Know thine enemies

A part of Corey Robin’s reaction to the first Presidential debate:

What seems pretty clear, coming away from that debate, is that both parties are ideologically exhausted. Trump is replaying a script from the 1970s, and Clinton’s only answer is herself, that she clearly looks and acts more presidential. This could have been an election, and a debate, that covered new ground. It looks like, for better or for worse, we’ll be re-treading the same old, same old.

It is true that both parties have exhausted their respective ideologies. But their exhaustion appeared as such with the advent of neoliberalism, which dates to Jimmy Carter’s time in office. After all, the neoliberal ideology was and was meant to be a dead end solution to the human predicament. There would be no alternative to capitalist democracy, as per Margaret Thatcher and Francis Fukuyama. There could be only regressions and detours.

Unfortunately, or not, the proud ship of Whig history has sunk on a shoal complex composed of environmental degradation, resource depletion, an ossified capitalist world system and widespread spinelessness among the global political elite. Put differently, the ancestors of our dead enders began to destroy the world long before they took complete hold of it. The dead enders merely are the heirs of an embedded and remorseless Calvinism. But they were thoroughly unhinged by ‘their’ triumph over the residue of Stalinism in Eastern Europe and Russia. They believed their own propaganda had been confirmed! America’s duopoly system merely encapsulates the abyss which awaits us. Clinton and Trump — they are mere signs of our collective destruction. They reflect the stupidity and arrogance of the powerful. They reveal the consequences of our incapacity to learn.

Peter Sinclair on Climate Chage and Deniers

Rain, rain, rain…

I don’t mind.

I never cared much for rain and snow. When young, precipitation interfered with my plans and they nearly always made my life more difficult. Today, however, I believe precipitation to be akin to manna from heaven. While I watch dust storms, massive wildfires, water shortages and desertification afflict so many around the world, I have learned to appreciate the easy availability of this increasingly scarce resource. Many are not as lucky.

Potable water — more value than crude oil.

Thanks! El Niño


According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2014 should prove to have an average number of hurricanes. The key reasons: Cooler water temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and the emergence of an El Niño weather event, which diminishes the conditions needed to gestate hurricanes at an above average rate.

Of course, only one hurricane is needed to produce another remarkable disaster. That hurricane needs only to pass over a densely populated land mass.

We are DEVO

The New York Times reports:

Sitting in the headquarters of the Wyoming Liberty Group, Susan Gore, founder of the conservative think tank, said new national science standards for schools were a form of “coercion,” adding, “I don’t think government should have anything to do with education.”

Ms. Gore, a daughter of the founder of the company that makes Gore-Tex waterproof fabric, was speaking here weeks after the Republican-controlled Legislature made Wyoming, where coal and oil are king, the first state to reject the standards, which include lessons on human impact on global warming. The pushback came despite a unanimous vote by a group of Wyoming science educators urging acceptance. Wyoming was the first state to say no, but likely not the last. A House committee in Oklahoma last week voted to reject the standards, also in part because of concerns about how climate change would be taught.

It is noteworthy that Wyoming has the worst CO2 emissions per capita of the various states. This fact makes clear the shameless belligerence of the reactionaries. Fortunately, Wyoming is sparsely populated. But its low population density is not overly consoling since the United States as a whole emits 6.089 GtCO2 e/year (metric gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year).

But why must the reactions let the scientific consensus on this matter get in the way of their sense of entitlement and victimization?

Our leaders are reckless fools

Another day, and another conference in which the participants accomplish nothing meaningful:

The United Nations climate conference ambled toward a conclusion on Friday, with delegates saying that the meeting would produce no more than a modest set of measures toward a new international agreement two years from now. As usual, the biggest dispute was over money.

The talks, the 19th annual meeting of parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, opened nearly two weeks ago in the shadow of a devastating typhoon in the Philippines. The disaster added momentum to a proposal by poorer nations for the creation of a new mechanism to compensate developing countries for damage from climate-related disasters.

With the clock winding down and the talks likely to extend into Friday night, the so-called loss-and-damage proposal remained alive. But the wealthy countries that would presumably provide financing for the plan were offering a weaker alternative that would wrap it into an existing area of the climate treaty.

The dangerous and thus compelling problem we face is, of course, reducing greenhouse gas emissions around the world, not compensating some of the billions who will become victims of the growing climate chaos. But why would the 1% and their retainers work towards reducing global temperatures when going with the flow of history is much less taxing.

A bit more than 25 years has passed since James Hansen testified before Congress. What remains to be done? Everything?

Capitalism and US Oil Geo-Politics » CounterPunch

Rob Urie has provided us with a concisely written essay which identifies the predicaments generated by the capitalist democracies in the West as well as by the global empire governed by power elites located in Washington, DC and Wall Street. Reading Urie’s essay is worth the effort.