Archive | Planet survival RSS feed for this section

179. If the Economy is Good, then Trump Can be King?

15 Jul

I talked recently to several Republican folks who were so impressed with the rising stock market and low unemployment rate, that all else did not matter. Trump said that if he had not been elected, the market would have crashed — ignoring the fact that the market rose steadily under President Obama. Obama took over when the US economy was a disaster and Trump benefited from Obama’s successful recovery program.

The scary thing is that many people look at the world in a superficial way and just accept what leaders like Trump tell them. Several years ago, before he became President, I wrote in a blog that Trump’s worst trait is the rewriting of history, so his terrible record is obscured. This makes it possible for him to form a political “base,” with lies about his successes.

Several of my blogs have detailed the dangerous policies of Trump and the reasons why he must not continue is office. He is clearly moving towards a tyranny. These previous blogs are most relevant:

171. Why We Must End Trump Now.

170.  1000 Prosecutors Can’t be wrong.

169. In the USA, an Emerging Tyranny?

Here are the most important ideas from the above and some of his current actions. It is important for people to recognize the gradual progression towards tyranny, so that they can fight these dangerous steps.

Here are the usual steps in the transition from president to king. Trump has done all of the following:

Step 1. Form a “base” of poorly-educated gullible citizens that can be manipulated. Trump’s base was formed by exploiting already existing racism and scapegoating. The base can be violent and aggressive, to create fear and submission by others. Later, better-educated opportunists may join the base.

Step 2Get elected, using the base, intimidation, scams, illicit coalitions and whatever else works. Trump benefited from help by Russians.

Step 3. Make the appointments of all government leaders, judges, generals and admirals based on loyalty rather than competence.  This cadre of loyal officials helps to keep a tyrant in office, but produces serious mistakes.

Step 4. Change the law to benefit rich friends. An example is a reduction in pollution safeguards that help manufacturers, but put the citizens at risk.

Step 5Fight all actions against you. This can be done by attacking and limiting the press, by re-writing history, emphasizing your successes, suppressing investigations, ignoring subpoenas, and other negative legal actions. Trump viciously attacks political rivals like Hillary (“lock her up”).

Step 6. Most dangerous is any attempt to increase term limits or in any way prolonging the stay in office. All of the worst despots were able to find an illicit way to win elections or abolish elections so that they remain in power indefinitely. He has proposed that the first two years of his office were ruined by investigation and he should be given an extra two years to compensate. Thoughts like this are vile and dangerous.

As this pathway continues, the abuses increase and can be devastating. 

Here are some very recent facts. The Mueller Report finds 10 examples of Trump’s obstruction of justice. Mueller stated in a speech that his report did not exonerate the President in any way. Trump attacked four female House Reps of color (the squad) and told them to go back to where they came from. He attributed to all four, the questionable and inexperienced statements of House Rep. Omar. Trump claims transparency, but ignores subpoenas and will not release tax records. Perhaps worst of all, he still is not supporting vital efforts to limit global warming. Although the US is only about 15% responsible for the world-wide  production of greenhouse gases, it can make a big difference in leadership and financial support of relevant climate research.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

168. What Stands Out, in This Complicated World

7 May

For an ordinary citizen of the USA, I would guess that there are so many political events and ideas reported by the media — that it may be difficult to decide what is important and what to focus on. I see my role as a blogger, to help explain important current issues in a clear way. And, of course, I admit that I see the world in my own special way and with my own set of beliefs. Maybe I should explain just a little more. I believe in the following: Kindness wherever possible, a strong and prosperous middle class, the spirit of the US Constitution, respect for 99% of the law, and that the vote of every citizen should have an equal effect. To further explain the last point, a very wealthy person should not have extra influence on elections.

Here are my choices for the most outstanding and important current ideas and issues.

