Thursday, October 18, 2018

Eyewash by the IPCC Enables Pentagon Inertia


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, established by the United Nations Environmental Program and the World Meteorological Organization in 1988 has just issued a report described by the New York Times as quite concerning, predicting a “world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die off of coral reefs as early as 2040.” Despite all its handwringing
(“ the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale that has ‘no documented historic precedent’ and ‘the atmosphere will  warm up by  as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels by 2040, inundating coastlines and intensifying droughts and poverty’) it urges us just to do the same and more of the same, but it overlooks the vital discussion of self-reinforcing feedback loops resulting from arctic ice melt.

 

Because it leaves out everything it either doesn’t know or can’t quite cope with, the IPCC report and all the media attention it has received is utter eyewash.  Why? For answers we must look to Peter Wadhams, emeritus professor of ocean physics at the University of Cambridge.  His analysis of the flaccid IPCC report is that it is based on old fashioned modeling that ignores the data of observational scientists. It soft pedals such self-reinforcing feedback loops as methane feedback, sea-level rise and glacier melt feedback, decline in thermohaline circulation,  and albedo feedback, (the reflectivity of white ice deflecting the sun’s heat).  None of the four, potentially leading to catastrophic global warming, are described as major threats, says Wadhams, because the IPCC doesn’t consider them in the first place, either hoping they go away by themselves, or forgetting them altogether.

 

For example. the report claims that, if we are to keep to 1.5 degrees, there will be an ice-free summer once every hundred years!  And that if we allow the temperature to rise to 2.0 degrees, there will be an ice-free summer every ten years! Whereas the reality now is that either next year, or at most the year after that we will have nothing but ice-free summers thereafter.

The IPCC has always ignored methane release from the Arctic offshore. And they ignore it again this year.  Because they themselves lack the resources that observational scientists have, they base their conclusions on the old models that say the methane is not supposed to be released for another 50 to 100 years.

Another self–reinforcing feedback mechanism and potentially runaway cycle has to do with the acceleration of sea level rise, coupled with glacier retreat. Because the IPCC ignored present conditions, they produced reports relating to sea level rise in the next century, gifting policy makers with complacency and allowing them to under budget for sea defenses. This year, while reporting on the melt occurring in Greenland, and Iceland, the report still ignores both what’s happening in the East Antarctic ice sheet which is beginning to retreat, and the moulins happening in Greenland of melt water running down to bedrock, which accelerates the rate of melt.



Katrina
A third self-reinforcing feedback loop related to the loss of sea ice, and not mentioned by the IPCC relates to the decline in thermohaline circulation,  a process controlled both by water temperatures and ocean salinity, which leads to an increased amount of water warming up faster in the tropics, resulting in increased hurricane intensity. It ignores the albedo effect altogether for which a very simple solution might be to color all the planet’s roofs and highways white.



To sum up, the IPCC seems to think that IF we can keep warming to 1.5 degrees, methane release won’t happen because the sea ice won’t melt. But the sea ice is already melting! Other runaway cycles won’t happen either, so they think they don’t even have to mention them.  The report offers complacency when a dire panic warning is called for, requiring  a catastrophic overhaul, but if we go by the IPCC’s impotent report, we are not going to get anything like it done in time, and certainly not as long as the U.S. and Brazil insist on withdrawing altogether from the Paris accords.

 

Wadhams stresses that at the stage we find ourselves, namely keeping to a 1.5 temperature rise, we have to focus on carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere. The IPCC  report doesn’t mention how much CO2 removal per year is needed to keep the warming down to 1.5, namely at least 20 billion tons per year, from 40 to 50% of what our present emissions are.  Or up to 1 trillion metric tons of carbon from the biosphere over the 21st century.  To address such a commitment, development of a huge industry is needed that will change the lives of everyone on Earth. It has already affected me. At 82 years of age, just when walking became a conscious act, I gave up driving, I junked my car. I am inviting you to consider what in your life you might consider giving up.

