Biden Our Time — Good Trumps Evil

Biden Our Time

Good Trumps Evil

January 21st 2021

At 9:01am PST yesterday I posted a one-word post on Facebook.

The post said, “WHEW!”

It might be the only all-caps post I’ll ever make, since I regard people who post in all-caps to be total idiots. I am quite capable of attaining truly sublime levels of idiocy without artificial aids from my caps-lock key, thank you very much.

We all expected things to turn weird and disgusting between the election and inauguration day, and of course things did. And yes, there were a lot of grim things. COVID continued to explode, with the death toll now well over 400,000, and the Trump regime bungled the vaccine rollout. Trump gleefully sabotaged Open Skies and other treaties, giving a gleeful Vladimir Putin an entire basket of tactical Easter eggs. They had an insurrectionist attack on the Capitol and comprised, for the most part, of meth heads trying to play soldier and absolutely lunatic conspiracy theory freaks. Even more troubling, we discovered that much of the Republican party would rather destroy the United States than share power with those of the wrong race, or the wrong religion, or who were simply guilty of not being rich.

If one good thing came of the Trump regime, it was that he forced America to look in the mirror, and learn that it’s really no better than any other country, and can no longer pretend to be a shining beacon of reason and ethics. Not that it ever really could, but the facade had been torn away.

I don’t envy Joe Biden. He took office yesterday facing a national crisis every bit as great as the one Franklin Roosevelt faced in March of 1933. FDR only had to face the First Great Depression. Biden is facing the Second Great Depression, along with the pandemic, the worst since 1919, and an opposition that is anything but loyal; a large chunk of the GOP leadership are seditionists at best, traitors at worst.

I’m sure I’ll oppose Biden on some items, sometimes vehemently. But unlike his predecessor, I won’t be questioning his loyalty, his courage, or his good intentions. That’s a huge improvement right there. Trump is filth. Biden is not.

I’m having grim fun watching the GOP writhe and twist. The militias have come face to face with the fact that no coup can succeed without popular support. Power comes, not from the barrel of a gun, but the will of the people. It’s something the fairy-tale stories about overthrowing evil kings and the like often miss; no regime happens in a vacuum. You need, at the very least, the support of one third of the population, and at least another third willing to not take up arms against you. When 3/4s of the population are openly disgusted with you and want to throw you in jail (or under a guillotine) then your cause is lost. Most people hate the so-called militias, with their open embrace of Nazism and white superiority. Theirs is the philosophy of war, of death camps, of genocides. A large majority of Americans are better than that, and won’t fall to that level except under the circumstances that led to the French Revolution, the Soviet revolution, the Putsch and rise of Hitler, or the final disintegration of the USSR. We aren’t there yet, and with any luck, we won’t be.

The QAnon conspiracy nuts have to come to grips with the fact that Trump isn’t going to be a God-Emperor here to save us from the utterly imaginary depredations of the Clintons, Obama, or the lizard people. Quite a few of them hit a wall of reality beginning on the sixth of January and crashed and burned with the sight of Biden taking the oath of office. Q himself apparently stopped posting shortly after the election. Many will just find a new form of insanity to embrace, but quite a few are wailing that they were misled and lied to, and that their new religion failed them. I imagine Christianity must have faced a similar setback when Jesus’ prediction that many of those living would see his return failed to come to pass. In other words, don’t expect QAnon to just go away. The ability to rationalize is deep amongst the deluded and the insane.

The the ‘sane’ part of the GOP, the ‘good Germans’ are popping up all over the place. “Oh, I never supported Trump.” “I just went along because I was afraid.” “I was just following orders.” Suddenly, they want to talk about unity, negotiation, and compromise. There may even be some who are acting in good faith, but it’s a sure bet that most are just trying to salvage what they can for the ruins of their party, and are probing Biden and the Democratic Party for any signs of weakness. A favorite seems to be “Well, 74 million people voted for Trump and you can’t ignore them.” The reality is 81 million people voted for Biden, and unlike Trump won’t be out to viciously take revenge on the Trump voters. Biden isn’t going to refuse aid to red states, and he isn’t going to address the pandemic only in states that voted for him. He isn’t Trump. He isn’t a monster.

To the Trump voters I say, “Biden is here to govern, not rule. He isn’t going to make you second-class citizens because of how you voted. He isn’t going to turn America into a Soviet wasteland, no matter what the high-paid liars on the right wing media say. He is going to make changes, and you may not like all of them, but if you have any honesty, any decency, you’ll reserve judgment and see what the changes mean in your lives, your work, your schools, your health care and your country. You don’t own America, but America exists to serve you, and Biden seems to be totally aware of that.

“We tried your way, and it was a catastrophe. Trump was the worst president in our history. Expect better with Biden.”

Game Over – Terrifying new study suggests we’ve passed the tipping point.

June 20th 2019

The Tundra is vast. Just the extent in Canada alone is one million square miles, or about 30% of Canada’s land area. World wide, the tundra covers 8.9 million square miles, a region the size of North America.

Like most things relating to the Arctic, the nature of tundra is more diverse than people imagine. Merriam-Webster defines tundra as “a level or rolling treeless plain that is characteristic of arctic and subarctic regions, consists of black mucky soil with a permanently frozen subsoil, and has a dominant vegetation of mosses, lichens, herbs, and dwarf shrubs; also : a similar region confined to mountainous areas above timberline.”

Permanently frozen subsoil, or permafrost, is a wildly inaccurate name. Much of the far north has been frozen for thousands of years; where the tundra fades to taiga, steppe or boreal forest to the south, the low end of ‘permafrost’–ground that has been frozen for more than two years—is fairly common.

Scientists have been concerned about the state of the tundra for some time. Temperatures on the Canadian tundra have risen by 5.3C (9.5F) since 1990. The treeline has been steadily moving northward as a result, and areas of permafrost intermittency have expanded and increased. In some parts of central Québec and northern British Columbia, permafrost has already vanished altogether.

Vladimir E. Romanovsky, a professor of geophysics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks led a team to do a survey of the Canadian tundra on the southeastern shore of Prince Patrick Island by an abandoned military site on a cove with the touristy name of Mould Bay. At 76 north, there isn’t much between it and the north pole: Ellesmere Island, and that’s about it. Being in a somewhat sheltered spot, the weather isn’t as fierce as in much of the true north, but it still only enjoys three months a year of above-freezing temperatures, and average temps can reach -30F in the winter. So a foot below ground surface, permafrost is truly permanent.

Or so Romanovsky and his team thought. After all, that’s what they found on their previous visit, in the summer of 2016. Apparently Mould Bay wasn’t on the survey list this summer, but they spotted a break in the weather and decided to take advantage of the opportunity to land and take a look around.

What they found shocked them. Large areas of the permafrost around Mould Bay had melted, transforming the land from a flat icescape to a region of rolling hummocks, frost heaves, and countless little ponds and puddles. Submarine grasses had already secured a foothold in the watery microbiomes. Normally the latent cold in the ground prevented all but the most superficial thawing during the brief summers, but clearly that had changed. Indeed, the extent and depth of melting around Mould Bay was what was forecast for near the end of the century-2090. The team found it terrifying.

Tundra soil is largely organic plant matter, long dead but preserved by the permafrost. It is carbon rich, and not surprisingly, contains vast quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O), all of which are potent greenhouse gases.

Mould Bay doesn’t represent all of the tundra any more than it does all of North America. But that wild amounts of melting are happening this far north and in a region that was still colder than most of the tundra is alarming. And we know frightening changes have been occurring over those millions of square miles; methane ‘volcanos’ in Siberia, bubbles of CO2 erupting in lakes in the north boreal, methane in tundra lakes (which burn fiercely when lit) and elevated levels of N2O throughout the taiga.

It may also explain the unexpected jump in world wide CO2 atmospheric concentrations, 414.2, a jump of 3.7ppm from 2018 and more than double the average increase in concentrations over the previous twenty years. That was an unpleasant surprise.

We need a lot more data from the tundra and taiga regions to know just how serious the situation is, and how immediate the disaster will be as a result.

We had already ensured that we have brought a climate emergency down upon our heads. No matter what we do, we’ve ensured a temperature increase of 2.5C worldwide, and 4.5C in the far north. This means major climate disruptions, crop failures, floods, droughts and megastorms. It means bioregional collapses, including in the oceans. Millions of people will be displaced, and large regional wars are likely. The death toll just from what we’ve already ensured will be in the millions, and perhaps worse than millions.

Widespread melting in the north could DOUBLE annual emissions, That would put us above 500ppm in less than 20 years, and temperatures would climb by at least 5C. At that point, it’s no longer a climate emergency; it’s a climate catastrophe. Widespread ecosystem collapse, a likely end to technological civilization, and a death toll in the billions.

Scientists are racing around the tundra regions trying to get some sort of overview of the millions of square miles. They already knew changes were happening far harder and faster there due to the phenomenon of polar amplification, but they weren’t prepared for something as dramatic as Mould Bay.

There’s a temptation to regard Mould Bay as an exception, even an extreme, even though it was in a part of the tundra believed least likely to melt in the near future. But we know changes is coming to the true north faster and more severe than previously imagined. We probably won’t find many places as bad as Mould Bay, at least not this summer.

But Mould Bay isn’t an extreme. It isn’t an exception.

It’s a harbinger.


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