Climate-Change disasters are already here and we must make every effort to work on this problem, including considerable research and construction of “green” devices. This effort will take some money, but next to nothing compared to the expense of neglecting it. Briefly, numerous populated lowland areas will be permanently flooded, there will be massive migrations, and increased fires and hurricanes. Actual global warming is increasing faster than previously estimated. Climate change work must be funded, just like our military, government and other necessary agencies without asking where will the money come from.

We must put much more effort into protecting our elections from Russia and maybe other meddlers. Generally, our voting system must be hardened and reliable. Trump has put little effort into protecting our election system, but there are some efforts by various agencies and state governments to help. Our President has little interest because the meddlers have helped him.

Our government must support scientific and tech research, which can improve our lives and help with increasing population. For example, we must stop condemning GMO foods (see my blogs) and do sufficient research to improve trust in this valuable method. Nature is constantly modifying the DNA of all living things, and does not inform us of changes. GMO changes are known and we can test their safety. Humans have changed DNA for many centuries by animal and plant breeding; GMO is a similar, but quicker and more effective.

We clearly need improvements to our health care system. Abolishment of ObamaCare without a good replacement would be a catastrophe for millions of US citizens. ObamaCare provides more citizens with insurance and more safeguards for insurance loss due to various limits and pre-existing conditions.

We must maintain good relationships with our traditional allies: Canada, Mexico, members of the EU (and UK), Australia, India, Scandinavians, Japan, and others. We must very carefully work out an appropriate relationship with China and Russia. International relationships are very complicated and require the participation of many experts. Our current gov is simplistic and often resorts to coercion when good diplomacy is better. It also uses trade policies without considering all the possible effects.

Although sanctions can be useful in forcing more responsible government, they can be ineffective because the leaders of a country will always have plenty of food and various  luxuries. It’s the ordinary citizens that suffer the most. Sometimes really good, intelligent negotiation is better.

Immigration issues at our Southern border must be worked out in a reasonable and humanitarian way. This, of course, is a very complicated issue, with many valid interests to consider. Repubs and Dems must work together and form a viable plan. Our current gov has ignored real solutions and has taken action for purely political purposes, causing needless suffering for many.

The Robert-Mueller-Report makes NO statements of innocence, and includes facts related to many administration crimes, illicit actions, various wrongdoings, and suspicious activity. Ignoring these findings would be a disaster for our country. In order to satisfy certain rules and traditions, conclusions have been ignored, and left to Congress. The evidence provided in the Report can be used for various legal actions and when appropriate for articles of impeachment.

Our new Attorney General, William Barr, is a Trump sycophant who lies, and cannot be trusted. He must be nullified in some way.

Those who believe in democracy always include a free and independent press as one of the most important requirements. The best reporters, like those who work at major newspapers, don’t attack anyone without good cause. If a leader hates the press, then likely he is corrupt and making big mistakes.

Many writers have tried to explain the bizarre behavior of our President. Here are my thoughts: his desperation to keep voters leads him to contradictions, such as supporting both Israel/Jews and Neo-Nazis (Charlottesville conflict). He has no ideals or patriotism, and is only motivated by self-interest. Like most older people, he is somewhat affected by Alzheimer’s disease, which produces memory loss, repetition, and confusion. Stress and sleep loss may be other factors.

For more ideas, please read my other blogs and my tweets,   @RichardLeeWB.

 

154. Champions: Climate Change Crisis

20 Mar

This is an update on the latest efforts, findings, and theories on the Climate Change crisis. But first, I want to acknowledge the great contributions of  Ex-Veep Al Gore (who should have been elected president) in defining and promoting the climate change crisis. I also want to mention presidential candidate Governor Jay Inslee who has made climate change his most important issue. Now, there is an increasing number of leaders (mostly Dems.) who are enthusiastically promoting climate endeavors. 98% of all reputable scientists support the idea that human activities are causing global warming.

A new approach to fixing Climate Change is the work of Penny Chisholm The marine microbe Prochlorococcus draws in CO2 and uses sunlight to produce oxygen and sugar. The functioning of this microbe may hold the key to reducing CO2 in the air, saving our planet from climate-change devastation.  Since the world is not doing so well in producing less carbon dioxide, it is very important to support promising research on removing CO2 from the air. Penny Chisholm, in her recent TED talk, is one of the researchers in this area. This method may be key to saving our planet.  Please tell Trump and Congress to support research in this area and fund grants for testing. 

Another promising method to help is using Carbon Cure. It is a method of injecting CO2 into concrete. This removes it from the atmosphere and also helps to strengthen the concrete — so less is needed. Using this method, climate-change is helped in two ways. We need a President that can support climate efforts like this.

There are many other methods of carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere, by natural and tech processes.  For a really good discussion, I recommend reading:  http://www.eesi.org/articles/view/carbon-removal-strategies-a-broad-overview  .

The “Green New Deal” proposed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others, is filled with good progressive ideas and emphasizes the Climate Change crisis.  Many of the Democrat Presidential candidates support the deal fully or substantially.

The President has established a Climate Change Scientific Panel to investigate. It is led by 79 y.o. William Happer, C. Fogg B. Physics Professor Emeritus at Princeton, who is notable for being the only professor stating that excess CO2 in the atmosphere is beneficial. Note that “emeritus” means retired. In essence, Happer says: don’t worry about global warming because CO2 will be good for agriculture. Many commentators believe that the president’s panel was set up just to “muddy the waters.”  The USA Military, most other countries, some CEO’s and many members of Trump’s staff are concerned about global warming dangers, which in fact, we are already experiencing.

Recent investigations of show that climate-change is taking place much faster than previously estimated. One reason is that the melting of ice exposes dark-colored earth that tends to absorb more heat. Studies of the Arctic, Antarctic, and glaciers clearly show significant changes due to warming. Please see my BasicCauses blog number 147 for more info.  Here are the references for the two most authoritative recent reports.  One is  United Nations Special Scientific Panel released October 8, 2018. This report indicates the rapid change.  The other report is the “Fourth National Climate Assessment” (Nov. 23, 2018) by US Global Change Research program.

What we must do right now is support research like removing CO2 from the air and developing better batteries for electric needs. A panel of experts chosen by the National Science Foundation (or similar) should determine where the funding goes. Mr. President, time is running out, this is your last chance to do the right thing in this area.

153. Current Issues, Briefly #2

20 Mar

This is the second of a series of blogs with brief discussions of current issues. The material is based on my Tweets, unpublished thoughts, and descriptions of various publications that are so important that they must be repeated and emphasized.

Who said: Mexico pays for wall, immediate replacement for ObamaCare, Medicare unchanged, so rich that donors not needed, ban all Muslims, climate-change is hoax, N. Korea is no longer a threat, he likes tyrants, Saudi MBS innocent, leave NATO, McCain not a hero, grab them by the pu..y ? We know who said all these things. Can anyone still support him? (Yes!, because he hates the same people that you do.)

It is very important that presidential candidates express themselves sensibly and honestly. Beto O did well when asked about healthcare. He said that Medicare-for-all was one of several good plans. Generally, anyone pledging a detailed specific plan is not realistic — too many contingencies.

Trump is angry with TV shows that mock him, but NOT the other side. Duh! You mock the bad, crude leaders, NOT those saying wise and respectable things.

For a long time, my top choice for president was Elizabeth Warren. I still think she would be a great president, but Beto O. is rising rapidly, and must be considered for his strength, popularity, sincerity, and intelligence. He may be the best for beating Trump and I agree 98% with his goals. On the other hand, Warren is coming up with some interesting tax proposals.

I am convinced that anyone over 80 is at least somewhat affected by memory loss and reduction in intellectual ability. Consequentially, I have eliminated some popular presidential candidates (B. Sanders, J. Biden, etc.) that will be over 80 by the middle of their first term in office. This is based on personal observations and established data.

As we enjoy advancing technology and cultural evolution there is a parallel development of corruption. We see this in almost every system, from car-repair to the USA gov. The latest scourge is in top college admissions; affected by bribery and false testing scores. The university admission scandal tells us at least two things. One is that many rich people are corrupt, the other is that college expenses are unjustly huge. As scammers gradually improve their skills, institutional expenses also must rise. Is there any solution to this enigma?

If you care about fixing Climate Change read this:   The marine microbe Prochlorococcus draws in CO2 and uses sunlight to produce oxygen and sugar. The functioning of this microbe may hold the key to reducing CO2 in the air, saving our planet from climate-change devastation.  Since the world is not doing so well in producing less carbon dioxide, it is very important to support promising research on REMOVING CO2 from the air. Penny Chisholm, in her recent TED talk, is one of the researchers in this area. This method may be key to saving our planet.  Please tell Trump and Congress to support research in this area and fund grants for testing. 

Carbon Cure is a method of injecting CO2 into concrete. This removes it from the atmosphere and also helps to strengthen the concrete — so less is needed. Using this method, climate-change is helped in two ways. We need a POTUS that can support climate efforts like this.

(In answer to a Sean Hannity remark.)  Repubs love to distort facts. No one advocates pure socialism, which says ideally, all citizens must have the same amount of money by a redistribution of wealth. Democrats advocate better social programs, like Medicare, where non-rich benefit, and don’t worry – greedy rich folks will still be rich.

Manafort was just given a 47 month sentence, much lighter than the guidance. The judge made some remarks that very conservative politicians would say. Pres Reagan chose the judge, T. S. Ellis, a strong Virginia conservative, a fact not often mentioned. This is an example of the continuing damage to our country: the appointment of radically conservative judges.

Tom Steyer, “need to impeach” advocate, is a true patriot and national hero. He is working hard and spending much of his own money trying to fight the corrupt Trump gov.  For more info on corruption and the Trump-Russia connection, please see my previous blogs.

Major policies are always developed at the top of an organization. The Trump staff has had numerous convictions and indictments, and has well established unethical practices. It is no longer speculative, but a fact, that the corrupt nature of his staff proves that Trump is has promoted illicit methods. He is the cause of his staff corruption and voters must take note.

According to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, French President Emmanuel Macron is proposing significant improvements to the EU including collective defense, guarding elections, minimum wages, new tech, and climate issues. Some of this is in response to D.T. abuse. Bravo to Macron. Sad about BREXIT. Maybe there should be another vote?

It’s really important that Democrat speeches and writing are accurate. We must be better than Don Trump. Failure to be exact and correct will cause distrust. We must always be the ones to be relied upon. Also, there is no point in promoting ideas that are very extreme. The most important thing about the next election is the “defeat.”

Just read some nonsense about Democrat Candidates. The Indian problem for Eliz. Warren is nonsense and so are criticisms of Kamala Harris when she was the state AG. The problems cited have nothing to do with future performance as president. Desperate people magnify slight negatives with no significance.

 

 

 

147. Attention to Climate is Urgent

19 Feb

The vast majority of nations in the world understand the urgency of climate solutions. We already have worse hurricanes, new flooding, forest fires, glaciers and polar caps melting, sea levels rising, etc. The city of Venice, Italy is already sinking and flooding due to climate factors. Major USA coastal cities and most of Florida will soon be at risk.

Our President refuses to recognize this vital problem because it does not suit his billionaire friends, like the Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries. Making proper changes would cost them a few billion out of their 100 or so billion in assets. Helping his extremely rich friends (and donors) is more important than saving millions of lives and in other ways protecting the USA and many others in the world.

Two very authoritative reports have definitely concluded that the average global temperature is increasing, and the increase is caused by human activities, such as burning fossil fuels. (The Koch family has been in the oil business for decades.) One report is by a United Nations Special Scientific Panel released October 8, 2018. This report indicated that the climate is changing faster than originally anticipated. The other report is the “Fourth National Climate Assessment” (Nov. 23, 2018) by US Global Change Research program. This report is from Trumps gov and he only very reluctantly released it. The official report summary says: “Climate change creates new risks and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in communities across the United States, presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth.”   Trillions of dollars and millions of lives are at stake. Contrary to his claim of “draining the swamp,” his cabinet is full of climate deniers and promoters of CO2 pollution.

The Trump position on climate-change has vacillated like many of his other concerns. In 2009 his family was a major part of a business coalition that asserted “If we fail to act now, it is scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and irreversible consequences for humanity and our planet.” Later, when running for President he labeled the issue as a “hoax” and then later, not a hoax. He said “he does not believe it.” At one time he said that the climate will change back again. When Amy Klobuchar spoke in a freezing snow storm, he inferred that this disproves global warming. Trump does not understand that local weather is not relevant to global average temperature increases. Trumps Secretary of State Tillerson urged him not to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. That apparently led to his being fired.

Recent scientific research has indicated that we have about 10 years to make major changes in climate factors, such as burning fuels that send carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. We must spend some money on converting to battery operated cars and converting to cleaner power plants. Our gov must support research and incentives in these areas.  We must also support promising research on methods for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Time is running out and all possible solutions must be supported.  Please see my previous blogs for more discussions on climate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

140. Shut-Down Reveals Motives

25 Jan

The government shut-down, resulting from failure to pass a spending bill, is a national tragedy.  Many government workers and gov projects are severely affected by the lack of wages paid and other various non-funding. I sometimes suspect that this serious problem is Trump’s revenge for the investigations.  An interesting result of this conflict is that the negotiations and numerous related comments have revealed hidden motives and strategies. (Maybe not so hidden, for many analysts.)

I am sure that many Trump supporters are living paycheck-to-paycheck. These devotees must be shocked by the lack of concern about gov shut-down employee, that have unpaid wages.  While most employees will eventually be reimbursed, regular contractors may not receive anything. Here are some comments. Trump says that these people will “adjust,” they can always find a way. Really? His daughter-in-law Lara says that they will only feel “a little pain.” Sec. of Commerce Wilber Ross says they can get a loan. The Trump family and administration is mostly composed of hugely rich people. Does it sound like they have any appreciation for the results of lost wages ??

When Trump terminated the DACA law, he said that Congress can restore it. This sounded puzzling to me. Now I understand. DACA was terminated so that it could be used for future leverage  negotiations, and it just has been. Obviously, Trump does not care about these people (mostly good tax-paying people) at all, they are just pawns in his schemes. For Trump, everyone is a pawn except for his super-rich buddies, family, and a few of associates.

The way that Congressmen vote on various “shut-down” bills tells you a lot about their character.

Nancy Pelosi has been very adamant about not supporting any money at all for the wall. I have thought about this a lot and today I think I better understand her strategy. My initial thought, and what others have said, is that it like NOT negotiating with terrorists, because more people will get kidnaped if it is rewarded. So don’t give in to Trump to avoid future leverages. But there may be an additional factor. Instead of moving on impeachment, which is chancy, she wants to stop Trump by giving him a major defeat. Losing the shut-down battle may inhibit him from doing other worse things. Continuing the shut-down is harmful, but may less so that an unchecked Trump.

The USA, our lovely homeland, is caught up in traps that have possible remedies, but the remedies will only be achieved with a great concerted effort. Some damage, like radical conservative judges at every level. will be relatively permanent. The current administration has reversed climate-change efforts. Lack of worldwide climate efforts is already causing hurricane and flooding catastrophes, and will ultimately cause the death of many more people. My last word is to thank the many politicians and citizens that have good will and are working on our many problems.

 

 

 

 

132. Latest Climate Change Info: Simplified

29 Dec

It is vital that our government supports climate change programs.The dangers are serious and some harmful effects are already happening. Helping people and leaders to understand the science is my contribution. Here are the fundamentals, briefly:

Light from Sun >> Heats earth >> Heat energy Rises /\ /\  from earth
Some rising heat is blocked ]]]] from escaping by gases like CO2
Burning fuel increases CO2 causing more ]]]]]] blockage & warmth

More Detail:
Light from the Sun passes through our atmosphere and warms our planet. The resulting heat rises and some is blocked from escaping into space by “greenhouse” gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, water, and others. Small quantities of these gases are naturally in the atmosphere, and the amount is relatively stable.

But when we burn fuel and create more heat-blocking CO2, there is excessive planet warming. CO2 and other “greenhouse gases” are like a blanket around our planet. See below for more scientific detail.

How do we know that planet warming is caused by human activity?
1, The carbon dioxide emitted by burning coal, natural gas, and oil has a unique chemical pattern — and the additional CO2 in the atmosphere bears that signature. (See below for more detail.)

2. The CO2 and warming are closely correlated with the history of the industrial revolution, which involved the burning of coal and gasolene. As the usage of fossil fuels increased, the warming increased. During the history of the Earth, there were temperature cycles, but these natural cycles are very much slower than the current rapid temperature warming. No other “natural” factors could have caused this increase. See this NASA reference for actual data:  https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

What are the dangers of global warming? Warming causes arctic and other northern ice to melt. This is already well established by photographic evidence. The consequence is warmer oceans, rising sea levels, and changes in ocean currents.

The warming of oceans increases the strength of hurricanes. In recent years, hurricanes are worse than before. Changes in ocean currents shift land temperatures and rainfall so that some lands (like California) are drier and other places are flooded. Inhabited land that is close (or even less than) sea level is starting to flood, due to a slight rise in sea level. A good example is flooding in Venice, Italy, where the sea level has consistently risen by a total of 26cm since 1870. Many highly populated coastal areas of the USA are vulnerable. Some ocean islands are no longer habitable.

Scientists have spent thousands of hours recording and studying these factors. All of these facts are published in reputable scientific journals and magazines, such as Scientific American and Science. All reputable scientists support these findings. A recent official government report and NASA report supports all these facts. Politicians sometimes dispute these facts because their donors might need to spend money to correct their operations. Scientists are not political with respect to science.
—————
Added scientific clarifications
Rising heat energy (infrared radiation) is effectively  “blocked” by CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Most of our atmosphere consists of oxygen and nitrogen, which are small molecules and have little effect on rising heat. Greenhouse gases like CO2 have larger molecules and can absorb heat energy. Shortly after absorption, the heat energy is re-emitted in any direction. The part that goes downward tends to warm the earth. Long before humans inhabited the Earth, greenhouse gases were in the atmosphere at an almost fixed level as a result of opposing processes that produced an equilibrium. These gases warmed the Earth enough to make it habitable for humans and other animals. Burning fuels has increased the heat, causing harmful effects.

CO2 from fuel burning can be identified because it contains tiny amounts of certain inert (noble) gases, Other “natural” CO2 has a different pattern of these inert gases. This is often referred to as a “fingerprint.

Scientists have been working diligently on the problem of added global warming. There are basically two types of solution:  1. Reduce the burning of fuels by producing alternative energy like windmills and solar arrays, and 2. Develop industrial processes for removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Number 1 is already in major use. Number 2 is being developed by researchers, but the effectiveness is not yet known . Our gov needs to support BOTH of these efforts, trying to remove CO2 (etc) from the atmosphere will not be enough.

Valuable References
Here is a scientific reference on CO2 effects
https://scied.ucar.edu/carbon-dioxide-absorbs-and-re-emits-infrared-radiation
 Bibliographies for climate change (here are 2 of many):
https://www.fs.usda.gov/ccrc/library/biblio (USA Forest Service)
http://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/Climate_Change_Bibliography1.html  Government Report: https://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report
 NASA info:  https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/  (this is excellent)