 

Supposedly the Pentagon “got it,” declaring in 2017 that global warming is a threat to “national security.” Now suppose those Pentagon bean counters were to look over their shoulders for a minute to see what some of the world already sees: the streets of Shanghai choking, the forests of the Western Northern hemisphere burning, do you think they might have the imagination to reallocate every penny that now goes into killing children and starving them in countries like Yemen, and Afghanistan to a concerted effort to preserve life on this planet? Because that’s what it will take:  all the resources that now go to war-making and destruction would have to be reallocated to sucking per year that 20 millions tons of carbon dioxide pout of the atmosphere in order to save Earth.

Nothing short of declaring war on global warming will do it.



War is the most profligate user of fossil fuels. Prevent the Iran war.









Judge denies U.S. governments request to skip trial on its responsibility to protect U.S. citizens from the damage due to global warming and its impacts.

Point Conception, an eight-mile stretch of pristine southern California coastline will be protected by The Nature Conservancy.

New Supreme Court ruling re: ConAgra and Sherwin-Williams could make it easier to hold corporations liable for climate change.

AMP Creeks Council and Greater Southern Maryland Community announce success fighting Dominion Energy Cove Point effort to build a giant fracked gas compressor station on 14 clear cut acres.

New York City announces divestment of its pension  funds from fossil fuel stocks. Both the Mayor and City Comptroller plan to re-invest that $4 billion in community-led climate solutions.

Ecosia, a German start up, to buy 200 hectares of Hambach forest slated for open coal mining.

Judge Ann Aiken rules that 21 children and young adults have standing claiming that their due process rights have been violated by the government and fossil fuel companies.

One of nation’s oldest, Englewood, Colorado based Westmoreland Coal Company files for bankruptcy.

Our People and Planet awards two green businesses Nature’s Magic, a woman-owned business in Georgia, and Eutree, which recycles urban tree “waste” in Villa Rica, Georgia.

Bringing together advocates for peace and economic, racial, environmental and climate justice, Peace Congress announces plans to end U.S. wars at home and abroad.

Due at least in large part to public opposition, the administration’s weapons parade in Washington D.C. has been cancelled.

Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) are calling for the Government Accountability Office to launch an investigation into the policies and practices of charter schools.

Education “Secretary” Betsy DeVos loses major battle over Obama’s student loan protections.

Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) introduces the Strengthening
Social Security Act of 2018 (H.R. 6929) to ensure the annual Cost of Living Adjustment adequately reflects the real cost of living, and will improve the financial health of the Social Security Trust Fund.

Senators Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV) Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D –Il) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) along with 18 other Democratic senators send a letter to Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen urging her to withdraw proposed regulatory chances to the “public charge” rule.

Thousands of Glasgow women strike over pay discrimination.
Hundreds of thousands march in Berlin demonstrating against racism and calling for solidarity against the far right.

Dunkirk, the biggest European city so far to do so, offers entirely free transport to residents and visitors alike.

Citing the S.F. Bryant Street jail as unsafe and apt to liquefy in a major earthquake, No New Jail activists call for its closure and funds for a substitute to be allocated to health, education, and housing.

Canada legalizes marijuana.
 
Following their success advocating for no funding increases for ICE, the #DefundHate Coalition urges people to mobilize calling for complete defunding of this racist agency and its inhumane practices.

California’s Contra Costa and Sacramento Counties and the City of Santa Ana sand Williamcon Couty, TX, and Atlanta pull out of their contracts with ICE.

Atlanta cop, Matthew Johns, who beat a teenager, is indicted after over two years.

A measure on the Maine ballot proposes universal home health care for all Maine residents to be paid for by a tax on people making more than $128,400 a year.

ACLU with other civil rights groups file joint lawsuit against Kemp for “disproportionately impacting the ability of voting-eligible African-American, Latino, and Asian-American applicants to register to vote.”

Activists raise a stunning $100,0000 in 70 minuites to defeat Native American Voter Suppression in North Dakota.

The Illinois State Journal-Register announces that remains from the 1908 Springfield race riots will be excavated.

Rahm Emanuel announces he won’t seek third term as mayor of Chicago. We await his notification of retirement.

More than eighty civil society organizations protest the National Park Service’s “Pay to Protest” Proposal.

National Park Services receives over 71,000 comments in response to the new proposed anti-protest regulations.

Florida Supreme Court thwarts Republican Governor Rick Scott’s plan for the Florida courts to remain in Republican control for years to come.

As Judge Suzanne Bolanos considers letting Monsanto off the hook, jurors demand court respect their historic verdict holding Monsanto to account.

The two Koreas agree to begin re-connecting rail and road links.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Streets for Sale


This week responding to what Washington throws our way requires the lightning quick swordplay of the samurai. On the nuclear catastrophe front San Onofre was the site of a near miss nuclear accident when a storage cask fell 18 inches, six inches more than its warrantee allows, and on the vote suppression and  vote  integrity front, while a Georgia Republican gubernatorial candidate, Brian Kemp, purges the voting rolls of black folks because his chief opponent happens to be a black woman, Harvey Wasserman and Bob Fitrakis publish an article pointing up Democrats for failing to focus on how all those nice blue wave votes can be and inevitably will be stolen (https://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/52754-rsn-will-the-trump-gop-strip-and-flip-americas-2018-election-while-the-democrats-fail-to-protect-the-vote)

Connie at the White House-longest lasting protest in U,S. History

 We speed past these so very critical issues to focus on the stealth program initiated by the National Park Service to chop the head off protest of any kind. The Park Service wants to demand bucks for protest. They want to declare those White house sidewalks off limits. They want to keep organizers guessing till the day before knowing very well that any large protest, of say 100,000 or more takes months of planning and strategizing to folks out. Whose streets? you my ask.  Pay-to-play’s streets., that’s whose.

 


The Park Service is but one branch of an octopus that’s spreading its many tentacles around us to make sure we can’t even utter a whimper. How can we send them a message that they’re hopelessly out of line? That the streets have always been the venue of citizen assemblies?  That we are not succumbing to compassion fatigue, that we are not wasted by protest fatigue. Hell, no!

 

The deadline for this stealth initiative is this coming Monday.  If you care at all, please submit your comments by then (See our Action section where you can do so easily.) Let them know loud and clear that you have no intention of going home and shutting the door behind you. You are in this for the duration, and you don’t mean to follow uncivil regulations anymore than you itch to join a monastery.  Hell, no!


or at: http://www.justiceonline.org/take_action_now_stop_trump_new_laws_to_crush_protests_in_washington_dc#/5/

Deadline October 15, this Monday: Follow this link to the National Park Service Comment page. Let National Park Service k now how these changes matter to you.
or go to:
https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=NPS-2018-0007-0001

or go to:
https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/tell-brian-kemp-stop-suppressing-georgia-voters/?link_id=1&can_id=655968a96e1bce05c463b2f640bf633c&source=email-stop-this-voter-suppression-scheme&email_referrer=email_434860&email_subject=stop-this-voter-suppression-scheme

https://popularresistance.org/national-park-service-proposes-severe-restrictions-on-protests-in-washington-dc/


ACLU fights back at the Park Service’s “Stealth Proposal” to limit public’s right to protest outside White House.

District Court Judge Robert Tiffany acquitted defendants of all charges in Clearwater County “Valve Turner” case.

Military families speak out against the Afghanistan 17-year-long war as veteran of 8
tours there dies.

In Maine, 4 Bantu Somali refugees raise crops on shared land at New Roots Coop Farm, growing regional and Somali produce, one of a number of coop farms operating in the North East.

The City of Oakland, along with Alameda County, formally halted its use of Roundup on Sept. 1, according to Public Works Department notice.

According to the NYT, a new wave of Democrats is testing the party’s lockstep support for Israel.

Fox reported Bret Baier reports U.S. Supreme John Roberts refers allegations of judicial misconduct against Kavanaugh to Tenth Circuit to investigate his ethics.

Petitions to impeach Kavanaugh surge as organizers insist not even Supreme Court judges are ‘above the law.’

Protesting, N.Y.C. law students stage walkout protesting Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Gov. Jerry Brown signs legislation to end harmful use of drift gillnets.

Federal Judge permanently bars Administration from withholding policing grants from California, San Francisco, and other so-called sanctuary jurisdictions across the nation.

Re-discovered grand jury records of Georgia’s “last” lynching persuades federal Georgia judge to order them unsealed, declaring the testimony to be of broad public interest.

Congress passes broad water infrastructure legislation providing for more natural coastal infrastructure, delivering key victories for the Everglades and Long Island Sound.

Israel’s Mishab Housing and Construction has been fined by Israel for discriminating against Arab home buyers.

Citing arbitrary use and racial bias, Washington State abolishes state’s death penalty.

Amid massive public outcry, 12-year-old-Tamir Rice’s killer won’t be hired as a cop
byK another police jurisdiction.

NYT reports that Democratic states suing the government rack up substantial wins.

U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick cites newly unsealed video, ordering that a lawsuit by Mario Woods, shot by S.F. rogue cops,  mother can proceed to trial.

Google’s “Waze” expands carpooling service throughout the U.S.

ACLU sues San Francisco for targeting African-American in drug arrests.

Postal workers unite nationwide against administration’s “privatization” plan.

Fourth circuit court vacates Mountain Valley Pipeline permit.

World Nuclear Industry Status Report confirms nuclear power decline.

Coalition of civil rights group sues George’s Secretary of State and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp for voter suppression of upwards of 50,000 voters favoring his opponent.

Gov. Jerry Brown signs the Fair and Just Sentencing Reform Act (SB 1393) allowing judges to use their discretion instead of being forced to stick to unjust mandatory minimums in deciding sentences.

Representative Ro Khanna calls for congressional hearing into journalist Khashoggi’s disappearance. 


For the price of a smart phone small homes can now be powered by a small energy-saving windmill.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Drones Fly, Children Die


Last week, marking the 17th anniversary of the Afghan War, I joined my friends and colleagues at Creech Air Force Base at Indian Springs, Nevada, home of the Predator (formerly Reaper) Drones to protest extra judicial killings in all the countries drones operate: including Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Mali, Syria, and Somalia,  We were a varied crew from places as far distant as Iowa, Salt Lake, Reno, Indiana, Colorado, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Mexico, including professors of anthropology and linguistics, a Menonite activist who walks Palestinian children safely to school past the Israeli checkpoints two months a year, and a former U.S. diplomat and participant in the Gaza flotilla delivering a boat load of medicines intended for Gaza but detained till further notice by the Israeli government. Our week of protest was organized by Code Pink, in collaboration with Veterans for Peace, Voices for Creative Nonviolence and local groups. Some of us protest in the hope that eventually we will shut down Creech and the military machine that now consumes over 62% of the national budget to the detriment of infrastructure maintenance, environment, health, welfare, and education, which receive percentages in the meager single digits. Some of us think we cannot change a waroholic government, but we don’t want that government to change us. We are a motley but cheerful crew of Code Pink organizers as our goofy picture shows.   

 

(For Creech religious practices see: https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=7218921764613108785#editor/target=post;postID=3754103717847685258;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=41;src=postname)

Valiantly we displayed our banners (Kill by Drone, Reap the Whirlwind) from 6 to 9 AM and from 3 to 5 PM as hundreds of cars streamed past us entering and leaving the base, most operated by their single drivers hailing from 70 miles away in Las Vegas. We sustained  seven arrests, one of them unintended because no warning was given, one public stripping of a female organizer, and jail holds lasting in excess of 30 hours in the Clark County Detention Center, one of the worst jails in the United States. Said one detainee: “Not a place for human beings., A place for slaves.” And while children are killed, the drones drone on from sun up to sunset, and we protest in a barren landscape under its vast skies and towering thunderheads in a weather system building up from storms as far south as Baja, with gale force winds, and rain, lightning and thunder in the desert. 

 

Asymmetrical  Warfare

The U.S. drone program dates from the events of 9/11, growing exponentially by 2018 with drone bases scattered as far as Niger and Chad. Its rationale was to prevent our “brave young men and women” from the inconveniences of combat, in favor of shedding blood other than theirs, a system which has proved to have unfortunate consequences: it facilitates extra judicial killings, without trial judge or jury, it destroys societies unable any longer to conduct weddings and funerals out of danger, or to shop, go to school, attend evening prayer, herd goats, or farm; for every “terrorist” it takes out, statistics show that it spills the blood of innocent civilians, many of them children; it creates more enemy-terrorists than it is designed to kill, and perhaps worst of all: its pilots still suffer from PTSD.

 

Destabilization

While we were at Creech, we entertained the company of Ray McGovern, former intelligence analyst for the CIA in the good old days before spooks scurried under its umbrella, corrupting an organization by inherent conflict of interest, namely in its tendency now “fixing” the intelligence to justify military action.  Among other things, he brought to our attention an article uncensored by the New York Times of Sept. 6, 2018, in which Jodi Rudoren quotes Nathan Thrall, a Jerusalem-based analyst for the International Crisis Group, quoting him as saying “The perpetuation of the [Syrian] conflict is absolutely serving Israel’s interest,” because destabilization of the middle East countries surrounding Israel keeps their threat to manageable levels. Drone warfare is encouraged by Israel with the help of the United States acting as its enforcer state.


Profit

But a third factor keeping the skids of dronewar greased is that of profit for such corporations as the two leading drone manufacturers, Northrup Grumman, maker of the  Global Hawk with a flight time of 32 hours, and a unit cost of $131.4 million, and General Atomics, a privately held corporation, and maker of the Predator, now rebranded as Reaper drone, with a stay in the air capability of 14 hours, at a unit cost of  $16.9 million. Figures for the privately held company are hard to establish, but Northrup Grumman showed $22.8 billion in sales in 2018. Basking in an income tax rate of just 19.5 %, its profits for Q2 of 2018 stand at  $7.l billion. As George Bush famously advised  President Kirchner of Argentina, when that country was on the verge of economic collapse. “War is good for business.”

Racism

Yet a fourth irrationalization for the use of drones applies, such that with the exception of Germany in World War II, the United States’ preferred enemies are always people of color, especially people of color whose territories and resources it covets. 

 

The chief dysfunction guiding the U.S. military/industrial/prison complex is the racism it publicly displays with the election of its current administration by a huge proportion of its voters. 

Meantime, we occupy the highway outside Creech AFB, wondering how many casualties, how many prosthetic arms and legs the drone whirlwind may reap during the scant hours we maintain our vigil, banners aloft, (17 years in Afghanistan. Enough!) and the ingeniously constructed stanchions and ballast holding them against the occasionally
hurricane force winds that compete with them, wonderstruck at the immense skies surrounding us, the swales of sunlight radiating between menacing thunderheads, breakthrough sunlight firing the surrounding mountains in bright colors, and the endless stretch of desert, all reminders that this Earth is an island, one of millions of similar islands marking their trajectories throughout the universe, some of them perhaps peopled by more peaceful and intelligent life than ours.







 



International

In 1989, Brazil’s Porto Allegre became the world’s first city where residents participate in budgetary decisions, Three decades later the practice has become widespread in over 3000 municipalities.

Indonesia bans new palm oil plantations.

Chile convicts 20 Pinochet-era intelligence agents for their role kidnapping and murdering 12 victims of CIA-backed Operation Condor.

International Court investigates the U.S. and U.K.’s mass expulsion of  the indigenous Chagossian people, from Diego Garcia.

Green Party endorses letter to the ICC requesting that it investigate crimes committed  by Israel.

Fighting for the poor and disenfranchised, Renata Souza steps into the role of assassinated  councilwoman, Marielle Franco in Rio de Janeiro..

AMLO’s landslide election raises hopes for Mexican labor.

Environment

Ohio hospital treats whole neighborhood as ‘patient,’ diagnosing the cause as “unstable housing.”

Pakistan plants more than a million trees.

Australian real estate developer Lendlease is supporting a 200 MW solar power project which has secured a town approval and a tax abatement in East Texas.

Putting world on notice, Dutch court orders government to move faster on emissions cuts.

Cleveland, Ohio aims for 100% renewables as it sheds its fossil fuel past.

Federal judge strikes down the administration’s decision to remove the greater Yellowstone grizzly bear from the endangered species list, thereby reinstating federal protection for the bears.

Black residents of  Greensborough, N.C. open food co-op, the first of its kind in the nation.

Kentucky’s Mountain Association for Community Economic Development announces energy conservation jobs have come to coal country.


Zero emission buses move a giant step loser to becoming commonplace in California.

Solar United launches Solar for All to provide free local solar to all of Washington D.C.’s low income families over the next fifteen years.

Justice

Dallas police officer who killed an innocent unarmed black man in his own home is fired.

Officials in Hartford Connecticut roll out ordinance preventing deceptive advertising in faith-based pregnancy centers that use anti-choice messaging to target those seeking abortion and contraception services.

California is first in the nation to ensure water or milk comes standard with children’s meals at restaurants.

John McDonnell of the UK Labour Party unveils policy requiring large corporations gradually to place 10% of their equity into an inclusive Ownership Fund owned by workers.

Two whistleblower attorneys announce that a joint client received a whistleblower award from the IRS of $13.6 million dollars by providing information leading to the government collecting over $52.6 million dollars in taxes, penalties, and interest.

Jury finds police officer Van Dyke guilty of second-degree murder in the 2014 murder of black teenager, Laquan McDonald..

Amazon whose CEO is richest man in the world, concedes $15 hour floor wage.

Across the U.S. states and 92 cities, among them San Francisco and Cincinnati, ditch Columbus Day to honor indigenous peoples.

Governor Brown signs A.B. 829 and 2162 to eliminate local barriers to housing homeless people.

Democratic AGs successfully sue DeVos in federal court to stop her from rolling back protections for students from abusive for-profit colleges.

U.S. won’t appeal court order freeing pizza delivery man from ICE custody.

Citing shithole countries slur, judge blocks administration from ending immigration protections.

Udall and 12 other democrats introduce bill to battle suppression of the American Indian vote.

Colorado, Michigan,  Missouri and Utah vote on redistricting reforms in November.

Senate Democrats introduce bill mandating body cameras at ICE.

At last Feds arrest SoCal racists for violence in Charlottesville.

Resistance

Dozens of students, faculty, and community members demonstrated at John Hopkins University demanding the university end its relationship with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Charges dismissed for Roman Catholic woman priest and others who sat in Rep. Steny Hoyer’s office demanding he speak out against U.S. involvement in Yemen. 

Workers at Diamond Freight in Yakima band together to sue a local trucking company for wage theft.

Rapid Response pro-immigrant networks spread nationwide.

Medea Benjamin of Code Pink confronts official at hearing on Iran.

Yale cancels some classes as law students protest Brett Kavanaugh nomination.

Los Angeles puts city-owned bank on the ballot.

Peace

UN court issues interim order to U.S. lifting some Iran sanctions.

House resolution directs the president to end U.S. support for Yemen War.

The House and Senate in a rare display of partisan accord, pass measure to address the opioid epidemic.  

South Korea’s leader urges U.S. to end the Korean war.

Pyongyang agrees to start denuclearization process.

Moon and Kim stage exuberant summit in Pyongyang.

Koreans begin removing land mines from the DMZ to ease military tensions.