to announce that he is opening impeachment hearings for Barf O’Kavenaugh, and was stunned to find that BOTH of his in-state office numbers (still listed on his website) return a message of “this number is out of service” when dialed. His squeaky little voice does greet a caller with a recorded message at his DC office number; he apparently doesn’t even give a sh*t if we know he is no longer a resident of Michigan (and, of course, after 30 years back-benching in Congress, why would he?) By the time I was able to leave a message, it wasn’t nearly as nice as it would have been if I had been able to speak to a local staffer. Being nice to these creatures has so far rewarded me with plenty of nothing. I am particularly disgusted that the people who will be most affected by this new development are his older constituents who still have land lines, and will have to pay long distance rates to speak with his office. And yet, they will still vote for him, as they have reflexively done ever 2 years for the last 30. That’s the part that disgusts me.

    • NW Luna says:

      Both in-state #s out? Why, how conveeenient! It’s almost as if he didn’t want to hear from his constituents.

  10. NW Luna says:

  11. dakinikat says:

    so relieved it’s not me … sorry florida!!!!

  12. bostonboomer says:

  13. bostonboomer says:

  14. bostonboomer says:

  15. NW Luna says:

    The #HimToo hashtag is generating some tastily sharp satire!

  16. Minkoff Minx says:

    Dak, I have had that R.E.M. song stuck in my head since Saturday.

  17. dakinikat says: