Election 2016: A Portrait of America Under Siege

“Donald Trump is an ignorant man, a vulgar man, a man who reminds me of Adolph Hitler and Josef Stalin in his arrogance and thirst for power.” — Bernie Sanders

A Bizarro Reality

To look at Donald Trump’s version of what makes America great is to take a retrograde step through a rip in space-time and enter a fake populist bizarro land. To venture into an alternate dimension where a once-mighty and enlightened nation was strong-armed into taking the downward-sloping path into crisis and collapse. And like the bizarro land of the Superman mythos, this alternate reality is trying to inflict itself on the real world. It will succeed if we let it.

Trump’s a man who’s angrily proud of the fact that he does not pay taxes to support the safety, security and prosperity of the nation he seeks to lead. He’s a billionaire pandering to white workers’ fears of economic disenfranchisement while fighting to cut the very social and economic supports that these voters often rely on. A red-faced fear-monger blaming innocent immigrants and African Americans for economic woes his party — the republicans — engineered through forty years of trickle down economics. Policies that party is seeking to enforce through an unjust suppression of voters in places like North Carolina and Florida.

trumpdystopia

(A portrait of America under siege. What would America under Trump look like? This smokestack shanty town under darkening skies and surrounded by walls topped with barbed wire fences sitting in the shadow of gilded corporate towers just about says it all. Image source: What Would Jack Do?)

Donald Trump has often sought the populist mantle Bernie Sanders rightly bears. But Trump, Sanders says, “is an ignorant man, a vulgar man, a man who reminds me of Adolph Hitler and Josef Stalin in his arrogance and thirst for power.” And as Bernie Sanders goes to bat on the campaign trail for Clinton, pledging to make Trump —  “start paying his fair share in taxes,” the rage-filled corporate mogul tars the career public servant Hillary Clinton, attempting to smear her with the same Wall Street trappings Trump of Trump Towers ignominy has worn since the day of his birth. In other words, it’s one thing to take campaign donations from Wall Street, but another thing entirely to live, eat, and breathe the Wall Street mantra. To support, as Trump has throughout his life, the same harmful tax cut, deregulation, and anti-minimum wage policies that created the problem of Wall Street vs Main Street in the first place.

Entering the Dystopian Upside Down World of Donald Trump

To live in Trump’s reality is to live in an America under a strange kind of upside down siege. If the real economic problem in America is income inequality — then Trump promotes more of it. If the real threats to America’s foreign policy endeavors are increasing isolation and alienation of our allies — Trump seeks to build a wall. If dictators imperil our country or disrupt our elections, then Trump praises them. And if the very real climate change spurred threats such as coastal inundation facing cities like Miami, Norfolk, and Elizabeth City and drought losses threatening the water supply of the Colorado River states are ever-worsening, Trump seeks to burn more coal, oil and gas, attacks renewables, and denies that climate change is actually happening.

(As bad as the effects of climate change currently are today, Donald Trump’s combination of anti-science, anti-renewables, and pro fossil fuels policy will result in a reversal of critical climate change mitigation at exactly the time when they are needed most. Leonardo Di Caprio makes an impassioned appeal for us to do our part and vote for politicians that support responsible climate change policies and against those like Trump who hurt pretty much everyone by pandering to harmful fossil fuel special interests.)

If abuses by the powerful have created harm in America and abroad, Trump talks up abusive strong-men like Russia’s Vladimir Putin. And Putin, for his own part, appears to have done everything he can to help Wikileaks hack Hillary Clinton’s emails or even post fake versions of emails to further misinform the American electorate.

Trump makes fun of dying polar bears, pretends Obama has no birth certificate, mocks reporters with physical disabilities, panders to white supremacists, and has turned himself into a wretched caricature of misogyny. There’s not a victimizable person, animal, or class he doesn’t appear willing to take advantage of.  Bully may describe him, but it doesn’t fully contain his apparent rage-filled ardor for exploitation, for wrecking lives, for running rough-shod over people or things he has labeled ‘loser.’

Praying to America’s Darker Angels

Trump seems to believe that we can transport ourselves back to a mythological past when America was greater than it is today. To promote the illusion that we are, somehow, not far better off now than we were at a time when African Americans were held as slaves, or suffered under the abuses of Jim Crow, when scientists were persecuted, when there were no labor laws preventing the exploitation of children or protecting workers’ rights to fair pay and treatment, when women had no right to vote, when the abuses of state-supported corporate exploitation by such entities as the East India Trade company led to the real Boston Tea Party and wholesale continental revolt, and when a policy of systemic genocide was enacted against the natives who lived on American soil for thousands of years before the colonists came.

What Trump’s lack-vision fails to see is that America’s aspirations for greatness led her out of a very dark time scarred by these ills and into the far more enlightened age of today. An age that is now under threat by the retrograde narratives and policies promoted by people like Trump who seem to push ever on toward a return to the old dark days of injustice and oppression. And this mindset, the abusive and revisionist view of history, is something we must reject if we are to have much hope of navigating the very serious troubles that are coming in this age global climate change and increasing dislocation. We must embrace new ways of doing things. We must turn to new leaders. We must reject the political violence of an old, angry white man, and the system of dominance and harm that he promotes.

A Necessary Endorsement of One of Our Nation’s Strongest Women

This is my endorsement for Hillary Clinton. A woman whom I admire for her strength, her tenacity, and her clarity of purpose. I may not agree with every policy she stands for or admire every aspect of her life. Like the rest of us, she is human and imperfect. But she is a true American who has served her country with honor. A lady who supports our America not just with her words, but both through paying a fair share of her substantial earnings and through her considerable life’s work. A leader I can stand behind. Someone who has already done many great things for this nation and who I believe, with the help of people like Bernie Sanders, is capable of so much more. In a day when we face off against so many abuses both at home and abroad, I think America would benefit from the steady hand of this strong woman — who has the potential to be a truly historical figure and to lead our nation out of a sea of troubles.

Donald Trump represents the worst sins the old world, but if we give Hillary the right kind of support, she can stand for the better virtues of tomorrow and serve the vision of an age that confronts its problems rather than spiraling ever deeper into self-destructive denial, anger, and isolation. That’s what this election means to me — risking an almost assured disaster by electing Trump or creating a very real possibility for reducing and escaping present harms if we elect Clinton. The choice, for me, couldn’t be clearer.

hillary-stormborn

(Throughout his campaign, Trump has impuned the dignity of women, calling them nasty and bragging about objectifying them. As a strong woman, Hillary is exactly the kind of person who should face down Trump’s misogyny. Image source: House of Clinton. )

So I urge you to lift your voices in this election. To be heard and to make your power and capacity to promote justice known. I ask you to stand strong against the intimidation, against the pervasive misinformation coming from those who would inflict so much harm. You are capable. We are capable. We can do this. We can release America from the siege that a fake Tea Party promoted by corporate interests and that people like Trump have placed her under. And we can make a strike against the underlying systemic mysogyny of our nation by electing our first female President of this United States of America.

I have listened to your voices and I know that you are strong. So be heard! It is time for the real America to shine through.

Advertisements

This is What A Fossil Fuel Dystopia Looks Like — The Arctic Sea Ice is Breaking Up North of Greenland in June

The Arctic sea ice is breaking up to the north of Greenland during June. It’s the fossil fuel burning global dystopia phrase of the day. Another cognitive dissonance producing instance of something that would have never happened without the added heat kick provided by human-forced climate change. But now, with atmospheric CO2 topping out at near 408 ppm during May of this year, it appears that all sorts of weather weirdness is currently possible.

Arctic Sea Ice breaking up north of Greenland in June

(1-3 mile wide cracks appear in the sea ice north of Greenland in this NASA satellite shot on June 19 of 2016. For reference, bottom edge of frame is 400 miles. Image source: LANCE MODIS.)

It was an odd break-up spurred by the onrush of warm winds rising up from Continental North America. These winds of climate change fueled record temperatures as they crossed the northern islands of the Canadian Archipelago over the past week. On Axel Heiburg Island, temperatures hit near 54 degrees F (12.3 C) along the 80 degree North Latitude line. Readings that are about 15-20 degrees F (7 to 12 C) above average for this time of year and highly anomalous readings for what should be a permanently frozen island.

These southerly winds then bore the record warm to near record warm airs across a region just north of Greenland — pushing temperatures over this section of the Arctic Ocean into the mid to upper 30s. This extra heat was then enough to shatter the thinning ice. 1-3 Mile wide cracks opened up as the ice drifted off its moorings between Northern Greenland and the North Pole.

image

(Warm, moist winds flowing over the Canadian Archipelago and into the Arctic Ocean on June 15-18 set up conditions that shattered sea ice to the North of Greenland. Image capture at 00:00 UTC on June 18 by Earth Nullschool.)

Now, the entire Arctic Ocean ice pack from the Beaufort to the East Siberian Sea, to the Laptev, across the Kara and north of the Barents on to north of Greenland and the Canadian Archipelago is floating free in June. A condition that was unheard of in August or September just a decade and a half ago, but one that is now occurring before the Summer Solstice.

Overall, for this time of year, Arctic sea ice extent remains in or near record low ranges despite weather conditions that would have traditionally helped to preserve sea ice. Storms over the central ice have provided cloudy conditions, preventing direct sunlight from hitting the ice and speeding melt. However, despite these conditions, temperatures over most of the Arctic have remained above average — with some regions along the coast experiencing substantially above average temperatures.

Record Low Sea Ice Extent June 19

(Arctic sea ice extent continues in record low ranges on June 19 of 2016 according to JAXA’s sea ice monitor.)

After record Arctic warmth this Winter and Spring, storms churning over the sea ice during June have done little to prevent continued record low extents throughout the Northern Polar zone or to disallow strange events like the early-season break-up of ice to the north of Greenland. To the contrary, we have numerous instances where storms are drawing in warm, wet winds from the south and are increasingly dumping rainfall over the sea ice. A condition that also tends to speed melt.

By yesterday, Japan’s sea ice measure (JAXA) had dropped to 9,730,000 square kilometers or about three days ahead of record melt year 2012’s all time low line. Rates of loss steepened over recent days as the anomalous Arctic heat bit in and numerous shattered ice flows lost integrity under relentless elemental punishment.

Rainstorms Over Arctic Sea Ice

(Rainstorms over Arctic sea ice, like this one which is predicted to form by Tuesday in the GFS Model, can be even more damaging to ice coverage than direct sunlight. High amplitude Jet Stream waves often deliver these storms — born upon warm, wet winds — to the Arctic during summers that have now been dramatically warmed by human fossil fuel emissions. Image source: Climate Reanalyzer GFS capture for 00:00 UTC Tuesday June 21.)

Record low sea ice extents for 2016 are likely to continue to have an influence on Northern Hemisphere weather — assisting the formation of high amplitude Jet Stream wave patterns. These waves are associated with extreme and persistent weather conditions to include — heatwaves, droughts, wildfires and floods. One such wave pattern is now facilitating record hot temperatures and increased wildfire hazards over the US West and has the potential to set off heatwaves over the Alaskan and Canadian Arctic even as anomalous rainstorms form over wide sections of the Arctic Ocean during the next couple of weeks.

Links:

LANCE MODIS

Earth Nullschool

Climate Reanalyzer

JAXA

Hat tip to Cate

Hat tip to DT Lange

%d bloggers like this: