Friday, June 2, 2017

Hope flickers, and is extinguished.

Laocoon and his sons, Vatican Museum

     I wrote this in the hours waiting for Trump to pull out of the Paris accord Thursday. Maybe because there was a delay — the announcement had been expected Wednesday — it became sufficed with a baseless hope. But I was glad I had it ready, as the event itself was just too damn depressing, more than I expected. People I knew were genuinely shocked, which is surprising at this point of the Trump administration. Maybe not "shocked." Sad and disappointed, worried and embarrassed. I was happy to walk out of the newsroom and go downstairs and watch the river,  a perfect first day in June, and remember that the world goes on, more or less, despite the folly of the humans upon it.

     I confess.
     As 2 p.m. CST Thursday approached, the hour set for an expected Rose Garden announcement that the United States is turning its back on both the unified nations of the world and on the planet itself, pulling out from the Paris climate accord, a spark of hope flickered.
     Could he...? Could he possibly...?
     See, one good thing about Donald Trump — I almost said "the redeeming quality" but let's not get carried away. But one positive attribute, as I've mentioned before, is that he doesn't believe in anything. Nothing at all except of course himself. No causes, no ironclad convictions, other than utter certainty that he is the very center of the twirling universe.
    And a strange, non-Euclidian space it truly is, folding in upon itself. Should Donald Trump be emboldened to venture any distance in one direction he winds up right back where he began: himself. All vectors lead to Donald.
     Trump never cared if we built a wall and Mexico paid for it. Not given the alacrity with which he dropped the notion once in office. Or for repealing NAFTA. His daft campaign promises mere empty words mouthed to draw the naive, vote-paying public into his gaudy tent.
     Hours before he abandoned our country's commitments to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, it was announced that, despite his vows to the contrary, the U.S. embassy will not move to Jerusalem.

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    Editor's note: Laocoon, according to myth, angered the gods by trying to warn of the danger of the Trojan horse, and was punished along with his twin sons. The image seemed a tacit nod to the dangers of prophecy, even when completely accurate. ESPECIALLY when completely accurate. 


  1. "fresh from his Innocents Abroad Tour, veering from the joy of having his ample backside smooched in Saudi Arabia and Israel, and the vexation of at least dimly perceiving the head-shaking contempt his antics drew in Europe,"

    The Saudi's kissed his ample rear, the Europeans laughed at him - his betrayal of the entire planet could be as simple as another thin skinned reaction to criticism. He literally mentioned in his speech that world leaders won't ever laugh at America again. Not likely as long as he is in office.

    The most important decisions made on planet earth are now dependent on the whims of a bumbling, pathologically sensitive man child with an international web of business and political conflicts.

  2. Don't worry not all is doom and gloom, technology marches on irrespective of any climate agreement. Thanks to the fracking revolution in the U.S. our output of CO₂ has actually fallen for the last decade. Fracking has created an abundance of natural gas which has been replacing coal for generating electricity. Natural gas emits much less greenhouse gases than coal per Kwh generated. China as leader of the world movement to save the planet? Barf. As things stand now they emit massive quantities of CO₂ sulfur, soot and other particulate matter. Back in the olden days the arctic ice cap was pristine and reflected away most of the sunlight that hit it. Now China's pollution drifts around and settles on the ice where sunlight is now being absorbed and accelerating the melting. Before China and India can lecture us or mock Trump without being hypocritical, they need to install basic pollution controls on their coal power plants.
    And another thing, the Chinese themselves have turned into the true Imperialist running dogs. Throughout the South China Sea they have been ruthlessly raping the environment. Obliterating delicate coral atolls, smashing them to pieces pouring concrete on top to create a vast matrix of military bases. And for what? Probably because, in their own minds, Eastasia has always been at war with Oceania.

  3. Bernie, good comments. I wonder who will buy the coal that no one is ready to dig out of the ground. I believe a lot of coal-fired plants made the NG conversion, as it's cheaper to buy and consume. Of course, what do STEM facts matter anymore?

  4. This latest episode in the Trump saga brings to my mind the concept of the "tipping point," popularized by Malcolm Gladwell. Of course, sooner or later, global weather will be unfixable; perhaps it is already and the baby steps of the Paris Agreement do not even put us far enough on the right path to make any difference whatsoever, but that's not what bothers me right now. It's that as Republicans continue to go along with whatever nonsense Trump offers up, it will soon be too late to stop or even slow down the inexorable juggernaut crushing democracy and the rule of law and replacing them with plutocracy and the rule of money. As Neil stated, Donald Trump believes in nothing but himself. Those who acquiesce in his tyranny are tossing away their principles at such a rate that they will soon be unrecoverable.


    1. It seems we have an interesting juxtaposition of fears. My greatest fear is the National Debt reaching a tipping point of such levels it can never be repaid. With Trump's history of bankruptcy he demonstrates a casual disregard for the concept of fiduciary duty. If his cavalier attitude lets interest rates reach 10%, which has happened in the past, we won't be able to even cover the annual interest on the treasury bonds, and we really will be doomed!
      Modern science is based on the principal of the scientific method. Data is gathered, analyzed, and scientist form a hypothesis. The proof a theory is valid is based on its ability to make accurate predictions of future events. The current state of short term weather forecasting allows scientists to make predictions of weather events with uncanny accuracy. Hurricane paths can be tracked and evacuation orders made days in advance. Same thing with heavy snow falls, or severe weather warnings.
      With climate change science, not so much. Back in 2005 we had Katrina/Rita/Wilma hit and top climate change scientists predicted this was the new normal and large hurricane will hit us every year. In the last 12 years we had Sandy not even a real hurricane, and Matthew. The water level in the Great Lakes fell for decades and scientists predicted it would never recover because of climate change, now the water levels are rising and approaching normal levels. California was in a drought for years and climate scientist predicted it would last for decades more because of climate change. Recently they received above average snow and rainfall, breaking the drought. In my opinion the theory that slightly warmer climate will lead to catastrophic weather has yet to be proven. Trump has the potential to screw up many things in this world, but not the weather, so don't despair.

    2. P.S. As far as civil liberties go, the courts have been knocking down the over reach of Trump's executive orders so far. Gorsuch was a good choice for the Supreme Court. He has a history of upholding civil liberties, I think he will be making some good rulings, fingers crossed.


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